It requires little in the way of foreign policy study or experience to understand that Russia’s foremost priority has been to erode if not destroy the alliance of Western democracies whose creation began to take shape even before the closing days of World War II.  Even before Hitler’s destruction became inevitable, Churchill and Roosevelt began to plan a democratic détente that would confine the Soviet Union and make the world, or at least the European part of it, safe for democracy.

After 70 years of patient waiting, Russia’s wait is paying off.

Now the cornerstone of the Western Alliance, the British-U.S. special relationship is eroding due to Brexit, shared anti-immigration grievances, the rise of right wing nationalism, and distrust of alliances generally.

Similarly, U.S. relations with Germany, France, and Italy, among others, are being casually neglected.

And most dangerously, American reliance on traditional diplomacy to maintain and foster close relations with traditional allies is being trash-canned for no apparent reason.  If there is a central organizing principle behind the willful dismantling of security, trade, environment, and a host of international regulatory structures (transportation, communications, banking, and other arenas) it seems to be this: We’re Americans.  To hell with you.

The current Administration has offered no rationale for this nose-thumbing attitude—it does not rise to the level of policy.

There is irrefutably only one beneficiary from all this, and it is not future generations of Americans.  It is Russia.

It does not require Sherlock Holmes to reach this conclusion.

Defenders of this Administration’s irrational behavior seem nonplussed that anyone, including seasoned diplomats, should question a President who breaks up decades of careful, thoughtful, and effective management of world affairs and who replaces stability every dawn like a child with a hammer in a pottery factory.

Why wouldn’t thoughtful people, with expanding evidence at hand, conclude that Russia had a direct and immediate interest in seeing this President elected.  It is the unexpected culmination of all its dreams.  This President is single-handedly giving Russia everything it wants.

The truth of whether there was collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign will come out later, if not sooner.  Still, for unexplained reasons Mr. Trump himself and family and supporters around him began very early in his improbably campaign taking a Republican Party normally apoplectic toward Russia right into the inner sanctum of the Kremlin.

Why?  Doesn’t take much to figure it out.

7 Responses to “Russia (and America) Versus the West”

  1. Brian McCarthy Says:

    Senator; I think sometimes that if you had become president, Mikhail Gorbachev would’ve attended the inauguration and a comprehensive program for ending the Cold War would have followed. Well, the Cold War ended nonetheless, but what is better for it? It’s 2017 and we are talking about whether Russia controlled the outcome of our 2016 election. The Olympics have just banned Russia from participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Who cares about that, if they actually put the current cretin in the White House? This is all speculation – the problem is that the person most Americans vote for doesn’t become president. Can we even claim to be a democracy?


    Senator Hart as ever gets , pun intended, to the heart of the matter, of princile, and in practice.

    The mere, and here we get more than that, mention, o the pathetic deterioration in US-UK special relationship, as with the similar downhill one between the US and the three main powers o Europe , other than my own back yard o the UK, shows the truth o the terrible wreck that is the Trump project.

    Whether soul mates based on ideology or not, from Roosevelt through Obama, Churchill to Cameron, the chuminess was at least based on shared values and friendly personalities.

    We have a state of relations instead , replacing this, with a non relationship upfront that is one backstage , between the US and Russia. This would have been fine and was , when both were from a position of moving together for a safer world, think of the more centrist latter Reagan years and the early Gorbachev era, but now makes a mockery of such.

    Putin is more authoritarian and undemocratic than Trump. Trump the more politically , maybe , personally, unhinged.

    This is a first indeed. Whatever the flaws in those we did not support, Reagan, Bush jnr, even, yes, Nixon, there was somewhere , sometimes, very definitely a person you might want to sit down and have a conversation with that could advance a real agenda that would see progress. I read Elton John on his rapport with younger Bush on hiv aids efforts in Africa, and see a decent man pushed to the right by cronies of yesterday in his cabinet, pulled a little leftward by common decency and a pop star, albeit one of great activism.

    Trump has got to be defeated while in office by the appearance of a definite opposition leader.



