Kremer’s Corner: Putin gets the two-year award

Jerry Kremer

The year 2018 was a great year for many people and many organizations.

The Philadelphia Eagles football team defeated the mighty New England Patriots. The Red Sox easily beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to become baseball’s champions. In addition, the mighty Golden State Warriors became the NBA champions.

As for individuals, Russia’s Vladimir Putin broke all records for having two consecutive years of success in all categories.

Putin has won more victories than any other world leader, without ever having to leave the Kremlin.

Let’s start with bi-lateral agreements. The American withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was a major setback for U.S. businesses and gave China a clear field to dominate commerce in the Asian region.

President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord made America the only country in the world to refuse to be part of the effort to control climate challenges. Even Syria is a signatory.

In the category of most insults to our long-term allies, Putin was again a winner. Trump went out of his way to alienate England, Germany, France and Canada. He cheered for the failure of the Brexit exit, encouraged Angela Merkel’s right-wing foes to undermine her government and insulted France’s Prime Minister Macron on more than one occasion.

If all of the insults were put on a scale, the winner in greatest slaps in the face is Canada.

Going back as far as World War II, and probably earlier, America has had no stronger ally than Canada. During that war, we kept many of our airplanes on Canadian soil to make the Atlantic Ocean trips shorter and save fuel.

Many Canadians joined us in fighting our enemies and for its size as a country, lost more of its own people than any nation other than the United States. In 2018, Trump imposed tariffs on Canada using a provision of the law that is connected to countries that are a threat to our national safety. After a strong pushback from Prime Minister Trudeau, Trump sat mute. Putin must have fallen off his couch laughing.

Trump boasts that he has been “tougher on Russia than any other president in recent memory.” He cites a number of sanctions against a handful of Russian oligarchs. This past week, he recommended that sanctions against a Putin friendly company be lifted and it appears that Congress will not be able to block it.

Add to that are Trump’s constant defenses of Russia’s actions during the 2016 elections, claiming that he believes Russia and not his CIA, FBI and Homeland Security departments.

I believe that Putin did a victory dance when Trump announced that the United States would pull its troops out of Syria.

By removing the 2,500 soldiers, Syria is then in the hands of Iran, Russia and Syria’s murderous leader, Bashar al-Assad. Our president decided that the war against ISIS is over and we won. Two weeks later ISIS kills four innocent Americans.

ISIS is still alive and well in Syria and they too are rejoicing at the fact that America is pulling out. To add to the muddled picture, once we are gone from Syria, the allied Kurdish forces face sure slaughter at the hands of Turkey’s President Erdogan.

On these issues alone, you could write volumes, but there is only one more prize that has eluded Putin. That prize is American withdrawal from NATO. Trump has been a sharp critic of NATO member defense spending and all of those countries have increased their spending as a response.

Now the President wants to take 70 years of history and throw this organization into the wastebasket. Without the allies that helped us win World War II, Desert Storm and other conflicts, our current defense system would be in tatters. This Atlantic alliance was the first place we turned to when the 9/11 disaster occurred.

We are now in the early stages of 2019. There is no way of knowing what else Trump will do to make Putin the happiest man on the planet. Two years of success for the Russian leader equals two years of failure of our democracy.

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