The Art of the Wedge: Can Trump buy Russia’s Neutrality?

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February 9, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

Ruslan Ostashko, Live Journal – translated by J. Arnoldski –

After Trump was elected, I said many times that he is beneficial to us not because he is a Russophile (spoiler: he’s not a Russophile), not because he will destroy the US (spoiler: he won’t destroy the US), and not because he will gift us Ukraine and Syria on a platter (spoiler: he won’t gift them, but will try to sell them). Rather, Trump is beneficial to us for a very different reason. 

The rule of the new American president will be marked by two wars, specifically: war with Iran and war with China. These conflicts will drag in all the military, political, diplomatic, and economic resources of the United States, thus forcing Washington to leave Russia alone. That’s exactly what we need now. 

If Clinton had won, she would have left us alone only once our entire planet would be covered in layers of radioactive ash. 

Trump’s wars will be in the very least economic ones. But there is the chance that they will transition into a phase of hot conflicts with the deployment of the army and navy. I spoke about Trump’s impending confrontation with Iran last year, wrote about it for the media, and discussed it in television studios. People didn’t believe me, and said that Washington doesn’t need this and that America would win nothing from this. Well, who’s turned out to be right?

You know the news about the US’ new sanctions against Iran, so I won’t be repetitive, but I do want to draw your attention to the fact that Trump is already preparing to buy off Russian neutrality on the Iranian issue. I insist on the word” buy” because it best of all reflects the thinking of the new American administration, which is almost entirely composed of businessmen. They really do think in business terms and cannot think in other categories.

Journalists of the The Wall Street Journal have surveyed European and Arab diplomats and explained that the Trump Administration is stubbornly searching for a “wedge” to destroy Russian-Iranian relations. As The Wall Street Journal’s sources point out, the Trump Administration still doesn’t know what it will offer the Kremlin in exchange for ceasing to support Iran. 

But now it is already clear that the new American ruling team is looking for a package of concessions – yes, concessions, because there is nothing with which to threaten Russia – in exchange for which they will be able to count at least on Russia’s neutrality in the impending conflict. The fact that there will be a conflict and that it could quite possibly be an armed one is already clear, in the least because Trump has imposed new sanctions and declared Iran to be the chief state sponsor of terrorism. 

Trump needs this conflict for several reasons.

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First of all, he needs a conflict in the direction of which he can send the tense energy of the hawks from the Republican Party, and he needs a conflict out of which profit can be derived for the American military-industrial complex. American arms manufactures have a traditionally strong lobby and very large political influence. By getting into a conflict with Iran which, unlike Russia, cannot destroy the US, Trump is resolving a number of domestic political problems.

Secondly, conflict with Iran is something that the leaderships of Israel and Saudi Arabia have long been trying to get from the US. One can only guess what mountains of gold Trump has been promised by them in exchange for aggravating relations with Tehran. 

The third reason is that the US, even for concentrating on domestic issues, needs a foreign enemy. Russia fits this role very poorly because Russia can hit back as painful as possible for the US. Washington still habitually prefers weaker opponents. 

Trump’s second important war will be an economic, and perhaps even hot war with China. Escalation on this front is almost inevitable since the new president needs to return manufacturing to the US at any price and any means. War, of course, is an extreme measure, but from the point of view of Trump’s economic advisers, and indeed in the view of the president himself, reindustrializing the US is a matter of survival for the country, so all means are worth it. 

America has succeeded only when its industrial might grew as wars or crises destroyed American manufacturing’s competitors. In the 20th century, the Americans twice hit the jackpot when Europe’s industrial potential was destroyed over the course of two world wars. This time, the Americans will have to resolve the difficult issue of not only reindustrializing the US, but destroying Chinese industry. This inevitably requires drastic measures. Once again, Trump needs Russian neutrality in this, and he will be willing to pay a very high price.

So now the usual question: what should we do? I believe that we don’t have to help anyone. We don’t need to get involved in the fray to a any greater extent than others got involved for us in the fight with the West. Did anyone recognize Crimea? No. Did anyone not support the sanctions? No. Thanks, but we didn’t support the sanctions, and no one else. In all other matters, it is necessary to negotiate and pay. A very, very expensive price. 

Let’s learn from the experience of our Western opponents and stop sacrificing the lives of our citizens and our country’s resources for the sake of abstract friendship which everyone will forget about rather quickly anyway. The example of Bulgaria is still right before our very eyes, not to mention the example of our Ukrainian neighbors. 

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President Trump’s wars open more opportunities for us. And I believe that such a strong and pragmatic leader as Putin can take advantage of them to the fullest. 

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