Posts Tagged ‘Crimea’

I, VLADIMIR

I, Vladimir Putin, meet privately with President Trump in Helsinki earlier in week. In private, we discuss many important things. Now, I tell Americans at higher ends of intelligence about what I say to my tovarichDonald.

We start with golf. I love it. Even in deepest, darkest winter, I play 36 holes bare-chested. (Also work at desk bare-chested.) My lowest 72-hole score 45. This is 27 strokes under par. For president of Russia, holes move closer. Donald appreciates.

Women we also love. Donald is my idol. Smart man divorces wife when she stops being hot. Donald does this twice so far. I divorced Lyudmilla after 30 years. She was bad for image. My girlfriend Alina only 30. Even hotter than Melania, though I don’t say this. (Donald Jr. wise to follow father’s example, dump his wife, too.)

We compare popularity. Crowds cheer me everywhere. We have ways to educate people whose hands fail to clap. I say, “Donald, you are rock star.” In speech in Montana early this month, he tells supporters he broke all Elton John’s records. He says Elton John needs organ to draw crowds, not Donald Trump. I nudge his arm. Donald Trump has organ. Not bigger than mine, but huge.

We discuss most serious issues. I tell Donald little green men in Ukraine not Russians, but droids produced by Disney. Crimea always part of Russia. I give Crimea’s Russian speakers chance to come home. Like Donald wishes to make Canada part of U.S., free Canadians from Justin Trudeau and government from foolish burdens like providing healthcare. For Donald’s 2020 campaign theme, I propose “Make America 62 States.” Why not? U.S. took over Mexican territory, lands of native peoples, Hawaii. All Russia asks for is control Near Abroad: Belarus, Moldova, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Georgia. Maybe Syria to protect naval base at Tartus.

We laugh about income taxes. Only fools pay. Giving tax returns to fake media? This not for rich people with money laundered in Zurich, London, New York, Miami. And why should Russians connected to Kremlin reveal loans and equity positions arranged with orange-haired American developers? Private enterprise should be private.

Biggest item is supposed interference in 2016 election. I ask, “How could Russia do or not do this?” I answer, “We are too busy interfering in our own elections.” (I first was elected president in 2000—may Donald serve his people for 20 years!). Is my duty to keep voting process free from outside agitators like university professors, artists, writers, fake journalists, students, housewives, doctors, businessmen who not oligarchs or mafia, grocery store owners and ice-cream sellers. Besides, I say, we know how world works. Interference? Could have been Democrats or anyone.

I remind Donald in last election I receive 92 percent of vote. (We announce lower percentage to show world Russian elections fair.) I tell him this is five more points of popular vote than he says he really received—American vote totals rigged for Crooked Hillary.

Russia and America can be good friends. Man like Donald Trump understands what international relations all about: I grab mine. You grab yours.

I say, “Let us chat soon in Washington.” We will talk about many cultural favorites we share. Song: “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” TV: “The Americans.” Cinema:Manchurian Candidate.

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CRIMEA, OBAMA AND LIMITS

Russia’s penetration of Crimea leads some people to question the will or competence of President Obama. They believe he has presided over a radical diminution of American power. The critics may be right. Or not.

The Crimean situation is complicated. A majority Russian-speaking, Orthodox population feels far closer to Russia than to its western-oriented, Ukrainian-speaking, Catholic “countrymen.” Still, shouldn’t Obama rattle the American saber? Reflecting on the presidents in my lifetime and just before, I’m not convinced the critics make a case—certainly if they don’t provide a specific strategy. So here’s what came before Obama:

After Nine-Eleven, George W. Bush left the killing or capture of Osama bin Laden to Afghan warlords—and blew it. Then he moved American forces from Afghanistan to Iraq. We toppled Saddam Hussein but left Iraq in a bloody shambles at great cost to us. Bill Clinton waged a partial war on Islamist terrorism but couldn’t halt it. Nine-Eleven took place ten months after he left the White House. George H.W. Bush may have played it smartest. In 1991, U.S. forces kicked Saddam out of Kuwait in 100 hours—then left.

Ronald Reagan, the epitome of American Cold War macho, couldn’t control civil wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1983, truck bombs killed 241 American servicemen in Beirut. Yes, the Soviet Union collapsed. For the most part, that was internal. Jimmy Carter, to whom some compare Obama, failed to keep the Shah on Iran’s throne. An attempt to rescue American hostages held by Iranian revolutionaries embarrassed our nation.

Gerald Ford warmed the seat in the Oval Office after Richard Nixon resigned. Nixon flexed American military muscle, continuing the Vietnam War until late March 1973. That represented four more years battling guerillas and an army from the Third World who toppled South Vietnam in 1975. Lyndon Johnson sent combat troops to Vietnam in 1964. It seems North Vietnamese naval forces twice attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Only the second incident never took place. The war cost 58,000 American lives and plunged our society into turmoil.

John F. Kennedy sent military advisors to South Vietnam. And while he forced Russia to withdraw missiles from Cuba, he had to pull American missiles from Turkey. Dwight Eisenhower kept Americans involved in South Vietnam after the French withdrew. He did get us out of Korea as promised, and South Korea eventually became a global success. North Korea continues as a brutal dictatorship.

Harry Truman sent U.S. troops to Korea to combat communist aggression as part of a U.N. “police action.” Over thirty thousand Americans were killed. When Franklin Roosevelt died before I was born, the Allied victory over Germany and Japan was foreordained. Those allies included the Soviet Union to which Roosevelt and Truman yielded Eastern Europe.

Where will history place Obama among these presidents? I don’t know. I can say that for all its differences, today’s world poses the same basic problems as the one into which I was born. American military power remains great but not without limits. By acknowledging this, Obama may be behind the times—or possibly ahead of them.

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