Friday, August 4, 2017

The Russians Don't Care If We Know Everything

The most persuasive analysis from the smartest people I read makes a point that really should be obvious (and would be if we were the least bit sophisticated):

There is nothing we will become aware of in this matter that the Russians didn't fully intend for us to eventually uncover. They planted the evidence in plain sight (and murdered the people - including some staunch Russian patriots - who knew the exact mechanisms). From beginning to end, it's had nothing to do with choosing sides. It's been entirely about chaos.

Trump has sowed copious chaos since the beginning of the campaign; turning masses against the institutions and norms underpinning western political culture. In so doing, he also fanned the extreme partisanship that will eventually be seen as having been Russian-kindled all along (along with other factors). Then Trump managed to win, a bonus that surprised even Trumputin. Russia won't see its sanctions removed - they won't gobble up the cherry atop this sundae - but that's ok; there will be plenty more delicious chaos from the scandal and Trump's downfall and the ugly fallout therefrom. Consider: We're at the brink of civil war (those cloistered in big liberal cities don't understand how riled up the MAGAs are). It's working beautifully!

Russia doesn't care whether Trump's in or out, and they don't mind being the bogeymen (Russian bogeymen have been degrading American unity and resolve for decades now). The aim is to leave us (and our allies) confused, demoralized, cynical, and at each others' throats. It's ridiculous to suppose Putin actually favors Trump. He'll be just as happy milking this idiot's disintegration as his ascension. It all suits his purposes.

Osama Bin Laden demolished a couple buildings, inciting reckless responses that have shaken Western culture/values to their core. Similarly, prankster Putin propped up a useful idiot, bringing us to the brink. When the smoke finally clears, we'll need to learn to be more sophisticated about provocation, rather than behave like boobs, endlessly bashing the opposing tribe in an endless, pointless Itchy/Scratchy cartoon.

Moderates on the left and the right will need to drop their litmus tests - strident tribal dividers like abortion and guns - and come together as a coalition to outnumber the rabble, the loonies, and, above all else, the sophisticated tactics of provocation and chaos which Russia excels at...but which ties rich, distracted, earnestly simplistic rubes like us Americans up in knots.

Read that link to get a good start.


vhliv said...

Yes, this is what asymetrical cyberwar looks like, and I agree about the chaos thing. Yet, far more important than what the Russians did is what Republicans were willing to do because they have been desperate and holding on thanks to 2010 that was very favorable to them thanks to continued popular anger at the lingering effects of the financial crisis. So while I agree that Democrats have to work constructively to get us out of the mess we have made, it is the Republicans who have to do the real soul-searching. And we will know they are really serious about that when they start begging to return to the Fairness Doctrine and redistricting by commission rather than legislatures in order to save themselves from themselves.

Jim Leff said...

The Republican desperation is the result of demographic changes. This existential desperation has given rise to both Trump enabling and the redistricting excesses you mention. I think you may have interposed cause and effect.

What we've been seeing - Fox News derangement, Russian collusion, riling up the yahoos, nativism, truth buggery, all of it over the past decade - has been desperate actions by a party with no other moves.

As I wrote a few months ago, we need to....

"Work hard to find institutional ways to allow Republican party/Conservatism-in-general to remain politically viable in spite of shifting demographics, recognizing that its shrinking viability - and the increasing division and rhetoric it's prompted - has been disastrous. A sane right is vital for the country (even liberals should want that more than they want a perpetually dominant left, and should recognize that we can't have both a sane right and a perpetually dominant left). "

FWIW, that appeared here:

Blog Archive