How Our Adversaries Think.

Americans need to see what our adversaries read, watch and absorb so we can best understand how to best engage them.

A factory worker in Moscow is reading this morning’s Pravda. A Harvard professor is reading the same newspaper.

The difference? The man in Moscow knows he’s getting lied to.

A cartoon published circa 1990, as the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were collapsing.

I’ve found over the years it’s good to see how your adversary views things. A recovering attorney I know of says the best education he got from law school was a class where the students represented the case they are most opposed it. Great way to understand how your challenger thinks. The is one of many reasons I read liberal news and opinion sources regularly.

In the aftermath of a radical DA indicting former President Donald Trump, Foreign Affairs magazine sent out in its weekend update an article from January 2022. Understand, our leftist adversaries often will not look upon sources that make them question themselves (Fox, local news sources, websites like Legal Insurrection, etc.). The NY Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Economist are not news sources, they come from the Burning Bush as far as they are concerned. Can lead to some narrowness of view. Much like when (purportedly) New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael said “How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him.”

I found this article very interesting. It’s written by two professors, which means they are likely isolated from “real world” events but that won’t stop them from commenting on them. Don’t question, everyone has a right to their opinion, not their own facts. An abstract of a much longer article with my comments:

America’s Coming Age of Instability

Why Constitutional Crises and Political Violence Could Soon Be the Norm

By Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way

January 20, 2022

When Joe Biden was sworn in as president a year ago today, many Americans breathed a heavy sigh of relief. President Donald Trump had tried to steal the election, but he had failed…

…Although U.S. democratic institutions survived the Trump presidency, they were badly weakened. The Republican Party, moreover, has radicalized into an extremist, antidemocratic force that imperils the U.S. constitutional order. The United States isn’t headed toward Russian- or Hungarian-style autocracy, …but something else: a period of protracted regime instability, marked by repeated constitutional crises, heightened political violence, and possibly, periods of authoritarian rule.    

“Imperils the US constitution order?” The Democratic Party is led by radicals who have openly said they will expand the Supreme Court to 13 members and use it to overrule decisions they don’t like (Dobbs v Jackson, DC v Heller), want to pack the senate with four more Democratic senators (the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), and take over state/local election procedures in direct violation of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 4). Sounds like if any party is “imperiling the US constitutional order,” is the Democrats.

“Heightened political violence?” Eighteen months before this article was published, Democrats supported racist radical groups rioted all over the country. This Democratically directed violence destroyed countless buildings, shut down cities, set fires in massive riots all over the city. The BLM/ANTIFA riots cost this country over two billion dollars in damage and resulted in dozens of deaths. I wonder if it concerns the authors that the current vice president openly endorsed the riots and supporting a bail fund to to get the rioters out of jail for continued violence.

…But Trump proved to be as autocratic as advertised… he worked to corrupt key state agencies and subvert them for personal, partisan, and even undemocratic ends. Public officials responsible for law enforcement, intelligence, foreign policy, national defense, homeland security, election administration, and even public health were pressured to deploy the machinery of government against the president’s rivals.   

It is amazing two supposedly capable professors at well-regarded universities put out, dare I say it, bold faced lies like this. What state agency did Trump “corrupt” for “person ends” and how? A president cannot appoint a state election official or local registrar of voters. Federal law enforcement can send agents to monitor voting locations, but is there any evidence the FBI deployed to prevent Democrats from voting in 2018 or 2020? Name a state/local law enforcement agency President Trump attempted to influence or take over (the same cannot be said of Democratic officials wanting to federalize local law enforcement).

Trump, for his many faults, did not use law enforcement against his political rivals. Name one, please? Did he send the FBI after Hillary Clinton for her multiple violations of the Federal Records Act and the mis-handling of classified information, as well as selling access to a “future” Clinton presidency (does anyone really think foreign governments pay her six figures to hear her talk?).

The rambling of the gentlemen goes on, but I find this particularly curious. Federal “election administration” was “pressured” to assist Trump? How? Elections are locally and state run. The federal government’s role is relatively limited, e.g., enforcing the federal voting rights acts. So, again, how did the Trump DoJ or Federal Elections Commission influence the elections in California, Illinois or New York?

Trump did more than politicize state institutions, however. He also tried to steal an election. The only president in U.S. history to refuse to accept defeat, Trump spent late 2020 and early 2021 pressuring Justice Department officials, governors, state legislators, state and local election officials, and, finally, Vice President Mike Pence, to illegally overturn the election results. When these efforts failed, he incited a mob of his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol and try to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win. This two-month campaign to illegally remain in power deserves to be called by its name: a coup attempt.

Two-month campaign to illegally remain in power? Are you talking of the 2000 presidential election, when Al Gore first conceded the election, then took the concession back, and demanded multiple recounts in a blatant attempt to steal the Florida election? Then over a dozen Democrats in the House voted against certification of the Florida ballots, Wait, didn’t multiple democrats refuse to certify Ohio’s vote in 2004? So, if that’s not a “coup” attempt, what is?

