Russian helicopter on the move...
Russian helicopter on the move... Apriori1/

There isn't a competent intelligence officer in the world who would not, based on all of the signs, reports, and indications, conclude that Donald Trump is a Russian asset. The intelligence community in the US knows it, as well as the intelligence community in Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere. The US can play games with its low-information voters all it wants. It can go on as if this matter is not already settled by thousands upon thousands of intelligence and foreign service professionals employed by governments and defence departments around the world to provide actionable assessments of developments in this and that important country. When it comes to the USA today, there is no way these men and women would send a report to their higher-ups that excluded the obvious fact that many of the strings on the man in the White House are pulled by Moscow.

So, in this post, we will not pretend that Trump is not what he obviously is, a Russian asset. There is nothing in the course of Trump's presidency that contradicts this conclusion. It provides an ultimate cause for many of his positions on domestic and foreign issues, where as "exciting his base" offers only a proximate cause for these positions. That said, let's take a quick look at a recent eruption in the top ranks of the US's military.

On Sunday, November 24, Trump ordered Defense Secretary Mark Esper to fire Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over Spencer's decision not to end the review of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who was pardoned by Trump after being convicted for taking and sharing a selfie with a dead Arab boy he was accused of murdering). How do we make any sense of this? Here, I must agree with a man I often find to be very disagreeable, John Bolton:

What Bolton means is this: The ultimate cause in the Gallagher controversy is Moscow.

But before we get into Moscow's motives, we must examine the pardon's proximate cause. By all appearances, it is about race. Eddie Gallagher is a white man. He was accused of murdering a brown boy, and convicted for taking a picture with the corpse of the brown boy. Pardoning him has the kind of racial charge that would electrify the GOP's base, which is under the impression that white men are no longer in power. How can a white man defending a white country be charged with killing an Arab, an enemy of whiteness? White first. That sort of thing. The pardon can also be enjoyed by the base as a direct humiliation of people of color.

But the real target in all of this is not POCs. It is, instead, the US military itself. This branch of American power is under fierce attack from Russia, and, by the looks of it, has no way to defend itself. One of the US's top global enemies has outwitted the Pentagon. If you listened to Fiona Hill's testimony during the impeachment hearings, you heard nothing but this assertion: Russian messaging is now the same as that in White House and the GOP. She was telling the American public what everyone in the intelligence community already knows. And it is in this context, the new and tight relationship between Moscow and the GOP, that the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer must be examined.

Spencer, it is understood, is not a left-wing radical. He was selected by the White House. He has a distinguished career. And so his determination to administer some form of discipline on Gallagher was him only following army rules. There is nothing in this that has anything to do with the Democratic Party or the Squad or what have you. It is the president disrupting how the military functions, how it punishes, and how it keeps strict order. The issue is not Gallagher and the corpse of the Arab boy. It's about maintaining the high standards that keep soldiers in line. This is what Spencer was fired for doing—his job. His resignation letter makes this very clear. He was given a choice to be either an admiral or political monkey. He chose the latter.

Remove racism (the proximate cause) from the disorder caused by the increasingly disruptive Gallagher controversy, and what you will is a US military under attack.

And there is also a trend. The impeachment hearings were ostensibly about Trump's efforts not so much to find dirt on Biden, but to pour dirt on Biden. Yet Trump wanted something more from the former member of the Soviet Union. He pressed the Ukraine to make real a message sent from Moscow, namely, that the Ukraine and not Russia had meddled in the US's 2016 election. Do both (Biden dirt, Moscow messaging), and they would get the $400 million military aid package authorized by Congress. Don't do both, no money. But a point of view that takes the proximate cause and the ultimate cause into account will show that the Moscow messaging was of greater importance than the Biden dirt.

Also, we are now learning from former Wall Street Journal journalists, and founders of the intelligence firm Fusion GPS, that the GOP hired them and as a consequence to investigate Trump. When this investigation dumped by the GOP after Trump won the nomination for the part, it was sold to Hillary Clinton's camp. This is where Christopher Steele steps in. He worked for Fusion as a freelance intelligence operator with deep connections in Russia. Eventually, he would introduce a piss tape to American popular culture. But again, Steele's findings (which point to an ultimate cause) are now mostly ignored, and Hillary Clinton (a proximate cause) has been attached to the dossier.

But the GOP has no choice in the matter. It must stick with a Russian asset. The last thing it wants is another blowup like Watergate. A blowup it may not recover from for a generation. And so it must hope for the best and just go along with the Trump Show, which is, in fact, a Russian military operation.