    F or f button on computer playing games, sorry for the o ‘s that are really of’s !!!

  4. Jack DuVall Says:

    Unlike our televised media which remain preoccupied by sex, domestic political pratfalls, and the effects if not the cause of climate change, Senator Hart has the courage to state the obvious. The media’s superficial effort to probe the coincidence of Russian interests and the pattern of Trump’s actions and inaction is further evidence of the decline in investigative journalism in the U.S., due in part to the reduction in staff at our major metropolitan newspapers.

    We still have a few outlets such as Mother Jones and perceptive writers like Frank Foer and Andrew Sullivan, but the American political media are not the robust, courageous institution they were forty years ago. If they were, what Robert Mueller is now uncovering might have come more quickly to the public’s attention before the election in 2016, and Republican lawmakers would be reluctant — as most were during the Watergate scandal — to question a duly appointed special counsel’s efforts, thereby putting partisan interests above the nation’s security.

  5. gary hart Says:

    Message for Eric Jacobson: It has been called to my attention that you have submitted two comments that have not been published. None of us can find these comments. Please resubmit and they will be published. No exclusionary editing going on here. GH

  6. Eric Jacobson Says:


    Thank you for the kind line and invitation.

    A technical “gremlin” is still preventing me from posting the comment. No idea why. (It was just one comment I attempted to post from different computers.) As a work-around I refer anyone interested to the following link to my Facebook page for op-ed and legal commentary, which has the same text I tried to post here on MOP: .

    Better luck to myself next time!


  7. Eric Jacobson Says:

    The lines below are not exactly a note of Christmas cheer, but perhaps a hopeful message for meeting the central challenge of the coming new year:

    One of the reasons I favor enlightened quasi-isolationism (AKA non-interventionism) is that we Americans have enough illicit intrigues here at home to occupy ourselves full-time keeping track of- and neutralizing them. Although a significant Russian angle can’t be ruled out, we now have overwhelming evidence that President Trump is a homegrown political criminal. The proof is a tax bill engineered by Donald Trump and the Republican establishment and lobbying class that is 180 degrees ANTITHETICAL to Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric and explicit promises.

    From the day he was elected Trump promptly forgot about the “forgotten people” he pledged would “never be forgotten again.” Apart from abolishing the TPP he has betrayed every single campaign promise to his working/lower middle class voters who believed Trump’s (mis)representation he was a “blue collar billionaire” who would “drain the swamp” (referring to the decisive sway over American government and society held by K Street and Wall Street) and put the interests of America’s everyday people ahead of Trump’s own 1% kind.

    For example Trump all but explicitly promised that he would abolish the carried interest tax deduction for hedge fund operators which enables them to keep far more of their profits than other business owners. The tax bill doesn’t. Instead it:

    • delivers “big league” for the 1% who (in addition to having their personal income taxes lowered) comprise the vast majority of shareholders in corporations receiving monumental tax cuts;

    • delivers substantially for the top 5% of income earners, and

    • benefits hardly at all for the vast majority of Americans earning average incomes (many of whom will soon have to cope with skyrocketing health insurance premium increases due in part to the tax bill’s abolition of the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance).

    Some populism!

    And, directly contrary to Trump’s promise that he would NOT cut Social Security or Medicare, the deficit-ballooning effect of the tax bill (along with Trump’s stratospheric military budget) lays the groundwork for House Speaker Ryan and the Republican Party’s planned attack on entitlements in the months and years just ahead. THIS is what Trump has wrought!

    In short: with the tax bill’s passage we now KNOW Trump’s entire campaign was a conservative Republican RUSE “right from the start” (a phrase I use with apologies to Sen. Hart — who titled his first book about the McGovern campaign thusly — for the usage in this dreadful context).

