No, Vladimir Putin didn’t release the Pee Pee Tape today – but after what just transpired, you have to wonder if that might be coming next. Donald Trump has repeatedly made clear that he rather obsessively takes his war of words with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un seriously and personally, to the point that Trump keeps publicly threatening to nuke him. That’s why it’s so jarring that Putin just handed victory to Kim today at Trump’s expense.
Putin is now saying that Kim Jong Un is a “shrewd and mature politician.” Okay, so maybe Putin is just trying get on Kim’s good side. But wait, there’s more. Putin is also saying that, depending on the translation, Kim has “won this round” or “won this match” against Trump (link). Wait a minute, what? This is an utterly humiliating blow to Trump, who is so invested in his pissing contest with Kim, he’s even used Twitter to suggest that his genitals are bigger than Kim’s are. So what’s Putin doing here?
Putin is clearly trying to embolden Kim to act even more brazenly toward the United States. The question is why. On the one hand, as long as the U.S. is stuck tangling with North Korea, it can’t focus on real threats, such as Russian military aggression in the East and Russian election hacking in the West. But there may be more to it.
Donald Trump has utterly failed to deliver on lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia. Those sanctions have personally cost Vladimir Putin billions of dollars, and the situation has also caused the Russian oligarchs to get antsy about their support of Putin. At this point there is no possible way those sanctions get eased unless Trump is ousted and Putin begins to try to make amends. Putin has enough blackmail material to oust Trump any time he wants. Did he just take a step in that direction today?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report