In response to an FT article by Philip Stephens on 12th January 2017, entitled ‘What Vladimir Putin really wants from Donald Trump’
“Cuddle up to the Kremlin and do not be surprised when you are burnt. There is no need to believe the lurid, unverified tales about Russian efforts to cultivate and compromise Donald Trump to recognise the danger in the president-elect’s infatuation with Vladimir Putin. Mr Trump is a wealthy property developer; the Russian president a former head of his country’s ruthless Federal Security Service, or FSB. This is not a balanced match-up.” - Philip Stephens
I watched the full press conference ‘live’ and have been paying close attention to a range of reactions since. This article is probably the most blinkered one yet.
“The danger in the president-elect’s infatuation with Vladimir Putin”
Do you really believe that Trump is ‘infatuated’ with Putin, as in ‘intense passion for someone or something’? Or are you ‘infatuated’ with your own hatred of the man and everything you believe he stands for? I ask because I suspect that it’s the latter - a deep personal dislike disguised with sixth form level ‘analysis’. You are not alone: Paul Krugman, who just a few months ago was tweeting that the US should ignore the ‘debt scolds’ and spend billions on infrastructure, now says with no hint of irony or self-awareness, that deficits matter. When he looks in the metaphorical mirror, if he ever does, he clearly hasn’t noticed that his ‘analysis’ is being directed by a nose which is severely out of joint at the prospect of having someone not called 'Hillary' in the White House.
“Mr Trump prefers to shoot the messenger: this week’s leak of allegations that Moscow had gathered personally compromising material was proof of the witch-hunt against him by America’s own agencies”
Is that the same ‘shooting of the messenger’ that the majority of the press, and the Democrats did to Julian Assange when Wikileaks broke the story(s) on the subterfuge of the DNC? Or is it somehow different when ‘the hated one’ does it?
‘When Mr Trump asks rhetorically whether he is living in Nazi Germany, the adjective that comes most readily to mind is “unhinged”’
Unhinged? Absolutely. I tell you what though - If we are going to make a list of ‘unhinged’ people who throw ‘Nazidom’ around when they are upset, I think we should include yourself, Gideon Rachman, Martin Wolf, Ed Luce, and 95% of the ‘quality journalists’ on the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, who’ve been using the term to disparage Trump for over a year. When ‘Godwin’s law’ was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2012, the lead-time for the appearance of the little Austrian was considerably longer than it is now - Mike Godwin must be laughing to see that jackboots now regularly appear in the articles themselves.
“They start with western acquiescence in Russian revanchism in Ukraine and in the merciless bombing of civilians to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria”
This is a pathetically inadequate reference to the situation in both territories. If you think that it serves any other purpose than to ‘pile it on’ you are hopelessly naïve or just plain complicit with the propaganda we tell ourselves to make our own malfeasance and slaughter more palatable.
“There are checks on Mr Trump. The hacking scandal puts a cloud over his motives and judgment”
Yes there are, and yes it does. It also puts clouds over the rotten state our politics have descended to. Your one-sided and totally partisan reporting of it does the same thing for the motives and judgement of the press.
This article is really more about hatred of Trump than political or geopolitical analysis. If you really want to hold Trump’s feet to the fire, here’s a suggestion – go after the fact that he’s filling his cabinet with Goldman Sachs alumni. Go after the fact that despite months of talking about ‘draining the swamp’ he’s asked Jay Clayton to serve as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. For there is absolutely no possible way that Clayton will hold the bankers accountable for anything when his firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, would most likely be defending them.
Trump will be judged on whether or not he delivers on what he promised. He grew in popularity attacking a system that is corrupt. A system, which like it or not, people are disgusted with – I think quite rightly. People voted for Bernie Sanders out of the same disgust. Journalists on this paper fed Trump’s popularity by ignoring the aspiration he gave voice to, and disparaging the people who held it. You were warned to address the problems not the symptom – you ignored the warnings. Well congratulations – the next time you look at Trump, take a glance in the mirror immediately afterwards and ask yourself whose hubris helped put him there. Take responsibility for once, and then go after him on what he fails to deliver. Or, just keep writing guff like this article.