There are three theories put about to explain US President Donald Trump’s behavior toward Russia, and for unknown reasons the two most likely ones are almost entirely absent from US electronic media. The theories, in ascending order of likelihood, are:
- The Manchurian Candidate: He’s being blackmailed or has been a Russian asset for years.
- The Wanna-be Dictator: He believes that countries should be run like companies — in essence autocracies.
- The Deadbeat: He’s not only not rich, but he’s badly in debt, and Russian billionaires are among his main creditors.
The Manchurian Candidate theory was largely the one Democrats implied during the 2016 presidential election, and most have implicitly embraced since then, along with many commentators on MSNBC and CNN. It’s the least likely, although if it’s true, Robert Mueller will probably be letting us know soon. But there’s little in Trump’s past that would suggest this is the case other than his embrace of Russia over the Barack Obama administration’s reactions to the annexation of Crimea and Russian activity in Ukraine.
But it’s far more likely that his support of Russia during the Obama administration had everything to do with hating anything the United States’ first black president had done (impose sanctions on Russia and expel diplomats, etc) as well as wanting to trash the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Even his dislike of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the sort of standard-variety right-wing stuff that has been promoted within the Republican Party from the days of the John Birch Society to Steve Bannon’s recent White House advisory role, and reflects an isolationist fear of alliances rather than an affection for non-Nato actors like Russia.
The Wanna-be Dictator theory has a lot more credibility and explains much of why Trump gravitates to strongman types like Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, and China’s Xi Jinping.
Trump knows very little about the history behind democratic republics (it would be shocking if he could even identify Thomas Hobbes or John Locke, or define the Enlightenment) and virtually nothing (based on public pronouncements) about the fundamental reasons “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Businesses are basically serfdoms. The CEO is the king, the board and senior executives are the courtiers and landed gentry, and the workers are the serfs. This has been Trump’s experience ever since he inherited his daddy’s business, and he has never in his life been accountable to any principle (like “democracy”) or to any persons.
So, much like George W. Bush’s “joke” that “If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier … as long as I’m the dictator,” Trump not only may think it would be easier but, even more ominously, may think it’s desirable for the country.
Republicans have long used false analogies of “government as business or home” (particularly with regard to debt) that distort the real reasons for the existence of, and functions of, government. So it wouldn’t be surprising if Trump were to believe this nonsense, out of both ignorance and temperament.
The Deadbeat theory is the most likely, although it doesn’t preclude either or both of the above.
… there’s one huge, simple explanation for Donald Trump’s perpetual unwillingness to even hint at direct criticism of Putin.
When given a variety of explanations for something, the principle known as Occam’s Razor proposes that, all things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. And there’s one huge, simple explanation for Donald Trump’s perpetual unwillingness to even hint at direct criticism of Putin. And it’s not the rumored pee-pee tapes.
Here’s how and why.
Trump is both a terrible negotiator and a terrible businessman. Dozens of his companies have failed, many small businesses and workers have been denied money he owed them, and his bankruptcies are legendary.
If the American people don’t think this is a big deal, the American banks sure do. After Trump’s last bankruptcy, so far as press reports indicate, he could no longer borrow money at reasonable rates in the US. A real-estate developer who can’t borrow money is rapidly out of business.
So Trump, as his son Eric tells it, turned away from US banks and went to Russian billionaires for his money. In 2014, when asked directly how he could have acquired US$100 million in cash for new golf-course acquisitions, Eric Trump famously said: “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
So if President Putin were to order his own billionaires to get their money back out of Trump’s properties and refuse to give him any more, Trump could well end up broke.
As in, losing all his properties, from Mar-a-Lago to Trump Tower.
It could wipe out all of his remaining businesses.
His kids would have to get real jobs, and enjoy no more big-game safaris.
His wife might leave him, and take their son.
He could end up living in a cardboard box on skid row.
Trump’s cringeworthy sycophancy explained
If he’s seeing that collection of pictures in his head when he looks at Vladimir Putin, it would go a long way to explain his prayerful body posture and cringeworthy sycophancy.
This also would explain why Trump has been so unwilling to release his tax returns, even after he won the election.
As journalist David Cay Johnston has pointed out, Trump is almost certainly nowhere nearly as rich as he brags, and has a history of connections with shady/mafia characters to get the money he needs.
But this is not about just being embarrassed for inflating his net worth — Trump’s a man who has little ability to feel shame, as we have seen over and over again. Similarly, it’s not about the pee-pee tapes.
After bragging that he can grab women by the crotch — and having dozens more accuse him of other sexual misdeeds — he must know that if he’d paid a couple of white Russian hookers to urinate on the bed that America’s first black president and his wife had slept in, it might well have actually helped him with his base. It surely wouldn’t hurt him politically, and he knows that.
Russian oligarchs hold the trump card
Trump isn’t afraid of being exposed as a lout or a racist; he’s afraid of being financially wiped out if Russian oligarchs pull out of Trump properties.
