Putin’s Strong Cards When Facing Trump. @paulr_gregory @hooverinst

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01-10-2017

(Photo:Vladimir Putin meets russian special forces in Chechnya 20 december 2011 )

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Putin’s Strong Cards When Facing Trump. @paulr_gregory @hooverinst

“…Putin’s cards are, however, stronger than they appear. Internal dissent has been smashed. He has centralized power in his own hands, while Trump must work with allies, who are being pulled apart by national interests and by Russian meddling. Putin’s propaganda machine has kept the Russian people on board despite a defense buildup (to 5.4 percent of GDP) at the sacrifice of living standards (down 15 percent) and public health. Putin can rattle the nuclear saber to offset the US’s stronger military. Unlike the US presidential cycle that requires quick results, Putin can play a long hand with the presumption that time is on his side.

In his few public statements on the subject, Trump has declared that the US and Russia’s shared interest in fighting ISIS will provide the foundation for improved relations. Despite frenetic efforts of the outgoing Secretary of State to find this common ground, the outgoing US Secretary of Defense declared in frustration that the Russians “haven’t done anything to fight ISIS.” In fact, Russia does not perceive itself, despite its own 20 million ethnic Muslims, at risk from Islamic terrorism. Russia has suffered only eight Islamic terrorist attacks, killing 708, mostly in remote regions. Putin has used terrorist incidents for political advantage. In Chechnya, Putin has a private army led by a loyalist ready to kill not only terrorists but their families. Putin is confident his police state can infiltrate Islamic groups. So far, Russia’s Syrian air war has targeted regime opponents, not ISIS. Events do not support the notion that Russia is a natural ally against Islamic extremism….”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/01/09/why-russia-cannot-become-our-friend-memo-to-president-trump/#6aa907967381

10 days ago
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