It’s hard not to be distracted by the right wing Shit Show presently playing in the White House with its daily exposures of corruption, racism, xenophobia, and discrimination.
The most glittering of all the baubles dangled for our horror and enjoyment is Russian interference in the 2016 election and the collusion of the Trump campaign with President Vladimir Putin’s operatives. The accuracy of this charge is strengthened almost daily and denied only by the Trump camp, Fox News, and a surprising number of leftists and news sites like CounterPunch.
However, the question is almost never asked, why did Putin consider it such a high priority that Donald Trump, a sleazy and stupid real estate investor, become president over a sophisticated, policy-wise, seasoned politician like Hillary Clinton?
It’s difficult to imagine that a U.S. president who seems worse than George Bush and Ronald Reagan combined, could have a better position on the critical issue of peace than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but Trump trumps both of them when it comes to Russia.
Before recently capitulating to the U.S. intelligence services’ view of Russia as a hegemonic rival, Trump proposed what the old Khrushchev-era Soviet Union called “peaceful coexistence” between the two countries. The liberal champions, Clinton (who voted for the Iraq war, and Obama, an undeserving recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize), ramped up Cold War II during their administration, endangering the world with the prospect of war in Europe more threatening than anything Trump has done with N. Korea.
Whether Trump advocated peaceful relations with Russia because Putin has the rumored video tape of prostitutes peeing on him, or since Trump didn’t expect or want to win the presidential race, and was setting himself up for future real estate deals in Russia, he didn’t want an adversarial relationship in Eastern Europe. He couldn’t care less about Crimea, eastern Ukraine, or the nature of Putin’s rule. As the Godfather rasped, “It’s only business.”
Putin’s intervention in the U.S. election was based on the defense of his country from Western threats, ones which are of a significant nature. Once again, the West is at Russia’s doorstep, intent on surrounding it with hostile nations and offensive weaponry.
Putin is a ruthless dictator without a single admirable trait, but his moves annexing Crimea and intervening in eastern Ukraine do not threaten the U.S., 4,000 miles to the west.
Before leaving office in January 2017, Obama sent 3,600 U.S. tanks and 4,000 battle-ready troops to Europe and held military maneuvers near Russia’s borders. What would Obama have thought if the Russians had done something similar in Canada or Mexico?
Perhaps more ominous is the building of another American missile defense system in eastern Poland, following the placing of a U.S. Aegis Ashore system in Romania, an act that Russia called “a direct threat.” And, that is a correct assessment. Missile shields are a component of first-strike nuclear strategy.
When Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of the Soviet Communist Party, essentially dismantled the USSR, he did so with hope for a peace that ended the decades long Cold War and nuclear stand-off which the West launched following WW II.
NATO and the Warsaw Pact were to be disbanded and the eyeball-to-eyeball stare-down between the two blocs would end. Instead, the U.S. has expanded NATO up to Russia’s borders.
That Trump’s desire for détente with Putin was brought to heel was demonstrated in the December issuance of a National Security Strategy paper which identifies Russia in terms of the U.S. intelligence services’ reflexive hostility to Russia. Maintaining traditional Western belligerence fuels the Military/Industrial Complex, and creates job security for the enormous intelligence and military apparatus.
Military spending in the U.S. is one of this country’s economic pillars; it ruined the Soviet Union. The U.S. needs an enemy to justify its $643 billion yearly military budget, and irregular fighters with AK47s don’t fill the bill. So, the symbiotic relationship between Russia and the U.S. war economy began its resuscitation into Cold War II by Obama/Clinton (supported by Bernie Sanders) and increased in Trump’s latest war budget (it’s not defense).
The corporate and mostly liberal media attacks Trump for his overtures to Putin acting out their fealty to the warfare state. CNN refers to Russia as “our implacable enemy,” liberal talk show host, Stephanie Miller identifies the country as a “hostile power,” and former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, calls Trump a “Russian asset.”
The corporate media outlets are the megaphone that justifies the extension of American military power across the globe that threatens not only Russia, but the world with an unimaginable war.
Concentration on the politics and technology of Russian electoral interference while ignoring the reasons for it, misses the chance for understanding and exposing traditional cross-party warmongering.
A radical anti-war movement should call for the withdrawal of American military from all countries around the world as a minimum demand. Ultimately, we want the disbanding of all armies.