Putin’s Art of the Deal

While President Trump wasted time griping about coverage of his Inauguration crowd size, Russian boss Vladimir Putin got busy making a heck of a deal that threatens U.S. influence in the Middle East.

On Inauguration Day Russia inked a long-term agreement to greatly enlarge its military presence in Syria, more than doubling the space for warships (including nuclear subs) in Russia’s only Mediterranean port and securing rights to a major air base.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad looks stronger than ever, thanks to Putin, whose price for that appears to be ensuring Russia’s ability to deploy forces in Syria for the next half-century and perhaps beyond.

Also, Putin’s sway over Turkey grows. Officials there are suggesting publicly for the first time that Turkey would accept a peace deal in Syria’s six-year-old war that would allow Mr. Assad to stay in power.

What’s happening here is the outflow of perceptions that the U.S. is withdrawing from the region under Trump. And Putin is picking up the slack.


Author: craigcrawford

Trail Mix Host

44 thoughts on “Putin’s Art of the Deal”

  1. “perceptions that the U.S. is withdrawing from the region under Trump”

    craig, the perceivers are not too far off the mark; but it’s more like we are stepping aside, ignoring or allowing Russia free pass with Syria, and concentrating now solely on that campaign promise to defeat isis (“knock the hell out of”)…..even making putin a partner in that endeavor.  so it does appear Israel and maybe Egypt are to be the u.s. of dt’s cut of the pie, the bear eats the rest.

  2. speaking of another perception — that lurkers consider the trail a closed community — bw is right about the banner proclaiming it’s “user supported” not being inviting.  that does wave a flag of pay-to-play. 
    it may also help if we make an effort not to personally denigrate our fellow mixers when they say outrageous things but to rebut the idea not verbally stone the writer so viciously.
    bid’s suggestion about a permanent line of invitation is also a step in the right direction (no pun intended) to try.

  3. closed community? pay for play?   I think this is a small community of people many of whom have met and are friends on and off line.  And quite a few have been posting here for 12years  I think new people are welcome.  Opposing views are met head-on the same as other sites

    Trump is helping Puty and his pals

  4. kgc, I don’t think we’re a closed community. my comment above was responding to comment by fearless leader

    I am pondering something. A friend who reads us regularly said that we seem to be a closed community. I don’t really understand that, but I’ve heard it before. How do we remedy that?

    and those comments of other mixers.  please don’t heap scorn on me…. i’m with sturge’s  Hell, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  but bw and bid do make good points if there has to be a change.

  5. As I see it,  we chat among ourselves.  We talk about anything we want.   Most blogs have a rule that one must stay on topic when commenting.  It cuts down on the extraneous chit chat that happens here.   But then….  that’s what makes this blog unique, IMO.  If someone is too intimidated to stick their nose in here…  why should we change?  If this person really has been reading here for awhile than he/she knows we are welcoming to all newcomers.

    So… whoever you are….  quit bitchin’ to Craig…  act like a grown-up and say your 2 cents.  I’d love to read what you have to say.

  6. garrison Keillor:
    Help us, GOP. You’re our only hope.
    What we know so far is that the man is who he is. There is no larger, finer man inside him trying to get out. Everyone who is paying attention knows this. Flags flying at the Capitol, the U.S. Marine Band, gray eminences in black coats, and He Who Is Smarter Than Those With Intelligence delivers 16 minutes of hooey and horse hockey about corrupt politicians betraying the people, and American carnage, and patriotism healing our division, though the division is mainly about Himself and though love of country does not necessarily make people stupid.

    […..a lot of good stuff in between here….]

    The question is: How cynical are we willing to be and for how long? How long will Senate Republicans wait until a few of them stand up to the man? Greatness is in the eye of the beholder. American self-respect is what is at stake here, ladies and gentlemen. The only good things to come out of that inauguration were the marches all over the country the day after, millions of people taking to the streets of their own free will, most of them women, packed in tight, lots of pink hats, lots of signage, earnest, vulgar, witty, a few brilliant (“Take your broken heart and make it art”), and all of it rather civil and good-humored. That’s the great America I grew up in. It’s still here.

  7. Regarding the appearance of this forum being a closed community:

    First, Solarcrete and anyone else I didn’t reply to directly when I recently came out of Lurkdom, I apologize.

