Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Much More Than Sex

Donald Trump responded to the dossier prepared by a former agent with the British spy agency, M16, by calling the allegations "a complete lie" and "fake news."

"Your organization is terrible," he told CNN reporter Jim Acosta while denying Acosta the opportunity to ask a question at the President-elect's news conference/campaign rally last week. CNN had reported the existence of the 35-page report, as well as the President-elect having been briefed on its contents. The Trump team had denied being informed about it, a claim contradicted by the reporting of CNN, ABC News, NBC News and, of course, Buzzfeed.

Donald Trump accusing his critics of lying, shutting up a reporter and trying to intimidate his news operation, or allowing his employees to lie about whether the boss was briefed about critical intelligence. That's what he does.

It's is a vital part of Trump's modus operandi and partially because of that, shouldn't be taken lightly. However, it's not surprising and is at least fairly normal, albeit disgraceful, behavior of a man who soon will be the most powerful individual on earth.

Actually, although he will be in a few days the most powerful man or woman on earth, he may sometime become the second most powerful person globally, a status he is welcoming. Appropriately, for an individual who has publicly expressed fairly reprehensible views himself about women, sex, and sexual assault,  he would be playing second fiddle for a guy who himself seems to have a sexual hangup.

Business insider reports that Vladimir Putin has characterized the parties behind the Trump/Russia dosssier as "worse than prostitutes."  Although libertines might consider that not so damning, Putin presumably believes that prostitution (or, more likely, prostitutes) is a holy hell worse, than say, invading an independent country. However

Russian intelligence services "don't chase every American billionaire," Putin said. He added that Trump "has been with the most beautiful women in the world, so why would he need prostitutes in Moscow?"

"Trump organized beauty contests," Putin continued. "It's unlikely he met with young women with such a low social responsibility."

Putin evidently thinks a man who believes physical beauty of women largely determines their worth and is accustomed to exploiting his wealth to be with them would never entertain the services of a prostitute.  As we all know, wealthy men never, ever call upon a call girl.

But as Donald Trump prepares (barely) to become the 45th President of the USA, his thoughts- as are Putin's- are probably less with sex and prostitutes, or sex with prostitutes, than with how to destroy the Western alliance.

In an interview published Sunday in the London Times, Trump again labeled the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "obsolete." And although one of the interviewees was a former chief editor of a German newspaper, he refused to say whether he more trusted Putin or Angela Merkel.

Trump also blamed Brexit on pressure on the U.K.  to admit many refugees and contended more nations will leave the European Union because "people want their own identity."  "If refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe," Trump argued, "I think it's going to be very hard to keep" a common currency."

This was not the voice of someone who wants Europe as a counterweight to Russian expansionism, whatever the extent of his relationship with the Kremlin.  In Politico Magazine, Alex Massie finds

The evidence, as revealed by Trump’s first post-election interview with the European press, is not reassuring. For 60 years, NATO and the European Union have been at the heart of the transatlantic security and trade relationships. Judged by Trump’s interview, that is no longer the case. The new president doesn’t think the EU “matters very much for the United States”; NATO is “obsolete.” If this rhetoric is etched by a shift in American foreign policy, then the rules and assumptions that have underpinned the Western world since the Second World War will no longer apply. We will be in uncharted territory.

"Uncharted," there, is a euphemism for "exceedingly perilous."

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