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In Defense of Trump with Putin
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As a trial judge in New Jersey during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush years, I spent much of my time trying to settle cases. This process involved bringing into my chambers the lawyers for the disputants and asking them in the absence of their adversaries to lay their cards on the table.

After I found out what the litigants truly wanted and I did some pushing and shoving and jawboning, more often than not, agreements were reached. The threat of an imminent jury trial — with its expenses, complexities and uncertainties — was often enough to bring the parties to a quick, sensible and relatively inexpensive resolution. Occasionally, flattery — even fatuous flattery — helped.

All trial judges in America are familiar with this process. It takes place in criminal, as well as civil, cases in every courthouse in the country nearly every day.

But it takes place in secret. I could not imagine announcing to the public the state of the negotiations or my opinions of any of the negotiators midstream. If compelled by some arcane custom to do so, I’d have praised the unpraiseworthy — to help bring about a favorable result.

I was reminded of all this earlier in the week as I watched the politically unpopular performance of President Donald Trump at an internationally televised — and now much-analyzed — joint news conference he held with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It appears that because he did not utter anything like President Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” referring to the Berlin Wall, or “trust but verify,” referring to U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms treaties and because he gave public credence to Putin’s private and incredulous denials of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, he somehow came across as weak or insufficiently American.

At this writing, no nationally known Republican officeholder except Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has come publicly to the president’s defense. Some in the Democratic Party and some of my colleagues in the media have even accused Trump of treason. How misunderstanding they are.

Here is the back story.

For 18 months, Trump has sought to develop a personal relationship with Putin unlike any relationship that any modern American president has had with him or his predecessors. The Democrats and Republican never-Trumpers doubt Trump’s bona fides and even his intellect. “Who could cut a deal with a monster?” they have bellowed.

Make no mistake; Putin is a monster. He has invaded Ukraine, bombed rebels in Syria, shored up fanatics in Iran, imprisoned political opponents on false charges and stolen billions from Russian oligarchs and the Russian people.

To this litany of criminality, Trump has wisely asked: How have any of his monstrosities harmed the United States? Answer: None of this is morally sound, and all of it is profoundly unlawful, but none of it has harmed us.

This realization has led Trump — in defiance of the advice from his own secretary of state, CIA director and national security adviser — to try to understand Putin and to negotiate with him.

ORDER IT NOW

There is much to negotiate about. We want the Russians to stay out of our computers and away from our elections. We want them to stop trying to reorganize the Middle East. And we want them to reduce their nuclear and long-range offensive weaponry. Of course, they want the same from us.

I don’t know whether Putin can be reasoned with. But I believe that if anyone can do it, Donald Trump can. This is what made me think this past week of all those litigations I helped to resolve. Negotiations are often fluid. They take time and patience, as well as threats and flattery, and they cannot be successful under a microscope.

Stated differently, Trump knows how to negotiate, and his skills cannot be assessed midstream — because midstream is often muddy and muddled. Trump’s efforts this week were just a beginning. His public praise of Putin and giving moral equivalence to Putin and our intelligence services were not to state truths but to influence Putin’s thinking in order to bend Putin’s will — eventually — to his own.

But the neocons in Congress will have none of this. The power of American arms-makers is formidable and profound. They have acolytes in all branches of the federal government. They depend on the threats of foreign governments to animate taxpayer funding of their armaments.

They know that Russia is the only threat in Europe, and they fear that if President Trump reaches a meaningful rapprochement with President Putin, there will result a diminished American appetite for their weaponry.

And they know that Donald Trump understands that.

So they have jumped on a fluid long-term negotiation at its inception by mocking the president’s flattery. They would have mocked Franklin Roosevelt for calling monstrous Soviet dictator Josef Stalin “Uncle Joe” as he bent him to his will.
Where does this leave us? We have impatient media that hate the president, a bipartisan majority in Congress beholden to the military-industrial complex, and a president who knows more about negotiating with bad guys than any of them.

And unlike the warmongers, the president is willing to talk to anyone if there is a chance it could result in peace. President Lyndon B. Johnson often remarked that there are two things in life you never want to watch being made and only want to see when completed: legislation and sausages. We should add international peace to that short list.

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy, Ideology • Tags: American Media, Donald Trump, Russia 
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  1. MEexpert says:

    Make no mistake; Putin is a monster. He has invaded Ukraine, bombed rebels in Syria, shored up fanatics in Iran, imprisoned political opponents on false charges and stolen billions from Russian oligarchs and the Russian people.

