It is called the most significant attack since 9-11, one that could well have more lasting impact, and more adverse consequences to our democracy, the Russian attack on the idea of American democracy. Yet, just yesterday, Dan Coats, the current Director of National Intelligence, testified to a congressional committee that not only have we made little progress, not only do the Russians continue to attack us and plan on meddling in the 2018 election, but we do not even HAVE a national policy to address the issue. Indeed, Secretary of State Tillerson has essentially called the problem “too hard” as justification for not doing anything. Given Coats’ desperation, and Tillerson’s defeatism, there is precious little to indicate that the current president of the United States has not subsumed American interests to his own personal interests, which appear inextricably tied to Russia. Short and sweet, President Trump cannot oppose Russia without personal consequences, and he appears unwilling to undertake those personal consequences for the betterment of the nation. He comes first, we come second, or third, depending on if you count Russia independently.
Coats’ testimony could not be more compelling, as he laid out the current status of the threat to the Armed Services Committee in the Senate:
“We have entered a period that can best be described as a race for technological superiority against our adversaries who seek to sow division in the United States and weaken U.S. leadership,” Director Dan Coats told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This is more important than ever that we remain vigilant to the range of threats worldwide as we seek to do all we can to provide security to the American people.”
Yes, well, we agree. The trouble is, there appears to be disagreement on what it means to “do all we can to provide security to the American people.” Coats, who likely wishes he could do more, left no doubt as to where the problems lie.
“We assess that Russia is likely to continue to pursue even more aggressive cyber attacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances …
“We don’t” have an official government policy on Russian election interference.”
Charlie Pierce asked an increasingly relevant question yesterday; Is it now so bad that we cannot afford to wait to see if direct evidence of collusion exists? Is the situation is so dire that we must act on the circumstantial evidence we have right in our face, i.e. the fact that we’re unwilling to confront Russia on the single greatest national security threat in existence?
I can’t think of one administration in my lifetime that wouldn’t have thrown Tillerson out the window for saying something like that and then fired him before he hit the pavement.
Seriously, what does this administration have to do to make it clearer that its interests don’t lie in protecting this country if the adversary in question is Russia? Stick an onion dome on the White House? Start shooting up performance-enhancing drugs? Make the Marine Band an all-balalaika orchestra? I look pretty terrible in a tall fur hat.
I don’t know what else can be done. The Alt-Right does not even acknowledge that there is a problem. It would seem that the right wing hates Democrats such that they are willing to let democracy and American exceptionalism die rather than “hand the Democrats a political victory” (in their words) and admit that they voted-in a Russian plant.
When I visit websites with a significant Alt-Right presence, the people posting believe they are far closer to jailing Clinton and Obama who pose “the real problem” (in their mind). They believe Clinton killed Seth Rich, honest, and see no issues at all with Trump. They are sure that Trump is “draining the swamp” and the Russia investigation is the “deep state’s effort to save itself from Trump.” I suspect the real issue is that admitting that Trump is nothing but a cheap mobbed-up Russian plant would be akin to admitting that Democrats were right, and they would rather the country lose its democracy than admit that Democrats were right. In this sense, Trump and his supporters are perfect for each other, they are unwilling to put the country ahead of personal interests.
Too bad we cannot arrange a five minute meeting with this typical Trump voter and Dan Coates.