Only days before the GOP began a extolling the virtues of better ties with the Russian government, a top advisor for Donald Trump took a trip to Moscow. During his stay in the city, he delivered several speeches which criticized U.S. foreign policy.
Dr. Carter Page PhD is an investor in global energy. He joined Team Trump back in March, and has frequently told anyone who would listen that he believes a closer relationship between Russia and the U.S. would benefit both countries should a Trump presidency befall the United States. According to the Huffington Post, when Page was invited to speak at a commencement ceremony at an economics school in Moscow, he told the students and teachers assembled:
‘Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change.’
In addition to his broad criticism of U.S.-Russia policy, Page has also come out in favor of easing sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Russia following the country’s attack on the Ukraine and Crimea in 2014. Page suggested that perhaps lightening these sanctions might result in a lucrative situation for U.S. companies where they would be permitted to tap Russian fossil fuel resources.
You can watch Page’s roughly 40-minute speech below.
Mr. Page is not alone in his views on this topic; his boss Donald Trump has jumped on board the Russian express as well, albeit in a much less level-headed, by-the-numbers sort of way. He has repeatedly complimented Putin on being a better leader than U.S. President Barack Obama. He has also spoken frequently of improving U.S.-Russian relations as well. During a campaign stop in Virginia, Trump told his crowd of Trumpsters “Wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia?”
But believe it or not, there are more insidious overtones to the Trump campaign and their support of a ruthless dictator who has made the persecution of political dissidents a hallmark of his term of office. Members of the Trump team successfully persuaded GOP delegates to remove from their platform a call to send weapons to the Ukraine to help defend against the Russian incursion. And while Trump and his top aide Paul Manafort told reporters that they had nothing to do with the change, both RNC officials and delegates confirmed that Trump was behind the new change and in fact had not even asked for any other changes.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He thoroughly disagrees with the new pro-Russia GOP platform.
‘The U.S. must continue to push back against Russian aggression, including Putin’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine and his illegal annexation of Crimea. I have supported lethal aid to Ukraine and believe we should help our allies resist efforts to change borders by force.’
The story gets worse, though. Page has significant cause to be on the side of Russian interests. He has substantial investments in the state-controlled oil company Gazprom, and a lucrative consulting business that advises companies that want to do business in Russia as well. He also continues to attend shareholder meetings for Gazprom, and admitted to Bloomberg that sanctions against the aggressively imperialist country have hurt his consulting business.
The crux of the issue is this: U.S. calls to sanction a country with a history of imperialist actions might be hypocritical, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Peace should be the overwhelming goal driving U.S. foreign policy. The profit margins of corporations and the ultra-wealthy should come in at a distant second.
Featured image is a screen capture from the YouTube video.