[Straight face] But Russia is really really good at cyber security especially the testing side of things.....
Maybe we could invite Russia, China and the Norks to test our stuff for us...
Security experts have poured scorn on plans by US president Donald Trump to work more closely with Russia on cybersecurity. After the summit in Helsinki on Monday, both Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin deflected questions related to the US intelligence community's assessment that Russia attempted to interfer in the …
>So kapersky is back in business ?
No, as that means no cut for the US government (sales tax, corporation tax etc.),
just that the US spooks want to have the same access to Kaspersky as the Russians and Israeli's (remember it was an Israeli outfit that hacked into Kaspersky and 'detected' evidence of other on-going hacking...)
-- cheap hamburger is to a hungry Rottweiler.
Given that "We [the Trump Organization] are seeing a lot of money flowing in from Russia", given that Trump has promised since 2011 to release his tax returns (yes, even before he was a candidate) and has broken all of those promises, given that his "debt-loving" method of real estate dealing has in the past several years given way to a "cash-dealing" method which is unusual in that crowd, I think he has a hidden source of big money. It's Russia.
The autocratic, corrupt, and oligarchic nature of Russian business means that Putin, as top autocrat, can, to a great degree, control the behavior of Russian banks and big-money lenders. If he requires a group of lenders to call in payment on a loan of 500 million, as a "favor" to him, then they will probably do it. Or end up poisoned, imprisoned, or both at once.
And so: Trump did the Helsinki roll-over for Putin because he has to please the Russian gang boss. He attacked NATO for the same reason: he is, under the sheets, pwned by Putin. Why would he say the EU is America's foe? Because he has to show Putin he will cooperate, and deliver whatever he can to aid Putin.
Just guesswork. But if Trump's tax returns were carefully vetted, and all the shell companies and offshore LLCs were unraveled, I'll bet there would be a bunch of threads leading to Russian financial oligarchs. That's Putin's leverage.
And offering Putin "cooperation" with US digital security agencies would be a lovely bit of treason.
I don't think Trump is controlled by anybody. Including Trump. I think he just says the first thing that comes into his head. Which can make you popular for a bit as a "straight talker" - particularly against politicians who are trying to use measured language and hold consistent positions, who can be made to look shifty.
But in foreign policy none of that really works. Foreign policy is often about tiny details of nuance and repeating the same position consistently for years on end, to convince other actors to move towards your position.
Given how little of his own money Trump has in any of his ventures, which are all legally separated, if someone calls in a loan on a big project - he can just let it go bust and let the creditors suffer all the pain. If Trump owes you $100m, you're in trouble, not him. As he can just abandon the project, leaving you holding the baby.
Whether he took direct help from Russian hackers during the election is another matter.
However, in practise, Trump has said he wants closer relations with Russia but has so far failed to get them. Sanctions are slightly tougher than when he took office - and the very fact that Russia were so unsuble in their election meddling means that Trump will find it incredibly hard to move closer to Russia. Even if he really wants to. Which personally I doubt. I rather suspect he said nice things about Putin because it pissed off Clinton and made a nice point of difference between them. Which a small side order of seeing himself as a big scary alpha male like old Vlad.
I don't think there's much of a Putin masterplan either. Like Trump he seems to be all about short-term tactics. The idea isn't to get a specific person into power. It's to justify Putin's dictatorship by trying to show that democracy is equally bad. But Churchill was right. Democracy is the worst system, except for all the others.
Putin has a big problem, namely that of a declining population. He has a a master plan to reverse this trend. One of the ways round it is via acquisitions such as Crimea. This population issue is much grater than that of the West. Merkel tried to solve her manpower issue with open borders, Putin prefers having larger borders. If in doubt look around the borders of Russia with the exception of perhaps China, there's meddling going on.
I suspect Trump's meeting had on the one hand North Korea in mind as the principal prize or on the other perhaps it was an attempt to thwart a new Ribentrof/Molotov agreement, this time an economic one. Heaven knows what was promised in return; a new Yalta.
