Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole

Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole, by Walter Russell Mead.

Trump’s core global strategy will destroy any illusions in Moscow, or anywhere else, that Russia is a peer competitor of the United States.

A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be. …

While liberal America may have forgotten recent history, Russia certainly hasn’t: provoking a nuclear arms race with an outclassed, economically weak Soviet Union was Ronald Reagan’s winning strategy in the 1980s. Tech and wealth are two key American advantages over Russia now as they were over the Soviet Union then; Trump’s message here is that he intends to follow in Reagan’s footsteps to use these strengths to advance American power, with the inevitable result of marginalizing one of Russia’s primary sources of power and prestige. Putin’s ramshackle Russia is no more capable of matching an American nuclear buildup than Brezhnev’s sclerotic Soviet Union could keep up with the United States—and Putin knows it. …

Obama’s polices assisted Russian power: he limited fracking, blocked oil pipelines, reduced nuclear arms and did not renew aging US nuclear weapons, cut US military spending, and gave Iran, Russia’s ally, a very favorable deal. And the media never even noticed, or called him a Russian puppet!

The problem always comes back to the media:

The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three. Already there are some days when they mount both attacks at the same time: the hawkish traitor whose Nazi style America First ideology leads him to lick Putin’s boots. The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself. …

Hawk or traitor: you can only pick one. …

America needs an intellectually solvent and emotionally stable press to give this president the skeptical and searching scrutiny that he needs. What we are getting instead is something much worse for the health of the republic: a blind instinctive rage that lashes out without wounding, that injures its own credibility more than its target, that discredits the press at just the moment where its contributions are most needed.