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The Art of the Deal
Could Trump Pry Russia and Iran Apart?
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  • Boritz

    The previous Administration in the persons of Obama , Hillary and Kerry understood what Putin should have wanted based on their understanding of what they themselves want and negotiated with him on that basis. Trump has an understanding of what Putin really wants.

  • Dhako

    You still no wiser in reading the likes of Putin. In other words, to Putin, there are secondary issue (which in turn can be used as “leverage” to get the first priority of interest). And then there is the said first priority of interests (or “core interests”, as the Chinese will call it in their strategical reading of things). Hence, to Putin, Iran (and to a lesser extend, Syria) are secondary issue to be used to get the first and the “core interests” of Russia. This means, in so far as Putin is concern, so long as the US “abrogate” any intention to help (or come to the aid) of the former Soviet union states (particularly the Baltic states) then a deal of “Yalta kind” can be had.

    In other words, if the US wants (or most likely the Israeli’s interests in the US wants to go after Iran while using the US’s power under Trump) then the “price” in which Mr Trump will demand is that, the US must “vacate” the NATO’s guarantees to those states in the former Soviet union states; and for good measure, look the other way, if and when Mr Putin decides to bring Ukraine into his “strategical fold”. Hence, Putin’s dalliance with Syria (to a lesser extend) and with Iran, is essentially a “bargaining chip” that can be exchanges at the high table of strategical deal-making, provided, the Trump’s administration come prepare to walk away these Baltic states on the table while in return Putin will be happy to slide the his dalliance card” with Iran onto the side of the table in which Mr Trump is sitting on.

    This is the “game”, Putin is after, hence, let him know (or at least, the Israeli’s interests that are out to undo Mr Obama’s legacy with the Iranian) should try to convince Mr Trump that “given” these states in Europe are worthy of deal to be had with Putin when it comes to consummating Israeli’s agenda of using the American’s might to do in the Iranian. This what, the likes of Ledeen and Lake, who are the foot-soldiers of the Israeli’s interests in America need to worry about. Because, Putin is ready with fixed-smile on his face on the other side of the table ready to do deal.

    • You’re right that those are the things Putin wants in the abstract. What I’m saying is I’m not convinced that the Kremlin would believe that the United States can deliver on his desiderata, even with Trump in the WH. And along similar lines, I don’t think it’s all that likely that the Russians could “deliver” the Iranians either. It’s a long-standing and complicated relationship.

      • Anthony

        Long-standing and complicated relationship, Damir, sums it up.

      • Dhako

        From Putin’s perspective, he simply needs the US to say, that the Baltic states are really not covered the automatic umbrella of NATO’s article 5. Which means, to sow enough doubt about America’s final line of defense in so far as the Baltic’s states are concern. And, he will take it from there. And, even, if that could be delivered in private, so much better, since, that will safe the face of Mr Trump in reneging publicly what US has given. Hence, his is essentially that of saying lets come to some kind of “ambiguous deal’ as to whether US will defend the likes of Baltic’s states. And, if that is done, then he will use the kind of hybrid-warfare he honed in Georgia and Ukraine to wear down these states, till they become nothing but a satrap states to Russia. of course, it could well be as you say, that, Mr Trump can’t give to Mr Putin what he wants (which is a good thing in so far as these states are concern).

        But, do not doubt, he will try to “persuade” his pal, in the While-House, to see things that way. After all, Putin didn’t went all that trouble in helping Trump to win the top-prize of the White-House, just so that he will settled for getting nothing but a some kind of Christmas card from the White-house, once a year. Hence, regardless of whether Mr Trump will be his “chump” or not, Mr Putin, will surely, as a day follows a night, try to talk to Trump to go and see the reality of Russian’s interests in the same lense that he sees it, which means, he will not be found wanting in trying to convince Mr Trump that, these states are nothing but “strategical burden” to America, and soon as they are cast adrift, the better the understanding between Moscow and Washington will be.

        As for Iran, it’s true he can’t delivered” in the same way the US can delivered the Baltic states to Moscow’s alleged tender mercies. But, I think in here, Mr Putin will help the US in “welshing” the Security council deal with Iran. Secondly, he can delivered the American’s a very helpful hand, along the lines of “ensuring” the all the information of where Iran is keeping its priceless nuclear assets are, what they are made off. And, thirsly, in the event the US decides to bombing raid is “required” he can ensure the US will not be running into a top-notch Russian’s missiles, by way of delaying those he had promised to delivered to Iran, if there is a deal with Trump. Or failing that, if the weapons are already in the ground in Iran and are operational, he (i.e., Mr Putin) can then help with a pertinent information with American’s planners as to what is best way to “neutered” those Russian’s weapons. Hence, admitted, his help (for what it is) is less than what he is asking in return.

        But, that is Putin for you. Since, he is the sort of the guy, who will ask you the sexual pleasure of your wife in return for for him to providing to you some cheap hooker from the street of Moscow. And, if you are already “compromised” (like the manner Mr Trump is at the hand of Mr Putin), then, who knows, whether you will have sufficient guile or grit to refuse” that sort of “transaction” Hence, soon we will find out how this kind high stakes deal go; and who was sold a bill of goods, as a result of it.