>new Ribentrof/Molotov agreement,
Read some history, pal. You'll find that the Russians spent a lot of time and effort trying to build up an alliance against Nazi Germany but were thwarted at every turn. Their foreign minister resigned, was replaced by Molotov and the Germans, who were very hot to get it done to meet their September deadline, were hot to conclude that a non-aggression pact so they could invade the West without worrying about the Red Army sweeping in from the East. (They need not have worried anyway; as it turned out the Winter Wars between Russian and Finland exposed systemic weaknesses in the Red Army which the German planners were able to exploit.)
But who needs facts when a lifetime of propaganda teaches you everything you need to know.
(It also might be a good idea to quickly look up what the Crimea is and how it relates to the rest of Russia.)
(BTW -- I'm don't work for the Kremlin. I'm American and I doubt they could afford me.)
They started by both invading and shredding Poland...after that Russia invaded Finland, and also the Baltic States, plus part of Romania something often forgotten.... not very different from Nazis, isn't it?
Meanwhile the 1930s were busy times for Stalin - the Great Purge. Not exactly someone you would like as your friend, unless forced by events.
Germany started invading Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland - not the West. That was much riskier. It could be that France and Britain thought that Germany could attack Russia as well, so the two dictatorships would wear out each other.
Actually, there were also talks for a German-Soviet alliance against Britain and France... the situation was very fluid in 1939-1940 - because there were no "natural allies" among Germany, Russia and Britain/France. Russian and Japan struck a deal as well, which Stalin broke only after the atomic bombs made clear USA was going to end the war "too quickly".
The weakness of the Red Army during the Winter in Finland was also due to the employment of Ukrainian soldiers or the like who weren't trained to fight in so extreme conditions - the reason was they shared less cultural links with the Finnish, less risks of "fraternization" with the enemy.
@martinusher "Read some history, pal. You'll find that the Russians spent a lot of time and effort trying to build up an alliance against Nazi Germany but were thwarted at every turn."
No, you read some history - I did a history degree on inter war period. The Soviet Union was happily working with both Weimar and Nazi era Germany on military technology both before and after the remilitarisation of the Rhineland openly broke the terms of the Versailles treaty. It was this cooperation along with the Molotov Ribbentrop pact that convinced Stalin he had a long breathing space before any Nazi aggression was going to come his way, and was why he was paralysed by disbelief in the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa.
Litvinov - Motolov's predecessor as foreign minister - didn't resign. He was essentially shunted sideways into another job since his Jewish ethnicity was a barrier to Stalin's hope for further accomodations with Nazi Germany.
I. A. Spartacus --
You may be right. Trump is certainly the most highly-placed scatterbrain in the world right now. What comes out of his mouth may indeed be nothing more than verbalization of the shiny-lights cast by his disco-ball mind. He may have shifting hunches, and no coherent strategy whatsoever.
But his obsequious behavior toward Russia seems to be one pattern. His attacks on Western economic and military alliances which oppose Russian influence seem to be another pattern. I'm not sure why he is behaving this way; it seems politically risky and, of course, strategically stupid. To me, unexplained patterns bespeak hidden purposes.
I respectfully disagree with your characterization of Putin as wanting in long-term strategy, though. I think he is very good at playing a long game. He's managed to rotate between premiership and the presidency for 19 years, longer than most Russian top dogs of the post-Stalin era. I think his strategies for destablizing Western governments were long-planned, have been intelligently and flexibly executed, and will be very hard to counter.
As far as money goes, yes -- Trump's lawyers and accountants have shielded his personal fortune from the business reversals of Trump Organization. However, he may fear:
1. Adding another critical financial reversal to his record. "Six bankruptcies -- call that a deal-maker? Call that a successful businessman? Hah!" Those financial failures sting his ego. Look at the way he pretends they were somehow successes.
2. If Putin had the Russian bankers call in such a debt, it would inevitably become public. Revelation that an American President is massively in debt to an enemy of America may actually start turning Trump's supporters against him. It may even make McConnell and the Republican machine repudiate the President. He may fear that more than the losing money.
