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July 11, 2017


Trump spent more time with Putin than with any of the leaders of NATO and other countries with emerging economies at the recently concluded G-20 conference. I wonder why and, I hope, so do those who are investigating his collusion and that of his “campaign” with Putin in the game of their mutual blackmail. His daughter Ivanka accompanied him and as his special envoy sat in his seat while he went to the bathroom, hobnobbed with Putin, or whatever it was he was doing in order prevent a demonstration that he didn’t know or perhaps even care what the leaders were talking about in such matters as trade, Russia’s annexation of Crimea (which he had previously approved), Russia’s presence in the Ukraine, Russia’s cyber interference with the election in our country and others, North Korea’s saber-rattling with missiles and other such (in his mind) mundane matters since making a profit from his real estate and branding business were not primarily involved. Trump was, is and will always be for Trump’s bottom line and the G-20 setting where he had to share the spotlight on matters unrelated to his pursuit of the buck does not fit in to his narcissistic otherworld and is not his cup of tea.

On the plus side after being cold-shouldered by Macron of France and others, at least he did not grope Merkel or May, leaders of Germany and the U.K., respectively, who happen to be female, so perhaps he is improving on a learning curve of what is politically correct. “Now, now, Don. I know you are a star but you are not supposed to grab women, so stop it before you get outed and sued for sexual perversion,” one might hear if one of his grandmothers were around to admonish him.

The cold shoulder given him at the G-20 meeting was most pronounced by the statement of the other 19 countries that, unlike Trump, who has announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the environmental agreement previously reached in Paris, the accord reached in Paris on the ecological future of the planet is “irreversible,” or in words of the street, “Stick it, Don. This is the way it is and is going to be. We are going to clean up our environmental mess and give you clean air and water whether you like it or not. Go back to your profit-at-all costs cave.” Parenthetically, I understand that since the G-20 meeting the dictator of Turkey has joined the U.S. in withdrawing from the Paris Accord on the environment, and note while he was recently elected by the people that so was Hitler, who seized all power after his election gave him the legitimacy of office for such a power grab.

Speaking of 19, that’s also the number of American intelligence agencies that have unanimously  confirmed that Russia and by necessity its current dictator, Putin, interfered with not only the recent presidential election but our institutional democracy as well. This attempt to destroy our democracy from without having to fire a shot is in keeping with the philosophy of one of Trump’s chief advisers, Bannon, a self-professed Leninist who wants to “destroy the administrative state,” and who appears to be succeeding via his clueless advisee, Trump, who has no philosophy other than making money.

Trump asked Putin in their long discussion of current affairs if he (Putin) had interfered with the recent presidential election and Putin said (contrary the findings of our 19 intelligence agencies) that he had not. Trump seemed to accept Putin’s answer, thus dissing the unanimous findings of 19 of our American intelligence agencies, and if so, the result can have a profound effect on our foreign policy that was so carefully and meticulously constructed by our diplomatic corps over 70 years marked by Truman’s Berlin Airlift, Churchill’s 1947 definition of the Iron Curtain, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a continuing MAD (mutually assured destruction via atomic bombing), the fall of the wall in 1989, Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea etc. etc. etc.

With a president who so blithely dismisses over seventy years of painful and sometimes fearful diplomacy with a wave of the hand, it is becoming clear to me that our greatest danger in playing rollover to the Russian dictator is not the Russian dictator who is just doing what Russian dictators do, but Trump himself, who is apparently unaware and woefully ignorant of history and willing to ignore reality in favor of the one he has constructed in his otherworld. I can only hope that Trump’s unwillingness to confront Putin with fact will not be a green light for Putin to occupy Ukraine, invade the Baltic Republics and threaten our other NATO allies, fueled by Trump’s dissing of NATO.

It’s as though Trump is running interference for his running back Putin. Putin could not have wished for a better situation than having a country with the world’s largest military absolve him of liability for his aggressive tactics both in Europe and in our country, carried out by conventional war and cyberwar and other threats to their (and our) democratic institutions.

We have an old saying in the law that ignorance of the law is no excuse, so as applied to Trump, is he by reason of his conduct and misconduct guilty of treason? Possibly. Sedition? Probably, proof of either subject, of course, to what current investigations turn up on the evidence front. In accord with our democratic institutions, he must be considered innocent until proven guilty. We await admissible evidence. . .

Meanwhile, I suggest to readers of this essay that we keep an eye on Trump in everything he says or does since it appears (on Bannon’s advice) that he may well be acting to destroy our democratic institutions with a view to assuming authoritarian control for himself. I hope I am wrong and that he is just an ignorant man so obsessed with self and profit that he cannot represent any other interest in a representative capacity, even that of his country.

We will know much more when current investigations are completed at some time in the future, a date that I contemplate with considerable anxiety, and one that may chart our and the world’s future. During this interim, we are well advised to be watchful and confrontational since this president, knowingly or unknowlingly, is proceeding with the demise of our democracy and, as I often write, democracy is our most important asset held in common and one of the last few things worth dying for. Our democracy, Messrs. Putin and Trump, is not for sale or by conquest by you or anyone else.    GERALD       E






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