Tag Archives: putin

Donald Trump: Man of Letters

[This is a podcast companion article for episode 38 – ‘Notes on Making America Great Again‘.]

Listen to #38 – Making America Great Again

Many of Donald Trump’s tweets have not aged well. And some tweets have certainly aged worse than others.

It seems apparent that neither Trump nor his supporters are affected by the shame or embarrassment of what have proven to be ridiculous statements. Meanwhile, the rest of the world experiences astonishment at the rich irony to be found from such broken proclamations. Indeed, even the pariah of the international community, North Korea, has been critical of Trump’s Twitter outbursts, noting that Trump posts “ego-driven thoughts” and “rubbish” (Independent, 23 August 2017).

Here is my countdown, from 10 down to one, of the most, in hindsight, embarrassing tweets that the current United States President has bestowed upon the world. This is not a list of the most egregious attacks on individuals nor the most troubling anti-democratic statements, but a look back at utterances which, for a morally conscious human, would be the most cringe-worthy to reflect on in terms of their later inaccuracy or hypocrisy.

Before we begin the countdown, there is a bonus tweet which I could not quite justify including in the top ten, though it may perhaps find its way there in the future. This potential promotion depends on the outcome of the ongoing investigation regarding alleged collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

The bonus tweet:

Hold on tight, here is the top ten:

Do you agree or disagree on the top ten? Please do tweet me and let me know. In any case, we can be sure there are numerous more tweets which will look utterly horrendous in the dark days yet to come.

[Further commentary: All Aidan Project Podcasts and Articles on Donald Trump]

 

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#44 – The New Cold War

Russia has signalled its intent to demand a reduction in the number of US diplomats in the country, following US Congress approving fresh sanctions against Moscow over interference in the 2016 US election. What is driving this new Cold War? Dan Kovalik is a human rights, labour rights lawyer and peace activist. Dan’s new book is called ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia’. Dan argues that the real threat to US democracy does not emanate from the Kremlin, but from within Washington’s own security services and vested interests. Dan opines that even if Russia did interfere in the US election, for the US to cry foul is entirely hypocritical, in view of numerous attempts to topple leaders and install preferential candidates in other nation states, including in, of course, Russia. Aidan and Dan discuss the Clintons, Vladimir Putin, the mainstream media, how Democrats should respond to Donald Trump if they seek to gain a foothold as an effective opposition, US exceptionalism, and much more. The show also covers a selection of current events, including the Pyongyang issue: Dan gives his take on why North Korea has – at some level – a legitimate grievance with the United States. Dan’s book at Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/ya8rcnuh. Dan’s Twitter address: www.twitter.com/danielmkovalik.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#40 – Downloading a President

The United States Intelligence Community concluded with high confidence that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined on the line from Israel by Ran Levi, an accomplished technology expert, science author and podcaster. In this episode, Aidan and Ran discuss the Russian hacking and/or cyber-meddling, and whether this type of outside interference can be stopped or whether it will also affect the 2020 U.S. presidential election. What exactly did the Russians do? And how did they do it? This episode also takes a look at the recent ransomware attacks which counted the British National Health Service amongst its victims, Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, the echo chamber mentality of social media, a possible showdown between NATO and North Korea, and much more. Born in Israel in 1975, Ran studied electrical engineering, and has worked as an electronics engineer and programmer for several high tech companies in Israel. Ran has written three books in Hebrew, Perpetuum Mobile, The Little University of Science, and Battle of Minds.  You can find Ran on Twitter @ranlevi or visit his web site at www.ranlevi.com. Ran’s new podcast, ‘Malicious Life’, has topped the iTunes charts in Israel and is available at www.malicious.lifeYou can tweet Aidan with your thoughts @theaidanproject.

Aidan and Ran’s previous episode together is called ‘Malicious Assured Destruction‘.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#29 – Project Extra: Under Siege

In this bonus edition of the Aidan Project Podcast, enjoy previously unreleased audio from Aidan’s conversation with Jared Miracle from the episode, ‘The Great Cat Massacre’. In this ‘Project Extra’ episode, Jared explains the curious case of one Steven Seagal, the famed actor, producer, screenwriter, director, martial artist and musician. Seagal is not quite the famous action movie star he once was, but he has nevertheless found his way into the news on a regular basis since his ‘Under Siege’ heyday, albeit for frankly surreal reasons. This includes a report from August 2016, when Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko welcomed Seagal to Minsk with a carrot and two watermelons. And, wouldn’t you know it, Seagal has made no secret of his support for Donald Trump, ironically a man whose entire administration seems very much ‘Under Siege’.  Jared Miracle holds a doctorate in anthropology from Texas A&M University, where his research focused on transnationalism and folklore between East Asia and the West, especially where violence and the fighting arts are concerned. You can follow Jared on Facebook (facebook.com/jaredmiraclewriter) and Twitter (@DocKungFu).

