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Putin's love for Trump: Cold War-type Russian honeypot trap or plain hype?

By romancing US Republican candidate, the Russian president may have got much more than information

John Feffer 

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with heads of Russian oil companies at the Kremlin in Moscow

[I wrote this article about Russian efforts to cultivate as an asset last week for a Korean newspaper where it was published on Sunday. Little did I know that news would break this week of allegations that has a file of damaging information it can use to blackmail President-elect Trump. In that file is information about Trump’s dalliance with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. The allegations come from a former British intelligence officerand the Trump camp denies them. The information was “widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington,” according to The New York Times, but aside from a piece in Mother Jones, it remained under wraps.]

In the world of espionage, the “honeypot” is trap in which someone seduces an unsuspecting diplomat or embassy employee. Then the seducer -- a “swallow” (woman) or a “raven” (man) -- blackmails the dupe. During the Cold War, the developed a certain expertise in using honeypots to extract information from operatives, agents and ambassadors.



is in the news at the moment for a more high-tech spying operation – its alleged hacking of e-mail accounts. The administration claims that it has proof of Russian fingerprints on this operation and thus its influence on the November presidential elections. The has imposed a set of additional sanctions against and also expelled 35 Russian diplomatic personnel.

These charges are serious and should be investigated. But they are a distraction. The real operation is conducting in the US is an old-fashioned honeypot trap. But it’s not a conventional version of the scheme in which an attractive woman makes eyes at a lonely intelligence officer.

Rather, the “raven” in this case is And the dupe is Trump. By romancing the Republican candidate, the Russian president has gotten much more than mere information. He is acquiring the most influential ally imaginable. And he doesn’t even have to wait until the inauguration. When the Obama administration announced its retaliatory moves, declined to escalate. Trump, rather than standing behind his president, praised Putin and promised to “move on.”

Let me be clear. I don’t think directly tampered with the vote in November. Nor do I think that the revelations connected to the alleged Russian hacking made the difference in the election. Trump won for other reasons; Clinton lost for other reasons too. I’m not even sure that Putin wanted Trump elected. The Russian president probably just wanted to sow some confusion and discord in the US political system.

Nor do I want to see a new develop between the US and I’m not a fan of Putin or current Russian policies in or Syria. But Moscow and Washington can certainly identify common interests such as reducing nuclear weapons, preserving the landmark agreement with Iran and negotiating some new agreement with North Korea.

But the honeypot that has used to trap Trump will have much more serious ramifications than a few email accounts hacked or disinformation spread around the internet.

First of all, Putin will get some immediate foreign policy benefits. The Trump administration is likely to lift all economic sanctions against Russia, which will provide a nice bump up for the Russian economy. The US will accept the Kremlin’s seizure of and roll back its complaints over Russian meddling in Trump has already expressed reservations about NATO, so his administration will not likely welcome new members around Russia’s perimeter. And the new administration will cooperate with in attacking the Islamic State and pull away from backing rebels who want to oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

All of that is worth a great deal more than the name of a few spies or a cache of secret documents.

But Putin has even grander plans and Trump could play a role in those as well.

In a 2013 speech, Putin chastised the Euro-Atlantic countries for “rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.” He went on to excoriate “political correctness” and “unlawful migration.” He added, “One must respect every minority’s right to be different, but the rights of the majority must not be put into question.”

Here are all the themes of Trump’s presidential campaign two years before Trump even launched it. More importantly, these themes can found in the campaigns of most far-right-wing political parties in Europe. It’s no surprise that of France’s National Front, Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party and Prime Minister of Hungary are all part of Putin’s widening circle of admirers.

Putin aspires to create a new global alliance founded on conservative values, religious principles and autocratic leanings. The Russian leader is comfortable working with outright racists, xenophobes and Islamophobes. He aims to unravel the EU and has provided support to European movements that share that goal. He has nothing but contempt for civil society unless it slavishly follows his political line. He no longer appears to believe that global warming is a hoax, but he still presides over an economy dependent on fossil fuels that does some of the greatest damage to the environment.

Again, Trump fits right into this picture. The honeypot scheme doesn’t involve sexual propositioning but ideological seduction.

The greatest threat over the next couple years is not that the Trump administration will simply step back and allow free rein in the world. Russia, after all, has rather limited global influence beyond its ties with right-wing extremists and a few morally bankrupt autocracies. Rather, the real threat is that Trump will help Putin create a noxious alliance that gives an platform for all the most deplorable actors, from white supremacists to crusading Islamophobes.

The media makes a mistake by calling the relationship between Putin and Trump a “bromance.” That somehow implies mutual fondness. Putin doesn’t care about romance any more than the “ravens” and “swallows” of the era. The Russian president has laid a trap for Trump. And it looks as though Trump will drag the US into the honeypot with him.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the new novel Splinterlands.