    I wonder if the Judge has lost all his marbles. At first, I thought it was sarcasm but some of these positions are right out of his Fox News Channel. If it is true that Putin has stolen billions from the Russian people and it makes him a monster for doing so, then we have 535 monsters in House and Senate, who have done exactly that to the American People, except the amount in this case is trillions and not billions.

    By withdrawing US from the Iran deal, President Trump, along with Congress, have done more to shore up fanatics in Iran than Putin. If by stealing billions from the Russian Oligarchs putin becomes a monster, then by puting money in the pockets of American Oligarchs (CEOs of MIC) the President and the Congress must become the angels.

    To this litany of criminality, Trump has wisely asked: How have any of his monstrosities harmed the United States? Answer: None of this is morally sound, and all of it is profoundly unlawful, but none of it has harmed us.

    I ask the Judge; by whose standards is it not morally sound. I suppose it is morally sound to bomb the Syrian civilians and the Syrian army, a country we are occupying without invitation. It must be morally sound to bomb Yemeni civilians, the poorest people in the world. It must be morally sound to impose sanctions against a country that has not committed a single act of aggression against the US and punish the entire civilian population. It must be morally sound to support an occupier of Palestinian land and a country (Israel) that maintains the largest open air prison (Gaza) in the world. Sadly, all of this is harming us. We stand alone in the world, we are financially and morally bankrupt and a little country is leading us by our noses making us the laughing stock of the world.

    We want the Russians to stay out of our computers and away from our elections. We want them to stop trying to reorganize the Middle East. And we want them to reduce their nuclear and long-range offensive weaponry. Of course, they want the same from us.

    There is no proof that the Russians have been into our computers but everyone knows that we have been in other countries’ computers including Russia and Iran. US has a string of countries that we have meddled in their elections, again including Russia, Ukerain, and Iran. How dare the Russians try to reorganize the Middle East that the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia have torn apart. So what if millions have been killed and several millions made homeless.

    I don’t know whether Putin can be reasoned with. But I believe that if anyone can do it, Donald Trump can.

    The judge again has it backwards. The only reasonable person on the world stage is Putin. Donald Trump may be self proclaimed deal maker but so far he has only excelled in breaking deals. Putin has come to the US rescue several times in the past.

    Perhaps the judge should stick to the legal opinions and leave the foregin policy issue s to others. The commenters on this forum have shown more savvy than the judge.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @RMM
  2. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    I was looking forward to seeing how Mr. Napolitano would address this week’s ongoing events, after tacking back last Thursday to laud Mr. Trump’s campaign “that he would be a stumbling block to the deep state and he’d drain the swamp.” Sure, but Russia must remain The Enemy, which is why every Establishment hack has gone berserk since Monday. Apparently, however, Mr. Napolitano thinks that the President is being reeled back in, so this column plays to the famous Trump ego.

    Sadly, that kind of thing may work. Would any of us be surprised if, as things play out, President Trump will be parroting the “Putin is a monster” drivel recycled above?

  3. The shear hypocrisy .What this is all about is gaslighting Putin as some evil cretin monster.
    What has the Us and its western allies done around the world since the fall of the USSR. Remember Bubba Clinton bombing a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan . No chemical bombs factory was ever verified. Flynn ” Will full decision to allow Daesh and Al-Qaeda to tke initiative in Syria. Bidon. ” The vast majority of the people we are supporting are JIHADIST. Jugoslavia anyone. Brookings Institute and CFR papers written during the Bush Sr and Bubba Clinton administration speaking of failed states throughout the globe especially the Maghreb
    Wolfawitz doctrine.
    Hell lets not have little foreign policy details cloud your moralistic exceptionalist diatribe about how wvil Putin is.
    Bought the latest summer perfume its called NOVICHOCK SUMMMER BREEZE.
    GASSLIGHTING.
    Trump has exposed and unveiled how fascistic our country is. Russiagate made Nixon Watergate look like a two bit carnival. Shameful abuse of justice to benefit a political class. The real treason is the establishment class and the likes of you Napolitano gaslighting and moralising against any European leader or any leader of the Maghreb .

    • Replies: @Jack Hamilton
  4. You are pretty much wrong about everything as usual Andy. But you got one thing right.

    And unlike the warmongers, the president is willing to talk to anyone if there is a chance it could result in peace.

