CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, March 6, 2017


BLUNDERS  COMING HOME TO ROOST IN SYRIA AND IRAQ: THE RESURGENCE OF RUSSIA






Stars and Stripes in Syria: Convoy of American tanks rolls through war-torn country as 500 US special forces troops join battle against ISIS on the ground 




  • The US military has deployed 500 special forces operators to Syria to assist in the war against ISIS
  • A column of armored personnel carriers was sent to advance on the northern Syrian city of Manbij
  • Colonel John Dorrian said the troops were deployed to 'deter aggression and keep focus of defeating ISIS'
  • Coalition forces have blocked all land routes leaving the ISIS capital of Raqqa according to Kurdish sources 


The United States has deployed a column of armored personnel carriers to the northern Syrian city of Manbij to support Kurdish troops in the area. 
The vehicles form part of a deployment of 500 US troops in Syria - many of whom are special forces - aimed at defeating ISIS.
According to Colonel John Dorrian, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the US troops have been deployed to 'deter aggression and keep focus on defeating ISIS'.
The United States has deployed armored personnel carriers to the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij
The United States has deployed armored personnel carriers to the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Manbij
The US has deployed 500 special forces troops to Syria and also provides air cover targeting ISIS positions 
The US has deployed 500 special forces troops to Syria and also provides air cover targeting ISIS positions 
Turkey views the Kurdish PKK troops as terrorists, although they are the most effective force in dealing with ISIS
Turkey views the Kurdish PKK troops as terrorists, although they are the most effective force in dealing with ISIS
The US troops are supporting Kurdish PKK rebels who are heavily involve in the struggle to retake Raqqa, the ISIS capital. 
Kurdish forces claim they have blocked all of the roads entering and leaving Raqqa.  
However, the PKK are deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey, who have also got troops deployed in the region. 
Besides the autonomous Kurdish-led forces, Turkish, Syrian government and Syrian opposition fighters have all been jostling for territory formerly held by ISIS group near the Turkish-Syrian frontier.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Syrian Kurdish PKK party, are the current front runners in the race to Raqqa, the ISIS capital. They are now stationed five miles north of the Euphrates River city and supported by coalition airstrikes and a deployment of some 500 US special forces operators. The Pentagon has said they are working in an advisory capacity.
The column of armored personnel carriers was a significant show of force in the region
The column of armored personnel carriers was a significant show of force in the region
The armored personnel carers are highly mobile and can protect the troops onboard from the threat of IEDs
The armored personnel carers are highly mobile and can protect the troops onboard from the threat of IEDs
The Kurdish troops are aiming at dislodging ISIS from their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa which is their de-facto capital
The Kurdish troops are aiming at dislodging ISIS from their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa which is their de-facto capital
But Turkey, a US ally, says the PKK is an extension of the Kurdish insurgency inside its own borders and has classified the party as a terror organization. It has objected strongly to the SDF offensive and vowed to throw the Kurdish-led forces in Manbij - the SDF's westernmost flank - back over the banks of the Euphrates. This would disrupt the Raqqa campaign.
There are Turkish forces stationed in al-Bab, 25 miles southwest of Manbij. The threats prompted the SDF to ask Russia and the Syrian army to establish a buffer between Manbij and al-Bab.
With uncertainty building, the US deployed a number of armored vehicles to its allies in Manbij, the Syrian Kurdish Rudaw news agency reported Saturday. 
The Syrian military, meanwhile, has driven east of Aleppo to draw a front with the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces south of al-Bab, blocking their route to Raqqa. Government forces, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants and Russian airpower, have moved quickly in the direction of ISIS-held al-Khafseh, on the banks of the Euphrates.
Al-Khafseh is home to the main water station for Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Government forces are eight miles away, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
ISIS are being surrounded in their main Syrian stronghold of Raqqa while the US-led coalition bombs them from the air
ISIS are being surrounded in their main Syrian stronghold of Raqqa while the US-led coalition bombs them from the air
Turkish and Syrian opposition troops managed to capture the town of al-Bab from ISIS following a three-month campaign
Turkish and Syrian opposition troops managed to capture the town of al-Bab from ISIS following a three-month campaign
The UN's OCHA agency said that the Turkish and Syrian opposition campaign to capture al-Bab from ISIS displaced 40,000 residents. They captured the town on February 23, after starting operations in November.
The office said another 26,000 residents have been displaced in fighting around Manbij, held by Kurdish-led forces, and al-Khafseh, held by ISIS. Al-Khafseh is home to the main water station for Aleppo, Syria's largest city.
In other news, a Syrian search-and-rescue group reported a bomb blast in the opposition-held town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, killing at least eight people. Azaz is 31 miles from al-Bab.
The Observatory said an ISIS sleeper cell was responsible for the blast.
Terrorists carried out a suicide car bomb attack in the nearby town of Sousian on Februar 24, killing at least 60 people. Most of the victims were civilians who had gathered seeking permits to return to al-Bab, a day after it was liberated from the extremist group.

