Quid pro quo – “what is for which,” “something for something.” You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours It is increasingly evident that the Donald Trump campaign was seeking as much help as it could get from operatives working in concert with the Russian government’s plan to disrupt, degrade and disgrace our electoral process. Also, no one capable of a first thought, let alone a second thought, would suppose that our megalomaniacal president would countenance any such interactions without his knowledge and instructions.
“Russia, if you’re listening,” he said on July 27, 2016, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Miles Park and Tamara Keith of National Public Radio have documented the timeline of the Trump/Russia collusion. On June 2 of that year, Hillary Clinton expounded, “Now I will leave it to psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants….I just wonder how anyone could be so wrong about who America’s real friends are. Because it matters. If you don’t know exactly who you’re dealing with, men like Putin will eat your lunch.”
It was the day after her speech that Donald Junior received his email from the Russian real estate developer offering to connect the Trumpistas with those who could “supply official Russian documents that would incriminate Clinton.” Twenty minutes after the Ruskie hit the send button, Junior replied, “if it’s what you say, I love it.”
On Wednesday, June 7, Trump announced “I am going to give a major speech on, probably Monday of nest week, and we are going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” Two days later, June 9, was when Junior, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and what eventually seemed to be a cast of thousands met at Trump Tower to discuss getting the Russians involved. Trump didn’t make his speech that next Monday, but websites began releasing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee shortly thereafter.
The Trump/Russian connection is undeniable. What remains is to determine the “something” the Russians were looking for from Trump & Co. The Trump Tower meeting and subsequent “forgotten” meetings between Trump advisors and Russian officials focused on the relaxation or removal of sanctions levied against Russia after its occupation of eastern Ukraine. Promised likely, but undoing the sanctions proved undeliverable since the Republicans controlling Congress were not as amenable to Mr. Putin, who had been grooming Trump’s egomania for more than 20 years.
Well, Trump still owed “something” to his campaign allies.
Earlier this month, he gave the Russians hegemony in the Middle East by announcing plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The president effectively ended any chance for American influence in the region, whose powerful neighbor to the north continues to extend its influence throughout the Muslim world. Last week, the United Nations condemned Trump’s Jerusalem decision 128-9, with 35 countries abstaining. Long-time U.S. ally and NATO partner Turkey co-authored the resolution with war-torn Yemen. Thus, President Trump managed to give Muslims with different agendas something to agree upon – our inability to act as neutral negotiators in their part of the world. This offers another inroad for the Russians. Remember, too, that incoming Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn – who has since pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition – was texting a former business partner about building nuclear reactors in the Middle East with Russian partners during Mr. Trump’s inaugural address.
Making America Irrelevant, the president got U.N. support from Guatemala, Honduras (where we’re supporting a president whose election is much disputed throughout the region), Israel (which listens to no one) and five island nations in the Pacific dependent upon American aid. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened that we would be making a list and checking it often when it comes to distributing foreign aid. Yeah, buddy. Remember, China has a foreign aid war chest of about a trillion dollars earmarked for 64 countries.
In a sponsored report for the Dec. 4 Bloomberg Businessweek, the Beijing Review announced (the irony no doubt intended) “Trumpeting a New Era: China continues to bring growth opportunities to the world.” Mei Xinyu writes, “Still a developing economy, China has become the world’s largest manufacturer, the largest exporter, a major source for global economic growth and a stabilizer of the world economy, providing an example of success for other countries. This has enabled China’s leadership to announce the new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics, and enabled both Chinese people and the external world to full accept such a conclusion and discuss what opportunities the new era will bring to the world.”
This “new era” bodes ill for U.S. interests. Any system “with Chinese characteristics” bodes disaster for free people everywhere. Grandstanding pronouncements and bellicose bullying might play to the Trump (very) base, but the world is not standing in awe of Mr. Trump. And, it’s not standing still.
(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)