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Unreliable Narratives
The Dangers of Putin Derangement Syndrome

Writing for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes a look at the “Putin Derangement Syndrome” gripping certain corners of the media establishment, as journalists dig for the elusive smoking gun that will definitively prove Trump’s collusion with Russia. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth your time. A taste:

One way we recognize a mass hysteria movement is that everyone who doesn’t believe is accused of being in on the plot. This has been going on virtually unrestrained in both political and media circles in recent weeks.

The aforementioned [Louise] Mensch, a noted loon who thinks Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart but has somehow been put front and center by The Times and HBO’s Real Time, has denounced an extraordinary list of Kremlin plants.

Mensch is the most obvious example of a growing trend: the mainstreaming of cooky conspiracy theorists who argue that everyone from Jeff Sessions to Bernie Sanders should be scrutinized as a potential Russian plant. Apart from the obvious absurdity of such charges, Taibbi argues, they present a dangerous temptation to politicians:

If the Democrats succeed in spreading the idea that straying from the DNC-approved candidate – in either the past or the future – is/was an act of “unwitting” cooperation with the evil Putin regime, then the entire idea of legitimate dissent is going to be in trouble.

Imagine it’s four years from now (if indeed that’s when we have our next election). A Democratic candidate stands before the stump, and announces that a consortium of intelligence experts has concluded that Putin is backing the hippie/anti-war/anti-corporate opposition candidate.

Or, even better: that same candidate reminds us “what happened last time” when people decided to vote their consciences during primary season. It will be argued, in seriousness, that true Americans will owe their votes to the non-Putin candidate. It would be a shock if some version of this didn’t become an effective political trope going forward.

The larger danger lies in the cynical exploitation of those beliefs for political ends. At a time when the Democratic base is fired up by inflated expectations of what a Trump-Russia probe might uncover, Democratic politicians may come to the conclusion confessed by Vox’s Matthew Yglesias last week: that “propagating somewhat unhinged Russia-related conspiracy theories is probably smart politics.” And that calculation may eventually be applied to other politicians besides Donald Trump.

Of course, the temptation to traffic in conspiracy theories is not limited to the Left. In recent memory, Donald Trump himself has done more than his part to mainline wacky conspiracy theories—notably birtherism—into the body politic. But pointing fingers is no help in this situation. The fraying of norms is real, and is clearly a bipartisan problem. And it leads nowhere good.

 

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  • FriendlyGoat

    A bunch of communications got stolen and put on WikiLeaks. It was stolen and put there for the purpose of damaging the candidate who opposed takeaways from the lower half of citizens to be repackaged as giveaways to the upper half of citizens in dozens of ways. Due to the scope of what has been stolen from whom, there is nothing deranged or unhinged about sleuthing out the details of this heist every day for years or decades. If the situation was reversed, the Republicans would have already kidnapped Julian Assange and would be waterboarding him every five minutes.

    I’d prefer real theories to fake ones. But—–BUT—-if the official line is gonna be fuggedaboudit, then fake ones will be fine. Payback is due for the 8-year slander of Obama. A LOT of payback is due and it is due not only to Trump, the birther guy, but to every church and ministry in the country that perpetuated the slander. You read here first that “there is speculation that Sean Hannity and Jerry Falwell, Jr. had Russians operating hack shops in their basements”. (Whose “speculation”? Didn’t matter to birtherism or “Obama is a Muslim” and it doesn’t matter here.)

    • Gary Hemminger

      There is made up news. This isn’t the same as fake news. Fake news is any news that makes you look bad. That is fake news. I believe 100% that someone in the Trump administration was colluding with someone in Russia to do something bad. I believe 100% that someone in the Obama administration was doing some kind of spying on Trump or his associates. Is any of this illegal. Maybe yes, maybe no. But one thing is for sure. Democrats and Republicans are idiots. But even more stupid and sickening are those poeple that vote for them every time no matter what. they are the real idiots.