Strip or we shoot: Iraqis fleeing Mosul are forced to take their clothes off by government troops to prove they are not ISIS suicide bombers 



  • Dramatic image shows Iraqi soldier telling two men in Mosul to strip to prove they are not carrying explosives
  • One partially naked man can be seen holding his hands up while another bare-chested man holds clothing
  • Dramatic image captured as heavy clashes broke out between Iraq army and ISIS in battle to reclaim Mosul

This is the dramatic moment two Iraqi men were forced to take their clothes off to prove to government troops that they were not ISIS suicide bombers.
One terrified Mosul resident was ordered to strip to his underwear and hold his hands up as elite forces approached.
Pictures show another bare-chested man holding items of clothing as an Iraqi soldier yelled instructions at them.
The image was captured as heavy clashes broke out between the Iraq army and ISIS terrorists in the battle to reclaim the city. 
It emerged as US-backed Iraqi forces today seized Mosul's al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the ISIS-held old city centre from the south. 

Hands up: Two Iraqi men were forced to take their clothes off to prove to government troops that they were not ISIS suicide bombers
Hands up: Two Iraqi men were forced to take their clothes off to prove to government troops that they were not ISIS suicide bombers
A man, who has taken his shirt off to make it clear he is not carrying a suicide bomb strapped to his chest, gestures as he walks towards Iraqi soldiers from an ISIS-held area
A man, who has taken his shirt off to make it clear he is not carrying a suicide bomb strapped to his chest, gestures as he walks towards Iraqi soldiers from an ISIS-held area
A woman, holding her child, sobs as she and her husband follow an Iraqi special forces soldier out of a devastated district of Mosul
A woman, holding her child, sobs as she and her husband follow an Iraqi special forces soldier out of a devastated district of Mosul
Most people in Mosul are Sunni Muslims, while the Iraqi Army is dominated by Shias. ISIS has sought to portray itself as protecting the Sunnis but their brutal reign has not endeared them to the local populace 
Most people in Mosul are Sunni Muslims, while the Iraqi Army is dominated by Shias. ISIS has sought to portray itself as protecting the Sunnis but their brutal reign has not endeared them to the local populace 
Government forces have taken more territory in the west of the city from the jihadists as the number of people fleeing the city reaches 45,000.
Since launching an offensive on February 19 Iraqi soldiers have seized much of western Mosul but their pace has slowed as bad weather has muddied streets and made air support more difficult.
If ISIS loses Mosul then the only city left in its grasp would be Raqqa in Syria, which is why it is fighting tooth and nail for the city.
Displaced Iraqis flee their homes, as Iraqi forces battle with ISIS, in western Mosul. Government forces have taken more territory in the west of the city from the jihadists as the number of people fleeing the city reaches 45,000
Displaced Iraqis flee their homes, as Iraqi forces battle with ISIS, in western Mosul. Government forces have taken more territory in the west of the city from the jihadists as the number of people fleeing the city reaches 45,000
An elderly woman is pushed in a wheelbarrow as displaced Iraqis flee their homes in Al Mansour district
An elderly woman is pushed in a wheelbarrow as displaced Iraqis flee their homes in Al Mansour district
A man carries an elderly woman as they flee Al Mansour district, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul
A man carries an elderly woman as they flee Al Mansour district, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul
US-backed Iraqi forces today seized Mosul's al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the ISIS-held old city centre from the south. Iraqis are pictured fleeing from western Mosul
US-backed Iraqi forces today seized Mosul's al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the ISIS-held old city centre from the south. Iraqis are pictured fleeing from western Mosul
Assistance: An elderly Iraqi man is helped to safety are fleeing from his home in the war-torn western area of Mosul
Assistance: An elderly Iraqi man is helped to safety are fleeing from his home in the war-torn western area of Mosul
The fall of west Mosul would effectively mark the end of ISIS's dream of a 'caliphate' across the Iraq/Syria border, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced from a mosque in the city in 2014
The fall of west Mosul would effectively mark the end of ISIS's dream of a 'caliphate' across the Iraq/Syria border, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced from a mosque in the city in 2014
An Iraqi man carries a young boy over his shoulders as families flee from the fierce fighting in western Mosul
An Iraqi man carries a young boy over his shoulders as families flee from the fierce fighting in western Mosul
A young girl sobs as she is comforted by two Iraqi soldiers. ISIS are reportedly using snipers, mortars and bombs planted in streets and houses
