Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Damage Wasn't Done in Helsinki. It Happened in the Days Following Trump's Return to Washington.

It wasn't so much Trump's juvenile performance in Helsinki or the harsh rejection from Democrats and Republicans in Congress. No, it was how quickly Republican opposition switched back to again support an unhinged president who betrayed his country when the "base" didn't budge. Hey, that's how even decent people can become Nazis.

In the immediate aftermath of Helsinki experts weighed in on two issues: how disastrous it was and the seismic wave that would now sweep over Congress.

It was said that Trump, wittingly and unwittingly, betrayed his oath of office. He made the summit about himself. As for the aftermath it argued that Putin left Helsinki disappointed, realizing all he had gotten was a complete idiot not what he hoped for, a useful idiot.

Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote this:

In his July 19 address at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Putin warned that members of the U.S. establishment “are not miserable or wretched people. No, they are powerful and strong people who can shove … unbelievable and illogical stories in the face of millions of their citizens. Yes, they can really do this. I am not saying this to scold or commend anyone. … I am saying this so that we take this into account in our practical work in the American direction.” 
The problem, however, is that it isn’t only the Russophobic U.S. establishment that bears the blame for all the problems in the bilateral relationship. Rather, it’s Trump himself who has recently posed the biggest problem. Trump’s lack of discipline and inability to talk convincingly about even a moderately tough stance on Russia is again stirring up the hornet’s nest in Washington. That’s why, after watching Monday’s press conference, some wealthy and powerful Russians who know the West well have been exchanging text messages that have in common a variation on one phrase: “This moron is making things worse, and it’s going to end very badly.” Sooner rather than later, the Kremlin will come to regret its Helsinki triumph. 
Conventional wisdom held that Congress would unite, finally, to do the right thing and defy Trump. Yet, when it came to it, Trump opponents began bleeding off, increasing the numbers of Trump supporters. Then the base held. With that, patriotism and principle were thrown to the wolves. With mid-term elections barely four months away, there was little appetite among Congressional Republicans for offending the base.

And then, as if he were immune to rebuke and restraint, Trump doubled down, bitch-slapped the Republican Congress and invited Putin to a sleepover in the White House.

Putin has to be wandering the Kremlin halls asking WTF?  He was expecting Trump to have cut his own throat with Congress and the American people. There would be consequences, some worrisome. All that work down the drain.

But that didn't happen. Trump's base held. They didn't care. They don't mind Putin. They've got a thing for authoritarianism - so long as it's white.

That's bad enough in its own right. What makes it worse is that Vlad's people are watching this, dumbstruck, recording everything and putting it through the grinder of analysis and strategy.

I'm sure they can't believe what this unexpectedly large segment of the population was/is willing to abide/ignore. There's a mountain of intelligence in that one revelation. What a look into the modern American psyche?  Everything from the fracture of meaningful social cohesion, to the groups involved in penetrating and manipulating, even manufacturing informed consent.

There are ways to weaponize that sort of intelligence. This isn't over. Helsinki may have been a breakthrough after all.


Jay Farquharson said...

Meanwhile Pootie Poot's been telling his Diplomats that Hair Twitler gave Russia:

- Syria
- Crimea
- Ukraine
- removal of sanctions
- joint investigation of Russian ratfucking
- turning over US Officials for prosecution in Russia

Jay Farquharson said...

"Faux News did a piece on the puzzling, confounding and completely mysterious uptick in nazis, anti-Semites and white supremacists who are running for office as Republicans and “causing headaches” for the party.

Oh dear. Thoughts and Bayers."

the salamander said...

..and what do the Chinese think ?

Jay Farquharson said...

Their LTFAO.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, I would imagine the Chinese are dissecting what has transpired in Washington over the past week just as closely as are the Russians. When something so illogical occurs, taking so many people by surprise, people naturally begin to wonder how to exploit this new reality and the vulnerabilities/opportunities that are revealed.

This goes to American vulnerabilities in the breakdown of social cohesion and the abject cowardice of Congressional Republicans. There are ways to weaponize those things in dealings with Trump, his global trade war, and in meddling in the November mid-terms.

There's not a lot of spine on display these days. It's reminiscent of the "Paper Tiger" syndrome of the Vietnam era.

Anonymous said...

The countries of the west need to 'intervene' in a way and tell their people that they will not accept any demands of Donald Trump. Ignore him. Shut him out.
Until there's a change in guard, there's zero credibility in the US political structure.

Anonymous said...

Where's the millions that the Koch brothers were going to throw out against the tariffs. Has the Tepublican donners lost their power in the house? Or is everything on hold till after Nov?

Jay Farquharson said...


The Mound of Sound said...

Jay, off topic but I'm wondering what the fire situation is like your way.

John B. said...

Mike must be having a fit. Rand Paul seems to have located some undeveloped acreage up Trump's ass that even he didn't know was there. It's a learning process. I guess we should be awaiting the sight of most of the rest of them scrambling to emulate Trump's limp-wristed performance for Putin.

If the displays of drooling unmanliness and wretched servility already provided during the past week by President Pus-for-Guts and other stalwarts of America's CRAP Party can't nudge the slugs at the Etch Test into re-examining their selection of presiding dog, it'll be a certain sign that everything the Greatest Generation bequeathed to its brats has been squandered.

This circle jerk is a figure-eight.

Jay Farquharson said...

We're fine. The fire in Kamloops got knocked down pretty fast by stellar work, the fires in the Oakanogan are pretty bad, but so far it's a much better year than last year.

We had an okay snowpack, a late spring, a wet spring and are alternating between cold fronts/ rain, and heat, the grass is still green.

Sadly, in a glass half full way, it's creating a lot of fuel for next year or the year after.

Trailblazer said...

Perhaps this is what Trump and Putin had in mind in Helsinki?

#2 re forest fires.
We live on the interface of forest to a smaller community of about 200 homes.
Our proactive neighbourhood watch members have concerns about forest fires.
There are $millions available to prevent fires by clearing fuel in nearby forests.
Sadly the only forest that can be cleared and cleaned is that owned by the Government/Crown land.
We are adjacent to private lands which can pretty well do as they please.
As they are numbered companies or owned by holding companies they are not liable for their inactions..


Karl Kolchak said...

"Patriotism" going down the drain is the best possible thing that could happen to this country. There are actually lefty Trump haters like me who sincerely hope that he effectively neuters the entire American military-intelligence complex so the we can sort through the ashes and maybe start addressing our monumental domestic problems instead of killing countless millions of civilians while trying to enforce our will upon the globe.

Uncle Vlad isn't going to invade and conquer the U.S.--and if Canadians are so worried about him, maybe you should increase your own war spending for a change.

Purple library guy said...

Mr. Farquharson, I hate to tell you but Russia already has Syria and Crimea and if they're at all sane they don't want Ukraine.