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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta

Opinion: Russia celebrates Trump’s victory too soon

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUScandalous Russian political loudmouth Vladimir Zhirinovsky organized a banquet in honour of Donald Trump’s victory in presidential elections. He spent 100,000 roubles (around EUR 1,400) on this event. Russia Today manager Margarita Simonyan promised to drive around Moscow with an American flag for a whole day in the event of Trump’s victory, journalist Maris Antonevics wrote for Latvijas Avīze.

«No conclusions in regards to USA’s expected foreign policy should be made from different activities performed by different Russian political freaks. Although the alacrity of eastern politicians is nauseous, it does not mean a thing. What’s more important is what happens across the ocean – those processes should be followed very carefully. Because many experts have concluded that foreign policy is not the topic Trump focused a lot during his election campaign, the identity of the next secretary of state will be very important.

Multiple names have been mentioned already. It is worth following two potential candidates. One of them may seem riskier than the other, while the second candidate may prove more attractive for Latvia’s security interests.

Let’s start with the first. Newt Gingrich is a well-known Republican politician with a lot of experience behind him. In the ‘90s, he was speaker of US House of Representatives. In 1995, Time named him Person of the Year, noting Gingrich’s contribution to the victory of the Republican Party in Congress elections, when he and his associates presented the Contract with America political change declaration. His name became widely known in 2012, when Gingrich applied his candidacy for the post of U.S. President. A different politician was chosen by his party in the end – Mitt Romney. The possibility of Gingrich taking some important post in Trump’s administration was discussed a long time ago. He was previously mentioned as a possible vice-president, but this post was given to Indiana state governor Mike Pence. Like Pence, Gingrich represents the more conservative part of the Republican Party, which supports strict immigration policy. But this is not what raises concerns about his possible appointment as secretary of state – it is his unclear position. Previously Gingrich was known as a supporter of a strict line, which usually criticizes presidents for their weaknesses. But he was inconsistent in his statements in regards to Russia. Because of that, the general assumption about his position was that his position copies Trump’s position on the matter. Such peroration for an experienced Republican veteran is unforgivable. It is worth recalling Gingrich’s statements that he voiced on TV in June when he was asked about USA’s preparedness to defend Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania from a possible invasion from Russia. Gingrich said he too ‘would think about it a great deal’.

‘Estonia is in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. The Russians aren’t gonna necessarily come across the border militarily. The Russians are gonna do what they did in Ukraine. I’m not sure I would risk a nuclear war over some place which is the suburbs of St. Petersburg. I think we have to think about what does this stuff mean,’ – Gingrich said. Odd opinion on the sovereignty of other countries… Of course, that interview also mentioned thesis about NATO member states taking care of their security more. It is noteworthy that Estonia, which is the only Baltic State mentioned by Gingrich in his example, that allocates 2% of GDP to defence. Now it seems this commitment is not enough… We should not immediately assume Gingrich is a friend of Putin’s. In September, he promised in an interview to Evropeiska Pravda that Ukraine would receive American arms in the event of Trump’s victory. It seems likely that foreign policy may become a field for deals,» – said Antonevics.

«It would be better if the second candidate is chosen instead – the former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani (he had visited Riga in 2006). Unlike Gingrich, Giuliani spoke in a clear and unambiguous way. In an interview to CNN, he recommended paying more attention to the fact that Trump promised to expand the U.S. army to the same level as it was during Reagan’s term. He also clearly stated that there would be no decisions in regards to pulling NATO forces away from Russia’s border, as Kremlin had previously predicted. In another interview, Giuliani reminded that it was during Obama’s term that Putin started playing with Obama and Clinton all over the world: ‘Now he is in Ukraine, and this happened during Obama’s term. Now he’s in Syria, and it was Obama who led him there. It was Obama, not Trump, who increased Putin’s self-confidence.’ It is hard to object there,» – Latvijas Avīze reports.

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