Consider for a moment that during one of Trump’s visits to Russia, Putin or one of his subordinates offered Trump a deal: “We’ll help you become president, if you help us.” There’s already enough evidence to make this plausible, so what happens if Trump does something to sour that arrangement?
Now that Trump is in power, he has to keep Putin happy, as well as balance all the ultra-right wing conservatives who are the backbone of his administration. There is one subject, a country actually where it’s going to be very hard to balance these two powers: Iran.
Modern Iran and Russia have been in fairly good relations since Russia recognized the Islamic State in 1979. Whenever Iran feels pressured by the US, it turns to Russia for support. More recently the two countries have been allied in the Syrian conflict, putting down the rebel factions and keeping Bashar al-Assad in power.
Enter Nationals Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who today “put Iran on notice” for testing a ballistic missile. Tough talk, but only a few hours later the White House softened it’s rhetoric, saying that this was only about the missile test and completely separate from the nuclear agreement that Obama formed.
During his campaign, Trump slammed that agreement many times. For the White House to suddenly sound fine about it is suspicious, unless of course Putin snapped his leash and told Trump to back off. The Iranian President himself has vowed that Trump will not rip up the nuclear deal. Why would he be so sure in the face of Trump’s rhetoric?
So the big question is, who will Trump stand up to? If he lets the deal (and the Iranian government) stand then he will anger his base, his conservative supporters including the Heritage Foundation, the Koch brothers and the big oil companies. Or does he stand up to Putin, who might have all kinds of secrets on him. From my observations, he will turn on Putin, because he will want to keep getting that loyal support and adoration from his base.
And if that’s the case, we could find ourselves in World War III very, very quickly.