Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tragic Flaw

From the New York Times:

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

That’s why the whole Helsinki news conference and the aftermath of what he said or didn’t say and later doubled down on his double-negativity is so ridiculous.  He’s known all along the Russians were involved and yet he’s still going around acting like nothing happened.

What he’s been telling himself and anyone who would listen is that THERE WAS NO COLUSION [sic] and that it’s all made up just to get back at him for beating Hillary Clinton and, by the way, gaming the system to get himself some huge tax cuts so his businesses would make money and prevent yet another bankruptcy.

But now the shit is really hitting the fan.  What started out as a lark, a diversion, something to attract more attention to feed his ego and boost his revenues has turned into a disaster of epic proportions with lives at stake and centuries-old alliances around the world being strained because he thought, hey, what could possibly go wrong?

In classic tragedies, the main tragic figure realizes — always too late — what has brought them to ruin, and the whole point of the drama is to see them come to terms with it and try to either end it or make amends.  But that relies on them having some sort of moral core of humanity and awareness of their flaw and the damage they have caused.  The problem with Trump is that it’s highly unlikely that such noble introspection is forthcoming, so we’re probably never going to see it happen.  It may not matter if justice prevails, but that’s a thin reed on which to hang our hopes.  But it may be the only hope we have.