Opening Pandora’s Box

Αssociated press

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Readers will remember Pandora.  When Prometheus stole fire from heaven and gave it to Man, Zeus took vengeance on Man by sending a temptress, Pandora, to Prometheus’ brother. She opened a box left in his care containing all evils, which were then released into the world.  Granted the image of Trump as temptress strains the imagination, but we should not ignore the Evangelical preachers who believe God sent Trump, a man possessed of evil, to do His work on Earth.

In this case, Trump has released an unpardonable evil into American democracy; he has legitimized direct interference by foreign countries in the American political process. Although his diehard minions and apologists abjure us to ignore false prophets and accept only that our Leader can do no wrong and even if he can, he cannot be held accountable for it, I recommend you do “think about It” for a moment. To give him his due, our Leader has articulated on numerous public occasions that he would accept assistance from foreign powers that would help him win the next election. Despite bipartisan (yes that means Republicans as well) congressional agreement that the Russian Federation injected itself into our electoral process, informed by volumes of evidence collected not just by American but by allied intelligence and security agencies as well, our Leader exonerated the Russians. He simply asked Putin if he did it and when Putin said he did not, Trump announced vindication. Were it not so threatening to our democracy, it would have been laughable – appropriate to a badly done skit on Saturday Night Live. In the process he has undermined public confidence in the hard-working and patriotic members of our intelligence and diplomatic services and he did so simply because he cannot abide the fact that he was elected by a minority of voters.

Despite the fact that his adulators believe him incapable of error, on a level akin to that of our Lord and Savior (according to at least one Evangelical preacher), Trump has committed an unforced error of monumental proportions. The unforced error of his telephone call with the Ukrainian President, which sent even his most obsequious courtiers running for the hills, pales by comparison. The President of the United States and his supporters have (to repeat myself) legitimized calling on foreign countries to undermine American democracy. But our Leader does not seem to realize that interference cuts both ways. Should Trump survive impeachment, American politicians will be at the mercy of foreign regimes, not all of which support Trump.

Imagine for a moment, that Poland, a country that deeply fears the Russians and would prefer a more bellicose and warlike stance by the United States decides to blackmail Trump into policies more to its linking. The current Polish Government has greatly eroded the rule of law and has greatly eroded and politicized the judiciary and the rest of its legal system. Poland, hypothetically could initiate an investigation into the business dealings of Jared and Ivanka, or more easily into the activities of his idiot son Donald, Jr. and create a case of far-reaching corruption. The Polish Government has the capacity to manufacture evidence through a Party-controlled legal system. The Poles could construct a chain of evidence that they alone can control and verify.  Secret arrest warrants could be prepared for the Trump offspring. Then, a couple of months before the elections, the Polish President meets Trump in the Oval Office and confidentially shows him the arrest warrants. Deciding that what is sauce for the goose (i.e., Ukraine), etc., he “asks a favor” to quash them. Poland, a fiercely conservative Roman Catholic country that bans abortion and gives gays and other ‘perverts; short shrift, has great credibility among Trump supporters. If the favor is doable, does Trump do it? Given the far-flung nature of the Trump family business activities, half or more of the countries of the world are now in a position to blackmail our President. How can Trump complain? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Or, let us consider the hacking of American electoral systems. As noted, our homegrown imitation of Benito Mussolini has not only hindered efforts to hold the Russians accountable, but, has allowed his ally ‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell, to delay funds to help the States to deal with hacking of electoral systems. Tomorrow, the efficient Russian intelligence service, benefitting from Trump’s efforts to destroy public confidence in American intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities, hack personal emails of the family or of the President himself.  Putin need not reveal it; he simply asks Trump to recognize Russian occupation of Crimea.  If Trump can upend fixed American policy of seventy years by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to help his erstwhile buddy Netanyahu, what hinders him from upending a policy initiated by his favorite boogeyman, Barrack Obama?

Once foreign interference is established as an accepted principle, American politicians of all stripes and ideologies will find themselves vulnerable to blackmail and worse. Without exaggeration, should the Republicans fail to set aside their cowardice and vote to remove him from office, history will judge them complicit in undermining our democratic system.

Before we close let us settle one related issue. If Trump and Giuliani had any evidence whatsoever that Hunter Biden had engaged in corrupt activities, they could have referred the matter to the Justice Department for investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). That they did not, despite the fact that Trump’s other personal attorney runs the DOJ, proves that they had no case and have resorted to the folly of extorting an ally into doing the dirty deed for them.