Former President Donald Trump went on CNN last week and said something sensible. When asked if he wanted Ukraine to win the war, Trump replied he didn’t think about the war in terms of winning and losing. His priority was to stop the killing on both sides by ending the war. Naturally, he boasted he could end the war in 24 hours, surely a hyperbolic claim, though if the U.S. ended its massive package of military and financial aid, Ukraine would likely be forced to sue for peace, and quickly.
Interestingly, the CNN anchor badgered Trump, trying to get him to say he favored Ukraine over Russia and that Ukraine had to win. Trump, to his credit, was having none of it. Nor would Trump declare that Putin was a war criminal for the sensible reason that such a declaration would make a diplomatic settlement much more problematic.
Readers here know I’m no fan of Trump. I think he’s a dangerous con man without a clue about what public service is about. But I give him credit for not giving the easy answers, the expected ones, that Ukraine must win, that Russia must lose, that Putin is a war criminal, and that as long as Ukraine wins it really doesn’t matter how many people die in this disastrous war.
The CNN anchor never bothered to define what “winning” looks like for Ukraine. I assume she meant something like this: All Russian troops expelled from Ukraine; democracy flourishing in Ukraine as the country is rebuilt, in part from sanctions put on Russia; Ukraine eventually joining NATO; and perhaps even the end of Vladimir Putin’s power and his possible execution as a war criminal. Such a decisive win for Ukraine is unlikely; what I see is more stalemate, more dead and wounded on both sides, more destruction, and escalatory pressure as the war continues without a clear end in sight.
I can’t fault Trump for wanting to stop the killing in the Russia-Ukraine War. I also can’t fault him for refusing to take the bait and declaring Ukraine must win. It matters because a lot of Americans find Trump attractive because he’s willing to pose as antiwar. Clearly, he’s an alternative to the Democrats and Joe Biden who insist on prosecuting the war for reasons that I believe are largely cynical and self-interested.
Americans are war-weary. Very few Americans, I think, truly want a war with Russia or China. Trump is a serial liar, a venal manipulator, and a selfish braggart, but he doesn’t want World War III. Who knows: that very fact alone might be enough to win him four more years in the Oval Office.
Are you listening, Democrats?
10 thoughts on “Trump Wants to Stop the Killing in Ukraine”
At the end of the day, the neocon fanatics, better known as “The Blob,” who are firmly in control and entrenched in both Washington and NATO Headquarters, don’t give a damn what the American people or anyone else thinks. They are determined to pursue this proxy war until Russia capitulates and/or the last Ukrainian, as John Mearsheimer has argued from the outset. Until “The Blob” is replaced, the war looks destined to go on indefinitely, as long as the supply of ever more sophisticated weapons keeps flowing to the newest, de facto NATO member state.
Agreed. Especially concerning the “neocon fanatics … firmly in control and entrenched in both Washington and NATO Headquarters [who] don’t give a damn what the American people or anyone else thinks.” What you refer to as “The Blob,” others call “the Deep State,” or “the Elite,” meaning unelected bureaucrats impervious to public opinion. By way of illustration, consider the following recent Youtube video: CrossTalk, HOME EDITION: NATO’s nonsense
[begin partial transcript]
Peter Lavelle: “When someone tells you who they are, you should believe them. The same applies to NATO’s current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In an interview with the Washington Post, Stoltenberg revealed NATO is in fact a co-belligerent in the Ukraine conflict and that the alliance is anything but defensive.”
. . .
Martin Jay: “NATO spokesman Jens Stoltenberg doesn’t elaborate on 2014 for fear of opening up a can of worms.”
. . .
20:33 Peter Lavelle: “The introduction of 2014 without any references is to sanitize the history. Which means, ‘We’re not going to explain things to you because it’s not important. So why should you know?’ ”
. . .
21:32 George Szamuely: “It is very important that this is an elite project. Let us recall a few days ago when Donald Trump was in that CNN town hall debate and he said his first priority is to bring immediate peace to Ukraine. ‘I’m going to get them around the table.’ This would seem like a reasonable thing to do, what a statesman would do, what a serious political figure would do. And how did Kaitlan Collins the moderator respond? ‘Well, don’t you want Ukraine to win?’ And he said, ‘I want peace.’ … ‘But do you want Ukraine to win?’ And that’s the mentality of those people who go off to these Stoltenberg news conferences.”
. . .
22:24 Peter Lavelle. “We have asked this question over and over again. What is the objective? Winning or losing or peace? And Trump got it spot-on right.”
. . .
22:33 George Szamuely: He said exactly what you are supposed to say. But that is public opinion. Remember, the audience cheered. Remember, this is a Republican audience, people on the right, likely Trump voters. They cheered. They didn’t demand a return to Ronald Reagan, the kind of thing mainstream Republican politicians [rhetorically rant on about]. That’s not where the public is: Let’s bring peace now. Just so in Europe. A recent poll in Germany, the overwhelming majority of Germans do not want Ukraine in NATO. So when Stoltenberg says that ‘All NATO allies agree that Ukraine must be in NATO,’ German public opinion says ‘No. We don’t want this.’ And you go to any country in Europe and you ask them, they will tell you ‘No. We don’t want this.’ We’re being pushed into a war we don’t want by political leaders who have not even been able to spell out what their objectives are.”
