Is *this* what is going on?

by on December 24, 2016 at 3:10 am in Current Affairs, Games, History, Political Science | Permalink

In 1987, Trump made his goal of Russian collaboration on nuclear power explicit: The Soviet Union and the US should partner to form a nuclear superpower with the intention of intimidating other countries into dropping their own nuclear plans.

“Most of those [pre-nuclear] countries are in one form or another dominated by the US and the Soviet Union,” Trump told journalist Roy Rosenbaum. “Between those two nations you have the power to dominate any of those countries. So we should use our power of economic retaliation and they use their powers of retaliation, and between the two of us we will prevent the problem from happening. It would have been better having done something five years ago. But I believe even a country such as Pakistan would have to do something now. Five years from now they’ll laugh.”

Nuclear-related sanctions, from the two major powers, were to be applied to both Pakistan and France [sic].  Here is the full article, I cannot vouch for this account or any particular interpretation of it, but the hypothesis is new to me and so I present it to you as well.

1 jim jones December 24, 2016 at 3:49 am

The history of Russia is a history of bad decisions, the best thing they could do is invite the West to invade. Merry Christmas.

2 kaschner December 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

>>> Re: “Merry Christmas”

yeah, seems an odd blog topic for a slow Xmas Eve — standard anti-Trump speculation (Trump’s a wild man– the whole world is in peril).

That long 1987 interview actually presented a quite favorable view of Trump and his long term knowledge/interest of foreign policy issues.

The big nuclear world powers muscling the other nations is hardly a new or radically dangerous idea — it’s the realpolitik basis for the highly praised 1970 “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”.

3 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm

I wouldn’t want to take advantage of Christmas Eve to balance the situation and point out that there are very easily identifiable reasons that people hold the “Trump is a wild man” (or worse) sort of concern.

He doesn’t seem to be giving any indications of a desire to crack down on media, as compared to previously very explicit statement which were very strongly in that direction. So, I’d like to think that that’s a good sign, but it’s also very consistent with a plan that amounts to “flatter the media until I’m actually in power and then do what i said I’d do.”

Any specific reason we should not worry about that possibility over Christmas? (Hoping for very concrete answers. Not expecting any. Probably just wait and see …)

4 GoneWithTheWind December 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

I will judge Trump’s presidency by what he does/accomplishes. If he is able to accomplish even half of his stated goals I will be overjoyed. Of course the left will oppose him and denigrate him, they are already running for the next election and appear to have learned nothing in this election. Of course the Rinos in congress will oppose him, god knows why. But if he reinforces our borders, returns to the day when we actually enforced our immigration laws, rebuilds our military, reverses Obama’s harmful ecutive orders and appoints conservative judges to the Supreme court I will consider him successful. If he can bring back jobs from overseas and bring back the word “trade” into our foreign trade that will be a plus.

5 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm

It’s not really quite clear what his stated goals are, except something about a wall, maybe start a trade war with China and something about ID registries for religious minorities.

I’ll be very happy to look the idiot in 6 months time for highlighting this.

6 Datroof Jackson December 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

You needn’t wait six months, I assure you.

7 TMC December 25, 2016 at 10:31 am

“there are very easily identifiable reasons that people hold the “Trump is a wild man” (or worse) sort of concern.”

Because nuclear proliferation is good! Idiot.

8 skeptic December 24, 2016 at 5:35 am

No, what’s going on is Trump correctly sees Russia is not a threat to any important Western interests (e.g., he is on Christian side in Syria, Crimea is historically Russian and not ethnically Ukrainian).

9 Jan December 24, 2016 at 7:20 am

A US presidential election that Russia doesn’t interfere with in order to boost one candidate’s chances of winning doesn’t count as a important Western interest to you?

10 dearieme December 24, 2016 at 7:58 am

Did they interfere? What’s the evidence? Is it WMD-in-Iraq watertight, or Elvis-on-Mars watertight?

11 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 8:32 am

Nah, it’s just computer forensics watertight.

Along the lines of determining who was responsible for Stuxnet – ‘In 2015, Kaspersky Labs’ research findings on another highly sophisticated espionage platform created by what they called the Equation Group, noted that the group had used two of the same zero-day attacks used by Stuxnet, before they were used in Stuxnet, and their use in both programs was similar. The researchers reported that “the similar type of usage of both exploits together in different computer worms, at around the same time, indicates that the Equation Group and the Stuxnet developers are either the same or working closely together”. Costin Raiu, the director of Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team, believes that the Equation Group cooperates with them only from a position of clear superiority, giving them their “bread crumbs”.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet

But in our dawning post truth age, just decide what you want to believe, regardless. After all, maybe it was the Iranians that developed Stuxnet, as part of a false flag operation to discredit nations such as Israel and the U.S.

Here is some information concerning the DNC exploit – ‘The firm CrowdStrike linked malware used in the DNC intrusion to malware used to hack and track an Android phone app used by the Ukrainian army in its battle against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine from late 2014 through 2016.

While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.

Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, “we have high confidence” it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit “Fancy Bear.”

