We get it. For the past two years, you’ve staked your political lives on the belief that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would find the goods on Donald Trump, his family or his campaign staff for colluding with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Yet now that Mueller has delivered an exoneration for the president on the charge of collusion – as journalist Glenn Greenwald notes, not merely rejecting but obliterating the conspiracy theory altogether – it’s time to admit your defeat.
Over two years, your Russia fixation has transformed your entire worldview into one so defined by hysteria that every issue is now formed through that lens. You have become a party that defends America’s Forever Wars in Syria and Afghanistan merely because ending them might benefit Vladimir Putin; a party that gives Trump record-smashing military budgets year after year to confront Russia; a party that has convinced itself Facebook memes paid for in rubles constitute an existential threat to democracy itself.
Without an intervention, you may soon become the wholly owned subsidiary of the CIA, the FBI and the neoconservative refugees of Trump’s Republican Party. Already, your leaders have prostrated themselves before the vaunted intelligence “community” – rushing for the past two years to label anyone who doubts its conclusions an unwitting tool of the Kremlin. Your media networks have given platform to the discredited war hawks and intelligence chiefs of the Bush administration who have spent their entire lives lying to the American people – whether about torture, mass surveillance, weapons of mass destruction or any other tool of the war on terror.
These are the same figures you rightly accused no more than 15 years ago of deceiving the nation to go to war: First-rate liars who spun tall tales about mobile bio-weapons labs and Nigerien yellowcake to fool the country into entering an illegal war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to us. At least 500,000 Iraqis and 4,400 Americans are dead today because of their actions.
Yet now we must believe them without question, merely because their titles confer upon them an air of respectability and because they oppose Trump for being too “soft” on Russia. But aren’t Trump’s countless rounds of sanctions, war games in Eastern Europe, expulsions of Russian diplomats, arms sales to Ukraine, and attempts to overthrow the Russian-backed government of Venezuela harsh enough a punishment to avenge John Podesta’s emails? Anything more and we would wade even deeper into the nuclear brinksmanship of the New Cold War.
But perhaps that’s exactly what you want: A new national sense of purpose found in rallying around a common enemy, be it internal like Trump or external like Russia. Faced in 2016 with the cognitive dissonance of worshiping institutions presided over by a man you despise, you invented an international spy story to explain how a reprehensible conman like Trump ever could have ascended to the Oval Office. Doing so was far easier than admitting that Trump is not an aberration from a normally virtuous office of the presidency, but rather the perfect embodiment in human form of the imperial apparatus over which he presides.