Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lesson Learned

Well-respected yet underrated former journalist:
Crowds of an indeterminate size defied rain to gather in Hong Kong's Victoria Park on Sunday.

The government of the United States of America should stand with them, as Dan Rather argues. But it won't. And it won't because, though possibly the manifestation of Satan on earth, Donald Trump is not stupid. 

In autumn of 2017, PBS' Frontline televised an investigation of "the epic, inside story of (Vladimir) Putin's revenge." The following is a portion:

NARRATOR: Playing a role in Gaddafi’s downfall, the American secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, Secretary of State: Gaddafi must go, and the Libyan people deserve to determine their own future.

NARRATOR: And in Russia, as massive protests broke out just outside the Kremlin walls, Putin believed America had crossed the line, and he blamed Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON: The Russian people deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted.

YEVGENIA ALBATS: Putin said it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who provided funds and means to the Russian opposition and made them to get out of the—on the streets.

PETER BAKER: No question he’s looking at revenge at Hillary Clinton. There’s no question that he sees Hillary Clinton as an adversary. And he wanted to, like— you know, he wanted to get her back.

NARRATOR: Putin would wait for the right moment to strike back at Clinton and the United States.

We've known for a long time, but were reminded by Robert Mueller's report, of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election with the intent of electing Donald Trump President. However, it began with an effort at smearing Hillary Clinton and preventing her election, irrespective of Mr. Trump.

President Trump probably does not know all the details revealed in PBS' investigation of some 22 months ago, including the genesis and development of, and actions arising from, Vladimir Putin's long-held resentment of the USA. But it's very likely that he knows both that Putin has disliked Hillary Clinton for a great while, that he was annoyed that Clinton's State Department approved of the demonstrations against his regime, and that the Russian President worked to defeat her.

He probably knows also that the USA intelligence community has identified three threats from Russia and China, comprising

cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, online influence and misinformation campaigns on social media designed to destabilize American democratic institutions, and direct interference in U.S. elections (including the upcoming 2020 presidential election).

Donald Trump knows he already has Putin's approval, and probably his willingness to assist Trump's re-election.  If I were sufficiently well-placed and conservative to be offered, and unethical enough to accept, a position as a campaign strategist for President Trump, I would tell him two things.

He needs to be aware of the possibility that Beijing could thwart the will of the American people in the 2020 presidential election. I would tell him additionally that he could do the right thing and stand with the protesters in Hong Kong. Or he can apply to mainland China the lesson that Hillary Clinton learned of Russia the hard way- anger an authoritarian superpower at your own political peril.

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