Feeling Feisty Over Foreign Policy Follies

 

POTUS 41 through 45In Realsville, President Trump has done more to check Russian imperial aggression than has any president since Reagan. Fact.* Deal with it.

And.

There is a greater likelihood that Hong Kong will become an independent city-state, like Singapore, than there is that Russia will hand Crimea back to Ukraine in the next decade.

So, all the Republican’ts and Democrats in Congress and the preening punditocracy can kiss my MAGA grits over President Trump floating the obvious formal reintegration of the Russian empire into the same forum (G7) with countries making energy deals that increase European dependence on Russia. Some of us are old enough to remember when Russia invaded the nation of Georgia, seized the territory they wanted, ground they hold to this day. There was no move then, by President George W. Bush, to kick Russia out of the G8. I reserve the right to sustain this position unless and until the president is caught on camera and microphone conspiring with a Russian leader:

Mind you, the “G7” is not the G7 anyway. That is, the membership is an old-boys club, and not actually representative of the seven “leading industrial countries.” Compare G7 membership to GDP rankings in 2018:

GDP (April 2019, IMF figures) [G7 Members Bolded]:

01 : United States 21.34 trillion

02 : China, People’s Republic of 14.22 trillion

03 : Japan 5.18 trillion

04 : Germany 3.96 trillion

05 : India 2.97 trillion

06 : United Kingdom 2.83 trillion

07 : France 2.76 trillion

08 : Italy 2.03 trillion

09 : Brazil 1.96 trillion

10 : Canada 1.74 trillion

11 : Korea, Republic of 1.66 trillion

12 : Russian Federation 1.61 trillion


* See:

President Trump in Poland

…The President praised the vital military relationship between the United States and Poland and applauded Poland for meeting NATO spending benchmarks….

“With the expanded trade and new infrastructure, we will unleash incredible energy innovation that is safe, responsible, and environmentally friendly. The United States supports a commonsense approach to protecting natural resources — one that responsibly balances economic growth, job creation, and energy security,” President Trump said.

The President also emphasized the importance of diversifying energy sources, supplies, and routes to ensuring Europe’s energy security. Noting that the United States can contribute to this diversification, President Trump noted that the United States will never use its energy to coerce and will work to keep [Russia] from doing so as well.

Trump to visit Poland for World War II anniversary Sept. 1 [2019]:

President Donald Trump will visit Warsaw from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 to take part in observances marking the 80th anniversary of World War II, aides to Poland’s president said Tuesday.

[President] Trump will take part in ceremonies in Warsaw marking 80 years since Nazi German troops invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, starting the war. Some 6 million Polish citizens were killed in the war, half of them Jewish, and the country was devastated in almost six years of warfare.
[…]
Washington recently decided to add 1,000 troops to its contingent of 4,000 troops based in Poland as a security enhancement for the country, which is wary of neighboring Russia’s military activity. Poland is planning the purchase of state-of-the-art U.S. F-35 jet fighters. It is also buying liquefied gas from the U.S. in a drive to cut its energy dependence on imports from Russia.

Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation Regarding United States Force Posture in the Republic of Poland:

…The United States and Poland believe that the presence of United States military personnel in Poland strengthens NATO’s deterrence efforts, and the defense of the United States, Poland, and the Alliance, and therefore the United States plans to enhance the United States military presence in Poland….

Trump pitches US natural gas to European leaders, suggests Russian gas holds them hostage:

“Let me be clear about one crucial point. The United States will never use energy to coerce your nations, and we cannot allow others to do so,” Trump said at a press conference flanked by European leaders. “You don’t want to have a monopoly or a monopolistic situation.”

Trump did not name Russia directly, but his message was clear to the assembled leaders.

It is not President Trump, but the presumptively truly compromised (East) German Chancellor Merkel, who is colluding with Czar Putin to keep Central and Eastern Europe under the Kremlin’s energy control, binding them to Nord Stream 2:

The criticism came even from leading members of her conservative bloc….

This, of course, comes in addition to the intense pressure from Germany’s Eastern European neighbors and Washington, who say the pipeline is a threat to Europe’s energy security because it will make the continent even more dependent on Russian gas.

But the ‘iron chancellor’ would not be moved. She stressed at her joint appearance with Putin that the project is still on, and Putin agreed. “Germany is one of our country’s leading economic partners,” he said.