A young girl sobs as she is comforted by two Iraqi soldiers. ISIS are reportedly using snipers, mortars and bombs planted in streets and houses
More than 40,000 people have been displaced in the last week from the Iraqi city of Mosul, it has been claimed
More than 40,000 people have been displaced in the last week from the Iraqi city of Mosul, it has been claimed
The fall of west Mosul would effectively mark the end of ISIS's dream of a 'caliphate' across the Iraq/Syria border, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced from a mosque in the city in 2014.
Black smoke billowed over west Mosul yesterday as Iraqi forces battled ISIS in a fight marked by explosions and continual automatic weapons fire.
In the course of the fighting, security forces targeted an approaching ISIS car bomb, detonating it and sending a fireball rising over the area, and also fired on a jihadist drone flying overhead.
Lieutenant Colonel Abdulamir al-Mohammedawi said: 'Rapid Response forces are moving toward important governmental buildings such as the governorate building and the police directorate.'
He said ISIS were using snipers, mortars and bombs planted in streets and houses.
A member of the Iraqi police prays as Iraqi forces clash with Islamic State (IS) group fighters in Mosul on March 5
A member of the Iraqi police prays as Iraqi forces clash with Islamic State (IS) group fighters in Mosul on March 5
Smoke billows into the air after Iraqi troops blew up an ISIS unit as they drove a car bomb towards their lines
Smoke billows into the air after Iraqi troops blew up an ISIS unit as they drove a car bomb towards their lines
The UN, which has been providing shelter, food and other assistance to Iraqis who have fled Mosul during the nearly five-month-long battle, said it is working as fast as possible to help those displaced by the fighting
The UN, which has been providing shelter, food and other assistance to Iraqis who have fled Mosul during the nearly five-month-long battle, said it is working as fast as possible to help those displaced by the fighting
A woman bursts into tears after crossing from an ISIS-held district of west Mosul into an area liberated by the Iraqi Army 
A woman bursts into tears after crossing from an ISIS-held district of west Mosul into an area liberated by the Iraqi Army 
Among the districts attacked by Iraqi forces today was al-Dawasa, which includes the Nineveh province governor's headquarters, and al-Dindan.
Other Iraqi units are moving into the neighbourhoods of al-Sumood and Tal al-Rumnan.
The Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division is advancing through the desert surrounding the city, aiming to cut if off from ISIS-held Tal Afar, to the west.
A man carries his son as he walks from an ISIS-held district of west Mosul during heavy fighting
A man carries his son as he walks from an ISIS-held district of west Mosul during heavy fighting
A man weeps as he carries his daughter to safety from an ISIS-held district towards an area held by Iraqi state soldiers
A man weeps as he carries his daughter to safety from an ISIS-held district towards an area held by Iraqi state soldiers
An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at a drone operated by ISIS militants  in Mosul over the weekend
An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at a drone operated by ISIS militants in Mosul over the weekend
A nine-year-old child is stretchered to safety after being injured in a mortar attack during fierce clashes over the weekend
A nine-year-old child is stretchered to safety after being injured in a mortar attack during fierce clashes over the weekend
More than 45,000 people have fled west Mosul since the push to retake it began, while over 200,000 are currently displaced as a result of the battle to retake the city, which was launched on October 17, according to the International Organization for Migration. 
The UN, which has been providing shelter, food and other assistance to Iraqis who have fled Mosul during the nearly five-month-long battle, said it is working as fast as possible to help those displaced.
'The top priority for humanitarians is to make sure that there is sufficient capacity at emergency sites to deal with the number of civilians who are fleeing western Mosul,' said Lise Grande, the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq.
An Iraqi federal policeman prepares to fire a mortar at ISIS positions in west Mosul
An Iraqi federal policeman prepares to fire a mortar at ISIS positions in west Mosul
Mosul is Iraq's second biggest city and the battle for it has been going on since October
Mosul is Iraq's second biggest city and the battle for it has been going on since October
The pace of displacement has accelerated in recent days as fighting approaches the most densely populated parts of western Mosul, and aid agencies have expressed concern that camps to accommodate people fleeing the city are almost full
The pace of displacement has accelerated in recent days as fighting approaches the most densely populated parts of western Mosul, and aid agencies have expressed concern that camps to accommodate people fleeing the city are almost full

