The Nexus of Ego: Putin, Trump, and Zinke

by Josh Manning

Josh Manning is a combat veteran and serves on the leadership team of Common Defense, a group of progressive veterans joining together to affect political change. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23.

Counterterrorism analysts shorthand a grouping of terrorists from different groups or skillsets as a “nexus.” There is no better term for what has become a solidifying linkage between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and our lone Congressman, Ryan Zinke. Together this trinity of hate spreads policies based on authoritarian rule, dominance politics, and crony capitalism.

Last week, intelligence officials broadcast their concerns regarding a Trump foreign policy advisor meeting with the same members of the Russian security services who are attempting influence the 2016 presidential election. If you have not heard, the Russian security services are attempting to sway the election toward Trump. It was already concerning enough that this advisor, Carter Page, has connections to Russian companies and oligarchs close to Putin’s inner circle, to include monolithic energy power Gazprom. People who run afoul of Gazprom end up dead or in prison. You do not get close to that group unless your aim is empower Russia at any means necessary.

Like Putin, a beloved figure among the European right and now American white power movements because of his strongman leadership, Trump practices “dominance politics.” You saw that recently when Ted Cruz turned tail to endorse Trump despite Trump making slanderous personal attacks against him, his wife, and his family. It’s why Trump has to aggressively respond to every perceived slight, even it comes from a family who lost their heroic son in Iraq.

It should come as no surprise that our lone Congressman has fallen into this circle. He ran and continues to run on his past a Navy SEAL and many from that group are known for swagger and braggadocio. Sometimes that is well-earned, but if you look closely (and I did two years ago) at Ryan Zinke’s military record you can see the swagger covers an overstated past. Like Putin and Trump, Zinke uses this arrogance to compensate for his weakness.

Zinke continues to double down on his support for Trump and recently made comments about Russia that should disqualify him from being considered any sort of national security expert. Zinke praised Putin’s “successes annexing Crimea, spreading Russian influence in Ukraine and planting the Russian flag at the North Pole, claiming sovereignty over a large portion of the Arctic Ocean.” He made this comment to the Washington Times, a newspaper with a conservative slant, so there is no chance of liberal bias at-play here. Zinke also complimented Putin’s leadership style and abilities. Reminder: Putin’s leadership style is to wink when his minions gun down journalists and opposition figures in the Moscow streets and enrich himself at the expense of the Russian people.

Trump and Putin

If praising Putin’s “leadership” was not disqualifying enough on its own, unpacking Zinke’s comments regarding Russia’s moves against its near abroad demonstrates how little he understands national security and foreign policy. In characterizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea as brilliant, Zinke has put himself at the opposite end of policy adopted by NATO, our most important ally in the region. He cannot talk about how he supports NATO  one year then praise Putin to gain an electoral edge. Further, these approvals give Putin room to amplify military actions against the Baltic and Central Asian states that are trying to develop democracies outside of Russian interference and break away from the Soviet model. If Zinke wants a new Cold War—with he and the GOP oddly on the side of Russians—then this is the way to start it.

His comment about Russia’s intent toward the Arctic counters United States policy. As the Arctic continues to melt away as the oceans warm, the Russians have been planting their flag (literally) on certain sections. By doing so, the Russians will gain access to sea lanes where they can prevent access or use it to more easily sell their goods and arms around the world. Most democracies want to stop Russia from gaining from such an advantage. Our lone Congressman is apparently okay with abandoning that policy to favor a foreign power trying to influence this election cycle. Yet not a question from the national or local press.

zinke trump

There are growing, unanswered questions about Trump’s financial and political connections to the Kremlin. Based on Zinke’s comments appealing to the Russian government, you wonder what his connections are or what support he hopes to gain by appealing to their vicious desires. Congressman, you owe Montanans and Americans a response to this. But like your backing of Trump’s comments against a Gold Star family I am sure we will be met with silence and your smug smile. But behind that there is scheming going on and Zinke is playing with a dangerous foe.

 

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37 Comments on "The Nexus of Ego: Putin, Trump, and Zinke"

  1. Yes, the current policies are working well. Now russian occupied Ukrainian Crimea, Russia is on their own agenda with no communication from the US only criticism in the UN. ISIS is growing throughout the world, Iran threatening our warships and growing their nuclear cabilibilets with our money, Syria is total mess. Egypt and Libya are in chaos, then again Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq. What about all the money we are pouring into all of this with what results? What direction do we see now for the future that will change the current status?