      • FriendlyGoat

        We had Jill Stein and we had Gary Johnson. But their low levels of popular appeal offer us neither a fix nor an excuse.

    • Isaiah601

      I like it when you share your paranoid conspiracy theories and total lack of morals with the rest of us.

      • Makaden

        I can’t tell you what a relief it is to not know what FG said because, a few weeks ago, I blocked him.

        I feel alive again.

        • Isaiah601

          He blocked me because he is a little biatch. But hey, he now gets to rant and post conspiracy theories without knowing how I make fun of him. Oh well…

    • Jim__L

      Where are you getting the idea that churches are to blame for any of this? I’ve never heard word one from any church I’ve ever been to — and the ones I’ve been to have been very conservative — that have repeated any conspiracy theories about Obama.

      This is how rumors get started, FG — conspiracy theories, even. You don’t like churchgoers — that’s on you, FG. But if you want to know who is spreading false witness here, look in a mirror, FG. It’s you.

      (I’m honestly curious, FG. Do you believe that bearing false witness is a sin, or is it part of the Bible that can be ignored?)

      • FriendlyGoat

        The first person who told me Obama was a Muslim was my (then) ultra-conservative Baptist neighbor (in 2008 before the election). The second person was my old church-going coworker (a perma-conservative) from decades ago who is still my phone friend (in 2009 or 2010 after the election). Here it is in an old story from religion news service.
        http://religionnews.com/2015/09/15/poll-20-percent-believe-barack-obama-was-born-outside-us/

        Without a doubt, the church folks latched onto this and pumped it around in their own circles for years. It’s not a matter of false witness. It’s a matter of paying attention.

      • Angel Martin

        In 2008, my recollection was that Reverend Wright’s “greatest hits” were what made the rounds on the anti-Obama evangelical circuit – not that Obama was a secret Moslem.

        Obama professes to be a Christian, and I take him at his word.

        The problem Obama has is that if you want to predict what he will do; figure out what is best for sunni moslems and you have a very accurate forecast.

        Obama isn’t a moslem – he just acts like one.

  • D4x

    Every election since 1976 has been fuelled by oppositional derangement. Too bad we can not find antidotes for all derangement syndromes, or at least channel the impulse into tulips.

    ‘Legitimate dissent’ has been in trouble for eight years (racist!). Blowback led us, in part, to POTUS Trump (misogynist! islamophobe!).

    Russia! has been the source of hysteria since the 19th century.

    • Jim__L

      Russia has also been the source of much fake news – most famous of which might be the idea that J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser.

      I’d highly recommend the Mitrokhin Archive — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrokhin_Archive — for more details.

      Russia really does require VERY careful watching.

      On another note, if I were a Russian agent, I’d be furiously trying to take credit for a lot of what’s going on in American politics these days, from the campus speech violence, to political correctness itself, to (of course) our own Socialist senator Bernie Sanders.

      Seriously guys, there is such thing as due diligence.

      • Makaden

        I think for me, what qualifies as hysteria is that OF COURSE the Russians are trying to screw with us. Someone please name more than a handful of years you suspect Russia was not doing so. The hysteria fluctuates in our history. In his day, MLK called it a “morbid fear of communism.” It’s hysteria now because it pairs to Trump hysteria like a French wine with cheese.

        It’s utterly fascinating to watch the left have Russia-phobia though. It’s almost like the earth’s poles switched or something.

      • D4x

        Russia-watching by Britain, and then USA, has been changing history since the 19th century. However, I doubt Putin can take credit for the Snowflake Rebellion afflicting the USA, though not ruling out the Ghost of Andropov.

  • Andrew Allison

    Trump derangement syndrome, the manifestations of which become more laughable every day, is a much more serious threat to the Republic. The left is mounting a serious effort to delegitimize the duly elected President. We should be very afraid of a Senate Minority Leader who states that the President didn’t win the election. Just a reminder: not only did he win fair and square but, ex-CA, won the popular vote by a comfortable margin..

