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Guess Who Vladimir Putin Prefers as the Next US President

A most embarrassing endorsement.

Even though neither the FBI nor a Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel could find any evidence to support it, there are still those who insist Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election was made possible by the Russians. These same people would then no doubt assume that, this year, the Kremlin will be hard at work meddling in the election on Trump’s behalf once again. There’s one problem with that theory: Vladimir Putin just told Russian state television that he would prefer to have Joe Biden in the White House for another four years. That is a most embarrassing endorsement.

It was always hard to fathom why Putin would have ever favored Trump in any presidential race. The Russian leader may be a megalomaniac and a tyrant, but he is not stupid. He obviously would always prefer not to have an unknown quantity in the White House. He would want someone he could understand, read, and predict. Above all, Putin would want someone who he knows probably wouldn’t stand up to him. Trump did not fit that profile. Hillary Clinton did; so does Biden.

Vladimir Putin Picks a Side

When asked by his interviewer who was a better choice from Russia’s point of view – Biden or Trump – Putin answered “Biden, he’s more experienced, more predictable, he’s a politician of the old formation.”

The only way in which Vladimir Putin benefitted from Trump’s time at the helm was knowing that the American leader was less interested in global affairs and more focused on his America First agenda. Any national leader jockeying for power and influence on the international stage is going to prefer that his country’s greatest adversaries are looking inward and not outward. The 45th president wasn’t spending his time on neoconservative plots to limit the global influence of other countries or to impose upon them a particular ideology.

That said, the Russian president couldn’t be sure how Trump would react to unprovoked Russian aggression. As Putin himself expressed during his television appearance, Trump is less predictable. This raises a question central to the infamous and now thoroughly debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theory: Why in the world would Putin have preferred the political outsider Trump to the establishment candidate about whom he already knew everything he needed to know – Hillary Clinton?

During the Obama-Biden administration, Putin seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. He did so with almost total impunity. On Trump’s watch, the Russians kept their powder dry and then one year into Biden’s presidency, the Kremlin launched a full-scale military assault against its neighbor.

In terms of his expansionist ambitions, then, Vladimir Putin has benefitted so much more from the Obama and Biden presidencies than he did from Trump’s. It stands to reason that he would have assumed a Clinton White House, too, would have allowed him greater opportunity to flex his muscle beyond his own borders.

Narratives, NATO, and Russia

GettyImages-2006232117 Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Photo by Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images)

The amusing part of all this, of course, is that Democrats and their allies in the media look increasingly more ridiculous as they cling to the Russian collusion story and even hint that the Kremlin will try once again to aid Trump’s renewed quest for a return to the White House.

In an article published by Britain’s Guardian newspaper in December of 2023, former national security advisor Fiona Hill said: “And, you know, obviously, Putin has had Trump’s number for some time, he knows how to manipulate him … he has been very good at the art of flattery with Trump. He sees Trump as an asset in many respects.” While it’s true that Trump does revel in any flattery he receives – even from dictators – there isn’t a shred of evidence that Vladimir Putin was able to “manipulate” Trump into giving him anything. Hill, a so-called “Russia expert,” was one of the Democrats’ star witnesses in their 2019 impeachment of then-President Trump.

On May 23 of 2023, Bloomberg published an article under the headline, “The Kremlin Offers a Trump-Putin Ticket for 2024.”

These people just cannot let it go. They will never admit that all the years of investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion story – originally created by the 2016 Clinton campaign – turned up nothing that corroborated the accusations. Already, they are looking for a reason to declare a possible Trump victory in November illegitimate. Russia will almost certainly figure into that.

Putin’s encouragement of a second Biden term will come back to bite Trump’s critics, should he win, and they dare to even mention Russia. It will be hilarious.

In the meantime, Trump took Putin’s virtual indorsement of Biden very well. “President Putin of Russia has just given me a great compliment, actually,” he told his audience at a February 14 rally in South Carolina. “He’s just said that he would much rather have Joe Biden as president than Trump. Now, that’s a compliment. A lot of people said, ‘oh, gee, that’s too bad.’ No, no, that’s a good thing.”

The Republican frontrunner has a point. Putin already knows he has no reason to fear another four years of Joe Biden. But he may well fear a Trump White House – as his reluctance to set foot in Ukraine during the last Trump term suggests.

The probable Republican 2024 nominee recently stirred up outrage by saying he would not be willing to protect NATO countries that don’t meet their financial obligations to the alliance. He even said the Russians can “do whatever the hell they want” to delinquent NATO members. Are such comments irresponsible? Perhaps, but what are the chances that a future President Trump would stand by and do nothing if Russia invaded a NATO country? This was typical Trump bluster. But he does have a point. If a member of NATO is not pulling its weight, why should it still expect to reap the ultimate benefit of the treaty? NATO’s secretary general might as well simply announce that membership of the organization is open to anyone – with no obligations to meet.

According to NATOs own figures, only one of the 31 member states contributes more than the US, in terms of a percentage of its GDP. That country is Poland. In dollars, though, America’s defense budget dwarfs that of all the other members combined. The US is NATO’s cash cow.

The point is, Trump would no more sacrifice a NATO member to Vladimir Putin than Joe Biden would. Trump knows it, and Putin knows it. Biden may or may not know it. Trump simply wants NATO countries to pony up some cash toward their mutual defense and, off-script as he often is, he’s going to come out with some wild comments – things that no real politician would ever have the guts to say.

Still, at least Biden has Putin’s support. Perhaps he should use that for his 2024 campaign. Being as marketing savvy as he is, Trump surely will. Look out for Trump campaign tee shirts bearing the question “Hey, FBI, when will you investigate Biden-Russia collusion?”

Read More From Graham J Noble

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