I’m a fiction writer with a vivid imagination. Last night in a dream, I imagined a time when Russians planted moles, saboteurs, and spies in the highest offices in the country. These villains infiltrated every police department and even the military with men whose sole purpose was to weaken the United States from within. The plot was reminiscent of one of those virus stories where almost everyone was infected with a virulent disease but without the rash or bloodshot eyes. Everywhere you looked white supremacists, misogynists, homophobes, xenophobes, and anti-semites were holding high offices and key positions throughout the country. Cabinet posts were filled with men and women whose sole job was to denigrate, demoralize, and dismantle the government institutions they were appointed to manage. As a result, these departments gave a free rein to those who would pillage the environment, our natural resources, and our schoolchildren.
In my dream, Vladimir Putin was no Hitler. He was a lot smarter. He has managed to manipulate our political system and leverage Trump’s personal vanity and corruption to get him elected. Using the power of the Presidency and local tribes of fascists and neo-Nazis, he inserted operatives into our police, the military, Homeland Security, ICE, and into Congress. Armed with the support of the President, the police and the government blatantly abuse human rights and in virtually all cases go unprosecuted. Behind the scenes, his followers like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers created and funded a propaganda machine that skillfully infiltrated social media and a TV “entertainment” show we know as Fox News. As in the days of Joseph Goebbels, he and his saboteurs managed to discredit dissenting voices by labeling anything uncomplimentary as “fake news.” And it’s working. Over a third of the American public are still buying his lies and distortions. More people than ever now think the Holocaust never occurred, the earth is flat, and vaccinations cause autism.
What evidence do we have that this was not a dream? We know Putin’s economy is crumbling under a load of sanctions levied after his wonton attack in Ukraine and the downing of the Malaysian Airliner by his own troops. He needs the price of oil to rise and he’s managed to get his way. He needs support for his own exports and he’s managed to get Donald to impose tariffs to help him. He needs the US to be worrying more about its internal struggles so he encourages the President to be a hard-liner on immigration, promoting a senseless wall he knows will never pass the Congress. He knows by weakening our economy and driving it into debt he will cripple our ability to meet social needs thus exacerbating any other problems we might have and limiting our influence worldwide.
So no, it was not a dream—it was a revelation. Putin and his stooges in the White House have broken treaties, alliances, and angered our closest and most distant allies severely weakening our security and influence. Putin is winning. His tactics have led our economy to the brink and threatened the very existence of our country and the west—without firing a shot.
Perhaps we should all wake up to the reality that we’re at war—a war we’re losing or have already lost.