So maybe I'm seeing shadows, or misinterpreting the patterns which do exist. It's a show worth watching, though! All the clowns are there.
Trump is certainly the most highly-placed scatterbrain in the world right now. What comes out of his mouth may indeed be nothing more than verbalization of the shiny-lights cast by his disco-ball mind. He may have shifting hunches, and no coherent strategy whatsoever.
I think this overestimates Trump. Because he looks like a person and makes noises like a person we assume that, well, he's a person, even if he's a bit disorganised in his thinking. I don't think he is: I think he was a person once upon a time, but now I don't think there's anything really left. He's just a twitching bundle of responses to whatever stimulus comes in with no guiding intelligence at all: a behaviourist's parody of a person. For a while he (who I should really call 'it' I suppose) can persuade you that there's a person in there, but eventually, like Eliza or Parry, you realise that there's no-one actually there: all that there is is this stuttering mass of responses to stimuli. I mean, really, what does this mean?
Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart —you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, [...]
I think the answer's obvious: it doesn't mean anything, it's just some Markov chain which has trained itself on the decaying remains of the thing that used to be Donald Trump, that used to be a human being, but is now not even a very good simulation of one. There's nothing actually in there at all.
Yes, indeed. But like Pavlov's legendary dogs, Trump responds predictably to certain stimuli. That's why there are patterns in his behavior. Irrational, yes. Random, no.
I really did come up with that twaddle about Russian loans on my own. Just now I read George Will's column in the Washington Post in re Trump's subservience to Putin:
"The most innocent inference is that for decades he [Trump] has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too. A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant."
(George Will is one of the few real conservatives left in the American media. It saddens me to see writers like Mark Thiessen grovelling before the neo-fascist reactionary right as if before a serious political philosophy. But I digress. Sorry.)
Jeff Merkley, US Senator from Oregon, opines that it is not money but sex tapes: "It's the standard strategy of Russia when people visit there who are important, to try to get compromising information on them, to set them up with hookers, to tape everything that goes on in their room. So it's likely that they have that." Reffy
I don't agree, because Trump is notoriously dismissive of his own amoral sexual predation. His record of cheating on all his wives with whatever large-bosomed female took his fancy is well known. Frankly, if a tape of Russian prostitutes pissing on a hotel bed were made public, I imagine that most Trump supporters would say "Yeah! You ROCK, Donald! Make America wet again!" And they'd go home and tell their wives to pee on their pillows.
So I don't think that's why Trump grovels before Putin.
Finally, to all those farther down the thread who note that while Putin shot down civilian air liners, annexed Crimea, allied himself with Assad the Butcher, and had various individuals inside Russian and outside it assassinated, America is not exactly a spotless paragon of virtue: well, duh!
That's not the point. The Point is: work toward a Good Orderly Direction. Discourage bad things; encourage good things. When leaders are fuckwits, take notice. When Pol Pot says "we must purge the weak by killing them all" then take notice, yes? When the Prez of the USA pleasures a tyrant, whether it's a tinpot like Duarte or a cunning megalomaniac like Kim Jong-un or a cold psychopath like Putin, then that Prez is a fuckwit. He deserves as much censure as we can heap upon his nasty head.
That's my say. Tough day at work, but I have 10 working days left until retirement. And my passport is current. If it's Kristalnacht in the USA, I may still make it out. :)
"I think this overestimates Trump. Because he looks like a person and makes noises like a person we assume that, well, he's a person, even if he's a bit disorganised in his thinking. "
I do sometimes wonder if there a zip hidden under his wig and maybe he farts a lot more than expected.
You do not have to guess. Trump's tax avoidance scheme was available on the internet before the election: he made such enormous losses that he has not had to pay tax for years. If you have plenty of time ask you search engine for "Trump Russia money laundering". There will be enough results to keep you reading for days then you can try: "ZTE Indonesia theme park".
He attacked NATO for the same reason: he is, under the sheets, pwned by Putin. Why would he say the EU is America's foe?
