In an interview with Madrid’s El País newspaper, published on January 10, Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Anne Applebaum didn’t hold back. “The Trump adventure is over,” she is quoted as saying. “He will spend the rest of his life in court.” Amen to Applebaum’s assessment.
And who is Applebaum? London’s Prospect magazine included her in its list of the world’s top 50 thinkers for the Covid-19 age:
Applebaum, long an authority on the abuses of Communist and post-Communist Eastern Europe, in her new book Twilight of Democracy is unsparing in exposing the moral bankruptcy of Trumpian Republicanism.
El País mentions that her vision and informed judgment have “made her one of the leading global political analysts of recent years.”
Applebaum was a columnist for the Washington Post, and at one time a member of its Editorial Board. Since January 2020, she has been a staff writer at the Atlantic. In a piece entitled What Trump and His Mob Taught the World About America published in the Atlantic on January 7, she wrote:
…and yet by far the most important weapon that the United States of America has ever wielded—in defense of democracy, in defense of political liberty, in defense of universal rights, in defense of the rule of law—was the power of example. In the end, it wasn’t our words, our songs, our diplomacy, or even our money or our military power that mattered. It was rather the things we had achieved: the two and a half centuries of peaceful transitions of power, the slow but massive expansion of the franchise, and the long, seemingly solid traditions of civilized debate.
Applebaum distills us to our essence, the power of example.
We, the United States were for two and a half centuries, a beacon of light for so many others. And then came Trump. And with Trump the lights of democracy flickered not only for many of us here at home, but for America’s partners and admirers abroad. On January 6. Thump definitively showed the world his true colors. “We love you,” he said in a videotaped address to a mob that at that very moment was assaulting the Capitol. He didn’t have the wits about him to address the American public, just his demented followers. The royal we only undermined Trump’s slender connection to reality. The beacon of light, the power of example, came close to being extinguished.
In her El País interview, Applebaum notes that Trump “treated NATO like a mobster would.” And she adds that:
He scared the Europeans so much that they decided to come up with a plan b. They should adopt their own position and voice in security matters and also as sole defenders of democratic values.
In other words, Trump’s lasting legacy will be that he attempted to strip the United States of America of its democratic principles from the beginning of his shameful tenure to its calamitous end. Sadly, he tried to quit us of our democratic pillars of strength, aided and abetted by his family, cohorts within the Republican Party, and supported by millions of Americans.
In the El País piece, Applebaum makes a telling observation of Russia’s Putin, mentioning that he is:
Someone trained to be paranoid, to constantly detect conspiracies around him.That leads him to change the terms and to ensure that there is no opposition …, but a plot of other powers against him. That he must control all those who meet, argue and oppose. Therefore, there is nothing spontaneously articulated or a trace of honesty, everyone lies, nobody trusts anyone and there is a mixture of deep cynicism with paranoia. … And so he has largely transferred that to the rest of the country: a lot of cynicism, a lot of immorality and a tremendously conspiratorial environment.
She could just as well have been talking about Trump. Yes, we knew all along that Trump had a strong attachment to Putin, but now we can understand why Trump found his soul mate in the Russian autocrat. They are peas of a pod. And just like Putin before him in Russia, Trump has transferred his paranoia, his cynicism, his lack of morality and his conspiratorial mindset to many citizens of our country.
The man is feckless, depraved and now, if Applebaum’s assessment is correct, about to spend the rest of his days facing prosecution in the courts of our land.