The Putin-Trump Helsinki summit: the action is in the reaction

The Saker — The Saker July 26, 2018

Putin Trump pressconference

This article was written for the Unz Review]

Now that a little over a week has passed since the much awaited Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki took place, I have had the time to read many of the reactions and comments it generated.  I am coming to the paradoxical conclusion that this summit was both a non-event and a truly historical watershed moment. Let’s look at the event itself and then at its consequences.

The summit itself: a much-needed non-event

First, one has to welcome the fact that Putin and Trump spoke to each other, not so much because that fact by itself is great, but because it is an immensely dangerous situation when the leaders of the two military (and nuclear) superpowers do not talk to each other. Over the past couple of years, almost all contacts between Russian and US officials have been unilaterally severed, all by the US side, of course. The sole exception to this quasi-total silence was the ongoing contacts between Russian and US military and security/intelligence officials, which is a very good thing. However, this is also not enough because neither military nor security/intelligence officials are supposed to actually make policies and, therefore, when they are the only ones talking two things can happen: either a) these military and security/intelligence officials are severely limited in their authority to make decisions or b) military and security/intelligence officials are forced to take matters into their own hands and begin making policies in spite of their lack of authority to do so. Such a state of affairs in inherently dangerous (not to mention un-democratic). Still, the fact that the two Presidents and their advisers talked to each other is a much-needed development which hopefully will mark the return to a normal multi-level dialog between Russia and the USA.
But besides the fact that talking is by definition good what else did the summit achieve?
Absolutely nothing.  Nothing at all.
Oh sure, there were a number of general statements made about “positive discussions” and the like, and some vague references to various conflicts, but the truth is that nothing real and tangible was agreed upon.  Furthermore, and this is, I believe, absolutely crucial, there never was any chance of this summit achieving anything.  Why?  Because the Russians have concluded a long time ago that the US officials are “non-agreement capable” (недоговороспособны).  They are correct – the US has been non-agreement capable at least since Obama and Trump has only made things even worse: not only has the US now reneged on Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (illegally – since this plan was endorsed by the UNSC), but Trump has even pathetically backtracked on the most important statement he made during the summit when he retroactively changed his “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be” into “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia” (so much for 5D chess!).  If Trump can’t even stick to his own words, how could anybody expect the Russians to take anything he says seriously?!  Besides, ever since the many western verbal promises of not moving NATO east “by one inch eastward” the Russians know that western promises, assurances, and other guarantees are worthless, whether promised in a conversation or inked on paper. In truth, the Russians have been very blunt about their disgust with not only the western dishonesty but even about the basic lack of professionalism of their western counterparts, hence the comment by Putin about “it is difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia“.  It is quite obvious that the Russians agreed to the summit while knowing full well that nothing would, or even could, come out of it.  This is why they were already dumping US Treasuries even before meeting with Trump (a clear sign of how the Kremlin really feels about Trump and the USA).
So why did they agree to the meeting?
Because they correctly evaluated the consequences of this meeting.

The consequences of the summit: a unanimity of hatred and chaos

This is the proverbial case where the real “action is in the reaction” and, in this case, the reaction of the Neocon run US deep-state and its propaganda machine (the US corporate media) was nothing short of total and abject hysterics. I could list an immense number of quotes, statements and declarations accusing Trump of being a wimp, a traitor, a sellout, a Putin agent and all the rest. But I found the most powerful illustration of that hate-filled hysteria in a collection of cartoons from the western corporate media posted by Colonel Cassad on this page:
https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/4330355.html
I won’t repost them here, but please do take the time to look at them and see for yourself what kind of message they hammer in. The message is brought from different angles and in different ways, but the overall unifying theme is this: Trump is infinitely evil, he sold out the USA to Putin-the-Devil, and everything the American people hold as sacred and most dear to their hearts is now in immense danger. I have always liked cartoons and the way they disrespect and ridicule the powers that be, but what we see today is not humor, or disrespect or even virulent criticism. What we see today is a hate campaign against both Trump and Russia the likes of which I think the world has never seen before: even in the early 20th century, including the pre-WWII years when there was plenty of hate thrown around, there never was such a unanimity of hatred as what we see today.  Furthermore, what is attacked is not just “Trump the man” or “Trump the politician” but very much so “Trump the President”.  Please compare the following two examples:
  1. The US wars after 9/11: many people had major reservations about the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and the entire GWOT thing.  But most Americans seemed to agree with the “we support our troops” slogan.  The logic was something along the lines of “we don’t like these wars, but we do support our fighting men and women and the military institution as such”.  Thus, while a specific policy was criticized, this criticism was never applied to the institution which implement it the US armed forces.
  2. Trump after Helsinki: keep in mind that Trump made no agreement of any kind with Putin, none.  And yet that policy of not making any agreements with Putin was hysterically lambasted as a sellout. This begs the question: what kind of policy would meet with the approval of the US deep state? Trump punching Putin in the nose maybe? This is utterly ridiculous, yet unlike in the case of the GWOT wars, there is no differentiation made whatsoever between Trump’s policy towards Putin and Trump as the President of the United States. There is even talk of impeachment, treason and “high crimes & misdemeanors.” or of the “KGB” (dissolved 27 years ago but nevermind that) having a hand in the election of the US President.
What Trump is facing today is not a barrage of criticism but a very real lynch mob! And what is really frightening is that almost nobody dares to denounce that hysterical lynch mob for what it is. There are a few exceptions, of course, even in the media (I think of Tucker Carlson), but these voices are completely drowned out by the hate-filled shrieks of the vast majority of US politicians and journalists. Even such supposed supporters of President Trump like Trey Gowdy who has fully thrown his weight behind the “Russia tried to attack us” nonsense.  With friends like these…
What has been taking place after this the summit is an Orwellian “two minutes of hatred” but now stretched well into a two weeks of hatred. And I see no signs that this lynch mob is calming down. In fact, as of this morning, the levels of hysteria are only increasing.
By the way, these are typical Neocon-style tactics: double-down, then double-down again, then issue statements which make it impossible for you to back down, then repeat it all as many times as needed.  This strategy is useless against a powerful and principled enemy, but it works miracles with a weak and spineless foe like Trump. This is particularly true of US politicians and journalists who have long become the accomplices of the deep state (especially after the 9/11 false flag and its cover-up) and who now cannot back down under any circumstances or treat President Trump as a normal, regular, President. The anti-Trump rhetoric has gone way too far and the USA has now reached what I believe is a point of no return.

