The stakes in all of this are becoming huge.
Clearly, Trump hopes to work out with Putin the kind of detente that President Nixon achieved with Leonid Brezhnev.
This should not be impossible. For, unlike the 1970s, there is no Soviet Empire stretching from Havana to Hanoi, no Warsaw Pact dominating Central Europe, no Communist ideology steering Moscow into constant Cold War conflict with the West.
Russia is a great power with great power interests. But she does not seek to restore a global empire or remake the world in her image. U.S.-Russian relations are thus ripe for change.
But any such hope is now suddenly impaired.
The howls of indignation from Democrats and the media — that Trump’s victory and Clinton’s defeat were due to Putin’s involvement in our election — have begun to limit Trump’s freedom of action in dealing with Russia. And they are beginning to strengthen the hand of the Russophobes and the Putin-is-Hitler crowd in both parties.
I’m trying to figure out what’s motivating the Russophobes. Some of it is preening for the admiration of voters who haven’t noticed the Cold War is over. Some of it — the Democrat kind — is probably simple political contrariness.
There’s an ugly explanation for the rest, but it’s too facile and simplistic to suit even me.
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I’m getting this out as a single piece because it will not fit in at all with what expect will come next.
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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)