Seth Abramson would be a far better Secretary of State than Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo and Antony Blinken all combined. And please don't get me started again on Henry Kissinger, nor on State Department catastrophes Alexander Haig and John Foster Dulles.
Progressive attorney and columnist Abramson is a professor and the author of Proof of Collusion, laying out the case showing how Russia helped Trump steal the 2016 election, followed by Proof of Conspiracy and Proof of Corruption, the three taken together, a powerful indictment of the worst U.S. presidency-- by far-- since those of one-termers John Tyler, James Polk, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan leading up to the Civil War (and Andrew Johnson following it). History may well judge Trump worse than any of them, especially if historians read Abramson's trilogy carefully. Watch his short interview with Bill Maher above.
On Thursday, Abramson published a piece, The Ten Hardest Truths About the War in Europe, contending that Putin's attack on Ukraine is "a terrifying new stage in the war against the West that Putin has been waging for twenty years, and that he’s been winning for at least half that time in part because many in the West remain unaware they’re at war."
"Academics," he wrote, "can debate whether our current period is in the umbra of the same Cold War that dominated the last century, or a new one; whether we’re on the doorstep of World War III, or are already in it; whether the conditions on the ground in Europe today are most reflective of the eve of World War I or World War II; but what no one can deny is that what is happening in Ukraine is not merely a 'news story' or even a spate of well-televised war crimes but a fundamental shifting of our age toward chaos... Putin is a former KGB agent and current murderous autocrat who is almost certain to be a dictator over Russia until his death; he has repeatedly said that the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century was the 1991 fall of the Communist Soviet Union; he seeks to reconstitute the land area of the Soviet Union by whatever means necessary and over however long a period of time is required, though he understands that this cannot be accomplished without the dissolution or destruction of NATO and possibly both the European Union and the United States; the post-Soviet government in Russia, including (indeed perhaps especially) Putin’s KGB, began searching for ways to collapse American democracy through asymmetrical warfare from the moment the Soviet Union passed into history; and some significant portion of the current domestic political strife in the United States has been deliberately provoked by the Kremlin and its agents through acts of subterfuge, espionage, propaganda, and hacking that properly answer to the name war."
Didn't Putin get lucky when intellectual feather-weight, money-obsessed, ethics-and-morality-free narcissist Donald J. Trump waddled into his world! Putting Trump into the Oval Office was the most successful foreign policy initiative in Russian history and one of the most awe-inspiring coups ever achieved. On Wednesday "a former high-ranking official in the Donald Trump administration, Miles Taylor, said that the current Trumpist-Putinist Republican Party is far and away the greatest national security threat America has faced in his lifetime," wrote Abramson. "That he is correct is confirmed not just by the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trumpist irregulars or the fact that former president Trump-- to please Putin and ensure his own future business opportunities in Russia-- put every U.S. alliance and interest lying beyond our shores at risk, but the fact that America is now in a global conflict (call it the Cold War, World War III, or Second Cold War, as you like) at a time when Trump and Trumpism have deliberately put our body politic at a point of permanent fracture. That most Americans still do not understand what Putin is trying to do and the cost that will be exacted upon the United States as he seeks to do it means that the coming months and perhaps years will be the darkest and most fraught in a century."
He contends that "because Putin has now advanced from waging a 'hot' cyberwar on America’s sacred electoral infrastructure to waging a hot conventional war on the European continent, everything is now in play that was previously only a harrowing specter" in his three books. "Putin has already threatened the world with nuclear war; facing the most comprehensive sanctions ever leveled against a major global power, he has categorized those sanctions as themselves an act of war (thus, at least theoretically, permitting an immediate military response from Russia); there are already significant signs that the war in Europe will destabilize Earth’s international economy for the foreseeable future; the war has also shifted global alliances in such an extraordinary fashion and to such a dramatic degree that America’s supposed allies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will not speak to the President of the United States, and the United States has now sent emissaries to negotiate with our long-time enemies in Venezuela. Gas prices just hit a historic high and show no signs of coming down rather than going up. Thousands of civilians are now being killed in Ukraine because they lack air cover, and yet the United States has just declared that it has no appetite for aiding Ukraine in rebuilding its air force via MiG-29s from Poland."