    Why did I lurk for so long? Intimidation, perhaps. This is a pretty astute and witty bunch, but also what appears to be a group of friends. Anyone wanting to join has to shoulder a way in.

    Why did I begin to comment? Craig’s recent post, “Come Home, Trail Mixers.” Who can pass up such an invitation? It was warm, inviting, and I had good reason to “come home.”

    This election process has been a pox on the country and given me anxiety, The end result horrifying, the implications of an insane President backed by Putin to encourage world destabilization terrifying. But on a more personal level, I lost my very good friend to cancer in late 2015. She and I emailed and texted about our dogs, FDR, politics, old movies and food on a daily basis for nine years. She shared the Hudson River Valley with me, I shared the kookiness of Tampa Bay and the Tampa Trib. She would have been aghast at 2016, but also full of information on Christie, Giuliani and Trump. She would have shared from her perspective of working at the FDR Hyde Park site, and now she would have first hand news of a crackdown on social media in the NPS.

    I have been bereft and lost without her voice. And then I saw Craig’s invitation, and something clicked.

    Once invited, it’s up to the lurker to post. I have no expectations of full agreement here, but I do expect and know disagreement will be civil. That is a rarity in online forums of my experience.

    Craig, if a larger and vocal band of merry wanderers is your aim, you,’ll have to plug Trail Mix on tv appearances, in your writing and on social media. You’ll need to engage a lot more on Twitter. You have a good group already going, and that’s in your favor. Maybe ask Toby and other dogs to pen a few posts? One thing about dogs, their disagreements are over quickly, they rarely hold grudges, and not one of them voted. In short, they have no dog in this fight all of us are now in.

    I’ll share TrailMix on social media if you’d like.

  8. I’m with mrdoodlesdog.  While everyone is welcome, there are times when this group even intimidates me and has sent me on a Google chase for intellectual backup for facts and figures. Some of our people belong in front of a room teaching university level courses, and I’ve been here for 12 years.

    What they should know is while we don’t suffer fools gladly (foolishness yes fools no), the natives are ridiculously friendly.  Anyone who comes in courteously with an opinion, even one with which we might disagree is greeted kindly.  They will be challenged and expected to respond without swearing, name calling or behavior that seems acceptable elsewhere.

    Think of it as company manners until we get to know you.  After that, have a ball.  If you can bring an extra level of expertise or experience, that’s wonderful  We have carpenters, weavers, professors, world travelers, linguists, history buffs etc you name it, someone will show up to teach you something you never knew.  Might as well kick back around the pickle barrel and cozy fire and start chatting.


  9. Didn’t mean to overstate this “closed community” thing, just something I’ve occasionally heard over the years. Agree with the “aint broke” sentiment. Think I’ll come up with an inviting message to place on the sidebar. Definitely not interested in trying to drive up traffic for the sake of more traffic. Interesting point about the banner, hadn’t thought about that, but that involves getting my friend who designed it to do another one. What would be better language? The point I was trying to make is that users/commenters are the focus.

  10. mr.doodlesdog, thank you.  i hope that i did not offend you….that was not my intention….first of all…i dont believe that anyone has more rights on this or any blog…just b/c he/she has been there from the start….once someone joins the blog…they are 100% equals…..but when someone puts up a thread and starts off the days discussion…..and asked very direct questions, they might have the courtesy to answer them….. ignored  more than once….i take that as a intentional snub….when i see that they always answer all others and not me…i then try to evaluate that…i dont take it personal…..at some point…i will start ignoring the snobs posts…..but the main point of my post was that if you/we do want others to start posting…..why dont we put up some threads that might be of interest to the indes third partys……..it gets pretty boring sometimes when its all about the two partys…..

    The people here are the most amazing people that anyone could ask to be a part of…..but they can sometimes exclude others …..and sometimes i see that for days and days…..there is nothing to offer anyone that is not 100% democrat…..you last few new guys fit right in….and get along fine…there are no new independent people that have joined in……..this freezes us out some times…….Craig never posts anything of interest to us indies…..so i just jump in and try to get something started…..and thats what im warning about…..there is very little talk of anything other than a one sided point of view….and as i see it…just my opinion….it has effect the trail somewhat….but if all things change….so if this all becomes one big echo…….then thats is what it was meant to be…..there is not past….the future is never here….the infinite present is alway now…..so let it happen in any which way that it is supposed to……….we dont have to let trump ruin things around here…he is threatening, controlling us …if that is all we talk about…his hair, his this, his that…..yes we should criticize this policies, cabinet, etc, etc….but the rest get a little old



    Tony is (i believe a casualty of being all in…heart and soul)  he invested all of his energies to the dems, and this blog…….but like the Sphinx… he will rise from the ashes……….

