Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump Cards, Con't.

It's important to remember that while Trump certainly wanted the press over a fight with Ted Cruz (because to hell with what his own running mate has to say) it's what wasn't said on the convention floor that we should be paying attention to.  First of all, Trump more or less announced the end of US military participation in NATO if he's elected president.

In his strongest remarks to date on the future of the western military alliance, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the U.S. would only defend NATO members attacked by Russia after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, the billionaire cast doubt on whether he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the assurance that they have U.S. military support in the event of an attack. He specifically referred to the small Baltic states which share borders with Russia.
Trump’s comments deepen his criticism of NATO after he called it“obsolete” in April during campaigning for the nomination. They come less than two weeks after the NATO summit in Warsaw agreed to enhance deployment of forces in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia as a deterrent following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin is overseeing the biggest Russian military buildup at its western border since the collapse of communism. The Kremlin is spending 20 trillion rubles ($314 billion) on an ambitious defense upgrade through 2020, while NATO’s plans involve rotating four battalions through the region.

“The geopolitical situation is worrying, we see how the Kremlin is trying to
increase its sphere of influence,” Inara Murniece, speaker of Latvia’s parliament, said in a Latvian television interview Thursday. “We will have to speak about security a lot no matter who is the next U.S. president.” 

Hey Baltic states, sure would be a shame if Vladimir Putin came in and ransacked the joint, but we're not going to help you unless...what?  They pay up?  We're shaking down Latvia and Estonia, or throwing them to the tender mercies of Moscow?  If Putin decided to bring the thunder down on these countries, there's not a hell of a lot we could do about it militarily anyway, but the the point is Putin would pay a price, or should.  Trump's basically saying "Oh well, who cares, right?"

And we could have a nice, long, unpleasant conversation about Trump's financial ties to Putin, too, and how basically every foreign policy wonk out there is screaming that Trump is a mad man who will absolutely give Putin everything he wants, including turning America's back on the Baltics should Vlad and several hundred tanks come knocking.

"OK," you're saying, "but that makes Trump a non-interventionist, and frankly Bush and Obama have gotten us into way too many foreign entanglements over the last 15 years.  Let Europe defend NATO." Sure, we've got our own problems here in America.  Seems enticing on foreign policy, until you remember Trump's awful domestic policy.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary if elected to the White House on Nov. 8, according to four sources close to Trump's campaign.

The chief executive of Continental Resources would be the first U.S. energy secretary drawn directly from the oil and gas industry since the cabinet position was created in 1977, a move that would jolt environmental advocates but bolster Trump's pro-drilling energy platform.

Dan Eberhart, an oil investor and Republican financier, said he had been told by officials in Trump's campaign that Hamm, who has been an informal advisor to Trump on energy policy since at least May, was "the leading contender" for the position.

Eberhart said he had discussed the possible appointment with top donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, where Trump was formally nominated as the party's candidate in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Three other sources close to the Trump campaign confirmed Trump was considering Hamm for the post. One of the sources said he first heard that Hamm was a contender from Trump officials on Sunday. None of the sources was aware of who else Trump may be considering for the job.

Representatives for Trump and Hamm did not respond to a request for comment.

Addressing the convention on Wednesday night, Hamm called for expanded drilling and said too much environmental regulation threatened to limit U.S. oil production and increase the country's dependence on Middle Eastern oil producers.

"Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded," Hamm told the cheering crowd. "Every onerous regulation puts American lives at risk."

Yeah, so Trump is going to make the CEO of the country's biggest fracking company his energy secretary. It's almost comical except this is real folks, he would literally turn over US energy policy to the fracking industry to conduct.  Amazing.

Deadly real.  Serving up the Baltics to Putin and our environment to the frackers?  Gosh, Trump seems like a great guy.

No difference between him and Hillary after all.

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