Because the USA has a big trade deficit with the EU. The EU ensures that this is perpetuated by locking US firms out of the EU market on regulatory grounds. On food this is a bit of a piss take considering that EU firms sell horsemeat as beef, sell sausages infected with hepatitis and eggs containing dangerous levels of fipronil. Yet American food is supposedly dangerous and needs to be kept out of the wonderfully safe and well regulated EU market because it might not be as safe.
And this is just covering what's been mentioned in the news recently. Shall we note here that the EU managed to screw up regulation of vehicles leading to the EU having a crisis over illegally high (and dangerous) levels of emissions and thereby pollution, which was turned up by the US regulators who if one were to beleive the EU party line are dangerously lax and in the pocket of those companies. Things don't quite add up there, do they?
Another reason the USA might consider the EU to be taking the piss is that the USA is obliged by treaty through NATO to militarily defend what are primarily EU nations, quite a few of which then massively neglect their military establishment (cough, germany, cough) while making a killing out of one sided trade with the USA and then saying that they treat NATO spending of 2% of GDP as a target they will work towards, but then only plan to increase spending to 1.5% of GDP over the course of the next decade despite sitting on a record budget surplus. And you wonder why Trump gets rather confrontational with Ms Merkel?
These points might have something to do with why Trump thinks the EU is taking the piss and considers it an enemy.
What are you on about? The US has a food poisoning rate of 14.7%
"CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die."
The UK rate is just ~1.6% of the population.
That the UK and EU have better food safety than the US is a simple fact.
Drawing an equivalence between official standards and 'horsemeat as meat' which was a criminal act is dumb especially as it was caught and traced due to the testing regime.
Which of course is one of the things which the Brexit elites would love to remove if given a chance.
"a few of which then massively neglect their military establishment (cough, germany, cough) while making a killing out of one sided trade with the USA and then saying that they treat NATO spending of 2% of GDP as a target they will work towards..."
Maybe Germany is able to get by with spending a smaller proportion of GDP on defence than the US because it doesn't feel the need to have a military base and two wars in every continent?
@ Insert sadsack pun here
"Maybe Germany is able to get by with spending a smaller proportion of GDP on defence than the US because it doesn't feel the need to have a military base and two wars in every continent?"
Germany couldnt deliver pilots and planes to fight ISIS. Only the war minister managed to arrive at the destination. They also dont seem to have many working ones either- http://www.dw.com/en/only-4-of-germanys-128-eurofighter-jets-combat-ready-report/a-43611873
Germany spent their money on other things which is why they really dont want the US protection to leave.
"Germany couldnt deliver pilots and planes to fight ISIS. Only the war minister managed to arrive at the destination. ... Germany spent their money on other things which is why they really dont want the US protection to leave."
From a friend I hear Germany has many fine young men who have done a year's military training voluntarily. However, they have all gone back to Turkey to do it. They're the second, third generation of ethnic Turkish people in Germany to whom, for some strange reason, Germany doesn't want to give German nationality. I am sure they are saving Germany money in this way.
For a long time many were happy Germany no longer had very strong military forces, and a Constitution forbidding military operations abroad. In turn Germany took advantage of it.
Just now it looks US became a military-obsessed nation. You've seen it in the NFL quarrel about kneeing players being "disrespectful" of the flag and armed forces, something you would expect in Nazi Germany or Soviet Union (and Putin's Russia), not in a country where the First Amendment should protect freedom of speech.
Well, given that the Germans have, I believe, 4 subs only and none can go to sea; only 1or 2 ships that can sail, less than 10% of their fighter jets that can fly; perhaps they really are starving their military and expecting the US to defend them while promising (with a smirk) to do better next time.
The US doesan't expect EU members to match its military spending, they spend at least 2 x as a % of GDP, but they do quite reasonably expect the Europeans to invest and maintain some capability if they expect the US to cooperate on joint defense in Europe. And with a few exceptions, they are not meeting their agreed 2% level and haven't for a long time. The results are that most EU countries are not capable of deploying adequate forces to defend themselves.
Why should the US continue to support them if they will not at least spend the agreed amounts and have a functioning military ?
