Subscribe to the IHARE Blog

Making Russia Great Again

"You the Man!" Trump honored to be in the presence of alpha-male Putin (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty)

“We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.’” Vladimir Putin said. “And I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep winning, winning, winning, We’re going to make Russia  great again.”

Russia is on a roll. Despite limited economic resources, it is moving ahead to disrupt the Western Alliance and the United States. Where it can divide peoples, it does so. Where it can fill a void, it does so. Where it can reap the benefits from the America Alone policy, it does so.

Recently Putin’s Pence handed Russia a win. The sudden and abrupt withdrawal of the United States from Syria was an unexpected gift. Putin could not even take credit for it. He could not claim to have initiated the sequence of events that led to this victory. Out of nowhere, alpha male Erdogan in a phone call to the submissive child president of the United of the States suggested that it was time for America to go home and let Turkey take care of business. He readily agreed to the surprise of everyone who was an ally or enemy of the United States.

Let’s look at what this strategically brilliant, dare one say “perfect,” decision led to.

American allies know they cannot rely on America anymore

Roger Cohen: “Europeans now shrug when they don’t laugh. The consensus is that the United States has lost. There is nobody home.” (Trump’s Gut, and the Gutting of American Credibility, NYT 10/19/19, print).

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, former Iraqi national security advisor: “This guy is all emotional. It is unpredictable….For Americans, their friends are disposable. The Americans, you look for them and they look for the closest exit. You turn around and you don’t find them.” (“Policy Zigzags by Trump Put Mideast in Fog,” NYT 10/13/19, print).

Shimrit Meir, Israeli columnist: “If you are someone that is a rival on the other side ⸺ you’re Iranian, Russian, Turkish, ISIS, Hezbollah ⸺ you understand that this is a time for gain.” (“Policy Zigzags by Trump Put Mideast in Fog,” NYT 10/13/19, print).

Who is the reliable partner to whom countries should turn? Who is it who touts its stability and consistency over the years?  As America bombs its own military facilities before the Russians can occupy them, who is exulting? Besides the Russians there are others.

Now, let’s consider what Putin has done and gauge whether he has overplayed his hand. I am not referring to his ventures into Africa. Trumphole countries that do not want to be vassals of China cannot turn to the United States for assistance. This bigoted President has no interest in them not even to build a resort. He will accept no refugees from them since the United States is full up…and he does not want any immigrants either. The result is void for Putin to fill. And he gets to test the disinformation techniques he will use in the 2020 elections.

Instead, I am referring to the Ukraine. As I previously stated, What Do Seth Rich and the Ukraine Have in Common? Answer: Sean Hannity, Putin’s tried and true tactic to discombobulate America is to give people what they want so they can make a mess of it.

It worked with the Seth Rich story on Flying Monkey Sean Hannity.

It worked with the Steele Dossier for the Democrats. The disruption still has not ceased after the Mueller report. Secret testimony now disclosed is shedding more light on the activities within the Trump campaign and White House on what they did. Meanwhile Flying Monkey Bill Barred-for-Life is traveling the globe seeking to indict the Deep State in part as a result of the Steel Dossier.

It probably worked with some voters when exposed to social media telling them exactly what they wanted.

It worked with the Ukraine.

Did it work too well? Putin advanced on three fronts in the Ukraine. First, it was the Ukraine and not Russia which interfered in the 2016 election. That initiative commenced in 2016 though the manipulation of Paul Manafort. Recall the press conference where the two national leaders joked about whether the Russians had violated the United States. Now we know that not only did Putin say “no,” but he steered the gullible American President towards the “true violator” that even the American intelligence services had yet to discover: it was the Ukraine.

The second Putin ploy was that the Ukraine had the infamous server that the longtime-Democrat-and-Clinton-supporter now pretending to be a Republican sought. We are beginning to be able to see how much he really wanted to locate those 33,000 emails. Somehow all Duped-by-Russia Hannity’s tirades about how crooked Hillary had acid washed the server and destroyed the emails was ignored. They had not been scrubbed, they were in the Ukraine! What a perfect example of the child-mind at work. And this is the very stable genius who is steering the ship of state.