The brewing constitutional crisis: the Neocons vs the “deplorables”

I believe that the USA is facing what could be the worst crisis in its history: the lawfully elected President is being openly delegitimized and that, in turn, delegitimizes the electoral process which brought him to power and, of course, it also excoriates the “deplorables” who dared vote for him: the majority of the American people.
The process which is taking place before our eyes splits the people of the USA into two main categories: first, the Neocons and those whom the US media has successfully brainwashed and, second, everybody else.  That second group, by the way, is very diverse and it includes not only bona fide Trump supporters (many of whom have also been zombified in their own way), but also paleo-conservatives, libertarians, antiwar activists, (real) progressives and many other groups.  I am also guessing that a lot of folks in the military are watching in horror as their armed forces and their country are being wrecked by the Neocons and their supporters.  Basically, those who felt “I want my country back” and who hoped that Trump would make that happen are now horrified by what is taking place.
I believe that what we are seeing is a massive and deliberate attack by the Neocons and their deep state against the political system and the people of the United States. Congress, especially, is now guilty of engaging on a de-facto coup against the Executive on so many levels that they are hard to count (and many of them are probably hidden from the public eye) including repeated attempts to prevent Trump from exercising his constitutional powers such as, for example, deciding on foreign policy issues. A perfect example of this can be found in Nancy Pelosi’s official statement about a possible invitation from Trump to Putin:
“The notion that President Trump would invite a tyrant to Washington is beyond belief. Putin’s ongoing attacks on our elections and on Western democracies and his illegal actions in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine deserve the fierce, unanimous condemnation of the international community, not a VIP ticket to our nation’s capital. President Trump’s frightened fawning over Putin is an embarrassment and a grave threat to our democracy. An invitation to address a Joint Meeting of Congress should be bipartisan and Speaker Ryan must immediately make clear that there is not – and never will be – an invitation for a thug like Putin to address the United States Congress.”
Another example of the same can be found in the unanimous 98-0 resolution by the US Senate expressing Congress’s opposition to the US government allowing Russia to question US officials.  Trump, of course, immediately caved in, even though he had originally declared “fantastic” the idea of actually abiding by the terms of an existing 1999 agreement on mutual assistance on criminal cases between the United States of America and Russia.  The White House “spokesperson”, Sarah Sanders, did even better and stated: (emphasis added)
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully, President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt
Talk about imperial megalomania!  The US will not allow the Russians to interrogate anybody, but it wants Putin to extradite Russian citizens.  Amazing…
As for Nancy Pelosi, her latest “tweet” today is anything but subtle.  It reads:
Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin. #ABetterDeal.
Pretty clear, no?  “Trump is a traitor and we have to stop him”.
By now there is overwhelming evidence that a creeping Neocon coup has been in progress from the very first day of Trump’s presidency and that the Neocons are far from being satisfied with having broken Trump and taken over the de-facto power in the White House: they now apparently also want it de-jure too.  The real question is this: are there any forces inside the USA capable of stopping the Neocons from completely taking all the reins of power and, if yes, how could a patriotic reaction to this Neocon coup manifest itself?  I honestly don’t know, but my feeling is that we might soon have a “President Pence” in the Oval Office.  One way or another, a constitutional crisis is brewing.

