Putin is winning

It’s been clear since even before Trump was elected that he was in Putin’s pocket.  “No puppet.  No puppet.  You’re the puppet.”  But, damn, if Russia has not now sucked the entire Republican Party into their strategy.  Seriously.  No, the Republicans are not purposely saying, “sure, we’ll do what Putin wants.”  But, by embracing Trump’s absurd defenses and supporting him no matter what, they are absolutely doing Putin’s bidding.  The whole damn party is the puppet now.  It’s really pretty amazing, and depressing as hell, to behold.  There’s seemingly no level they won’t sink to.  As I saw in a tweet the other day, forget shooting someone in 5th avenue, he could go on a rampage with an AK-47 (yes, that weapon chosen purposefully).

Paul Waldman: “Fiona Hill shows how Trump and Republicans function as Putin’s useful idiots”

When former White House national security aide Fiona Hill and diplomat David Holmes testified Thursday morning, they might not have made Donald Trump’s impeachment and conviction more likely, in the sense of providing new evidence of crimes and misdemeanors the president committed.

What they did do, however, was demonstrate that Trump and portions of the Republican Party have become what in the Cold War we used to call “useful idiots,” people who had become tools of the Kremlin not because they were devoted to the Soviet cause but because they were too stupid to realize how they were being manipulated.

In her opening statement, Hill put her finger on the problem:

Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves

As this conspiracy theory has it, Ukraine, not Russia, hacked Democratic emails and set up Russia to take the fall for sabotaging the election, and a cybersecurity company called CrowdStrike helped cover it up. Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help him make this true by finding an allegedly missing server in Ukraine.

This theory is not just bonkers, it is designed to serve the interests of the Kremlin. Holmes explained what Russia gains from the spread of the theory:

First of all, to deflect from the allegations of Russian interference. Second of all, to drive a wedge between the United States and Ukraine, which Russia wants to essentially get back into its sphere of influence. Thirdly, to besmirch Ukraine and its political leadership, to degrade and erode support for Ukraine from other key partners in Europe and elsewhere.

Indeed, just this week, at an economic forum in Moscow, Vladimir Putin celebrated the continued repetition of the Ukraine interference theory. “Thank God,” he said, “no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore; now they’re accusing Ukraine.”…

Furthermore, the effort to deflect attention away from Russia and on to Ukraine has the effect of making Russia’s almost inevitable effort to meddle in the 2020 election more likely to succeed. When it happens — and it will happen — how are Republicans going to react? It’s all a hoax, they’ll say. Just a Democratic attempt to delegitimize Trump, the way they did before. Nothing to see here, move along.

And Putin will marvel yet again at how easy it is to manipulate the useful idiots in the GOP into doing exactly what he wants.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Putin is winning

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Trump may seem like a useful idiot to some but I believe he is acting for purely financial reasons and knows exactly what he is doing. I believe he is taking advantage of his super power position to ensure the future of himself and his family for great wealth. He listens to Putin’s ideas and pushes these ideas because he respects Putin’s ability to control his nation and accumulate great wealth for himself. He acts as a world citizen, just as Putin does, in terms of having no real loyalty to his country, instead using his country as his tool to more great power and wealth.
    For the same reasons, he works with Erdogan and the Saudis. And who knows who else.

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