Nations require intelligence to see their way through the dark alleys of international relations. For that reason, and above all in the modern era, they build up intelligence services to maintain up-to-the-moment awareness of initiatives and tendencies in states that can bear on their interests.
Ultimately, however, the intelligence of the head of state must marry the intelligence provided by his lieutenants in order to act prudently in the world. But act he must, with or without intelligence. The measure of prudence will be far more difficult to attain without reliable intelligence. And the magnitude of the difficulty increases exponentially when the nation so afflicted is a giant among nations, the most powerful of all.
The effect of the soft coup attempt by U.S. intelligence officers has been to leave President Trump blinded in the world.
Why should anyone be surprised when the president displays lack of confidence in agencies that have demonstrated the most vigorous and calculated attempts to destroy him and thwart his attempts to govern? The entire possibility of success for the soft coup attempt depends upon blinding him. The deliberate timing of the announcement of the latest Mueller indictments served only to confirm the propriety of President Trump’s diffidence.
But where does that leave the president, and more importantly, the United States? Here we begin to unpack the measure of Trump’s judgment.
Aware as he is of his plight, yet still facing the necessity to act in the world, he has adopted the only stratagem available to him in the face of the united counterweight of intelligence operations throughout the West. He can depend implicitly only upon Israeli intelligence and, strategically, on Russian intelligence. While it is a dangerous predicament in which to find oneself, there is sufficient counterbalance between the two to inspire modest confidence that the president will be able to navigate his way toward a clear path.
Until U.S. intelligence zealots have been brought to heel and subjected to control by the executive, there will be no other choice.
That, in turn, describes an urgent task for Congress.
Congress is the body responsible for restoring the order that has been destroyed by the misdeeds of the Obama Administration. It is simply disgraceful that congressional pariahs, failing to recognize their responsibility, posture and bluster about the president’s supposed failures without attending to the reality that his options for defending the country will be diminishingly slim while the soft coup attempt continues.
The hour is long past when what matters is the question of loyalty or disloyalty to the president. The question of the hour is who will defend the United States, consistently with its constitutional order? At the moment, the president seems to be the only one attempting to do so.
A blind giant may stumble through the world, but it will not move without consequences for itself and others.