Friday 28 February 2020

Bernie Sanders and the Resurrected Russiagate Smear

Newspaper opinion piece by Stephen Kinzer  acknowledging the debunking of “Russiagate” (Boston Sunday Globe, April 7th 2019)

Even after the “Russiagate” claim of supposed Russian interference in the last US Presidential Election was irrefutably debunked, members of the Democratic Party elite and sections of the US “Deep State” of National Security/Intelligence in alliance with sections of the mainstream media continue to peddle this asinine and tiresome trope that posits certain American politicians as collaborators, assets or useful idiots of the Russian state. Hillary Clinton used it against US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and now the same ploy of projecting a political figure as being Russia’s “favoured candidate” is being used against another presidential aspirant US Senator Bernie Sanders.

The 2019 report into “Russiagate” by Robert Mueller turned up no credible evidence to back up the narrative that the Russian state orchestrated a powerful and effective campaign to influence the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The core narrative of “Russiagate” lacked solid evidence. Right from the beginning, astute commentators such as Emeritus Professor Stephen Cohen, an expert in Russian affairs for decades, pronounced the two central documents on which the whole Russiagate sage relied as “impotent”. If anything the real interference which inspired “Russiagate” had to do with the State of Israel attempting to fix a vote in the United Nations in regard to which the Israelis hoped that Russia would refrain from exercising its right of veto in a UN Resolution concerning the Palestinian issue. It speaks volumes that the mainstream media and the politicians of the world’s most powerful nation are fearful of speaking out about the power of the Israel Lobby in US domestic politics and foreign policy.

It is important to explain the motivation behind “Russiagate” and the actors who perpetrated the myth. “Russiagate” is simply the fruit of an alliance between the Democratic Party elite and members of the military-security establishment. The former wished to exact revenge on Trump for inflicting an unexpected defeat on their candidate, while the latter have a financial interest in prolonging a Cold War with Russia because peace or rapprochement would effectively mean the extraordinary levels of money spent by the United States on defence in terms of manufacturing weapons, maintaining bases around the globe and justifying its vast intelligence network would be rendered redundant.

The Russia smear is thus a political weapon directed at any politician who speaks out against American militarism, whether as pertaining to the manufactured Cold War against the Russian Federation or to the unchanging policy of instigating overt and covert wars of regime change.

Those who threaten the interests composed of defence contractor companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon along with serving and former serving officials of the Pentagon imperil the continuation of an extremely lucrative trade in arms, ammunition and miscellaneous weapons of war.

Thus, when Trump promised during the presidential election campaign of 2016 to leave NATO, as well as his description of Russia as not an enemy, he was inviting the wrath of a amalgam of powerful interests. The same may be said of Tulsi Gabbard and her campaign against the American policy of regime change wars, and of Bernie Sanders and his perennial anti-war stance.

This powerful and malevolent interest group wields considerable clout in American politics through the control and influence exercised on political representatives in both houses of the United States Congress. It is a group which President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the American public to be wary of, when giving his farewell address to the nation. Eisenhower described this burgeoning interest group, in his words “an immense military establishment and large arms industry” as the “Military Industrial Complex”. He prophesied that it would threaten American democracy in the future.

The “unwarranted influence” acquired by the Military Industry has come to pass.

Tufts University Professor Michael J. Glennon in his lengthy paper cum book “National Security and Double Government” identified what he termed the “Trumanite” institutions (in contrast to the “Madisonian” institutions of state governance prescribed by the American Constitution), an unaccountable collection of former military, intelligence and law enforcement officers whose influence has been strong enough to ensure that America’s national security policy, one of consistent militarism, has essentially remained unchanged through the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

The Military Industry has its tentacles in politicians whose payoffs are enabled by laws which allow unlimited electoral spending. It also has a pervading influence on the mainstream media regardless of the ideological designation of “liberal” or “conservative”. Thus we see Democratic Party Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who tore up President Trump’s State of the Union address, rise up to applaud Trump’s expression of support for the US puppet Juan Guaido, the man being used by the US National Security State to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela.

It also explains the pro-war sentiments of supposed liberal media figures such as  Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper, both of whom are emblematic of the sort of liberal political and media figures who subscribe to “Humanitarian Wars” which fulfill the war agenda of the Military Industry and its perennial allies associated with the neoconservative agenda and the Israel Lobby.

The “Russiagate” smear is a disinformation exercise geared to denigrate and to discredit politicians. It is not limited to effecting the derailment of political campaigns, it also serves as a tool to be used to control the policy of a successful candidate in terms of their conduct of relations with Russia.

The reactions of those targeted has been varied. While Trump and Gabbard have actively fought against it, Sanders has unwisely played into the narrative by accepting the intelligence services claim that Russia has habitually interfered with the US electoral process and by referring to Vladimir Putin as an “autocratic thug”.

Many unfortunately are still unable to ascertain the obeisance to the dictates of the Military Industry as being at the root of the attacks and smears mounted against the likes of Gabbard and Sanders, and as a result the mainstream media is able to revive the canard of the Kremlin-orchestrated undermining of American democracy.

The question now is how much longer will the insouciant masses keep falling for the same old ruse?

© Adeyinka Makinde (2020).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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