On Monday we had two different FTs reporting on Donald Trump. The ‘First FT’, which I hope will soon be ‘the old one’ was expressed in an article by Courtney Weaver entitled ‘Tale of two Trumps plays out in first appointments’. It analyses Trump from what I would describe as ‘the Washington insider perspective’.
“In the process of answering the question as to what sort of president Donald Trump will be, his two first administration appointments offer an initial answer…With his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, and Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, Mr Trump shows for now he will attempt to straddle both roads — attempting to reassure financial markets and establishment conservatives who worry whether Mr Trump is ready for the presidency, while still appealing to the base who helped him win the White House in the first place…
Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia politics expert, said it remained to be seen which of the two Mr Trumps won out…“Clearly we are going to be looking at the number of unusual people he picks versus mainstream conservatives,” Mr Sabato said. – Courtney Weaver
Wrong. Whatever you think of the guy, he makes his moves from his own agenda, not the media's angst at his election.
He's put the guy who reflects his ideas as head of strategy, and the guy who's best placed to get things done as his head of operations. He thinks like a business manager, not a talking head or a professional scribbler who's never had a real job.
Come on FT, you don't have to support the guy, but for God's sake make an attempt to understand how he thinks - or give up any pretense of 'analysis'.
The ‘Second FT’, which I hope will become 'the new one', was expressed through an article by Gideon Rachman entitled ‘Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the art of a deal with Russia’. In essence it drops the ‘liberal indignation’ at his election and takes a pragmatic and strategic view of what he’s likely to do. For my money it is the best piece I have read from Mr Rachman in a long time, possibly ever. You'll find the gist below, but I think it is best read in its entirety:
“Mr Trump’s America will clearly try to strike a deal with Mr Putin’s Russia. But what would that deal look like? Here is my best guess.
The US will end its opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Although America may not agree to the formal legal incorporation of Crimea into Russia, it would accept it as a fait accompli. Following that, the US will lift economic sanctions. The Americans will also drop any suggestion that Ukraine or Georgia will join Nato. The build-up of Nato troops in the Baltic states will also be slowed or stopped.
In return for these large concessions, Russia will be expected to wind down its aggression in eastern Ukraine and not attempt to make further territorial gains there. Russian pressure and implicit threats towards the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be dropped. Military tensions on the front line between Nato and Russia will be dialled down. With their conflict in eastern Europe eased, the US and Russia will make common cause in the Middle East. The US will drop its commitment to the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and will join the Russians in an attack on the Isis militant group” - Gideon Rachman
Good analysis Mr Rachman. I think you've nailed it.
My one criticism is your moral indignation at aligning with 'the butchers of Aleppo'. We've been arming, funding and training 'head choppers' for many years. We've changed our 'head choppers' more times than we've changed our socks, to the point where we're arming them in one country and killing them in another. So, let's just drop the pretence that there is any moral high ground left in the middle east and join together to kick the crap out of the people who want to wipe us all off the face of the planet...and then get out...leaving the Syrians to decide how they want to run Syria. Nation building does not work.
But, having said that, all credit to you Mr Rachman - good analysis.