In Europe, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin supports every fringe party and movement, both far-left and far-right, as long as they destabilize the status quo. For this reason, many anti-EU parties are funded by the Kremlin. For instance, in Greece, both the ruling Coalition of the Extreme Left, and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party are bankrolled by Russia. Until recently, this sort of interference was unknown in North America.
Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin has succeeded on getting his tentacles inside every major political party in the US. First, there is Jill Stein of the Green Party. Last year, she attended the Russia Today 10th anniversary dinner. Afterwards, she sent this creepy message from Red Square:
“It’s been so wonderful to see people come together from across all borders and from the across the political spectrum, really, come together around basic human values, around human rights, around the need for international law, including the need to reign in U.S. exceptionalism and totally reform and revise our foreign policy so that it is based on international law, human rights, and diplomacy”
This from a country that recently invaded two other countries, that has conducted a scorched earth war in Chechnya, has threatened Denmark with a nuclear attack, that has practiced a nuclear attack on both Sweden and Poland, and whose current leader ascended to power by orchestrating a terror campaign against his own people that killed 293 souls.
Then there is Gary Johnson, the leader of the Libertarian Party. On Russia Today, he defended the Russian takeover of the Crimea, stating that the Ukraine (a sovereign country) is to Russia what Puerto Rico (a territory taken from another country) is to the US. I guess Johnson is unaware of the Budapest Accord, which guaranteed the borders of Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine handing over its nuclear weapons to Russia. Both the US and Russia are signatories of this agreement – and therefore guarantors of Ukraine’s borders.
The real problems however are only encountered when you move up to the A-list of Presidential candidates. With Hillary Clinton, the concern is that Russia has the e-mails she had on her private server. The blackmail potential is huge. Against this, it must be noted that Hillary Clinton’s stated foreign policy has not to date favoured Putin.
More worrisome is the hack on the DNC server, which seems to have been done by Russia. Is Vladimir Putin is trying to tilt the election in Donald Trump’s direction by creating turmoil in the DNC? (Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had to resign over the contents revealed.) If Hillary Clinton’s principal opponent were a normal candidate, he would have immediately condemned this inexcusable foreign meddling. Instead, Trump made a stupid joke about it, regaling in his opponent’s misfortune.
Speaking of the Trump campaign, it has so far been the epicenter of Kremlin influence. Mike Morell, the former head of the CIA, said this:
“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.
Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.
In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation. [Emphasis added]”
An unwitting agent. An assessment like this - by a former CIA head of a presidential candidate - is unprecedented in American history. Trump supporters dismiss Morell, claiming that he is in the tank for Clinton. Of course, they do not consider the possibility that causality may flow in the other direction, that Morell only favours Clinton because he is horrified by Trump. This is what John Schindler says about Morell:
“His depiction of Trump as “an unwitting agent” of Vladimir Putin is shared by many American intelligence personnel, including most of the ones I know. And I know a lot of them from my own time in the Intelligence Community. Among seasoned Russia-watchers and those acquainted with counterintelligence, I don’t know any spies who would substantially disagree with Morell’s comments on the Republican nominee.
In a recent column analyzing Trump’s bizarre comments on Crimea and Ukraine, I explained that his falsehoods uttered on national television meant that the GOP’s candidate “Either is clueless about Crimea and Ukraine, being totally unfamiliar with the basic issues, and decided to pontificate on the subject regardless while on national television. Or he is consciously parroting Kremlin propaganda.”
Morell has chosen my second option for Trump, characterizing him as Putin’s man. The term “unwitting agent” is spy-speak for what Lenin (supposedly) famously termed a Useful Idiot, that is, someone who is duped into spouting propaganda that he may not fully understand. This is a harsh assessment but more charitable than the accusation that Trump’s is a witting agent of the Kremlin.[again emphasis added]”
Who is John Schindler? He is a former NSA man and a former professor of the Naval War College who has written extensively about Hillary’s e-mail scandal, carrying the torch on this issue since the beginning. He believes Clinton has committed numerous felonies. And he wrote the above lines in a newspaper owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law. Roll that in your Trump cigar and smoke it.
There are also worrisome reports about Donald Trump’s finances. According to Edward Lucas – probably the best observer of Eastern European affairs writing today:
“His carefree ways with other people’s money — including numerous near-bankruptcies in past decades — mean that American banks shun him.
Yet his debts have grown over the past year, from £270 million to £485 million; which suggests he may have borrowed heavily.
His cash assets, meanwhile, have shrivelled. So where is the money coming from.
The short answer is Russia.
As the leading American newspaper, the Washington Post, reported: ‘Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.’
Trump’s son, Donald Jr, boasted to a property industry conference in 2008: ‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.’”
Then there are the numerous Kremlin-connected operatives in Donald Trump’s campaign, with the now-gone Paul Manafort being only the ugliest and most notable member. According to Schindler, Manafort was so closely connected to the Kremlin that he was probably run by a GRU (Russian military intelligence) operative when he was in the Ukraine working for Putin’s puppet there. He may have even helped orchestrate violent protests against US Marines in the Crimea in 2006. There is a word for somebody like that.
Then there is Carter Page, the Trump advisor with direct financial ties to Gazprom, the state-owned gas company that Vladimir Putin uses regularly as a foreign policy tool to enforce his will on other countries and to enrich his friends.
Third, there is Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s foreign policy guru, a retired Lieutenant General, and former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency. According to Schindler:
“It seems that Flynn remains furious at Obama for firing him, and that anger may be the driving force behind his cozy relationship with the Kremlin. General Flynn has frequently appeared on RT (formerly Russia Today), the Russian government’s news channel aimed at the outside world. RT is unadulterated Kremlin propaganda—not a normal news network—as evidenced by its showcasing avowed neo-Nazis and having its own Illuminati correspondent.
Since Flynn is a Cold War veteran and a career spy, he knows exactly what RT is—he has no excuses. Yet this has not deterred him from appearing there regularly. To top it off, last December he attended RT’s 10th anniversary gala in Moscow, including a photo op with President Vladimir Putin.
It’s safe to say Putin would have a word for any top retired Russian intelligence general who regularly appeared on official U.S. television and did a photo op with President Obama. It’s not a nice word, and that general would be well advised to avoid drinking tea.
To make matters worse, neither General Flynn nor RT were willing to comment if he is a paid contributor to the network. If a possible vice president is an actual paid employee of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, that seems like something the American people should know.”
Again, to Trump supporters: this assessment also appeared in a newspaper owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law.
You know, people ask me why I so strongly oppose Donald Trump even though I am a deeply committed conservative. This is why.
Conservatives have made a big deal of Hillary Clinton’s well-documented venality. And if she were facing off against any candidate but Donald Trump I would say the corruption charges against her would be disqualifying. But in the bigger picture, the Democrat Party has been corrupt for 150 years. There was Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall machine. There was the Daly machine in Chicago and there was fightin’ Tommy D’Alesandro of Baltimore. While Hillary Clinton may be high on the corruption scale, what she has done is no different than what Tom Pendergast did in Missouri 100 years ago. Another 4 years of Democrat corruption won’t kill the Republic.
But what would be unprecedented - an event unparalleled in American history - would be a President beholden to a hostile country, one with nuclear weapons aimed at the United States and who regards the US as its “greatest strategic adversary” (Putin’s words not mine). The only other example I can think of is Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party candidate in 1948. But he came a distant fourth in 1948.
The world situation is more unstable today than it has been since the end of the Cold War, largely because the American President for the last eight years has been so weak. If his replacement were somebody actively rooting for the other side, I do not think the center will hold.
This is why I don’t want Donald Trump in the White House. Every other consideration is secondary.