On the real enemy

Okay, so I may be totally off-base here. But am I the only one who’s suspicious of the consequences of impeaching Trump? Like, maybe that’s exactly what Russia wants us to do?

I don’t know. I admit I know jack about politics and I’m not very smart. It’s just that Russia has always been weirdly out there with their tactics (shit more nuanced and fiction-crazy than some of the shit the U.S. has done — thinking of the Cold War Georgi Markov ricin assassination here). It seems odd that a country with such a complex history of clever subversion would want a cartoon villain for U.S. President, and nothing more. Think about it. All our attention is on Trump right now. Even quite a few Republicans are galvanized to move against him, and we’re all converging on him without really thinking about anything else because, at the moment, his existence in politics is the worst thing anyone can think of. What if that’s exactly what Russia wants? We finally impeach him and we’re so up our own asses with heady victory that we don’t even see whatever it is they have planned next for us until it’s too late.

Am I an idiot for entertaining this idea? Should I hang up my tinfoil hat?


Russia is not a person. It’s a country. It has national interests, but not “wants” in the way you’re using the term. Vladimir Putin is a person, and he definitely has wants, but he’s also not a secret evil genius. I mean sure, he keeps plenty of secrets, he is cartoonishly evil, and he has a certain kind of Machiavellian genius, but we also tend to give him way too much credit. At the end of the day, he’s just a crime boss with nuclear codes. His interests are transparent and predictable.

It’s true, one of Putin’s overarching foreign interests is the slow and steady destabilization of Western Democracy, but we all know that. (Well, everyone but the President knows that.) Still, there’s no strategic mystery here, and to the extent that Putin has control over the Russian government, he will use state power to play his zero-sum spy-game of fucking with the United States and other NATO countries.

Now, no one — not even Putin — really believed that Trump was gonna win the Presidency. Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was an effort to destabilize and delegitimize what everyone expected was going to be a Clinton administration, but Putin fucked up and accidentally got Trump elected. You’d think a Trump victory is what Putin would have wanted, but it isn’t. Putin was playing the long game, a low-key death-by-a-thousand-cuts style attack on the West. With the election of Trump, Putin got his hand caught in the cookie jar, and the Russian interference in our election provoked a massive immune response within the institutions of the US government that will likely culminate in impeachment proceedings against Trump.

If this massive institutional immune response ends up inoculating our government against further cyber and psychological warfare, then Putin overplayed his hand. If Democrats win back Congress in November, I think we’ll all see the fever break. There will finally be legitimate hearings into the 2016 election. There will be election reform. There may even be impeachment proceedings. Then again, maybe not. Democrats may not win back Congress. Trump could end up serving out his term, nominating another Supreme Court justice, and maybe even winning reelection. It’s possible, but none of that would be due to any nefarious Russian subversion. It would be due entirely to American stupidity.

So yeah, long story short: Don’t be afraid of Russian subversion. Be afraid of American stupidity and the institutions that foster it. (I’m looking at you, Fox News.) That’s the real enemy. An unsophisticated domestic electorate is infinitely more dangerous than a sophisticated foreign adversary.

In other words, educate yourself, get involved, and GET OUT THERE AND FUCKING VOTE.


17 thoughts on “On the real enemy

  1. Boobs says:

    An immune response is a fitting metaphor. I agree about American stupidity, but I’d also blame American egotism and idleness.

  2. Chris says:

    There’s a Lincoln speech (the guy wasn’t even 30 when he gave it) where he said that our danger is not from afar, but from within, that Napoleon wouldn’t take a single drink from our rivers or tread a step on our mountains. It would be us, not them, who destroys us.

  3. Noq noq says:

    If you want to talk about subterfuge and fallout, the concern should be that Pence as president would continue to push Kavanaugh. Under Pence this might look like a well feigned “I just happen to think he’s right for the position.”

    Fortunately we have a solid chance of right out rejecting him with house dominance…if that goes well.

    Honestly, Pence’s best move would be to seat Merrick and go for reelection.

  4. TeamSalamander says:

    The Democratic party is just as full of corrupt fuckery as the Republican party and the binary of political identity in the US fuels much of the infighting. Communities are easily played off one another while political wannabes and hasbeens whore themselves out for corporate crumbs behind closed doors. Can American solidarity be catalyzed? Are we capable of reaching across the aisle as citizens?

  5. Gaybeard says:

    The American obsession with external threats is pretty strange considering that it has never been in a defensive war or fought on its own soil, with the exceptions of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Those were both fought in the US but were both offensive wars, though the Revolutionary war was an offensive war that was fought defensively. In any case, there is not a single American alive today who has fought on his own territory.

    There also seems to be a complete inability on the part of Americans to understand the cultural mindsets of other countries in general, but of Russia in particular. Russia’s political culture revolves around nihilism, chauvinism, and paranoia. That’s pretty much it, not much else going on beyond a mixed up nationalistic love of the Eagle and a long memory for slights, like America’s dismantling of the Soviet Empire and overseeing the single largest drop in standard of living in a country in the modern age.

    • TeamSalamander says:

      American obsession with external threats makes sense because America has a long history of tampering with foreign regimes and wheeling and dealing to appropriate their resources. It makes sense to me at the level of national agenda anyway, doesn’t make sense on the grassroots level but then again I don’t hear people on the street talking about external threats.

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