Nearly six months ago, I wrote an article called The Truth about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, in which I postulated that the reason President Trump was so unwilling to savage Vladimir Putin publicly was that he wanted a true Russian reset so that we could work together on issues such as terrorism and trade. In the six months since, we’ve seen a continuation of the processes I outlined, with the two men being reasonably conciliatory toward one another, at least in public. The process that began during the 2016 presidential campaign culminated this past week at the Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Yet again, President Trump refused to take on a hostile tone with Putin, and this time it unleashed a torrent of criticism from both sides, including absurd references to “Pearl Harbor,” “treason,” “blackmail,” and all manner of volcanic tirades.
What is not happening amidst the furor is any kind of serious analysis, most notably even from the pro-Trump side. No one seems to be able to explain in any coherent manner why the President of the United States is so kind to Vladimir Putin, even appearing to take his side on the hacking issue. For the left, this is clear evidence that Putin has blackmail information on the President, even though they can’t prove or explain what that might be. Even in my previous article, I only gave a cursory examination of what President Trump and America stood to gain in a relationship with Russia. I and a few others have mentioned nuclear proliferation, North Korea, world peace, and Syria, but I have come to believe there is another, more profound level strategy being executed by the President:
Halting Chinese domination.
Every serious economic analyst on the planet projects that China will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2030, and by some metrics (PPP) has already flown by us. In addition, we have seen China get away with far worse cyber and trade activity than even Russia. Let’s look at the malign activity China has been engaged in for the past few years:
1. Stealing Nuclear and ICBM missile technology.
2. Stealing 34 major company’s intellectual property.
3. Espionage on American media outlets.
4. Killed or arrested 18-20 CIA operatives.
5. Stealing military information such as the F-35, Submarines, Patriot and THAAD batteries.
6. Currency manipulation.
7. Overwrought tariffs at a 27% average.
8. Numerous WTO trade violations.
9. President Xi becoming essentially a dictator.
10. Massive state news and company censorship policies.
By any standard, these are egregious violations that must be addressed, and some would even consider an act of war. For some reason, no one seems to talk about any of these activities, as our narrative is all about Russia, non-stop. Russia clearly needs to be dealt with, yet China is the far more substantial threat by a colossal margin. Mitt Romney famously said that Russia was the number one geopolitical foe, and Barack Obama crushed him for it while taking the stance that terrorists were a more significant problem. Both of them had valid points, but they were both wrong. China, long-term, is a far more substantial threat than any other country on the planet. China has been this brazen, and they don’t even have a bigger economy or military, yet. As it stands right now, we still have significant leverage over China due to the size of both our military and economy. We control essential levers in the world banking system and trade that we can use to damage China if we were so inclined. However, the clock is ticking. By 2030, our leverage will have mostly evaporated, and by 2050, it will be gone entirely. In other words, we need to act, and we need to do it now to reign in China before they get to a point where we can no longer stop them.
How then does Vladimir Putin factor into this? Let me ask you a question: Which other world leader is President Donald Trump overly conciliatory with in public? Who is another world leader that gets away with incredible violations, that Trump is excessively nice to?
President Xi, of China.
Here is what I believe is happening, none of which can be said on television by the President, incidentally, as it would ruin the gambit. My theory is that all countries are playing one massive game of geopolitical chess at the moment, but the most significant and highest stakes game is occurring between the United States and China, with two countries right in the middle:
Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Why did President Trump make such an effort to befriend the Russians and Saudis? After all, his first overseas venture was to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, bending over backward to get along with them. Also, striking up a friendship with Putin is, by far, the worst thing he could have done politically, so why take the risk of being called a traitor and stoking the RussiaGate narrative? My theory is that President Trump is playing a pincer game of geopolitics with China. Take a wild guess what is one of China’s major imports? Spoiler alert, it is oil and natural resources. Now let’s try again, guess who the two largest exporters of natural resources to China are?
Russia and Saudi Arabia.
To put it simply, President Trump is trying to build a coalition strong enough to exert real pressure on the Chinese using their two biggest importers, plus our massive economy as leverage. Of late, the Chinese have not been acting in good faith; we caught them fueling North Korea, and brazenly violating sanctions. Keep in mind one enormous fact: He cannot say any of this on television, this all has to be done behind the scenes, so as not to alert President Xi of the danger building until it’s too late. Remember what the President said he talked to Putin about in that closed door stealth meeting? He rattled off a list of items, and briefly, right in the middle, said “we talked about China,” and proceeded on. My theory is that he has been nice to Putin to try to use him as leverage on China. I know the prevailing response on the left will be, “Oh stop justifying it, look how hard you are working to cover for him!”
Well to that I say, hey, I understand if you can’t handle the complexity of geopolitical chess. I understand that you want to play Candyland while the rest of the world plays Risk. The truth about this situation is that while everyone believes Putin is using Trump, I think it’s the other way around, Trump is using Putin and the Saudis to get China, and by extension, North Korea in line. Let me clear: Putin is a horrendous individual, and Russia did meddle with us at some level. However, we can still use him to exert leverage where we need it applied. Remember one incontrovertible fact: during World War 2 we literally allied with one of the most reprehensible individuals to ever walk the earth, Joseph Stalin. Why? Because Hitler was viewed as an existential threat, so sometimes you have to do what’s necessary to handle the more significant risk.
This is geopolitical chess; is Donald Trump the grandmaster?
Only time will tell.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.