The FBI, which has been investigating Russia’s hacks of political, government, academic and other organizations for several years, privately has concluded the same. But the bureau has not publicly drawn the link to the GRU.’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cybersecurity-firm-finds-a-link-between-dnc-hack-and-ukrainian-artillery/2016/12/21/47bf1f5a-c7e3-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html

12 derek December 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

So people reading Podesta’s emails threw the election? If Hillary could have had Assange droned she would have won?

13 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 9:44 am

‘So people reading Podesta’s emails threw the election?’

Who cares? Sometimes, the feeling of living in a post truth age can be truly liberating.

Facts are meaningless, everyone gets to create their own reality.

For example, one where the Russians are the biggest, bestest buddies the U.S. could ever have, where the sanctions spearheaded by the U.S. had so little effect on Russia that no one in Russia even noticed them. Well, except these people – https://www.treasury.gov/ofac/downloads/ssi/ssilist.txt (read more here – https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx )

But don’t worry, even if the head of Gazprom cannot travel to the West or use a credit card there, our soon to be former ExxonMobil CEO secretary of state can still travel to Russia to transact all that friendly business.

And really, all those people complaining about how soft Obama was in punishing Russia’s seizure of the Crimea? They never existed.

14 anon December 24, 2016 at 9:45 am

The attack on our sovereignty is there, no matter the measurability of the outcome.

Maybe the CIA should hack Canadian elections? Or would you see that as a sovereignty issue?

15 derek December 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

Have you ever considered that it wasn’t the electorate that was getting tested but the candidates? You wannabe totalitarians want to control information, but these things coming out were a test for both campaigns. The Trump campaign was smart enough to let the media, as predictable as it is, do its thing. The Hillary campaign seemed to dive under the furniture. And since the election we have seen a march to war with no followers.

No one has any illusions about Putin, and the most damning piece of information is how effective he has been at playing Obama’s fecklessness to his advantage. Even the Obama Iran rapprochement drove then into the arms of Putin.

It was another here we go again the US is being trolled by some guy who takes his shirt off. It was Obama’s policies which led to Aleppo, Hillary was the architect of that policy.

If Hillary was going to lose by some common hack of her data, was she all of a sudden to be trusted with the security of the nation?

16 derek December 24, 2016 at 11:12 am

China is buying influence right now in Canada because the shirtless twit who is prime minister needs the cash.

And yes it was an attack on your sovereignty. And the electorate choose someone else to defend it. That is the point.

The problem isn’t Russia. It was Hillary. What was she going to do? Talk about the importance of data security procedures and harsh penalties for those who are careless?

17 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

‘No one has any illusions about Putin’

I’m pretty sure our former ExxonMobilCEO, current holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, and future secretary of state has no illusions about Putin either. After all, Putin is a man we can do business with. Profitable business, especially if we just lift those mettlesome sanctions after Putin decided to grab the Crimea. The real problem is not with illusions concerning Putin, but craven pandering to Russia – oh wait, that was Obama’s sin. I’m sure that Trump’s sanctions will be truly fearsome, compared to those of a soon to be former wimp in chief.

As you yourself note – ‘the most damning piece of information is how effective he has been at playing Obama’s fecklessness to his advantage’

‘If Hillary was going to lose by some common hack of her data’

The post truth world is fun – the DNC was hacked, not Clinton. As were Colin Powell’s e-mails – ‘Writing to Hillary Clinton just after she took office as secretary of state, Colin Powell explained to Clinton in an email why and how he had used a personal email address during his time as secretary. Powell said that the intelligence community had been staunchly against him having a personal digital assistant, and so he’d just stopped asking and done it. He wrote that he was never satisfied about the security risk. However, he warned, the “real danger” is that “if it is public that you have a BlackBerry and it is government and you are using it, government or not, to do business, it may become an official record and become subject to law …. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”

Powell’s advice was prescient in that he foresaw how the emails could create a public-records snafu. But now he is getting a lesson in the dangers of assuming personal email is secure.

An organization called D.C. Leaks, which has been alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence, has hacked some of Powell’s emails and released them publicly. Powell confirmed to NBC that the messages were authentic, saying, “The hackers have a lot more.”’ http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/powell-emails/499946/

Hard as this might be to imagine, the Russians are interested in attacking the U.S., and don’t much care about how Americans look at it.

Though in the age of Trump, they might be shaking in fear when our current wimp in chief leaves office, to be replaced by Trump, a man who will undoubtedly finally handle Putin with all the righteous might that America can summon when a foreign power meddles in its affairs.

18 anon December 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

Trump might or might not be coming around to the idea, supported by US intelligence agencies (references above), that we were hacked by Russians.

But the sad truth is that many of his supporters just accepted “group belief,” set by him, that it never happened.

So I’m not sure what to make of your claim that Trump was elected to protect our sovereignty. “Yeah, we wish?”

19 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Assuming this refers to me- ‘So I’m not sure what to make of your claim that Trump was elected to protect our sovereignty’ – it appears as if the sarcasm wasn’t plain enough. Apparently, many of Trump’s most ardent supporters are already living in a post truth world, where it is possible to praise Trump for his currently non-existent policies regarding Putin (apart from a number of approving tweets, of course) while criticizing Obama for his weak response to a man that Obama has not praised fulsomely, multiple times, in public. And Obama has yet to invite the Russians to hack anybody’s server, much less a political opponent’s, being the wimp that he is.