    • FriendlyGoat

      If we can have “ex-CA”, we can have “ex-WI/MI/PA”——of course.

      • ——————————

        It doesn’t matter who won the popular vote. The rules of the game are to win the electoral votes, so that is how both party’s played the game…so it’s a moot point. We don’t know who would have won if the rules were to win the popular vote. I think most voters know this, so it just makes you Dems look like fools when you bring up this “but we won the popular vote” thing.

        Anyway, do you really think a few large cities in California should decide the fate of most of the elections, and how the rest of us should live our lives? There would be civil war…hell, were on the verge of that now….

        • FriendlyGoat

          I just couldn’t stand the “ex-CA” bullsh*t, okay? Trump lost the popular vote. That means he has no mandate and should be heckled on that point every day for four years. No sense letting the SOB Republicans think they represent anything more than 49%. They don’t.

          • Jim__L

            “Ex-CA” is meaningful, in terms of reminding Democrats just how provincial their point of view really is — it’s got one major bastion, and that’s it. California just isn’t that important, and should not be, to non-Californians. And I say that as a Californian.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Actually, California is a real state which is AS important as any, and MORE important than many, due to it’s size. You might wish you were living somewhere else, but I can tell you that living in the kinds of places which go 70% Republican all the time is not the picnic you think. (Spent too much of my life in several of them. It’s “Obama is a Muslim” land.)

          • Jim__L

            My point is not whether CA is a real state or not. My point is that states should mind their own business more (most) of the time.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Do you have any idea how utterly ridiculous that second sentence would sound in YOUR OWN CAMP? States should mind their own business? Good grief, Jim.

          • Jim__L

            Again, you completely misunderstand the whole point of Federalism.

            Californians should mind our own business. Kansas should mind its own business, for that matter.

            But more importantly — DC should mind its own business… which is strictly laid out by the Constitution.

          • FriendlyGoat

            What I understand is that the political leaning of many Californians is not to your liking. I don’t know where else you have lived, but I know living in red places is a BIG part of why I ditched conservatism. Might work for you too if you can manage to escape to a hard-right place. After you SEE up close enough right-wingers in full ridicule mode in their everyday lives, you get the message that they have no empathy and no sense BECAUSE they are constantly invited by their politics to have no empathy and no sense. The tone in this comment section ought to be enough for you, really. But, if you haven’t lived (as I have) where Martin Luther King Day is called Martin Luther Coon Day with a big hardee-har-har-har, well, you’re missing out on some of the “perspective” you ought to have.

          • ——————————

            I have lived in 3 Liberal states (including California), and now live in Texas. I don’t notice any difference in the amount of language you are referring to, between any of the states.

            “Right-wingers in full ridicule mode”? It is not right-wingers rioting and protesting in the streets burning and damaging private property, attacking police, shutting down speakers at colleges and other places, burning flags, blocking traffic, creating unsafe ghettos and shooting each other around the clock, etc….now THAT’S full-ridicule mode, not a little name calling.

            And the epithet is: Martin Lucifer Coon Day, not Martin Luther Coon Day…you should know that if you lived as you say…just sayin’….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I quoted the slander of MLK Day as it was quoted to me by the “good ole boys” at my (then) workplace right after the creation of the holiday in the 1980’s. They hadn’t thought of Lucifer yet.

          • Jim__L

            I’ve live in both Blue California (LA county, Silicon Valley) and Red California (inland, and Orange County.)

            People who can’t get along with Red Californians are generally snobs who have too high an opinion of their own opinions. Red Californians are good people — particularly the churchgoing ones. The best I’ve ever met.

            I have never heard anything like what you claim to have heard from them, regarding racial slurs. From the way you’ve spoken admiringly of people who make stuff up to push the Democrats’ agenda, there’s a significant chance you haven’t either.

