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Vlad and Donald sitting in a tree...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a marathon year-end press conference in which he downplayed talk of a renewed arms race (even while tossing his buddy Donald Trump a bone by emphasizing the strategic advantage he claims for Russia's modernization of its nuclear forces) while continuing to heap praise on the Russophile American president-elect.

Parenthetically, America's nuclear arsenal does need to be modernized, just as the Russians have modernized their own. But talk of increasing it in size after decades of strenuous efforts to reduce the number of nukes in the world, as Trump has suggested, is crazy.

Trump and the "illiberal" populist and nationalist parties of Europe can be expected to continue to be in thrall to the Russian tyrant in the coming years. This is a bizarre situation, unprecedented since the United States has been a global power: our foreign policy agenda is being set by a foreign nation which sees us as their enemy, and one weaker than we are, at that. Meanwhile, that unfriendly nation also enjoys the support of a large number of putative democracies elsewhere which seem to have developed a liking for authoritarian strong men.

The number of uninformed Americans and those blinded to the situation by hyper-partisanship makes a worrisome situation even more worrisome. Even assuming complete patriotism and integrity on the part of Putin friend and Secretary of State- Designate Tillerson and National Security Adviser-Designate Flynn (which I do), the president-elect's already bizarre and dangerously skewed vision of the world can be expected to only grow more bizarre and skewed in the first year of his administration, and America's national interests will ironically suffer because of the gullibility and ignorance of the candidate who ran on the archaic and discredited slogan, "America First."

The result will be similar to that produced by that slogan last time out: America's interests trampled underfoot through neglect of their assertion in the world, and dictators running amok. God willing, this time the consequence will not be another world war.


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