Roger L. Simon

The Russia Probe Has Nothing to Do with Russia

President Donald Trump, right, walk past Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, as they gather for the group photo at the start of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized nations are meeting in Buenos Aires for two days starting today.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

America is at war with itself and the Russia probe is the leading, but far from the only, front in that war.

Bad as Vladimir Putin is, the investigation has little or nothing to do with Russia–which has been what it is since the days of the tsars–and everything to do with us.

From the Okhrana (the tsars’ secret police that authored the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and specialized in agents provocateurs) to the Cheka to the NKVD to the KGB to the FSB, it has always been the same. The Russians — Soviet or not — have always engaged in disinformation.  Their recent Facebook and Twitter offerings were nothing more than the tip of an iceberg that’s been sailing for years.

In other words words, there’s nothing new here. The indictments of the Russian hackers by Mueller and Company were no more than a face-saving charade.  They will never be arrested and no one will care. No one remembers who they were even now, less than a year later, except that they vastly expand the number of those indicted for breathless press reports.

U.S. leaders have been trying, and largely failing, to cope with Russia in all its guises since Franklin Roosevelt. FDR was gulled by New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty, the progenitor of “fake news” and probably its worst practitioner, into thinking Stalin wasn’t so evil after all and that Dzhugashvili didn’t really starve over a million Ukrainians.  And what little he did had to be done.  After all, as Duranty put it, you had to break some eggs to make an omelet.

Roosevelt went on to cede Eastern Europe to Stalin at Yalta, setting up decades of misery.  When Reagan came along and tried to reverse the situation, building the military and confronting Moscow, many of our Democrat friends — the same ones attacking Trump for being soft on Russia — cried foul and went viciously after Reagan as a war monger.

The hypocrisy is beyond comprehension. Do these people think we’ve had a lobotomy and can’t remember anything?  Maybe they have.

Nevertheless, after the Wall fell, things only got better for a brief time because Russia remained Russia and our leaders remained ineffectual or worse in their ability to deal with it.  George W. Bush naively looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his “soul.” Obama was sleazier.  He colluded with the Russian dictator, being caught on video whispering to Putin’s lackey Medvedev to tell Vladimir that he, Barack, would be freer to make concessions after the election. (If Trump had been caught doing such a thing, CNN would be playing it fifty times a day for the next fifty years.)  And then he literally gave Syria to the Russian dictator, walking back on his red line on chemical weapons.  (Again, if Trump had done that, CNN would have had a mega-orgasm. We need a new word for extreme hypocrisy.)

But now we’re in the era of Trump and that intramural blood sport the Russia probe is  in full blast, threatening never to end, people being arrested right and left for process crimes or for engaging in the kind of corruption that has pervaded Washington, D.C., in both political parties since any of us were alive.

The latest is that we learn Donald, a businessman, was trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.  As news, that’s right up there with the sky is blue and the sun rises in the East.

But it does give us a clue to what might have been in Trump’s head during the transition, besides the obvious desire for a profit, when all this mess started.  (Excuse me, actually it started well before the transition, as we all know.)  Trump, who is a transactional businessman, was probably going to make a serious outreach to Russia via business and trade.  They are, relatively speaking, a weak nation (outside of the military) and in need of economic support.

Would this approach have worked?  Would an appeal to Putin’s greed have overcome the serious psychological wound he obviously has over the disintegration of the Soviet Union?  It’s hard to say.  Nothing like that was ever attempted.  But we will never know  now — because of the Russia probe.

The internal hostility and power conflicts motivating that investigation have made any outreach to Russia moot for the foreseeable future. In part because of Mueller and Company, the world has become a more dangerous place. They are among the reactionaries of our time.

Roger L. Simon – co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media – is an award-winning author and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.