The third Putin ploy is that Joe Biden and son were involved in a corruption scandal just waiting to be exposed. Unearthing this scandal would make Ridiculous Ruddy, attack mutt, the hero as he once had been after 9/11. His discovery of the reality of what originated as a figment of Putin’s mind would validate Ridiculous Ruddy’s shallow life. Clearly Putin knows how to play the conspiracy-minded President.

In each instance, Putin was providing the exact false story that the mark would eagerly embrace. But the results in the Ukraine maneuver may not be to Putin’s liking. The would-be hero is now facing potential indictment. His assorted cast of lowlife associates may now be ready to spill the beans. Never-Trumper and Deep-State operative Sondland posing as an ambassador-buying Trump-donor may now be ready to tell the truth and expose the abuse of power, cover-up, and obstruction even more: Of course, it was a quid pro quo. Get real. Sondland thought he was purchasing a nice cushy job where he could enjoy the good life in Europe. Little did he know how the Trump State operates. He apparently wants no part of it. Would that Vice President Brown Nose reach a similar epiphany! (Will Mike Pence Become a Profile in Courage?  so Nancy Pelosi won’t become President?)

Impeachment was the consequence Putin did not factor into his Ukrainian subterfuge. True if the red wave had not been successful in the 2018 elections in drowning House Republican candidates, impeachment never would have happened. Unfortunately for Putin, the Democrats now are in charge in the House and Putin’s most valuable asset in the United States is now at risk. Even though Putin will not lose his Pence though Senate removal, it is quite possible that a majority of Senate will vote for removal. The American people will see that the President of the United States exploits the power of the presidency for personal gain, lies about, and orders people to obstruct justice. Fortunately for Putin, Trumpicans do not care what this President did or did not do as long as he remains in office fighting for them. Putin has played weak hand well exploiting the submissiveness of the simpleminded immature child President but he may have overreached with the Ukraine since the United States may still be governed by the Constitution.

What Do Seth Rich and the Ukraine Have in Common? Answer: Sean Hannity

A beautiful mind can connect dots that do not even exist (https://i.imgflip.com/2fg4dr.jpg)

Sean Hannity has a beautiful mind. His skill in connecting the dots is unrivaled. If there was a Nobel Prize for connecting the dots, he would be the winner.

Who can forget his performance in the Story of Seth Rich? Night after night, week after week, month after month, duped-by-Russia Hannity would regale his rapt audience with the story of how this murdered individual that no one had ever heard of was the critical lynch-pin to exposing the evil shenanigans of the Democrats and the Deep State to undo the legitimately-elected President.

In his performance, duped-by-Russia Hannity was insistent, consistent, and persistent. In the time Rachel Maddow would have spent on one of her long opening essays before getting to the point, duped-by-Russia Hannity would have delivered his message multiple times. All the pieces fit together. All the dots were connected. Buckle up and hear the truth.

There was only one slight problem with duped-by-Russia Hannity’s performance – there was no truth to it. The unfortunate murder of this individual who happened to have worked for the Democratic Party was one of the chance events that sometimes occur in the big city. It was not part of some Jason-Bourne-007-Jack-Clancy intrigue….unless you wanted it to be.

Russia wanted it to be. Give credit where credit is due. The Russian “KGB” quickly seized on this seeming minor event and made it into a political thriller. According to the “real story,” Seth Rich was on his way to talk to the FBI about corruption by the Clintons when he was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for them. It was right there on the web. You could read it for yourself. The alt-right did. So did Fox. What was the source of the story? The Russian “KGB.”  Fox had been duped.

What are the lessons to be learned from this experience?

1. The Russian “KGB” is very good. It responded very quickly and very decisively to concoct a story and to disseminate it on the web. It “proved” that the alleged Russian collusion was really Democratic Party dirty tricks led by Crooked Hillary. These actions demonstrated a familiarity with the American political arena, the willingness to act in it surreptitiously, and the skill to do so successfully.

2. It also demonstrated a technique that the Russians would use again and again to meddle in American politics. It succeeded in duping Hannity because it gave him exactly what he wanted. The Russians knew their audience. They crafted a story that appealed to the conspiracy people eager for a story that confirmed all there predispositions. The Seth Rich story did exactly that.

