The Russian Ascendancy

This was no simple election, no simple transfer of power from a Democrat to a Republican president. What we did on Tuesday will change the face of the world power structure, perhaps for generations.

For seventy years American might has been at the center of the world stage. American military might is still the strongest in the world -- by a long shot. Our economic power has dominated trade, international development, and industry. And our social influence has reshaped whole societies in our image. Our influence has been promoted by the popularity of Hollywood films certainly, but more important -- and now in freefall -- has been the world's faith in us as a strong, serious democracy where certain ideals persist regardless of who is at the helm.

American dominance often overreached, interfering in other nations even to the point of overthrowing legitimately elected leaders like Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 and Allende in Chile in 1973. Our obsession with Fidel Castro led us to some very foolish (and unsuccessful) escapades. But even with all of that, the world held up the United States as a symbol of freedom, of justice and as a powerful protector.

We threw that away on November 8th. We offered the world an American president elect with a 71% record of bald-faced lies. When he meets with foreign leaders and makes promises, should they believe his word? Would you?

As bad as having a loose cannon at the helm is that we probably have one directly connected to our primary rival in the world, ever since World War II. Where we once feared there might be communists under our beds, we now have a president-elect in bed with Russia. The preponderance of evidence that the Trump administration and Putin's will be collaborating in some way is now beyond reasonable doubt.
"Trump’s de facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed president of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014. Manafort also has done multimillion-dollar business deals with Russian oligarchs. Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page has his own business ties to the state-controlled Russian oil giant Gazprom. … Another Trump foreign policy advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, flew to Moscow last year to attend a gala banquet celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, and was seated at the head table near Putin."   Max Boot, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, as reported in Time
Remember that even though he was Trump's campaign manager until recently, Paul Manafort was not being paid by the campaign. We are not so naive as to think he was volunteering his time. And we also know he received $12 million from Russian sources in Ukraine.

At the Republican National Convention this summer, the Trump campaign showed an alarming lack of interest in party platform, taking no sides on issues as others debated them. Like much else, this is entirely unprecedented. Campaigns have platforms and fight for certain positions. There was but one exception, and that one very telling. The campaign insisted that language condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine be dropped. 

Additional damning evidence has been explored in depth elsewhere but for the sake of brevity, I'll merely list the rest with links to where you can read more.
We have a deeply compromised president-elect, one whose business ties may usher in a level of political corruption never seen in our nation. If Putin delivered this victory to the new president through hacking his opponent's communications, there will be payback. And so far, Trump seems more than willing to follow the strongman's lead.

Given that the US President is unlikely to hold the mantle of "leader of the free world" anymore, the vacuum must be filled. If there is a secret US-Russia alliance, American foreign policy in Europe, Syria, the Middle East, India and so many other places shifts. From what I can tell, Angela Merkel and Germany are the only ones situated to take up the mantle.