What was the Putin regime hoping to achieve through Michael Flynn? Why was it so important to get this particular agent of Russia’s intelligence/security services as close as possible to the Trump campaign and then to the Trump presidency? The answer is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Putin’s obsession with lifting sanctions without stopping his invasion.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014. Sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for war crimes were imposed right away, by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other countries. The United Nations General Assembly condemned Russian aggression and imposed a requirement of non-recognition of the so-called “annexation” of Crimea on all UN member states. The sanctions hurt the Russian oligarchy around Putin, but not enough to make him get out of Ukraine. In fact, after invading Crimea Putin invaded Donbas. Russian armed forces have been attacking Ukrainian defenders relentlessly for 3 years, 9 months, and 12 days. The war crimes committed by Russians in the heart of Europe have continued and they have worsened.
Russia’s war against the West is total war. In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which is the principal theatre of Putin’s War – this means there is massive information warfare, insidious cyber warfare, and the activation of Russia’s agents of influence and Useful Idiots in every Western country. In December 2015, Michael Flynn and Jill Stein were guests at the table of Vladimir Putin at a banquet in Moscow celebrating the 10 year anniversary of propaganda TV network Russia Today (also known as RT). After this meeting, Flynn became one of Putin’s “grey cardinals” to directly manage Russia’s asset Trump. Stein became a technical candidate in the 2016 US election (a technical candidate has no chance of winning but is put in the race to stop another candidate from winning). Using Jill Stein, Putin’s target was Hillary Clinton. Stein’s job for Putin was to attack Hillary Clinton, take attention away from Trump’s inadequacies, and to siphon off votes from the Democratic Party. Like all of Putin’s cat’s-paws, Jill Stein refused to criticize Russia for starting the war or for its grave abuses and violations of human rights. But more than other Russian agents of influence, Stein also attacked the defender of the West and of Western values, Ukraine. She particularly spouted hate propaganda against Ukraine’s crowning achievement of people-power democracy, the Revolution of Dignity. Both Flynn and Stein carried out their roles to Putin’s satisfaction.
Flynn’s job (and Paul Manafort’s) was to make sure that Trump always praised Putin. It was also important for Trump to never say that Crimea is Ukraine or that Russia is invading Europe in Ukraine or that Russia started the war in Donbas. This is the one area – possibly the only one – in which Trump statements have been consistent. This is due in large part to Flynn and Manafort being such dutiful Russian agents and effective “grey cardinals” for Putin over Russia’s intelligence asset, Trump.
As we know, Putin’s efforts to make Russia’s asset Trump the US president was successful, even though most US voters chose Hillary Clinton. The payback from the Trump camp was always supposed to be lifting of sanctions against Russia without requiring Russia to stop attacking Ukraine. At least from February 2016 there were meetings between “Team Trump” and Russian officials to work against official US foreign policy. When Trump was President-elect, Michael Flynn met with then Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, to tell the Russians not to retaliate against President Barack Obama’s sanctions of 2 January 2017. The reason is “the fix was in”: Trump planned to lift sanctions unilaterally, after his swearing-in on 20 January 2017. In fact, Trump was obliged to do so as payback for Putin making him the US president.
Luckily for the defenders of Europe in Ukraine, “Team Trump” is remarkably incompetent. Even with overwhelming control of all three branches of the US Government, Russia’s agents of influence and Useful Idiots – like Michael Flynn – couldn’t deliver for Putin.
Michael Flynn betrayed the United States because he plotted against the US Government. But the reason that he did that was so that he could betray the Ukrainian people, who are defending Europe from Russia’s invasion. In a moral universe, sanctions may only be lifted when Russian aggression stops and when the Russian invaders are gone from Crimea and Donbas. Michael Flynn had as his primary goal the lifting of sanctions against Russia while the Russians are still killing and wounding and torturing and kidnapping Ukrainians. Michael Flynn does not inhabit a moral universe. He is a traitor to Western civilization.