‘Collusion’ vs. Collusion

Historians will dissect the origins and spread of the mass hysteria of Russian “collusion.”

The farce infected the media. It discredited the Democratic Party. And it warped the popular culture between 2015 and 2020.

“Collusion” destroyed what was left of respect for the Washington FBI, the CIA, and the liberal news media. When 50 former “intelligence” officers can attest, right before the election, that the Hunter Biden scandal emails are likely Russian disinformation designed to help Trump, then there is nothing much left of the reputation of our once best and brightest.

There are many theories of the origins of “collusion.” Some believe that Hillary Clinton, and her firewalls of the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and Fusion GPS that hired Christopher Steele, simply sought a cover counter-narrative to hide her own illegally transmitted and received State Department emails and spin-off scandals.

At the time “collusion” took off, Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton were on the tarmac in Phoenix, sexual deviate Anthony Weiner’s wife was emailing with Hillary Clinton, and copies ended up on Anthony’s lurid laptop. The hacked DNC computers and all proof of supposed Russian “collusion” culprits had been mysteriously turned over by the FBI to the Clinton-friendly firm, Crowdstrike, for recovery of lost files.

There were other catalysts for the “collusion” mythology. By 2015, Democrats were embarrassed their Russian “reset” love fest had blown up in its face. Finger-wagging about human rights to a thug like Vladimir Putin—while being terrified of selling offensive weapons to beleaguered Ukraine—was a “talk-loudly-while-carrying-a-twig” prescription for disastrous humiliation.

The left-wing architects of reset, in their arrogance, went from “We can push the weak-hand of Putin” to “Putin is an omnipotent monster” in less than a year. In 2012, they acted as if they were Alger Hiss. By 2016 they were in full Joe McCarthy-mode, hunting for a Russian under every bed.

Putin, in his Mafioso-style thinking, had kept his part of the reset bargain. He had stayed inert in 2011, as promised in Seoul, South Korea, to aid Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. And in collusionary return, as also promised, Putin got missile defense in Eastern Europe scrapped and, as a bonus, a free hand in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Collusion Delusion

“Collusion” then had allowed befuddled Russian appeasers and naïfs to cover up, and recalibrate themselves as our new version of Cold War hawks. It was as if a supposedly geriatric, and anemic Russia suddenly had transmogrified back into the huge, and global-menacing Soviet Union—or as if the resetters’ own ridiculous placation could be erased by uncovering someone else’s sinister mollification.

But the chief catalyst for the “collusion” hoax was always hatred of the campaign, and then the election, of Donald Trump.

“Collusion” was, as the debased FBI agent Peter Strzok had texted, the “insurance policy” of the administrative state to keep the “smelly,” the “ugly folk,” and “dregs” where they belonged—far, far from power. The cartoonish Steele dossier was reinvented by a corrupt media to be some kind of George Kennan-like policy paper to destroy the Trump campaign, his transition, and his presidency.

“Collusion” took off because so many of those directly involved in its illegality—Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Hillary Clinton—pushed the “collusion” lie, in roles of respected senior “wise men and women” with “security clearances” who knew “what was really going on.”

They were the tired guests and paid analysts on TV predicting “bombshells” and declaring that the “walls are closing in” and announcing “game-changers.” When one dud fizzled out, they went right on to the next empty bomb. They became best-selling apologist authors, Twitter addicts, network morning show habitues, Facebook junkies, and darlings of the celebrity culture. And they were all chronic dissimulators as well. Once one pronounced Donald Trump “illegitimate,” “dangerous,” and “crazy,” then any means necessary were justified to achieve the noble ends of destroying him and what he represented.

“Collusion” spiked CNN and MSNBC’s ratings. It created groupthink safe zones as discredited ossified relics of the past, from Carl Bernstein and John Dean to Dan Rather and Ron Reagan, Jr. were briefly resuscitated on air to offer “historic perspectives.”

But the distractions of “collusion” did hurt Donald Trump, the sum of all their hatreds. “Collusion” was behind the dishonest and embarrassing witch hunt of Robert Mueller’s 22-month $35 million investigation. It was the subtext of a fraudulent impeachment: the supposedly corrupt Trump was too hard on the anti-Russian and supposedly noble Ukrainians. The latter, we now know, were in corrupt liaisons with Biden, Inc. and yet would be the recipients from Trump of sophisticated weaponry banned to them by their left-wing Obama champions. Go figure.

The “collusion” fraud tore the country apart. It destroyed the reputations of James Comey, Robert Mueller, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, network news, and what had been left of the little repute of Brennan, Clapper, McCabe, and Andrew Weissmann.

But again it did achieve its intended effect. For 22 months, it paralyzed the Trump Administration. “Collusion” suppressed coverage of the dramatic gains in the U.S. economy, and suffocated news of historic recalibrations in foreign policy. It baffled foreign leaders who were assured by back-channel, deep-state apparatchiks that Trump would be gone soon.

The “collusion” effort, its proven dishonesty, and its complete failure to remove Donald Trump, did not lead to a hiatus. Much less, after “collusion failed, was there any uneasy peace. Nor was there an embarrassed silence at least to wait until 2020 to re-adjudicate the election of 2016.

No, the abject failure of “collusion’s” outlandish premises, and the impunity given those who destroyed so many lives and hurt the country, only whetted the appetite of the “Resistance.” The slow-motion coup aficionados promised to do better in the next round.