So why not use that approach again?

The Russians did with the Steele Dossier. That really had originated as a Democratic-funded initiative to get dirt on the Republican opponent. In effect, the Democratic Party had broadcast exactly what it wanted. The effort made clear it was looking for precisely the kind of information that would undermine the political prospects of the Republican candidate.

Guess what the Democrats got in the Steele Dossier?

The Steele Dossier provided the Democrats with exactly the information they wanted. The Steele Dossier was nothing if not dirt on THE DONALD. If the allegations made in the Steele Dossier were true, they would be more than embarrassing, they might even prove fatal. Now the Democrats had been duped.  How much time was spent on the elusive and illusory meeting in Prague? And what about Carter Page?

The Democrats had been played by the Russian “KGB” just as the alt-right, Fox, and duped-by-Russia Hannity had been. Remember how Democrats were practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation of a great victory by destroying THE DONALD thanks to the Steele Dossier. How did that work out? Not so well for the Democrats. As it turns out, they were just as eager to believe what they wanted to believe as duped-by-Russia Hannity was.

The Russians were not done. Why not try offering dirt to THE DONALD on Crooked Hillary? We do not know what “dirt” the Russian “KGB” had manufactured in this effort. It does not seem to have amounted to much. But the words of the son who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer says it all: “I love it!” Although this particular gambit failed, it highlighted the validity of the Russian effort to manipulate the American election: give the people what they want and they will run with it even when there is no truth to it whatsoever.

The Ukraine is the final example of this approach…at least so far. The Ukraine maneuver suits Putin’s needs. It assigns the blame for the intervention into the American Presidential election to his enemy the Ukrainians. Therefore the sanctions levied against Russia should be removed and Russia should be restored to its rightful place in the world just as his American asset has been trying to do. The Ukrainian ploy solves the problems of both leaders. It legitimizes the election of the current present and gets the Russian leader off the hook. All the problems are due to the Ukrainians. Seth Rich lives. The Steele Dossier is accurate. The Americans have been played.

Putin was a former KGB agent. How long do you think it took him size up THE DONALD? How long did it take the alpha male to recognize that the immature-child American President was a submissive, simpleminded, ignoramus? If your answer was more than a nano-nano second, then you are not fit to write about American politics and should never be invited as a talking head on a TV or radio show.  Putin does not watch Fox, he dupes Fox. He quickly realized that the weak, superficial, narcissist was a person he could manipulate. Russia did not intervene in the American election, it was the Ukraine.

There are consequences to being the victim of the Putin’s ploys. For Fox, it is being sued by the Rich family. For the Democrats, it was following a bogus trail and undermining the Mueller report. For THE DONALD it was being impeached and watching his whole stack of lies being undone. The drones used to bomb the Saudi oilfields did not cost much. Neither did Russia have to spend much to totally disrupt the American political process. Who knew it would be that easy?

Hotspur versus Bonespur: Having the Right Stuff to Go in the Arena

Statue of Henry Percy "Hotspur" 1364-1403” Alnwick Castle (tripadvisor.com)

According to the Constitution, the American President is designated with one specific task: to serve as commander in-chief. In the 20th century, the title was expanded in the popular culture to include “commander in-chief and leader of the free world.” The expansion was due to America’s role in World War I, World War II, and World War III (the Cold War). We were on the winning side in all three wars and had a leading role in those victories. The abandonment of that role by the current President will be the subject of another post.

The phrase “in the arena” comes from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt on April 23, 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

One famous example of a story of a person going into the arena consistent with the popular image did not actually err again and again but proved quite successful against all odds. The story of David and Goliath has become part of the vocabulary in the American culture. Closer to home, another figure did go into the arena again and again, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Rocky has become a mythic figure in the American Civil Religion. His iconic image has become a tourist site at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In America, even ordinary citizens can attain the heights once reserved for the kings.

The phrase “the right stuff” comes from a book by Tom Wolfe with that title. It later became a movie with the same title. It refers to the military pilots in Project Mercury when America began its journey to fulfill a presidential challenge to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Mission accomplished.

