Mysterious arrests. Disappearances. A far away death in an unknown gulag concealed from family for a generation. These are realities for those of us whose families came to this great country from Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the last great world war as Soviet occupation squeezed the region. These are also the reasons why every act against Donald Trump now is an act of patriotism on behalf of our nation and the American people.
Make no mistake about it, the confluence of evidence suggests Donald Trump was not only supported, bolstered, and aligned with Russia during this election season (as the NSA has concluded) but that his business empire is as well. His son, Donald Jr., told a trade publication, eTurboNews in 2008, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of our assets,” adding that, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
After watching Trump and his family interviewed in their gilded penthouse on “60 Minutes” we can safely conclude money and lavish palaces are the language he speaks. This is also the language most familiar to the Kremlin, and Putin, who after nearly two decades at the helm of the Russian government, may very well be the world’s richest man after systematically plundering the state of its resources by leveraging oligarchs against each other for his own personal gain.
Is this the future we want in America? Is it possible the Kremlin’s influence has reached the White House? The answer is clear: yes. Trump’s gilded penthouse bears such a striking resemblance to the palace Mezhyhirya of deposed former leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who fled his palace in 2014 for Russia leaving behind a dizzying array of documents and lavish accouterment, including a personal zoo that included ostriches. The cost was his country’s sovereignty, economy and the health and welfare of the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine is particularly instructional given the similarities between Yanukovych and Trump: their callous demeanor, lack of refinement, completely kitsch style. Before fleeing by helicopter, Yanukovych ordered his security services to fire live rounds on the crowds gathered in Maidan killing nearly 100 in cold blood after tens of thousands turned up to protest his reign for months. Is this the future we want in America?
Most remarkably is the parallel as far as lack of responsibility both men feel for their egregious mistakes of the past. Trump has never apologized for insulting a federal judge, our generals, the electoral process itself. He has only ever doubled down or reversed positions, denying previous culpability. Almost two years after Maidan, what did Yanukovych have to say for himself? “Yanukovych always supported the ostriches.” Another similarity: both men speak of themselves in the third person.
This is not a future we can allow for in this country. My generation does not have time to entertain the nostalgia of a 1950s postwar security we never knew because we grew up in a time of the war on terror in an era of the planet imperiled by climate change. After 15 years in Afghanistan, which the millennial generation bore the brunt of – a war that was never mentioned during the presidential debates – we also cannot further degrade our national security now by allowing a Kremlin puppet to take the seat of the presidency.
Let’s be clear: we are now receiving an assault on multiple fronts of what the Soviet KGB dubbed “active measures”. In George F. Kennan’s seminal “Sources of Soviet Conduct,” published in Foreign Affairs in 1947, the former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow outlines Stalin’s expansionist philosophy in the context of Marxist-Leninist thought. In the opening paragraphs, he clearly articulates the Soviet era doctrine that still holds sway in the Kremlin today as Putin is a former KGB agent, that in country’s like ours built on free trade and open markets, economic crisis brings about late stage capitalism which leads to anarchy, war, and ultimately class revolution.
Well we know how Stalin’s interpretation of this Marxist fantasia evolved into gulags and the deaths of tens of millions, including my father’s uncle. Steve Bannon, Trump’s first appointment of Chief White House Strategist, has described himself in the past in an interview with The Daily Beast in 2013 as a Leninist seeking to bring down the system. “I want to bring everything crashing down,” he said at the time.
Soviet style occupation occurs in three steps as defined by KGB doctrine of “active measures”. Phase I is to bombard a nation with propaganda, usually of a racist, anti-Semitic character with the intention of sowing the seeds of discord among a population. Phase II is the instigation of incidents that can be used and broadcast widely for the purposes of demoralization of the population. In Phase III, Russia installs a friendly leader and leverages the economy according to Moscow’s will.
Phase I was accomplished through the spread of fake news on social media and among the throngs who flocked to Trump’s rallies by outlets such as Breitbart News (where Bannon was in charge until taking a leave to become CEO of the Trump campaign) and Fox News as well as a bevy of false news sites online. We have now entered phase II where incidents are instigated and played to maximum effect with the intention of demoralization. We must never allow phase III to occur.
We must fight for our future as Americans.