Jiri Valenta

What Trump Can Learn from Oliver Stone’s “Putin Interviews”

| July 6, 2017

The July 2015-February 2017 interviews with Vladimir Putin by US filmmaker Oliver Stone, now streaming on Showtime, provide surprising insights into the mind of the Russian leader. “We like President Trump,” Putin admits, recalling that during the election campaign Trump was open to a new relationship with Moscow. Further progress was stalled by Russo-gate. Trump should not buy Putin’s reasons for his Ukrainian and Syrian interventions, but would be wise to be open to renewing a limited partnership with Russia against Islamic terrorism and Pyongyang’s rogue regime.

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Washington and Moscow: Confrontation or Cooperation?

| June 20, 2017

Behind the ongoing media frenzy, America seems deeply divided over whether to pursue a hard line with Russia or to cooperate with it. With Donald Trump favoring the latter course, Moscow “voted” for him in the 2016 elections. But the Kremlin’s cybernetic interference in the election has led to ongoing Russo-gate and efforts by President Trump’s foes to paint him as a Manchurian candidate.

As Trump replaces Obama’s misconceived policy of strategic patience with proactive strategic savvy, the question of US future policies remains open. Seeking answers requires a fundamental reexamination
of Washington’s 21st century Middle East wars, where at every turn Russian-American relations formed the hidden context.

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The Emerging Trump Doctrine of Strategic Savvy

| June 17, 2017

“America will not lead from behind. America First does not mean America alone. It is a commitment to protecting and advancing our vital interests…” So wrote President Donald Trump’s NSA, General H.R. McMaster, with Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, in the Wall Street Journal. What follows is a discussion of US leaders’ failed strategies in several wars, Trump’s team of generals, and the emerging Trump doctrine, which is here termed “strategic savvy”.

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Decoding Flynn-gate: Russia, the Middle East, and the US Elections

| March 6, 2017

The FBI has concluded that ousted National Security Advisor (NSA) Mike Flynn’s contact with Russian ambassador Sergei Kisliak was not, in fact, illicit. Prior NSAs, aware that the Kremlin can influence close elections, have courted its “vote” for their candidates. Flynn acted as his predecessors did while protecting his back channel and his loyalty to Trump. The ongoing witch-hunt is emblematic of an unprecedented political power struggle in the US that reflects widely divergent policies toward Russia, the Middle East, and Ukraine.

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America and Russia: Towards a New Partnership?

| November 28, 2016

A pragmatist like Reagan, President Trump will face three urgent foreign policy issues: renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal with a US-Israel military option and Russia’s acquiescence; resolving the human catastrophe in Syria in partnership with President Putin; and a Great Bargain with Putin on the Ukraine. At home, Trump’s challenge will be to bridge bitter political and racial divides. Establishing bipartisan commissions on the Middle East and Russia might help. So would the appointment of the non-partisan General David Petraeus as Secretary of State.

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