Together these terms and images call upon the American President and the American citizen to reach for the stars, to fulfill the American Dream, and in this instance at least, to risk one’s life to do so.

How does President Bonespurs measure up against this standard?

Unlike John Kerry and John McCain but like William Jefferson Clinton, President Bonespurs did not serve. As always, he has not told the truth when referring to this event in his life.

His first real experience of going into the arena was not even a real event at all. It occurred in the professional wrestling arena, still his favorite venue. Here he followed a scripted sequence and faked having the right stuff to go into the arena in the real world. Thus his combat experience is as fake as his hair.

His second experience going into the arena occurred during the second presidential debate in 2016 (Predator in Chief, Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood: A Presidential Election Retrospective). In this competition he was pitted against the champion of the opposing political party. If you heard the encounter on the radio, then you probably would conclude that the Democrat won the war of words on the debate stage. Democrats frequently conclude that their side won and that mistake contributed to their defeat in the election.

Simultaneously with the debate “war of words,” a second confrontation occurred. This was the reality game “Survivor.” In this battle, the fight is not with words. Instead, it is a physical struggle. During the Presidential “Survivor,” a large male predator stalked his smaller female victim. As he prowled the stage, he marked his turf and asserted his dominion over this domain. People who watched THE DONALD in action came away thinking that he was the real deal. They still have not caught on that THE DONALD is an act, a persona Little Donnee-Wanee developed precisely for the purpose of conning people into thinking he had the right stuff to go into the arena.

Later the Democratic victim acknowledged her mistake in again being the victim as she had been for decades. Democratic observers took her to task for not standing up to the predator and putting him in his place. Unfortunately for the Democrats it was too late. Even to this very day, there are still people, especially Republicans, who think THE DONALD is not only a successful fighter but a real one…even as he cannot say “You’re fired” in person face-to-face and hides behind tweets instead.

His third experience occurred on July 16, 2018, in Helsinki, in a press conference with Vladimir Putin (Putin and the American President: Who Has the Right Stuff to Go into the Arena?). He can now legitimately claim to have participated in the most humiliating summit with a Soviet/Russian leader in American history. Under ordinary circumstances such a pathetic performance would doom a president. He came across less manly than Dukakis in a tank. But for him it was just another embarrassment before moving on to the next one.

Now Bonespurs is faced with a real political battle against NanChuck. For the first two years of his administration there was no direct challenge to him. No Day of Infamy. No Cuban Missile Crisis. No 9/11. And no politician who confronted him in a showdown at high noon. So far the only person who may do so is Robert Mueller but President Bonespurs is girding up to prevent Mueller from exposing him.

With NanChuck the situation is quite different. The television reality show he hosted at the White House blew up in his face. Without even trying to, NanChuck got him to accept responsibility for the government shut down over the funding to build his wall. In that one public failure, he proved why he should not be allowed to testify under oath under any circumstances.

When Bonespurs subsequently was willing to reach a deal with NanChuck he was undermined by his own team. Fox, Ann, Rush, and the RHINO Freedom Caucus read him the riot act. They put him on notice that if he caved on his signature issue there would be hell to pay come election time. Instead of calling their bluff (whom else would they support in 2020?), he caved and boxed himself in. They forced him to toe the line but offered no way to get out of this showdown.

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN on December 20, presidential advisor Stephen Miller became quite agitated and intense in conveying the urgency of the current situation:

Right now as we speak there is a surge of illegal immigration heading toward our country that presents a national crisis now.”

Not a month from now, not a year from now, right now. And this president took an oath, like every lawmaker in Congress to defend the citizens of this country. How many more innocent people have to die in pursuit of an open-borders agenda?”

According to Miller and the various acolytes on the Bull Trump network, there is a crisis RIGHT NOW! Drug dealers are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! Terrorists are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! Criminals are pouring across the border RIGHT NOW! They are pouring across the border because Democrats believe in open borders so illegal aliens can vote not just once but multiple times by changing their hat and shirt as they run around the polling places.

Left unexplained in this emotional tirade about the desperate need to save the country RIGHT NOW is how a $5 billion spending bill will change anything RIGHT NOW! Will the $5 billion spending build a new wall RIGHT NOW! Will the $5 billion spending even build a teeny-tiny part of the wall RIGHT NOW! How will this authorization stop this NATIONAL CRISIS RIGHT NOW!