Remember, those who lied under oath, abused government power, broke the law, and unmasked and leaked classified information, to this day, have never been held to account. Nor have the journalists who spread these untruths and demonized any who refuted them. And so with that exemption, the Left pressed on to impeachment and, eventually, remaking the very system of how we voted in 2020.

They destroyed for good the old idea of a presidential “honeymoon,” of bipartisanship itself. From now on, there is not even a low bar for impeachment. There will be no hesitation in appointing a special counsel to investigate a newly inaugurated president, no reluctance to undermine U.S. foreign policy through domestic personal destruction politics.

If the peddlers of collusion never stopped for a second to reflect that they had initially and dangerously sought to appease Putin, they were now even more dangerously seeking to incite Putin’s Russia—still the possessor of 7,500 nuclear weapons, and the valuable traditional triangulating foil to check Chinese expansionism.

The Real McCoy

Oddest of all in this fixation on Russia, there was a real, far more dangerous collusion that was burrowed deep within the U.S. administrative state, the Democratic Party, corporate boardrooms, Big Tech, professional sports and entertainment, and the media.

If, save for its rusting nuclear arsenal, Russia was shrinking, poor, and spent, not so was China. It was rich, huge, and ruthlessly hellbent on global hegemony—if not by bribery and corruption, then by naked commercial and military force.

If there is a NATO along a much weaker Russia’s borders, until Trump there was nothing much to protect Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan from China.

Russia Today is a clumsy Cold War holdover propaganda outlet. But the Chinese dissemination Borg is huge. It is sophisticated and it is subtle. Beijing, far better than Russia, understands how to unravel a new America, unhinged and obsessed with race, victimization, and “privilege.”

Hollywood has had a field day with casting big-screen, shaved-headed, Orthodox tattooed, Russian mafia killers and brutes as the evil enemies of all noble minority and feminist film heroes. Yet at the same time, progressive studio heads and producers were reassuring the 1.4 billion people in the Chinese market that they would cull darker-skinned minority American actors so as not to offend the innate racism of the Chinese movie-goer. No one said a word about the paradox.

Is suspicion of Chinese collusion paranoia?

Think for a minute.

What country could put 1 million religious dissidents in a gulag archipelago, destroy the semi-independence of Hong Kong, threaten any of its dissident neighbors with commercial destruction, embark on the largest imperialist and colonialist project in two centuries throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe, obliterate the culture of Tibet, militarize, with man-made atolls, the South China Sea, systematize internal surveillance known heretofore only in the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four, nonchalantly practice institutional racism, and infect the planet with a novel virus—and receive almost no official criticism from the United Nations and the governments of the European Union and the United States?

To answer that question, ask what a diverse group of movers and shakers such as Michael Bloomberg, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the elite universities of the United States, the family of Joe Biden, Lebron James, and Colin Kaepernick all have in common?

Easy. A presidential primary candidate assures us that China is not an authoritarian country as he pours billions into jump-starting Chinese companies.

The erstwhile head of the U.S. Senate’s intelligence committee has had a Chinese spy as her chauffeur for 20 years and a spouse who has millions in joint-Chinese ventures.

A congressman on the House Intelligence Committee was deeply compromised by an attractive young Chinese spy—a fact kept silent for years.

The Department of Education complains that our best universities have failed, again for years, to report tens of millions of dollars in “gifts” from Chinese government-affiliated companies.

Hunter Biden and his familial clique received millions of dollars in Chinese investment monies for no reason other than the “big guy” Joe Biden was or had been vice president.

Our sports icons simultaneously trashed American democracy while keeping mum about Chinese racist dictatorship, the source of their millions in endorsements and franchising.

Remember just those few examples and one realizes that something is gone haywire with those at the very heart of America’s power and cultural influence.

And the most depressing fact of all? Even if we had investigative reporters and crusading congressional representatives, or past administrations before 2016 interested in real collusion, then what could they really have done?

Émile Zola faced less institutional resistance.

How many Wall Street grandees, how many media moguls, how many ex-politicians and bureaucrats (now “consultants” and “analysts”), and how many retired esteemed generals would journalists have had to reexamine to adjudicate whether their public views and corporate policies were warped by Chinese profiteering?

One can lie about “collusion” with impunity. But to speak the truth about collusion is to be smeared as “xenophobic,” “racist,” and “nativist.”

China has piggybacked on the entire diversity/identity politics domestic cancel culture. Accuse a corrupt, clueless but otherwise innocent Russian of “collusion,” and he may well be indicted by Robert Mueller. Accuse a university professor of Chinese military links or espionage, and you are a veritable 19th-century racist raving about the “yellow peril.”

Our elite simplistically conflates the Russian nationalist dictator and kleptocrat Vladimir Putin with the criminal past of the now-defunct Stalinist Soviet Union that killed 20 million of its own. Yet in creepy fashion, it still remains indifferent that Chinese President Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, heads a government apparatus that is the direct and unbroken successor to Mao Zedong’s Communist killing machine that wiped out over 50 millions of its own people.

Thank God for world peace that COVID-19 did not originate in St. Petersburg or Vladivostok instead of Wuhan.

Given the present U.S. “collusion” hysteria of the anti-Trump Left, had a Russian city been the source of the origin and transmission of the virus, had SARS-CoV-2 been connected to research and experimentation within a Level-4 Russian virology lab, and had the Russians lied about these facts, and, either through laxity or deliberation, allowed the virus to infect the world, kill over 1.5 million, and destroy the global economy, then we would have been on the brink of war.

And all for the sake of “collusion.”

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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