We're told that Vladimir Putin isn't a smart man — that he's a second-rate lieutenant from the old Soviet Union KGB. As much as I despise the man, I'll have to reserve judgment on his mental capacity. It's impossible to separate the results of his policies from his own abilities. Besides, it's the results that are so very destructive to our own situation.
The Russians have thrown our democracy into a chaotic dysfunction. We doubt each other, our ability to accomplish a fair election, and even our base ethical principles. Instead of sending Jimmy Carter to Haiti to observe elections in hopes of nourishing there a burgeoning democracy, we ourselves need observers across the country. Our elections have been hacked and have great doubts cast upon them. No democracy can survive if the people truly have no voice, as we have often observed of other nations from our high horse of self-righteousness in the past.
We have strong evidence that much of our political system has been the "beneficiary" of donations from Russian sources — meant as money to improve chances of a candidate's success, but even more to control that candidate through blackmail over the dirty little secret: "He took money from Russkies!".
Russia, for its part, has fallen from the former proud heights of the Soviet Union to become a mobster-run syndicate headed by Putin as CEO of "Russia, Inc.". Without a doubt, Putin is the controller of such wealth that he has hundreds of times more powerful than Bill Gates or George Soros. He has trillions of dollars at his disposal grant his slightest whim.
Apparently, Putin's goal is retribution for his country's loss of the Cold War. He's taking down the most powerful nation on Earth without (much) bloodshed, and at very little cost in the grand scheme of things. He's winning his little undeclared silent war against the US, and most Americans aren't even aware we're in a fight.
There seem to be many possible outcomes here, but I want to point out two of them on extreme ends of a spectrum.
One path, the one we're on right now, leads to the dissolution of the United States of America. We'll further devolve into an internally riven cat fight and fall apart into a collection of red states and probably two disconnected (and wealthy) blue states along the east and west coasts. The driving force for this will come from the call for a new Constitutional Convention, and the end result will be obliteratiton of the country as we know it. We can thank Donald J. Trump and his selfish greed for this.
Alternatively — and infinitely preferably — a new order may emerge in which the two parties dissolve into several separate parties representing smaller but more focused blocs. Representative Pelosi and Senator Schumer are seeing the beginnings of this now in their negotiations with Mr. Trump for hurricane relief money using national debt ceiling policy promises for leverage. This tiny spark of new-found spirit of cooperation could be fanned in a roaring blaze this winter to warm all our hearts and show us the spirit that could make this nation actually great again.