Donald Trump loves Russia and Russia loves Donald Trump. Right?
Not so fast.
The reporting on Russia’s reaction to (and alleged role in) Trump’s victory has been simplified and one-dimensional. It has sent otherwise intelligent people into a tailspin of conspiracy theories and, worse, a kind of new McCarthyism.
Things really went off the deep end when people began genuinely speculating that Trump is the product of a decades-long Kremlin plot to put a puppet in the White House.
Mistranslations of Vladimir Putin’s comments about Trump haven’t helped. When Putin called Trump “bright” or “colorful” — as in, a colorful character — it was translated as “brilliant.” Somehow, Trump took this to mean Putin had called him a genius and then went around like a giddy little boy repeating the lie during stump speeches.
Reports on Russia’s apparently unbridled joy over Trump’s win are 10 for a penny, but the hand-wringing over the supposedly treasonous relationship usually leaves out two important points: First, the declassified intelligence report presented to prove that Russia in some way influenced the election presents a weak case and almost no evidence. Second, and more important, despite popular belief the Russian government is not nearly as keen on Trump as some factions in Washington would have us believe.