Vladimir Putin: Presidential elector; TPP actually good for us!

Welcome to Moscow.

Welcome to Moscow.

From Robert Whitcomb's  Dec. 1 "Digital Diary'' in GoLocal24.

This winter will include continued controversy about the presidential election. For one thing, there’s the unsettling fact that Hillary Clinton has won more than 2 million more popular votes than Donald Trump.

For another thing, reports continue to circulate that Russian government-sponsored hackers may have manipulated some voting results to help Donald Trump,  a Vladimir Putin fan, win three very closely contested states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – and thereby the election.  Very chilling thought indeed, but whatever hacking took place was probably not crucial in the outcomes.

What was crucial  was the Russian/WikiLeaks hacking and publicizing of  emails of people connected with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the creation offake and often vicious news stories meant to show everyone connected with Mrs. Clintonin the worst light. (That’s not to say that the Clintons don’t have enough baggage to open up a small luggage store.)

Given the closeness of the election, it seems entirely plausible that a ruthless dictator has managed to make Donald J. Trump our president.

At the very least, the uneasiness about all this ought to encourage Mr. Trump and his followers to avoid trying to impose whatever incoherent and extreme set of policies they may have in mind because of some sort of a “mandate’’. He has no mandate and it is even possible (though unlikely) that his election  itself was fraudulent.

In any case, Mr. Trump seems to have no particular principles, other than that he should always be at the center of attention and be seen as a “winner’’.  Post-election, he has been madly backtracking on campaign promises on immigration, climate change, healthcare and persecuting/prosecuting the Clintons, among other things, because, as he must have known before the election, while these promises pleased some of his more ignorant, naïve  and angry followers, they could not be easily implemented and might swiftly make him very unpopular.

I suspect that he first ran for president as a sort of lark to keep himself inthe public eye and pump up his future reality-TV business and at first had no idea that he could actually become president. But with the incoherence of the GOP’s constituencies, and the failure of his primary-election rivals to thrive in the Celebrity Culture that dominates so much of American life, he came to realize he could win. And he certainly didn’t want to be branded a “loser’’ – the most offensive thing he could think of being called. He is, after all, rather childlike.

So he winged it, telling his followers and potential followers what they wanted to hear and had the good luck to run against a Democrat whom many people were sick of and thought dishonest, although her dishonesty level is many times lower than his.  And Donald Trump is a hell of a salesman, as a cousin of mine who has negotiated with him reminded me last month.

Now  the president-elect has to  somehow square his promises  with governing via a government that has the tedious old thing called “separation of powers.’’


One position he might not back down from is opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that if the U.S. adhered to it would strengthen America in its competition with China, which is the biggest threat to U.S. national security, including its economy – worse than  Mr. Putin’s Russia and the Islamic terrorist community.


The TPP is a proposed 12-nation (if you include the U.S.) trade deal that doesn’t include China – indeed it’s meant to push back against Chinese efforts to economically and militarily dominate East Asia and the western Pacific region.

The TPP would help prevent China from writing the trade rules for much of the world. Note that the Chinese government called the TPP “the economic arm of the Obama administration’s geopolitical strategy to make sure that Washington rules supreme in the {East Asia/Pacific} region.’’ Mr. Trump, by rejecting what had been expected to be much  expanded U.S.  cooperation with friendly nations in the region, may have thrown the other 11 nations into the arms of the Chinese dictatorship, whose plans include taking over the entire South China Sea.

China and the technology that allows relentless automation have been by far the biggest killers of well-paying U.S. jobs, whose loss had a lot to do with Donald Trump’s crucial victories in battlefield states. Mr. Trump’s avid followers would cheer  if, as he has promised, he officially kills the TPP soon after he takes office. A year or two or three down the road, they won’t like the results in job losses. It will be interesting to see how President Trump improvises his way out of that. Will he do it via series of frantic tweets?