What about the Russian interests in all this?

I have said it many times, Russia and the AngloZionist Empire (as opposed to the United States as a country) are at war, a war which is roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% “kinetic”. This is a very real war nonetheless and it is a war for survival simply because the Empire cannot allow any major country on the planet to be truly sovereign. Therefore, not only does the AngloZionist Empire represent an existential threat to Russia, Russia also represents an existential threat to the Empire. In this kind of conflict for survival there is no room for anything but a zero-sum game and whatever is good for Russia is bad for the USA and vice-versa. The Russians, including Putin, never wanted this zero-sum game, it was imposed upon them by the AngloZionists, but now that they have been forced into it, they will play it as hard as they can. It is therefore only logical to conclude that the massive systemic crises in which the Neocons and their crazy policies have plunged the USA are to the advantage of Russia. To be sure, the ideal scenario would be for Russia and the USA (as opposed to the AngloZionst Empire) to work together on the very long list of issues where they share common interests. But since the Neocons have seized power and are sacrificing the USA for the sake of their imperial designs, that is simply not going to happen, and the Russians understand that. Furthermore, since the USA constitutes the largest power component of the AngloZionist Empire, anything weakening the USA also thereby weakens the Empire and anything which weakens the Empire is beneficial for Russia (by the way, the logical corollary of this state of affairs is that the people of the USA and the people of Russia have the same enemy – the Neocons – and that makes them de-facto allies).
It is not my purpose here to discuss when and how the Neocons came to power in the USA, so I will just say that the delusional policies followed by the various US administrations since at least 1993 (and, even more so, since 2001) have been disastrous for the United States and could be characterized as one long never-ending case of imperial hubris (to use the title of Michael Scheuer’s excellent 2004 book).  Here are some of the consequences of this:
  1. There is no longer such a thing as “US diplomacy” (long gone are the days of James Baker or even George Shultz!). All that the so-called “US diplomats” are doing is delivering ultimatums, threats, sanctions, human rights “scorecards”, lists of “terror-sponsoring countries”, etc. Even worse, any and all types of negotiations are now construed as signs of weakness or, worse, treason. The US politicians have convinced themselves that one should only negotiate with friends and allies, but the truth is that the USA has no friends or allies – only colonies, protectorates, puppet regimes and other comprador-run vassal states. To them, the USA gives orders, which is very different from negotiations which imply a search for a compromise between roughly equal parties.
  2. The US “intelligence community” has become a tool for petty political interests and competent analysts and foreign policy experts are clearly absent from the top levels of this community (Dmitri Orlov just wrote a good article about this issue here).  The long string of lost wars and foreign policy disasters are a direct result of this lack of even basic expertise.  What passes for “expertise” today is basically hate-filled hyperbole and warmongering hysterics, hence the inflation in the paranoid anti-Russian rhetoric.
  3. The US armed forces are only good at three things: wasting immense sums of money, destroying countries and alienating the rest of the planet. They are still the most expensive and bloated armed forces on the planet, but nobody fears them anymore (not even relatively small states, nevermind Russia or China). In technological terms, the Russians (and to a somewhat lesser degree the Chinese) have found asymmetrical answers to all the key force planning programs of the Pentagon and the former US superiority in the air, on land and on the seas is now a thing of the past. As for the US nuclear triad, it is still capable of accomplishing its mission, but it is useless as an instrument of foreign policy or to fight Russia or China (unless suicide is contemplated).
[Sidebar: this inability of the US military to achieve desired political goals might explain why, at least so far, the US has apparently given up on the notion of a Reconquista of Syria or why the Ukronazis have not dared to attack the Donbass.  Of course, this is too early to call and these zigs might be followed by many zags, especially in the context of the political crisis in the USA, but it appears that in the cases of the DPRK, Iran, Syria and the Ukraine there is much barking, but not much biting coming from the supposed sole “hyperpower” on the planet]
  1. The USA is now engaged in simultaneous conflicts not only with Iran or Russia but also with the EU and China. In fact, even relationships with vassal states such as Canada or France are now worse than ever before. Only the prostituted leaders of “new Europe”, to use Rumsfeld’s term, are still paying lip service to the notion of “American leadership”, and only if they get paid for it.
  2. The US “elites” and the various interest groups they represent have now clearly turned on each other which is a clear sign that the entire system is in a state of deep crisis: when things were going well, everybody could get what they wanted and no visible infighting was taking place.
  3. The Israel Lobby has now fully subordinated Congress, the White House, and the media to its narrow Likudnik agenda and, as a direct result of this, the USA has lost all their positions in the Middle-East and the chorus of those with enough courage to denounce this Zionist Occupation Government is slowly but steadily growing (at least on the Internet). Even US Jews are getting fed up with the now openly Israeli apartheid state (see here or here).
  4. By withdrawing from a long list of important international treaties and bodies (TPP, Kyoto Protocol, START, ABM, JCPOA. UNESCO, UN Human Rights Council, etc.) the United States has completely isolated themselves from the rest of the planet.  The ironic truth is that Russia has not been isolated in the least, but that the USA has isolated itself from the rest of the planet.
In contrast, the Russians are capitalizing on every single US mistake – be it the carrier-centric navy, the unconditional support for Israel or the simultaneous trade wars with China and the EU.  Much has been made of the recent revelation of new and revolutionary Russian weapon systems (see here and here) but there is much more to this than just the deployment of new military systems and technologies: Russia is benefiting from the lack of any real US foreign policies to advance her own interests in the Middle-East, of course, but also elsewhere.  Let’s just take the very latest example of a US self-inflicted PR disaster – the following “tweet” by Trump: (CAPS in the original)
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
This kind of infantile (does he not sound like a 6 year old?) and, frankly, rather demented attempts at scaring Iranians (of all people!) is guaranteed to have the exact opposite effect from the one presumably sought: the Iranian leaders might snicker in disgust, or have a good belly-laugh, but they are not going to be impressed. The so-called “allies” of the USA will be embarrassed in the extreme to be “led” by such a primitive individual, even if they don’t say so in public. As for the Russians, they will happily explore all the possibilities offered to them by such illiterate and self-defeating behavior.

