Does anyone else remember this moment during the third presidential debate of the 2016 election?
Hillary has every reason to sit back and say “I told you so,” because the evidence that Trump is Putin’s puppet continues to mount. This morning, the president added to the list.
Trump on G-7: "Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? … Russia should be in the meeting." pic.twitter.com/jvhgH3Gi06
— Axios (@axios) June 8, 2018
Keep that one in mind for the next time Trump wants to pretend that he’s been tougher on Russia than Obama. It was the previous administration that pushed to remove Russia from what was then known as the G8 after they invaded Ukraine. According to Julie Ioffe, that angered Vladimir Putin more than the economic sanctions.
Also note that Trump doesn’t suggest that there be any conditions placed on Russia in order to allow them to rejoin the group—he simply wants to give them a free ticket back in.
In addition to all that has happened in the lead-up to the G7 summit, the president arrived late and cancelled his bilateral meeting with French President Macron. I expect that he’ll find some excuse to do the same thing with his planned meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. Trump has already announced that he will leave early and head directly to Singapore for his meeting with Kim Jong-un. So the insults to our allies continue to mount.
All of this has triggered talk once again about how Trump is doing Putin’s bidding. Perhaps the most biting comment came from the former U.N. Ambassador.
He doesn’t even try not to seem like the Manchurian Candidate. https://t.co/7mgfoiyzbQ
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) June 8, 2018
Obama’s national security adviser also weighed in.
If Putin were giving Trump instructions, it’s hard to imagine how he could do more damage to America’s alliance and global leadership than Trump has already done. #G7Summit will be a reckoning. https://t.co/NmFU6lSsPQ
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) June 8, 2018
Here’s Josh Marshall:
If candidate Trump and President Putin had made a corrupt bargain which obligated President Trump to destabilize all U.S. security and trade alliances (especially NATO, which has been Russia’s primary strategic goal for 70 years) and advance the strategic interests of Russia, there’s really nothing more remotely realistic he could have done to accomplish that than what he has in fact done.
Jonathan Chait makes a similar point.
“Senior government officials in Washington, London, Berlin, and other European capitals” tell Susan Glasser “they now worry that Trump may be a greater immediate threat to the alliance than even authoritarian great-power rivals, such as Russia and China.” Trump might be a greater threat to the West than Putin. Worse, he might be, in a sense, the very same threat.
None of this is an attempt to revive the Cold War. In some ways, the fact that the threat is coming from Russia is inconsequential. This is actually about a country run by an authoritarian leader who wants to break up the kinds of alliances that have kept the global order fairly stable for the last 60 years and take us back to the “Great Power” politics that resulted in two world wars. Rather than standing up to that threat, our current president is playing the role of puppet to that leader while congressional Republicans stand on the sidelines and give him a pass. Anyone who doesn’t find that both shocking and dangerous isn’t paying attention.