Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
TRUMP AND PUTIN. Strange as it may seem, Trump and Putin have the same job: they both want to get their countries working again; or, if you prefer, to make America/Russia great again. There are more similarities than an American jingoist would like to think of: unemployment, failing infrastructure, poverty, loss of production ability, hopelessness, corruption, failed wars. The difference is that Russia is 20 years further along the curve, having got through the collapse of empire and the death of ideological fantasy. The USA has (we hope) reached the end of the New World Order/Neo-Con fantasy and given up its "imperial overreach". Moscow did, long ago: "I felt an enormous sense of relief, as if a huge leech had dropped from my back". In this endeavour, wars are not only a distraction but make the internal decay worse. In my opinion, too many wars are what kill off empires most of the time: empires end up losing the war while winning every battle. Trump seems to understand this; at their end, empires are simply a losing proposition by every measurement.
PRESIDENT TRUMP. At a minimum, the worst case of more and more wars and accelerating confrontation with Russia and China leading to nuclear destruction all round has been avoided. Trump’s idea that the US and Russia can collaborate in fighting Daesh et al takes us right back, in fact, to Putin’s phone call to Bush on 911. Trump has been very persistent in his assertion that Washington and Moscow should work together and has held to it despite much abuse. It’s all very encouraging so far.
WAR PREPARATIONS. My belief is that Moscow, like most everyone else, expected Clinton to win and the two meetings on war preparations were scheduled well before. I would expect Moscow to continue war preparations for the following reasons. 1) Obama & Co are still in office (remember недоговороспособны). 2) Moscow has just learned (again) that Washington’s policy can suddenly change 3) while both willing and hoping, Moscow is prudently waiting to see what Trump and his people really do. It awaits actual meetings, discussions and actions (most of which will be stopping actions) in Syria and NATO. Washington is the driver for most everything and Moscow will wait for the drive to be turned off. Washington long ago squandered the trust and good will that Moscow had for it in the 1990s. If Trump can get the Washington-Moscow relationship right, many other international entanglements will disappear and he will have the time and money for his ambitious domestic programs.
CORRUPTION. At last a serving minister has been arrested and fired ("due to the loss of trust"). I’ve long said that I’ll believe the anti-corruption effort is really biting when someone in an office near Putin or Medvedev is busted. Pretty close, this time. But Serdyukov and the Luzhkovs walk free (although I have sympathy for Yuriy – I remember the immediate improvement he brought to Moscow)
FAILED SLOGAN. Putin wants you to vote Brexit! Putin wants you to vote Trump! Bulgaria! Moldova! Now Putin wants you to vote a certain way in Germany and France. Not a winning accusation, as it turns out. Like the "Assad-must-go curse”: the more you say it, the less you get.
RUSSIA IN THE WORLD. It’s not so surprising (if you ignore the rubbish the WMSM pumps out and think about it) that, one after another, people are scrambling to make an arrangement with Moscow. It hasn’t been beaten, it hasn’t backed down, it hasn’t collapsed. Rather it has gone from strength to strength and its opponents are the ones that are staggering. Even Obama has changed his tune: now Russia is a "superpower” with "influence around the world”; only two and a half years ago he said it was only a regional power acting out of weakness.
WESTERN VALUES™. Remember when the USSR censored our stuff and we didn’t care about theirs because they were lying and we weren’t? Neither does the EU which condemns Russian media together with "violent jihadi terrorist groups”. Hopefully all this will be swept away by the Trumpquake.
WHITE HELMETS BUSTED! This organisation, which has been much hailed in the West and has received much money, is a complete fake. Many of us have know that for a long time – here and here – but here, at last, is the film. Make sure everyone is in position, check the fake blood, is there enough dust? (oops, the black overalls are too clean; were they teleported to the site? Pretty slapdash!); then Action! Screams, movement and another dramatic rescue! The fakers are getting sloppier – Bellingcat’s stuff now refutes itself. (PS anybody remember "Green Helmet”? I do.) Aren’t you glad they didn’t get a Nobel Prize? Where do you suppose the money actually goes?
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer