2018-01-12 01:24:14 UTC
there's a good chance that if trump wins, he won't last out his first
term. Trump's a sick old speed addict who is hiding health and financial
issues. Doing business with Muslims and Americas other enemies like North
Korea and Russia. That's why he refuses to release information and his
supporters are notorious radical rightwing subversivie America haters.
For those who are baffled by recent developments in the West, Donald
Trump's Russia connections are a new addition to the story. Donald Trump,
with full press conference coverage, called on Russian intelligence and
hackers to share Hillary Clinton's emails. Before anyone claims that it
was an off the cuff remark and that he was sarcastic or joking, within
hours he'd tweeted that same question, almost verbatim. In a year where
unprecedented is an overused word, a nominee of the party traditionally
considered hawkish on foreign policy is asking a foreign government to
hack and notify the media of the contents of emails of his rival from
another party. Not only has this never happened before, it is a nightmare
situation for everyone in the U.S., including the Republicans.
So, is Trump a Siberian candidate, (a play on the word Manchurian
candidate) as termed by Paul Krugman? Is he on Putin's pay roll? The
answer is no. First of all, that's not how intelligence operations work in
real life, whatever you may have been led to believe from books and
movies. There are so many uncertainties and risks that no intelligence
agency will undertake that operation.
Which brings us to the second and more serious point. Trump has funnily
enough shown considerable consistency in his position towards Russia. He
said he won't honor NATO and might even break away from it as well as from
the WTO - two pillars of Western order, one security and one economic. He
rejected U.S. criticism of Russian human rights record and Russian actions
against media and intelligentsia, saying that the U.S. doesn't have the
moral high ground to dictate anyone on internal governance. Trump also
said he won't critique Russian revanchism and interventionism, as the U.S.
also intervenes abroad. He said recently that he would legalize the
Crimean annexation and end sanctions on Russia. And he ripped up his own
party's strong platform against Russia during the Republican convention.
Finally, he invited hackers to attack Hilary.
This is curious, and his favor of Russia is almost as consistent as
Trump's opposition to China. The reasons for this could be various. It
might be that Trump genuinely believes that Russia is a civilizational
ally and that he can carve out interest zones with its help. Or his aides,
including Paul Manafort and Carter Page, two notoriously pro-Putin think
tankers, are influencing him. Trump might be just a reckless nihilistic
man who doesn't believe in anything he says, as long as it gets him in
news cycles, but the fact is that as a Republican nominee, he will get
intelligence briefings, including secrets about China, India, EU, etc,
which he will pass onto his dubious aides. This is a cause of concern not
only for Americans but for every sane person on this planet.
Blaming Putin or Russia will only obfuscate the real problems. Every
country and great power commits espionage, and only naive people believe
that international politics is an arena for good innocent people. Even if
it is established that Russia committed this DNC hack, and all evidence
points in that direction, it won't be out of the blue. It is completely
within the established behavioral norms of a great power.
The rise of Trump and nativist populism is a more structural problem of
Western liberal democracies. It is the glorification of a culture of
celebrity and conspiracy theorizing and hyper media partisanship in a
post-fact world that gives rise to phenomena like Trump or Brexit. Blaming
Russia won't solve this basic problem.
Sumantra Maitra is a columnist with China.org.cn. For