This article was originally published on
Foreign Policy In Focus. You can read it here

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Putin's love for Trump: Cold War-type Russian honeypot trap or plain hype?

By romancing US Republican candidate, the Russian president may have got much more than information

By romancing US Republican candidate, the Russian president may have got much more than information [I wrote this article about Russian efforts to cultivate as an asset last week for a Korean newspaper where it was published on Sunday. Little did I know that news would break this week of allegations that has a file of damaging information it can use to blackmail President-elect Trump. In that file is information about Trump’s dalliance with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. The allegations come from a former British intelligence officerand the Trump camp denies them. The information was “widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington,” according to The New York Times, but aside from a piece in Mother Jones, it remained under wraps.]

In the world of espionage, the “honeypot” is trap in which someone seduces an unsuspecting diplomat or embassy employee. Then the seducer -- a “swallow” (woman) or a “raven” (man) -- blackmails the dupe. During the Cold War, the developed a certain expertise in using honeypots to extract information from operatives, agents and ambassadors.

is in the news at the moment for a more high-tech spying operation – its alleged hacking of e-mail accounts. The administration claims that it has proof of Russian fingerprints on this operation and thus its influence on the November presidential elections. The has imposed a set of additional sanctions against and also expelled 35 Russian diplomatic personnel.

These charges are serious and should be investigated. But they are a distraction. The real operation is conducting in the US is an old-fashioned honeypot trap. But it’s not a conventional version of the scheme in which an attractive woman makes eyes at a lonely intelligence officer.

Rather, the “raven” in this case is And the dupe is Trump. By romancing the Republican candidate, the Russian president has gotten much more than mere information. He is acquiring the most influential ally imaginable. And he doesn’t even have to wait until the inauguration. When the Obama administration announced its retaliatory moves, declined to escalate. Trump, rather than standing behind his president, praised Putin and promised to “move on.”

Let me be clear. I don’t think directly tampered with the vote in November. Nor do I think that the revelations connected to the alleged Russian hacking made the difference in the election. Trump won for other reasons; Clinton lost for other reasons too. I’m not even sure that Putin wanted Trump elected. The Russian president probably just wanted to sow some confusion and discord in the US political system.

Nor do I want to see a new develop between the US and I’m not a fan of Putin or current Russian policies in or Syria. But Moscow and Washington can certainly identify common interests such as reducing nuclear weapons, preserving the landmark agreement with Iran and negotiating some new agreement with North Korea.

But the honeypot that has used to trap Trump will have much more serious ramifications than a few email accounts hacked or disinformation spread around the internet.

First of all, Putin will get some immediate foreign policy benefits. The Trump administration is likely to lift all economic sanctions against Russia, which will provide a nice bump up for the Russian economy. The US will accept the Kremlin’s seizure of and roll back its complaints over Russian meddling in Trump has already expressed reservations about NATO, so his administration will not likely welcome new members around Russia’s perimeter. And the new administration will cooperate with in attacking the Islamic State and pull away from backing rebels who want to oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

All of that is worth a great deal more than the name of a few spies or a cache of secret documents.

But Putin has even grander plans and Trump could play a role in those as well.

In a 2013 speech, Putin chastised the Euro-Atlantic countries for “rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.” He went on to excoriate “political correctness” and “unlawful migration.” He added, “One must respect every minority’s right to be different, but the rights of the majority must not be put into question.”

Here are all the themes of Trump’s presidential campaign two years before Trump even launched it. More importantly, these themes can found in the campaigns of most far-right-wing political parties in Europe. It’s no surprise that of France’s National Front, Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party and Prime Minister of Hungary are all part of Putin’s widening circle of admirers.

Putin aspires to create a new global alliance founded on conservative values, religious principles and autocratic leanings. The Russian leader is comfortable working with outright racists, xenophobes and Islamophobes. He aims to unravel the EU and has provided support to European movements that share that goal. He has nothing but contempt for civil society unless it slavishly follows his political line. He no longer appears to believe that global warming is a hoax, but he still presides over an economy dependent on fossil fuels that does some of the greatest damage to the environment.

Again, Trump fits right into this picture. The honeypot scheme doesn’t involve sexual propositioning but ideological seduction.

The greatest threat over the next couple years is not that the Trump administration will simply step back and allow free rein in the world. Russia, after all, has rather limited global influence beyond its ties with right-wing extremists and a few morally bankrupt autocracies. Rather, the real threat is that Trump will help Putin create a noxious alliance that gives an platform for all the most deplorable actors, from white supremacists to crusading Islamophobes.

The media makes a mistake by calling the relationship between Putin and Trump a “bromance.” That somehow implies mutual fondness. Putin doesn’t care about romance any more than the “ravens” and “swallows” of the era. The Russian president has laid a trap for Trump. And it looks as though Trump will drag the US into the honeypot with him.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the new novel Splinterlands.

