Vladimar Putin and Donald Trump at the 2019 Osaka Summit (photo by Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons)

Vlad the Invader and Trump the Chump

Berry Craig
Berry Craig

Donald Trump says czar-wannabe Vladimir the First didn’t dare invade Ukraine while he was in the White House.

I looked it up. Ukrainians have a word for just such a claim. It's fihnya (фігня in Ukrainian). Translation: male bovine you-know-what.

Putin was thinking long-term on his pal 45’s watch, according to “Aldous J. Pennyfarthing,” a frequent Daily Kos contributor. “... If Trump had won reelection, all he’d have had to do was wait. Trump would have served Eastern Europe up to his brutal BFF on a silver platter.”

So the Russian dictator hit the pause button on Ukraine because Trump was “busy unlocking all the doors from the inside. And if he’d succeeded, every NATO and non-NATO country in Putin’s imaginary sphere of influence would have been in jeopardy – not just in the short term, but in perpetuity.”

Recalled Pennyfarthing: “Trump had reportedly decided to pull the U.S. out of NATO in his second term, and if he’d been successful, Putin would have had a veritable Old Country Buffet of former Soviet republics to choose from, and so he might have decided to stomp on Ukraine a bit later.”

Trump spent four years toadying to Putin who, according to the U.S. intelligence community, oversaw “a far-ranging influence campaign” to help elect Trump in 2016. When Putin denied any Russian funny business in the election Trump won,  Trump sided with Putin.

Vlad the Invader’s most cherished goal is rebuilding as much of the imperial Russian/Soviet empire as he can. He sees NATO as his biggest roadblock.

Pennyfarthing quoted MSNBC contributor Steve Benen who wrote on the MaddowBlog: “Putin wanted to undermine the NATO alliance, and Trump undermined the NATO alliance. Putin wanted to weaken the E.U., and Trump made little effort to express his disdain for the E.U. Putin wanted to weaken the U.S. political system, and Trump was unnervingly aggressive in trying to weaken the U.S. political system.

“Putin wanted to hurt Ukraine, and Trump launched an extortion scheme that threatened to hurt Ukraine.

“Why didn’t the Russian leader deploy troops into Ukraine during Trump’s term? Perhaps because Putin was so pleased with an American president who pursued goals in line with Moscow’s agenda.”

Pennyfarthing tacked on a postscript to his essay: “Russia didn’t just attack the West during Trump’s regime; he specifically targeted the United States through our 2020 election and the massive SolarWinds hack. Guess Trump’s vaunted ‘toughness’ and unpredictability didn’t do much to dissuade Putin from those provocations. And how did Trump respond to the Russian SolarWinds incursion? By deflecting blame from Putin and attempting to pin the crime on China.”

Meanwhile, Putin is counting on the continuing loyalty of Trump, the white folks in the red MAGA hats and Trump TV — especially Fox’s “TuckyoRose” AKA “Lord Haw Haw” Carlson — to attack President Biden’s support for Ukraine, notably the tough economic sanctions he slapped on Russia. In the Washington Post, Marc Fisher quoted Joe Walsh, a former GOP congressman turned Never Trumper on the Trump base: “‘Putin good, Biden bad, and I don’t want my gas prices to go up.’”

Likewise, Putin has his fingers crossed that a lot of non-Trumpers will punish the president and his party at the polls over steeper gas prices caused by the sanctions. Based on widespread unwillingness of many Americans to support COVID mask mandates to keep themselves and their fellow citizens out of the hospital and the cemetery, Putin probably believes America’s old World War II spirit of sacrifice for the common good is a quaint relic of the past.

Too, Putin doubtless knows that polls and American history suggest that the Democrats will lose the House and maybe the Senate in November. He’s also pulling for a second Trump term in 2024.

With Trump and the GOP again ruling the roost in Washington, it’ll be so long,  sanctions, and cheerio, NATO. Trump will pick up where he left off flashing pal Putin the green light to “Make Russia Great Again” by picking off his smaller, weaker neighbors.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)


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