We know that many Republicans in Congress are acting like useful idiots. Whether they are trying to cover for the President of the United States, or working to protect themselves is a good question. However, there is a possibility that many Americans are not ready to face. What if the conservative movement agrees with the overall goals of the modern Russian State? We have plenty of evidence that this may be what is at play. They have become modern-day useful idiots.
This is a very serious charge. It would mean that the American conservative movement has morphed from an American movement to something else. By American, I mean a democratic movement, with a small D. This is a movement that believes in democratic norms, and in democratic ways. This has little to do with the Democratic Party. However, it has to do with American norms going back to the Enlightenment and the Founders
This is a question that needs asking. Because we are in trouble, deep trouble. It is not just the president acting in strange ways, as dangerous as that is.
When faced with this the mind reels. Mostly, this means that what we are experiencing goes beyond some members of Congress getting money from the National Rifle Association, which came from Russia. It would be understandable that they would want to cover that up. In normal circumstances that alone would be a huge scandal, but we are not in normal times.
We know the what is going on. We need to ask for the motive?
Could the far right conservative movement, that captured the Republican Party, essentially agree with Russian views? In my view, yes. What are these ideas? The first, and far more uncomfortable of all, is that they believe that the American order that came out of World War Two is either obsolete, or bad for the United States. It could be both. In their mind, this global order has placed internationalism at the heart of global relations, above that of the nation state. In other words, global institutions are threatening the United States and its independence as a polity. At one point these views were in the fringes. They were the John Birchers who screamed from the edges of political life that the United Nations controlled the United States and a UN invasion force would soon take over the country. This is the black helicopter crowd.
This crazy uncle, paranoid view of the world is currently mainstream. It is also one that rejects international institutions like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and even regular open trade between nations, This is the crazy uncle that screams about trade deficits and seeks to punish others for competing with us, This is this crazy uncle that has taken over mainstream politics
There is more. This is also a movement that embraces fully the view that there are essential problems with the Constitution, while at the same time believing it is a document given by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai. There is an obvious contradiction, but it will not stop them. Like very religious people who believe the Bible is infallible, but read selectively from the holy book, they do the same with foundational documents.
This is why they understand the United States is a New Jerusalem. One where the will of God will come fulfilled, and one where the Christian god is manifest destiny.
When you look at what they have in common, Russia has had a self image going back hundreds of years. It is the third Rome. That is why literally, their kings were called Tsars, meaning Caesar. This millenarian view of the world is important. For a nation that has sthat self image, will also have an ideology of manifest destiny.
While you would think that both nations cannot be the source of the same manifest destiny and they would oppose each other, for the moment conservatives on both countries have bigger fish to fry. That fish is democracy itself.
The agreement though goes further. Both American far right conservatives, and Russian conservatives, agree that religion should be central to the state. Betsy DeVoss saying that the separation of church and state should be confined to the ash heap of history, is just her voicing a deep sense of revealed truth. So is the idea that democracy itself is bad.
For the moment I have pointed to Republican members of Congress, but they are not alone. This nationalist, fascist movement has become mainstream. This is why you have the far reaches that used to be fringe, voicing their toxic ideology. This includes ideas on race, and ethnic cleansing.
It is not just limited to Republcians either. The party is just a tool to first influence the mechanism of government, but ultimately to take over it. There is a strong minority that wants to go back to those more traditional ways of life. In both countries family, and the family structure, have taken on almost sacred roles.
While in the United States LGBT have been able to come out of the closet, in Russia laws have been passed to drive them further into the closet. Truth be told, many of our very conservative right would love to do that as well in the United States, and will if they can get away with it. Vice-President Mike Pence is but one of many who believe in conversion therapy, as a way to redeem lost souls.
Democracy threatens both because it also prevents something else, and this is property rights. They have become central to modern-day Russia, and in the United States they are reasserting themselves. Why we are also seeing a hyper concentration of economic power in both countries, with favored oligarchs. Why regulation of any kind is a problem for these people.
Why we need to be clear headed about this. We need to realize what In some ways, we are facing a fifth column, formed by the same exact ideologues that accused the American left of being one for decades. There is a certain irony in that, but also a deep danger..