Clarke: Trump acting like "Controlled Asset"

Former White House Counterterror Czar Richard Clarke says Trump is acting in a way that he thinks Putin wants him to act.

Posted: Jul 18, 2018 4:21 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2018 4:37 PM

Sometimes, I'm more alarmed by people's exaggerated reactions to Donald Trump than by Trump himself. It's the cult of exceptionalism. When Barack Obama was in charge, we were told that everything he did was a "first." Now that Trump runs things, everything he does is the "worst." And finally, with that Helsinki, Finland, press conference with Vladimir Putin, he seems to have provoked the GOP to join the hyperbole.

Now we know what constitutes a step too far for Republicans. Not banning most trans people from the military nor splitting up families at the border nor cutting taxes for the super rich. No, it's being nice to Russia.

This despite the fact that it's what practically every postwar Republican president has tried to do. In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon extended "the hand of friendship" to the USSR. In 1975, Gerald Ford also went to Helsinki, and signed an accord that recognized the territorial integrity of communist dictatorships. In 1984, Ronald Reagan offered "peace, cooperation and communication" to the Soviets. In 2001, George W. Bush met Putin, looked into his eyes and "got a sense of his soul." Bush said: "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy."

Trump's mistakes are not unheard of, some of his policies are familiar. He's been criticized in the last few days for demanding that NATO allies raise defense spending. Why? It's a reasonable request. And Nixon tried it, too, in the '70s -- the so-called Nixon doctrine asked, in part, for the Europeans to spend more and shoulder America's burden.

As for the reaction to Trump's press conference, to call it an exaggeration is, well, an understatement. It's been likened to 1938 Munich, compared in moral depravity to the Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, and in a ridiculous tweet by Garry Kasparov, the chess champion and human rights activist, called "the darkest hour in the American presidency."

Really? Are we going to put aside all of American history so we can claim this, right now, is its darkest hour? Are we to forget that previous presidents interned Japanese-American citizens? Or drove the Native Americans off their lands? Or endorsed racial segregation? Or supported a war in Vietnam based upon falsehoods that even Trump doesn't have the imagination to dream up?

Barack Obama on Tuesday gave a speech in South Africa in which he claimed that the difference between now and the past is that today when politicians are caught lying, they just go on lying. Does he really think this is new? Is he unaware that Nixon denied America was at war in Cambodia even as he dropped more tonnage on that tiny country than was dropped by the Allies during the entire Second World War?l

And if Trump's meeting with Putin truly shocks you, I urge you to Google photos of Jimmy Carter meeting the Shah of Iran. Or Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. Both these tyrants were once considered friends or partners with the United States, much as Reagan once described the Contras -- who were accused of kidnap, rape and torture in the Nicaraguan civil war -- as "the moral equal of our founding fathers."

Trust me, America has seen many Munichs, all of them just as morally compromising as Trump's with Putin.

Several dozen wrongs do not, of course, make a right. At his Putin press conference, Trump effectively took Putin's side against the American intelligence services, doing immense damage to US prestige and security. He rowed back a little the next day, conceding that he might have misspoken, that there was interference in 2016 -- but in a wriggly, unconvincing tone that implies he knows he's made a poor judgment but won't confront it honestly (something about saying "would" when he meant "wouldn't").

Trump is not a Russian agent, and we have no reason to believe he's being blackmailed; the psychological truth is probably that Trump cannot accept that Moscow played a role in the election victory he is so proud of -- with or without the Trump campaign's knowledge -- and so he prefers to believe that his own nation's agencies are in error.

This is not about Trump being an evil man, it's about him being an amateur, which is one of the qualities that won him votes.

Trump was elected as an anti-politician who would disrupt a broken order and even take risks. Sometimes they pay off: bringing Saudi Arabia and Israel together and tempting Kim Jong Un out from beneath his rock are all great steps forward. Other times, the President finds himself underprepared and out of his depth. Putin is a proven liar and manipulator, and while Trump may well be a master of deal-making, he simply isn't operating at the level Putin does.

Nevertheless, let's please not descend into panic. Trump encourages us to see everything as a big battle with winners and losers -- and yes, there are things worth standing up for. But look beyond the sensationalized, Trump-style rhetoric that everyone seems to indulge in nowadays to the quiet, sober, behind-the-scenes truth.

The Trump administration is perfectly tough on Russia. It has expelled Russian diplomats, attacked Moscow's ally in Syria (the US military also killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria in February), raised US defense spending and given arms to Ukraine. There's a lot that's revolutionary and unstable about Trump -- a lot, however, that stays the same.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154
West Lafayette
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Kokomo
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 65°
Frankfort
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Delphi
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Logansport
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Some more storms ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events