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America’s Russia Policy

February 15, 2017

Foreign policy and national security have become a political football in a campaign to unseat Donald Trump a mere five weeks into his Presidency. Much of this is self-inflicted due to goofy statements by President Trump about Russia and Vladimir Putin that are far off from current public opinion about Russia. And President Trump’s reluctance to release his tax returns fuels speculation that he is hiding substantial investments and business ties in Russia.  Suggestions that President Trump is being blackmailed by Putin are rife.

When released–as they surely will be–transcripts of conversations by Trump campaign personnel with Russian government representatives, discussions by former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, with pro-Russian leaders in Ukraine plus conversations with Russian officials by former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, may lead to demands that President Trump be impeached. After the Congressional elections of 2018, Impeachment may become a practical solution to a serious  domestic political problem.

We don’t need that, of course, but what, if not appeasement, should American policy toward Russia be?

During the quarter century since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, hopes by Americans that Russia would become a viable democracy have been shattered and a new Russian autocracy has been fashioned at the head of which is a former KGB officer and now President of Russia.  Putin’s intentions are to reconstitute a Russian empire that includes recovery of Ukraine and repression of democratic impulses in former Soviet dependent states. The Baltic states in particular are at risk to repressive actions by Russia, and as seen in the case of Georgia, military intervention.

At the heart and soul of American foreign policy toward a new Russian empire, therefore, should be preservation of the independence of a free and democratic Polish nation and as many of the former Soviet satellites who are capable of resisting Russian imperial ambitions.

American policy should seek to protect Poland, the Baltic states, Georgia and Ukraine from Russia’s imperial ambitions without sparking a military conflict. Capitulation to Russia, which appears to be the policy of Donald Trump, needs to be modified to reflect reality, and American military forces strengthened for a long and prolonged period of aggression by Russia.

What should we do to prepare for a series of perilous engagements with Russia?

America’s ability to become energy independent enables the United States to provide natural gas and other fossil fuels to Western Europe and that should commence immediately.

America’s nuclear missiles need improvement and nuclear submarine forces should begin frequent patrols to alert Russia of the dangers that could become reality, if a war faction in Russia dominates.

Caution must be exercised when appeals for armaments for Ukraine are expressed, but American Defense and State Department policy should be directed at resisting, by every means except military action, absorption of Ukraine into a new Russian empire.

Military support of Poland should be continued as well as placement of defensive missiles in countries in the region willing to stand up to Russian imperial designs.

An active policy to exclude Bulgaria from commerce with Western Europe and the United States and Canada should be directed at reforming this last remnant of a Soviet Union.

And the United States should prepare for the consequences of a collapse of the European Union which could occur within two to five years.

Finally, if we remember the extensive investment in “Soviet studies” during the Cold War, it may be of value to immediately commission revival of investment in Russian studies including Russian history, language, economics and culture.  As of today, there has been little investment in this area since 1991.

 

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Wade permalink
    March 18, 2017 6:00 pm

    According to what I was reading the other day, Manafort’s work in Ukraine was with the Ukrainian Government, not with Russia, though the mainstream press passed it off as being just the opposite. To my knowledge, we do not have any official defense treaty with Ukraine or Georgia. In fact, this is exactly what concerns me when Poland and the Baltic nations go and announce their intent to aid Ukraine if war breaks out between Ukraine and Russia. As members of NATO, does that mean we are automatically required to render aid to the Poles if they get into a shooting match, on their own, with the Russians?

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