Too many roads lead to Putin

John Mues
Monday, September 30, 2019

A number of people have reached out to our U.S. Senate campaign and asked how I see President Trump’s alleged “offer” to Ukraine President Zelensky to trade a Ukrainian investigation into Biden’s, his political opponent’s, son for $250-$400 million of needed military aid.

And, whether I view this as an impeachable offense, if verified.

The latter question, first. I do view this as an impeachable offense, if verified, and support a facts-driven process moving forward.

Some are mortified that President Trump, effectively, has requested to horse trade Ukrainian interference into the U.S. presidential election for cash and arms. I’m likewise alarmed, though hardly surprised.

But what concerns me most, as a former naval officer with Top Secret/SCI clearance, is this event represents, yet again, President Trump doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin’s Russia Federation, which, unequivocally, is not America’s friend. Consider the pattern:

1. Putin isn’t pleased with Zelensky, the new reformist Ukrainian president. For instance, Zelensky has referred to Putin as “an enemy”, and has stated that he wishes to re-annex Crimea, the portion of Ukraine that Russia invaded, and to tie up closer to NATO. Had Zelensky agreed to President Trump’s quid pro quo, then the anticorruption Ukrainian president’s reputation would have become compromised, opening a path for a pro-Putin (or less anti-Putin) opponent in Ukrainian politics. I’m skeptical that President Trump was thinking along these lines when he tried to barter with Zelensky, but who knows? Irrespective, Putin has turned Trump, through his vulnerability to flattery, propensity to choose self over country, and transactional nature, into an “unwitting agent”, as a former CIA Director described.

2. Putin wishes to restore the territorial integrity of the former Soviet Union and retake large swaths of Eastern European territory. Near-term, perhaps, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, in prioritized order. President Trump’s threat to withhold material military funding to Ukraine equates to an existential threat to Ukraine - not only to the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, which is a combat zone and has been infiltrated by Russian state and non-state assets, but all Ukrainian sovereign ground. President Trump, apparently, sees nothing wrong with Putin’s forces running roughshod over Ukraine’s remaining independence.

3. President Trump recently withdrew from the longstanding Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that had been a pillar of Cold War (and post-Cold War) nuclear arms reduction and management efforts. Again, Putin had wanted such an outcome. In effect, Western Europe (as well as Europe as a whole) are now far more vulnerable to Russian aggression - perhaps not tomorrow, but in time. Putin’s Kremlin spokespersons have already threatened a European country with, yes, a nuclear strike for showing too much interest in joining NATO’s missile defense program (see Kremlin response to Denmark). With INF defunct, Russia may now develop intermediate range nuclear weapons with impunity and ramp up its intimidation of Eastern European countries tacking towards the West, and Western European countries that protest too heavily Putin’s authoritarianism and lawlessness.

4. President Trump, under the guise of having NATO member countries “pay their fair share”, has disproportionately criticized America’s truest historical allies, and curried favor at every turn with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and even North Korea. The fissures between the U.S. and other NATO countries is, again, another Trump love letter to Vladimir Putin. In order to execute Russia’s long-term strategy of reacquiring European territory, NATO must be weakened, if not unwound. President Trump’s anti-NATO rhetoric - however glossed in financial accountability - is precisely what Putin would have wished in a U.S. president.

5. Nearly half of Russia’s economy is hydrocarbon dependent. With clean, renewable energy gaining traction globally, stunting hydrocarbon market demand, and oversupply further driving prices downward, Russia has reason to be concerned. Rather than support innovation, freedom, dissent, and critical thinking inside Russia, Putin has pushed to undermine substitutes to hydrocarbon fuel and power. In President Trump, a climate change denier, he has found the ideal U.S. president to protect Russia’s hydrocarbon-laden economic interests.

6. Per the “Mueller Report”, Russia intentionally interfered in America’s 2016 presidential election in order to weaken HRC and, however unlikely, help DJT become U.S. President. Based on the points above, and others I’ve not included or not been aware of, Putin’s investment in undermining American democracy has clearly had a high Return on Investment.

No one in America should be above the law, including the president. Allow the whistleblower report to be reviewed in full by Congress, allow the whistleblower, among others, to speak before Congress, and allow the facts, and the facts alone, to lead America to the right decision regarding the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

( John Mues is a candidate for U.S. Senate.)