If you want to understand the sordid side of “what’s going” on, you could do worse than read John le Carré, particularly his later, and yet more cynical works. Consider this description from Wikipedia of the denouement of Absolute Friends,
“Later, Sasha and Mundy once again conspire in grandiose schemes to combat American military and industrial globalization. The two ideologues become pawns of the group they thought they were combating. They are framed with planted explosives by American and German security services, who brutally shoot them during a staged raid. After they are killed, they are portrayed as terrorists “with connections to Al-Qaeda“, in efforts to convince European governments to support the United States in its “war on terror”. After Mundy’s death, Amory, his controller from the British intelligence service during his espionage years, tries to publicize the truth, but slander by the British government results in his story being totally discredited.”
With apologies to le Carré, in his world there exists only the great but sordid moneyed interests, grappling for dominance, and the rest of us, relegated to a kind of irrelevance, sometimes appeased with naive visions of some greater good. If there is a silver lining to the current catastrophe that is Donald Trump and the Republican party, it is that the reality of this le Carrean world has been laid bare for anyone willing to see. Trump is himself intimately entwined with a global set of oligarchs – Russians, Israelis, Azerbaijanis – wealthy operatives from Goldman Sachs, the Kochs, Mercers, and Bradleys. Murdoch. In a plot worthy of le Carré, we now know that our election was, in fact, rigged by computer targeted misinformation, by voter suppression, and as increasingly appears, by direct manipulation of voting machines. The Trump-Russia collusion is itself a part of this “great game”. Trump meeting in the oval office with the Russians and passing them crown jewels of American intelligence is a symptom – the canary in the coal mine that should, once and for all, dispel all doubts as to where his interests lie.
So here is this sordid world laid bare. Le Carré has warned us. We see it come to pass. None of this means that there is, in fact, no greater good – that aspirations to peace, or to universal health care, or for humanitarian policies for immigrants or refugees are futile or doomed. It does mean that our heads have been in the sand, and that if we want change, we will have to fight for it – get big money out of politics, regulate media to ensure competition and to outlaw propaganda, and revise election laws to protect votes and voters. I’m one of those naive types that thinks it can be done. Indeed, it must be done.