Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov warned that the United States is dangerously allowing President Donald Trump turn the country into Russia. He should know -- he lived through it.
In a long Twitterstorm, Kasparov explained that he sees many of the same tactics Russia used being deployed by Trump. One example was Trump's knack for “lying constantly while attacking targets for lying.” Another, he noted, is the “escalation of rhetoric to dictatorial extremes.”
At the same time, Trump has pointed his fury toward American institutions like the electoral system, free press, separation of powers and even law enforcement.
“If someone is attacking those institutions instead of strengthening them, it’s time to pick a side. Rule of law or by strongman?" he asked. "Rule of institutions or of tribe? The history of making the wrong choice here is clear.”
The commentary is one Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder walked through in his latest book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. In it, Snyder explained the three major lessons from tyranny that should inspire Americans to suit up.
He noted that Americans must defend institutions. Many anticipate that “the institution will save us,” but Snyder said that this kind of thinking is wrong. “We have to save the institutions. They don’t do it on their own. This is the moment of ‘ask not what the institutions can do for you. Ask what you can do for the institutions.'”
The same sentiment came from former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who wrote a call to action for Americans to hold tight to "core values" of the United States. She too warned that attacking institutions is dangerous ground.
Kasparov also warned that an "escalation of rhetoric to dictatorial extremes has a numbing effect." If tyrannical regimes use phrases like "enemies of the people" or terms like "coup" and "treason," it can reduce the impact of those words when actual crimes against the state do appear.
Over the weekend, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway did exactly that. In an interview with Fox News, she said that an anti-Trump coup was unfolding thanks to special counsel Robert Mueller.
You can read the full Twitterstorm from Kasparov below:
Every one of these moves has been under the cover of the autocratic attack on the objective truth. Lying constantly… https://t.co/y75BRiVypd— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513539221.0
This method has served another end, perhaps the greater goal, of splitting the US even more deeply, a division that… https://t.co/NHicbKHEUJ— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513539347.0
The escalation of rhetoric to dictatorial extremes has a numbing effect. Terms like "enemies of the people", "coup"… https://t.co/pHbDxv4lo4— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513539572.0
It also requires stronger doses each time to achieve the same impact, the distraction, the clicks, the outrage. The… https://t.co/xLetGvM3Ed— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513539723.0
We chose wrong and failed democracy in Russia. We failed by choosing a man, even a decent man, Yeltsin, over strong… https://t.co/4xXj2ey7Sd— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513540462.0
Even if you like Trump, or tolerate him for what you think he can do for you or your cause, you are choosing agains… https://t.co/rvUKBtygug— Garry Kasparov (@Garry Kasparov)1513540822.0