Do you Stephen Miller have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW?

Do you Fox, Ann, and Rush, have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW?

Do you RHINO Freedom Caucus have a plan to stop this national crisis not a year from now, not a month from now, but RIGHT NOW!

The advantage Bonespurs has during the shutdown is that he no more cares about the Americans than he does the Kurds or the Israelis whom he threw under the bus. Besides, the government employees who are furloughed or working without pay are Democrats and they support the shutdown for border security anyway. The very stable genius knows this because he is the smartest person in the room.

We have learned the hard way, from Charlottesville and Harvey, that Bonespurs is not capable of rising to the occasion. The difference now is that he has an actual foe in NanChuck. Plus he is boxed in. If the world’s greatest negotiator creates a deal and claims victory even though he has not won, Fox, Ann, Rush, and the RHINO Freedom Caucus will be there to call him out. He won’t be able to get away with conning his own side this time.

What then should he do?

What does an immature child do when cornered? He lashes out. “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I’ll show you who is in charge! I’ll shut down the southern border.” The mind boggles imagining the world’s worst manager supervising the shutdown of the border. Can you imagine the chaos that would result? He does not even have 1% the managerial skills Herbert Hoover had. He lacks both the competence to shut down the southern border and the mental necessities to understand the consequences. Democrats should call his bluff just to expose his shortcomings and inadequacies for even Republicans to see.

There is a better solution.

How about asking China to fund the Great Wall of Trump? They would even build it too, if only Bonespurs would ask.

Ronald Reagan versus Vladimir Putin: Presidential Campaigns and the 2018 Elections

Reagan-Anderson Presidential Debate September 21, 1980 (https://quotefancy.com)

The countdown to the midterms is under 100 days. It still proceeds on a day-to-day basis but mentally a threshold has been crossed. A bigger one to come on Labor Day is only a few weeks away. The primaries are drawing to a close. The intensity of the showdown for control of Congress and various states will ratchet up.

The current president has vowed to campaign as much as necessary in targeted areas throughout the country. Indeed, he feeds on the energy of the professional wrestling arena just as we feed on food. But what message will he be delivering as he crisscrosses the country in his determination to stave off the dreaded blue wave and avoid being impeached?

In this situation it is appropriate to examine the campaign of another president. In 1984, Ronald Reagan, the incumbent president, campaigned throughout the land. At that time, Republicans could win at the state level even in California and the color on the TV maps for Republicans was blue. Times have changed.

Although the campaigns in 1984 and 2018 are not exact parallels, it remains instructive to examine the message Reagan delivered and compare it to where we are today. A lot of my information comes from the book The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army Second Ranger Brigade by Douglas Brinkley as excerpted in U.S. News & World Report in the June 6, 2005 issue, a year after Reagan’s death on June 5, 2004. Reagan’s speech on June 6, 1984 at Normandy was on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

According to Brinkley, the idea in the visit to England and France included showcasing Anglo-American unity between Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Needless-to-say, the contrast between the present president mocking the present prime minister of England or Great Britain or the United Kingdom or wherever, could not be greater. And our current president of course, then denied that he had done so as fake news, another example of the trouble he would be in if he ever testified under oath.

Turning back to 1984, one theme of Reagan’s talk was how the postwar coalition had kept the peace for the longest period in modern European history. One might add, that for Franklin Roosevelt who had grown up in a world where war against Germany was the norm (Franco-Prussian, WWI, WWII), the idea of decades of peace among the same nations was wishful thinking and inconceivable. Roosevelt understood the need for allies and why defending Montenegro was important.

Brinkley then turned to Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s speechwriter. She would become most famous for her “thousand points of light,” a vision our current president mocks. Brinkley reported that Reagan was at his best when he told heartfelt stories about real people. He was blessed with a genuine showbiz gift for a lively narrative and fabulist history. These last words of Brinkley strike us differently today now that we have a president who resides in the artificial reality of Trumpietown.

