Trump’s GOP and Putin’s Kremlin

 

trump-putinRepublicans have a lot of people to thank this year. For example, there is FBI director James Comey. Last summer, he was the Republicans’ goat, refusing to indict Hillary Clinton. Now he is the Man of the Hour. Then there is Hillary herself: whose corruption is a gift to any opponent, even Donald Trump. But don’t forget Vladimir Putin. Month after month, he has worked tirelessly for the GOP ticket, undermining the Democrats, mainly through his cut-out Julian Assange.

Putin has never stopped being a KGB man, just as Russian intelligence, whatever its current initials, has never stopped being the KGB. (We could go back further, of course, with this alphabet soup.)

The WikiLeaks revelations have been damning – damning of the Democrats. But can you imagine if Putin and the Kremlin were on the other side? If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s? The e-mails of Corey, Manafort, Newt, Ivanka, Roger Stone, Ann, Laura, Sean, Kellyanne, Rudy, Ailes, and all the rest? Of Trump himself? I have a feeling those e-mails would be just as damning as the Hillary-related ones – and more entertaining.

Republicans are lucky to have the Kremlin on their side. I wonder whether they are sufficiently grateful to Putin. He is one of the MVPs for them this year.

In politics, I suppose, you take whatever help you can get. Principle, honor, ideals, and all that are “cuck” and “GOPe” (and “globalist” and every other epithet of the Trumpite Right). But Republicans and conservatives should consider: Putin may be their friend of the moment; but he is no friend of America or of democracy.

Democracy! Talk about a cuck notion. Does democracy matter? Ponder the words of Patrick J. Buchanan, a forerunner to Trump. In a recent column, he wrote that “the nationalist-populist right” is “moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America they love.”

The niceties of liberal democracy are not mere niceties – they are necessities, enabling a free and decent life. Indeed, the American way of life.

But Republicans and conservatives are impatient with democracy, as people often are, looking with admiration at the strongmen, or would-be strongmen: the Le Pens, Orbán, Putin, and so on. (All of them are Trump endorsers. So is Kim Jong Un, for that matter.) From what I can tell, this is where the mind of the Right now is.

When I joined the GOP and the conservative movement, things were very different. The Right, broadly speaking, stood for democracy, freedom, and human rights. The Left had turned its back on those things. They snorted when Reagan talked about freedom, and, worse, from their perspective, promoted it.

Incidentally, did you notice that it fell to Hillary Clinton – Hillary Rodham Clinton, of all people – to defend Ronald Reagan? To defend him against the Republican presidential nominee? This was in the third debate, on the subject of trade.

Putin is the kind of leader who shoots his opponents in the back (Nemtsov) or tortures them to death, real slow (Magnitsky). Asked about this, Trump said, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” Republicans and conservatives used to condemn this sort of thing as “moral equivalence.”

Trump keeps saying that Putin is very popular within Russia. He even cites poll numbers. Of course, Russia lacks a free press, multiple parties, and genuine elections. I learned to watch out for such things, way back, from Republicans and conservatives.

Earlier this year, I interviewed George W. Bush at his presidential center in Dallas. We were talking about strongmen and dictators. Unprompted, Bush brought up Putin. “People say, ‘He’s the most popular guy in Russia.’ I say, ‘Yeah, I’d be popular too if I owned NBC’” (and the other networks).

In the summer, following a coup attempt, Turkey’s strongman, Erdogan, cracked down viciously. He took the opportunity to purge, imprison, torture, or kill anyone who might have criticized or opposed him in the past. Trump was asked about all this. And he said that, really, America had to focus on its own problems. “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

This is the new GOP, the Trump GOP, and it has taken much of the conservative movement with it.

The world over, but especially in Europe, Putin and the Kremlin are doing their best to undermine democracy. In September, I was in Latvia, and I asked an intellectual a simple question: “Does Putin have designs on the Baltics?” “Sure!” he laughed. “He has designs on the United States!”

I have seen many weird things in politics. The current partnership between the GOP and the Kremlin may be the weirdest.

