Trump-Putin breach portends global catastrophe

Well, this is some very telling—and deeply disturbing—timing. Let's review what has happened in the one day since Mike Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor over his pre-election phone calls with the Russian ambassador. Trump, having heretofore been completely acquiescing in Putin's illegal annexation of Crimea, now tweets: "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?" On the very day of  Flynn's resignation, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: "President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea." (Russia's Foreign Ministry quickly responded, no dice: "Crimea is part of the Russian Federation.") Also that fateful day, the Pentagon said that multiple Russian military aircraft buzzed a US Navy destroyer in the flashpoint Black Sea, in "unsafe and unprofessional" maneuvers. This is said to have happened last week, but it is notable that it is only reported now. Russia of course denies it. (RFE/RL)

Perhaps sensing the breach was inevitable, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson last week said that Romania had become a "clear threat" and NATO "outpost," citing the anti-missile base that went online there last year. (RFE/RL) And also Feb. 14, some 500 US troops arrived at Romania's Black Sea air base of Mihail Kogalniceanu, augmenting an ongoing NATO build-up. (ABC) Moscow's state media outlet RT notes that dozens of US Chinook, Apache, and Black Hawk helicopters have simultaneously been dispatched by the Pentagon to Germany, from where they will be sent to NATO bases in Romania and Lithuania.

And right on time, the New York Times reports that Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile that US officials say violates the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The Times reports: "American officials had called the cruise missile the SSC-X-8. But the 'X' has been removed from intelligence reports, indicating that American intelligence officials consider the missile to be operational and no longer a system in development." The report is based on claims by unnamed US officials, and it may or may not be relevant that the reporter is Michael R. Gordon—who was excoriated some 10 years ago for White House-friendly coverage that supposedly helped lubricate the Iraq invasion.

We acknowledge that the NATO build-up actually began under Obama, and had accelerated in the months leading up to the White House transition. But it is inestimably more dangerous with a hot-head like Trump at the controls, and his ex Putin likely to respond like a spurned lover. We hope that pseudo-left fools like Jill Stein are ready to eat crow over having told us that Hillary was the greater threat to world peace and that Trump "does not want to go to war with Russia."