In the movie "A View to a Kill," the Russians award James Bond the Order of Lenin, for saving Silicon Valley, with the line "Where would Russian Technology be without America?" One wonders where Russia's geopolitical ambitions be without the election of Donald Trump.
In selecting ExxonMobil CEO for Secretary of State, Trump chose a man who has very close ties to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. In fact, they are so close that Russia awarded Rex Tillerson the Order of Friendship in 2013.
Tillerson spoke out against sanctions against Russia, imposed in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea (an invasion Trump approves of) and the dispatch of Russian troops to aid antigovernment rebels in Ukraine. But now we know that ExxonMobil was poised to make a billion dollar deal with Russia, halted because of those sanctions, according to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke glowingly of Tillerson's nomination. Then we learned that she's an ExxonMobil consultant, so the support is understandable. Also, Rice was Secretary of State when stood by as Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia in 2008, seizing large chunks of territory, leaving the country in a precarious position.
We can fully expect those sanctions to be lifted in 2017, so Tillerson's deals can go through. As Russia is able to rebuild their economy, look for them to engage in a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine, under the guise of "supporting rebels" (the same ones that shot down a Malaysian passenger jet) while America looks on as unconcerned as it did back in 2008. Expect the same corrupt leader (Viktor Yanukovych) who looted the country (with ties to Trump's former Campaign Chair Paul Manafort) or an ally of his to be installed as Putin's puppet.
We can also count on American troops to be withdrawn from the Baltics by 2019, and possibly from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Expect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to lose their freedom shortly thereafter, as they did to Stalin before WWII. We can expect the same fate for Moldova, and possibly Central Asian Republics in a hypothetical second term for Trump.
And that's not all. Russia's full-fledged support of Israel's enemies, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will make life harder for our Jewish ally. Fearful of a Russian comeback, East European countries will likely kowtow to Putin as America disengages from the NATO Alliance. Look for Canada and West Europe to adopt a policy of neutrality, praying for an American leader to restart the alliance of democracies.
It's a dream scenario for the ex-KGB spymaster Vladimir Putin. Sure the Soviets could be stymied by a strong America and its loyal allies. They lost the Cold War. But Putin figured out how to get an ally into the White House, supported whole-heartedly by the people who ironically consider themselves the most patriotic and most anti-communist in America.
It's too bad Mitt Romney wasn't chosen. Back in the 2012 debates, he labeled Russia as America's number one enemy. Because of this, it is likely that Romney was considered unacceptable to "our new friend" Putin, which could explain why he wasn't allowed to lead the State Department. The rest isn't history. It's the future.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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