Lately, I have been ignoring major current affairs developments mostly because I am rather bored with the daily display of skullduggery. Truth is garroted and paraded as lie until it dies very publicly while the unsuspecting and suspecting alike remain in thrall. I feel prompted this morning to say a thing or two.
In particular, I am incensed at the suggestion that President Trump ask President Putin if he meddled in the 2016 election. It is a ludicrous suggestion. What are the expectations behind this question? Do people expect Putin to be so terrified as to admit sheepishly or overcome with much righteousness and contritely confess that he did indeed order an extensive cyber intrusion? It is not as if Putin is desperately waiting for Trump to ask him and confession would come gushing out.
Unless Trump is willing to present Putin the meddling as fait accompli that he fully knows about and demands of the Russian president very specific amends, it is an exercise in futility to ask the first question. There is no prospect of Trump ever asking Putin to end it or else.
One can speculate a great deal about the reasons behind Trump’s reluctance to stand up to Putin but they would all remain speculations because we just do not know about the nature of the invisible fence that keeps Trump confined within a boundary of near servility to Putin.
Maureen Dowd, the much read New York Times opinion columnist, goes to the extent of saying this today, “Maybe he is the Manchurian candidate, in need of a hypnotic tuneup.” She also says, “And thanks to the admonitions of his father, Donald Trump admires killers.”
Trump’s motivations behind a very public sucking-up to Putin are no longer a matter of subtle curiosity among the media grandees. Short of saying that Putin has Trump by the scruff of the neck everything else is being said. Being away from Washington and living in a charming but largely inconsequential town of Naperville I can only interpret appearances. I must say even this far they stink. There is a certain seediness to the whole deal which may never be fully unraveled.
In an analysis for the IANS wire in December, 2007, about the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, I wrote, “Narendra Modi is an extraordinary combination of demagoguery, self-belief and remorselessness. He is a politician who has no stake in the prevailing political order and hence has no problem dismantling it without any compunction. It is hardly surprising that the more traditional political class is looking askance as Modi goes about railroading them at every step.”
I also said this in the analysis, “It should be clear to anyone reasonably discerning that no amount of secular or liberal outrage will stop Modi in his tracks unless his own constituents turn against him.”
It should be obvious to anyone that this applies equally to Trump. Unless his constituents, who make up some 40 percent support base, rein him in and even turn against him, there is no stopping him. The other factor could be in case Robert Mueller finds something really damning in his extensive and complex investigation of the Russia connection.
My piece 11 years ago also said, “All politicians have a degree of self-belief but in Modi it has reached proportions not seen before. In his interviews he comes across as someone who thinks a second opinion is not just incidental but it is inconsequential. People like Modi invest in themselves to the exclusion of anyone or anything. They assume for themselves the role of the ultimate savior against what they perceive to be a great threat or the ultimate champion of a great cause. This assumption is not necessarily rooted in reality but their powerful motivation launches them into a dizzying trajectory that is nearly impossible to stop. Eventually, they burn out but not before causing considerable damage in the process.”
Replace Modi with Trump and the description fits perfectly.
Perhaps there is nothing to the much talked about Trump-Putin dynamic but at this stage, as things appear, they do not appear reassuring at all.