(Originally appearing at whowhatwhy.org)
With every news cycle we eagerly gobble down the "feel good" pieces by "expert" tea-leaf readers predicting the coming comeuppance for Trump and his cadre. These experts posit the risks the Trump forces face, delight in the prospects, and offer hope that the end of our long national nightmare is at hand.
Of course, no one actually knows, but that doesn't matter. We are now so exhausted, so worried, so desperate for relief, we consume these pieces as though they were penned by Nostradamus himself.
The trouble is the more we learn, the less we seem to understand what's actually afoot. In fact things are more likely to go the other way, and in big way.
Let's, in the name of balance, consider the worst-case scenario of what might happen after special counsel Robert Mueller announces the final results of his investigation.
Trumpism has to be seen in the larger picture as it coincides with a worldwide move to the far-right: here, in Western Europe, in the Middle East, in Eurasia, and in the Middle East. Those hoping that Mueller will slay this dragon are kidding themselves. He might even energize it.
There are two separate but interrelated things here: Putin sowing discord, confusion, and dissatisfaction within Western democracies -- and Trump's determination to win at any cost.
Clearly, Putin has already succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, disrupting democratic institutions and politics, here and abroad. His skillful, if dastardly, use of the internet and social media has inflamed long-simmering fringe issues into full blown movements.
Race, ethnicity, class, religion have all been weaponized by Russia, and effectively so.
What Putin has done is to pry open the West's Pandora's box of self-contradictions, whereby majority rule can be mobilized to end the reign of liberal democracy itself.
By bootstrapping on international crises, such as uncontrolled mass immigration, Putin has injected fear of "the other" and a thirst for order -- the kind of order that can only be provided by authoritarian regimes.
Here in the US, Putin's machinations have found particularly fertile ground. A failed national educational system has produced at least three generations weak in critical-thinking skills but strong on feelings of entitlement. Fundamentalist Christianity gladly (and profitably) rushed in to fill the knowledge void, creating tens of millions of anti-science, anti-intellectual followers, easily manipulated and eager to spread malign propaganda that reinforces their own apocalyptic beliefs.
And it's no accident that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Russia found common cause as well. The NRA's decades-long fight against any and all regulation or control of firearms created a country in which the number of guns in private hands now outnumbers the total population of the country. So, what better place for Putin to stir up the gun-loving far right, a readymade armed militia able to turn large parts of the US into sectarian conflict zones?
Michael Scheuer, who favors "elimination" of Trump's enemies, is a frequent guest on Trump-backed radio show.