24:04 Peter Lavelle. “Polls in Germany will tell you that the majority of Germans want U S troops to leave. They want them off their soil. The War’s been over seventy-eight years. . . . This is all elite driven. And public opinion is just a moment in time. But it does mean something to people who are raising this issue. There are real consequences. These elites don’t have any consequences.”
[end partial transcript]
For those who may not get the “Blob” reference, OK(dot)ru(slash)video has a copy (subtitled in Arabic, but no matter) of the 1958 movie starring Steve McQueen here.
“. . . if the U.S. ended its massive package of military and financial aid, Ukraine would likely be forced to sue for peace, and quickly.”
As a matter of historical fact, in 1975, the Congress of the United States grudgingly but finally reclaimed its Constitutional War Powers from a series of out-of-control presidential usurpers — Truman through Ford — by exercising their Power of the Purse and cutting off all funding for the deeply unpopular War on Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos). The series of hollow and bankrupt musical-chairs regimes installed by the United States — principally South Vietnam — collapsed almost immediately.
Clearly, the same fate awaits the US-installed Nazi coup regime in Kiev, the one that replaced the last democratically elected government of “Ukraine” in 2014. If Mr Trump had any real knowledge of the US/UK/NATO war on the Russian Federation, he would have demanded that his CNN inquisitor define for him exactly what she meant by “Ukraine,” which hasn’t existed as a sovereign nation for the last nine years — and may not ever again.
At any rate, for the edification of Mr Donald Trump, Congress can end — or even refuse to begin (by not declaring and funding) — any war it chooses, regardless of anything a President wants or doesn’t want. As the old saying goes: “The President proposes but Congress disposes.” If former President Donald Trump didn’t learn that truism after four years of accomplishing nothing but cuts in tax rates for the super wealthy like himself, what hope can any working class voter have that giving this loud-mouthed pretender four more years will accomplish “Peace” or anything else of true value for the United States and the world?
Truly, Biden/Harris have to go. Accountability for their historic (and histrionic) bungle demands it. But what political personage in the United States, let alone Europe (the Consolidated Waste), seems worthy of replacing them as “leader of the free world”?
Commentary on the Trump-CNN town hall kerfluffle continues to reverberate around the Interwebs. Here, from Russian-American Andrei Martyanov’s blog, Reminiscence of the Future (May 15, 2023), we have “My Talking Head,” a video: “Scales for Journos”
. . . [begin quote] . . .
[32:31] “This is about [Trump’s] town hall meeting when he stated that he could stop the war [in 24 hrs] and things like that. No, he can’t. He couldn’t run his own White House, and the guy was nothing-is-there. You know, a hot air balloon, a hot air bag.”
“I’m not going to lie. Obviously, I could never vote for any kind of Democratic candidate because this is a party of perverts and pedophiles, basically.”
“But Trump, even if you imagine that he runs, he will screw it up the same way as he did the first time when he appointed every single neocon hawk in his administration and as a result his so-called good intentions in foreign policy were sabotaged completely because the guy obviously is a big mouth. I don’t think he has any good qualities in terms of statesmanship. Will he learn or did he learn? I don’t know. Sure, some people trapped between Biden and Trump would vote for Trump, but I mean, this is like choosing between bad and worse.”
. . . [end quote] . . .
A widely held evaluation of The Consolidated Waste and what passes for “democracy” and “the Rule of Law” within its politically constipated environs (Washington D.C., London, Paris, Brussels, and Berlin).
The USA govt SHOULD and MUST try to mediate an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine…. not prong it by giving giving taxp ayers’ billions to Ukraine.
This was in yesterday’s New York Times.
Thanks, RS. Yes, I’m in EMN and had a role in crafting and signing the letter.
It’s never too late for peace. Nor too early.
Yes, I saw your name. Have sent it to my senator and a group of Historians.
ps.please excuse the typos in previous comment.
Excuse me, RS, but as an active belligerent — indeed the primary instigator of the US/UK/NATO war on the Russian Federation — the USA has no role to play in “mediating” anything. The USA can, of course — as with its doomed client oligarchies in South Vietnam and Afghanistan — unilaterally cease funding any military activities in Eastern Europe so that the Interim Nazi Regime in Kiev can rapidly implode, clearing the way for partition and enforced neutrality as regards any conceivable association with the duplicitous and hostile Nazi American Terrorist Op. In other words, what passes for a “government” in the United States can simply absent itself from matters that do not concern it while others in the affected region settle their affairs among themselves.
Again, none of this need have anything to do with the United States which no longer has any diplomatic credibility whatsoever. With whom could Russian diplomats possibly negotiate? Who, after all, would accept at face value a single syllable uttered by the inept and fanatical Nuland, Blinken, Sullivan cabal? The United States needs to butt out and clean up its own corrupt and criminal sewer. Those who live along Russia’s historic and cultural “borderland” can resolve pertinent issues to their mutual satisfaction well enough without the meddlesome bungling of the United States which has no valid national interests at stake in the area.
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