The Helsinki Summit on July 16 of 2018 was a shameless display of affection for the single biggest threat to American democracy and the stability of the liberal free world. Trump has been working overtime to convince his supporters that immigrants, trade agreements and Iran all pose bigger threats than Russia’s interference and discord-sowing actions across the globe. Trump apologists have fed into this narrative by responding to every question about Russian interference with a deflection to FBI, Obama and Hillary Clinton criticism. They have fed this narrative by responding to the separation of legal asylum seekers from their children with talk about MS-13. They have fed this narrative by responding to the banning of refugees in Syria, Somalia and Yemen with discussions about terrorism and they have fed this narrative by responding to questions about supporting the NATO alliance or the absurdity of trade wars with our allies with complaints about trade and China. If they remain feckless or apathetic to correct paths now, they will be feeding Trump’s groveling at the feet of our adversary through their inaction and limited outrage.
Putin’s greatest complaints in his political career have been the breakup of the Soviet Union and the increased size of the NATO alliance. Trump has repeatedly done Putin’s bidding by demeaning those NATO allies and praising his leadership and the world has watched in horror, maintaining a quite hope that Trump may someday turn this rhetoric around. They hoped that the Trump apologists were right and that he may be some political savant who could orchestrate the world’s biggest blow to Russia in complete secret unbeknownst to even his aides let alone his enemies. The Helsinki Summit proved all of that to be a pipe-dream and reinforces the words of the great Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”. Trump admires dictators, he parrots the talking points of white nationalists and he believes that in order for trade to be fair it has to solely benefit America. He doesn’t believe in climate change and therefore believes that American business should thrive at the expense of air and water quality and regulation of pesticides. Trump doesn’t want to make America great again, he wants to line his pockets at the expense of his own people’s quality of life. He wants to make America Russian.
At this point, collusion no longer matters. Let’s concede for the sake of argument that there was no direct collusion. The Intelligence hearing from March of 2017 made a point to say that the Russian trolls were studying Trump’s twitter habits to know when to post, comment on and share their fake stories on social media because it was targeted to him and his ilk. They then watched on the news and saw with their own eyes that Trump’s supporters and campaign operatives were repeating their manufactured stories on national television. The second wave of Mueller’s indictments of Russian officers made the point of stating what time and date Russian hackers set their sights on digging up Hillary Clinton’s emails. This is because that effort began only a few hours after Trump looked into a camera and told Russia to do just that. Russian intelligence has always had a term for people like Trump and that is “useful idiots”. They did not need to collude with Trump because they knew that Trump would be the easiest person in American presidential history to manipulate.
Where does America go from here? Republicans have made their intentions very clear in that they have no intentions of preventing Russia from intervening in future elections. The Trump-selected gaggle of intelligence chiefs who have been warning this country about Russia’s current attempts to undermine the midterm election have officially lit their hair on fire. Trump, who took full-page ads out to criticize Reagan’s diplomatic strategy in Russia as “spineless” has now given a new definition to the word. Emerging markets in Africa are bypassing the West by partnering with China and the Middle East and the health and educational systems of the world are leaving this country in an era soon to be forgotten. Fareed Zakaria recently sat on Bill Maher’s show and mentioned his book titled “The Post-American World” and joked that he wrote it without expecting America to take itself out of the running for leadership in the globe.