Op-ed: Of Embarrassment, Vanity, Viciousness

Trump praises “very smart” Putin for invading Ukraine. Salon.com

By Bill Britton. Bill Britton is a freelance writer and formerly an editor for John Hopkins University Press, ABI Research, and Elsevier Science.  He is a frequent contributor to Vero Communiqué.

Donald Trump said that Vladimir Putin is “very savvy” and made a “genius” move by declaring two regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states and moving Russian armed forces to fortify opposition groups. Trump saw the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis on TV “and I said: ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine . . . Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.” [The Guardian]

Trump’s cozy relationship with Vladmir Putin has been put on full display as Russian military forces invade the independent democratic state of Ukraine. Putin’s justification for the invasion is to protect those Ukrainians with Russian sympathies from “genocide.” The actual reasons can be found in Putin’s egomania and his desire to restore Russia to a renewed version of the Soviet Union. 

Trump has always shown a special affection for the world’s dictators.

The gist of that affection can be seen in Bob Woodward’s interview with Trump for his book, “Rage.” In the tapes, Trump said he gets along “very well” with Turkish strongman Recep Erdogan, adding that he’s “not supposed to” have a good relationship with him because “everyone says what a horrible guy, but for me it works out good.”

Trump said of his relationships with dictators, “the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them,” which he insisted is “not a bad thing. The easy ones,” Trump said, referring to America’s allies, “I maybe don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much.” [Forbes]

Trump has always had difficulty with the rule of law and democratic processes. Of course, he is not alone in his thinking. Trump’s Republican Party is actively subverting the election process by replacing states attorney generals with those with far-right (pro-Trump) sympathies.

Plus, they are bent on enacting modern-day Jim Crow laws to suppress the Black, largely Democratic vote. And since Republicans control most state legislatures, voting districts are being redrawn by them with the same goal: to suppress the Black vote. They claim that voter fraud is running rampant, despite the fact that numerous studies have found only negligible voter fraud.

The base reason for these Republican efforts is to delay the day when non-whites become the majority and, thus, the preeminent power in fact. The Civil War is not over. The “Party of Lincoln” absorbed the so-called “Dixiecrats,” those Southern Democrats who seceded from the Democratic Party in 1948 in opposition to its policy of extending civil rights to Blacks. Many Northern Democrats left the Party for similar reasons and responded to the alarm caused by the great migration of Southern Blacks northward in hope of realizing some measure of security and attaining some measure of equality.

Even today, these hopes have only been partially realized. I know too many acquaintances who believe that Blacks are only part-human and merely qualified to fill the ranks of the enlisted servicemen and women, play professional football or basketball, or clean their homes and wash their cars.

The future is not bright and not only because of Russia’s’ aggression in the Ukraine.  Trump has a good chance of regaining the presidency in 2024. Should Republicans also gain majorities in the House and Senate, the hounds of jingoism, bigotry, and disorder will run amuck.

Cheering them on will be Donald Trump, cult leader extraordinaire. And make no mistake, his followers fit the description of a cult: a group of people with extreme dedication to and excessive admiration of a certain leader or set of beliefs.

The United States is not immune to the folly of war. Entry into World War II was the last justifiable conflict, although conspiracy theorists have continued to sow doubt about its causes.

Both the Vietnam War and Iraq War were begun in response to fabricated or exaggerated events, the Tonkin Gulf incident (Vietnam), and W(weapons) of M(mass) D(destruction) supposedly in Saddam’s possession (Iraq).

The U.S. invasion of Grenada was another foolish adventure. The primary beneficiary of these ventures has continued to be the Military/Industrial Complex. The primary losers have been soldiers and civilians who were maimed or killed

.Frank Bruni (New York Times) summarized our human failure to come to grips with our dark side: “Embarrassment, vanity, viciousness: History never moves on or gets past these forces, which drove invasions and conquests in centuries past and will drive invasions and conquests in years to come. There should be no great shock about Russia’s audacious attack on Ukraine—only profound sadness and painstaking thought about what to do and what’s to come.

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