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'Utterly bizarre': Trump team seeks good relations with Russia, but threatens China

There is great pressure on Donald Trump not to make amends with Russia, journalist and author John Pilger told RT. Geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen, and retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, also joined the discussion.

US President-elect Donald Trump gave his first interview to the press since winning the US presidential election in November. Speaking to The Times of London, he called NATO “obsolete” and hinted that sanctions against Russia might be lifted.

"Let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia," he said, adding that, in his opinion, nuclear weapons should be reduced.

Meanwhile, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal published on Friday, he said: "If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?"

RT: In the interview with The Times the president-elect said there is a possibility American sanctions against Russia will be lifted if deals are made between the two countries, including on nuclear arms reduction. How do you read this potential agreement?

John Pilger: It seems that all the noise that he’s made suggests that he wants to do a deal with Russia. That makes a lot of sense from everyone’s point of view. There is a great deal of pressure on him not to do that. He seems to be resisting it, but all this is speculation… I would have thought, listening to President Putin and Trump’s remarks that a deal is in the offing. And that’s a very good thing if there’s not going to be a war between Russia and the United States.

What about China? Mr. Trump seems to divide the world between Russia and China: good Russia, bad China. So we’ll see. I don’t know.

RT: Why do you think the rhetoric has quite swiftly changed? Russia has been known as bogeyman number one. Why is Trump setting sights on China at the moment?

JP: I have no idea what goes on inside Donald Trump’s mind. If I speculate, I suppose I look back on the election campaign when Trump made a lot of rather fatuous views and abuse of China. He blamed China for destroying jobs in the US. China became the bogeyman. I think in his coterie, particularly his Chief of Staff, who is closely aligned with Taiwan, there is a pro-Taiwan element and anti-Beijing element. Whereas I think Trump himself has always wanted to simply get along with Russia. You look at his designated Secretary of State. He wants to get along with Russia. But at the same time, he is threatening war with China. It is utterly bizarre.

RT: What about Obama’s legacy? How will he be viewed by future historians?

JP: In fact, in 2009, Obama said he wanted to help rid the world of nuclear weapons, yet no president since the end of the Cold War has increased nuclear warhead spending as much as Obama has. Obama has been one of the most violent presidents. He initiated a worldwide terrorist campaign with Hellfire missiles being fired by drones at so-called terrorists, certainly at weddings and funerals… in some of the poorest countries in the world. What I find personally some of the most shameful descriptions are those from so-called intellectuals in the West - writers, journalists, people in the liberal establishment who have had all the privilege that they ought to know better – yet they are falling in sycophancy to this man, who has done what he was meant to do. He served the power.

As far as Trump goes, he worries them because they didn’t get their woman [Hillary Clinton]; he worries them because he doesn’t come from inside that milieu, although Trump is actually the embodiment of a modern, powerful America. He’s made his money in property. But that still puts him outside the State Department, the CIA, even outside, to a large degree, his own party. And what worries them most of all is that he might recklessly go around the world and make peace with countries like Russia. That would be appalling! We need a second Cold War to keep things cooking along. That may sound like a parody, but unfortunately, it’s true.

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