Following the news that Russia put a bounty on US troops, this old puzzle takes on new significance.
David Corn (June 29, 2020)
What does Putin’s Pence get from his relationship with Vladimir Putin? Everything is transactional. It’s all about the deal. Therefore it should be possible to determine what the American President gets in exchange for being submissive to the leader of America’s adversary.
WHAT DOES PUTIN GET?
On Putin’s side, it is relatively easy to determine what he gets or wants from his relationship with his American asset.
End of the sanctions
Restoration of the G8
Approval for the invasion of the Ukraine
Approval for Russia’s actions abroad including in Afghanistan, Africa, Libya, and Syria
Permission to violate the American elections in 2020 as he did in 2016
Approval for invading the Baltics should he decide to do so.
Plus whatever other actions Putin is doing or decides to do which a normal American President would oppose.
WHAT DOES PUTIN HAVE ON HIS PENCE?
In general, there is an assumption that Putin must have something on his Pence. In other words, the reason for the subordinate behavior is due to the risk of exposure or the withholding of some action that his Pence desires. While I do not agree with this assessment, it is worthwhile reviewing the potential areas of blackmail which have been identified.
1. Compromising Pictures
There has been an ongoing fascination over what happened when THE DONALD had the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. At that time, he tweeted:
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend? 11:17 PM · Jun 18, 2013
Strange tweet to be sure. It has led to investigations into what really happened. For example:
When Donald Trump brought Miss Universe to Moscow by Michael Crowley 5/15/16
Trump in Moscow: what happened at Miss Universe in 2013 by Jon Swaine in New York and Shaun Walker in Moscow (9/18/17)
Trump’s Miss Universe Gambit by Jeffrey Toobin (2/26/18).
Something had to have happened in the swirl of money, media, and babes. How could it not have? Even if there was some skullduggery in the selection of the winning contestant and/or the finances of the pageant, could that have been enough to turn the American President into Putin’s Pence?
Besides money and manipulation, could there have been compromising pictures that THE DONALD would do anything to keep secret just as he doing with his taxes? Titillating as the idea is, the answer seems to be “no.” Let’s put the 2013 pageant in historical perspective.
2005 January 22 marriage to Melania
2005 September, Access Hollywood tape: claims he’s still got it
2006 March 20 birth of Barron
2006 Stormy Daniels, one night stand
2006 Karen McDougal, possible next wife
As best I know between 2006 and 2013, there are no allegations of grabbing, harassment, one-night stands, or affairs. What happened? At some point did THE DONALD simply cease performing as THE DONALD? I am not familiar with any reporting on why the change in behavior occurred or when. However the cessation of even specific accusations against him leads me to believe that for whatever reason, he was a different person in his sixties than he had been earlier. Therefore, I am inclined to believe that the idea of compromising pictures is wishful thinking
2. Trump Tower
The desire to build a Trump Tower in Moscow certainly was a pre-presidential goal. Is it still one? Whatever backroom maneuverings he undertook to secure approval probably weren’t that different from the way he was used to wheeling and dealing in the New York real estate market. The differences were in location and the government involved. It’s hard to imagine that he is subservient to Putin simply in the hopes of being able to build a Trump Tower in Moscow after he is no longer President.
WHAT DOES THE CHILD IN THE BODY OF A MAN GET FROM ALPHA MALE PUTIN?
Thanks to some recent reporting by Carl Bernstein and a book by Mary Trump it is possible to better document what was known and/or suspected all along.
Mary Trump describes the child in the body of a man as coming from a truly dysfunctional family. Fred Trump’s racism evidence in KKK associations and his rental practices are nothing new. The anti-Semitism may be a bit of a surprise given his daughter’s conversion and his support of Israel, but it is consistent with his stereotype of Jews.
What’s new is the extent to which Fred Trump was a person with serious psychological problems and to which they extended to his son. Not to repeat what she has written and said in interviews, but the atmosphere in that home must have been suffocating. One son was driven to alcoholism and died early. By contrast, THE DONALD figured out a way to survive and thrive under those conditions. As Mary Trump describes it, he carried that dysfunctionality with him all of his life. One might note that he added his own shortcomings to the mix.
Future biographers will have a field day trying to determine what was nature and what was nurture (or its absence) in the upbringing of the child. Mary Trump says he has he emotional maturity of a three-year old. But that doesn’t explain why he has the mental necessities and cognitive skills of an immature child. Being emotionally immature doesn’t explain the inability to read a briefing book or need someone to take the SATs. Mary Trump suspects a learning disorder but he may just have a child’s brain that is incapable of functioning at the adult level.
How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize these shortcomings?
Mary Trump writes of his uncle as the “court jester from Queens.” She mocks his inability to succeed in business without his father’s help. One might add that after Fred’s death, the Russian mob filled in the financial gap. Mary Trump writes of the tension between the dependent son in the real world with image of THE DONALD he wanted to be real. She claims his bragging and false bravado were really directed towards his long-dead father: Look at me! I made it! Look how tough I am! Look how I beat up on women! Aren’t I a real man!!?
How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize that Little Donne Waney was an alpha male wannabee and not the real thing?
Mary Trump asserts that her uncle was trained to hunger endlessly for daddy’s approval. Now she claims that father has been replaced by father figures who remind him of his real father, father figures like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. Once Kim Jong-un was little rocket man and THE DONALD bragged of having a bigger rocket and button. Then they became “lovers.” Who knows what they are now. But Jong-un is a son who succeeded in his father’s business.
Putin is the number one alpha male on the world stage. People who observe Putin and his Pence together readily ascertain which one is the dominant male and which one is subservient. Bernstein writes: “Putin ‘just outplays’ him.” The alpha male wannabee is focused on building himself into a macho-macho man who Putin will respect. And it was always about him, never about the United States, its allies, or being leader of the free world.
How long would it have taken a skilled KGB operator like Putin to realize that he didn’t need to put the alpha male wannabee on the Russian payroll? Putin’s Pence would be a Russian asset all on his own, so pathetic was the American President’s need for Putin’s approval. The alpha male dominated the child inside the body of an adult.
The three-year old will never grow up. He will yell at governors for being weak. He will demand that they dominate the protesters. He will insist they not be losers. Then he will show them the way by dominating Lafayette Square as no President in American history ever has done. Wouldn’t Fred be proud of his son’s success?
Putin undoubtedly realizes that the time of his Pence as President may be nearing an end. He can read briefing reports. Putin’s window of opportunity for exploiting the complicit President is closing. What will he do before his Pence leaves office? Will he seek a final hurrah when he knows the United States will not respond? Invade the Baltics? Given the weaknesses of his own country, there may be limits to what he can do. When all is said and done, this brief interlude when his Pence presided over the United States may be remembered as the time when an immature child in the body of an adult desperate for the approval of his dominating father tried to the best of his ability to help make Russia great again.