With Flynn’s resignation, the anti-Russia hysteria, which had been receding a little bit recently as people were busy losing their mind over other things, is back with a vengeance. This story has been developing for more than a month and, after weeks of trying, the establishment finally got their first victim in Trump’s administration. According to the press, Flynn had to resign because he misled Pence about the nature of his conversation in December with the Russian ambassador, by not telling him he had discussed the sanctions against Russia. Everybody in the media is now saying that Flynn’s resignation confirms what they had been saying all along, namely that Trump is Putin’s creature, so let’s talk about this first.
Flynn is accused of having discussed the possibility of lifting the sanctions against Russia in December with the Russian ambassador. There is also speculation that he might have encouraged the Russians not to retaliate after Obama announced more sanctions against Russia. Even if this were true, which it may be, it would not be a reason to punish Flynn. In fact, if people in this country were not completely insane, it would be a reason to reward him, as he clearly did the world a favor by contributing to reduce the tensions between the US and Russia. Obama enacted the sanctions in question against Russia for political reasons and not because Russia had meddled with the election. Indeed, it was just a way of fueling the story that Putin had thrown the election to Trump, who otherwise would have lost against Clinton. If people in Washington were rational, those sanctions would be scrapped instantly, so Flynn did nothing wrong if he suggested to the Russians that Trump would eventually get rid of them, on the contrary. I’m working on a very long post about this and, more generally, the claims made about Trump’s relationship with Russia, so for the moment I’ll leave it at that.
In any case, what should be clear is that, even if Flynn did what he is being accused of, this would in no way confirm the crazy theories about Trump’s relationship with Russia that have been advertised as fact in the media for months. Yet that is exactly how this story is being spun in the media. If you don’t believe me, just watch Morning Joe today and listen in particular to what Thomas Friedman from the New York times is saying, who compared what just happened to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. Indeed, the other pundits but also the hosts of the show, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, were barely less hysterical. (Scarborough is a typical Republican of the anti-Russian variety who has been going after Bannon and Miller for weeks, while Brzezinski is exactly what you’d expect to find on MSNBC and the daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor for Carter whose love for Russia is well-known…) I could literally cite dozens of other examples, but I have better things to do with my time than document the incompetence and insanity of the American mainstream media, so this will have to do.
Another thing which is said against Flynn is that, by talking about policy with the Russian ambassador before he was sworn in, he violated the Logan Act. The notion that people went after him because his actions constituted a violation of the Logan Act is beyond preposterous. The fact that so many people who are supposedly intelligent actually believe pundits when they say that is nothing short of astonishing. The Logan Act is an obscure statute that has never been enforced and, if it has not, it’s because it would be incredibly stupid, at least in the kind of circumstances we are talking about in the case of Flynn. It’s perfectly normal for a member of the incoming administration to be talking with foreign governments before he’s been sworn in to facilitate the transition. There is absolutely nothing sinister about this, especially if the person in question is trying to defuse tensions with another government, which again is the accusation that is made against Flynn. I say that again, because I cannot repeat it often enough. Not only is there nothing wrong with what Flynn has been accused of doing, but on the contrary, if he really did it, he should be praised for it. In any case, what is clear is that Flynn wasn’t forced to resign because he violated the Logan Act, because nobody really gives a shit about that. Which brings me to the actual reasons for his resignation.
First of all, Flynn’s resignation is just the latest episode in the war between the American deep state and Trump, which has been going on for a while now. People in the intelligence community, in the State Department, in the media, etc. don’t want to hear about a détente with Russia and they will do anything in their power to prevent it. Now, although he had been very critical of Russia in the past, Flynn was in favor of such a rapprochement and he’d made a lot of enemies among the intelligence community, so he was a victim of choice. If you want to know who went after him by leaking the content of his conversation with the Russian ambassador to the press, just ask yourself who had access to that information in the American government and you will have the answer to that question… Again, I will say more about this in my post on Trump’s relationship with Moscow, so I’ll leave things at that for now on this point.
Another important factor is the internal struggle within the administration between the establishment Republicans and the populist wing led by Bannon with the help of Miller and, before his resignation, Flynn. There have been reports in the press, which seem to be pushed by the Bannon/Miller wing of the White House, that Priebus is also in a hot seat. (Indeed, Breitbart just published a piece saying that Priebus might have to leave, which is a good sign that Bannon is going after him.) Priebus is very close to Paul Ryan, whom Bannon hates more than anybody in the world (I plan to say more about this in a post I’m writing about Bannon), which also explains what has been going on in the White House during the past few days. The Republican establishment is trying to get rid of the populists who hijacked their party and Flynn was just the easiest target in that group. But they clearly have no intention of stopping with him and Bannon knows that, so he’s likely to go on the offensive because he understands that, if he doesn’t quickly establish his perimeter in the administration, they are going to get rid of him too. In other words, after this episode, he’s going to be screaming for blood.
Although many people don’t realize it, this internal struggle within the administration is actually more important than the conflict between Trump and the Democrats, because it will have a more decisive influence on the direction of the US government in the years to come. In many ways, liberals have been the useful idiots of the Republican establishment, who is trying to get rid of Bannon and the populists who used Trump to take over. (Of course, I’m not talking about the leaders of the Democratic party, who are well aware of everything I’m saying.) I have lost track of how many times I have seen a friend on Facebook share the latest nonsense posted by Lindsey Graham or another member of the Republican establishment because they think it shows that even the Republicans are concerned about Trump. And they are concerned about Trump, but not for the reasons my liberal friends think…
They are mostly worried that Trump and the populists who are using him to push their agenda might jeopardize the “invade the world, invite the world” program, which had been virtually unchallenged in American politics since the end of the Cold War until Trump came along. The Democrats also worry about that and, in addition, they want to undermine Trump by making him look illegitimate, which gives them another reason to push anything that lends credibility to the story that Trump is Putin’s creature. Add to this, although it’s clearly related, the hostility of the deep state to Trump and you will start to understand what is going on in Washington right now. I wouldn’t be sorry that Flynn, whose pathological obsession with Iran was dangerous, had to go if I knew for sure that whoever is going to replace him wasn’t going to be even worse and if I didn’t fear that it’s a sign that the anti-Russian faction was winning the internal struggle in the administration, but unfortunately that’s not the case.