My only expectations for Trump’s decision making and actions are that they will represent no interests except Trump’s.

20 Thomas December 24, 2016 at 1:49 pm

The podesta emails are fake and everyone knows it but they are real and swayed the election. Ezra Klein says so.

21 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Derek – I think it is good to raise that issue, in order to ensure that there is not exaggeration of the likely relevance of what was going on with the fact that Chinese political figures were present at fundraising events held by the party that the political leader of the country belongs to.

However, here’s the important part. We want to sell stuff to China. If you want to do that, you have to “do it a little Chinese”. That involves meeting political figures sometimes. It’s probably a really good move for Canadian business.

The problem isn’t about Chinese money and Canadian money appearing in the same place and time beside the prime minister. The problem is that this is happening as a part of a partisan fundraising event.

There needs to be a better way to bring these critically important stakeholders together in a way that cannot stain the political process.

(For the Americans watching, fyi, this is not a rare way of thinking when it comes to money and politics in Canada. Europe is pretty similar in that regard. It’s the sort of thing that, when you protest about the inherent democratic strengths associated with being able to buy politicians, it sort of makes us think things might be a little corrupt there. Maybe not even worth bothering to try to do business kind of corrupt, but honestly, there’s just a lot of money there so a lot of people will bring up the competition in the process of trying.)

22 Ntrusted December 27, 2016 at 2:13 am

Regarding whether the Russians are responsible for hacking the DNC, leaking emails, and thereby affecting the election, what gets lost in a lot of these discussions is that there is a distinction between:

1. The Russians hacked the DNC. This is a claim that is likely to be true and there is substantial evidence to support it. What is often neglected, however, is that high-profile targets of interest like the DNC servers are subject to hacking attempts from various sources routinely.

2. The information that the Russians supposedly hacked is the source of the leak to Wikileaks. If we’re being honest and explicit, this is the claim that really matters in substantiating claims that “Russian hacking interfered with the election.” There is no clear evidence showing a line from Russian hacking to Wikileaks.

In addition to these points, there is an alternative and conflicting account from Wikileaks and Craig Murray—that the source of the leaks was not Russia. It is reasonable, especially in the conspiracy sub, to be skeptical of all claims, but in a case offering two directly contradictory claims, one needs to evaluate who has the greater claim to the truth. Assange is in a direct position to know who the leaker was; the CIA is not. And who has the greater general claim to integrity and credibility, Assange or the CIA? If one is judging by what is more likely, the answer is clear.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

And regarding the supposedly “definitive” CrowdStrike analysis, there too there is no firm evidence it was the Russians. Specifically, 1. it only purports to show the fingerprints whose allegiance has been imputed to Russia but is hardly confirmed to be, 2. it does not rule out the possibility of spoofing or otherwise misdirecting attribution of the hacking, 3. it does not establish the connection from hack to the leak to Wikileaks.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/russian-bear-uses-keyboard/

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/?comments=1#comments

23 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm

You do yourself great discredit. The flimsiest of rumours, and you’d project 100% certainty about the evils of Obama, yet a unanimous statement across national security agencies that the Russians did something doesn’t speak to you at all.

So, maybe it’s not a good idea to get hysterical about the interference. Consider it a little bit of minor “back atcha” if you like. I don’t think anyone’s going to shed even the tiniest tear over the matter.

But if you can’t admit it happened, it’s difficult to discuss what to do from there.

24 Joël December 24, 2016 at 5:55 pm

What is funny, skeptic, is that the left today falls exactly in the same anti-Russian paranoia that the worst right in the late 40’s and 50’s.

25 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Yeah, what paranoia. 5 intelligence agencies confirm that Russia stole our presidential election for their puppet candidate, and those silly liberals think that’s a problem.

26 Art Deco December 24, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Yeah, what paranoia. 5 intelligence agencies confirm that Russia stole our presidential election for their puppet candidate,

Your moniker’s pretty funny in context.

The actual contention is that damaging information made it into the public domain courtesy Russian hackers. The damaging information is true (and likely of no interest to any voter who hadn’t made up their mind).

You lost. Suck it up.

27 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 8:44 pm

The “information” that people voted on consisted of lies distorting the actual contents of the emails. There was nothing illegal in their actual contents, but plenty that would have been illegal, if it had been true, in the accusations of HRC from Right Wing fake news.

And regardless of that, the fact that Russia installed their puppet candidate as our president, is a problem for people with functioning brains, but not, of course, for Trump supporters.

28 derek December 24, 2016 at 9:21 pm

In your words Hillary lost to the Russians.

Maybe the electorate is smart enough to figure out that if she would lose then, she would lose later when it wasn’t her skin in the game but theirs.

I think they made a sound decision.

29 harpersnotes December 24, 2016 at 10:01 am

When Vietnam was no longer the source of contention between China and the US, Nixon saw the potential for more similarity of interests than differences with China and opened up trade. As Eastern Europe has receded as the source of contention between Russia and the US (and now Cuba as well), President Trump may be inclined to see more similarity of interests with Russia than differences, etc.. i.e. It’s realpolitik. Gorbachev was making huge headlines all around the world in 1987. Trump’s interview suggestion sounds like it would have been in opposition to Reagan’s move toward massive mutual arms reductions. It somewhat reveals an overall pattern of Trump’s to prefer to negotiate from strength. An excess of such a preference, badly timed, can lead to it’s own problems like how we ended up in the Vietnam War in the first place.

