Last week’s Senate hearings led by the two firebrand senators in John McCain and Lindsey Graham should have sent powerful messages as the whole world nervously awaits the Trump presidency in less than two weeks.

The world has turned one full circle as the three authoritarian states of Russia, China and North Korea are making news and seriously threatening America’s supremacy as the only remaining super power. The Grand Old Party, the Party of Abraham Lincoln, has lost its “mojo” in America even though it now controls the three tiers of U.S. government, that is, the Executive, the Legislature and, most likely, the Judiciary if the Senate confirms Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

The Republican Party has lost its “mojo” because it now seems blind-sighted on Russia and whether or not it should continue to be viewed as a foe or as an ally. The scenario will become clearer as the 115th Congress is sworn in and as the 45th American President takes his oath on January 20th. It is a development few have expected to occur on November 7, 2016 just a day before the tsunami change of a Trump presidency.  

For the first time in American history since the end of the Second World War, a Russian leader – Vladimir Putin – is proving that the CIA and FBI combined may have lost their grips on intelligence gathering when compared to similar agencies across the world, such as the MI6 in Great Britain and Mossad in Israel.

The CIA and FBI are now publicly knocking heads. They no longer speak with one voice outside their iron curtain of secrecy. I give the credit for that development to nobody else but Vladimir Putin, the power behind the throne of a President Trump.

FBI Director James Comey did something that not even the powerful and notorious Edgar Hoover could have survived. He was rumored to have colluded with some elements in the Republican Party to usher in an October surprise on a major contender for the American presidency in a way that showed his divided loyalty.

Under normal conditions, Mr. Comey should have voluntarily resigned by now even though he was appointed to a 10-year statutory job as stipulated by the Constitution. But the rumors and the allegations against him were damaging enough to demand his resignation or stepping aside in the era of Richard Nixon, when a mere appearance of impropriety was enough to make heads roll.

The guy is still sitting tight, and could predictably go on to complete his full term under the Trump presidency. His resignation is nowhere in the radar as we speak because he is a registered Republican and because what he has done has paid off big time for his party, which is ready to forgive and forget and just move on. If Comey were to be a Democrat, he would not have survived for a month after his October surprise. Republicans would have insisted he has to go. It is a different ball game with the Democrats, who have to learn their lesson as we go forward. If Hillary were to lose the popular vote by 3 million votes but won the Electoral College by as a narrow a margin as Trump did, it is not at all certain that Trump would concede defeat, as he hinted in one of the presidential debated.

President-elect Donald Trump is now openly casting some doubts on some of the Intelligence briefings he is receiving from the CIA and FBI while openly telling anybody who would listen that the allegation that Moscow might have hacked American elections was nothing but a story told by an idiot full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. In Trump’s convoluted mind, hacking is just too hard to prove. That was his greatest alibi to cover up for Putin, and many Republicans are buying the pig in the poke in the name of party loyalty.

The two exceptions, I might add, are John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The two are asking Americans to put partisan politics aside and to recognize that the victim of the Russian interference is the Democratic Party today, but tomorrow it could be the Republican Party. I make that little comment as a concerned citizen and as the father of two young men serving in the U.S. Military, the greatest military the world has ever known. 

The situation I am describing is a very troubling development based on my recollections as a student of American history. I recall how Spiro Agnew and Gary Hart were both forced to quit public service and how one Thomas Eagleton lost his nomination for Vice President because somebody had correctly alleged he had suffered and had been treated for a nervous breakdown at one point in his life. I remember Richard Nixon and his Watergate scandal and I remember Bill Clinton’s impeachment travails and why their greatest crime was, for the most part, not telling the truth to the American people.

Donald Trump has lied time and again. He has blackmailed all of his opponents on his long journey to the White House but has hardly been held accountable by the media and the law all in the name of politics. The guy is now going to be sworn as the 45th President in less than two weeks from today without ever having released his tax returns, and in spite of the many lawsuits filed against him while still running for President. He has, in fact, settled a few of the cases out of Court after paying some ransom.

I do not know what to make of this observation but it is the truth. I never knew I would ever live to see a day when an American President becomes the greatest cheerleader for Russia and a rogue regime like the one in North Korea or Syria. It is simply amazing that such observations have not proved lethal enough to derail his presidential ambition or stop him from winning the Electoral College tally after losing the popular vote by close to 3 million votes. For these reasons, I call Donald Trump the quintessential Houdini of American politics.

The issue now for me is how did this development come about?  The short answer is Vladimir Putin and here are my reasons for saying so. I would conclude by saying that Putin has at least given America a black eye with the victory of Donald Trump.

Putin saw an opening in American solidarity and he took full advantage of it to level the global playing field. In order to do so, he ensured that his preferred candidate would win the American election.

America got its own Gorbachev and Russia has now produced its own Donald Trump to level the playing field. Putin took advantage of the Republican Party’s xenophobia against Barack Obama to get an opening to make Obama look weak, even when the man had to know in his guts that the first black president, a product of Columbia and Harvard, is far smarter, more eloquent and more principled than him as a world leader of substance.