What this country needs, I think, is a freedom party, if the Republicans no longer wish to be that. A freedom party would be a very small party, obviously. People like their statism, whether of a pink or brown hue. But at least such a party would keep the light on – the light of American ideals – until a better day.

And I warn Republicans and conservatives: You may think Vlad is cool now, because he is helping your guy. But watch your back.

P.S. It occurs to me to quote John Dos Passos, as I have before. Here he is, writing in 1941: “Under the stresses of the last years we have seen nation after nation sink to its lowest common denominator. Naturally it’s easy for us to see the mote in our brother’s eye [our brother in Europe]. The question we have to face is: What is the content of our own lowest common denominator?”

More: “When we wake up in the night cold and sweating with nightmare fear for the future of our country we can settle back with the reassuring thought that the Englishspeaking peoples have these habits engrained in them.”

By “these habits,” Dos Passos means the habits of self-government. The habits of the Anglo-American political tradition. Can we still reassure ourselves in the night?

Dos Passos warns of a “personal despotism that has so often been the style of government” outside “the Anglo-Saxon family of nations.”

Finally: “If, in the bedrock habits of Americans, the selfgoverning tradition is dead …, no amount of speechifying of politicians or of breastbeating by men of letters will bring it back to life.”

For sure.

Published in Foreign Policy
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 151 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    I find this fascinating now that there is a lot of talk about Assange actually sourcing the emails from inside the US government by fed up patriots on the US payroll.

    But , proceed with anything for Hillary.  Ricochet,  gateway to #Neverland, first star on the center right, sail on till mourning.

    Sorry, but Lois Lerner was all I needed to know about how Hillary will run things. Your Trump speculation is just that, assumption by association. Lois Lerner is real, she happened and continues to exist. She is the face of unbridled statism, and Donald Trump had nothing to do with her.

     

    • #1
  2. Spiral9399 Reagan
    Spiral9399
    @HeavyWater

    Jay Nordlinger:

    Democracy! Talk about a cuck notion. Does democracy matter? Ponder the words of Patrick J. Buchanan, a forerunner to Trump. In a recent column, he wrote that “the nationalist-populist right” is “moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America they love.”

    The niceties of liberal democracy are not mere niceties – they are necessities, enabling a free and decent life. Indeed, the American way of life.

    But Republicans and conservatives are impatient with democracy, as people often are, looking with admiration at the strongmen, or would-be strongmen: the Le Pens, Orbán, Putin, and so on. (All of them are Trump endorsers. So is Kim Jong Un, for that matter.) From what I can tell, this is where the mind of the Right now is.

    When I joined the GOP and the conservative movement, things were very different. The Right, broadly speaking, stood for democracy, freedom, and human rights. The Left had turned its back on those things. They snorted when Reagan talked about freedom, and, worse, from their perspective, promoted it.

    Incidentally, did you notice that it fell to Hillary Clinton – Hillary Rodham Clinton, of all people – to defend Ronald Reagan? To defend him against the Republican presidential nominee? This was in the third debate, on the subject of trade.

    Bravo, Jay.

    • #2
  3. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Jay Nordlinger: What this country needs, I think, is a freedom party, if the Republicans no longer wish to be that. A freedom party would be a very small party, obviously. People like their statism, whether of a pink or brown hue. But at least such a party would keep the light on – the light of American ideals – until a better day.

    Exploring this notion would have made a better post, but sadly it only managed a paragraph.

    Bureaucratic statism is our ultimate undoing. Trump is only the end of a long road that started long before you or I were around. Get a ‘freedom’ or whatever party going that will stand up to governance-by-proxy and I’m with you.

    • #3
  4. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Jay Nordlinger: The WikiLeaks revelations have been damning – damning of the Democrats. But can you imagine if Putin and the Kremlin were on the other side?

    The inherent flaw in the premise question undermines the entire essay. The assumption that the purpose of Putin’s actions is to aid Trump makes for a shallow reading of his motives.

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    • #4
  5. Spiral9399 Reagan
    Spiral9399
    @HeavyWater

    Jay Nordlinger:

    Democracy! Talk about a cuck notion. Does democracy matter? Ponder the words of Patrick J. Buchanan, a forerunner to Trump. In a recent column, he wrote that “the nationalist-populist right” is “moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America they love.”