30 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Trump has also suggested that it would be better if lots of countries get nukes, in part so the US doesn’t have to cover the cost of, say, preventing the first domino from collapsing in a largescale war scenario.

Which pretty much fulfills the trend of Trump having brashly and widely promoted completely contradictory positions on almost all issues of the very very highest importance to global security. (And some people wonder why some other people are a little worried that he will “have his finger on the nuclear button” … it’s almost like he doesn’t have a bloody clue)

31 Robert Smith December 24, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Trump’s pattern is pretty clear – criticize people with whatever simplistic arguments are easily at hand and half the time its no more than “I’m rubber and you’re glue.”

It doesn’t matter if it is Reagan in the 80s, Obama in the 00s, the central park 5, a union head in indiana, Boeing, Lockmart, Putin, China, or “a-list celebrities” its the exact same thing. There is no 4D-chess grandmaster at work. Its him just saying literally whatever pops into his head at that very moment.

When he did his Apprentice TV show, his determinations about who to fire were just as random. He had the benefit of a production crew who could edit together the footage to make it look like his decisions were based on a coherent analysis.

But you can’t fix real life in post. His surrogates go on TV and try to backfill reasonable explanations for his twitter rants, but after the Nth time even the most ardent supporter can’t deny just how sketch it all is.

The best we can hope for is that he checks out from actually trying to govern and just uses the office of the presidency as an ego-inflating international reality show that no one takes seriously while his cabinet does the business of actually running the country. If only competence rather than “looking the part” and personal loyalty was the deciding factor in his staffing choices.

32 TMC December 25, 2016 at 11:24 am

Isn’t that exactly opposite of what you said above when you criticized Trump for not wanting other countries to get nukes?

Only consistency from you is lack of respect of fact and dislike of Trump.

33 Managing History December 24, 2016 at 5:48 am

Everything Trump is doing, from Syria to Taiwan phone call, is building leverage for when he deals with China.

34 Jan December 24, 2016 at 7:35 am

Do you think how he “deals with China” will be a net positive for the US? What specific outcomes do you predict, including the impact of anything China does in response to Trump’s moves?

35 Managing History December 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

Hi Jan- Thats a difficult question to answer. His “transactional” attitude towards foreign policy isn’t as bad as many complain. Just assume you did not know anything about international politics or international history, what would your reaction be to finding out that the worlds largest economy is subsidizing the defense of the worlds third largest economy? It just doesnt make sense and is “welfare for the rich.”

I’ve been traveling and getting adjusted to my 5 week old son, so I’m a bit out of the news loop, but I think we should expect a “net negative” regarding how Trump will deal with China. I don’t expect war, but less cooperation and an escalation in tension. The dilemma of the United States in regards to Chinese growth is accommodating its rise without creating incentives for China to be more aggressive. If China’s aggression is not checked, China could feel emboldened and act more belligerently. This is the deterrence model which argues that war occurs because aggression is not checked with aggression. The best approach to avoid war would be to avoid appeasing the rising power and issue credible threats regarding its aggressive behavior. The classic example is WW2. Yet, if China feels it is being constrained, it may respond with more aggression. This is the spiral model which argues that war occurs when a rising power responds with force to the status quo power attempts to constrain its rise. Conflict occurs because the rising state feels that it is being illegitimately contained and will respond by escalating the situation. The best policy responses from the status quo power are policies that accommodate the rising power. The classic example of the spiral model is WWI.

I would argue that the situation in the Far East resembles something best described as the spiral model. There are two causes of war according to this model and both are found in the Far East. One cause of war is a heightened sense of nationalism in the rising state that makes it difficult for leadership to back down from perceived slights by foreign countries. Chinese nationalism is especially high as a combination of nationalism and economic growth have replaced ideology as the source of legitimacy for CCP rule. As well, China still nurtures a sense of historical grievance that linger from the 100 year humiliation and the war crimes of WW2. The second cause of war in the spiral model is the inability of the status quo power to appreciate different interpretations of their policies. One example would be the Pivot; whereas America considers the Pivot benign, China sees it as designed to contain their rise.

If you are interested in learning more about these models just see Jervis work on Perception and Misperception. Chapt 3 in particular.

As of right now, I see Trump pursuing policies that antagonize China and try to hemp them in which will probably lead to an escalation in tension. It also looks like he expects to use Russia to help this policy.

36 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 8:52 am

‘Just assume you did not know anything about international politics or international history’

No need to be so wordy – ‘Just imagine you are Trump’ works fine.

37 Managing History December 24, 2016 at 8:54 am

Don’t you get tired of pandering?

38 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

Pandering to what? I have been making fun of Trump before he even first appeared in Doonesbury, 30 years ago. The man is a walking punchline, after all, one who trumps all before him. Does anyone, for example, think the hair jokes only started with the political campaign?

There is no reason to stop now, though I will admit that having a president advocating a growing nuclear arsenal is anything but a laughing matter.

It is interesting, however, to see how a certain group of people seems to feel the need for their own personal safe spaces, ones where Trump is revered, and not treated with any mockery, whether deserved or undeserved.