The Republicans could bad-mouth Obama as much as they want, sooner or later history and posterity are going to absolve him as one of the best presidents of America without any question in my mind. I believe God has allowed Trump to win to prove a point and to clearly show the comparison between him and the man he has done so much to delegitimize and humiliate for the most part.

To cut America down to size and to punish America for the break-up of the Soviet Union is a life obsession for Putin. I repeat that Putin got a chance to pay America back when Donald Trump threw his hat to the ring as a presidential contender and when he clandestinely sought Putin’s help in his determined effort to delegitimize Obama or to cut Hillary Clinton down to size to give Trump a chance.

Putin personally directed the hacking of the Democratic Leadership Council and the leaking of some damaging information and fake news on Hillary Clinton, the last person Mr. Putin would want to see as the next American president.

Hillary has kicked his ass so many times as the U.S. Secretary of State over his military adventures in the Crimea and Ukraine and his efforts to destabilize Europe and NATO in a push to restore the past glory of the defunct Soviet Union.

That was a sin that Vladimir Putin could never forgive as a KGB operative and a Russian nationalist. He had wanted Hillary to be stopped by all means and he did. Donald Trump will take the oath on January 20, all at the pleasure of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Putin’s approval poll in Moscow is going to hit the roof as he has done something that no Russian leader in 50 years has been able to do. Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Boris Yeltsin all tried but failed because America and her allies in Europe, Canada and Australia and the tiny state of Israel would not let them.

The Soviet Union lost its 15 republics, most of which are now begging to join NATO, while Putin is seriously looking for a replacement to the defunct Warsaw Pact that could see Russia, China and North Korea joining hands in the foreseeable future to supplant America or make it that much harder for America to continue to dominate the world. That is Putin’s blueprint that Trump is hoping to derail because he says he is the smartest negotiator in the world. It still remains to be seen how he is going to do it.   

Donald Trump clearly played into Putin’s hands and the global agenda when he publicly questioned the role and the legitimacy of NATO and the UN and the role of America in the peace initiative with Iran. Trump got the tacit support of Putin when he naively argued that removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was the least of his worries in the Syrian conflict and when he promised he would bomb the hell out of ISIS if he were elected President.

Putin knows he is never going to take Israel away from America, so why not go for the many enemies of Israel in the Middle East who are looking out for the ways and means to guarantee their own security and survival. The battle lines are drawn, and Donald Trump is just too naïve not to correctly read the handwriting on the wall if push comes to shove.

Those strategic calculations did the magic for Putin who then saw a reason to invest on Trump as his best bet for President of the United States. Putin knew it would become that much harder for America to criticize him and his adventures in the Crimea and Ukraine if Trump were elected President.

He achieved his goal when he managed to throw a wedge between the CIA and the FBI and their big boss, the Attorney General, when FBI Director James Comey threw the Attorney General under the bus when he masterminded the October surprise that led to Trump winning in a few of the blue states he was supposed to lose.

President Obama could long have nipped the situation in the bud before it became an inferno but he was misled by the American media to believe there was no point rocking the boat that hard when all of the pundits and American media were projecting a landslide victory for Hillary.

In the meantime, the Rapid Response Team of the Hillary campaign took a nap because they assumed that the victory was already in the bag. Moscow then did everything to promote that belief through espionage.

Hillary and her team completely abandoned the 50-state strategy that Howard Dean had perfected as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. The strategy would have guaranteed Hillary’s victory in at least two or three of the swing states of Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania and offered her a smooth ride to victory, not only in the popular vote but also in the Electoral College.

The whole plan was carefully orchestrated and coordinated by Putin, who ensured that everything was kept under wrap until the returns from those states were safely in the bag for Donald Trump who lost the popular vote by 3 million votes but still won the race. It was a bombshell that many including myself have not fully recovered from.

The question of who to blame for the shock wave is the reason I am writing this piece. I do blame all the individuals and situations I have described above, but I put the lion’s share of the blame at the door step of the American media and the absence of media juggernauts like the late Walter Cronkite and the late Tim Russert and credible shakers and movers of public opinion like the great Bob Woodward, whose silence on the victory of Donald Trump has so far remained a mystery for me up till now.

The guy may be busy writing a book as we speak, but that may be too little too late. He should have spoken out sooner because the man has credibility just like Cronkite and Russert. Donald Trump won because he found some clever ways to intimidate and manipulate the news media to play along with him. He did it by first of all by tarnishing their reputation and damaging their credibility beyond redemption.

Reporters like Walter Cronkite and Russert would not have stood for that. They spoke with credibility and clarity that is instantly believed as the truth and nothing but the truth. I recall Cronkite being the first reporter to announce on CBS News that the young John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas. Most people knew where they were when Mr. Cronkite made his announcement and they believed what he had said as the Gospel truth because they trusted him. The same thing could easily have been said of the late Tim Russert and great reporters like Dan Rather and Larry King, to mention a few.

Now that the post-mortem has revealed where much of the fault lies in the last election, I am hoping and praying that the global media should have learnt their lessons once and for all and call a spade a spade rather than playing Russian roulette with a President who would tweet and lie every step of the way and would expect the media to either play along or at least create some doubts in their minds to his own advantage.

I rest my case.

The late American reporter, Walter Cronkite

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