When the Trump campaign (allegedly) conspired with Putin to engineer the unlikely defeat of Hillary Clinton, did Putin get anything in return? Apparently not. The story line refuses to cohere. In the world according to the Democrats, however, if the facts don’t fit you must not acquit. You must recommit.
Two months ago the sober Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow and foreign policy historian Walter Russell Mead impolitely noted that “Trump isn’t sounding like a Russian mole.” Trump had remarked “effusively” to Reuters on the importance of expanding the American nuclear arsenal. Mead commented: “What the press has largely ignored about Trump’s latest pronouncement is an obvious truth that undermines its own narrative: someone who was safely in Vladimir Putin’s pocket wouldn’t run around saying things like this.”
Mead must have wanted to provoke the Democrats’ idiotic media adjunct. He enlarged to telling effect on this point. Like the little boy who declined to praise the magnificence of the emperor’s invisible finery, Mead blurted out:
If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:
• Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could • Blocking oil and gas pipelines • Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions • Cutting U.S. military spending • Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran
That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.
Mead wasn’t done yet. He contrasted Trump’s announced policies with Obama’s actual policies:
Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.
This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. 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.
Only last week we had Secretary Tillerson’s press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (text here). Fulfilling Obama’s mocking gibe to Mitt Romney, the 1980’s seemed to have gotten their foreign policy back.
Yesterday Politico reported the Trump administration has announced that it would not grant a waiver from Russian sanctions to Exxon Mobil or any other energy companies. Ben Lefebvre explains: “The Treasury Department announcement follows reports that Exxon had been seeking such a waiver to drill in the Black Sea.”
The concise statement by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is calculated to rub it in: “In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions.”
Has anyone among the Democrats’ idiotic media adjunct paused to note that the Russians aren’t getting their (alleged) money’s worth?
NOTE: I was reminded of Mead’s point summary of Obama’s policies by John O’Sullivan’s recent article in National Review as well as O’Sullivan’s NRO post on Trump’s State of the Union speech.