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From Consortium News
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump during G20 Summit in Osaka, June 28, 2019.
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Russian hopes dashed: Whatever hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin may have had for a more workable relationship with the Trump administration have been "trumpled," so to speak. This came through loudly and clearly in acerbic remarks by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in an interview Friday with The National Interest.
Ryabkov lamented the sad state of Russia-U.S. relations, while pointing, not very subtly, to China as Russia's ace in the hole. He was simply acknowledging that what the Soviets used to call "the correlation of forces" has changed markedly, and strongly implied that the U.S. should draw the appropriate conclusions.
No amateur diplomat, Ryabkov used unusually sharp, almost certainly pre-authorized, words to drive home his message:
"We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and conclusions are less related to what America is doing " we cherish our close and friendly relations with China. We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop it further."
In other words: We Russians and Chinese will stand together as the U.S. tries to paint both of us as arch-villains, all the while isolating itself and painting itself into a corner.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, facing camera, with from left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in 2015 at Rodina Hotel in Sochi, Russi
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Sic Transit Trust
Putin has come to accept that potent forces favoring high tension with Russia the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Adademia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT, if you will) are far stronger than any president; and that, in that context, trying to cultivate a relationship of personal trust with a president, may be largely a waste of time.
The system in which Putin spent his early life put a premium on what the Soviets called yedinonachaliya, meaning leadership by a person at the top who is fully empowered to make decisions and have them carried out by subordinates or else. Putin's personal experience working successfully with President Barack Obama in early September 2013 to head off wider war on Syria [more on that later] may have deceived him into assuming that presidents of the United States can exercise that kind of power, at will. And, if that were the case, personal dealings at the very top were the preferred way to untie Gordian knots and even cooperate for mutual advantage.
In the years since, the notion was fully dispelled that a U.S. president is completely "his own man" and is rather hemmed in by the MICIMATT and particularly by its Security State component with entrenched, exceedingly powerful intelligence and law enforcement agencies. President Donald Trump calls this reality the "Deep State."
Trump with Big [Oral] Stick
There must be a Siberian equivalent to the expression "All hat, no cattle." If there is, I can almost hear it coming from the Kremlin in reaction to some of Trump's rhetoric, like his remarks on May 23 in an interview with journalist Sharyl Attkisson:
"What am I doing? I'm fighting the deep state; I'm fighting the swamp...If it keeps going the way it's going, I have a chance to break the deep state. It's a vicious group of people. It's very bad for our country."
Trump has not hesitated to name the Deep State actors that he keeps in his sights -- ex-FBI Director James Comey; ex-CIA Director John Brennan, and ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper, for example, but, so far, he has shied away from actually taking them on. He has even thrown a few of his closest supporters under the bus, like House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes when Nunes tried to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
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