    The niceties of liberal democracy are not mere niceties – they are necessities, enabling a free and decent life. Indeed, the American way of life.

    But Republicans and conservatives are impatient with democracy, as people often are, looking with admiration at the strongmen, or would-be strongmen: the Le Pens, Orbán, Putin, and so on. (All of them are Trump endorsers. So is Kim Jong Un, for that matter.) From what I can tell, this is where the mind of the Right now is.

    I hope that after Trump loses on November 8th, I will be able to persuade you to rejoin the Republican party.  Our mission?  To recapture the Republican party from the Trumpkins and make it a conservative party again.

     

    • #5
  6. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    If the e-mails of Team Trump were to be revealed, I expect they would confirm our assessment of incompetence, backbiting, miscommunicating, uncertainty, and ignorance.

    Something that I am certain would not be revealed would be collusion between Team Trump and Mass Media, nor collusion between Team Trump and key Executive Branch agencies.

    • #6
  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    hacker

    • #7
  8. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    A Gift From A Group Of Convicted Felons – It Seemed Appropriate:

    sharedfromfacebook

    • #8
  9. Dean Murphy Member
    Dean Murphy
    @DeanMurphy

    Kozak:hacker

    She can’t even stand up on her own, she has to lean on that rainbow.

    • #9
  10. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Jay Nordlinger: Last summer, he was the Republicans’ goat, refusing to indict Hillary Clinton.

    I dunno. I remember a fair number of Republicans giving him the benefit of the doubt because he laid out in very extensive detail all the reasons she should be indicted. His performance at that press conference screamed out “I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t.”

    Maybe he should have resigned instead of falling in line. Entirely debatable.

    Still, he put the evidence on the table for voters to see. He really didn’t have to do that.

    • #10
  11. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Jay Nordlinger: What this country needs, I think, is a freedom party…

    http://www.lp.org

    (Founded 45 years ago.)

    • #11
  12. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Another thing that would not be revealed if Wikileaks released e-mails from Team Trump:

    It would not show highly valuable government favors from several Executive Branch agencies being awarded to foreign powers within a week or two after very large donations from those powers to the Trump Foundation.

    • #12
  13. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    The Disciplinary Committee:

    Jay Nordlinger: Last summer, he was the Republicans’ goat, refusing to indict Hillary Clinton.

    I dunno. I remember a fair number of Republicans giving him the benefit of the doubt because he laid out in very extensive detail all the reasons she should be indicted. His performance at that press conference screamed out “I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t.”

    Maybe he should have resigned instead of falling in line. Entirely debatable.

    Still, he put the evidence on the table for voters to see. He really didn’t have to do that.

    What he said was that Hillary had not lied to the FBI.   He clearly demonstrated that she had lied to everyone else.  She lied to the American people, she lied to her enemies.  She lied to her friends.   And, she lied to Congress.

    Now it is up to Congress to put her up on perjury charges for lying to Congress.

    • #13
  14. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    I am no admirer of Donald Trump. But this strikes me as over the top. Trump is, indeed, a jerk, but it is the Republican regulars who won a landslide in 2014 and then did nothing with their mandate who elicited the fury that produced the man. Instead of attacking Trump’s supporters, the regulars should give some thought to their own failings.

    • #14
  15. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Roberto:

    Jay Nordlinger:

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    Considering his career developing real estate in highly-regulated jurisdictions, as well as his frequent use (and arguable abuse) of eminent domain, it’s plausible that there could exist emails between him and government officials detailing unethical (and possibly illegal) activities related to his real estate development activities.

    On the other hand, maybe he’s smart enough not to discuss such activities via email. Only utter fools use unencrypted channels to discuss their secrets.

    (Also, it’s generally unlikely any of these hypothetical emails would be with federal officials. He builds apartments and golf courses, not railroads and solar plants.)

    • #15
  16. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    It’s six days before the election, but poor Jay can’t summon up the enthusiasm to tell us all the wonderful things he knows about Evan McMullin or praise some true conservative to the skies who might be in a tough re-election battle for the House or Senate.

    (I can think of several – can’t you?)

