Traffic in a developing country is astounding and terrifying in equal measure. I saw this first-hand in Cairo in 2008, when I took a cab ride from Giza to the downtown area. For the first ten minutes, as ramshackle Peugots whizzed within an inch of my ride, I was a white-knuckled mess, cringing as every vehicle scraped by at top speed.
But at minute 11, my body just gave up. I involuntarily relaxed and numbly took in the spectacle in front of me, because I had no choice. I wish my brain would do that right now.
The hits just keep on coming, whether it’s Romney being led through a charade for no reason other than cruelty, Trump’s own labyrinthine conflicts of interest or, as if pulled out of a Tom Clancy potboiler, the President-Elect owes his victory (kinda) to Russia.
At this point if Trump Tower split open to reveal the Eye of Sauron, I wouldn’t be surprised.
But let’s take a step back. I don’t think Trump is wittingly in league with Russia, or if he is, he probably thinks he has the upper hand. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. The Russians have been dirty-tricksing the world for more than a century, and this could be the apotheosis of their efforts. They’ve managed to succeed beyond their wildest dreams and get what they want without firing a shot.
It would be bad enough if Russian malfeasance was the end of the story, but it isn’t. The fact that Trump doesn’t want to hear intelligence briefings and actively disbelieves anything even happened beggars description. It’s been described as “a political 9-11,” and I don’t think that’s far from the truth.
So why does Trump deny these allegations? The best-case scenario is that he’s simply too vain and absorbed in his own self-aggrandizement to think he did anything but win the election of his own accord. Hence his claims that it was a landslide (it wasn’t) or that he got one of the biggest Electoral College wins in history (also not true.)
But dig a little deeper. MSNBC has a timeline of Trump’s statements about the Russians, and they’re remarkably consistent. We also know his businesses, according to his son, have many tendrils in Russia, and he’s just nominated the former head of Exxon, who received a medal from Putin fer crissakes, to be his Secretary of State. That’s an awful lot of coincidences.
Plus Putin’s nationalistic, petty minded and violent world view aligns very well with Trump’s, along with many other far-right forces in Europe and elsewhere. For people my age, it’s easy to think of Russia as the Big Bad Commie Enemy, but really, they haven’t been that in a generation. They’re still dangerous, perhaps even more than before, but they’re essentially a fascistic society. In other words, not too far off from where the rest of the world is going. How much of that is due to them, and how much is outside forces and the tide of history? We’re about to find out.
There’s still hope; Cold Warriors like John McCain and Lindsey Graham will have none of this nonsense, and bald-faced actions not in the interest of your own nation, before inauguration has even occured, tend to at least raise the eyebrows of the citizenry. They’re slowly, from what I can tell, coming to the realization that this was all a scam, and that if they aren’t careful not only their way of life but their soverigenty is at risk. Let’s hope they act, and act soon, to curb as much power as possible from this creeping monstrosity, this quisling, this vain manchild in thrall to Moscow.