Does Putin want Trump as President?

I'm a huge fan of thoughtful blogger Richard Fernandez from Belmont Club, but respectfully have to disagree on his take on the current Wikileaks leaking of Democratic National Catfight emails and voicemails:

By striking at Hillary's aura, the Russians may be attempting the same thing. Democratic voters looked up to her to protect and defend the nation because that's what presidents do. By hacking Hillary and humiliating her, Putin has sent the message that she cannot even defend herself -- and what's the use of a president who can't defend herself?
This is an excellent point, except that - despite the tone of publicity - Hillary is not actually President of the United States. She's locked in a deadly struggle with Donald Trump for the title, and the decision won't happen until November.

I have no trouble at all believing that the Russians have the goods on Hillary. FBI Director Comey's statement on the Clinton private email server left little doubt that any competent foreign security service would have gained complete access to her communications, and have any amount of blackmail material on her and on her confidants. But if you're playing poker and have four kings, why would you all-but-announce this at the start of bidding?

Wikileaks has doubtlessly been compromised by Russian security services, but such compromise is covert - the SVR doesn't have an editorial veto - and it still provides a low-friction platform for publicising controversial data. This is a classic example of a disgruntled insider publicising information to hurt someone they loathe; Wikileaks is just the medium.

If you doubt this assertion, ask yourself: if you were Putin, with whom would you want to negotiate? Trump who is well-established as a wildcard who could say or do anything, and is (in practice) very hard to blackmail because of all the unsavory facts which are already public? or Hillary who still tries to project an aura of robustness and foreign intelligence savvy from her time at State, and whose private email correspondence you have available on request?


I'm starting to believe that May is trolling the Guardianistas

I thought that the chorus of butthurt from the why-didn't-the-plebs-listen-to-ME part of the Remain camp was finally starting to die down, but then May appointed Johnson as Foreign Secretary, and oh my goodness. My Twitter feed and Farcebook timeline have erupted in caterwauling once again.

Note that this has the effect of focusing the limited Guardianista attention on Johnson and his various alleged[1] faux pas, and there's been very little comment on the appointment of the sharp and strongly pro-Brexit David Davis as "Minister for Brexit". I rather suspect Davis is going to be the source of most of the actual heartache for the Remainers in the next couple of years.

[1] Most of which I suspect they're overselling. Johnson has his flaws, Heaven knows, but he's a smart cookie, extremely well travelled, with a highly multinational family. And I'd endorse him as Foreign Secretary solely on the basis of his trolling of the Chinese about ping pong at the Beijing Olympics.