In fairness to Trump, the KBG, short for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, or in English, Committee for State Security, didn’t round up crowds of feverish fans to pack arenas where Trump played. It didn’t contrive to put the hapless Huma Abedin on the payroll, and it didn’t write the more snarky comments found in John Podesta’s emails. Whether or not Wikileaks maven, Julian Assange, is a Kremlin collaborator is beside the point. Assume that he is.
Put simply, we were bested by a second-world foe that's rising fast back into the top ranks. The Soviets, traditionally, have been the clumsy ones in the murky soup that's espionage. For a very long time they operated on a simple calculus: greenbacks, bullets, broads, and booze. This time, however, they pulled one over on us all, including Trump; especially Trump, if he feels the slightest twinge of gratitude for what the Russians did to try and see he was elected. The other shoe, the one still on Uncle Niki’s foot, for the moment, is that the Russians probably hacked the RNC, too, rendering Republicans vulnerable to future blackmail.
We do it. They do it. Everyone spies on everyone else in this world. Even the Vatican has a clandestine service but, as a general rule, when you get caught there’s hell to pay. So what’s to be done to punish the Russians, to make an example of them, and to deter similar conduct by others? The political pundits and spymasters have been debating this issue ever since Trump won the general election in a kinda-sort-a way.
Trump, himself, is in a bind. It’s getting harder for him to tell the American people it’s no big deal that Mother Russia hacked away at the foundation of our democracy. If he doesn’t do anything, however, and lets the Russians get away with their brazen affront, his presidency will be forever compromised, particularly, given the backgrounds of some of his nominees for top section chiefdoms.
Vladimir Putin, probably, has the goods on Trump, anyway, and is unlikely to care about whatever tantrums Donald, eventually, may throw, if any. It’s hard for words to get through Mother Russia’s iron curtains and she is known to be tone deaf. The expected battle of wits that will play out over the next four years in the drama of Trump vs. Putin, will never result in a game as close as the famous 1976 chess game played between Lputian and Kasparov. That’s a given, as is the fact that more than words are now required.
Still, the irony is staggering. Conservatives who’ve spent a lifetime attacking the Red Menace have now embraced the Evil Empire Ronald Reagan excoriated. It’s the dupes, the Democrats and the members of their Fellow Traveler infested party, that are vowing to avenge the Communists’ attempt to install a party in power that has hated them since 1917.
What is Obama to do? Will he ask the CIA to rig the next Russian election so that “No One” wins instead of Putin? Will he ban all travel to Siberia? Will he plant new bugs in Russian computers, put there by systems hackers serving time in U.S. federal prisons, in exchange for their early release? Will he expose Putin as a corrupt, brutal, heartless, repressive dictator with bad intentions and global aspirations? There aren’t a whole lot of good options and each carries its own risk. Even the White House acknowledges this fact. The most sensible response, however, is, also, the most obvious one.
Obama should open the CIA, NSA, and FBI’s Chamber of Secrets and relentlessly declassify everything inside that pertains to Russia, and Vladimir Putin, its Tom Marvolo Riddle, that isn’t currently strategic for the e-world to see. Obama needs to out-Assange Julian Assange if Trump is ever going to lead the free world effectively. He can’t do it, now, from his current position of weakness, vis-à-vis Russia, and the only way he can get the upper hand is for Obama to slay the Russian Basilisk for him. Children in Aleppo know the truth about Putin. Americans should know it, too. Declassify, Mr. President!