Monday, April 2, 2018

Game of Putin, Russia, Trump, America

Why are the Russians acting as they are? Isn't it odd how they act the victim about the recent murder attempt in the UK, how they act so "guilty" as many have observed? Is it a coincidence that Pres. Donald Trump acts the victim and guilty himself? What an odd coincidence.

Why are they doing so well, getting away with so much? I guess that refers not just to the Russians, and in the Russians let's face it, this refers to once again their newly "elected" leader, Vladimir Putin. "Vlad", what an appropriate name for Putin. It harkens back to another damaging leader from hundreds of years ago in that region of the world.

If you've read traditional Russian literature, it tells you something. As a people, Russians are traditionally a complicated people. Complex. Overly so sometimes. But it's certainly worked to their advantage in international relations. And covert operations.

We here in the west, well not so much. We're not stupid, to be sure. But neither are they. Not, by a long shot. They understand better than anyone to and how to play, the long game. At times, the very, very long game. I had learned myself when I was young and fighting tournaments in martial arts, if I played the long game, I won fights more easily. Everyone practiced "techniques". What we called, "combinations" of basic moves. You took basic moves, put them together and you had a combination, then involving in that a strategy, and you had a technique. Now some refer to a movement, a strike of some sort as a technique, too.

As a student of marital arts we learned the basics, offensive moves (and of course, defensive but they stopped the other side from scoring on you, not gaining you points (or tempo in damaging them) but made your points more valuable if you stopped them from scoring, or damaging you). A punch, a kick, whatever single movement that could score a point or damage an opponent.

What I discovered as a kid, even in grade school (and I never heard anyone else talk of it and if I mentioned it to a friend they were surprised and intrigued, which seemed unbelievable to me as it seemed so obvious), was that at that time everyone seemed to practice techniques with two movements. Say, two punches, or a punch and a kick, whatever their favored combination was.

So I started practicing three movements in my techniques. And more. NO one I came up against was doing that. They would practice how to counter, or block someone throwing a right punch, then a straight kick at them and they were prepared, but if you continued on, ready to alter as need be, it left them confused because they expected a two combination technique, then they were going to attack again. It confused many of my opponents who weren't ready for that.

When someone did happen to pull that typically in merely throwing a lot of stuff ast me, out of frustration many times, I was prepared because I practed that myself. Understand, there is a difference between practicing a technique, a combination, and throwing them in the moment. A big difference. You do have to think fast, incredibly fast in the moment, but practicing it outside of that moment over months or years, gives you a toolset others do not typically have.

That, is emblematic of the Russians over others. I also started playing chess when I was in grade school. There were a lot of similarities between martial arts and chess. Or espionage, international politics (or international politics for that matter) and chess.

And so, something came to me about this as a way to explain that difference between Russian culture and say that of Great Britain, or America.

Consider the case with who have mostly bee Chess champions over the past decades.

Mikhail Botvinnik 1948–1957 Soviet Union Vasily Smyslov 1957–1958 Soviet Union
Mikhail Botvinnik 1958–1960 Soviet Union
Mikhail Tal 1960–1961 Soviet Union
Mikhail Botvinnik 1961–1963 Soviet Union
Tigran Petrosian 1963–1969 Soviet Union
Boris Spassky 1969–1972 Soviet Union
Bobby Fischer 1972–1975 United States
Anatoly Karpov 1975–1985 Soviet Union
Garry Kasparov 1985–1993 Soviet Union/ Russia

Classical (PCA/Braingames) world champions (1993–2006)
Garry Kasparov 1993–2000 Russia
Vladimir Kramnik 2000–2006 Russia

FIDE world champions (1993–2006)
Anatoly Karpov 1993–1999 Russia
Alexander Khalifman 1999–2000 Russia
Viswanathan Anand 2000–2002 India
Ruslan Ponomariov 2002–2004 Ukraine
Rustam Kasimdzhanov 2004–2005 Uzbekistan
Veselin Topalov 2005–2006 Bulgaria
Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Bulgaria, all once part of the Soviet Union.
My point is as I said, don't think Russians are stupid. I could go on. 100 years ago Britain learned espionage from the Russians and then the Soviets. We learned from the Brits.

America  has gotten fat and lazy, in certain areas.

Back in the 1980s for instance, military might and new advances in electronics meant we didn't need as many good intelligence people. Or so we mistakenly believed. Much to the horror of our intelligence community who clearly knew better. Not just to retain their jobs, but out of reality, sanity and...intelligence. In ever sense of the word.

What's cheapest we asked? And some managers in intelligence who mistakenly believed and agreed with civilian leadership in Congress.  We  had gotten perhaps a somewhat inflated ego. We believed that satellites and computers would, could, replace real people on the ground in foreign counties. We didn't need foreign nationals to help us spy. That was so stupid, that now it almost hurts in just thinking about it.

All too often we have exchanged intelligence for profit or "saving" money in the short term, over how much we ended up losing in the long term, later, and in reality. How much money, and lives we could have saved over decades if we only had not thought to save a few dollars during one or two presidential terms. In this case it was Ronald Reagan who damaged America, and in so many ways, both externally and within.

As the current Pres. Trump, as ignorant as he is in so very many areas, he has no clue how he is internally damaging America from his international actions. Many of which may not play out completely until long after he is gone from office.