    All the signs were hiding in plain sight:

    • the sheer improbability that Trump had acquired a Ross Perot-esque anti-globalist ideology in his older adult years that he showed no signs of having before (unlike say, Pat Buchanan, who doubtlessly absorbed orthodox GOP isolationism with his “mother’s milk”);

    • the total disjunction between Trump’s (sometimes) reasonable-sounding populist, protectionist and quasi-isolationist rhetoric — eg. hostility to free trade agreements was standard fare in Democratic presidential campaigns (such as that of Dick Gephardt’s) as recently as the 1980s — and the total absence of ANY reputable policy-shop activity to advance any of these ostensible Trump governmental goals;

    • Trump’s personal reputation as a knave amongst his fellow billionaires and multi-millionaires (attested to by Michael Bloomberg), one who had demonstrated over a lifetime of privilege not the slightest hint of Kennedy-esque devotion to public service or familiarity with the CONCEPT let alone any meaningful record of acts of “noblesse oblige”;

    • the transfer by the rightist billionaire Mercers of their crack political operatives Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway to Trump after the Mercers’ first choice, Ted Cruz, withered under Trump’s no-hold-barred attacks;

    • the appearance “out of nowhere” of obscure empty-suited figures such as a Los Angeles based banker named Mnuchin as a travelling Trump campaign aide and fundraiser, as well as coteries of bumptious previously unknown politically inexperienced alt-right nutbar chiliasts whose sole skill was crude polemical wordsmithing;

    • Trump’s totally uncharacteristic teleprompter speechifying on subjects he plainly knew NOTHING about including (of all things) “urban renewal” (in his speech in Charlotte NC towards the end of the campaign) which speech content suggested that he was not ENTIRELY the sybaritic fop “born on third base who thought he hit a triple” (in Ann Richards famous line for George HW Bush) Trump seemed to be;

    • And the lack of anything in his background that suggested that Trump could or would as president, if and when elected, EVER estrange himself from his fellow wealthy uber-elites by NOT serving their interests to the maximum whenever a conflict arose between the interests of his fellow financial elite supremacists and the well-being of the working and lower-middle-class multitudes. Trump was NEVER going to betray the super-rich: “Not gonna happen” in GHW Bush’s old phrase (that Dana Carvey memorably mocked). And it didn’t!

    Plainly then (at the risk of stating the now patently obvious): Trump’s entire campaign was an ACT! It was larceny (of ordinary American voters’ hearts and minds) by trick — a high political crime and impeachable offense, without more.

    And the fact that his entire bogus campaign was clearly designed to obtain tax cuts which (contrary to Trump’s daily deceits — see Ralph Nader’s recent essay ) grossly unjustly enriches himself and his family’s real estate empire and that of his fellow business moguls similarly situated, is a form of corruption that makes Teapot Dome pale by comparison! And it is not improbable that Trump, a self-described deal-maker, arranged-for his own super-rich direct patrons and new acquaintances of his own elite kind, to make OTHER “progress payments” to himself and his family for pulling off one of THE greatest political stunts of the ages. One that will forever make Trump’s name MUD in the annals of American history. The president would be a bad deal-maker indeed if he agreed to so blacken his name in the history books without a commensurate financial reward.

    It is now up to civil society forces to “follow the money” and find and prove any such additional pay-off. Unlike Sen. Hart, I doubt it will be found in the Russia milieu. I believe it is far more apt to be found right here at home. But the sooner it is found (whoever the paymaster turns out to be) the sooner Trump’s absurd deceitful CHARADE, which has wasted an entire presidential election cycle (!) and the whole of the following year, can, will and must come to an end.

    As it does, there is a baby I hope we non-conservatives will not throw out with the bathwater comprising Trump, Bannon, Conway and all the horses they rode in on along with Trump’s other enablers — btw: NOT including most of his lower and middle income GOP primary voters, who were not “deplorables” (as Hillary Clinton contended) but were Trump and his enablers’ dupes/victims. It is the IDEA that the best interests of the American multitudes can best be served by enlightened populist, protectionist and quasi-isolationist (AKA non-interventionist) policies such as those proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign, themes which Trump seized-upon and recast in regressive form the moment he and his “team of reprobates” saw their popularity.

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