    Trump is a peace maker. That is what the lowly voters want. If you want to erase the southern border and make war on Russia (destroy whats left of America) you will have to stop letting us vote.

  5. KenH says:

    Judge nappy was doing quite well until this paragraph:

    Make no mistake; Putin is a monster. He has invaded Ukraine, bombed rebels in Syria, shored up fanatics in Iran, imprisoned political opponents on false charges and stolen billions from Russian oligarchs and the Russian people.

    By that standard every U.S. president starting with George H.W. Bush and ending with Barry Hussein Soetoro Obama are monsters. The jury’s still out on Donald Trump and if he begins regime change operations against Iran then he’ll be inducted into that hall of shame.

    ….stolen billions from Russian oligarchs

    More like punished mostly Jewish oligarchs for stealing from the Russian people. Putin did to some of his oligarchs what a real American president would do to our (((oligarchs))) who, through their control of elected representatives with donations game our trade, economic and immigration policy that suits only their narrow interests but is detrimental to the vast majority of Americans.

    …shored up fanatics in Iran,

    Just like we’re shoring up fanatics in Saudi Arabia, but that’s a-ok since the Saudis are currently in the good graces of Israel.

    • Agree: mark green
  6. Judge, you’ve drunk the kool-aid. Putin is not a monster. History will remember him as one of the 21st Century’s greatest statesmen.

  7. JVC says:

    I have a lot of respect for the judge, but like the other commenters, I think he has let too many “neocons” influence his thinking as to Putin. I agree with Fidelios–the man is a great statesman, unlike anyone we have had in Washington for the last couple of decades. All that you said in your Putin is a monster paragraph is without merit. As has been said (By Lavrov I believe) Putin became our “enemy” when the USG realized that unlike Yeltzin, Putin was going to put Russia first and not just meekly agree to follow our “lead” Prior to the GWB had looked into his eyes and saw a kindred spirit or some BS like that.

    Sorry judge, can’t grade you very high on this one.

  8. llloyd says: • Website

    Sausages and Lyndon Johnston don’t go together. I always thought the origin of that remark was German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck in referring to the law making of the newly installed Reichstag. The Junckers love their sausages but avoid watching the process.

  9. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @JVC

    Please take an hour or so to look back at Mr. Napolitano’s Russiagate and Trump columns published here since last November in light of my and others’ comments. You will see that he has propagandized shamelessly for the Establishment, and is a sycophant of its lawyer class. A Real Tool.

    • Replies: @Bubba
  10. MarkinLA says:

    I just wish just ONE person out there who pretends to support Trump would not start their column with the obligatory genuflection to the Deep State. Nothing is going to change in Washington until people actually come out and say that the people in Washington are lying and we don’t have to believe them.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  11. The more I read Judge Napolitano, the less I am impressed with him. Is he planning to run for public office?

    The Judge’s wishy-washy ‘centrism’ suggests politics–or maybe he’s hoping for a guest slot on MSNBC? In any event, he’s really gotten boring.

  12. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @MarkinLA

    “.. pretends to support Trump ..”

    Yes, Mr. Napolitano is pretending.

  13. @JVC

    ” Putin became our “enemy” when the USG realized that unlike Yeltzin, Putin was going to put Russia first”

    Nope, Putin became “our enemy” when the Democrats and their rino buddies finally realized that under him, communism is not coming back, and he will not cater to gays.

    The insane Democrats (and their rino partners) would just as soon kick off the last world war, and destroy the planet, for the sake of “liberating” gays in Russia, and to rejuvinate Marxim for the (dead) masses.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz musician.

  14. @falcemartello

    Judge; your statement that, “…Putin’s private and incredulous denials of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election…”, is what’s really “incredulous”! There’s not a scintilla of credible evidence that Putin, or Russia, meddled in the election. The “indictments” serve only to placate the public, justify the huge amount of money and time wasted in pursuit of NOTHING and Mueller, who aided and abetted the Boston Mafia in its criminal activities and personally delivered a sample of the US uranium to be sold to Russia) and this scumbag knows that “discovery” will never happen and which discovery would expose Mueller’s scam for exactly what it is; i.e., an ongoing effort to overthrow the President and seat the criminal HRC! Moreover, the CIA has admitted to numerous incidences of interfering in other nation’s elections, outright overthrows of governments and Obama actually voiced his opinion openly prior to the vote regarding “Brexit” yet, where’s the outrage? Additionally, there’s substantial evidence that the DNC rigged the process so that HRC was named the Democratic candidate; evidence that HRC conspired to sell 20% of the US’s uranium reserves to Russia (HRC was a voting member of the board which approved said sale and only 1 vote in opposition could have denied the sale); vast evidence of a money-laundering scheme by the Clinton Foundation which essentially stole billions of dollars earmarked for Haitian relief by the Clinton’s and those are only a few of the cases that should be brought against the REAL criminals in the USG!. The list of criminal activities by the Clinton crime cartel (the Bushes as well), is nearly endless and yet, many Americans are not aware of the FACT that criminals are in control of the US government in elected and non-elected positions!