[…]

Germany is phasing out both nuclear and coal power. […] And if more Russian gas suddenly comes flowing in, the country could very quickly find itself dependent on Moscow for energy.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline … would more than double Germany’s Russian gas imports, from 53 billion to a maximum of 110 billion cubic metres. Much of that gas would likely then be sold on to the rest of Europe, increasing the whole continent’s dependence on Russian gas.

President Trump promotes Liquid Natural Gas shipments from U.S. suppliers to Europe to counter Putin and Merkel:

Europe becoming a “massive” buyer of American natural gas could have big implications for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who currently benefits from Russian exports of LNG to the EU. Natural gas and oil revenues account for over one-third of Russia’s federal budget revenues, with over 75 percent of its natural gas exports went to Europe in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration.

More options — including imports from the U.S. — could give European leaders more options when dealing with Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural gas company.

Polish President Duda toured a Louisiana LNG terminal this summer, during his visit to America [emphasis added]:

To bolster energy relations, an agreement was signed between U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas suppliers, including Cheniere, and a Polish energy company for 6.95 million tons of U.S. LNG to go to Poland annually.

That amounts to about 55% of Poland’s natural gas consumption.

“Our growing energy partnership goes well beyond natural gas,” [U.S. Energy Secretary] Perry said. “We’re collaborating on nuclear energy, on cyber security, infrastructure as well.”

Perry said Cheniere, which began as an import facility, is now the second largest LNG facility in the world.

Published in Foreign Policy
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There are 14 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Think Putin will officially declare it the Second Russian Empire?

    • #1
    • August 28, 2019, at 5:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Valiuth Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Think Putin will officially declare it the Second Russian Empire?

    To the applause and cheering support of Trumpers. 

    Trump continues the terminally stupid passivity and incompetence of past Administrations on the Putin question. Cheering it just goes to show the unseriousness of Trumpism as a philosophy and Trumpers as a polity. 

    Russia needs to be further isolated and excluded from all respectable society until it reforms. Acceptance of its belligerence only serves to increase its appetites and adventurism. At every step Russia has escalated its violations of international norms, and treaties. Do we think now they will finally be satisfied? That we can hit another “Reset” button and so this time it will play out differently? Give me a break how credulous are you self professed “realists”?

    • #2
    • August 28, 2019, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. Arahant Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Give me a break how credulous are you self professed “realists”?

    To whom are you speaking? You are constructing imaginary people, no?

    • #3
    • August 28, 2019, at 1:41 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Trump continues the terminally stupid passivity and incompetence of past Administrations

    Yawn . . .

    • #4
    • August 28, 2019, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Western Chauvinist Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Think Putin will officially declare it the Second Russian Empire?

    To the applause and cheering support of Trumpers.

    Trump continues the terminally stupid passivity and incompetence of past Administrations on the Putin question. Cheering it just goes to show the unseriousness of Trumpism as a philosophy and Trumpers as a polity.

    Russia needs to be further isolated and excluded from all respectable society until it reforms. Acceptance of its belligerence only serves to increase its appetites and adventurism. At every step Russia has escalated its violations of international norms, and treaties. Do we think now they will finally be satisfied? That we can hit another “Reset” button and so this time it will play out differently? Give me a break how credulous are you self professed “realists”?

    You must have read a different article. Trump is trying to squeeze the Russians down in the energy market — where it hurts. How is that passive? 

    • #5
    • August 28, 2019, at 3:05 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Franco Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Think Putin will officially declare it the Second Russian Empire?

    To the applause and cheering support of Trumpers.

    Trump continues the terminally stupid passivity and incompetence of past Administrations on the Putin question. Cheering it just goes to show the unseriousness of Trumpism as a philosophy and Trumpers as a polity.

    Russia needs to be further isolated and excluded from all respectable society until it reforms. Acceptance of its belligerence only serves to increase its appetites and adventurism. At every step Russia has escalated its violations of international norms, and treaties. Do we think now they will finally be satisfied? That we can hit another “Reset” button and so this time it will play out differently? Give me a break how credulous are you self professed “realists”?

    Quick. Forward this comment to Frau Merkel!

    I’m fascinated by this notion that countries can be effectively isolated and excluded from respectable society! That works such wonders! A proven diplomatic cudgel! Look at the results! Cuba! North Korea! Iran!