            Red Californians can be liable to lose patience with those who don’t agree with them, it’s true — but then, so can those on the Blue side. See the comments section of pretty much any major publication. See your own comments for that matter, especially since Trump’s victory. You’re as unhinged as I’ve ever been, certainly..

            You’re on a personal vendetta against churchgoers, FG, those who think the words of Christ are more important than Friendly Goat’s “inner light”, and those who lend more credence to St. Paul than to you. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it.

            You worship yourself, FG. That’s the root of the problem here. It’s not healthy.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The church went fishing for a leader it really liked. It read the Bible and it read the Bible and it read the Bible—-and then—-it chose Donald J. Trump. But the majority of Californians did not.

            As for my experience with the MLK Day slur—–it really happened in a meeting of middle managers in the company where I worked, in the 1980s soon after the holiday was officially declared and, yes, most of them were regular church-goers. You have to meet them away from the church building to understand real life.

          • Jim__L

            FG, accusing the church of picking Trump is simply untrue.

            People who go to church regularly were significantly LESS likely to support Trump in the primaries. People who consider themselves Christian but don’t regularly go to church — those who follow their “inner light” instead of having some humility when faced with Scripture that tells them things they don’t like, perhaps.

            And honestly, FG, you have to go back *over 30 years* to come up with an example of how churchgoers are people you don’t like? Your son (who you’ve said is more of a conservative Christian than you are) probably has a better idea of what today’s churchgoers are like. You should ask him about it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Primaries don’t elect the president and they don’t count as excuses when the church folks showed up in droves to support Mr. Trump. You got what you wanted. In time maybe the church will re-assess itself for this grievous error, or maybe not. But you got and WE got what YOU wanted.

          • ——————————

            I know you “couldn’t stand it”, but when you, a liberal, comments on a mostly conservative blog, you gotta expect a little jazz from the guys.

            So did you even read my comment that you replied to?…please reread.
            No one needs to be heckled, reminded, 46.1%, or any of the rest of your comment…as I said, he won according to the rules of the game, so it’s a moot point. The best thing for Dems is to acknowledge that, be gracious about it, and move on.

            And you didn’t answer the question about California in the last part of my comment either….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, I read your comment. There has been no (repeat, no) “graciousness” from Republicans for at least 20 years. That’s why you shouldn’t expect a great deal of it from those with enough sense to understand they are being ultimately screwed by the GOP on dozens to hundreds of issues. You and I need not devolve to snipping each other, but I’m unable to consider flipping to conservatism, okay?

            By a very, very, very thin margin in three key states—–put over by church people who are clueless—–the Chamber of Commerce Gang is eating the lunch of ordinary people for generations forward. They are doing so even as their guy, Mr. Trump, spun his campaign deceptively as meaning the opposite. “We’re not going to forget about those working people anymore”, it went. Reality to working people is, “we snookered you, sucker, and now we are TAKING EVERYTHING”. I may pass away before ordinary folks figure out the ruse—–but, maybe not. The only key is messaging and Dems are going to have to do it at the level that Republicans have been doing it. Every new screwover of people gets a HIGHLIGHT from our side—-and there are going to be A LOT of them to point at.

          • Tom

            There has been no (repeat, no) “graciousness” from Republicans politicians of any kind for at least 20 years since politics was invented.

            FTFY.

            Meanwhile, given that the people who broke the Blue Wall in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were reliably Democratic voters until this past election, I would suggest that you cease your quixotic crusade against “clueless church people.”

          • FriendlyGoat

            If evangelicals had not voted 81% Trump in WI/MI/PA, and had voted anywhere near 50/50 instead (as Catholics did), Hillary Clinton would be president. Just happens to be numerical fact—–and no one should EVER be allowed to forget it.