  11. Solarcrete, no offense taken.I am an FDR person, and doubt that will change, but that also puts me squarely in the corner of the “common man.” Newsroom life dictated I had no politics. That is the deal, but my paper went into the history books last May. Now, I am allowed to talk politics and enjoy it, in the way one can enjoy a grisly murder mystery. That is to say, with some amount of gloom.

    What concerns you right now? I see all of us in this together. But what “this” is will be different for each person. This administration’s attitude/attack on the press, and on the communicators in some federal agencies, concern and enrage me. And it is just beginning.

  12. And to show the lurkers how irritating and know it all we regulars can be.

    Solar, that would be a Phoenix that rises from the ashes of its own distruction.

    The Sphinx is the guardian at the gate whose question you must answer or die.


  13. Jack, thanks….i do know the diff…..i hate typing on my cell or on a kindle…..most times that i do that….i dont bother to try to correct…you guys never (specially renee) judge me on my gram err….ors and spelling…my fingers are not meant for the little keys……Pat is the best at deciphering what i post…..sometimes i have to see what she says about what i posted….to know what i meant……..haaa…..jeez what a know it all……later amigo….going for a long walk…..i think that we had winter in december….been kinda warm around here……but all in all….i kinda like that sphinx fella….answer my questions or you will die……..you know…..except when some kid keeps asking the WHY question why, why why……smack….go away kid you bother me…..w c fields……

  14. I posted this late last night so I don’t know if anyone saw it. I woke up this morning to headlines about trump building his wall so I decided to repost Sophie’s eloquent pleas and her courage (as I see it)

    Also from last night: Craig: Glad you’re writing out in the big bad world again 😉 Russia having a big military presence in S.E. Asia/Middle East gives me pause!

    Someone (Flatus maybe???) said a few days ago that trump will sign anything they put in front of him. I absolutely believe that’s true. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to have thought through the things he’s already signed. We may be in deeper shit than even I thought possible 😮

    Back to the present

    mrdoodlesdog: Love the Alternative Facts video! I even subscribed to Randy so I can see what else he comes up with. Also, your comment about community and the loss of your friend were very meaningful to me. I lost my BFF of 30 years in 2013 and finding a group of people I can shoot the breeze with has helped enormously. That said…

    Re Closed Community: I don’t think it’s meant to be a closed community or that any of the old timers consciously feel that way, but there are occasional moments when it can feel a bit cliquey. For the most part, however, I feel very included 🙂

  15. I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and….

    4:10 AM – 25 Jan 2017   President Pussy Grabber

    Steve Bannon Is Registered to Vote in Two States

    and of course the real issue is did they vote twice
    also in the examples put up so far by the loons none of them have held. They cite very common names and then it turns out the middle initial is different. They are beyond stupid

  16. This main topic today is shit that should have been discussed during the election, but oh well, we’re all geopolitical strategists, now that it doesn’t matter.


    You want more commenters?  Remove the login requirements or install a facebook plug-in.

  17. Trump is just looking or a excuse to continue the Gooper approach to voter suppression – remove people from the voter rolls for no reason and not inform the voter.

    Dems need to grab this issue and at the end of the commission the result will be  The Goopers cheated to win and if everyone who was illegally stricken from the rolls had been allowed to vote Clinton would have won

  18. DDog, my impression is that Putin’s naval presence in the Med is fragile and largely depends on Erdogan’s ability to survive in what I believe will be an increasingly hostile domestic environment.

    I offer these bullets in support of my impression:
    –A Russian Mediterranean permanent naval basing is contingent upon free passage through the Dardanelles.–The Russians and the Turks are not natural allies; passage is contingent on what I believe is a tenuous long-term Erdogan existence.
    –While Putin may be willing to accept Syria’s invitation to be its saviour, he will surely overstay his welcome; other Arab states will not welcome his continuing presence.
    –Putin will not risk his recent expansions in Europe for entanglements south of that continent.

