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The balloon: The thought that Trump might cede Crimea for piffle in debts or other trade.


Welcome to the New Dark Ages.


I could wag the finger all day in the direction of Putin and his inner circle and the Phantoms of the Cold War (arisen from the Grave of Communism as Ultra-Nationalist Fascists), and I would still have to deal with the resistance posed by 15 years of the greater population dwelling on “Islamic Terrorism” with nary a look back at the Cold War, much less a look forward to Russia’s transformation into an ultra-national neo-imperial state.

BackChannels achieves some compression of ideas and observations, and it has broad reach — it’s accessed annually from more than 140 nations — but it barely “pings” in the Foreign Affairs, International Relations, Political Science] communities . . .

Although no one knows how Trump will embark on his newly informed foreign affairs journey, everyone knows that this may be Trump’s first “real job” in a long time, and it’s not, as we say here in the U.S., “at will”: the President will be stuck with the Oval Office and answering to a government far greater and more powerful than himself, not to mention the people it represents.

My glance at the headlines suggests you may have been disinformed.



It looks to me like Tass has been typing with rose-colored glasses:


It really underestimates how well the American professional political community — analysts, scholars, politicians — see Moscow as Putin has rebuilt it and sustained so much Soviet Era baggage and its inability to chart a middle course anywhere — but it may please those less engaged in politics.

This morning, I glanced at a Foreign Policy (Magazine) headline on how democracies fall apart. I should get to that article, but the official state remains quite robust. Trump may do the right great American things despite himself and, to lay in Churchill’s observation, without having to try all the wrong ones first.

This is a dangerous period for everyone as Putin with Khamenei and through Assad has chosen to demonstrate a depth in callousness, cruelty, dishonesty, and madness in Syria beyond anything witnessed anywhere else in the world in recent memory.

For five years or so I have seen repeated in untold visual analogs the image of a child’s hand gripping a mother’s forearm — no bodies — in relation to the indiscriminate bombing of noncombatants in Syria. Such murderers seem to be begging to be stopped — and maybe that would be a mercy — but the just poking along western response has been to watch the Russian economy wither while Assad burns Syria into an unsustainable nothing — except, perhaps, as a base for Russian military presence — and neither Moscow nor Tehran get anywhere with horrifying the world.

I’ll probably copy my response to an “FTAC” post on the blog. It has in it the prayer that the state prove stronger than its leading statesman, and I think the odds fair that it will do that if a President — any at any time — embarks on a dictator’s mission.