          • Tom

            Wisconsin 2008: 56.22% Obama, 42.31% McCain
            Wisconsin 2012: 52.83%, 45.89% Romney
            Wisconsin 2016: 46.45% Clinton, 47.22% Romney

            Michigan 2008: 57.43% Obama, 40.96% McCain
            Michigan 2012: 54.21%, 44.71% Romney
            Michigan 2016: 47.27% Clinton, 47.50% Trump

            Pennsylvania 2008: 54.49% Obama, 44.17% McCain
            Pennsylvania 2012: 51.79% Obama, 46.59% McCain
            Pennsylvania 2016: 47.46% Clinton, 48.18% Trump

            Yep, all those Evangelical voters who voted for Obama once, or even twice, and then voted for Trump, are to blame for Trump’s victory.
            Get over it, FG. You can play “what’s the matter with Evangelicals” all day long, but berating your brethren ain’t going to cut it–unless, of course, what you’re trying to do is set things up for a purge.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The conservative church needs a purge—–from inside. Whether that is possible after elevating Donald Trump to be its spiritual leader is an open question. Depends on whether people continue to believe a defense of the indefensible.

            As for how the vote went, I will stick with my belief that evangelicals put Trump over in the three key states. They voted for him at 81%. Most of them who accomplished this feat are very proud that they did. That’s why—–after the consequences—-they need a purge.
            They didn’t have anything better to do than get up in the morning and TRY to hurt the people they are supposed to be in business to help. You don’t know this is a sick situation, but I do.

          • Tom

            Given that the second sentence of your first paragraph is an utter falsehood –and, by implication, means you wanted Hillary Clinton to be your spiritual leader–(to say nothing of the unsupported psychoanalysis of your second and third paragraphs)and your clear desire to excommunicate those who do not share your politics, I conclude that I am, in fact, the Elihu to your Bildad.
            That is all.

          • Boritz

            “…needs to be reminded of such every dang day.”

            Trump won the popular vote ex-CA. (4/6/2017 Edition.)

        • Andrew Allison

          Yes and no. The fact that 156% of Clinton’s popular vote plurality came from a single state is significant. TDS sufferers can’t/won’t acknowledge the implications of the fact that, ex-CA, Trump won a plurality of the votes. One of them is that since the other 49 States won’t want one State choosing the President, Article 2 Section 1 of the United States Constitution is here to stay.

  • Unelected Leader

    Who compromised 22 million federal employees with the 2015 OPM hack?
    Beijing.
    Which country was the state department official recently in trouble for contacts with?
    China.
    Where did Edward Snowden run first?
    China.
    What is tough guy Candy McCain and the Democrats saying about the Chinese ? Not much. Are they bought/compromised, too? Seems likely.

  • Observe&Report

    So the hysterical witch-hunts routinely waged by SJW college students have now spread to the mainstream media and politics.

    • Isaiah601

      The media is just a megaphone for DNC. Everybody know this and as a result nobody trusts them. By beclouding themselves further they are just signing their own death sentence as news organizations. note I’m not predicting their demise since being a propaganda instrument has its own financial rewards.

  • Anthony

    The Dangers of Putin Derangement Syndrome is a valid consideration but:

    “Across Europe, hyper-nationalist right-wing parties like the French National Front, the Alternative for Germany, and the UK Independence Party won over voters by cultivating nativist, especially anti-Islamic, responses to globalization. Simultaneously, a generation of populist demagogues either hold, gained, or threatened to take power in democracies around the world…Vladimir Putin in Russia….

    For more than a decade, for instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a reasonable candidate for sparking this wave of populism, has demonstrated his famously bare-chested version of power politics by ensuring that opponents and critics meet grim ends under mysterious circumstance. These include the lethal spritz of polonium 210 that killed Russian secret police defector Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006; the shooting of journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya outside her Moscow apartment that same year; a dose of rare Himalayan plant poison for banker and Putin Alexander Perepilichny in London in 2012; a fusillade that felled opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in downtown Moscow in 2015; and four fatal bullets this March for refugee whistleblower Dennis Voronenkov on a Kiev sidewalk….” http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176261/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_would-be_strongmen_worldwide/

    So, perhaps, the derangement syndrome has qualifications conditioned by perspective beyond those gleaned by Rolling Stone and Matt Taibbi.

