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Russia Defeating Amerika; This Is Not Made-for-TV Fiction

By Joe Rothstein — December 4, 2017

In 1987, ABC aired “Amerika,” a 14-hour series based on a fictionalized Russian conquest of the U.S. The Russian “victory” was achieved by exploding four thermonuclear weapons over the U.S. mainland, creating an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that made all U.S. weapons, power lines and advanced vehicles inoperative. The U.S. was left defenseless, and surrendered.

In 2012, MGM released a remake of an earlier movie, “Red Dawn,” envisioning the conquest of both U.S. coasts by Russian-backed North Koreans, a victory also achieved by catching the U.S. off guard with an EMP attack.

These and other movies and TV dramas predicated on Russian military attacks certainly have been viewed by Russian leaders. And while the prospect of taking the U.S. off the geo-political gameboard might be attractive and tempting to them, they know that the risks of trying to militarily defeat the U.S. would be unacceptably high, while the prospects for success would be exceedingly slim. Even if they were to succeed initially, they would be faced with perpetual resistance from within the U.S., and enormous costs to occupy such a vast and unfriendly territory.

But what if there were another way to destabilize the United States? A way to diminish its economic power, to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its most important military allies and trading partners, a way to turn entire segments of world opinion against it, to incite Americans against Americans in self-defeating conflict. And to accomplish all of this without firing a single shot or risking a single Russian life?

A tall order. The U.S. is such a strong and respected nation. How would that be possible?

You would need to start at the top, with a U.S. President either under Russian control or so totally clueless to world events and history that he could be persuaded to act in self-defeating ways. In other words, a president who would launch the U.S. on a path to self-destruction. Such as:

--A president who would cripple NATO by creating uncertainty that the U.S. is a reliable partner. For decades, western Europe has relied on U.S. military strength and diplomatic wisdom to protect it from Russia’s aggressive policies. A U.S. commitment that becomes shaky, occasionally even hostile to the alliance, would force Europe to find once unthinkable ways to accommodate Russia.

--A president who would sow doubts in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere among U.S. Pacific allies that the U.S. would remain a dependable counterbalance to Chinese expansionism, prompting them to look elsewhere for security.

--A president who would turn the entire Muslim world against the U.S. That’s a billion people. Nuclear-armed Pakistan, NATO-member Turkey, Indonesia, the entire Middle East. Anti-Muslim fear-mongering would provoke Pakistan to fight harder against U.S. interests in Afghanistan, aid Iranian hard-liners to gain strength in Tehran, cause Turkey and Egypt to cave to Russian demands to allow military use of their strategic air strips.

--A president who would compromise the robust U.S. advantage the U.S. has enjoyed in world trade. Trade is today’s most effective weapon of influence. Few ties bind more tightly than money. Since World War II, the U.S. has dominated world trading markets. U.S. political, cultural and educational influence has followed. Get the U.S. to question the importance of reliable trade agreements and you inflict more long-term damage than any conventional military weapon might cause.

--A president who would hollow out U.S. strength from within. One who would generate a climate of domestic hate and mistrust. Turn group against group. Promote internal decay. Get Americans to question the legitimacy of their most important institutions---education, research, free speech, voting. Even democracy itself.

What more could a Russian adversary ask than that the U.S. turn inward, angry at everyone, trusting no one? If clever manipulation of the U.S. election process could transform the U.S. into an international pariah, what a coup! Painless. Bloodless. Low cost. Incalculable rewards.

Did the Russians play a role in the 2016 U.S. election? All our intelligence agencies say they did. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have produced thousands of messages that disguised Russian operatives fed to U.S. voters. Jared Kushner and others in the Trump campaign have testified to having contacts with those representing Russian interests, explicitly aimed at helping Trump become president. Congress is so certain that Russia tried to corrupt our election that it created a raft of sanctions as punishment.

The only unresolved question is whether the Trump campaign played an active role in the collusion. More specifically, did Donald Trump himself seek out Russian help, know about Russian activity during the campaign, and direct his staff to coordinate with the Russians?

The Flynn indictment tells us that the Mueller investigation is getting close to those answers. The sooner the better. Every day Trump remains in the White House the U.S. becomes weaker. Russia gains traction. No EMPs needed. No invasion of our coasts. No Red Dawn. No occupation of the U.S. heartland.

Just occupation of the White House.

(Joe Rothstein is a regular columnist for and author of the acclaimed political thriller “The Latina President and the Conspiracy to Destroy Her.” Mr. Rothstein can be contacted at

Joe Rothstein is editor of U.S. Politics Today. His career in politics spans 35 years, as a strategist and media producer in more than 200 campaigns for political office and for many political causes. He was a pioneer in professional political consulting and one of the founding members of the American Association of Political Consultants. During his career Mr. Rothstein has served as editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anchorage Daily News and adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He has a master's degree in journalism from UCLA.