“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” – Honoré de Balzac
One of the strangest outcomes of the Trump presidency so far has been the fact that America has dismissed the black hole that was the Russian attack on our country in 2016 as nothing more than “meddling” in our elections. Meddling, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is: to try to change or have an influence on things that are not your responsibility. An example is: “I don’t want my parents meddling in my affairs by telling me how I should run my life”.
Calling Russia’s cyber/propaganda attack on our 2016 elections meddling is like calling an Ebola epidemic merely a seasonal outbreak of the flu.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party are earwigs that have crawled into our ears and laid eggs while we slept.
Here are some ideas from Gaary Kasparov’s book, “Winter is Coming”, that have become normalized during the Trump presidency; they are all words or ideas expressed by Vladimir Putin in the last 20 years that he has been Russia’s dictator:
- SHITHOLE COUNTRIES: “We will find the terrorists anywhere, and if we find them in their shithouses, we’ll wipe them out in their shithouses”. Here, Putin is speaking about Chechnya and the terrorist attacks Putin concocted to garner nationalist support. Putin is responsible for manufacturing numerous terrorist attacks and blaming Muslim terrorists from Chechnya, when the bombings and gas attacks were actually conducted by the Russian military at his orders. Trump’s MS-13 and caravans of brown skinned Immigrants – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- CONVENIENT COWARDICE: ”If you acknowledge the horrible truth, you would have to act. So, it’s easier to ignore the facts and pretend it’s “disputed” and say you’re “concerned” about “allegations”. This charade is particularly important when you feel obliged to pretend the perpetrator is an ally and is operating in good faith.” Our Republican Senate – straight out of the Russian playbook
- THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE LAW: “One of Vladimir Putin’s favorite characterizations of democracies.” Trump stonewalling Congress – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- ROGUE STATE, Ltd.: “Wherever there were trouble spots on the world stage… Putin was there. “He was everywhere! Worried about the North Korea nuclear program? The Russian president had already established personal relations with Kim Jon-il and was ready to play a broker on the Korean peninsula. Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, or Bashar-al- Assad, Putin was ready to generously offer his assistance with all of these illustrious leaders. Whether he actually provided any assistance of value was another matter entirely.” Trump foreign policy – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- THE POWER VERTICAL: “If you challenged the Power Vertical, Putin wouldn’t’ just go after you and your assets, but also your employees, friends, family, and anyone who dared defend you. (The power vertical is a concept introduced by Putin to explain the re-centralization of the power of the presidency and federal center. It is defined as ‘governing from the top’ and leads to a situation where loyal figures to the state are appointed to important positions to implement policy decisions. This creates a top down governing system where power is held by the elites and wielded in their interests)”. Trump’s witness tampering – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- SANCTIFYING CORRUPTION and BANDIT CAPITALISM: This is an important way to explain Trump’s affinity with bikers and the Alt-Right: Kasparov writes: “The Putin government wasn’t cracking down on corruption, it was sanctifying it. It was a unique method of cleaning up the town that involved deputizing one set of “entrepreneurs” while demonizing another. (Hell’s Angels yes, MS-13 no.) With no free media, no justice system to worry about, and no competition, Putin’s preferred oligarchs were like vermin whose natural predators had been eradicated. The chosen winners had the full power of the state behind them and the Russian treasury opened wide.”
- FREE PRESS AS ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE: “Chavez and his successor, Maduro, in Venezuela, al-Sisi in Egypt, Erdogan in Turkey – all have targeted the free press and social media in moves that presaged further restrictions on civil liberties and democratic institutions. The reasons the authoritarians give are numerous and varied, but the end result is always censorship and propaganda…. Early on, Putin learned that it was more effective to control the press than it was to censor it. So, he cut out the middlemen.” Trump’s “Lying Press” – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- THE FAMILY: Yeltsin’s younger daughter, Tatyana, was also his close advisor and was a major power behind the throne in the later years of his administration. She has been credited with influencing her father’s choice of Putin. There is a historical twist going back to 1933, when an ailing German president, Paul von Hindenburg, was convinced by his son Oskar to name Adolf Hitler chancellor. Hitler seized all state powers for himself within hours of von Hindenburg’s death in 1934. Yeltsin’s closest circle of oligarchs and his advisors were known as “The Family”. Ivanka and Jared – straight out of the Putin playbook.
- A PENCE PARDON: “Putin had been inaugurated on May 7, 2000, a month before the election to replace Yeltsin had been scheduled to take place. Yeltsin had another surprise up his sleeve, and had suddenly resigned on Dec 31, 1999, making Putin the acting president and requiring an election in three months’ time. Putin took care of the most important business immediately, ensuring that the security and wealth of all his relatives’ freedom from prosecution was signed the same day Putin took office, revealing the real reason Yeltsin had selected him for his successor: self-preservation.” Pence and Mother – a match made in heaven.
Our CATCH 45 is that, if we impeach this unspeakably corrupt autocrat, we run the risk of waking the sleeping giant of mind-numbing ignorance that is Trump’s know-nothing, appeasing, Republican Party. But if we don’t – we accede to Convenient Cowardice; we deed our democracy to The Power Vertical and Rogue State, Ltd.; and we willingly support Bandit Capitalism by Sanctifying Corruption. So, what’ll it be, America? No guts; no country.
Deborah Long is a Principal at Development Management Group, Inc. and founder of several non-profit charitable organizations. If you find her perspectives interesting, controversial, or provocative, follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/debby.long.98499?ref=br_rs