        • Anthony

          “Sexual pleasure of your wife in exchange for some cheap Moscow hooker.” Good Dhako, very good (in English even).

      • Disappeared4x

        Longer standing and more complicated relationship, even before the 19th century ‘Great Game’, but I still like seeing the Russian Bear keeping the British Lion away from the Persian Cat.

  • jeburke

    Wait…what’s the other end of the deal? Russia sacrifices some part of its relationship with Iran (and Assad?) and in return gets what? A free hand in the Baltics? A nice Christmas card from Trump?

    • Dhako

      No, it means, Trump’s America, or more precisely the Israelis acting under Trump’s administration will get to dictate how Uncle Sam will “pulverize” the Iranians nuclear outfits and of course proceed to shred the Obama’s Iran-deal. And in return, Putin gets, the likes of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on a silver-platter, and will do to them as he pleases. That is the deal, Mr Putin is after. Lets see what Trump wants, particularly if he wants badly any deal “involving” the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities from Putin’s side.

      • Disappeared4x

        Dhako really needs to get out of London. China does not officially support the myth that ‘Israel controls USA foreign policy’.

        • Dhako

          I think the fact that Bibi Netanyahu didn’t wasted a moment in waiting about before he decided to re-start and increase his settlement construction agenda after Mr Trump’s was inaugurated, tells me all I needed to know about how Mr Trump will play the Israeli agenda of “gobbling-up” any piece territories in the “occupied West-Bank”.

          Moreover, the fact that Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu weren’t pen-pals (to say the least) whereby such “open estrangement” had occasioned the political reality of seeing the Israeli’s Prime-Minister campaigning against a sitting President at the halls of the US’s Congress where the issue of the Iranian’s nuclear deal is concern, tells me that now Mr Netanyahu sees his chance to “persuade” Mr Trump to shred and dismantle that deal.

          And if such a “persuasion” can be had through Mr Trump’s family (namely through his son-in-law, Mr Kushner) then so much the better indeed. Hence, it’s all open book where Trump will “lean” on where his final take of this issue will be.

          • Disappeared4x

            Ramat Shlomo is a neighborhood in north Jerusalem built on a rocky hillside used for goat grazing until 1967.
            Ramat Shlomo is not a “settlement” except to the western transnationalists and muslim nations.

            Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria are the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It is criminal that Obama44 believes that Jewish apartments in Israel are illegal, that Jews have no historical presence in Jerusalem.
            You really need to stop believing False Narratives.

            Stick to the rest of the world instead of being a ‘useful idiot’ of the post-modern transnationalists who also believe Tibet is an illegal occupation by China.
            End of any further communication with Judeophobe Dhako who has been watching the Judeophobic BBC far too long.

    • As WRM has put it elsewhere, basically a veto on European expansion, a roll-back of NATO, and a free-hand in its near-abroad.
      (And I think Assad stays in this vision.)

      • jeburke

        That would be an historically bad deal for the US. To paraphrase Bismarck, the whole Middle East is not worth a single Baltic country. By which I mean that Europe remains vastly more important to the US than the Middle East, as it was in 1985 and 1945. The US and the West spent trillions of dollars, 45 years and quite a few lives to secure Europe from Russia. Now, Trump prepares to throw away that historic victory? It’s not just about Estonia. Lenin and Stalin understood in 1919 that the USSR could never be a world-class power without Ukraine and the Baltics and set abour reassembling the Russian Empire stripped of its possessions at Brest-Litovsk. Putin is doing the same thing. Allowing him to do it would be the biggest strategic mistake in American history.

        • jeburke, I don’t disagree at all. But that said, it’s all speculation at this point. Let’s see what the Trump Administration offers up before we damn them for it.

          Unlike most in the media, I’m not convinced Trump is a fool when it comes to this kind of stuff. Even if he doesn’t much care for Europe and the Baltics out of some sense of sentimentality, I think he can see (or will quickly recognize if he doesn’t yet) that it means a lot to the Russians. That’s cold comfort to the countries concerned—being a valuable chit is less reassuring than being thought of as a valued ally—but I think that’s the new reality. And it’s not nothing.

  • WigWag

    Another chit that the Trump Administration could trade to entice Russia to distance itself from Iran is to reverse the American position on the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo.

    A fresh dispute between Serbia and Kosovo broke out last week when according to Politico (and numerous other news outlets)

    “…a Serbian train emblazoned with nationalist slogans, including ‘Kosovo is Serbia,’ prompted fresh fears that heated rhetoric in the Western Balkans could escalate into more than a war of words. Decorated in Serbian national colors, the train was supposed to be the first to go direct from Serbia’s capital Belgrade to north Mitrovica, a Serb-dominated area of Kosovo, in nearly two decades. The train stopped before crossing into Kosovo after Pristina said it had sent special police to the border.”

    The perpetual crisis in the Balkans represent just one more in a long line of failures for American diplomacy, the EU and NATO. The reason is easy to understand; the West chose to support the wrong side in the conflict. Ripping Kosovo from Serbia was not only morally unjustifiable, it was strategically inept. Is it any wonder that the Balkan policy first articulated during Bill Clinton’s Administration under pressure from the Europeans continues to produce havoc all of these decades later?

