Sunday, April 28, 2019

Trump Is Russia's Tool

                                                                                                  written 21 April 2019
                                                                                              published 28 April 2019
            The redacted Mueller Report was released to the public last week.  Details will be coming out for weeks, and reaction may last until the 2020 election.  But one thing is already clear: Russia decided Trump was the perfect tool.
            Russian wants to destabilize America internally and reduce American global influence.  The report documents Russian interference in American elections began in 2014, long before Trump decided to run.  Once Trump declared in 2016, "the (Mueller)investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the (Trump)campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."  
            The report states that, within narrow definitions, there is insufficient evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded in this effort.  Given Trump's boorish, petty, narcissistic personality, unhindered by factual reality, coordinated collusion wasn't necessary. But Trump's actions since taking office have furthered Russian goals.
            Trump makes false or misleading statements every day.  In 2017, the rate was 5.9 per day, increasing in 2018 to 16.5 per day, and hit 22 per day this year.  American integrity at home and abroad has been degraded by Trump's lies.  His statements have been laughed at in world forums.
            Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, partially because Obama negotiated it, but also because he believes man made climate change is a hoax.  The rest of the world is at least looking at the issue, and making some effort.  Rather than leading on this critical issue, America under Trump is completely obstructionist: not interested in helping save the planet.  
            Instead, Trump is making America less competitive globally.  By kill domestic renewable energy growth and diverting large sums to subside uneconomical power technologies like coal and nuclear, domestic energy prices increase, putting our industry at a disadvantage.  Removing regulatory inspections necessary to insure aging nuclear reactor safety risks Fukushima style devastation.  Rolling back auto emission standards stalls domestic electric vehicle development, stunting our auto industry as the rest of the world moves away from fossil fuel transportation.  In 2018, the scientific community said we have 12 years to cut emission in half if we want a chance for a habitable climate for our grandchildren. Trump is wasting precious time, earning the disgust of the rest of the world.
            American standard of living rests on robust trade around the world.  Trump's unilateral tariff war with not only China, but also Europe, Canada, and Mexico, has disrupted global trade, raising prices at home, bankrupting businesses and farmers.  Our trading partners no longer trust America to honor its agreements.  
            While American military expenditures make up almost half the global total, we are in alliance with other nations for mutual defense.  One of the primary Russian goals is the destruction of NATO. Trump's has repeatedly denigrated that alliance and threatened to pull out, thus weakening it.  He has also considered pulling out of an alliance with South Korea, despite American national security advantages.  Trump's unilateral security decisions, such as pulling out of Syria and then changing his mind, or reneging on the Iranian nuclear deal, have made our allies very nervous.  America under Trump is no longer a trustworthy ally, and can't be counted upon, which benefits Russia.  
            At home, Trump has nourished discord.  He demonizes any press that doesn't flatter him, let alone questions him.  White Nationalist terrorism has increased wherever Trump holds rallies, yet he has disbanded the Homeland Security Domestic Terrorism Intelligence unit.  He has hollowed out the function of government, leaving senior posts unfilled, making temporary appointments to avoid Senate confirmation, or leaves positions empty to reduce agency effectiveness.  His tax cut benefited the very wealthy and increased the national debt, leaving America more vulnerable to foreign investors.  His attack on health care hurts millions of working Americans while providing no alternative.  Despite intelligence assessments that showed Russia affected the 2016 election, Trump accepted Putin's assurance that Russia was not involved.
            Trump's actions have weakened America.  He may not be colluding with Russia, but the results are the same.  At some point Republican leaders need to decide: will they honor their oath of office and support America, or the corrupt cult of Trump.