Could Russia's support of president-elect Donald Trump lead to World War 3?
In the past year, at least 17 intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 US Presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, at least indirectly. This is not an isolated incident; in the recent past, other Western countries have also accused Russia of the very same thing. Why would Russia – under Vladimir Putin - do this?
After the first World War, the Sudetenland was a German speaking and sympathizing region of Czechoslovakia. When Germany annexed the Sudetenland roughly one year before World War II officially started, the World justified Hitler’s wrongdoing, and its subsequent reaction of inaction, with that explanation. But Germany had bigger sights in mind, undisclosed to the World at the time. Keep reading, you are about to see a scary parallel.
Putin has previously called the dissolution of the USSR to be the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th Century." Two years ago Russia annexed Crimea, in blatant violation of international law. Although Crimea was a Russian speaking and sympathizing region of the Ukraine, the World knew the dangerous precedent of this move and saw its historical parallel to Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938. The World responded with Sanctions against Russia.
Do you believe Russia's territorial ambitions end with Crimea? Could Putin have greater sights in mind beyond Crimea, perhaps starting in Eastern Europe? I believe so.
What is Putin's greatest obstacle to continued expansion into Eastern Europe? The answer is NATO and a unified West. If his ambitions are to regain lost territory, his goal is to weaken NATO and fragment the West. A weak NATO and a fragmented West could give him the opportunity to make moves into Eastern Europe. The withdrawal of NATO troops from Eastern Europe would create a power vacuum in the region that Russia could opportunistically fill.
To realize this strategy, Putin saw the election of Donald Trump to be strategically beneficial. By influencing the election in Trump's favor, he created a pathway to defeat the largest obstacle in his way.
Since the election, Putin has already petitioned the Trump administration to pressure NATO to withdraw troops from Eastern Europe in an effort to "decrease tensions" in the region. The Trump administration has already suggested it is not a keen defender of NATO.
Mutual distrust between the US and Russia goes back decades and is not without cause. Putin is a bad actor and Russia isn't a democracy. Putin is a professional propaganda artist, a skill he learned from his time in the KGB.
Donald Trump is businessman, not a history buff. He has not extensively studied history and is not an expert in foreign policy. This makes him the perfect pawn for Putin, setting up a very dangerous game given the current global political climate.
World War I and World War II started in Europe; World War III will likely also start in Europe. All you have to do is look at history to see the potentially devastating consequences facing not only our country, but the world at large.
They say: "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."
I say: "Those who turn a blind eye to history bear the burden of responsibility".
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