This article was originally published on
Foreign Policy In Focus. You can read it here
image
Business Standard
177 22

Putin's love for Trump: Cold War-type Russian honeypot trap or plain hype?

By romancing US Republican candidate, the Russian president may have got much more than information

[I wrote this article about Russian efforts to cultivate as an asset last week for a Korean newspaper where it was published on Sunday. Little did I know that news would break this week of allegations that has a file of damaging information it can use to blackmail President-elect Trump. In that file is information about Trump’s dalliance with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. The allegations come from a former British intelligence officerand the Trump camp denies them. The information was “widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington,” according to The New York Times, but aside from a piece in Mother Jones, it remained under wraps.]

In the world of espionage, the “honeypot” is trap in which someone seduces an unsuspecting diplomat or embassy employee. Then the seducer -- a “swallow” (woman) or a “raven” (man) -- blackmails the dupe. During the Cold War, the developed a certain expertise in using honeypots to extract information from operatives, agents and ambassadors.

is in the news at the moment for a more high-tech spying operation – its alleged hacking of e-mail accounts. The administration claims that it has proof of Russian fingerprints on this operation and thus its influence on the November presidential elections. The has imposed a set of additional sanctions against and also expelled 35 Russian diplomatic personnel.

These charges are serious and should be investigated. But they are a distraction. The real operation is conducting in the US is an old-fashioned honeypot trap. But it’s not a conventional version of the scheme in which an attractive woman makes eyes at a lonely intelligence officer.

Rather, the “raven” in this case is And the dupe is Trump. By romancing the Republican candidate, the Russian president has gotten much more than mere information. He is acquiring the most influential ally imaginable. And he doesn’t even have to wait until the inauguration. When the Obama administration announced its retaliatory moves, declined to escalate. Trump, rather than standing behind his president, praised Putin and promised to “move on.”

Let me be clear. I don’t think directly tampered with the vote in November. Nor do I think that the revelations connected to the alleged Russian hacking made the difference in the election. Trump won for other reasons; Clinton lost for other reasons too. I’m not even sure that Putin wanted Trump elected. The Russian president probably just wanted to sow some confusion and discord in the US political system.

Nor do I want to see a new develop between the US and I’m not a fan of Putin or current Russian policies in or Syria. But Moscow and Washington can certainly identify common interests such as reducing nuclear weapons, preserving the landmark agreement with Iran and negotiating some new agreement with North Korea.

But the honeypot that has used to trap Trump will have much more serious ramifications than a few email accounts hacked or disinformation spread around the internet.

First of all, Putin will get some immediate foreign policy benefits. The Trump administration is likely to lift all economic sanctions against Russia, which will provide a nice bump up for the Russian economy. The US will accept the Kremlin’s seizure of and roll back its complaints over Russian meddling in Trump has already expressed reservations about NATO, so his administration will not likely welcome new members around Russia’s perimeter. And the new administration will cooperate with in attacking the Islamic State and pull away from backing rebels who want to oust Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

All of that is worth a great deal more than the name of a few spies or a cache of secret documents.

But Putin has even grander plans and Trump could play a role in those as well.

In a 2013 speech, Putin chastised the Euro-Atlantic countries for “rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.” He went on to excoriate “political correctness” and “unlawful migration.” He added, “One must respect every minority’s right to be different, but the rights of the majority must not be put into question.”

Here are all the themes of Trump’s presidential campaign two years before Trump even launched it. More importantly, these themes can found in the campaigns of most far-right-wing political parties in Europe. It’s no surprise that of France’s National Front, Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party and Prime Minister of Hungary are all part of Putin’s widening circle of admirers.

Putin aspires to create a new global alliance founded on conservative values, religious principles and autocratic leanings. The Russian leader is comfortable working with outright racists, xenophobes and Islamophobes. He aims to unravel the EU and has provided support to European movements that share that goal. He has nothing but contempt for civil society unless it slavishly follows his political line. He no longer appears to believe that global warming is a hoax, but he still presides over an economy dependent on fossil fuels that does some of the greatest damage to the environment.

Again, Trump fits right into this picture. The honeypot scheme doesn’t involve sexual propositioning but ideological seduction.

The greatest threat over the next couple years is not that the Trump administration will simply step back and allow free rein in the world. Russia, after all, has rather limited global influence beyond its ties with right-wing extremists and a few morally bankrupt autocracies. Rather, the real threat is that Trump will help Putin create a noxious alliance that gives an platform for all the most deplorable actors, from white supremacists to crusading Islamophobes.

The media makes a mistake by calling the relationship between Putin and Trump a “bromance.” That somehow implies mutual fondness. Putin doesn’t care about romance any more than the “ravens” and “swallows” of the era. The Russian president has laid a trap for Trump. And it looks as though Trump will drag the US into the honeypot with him.


John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the new novel Splinterlands.

This article was originally published on
Foreign Policy In Focus. You can read it here

image
Business Standard
177 22