The Trumpsters like HTS and even some other Republicans actually like Putin more than Biden. Theyíve been trained to do just that. Along with Trump, who sees himself and Putin to be Ďgeniusesí, they too have swallowed Trumpís carnival huckster show, hook line and sinker.
Putin†did†get Trump to do real damage to NATO. He got Trump to largely abandon Syria. Trump made a humiliating deal with the Taliban that would result in the US withdrawing its military from Russiaís back door. After years of Russia having to work hard to highlight American hypocrisy on human rights, Trump did things like pardon war criminals, forever tainting Americaís claim to be exceptional.
And through it all, Trump created his own authoritarian-supporting militias, heavily armed troops inspired by resentment who have the ability to make the United States ungovernable. Trumpist Republicans are making localized efforts to dismantle democracy. Trumpís Supreme Court nominees have abandoned legal precedent.
Which brings us to this moment.
I think Putin faced a moment of diminishing returns. Republicans are finally beginning to wake up from their Trump cult. If COVID subsides and the US economy takes off, Democrats might surprise at midterms. I wouldnít be surprised, either, if Russia expected some details of what it has done over the last decade ó involving Julian Assange, involving 2016 (with the prosecution of Vladislav Klyushin), possibly even involving Trump ó to become public in the near future. And so Putin chose this moment to launch a war to try to solidify the efforts he has made over the last decade.
Thus far, however, things havenít gone Putinís way.
I believe that Putin thought he could demonstrate Five Eyes fragility by conducting war games off the Irish coast without inciting the nationalism of a bunch of Irish fisherman. I believe Putin expected the US and/or Europe would fail to fully incorporate Ukraine in its planning, thereby discrediting Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I believe that Putin expected he would be able to peel away France and Germany (after Olaf Scholzís initial announcement that it is halting Nord Stream 2, there seems to be some hesitation). I believe Putin expected his false flags would work. I believe Putin believed heíd be able to blame someone else for this invasion. I†agree with Dan Drezner, thus far Biden has done just about everything right.
I believe that Putin believed his invasion would split NATO, the EU, and the US. Thus far it has had the opposite effect.
Which brings us to the weird pivot that Trump and his top Fox associates: white nationalist Tucker Carlson,†Chief of Staff Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
Yesterday, Trump†hailed†Putinís actions as genius.Ē *
* excerpt from Empty Wheel---