Blogs: Paul Pillar

Tillerson's Frustrations

Isolation in Hamburg

A Syria Deal Trump Should Make with Putin

Paul Pillar

Of course, we all know what makes Donald Trump reluctant to address that latter issue honestly and squarely. Any discussion of Russian interference could call into question the legitimacy of Trump’s own election. (At least, that’s the part of Trump’s motivation that we know, notwithstanding any other motivations for giving Russia a pass on the issue that we do not yet know.)  But beating around the bush on this subject is an interest that Trump shares with Putin, who does not want to admit interference. That shared interest can be a basis for deft ways of presenting such a deal publicly.  Language could be crafted, avoiding any stopped-beating-my-wife implications, that strongly declares a commitment on the part of both Russia and the United States not to interfere in each other’s domestic politics.  Putin could continue to assert publicly that he is not guilty of any such interference in the past.  Trump could continue to assert publicly that this is all just a matter of Democrats making excuses for their loss.  But a real deal could be struck privately.  And the rest of us can still look to Robert Mueller to uncover more of the truth eventually.

Image: Two destroyed tanks in front of a mosque in Azaz, Syria. From March 6 to July 23, a battle between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian government was fought for control over the city of Azaz, north of Aleppo, during the Syrian civil war. Wikimedia Commons

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The Plummeting of U.S. Standing in the World

Paul Pillar

Of course, we all know what makes Donald Trump reluctant to address that latter issue honestly and squarely. Any discussion of Russian interference could call into question the legitimacy of Trump’s own election. (At least, that’s the part of Trump’s motivation that we know, notwithstanding any other motivations for giving Russia a pass on the issue that we do not yet know.)  But beating around the bush on this subject is an interest that Trump shares with Putin, who does not want to admit interference. That shared interest can be a basis for deft ways of presenting such a deal publicly.  Language could be crafted, avoiding any stopped-beating-my-wife implications, that strongly declares a commitment on the part of both Russia and the United States not to interfere in each other’s domestic politics.  Putin could continue to assert publicly that he is not guilty of any such interference in the past.  Trump could continue to assert publicly that this is all just a matter of Democrats making excuses for their loss.  But a real deal could be struck privately.  And the rest of us can still look to Robert Mueller to uncover more of the truth eventually.

Image: Two destroyed tanks in front of a mosque in Azaz, Syria. From March 6 to July 23, a battle between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian government was fought for control over the city of Azaz, north of Aleppo, during the Syrian civil war. Wikimedia Commons

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The Growing Danger of War With Iran

Paul Pillar

Of course, we all know what makes Donald Trump reluctant to address that latter issue honestly and squarely. Any discussion of Russian interference could call into question the legitimacy of Trump’s own election. (At least, that’s the part of Trump’s motivation that we know, notwithstanding any other motivations for giving Russia a pass on the issue that we do not yet know.)  But beating around the bush on this subject is an interest that Trump shares with Putin, who does not want to admit interference. That shared interest can be a basis for deft ways of presenting such a deal publicly.  Language could be crafted, avoiding any stopped-beating-my-wife implications, that strongly declares a commitment on the part of both Russia and the United States not to interfere in each other’s domestic politics.  Putin could continue to assert publicly that he is not guilty of any such interference in the past.  Trump could continue to assert publicly that this is all just a matter of Democrats making excuses for their loss.  But a real deal could be struck privately.  And the rest of us can still look to Robert Mueller to uncover more of the truth eventually.

Image: Two destroyed tanks in front of a mosque in Azaz, Syria. From March 6 to July 23, a battle between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian government was fought for control over the city of Azaz, north of Aleppo, during the Syrian civil war. Wikimedia Commons

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