    Just imagine how effective the tactic will be when the nation spans 11 time zones and has the largest supply of intercontinental nuclear-armed missiles after the USA. They won’t be able to get any uranium, grow food, drill for oil, mine minerals…

    And Pooty-poot will feel soooo bad being personally excluded and vilified, him being ex-KGB and all. They are super sensitive types.

     

    • #6
    • August 28, 2019, at 3:26 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Russia needs to be further isolated and excluded from all respectable society until it reforms.

    About the only way Russia is going to reform is if Putin is dead and even then the possibility doesn’t seem great as many of the free-loving Russians appear to have been killed, imprisoned, or fled.

    Russian male life expectancy as of 2017: 66.5 years.

    Age of Vladimir Putin: 66.9 years.

    Putin probably has good doctors though.

    Fidel Castro lived to age 90.

    Pol Pot lived to age 72.

    Ayatollah Khomeini lived to age 86.

    Kim Il-sung lived to age 82.

    Ho Chi Minh lived to age 79.

    Mao Zedong lived to age 83.

    Deng Xiaoping lived to age 93.

    Idi Amin lived to age 78.

    Robert Mugabe is 95.

    Mikhail Gorbachev is 88.

    Boris Yeltsin lived to age 76.

    Joseph Stalin lived to age 74.

    Nikita Khrushchev lived to age 77.

    Leonid Brezhnev lived to age 75.

    Premier Vyacheslav Molotov lived to age 96 (and survived Stalin and others).

    • #7
    • August 28, 2019, at 3:41 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    Premier Vyacheslav Molotov lived to age 96 (and survived Stalin and others).

    Credited to a daily cocktail?

    This list affirms that the wicked sometimes do prosper…for a long season. 

    • #8
    • August 28, 2019, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    This list affirms that the wicked sometimes do prosper…for a long season.

    Khan Noonien Singh, commander in chief Great Khanate 1989-1996, died around age 315.

    • #9
    • August 28, 2019, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    This list affirms that the wicked sometimes do prosper…for a long season.

    Khan Noonien Singh died around age 315.

     

    Dang! Was it the yogurt? Must have been the yogurt. 

    • #10
    • August 28, 2019, at 4:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    Premier Vyacheslav Molotov lived to age 96 (and survived Stalin and others).

    Credited to a daily cocktail?

    This list affirms that the wicked sometimes do prosper…for a long season.

    According to Victor Davis Hanson, last week was the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    • #11
    • August 28, 2019, at 10:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Arahant Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    Premier Vyacheslav Molotov lived to age 96 (and survived Stalin and others).

    Credited to a daily cocktail?

    This list affirms that the wicked sometimes do prosper…for a long season.

    According to Victor Davis Hanson, last week was the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    I find this an odd phrasing. Only according to VDH? Does anyone disagree that it was signed August 23, 1939?

    • #12
    • August 29, 2019, at 1:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Think Putin will officially declare it the Second Russian Empire?

    To the applause and cheering support of Trumpers.

    Trump continues the terminally stupid passivity and incompetence of past Administrations on the Putin question. Cheering it just goes to show the unseriousness of Trumpism as a philosophy and Trumpers as a polity.

    Russia needs to be further isolated and excluded from all respectable society until it reforms. Acceptance of its belligerence only serves to increase its appetites and adventurism. At every step Russia has escalated its violations of international norms, and treaties. Do we think now they will finally be satisfied? That we can hit another “Reset” button and so this time it will play out differently? Give me a break how credulous are you self professed “realists”?

    Not sure if you’re serious here or not.

    How did the (bolded) above work out for 50 years or so after WW2?

    You need to take a hard look at Russian history to understand that trying to force Russians to do things they do not want to do, through some sort of international shaming, is a hilarious premise.

    Economic pressures undermine Putin’s power. If you cut their market in half for one of their primary economic drivers, you have leverage. Something you have less of, now.

    I think pumping the brakes on the “Trumpism” and “Trumpers as a polity” has got your head in a knot, sparky. Barry accepted belligerence and that only increased its appetites and adventurism. How’s that working out now, for Russia, under a different administration?

     

    • #13
    • August 29, 2019, at 2:52 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    Putin probably has good doctors though.

    And his buddies in China will provide him with whatever organs he needs for transplant . . .

    • #14
    • August 29, 2019, at 5:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes