Down the rabbit hole…
In the Up-Is-Down world of American politics today, we are witnessing an unprecedented shift in Republican alliances. Once the bitter foes of Russian communists, Republicans, led by their presidential nominee, are now using Russian talking points in an attempt to smear Democratic President Barack Obama and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. As his poll number continue to sink like a rock in water, yesterday Trump claimed that Obama and Clinton are the founder and cofounder of ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group that is spreading their violence and mayhem across the globe.
“Our government isn’t giving us good protection. Our government has unleashed ISIS,” he said as he addressed the National Association of Home Builders in Miami. “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They’re the founders. In fact, I think we’ll give Hillary Clinton the — you know, if you’re on a sports team, most valuable player, MVP, you get the MVP award — ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award. Her only competition is Barack Obama.”
His remarks echoed his sentiments earlier Thursday during a phone interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” during which he also named Obama the MVP of ISIS.
“He gets the most valuable player award. Him and Hillary, she gets it too. I gave her co-founder if you really looked at this speech,” Trump said. “But he and Hillary get the most valuable player award having to do with Iraq, and having to do with the ISIS situation, or as he would call it, ISIL. He calls it ISIL because nobody else does and he probably wants to bother people by using another term, whether it’s more accurate or not.” […]
“Is there something wrong with saying that? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?” Trump said. “Look, all I do is tell the truth. I’m a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth.”
Who else says this? For starters, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who said, “The strengthening of the Islamic State became possible partially due to irresponsible policies of the United States. Instead of concentrating joint efforts on fighting terrorism, the United States and its allies decided to fight against the lawfully elected president of Syria Bashar Assad.”
Who else? None other than Vladimir Putin himself:
Putin’s message at the U.N. podium Monday was a simple one: U.S. interventions and unilateralism have backfired in the Middle East, and it is time to try something new.
His speech will do little to undercut a widespread impression in many Western capitals that his aim in Syria is not just to bolster a Moscow ally but, primarily, to thwart U.S. power and influence in the Middle East.
Putin took particular aim at U.S. involvement in Iraq and Libya, which he said fostered a power vacuum filled with “extremists and terrorists.”
“Do you realize now what you’ve done?” he asked.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, a man who knows a little bit about Russian propaganda put it very succinctly in a recent tweet:
BTW, Trumps line that Obama founded ISIS echoes exactly a myth propagated by Russian state-controlled media and bloggers.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 11, 2016
In the span of a few short decades, Republicans have gone from demonizing and vilifying communist Russia. Now, their nominee for president is using Russian talking points to help salvage his flailing campaign. While it may be going over well in Russia – and it is – it’s hard to imagine Americans, especially Republicans, reacting in the same way.
[CC image credit: Thomas Hawk | Flickr]