In short, we’re in the earliest days of a sequence of global events whose end none can know but whose present is a darkness deeper than anyone younger than 85 has known. By and large, American media has so far done yeoman’s work covering the fighting in Europe. While certain news articles published in the United States have endangered the Ukrainian resistance by giving explicit descriptions of its defensive operations and placement, the fact that so many leading American journalists are now embedded in Ukrainian cities has given those of us who care about the indiscriminate killing of women and children-- which at this point appears to be approximately half our nation at most-- an unmistakable sense that the System of the World is unraveling. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who his aides say has survived more than a dozen assassination attempts in just the last two weeks, may be speaking first and foremost on behalf of the nation he leads when he says the Ukrainians are now fighting for the preservation of Western democracy-- and against the global march of autocracy that our own president, Joe Biden, has so often spoken of-- but his personal investment in this framing does not make the claim incorrect. While the NATO alliance has refused (and will continue to refuse) to deploy its forces into Europe’s current theater of war, this strategic decision in no way obviates the reality that right now the Ukrainians are indeed the world’s foremost proxies for capital-“d” Democracy.
In the coming weeks and months, Americans will be repeatedly confronted with the question of how much we’re willing to sacrifice to preserve our nation and preserve the very notion of democracy on the global stage. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic we learned that at least half of America is unwilling to have its daily routine at all disturbed by a global or even domestic tragedy; there’s no reason to expect we’ll answer the call of history any more honorably now that it’s a political principle and the integrity of American democracy at stake rather than hundreds of millions of lives.
Of course, the impact of what’s happening now in Europe will fall upon the shoulders of hundreds of millions soon enough. Already we’re learning that the war in Ukraine is launching a refugee crisis the likes of which the West hasn’t seen since World War II, with the near certainty that at least 5 million Ukrainians will ultimately cross a national border to flee the war crimes Putin is presently inflicting on their homeland. But beyond this ever-expanding refugee crisis, and the morally intolerable civilian deaths in cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv and Mariupol, lies the fact that many millions in European democracies like Finland and Latvia and Estonia and Lithuania now feel under military threat from Russian aggression, as will those in Romania and Poland if (or more likely when) Ukraine is annexed in its totality by Russia. The economic and geopolitical effects of having the world’s largest country by land area-- and its second-largest military--become a “pariah state” encompass the lives of hundreds of millions more than the tragedy in Ukraine has already affected. And that’s only in the medium term.
This essay seeks to speak candidly about this medium-range outlook, and to do so in terms that American media has so far eschewed-- in part because it is habitually and temperamentally “present-oriented,” and in part because it has missed the fact, as have most Americans, that our country is, sadly, already implicitly at war with Russia.
While this may seem an inauspiciously hot-headed and alarmist start to what intends to be a sober essay on the very geopolitics that I wrote three national bestsellers about over the last forty months, understand that with the advent of the internet and the establishment of a global economy there was never a chance that World War III would look like World War II or World War I. The war we are in now is very much a twenty-first-century war, which doesn’t mean that there are no conventional components to it-- as the Ukrainians are learning right now, with devastating consequences-- but that if we fail to appreciate the unconventional components of international warfare in this century we are dooming ourselves to defeat at the very moment that the inchoate and unconventional aggressions of our enemies have become conventional and dire.
Abramson then offers ten truths that American media and American voters need to come to terms with immediately:
America is now in a world war.
If Donald Trump again becomes president in January 2025, America will lose the war we are currently in with Russia and our democracy may collapse.
All this is complicated by the fact that what we’re witnessing is the start of the second genocide in Europe (cf. Bosnia) since the Holocaust.
No one in the U.S. government, NATO, or the European Union believes Ukraine can win this war.
The fact that Russia can stay in Ukraine long-term-- and can weather sanctions long-term-- underscores a key indicator that we are in a world war: global alliances are already shifting dramatically in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
The costs of the current world war may well be more than Americans are willing to bear-- and if a majority of Americans come to wrongly believe that it’s President Biden rather than Vladimir Putin and his allies (very much including Donald Trump) who’ve brought the world to its current pass, they’ll punish the Democrats and reward the Republicans. Yet doing so would play into Putin’s hands.
Putin has no exit strategy.
The Biden administration is in denial about much of this-- either deliberately or negligently.
Yes, America’s “culture war”-- launched by Republicans as a cynical rhetorical exercise in the 1990s, but ultimately reified as a discrete, personally and politically profitable phenomenon-- is relevant to the ongoing war in Europe.
Everything now happening is only the beginning.
Interested? You owe to yourself to read how Abramson elucidates every one of these ten points. Right here. Abramson has certainly earned the clicks.