Like many of you, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop in this Russia story: the “secret connection” between Trump and Russia that is so shocking, so beyond the pale, that the John McCains of the world have no choice but to finally flip on the big man and start impeachment proceedings.
But I heard something this week that made me recalibrate how much I even care about this "secret."
Those of you who have been chugging huge mouthfuls of political media this past year (like me) know how consistently terrific The Atlantichas been. David Frum, a longtime conservative thought leader and speechwriter for Bush 43, is Senior Editor at The Atlantic. Frum's rock-ribbed conservative bona fides make his unwavering opposition to Trump all the more noteworthy. This past week, Frum appeared on Sam Harris's Waking Up podcast, which remains one of the more important ongoing conversations out there. The entire podcast is well worth your time, but here's the passage that really got me:
DAVID FRUM: With Donald Trump, there are many secrets, but no mysteries. I don’t know if we will find collusion or coordination between Trump and Russian intelligence. And let’s say we never do. Let’s say we never find that proof. Let’s say, it just was a giant goddamn coincidence.
It’s still terribly unacceptable.
Here we have a candidate for President who - in full view of all of us - worked with a Russian intelligence operation. That’s what Wikileaks is. Trump praising Wikileaks, urging the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails more, and not speaking up on behalf of Americans whose rights were being violated by a foreign intelligence espionage operation…that all happened on television. We all saw that. That’s not a secret.
It’s not a secret that when New York Times reporters asked Trump, “'Will you honor the NATO treaty,' he said, ‘Maybe I will and maybe I won’t.’”
It’s not a secret that he hired the consigliere to a corrupt Russian puppet ruler of Ukraine as his campaign manager.
Or that he aligned the Republican Party’s platform with the Russian view on Crimea. And the Ukraine. And Syria. And NATO. And the EU.
Every American President since Dwight Eisenhower has wanted to see a more integrated Europe. Every American President since Britain joined in the 1970’s, beginning with Gerald Ford, has wanted to see Britain in the EU. This is 60 years of consistent American foreign policy. And Donald Trump dropped them to adopt the pro-Putin line.
Is he being blackmailed? Is he infatuated? Is he beholden? I don’t know.
I just see what he’s doing.
I don’t need to know the answer why. I mean, it’s “interesting.” I’d like to know it. But I can see what he’s doing.
The central Soviet, and then Russian, goal - their highest, most paramount strategic foreign policy goal - has been to sever the strategic bond between the United States and Germany. They’ve been trying to do that since 1946. If they could ever do that, their power in Europe would be re-established. They have failed at every turn.
And now Donald Trump is making the US’s relationship with Germany our target. Aggressively attacking German interests and values again and again and again. Gleefully celebrating the breakup of the EU, and the exit of France from the EU, which would be a catastrophe for Germany.
If the Russians had written out a to-do list for an incoming President of the United States, that President would do everything Donald Trump is doing, and in the same order.
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