Let's just dispense with the pleasantries and call Donald Trump what he is: a bourgeoning traitor to the United States of America. There's a very strong possibility he's been compromised by Vladimir Putin, so says a detailed report that our intelligence agencies had enough confidence in to brief President Obama, and even if he hasn't his history of praise for Russia -- even at the expense of support for the U.S. and its president -- creates enough circumstantial evidence to be damning. Now before the Trump trolls descend, demanding a trove of incontrovertible proof they'd simply dismiss anyway, keep in mind that these very same people were more than willing to chant "lock her up" and insist that Hillary Clinton was a hardened criminal based on nothing but horseshit innuendo and Russian hacks designed to damage her and install Trump.
In other words, if you're willing to brush off all we've seen from Trump on the subject of Russia and Putin, saying "well, we just don't know for sure," kindly go fuck yourself.
As if we needed another reminder that Trump is willing to sacrifice the good of the U.S. and its allies in favor of being Putin's dutiful lapdog, an interview with the president-elect in The Times of London and the German publication Bild once again piles on the proof. In the joint report, Trump once again slams NATO, calling it "obsolete" and insisting, predictably, that a lot of people say that "Trump is right" about this nonsense. He also knocks Angela Merkel -- remember, our ally -- calling her decision to allow refugees into Germany "catastrophic," and he suggests easing sanctions imposed against Russia following that country's forceful annexation of Crimea, supposedly in exchange for a nuclear drawdown. (This from the same man who boasted about a new nuclear arms race just last month.)
You'll be shocked, shocked to learn that in the wake of this interview a good portion of Europe, which relies on the protection of NATO against Russian aggression, is shitting itself while Russia is cheering Trump's statements, saying about NATO, "the systematic goal of this organization is confrontation." Right. Up is down. Black is white. NATO is the aggressor. Poor Russia is just perpetually minding its own business.
Now Trump does concede that NATO is "very important" to him, whatever the hell that means. (And it's worth noting that he said this when the subject of NATO paying the U.S. came up.) But what we're seeing here is another larger concession, and that's one made to his apparent handlers in Russia. To even let it be known that there's a question about U.S. support for and participation in NATO is to ring the dinner bell for the enemies of Democracy, and state-wise the most powerful of those right now is Russia. In keeping with tradition, Trump seems to believe that what matters most is that NATO somehow isn't pulling its financial weight, because Trump -- who's a shitty businessman to begin with -- thinks that strong-arming for the sake of a "better deal" is how you succeed in global diplomacy. It isn't. But that's very likely not the impetus for Trump's comments anyway.
Once again, look at Trump's history of kissing Putin's ass and doing his bidding or at the very least taking actions that align with his interests. The thought of the U.S. threatening the solvency of, as Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald notes, the most important alliance in the history of the Western world makes Putin's toes curl. Even the possibility of an unstable NATO is all Putin needs to be able to potentially advance his belief in Russian hegemony. In Trump he has a puppet in what was once the most powerful position on earth and that puppet continues to hit all the notes Putin wants to hear. Again, what we're talking about here is very close to treason: the systematic subservience of the President of the United States to the demands and whims of a hostile foreign power, a foreign power that through underhanded means influenced a U.S. presidential election and installed a stooge. Trump isn't doing what's best for the United States, certainly not if it collides with what's best for Putin's Russia.
We're going to learn more and more about what Putin really has on Trump in the coming months, as our own intelligence agencies and those of our allies continue to dig into the real story behind Trump's Russia connections, the ones he's so desperate to hide. When it's all revealed, Trump will in fact be exposed for what he is. It's coming.