  19. For everyone who said he won’t be that bad…ok you were right.

    He’s worse

  20. “Pat is the best at deciphering what i post…..sometimes i have to see what she says about what i posted….to know what i meant……..haaa…..jeez what a know it all……”

    solar, takes one to know one.  since we’re all one (as you’ve said before) not a surprise to “know it all”…

    question that really doesn’t need an answer:  aren’t xr and bid and quite a few of the rest of us “indies”  neither goper nor dembat?

  21. that other kind of gazing (spelled with an e instead of an a) also fits the bill

    Omphaloskepsis or navel-gazing is contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation. The word comes from Greek omphalos (navel) + skepsis (act of looking, examination). Actual use of the practice as an aid to contemplation of basic principles of the cosmos and human nature…. [from wiki]

  22. poor poor sean. bet he wished he’d never taken this job.


    Team Trump believes in the power of image. The new president believes that a single photograph, re-tweeted ad nauseam, can form the basis of a narrative. He believes the actors in his White House drama should look the part, whether patriotic or powerful. Fashion is costuming.

    In a striking case of character assassination by tailoring, Sean Spicer, the president’s freshly appointed press secretary, stepped to the podium over the weekend for a briefing that disappointed the president, The Washington Post later reported. He was wearing a gray pinstriped suit jacket that looked as though it had been hurriedly borrowed from a man twice his size. The sleeves were sloppy; the collar didn’t fit; the fabric looked cheap. The tie was poorly knotted. The shirt collar was so snug that his neck overflowed its boundaries. Spicer’s attire was not just a tad ill-fitting. It was distracting and sloppy. It epitomized the cliché style of the used-car salesman. Spicer’s clothes wholly undercut a message that was already riddled with falsehoods.

    All that had changed by Monday afternoon. When Spicer returned to the press briefing room for a televised news conference, he was wearing a dark suit that fit. Not perfectly, but better. The tie was neat. He even had a white handkerchief tucked into his breast pocket. It was a visual do-over, one that suggested he was better prepared, more focused, more dignified. By Tuesday, Spicer seemed to have found his sartorial groove.

  23. I think Trump is doing a great job, at least for Democrats and the Never Trump wing of the Republican party.

    He coming close to having the worst week in Washington.

    I think maybe his stopping all EPA grants may be the best. Talk about idiots, rural America builds it water/waste water infrastructure with epa grants.

    This is a bit like appointing a governor from an oil state to the department of energy

    It denotes a level of ignorance that just continues to amaze.


  24. I think maybe his stopping all EPA grants may be the best. Talk about idiots, rural America builds it water/waste water infrastructure with epa grants.


    aren’t  these his voters?

  25. kgc

    makes ya smile doesn’t it.

    If  Claire McCaskill isn’t busy  contacting a lot of rural Missouri politicians………………………

  26. oh man – recall petitions are being circulated in every district with a sewer grant pending

  27. interesting peek into making do with new digs…

    from nytimes: Trump on White House Life: Phones Are ‘Beautiful’ 

    The president spent a part of Tuesday poring over artwork from the White House collections, settling on a portrait of Andrew Jackson — America’s first populist president, who has been invoked by Mr. Trump’s aides as inspiration — to hang in the Oval Office.

  28. more from that nyt article above:

    Mr. Trump is in the meantime pondering his first break away from the White House, a potential trip to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Fla., possibly the weekend of Feb. 3.

    Until then, he is breaking in the residence, which Mrs. Trump is still working on decorating.

    “It’s a beautiful residence, it’s very elegant, “ Mr. Trump said, deploying one of his highest forms of praise. “There’s something very special when you know that Abraham Lincoln slept there,” Mr. Trump said. “The Lincoln Bedroom, you know, was his office, and the suite where I’m staying is actually where he slept.”

    Mr. Trump was referring to the White House master bedroom, which is now his own.

  29. ah yes, am sure the folks at standing rock get the message about andy’s portrait in the oval office being such an inspiration for new exec order on the Dakota pipeline…. just another way to remove those pesky natives, let them drink crude.

    from indian country media network:

    Andrew Jackson: A man nicknamed “Indian killer” and “Sharp Knife” surely deserves the top spot on a list of worst U.S. Presidents. Andrew Jackson “was a forceful proponent of Indian removal,” according to PBS.

  30. New Headline

    Drop comments here and hope your heart muscle is as strong as your tongue!

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