Yesterday we saw Donald Trump brazenly use Twitter to hand Russia some sort of secret information about U.S. nuclear technology in plain sight. That’s just par for the course at this point; everyone knows Trump is a traitorous Russian asset, and his racist supporters just don’t care. But it turns out the reason behind Trump’s tweet is far more dire than we thought – for Vladimir Putin.
If you watched Rachel Maddow tonight on MSNBC, you’re aware that the mysterious nuclear accident in Russia has turned out to be orders of magnitude worse than was initially let on. The whole thing is so out of control, the Kremlin and the local government can’t even get their story straight. Worse, belated evacuations are being scheduled and then canceled, suggesting that those in charge have concluded that there is no “good” solution to what’s gone wrong.
Moreover, the footage that’s surfacing out of Russia reveals that the first responders are resorting to using mere plastic to try to keep radiation from leaking out of ambulances, amid reports that the doctors who treated the initial victims are now sick themselves. This is a tragic story involving the death of innocent people, and that death toll is sadly going to continue to rise. There’s also a larger, political picture here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin only has a few key things going for him. He’s got hackers who can meddle in foreign elections. He’s got control of a few key puppets around the world, including Donald Trump, Bashar Al-Assad, and Kim Jong-Un. And he’s got the support of the wealthy Russian oligarchs. Beyond that, Putin doesn’t have much. Russia has too little infrastructure and too few resources. The only reason Putin’s sham government works is that nothing has made him particularly vulnerable to ouster.
Now Putin is facing a nuclear meltdown of some kind that’s already spiraled far beyond his ability to control the message or cover it up. We don’t know where this is headed. We don’t know if this will end up being as big as Chernobyl. But we all recall that Chernobyl played at least some role in destabilizing the Soviet government before it ultimately collapsed. If the Russian people become too outraged by this latest nuclear accident, or if the oligarchs become too spooked to leave a reckless madman like Putin in charge.. let’s just say that Putin is in trouble.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report