I thought that by now nothing would surprise me about Donald Trump and his upcoming presidency. Apparently, I’m wrong. You would think that growing up in Mexico that I wasn’t preoccupied with World War III. The Cold War was a fuse ready to explode at any moment. Mexico wasn’t and isn’t militarily capable of participating. Politically, the country did what it could to distance itself from the ideological battles and hot skirmishes between the US and the USSR. None of that means that Mexicans weren’t as apprehensive about WWIII as US citizens were. My concern wasn’t about going to the battle field nor did I care about the ideologies of the two belligerents. My concern was more basic than that. I understood that there would be no conventional world war but rather that the nuclear genie had been let out of the bottle and it could lead to Armageddon. Mexico was a chess piece in a vast game board who had little, to no say, in the outcome.
I have always been opinionated. Why was it that I took the Soviet’s side and not the United States when arguing my point of view was the constant retort in most debates. Didn’t I understand that the US was on the righteous side while the USSR was evil incarnate. Like most debates, the message is lost immediately after an opposing viewpoint is uttered. I wasn’t arguing that the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics was right, but rather that I understood where they were coming from.
I understood the mindset of a country that had been invaded by outsiders. The US has never seeing or suffered foreign troops on its soil. US citizens have never suffered a foreign army trampling through their cities or their houses. US citizens can never understand the fear that follows the invasion of their country by foreign troops. Once that mindset is understood then many of the actions undertaken by the USSR starts to make sense.
However, understanding that mindset does not mean that the USSR was right. It did not mean that Communism is better than capitalism. It does not mean that all dictatorships are wrong. It also doesn’t signify that democracy is without its faults.
The election of Donald Trump proves that democracy can run awry, just like socialism. Trump proves that capitalism must be balanced with socialism. Extremes are wrong no matter whether it is the right or the left. A balance must be achieved.
Notwithstanding any of that, what surprises me the most is the general attitude of the US voters. No, not that they elected Donald Trump, but rather their oblivion to the dangerous situations that are starting to manifest as inauguration day approaches.
I’m not discussing political differences about immigration, the economy, jobs, or even political corruption. I’m discussing the most basic US tenet – sovereignty.
I understand that the Cold War ended about 25 years ago, and also I understand that the profile of the US electorate has changed with new voters coming unto the ranks that did not experience the fear of a nuclear holocaust. However, just like I keep the experience of the Cold War in my mind, I am sure that many US voters do the same. As a Mexican citizen, I am sure my psyche of the Cold War is nothing compared to the US citizens who were in the front lines.
Thus, I am astonished at the apparent indifference by US voters at the revelations of Russia’s apparent involvement in the last US elections. Not just Russia’s, but Vladimir Putin’s personal part in the intrigue. Forget for a moment on whether Russia intervened in the elections, or not, and think about the possibility that it did happen.
I have learned over the years that the US voters do not have a clear worldview of the geopolitics of the world. The history taught in the US educational system is filtered and in many ways, it is US-centric heavy on a US worldview of a righteous US. That is likely one of the reasons why Russian interference in US politics seems to be something to chuckle at and then promptly ignored. But it does not explain the general indifference that I am seeing around me.
Not too long ago, the mere mention of Russian interference would have resulted in a united country smartly saluting that US flag while demanding that their government take immediate steps to protect the freedoms and liberties against the dangers of communism and a country bent on ending the US by whatever means possible.
But not today.
Today, most US voters shrug about a possible Manchurian Candidate about to assume the highest office of the country. Today, US voters are more preoccupied about the political intrigue of the thought that a former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, might be put in jail by the incoming president, Donald Trump.
Lost in the indifference to the serious threat of a Soviet coup d’état is angst against a television program making a mockery of Trump and twitter posts that prove Donald Trump has no business leading the country.
What?! The Soviet dynasty ended with the Cold War!
It may seem like it did. It might even be true.
But, look at the history of Russia. Look at the strategies the Soviet’s used during World War II and the subsequent Cold War.
Besides resiliency there is another word to describe the Russians – patience.
Soviet strategic doctrine was never about a quick decisive victory but rather a patient long term battle for ideological supremacy. The Russian mindset has been molded from generations of war and political intrigue.
The Soviets were never shy about sacrificing their land, their pride or even their people to keep their sovereignty in intact under the threat of Hitler and Nazi Germany. First, they bought time to prepare through a nonaggression pact and then they sacrificed land, resources and people until they were strong enough to take back what was there’s. The Soviet’s understood the reality that to defeat Nazi Germany would require creating an alliance with people they did not trust or respect.
US history books are replete with the US’ role in bringing Stalin into the war effort but lost in that distorted historical viewpoint is Stalin’s role in keeping the Nazi’s from finalizing their invasion of England and allowing the US time to mobilize and politically get onboard with entering the European war effort. Today’s US student doesn’t realize that the US electorate was staunchly against involving the country in a European conflict.
Even when the US finally entered the war effort, it was the Russians that sacrificed the most to allow the US the opportunity to prepare for war.
And it was the Russians who first arrived in Berlin to finally end the Nazi era.
Word War II further evolved the Russian psyche of preparing for the long-term goal. Where US doctrine is to force their enemies into submission via technological superior weapons in fast wars, the Russians took the position that less sophisticated weaponry allowed them to overwhelm adversaries through sheer numbers. Migs versus F-15s. While US doctrine has no patience for protracted wars and campaigns, Russians play the long game, biding their time until they can achieve their intended goal. Russians are willing to take losses to reach their goals.
Central to the Soviet’s ideology was its intelligence services, especially the KGB. Much, if not all of the Soviet doctrine was developed, encouraged and supported by the KGB during the Cold War. The KGB was central to Russia’s Cold War strategies and in keeping the Soviet ideology intact against outside influences. It was the KGB that protected and facilitated the Soviet goal to decimate the opposing geopolitical adversary via the Russian long-term strategy of biding its time to strike until the time is right. KGB indoctrinates its members and those it controls.
Vladimir Putin was a foreign intelligence officer for the KGB from 1975 until the fall of Communism in 1991 when he entered Russian politics. Putin has led Russia since 1999. Putin was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000 when he became president and then Prime Minister again 2008. He has led Russia, as president since 2012.
As you can see, as the KGB started to unravel, Putin jumped into Russian politics, putting himself in the position of leading Russia without looking back. I would argue, that the KGB’s doctrine of safeguarding the Soviet ideology evolved away from subjugation through enforced ideological thoughts to control via open political participation. A long game but one the Soviets have strategically perfected.
Probably the most disconcerting thing for me today is the realization that Donald Trump’s biggest supporters are the same ones that would have likely led a McArthy-type investigation of Soviet meddling in the US political process only a few years ago. It is likely the thing that brings the most joy to Vladimir Putin today.
Today, the electors are about to begin the process of legitimizing a US president that is nothing more than an extension of a worldview that makes the US a vassal of another. Today, marks the beginning of the coup that many Russians dreamt about for many years before the Cold War supposedly ended.