Maybe it was just word association, but the controversy over Donald Trump’s being disinvited to the RedState Gathering made me flash back over twenty years to my experiences in that far bigger and more important red state — the Soviet Union.
I was there twice on “cultural exchanges,” once with a group of crime writers and once with screenwriters. Later, after communism was replaced by the more pure form of kleptocracy we know now, I was invited to be, of all things, the juror on a film festival in Siberia.
Nothing much had changed. The Russians still profile you to death. They know everything about you — and most of it, in my case, was true. It’s the Russian way, since the czars through the KGB and into our times. Half the country seems to be spying on someone. Everyone gets profiled.
Now in my case, who cares? I count for nothing. But Donald Trump as president would be another matter. Yet Trump is one of the easiest people to profile in intelligence terms. This man is primarily an entertainer and like most entertainers, he desperately wants to be liked. In fact, he’s so desperate, if you don’t like him even for a second, even if you liked him five minutes ago, he lashes out, pretty much without thinking, as he did with Megyn Kelly.
This is of little import in a mere debate. It might even be entertaining to some. But if I were the folks in Russian, Chinese and Iranian (they’re great at this too — they just ate Obama and Kerry for lunch) intelligence, I would be sitting there smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat.
Here’s how I would imagine they would handle Trump… They would love him to death, treat him like the king of the world, the genius at deal-making, ask him for advice on everything from golf courses to hospital maintenance, and if he got suspicious, love him even more, say great things about how rich he is, what a wonderful plane he has, ask for a tour, get pictures with him for People and Der Spiegel… then, after he feels like he’s been just the perfect president and has settled everything, that’s maybe six months, snatch the Baltic states (Russia), explode your bomb (Iran), move in on practically everything west of Honolulu (China) and look the other way when ISIS blows up three shopping malls in Dallas.
What would Donald do about it? Say “You’re fired”? Brag about his money? I’m not optimistic.
Actually, he’s no more rich than Castro and Putin, probably less, and certainly less rich and successful than a host of people. Come to think of it, if the Republicans want a business tycoon as their candidate, why not Larry Ellison? His company could buy and sell Trump’s entire holdings in a minute without even noticing. That probably makes him a much more sophisticated negotiator than Trump. And Ellison’s just as much a Republican as Donald, possibly more so.
Now I write all this having been entranced by Trump. I’m as much of a sucker for celebrity as the next person and I love it when someone gives it to the powers that be. Also, I detest political correctness. It’s fascism with a semi-human face. So I get the attractions.
But I think we need someone with a bit more self-control and somewhat more smarts, someone less easily profiled, to do the job of stopping the precipitous American decline. And maybe we’ve got her.