Now with Mr. Trump, in his fear of office because of his lack of ability to manage well, with his lips so far up Putin's backside he's not acting properly in relation to the Russian leader. An, if not illegal, then illiberal leader, a criminal much like Trump, and a con man. Though a far better con "artist" than Trump could ever be.

Putin relies on our good intentions and nature. Not unlike Hitler with Chamberlain.

So finally this past week we  have acted, mostly because we have to with long standing agreements with other countries who are our friends. Not that Trump is treating our friends like friends, but as a bully in so many ways. And too often an ignorant bully, as so many are. Putin too is a bully, but a wise one nonetheless, in part because he is Russian but in larger part because he is KGB trained.

And he has the backing of both Russian and other oligarchs, and the Russian Mafia contingent. Criminals working with the State and the  State as criminals, working with professional criminals. But it is difficult too tell in this case, who are the true professionals.

Perhaps, as they have so long been tied together, it is both. Similar in a much less organic and professional level to the American political Republican party and corporations. America is a far less pungent example of  the workings together of criminal organizations and State, or church and State as in Russia and as we're seeing today in Putin's moves. As some have said, Putin looks for an unlocked door in Eurasia and just walks in when he can. Therefore, we need to be vigilant, aware and know where the doors are "unlocked" and be sure to secure them, and our futures.

We need to help to guide Russia in the right ways to be able eventually tu join the world in positive advancements and a free and open world citizenry. Elections as he has been manipulating to date, are not allowing for free and open elections and therefore for free and open citizens. It's a miserable travesty of government and governing citizens, as well as aggressions against other countries.

This isn't mere diatribe against Putin, or Trump for that matter, though both have some bad things about them, and both need to go, ASAP. However, for something substantive on Putin....

The Great Soviet broke in 1989. Later Yeltsin passed power to Putin, partially in order to protect Yeltsin and family for his criminal activities. Putin appears now to be in that same position of being unable to leave power until there is someone to protect him, as he protected Yeltsin. But in Putin taking over, the effort to reconstitute the Soviet Union under a new banner, began.

As US Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI, Chairman, Homeland Security Committee) said the day I wrote this blog, if instead it had been Boris Nemtsov (assassinated as so many Putin opponents have been in 2015, and I'd suggest, indirectly by Putin) taking over rather than Putin, we may have had a Russia who was much more interested in taking the time and effort to join the world in a more open and welcomed situation.

Boris was as Wikipedia put it, "a Russian physicist and liberal politician. Nemtsov was one of the most important figures in the introduction of capitalism into the Russian post-Soviet economy." Russian state news Pravda (which rather sadly translates as "Truth") claimed anything but what the reality appears to be about Nemtsov in report after slanderous report.

Russia has destabilizing Europe as they can only do, because they are good at it and because they're options are limited. They are gaining power in ways that shouldn't be allowed. As with the Nord Stream pipeline Germany has been trying to promote which would give Russia even more geopolitical power especially in the Balkan States.

Long term we need better relationships with Russia. But we have to take a hard line as Putin respects power and Trump has been weak. Very, very weak on Putin. NATO countries need to step up and pay their fair share to protect themselves and stop Putin's soft aggressions that seem to be working so very well so far for him.

 So we we may have stopped being lazy now, but we're still fat. When you've been fat and lazy for a while, it takes a long time to get back in shape. And Mr. Trump acts like he has an inordinately excessive amount of adipose tissues in his gray matter.

This is going to be hard, and it's going to take a while. We can't do it with Trump. Where he's strong he's most likely not being smart and vice versa. Or he wouldn't have so many bankruptcies and so many wouldn't hate him so much, fand or good reason, and for so long. He can be treacherous. But let's not forget, not as treacherous as Putin.

What am I saying? Only what I've been saying for decades now.

Don't play patty cakes with Putin. Act professionally. Be smart, be very smart. Play to win. Leave America on top at the end, as a world leader. With the world looking up to us as how to act, and how to be a leader. We need to be not just a leader of the "free" world, but the world at large.

But I don't see that starting to happen any time soon.

As a brief aside... it's probably useless putting up #VPOTUS hashtag here, in mentioning Donald Trump's chosen VP in Mike Pence, as too many wacko Christian types see a Biblical second coming as ultimately necessary which is simply and solely working against our government and our nation.Yet, it is relevant and we need also to be aware of that path we need not to tread upon. Not in America. Not in a free country. Not in a democracy and one that is adamantly not a theocracy.

We need to be smart, to act with our eyes wide open. In the most enlightened ways possible.

And treat Russia with respect, and a full understanding of who they are, and who they can be. Who we can end up being, if we don't respond to them properly, and direct them in the best ways possible.

If it wasn't for Britain so long ago having learned about the Russians in their long dealings with them over hundreds of years. If they hadn't taught us, been patient with us in our initial disbeliefs of what and who the Russian culture (Soviets back then, even scarier), we'd still be lost in our dealings with them. And yet we seem to be lately anyway? Fat and lazy? Or just stupid for profit and believing Putin's promise and promises? Like Chamberlain baring his throat for Hitler?

And yet, we still seem to play games with Russia, when they most assuredly are not simply playing game, with us.

#GOP #CIA #INTEL #Putin #POTUS #Democrat

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