Having Vladimir Putin act as a character witness to your honesty is like having Ethel and Julius Rosenberg vouch for your patriotism. Putin’s offer, of course, doesn’t mean much, except to prove the extent to which Russia has infiltrated our most sacred political institutions right into the West Wing. After helping elect the manifestly unqualified Trump as President the Russians continue to mock us with this offer.
We even may learn, before long, that Miss Universe contestants from former Soviet block nations have been Kremlin spies. The Russians have employed feminine charm espionage for ages. Ian Fleming made a literary industry out of the practice in his Bond novels. The success of the tactic depends, of course, on the target’s attraction to beauty. Enough said.
Putin, to U.S. intelligence professionals’ dismay, has achieved the once unthinkable goal of disrupting the entire U.S. Government. He has sowed dissension among the American people and caused allies to question our reliability as a security partner. He had help from a number of Americans, including Lt. General Michael Flynn, who has sought immunity from prosecution. In the “great” old days what Russia’s American stooges did was called collaboration.
The two party system is, also, at risk. Republicans could crash through the top floor to the basement on account of their party’s wide, inexplicable, persistent, support of a clueless leader. Taking advantage of America’s gullibility, Putin has usurped our front pages, broadcast waves, and electronic media with a sinister and canny calculation that still defies meaningful consequences. What more could any enemy want to do its adversaries? Pity, Obama didn’t just give Russia the Crimea.
Nikita Khrushchev was famous for removing one of his shoes and banging it on a desk at a United Nations General Assembly meeting in a show of displeasure. He was never shy, either, about mocking, threatening, or insulting America. Khrushchev, once, said, “Do you think when two representatives holding diametrically opposing views get together and shake hands the contradictions between our systems simply melt away? What kind of a daydream is that?”
Trump, whose knowledge of history doesn’t extend much beyond the ratings earned by his TV show, “The Apprentice,” wouldn’t know what Uncle Nikki was talking about. Richard Nixon did, but he’s not here to kick around anymore.
The President could’ve skated for a while longer, perhaps, if he hadn’t fired FBI Director James Comey on specious grounds. When Trump threatened Comey with possible recordings of the meeting during which Trump, allegedly, asked Comey to ignore Flynn’s duplicity he cooked his own goose because the Director had made admissible, contemporaneous, notes of all his contacts with the President. Oops!
Trump didn’t have to take this path. Once in office, he could have been intelligent and sober, in Paul Ryan’s vernacular. The President might’ve tried to build on his core support while reaching out to others, as he said was his intention, by acting in a more conciliatory and less confrontational manner. Instead, he started his 2024 campaign and continued the vitriol that got him elected. In a perverse form of poetic justice, those same traits that got Trump elected are, now, dooming his presidency.