Putin Weighs in on Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a highly theatrical Q&A today, during which he said the following about the possibility of a U.S.-Iran war: "We don't want this. ...It would be a catastrophe for the region, because it would lead to a spike in violence and a number of refugees from the region."

Well. That certainly explains why Donald Trump has cooled to the idea of war with Iran, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton banging the drums.

Hours later, during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said of Iran shooting down a U.S. drone: "I think probably Iran made a mistake. I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down. ...I have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they did. I think they made a mistake. ...I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it. We'll be able to report back, and you'll understand exactly what happened. But it was a very foolish move. That I can tell you."

Sure. And you know how famously forgiving Trump is of people who make mistakes.

(At the same press conference, Trudeau trolled Trump by coughing, a clear reference to Trump kicking White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney out of the Oval Office when he coughed during an interview.)

So, the collusion continues to happen right out in the open.

And, just to be clear: I don't believe that Putin is legitimately advocating against a war that would destabilize a region he has been actively trying to destabilize to create opportunities for him and his oligarch cronies to exploit.

I do believe he wants this to be his — and Trump's — public position, at least for the time being. For whatever reason.

It would be great if the media would report anything Putin says about foreign policy with the disclaimer that Putin often says one thing publicly and is orchestrating something to the absolute contrary in secret.

The public should know that they can never take what Putin says at face value.

After all, this is the same person who has repeatedly claimed that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And we all know that is a goddamned lie.

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