    No, poor Jay only has the energy to emit another stream of bile, slander and negativity at Trump and the Republicans who support him – we who threaten democracy and the freedom of the world.

     

     

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Paul A. Rahe:I am no admirer of Donald Trump. But this strikes me as over the top. Trump is, indeed, a jerk, but it is the Republican regulars who won a landslide in 2014 and then did nothing with their mandate who elicited the fury that produced the man. Instead of attacking Trump’s supporters, the regulars should give some thought to their own failings.

    I agree. I understand people’s angst over Trump, but we have zero evidence he is Putin’s puppet.

    • #17
  18. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Jay Nordlinger: But can you imagine if Putin and the Kremlin were on the other side? If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s? The e-mails of Corey, Manafort, Newt, Ivanka, Roger Stone, Ann, Laura, Sean, Kellyanne, Rudy, Ailes, and all the rest? Of Trump himself? I have a feeling those e-mails would be just as damning as the Hillary-related ones – and more entertaining.

    I don’t believe that a comparison between the actual contents of Hillary’s e-mails and the imagined contents of Trump’s would be admissible in any court.  There’s no need to dream up hidden mountains of Trump dirt waiting to be discovered, there’s already enough to prove that his only qualification for office is that he’s not Hillary.

    • #18
  19. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I used to think it would be wonderful if Jay Nordlinger would write at Ricochet, but after reading this I must warn myself to be careful what I wish for. I am so sick of Clinton and all the sleazy politicians of her ilk that I can’t wait to vote for a flawed human like Donald Trump. I think if both of these candidates came to visit me at my farm in Ohio or my ranch in Texas that Trump would show actual concern and interest in my life and Hillary would be like the honey badger: she wouldn’t give a $h1t.

    • #19
  20. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Paul A. Rahe:I am no admirer of Donald Trump. But this strikes me as over the top. Trump is, indeed, a jerk, but it is the Republican regulars who won a landslide in 2014 and then did nothing with their mandate who elicited the fury that produced the man. Instead of attacking Trump’s supporters, the regulars should give some thought to their own failings.

    I agree. I understand people’s angst over Trump, but we have zero evidence he is Putin’s puppet.

    Puppet? No. But he’s definitely a Putin admirer.

    If he knows anything about Putin’s crimes, that’s scary enough.

    It’s one thing to argue you don’t want to be the world’s policeman. It’s another thing to actually praise the criminals.

    • #20
  21. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    The Disciplinary Committee:

    Roberto:

    Jay Nordlinger:

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    Considering his career developing real estate in highly-regulated jurisdictions, as well as his frequent use (and arguable abuse) of eminent domain, it’s plausible that there could exist emails between him and government officials detailing unethical (and possibly illegal) activities related to his real estate development activities.

    Stipulated. Now who exactly would this surprise? Would this tell anyone, anything they do not already suspect about the man?

    • #21
  22. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Scott Wilmot: I am so sick of Clinton and all the sleazy politicians of her ilk that I can’t wait to vote for a flawed human like Donald Trump.

    When the choice is between an honest incompetent and a skilled crook, I’ll take the incompetent any day of the week.

    The honest incompetent might not be able to do good, but the skilled crook can do immense evil.

    Sadly, that’s not the choice being presented to the US.

    Instead, the US is asked to choose between a dishonest incompetent and a highly-skilled crook.

    That’s not nearly as easy a choice.

    Still, it’s not an impossible choice (as many have argued).

    • #22
  23. The Disciplinary Committee Member
    The Disciplinary Committee
    @Misthiocracy

    Roberto:

    The Disciplinary Committee:

    Roberto:

    Jay Nordlinger:

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    Considering his career developing real estate in highly-regulated jurisdictions, as well as his frequent use (and arguable abuse) of eminent domain, it’s plausible that there could exist emails between him and government officials detailing unethical (and possibly illegal) activities related to his real estate development activities.

    Stipulated. Now who exactly would this surprise? Would this tell anyone, anything they do not already suspect about the man?