39 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Most of the political spaces on the Net now seem to be Right Wing and Trump supporter safe spaces. God forbid these folks ever have to tolerate anyone disagreeing with them, or pointing it out when they cite “news” that is fake news. How could they ever handle that? It looks like most of them will not ever have to.

40 The Original D December 25, 2016 at 12:57 pm

I’m an old school anti-Trumper. When Muppets creator Jim Henson died too young in 1990, I remember asking my roommate “why is that someone like him dies and someone like Donald Trump lives?”

41 Ricardo December 24, 2016 at 9:17 am

Boonton gets it right, I think. TPP and emphasising one’s defense commitment to other countries in the region (instead of publicly complaining about the cost) are part of counter-balancing China.

42 Managing History December 24, 2016 at 10:26 am

My point was the the US can choose from two broad sets of policies. Policies that accommodate China’s rise (carrots) or confront it (sticks). I expect Trump to employ mostly sticks when dealing with China which will probably backfire.

If your interpretation of TPP is that it is an American attempt to “outflank” China that is fine, but it is a tactic, not a strategy. It is a tactic of a larger strategy of confronting China and you can still be part of the camp that thinks we need to “get tough” with China but be against the TPP.

43 Boonton December 25, 2016 at 11:08 am

quibbling about tactics v strategy is silly. On top of everything is goals. What is the goal, the endgame? I think the Obama administration’s view would be an Asia that develops successfully with China rather than under China.

I don’t see any clear goal from Trump. ‘Carrots and sticks’ tells us nothing. Sticks to do what? Let their currency increase 10% so a US factory making yarn somewhere only lays off 10 workers instead of 20?

44 Boonton December 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

The point of the TPP was to outflank China in Asia. Trump is about surrendering the US while pretending he is making it great.

45 anonymous December 25, 2016 at 11:50 am

Wasn’t the TPP supposed to be about furthering free trade and making things better for business and maybe even consumers on both sides of the deal? What’s outflanking China got to do with it?

46 Boonton December 26, 2016 at 11:26 am

Case A: The US through TPP establishes a close trade network of Pacific countries other than China. The US then goes to China and says look we have this huge trade network it makes things better for both consumers and businesses why don’t you join us in it?

Case B: China establishes the partnership citing Trump’s withdrawal as evidence the US has gone senile in its old age and smaller nations in the area should look to China as the natural ‘big brother’ and leader of the region. It establishes a huge partnership and then it goes to the US and says “we have all this trade, here’s what is important for our agenda….”

Now it may well be their goals will turn out to be more or less the same as Case A. In that case it really doesn’t matter, everyone is aiming to go to the same party, it’s just the route to get there may vary. But then do you trust the motives and goals of China’s government more than yours? Should you?

47 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm

If he starts “trading chips” sort of talk, America might just find itself with zero allies in short order.

Maybe that’s relevant to a) what he does, b) how China reacts, and c) what he does in the first place in consideration of a repeated a) and b) thinking.

48 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Putin would be very sad to see such a thing happen, of course.

It’s only perfectly lined up with nearly all of his long-standing major foreign policy objectives.

49 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

But who know, maybe closer Russian ties on the part of ex-US allies would be a good opportunity to speak of the values of free press as a constraint on arbitrary power?

50 TMC December 25, 2016 at 11:29 am

We already spent the last 8 years getting rid of any allies we had. Everyone now is either annoyed at us or just ignores us.

51 msgkings December 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm

LOL, but the 8 years before we endeared ourselves to the world. So many happy allies all over the world then.

52 Stuart December 24, 2016 at 6:35 am

Trump’s also advocated S.Koreans and Saudis getting nukes, so no.

53 Kris December 24, 2016 at 6:45 am

I thought the basis of the Cold War was enmity and distrust between the US and the USSR. From this account, it seems like Trump thought it was the US and the USSR versus the rest of the world. Weird!

54 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 7:17 am

Not in the eyes of one SF writer – check out Pournelles’s ‘CoDominium’ work.

55 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Not really weird that Trump is ignorant about everything except self-promotion and real estate deals. That’s who he is.

56 Some Guy December 24, 2016 at 6:49 am

This was probably leaked by Russian hackers trying to influence the fake news on Facebook and alter the opinions of commentators. Everyone knows Trump is secretly conspiring with Putin to restore the Czar. Keep your eye on the ball. It’s all about the Czar.

57 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 7:16 am

‘Everyone knows Trump is secretly conspiring with Putin to restore the Czar.’

So, Putin is actually a sleeper Okhrana agent, not a former KGB one? That explains a lot.

58 Jan December 24, 2016 at 7:29 am

“to restore the Czar.” Putin is already a proto-Tsar. He doesn’t need to talk about restoring anything–we’re there.

59 Jan December 24, 2016 at 7:36 am

Everyone should read Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin.

60 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Maybe not quite.

Think of the situation of Russian peasants under local aristocracy under the czar. I think Putin would clamp down on that to prevent such extreme abuses, if only for practical anti-revolutionary reasons.

61 Freddie Threepwood December 24, 2016 at 10:25 am

Hallo? Right then. Been thumbing through By Order of The Czar myself. Ripping good yarn, what?

