Russian President Vladimir Putin recently conducted his first phone call with the man that some on Left allege he made President of the United States. After an election season where winning candidate Donald Trump postulated Russia as future ally, rather than adversary, tensions are, for once, notably low. However, German weekly Der Spiegel note that Trump, like many a western leader before him, fell for Putin’s ruse. As always, the Russian leader would risk total deterioration of relations, rather than sacrifice his beloved Assad.
Before taking a closer look at the debacle, there is the matter of Putin’s congratulatory speech to the
most elaborate FSB sleeper agent in history President-elect:
Here is an excellent guide on how to arrange the most awkward election party, beating the combined efforts of the TYT and MSNBC. Notice the distance between the speaker and his audience. With this few people around, a microphone seems completely redundant, not least due to the echo of the Kremlin’s golden hall. Also note the apparent lack of chairs or general comfort, as his line of invitees stands upright in front of the one-man firing squad. Putin, refusing to speak anything but Russian, did use a live English translator, yet did not give him a microphone.
Was Putin bluffing all along?
Some believe that the continuation of the bombardment of Aleppo unveils the Great Russian deceit. The fact that these bombardments took place from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which everyone pretended did not work just a while ago, apparently makes this even worse. Spiegel then laments that Putin is not really targeting the Islamic State, but rather the former al-Nusra offspring in Idlib, as they race to break the siege on Aleppo.
In this case, Russian ruses are least of our worries, but rather the surprising defence of Jabhat al-Nusra, now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and soon to be another combination of some of those words. For those catching up, this is the former al-Qaeda conduit in Syria. Russia has been supporting the Syrian Army’s siege of Aleppo since way before the election, and for them to ward off a break-through attempt seems like a reasonable thing to do if your goal is shortening the conflict. Trump has made numerous comments during his campaign on the futility of arming dodgy rebels to help them fight the Russians. How this would eventually extend to hurting Trump or America is inconceivable.
The Obama administrations propping of rebel groups extends all the way back to 2012. Reversing on support would have meant an embarrassment to the current President’s legacy, and possibly to America’s reputation as an ally to democratic transition movements. Trump, however, bears no such stigma on the previous administration’s failed experiment.