One finding of the Mueller Report that has received little comment is the undisputed fact that Russia substantially and systematically intervened in the 2016 elections to support Trump.

The questions are why did Putin do this and was it a worthwhile investment.Putin was a KGB agent during the cold war era and aspires to make Russia a super-power once more. More immediately he would like to see Russia as the dominant force in Europe and to rebuild parts of the lost Soviet empire. Hence his invasion of the Crimea and threats to annex eastern Ukraine and perhaps other members of the former USSR.

In his view the major threats to his ambitions were NATO, the European Union, and opposition from the USA such as when Clinton was Secretary of State. His intervention in the US election was an attempt to counter these three threats to his plans for Europe. Was this investment worthwhile?Early in his presidency Trump was disparaging of NATO and even hinted at withdrawing from it. If Putin were to invade a NATO country it is not certain that the US would stand by its treaty obligations.

Under Trump the US has already withdrawn from several international treaties and agreements. In addition, Trump has managed to insult or alienate a number of our traditional European allies. A number of European leaders have openly expressed the opinion that the US is not to be relied on. Secondly Trump has campaigned against the European Union.

He has encouraged Brexit and has supported far right leaders, such as Le Pen in France, who have taken an anti-European Union stance. So yes, Putin’s investment has paid off handsomely. In Trump he found a US president who would help advance his plans for Europe, to divide and conquer.It is not that Trump is a puppet of Putin but rather that they share the same worldview. There are two visions that are completing for the future of Europe.

The one is, if not ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, at least ‘we should be good neighbors, care for one another, since we share a common destiny’. In other words work towards a common good for all. The other vision, espoused by Putin and Trump, is ‘me first – my country first’. Do what ever I believe is best for my country and if it hurts others, too bad, that is their problem not mine. Putin, a shrewd manipulator, is reaping the benefits of his decision to back Trump.

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