62 Kris December 24, 2016 at 6:51 am

Leaving aside Trump’s deplorable views on policy (and I used that word deliberately), the most disappointing feature of this election cycle has been the unwarranted and relentless Russia-bashing on the part of the left/Democrat establishment. It seems the urge to be neocon-lite to appeal to some members of the Republican establishment was too hard to resist.

63 Graham December 24, 2016 at 7:06 am

When you also take into account Trump and Putin issued statements on ratcheting up nuclear capabilities within hours of each other yesterday, it makes sense this was something long planned out.

64 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Who is the benefitting interest group?

If mutual nuclear arms reductions made sense before, then why not now?

Sounds more like domestic political leaders making statements primarily geared to domestic audiences (this sort of dovetails with the theory that more women in power positions would lead to improved security outcome), and that the international community should assume something along those lines.

65 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Does Russia also have a military industrial complex to cater to, just like the U.S. government has? I’m sure they’re thrilled at the ratcheting up of military weaponry.

66 TMC December 25, 2016 at 11:31 am

Or maybe B is a reaction to A. Occam’s Razor and all.

67 raywad December 24, 2016 at 7:09 am

Seems like a strategy that would appeal to Trump. Let’s not forget that America partnered with some rather deplorable dictators during the cold war with the Soviet Union, so partnering with a rather deplorable Russia now would be both consistent and ironic. The main problem I see is that if works (i.e., if all other countries besides America and Russia were to abandon nuclear weapons), that would leave only two nuclear powers, America and Russia, to focus their nuclear capabilities on each other. If history teaches anything, it’s that ambitious nations, like ambitious siblings, don’t like to share power or its rewards.

68 TMC December 25, 2016 at 11:32 am

‘raywad’ suits you better.

69 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 7:13 am

How to tell Prof. Cowen is not all that libertarian – Pournelle’s ‘CoDominium’ books predate this by 15 years. Pournelle is also the inventor of the Pournelle chart – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pournelle_chart

However, one can be fairly confident that Trump was unaware of Pournelle’s work – after all, it would have required Trump actually reading something.

70 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:25 pm

He does read some things. If Pournelle’s work were in the form of tweets bashing liberals, he would have read it all by now.

71 Brett Champion December 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

Leaving aside Trump’s serious misunderstanding of the history of Russo-American relations, this statement shows just how dangerous Trump’s view of foreign relations actually is. He basically views it as a pure question of dominance. This is where I think Walter Russell Mead’s classification of the schools of American foreign policy fails when dealing with Trump. He’s not really a Jacksonian. The closest we’ve ever come to having a president that views foreign relations in the same way that Trump does is Teddy Roosevelt. But Roosevelt only had enough firepower to terrorize the western hemisphere.

72 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 8:49 am

Not to mention a bit of military experience –

‘Prior to his service in the Spanish–American War, Roosevelt had already seen reserve military service from 1882 to 1886 with the New York National Guard. Commissioned on August 1, 1882 as a 2nd Lieutenant with B Company, 8th Regiment, he was promoted to Captain and company commander a year later, and he remained in command until he resigned his commission.

———————————————————————

When the United States and Spain declared war against each other in late April 1898, Roosevelt resigned from his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and on May 6 and formed the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment along with Army Colonel Leonard Wood. His wife and many of his friends begged Roosevelt to remain in his post in the navy, but Roosevelt was determined to see battle. When the newspapers reported the formation of the new regiment, Roosevelt and Wood were flooded with applications from all over the country. Referred to by the press as the “Rough Riders”, the regiment was one of many temporary units active only for the duration of the war’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt#War_in_Cuba

Trump is a man, who when he could have served his country at the front lines instead of an (private) office, was able to enjoy the luxuries of the U.S. – ‘While Mr Trump has asserted it was “ultimately” the luck of a high draft lottery number that kept him out of the war, his Selective Service records “suggest otherwise”, The New York Times reported.

“Mr Trump had been medically exempted for more than a year when the draft lottery began in December 1969, well before he received what he has described as his ‘phenomenal’ draft number,” the newspaper claimed in an article published on Monday.’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/02/how-donald-trump-avoided-the-draft-during-the-vietnam-war/

A bone spur which just went away, undoubtedly part of having the healthiest man ever to run for office. (It is still not clear if Limbaugh still has his knee injury and pilonidal cyst, though – http://www.snopes.com/politics/militarylimbaugh.asp )

73 Art Deco December 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

He received a I-Y deferment. Such deferments were not categorical disqualifications, but contingent on circumstances. You could be recalled for another physical in as little as 90 days. People were awarded I-Y deferments for being overweight, for being underweight, or (in the case of one man I know born in 1946) for having eczema on the feet. A mean of about 12% of each cohort which came into draft age during the VietNam War received these deferments and they were not more common among the 1939-52 age cohorts than they had been among the 1930-38 cohorts.

74 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 10:59 am

Thank you for information already pointed out in the linked article – ‘According to the newspaper, Mr Trump’s 1-Y classification, which was considered a temporary exemption, in practice would have only resulted in him being considered for service in case of national emergency or an official declaration of war, which the United States avoided during the fighting in Vietnam.

The American newspaper also said Mr Trump could not recall exactly when he was no longer bothered by the spurs, protrusions caused by calcium built up on the heel bone, but that he had not had an operation for the problem.