Conversely, why should the Europeans raise their military spending, when Trump shows just as much contempt for those who do meet or exceed their 2% threshold as those who don't? And is willing to change the rules at whim?
What's the point of trying to please such a man? Might as well just ignore him, it's a lot cheaper - and will win a lot more votes - and the outcome is the same in the end.
I actually agree, raising military spending in a lot of European countries may be justified. Just figure out first what sort of threats do protect against.
And yes, Germany is both politically and legally restricted in what they can do militarily. Their constitution was largely US written, and after 1945 military adventures were highly unpopular - and still are.
" Germans have, I believe, 4 subs only and none can go to sea; only 1or 2 ships that can sail, less than 10% of their fighter jets that can fly;"
You believe? Or do you have actual citations for this?
With the end of the Cold War, the Germans have cut back on military spending, yes. There is a problem with organisation of repairs and spare parts. However, this is not a permanent situation, as once the repairs are done...well then they are all back in operation surely? they don't, however, have the US obsession with the cult of the military.
"Because the USA has a big trade deficit with the EU"
So what? How does that make the EU an enemy?
"These points might have something to do with why Trump thinks the EU is taking the piss and considers it an enemy."
I suspect those are indeed the reasons why, in Trump's pointy little head, he thinks the EU is an enemy. But he's disastrously wrong. What he's doing is making enemies of all our friends, and making our actual enemies more powerful.
"Because the USA has a big trade deficit with the EU. The EU ensures that this is perpetuated by locking US firms out of the EU market on regulatory grounds."
So the US firms who do import goods into the EU are somehow dodging regulations? Or are they just, you know, complying with the local market regs?
You are aware that the US also has standards, and won't let you import goods if they don't meet them?
The US is also one of the main actors when it comes to using regulation to engage in protectionist activities. Ignoring the massive subsidies to the agriculture and dairy industries, they'll quite happily slap tariffs on goods (milk, lamb) when it suits them to protect their own markets.
I'm also very curious how one goes about having a trade surplus whilst also having the world's reserve currency*. Considering that if you start dicking around with the petrodollar then you'll end up at the end of the rope with your country being "liberated".
* other than have the other industrial powers smash themselves to pieces and have the "winners" be in hock to you for 60 years
"quite a few of which then massively neglect their military establishment "
That would be Germany right? The one with a constitution that has quite strict rules on what the German forces can do when deployed outside of NATO? Where the parliament has to agree to the mission and sets a time limit on it?
It's almost like Germany is following rules laid down to ensure it never becomes a military empire. Craziness.
On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any benefit to being part of the US GWOT. Do Britain and France* (who are OK operating under US rules of engagement) get treated differently than the Germans? Do they fuck. Special relationship my ass, Trump's people didn't even have the phone number for the PM, glad to see they know what's important....
* you can make as many dumb jokes about French military victories etc, but in many cases when US troops are in the shit, it's French planes and PBI who are the cavalry.
"It's almost like Germany is following rules laid down to ensure it never becomes a military empire. Craziness."
I wonder who it was who had such a big hand in laying down those rules and when? Might it have been the USA? Same applies to why there is such a large US military presence in Japan (which Trump also railed against the cost of until someone told him the Japanese pay the USA for said military presence.)
"On food this is a bit of a piss take considering that EU firms"
Only you take the wrong examples. All you cite are cases of miss behaving of certain designated firms, and their actions have been stopped and punished as sons as they have been known.
You cannot compare the foul play of one company with the practices accepted at country level like bleaching poultry, feeding GMO to ignoring customers, hormones in meat, OJ with nearly no orange in it, honey that does no come from bees, etc.
"Another reason the USA might consider the EU to be taking the piss is that the USA is obliged by treaty through NATO to militarily defend what are primarily EU nations, quite a few of which then massively neglect their military establishment"
How much were the lives lost in the NATO mission to Afganistan worth then?
How much was each of the 400 UK lives worth?
How much was each of the 60 odd Germans lives worth? the canadians.. the french, the aussies? even the danish took some
And the wounded/injured?