Is blitz on Aleppo the start of Putin's war to rebuild USSR? As Russian missiles rain down on besieged city - and Trump cosies up to Putin - a Kremlin expert's chilling warning 

  • Syria's brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad said Donald Trump will be a ‘natural ally’ in fighting terrorism
  • Assad said Mr Trump would be a friend to his regime, Russia and the Iranians if he changed US policy
  • Policy is to strike against Isis while supporting rebels opposed to Assad, but Trump has different ideas
Syria's brutal dictator — who used chemical weapons on his own people — said yesterday Donald Trump will be a ‘natural lly’ in fighting terrorism. 
Bashar al-Assad said Mr Trump would be a friend to his regime, Russia and the Iranians if he ‘lived up to his promises’ and tore up existing Western policy.
The U.S. President-elect has said it was ‘madness’ to oppose both Syrian forces and Isis terrorists and that fighting Syria could lead to fighting Russia. 
Trump said on Friday he would most likely seek an agreement with Vladimir Putin. He said: ‘I’ve had an opposite view to many people regarding Syria.’
Current U.S. policy is to strike against Isis while supporting moderate rebels opposed to Assad.
Graphic shows attacks launched by the Russian military this week on the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Idlib, and Homs
Graphic shows attacks launched by the Russian military this week on the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Idlib, and Homs
Meanwhile, Putin withdrew from the International Criminal Court yesterday amid calls from Britain for his military to face prosecutors over air strikes against civilians in Syria.
It means Russia cannot now be tried for war crimes in the court in The Hague.
Tomorrow, PM Theresa May and other European leaders will meet President Obama to discuss an extension to sanctions against Russia. But as Edward Lucas outlines here, Donald Trump has very different ideas.
The restoration of the Soviet empire is under way — and America is not going to stop it.
That is the chilling conclusion we must draw from Donald Trump’s first few days as President-elect, in which he received what he termed a ‘beautiful’ letter from Vladimir Putin, followed by an amicable phone call in which the two pledged to restore friendly relations between Washington and Moscow.
Then, yesterday, Syria’s President Assad said that Mr Trump would be a ‘natural ally’ alongside Russia in the bloodsoaked Syrian civil war if he fulfils his pledge to fight terrorism.
Assad and Putin are, of course, at the forefront of the aerial bombardment that began on Tuesday against rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo after several weeks of relative calm.
The U.S. President-elect has said it was ‘madness’ to oppose both Syrian forces and Isis terrorists and that fighting Syria could lead to fighting Russia. Pictured is a jet taking off from Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier
The U.S. President-elect has said it was ‘madness’ to oppose both Syrian forces and Isis terrorists and that fighting Syria could lead to fighting Russia. Pictured is a jet taking off from Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier

Russian Cruise missiles launched off coast blast targets in Syria

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The assaults were launched by war planes and via missile attacks from a Russian aircraft carrier stationed off the Syrian coast, and came just a few hours after Trump and Putin had their first conversation since last week’s American election.
The message could hardly be clearer — that the U.S. President-elect does not see it as a priority to stop Russian aggression outside its borders.
It seems not to matter that the sanctions America has imposed on the Kremlin regime are a result of its aggression against Ukraine, and human rights abuses inside Russia. Or that the frontline states of Nato — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland — rely on a U.S. security guarantee to bolster their own defences.
Trump prizes ‘strength’ in other leaders. And he wants to do deals with them. Cherished American principles such as liberty and justice count for nothing.
He has no time for America’s traditional Western allies, regarding them as a costly bunch of free-loaders who do not pay their fair share towards Nato’s military capabilities.
If, in appealing for military or diplomatic support, these countries invoke their past loyalty and sacrifice during America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they fear the answer from Trump will be: ‘Sorry, suckers.’
Trump said on Friday he would most likely seek an agreement with Vladimir Putin. He said: ‘I’ve had an opposite view to many people regarding Syria.’ Pictured is a Russian airstrike in Syria
Trump said on Friday he would most likely seek an agreement with Vladimir Putin. He said: ‘I’ve had an opposite view to many people regarding Syria.’ Pictured is a Russian airstrike in Syria
This blustering, cynical and short-sighted outlook is a gift for Russia, whose bellicose leader termed the collapse of the Soviet Union a ‘geopolitical catastrophe’, and who is determined to put it back together.
That is why I believe it’s no exaggeration to say Putin, not Trump, is the biggest winner of the American presidential election.
The irony is that at home, President Trump will be constrained by his inexperience, and by America’s solid political institutions.
The real damage will be done abroad — to us and to others who depend on strong defence and intelligence ties with America. Intelligence experts fear Putin will offer President Trump a ‘Grand Bargain’ some time in 2017.
The outline would be simple. The West drops sanctions, stops pestering the Putin regime about its appalling human rights record, accepts that the Kremlin has a sphere of military and political influence in Eastern Europe, and treats Russia as a serious global player.
In return, Putin would offer counter-terrorism co-operation against the constant threat of Islamist attacks around the world, a brokered peace in Syria (meaning an end to the floods of refugees to Europe), and an easing of military tensions around Russia’s western borders.
He would promise — no doubt oozing sincerity — a future of peace and friendship. The deal-loving tycoon, still settling into the Oval Office, would jump at this ‘Grand Bargain’, regarding it as a piece of international statesmanship.
He would boast about saving billions of dollars by being able to pull American troops out of Europe.
In truth, this deal would be as shameful as the Yalta summit of 1945 at which Stalin outmanoeuvred Britain and America, consigning Eastern Europe to misery and captivity within the Soviet Empire.
It would also have echoes of the Munich Agreement of 1938 in which our Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sought to appease Hitler by letting him dismember our ally, Czechoslovakia. Either way, the ‘Grand Bargain’ would be both cynical and astonishingly dangerous.
Current U.S. policy is to strike against Isis while supporting moderate rebels opposed to Assad. But Donald Trump has very different ideas. Pictured, Russian aircraft on the Admiral Kuznetsov
Current U.S. policy is to strike against Isis while supporting moderate rebels opposed to Assad. But Donald Trump has very different ideas. Pictured, Russian aircraft on the Admiral Kuznetsov
Countries such as Estonia would fight, just as Ukraine has, rather than submit to a Kremlin take-over. We would be drawn in — and would face an emboldened and powerful Russia — and without American help.
Putin’s goal is both stealthy and simple: the end of the West as a coherent cultural and political entity. Russia loathes the idea that the rich democracies of North America and Europe should run the world. Their rules-based international order takes no account of Russia’s history as a great power — and its need for a sphere of influence on its borders.
In theory, we should be winning what, in my 2008 book, I termed a New Cold War. The advanced democracies have a combined population of roughly one billion, and a combined GDP of £35 trillion. Russia has a population of 140 million and GDP of a mere £1 trillion.
Russian spies have already showed their capabilities brazenly in the U.S. presidential election. Pictured, cruise missiles launched from the Admiral Grigorovich
Russian spies have already showed their capabilities brazenly in the U.S. presidential election. Pictured, cruise missiles launched from the Admiral Grigorovich
But Putin’s arsenal of money, propaganda, mind-games and dirty tricks has given him outsized clout. Even this week, we have seen the influence of Moscow spreading beyond Russia’s borders.
