Opinion by Robert
CA.) -- Say you’re Vladimir Putin,
and you did a
deal with Trump last year. Whether there was such a deal
But if you are Putin and
you did do a deal, what might Trump have
agreed to do for you?
1. Repudiate NATO.
NATO is the biggest thorn in your side – the
alliance that both humiliates you and stymies your ambitions. Trump
intent to deliver on this during his recent European trip by bullying
about payments and seemingly not reaffirming Article 5 of the pact,
states that any attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all. (He’s
on this since then, under pressure from Congress.)
Europe, especially Angela Merkel. She’s the strongest
leader in the West other than Trump, and you’d love to drive a wedge
the United States and Germany. Your larger goal is for Europe to no
depend on the United States, so you can increase your influence in
Trump has almost delivered on this, too. Merkel is already saying
Europe can no
longer depend on America.
3. Take the
United States out of the Paris accord on the environment.
This will anger America’s other allies around the world and produce a
anti-Americanism – all to your advantage. You’d also love for the whole
accord to unravel because you want the world to remain dependent on
fuels. Russia is the world’s second-largest exporter of oil after Saudi
and biggest exporter of natural gas. And the oil and gas industry
half the revenues to your domestic budget. And, hey, there’s also all
Arctic ports that are opening up now that the earth is
warming. Trump has
delivered on this.
4. Embark on a
new era of protectionism. Or at least anti-trade
rhetoric. This will threaten the West’s economic interdependence and
America’s economic grip on the rest of the world. Trump is on the way
delivering on this one.
5. End the
economic sanctions on Russia, imposed by the United States
in 2014. Oil production on land is falling so you want to tap the vast
petroleum and gas reserves offshore in the Arctic. In 2011, you and
ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson, signed a $500 billion deal to do
sanctions stopped it cold. Trump has promised to lift them, but he
delivered on this yet, because he has got to cope with all the
America about his deal with you. Once it dies down, he’ll end the
the meantime, he’ll give you back the two compounds that were seized by
Obama administration when the U.S. intelligence discovered you’d
And what might you have
agreed to do for Trump in return?
Two things: First, you’d
help him win the presidency, by hacking into
Democratic Party servers, leaking the results, sending millions of fake
stories about Hillary to targeted voters, and tapping into voter
Second, after he was
elected, you’d shut up about your help so Trump
wouldn’t be impeached and convicted of treason.
In other words,
if you did a deal, you both still have every
incentive to fulfill your side of it. That’s the art of the deal.
REICH is the
Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of
Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing
He served as
labor in the Clinton administration and Time magazine named him one of
most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.
Mr. Reich has
books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of
Outrage and most recently Saving Capitalism.
also a founding editor of The American
Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the
Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning
INEQUALITY FOR ALL.