While president-elect Donald Trump spent much of October defending himself from accusations of being little more than a puppet for Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, his eldest son was meeting privately with Russian supporters.
Why Was Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Russian Supporters In October?
Reports from the Wall Street Journal indicate that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Junior held private and confidential discussions in Paris in October with diplomats, businessmen and politicians that included Russian supporters. The purpose of this meeting and presentation was multi-faceted but it appears that finding ways to cooperate with the Russian effort regarding the cessation of the war in Syria was high on the agenda.
The event, which consisted of a series of private meetings, presentations and broader discussions, was organised by the French Think Tank The Centre of Political and Foreign Affairs and more specifically, Ms Randa Kassis. Ms. Kassis is the wife of The Centre of Political and Foreign Affairs founder Fabien Baussart. The Syrian native is the leader of a Kremlin supported Syrian opposition-group that is looking for a political transition in her home country. Crucially however, her group advocates that this transition take place with the cooperation and inclusion of both Bashar Al-Assad and Vladimir Putin.
Speaking from Moscow, Ms. Kassis stated that:
Without Russia, we can’t have any solution in Syria.
She later added that she felt Trump Jr. was:
very pragmatic and is flexible.
However, as Sputnik reports, perhaps the most worrying aspect of this entire affair is a statement that Ms. Kassis released following Trump’s election victory:
[Syria’s] opposition got hope that political process will move forward and Russia and the United States will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump’s victory. Such hope and belief is the result of my personal meeting with Donald Trump junior in Paris in October… I succeeded to pass Trump, through the talks with his son, the idea of how we can cooperate together to reach the agreement between Russia and the United States on Syria,
While tackling ISIS and their stronghold in Syria would be a priority for any US President, it is worth remembering that to so in cooperation with Bashar Al-Assad is certainly a dangerous game to play. This is a leader whose iron fist diplomacy precipitated one of the bloodiest civil wars that the western world has ever seen. He has gassed, murdered and made refugees of millions of his own citizens and seems to treat innocent civilians living in Aleppo as little more than pawns in his ultimate thirst for the power he once held. Donald Trump needs to think very closely before engaging in a foreign policy that would see him siding with such a tyrant.