Those who dedicated their professional careers to countering the Soviet threat were sorely disappointed at the end of the Cold War. Their entire life up to that point had been dedicated to studying the Soviet Union and countering its influence. The breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of such a major enemy now meant that their studies and work were meaningless. But they didn’t give up.
Continuing to work behind the scenes, they managed to maneuver to build up Russia in the public consciousness into the second coming of the Soviet Union. Russia is the convenient bogeyman that everyone now turns to when you need someone to blame. Got your database hacked because you can’t be bothered to exercise proper network security? Blame the Russians. Massive riots because you decided to raise fuel taxes? Blame the Russians. Ran a crappy candidate for President and she lost? Blame the Russians.
The Russians have become a ready-made bogeyman for just about every problem out there. When in doubt, pin the blame on them. In fact, there’s really only person who hasn’t blamed the Russians: President Trump.
Given that everyone is blaming the Russians for everything, why won’t he do the same thing? President Macron is looking to start blaming the Russians for the worsening of the yellow vest protests, so why doesn’t President Trump blame Russian influence for helping destabilize his administration? Facebook has already acknowledged alleged Russian influence in establishing left-wing pages devoted to topics such as Black Lives Matter, so why doesn’t Trump paint his critics as the unwitting dupes of Russian propaganda efforts?
He could easily claim that Russian intelligence has planted rumors of Russian collusion among Democrats in order to intentionally destabilize the administration. Is there any evidence of that? Probably not. Would most people believe it? Not really. But there isn’t any evidence that Russia rigged the 2016 elections yet millions of people believe that. Repeat something often enough and people believe that it’s true.
If Trump continues to play defense and allow his opponents to dominate the media narrative then it’s only a matter of time before he loses. It’s time for him to hit back and start playing offense, getting his opponents on their heels and forcing them to defend themselves or, in other words, giving them a taste of their own medicine.