    • Putin is a dangerous old Soviet; Trump is an obnoxious demagogue; and Zinke is an egocentric to the max, delusional. The real trouble is coming in Asia.

  2. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief about Zinki’s performance in the debate with Juneau. Zinki wasted his time debating Hillary Clinton instead of Juneau. But to give him some credit (being a Navy Seal and all) he is down ticket from Donald Trump. If Trump can’t carry Montana, Zinki’s congressional career is over. If voters give the Democrats a landslide, the top of the ballot will be just as blue as the bottom.

  3. What date and issue did Ryan Zinke make the comments praising Putins success in the Washington Times?

    • @Merrill Bradshaw: Here’s the info you requested.
      By S.A. Miller – The Washington Times – Friday, September 9, 2016

      “Rep. Ryan Zinke said Friday that he agreed with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a better leader that President Obama.

      “There is no doubt that for the Russian people Vladimir Putin is a more effective leader than our president is for the American people,” said Rep. Ryan Zinke, Montana Republican and the first Navy SEAL to serve in the House of Representatives.

      Mr. Zinke said that was how he interpreted Mr. Trump’s remarks, which have been sharply criticized by Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and her allies.

      The former SEAL Team Six team leader cited Mr. Putin’s successes annexing Crimea, spreading Russian influence in Ukraine and planting the Russian flag at the North Pole, claiming sovereignty over a large portion of the Arctic Ocean.”
      ==http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/9/trump-praise-putin-thumbs-up-navy-seal-congressman/

  4. No slinking away from the USA and UN response to Russia attacking aid convoy. May be in part to aid Assad and ?pipeline!!

    What a Dude! Carry’s legislation for Monsanto, in process of building book value for takeover from Germany. Signs on to Legislation continuing cut rate USA Royalties to Coal oligopoly(See the Billings Gazette for solid information.) Maybe the dude sees Russia as just another client.

    Once again Bill, you absolutely neglect subjects at hand, in your rush to try and interest people to take your sidetrip to old news.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/world/middleeast/syria-cease-fire.html?_r=0

  5. Well then lets get out the reset button again. Is this the new and improved direction that we want?

  6. I know this might seem trivial, but good grief, does anyone proofread these posts? The author sounds like he drunk-texted this from his arm chair instead of studying the situation and analyzing it. Read what you write before you post it people!

  7. Written on Sunday morning while watching the Broncos game. But helpful criticism. Thanks.

    • You and all of us would be better served were you to write at your desk rather than in front of the television, particularly during a Broncos game. Nonetheless, we could all use an editor to read our work before we submit our pieces. I’ve caught myself on grammar errors after posting. It’s embarrassing. Anyway, correctness in script and facts, honesty, and thoughtfulness will serve us best. This blog is worth its weight in gold for us all. Let’s be thankful.

  8. To “Bill”: Wwhen I debated in high school, we learned that an effective case had two elements, without which we merely sound petulant. Here’s a hint, in case you can’t figure it out. You must state a need, and then a solution. I suppose you state a need by claiming that everything has gone to hell in the mideast (with your implicit claim that it is all them damn democrats what done it), but what is YOUR solution? You see, its a cheap debater’s trick, well oiled by lil donnie drumpf, to wave one’s arms about furiously, insist on a response to a problem–which your listener may not share–and then implicitly claim victory when no one offers a solution, which you probably don’t have anyway. Here, let me try it out–in Montana, everyone knows there are too damned many cows running around on open range, getting in the way of ATVs and JEEPS, providing easy targets for all them danmn drunk hunters, who still cut down fence lines. Everyone knows. Its a yuge problem. Believe me. Yuge. (Get it?) BTW, I’m not “Bill,” but I am the other one.

  9. I do not consider Ted Cruz and his family Gold Star! Give me a break! Cruz and his family hear voices..

    • Steve Daines is a Ted Cruz disciple. When Daines was in the U.S. House of Representative, Sen. Cruz called Daines and urged him to vote to shut down the government in protest of Obama Care, and that’s what Daines did, and many Montanans were injured as a result of Daines’ vote. And, what did we do in response? We elected Daines to the United States Senate. Brilliant.

