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Mon Jul 17, 2017, 10:49 AM

Great read on Slate - "The Dots Are Never Going to Connect"

What Russians understand about the Russia scandal that Americans don’t.

By Isaac Chotiner

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2017/07/the_russia_scandal_dots_are_never_going_to_connect.html

Joshua Yaffa, a New Yorker correspondent reporting from Moscow and a New America fellow, has been writing for months about Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and the Russia scandal, which seems to get more interesting by the day. Recently, he wrote about the frustration many Russia journalists feel over the American media’s coverage of the Russia story, which they think has overstated Putin’s direct influence on various aspects of Russian society, and makes the men and women in the Kremlin appear to be much smarter than they actually are.

Yaffa and I discussed these subjects recently by Skype. During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we talked about the problems with overstating Putin’s power, why there might be many small stories of collusion rather than one big one, and how being in Moscow makes you think differently about the Trump administration’s troubles.

Isaac Chotiner: How have five-plus years in Moscow changed your perspective of this whole scandal?

Joshua Yaffa: I don’t know exactly where on the spectrum I am, whether closer to the American media perspective or closer to the Russian media perspective, but definitely somewhere in between those two poles. On the American side, I think I get, as it were, the magnitude and insanity of the story, something I think that Russian correspondents don’t always feel: what a big deal this is in Washington, and deservedly so.

On the other hand, what brings me closer sometimes in perspective to my Russian colleagues is that I’ve just observed the way this place works over a period of many years—and by “this place,” I mean Putin, the Kremlin, the Russian state. And I see that, although it might have a tie with the kind of aspirations of being a global, Machiavellian spoiler, upending the best-laid plans of the United States and the west more broadly, oftentimes, Putin lords over a pretty dysfunctional, quasi-broken, definitely very corrupt machine that lacks the nefarious omnipotent powers of a Bond villain superstructure. I think that sometimes in the American coverage, there’s an understandable inclination, or a subconscious drive to connect all the dots in a way that makes the Putin machine and the tentacles of the Putin machine look all-knowing and all-powerful.

snip - long, interesting, wortwhile read...food for thought.

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Reply Great read on Slate - "The Dots Are Never Going to Connect" (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Jul 17 OP
Wounded Bear Jul 17 #1
thucythucy Jul 17 #2
TeapotInATempest Jul 17 #3

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Mon Jul 17, 2017, 10:55 AM

1. It's not important whether or not the "dots" connect to each other...

only that all the dots seem to connect back to Moscow...the Russian one, not the city in Idaho.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Mon Jul 17, 2017, 11:12 AM

2. Generally speaking, oligarchies and tyrannies are often "dysfunctional."

Albert Speer in "Inside the Third Reich" talks about the incompetence, the dysfunction, the incredible corruption, the hair-brained absurdity of the upper echelons of the Nazi state. Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, Hess, Hitler himself were a toxic mix of arrogance, dysfunction, ignorance, delusion, and extreme narcissism--none of which kept them from pushing the entire world into a cataclysm as yet unmatched in human history.

It's also often the case that despite it all, such systems often give outsiders the impression of cool headed efficiency, of "making the trains run on time" even though the truth behind the façade is anything but.

It doesn't mean such governments can't cause enormous damage, or achieve some of their more far-fetched goals.

For all these reasons we do well to keep a close watch on Trump AND Putin.



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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Mon Jul 17, 2017, 12:48 PM

3. This sounds like our current government:

"a pretty dysfunctional, quasi-broken, definitely very corrupt machine that lacks the nefarious omnipotent powers of a Bond villain superstructure."

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