Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Trump’s January 6 Insurrection Never Ended

Trump’s January 6 Insurrection Never Ended

Saturday, 8 January, 2022 - 05:00

Unhappy Coup Day to All Who Celebrate

A year ago today, a group of energetic tourists, decorated with bracelets and other festive garb and chanting amusing slogans, visited the Capitol to express their feelings about the prospect of Donald Trump no longer being president. In their zeal, they might have accidentally committed at least 174 crimes. Or actually it was antifa that did those. Would you believe it was the FBI?

Thanks to right-wing media, this is how an uncomfortably large number of Americans think about the events of Jan. 6, if they think about them at all. It may feel like shouting into the void, but it’s still worth recounting what really happened that day: The loser in the 2020 election urged supporters to disrupt the process of certifying his rival’s victory, as part of a broader scheme to overturn the results. It sounds like a coup when you put it that way.

And that effort is not over: Though Trump has decided to keep a low profile today, he’s still keeping the spirit of Jan. 6 alive, with help from almost every member of his political party not named Cheney, writes Tim O’Brien. His most fervent supporters are infiltrating local election machinery to lay the groundwork for a sequel. Trump basked in the mob’s adoration a year ago, and it’s just the sort of high he’s been known to keep chasing, Tim notes.

Reckoning with this truth is a task not just for Jan. 6 but for every day until the threat has passed. The same Congress that was attacked a year ago has been investigating the riot for several months, with plans to carry on for several months more. A better approach would be to get all the facts out as plainly and quickly as possible, Bloomberg’s editorial board writes, to give voters a chance to absorb and act on them. Law enforcement, including the Justice Department, will still be free to find more prison-y ways to hold coup plotters accountable. And the rest of us will be free to remember Jan. 6 was not overly rambunctious tourism but a possible dress rehearsal for the end of democracy.

Russian Undressing

Of the many weapons in Vladimir Putin’s arsenal — nuclear weapons, steely gaze, judo moves — cold weather is his most elemental and possibly potent tool. As new Bloomberg Opinion columnist Javier Blas notes, deadly Russian winters have done in Napoleon, Hitler and other invaders. And polar vortexes make Europe desperate for Russian natural gas, giving Putin political leverage. So far this winter, Javier notes, cold has been in short supply, a relief after weeks of panic about a European energy crisis.

But it’s far too soon to call Putin disarmed. Winter is still coming. Probably.

Putin and other autocrats in the former Soviet Union may never think in any terms other than conflict and competition. We’ll always have to worry about energy crises and border skirmishes as long as they’re around. But Leonid Bershidsky invites us to consider they won’t be around forever. He argues the West has an opportunity to improve relations with these countries, while appealing to their future leaders, by offering full membership in clubs such as Europe and NATO if they meet certain democratic standards. Maybe the ultimate weapon is kindness.


Other opinion articles

Editor Picks