But Noonan suspected that during the speech Reagan would choke up. He would be overcome by the experience – its setting, the audience, and his words. I suspect Reagan did not feel your pain to exploit it but more drawing on his actor background, he internalized it. The emotion of his audience became his genuine emotion as well. In other words, his own ability to bring out the emotion in others created a feedback loop to himself. He was a person of empathy who helped create the very emotions he was to feel.

D-Day then became a metaphor for the campaign message of 1984. The Americans in the audience had helped reclaim the European continent. Americans had fought for freedom against the Nazis in the past; Americans had an obligation to fight for freedom against communism and the Soviet Union in the present. Others would express the sentiment that “some people are communists, some people are capitalists, why can’t we all live together”, the Soviet Union will endure forever. Reagan felt differently. The Evil Empire must be defeated if we are to be free. As it turned out, the clueless elites had no idea the Iron Curtain would fall, Putin’s worst day in history, one he wishes to reverse today.

Shortly after Reagan’s death in 2004, staff writer Roger Simon for U.S. News &World Report, wrote “Sunny Side Up, Always” (June 21, 2004). He wrote of Reagan knowing that movies were fantasy and that Americans loved fantasy. Fantasy was a world in which Reagan like to dwell. According to Pat Buchanan, “For Ronald Reagan, the world of legends and myth is a real world. He visits it regularly.” It was a can-do world of optimism, smiles, and a can-do attitude.

Reagan expected everything to work out because it always had for America. What Americans needed was a leader who could give them a sense of confidence, inspiration, and hope.

“’LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ HE SAID.”

Simon reported that Reagan’s “morning in America” and “city on a hill” were designed to stand in marked contrast to the gloom and doom of President Jimmy Carter’s malaise.

Simon closed his article with two quotations, one from 1994 when Reagan announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I am combining them here.

And whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will recall that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts.

When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for the future. I know begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright light ahead.

In the same issue, David Gergen, advisor to multiple presidents and regular talking head today, wrote:

Last week, as we heard so often, Regan repeatedly told audiences that America’s role was to be “a shining city up on hill.” He spoke lovingly of that vision in his farewell address, as he prepared to leave the White House. What should not be forgotten is the farewell address to Massachusetts that a fellow member of his generation, John F. Kennedy, gave as he was preparing to move into the White House. “I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella 331 years ago, as they too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier. “We must always consider,” he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill-the eyes of the world are upon us.”

Gergen closed with a sigh that “We mourned last week not only for Ronald Wilson Reagan but for the spirit we miss so much now.” How much more must he miss that spirit today?

One last “city on a hill” citation by an American before turning to a Russian. In his eulogy, former Senator John Danforth said:

Winthrop believed that the eyes of the world would be on America because God had given us a special commission, so it was our duty to shine forth. The Winthrop message became the Reagan message. It rang of optimism, and we longed to hear it….

If you have had your fill of this sunny optimism and the vision of America as a city on a hill that the eyes of the world are upon, then now let’s turn an alternate version. This dismissal comes from someone familiar with the concept of American exceptionalism and who strongly opposes it. It was written shortly after then President Obama had delivered an address to the American people in the tradition of American presidents up until our current one touting America’s place in the world and in human history.

Here is what Vladimir Putin said in an op-ed piece printed in the New York Times on September 12, 2013 following Obama’s address:

I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation….We are all different, but when we ask for Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

“Amen,” says American President Donald Trump. When Putin and Russia are accused of evil deeds, Trump is the first to say we have done bad things, too. He never exclaims on American exceptionalism or its role in history except to denigrate it.

Donald Trump does not share with Barack Obama a belief in American exceptionalism.

Donald Trump does not share with Ronald Reagan a belief that we are a city on a hill that the eyes of the world are upon.

Donald Trump does not share with Abraham Lincoln a belief that we are the last best hope of humanity.

Donald Trump does not believe in the American Dream.

When Donald Trump campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections, he will espouse the vision of Vladimir Putin and not that of Ronald Reagan. And he will do so to cheering Republicans. Who would have predicted a generation after the Iron Curtain fell, that Republicans would have abandoned the sunny optimism of Reagan for the dismal deception of Putin’s Trump?