Payday For Investors In Trump
Yesterday was payday for those countries that have invested so heavily in Donald Trump. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey all were the big winners as they were able to cash in a few of the many chips they have collected from the President.
The day began with the announcement that the US had cleared the potential sale of the Patriot air defense system to Turkey for $3.5 billion. At the same time, Donald Trump declared on twitter “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency” and announced the full withdrawal of American forces from that country. That apparently includes the cessation of airstrikes against ISIS. This decision was reportedly made in a phone call with Turkey’s President Erdogan last Friday. As usual with Trump “decisions”, it appears that Trump and his team did nothing to prepare the Defense Department for this move, which is now trying its best to push back on it in concert with its allies in Congress.
The winners here are clear. Turkey gets an air defense system, something that NATO had opposed three years ago. In addition, the US withdrawal helps Erdogan by badly hurting the Kurds, essentially abandoning our primary ally in the war against ISIS, which now gets a reprieve. If this deal was part of an agreement to get Erdogan to go easy on prosecuting the Khashoggi murder, then Jared Kushner’s best buddy, MbS, would also greatly benefit. Lastly, of course, the withdrawal is another win for Putin as it leaves Syria wide open for the Russians and the Iranians. The losers, besides the Kurds, could be Europe if renewed instability in Syria creates another refugee crisis.
Putin also got another win when the Treasury Department announced that it was lifting the sanctions on three companies owned by Paul Manafort’s “partner” and Putin oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The sanctions on Deripaska personally, however, will continue so it won’t really make Deripaska “whole” as Manafort was apparently desperate to do. It’s not like the sanctions on Deripaska’s companies were strictly enforced anyway, with his most important company, the aluminum giant Rusal, continually managing to get relief from Trump’s aluminum tariffs even while under sanctions. The decision regarding Deripaska was tucked away in an announcement that imposed new sanctions on a some Russian intelligence officers that were involved in hacking the 2016 election.
We know that the Russians, the Saudis, and the Turks have invested resources and dollars in Trump and his team. Those efforts came during the campaign and after the election. Russia has been continually interfering in American politics to help Trump. The Saudis continue to funnel money to Trump by purchasing rooms in his hotels and believe they have Jared Kushner in their pocket. Flynn was working for the Turks before and perhaps even after the inauguration. Nancy Pelosi speculated last night that Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria may be related to Flynn’s sentencing. The benefactors all have helped Trump profit personally and are getting a good return on their investment. Our real allies, the Kurds and the Europeans, get screwed.