On Dec. 7, 1941, my Uncle Jim, a Captain in the Army Airforce, was rudely awakened by the roar of low altitude aircraft. Rubbing sleep out of his eyes, he moved to the barrack’s window, figuring it was a prank. Seeing a low flying plane of an unusual green color, he figured it was the Navy. When it dropped a bomb, he thought it was stupid to drop a dummy bomb as someone could get hurt. Seeing “fluttering white butterflies,” a memory from his military training was sparked: tracer bullets. But it wasn’t until the bomb exploded and he heard a sound, like a .22 pistol, of bullets hitting a sheet metal building, that my uncle understood this wasn’t a prank. The plane flew so low my uncle could see the face of the Japanese pilot. It had taken only moments to understand the United States was the victim of a sneak attack. Uncle Jim began to fight.
Today, sneak attacks are infinitely sneakier. Russia can’t attack us militarily, so they invaded our social media with propaganda on a massive scale. Russia President Vladimir Putin was more successful than the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. Beginning in 2015 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., Russians and their “bots,” pretending to be Americans, spread disinformation. Fox News repeated some of it. We are at war, but Americans are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes, fighting each other, not our common enemy.
Putin, a KGB thug, is democracy’s enemy. To make Russia great again, recapture the USSR’s empire, Putin wants to destroy the European Union (EU), NATO and the United States. Russian right-wing extremists’ goal is an empire called “Eurasia.” If successful, Eurasia will dominate, while the EU and USA become subservient. Currently, Putin’s winning.
Calling a snake a snake isn’t name calling. Citing facts isn’t hateful. Warning of danger isn’t vile. Putin is a fascist. He has demonstrated this with words and deeds.
Putin has given speeches announcing the era of liberal democracy is over. He resurrected the forgotten fascist philosopher, Ivan Ilyin, quoting from his writings. Fleeing to Switzerland after the revolution, Ilyin became an admirer of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. He wrote about the glory of obedience to the “man of destiny,” the “chosen one” who ruthlessly attains power. Contemporary Russian fascists like Aleksandr Dugin and Alexander Prokhanov are dominant in Putin’s media. These fascist ideologues borrowed Nazi ideas, making them Russian by changing words like “Third Reich” to “Eurasia.” Appealing to Russian bigotry, Dugin and Prokhanov propagate racist and antisemitic ideas. For example, the Obamas were depicted as monkeys. Claiming power for 20 years, Putin sees himself as the “man of destiny” born to retake the Soviet empire.
Putin’s actions are even louder. Russia also invaded England’s media with propaganda supporting England exiting the EU. With a 52% vote for “Brexit,” Putin’s cyber sneak attack may have determined England’s decision to leave the EU.
Across the EU, Putin has supported far-right authoritarian-nationalists. Knowing excessive immigration would strengthen neo-fascist parties, Putin made sure there were plenty of refugees by bombing hospitals and civilians in Syria. Putin is dismembering the EU.
In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine annexing Crimea. Putin’s war on the Ukraine continues today. Ukrainians voted (92%) for autonomy from Russia, but Putin wants Ukraine.
Before sending tanks, Putin attacked the Ukraine with cyber attacks and disinformation to install Viktor Yanukovych (Putin’s choice) as Ukraine’s president. Yanukovych’s first election was nullified because of election fraud. Needing reputation rehabilitation, Yanukovych hired Paul Manafort from a lobby business with Roger Stone, known as the “torture lobby” because of their work for cruel dictators. With Manafort’s help, Yanukovych won his second election. Yanukovych’s gross corruption was tolerated until he had a meeting with Putin, and broke his promise to align Ukraine with the EU. Ukrainians protested in mass. Snipers and police violence couldn’t suppress the protest. So, Putin sent troops.
Having worked to install Putin’s choice as Ukraine’s president, Manafort returned to the USA to be Donald Trump’s campaign manager. He was $17 million in debt to a Putin ally.
Putin wants a weak and divided United States. An American civil war would benefit Russia. Toward that goal, Russia supported secessionists in Texas and California, and infiltrated the NRA so assault rifles would be plentiful. Russia conducted a massive cyber attack in support of a divisive candidate, and spread disinformation about Robert Mueller’s investigation. Russia’s invasion continues.
Alexander Hamilton wrote: “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?”
Our Founding Father wanted American elections to be of, by and for Americans. This is why it’s criminal to solicit political help from foreign governments.
Did Putin raise a creature of his own? Russia’s sneak attack was massive. They spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads alone. Would Trump be president without Putin’s help?
Trump, apparently grateful for Putin’s election interference, supported Putin’s denial of it, contradicting USA’s intelligence agencies. Trump supported Brexit, criticizes NATO, and supports Russia against the Ukraine. The only change Trump made in the Republican platform was to deny Ukraine offensive weapons. Now Trump is withholding $400 million in military aid, passed by Congress, for Ukraine. Trump has resisted sanctioning Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. He advocates readmitting Russia to the G-7. (Russia was expelled for annexing Crimea.) Trump has divided Americans and speaks of violence. Putin appears to be getting everything he wants.
Why has Trump so allied himself with a Russian fascist?
Putin’s goal is to destroy American democracy. Liberal and conservative patriots should unite to save the nation we love. Let’s save democracy; then go back to debating the best size of government.
Roger Ledbetter is a politically-active resident of the Valley. Contact Roger Ledbetter through the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.