It’s why he’s even willing to take the risks and political hit by defying the US constitution and hanging on to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. — he needs the money to keep his businesses afloat.
In 2016, Fortune magazine analyzed his federal public filings and concluded that he’s both less wealthy than he says he is and that he regularly lies about it.
Like everything else in Trump’s life, this is all about money and its relationship to his own fragile self-image. If a few Russian oligarchs say “Nyet,” he would suffer severe damage, both reputational and business-wise, and it might well be damage from which he can’t recover.
It may also explain why Russia (and a few other countries with billionaire oligarchs and/or Trump business interests, from the Middle East countries with Trump properties to China with Trump’s daughter Ivanka’s manufacturing) were enthusiastic about Donald Trump becoming president.
A debtor is more willing to compromise
A man who depends on others for his financial lifeblood is a man more willing to concede ground in governmental and policy areas.
Now that special counsel Robert Mueller has, according to some reports, acquired access to Trump’s business records, all this may come out, which may explain why Trump seems so obsessed with — and frightened by — Mueller’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “witch hunt.”
If Mueller exposes Trump’s financial fragility, it may tip the first domino, leading to the collapse of the entire Trump empire.
It would be interesting to see if the Chinese, for example, would then claw back the billion dollars they just pledged to Trump’s Indonesian property, or his daughter’s hundred-million-dollar Chinese trademarks, which coincidentally preceded by days Trump’s decision to let ZTE resume selling spy-able phones to US citizens.
Equally interesting will be if the Middle Eastern billionaires and state wealth funds that are lending more than a billion to bail out Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner decide he’s no longer a good bet, either.
This is one of the few scenarios that help explain everybody’s behavior within the Trump enterprise, as well as the people in the family’s orbit.
As FBI associate director Mark Felt (“Deep Throat”) memorably urged Watergate journalist Bob Woodward: “Follow the money.”
This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.
All 3 scenarios are worthless, futile, beating around the bush, crying over spilt milk, trying to put Humpty Dumpty on the wall again.
70 years ago Mao told the world that America was a paper tiger. And that was well before the Korea stalemate, Viet-Nam rout, 9/11, fake WMD, Iraq quagmire, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, AF-Pak debacle, rise of BRICS, Arab spring, Jihad challenge, irrelevance of EU and Israel, loss of Iran and Pakistan as assets and allies, financial meltdown, debt, depression, despair, liar Clinton vs bigot Trump hell bent on replacing baseball with pussy-grabbing as national sport, and XI’s BRI/New Silk Road quest for world peace and Dialogue of Civilizations.
Either of 3 ways America is history.
This author of 25 books should know better.
4. Irrelevant. Yawn.
This would gave been damaging during the campaign period if exposed then but this just sound too preposterous and insulting for the Americans and the US security agencies to be actually true.????
If it wasn’t for Thom’s hatred of Republicans and of Trump, he’d easily see that the real reason is none of these. It’s more than obvious: Trump and Putin are both really good people and very far-sighted statesmen, and they see that peace between our countries is the best possible thing that could happen to the world. It took a lot of courage for these two peacemakers to make in the face of the world’s warmongers, but they are moving ahead. Anyone with any sense at all would support them, and be working to remove from office all those who oppose them.
As far as Nato goes, the American people no longer wish to pay for or be involved in Europe’s security problems. They are very wealthy and out number Russia 3 to 1 and are more than capable of dealling with their own problems.
Reading your first paragraph I was certain that this was an ironical comment. Your second paragraph changed my mind. Regarding NATO, the US cut back on forces signficantly following the end of the Cold War and continued presence in Europe has nothing to do with protecting Europe’s security – it is all about US strategic interests. How else could the US project power into that part of the world? Build another 50 aircraft carriers?
Mike Presky – Are you a paid stooge, or just a dope issuing your lame opinion gratis?
Your feeeble analysis lacks any factual reference. Vague references to Forbes. Alleged loans from Russians. Allegedly, banks will not loan him money. It all may come out via the Mueller investigation, which amounts to doodley-squat at the moment. It is not even speculative, it’s gossip. His bankruptcies: you can read those documents, instead of simply referencing them as accounts ‘in the news’. Read them, they are informative and complex. The consent of the governed, that’s rich. He wants to be a dictator so he embraces Russia and Putin, that’s less than thin. False analogies as to the purpose of government by Republicans, Democrats are immune? Government serves the interests of the powerful. Which Russian oligarchs need to mutter nyet? Which shadowy Mafia figures did he interact with? Do you know who controlled the concrete industry and construction unions in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and onward? Trump paid Russian hookers to pee on a bed, you repeat that as a maybe, perhaps, fact? Why? You want to practice journalism? Do the work. You want to be a gossip columnist, fine. Don’t confuse the two.
Trump is not the problem. He could easily be sent packing by Congress. The real problem is that the greed of congressional Republicans and their billionaire golfing buddies is apparently insatiable.
You are prime windbag.
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