(Kent Harrington, a former senior CIA analyst, served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Chief of Station in Asia and the CIA's Director of Public Affairs.) Profound observations can come in small packages. The eponymous movie Forrest Gump delivered one of the best. Stupid is as stupid does. The title character's one-liner couldn't be more relevant to the 2020 presidential election. As Moscow renews its attack on American democracy, to choose intelligently among the candidates voters must analyze not only their slogans and promises but also the growing onslaught of fake news. The challenge isn't in doubt. The question is, will Americans be able to do the job?
(Kent Harrington, a former senior CIA analyst, served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Chief of Station in Asia and the CIA's Director of Public Affairs.). President Trump didn't bother to talk to Vladimir Putin about Russia's preparations to interfere in the 2020 presidential election two weeks ago when he telephoned the Kremlin. Instead, Trump said, the two had a good laugh over the hoax that Putin did anything even remotely offensive in 2016. As for the intelligence community's warning that Moscow is gearing up its attack on the 2020 campaign, Trump was categorical. "We didn't discuss that."
There's nothing new about fooling around with the numbers. Joseph Stalin, the Bolshevik dictator who put the capital "T" in totalitarian, knew 100 years ago that information was power. From borscht to ballistic missiles, Stalin manipulated the Soviet Union's statistics on everything. It should be no surprise, therefore, that President Trump -- whose own relationship with the truth also is only coincidental -- would try to play the same game in 2019.