It’s déjà vu all over again.
First US President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and appears to make some progress towards his stated goal of putting ties between Washington and Moscow on a positive course. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Trump is a called a traitor. The “sanctions bill from hell” is introduced in the Senate. Trump is forced on the defensive.
Next Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky visits Moscow, where he meets with Putin and gives him a letter from Trump proposing moderate steps towards rapprochement. Paul also talks with Russian Senators and invites them to come to Washington to continue the dialogue. Immediately, all hell breaks loose. Paul is called a traitor. The State Department “finds” the Russians guilty of the using illegal chemical weapons (CW) in the United Kingdom and imposes sanctions. Trump is forced even more on the defensive.
In each instance the actions of the Washington establishment, both in Congress and in even in departments and agencies allegedly part of the Executive Branch of government headed by Trump, moved quickly to nip in the bud even the most tentative efforts by Trump to keep his campaign pledge. With regard to the new CW sanctions it is unclear whether Trump had anything to do with them at all; most likely they either were imposed without his participation or he acceded to them because he felt he had no other option.
It is debatable how much of the US government Trump actually controls. The baseless CW finding by the State Department (with heavy pressure from Congress) is the work of Trump’s globalist enemies in the bureaucracy and in Congress (all of the Democrats, and almost all of the Republicans), with the complicity of his own appointees, to undermine his overtures to Moscow and further erode his Executive authority. Besides blocking every possible path to détente with Russia, this is another step to setting Trump up for removal from office.
Regarding the timing of a second set of sanctions set to kick in November, it’s hard to see how that will be avoided. Russia will not submit to inspections, which the US is arrogantly demanding of Russia, as if she were some pipsqueak country like Libya. Given that the OPCW certified in 2017 that the Russians had completed destruction of 100% of their CW stockpile (cf., the US still has almost 10% of our stocks, which are not expected to be completely gone until 2023), the demand is the equivalent of proving that you have stopped beating your wife (to the satisfaction of someone who admittedly continues to beat his own wife).
In the absence of capitulating to the US demand, which Russia will not do, legally Trump can waive the sanctions. But that option is no doubt part of the political trap being laid for him, presenting him a Hobson’s choice. On the one hand, he can waive the sanctions, further hyping the charges of treason against him (and, if the waiver is before the elections, giving the Democrats another red flag to wave), as well as inviting new legislation passed by a margin “Putin’s puppet” cannot veto; or he can let them go into effect.
If, as seems likely, the harsher measures are applied it is hard to overstate the danger created. These are the kind of things that countries do just one step from totally breaking relations in advance of war: cutting off access to American banks, barring Aeroflot from the US (in context, the least of our concerns, though symbolic), effectively blocking all exports and imports, and downgrading or suspending diplomatic ties. With respect to the last – a direct assault on Trump’s presidential authority to send and receive ambassadors under Article II of the Constitution (oddly, no one in Congress seems to care that presidents routinely usurp their authority to make war) – this likely would mean withdrawing the US ambassador from Moscow and expelling the Russian ambassador in Washington, while maintaining relations if at all at the chargé d’affaires level.
In word, this is insanity. What’s perhaps worse is that this political warfare is being conducted with total disregard for the truth, much less an honest attempt to find it. It’s worse than a presumption of guilt; it’s a positive, unambiguous verdict of culpability under circumstances where the accusers in Washington and London (I would guess but cannot prove) know perfectly well that the CW finger pointing is false.
It has been clear from the beginning of Trump’s meteoric rise on the American political scene that he and his American First agenda were perceived by the beneficiaries of the globalist, neoliberal order as a mortal danger to the system which has enriched them. Maintaining and intensifying hostility toward Russia, even at the risk of a catastrophic, uncontainable conflict, lies at the center of their efforts. This political war to save globalism at all hazards is intensifying.