    • Angel Martin

      “Vladimir Putin, a reasonable candidate for sparking this wave of populism,…”

      Yeah, ’cause everything for ordinary people in the UK, France, Germany and the USA is great except for that sneaky Putin stirring up populist trouble…

      • Anthony

        Your Lane, Martin (and if you choose to extrapolate quote from context to represent an opinion, perhaps examining essay will benefit).

        • Angel Martin

          ?

          I put this into Google translate… but it still didn’t make any sense.

          • Anthony

            Disappear (or better still, write to the topics and those you believe share your… Kruger-Dunning suits manipulators – who needs google when they have a mind).

          • ——————————

            Yeah, he’s like reading the King James Version of the bible…sometimes you have to read a sentence a couple times to get what is being said…and even then it can be a bit enigmatic….

  • Gary Hemminger

    What do you mean “And it leads nowhere good?” This derangement syndrome isn’t leading us anywhere. We the people led our politicians to behave like this, because we the people are idiots. It doesn’t matter how much money you make or your level of education. If you believe that the opposite party is evil and must be stopped at all costs then you led us here. If you believe that the opposite party is always wrong then you led us here. If you believe that the opposite party is ruining our country then you led us here. If you believe that anything your party’s representatives did or say is correct, and that if the opposite party’s representative did or said the same thing they are wrong, then you led us here. In short, the people led us here. Not our representatives…the people. The people deserve the leaders they get. The people are idiot, myth believers. so they get idiot, myth believing leaders. There is nothing more that needs to be said.

    • Jim__L

      Honestly, the solution is to take power away from the Federal Government. As long as national elections are winner-take-all affairs with control of trillions of dollars and absolute control of cultural mores at stake, you’re going to have polarization.

      Bring back liberty, bring back the situation where the Federal Government doesn’t hassle you if you happen to think that X and Y chromosomes are a biological reality that matters, a Federal Government that doesn’t force you to bake cakes against your conscience, and the polarization you decry will drain away.

  • Jon Robbins

    Funny that after years of being obsessed with scary-Putin and printing boatloads of anti-Putin articles, most of which are pretty ludicrous, TAI is now concerned about “Putin Derangement Syndrome.” Just type in “Putin” in the TAI search window, and you will be treated to a long list of Putin-obsessed inanities.

    So when did this epiphany, if that’s what it is, occur?

    • Jim__L

      Again, Russia requires careful watching, and much due diligence.

      Plus, it makes them so very, very happy to be taken seriously. =)

    • Tom

      It’s eminently possible to A. think that Vladimir Putin is bad guy who should not be regarded as a friend of the United States and B. think that blaming everything that you don’t like on him is kind of ridiculous.

      • Anthony

        I’m sure Jon Robbins would logically concur but his nuanced point may be related to truth, validity, and soundness – equally, he’s more than capable of clarification if inclined.

      • Jon Robbins

        Yes, it’s theoretically possible. But if you look at the long obsessive list of articles that do, in the aggregate, blame all sorts of ridiculous things on Putin, then the theoretical possibility dwindles away.

        This piece is by far one of the best Russia-related articles I’ve read here mainly because it stands in contradiction to so much of what has previously been asserted here on this subject. One is forced to conclude that the only reason that TAI is now concerned with Russia-baiting is because the red scare is now, having been turned loose in our domestic politics, getting out of control and threatening interests dear to TAI. Sort of a Stuxnet virus, one might say.

        That this magazine is quoting Matt Taibbi and linking to an article by Glenn Greenwald gives me a bit of a chuckle. TAI is in effect relying on the leftmost elements of the Democratic establishment to attack the Russia-baiting, since they, along with libertarians like Justin Raimondo, have been the only ones willing to call out the idiocy of what’s been going on all along.

        But make no mistake: TAI is implicated in the Russia-hysteria which it now regards as a tiger barely grasped by the tail.

