Donald Trump vs. the Sleepwalkers

Moscow has a number of practical reasons to make life miserable for the United States, quite apart from Putin’s ideological proclivities. Sadly, it has extensive means to do so. While the United States spent perhaps US$5 trillion in Iraq, Afghanistan, and associated adventures, Moscow invested far smaller sums in air-defense systems that may be able to down American fifth-generation fighters. Washington does not know how good the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile system is, and does not want to find out.

So comprehensive was their incompetence that it is hard to find a senior official of the George W. Bush or Obama administrations who was not mired in it. General Flynn, who was fired for challenging the official fairy tale, is an exception.

For the most part, America’s foreign policy elite has chosen to eschew responsibility for its blunders. Their reputations would be safe with Hillary Clinton, who after all is one of them. The circle of self-protection is drawn so closely that nothing short of an outsider with nothing to lose by the humiliation of the old guard could restore a modicum of competence to American policy.