Victor in Trouble
Q: Let’s jump right in with a question from one of your social media followers. Why do you hate Russia?
A: Thank you, @RoxyLuvsU7408825, for that excellent question. I see in your bio that you enjoy crochet and AR-15s, sometimes tweet in Russian, and you “loves America!” I loves America, too! And I once crocheted a plant hanger for my mom. We have a lot in common, you and I. In fact, I don’t hate Russia. I think Russia has an incredibly rich culture and history, and the Russian people are rightly strong and proud. What I do hate is authoritarianism, and the current leader of Russia seems to want to spread this around.
Q: Hi, Alex. I’m Igor Popov with the Russian media outlet New Russia News. You have no problem criticizing the actions of Russia’s president, but what about America’s occupation of Nicaragua in 1912, which followed the American tradition of genocidal Thanksgiving and led to Iraq, proving America was never really a democracy but a sham masquerading as a liberal country to force wokeness and backward progressive ideas on a sleeping populace brainwashed by a George Soros deep state cabal that sucks children’s veins dry?
A: That’s a thoughtful question. It’s true that the United States is an imperfect nation, but I’d like to believe we strive to listen to our better angels, even if we often don’t succeed. Unlike in Russia, however, our policies are made in a system with checks and balances. The American president cannot do whatever he wants, and decisions require input from other players. At the moment, the Russian president makes all decisions on his own and no one can question them. And while I disagree with many specific American policies, I will always fight for the right to speak that criticism without fear of being thrown in jail or assassinated. Just one advantage of living in a democratic, albeit imperfect, country.
Q: This is Kip Lawson from Facts News (Motto: News, The Right Way). I have a follow-up question to that: Why do you hate America?
A: Can I get a question from somebody else, please? Literally, anybody else.
Q: Hi, Alex. Longtime reader, first-time caller. What were some of the challenges you faced writing this book?
A: Writing a humorous book in the middle of a global pandemic while simultaneously watching the country I served and love slide toward authoritarianism was not easy. Our strange, postfactual existence was so out of whack that it was hard to write anything satirical for fear it would be seen as either too absurd or too real.
Q: Why write this book at all then?
A: I set out to write about the challenges of running intelligence operations when the president’s allegiances are being questioned and when that president does nothing to help alleviate the suspicions (and, in fact, does everything to exacerbate them). But I was also frustrated by America’s fixation on itself. Public debate about election interference was consistently filtered through a political lens, with Donald Trump smack in the middle. Lost in the conversation was the fact that Russia was carrying out similar operations across a huge swath of democratic countries. Vladimir Putin’s goal was never Trump-specific. His aim was (and still is) to weaken democracies everywhere. Democracy anywhere is a threat to dictators everywhere. So, I set out to highlight that these operations were taking place in many countries that are our allies, in an effort to demonstrate that our political focus on the United States and Trump was short-sighted. That’s not a very funny topic to satirize, but then again, neither was the war on terror. Yet, it was all so absurd, I figured there was material there. I hope I’ve succeeded in passing along my message while also being entertaining.
Q: Hi, Alex. I’m a troll from Russia’s Facts and Knowledge University troll farm. Do you mind if we take things you write and twist them to use as propaganda? Clearly you are still handled by the CIA and none of these thoughts are your own.
A: It would not be the first time that trolls have used me as propaganda, so whatever knocks your socks off, I guess.
Q: Alex, this is your mom. Should I be worried you were used as Russian propaganda?
A: It’s OK, Mom. It’s actually a compliment and means I am doing my job well. Besides, I’ve saved up plenty of George Soros bucks if I need to go live off the grid.
Read Excerpt from Victor in Trouble