There was once a time when Washington needed spies with the power to operate clandestinely in a free society. Soviet Communism was an evil ideology that spread its error by revolutionary movements through what was then called “the domino theory.”
Sometime in the early 1990s, though, Russia ceased to embody an ideology and became a nation again. Alexander Solzhenitsyn moved back, and Russians stopped caring so much whether their little girl gymnasts got perfect 10s on the balance beam.
That left an entire apparatus in the West built to fend off Russian intrigue. None of it was dismantled. Instead, intrusive devices meant to prevent World War III wound up in the hands of EU bureaucrats and wannabee sophisticates of the American spy ranks.
Together, they set out to invent Russian intrigue of the sort that let them use their cool gadgets.
Chief among the spy assclowns was a Brit by the name of Christopher Steele. He built a big-shot life for himself by blaming Russia for stuff. It was Steele, as a member of MI6, who determined that Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning was a Russian state hit.
Nobody has seen the evidence that says Russia poisoned Litvinenko. We have to rely on Steele, and he can’t tell us how he knows Putin did it because then he’d have to kill us. But, not to worry, the venerable author of the infamous Steele dossier would never just make stuff up, right?
By such shadowy machinations, “Putin is a thug” replaced the domino theory as the raison d’etre of the lucrative Western spy apparatus.
How Putin poisoning political enemies justifies complex intelligence gathering and military bases originally designed to prevent Soviet incursions into Western Europe is not something you were supposed to ponder. A priori, “Putin is a thug” means he wants to attack France.
Some really smart people have been suckered by this circular reasoning. To take but one example, Pope John Paul II’s biographer, George Weigel, is staunchly on the side of preventing Putin’s inevitable march to Luxembourg and beyond.
It is a peculiar feature of the American plutocracy that even papal biographers become paid pundits lending religious zeal in support of military measures to stop the spread of Soviet Communism that ended on its own back in 1991.
Weigel is joined in his views by former Republican standard-bearers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, their strange bedfellows Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and all of NeverTrump. Russia-bad is something the entire Washington elite can agree upon.
Politico let the cat out of the bag back in 2015 when it reported, “the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad . . . Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.”
The great funding pipeline that makes Washington, D.C. the wealthiest region in America feeds mostly on military spending which still, nearly 30 years removed from the Cold War, requires a Russian enemy.
President Eisenhower—the furthest thing from a conspiracy theorist America has ever produced—famously warned in his farewell address to beware “the military-industrial complex.”
Unconventional candidate Donald Trump rattled Washington to its core in March 2016 when he wondered about NATO’s continued relevance and questioned America’s foreign policy in Ukraine. That’s when this “Putin’s candidate” stuff started among both Republicans and Democrats.
There is nothing illegal about paying people like George Weigel to evoke Russian enemies. His reasons for siding with the godless EU against a country that asks the Patriarch of the Church to pass on all legislation is between him and his maker.
Using Western spies to fabricate political dirt crosses a line, though. That is criminal.
As happens with any sclerotic bureaucracy whose mission is lost to circumstance—see, for example, your local post office—the former Cold War spy apparatus has grown sloppy.
It serves political ends without sufficiently hiding its nefarious intentions. Even its spy arcana has become as ill-fitting as the vintage striped shorts letter carriers wear on hot days.
Last week, Hillary Clinton stupidly accused Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein of being Russian assets. If spies are willing to deliver anything that has a 55-cent stamp, she might as well send some junk mail.
The great fun will come next. John Brennan, James Comey, James Clapper, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, and the rest thought they were kings in their world of make-believe, playing James Bond against the evil Trump.
Really, though, they were mailmen in ridiculous shorts, reliving past glories of the Sears Catalog day, while stuck hopelessly in a world of internet ordering and drone delivery.
A federal prosecutor is now asking questions. U.S. Attorney John Durham has Mifsud’s phones. This is going to get interesting, and soon.
Unless, of course, the citadel holds, and the prosecution stops short of toppling Washington’s most strongly held conceit: that the $1.2 million McMansions in McClean, Virginia are necessary to stop Putin.
Even if that happens, the people are wiser from this ridiculousness. Washington will never return to that place where heroes like Pierre Delecto save the world from pretend Russian threats.
The swamp is draining.