Conclusion one: a useful summit for Russia

As a direct consequence of the Helsinki summit, the infighting of the US ruling classes has dramatically intensified.  Furthermore, faced with a barrage of hateful attacks Trump did what he always does: he tried to simultaneously appease his critics by caving in to their rhetoric while at the same time trying to appear “tough” – hence his latest “I am a tough guy with a big red button” antics against Iran (he did exactly the same thing towards the DPRK).  We will probably never find out what exactly Trump and Putin discussed during their private meeting, but one thing is sure: the fact that Trump sat one-on-one with Putin without any “supervision” from his deep-state mentors was good enough to create a total panic in the US ruling class resulting in even more wailing about collusion, impeachment, high crimes & misdemeanors and even treason.  Again, the goal is clear: Trump must be removed.
From the Russian point of view, it matters very little whether Trump is removed from office or not – the problem is not one of personalities, but one of the nature of the AngloZionist Empire.  The Russians simply don’t have the means to bring down the Empire, but the infighting of the US elites does and, if not, then at the very least the current crisis will further weaken the USA, hence the Russian willingness to participate in this summit even if by itself this summit brought absolutely no tangible results: the action was in the reaction.

Conclusion two: the Clinton gang’s actions can result in a real catastrophe for the USA

Trump’s main goal in meeting with Putin was probably to find out whether there was a way to split up the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership and to back the Israeli demands for Syria.  On the issue of China, Trump never had a chance since the USA has really nothing to offer to Russia (whereas China and Russia are now locked into a vital symbiotic relationship).  On Syria, the Russians and the Israelis are now negotiating the details of a deal which would give the Syrian government the control of the demarcation line with Israel (it is not a border in the legal sense) and Trump’s backing for Israel will make no difference.  As for Iran, the Russians will not back the US agenda either for many reasons ranging from basic self-interest to respect for international law.  So while Trump did the right thing in meeting with Putin, it was predictable at least under the current set of circumstances, that he would not walk away with tangible results.
For all his very real failings, Trump cannot be blamed for the current situation.  The real culprits are the Clinton gang and the Democratic Party which, by their completely irresponsible behavior, are creating a very dangerous crisis for the United States: the Neocons and the Clinton gang are willing to say anything, no matter how destabilizing, to hurt Trump even if the US political system by itself is also put at risk. Furthermore, the Neocons have now completely flipped around the presumption of innocence – both externally (Russian “attack” on the US elections) and internally (Trump’s “collusion” with Putin). As for Trump, whatever his good intentions might have been, he is weak and cannot fight the entire US deep state by himself. The Neocons and the US deep state are now on a collision course with Russia and the people of the United States and while Russia does have the means to protect herself from the Empire, it is unclear to me who, or what could stop the Neocons from further damaging the USA. Deep and systemic crises often result in new personalities entering the stage, but in the case of the US, it is now undeniable that the system cannot reform itself and that when a personality tries to reform it, the system strikes back with vicious power.
Depending on its context the word “catastrophe” can have any of the following meanings: any large and disastrous event of great significance, a disaster beyond expectations, a dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot or a type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states. In the context of the political situation in the United States, all these definitions apply. Whether for better or for worse, the most likely outcome of the current crisis will be some type of political regime change.
The Saker

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