Russian President Putin with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: Russians Are Laughing at the U.S., Not Just at Trump
To many Americans, this is his mess. But to outsiders, it's about America's weakness.
President Donald Trump was only half wrong when he tweeted last week that "Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart." Russian officials are laughing quite openly.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's trolling of FBI Director James Comey's firing was relatively benign; ostensibly, Lavrov's mock surprise at being told of the firing could be taken for a diplomat's polite refusal to discuss the host country's domestic politics.
This week, however, the Russian jokes at the expense of the U.S. got positively unpleasant. First, President Vladimir Putin offered to provide the U.S. Congress with a recording of Lavrov's conversation with Trump, in which the U.S. president allegedly revealed highly classified information (the word Putin used, zapis, cannot really be translated as "transcript", as the Kremlin later claimed). The suggestion, of course, was sheer mockery -- it's impossible to imagine the Congress making such a request of Putin, and U.S. legislators tried to answer Putin in kind, Senator Marco Rubio suggesting that if Putin sent the information by email, he "wouldn't click on the attachment."
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WNU Editor: When it comes to issues on Russia .... I am usually in agreement with my fellow Russian Leonid Bershidsky. But on this story .... he is behind the times. Yeah sure .... in the past year allegations that Russia swung the U.S. election, that President Trump is a Russian stooge for Putin, that the Kremlin is undermining U.S. democracy, etc. .... all of this produced quite a few laughs in Russia .... because we know that it is not possible .... we know our failings and limitations. But we have to laugh ..... because the impression that Russians are getting from the U.S. media is that the U.S. views Russians as 10 feet tall, super brilliant, and like a bad James bond movie .... always plotting on how to undermine the U.S..
But no one is laughing now. There are a lot of issues and crisis points that need to be resolved between Russia and the U.S. .... and it is not possible with the current environment in Washington. When you have your foreign minister show up in the Oval Office to discuss a wide range of issues that impact the security of both nations .... and you then have it leaked out in the U.S. press that sensitive intel was given resulting in the shut-down of any meaningful progress between the U.S. and Russia to destroy ISIS .... it does no one good.
Update: I am someone who is sceptical on the power of social media .... as I had mentioned in this post yesterday .... Time Magazine: Russia Used Social Media To Swing The Election To President Trump (May 18, 2017). But my position is a minority one in both Russia and in the West .... that is why stories like this one are now raising concerns that the anti-Russian rhetoric that is out there may be getting out of control and is now influencing U.S. - Russian ties and cooperation on critical issues .... Democrats are falling for fake news about Russia (VOX). I hope that this story is wrong .... I guess we have to wait and see.
Update #2: Just another point .... and it is something that I have noticed in the past year .... many in the U.S. main stream media, the political class, and I would say the general public .... many are completely unaware on how pervasive and massive the Russian presence is in the U.S. today. Banking, real estate, owning high tech companies in Silicon valley .... Russian influence, money, and individuals are everywhere .... especially in "big business". If I was to do a study and survey on how "big" this involvement is .... I would not be surprised if I found every major U.S. politician and businessman having a Russian connection somewhere in their pocket. That is why I am not surprised that the Trump family has many Russian contacts .... that is the business world of today .... and that trend is not going to change. But U.S.-Russian citizens are not going to stop there .... with economic power comes political power ... and with time I have no problem predicting that the U.S.-Russian community will be having an even greater and more direct impact on politics as American citizens .... not this make-believe stuff that they are exercising power over President Trump .... which they are not.