“Over a period of time, it healed up,” the newspaper quoted him saying. It also pointed out that Mr Trump played squash, football and tennis during high school and picked up golf while at Wharton.’

But clearly, Roosevelt, a man nowhere near as healthy as Trump (particularly in the eyes of Trump’s physician), was undeterred in deciding to serve his nation in combat.

75 Art Deco December 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Thank you for information already pointed out in the linked article –

I don’t read your links nor do more than skim your words. I am not employed to do that an only someone collecting a fee could ever profit from your compulsive production of irrelevant verbiage. You want people to read you, say something concise and on point.

76 prior_test2 December 24, 2016 at 1:24 pm

‘I don’t read your links nor do more than skim your words.’

Making you perfectly suited to our dawning post truth – that is, someone who cannot be bothered to actually know what they are talking about, but feeling perfectly entitled to have an opinion.

‘You want people to read you, say something concise and on point.’

Read the sentence above – hopefully that meets your high standards for being concise and on point.

77 Art Deco December 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

But Roosevelt only had enough firepower to terrorize the western hemisphere.

The western Hemisphere was not terrorized.by Theodore Roosevelt or anyone else. The U.S. had military operations in six countries (wherein lived about 8% of population of the Hemisphere south of the border) over the period running from 1898 to 1935. Roosevelt himself was implicated only in operations in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Panama. None of these places were for it the worse for wear (at least after the Spanish-American War was over).

78 Brett Champion December 24, 2016 at 1:36 pm

And I’m sure the grateful natives whistled “Yankee Doodle” when the American soldiers and marines paraded on by.

79 anonymous December 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

Did a Hawaiian plebiscite lead to the annexation of that kingdom/republic by the US?

80 derek December 24, 2016 at 9:21 am

Hillary would have led the US into a ground war in the Ukraine. That is how tough she was, she wouldn’t put up with this hacking shit. That would be the enlightened way, just as Obama wanted the middle East war moved from the plains of Iraq into the mountains of Afghanistan. Even the Republican McCain wanted a war over Crimea.

A really really light perusal of popular history books would tell you everything you need to know. Nuclear arms race = collapse of the Soviet Union. Crimea, Afghanistan, Ukraine = graveyards of empires.

This is so obvious it must be some dusty unread blathering from three decades ago that would help us understand.

81 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Good job at criticizing hawk moves and dove moves at the same time.

It’s almost like some folks, you’ll just damn them no matter what.

Also, correlation does not equal causation.

82 derek December 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm

I know it was over your head. Have a week off, drink lots. Maybe you will be able to think in a week or two.

83 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

You were over Derek’s head there with the idea that correlation does not equal causation. Apparently he has already begun drinking lots.

84 anon December 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

I think Trump’s tweets of the 23rd show that he is a random old man, better suited to social media, or forums like this, than running a superpower.

This idea quoted does not sound very well reasoned to me, but it sounds very authoritarian.

Merry Christmas.

85 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Merry Christmas, Anon. I always enjoy your comments.

86 TMC December 25, 2016 at 11:35 am

As your handle would indicate.

87 Alain December 24, 2016 at 10:24 am

I actually do not see much of a downside to bringing Russia into the west.

Further, if it can be used to assault the left, then so much the better.

88 anon December 24, 2016 at 10:27 am

Is that what is happening? In the 90’s we hoped that Russia would evolve to a conventional (market) democracy, with rule of law.

What seems to be happening now is that those with short memories (or little knowledge of history) simply want to “accept” journalist killing totalitarians and robbing oligarchs into “the west.”

89 anon December 24, 2016 at 10:45 am

Better someone who kills journalists than someone who wants to kick a few bucks to PBS, I guess.

90 Ricardo December 24, 2016 at 11:39 am

All this Russia love is amusing. If you are the sort of person to whine about “Social Justice Warriors,” keep in mind that Russia doesn’t just try to publicly shame or harass its critics but has probably murdered some of them.

91 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:45 pm

That might fit the bill of “enemies foreign AND domestic” all at the same time.

Because it sounds to me like a pretty explicit statement (much like the one Trump made asking for Russian hacker support against the Democrats) in support of Russia taking sides in an increasingly polarized America.

Anyone here have IQ < 70?

(P.S. – all those other gripes didn't just disappear by virtue of an important distraction.)

92 Troll me December 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm

I mean, the IQ test is basically pretty useless (somehow though, it does show positive correlation with some other results). But, you know what I mean …

93 Dmitri Helios December 24, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Lol, good save, Nathan Cuck.

94 a Fred December 24, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Do you know what you mean?

95 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Yes, Alain, nothing is more important than assaulting the Left. Befriending a brutal authoritarian thug leader, maybe even becoming annexed to Russia, that’ no big deal, huh? Maybe when we are annexed to Russia, Putin will send all liberals to concentration camps, wouldn’t you be pleased with that?

Are you going to get the set of CDs, Learn to Speak Russian in 30 Days, for Xmas?

96 a Fred December 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm

Sort of like the DDR annexing the DBR, only more so.

With 2 1/2 times the population and 15 times the GDP, the US would just disappear.

97 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 8:49 pm

The Free Dictionary lists only 59 things that the acronym DDR may stand for.and 30 things that DBR may stand for.

