Ukraine Is The First Casualty Of Trump’s Carelessness. It Won’t Be The Last

LONDON, England -- That the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki was a diplomatic disaster for the United States is indisputable, mealy-mouthed explanations as to how President Donald Trump “accidentally” threw his own intelligence community under the bus in favour of Russia notwithstanding.


‘Vladimir Putin has now basically admitted he wanted Trump to win.’

Yet the biggest immediate loser may be Ukraine – a country the western media has pretty much abandoned, even as it continues to have its soldiers die in a near-frozen, tragically pointless conflict with Russia and Russian-backed forces in the east of the country.

“Our dead boys are nothing to Trump.”

It’s a common refrain I’ve heard from people in Ukraine since Helsinki.

Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, Ukraine still bleeds from the conflict in the Donbass – and the US, ostensibly, is supposed to be united with Ukrainians against the threat from Vladimir Putin.

Yet the Trump administration has been inconsistent in its dealings with Russia from the start, and accusations that Russia meddled in the election that ultimately brought Trump to power play a huge role in that.

By most accounts, Trump did not expect to win in 2016, and is now afraid to appear illegitimate.

This is why we have Putin calmly telling his state media that he and Trump discussed how better to regulate the conflict in Ukraine.

Putin wouldn’t reveal as much unless he was fairly confident that whatever was said would be beneficial to Russia in the long term.

Because Trump wants to play nice, at least for the time being.

Unlike most Americans, Ukrainians are used to blatant political betrayal – it’s what they’ve dealt with over and over again as a nation.

This includes betrayals by their own obscenely and shamelessly corrupt political elite, besides the violence and deceit emanating from the Kremlin.

Even as Ukrainian civil society has flourished in the new post-Euromaidan era, in spite of an existential threat from Moscow, the local political establishment has remained mired in scandal and is hugely distrusted.

Upon seeing the shocked reactions to the summit, all I wanted to tell my fellow Americans was something that would have been obvious to most Ukrainians: President Trump cares more about his personal brand and reputation as a “deal maker” than about the national security and standing of his own nation.

For the majority of Americans, this is a disgusting and disappointing revelation.

For the majority of Ukrainians, it’s just politics.

At the same time, it would be wise to remember that Trump is hugely inconsistent on most matters, let alone foreign policy.

Putin, who has now basically admitted that he wanted Trump to win, even as he refuses to admit interference in the 2016 US presidential election, seems to be keeping that in mind.

That’s one of the reasons why Putin is both optimistic and yet reserved on Trump.

While Putin in particular has been in power for so long that his instincts are getting blunted, a sudden reversal by Trump with regard to Russian election meddling was bound to be on the cards all along and Putin, by now, is likely to have seen it coming.

The Ukrainian government, for all its blunders, understands this too.

This is why we haven’t seen a loud reaction from Kiev after the Helsinki meeting.

On the one hand, Ukraine is simply a hostage to the greater game, or, more appropriately, the greater chaos, that is happening on the world stage.

On the other hand, Trump’s desire to be thought of as political maverick, not to mention his obvious craving for adulation, means that Ukraine could very well briefly benefit when the US president decides that he needs to, for example, appear more heroic, or whenever a falling-out with Putin takes place.

The instructions to abandon all hope were famously inscribed on the arch above the entrance to Dante’s Inferno.

For those who wish to enter today’s political inferno, abandoning all reason makes more sense.

From Trump’s carelessness in Helsinki, to his attempts to mitigate the situation afterwards, a picture familiar to those of us who pay close attention to the White House emerges: there is no one flying this plane, unless you count Trump’s ego – and it certainly appears as if Trump’s beleaguered advisers don’t count that at all.

For those of us in Kiev or, for that matter, London, it’s best to hang on and weather the storm.

For those of us in Washington, it’s best to resist the bizarre and corrosive status quo as much as we can.

Another valuable lesson Ukrainians have passed down to us is this: the moral and ethical authority of the state is terrifyingly easy to undermine and, ultimately, destroy.

The damage Trump is inflicting upon American institutions and America’s global standing will be hard to undo – and is likely to take many ugly forms before the end.

The aftershocks will be felt in the United States but also far beyond – the trouble with Ukraine could very well be the beginning.

Source: The Guardian

Comments

grycar said…
Who writes this stuff?

Or better still if they are unhappy
then he did great.

Putin has no real power but likes to pretend that he does.

More specifically, why antagonize him at all?

I think that Trump got everything he needed from Putin
and Putin got from Trump existential survival for
his no economy, no Nation, a dying demographic
and a Micky Mouse Military that is incapably of
stopping China from
consuming Siberia.

Mongolia, China already owns.

But also a great deal of nuclear warheads
and and nuclear weaponry lying around.

I trust that Trump understand this well and does
what he needs to do to keep Russia afloat.

The comment that Trump did not expect to win is
contrary to all
reason and logic.

This is empirically witnessed by his actions
during the elections.

Great campaign in waking up the American Nation.

A fake press helped because most Americans hate it.

Do look at the low number of people watching
the junk News such as CNN and MSNBC.
or reading the NYT. Very small and
getting smaller.

On the other hand, Trump did tell Russia
indirectly that the US is more than capable
of supplying the EU with energy and
that Russian energy is unreliable.

He sent Ukraine heavy weapons and more
importantlysome great technology.

Improved the US economy exponentially,
lowered unemployment and
set up more equitable trade deals.

Eastern Ukraine is a basket case for Russia
and Crimea is an endless
money Pitt with no future in site.

Keeping Russia from disintegrating is a job and a concern.

On the other hand do look at the track record
of the socialist cabal.

Failed cities and states, wanton murder
of its population, war against Nature made lucid by terrible
economics and an inability to construct an outhouse that works.

And this element want to tell us how to live?