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Ray McGovern’s Briefing to Trump Before Trump’s Putin Meeting

July 2, 2017 (EIRNS)—Strategic analyst for 27 years, member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and former Presidential briefer Ray McGovern urges President Donald Trump to view the strategic situation from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes before they meet on July 7.

In a ConsortiumNews July 1 piece modelled on a presidential briefing. It is headlined, "What Trump Can Expect from Putin,"McGovern says that Putin regarded the now-defunct Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty as the key to maintaining the nuclear balance between the United States and Russia, and told filmmaker Oliver Stone that the withdrawal of the United States under George H.W. Bush in 2001 "destroyed this balance. And that’s a great mistake."

Putin’s generals, he says,

"cannot avoid seeing the ABM deployments as giving the U.S. the capability for a first strike to decapitate Russia’s ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles], and thereby protecting the U.S. from nuclear retaliation."

Putin views the attempt to justify the ABMs as needed to stop a strike from Iran as "insultingly disingenuous."

NATO’s march eastward has long been perceived as a double-cross, McGovern says, but the February 2014 coup in Ukraine was a game changer, "a regime change too many," along a route historically used by Russian invaders. Crimea, says McGovern, was re-incorporated into Russia, to prevent it from being incorporated into the ABM deployment encircling Russia. Putin, McGovern reminds, made the point in his interviews with Oliver Stone that the ABM challenge is "a separate issue which no doubt is going to require a response from Russia." And Putin on June 17, 2016 became furious with journalists—something Trump is familiar with—for not understanding the importance of this existential threat to Russia.

Putin blames Bush’s 2001 decision to exit the ABM treaty, which had for 30 years been the "cornerstone of the system of national security as whole" for his mistrust of the United States. Barack Obama played with Russia by telling then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 in Seoul that the missile defense issue "can be solved but that it was important for him [Putin—about to succeed Medvedev] to give me space." Nothing happened.

McGovern says,

"Since returning to power in 2012, Russian President Putin has sought to reassert Russia as a great power on the global stage and restructure an international order that the Kremlin believes is tilted too heavily in favor of the U.S. at Russia’s expense.... Moscow has sought to promote a multipolar world ... a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order...."

McGovern calls "a fair assessment," a new Defense Intelligence Agency analysis, which says "Moscow has sought to build a robust military able to project power, add credibility to Russian diplomacy, and ensure that Russian interests can no longer be summarily dismissed without consequence."