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Friday, 2 June 2017

Trump's Divide becomes Merkel's Rule

In a recent GeoPolitical Futures' article, George Friedman separates (few) systemic from (many) political wars. Since 1800, Russia has faced attacks in systemic wars, once by France and twice by Germany (WW1, WW2). These systemic wars must have affected Russia's mindset. After WW2, Russia started several political wars (eg, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Georgia, Crimea). Since 2014, Russia has been successful in a 3rd kind of war: cyber wars.

Russia's most recent political war in the Crimea was a military success and an economic disaster following international sanctions. Russia's next efforts were in cyber wars and have been successful with the election of Trump and a Leave in the Brexit referendum. So far the economic and political fallout has been minimal for Russia. Obviously, it helps that hard evidence in cyber matters is either difficult to get or may compromise its sources.

My 1st assumption is that Donald Trump's election as the 45th President was a surprise to everyone, including Russia and Trump himself. Hence, there was - and still is - no plan. The only plan is the default playbook of Russia. Hence, the Trump-Bannon Revolution of Disruption, Chaos & Destruction. Trump's personal tactics have always been characterised by Divide & Rule.

Applying Trump's Divide & Rule tactics on the already severely divided Europeans has caused a remarkable backlash in Germany and a renewed French-German axis. It's like mathematics: negative x negative = positive. Trump's timing to cause further division amongst Europeans could not have been worse: recent European elections had put a halt to Nationalism and had restored hope in Internationalism.

On May 28, the German chancellor said these historic words: "The times when we could fully count on others are over to a certain extent. I have experienced this in the last few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands, of course in friendship with the United States, in friendship with Great Britain, with other neighbors wherever possible, also with Russia. But we must know that we need to fight for our future ourselves, as Europeans, for our destiny."

On May 30, Reuters gives an overview for the arguments underpinning the German chancellor's warning to Europe: the upcoming German election, the new French president, and frustration over Trump. The Guardian adds another flavour: "As Merkel knows, Trump’s rudeness and arrogance can unite Europe". Hence, from Trump's Divide & Rule to Unite & Lead by Merkel.

Trump's personality is not only undoing the Russian efforts to destabilise Europe, it's doing the very opposite that Russia needs or wants. Russia believes that a divided Europe is beneficial to Russia. Europe assumed that it needs and wants the USA for its protection. Trump has been able to change Europe's beliefs in its own future. Within 4 months, Trump has achieved what few earlier European leaders took many years - or decades - to build.

My 2nd assumption is that Trump is now a liability to Russia and that he will be cut loose. This will speed up his impeachment or - perhaps even more likely - the retroactive annulment of Trump's entire presidency (eg, PB, PR).

"Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise". A quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whenever I Call You "Friend" (1978) by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks