You Gotta Love Them Russians
Updated: Mar 22
My older brother studied mathematics at Stanford and then went on to read Philosophy at Harvard. He can explain quantum mechanics, Keynesian economics, Heidegger and Beethoven’s last quartets. I have always considered him THE most intelligent person I know and I love him dearly. However, back in 2,000 he voted for Ralph Nader. Later on he said Barack Obama was “just another George Bush with a pretty face” and he loathed Hillary and voted for Jill. Now he says Bernie Sanders is an imperialist! The coup de grace came when he averred that we are not necessarily worse off today with Trump than we would have been with Hillary. Enuf already!
I think it was Ben Franklin who said he knew a man so well educated that he could name a horse in six languages but when he graduated from school he bought a cow to ride on. Is this what we are dealing with with these super-liberals like my brother, Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald and Susan Sarandon et alia? I do know that Pericles was wrong about Cleon, Beethoven was wrong about Napoleon, Thomas Edison was wrong about Mussolini and Knut Hamsun was wrong about Hitler. Genius does not guarantee political sagacity.
And so, still, today, early October 2018, months after Manny and Mickey “flipped”, a month after Manny pled guilty, there are “liberals” who believe the “fake news” that Russia is just a big, benevolent bear with no interest is disrupting the American democratic project.
Meanwhile Vladimir Putin recently signed a budy-buddy treaty with China and expanded the Russian naval and air bases in Syria, for whatever that is worth.
Why would Russia meddle in our elections? Why is Russia meddling in the elections and infrastructures in France, Germany, Holland and the UK? Why does Moscow like Novichok so much? Why did Russia invade the Crimea? Why are Russian troops in Ukraine? Why does Vladimir Putin support a megalomaniac like Assad? These are questions the alt-left is reluctant to ask in their quotidian hatred of Obama and Hillary (and, apparently, now even Sanders) as the mainstream American press keeps pushing for answers regarding Donald Trump’s obsequious fondness for bareback Putin.
Look everybody (Hello, Glenn Greenwald!); get a grip. We were invaded by an enemy power as surely as if a platoon of Spetsnaz forces had landed in Wasilla, AK, and the press is busy keeping us apprised of the casualties as our own troops fight back despite indifference by our own Collaborator in Chief. The new theater of war is an LCD monitor and the weapons are laptops.
I have heard laments that all sorts of interesting stories are being left untold by our major news outlets (implying that the country is falling apart because of the paucity of broader news coverage) because “the press” is avariciously focused with glaucoma vision on Russiagate.
To answer these questions and understand Vladimir Putin one has to go all the way back to Napoleon. Seriously. Russians have a long memory and the horrific battles against a western invader still linger aggrievedly in the bovine Russian soul. Napoleon’s Grande Armee invasion is usually seen on a western European canvas sympathetic to the horrible suffering of the FRENCH troops thousands of miles away from Parisienne succor deep inside a hostile Russian winter. Mon Dieu! Those poor French garcons freezing in the neige! Less frequently do we westerners read about or see paintings of the horrors suffered by the Russians in the path of Napoleon’s aggression. But the Russians read and remember the Patriotic War of 1812, believe me.
And then hardly fifty years later Russians are fighting foreigners in Sebastapol, Crimea (which had been ceded to Russia after the Russo-Turkish War in 1783). Half of their navy is locked up in the Black Sea by the humiliating Treaty of Paris in 1856.
Sixty years later, in 1917, Austrians and Germans are again marching into Russia against a demoralized revolutionary Czarist army. At Brest-Litovsk Russians sign another humiliating treaty losing more esteem and real estate to hated westerners.
Just twenty-five years later, in 1942, the bloody Boche are banging on the doors of Stalingrad again! How many times do you need to be invaded to begin to want it to never happen again? Four times in 200 years?
So should we have been surprised that in 1946, Russia (the Soviet Union) would want to establish several satellites and put some real estate between themselves and these annoying western incursions with what Winston Churchill called an “Iron Curtain”? Who wouldn’t want an iron curtain between themselves and certain rapacious inconvenience? For approximately the next fifty years Russia would wage a “Cold War” with the United States for the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe. For fifty years the world reckoned with TWO super powers: The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We counted each other’s troops, submarines, nukes and allies. We played at roadblocks, airlifts, Cuba, basketball and chess as two behemoths bungling around in the china shop of global politics. In the octagon of world affairs we were counted as equals.
The average American has never heard of the battles of Smolensk, Sevastopol, Brest-Litovsk or Stalingrad but these things are etched as deeply in the mind of Vladimir Putin as Concord and Pearl Harbor are etched in the infantile mind of Donald Trump. Just as deeply etched in Putin’s mind are the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Just 26 years ago Russia was a super power slugging it out in the same global arena as the United States. Today Russia is just a huge developing country with some old floppy disk nukes and a bunch of doped up hockey players.
To contend that Vladimir Putin is not a very serious adversary to western European/American democratic interests is to ignore the fundamental facts alluded to briefly above. Any Russian leader worth his Smirnoff would want, more than anything, to re-establish Russia as a super-power. I mean, how would we have felt in 1939, if we heard that a bunch of highly influential politicians were investing money in Germany and speaking fondly about Adolf Hitler’s brilliant rhetoric? Maybe then we might have been indifferent but how would such complacency look today?