    How about this hypothetical voter calculus?: “Imagine that Candidate A has violated state and municipal real estate and financial laws, while Candidate B has violated federal laws threatening national security. If it’s inevitable that you’ll elect a crook for federal office, better their crimes not be federal ones. Better the crook who stole from little old ladies than the crook who got American servicemen killed.”

    • #23
  24. Quinnie Member
    Quinnie
    @Quinnie

    Mr. Nordlinger – I had always been an admirer of your writing and thinking.   But you have totally lost me during this election.   You have constantly denigrated Trump over the last several months.   Now you insinuate that their is a direct link between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.   Get a grip.   I didn’t want Trump either, but I am mature enough to understand the choice we face.  I will have no problem voting for him next Tuesday.

    • #24
  25. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Paul A. Rahe:I am no admirer of Donald Trump. But this strikes me as over the top. Trump is, indeed, a jerk, but it is the Republican regulars who won a landslide in 2014 and then did nothing with their mandate who elicited the fury that produced the man. Instead of attacking Trump’s supporters, the regulars should give some thought to their own failings.

    Except for calling Trump a jerk, what you said here is overdue, Dr. Rahe.

    • #25
  26. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    As #ReluctantTrump, the impact of this post is to validate what the Trumpsters have said about the GOPe and #NeverTrumps.  You would evidently prefer Clinton, who is certainly guilty of improper handling of classified information, likely obstruction of justice and conspiracy, probably influence peddling, Lord knows what else, and has a track record of incompetence and cronyism in one domain of the office which she seeks.

    Democracy?  I’m not sure you’d know it if you met it in the street.  That’s what gave us Trump.  You just don’t like the outcome, so you offer a hacked up supposed link to Putin.  Instead, you have supported what the Trumpsters have been saying about the self-anointed conservative elite.

    • #26
  27. She Member
    She
    @She

    MJBubba:Another thing that would not be revealed if Wikileaks released e-mails from Team Trump:

    It would not show highly valuable government favors from several Executive Branch agencies being awarded to foreign powers within a week or two after very large donations from those powers to the Trump Foundation.

    Well, as they say, opportunity’s a fine thing.

    I’m sure the stories about Clinton “pay for play” are true.

    Whether or not Trump, once he’s in a position to offer similar emoluments to accrue to the advancement of his brand, is able to resist them, remains to be seen.

    • #27
  28. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Roberto:

    The Disciplinary Committee:

    Roberto:

    Jay Nordlinger:

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    Considering his career developing real estate in highly-regulated jurisdictions, as well as his frequent use (and arguable abuse) of eminent domain, it’s plausible that there could exist emails between him and government officials detailing unethical (and possibly illegal) activities related to his real estate development activities.

    Stipulated. Now who exactly would this surprise? Would this tell anyone, anything they do not already suspect about the man?

    Have the Wikileaks from John Podesta told us anything about Hillary that we had not already suspected?

    • #28
  29. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    MJBubba:

    Roberto:

    The Disciplinary Committee:

    Roberto:

    Jay Nordlinger:

    If they were uncovering TrumpWorld’s e-mails instead of HillaryWorld’s?

    This makes no sense. What could you possibly expect to be there that we do not already know about Trump? The time he killed a man just to watch him die?

    Trump has never held any office in federal, state or municipal government so it is not possible for him to be guilty of comparable crimes as he has never been in the position to betray citizen’s trust in that fashion.

    Considering his career developing real estate in highly-regulated jurisdictions, as well as his frequent use (and arguable abuse) of eminent domain, it’s plausible that there could exist emails between him and government officials detailing unethical (and possibly illegal) activities related to his real estate development activities.

    Stipulated. Now who exactly would this surprise? Would this tell anyone, anything they do not already suspect about the man?

    Have the Wikileaks from John Podesta told us anything about Hillary that we had not already suspected?

    I would say potential Trump voters already have a pretty clear idea of what they are getting, potential HRC voters have long maintained illusions about that woman.

    • #29
  30. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Feel sorry for Jay.  Reduced to recycled hysterical “saving remnant” drama queening.  Such a fine writer wasting his talents.  Maybe an hour on the couch with Dr. Victor Hanson or Dr. Rahe providing some conservative cognitive therapy could help?

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.