Sunday, December 04, 2016

Donald Trump's First 100 Days (Sunday Edition): "Putin just called Trump ‘smart,’ but it’s not entirely a compliment" - UPDATED

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered something of a backhanded compliment to Donald Trump on Sunday, saying the U.S. president-elect is smart enough to understand that he’s going to shoulder a whole new level of responsibilities come January.

“To the extent that he was able to achieve success in business, this shows that he’s a smart person,” Putin said in snippets of an interview with broadcaster NTV set to be aired in full Sunday evening. “And if he’s a smart person, that means that he will totally and quite quickly understand the different level of his responsibility [as a statesman]. We presume that he will act based on this position.”

Trump has said that he wants to establish better relations with Putin, particularly in international security. While that presents opportunities for the Kremlin, Putin’s remarks also signaled concerns, voiced by insiders, that Trump could be an unpredictable partner. Read More
When I first read Putin's remarks about Trump, my initial reaction was that Putin was seeking to exploit two of Trump's weaknesses - his over-inflated ego and his susceptibility to flattery. Putin had clearly studied Trump's psychological profile and was seeking to make the best use of what Russian intelligence knew about Trump. While Trump may be unpredictable, these two things are what is predictable about Trump. He is also naive and poorly-informed and relies too heavily on his instincts. He is also loathe to admit that he may be taking the wrong course of action. If things go wrong, he'll blame someone else. If they go right, he'll take all the credit. Things go right enough times to reinforce his belief that he is never wrong and is always right. 
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