With his outrageous response to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq, Donald Trump has demonstrated once again that he is one of the nastiest and most narcissistic horse's ass in the known universe. His penchant for saying the perfectly offensive thing, on cue, does make one wonder if he hasn't been put up to this whole thing by his friends, the Clintons, to split the Republicans and ensure Hillary's victory. Then again, as a New Yorker familiar with his bloviated personality, I'm fairly certain his journey into historical ignominy is self-propelled.
But, like the proverbial clock, Donald's unstoppable tongue is right twice a month or so. And egged on by the Clinton campaign, a lot of people are reinforcing various packs of dangerous lies in order to up the ante in trashing Trump. None of these is worse than the warmongering narrative about Russia and Ukraine that's been reinforced by the bipartisan liberal-conservative commentariat after Trump's recent interview with George Stephanopoulos. ThinkProgress, run by Hillary's campaign manager John Podesta, put up a story by Aaron Rupar on this that is being passed around the internet, with the title, " Trump Appears To Be Ignorant Of A Major International Conflict ." Translation: "Trump Goes Off-Script On Ukraine. Must Be Punished."
In this interview, Trump is, as usual, only semi-coherent. But the positions he seems to be taking, and being ridiculed for, are better than the positions of the Democrats, the Obama administration, Hillary, and ThinkProgress.
For example, Stephanopoulos challenges Trump in a "How Could You!?" tone about the GOP removing from its platform a call for the U.S. to arm Ukraine "to defend themselves" from, implicitly, Russia. Trump, however, is right when he answers that Russia is not going to invade Ukraine, saying: "He [Putin]'s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down." In fact, the Obama administration may be disappointed about that, since it did its best to provoke a Russian incursion into Ukraine, in order to justify more overt and massive American military intervention -- exactly what the GOP platform revision rejects. Whether Trump or the GOP will actually live up to this is another story, but good for them for taking this position. That Hillary and her surrogates respond by doubling down on her warmongering position only confirms that the Democrats have enthusiastically embraced their role as the war party.
When Stephanopoulos then says, switching from the threat of invasion to something more ambiguous, "he [Putin]'s already there, isn't he?," Trump again responds correctly: "Okay -- well, he's there in a certain way. But I'm not there. You have Obama there." The Obama administration has certainly intervened heavily in Ukraine, in ways that are enormously disruptive. With Hillary's favorite State Department neocon and possible next Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, in the lead, the Obama administration fomented the overthrow of a democratically-elected government with an insurrection powered by fascist groups. And by "democratically-elected," I mean chosen in an election that European and NATO observers called "a good and competitive election and very promising for the future of Ukraine's democracy"; and by "fascist," I mean not "neo-" but outright Hitler-loving fascists. The Obama administration thus helped bring explicit fascists into power in a European country for the first time since WWII. Those are the people the Democrats want to arm, not to "defend themselves" against Russia, but to wage more effective war against their fellow citizens in the Eastern half of the country, citizens whom those fascist consider "beetles." ThinkProgress acknowledges this when it talks about the GOP platform "removing references to arming Ukraine in its ongoing fight against pro-Russia rebels." So it's a question of arming a government of fascists and oligarchs in a civil war against its own rebellious citizens. Do you think that's a good idea for America policy? Is Donald Trump being "ignorant" to question it?
The current rebellion by eastern Ukrainians was not the result of Russian intervention, but of an offensive by fascist groups against Ukrainian citizens who dared to protest against the coup that deposed the president they had voted for. The worst of these incidents was the massacre in Odessa, where fascists forced protestors into a building and then burned it down, and roasting people alive inside. At least 38 people were killed. Eight were lucky enough to escape the fire by jumping out of the building; they were promptly set upon and beaten to death by thugs of the fascist group, Right Sector.
Didn't know about this? Perhaps because, as Russian expert Stephen F. Cohen says, the American media "basically rewrites whatever the Kiev authorities say." Cohen, a Professor Emeritus of Princeton and NYU, has been one of the only establishment-recognized authorities trying to challenge the ridiculous and dangerous American narrative about Russia. In a segment (video here ) on CNN, he tried to introduce some sanity into the discussion of Trump and Russia. I've written a couple of detailed analyses of what transpired in Ukraine in 2014 ( here and here ), and I'm confident in saying, with Stephen Cohen, that it's the dominant political and media narrative, promulgated by outlets like ThinkProgress, that keeps Americans ignorant about a major international conflict.