Why is Donald Trump so quick to defend Vladimir Putin? Or is it just a case of "ours not to reason why?" However, Malcolm Nance in The Plot To Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election (2016) tells how reason played little part in the election of 2016--but flattery did.
HOW PUTIN SEDUCED TRUMP
Nance writes that compromise (or coercion) is generally not a desired process in KGB recruitment or entrapment, but whether it is clear that a potential recruit has a secret that can be used against them, such a secretly embezzling government money, or sexual liaisons of an illicit nature, it can be useful for the purpose of blackmail. Compromise in these terms would be photographs or videos of "honeypots"--sexual traps laid by the hostile intelligence service--and then coercing the individual to begrudgingly betray their country. No one has ever publicly accused Donald Trump of being susceptible to coercion, but there is the possibility of being personally compromised or finding oneself in a compromising posit at, let's say, a beauty pageant, in a nation where the intelligence service routinely used beautiful women as sexual traps.
However, this was not used to entrap Trump because Trump's greatest love is himself. The Russians opted instead for Ego or Excitement (or both) for the seduction of Trump.
Nance posits that Ego or Excitement (or both) is the last of the categories of basic recruitment. And by implication the KBG understand that there is an archetype of potential asset in the West that the service desired for most of all--Egocentric narcissists, like Trump. With Trump, flattery will gets you everything. Noting that "Ego-concentric people who lack moral principles--who are either too greedy or who suffer from exaggerated self-importance. These are the people the KGB wants and finds easiest to recruit."
For Putin, a personal and potential cultivation of Trump as an exponent of Russian interests would be required for seduction. In Trump's case, it would be very easy. At almost every turn, his "bromance" with Putin would potentially stand on a foundation of his desire for Russian riches, and to be universally recognized as a man of substance and stature. It would cost Russia nothing to entertain his desires while furthering Russia's own.
A skilled autocrat such as Putin would easily understand how to play and manipulate Donald trump's ego. Putin would want Trump to feel as if he is truly qualified to be President, over the opposition of his American detractors who ridicule Trump as not being remotely qualified. Putin would know this from his intelligence collection apparatus that Trump would need strategically-timed compliments in an effort to foster his image and message his easily-bruised ego.
A skilled autocrat such as Putin would easily understand how to play and manipulate Donald Trump's vast ego. Putin would want Trump to feel as if he is truly qualified to be President, over the opposition of his American detractors who ridicule Trump as not being remotely qualified. Putin would know this from his intelligence collection apparatus that Trump would need strategically-timed compliments in an effort to foster his image and massage his easily-bruised ego.
Putin's strategically-placed endorsement of December 2015 is a classic example of a "Hands-off but actually hands-on" supporting statement to make the asset feel special. On Trump, Putin said "Trump wants to move to another level of relations, a closer, deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome this? Of course we welcome this."
"He is a bright and talented person without any doubt. He is the absolute leader of the presidential race."
This statement and many others, as well as the largess of attention and support from even average Russian citizens, would make Trump feel indebted to Putin. Such indebtedness could even have contributed to Trump's mistrust of the American system of government. The sentiment that Putin's kind words were somewhat responsible for validating Trump on a world stage could explain Trump's gushing admiration for Russia almost every time he speaks on the subject, much to the consternation of Trump's staff. In his own mind, Trump may feel he received more support from Moscow than he did from the Republican Party, when Putin paid the compliment ("My friend Putin likes me"). This may be more than enough to maintain the bond between an active-measure handler and an unwitting asset.
Nance posits that until 2016, it was unthinkable that Americans could be assembled in mutual endeavor to manipulate the good will of the American people in order to further their own personal financial interest at the behest of a hostile government. But it appears to have not only happened but even managed to completely usurp the stridently anti-Communist Republican Party and replace it with a presidential nominee who openly lavishes praise on a Russia leader, disparages NATO, and promises to dismantle America's superiority in order to allow Russia to take the role of world's superpower. The fact that Russia can smile, deny, and at the same time conduct cyber and propaganda operations and still have Donald Trump beg them for cyber espionage assistance to hurt another American is unbelievable. If it reveals anything it proves the old KGB policy that loyalty to one's country is elastic if the money is right.
On September 8, 2016, Trump gushed with admiration and at the same time insulted America's president. He was quickly seconded by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, who agree "I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country."
By publicly choosing a known, dangerous, and proven autocratic adversary who has murdered opponents, killed his own citizens, conducted acts of terrorism, and invaded and seized other nations in violation of global norms, Trump and Pence chose Russia's values over America's. It has been said that this election would spell the rise of fascism and end the two-century-long run of American democratic governance. It may be worse than that. The deliberate subversion of America's interests to those of a hostile adversary has never before been suggested aloud in polite company in the history of this nation.
When asked at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Commander-in-Chief Forum about Putin, Trump said "Well, he does have an 82 percent approval rating, according to the different pollsters, who by the way, some of them are based right here."
Spoken at a forum of men and women who fought and served against the Soviet Union in the Cold War, Trump's ability to make them forget their service to the nation and agree with him that Russia is a better nation than America because a dictator showed him some love, revealed that the subversion of the unwitting asset appeared complete.
The more excited partisans often misuse the word "treason" when discussing support for the ideals of another nation. The US Code on Treason reads:
"Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States."
Trump, a Brulljesmacher, or "braggart," a narcissist and a bully cannot resist using "fighting" words against what he perceives as a helpless minority. Nance points out that no one is accusing Trump or his associates of treason, sedition, or treachery. That kind of talk should be squelched. Unless true evidence of deliberate collusion between the campaign and the Russian government is found by US counterintelligence officers and brought forth in charges by the US Justice Department, and that is highly unlikely, then no one should ever accuse an American citizen of these dangerous and litigious words. Fighting words. We should defend his right under the First Amendment to continue saying any and all the stupid things he will most assuredly continue to do. That is his right.
None of the statements or activities of the Trump campaign, no matter how distasteful the behaviors or actions of clandestine agents of the Russian regime. However, even a cursory glance at the evidence reveals to intelligence professionals that the probability that Vladimir Putin has handled Trump and his associates, who were doing Russia's bidding without even knowing it, is well within the KGB playbook. These Americans may not be real agents of the Russian Federation, but they may have unwittingly expose themselves to a massive intelligence manipulation machine from which, once involved, they may be completely unable to extract themselves. The rhetoric of the 2016 election reveals that damage has already been done.
Nance believes worst of all is that the rise of an American ideologue who firmly admires and wishes to emulate the murder-based power politics of America's strategic nuclear opponent with the intent to dismantle the defensive systems and treaties that kept this nation safe for over seventy years, reveals that the intelligence community's ability to detect real national security threats can be defeated through demagoguery.
When Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, I became very disappointed in White Americans--that they could forget what E-Pluralists-Unum: out of many one [people], meant to the US remaining a Sovereign State. The Civil War was fought to preserve the Union, or so President Lincoln proclaimed. It seems that the object of Trump's agenda is to disunite the United States and create a Fascist Theocratic State. Now through the Mueller investigation, I see that all of Trump's accomplishments at disuniting the US is due to Russian hacking and interference.