It would be a mistake, however, to understand hostility to Russia as just a cold calculation of pecuniary and social advantage by a corrupt mandarin class. It is all that of course, but it is also deeply ideological, reflecting the agenda of the entrenched pseudo-elites to dismantle the traditional national identities and Christian moral values of the West – and impose their godless agenda on the East as well.
But there is something else too, something that touches the emotional heart of both Russophobia in a global context and anti-Trumpism domestically. That is the accusation of racism.
Unsurprisingly one of the first to give voice to this concept was Hillary Clinton, who in her August 2016 “tinfoil hat speech” sought to portray Trump as a creature of the “Alt-Right” because, among other things, he once complimented Infowars’ Alex Jones: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” But in Hillary’s estimation, who is “the grand godfather” of the worldwide Alt-Right? You guessed it: “Russian President Vladimir Putin.” A month later she doubled down in her infamous “basket of deplorables” speech, branding Trump’s tens of millions of supporters “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it.” (In an evident oversight, she omitted mention of Putin.)
Give the warmongering old girl credit for her doggedness. Hillary has stuck to this theme even as she sinks into irrelevance (while still reportedly harboring ambitions of a 2020 presidential run!), in June 2018 calling Putin the leader of the worldwide “authoritarian, white-supremacist, and xenophobic movement” who is “emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and even neo-Nazis.”
Hillary is not alone. As summed up by Jodi Jacobson of Rewire.News (“Putin, Trump, and Kavanaugh: A Triad of White Supremacy and Oligarchy”):
‘Putin is a dictator. His interests are in amassing wealth and power at any cost, both in Russia and globally. … He is an ethnic nationalist, a white supremacist, and an Islamophobe. He aligns himself with radical right-wing religious and political groups to marginalize and attack the rights of women, LGBTQ communities, and religious and ethnic groups outside his power base.’
But perhaps the most revealing description comes from putative comedian Bill Maher on a recent episode of his HBO program, explaining that “Race Explains Shift From Party Of Reagan To Party Of Putin” and excoriating not just Putin but Russians as such for their genetic characteristics:
‘UPDATE, with video The “dirty little secret” that explains how the Party of Reagan morphed into the Party of Putin is a four-letter word, Bill Maher said tonight: Race.
‘“Russia,” Maher said during his New Rules segment on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, “is one of the last places on earth to say, ‘F**k diversity. We’re here. We’re white. Get used to it.’”
‘Attempting to explain how 87% of Republicans (according to a recent poll) are fine with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin visiting the White House, Maher chalked it up to racism, and even quoted a tweet from his old pal Ann Coulter.
‘“Last year Ann Coulter tweeted that ‘In 20 years, Russia will be the only country that is recognizably European.’ As far back as 2013 Matt Drudge called Putin the leader of the free world. David Duke called Russia the key to white survival.
‘“Today’s Republicans, what’s left of them, do not like the melting pot,” he said. “And Russia? That pot don’t melt.”
‘Making jokes about White Russians (“Let’s see, I want to get drunk but I also want a glass of milk”) and Russian basketball players (“the team that played against the Globetrotters”), Maher compared racial diversity (or lack thereof) in Russia to that of Western Europe.
‘Ending the bit with a bite, Maher concluded, “A Barack Obama does not become the president of Russia. Wingnuts used to accuse Obama of being a foreign agent who took over America, but when a foreign power actually did take over America and it was the proudly white one, their response was ‘come right on in.’
‘“To the members of the Grand Old Party, Russia meddling in our elections isn’t a breach of national security, it’s just white people helping white people. Or what Republicans call governing.”’
Maher gives away more than he suspects. Very little in the foregoing says anything about racism, either Russian or American, but it does say a great deal about Maher’s own disdain for Russia because it is “recognizably European,” also known as (if you’ll pardon the expression) white. One suspects he doesn’t castigate, say, Koreans or Japanese for the fact that their countries are “recognizably Asian” and are going to stay that way.
