Monday, September 14, 2020

Idiot, traveler, chicken

Alexander Vindman, from an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic:

I ask Vindman the key question: Does he believe that Trump is an asset of Russian intelligence?

“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” he says. Useful idiot is a term commonly used to describe dupes of authoritarian regimes; fellow traveler, in Vindman’s description, is a person who shares Putin’s loathing for democratic norms.

But do you think Russia is blackmailing Trump? “They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” he says. “They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.”

Vindman continues, “In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for — it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”
“Authoritarianism is able to take hold not because you have a strong set of leaders who are forcing their way,” he says. “It’s more about the fact that we can give away our democracy. In Hungary and Turkey today, in Nazi Germany, those folks gave away their democracy, by being complacent.”

He goes on, “Truth is a victim in this administration, I think it’s Orwellian — the ultimate goal of this president is to get you to disbelieve what you’ve seen and what you’ve heard. My goal now is to remind people of this.”

comments: 2

Daughter Number Three said...

On one of the NPR-aired shows today I hears a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel say one of the values of the military is selflessness, and I agree that it is an ideal they strive for, and sometimes achieve. And also that it is the opposite of our president, who has shown again and again that he is self*ish*.

Michael Leddy said...

Witness his recent response about whether he was concerned about COVID at his recent indoor rally. No, because he was at a distance. It’s always about him.