As I have noted before in Strategic Culture Foundation, the infant Trump Administration is engaged in a life and death struggle with the Deep State, the mainstream media (MSM), all of the Democrats in Congress, and a lot of the Republicans too. One issue lies at the heart of the struggle: the determination of Trump’s enemies not to allow any sort of warming of ties between Washington and Moscow.
Day after day the MSM run story after story alleging, with no evidence whatsoever, that Trump is a puppet of Vladimir Putin, who stole our election to put Trump in the White House. Congressional hearings on «Russian interference» in elections in America – and France, Germany, and wherever else – have turned into a veritable Witches' Sabbath of Russophobic hysteria and of the dangers of «populism» of the sort represented by Trump and Marine Le Pen.
Meanwhile, the other side of the crisis is starting to slip out of the anti-Trumpers’ control. In recent days it has become clear that Barack Obama’s former Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admitted on TV to what amounts to knowledge of criminal leaking of classified information. Potentially even more damaging to the «soft coup» is the revelation that Obama’s former National Security Adviser Susan Rice – notorious for her lies about the 2012 Benghazi terror attack – was involved in the «unmasking» of Trump transition team names captured in intelligence surveillance. The MSM is panicking, insisting Rice did nothing wrong: don’t look behind that curtain, nothing to see here, just move along, folks...
That isn’t going to work. In coming weeks, we will start to get some answers. Who – which agencies, American or foreign like GCHQ – spied on Trump and his people? Whom were they surveilling, the Trump people directly or «only» the people the team were talking with, Russian or otherwise? Under what legal authority, if any, did the surveillance operate? What was done with the data, and to whom was it passed on – violating what laws?
Meanwhile, the more dignified elements of the Deep State pretend has nothing has changed. The ship of state sails majestically forward, no storm is on the horizon. The usual well-funded «experts» explain the world to us, and even honest and intelligent people are expected to nod deferentially and drink in great draughts of Establishment wisdom.
A case in point is the recent report of the über-Establishment Brookings Institution: «Putin’s no populist, but he can gain from populist movements worldwide». It can be summed up in two sentences: Putin is a scared little man fishing in troubled waters. Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing and needs to be careful not to give Putin an opening for mischief.
Frankly, it’s not the worst think tank analysis about Russia and America – almost anything from American Enterprise Institute or Heritage would be ten times worse. The Brookings report rests on a straw man, namely the issue of what constitutes «populism/populist» (used 38 times in the piece). The closest the authors come to giving us a definition is «uncontrollable political and economic forces for which no one was prepared». Whatever that means.
By that definition, «populism» never has existed and never can, except for very brief, unviable episodes. Its repeated use in the piece is a symptom of the progressive authors’ faith in the Bolshevik myth of spontaneous movements of «the people» (you know, like .05 percent of the population on the streets of Kiev, twice, counts as «the Ukrainian people have chosen to be part of Europe!»). That myth, closely linked to the myth of democracy (as wielded as a weapon by Western ideologues), is contrasted to the reality: the inevitability of oligarchy, in modern times usually plutocratic in nature. (Though not always. The USSR was an oligarchy but not based on wealth. Rather, membership in the ruling oligarchy temporarily gave one a semblance of wealth, unless and until your number finally came up.)
Brookings writes: «Last but not least, populists target the power of elite establishments. In Russia, Putin is the establishment». To be in power effectively is, ipso facto, to be the establishment. There are few ways an outsider can do that:
One, shoot the old establishment and create a new one (the Bolsheviks, again).
Two, give in and sell out to the establishment (what some on the left accuse Bill Clinton and Obama of doing, and what some hope, or fear, Trump may do).
Or, three, a hostile takeover: instill enough fear in the members of the establishment so they serve your purposes not theirs. That pretty much is what Putin did, in a pattern somewhat reminiscent of the centralizing monarchs of European absolutism of the 17th and 18th centuries, with the Russian oligarchs serving as poor stand-ins for the traditional nobility in the earlier era. The last seems the most prudent course, and probably what Trump is trying to do under somewhat different conditions.
Brookings disputes that Putin really wants to see populists elected in other countries:
«Contrary to popular belief, the Russian president is no fan of populism. His support for populist parties in Europe and the United States is simply opportunistic: he will seek to bolster their chances, if they can fracture support for mainstream parties that tend to view Russia as a threat and the transatlantic bond as vital for countering it. His support is a pure calculation in order to survive».
Well, that’s one way to put it. A less snarky way to say it would be that Putin prefers political forces in Europe and the US that are less hostile to Russia than those that are more hostile. How horrible!
He rightly identifies the latter with globalist, anti-traditionalist, anti-national, anti-Christian, pro-jihad, pro-migration multicultural elites who are destroying their own countries, while the former are not just «populists» but patriots, whether they be American, French, English, Serbian, etc. Isn’t that what different countries are for?
Irony of ironies: when the Soviets used their proxy General Jaruzelski to crush Solidarnoszcz in December 1981, the Reagan administration aptly demanded the Soviets «Let Poland be Poland». Great idea! And let France be France, Germany Germany, America America, Serbia Serbia – and let Russia be Russia.
But somehow that’s bad. Russia must be America, or at least be Holland.
This week we’ll see if Washington will give permission for China to be China.