Op-Ed: Deny Putin what he wants

According to Yoni Ariel, the two most fundamental rules of strategy are to concentrate on the schwerpunkt and deny your opponent that what he most wants. Ariel says it’s very clear Putin's prime goal was to install Trump in the White House and that this is precisely what must not be allowed to happen, in order to deny Putin what he most wanted.

General Stonewall Jackson, the real military genius of the Civil War and undoubtedly one of the greatest military and strategic geniuses America has ever produced, said that a commander's job is to "deceive, mystify, outthink and outmaneuver the enemy, and attack him where he is weak, and not expecting to be attacked."

It is very clear that this is exactly what Putin has done to Obama over the past year. He attacked America's political infrastructure, the last place America was expecting an attack. Even worse, he succeeded.


It has already been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the sophisticated Russian cyber warfare campaign, which included whole scale hacking and dissemination of disinformation, undoubtedly influenced the outcome of the election. It has also been proven beyond all doubt that Russian hackers penetrated voting machines and databases in at least 20 states. In addition, there is also substantial evidence that it is highly likely the Russian cyber-assault directly rigged the vote in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Cyber warfare is first and foremost an act of war. Considering the fact that America is still vastly more powerful than Russia, it is clear Putin took a huge risk in attacking America. He gambled that he would get away with it, but could not be certain. He clearly felt that getting Trump installed as president would be so advantageous to him that it was worth the risk.

This means that unless immediate steps are taken to ensure this does not happen, on the 20th of January, Putin will be getting the prize he took a huge risk to obtain. Such an outcome would be the first strategic defeat America has ever suffered in its history. It has suffered defeats before, but they did not have any long lasting strategic implications. This time it is different, as there is a high probability that a Trump presidency would and could have major strategical implications, which include the demise of America as the world's dominant superpower.

Even worse, there is definite evidence that Trump and his team were openly collaborating with Russia before and during the entire time Russia was attacking America. This meets the definition of treason.

Since it is America's prime and overwhelming strategic interest to remain the world's dominant superpower, America must do whatever it takes to prevent such an outcome from happening.

I realize that we are in overtime. President Obama could and should have postponed the Electoral College convention to allow the over 100 electors who asked for an intelligence briefing on the Russian cyberattack. Since the date of the convention is not a constitutional issue, such a step would not have precipitated a constitutional crisis. Many people expected him to do this after the official statements that US intelligence had overwhelming proof Russia had attacked and compromised the election. In the end, he once again backed down, or more accurately chickened out.  

Doing anything now would precipitate a constitutional crisis, but we are already beyond that point. What could be a greater constitutional crisis than having a treasonous president? Anything is better than that.

The idea that in order to prevent the appearance of a constitutional crisis, America would supinely allow a clearly treasonous president to assume power is mind-boggling. We are talking about a treasonous president-elect whose election victory was directly facilitated by the hostile power that launched the attack and occurred as a direct result of that attack.  I cannot conceive of anything less constitutional than that. The constitution is not a suicide pact and was never intended to be.

image descriptionPhoto Credit: ImageBank/GettyImages/Channel 2 News

Assuming that Trump didn't mean most of what he said and that his presidency would not be so bad is a dangerous, foolhardy gamble. In Germany, people thought the same thing about Hitler and were sure he didn't mean everything he said, it was just politics and once in office, he would moderate. We all know how that worked out.

I'm not saying that Trump will turn out to be another Hitler. We are talking about a volatile, unprincipled, unscrupulous demagogic opportunistic narcissist who has no compunctions about going through a red light if he thinks it will serve his purpose and he can get away with it.  Allowing him to assume the presidency would be betting the farm the Oval Office will turn him into a responsible adult, and that's a huge gamble America simply cannot afford to take.

How bad could it get? Here is one scenario. He decides it's in his interest to implement a radical, reactionary white supremacist agenda, which includes attempting to impose fundamentalist Christian values on the entire country, and allow GOP-controlled states to effectively roll back minority voter rights to pre-1964 levels.

The result would be massive dissent that could spiral beyond that, into insurrection. In addition, it could trigger a massive migration of minorities from Red to Blue states. The right wing would undoubtedly use vicious incitement to fan the fires of racism and bigotry in those states in the hope of turning them from blue to red. The end result would be a northern secession (California is already well on the way to have Calexit on the ballot in 2018). This is Putin's aim, as it would be his ultimate victory. He believes the US won the Cold War by economically destabilizing the USSR. Destabilization the US via a successful cyber assault on its political infrastructures to the point of its ultimate dismemberment would be his ultimate revenge. Just as Hitler never hid his desire to exact revenge on France for the defeat of Germany in 1918, Putin has never hidden his desire for getting revenge on the US for causing the USSR to implode.

How can Trump's accession to power be stopped? There is a way. President Obama must resign within two weeks, allowing Joe Biden to assume the presidency. Biden, who is much less confrontation averse than Obama, will order Trump be arrested on treason charges, for which there is ample evidence. At the same time, he declares the election null and void due to the fact it was rigged and compromised by the Russian cyber assault. He nominates a Republican Vice President, possibly Colin Powell, McCain, Lindsay Graham Kasich or Jeb Bush. He forms a bipartisan cabinet, half Democrats, half Republicans, and reaches an agreement that all judicial nominations must have the support of at least 66 members of the Senate.

Would this precipitate a constitutional crisis?  Would having a treasonous president precipitate an even more serious constitutional crisis? Would it be preferable to have the crisis now under Biden rather than when Trump is already in control?

Is your answer to the above questions a resounding yes? If so, you understand what has to be done.

As I said earlier, the constitution is not a suicide pact and must not be allowed to become one by using it as an excuse to allow Trump to assume the office of President. 

Perhaps the crisis generated by this suggestion would bring America back from the abyss of polarization it risks falling into and proves to be the catalyst for a more bipartisan political culture to reassert itself, enabling America to start healing and prioritize common sense over blind partisanship to solve its many problems and challenges.

Source: http://www.jerusalemonline.com/blogs/yoni-ariel/op-ed-deny-putin-what-he-wants-25750

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