  15. ” where’s the outrage”

    Look until people finally understand that Democrats are allowed to do anything they want with impunity.
    They own the Media and they dictate 99% of public opinion, and they are forgiven for even the most odious transgressions simply because they are Democrats.

    Why is this situation so hopeless : Because Republicans ( not rinos) are terrified of the word : RACISM, when all they would have to do is to turn it around is to start labeling the Democrats as racists, which is fact anyway.

    Until they begin with this action , what they are doing is lending silent agreement to the false allegation of themselves being racist, and this is how they are read by all minorities.

    Why should the bludgeon of “racism” work for the Democrats but not for the Republicans, unless the Republicans appear to agree with them on this issue.

    AJM

  16. Bubba says:
    @anonymous

    Great comment – same as your previous excellent observations about Judge Napolitano. I had no idea what an Establishment creep & lawyer class POS he was until I heard him defending the buffoon James Comey last summer along with lavish praise for the evil Herr Mueller. It seems Trump is fighting the entire Deep State with both hands tied behind his back (thanks to the IQ deprived Jeff Sessions) and a”Judge” like Napolitano just keeps piling on.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  17. RMM says:
    @MEexpert

    Why are so many Americans (and their various “allies-vassals”) so keen on monsterising Putin? The rest of the world think he is a good man, and efficient and careful leader and a persistent searcher for ways of getting along with the US and other impossible countries.
    Such idiotic prejudices are imply astounding!

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
  18. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bubba

    Thank you. Intellectually dishonest people struggle to hold it together over time, especially in writing. That’s why I’ve said that Mr. Napolitano should stick to TV. But you were seeing through him there, too. (I don’t watch, except afterwards in snippets found online.)

    This week’s Establishment meltdown over Helsinki, the apparent woodshedding, and the creepy “clarification” from President Trump where the lights went out should have been revealing even for dull, non-reading people. Those who don’t see it by now don’t want to.

    Let’s hope that, as the unraveling continues, as few innocents are harmed as possible.

    • Replies: @Bubba
  19. @RMM

    “Why are so many Americans so keen on monsterising Putin”

    Very simple : Because Putin does not cater to gays, and the gay issue is at the bottom of all American politics, right next to Marx, and the black theme.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army vet, and pro jazz artist.

  20. Bubba says:
    @anonymous

    Yes – I never thought about that, but you’re right – he should stick to TV. His writing is complete sophistry.

    I rarely watch TV, but I listen occassionally to Fox News Business (Lou Dobbs) when driving. In June 2017 the news was Comey 24X7 and I nearly drove off the road when listening to Mr. Napolitano’s bootlicking commentary. If I remember correctly, he had been marketed by Fox News as a fair-minded yet fiercely independent libertarian. However, to my astonishment he turned out to be an enthusiastic sycophant of the pro-War, rotten Deep State Establishment (similar to Reason magazine these days).

    This week’s Establishment meltdown over Helsinki, the apparent woodshedding, and the creepy “clarification” from President Trump where the lights went out should have been revealing even for dull, non-reading people. Those who don’t see it by now don’t want to.

    Now that gets my vote for the Unz Review comment of the month! Brilliant!

    Let’s hope that, as the unraveling continues, as few innocents are harmed as possible.

    Your foresight is far better than mine and I hope you are right. The Deep State Establishment is Stalinesque/Maoist with their thirst for ubiquitous power and control, devoid of consciousness for their misery and depravity.

  21. @Authenticjazzman

    “Because Putin does not cater to gays ….”

    Agreed. Also because Putin does cater to Christianity.

  22. @Authenticjazzman

    “Because Putin does not cater to gays ….”

    Agreed. Also because Putin does cater to Christianity.

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