Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Eric Beech / Reuters & Patrick J. Buchanan / AntiWar.com – 2018-07-18 12:08:15
Lawmakers, Media Look to Undermine US-Russia Detente
Congress looks to counter Trump’s
diplomatic overtures with hostile actions
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(July 17, 2018) — Monday’s summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ended with a relatively modest press conference. Things went well, by both leaders’ accounts, and it represented a small but significant attempt at improving bilateral relations from their recent lows.
Deals were said to have been reached on cooperation on some fronts. Putin says he even told President Trump he intends to extend the New START nuclear treaty that is set to expire in 2021. But don’t expect any positive coverage of the talks in the press, let alone any votes of encouragement from the US Congress.
That’s because US hostility toward Russia being what it is, there is an incredible amount of bipartisan comfort with continuing that acrimony. Trump faced condemnations for even attending the summit, and more still for getting out of it without picking a fight with Putin.
Media coverage of the summit was uniformly negative, parroting disputed allegations of election meddling. Fox News‘ Chris Wallace interviewed Vladimir Putin, and failing to get Putin to admit to anything, reporters praised Wallace for “giving Putin the grilling Trump won’t.”
Lawmakers were, of course, lining up to go after Trump over the summit. But now that the summit is over, their attention has shifted to trying to pass legislation that would attempt to undermine whatever modest progress toward a rapprochement Trump can be said to have made.
Speaker Paul Ryan termed Russia “a menacing government,” and Congress is considering more sanctions, more hearings, and potentially even some non-binding resolutions endorsing the intelligence community’s allegations against Russia.
Which is really the center of most of the efforts to stop diplomatic progress. Allegations of meddling in the 2016 election have become “unquestionable” in the mainstream, both as a talking point and as a justification for picking new fights with Russia.
Trump has long expressed interest in improving ties with Russia, and this summit was actually one of his first real opportunities at doing so. Yet it will be difficult for this progress to have any permanence with everyone else so united in undermining it.
Putin Says He Told Trump that
Russia Was Prepared to Extend START Treaty
Eric Beech / Reuters
WASHINGTON (July 16, 2018) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Monday that he told US President Donald Trump that Russia is prepared to extend the New START nuclear treaty that expires in 2021.
“I reassured President Trump that Russia stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first, because we have some questions to our American partners,” Putin told Fox News in an interview after a summit with Trump on Monday in Helsinki.
“We think that they are not fully compliant with the treaty, but this is for experts to decide,” Putin added.
The New START treaty, signed on April 8, 2010, calls for deployable nuclear warheads and bombs to be capped at no more than 1,550. It limits deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers to 700 and non-deployed ICBMs, SLBM and bombers to 800.
The treaty lasts for 10 years and can be extended by up to five years. The New START treaty gave both countries until February this year to reach the treaty limits.
Both sides say they met the treaty caps earlier this year, but Russia has raised questions about the US conversion of some submarines and bombers to carry conventional weapons, saying it has no way to verify they cannot also be used for nuclear arms.
While Trump has criticized the treaty as a bad deal negotiated by his predecessor, proponents of the accord say it is important because it created a new monitoring regime, including data exchanges, that enable the two sides to verify compliance.
Reporting by Eric Beech; Writing by Eric Walsh and David Alexander,
Trump Calls Off Cold War II
Patrick J. Buchanan / AntiWar.com
(July 17, 2018) — Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that US relations with Russia have “never been worse.” He then added pointedly, that just changed “about four hours ago.”
It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in US foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation and the fate of his presidency.
He has rejected the fundamental premises of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and blamed our wretched relations with Russia, not on Vladimir Putin, but squarely on the US establishment.
In a tweet prior to the meeting, Trump indicted the elites of both parties: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
Trump thereby repudiated the records and agendas of the neocons and their liberal interventionist allies, as well as the archipelago of War Party think tanks beavering away inside the Beltway.
Looking back over the week, from Brussels to Britain to Helsinki, Trump’s message has been clear, consistent and startling.
NATO is obsolete. European allies have freeloaded off US defense while rolling up huge trade surpluses at our expense. Those days are over. Europeans are going to stop stealing our markets and start paying for their own defense.
And there will be no Cold War II.
We are not going to let Putin’s annexation of Crimea or aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine prevent us from working on a rapprochement and a partnership with him, Trump is saying. We are going to negotiate arms treaties and talk out our differences as Ronald Reagan did with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Helsinki showed that Trump meant what he said when he declared repeatedly, “Peace with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
On Syria, Trump indicated that he and Putin are working with Bibi Netanyahu, who wants all Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias kept far from the Golan Heights. As for US troops in Syria, says Trump, they will be coming out after ISIS is crushed, and we are 98 percent there.
That is another underlying message here: America is coming home from foreign wars and will be shedding foreign commitments.
Both before and after the Trump-Putin meeting, the cable news coverage was as hostile and hateful toward the president as any this writer has ever seen. The media may not be the “enemy of the people” Trump says they are, but many are implacable enemies of this president.
Some wanted Trump to emulate Nikita Khrushchev, who blew up the Paris summit in May 1960 over a failed US intelligence operation — the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Urals just weeks earlier.
Khrushchev had demanded that Ike apologize. Ike refused, and Khrushchev exploded. Some media seemed to be hoping for just such a confrontation.
When Trump spoke of the “foolishness and stupidity” of the US foreign policy establishment that contributed to this era of animosity in US-Russia relations, what might he have had in mind?
Was it the US provocatively moving NATO into Russia’s front yard after the collapse of the USSR?
Was it the US invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East?
Was it US support of Syrian rebels determined to oust Bashar Assad, leading to ISIS intervention and a seven-year civil war with half a million dead, a war which Putin eventually entered to save his Syrian ally?
Was it George W. Bush’s abrogation of Richard Nixon’s ABM treaty and drive for a missile defense that caused Putin to break out of the Reagan INF treaty and start deploying cruise missiles to counter it?
Was it US complicity in the Kiev coup that ousted the elected pro-Russian regime that caused Putin to seize Crimea to hold onto Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol?
Many Putin actions we condemn were reactions to what we did.
Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly. But did not the US bomb Serbia for 78 days to force Belgrade to surrender her cradle province of Kosovo?
How was that more moral than what Putin did in Crimea?
If Russian military intelligence hacked into the emails of the DNC, exposing how they stuck it to Bernie Sanders, Trump says he did not collude in it. Is there, after two years, any proof that he did?
Trump insists Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome in 2016 and he is not going to allow media obsession with Russiagate to interfere with establishing better relations.
Former CIA Director John Brennan rages that, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki . . . was . . . treasonous. . . . He is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”
Well, as Patrick Henry said long ago, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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