Then look me in the eye and wittle on about how NATO countries dont contribute..
There is no doubt we (US) have some issues with our European allies in NATO and the EU. But, the only real allies of a democracy are other democracies. The only NATO country to invoke the mutual defense part of the NATO treaty is the US and our allies helped out in Afghanistan. Most of the complaints lodged with the WTO over unfair trading practices were from the US, and we won most of them. While our European allies could and should be spending more for the defense of Europe don't forget one reason our defense budget is larger is our global commitments outside of Europe. Dictatorships such as Russia, North Korea, China, etc regularly kill their own citizens, at home and in third countries and will never help us in any fashion. What ever happened to Teddy Roosevelt's dictum of speaking softly but carrying a big stick. It seems we are now led by a loud-mouthed, crude, semi-literate bully who likes to push around his friends who he knows (or hopes)won't turn on him and kiss ass to brutal dictators.
Perhaps you could elaborate a bit about this "only country":
"The only NATO country to invoke the mutual defense part of the NATO treaty is the US".
I get this:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security. "
I agree very much with "we are now led by a loud-mouthed, crude, semi-literate bully".
As for NATO I don't think they are all that unhappy internally. Trump is a bypassing disturbance they have to cope with for the time being.
The amount of money spent on defence in Europe is actually quite "impressive" but that topic is for somebody else to write about.
"The EU ensures that this is perpetuated by locking US firms out of the EU market on regulatory grounds."
There's nothing stopping US food producers and exporters dealing with the EU other than their own reluctance to meet the regulatory standards. There are certain EU foodstuffs banned in the US or manufactured here to US standards so they can be safely exported.
Pretty much all of the rest of your post is highlighting illegal practices under EU laws and regulations for which the perpetrators were found out and punished.
The NATO bit is a bit of a red herring too. The US was a prime mover behind the creation of NATO because the US needed a European buffer zone to contain the USSR. NATO, to the US of the day, was all about protecting the US and minimising the spread of communism. Trump was especially creative with the figures when he claimed the US was paying 90% of the NATO bill, but was right to some extent that some EU countries are not putting in the full whack. Trump just exaggerated for effect as he is wont to do on many, many occasions, to the extent that he's had to back pedal many, many times.
'The USA is obliged by treaty through NATO to militarily defend what are primarily EU nations,.."
Do you really think they are doing this out of the kindness of their hearts? Of course not, they're doing it for strategic and financial reasons. Europe should call their bluff.
I like this theory but it has a fatal flaw. If Trump's financial affairs are complicated (which I assume they are) then there's essentially no chance that Trump understands them, because he's dumb as shit. So the theory that Russia/Putin has, via lots of obscure strings, control over Trump fails because Trump would not know he can control him. Whatever Putin has over Trump must be simple enough that Trump can understand it. So either he has something really straightforward, or he does not have anything and Trump is just blundering around like a kind of stupid veersion of Boris Johnson (which means: pretty fucking stupid).
Or, even scarier, he isn't being blackmailed, but is honestly ideologically aligned with Putin. I think there's substantial reason to suspect this, given that there isn't a tyrant that Trump hasn't expressed admiration for, and there isn't a free nation that he hasn't expressed contempt for.
The ex prep-school bully boy seem to like people who are
a) Successful bullies and in (apparent) total control of their countries. Deep down he knows he's not in control of America, no matter what he tells his supporters and assorted sycophants.
b)They have nice heads of hair. Check out Fat Boy Kim's. Immaculate. And Putin. Not a comb over in sight.
"is honestly ideologically aligned with Putin.". Perhaps not quite, but Putin is in Russia what Trump would like to be in the USA. Ideology, what's that. Look at the guy, full control, will never lose in any election he takes part in for as long as he cares to, very rich, and look at how they love him on telly, look at his numbers. And he likes me and he will like me to win again.
Trump has massive debts to assorted Russians.
What else do you need?
A variety of mega-bankruptcies would not look good for the POTUS,
as well as exposing him to considerable expensive civil litigation.
No need for pee-girls, Putin has effectively neutered Trump.
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