Russian-backed candidates have won presidential elections in Bulgaria, a Nato member, and Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, on the Black Sea. Russia also has the keen support of Hungary’s strongman leader Viktor Orban.
The fact is Moscow stokes instability and division across swathes of Europe — helped, of course, by the dismal performance of the eurozone economy, and public fears about unchecked migration.
Trump’s weakness is vanity. He has a colossal ego, responds with childlike eagerness to flattery, is over-confident in his own abilities and unwilling to admit mistakes.
Putin described him as a yarkiy (‘vivid’) character. But the same word in Russian can also mean ‘bright’. Trump’s interpretation — surprise, surprise — was that the Russian leader had called him a ‘genius’.
Russian spies have already showed their capabilities brazenly in the U.S. presidential election.
In an unprecedented public pronouncement, America’s intelligence chiefs blamed Russian hackers for breaking into computers at the headquarters of the Democratic Party during the early summer.
Russia then leaked emails showing that party bosses were trying to help the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, and stymie her party rival, the firebrand Left-wing senator Bernie Sanders.
Trump then actually called on Russia to hack into Clinton’s emails — unashamedly encouraging foreign interference in the world’s most important election.
Shockingly, the Trump campaign included several figures with links to the Kremlin. One key aide, Paul Manafort, benefited from multi-million-dollar business deals with pro-Russian oligarchs. 
Trump himself is the biggest cheerleader for Russia. He refuses to discuss what appear to be extensive, long-standing and mysterious business connections there. Pictured, a Russian missile launch at an unknown location in Syria
Trump himself is the biggest cheerleader for Russia. He refuses to discuss what appear to be extensive, long-standing and mysterious business connections there. Pictured, a Russian missile launch at an unknown location in Syria
Manafort spent the best part of a decade polishing the image of this man — a Kremlin stooge reviled by his own people.
Another Trump aide showed similarly flawed judgment. General Michael Flynn, a former spy chief, stunned observers by joining celebrations — including a dinner where he sat near Putin — marking the tenth anniversary of RT, the Kremlin’s foreign propaganda network.
Even more controversial is the career of Carter Page, a Trump intimate who spent much of his career advising the firm Gazprom.
Nominally Russia’s national gas company, this outfit stands accused of being a highly politicised branch of Kremlin foreign policy which is battling charges of systematic market-rigging in eastern Europe.
Page has defended Putin’s policies and decried even the limited sanctions imposed on Russian banks, energy companies and arms makers for invading Ukraine.
Rescuers and civilians inspect a destroyed building in the Syrian village of Kfar Jales, on the outskirts of Idlib, following air strikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes on November 16
Rescuers and civilians inspect a destroyed building in the Syrian village of Kfar Jales, on the outskirts of Idlib, following air strikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes on November 16
A Russian missile is launched near Aleppo, which is being pounded by airstrikes as part of an offensive against rebel-held areas
A Russian missile is launched near Aleppo, which is being pounded by airstrikes as part of an offensive against rebel-held areas
But Trump himself is the biggest cheerleader for Russia. He refuses to discuss what appear to be extensive, long-standing and mysterious business connections there.
He praised an anti-Western polemic by Putin as a ‘masterpiece’, and has repeatedly lauded the Russian leader’s (in truth dismal) ‘leadership’ in bringing stability and prosperity.
Some wonder if Trump’s Russian connections mean that he is a witting Kremlin stooge. That’s unlikely: his ‘useful idiocy’, in Lenin’s phrase, is enough.
True, the two men share a nihilistic world-view, in which might is right, and values mean little. The difference is Putin is a ruthless former KGB officer, skilled in the arts of deception and recruitment.
Trump is the shallow and self-indulgent scion of a wealthy family, who has escaped numerous well-deserved comeuppances through bluff and bombast. It is easy to see which of the two men will come off best in a tussle of wills and wits.
Trump prizes ‘strength’ in other leaders, such as Vladimir Putin. And he wants to do deals with them
Pictured is Vladimir Putin
Trump prizes ‘strength’ in other leaders, such as Vladimir Putin. And he wants to do deals with them. Cherished American principles such as liberty and justice count for nothing
With Putin holding most of the cards, the outlook for the democracies of Europe and North America ranges from bleak to terrifying.
Without the weight of America to hold it together, the West — squabbling, weak-willed and ill-led — is now easy prey for the Kremlin.
And having pulled up the drawbridge, President Trump can shrug and turn his back on the chaos his isolationism has unleashed.
Americans may live to regret that. But in the meantime we will be paying the price.








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