I mean, even if Bob Mueller finds no evidence of actual collusion between the Trump inner circle and Moscow we should be very concerned that so many Trump associates such as General Flynn and Paul Manafort were so cozy with a dangerous adversary. Today, in hindsight, Charles Lindbergh’s and Henry Ford’s coziness with the Nazis is not optically flattering, for example. Putin has no intention of invading or bombing the United States but he clearly wants to “fuck us up”, to use an academic expression. He wants to wreak as much havoc on our politics and society as possible because the weaker we are the stronger HE will become. There are four branches of government here in the United States: The Executive, Supreme Court, Congress and the Press. If Vladimir Putin can get a huge number of Americans to believe that “The Fourth Estate” is corrupt and disseminating “fake” news he will have achieved a tremendous victory for Russia. United we stand; divided we fall . . .and boy are we divided!
What do you think Putin thinks about the EU and NATO? They are a gigantic pain in the ass for him and if he can plant some fake news, sew racial discord, disrupt a few elections he will have achieved another big victory. Remember, this is a guy who ran the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) so he is not unfamiliar with the covert operations conducted by the KGB for which he worked much of his life.
Who has been the biggest power operator in the Middle East for generations? Right; Washington. During the Cold War Moscow cultivated numerous client states in the region but after THE COLLAPSE the United States, England, Germany, France and China began establishing influence in a part of the world floating on oil and with seacoasts along crucial shipping lanes. So of course Putin sees Assad struggling and steps in with some military hardware and secures a combat-boot hold in the region to thwart American interests in Iraq. This is a VERY clever, unscrupulous guy we are dealing with.
Just as Hitler calculated correctly that the West would do nothing when he took back the Rhineland, Putin calculated correctly that the West would do essentially nothing if he took back The Crimea. After Obama backed away from his red line Putin realized that he could prop up the Assad dictatorship with even more brazen firepower.
There should be no question in anybody’s mind that had Hilary Clinton become president things would have been very different for Mr. Putin. For starters, Mrs. Clinton would have been very cordial to Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Manuel Macron. This platoon of four would have presented a formidable obstacle to Russian interventionism in western democracies. Forgetting the myriad reasons why people hate Mrs. Clinton, she, as opposed to Donald Trump, knew very well what Vladimir Putin has been up to since the fall of the wall. Mr. Putin had EVERY reason to facilitate an election victory for the ignorant, naïve, man-child Trump.
Russia and Trump have succeeded in dividing this country more than any time since the Viet Nam War. It is no longer decent liberal democrats versus decent conservative republicans; NOW it is un-read, NRA, camo-clothed, turbo-charged off-road, climate change denying, anti-evolutionist, racist republicans against book-toting, Harris tweed, Volvo-driving, college educated, science believers and MeToo democrats. The chasm between these two groups dwarfs the distance between the north and south rim of the Grand Canyon. We hate each other. This is a ginormous accomplishment for Vladimir Putin.
To date, nine individuals very close to Mr. Trump are being investigated for conjugal relations with Russia. Some of these people have been indicted and some have even pleaded guilty to some pretty serious felonious mischief. . .and we’re worried that the press is preoccupied with a president with friends like these? Lets say that in 1940 we knew that Harry Hopkins, Rexford Tugwell, Harold Ickes and Louis Brandeis all had close ties to Adolf Hitler, apartments in Berlin, lodges in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and had conspired with German agents to defeat Wendell Wilkie?
EVERY SINGLE investigative agency in the United States, from the CIA, FBI, and IRS to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to the United States Army Counterintelligence Agency believes the Russians meddled in the US presidential election of 2016. The Russians are still doing it according to the CIA and Microsoft. The Russians have every reason to do it and keep doing it. But the man/boy in the White House refuses to acknowledge that this is happening. He says it is China. Everybody is reluctant to use the “t” word (TREASON) but I would aver that when one sees foreign troops approaching the capital of one’s country we should all agree that that is an invasion and we should expect our president to recognize the need to take some counter measures to protect our democracy.
From June, 1972 until August 1974, the press seemed preoccupied with some petty thugs caught pilfering stuff at the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate hotel in Washington DC. It went on and on didn’t it? Leak by leak. Lick by lick. Was “Deep Throat” real? Compared to Donald Trump, Richard Nixon was Churchillian. Nixon, at the very least, had a politician’s respect for the office of the presidency. Donald Trump has demonstrated unequivocally that he has little knowledge of or respect for the Constitution, the presidency or the great project of American democracy.
To those of you who complain about Russiagate and say we are not necessarily worse off with Donald Trump than with Hillary — that is those of you who voted for Ralph Nader and Ms. Stein — I say bully for you to be so fortunate to have the luxury to vote at all since it doesn’t make any difference to your situation regardless of who is in the White House. Unfortunately, we don’t all enjoy that privilege.
Months ago it was Flynn and Papadopoulus and weeks ago it was Cohen and Manafort; not to mention Omarossa, Stormy and Karen. While I acknowledge that it must be difficult to breathe with one’s head in the sand, much less whine about the media’s preoccupation with Russian aggression, it is important to note that Mr. Greenwald, the consanguineous progenitor of the Russiagate whiners is living behind locked gates comfortably down there in Rio with his husband and twenty-four dogs 8,000 kilometers from the country he hates to love because the Russians are our friends and RT is a great source of alternative news. Glenn Greenwald and his coterie are never gonna be wrong about Trump though because it’s no big deal when you’re rich and removed.