Time To Push Back July 13, 2020July 13, 2020 Republican Voters Against Trump — 38 seconds worth sharing. Five minutes on just how numb we’ve become. Trump has wrecked our standing in the world, wrecked the dignity of the Presidency, and — to take just one specific example — wrecked our forward-deployed ability to protect against pandemics. Putin is succeeding beyond his wildest dreams. And in ways you may not realize: “Kremlin intelligence is manipulating the far-right. It’s time to push back.“ The Charlottesville Observer published this three years ago. Yet even as Russia offers bounties to kill our troops, Trump and the Republican Senate still haven’t pushed back. The weekend’s bloody chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a far-right protest devolved into rioting and murder, has shaken the country and shocked the world. . . . The accused killer, James Alex Fields, age 20, was quickly taken into custody, and he turns out to possess all the expected traits: a young man with an unstable home life and mental health problems serious enough to have kept him out of the military, possessing an affection for Nazi memorabilia and views. These are precisely the sort of maladjusted young people—nearly all of them male—who under slightly different circumstances turn to jihadism. Our domestic radicalism problem knows no specific background, religion, or ideology. The Charlottesville mayhem has concentrated minds on the continuing presence of the kook-right among us: angry young white men who assemble, brandishing flags of the Confederacy and Nazi Germany. Make no mistake: the weekend was their triumph . . . Nothing about the weekend’s ugliness has received more criticism than our president’s stunning inability to condemn these neo-Nazis and their violence. . . . The Nazified far-right thereby has joined the highly select pantheon of people whom President Trump won’t denounce no matter how badly they misbehave—whose only other member is Vladimir Putin. It bears examining whether Trump’s stunning silence may not be a coincidence. Our extreme right, with very few exceptions, are super-fans of the Russian president, in whom they see a strong, traditional leader who runs the world’s only white nuclear-armed great power. Their websites brim with adulation for Putin . . . Although our country has always had white supremacists, Russia has given them renewed focus and energy, as well as a ready-made worldview. This take on the world includes overt white nationalism which despises the United States as a decadent and multiracial society. The Moscow menu suspiciously includes support for a range of foreign issues such as adulation of Bashar al-Assad and his nasty Syrian regime. Assad just happens to be a Russian client, which explains why American neo-Nazis profess deep admiration for him and his bloody dictatorship, even though one wonders how many of these extremists could locate Syria on a map. . . . Ideological synchronicity between the American neo-Nazis and the Kremlin approaches complete overlap. Take the case of Richard Spencer, who was in Charlottesville as the de facto leader of the rising far-right in our country. Young and photogenic with his famously fashy haircut, Spencer too is a strong Putinphile, exuding praise for Russia and its strongman . . . [h]is connections are more than ideological. His wife, Nina Kouprianova, is a Russian far-rightist herself with Kremlin connections. As Nina Byzantina on Twitter, she is a full-fledged Kremlin troll who reliably follows the Putin line on virtually any issue, foreign and domestic, while Kouprianova has also served as the English translator for Aleksandr Dugin, a quixotic political theorist and self-proclaimed “geostrategist” who functions as Moscow’s ambassador-at-large to the Western extreme right. Although Dugin possesses little actual influence in the Kremlin, he is highly esteemed among his legions of foreign fans, who detect in his mystical racist screeds a genius which others cannot. He plays a key role in propaganda outfit controlled by Russian intelligence which I detailed last year . . . This is classic Kremlin disinformation, a mix of opinion-masquerading-as-fact and outright fabrications. This crackpottery, however, has regime imprimatur. To anyone versed in Russian intelligence tradecraft, Spencer and those of his kook-right ilk who espouse nakedly pro-Kremlin views, are at least agents of influence, to use the proper Chekist term. However, there are connections between Moscow and the Western far-right which are more troubling than mere ideological fellow-traveling. In Europe, security services have tracked the activities of Russian military intelligence, known as GRU, and in recent years their operations have included violence. Russian football hooligans who caused mayhem in Europe last summer, leading to dozens of casualties, many of them seriously injured, included known Kremlin special operatives—some of them possessing GRU tattoos. More ominously, GRU has been training and arming neo-Nazis in Europe, with sometimes lethal consequences. . . . The weekend tragedy in Charlottesville was at least partly inspired by Moscow’s propaganda. If we don’t start to take this problem seriously, like Europe we will soon be facing more and worse extremism with a distinct GRU footprint. . . . Although it’s painfully evident that the Trump White House will do no such thing, the longer we wait to tackle this problem, the worse it will get, and more lives will be lost. John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. Pushing back starts here.