NATO as Provocateur: Trump as Pawn

Published 2:06 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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By Tom Hastings

Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian leader who capitulated to Hitler. He was Norwegian, and he was taller than our Austrian dictator, which made him smile obsequiously when in the presence of his Fuhrer boss. Norwegians came to despise Quisling. Even today, his name is eponymous with traitorous leader.

Common defense

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization–NATO–is a military alliance formed at the conclusion of WWII/beginning of the Cold War with the purpose of defending the US, Canada, and northern European nations against the Warsaw Pact.

The Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1991.

NATO promised at that point–at least the US rep James Baker promised in 1990–that NATO wasn’t looking to expand, but presumably rather to sit quietly to see if peace is really possible without its oppositional military alliance, dominated by the Soviet Union.

Then the Soviet Union itself dissolved.

This is when NATO was no longer needed. However, instead of disbanding and working instead on bringing a durable peace to the world, NATO began to expand eastward, toward Russia.

As Vladimir Putin came to power he saw the West growing in its military threat to Russia, even incorporating former members of the Warsaw Pact, such as Poland and Hungary.

Putin seems to dream of the glory days of the Russian empire and the superpower Soviet Union, determined to bring back that glory. Some think of him as a buffoon, albeit a dangerous one. His assassinations show only a filmy gauze of stealth; he is all but transparent in his willingness to simply murder those who are in his way.

In the immediate aftermath of the latest, of Alexei Navalny, Kyle Duggan of Politico writes about Bob Rae, the Canadian ambassador to the UN:

“Many of those who fell out of Putin’s favor died under mysterious circumstances. The ambassador made a list: Businessman Boris Berezovsky was found dead in his home in 2013, former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead near the Kremlin in 2015, former Russian press minister Mikhail Lesin died from blunt-force trauma in 2015, journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in an elevator in 2006 and secret service defector Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned to death with polonium the same year.

More recently, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner mercenary group who attempted and failed at a coup, died in a jet plane crash near Moscow.”

One has to wonder, when observing Trump, if Trump somehow fell into Putin’s blackmailable world or is somehow vitally threatened by Putin. Alternatively, or perhaps in a logical additional fashion, is Trump simply enamored of the Total Power model, the Ultimate Strongman paradigm, that Putin represents.

Dictators elsewhere have little reach beyond their borders. Putin has global reach. Autocrats in China have global reach but must constantly be struggling within to keep their grasp on power. Perhaps Trump sees Putin as the model he likes.

In any event, Trump kowtows to Putin at every turn, even supporting his friend Tucker Carlson traveling to Moscow to slavishly “interview” Putin (some may see it as simply taking dictation). Trump turned right around and said that after he’s reinstalled in the White House he would encourage Putin to go ahead with any invasion plans he likes.

Poland? Sure. Hungary? No need with their Putin-friendly guy. Maybe south into Central Asia in his intent to reconstruct and even enlarge the old Soviet Union. Certainly, the Baltic states would be forfeit when Trump is the US Putin-puppet.

Has the MAGA base thought about this? Do they want a US that has fallen? Do they like a Quisling in charge of our country?

Dr. Tom H. Hastings, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University.