On Russo-American Intrigues
Unless your head has been embedded in a snow bank in Siberia since October, it should be obvious that there is something very wrong with the new administration’s relationship with the Kremlin. The President is correct to challenge Chinese trade hegemony and immigration issues — but he also has to confront the Russian daemon and mitigate the possibility of a disastrous flash-conflict with Iran or N. Korea.
We might consider that regardless of our mutual concerns about jihadism in Syria and elsewhere and the “threat” of continued Chinese trade hegemony; the Russians are indeed ascendant at the geopolitical level. It may not happen overnight, but it appears that there is a distinct possibility that current developments will continue to degrade and set a foundation for later exploitation.
All three former presidents attempted to overcome the ideological gap between Washington and the Kremlin and got it wrong. What Americans need to consider sincerely is that Post-Soviet Russia policy continues to be a vexation and is now a direct threat to National Security.
Critics of the administration miss the mark when they confuse the White House’s anti-establishment conservatism and the inability of past presidents to achieve any appreciable change in a generalized pattern of intractability vis a vis U.S.-Russian relations. There is a much more dangerous precedent to this ignorance.
Mr. Putin is not confused about this pattern of failure, and you needn’t be James Bond to figure out that the Russian intelligence community is not either.
The White House is now enmeshed in a rough and dangerous triangulation — which this analyst believes may explode into a full-blown crisis in the American executive branch. Similar to failed negotiations in the Middle East peace-no secret diplomatic toolkit, nor monetary policy hocus-pocus exists that will reset US interests on both fronts. As such, it is not hard to see why this administration is retracting on US foreign policy. To be clear — that is precisely why we have a more isolationist policy front, regardless of what the Democrats, court of opinion or rabid press says.
At the same time, we are now confronted with a compelling challenge to the executive office due to collusion amongst POTUS’s advisors with Russia. Like it or not — Trump courted Russian oligarchs for nearly three decades. The problem here is that Russian intelligence deploys maskirovka — an elaborate methodology of subterfuge that may have taken him in a long time ago. Plain and simply stated — Trump’s ambivalence to the IC puts the country and the Presidency at risk.
There is not doubt in my mind that there are ideological affinities between Putin’s anti-cosmopolitan, nationalist stance and this administration’s conservatism. Both the President and Putin share a virulent, misleading and dubious use of nationalism. I have no special knowledge that the reader could not find themselves. The persistent misunderstanding of both Putin’s and the President’s use of ideological positions and the continued use of maskirovka cannot be underestimated.
What the American electorate seems painfully unaware of is that ideological proponents on both sides would indeed like to see US conservatism and Russian nationalism conjoined. One must only consider that a niche movement exists seeking to tie US evangelical interest to the resurgence of Russian Eastern Orthodoxy in a right-wing Christian coalition. Strange times — indeed.
The point here is that ideology is not a blunt instrument; indeed it is extremely useful to those who know how to wield it.
Both the President and Mr. Putin shape nationalistic beliefs to maintain political power and are perfectly willing to stake power on opaqueness. The President would accommodate an entirely different stance if it served political utility. Putin is a former KGB officer and runs in the same line as Stalin and Brezhnev. Both believe that “ideology is a horse to be ridden, not an ideal to served.”
We must consider that the President does not have the same equestrian skills as Mr. Putin and his ambivalence to the IC only puts the US at greater risk. The lesson the President may learn at the expense of US national security is that if you cannot ride a horse, it is better that you do not pretend that you can. Unfortunately, what we know of the President’s temperament indicates he is not only acting, but thinks he might be the better.
When the US electorate is ready to acknowledge the high pitched warning tone above the media din, they will realize that Mr. Putin’s objectives are fully evident and historically backed — and that our President has been duped. There will be no accommodation with this administration other than those that capitalize on the core assumption that Russia intends to be cooperative — and this could not be farther from the truth. Russia expects to prevail with or without ideological resonance, which might, in fact, turn out to be an elaborate ruse.
Louis D. Lo Praeste is a novelist, global strategist and senior advisor to investment and development funds.
He was born in Boston, educated in London and has lived on almost every continent, save Antarctica. He was named a LinkedIn “Top Voice” in 2015 and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, and various other publications and venues. Mr. Lo Praeste continues to consult and advise on investment, political intelligence and policy, strategic communications and public relations. To contact Louis and to advance purchase his forthcoming collection of essays, check out his website, follow him on Twitter or send him an email.