I took a quick cruise around news and blogs to see whether I was crazy or onto something. Here's what I found.
CNBC's John Harwood went looking for answers too. Of all those he checked with, this one resonated:
Richard Haass, a foreign policy adviser to both presidents Bush, stops short of connecting Trump's policies with Putin's election help. He notes "parallel impulses" shared by both leaders.
Putin decided in recent years to boost Russia's power by disrupting Western democratic rivals, rather than becoming more like them. Trump decided to disrupt a post-World War II international order that he insists shortchanges American economic and security interests.
Whatever motivates Trump's approach, "We will pay a price across the board," Haass says. "I can't account for it. I can't explain it. I don't believe he's explained it."
I think that's a generous take, to be honest. How can you look at the consistent need of Donald Trump to suck up to Vladimir Putin at the expense of our deepest and longest-lasting friendships and downplay what he is doing?
Josh Marshall rings a louder bell:
The last twenty four hours of attacks on our closest allies capped by President Trump’s seemingly out of the blue demand to bring Russia back into the G-7 (making it again the G-8 which it was for most of the post-Cold War era until Russia was expelled over the annexation of Crimea) simply brings the matter into a newly sharp relief. If candidate Trump and President Putin had made a corrupt bargain which obligated President Trump to destabilize all U.S. security and trade alliances (especially NATO, which has been Russia’s primary strategic goal for 70 years) and advance the strategic interests of Russia, there’s really nothing more remotely realistic he could have done to accomplish that than what he has in fact done.
Yes, and it's hard to find alternative explanations for his behavior, isn't it?
Martin Longman at Washington Monthly, too:
None of this is an attempt to revive the Cold War. In some ways, the fact that the threat is coming from Russia is inconsequential. This is actually about a country run by an authoritarian leader who wants to break up the kinds of alliances that have kept the global order fairly stable for the last 60 years and take us back to the “Great Power” politics that resulted in two world wars. Rather than standing up to that threat, our current president is playing the role of puppet to that leader while congressional Republicans stand on the sidelines and give him a pass.
Cowards. It's what cowards do.
Kevin Drum articulates my own aggravation about this: Passive Republicans
But if there’s anything even worse about this, it’s the fact that the Republican Party just doesn’t seem to care. A few of them speak out occasionally, usually if they’ve decided not to run for reelection, but that’s about it. Trump is dedicated to total support of Israel, and that by itself seems to be about the only foreign policy issue that matters to them anymore. Russia, China, free trade, NATO—meh. As long as Trump keeps selling plenty of hardware to Israel and delivering lots of right-wing judges to the Senate, they’re happy enough.
As my podcast partner and colleague Aliza noted Friday on our profanity-laced angry podcast, Donald John Trump has pronounced himself above the law, and as such, can do whatever he wants. When he insisted he can pardon himself, he insisted he is not beholden to the law like everyone else is.
There is no greater example of this than his constant choice to realign this country with Russia and North Korea while stabbing our allies in their collective eye. Donald John Trump is a petty, two-bit dictator/mobster who identifies with the Vladimir Putins and Kim Jong Uns of the world and has no problem serving them if it elevates him with his mentors.
Shocking? Absolutely. Dangerous? You betcha. And if we do not vote like our lives and our country depends on it in November, I think we will just become a client state of the Russian Federation.
You can listen to the podcast here. I was angry.