    The Russians were right to support Serbia in its objections to ripping Kosovo from Serbia and many counties (including China) refuse to recognize Kosovo as an independent nation. For reasons of religion (Serbia and Russia are Orthodox) and nationality (most Russians and Serbs are Slavs) Russia would be delighted to see the Trump Administration reverse its position and take the Serbian side.

    What does taking the Serbian side mean? Either supporting Kosovo’s reintegration into Serbia, or, alternatively, allowing Serbia to annex the regions of Kosovo (most but not all of which abut Serbia) into the Serbian State.

    Without NATO standing in the way, Serbian forces could overrun Kosovo within a matter of days and enforce Serbian sovereignty over the break-away region.

    No one is suggesting that the future of Serbia is at the top of Putin’s bucket list, but reversing the American position on the conflict in that part of the world is something our new Deal-Maker In Chief could do to reset relations with Russia and begin to separate Russia from Iran.

    It is a deal well worth making.

    • Disappeared4x

      When I read about the Serbian train last week, all I could think of was ‘good thing Melania is fluent in Serbian’, and some of what WigWag wrote, but not with his eloquence.

      • WigWag

        You make a very interesting point; not only is Melania only the second foreign born First Lady, she is obviously the only First Lady born in the former Yugoslavia. She speaks both Slovene and Serbian-Croatian and it is my understanding that the languages are not all that dissimilar.

        This means that not only is President Trump’s wife Slovenian by birth, but his son Barron is also half Slovenian.

        Whether any of this has any impact on Trump’s policies to the Balkans will be interesting to watch.

        Given Trump’s obvious ambivalence towards Muslims, it’s not hard to imagine him totally reversing the American approach to both Kosovo and Bosnia.

        Should this come to pass, it will drive our EU allies absolutely batty and cause a real rift in NATO which polices the Dayton Accords and the cessation of hostilities between Serbia and Kosovo.

        The impending decline (or perhaps collapse) of the EU makes the cold peace in the Balkans increasingly untenable.

        If Trump ultimately decides to change American policy towards that part of the world it will make Putin as joyful as it will make our European allies mournful.

        It’s not something that Trump should give away. He should extract something meaningful in return from the Russians.

        • Disappeared4x

          First wife Ivana was born in 1949 Czechoslovakia, so Donald Jr (who is fluent in Czech), Ivanka, and Eric are half-Czech.
          DJT must have some sense of what life was like behind the Iron Curtain.
          Good bet that Trump always “extracts something meaningful” in every negotiation. As I commented below, Russia’s help with Hezbollah’s rockets in Southern Lebanon might be one priority.
          ‘Deleting’ North Korea from Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs might be another.
          We do “live in interesting times”, made a bit more rational by your always thoughtful commentary.

    • WigWag, it just so happens I’m heading to Belgrade and Pristina next week, so expect more first-hand reports soon. And let me suggest that beyond Serbia, Bosnia is the more effective issue for Putin to press on.

      • WigWag

        You probably don’t even remember this, Damir, but several years ago when TAI was still in its infancy, you sent a small group of American journalism students to Kosovo to report on developments there. I’m not sure that the essays produced by the students got all that much attention and I doubt they got very many page hits, but I think they did a great job. It was that series of reports that I suspect you commissioned which, if I remember correctly, got me hooked on the site. I’ve frequently wished you would repeat the experiment. I look forward to reading your reports and to learning why you think the Russians might be even more motivated by a change of American policy towards Bosnia than a change of policy towards Kosovo.

        I hope that as long as your going to Belgrade and Pristina that you will have time to visit your boyhood town and have the opportunity to visit with any friends and family that you may still have there.

        Have a safe and enjoyable trip.

  • Kevin

    I’m not sure I trust Ladeen’s judgment about the new administration’s thinking. My take on him is that he’s fairly perceptive about the Middle East, but too much of a partisan polemicist on ME policy for his take on the administration to be trusted.

    I think it’s also too early to tell who among Trump, Flynn, Mattis, Tillerson, etc. not to WH political mention people like Kushner, Bannon, Priebus, etc. will drive the details of US policy. I’m sure Trump wants a deal in the abstract, and he is likely to push his team towards finding if there’s one to be had, but the devil is in the details. When trading off specifics of Russia policy and Iranian policy plus all the Middle East issues, it will be depend on how the as yet unknowable chemistry of this new team plays out.

    • Thing is, I’ve read Flynn’s book. It says what I’ve indicated above regarding Russia and Iran. Yes, Ledeen wrote it, but presumably Flynn was interviewed extensively for it, and signed off on it as being representative of his views.

  • Disappeared4x

    There is a cohort who believes Russia can help enforce UNSC Res 1701, to get Hezbollah’s tens of thousands of missiles and rockets out of South Lebanon, pointed at one million former citizens of the former Soviet Union who are now citizens of Israel. This is one way to start reforming the U.N. – actually enforcing UNSC resolutions that matter.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Russia expects to get something from Trump——-net, net——–or it wouldn’t be toasting Trump.

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