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

#4 – 1984 Bad, 2016 Worse (Part 2)

In part one of this two-parter, The Aidan Project covered Brexit, Stop Funding Hate, the British press, the decline of the left, Labour’s impotence, Jihadism, Nigel Farage, David Cameron, and more. In part two, we must talk about Donald Trump, including his relationship with Syria, Russia and the United Kingdom. Aidan also looks forward (if that is the correct term) to 2017, including the supposed alliance of Trump and Vladimir Putin, Israel’s anger at the UN, and Scottish independence. Aidan also makes an appeal to the left to be honest. What are you expecting in 2017? You can Tweet @theaidanproject with your thoughts. Thank you for listening. And yes, Aidan really is going to draw a line in the sand regarding Trump. How long this will last is anyone’s guess.

For more ways to listen, to subscribe to the podcast or to sign-up for e-mail updates when new content is available, please click here.

A Dangerous Alliance: Putin and Trump

Randa Selim, Director of the Initiative for Track II Dialogues at the DC-based Middle East Institute, told Al Jazeera last year, “Talking with Assad will neither defeat ISIL nor achieve a political solution. Instead, the US, Europe, and their regional allies should talk to his Russian and Iranian sponsors, while increasing military pressure on the ground to deny them and Assad a military victory in Syria.”

Only time will tell if a new direction can be sought in Syria. It is clear that the answer to the problem of Syria cannot be found within the country itself, or even within the region, but only within the White House and the Kremlin. Could Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin be already forming what, in another time, would be an unlikely alliance? I say “already”, because if Trump’s calls to Taiwan and Pakistan are any indication, he has probably been Skyping his pal, Vlad, for months. They may well be friends on Snapchat.

But what could be good for Syria, in as much as ending the conflict, may not necessarily be good for the rest of the world. Could the US legitimise Putin to pursue other interests, such as in the Ukraine? CNN reported in August 2016 that Trump had claimed Putin would not make a military move into Ukraine, even though Putin had already done just that, having seized the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Trump either does not know or does not care about such things, which, to understate it somewhat, is rather troubling. It is hard to imagine a misinformed John Fitzgerald Kennedy mistakenly saying that Nikita Khrushchev has no nuclear missiles in Cuba in the Autumn of 1962, before being corrected by the interviewer. Of course, Trump is merely President-elect at this stage, but if he is already eager and willing to pick-up the telephone and call whomever he pleases, regardless of established US policy, it is hard to be sure whether the White House would curtail him, where he will be surrounded by advisors, or empower him further to do as he pleases.

So, how close are Trump and Putin? Much of the speculation is simply based on Trump’s notorious Twitter activity, from where he has sent warm messages regarding the former KGB member. What is clear, however, is that both sides seek a working relationship, but I fear this is a mixture of star-struck, idiosyncratic excitement from Trump, and raw opportunism in the case of Putin. It is not going to be a relationship of intellectual equals. Trump is more KFC than KGB. And Putin is still living in the Cold War; it has been widely speculated that Russia is quietly rejoicing at Trump’s election victory because, in classic Cold War mentality, it makes the US look foolish. It is further speculated that Russia did all it could to assist in Trump’s win, spreading fictitious news and facilitating the leaking of content injurious to Hillary Clinton’s election campaign. If the Kremlin really was as active in the election as has been alleged, what we may be about to witness is an era of manipulation of the US President by a far smarter man, with even less moral scruples. The purely cognitive comparison is not saying much, but the latter, ethical, point is most disconcerting for us all. Putin’s moral convictions make Trump look like a choir boy.

The free world must hope that Trump’s administration is wise to the machinations of the Moscow machine, and that they are able to successfully impart the type of advice that Trump can both understand and implement. For if this is not the case, we could be seeing a new “Special Relationship” forming, but not the traditional Anglo-American one, but a new, antithetical US-Russian incarnation, albeit with the US playing the role of the junior partner. Whilst the US undoubtedly has the upper hand over the Russians in both military and financial terms, when it comes to a battle of wits, it is a non-starter. Only one side has the ability to manipulate the other into achieving foreign policy initiatives. Putin is an implacable student of Machiavelli, Trump is a brazen man-child of McDonald’s. The world awaits a joined-up strategy for Syria, but if Trump does not have his admittedly minor wits about him, or indeed, simply does not care, an agreement over Syria may soon be followed by a shirtless Putin riding jauntily through the streets of Kiev on a white charger.

Aidan

P.S.

In a recent podcast covering Brexit, I discussed Winston Churchill’s vision for a post-Cold War Europe, and also looked at Christopher Hitchens’ views on the European Union. I feel that both great men would be most concerned at the developments in Washington in 2016. Please click here to visit the Podcast section.