  10. Bill, establishing safe zones with the aid in Syria for the Refugees. Having our Generals put together a plan to quash the radical islamic terrorists, quickly. Cut the head off of the snake, not the rattlers. We seen how good the politicians did with Benghazi and Operation Zero Footprint. Let our Generals put the plan together not the politicians. They will learn about the details of our plans as they did with Shock and Awe.

    Increased bombing, an intelligence surge, pursuing diplomatic relations, etc. this is insufficient and naive and I suspect this is only presented to pander votes. The scary part is that they may believe this is the correct approach. The military leaders must be cringing. Benghazi Deux?.

    Coordinate with the European and middle eastern countries in assistance and money including Russia. This is also happening in Russia’s back yard. Alies need to share in the financial burden. The middle eastern countries need to establish a coalition to ensure the region stays stable when this mess get cleaned up. I wish we could get some of that money back from Iran. lol

    • And you are going to pay for all of this escalation of very expensive weaponary and manpower with trickle down voodo economics?

      You are pretty good at parroting the party line but the question is whether you know it or not?

      • How much has it cost us for the last 6 years and what do we have to show for it? Where are all those weapons we sent to Libya/Benghazi? What did we spend on those? That money we gave Iran would have bought a lot of weapons.

        We have the weapons if they are used with some basic common sense and intelligence.

        And applying much the same voodo economics from the Reagan Administration.

  11. Mr. Zinke knows the about taking the fight to the enemy and he can sort out the wheat from the chaff.

  12. So I have been over this again a few times and I just don’t see a lot of problems. For those too slow to get it the core argument is this: Your Congressman is beholden to the interests of another nation. That nation is run by a network of billionaires emboldened to hold hold onto power. If you like that then you are okay with the Montana GOP.

    It is that simple. If you vote for Zinke you are voting for a puppet of Vladimir Putin.

  13. Donald obviously doesn’t care if we know he paid zero income tax so it’s got to be something much more important in his taxes if he thinks showing them will do more damage than not. After reading some news reports this week I wonder if he’s in hock up to his eyeballs to some Russian loan shark? Or involved in several “business” ventures with the Mob? Or both? Whatever it is must be really horrid if he’s willing to break 50 years of precedent-and forfeit the election. The fact that Russia is interfering with our elections is extremely worrisome and it really saddens me to realize this racist man-boy will only lose by a small margin, proving that close to half of us are as racist and narrow-minded as he is. I hope more of us realize how vital it is to vote for the best qualified candidate and abandon Party loyalties in favor of American loyalties.

  14. Obviously you all are forgetting how far back to Russia this state goes, Rehberg was always flirting with them and his son worked in Russia with a uranium mine. You gotta expect RUssia tainting MOntana GOP because they by a lot of wheat from us and minerals.

    the GOP went from selling them our products to making themselves a product of Russia long time ago!

  15. THESE MEN AND THEIR ATTRACTION TO PUTIN IS MAKING MY SKIN CRAWL……WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? THE RUSSIANS BUILT A WALL IN GERMANY AND TRUMP WANTS WALLS OR FENCES ALL AROUND THE BORDERS…..IT IS A DANGEROUS MINDSET…..MONTANAN’S HAD BEST BE READING EVERYTHING THEY CAN, WE HAVE ANOTHER RIGHT WINGER WHO, WILL CHANGE THE MONEY THAT THE
    PUBLIIC SCHOOL SYSTEM NEEDS, WANTS TO END SOCIAL SECURITY, AND END BENEFITS OF PUBLIC WORKERS LIKE THEY HAVE DONE IN OTHER STATES WHICH WILL LEAVE THEM WITH NO RETIREMENTS…..HE WANTS PEOPLE TO WORK TIL THEY DIE….I HAD AN EXCHANGE WITH ONE OF HIS CONSTITUENTS AND SHE BLANK TOLD ME THAT THERE IS NO MONEY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY….IT WILL HAVE TO END….SHE THINKS THAT I AM STUPID THINKING OTHERWISE. MONEY GOES INTO SOCIAL SECURITY ALL THE TIME…THEY MIGHT HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SOCIAL SECURITY AND NOT TRY TO DO SO MANY THINGS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED IT…..PRAY TELL ME WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE AND THE DESIRE TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY THE TRUE PROMISED LAND, I AM SICK OF THE RACISM AND SEXISM…..WE MUST PUT AN END TO IT…..

