I promised myself I wouldn’t obsess over the insanity of the fringe characters our new madman has assembled. Really, it’s not possible to keep it up. When the inmates are running the asylum, one could spend his entire time pointing out how insane they are. But the leaks are coming so fast and furious, and they reveal a mind-set that is so antithetical to those few bits of bipartisan axioms that we have left that I really have to remark on them to see if other people see what is going on or whether I’m just a lunatic screaming in the wilderness.
The latest outrage (or at least the latest outrage that I have had time to read and consider) comes from an AP report today entitled “On foreign policy, Trump still speaking campaign language.” It is about how the new “national security” team is settling in with the real professionals (the deep state, so to speak). And as you would expect, the Trump team, headed by Michael Flynn, a parody of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, equally dangerous but not nearly as smart, is seen with their pants down, making fools of themselves and showing they are in over their heads. But one paragraph is astounding, even for this group, and even knowing how much Trump admires the one global leader who assisted him to salvage his flailing international real estate ventures, Vlad the Impaler. Here is the paragraph. And consider that AP says its report is sourced by “three U.S. officials and three others” (!):
“According to one U.S. official, national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist. Poland is among the Eastern European nations worried about Trump’s friendlier tone on Russia.”
Consider this: Our president’s main security advisers are asking for evidence that Poland, a NATO ally, is making border incursions into a neighbor that is currently ruled by a Putin-styled autocrat. And no one has ever heard one credible shred of evidence about this. But it is precisely the kind of unfounded accusation that have “justified” Prussians, Austrians, Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union from repeatedly carving up the country since the last part of the 18th century through the last part of the twentieth. (Note that all the partitioners were cut from exactly the same kind of authoritarian stripe that our current Strong Man has been cut from.) Did Trump hear this from Putin? Or was it just the scuttle-butt passed between Russian and Trump campaign officials when they were cooperating during the election? We now live in a world where “alternate facts” are becoming the basis of policy. Perhaps the only possible response is for “other facts” to become the basis of the resistance. I keep having to check when the Inauguration was, because clearly this level of surreal lunacy unmoored from our established worldview could not have happened in less than two weeks.
I keep wondering where Trump developed this Russian-authoritarian-mobocratic view of the world. It had to come from a deal. Deals are the only thing Donald Trump thinks exist in this world. It’s the only thing he has done in life. (Except calling New York tabloid reporters, claiming to be Trump’s press agent, to notify them of what models he was out with the night before.) So it had to come from some sort of “deal” involving his Russian business interests. But this could not have been one of his more successful negotiations. Because it looks like whatever he walked away with, Putin kept his balls, the organs which, for Donald Trump, perform the same function that brains do in other people.