More thoughts on Trump and his thinking – 12 July 2018

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1.  First he beat up the oh, so sensitive Europeans, then he claimed they would spend 4% of GDP on defense.  In response the French then said, non, We will spend only 2%.  Well, that is what he wanted to hear.  He doesn't care at all if they think he is an uncultured lout.  He got what he wanted.

2.  He is not at all mollified about US/European trade imbalances.  Having seen the way they caved in and rolled over on the NATO defense spending he is more convinced than ever that they will cave in on trade concessions.  He has always worked this methodology and it has by and large succeeded.  It seems to be working again.  Kay Bailey Hutchison will soon be gone from her post as ambassador to NATO.  She is nothing like tough enough for him.

3.  Teresa May faces a stark choice.  Either, she gives up her crypto-resistance to Brexit and seeks a bi-lateral trade deal with the US or he will join the forces actively seeking to drive her from office.  Trump is unlikely to forgive and forget over the backdoor reception he got in England.  No amount of toot-tooting by the Scots Guards at Blenheim Palace will make good his anger at being snubbed.

4.  He is looking for a deal with Russia on any number of fronts. He will largely accept Russia's views on the supposed use of gas by the Syrians.

5.  Israel has signaled its abandonment of regime change in Syria, settling instead for an exclusion of R+6 forces from anything west of UNDOF lines B & C.  Bibi actually told Putin at their meeting recently  that he would "deliver" the US on reduction of sanctions against Russia if Russia abandoned tacit support of an Iranian presence in Syria.  Trump will have heard of this and will greatly resent Natanyahu's presumption.

6.  He and Putin will agree on a modus vivendi in Syria.  After mopping up in the SW, the R+6 will move in force to the task of liberating Idlib Province.  Trump will do nothing about that.  That will be part of his deal with Russia.  pl

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