  16. What’s this? Our man in Our House notices the central Russian establishment twice hacking into operations control of the DNC,
    then follows DJT and befriends the enemy of his targeted enemy,
    HRC.
    Yes, could be that our Representative and his circles never noticed long standing concern that the central Russian establishment had a hand in guiding the missile towards the passenger jet flying above Ukraine.
    Yes, failing to notice how USA regime change in Ukraine was wrong and stupid and angered the Russian bear, last year our Representative, on a voice call vote voted to support the President sending military aid to USA interests in Ukraine. House Resolution 162.

    Why vote for any Dude who avoids current events,
    in favor of dark shadows cast by charlatans?

    Avoid any dude who evidently supports oligoplies in the USA also in the lands of Russia.

  17. And I am open to suggestions to the alternative. Don’t forget the Clinton Foundation and the donors that support women’s rights and those that donated when she was a Senator, running for president against Obama, and when she was Secretary of State. Chelsea is now worth 15 Million. I would vote republican just to see what will happen to the Clinton Foundation donations….

  18. Hummmm….Zinke was selected to establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school.

  19. When the Arizona Republican newspaper in Phoenix, the state’s largest newspaper, endorses Hillary Clinton and denounces Donald Trump, you know the Republican Party is destroying itself, state-by-state. Montana GOPers are working on destroying their party in our state. There once were brilliant, thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, and sane conservatives in the GOP. They have all but died off.

    • Too true, Mr Allen. Many of the sane, rational Republicans who were the body of the party of Everett Dirksen, Chuck Percy, Jacob Javits, and so many others have walked away in disgust. Many others were simply driven out by the spiteful attacks and back-stabbing of extremists like Wittich, Priest, Essman, and Koopman.

      Thankfully, there are still some of the rational conservatives left to uphold the principles of the true GOP. There were over a dozen in the House last session who characterized themselves as “Responsible Republicans” and conducted themselves according to the oath of office they swore. Needless to say, the extremists reacted with venomous name-calling and efforts to unseat them.

      It will be interesting and informative to see the outcome of this year’s election. Will there remain a strong enough grouping of rational moderates from both parties next session to actually do what they’re elected to do?

      • Some of those great GOP leaders were driven from their party. I refer here to Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., of Connecticut, a contemporary of Sens. Percy and Javits. Born in Paris, France, in 1931, educated at Yale and the University of Virginia Law School, he was a Korean War veteran and a life-long Republican until the GOP got so stupid he had to leave it, becoming an Independent.

        • So, now comes Donald Trump and advisers Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, nine (9) wives later, three (3) each, who are trying to smear Hillary Clinton with the stupid, lubricious behavior of her husband. Fox News is bathing in the nasty mess. And, this is what the GOP has to offer us?!

          • Today’s GOP is a place for the radical fringe among us to go and void their bowels.

          • Almost as many mistresses that Bill Clinton had?

          • Washington Post
            Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton dismissed an accusation made by Gennifer Flowers, the singer who sold her story to a supermarket tabloid after having previously denied an affair. In an ABC News interview, she called Flowers “some failed cabaret singer who doesn’t even have much of a résumé to fall back on.” She told Esquire magazine in 1992 that if she had the chance to cross-examine Flowers, “I mean, I would crucify her.”
            Six years later, Bill Clinton acknowledged a sexual encounter with Flowers.

            As other women emerged, Hillary Clinton helped forge aggressive de­fenses.

            Former White House press secretary George Stephanopoulos recalled in his memoir discussing a woman’s allegation published in Penthouse Magazine. He said that after her husband dismissed it as untrue during a meeting, Hillary Clinton said, “We have to destroy her story.”

            • Example No. 2

              • Example 3

                Putin is a dangerous old Soviet; Trump is an obnoxious demagogue; and Zinke is an egocentric to the max, delusional. The real trouble is coming in Asia.

                …..let’s get back to what the proposed policies are. our safety, vetting, immigration, middle east stability, jobs, economy, health care, etc.

  20. #11, counting the eight comments from Bill, before #1.
    About 1/4 of the above comments are from a Bill, who wants attention his way, in his time, and under his subjects.

  21. Could it be said that Trump and Zinke are communist dupes? That they have been duped by the communists? And godless commonists[sic] at that! I don’t know. You tell me ….

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