U.S. President-elect Donald Trump seems determined to revive a forgotten Hollywood genre: the paranoid melodrama. Perhaps the greatest film in this genre, The Manchurian Candidate, concerns a communist plot to use the brainwashed son of a leading right-wing family to upend the American political system. Given the fondness that Trump and so many of his appointees seem to have for Russian President Vladimir Putin, life may be about to imitate, if not exceed, art.
To be sure, the attraction for Putin shared by Mr. Trump, Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson, and National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn is not the result of brainwashing , unless you consider the love of money (and of the people who can funnel it to you) a form of brainwashing. But to resurrect a word reminiscent of Cold War paranoia, such Kremlinophilia is decidedly un-American.
Consider the derision shown by Mr. Trump and his posse for CIA reports that Kremlin-directed hackers intervened in last month’s election to benefit Mr. Trump. In typical fashion, Trump let loose a barrage of tweets blasting the CIA as being somehow under the thumb of his defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton. His nominee for Deputy Secretary of State, John Bolton, went even further, suggesting that the hacking of both the Democratic National Committee’s servers as well as the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, was a “false flag” operation designed to smear an innocent Kremlin.