Trump Still Cozies Up to the Kremlin As It Pays Afghan Terrorists to Kill Americans
So this happened (New York Times):
American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.
Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.
The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said. [emphasis added]
For those of you doubtful about the NYT report, it was confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. The most the Trump Administration could do was give a perfunctory denial that Trump himself was briefed (Jeremy Diamond), until Trump himself gave a clumsy denial of everything via Twitter.
This bombshell revealed several things at once.
First, the notion that Donald Trump is “tough” and for “America first” has been blown to smithereens. In the three months since the aforementioned “meeting in late March,” all that Trump as done regarding Russia is express support for it rejoining the G7. Even as the news hit over the weekend, all Trump could do was send his press secretary to say he wasn’t personally briefed. There’s been no condemnation, no promise of action, nothing.
Second, the question of what Putin gains from Trump in the White House has been conclusively answered. As much as Putin might want to destabilize the United States (and he certainly does), this is a clear sign of a benefit he has reaped from helping Trump in 2016. Even if we take White House Press Secretary at her word (yes, I’m laughing at that, and so are you), it means our own intelligence community believed Trump was so deeply in Putin’s pocket that there was no value even telling him that Moscow was offering bounties to kill our troops and our allies. If in fact Trump was briefed, his inaction shows whose interests matter to him most – and it’s not the American people. Either way, Putin has been able to get away with something a Hillary Clinton administration would have never tolerated.
Third, this is a reminder of how far Russia is going to attack our interests, our people, and our allies. Contrary to anything Trump or his minions have said, Russia is our geopolitical foe – period, end of paragraph, last page in the book. I know more than a few readers will probably be skeptical of the possibility that Russian espionage had links to local police departments. That was before we learned the GRU was paying the Taliban and their allies to kill American troops and our allies.
Fourth, now we know why Trump is so upset at NFL players kneeling before the American flag – because he only kneels to the Russian flag.
Finally, the near-complete silence from the Republican Party at the federal level is deafening. Few Republicans have bothered to comment on this. I can think of no clearer sign that the party needs a serious shellacking in November and a very long stint in the political wilderness.
I may be in the minority here on Bearing Drift, but I would much prefer the candidate who called this a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way,” and, “a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas” (CNBC).
That candidate is Joe Biden.