Disappear? The U.S. will do whatever Russia wants it to– unless Trump gets impeached before the plan is fully carried out.

98 a Fred December 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

If your knowledge of European history is so lacking that…

Oh whatever…

DDR = East Germany

DBR = West Germany

Heard of ’em?

99 Damir December 24, 2016 at 10:29 am

Christ, this is a moronic article Tyler’s linking to.

100 Thiago Ribeiro December 24, 2016 at 11:09 am

Yet Brazil refused to be pressured into giving up its nuclear program. Brazil only gave up its plan to have nuclear waepons to help the cause of world peace after the Cold War ended and the Argentinian and Pinochet left the power. Cartertried to play hard ball with our leaders, but he failed.

101 Borjigid December 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm

This is incoherent. I think a reasonable paraphrase is “the US and USSR already dominate the world. They should team up to dominate the world.”

102 mulp December 24, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Russia is only marginally more relevant than Saudi Arabia because gas pipeline easily reach Europe.

It’s China and the US and to less degree India that dominate based on productivity. The EU is a block that seems to fight being relevant as it moves right.

103 Borjigid December 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm

USSR, not Russia. Trump’s quote is from the ’87.

104 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

High level Russians are expert at propaganda. That’s their forte. And they have bought our election with their propaganda. Once it becomes even more crystal clear than it is now, that Russia is dictating 100% of our foreign policy and Trump is following along like a puppy, we’ll see how relevant you think Russia is then.

105 derek December 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Yea. We might see something like the destruction of a city full of civilians by bombing and shelling under the president’s watch after mishandling the thing really badly.

It must really be annoying seeing Obama’s legacy defined by genocide as he watched on the sidelines. By an unprecedented flow of refugees from failed states, some of which he knocked over and left.

He was manhandled by Putin, and Hillary had her legs knocked out from under her. No masterstrokes of strategy, simply Putin walking into an empty hole left by the smartest man in the Democrat room.

All Trump had to do was shut up for two weeks and he won the election. Hillary got her reset, it just didn’t reset the way she thought.

Putin was musing about rebuilding his nuclear arsenal. Trump responded by musing about the same thing. Putin would hear what any rational person outside the Democrats and Left would hear; we got beat really badly last time in that race. Trump knew what he was saying.

The Left is all in a lather because they also remember how they lost that war as well.

106 Borjigid December 25, 2016 at 2:38 am

C’mon at least pretend like MR commentatorship and literacy are not mutually exclusive.

107 msgkings December 25, 2016 at 3:07 am

Holy shit a concise, fairly on point post from mulp. It is capable…

108 Bill December 24, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Sounds like the German Russian Non-Agression Pact prior to WWII.

109 Other Bill December 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Is he trying to send us down this path?

“The point of departure of Pournelle’s [future] history is the establishment of the CoDominium (CD), a political alliance and union between the United States of America and a revitalized USSR. This union, achieved in the name of planetary stability, reigns over the Earth for over a hundred years. In that time, it achieves peace of a sort, as well as interstellar colonization, but at the price of a complete halt in both scientific and political evolution.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CoDominium

110 AL December 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Hey Tyler, I’m still waiting for your upbeat, contrarian take on the President Elect’s sudden infatuation with playing Nuclear chicken

111 Borjigid December 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Its definitely Straussian, possibly MIE, and goes best with a gas station taco.

112 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Yeah, playing nuclear chicken, what could possibly go wrong there, huh?

113 derek December 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm

60 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity?

114 Nattering Nabobl December 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

Or, y’know, the end of human civilization. What the hell, let’s roll the dice…

115 Harun December 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Trump essentially was arguing for a renewed Non proliferation treaty but with teeth. I’m reassured by this. Trump mouths off a lot but the general idea is an already coherent idea. If you find it appalling then why was the N P Tt not also appalling

116 anon December 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm

We have done a lot of N.P., but I wasn’t aware that any of it hinged on “Russia and the US need to treaten small players with even more thousands of nukes on our side.”

The stated “need” is not explained by that policy.

Hasn’t N.P. instead succeded, where it has, on economic threats?

117 Thiago Ribeiro December 24, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Economic threats won’t stop North Korea, they haven’t.

118 anon December 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Economics has a stronger role in the six party talks than does “nuclear ultimatum.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks

119 Thiago Ribeiro December 24, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Has it worked?! The only language the North Korean regime understands is force.

120 anon December 24, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Warmonger.

121 msgkings December 25, 2016 at 3:12 am

Troll.

122 Thiago Ribeiro December 25, 2016 at 4:45 am

I see, you want Peace for Our Time.

123 msgkings December 25, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Typical aggressive, warlike, bloodthirsty Brazilian

124 Dude Man December 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

The source for this article is a LaRouche newsletter. Is Tyler going to post about how AIDS is a government conspiracy now, too?

125 Post-Truth Politics December 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Maybe that will be his post for tomorrow.

126 Nattering Nabob December 26, 2016 at 11:08 am

Nah, too straightforward to just endorse the theory. When Trump tweets in favor of the AIDS conspiracy theory, Tyler’ll be all about how Trump’s playing a super-clever long game involving strategic ambiguity and how, if you don’t buy that, see, that’s mood affiliation

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