The American Character: Lack of Faith in Process?


The linked article about Jared Kushner and covert Russian backchannels precisely sums up, in my opinion, the dangerous territory Americans are negotiating with the manner in which they are mishandling their reaction to Donald Trump as President.

Americans are giving themselves permission to ignore political and bureaucratic conventions, in order to give free rein to their personal feelings, whether pro- or anti-Trump or pro- or anti-Washington.

Sometimes, a breath of fresh air, a calculated disregard for ‘tradition,’ can bring a needed sense of reform to ossified procedures. But sometimes, process exists for a reason. It expedites, it protects, it allows for caution, where a rulebook or playbook does not formally exist.

Clearly, there is a large body of opinion in the US which has become uncomfortable with what it regards as a national and international elite. They want change. And there are pathways to change. But that should not include shoving aside other countries’ elected leaders or leaking their intelligence.

Clearly, there is a large body of opinion that feels that Donald Trump is not only unqualified to be US President, but that he is abhorrent as an individual, and that his actions and behavior require that he be removed as President.

Again, pathways and processes exist to achieve the latter. And they should properly be followed. But the answer is not to engage in a bureaucratic civil war. Where, for reasons I am still not able fully to fathom, those with the authority choose not to pull the trigger on those processes. But rather pull their punches. And instead, resort to subterfuge, leaking and backstabbing, in order to undermine a President they simply do not like.

In both instances, ordinary Americans, you and I, connive in this backroom war of destabilization, by demonstrating what is currently proving to be the worst aspects of our national character, and cheering on the misbehavior from the sidelines.

If all this was merely frattish misbehavior. With no consequence other than bruised feelings. I wouldn’t mind. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this destabilization is causing a breakdown in international relations, and an increasing logjam in Washington itself.

Ok. So, how does the attached article underline all of this?

1) What precisely is wrong with Jared Kushner speaking with officials of a foreign country during a Presidential campaign, and then during a Presidential transition? Backchannels to Russia have existed since the days of Henry Kissinger. On a day when we note the passing of Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, aren’t we being a tad hypocritical?

2) If there is something wrong, why are ‘officials’ not coming out and telling us? If the reasons are subject to an ongoing investigation, then so too should be the information itself. You can’t have it both ways.

3) I believe there is a hugely damaging story behind the Trump-Russia connection. I have written about it. I believe that all parties knew of the damaging connection. And did nothing. For their own political reasons.

All of those parties should now man up. Either accept there was wrongdoing across the board, and let the chips fall where they fall. So as to exorcise the cancer from the American body politic. Or drop it, altogether. But this backroom, sniveling, sneaky, hint-dropping. Serves only to undermine that body politic further.

What does this mean exactly, Geoff? This article doesn’t clarify. It merely attempts to smear by association. It actually qualifies itself by stating that there is no certainty Kushner did anything wrong. Then why run it? To try to undermine Kushner and Trump. Why? Because no-one has the balls to come out and utter the word ‘Rosneft.’ This is underhand cowardice. And it is dangerous.

4) What is more. Once again. Current and former government officials are quoted without attribution. This is all backroom and underhand. But ok. Officials go off-the-record the whole time. But they shouldn’t, not when it involves leaking matters of national security. And yes. We are back there again.

5) It’s easy to miss. Because we’re more interested in the juice. But we have here a story, which is a non-story. Which attempts to undermine the credibility of Trump and Kushner. But actually undermines the credibility of the mainstream media, precisely because it is a non-story. Without proffered proof or substance. Where there may well be no wrongdoing. Where there is an investigation underway. A story which is proffered simply because the mainstream media in question do not like Trump or Kushner. And have decided to use their editorial, not their opinion pages, to demonstrate their dislike of Trump and Kushner.

6) More than this, the mainstream media have taken the bait proffered, in order to improve their ratings, and have run information which should properly be considered an issue of national security. Namely, the fact that the information about Kushner was obtained from intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador and Moscow. This is irresponsible and potentially harmful.

And so the dangerous pantomime continues. I may be the only person in the world to see the danger. But this childish backroom civil war, playing out in the press, and with the connivance of the American psyche, is undermining government in this country, is damaging international relations, and is setting troubling precedents for future bureaucratic and political behavior.

There is an investigation. Let it do its work without collateral damage. Let that investigation expose the real story. And in the meantime, why don’t the rest of us demonstrate greater faith in the system, its processes – and ourselves?

Published in: on June 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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