        • Tom

          As near as I can tell, TAI has generally avoided blaming “ridiculous things” on Putin. In fact, to the best of my recollection, the only complaint they’ve launched against Putin that is really disputable would be that Russia was behind the DNC hacks. They’ve been fairly stalwart against the “Putin put Trump into office” hysteria that’s been engulfing large parts of the American media and political establishments over the past several months. (Even though they haven’t always been especially good at avoiding some of the less extreme strains of TDS).
          Their position on Putin is the same as it’s always been, I think–it’s just that now you have large swathes of the establishment that’s driven right past them into straight-up crazy town–and, given that most of those people tended to regard TAI as too hawkish on Russia pre-2016, I don’t think they’re particularly implicated in the current freakout.

          • Jon Robbins

            Well, I think there are plenty of “ridiculous things” to be laid on TAI’s doorstep.

            In addition to what you mention, TAI has also published several ridiculous pieces on supposed Russian aggression against Sweden and Finland, including the absurd charge that Russian submarines were cruising through the Helsinki archipelago, which was later debunked. TAI has also made the case that the blow-up in Ukraine was a deliberately preconceived Russian policy, when it’s quite clear that Putin was reacting to Yanukovich’s overthrow. The magazine has also made the claim that Russia was using the Syrian Kurds to undercut US strategy in the Middle East when it is we who have come to be the sponsor of the Kurds in Syria, not Russia. It has rhetorically asked, “Did the American people really know that they were putting such a “well-connected” guy in the White House,” a thinly veiled piece implying that Trump was a sort of Manchurian candidate under Putin’s malign influence. And there’s lots more besides.

            TAI has definitely been part of the problem, and their stroll down the road to Damascus, if that’s what it really is, is a day late and a dollar short, as far as I am concerned. Maybe their “strain of TDS” is less virulent than others’, but that’s pretty marginal consolation for me.

            To use your metaphor, TAI helped pave the road to Crazy Town and was happy to do so. They little realized that what was imagined to be a perpetually bipartisan two-minutes hate for Putin and Russia could in so short a time become a partisan hoo-haw in which TAI’s oxen would start to be gored and an internecine struggle between factions of the underlying political establish, which TAI has no wish to see develop.

            Now TAI is quite cross that “the crazies” have hijacked its anti-Putin messaging. Don’t they know how to respond properly when they hear a dog-whistle?

          • Tom

            TAI has not made the case that Ukraine was part of a preconcieved Russia policy–beyond, that is, the Russian policy that pro-Russian neutrality is the most independent line it intends to permit Kiev, which is blatantly obvious to everyone.
            TAI has been a “part of the problem” insofar as it has acknowledged that Putin’s Russia is, largely, a malign actor in the international system. Perhaps you disagree with that opinion, but you should acknowledge that such a belief is not invalid on its face.

          • Jon Robbins

            Do you not think that hawking stories about non-existent Russian submarines moving on the surface in confined Swedish waters is a “ridiculous thing”? It certainly proved to be untrue, and anybody with half a brain knew it was untrue as soon as the article and others like it in our MSM were published.

            It’s that kind of nonsense that has paved the way to the “PDS” that now rather comically irks TAI.

  • Angel Martin

    After 100 years of denial, leftists have suddenly concluded that Russian spies are a threat to America …

    • D4x

      oops.

  • Pait

    Only the paranoid survive.

    • Anthony

      Are they survivors to endemic mediocrity or to cesspool of open internet boards?

  • VRL DC

    We are where we are regarding Russia because of some credible evidence. I know there are kooks out there with all kinds of conspiracy theories, but they are not driving the discourse on Russia right now. Exaggerating their influence seems to be an attempt to erect a straw man. Investigations will occur and hopefully nothing will come of it, but deciding to investigate is not illogical or irrational given the clues and evidence — and it would be honest to say so instead of making the inquiries sound absurd.

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