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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,209

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The media is still refusing to state the obvious about Helsinki

The reason why U.S. officials at the highest levels still don't know exactly what Trump and Putin talked about and agreed to there is because Trump didn't then and doesn't now want them to know what Trump and Putin talked about and agreed to.. That is the one and only reason why Trump would hold a summit with Putin that excluded every other member of his administration from those talks, and why not even a stenographer was allowed to be present at the meeting.

It was not simply unusual for the Secretary of State, the Ambassador to Russia, the head of U.S. intelligence operations, the CIA director, and the National Security Advisor to be excluded from all actual discussions between Putin and Trump, it was designed to keep the contents of those discussion secretive; guarded against members of our own government from discovering what actually happened in that room. The intent always was total evasion from discovery of what exactly transpired in that room.

It is that simple, and it needs to be described as what it was.

Is this a runaway hashhtag yet?

If it isn't, it should be:


Master negotiator? MASTER NEGOTIATOR??? Is that what he calls himself? REALLY?

The Middle East: The crown jewel of the peace process in the Middle East is the ultimate status of Jerusalem. Everybody, and I mean everybody knows that. So Donald Trump decides to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move our embassy there. Of course there is no simultaneous acknowledgement of Jerusalem also being the capital of the Palestinian state. Trump followed the lead of the hard liners in Israel who see all of Palestine as a rightful part of Israel, starting with total control of Jerusalem. What was Israel forced to concede in return for being granted this ultimate wet dream by an American President, outside of the framework of a comprehensive Middle East peace treaty? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And now the leverage is gone.

North Korea: Decades after the cessation of fighting on the Korea peninsular there still is no peace. Both sides remain armed to the teeth in a state that can be called deterrence through mutually assured destruction (for Koreans at the very least). Now North Korea has developed nuclear weaponry to the point where American territorial security can be threatened by it. North Korea seeks two major things. Recognition on the world stage as having a legitimate government with full acceptance and standing among the world's other nations, and iron clad assurances that the current regime inside North Korea will be left intact as a family run fiefdom. America wants North Korean denuclearization. What does Trump do? He agrees to the first time ever summit between an American President and North Korea's "Supreme Leader", elevating the latter to peer status on the world stage. Then he suspends American joint military exercises with South Korea designed to ensure a robust military countermeasure to North Korean provocations, meant to pose a credible threat to the existence of the North Korean regime should it ever pursue military aggression. What was North Korea forced to change in return? Nothing. Absolutely nothing (they promised to do better in the future). And now the leverage is gone.

And then there is Russia. Russia which invaded our election process. Russia which secretly helped pry the UK out of the European Union. Russia which seeks to undermine all Western Democracies through disinformation campaigns (among other means) that elevate Neo Nazi forces across the European continent. And Russia which invaded the neighboring state of The Ukraine and annexed the Crimea. The Crimea was legally once a part of Russia, and Putin wanted it back. It has a large Russian speaking population, and warm water ports. But in part because Russia seized it by force, Russia's economy now labors under significant economic sanctions that it wants to get out from under. Recognizing Russian sovereignty over The Crimea would be a massive gift to Putin, one that would potentially further destabilize the until recently recognized world order. Big stakes, high cost. A skilled negotiator might secretly dangle that possible concession as a reward at the end of a long process of negotiations in which Russia made significant verifiable and multiple positive changes in it's behavior on the world stage, and towards the United States specifically. Not to be determined now, to be evaluated later. But what is Trump now doing? Openly discussing United States recognition of Russia's annexation of The Crimea. And what will Russia be forced to do in return? Probably nothing, absolutely noting. And then the leverage would be gone.

Put the odds at 50/50 that Trump will offer to return Alaska to Russia as a goodwill gesture at the upcoming summit. Such is the skill of our nation's "master negotiator".
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