…Partisan loyalty and fear of primary challenges by Trump supporters outweighed constitutional commitments, undermining the effectiveness of the system’s most powerful check on presidential abuse: impeachment. Trump’s abuses exceeded Nixon’s by orders of magnitude. But only ten of 211 Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump in the wake of the failed coup, and only seven of 50 Republicans in the Senate voted to convict him…

If any man deserved impeachment and removal from office, it was then Vice President Biden for blackmailing the Ukrainian president. And you cannot impeach a man who no longer holds the office. Impeachment and removal from office is a political action, not legal (BTY professors, the vote was not to “convict,” but to remove from office). Trump did organize a rally, and asked people to protest. He did not order them to attack the Capital. If you can show that, it would be broadcast every day.

American democracy survived Trump—but barely…

…Contingent events such as COVID played a significant roll in his defeat. Even so, Trump very nearly won. A tiny shift in the vote in Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania would have secured his reelection, seriously imperiling democracy.  

I find this last point very interesting. For the record, I will never believe Joe Biden, who was rarely out of his basement and could not draw flies to an acre of manure on a hot afternoon in Louisiana got over 81 million votes. But they made the point a “tiny shift” in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania could have thrown the election to Trump. Three states Trump won in 2016, but for some reasons lost in 2020 (AZ 10, 457 vote margin, GA 11, 779, PA 80, 555). “Coincidently” each state had election issues in their largest, Democratic machine-controlled cities, and took days to certify the elections. Interesting, when Joe Kennedy bought the 1960 election, it didn’t take days to steal it.

…The Republican Party has evolved into an extremist and antidemocratic party…During Barack Obama’s presidency, leading Republicans cast Obama and the Democrats as an existential threat and abandoned norms of restraint in favor of constitutional hardball—the use of the letter of the law to subvert the spirit of the law. Republicans pushed through a wave of state-level measures aimed at restricting access to the ballot box and, most extraordinarily, they refused to allow Obama to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016.  

Republicans played “constitutional hardball?” Please! John McCain surrendered immediately, saying Obama won so he should get Obamacare. Obama, a non-vetted radical said days before his inauguration, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” That sounds like a threat to the republic to me. Obama had no mandate to change the nation like that, and he didn’t care. Using “agreements” because he was inconvenienced by the treaty clause (Paris Climate Accord and Iran Nuclear Deal); calling the Constitution a “bill of negative rights,” saying it did not show what the government should do for you. He never got it (or didn’t care) that is the purpose of the Constitution, to limit the federal government to select functions; refusing to enforce the law (e.g., immigration) but trying to prevent states to take actions to securing their borders; and using massive numbers of executive orders to get by fiat what he could not get through the legislative process.

Obama did present a nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia. Then Majority Leader McConnel used the Chuck Schumer standard. Paraphrasing the NY senator in 2007, “The Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Obama ‘except in extraordinary circumstances.’” Mr. Garland’s conduct as Attorney General has shown the wisdom of not confirming him to a life-time appointment.

The newly transformed Republican Party has launched a major assault on democratic institutions at the state level, increasing the likelihood of a stolen election in the future…a campaign to replace state and local election officials who certified the 2020 election—from secretaries of state down to neighborhood precinct officers—with Trump loyalists who appear more willing to overturn a Democratic victory. Republican state legislatures across the country have also adopted measures to restrict access to the ballot box and empower statewide officials to intervene in local electoral processes—purging local voter rolls, permitting voter intimidation by thuggish observer groups, moving or reducing the number of polling sites, and potentially throwing out ballots or altering results. It is now possible that Republican legislatures in multiple battleground states will, under a loose interpretation of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, use unsubstantiated fraud claims to declare failed elections in their states and send alternate slates of Republican electors to the Electoral College, thereby contravening the popular vote. Such constitutional hardball could result in a stolen election.

It’s called participating in the Democratic process, like how George Soros used his wealth to fund liberal district attorneys all across  the nation.  Large cities are generally controlled by Democratic machines, but suburb/ex-burbs/rural areas tend Republican. And they want to insure the voter rolls are cleared the dead, people who have moved, insure non-citizens are not registered, i.e., Democratic machine voters.

“Thuggish observer groups?” Did you remember the New Black Panthers intimidation in the 2000 election? It is not “suppression” to require a voter to show identification, or if they don’t have one, vote provisionally. One recent change to Texas voting law opposed by the Democrats is requiring live web broadcasting of paper ballot counting in large counties. These counties are controlled by the Democrats, but some some reason they don’t want to be monitored while they count the vote. I wonder why?

Remember states, not the counties, set the standards for elections. Democrats want unlimited mail in voting, same day registration and voting, with no ID requirement because they will use it to steal one election after another. Professors, that sounds rather undemocratic to me. Why do you seem accepting to this voter fraud?

The point of this? It’s propaganda like this article that influences the “thinking” of many in our capital (or the sycophants who worship and support them). Know what information they are intaking to better understand what they are thinking and defeat them. As Sun Tzu said:

Know the enemy and know yourself in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril. 


Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker,, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.

Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers.

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