Shifting to the US, it is increasingly obvious that what poses as antiracism and opposition to “hate” is little more than hostility to the identity and values of the core American ethnos: English-speaking Christians of European descent, including completely or partially assimilated descendants of immigrants. (In other countries this would be understood in specifically national terms – Russian, French, German, English, etc. – but for historical reasons too complex to summarize here, the core American demographic is generally seen in terms of race, not ethnicity. This stems in part from the absurd but widespread claim that the US not an ethnic state, only a civic one.) More and more this hostility is expressed as hatred of “whiteness” itself, in a manner that would be totally unacceptable applied to any other ethnic, racial, or religious group.
The current Exhibit A of such hatred is the controversy over a newly appointed member of the New York Times editorial board, Korean-born Sarah Jeong, whose expressions of anti-white bias were parodied by African-American conservative Candace Owens, only substituting “Jewish” and “black” for Jeong’s “white.” Unsurprisingly, Owens was suspended from Twitter while Jeong – who also trashes men and the police – is the beneficiary of full-throated support from the assembled forces of diversity, tolerance, and overall wonderfulness.
Jeong is just one example of a phenomenon that has become fashionable among the haters. “White thoughts” are a disease, as is whiteness itself. Among the items various college professors have denounced as tainted by white racism are math, farmers’ markets, interracial friendship, solar eclipses, the Bible (of course), environmental pollution, college football, the song “Jingle Bells,” the nuclear family, punctuality, and (it goes without saying) supporting Trump. The existence of entire US states like New Hampshire and Vermont that are just “too white” is an affront to diversity, a problem demanding a solution. For the über-PCHuffPost.com, whiteness constitutes an entire issue category for the grievances of other racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual “communities,” including helpful advice to liberal white feminists to just “shut the f**k up!” The inevitability of the United States’ becoming a majority-minority country is stated as a fact as inevitable as sunrise and sunset, but it’s “unabashed white nationalism” for even mainstream conservatives who are light-years away from the Alt-Right to point out that Americans never voted for or were asked their opinion about such a future. Conversely, “white-bashing” by self-loathers is a demonstration of the “nobility that flows from racial self-flagellation.”
Connecting Putin and Russia with racism feeds into cockamamie phantasmagoria of Crimethink concepts that increasingly are considered outside the protection of what was once quaintly known as free speech: hate speech, fake news, conspiracy theories, white nationalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, “cisgenderism,” and many more. (Astonishingly, this recent video from ADL’s Orwellian-named “Center for Technology and Society,” which claims to identify “online hate” with 78 to 85 percent accuracy through the use of artificial intelligence, is real, not a parody.) Just to be accused of subjectively and politically defined hate is now sufficient to trigger a coordinated muzzling of the offender’s online presence by the lords of the Internet, getting them fired from their jobs, and even subjecting them to physical attack from violent enforcers like Antifa. Ostensibly these actions are undertaken by private entities, conveniently hiding the government hand encouraging tech companies to police content to counter “Russian meddling” and other thought crimes.
The current coupling of a globalist agenda with demonization of our country’s majority demographic has a disquieting precedent. In August 1915 the committed internationalist Vladimir Lenin issued his infamous call to “turn the imperialist war into a civil war.” In that, if in nothing else, his program was a smashing success, resulting in the deaths of up to ten million people through savage warfare, “Red Terror” repression, disease, and famine. As he summed it up, “I spit on Russia! That’s only one stage we have to pass through on our way to world revolution!” No sacrifice of other peoples’ lives was too high a price to be paid to implement Lenin’s version of globalism.
As Anatoly Karlin notes (“The Real Lenin: Traitor, Parasite, Failure”) the horrendous destruction inflicted by the Bolsheviks was motivated in part by Lenin’s conscious hatred – perhaps not very different from Maher’s today – of Russians as the majority ethno-religious group, who had to be crushed to liberate the certified oppressed minorities. That hatred gives “an inkling of the real reason why Western intellectuals like Lenin a lot more than Stalin,” writes Karlin. Indeed, in light of the Russian experience there is a chillingly familiar ring to today’s legitimatization of racial detestation of the American majority.