Sunday, January 15, 2017
The Russo-American Situation Today
In the first place, it seems necessary to emphasize that the election was not as “close” as the Clinton camp likes to say. There is no such thing as “the popular vote” there is just “the vote”. Yes, more people in the country as a whole voted for Clinton but most people in most states voted for Trump and America is not a unitary country, it is a federal union of states -that is and always has been the basis of how the country is organized. Hillary gets her “popular vote” argument thanks to New York City and Los Angeles, the first and second most populous cities in the country. The Electoral College was established in the first place so that one state with an extremely large population could not rule the whole country according to its own interests and disregard the interests of all the other states. There is only one vote on election day and that vote is held in every state and determines which candidate that state’s electors will vote for. Most of the people in most of the states voted for Trump so the electors of those states voted for Trump and he was chosen to be President. Talking about the “popular vote” as if that were an actual ‘thing’ is pointless and doing away with the Electoral College in favor of direct democracy would, I think, simply destroy the country because a great many of the other 49 states are not going to be content to be ruled by whoever the voters in California thinks is best.
Already, there are some obvious problems with this accusation. In the first place, none of the emails have had their veracity disputed. So, what the Russians are being accused of is getting facts to American voters that were obtained unjustly. American voters were told the truth and, evidently, the Democrats did not want that to happen and believes the truth harmed their campaign. But, on the other hand, the Democrats are the ones constantly trumpeting the fact that Hillary won the “popular vote” (as if that were a thing). So, how exactly did this impact the election? Looking at the country as a whole, most people were obviously unmoved by the emails if most people voted for Hillary Clinton, as most people did given that there are more people in New York and Los Angeles than in a number of entire countries in the world. Were the facts revealed in these emails more or less alarming depending on where they were read? Why would people in Michigan be more bothered by their contents than people in California? Can they really say for a fact that it was these leaked emails, supposedly provided by Russia, that caused Hillary to lose Wisconsin and not the fact that Hillary so took their votes for granted that she didn’t even bother to campaign in that state? I do not see how you possibly could.
This is all pure absurdity. I have no doubt that, given the choice of Clinton or Trump, the Russians would prefer the candidate who wanted to improve relations rather than the one who openly threatened war with Russia. One does not need a super-secret spy agency to come to that conclusion. Add to that the fact that, as yet, no evidence at all has been produced that the Russians were behind the “Wikileaks” revelations in the first place. All we have is the word of the U.S. intelligence agencies to go by that Russia was behind it all. National Intelligence Director James Clapper says the Russians did it. This being the same James Clapper who said that the NSA was not spying on US citizens only for it to come out that they actually were. I would not, personally, take his word that night is dark and day is light based on his record of honesty. This is when the patriot crowd starts to bellow about taking the word of foreigners over our own, all-American, intelligence agents. Sorry, that will not work with me. They have forfeited any claim to our trust by their own record of incompetence and dishonesty. They say they have evidence but as long as this evidence cannot be made public, all we can do is take their word for it and their word does not mean much to me at this point.
Finally, we have the issue that makes this all particularly dangerous. Tensions between Russia and America are probably higher today than they have ever been since the Cuban missile crisis. Putin has been vilified by the American media and the American government like no Russian leader since Stalin, and even Stalin was portrayed as kindly “Uncle Joe” during the World War II years. The efforts to undermine the legitimacy of Bush and Obama did not involve a foreign power. The effort by the Clinton camp to undermine the legitimacy of Trump does and that makes this partisan game extremely dangerous. Trump said he wanted to “get along” with President Putin, suggested re-orienting NATO and working in cooperation with the Russians to fight Islamic terrorism. Hillary Clinton threatened to impose a “no fly zone” over Syria which, as one top American general told a seemingly incredulous panel of politicians, would mean war with Russia. Trump, against all expectations, won the election. The Democrats and Hillary Clinton in particular, were humiliated. This was not like losing to another Bush or losing to a Rubio or even a Ted Cruz but this was losing to a man they had all laughed at, who they had all discounted as being unworthy of serious consideration, a man they thought was not only “deplorable” but an absolute joke. The hysteria level on the left jumped to DEFCON 2.
It is all the more serious because, with NATO having expanded to the Russian border itself, there is no room for Russia to back up any farther. During the Cuban missile crisis, Russia had military forces on the doorstep of America. A deal was agreed to and Russia removed these forces, the missiles were taken away and Russia backed off. Now America has military forces on the doorstep of Russia. The only way this ends is if America backs off and the anti-Russian hysteria, aimed at de-legitimizing Donald Trump, may have already made this impossible. The well has been poisoned. Before even taking office, Trump has been branded by the Democrats and the “establishment” Republicans as Putin’s pliant puppet, a stooge for the Kremlin. Any move he makes to remove the sanctions on Russia, ease tensions, draw back or even talk about some sort of cooperation with Russia will be immediately seized on as “proof” that all the accusations were true about him being the instrument of Moscow. Thus, the Democrats and their pro-war allies have made coming to any accommodation with Russia the purest political poison. Already I have heard from one European reader here saying that the election of Trump has made America, “Russia’s bitch”. Any hope of coming to an understanding between the United States and Russia may well have been destroyed before Trump even takes the oath of office.
Finally, before anyone says so, no, I’m not a huge fan of Vladimir Putin and I have the articles here and the angry comments from his fan boys to prove it. I wouldn’t be a fan of any regime in Russia that did not have a Romanov at the top of it. However, Putin is not the worst guy in the world, he’s not Hitler and he’s certainly no threat to the United States. I don’t agree with or like many of his foreign policies and if I lived in certain European countries he would probably worry me but this is part of the problem. Saying we should see things from the Russian point of view, saying it would be better not to have World War III break out because Hillary is embarrassed, or just saying that the relationship between America and Russia should be talked about rationally should NOT cause someone to immediately be labeled as a “Putin apologist”. He’s not blameless, he’s done plenty that I do not like but he’s probably the best post-imperial leader Russia has had, which is not too difficult. Henry Kissinger, a man I am certainly no fan of, was, I think, nonetheless correct when he said that the demonization of Putin is not a policy. Right now, Democrats and Republicans are fond of saying that “Russia’s values are not America’s values” and that may be true but were the values of Soviet Russia or Imperial Russia any closer? The U.S. dealt with them and, in fact, was often quite friendly with Imperial Russia and no one claimed that the values of a secular federal republic were at all the same as those of an Orthodox absolute monarchy. What Americans have to do is stop vilifying, stop blaming, stop the hysterics and think, talk, debate and at least have the discussion.