Many people in Ukraine are probably troubled by a terrifying question: will Donald Trump, the new U.S. president, defend Ukraine or hand it over as fodder for the cannibals in the Kremlin?
The closer we get to the 45th president’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the more frightening this question becomes. Trump is too unpredictable and too sympathetic toward Russia.
Trump’s sympathy toward the evil empire didn't just appear in his campaign speeches. It continues to delight his listeners to this day. First, Trump drools over a friendly letter from Putin. Then, he says that new sanctions against Russia for its cyber-attacks during the presidential election are unnecessary.
Furthermore, he even intends to stop, personally, certain senators (e.g. Lindsey Graham) who have announced the necessity of placing harsh sanctions against Putin.
Before, it was interesting to read the experts' guesses about Trump's attitude toward Putin. After the electoral results were announced, they urged everyone to wait and see who the new American leader would appoint to his cabinet. Who would be the secretary of state?
Here's what they got: Trump is planning to appoint [Rex] Tillerson and Michael Flynn to top posts. Both men are very favorably disposed toward Russia, to put it lightly.
It's no surprise that the New York Times noted that Moscow helped Donald Trump win the election. In gratitude, the president-elect allegedly plans to play nice with the Russian authorities. Rex Tillerson's appointment as secretary of state testifies to this intention.
Now, some experts and politicians (including Americans) believe that, since Trump is a brilliant businessman (he went bankrupt seven times, but managed to get back on his feet each time), he will try to avoid a conflict with Putin. Instead, he will try to use him for his own purposes. Which is to say, Trump will try to get Putin to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. He'll try to use Russia to pacify a number of military hotspots around the world. If that happens, then obviously Russia will expect "payment.” And top prize for the Kremlin would be restored control over the post-Soviet space: above all, over Ukraine and Georgia.
Of course, it's possible that history could repeat itself. For example, George W. Bush called the resident of the Kremlin a friend. He looked into Putin's eyes and "saw his soul" during a tea party at his Texas ranch. And how did his friend respond? He started a war against Georgia and seized part of its territory.
Barack Obama also tried to reset relations with Russia. And how did all this end? With Putin's Russia being added to the list of America's greatest threats, along with terrorists from the Islamic State and the Ebola outbreak.
By the way, Obama could have stopped the occupation of Crimea and the war in Donbass. He could also have stopped the war in Syria. But he preferred a toothless approach that gave Putin a free hand. Earlier, Putin terrorized his own people. Now he is sowing death in Ukraine and Syria.
True, Obama has been trying to make up for lost time in his last days in office. Recently he expanded the list of Russian companies to be placed under sanctions. Now he is promising Putin another “gift" by New Year's.
That's all well and good, except Trump isn't embracing Obama’s approach and notes that Jan. 20 isn't far away. On top of that, some Republicans are threatening to repeal 80 percent of Obama's executive orders.
Here's hoping Ukraine won't become a victim and a bargaining chip in this banal conflict between Democrats and Republicans, good and evil.