Earlier in February, according to various Fox and Neoconservative pundits, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was close to being labeled “the devil incarnate,” the man responsible for naming Robert Mueller as Special Counsel (and who had basically given him carte blanche to engage in a slow-burn campaign, an ideological investigative war, based on a spurious made-up dossier, against President Trump). Calls went out that Rosenstein should be replaced, even fired.
Now, a few days later—and thirteen indictments from one of Mueller’s grand juries, announced by the very same Rosenstein, specifically against more “Russian players” who reportedly “meddled” in the 2016 American elections, but without any connivance by the Trump campaign—and Rosenstein is feted as a veritable savior of the republic by those same commenters. Those Neocons who now selectively support the president and those bitterly anti-Russian Fox pundits (with the possible exception of Tucker Carlson) are absolutely giddy with delight! For too long, in their defense of President Trump against the charge of collusion, they had found themselves in the extremely uncomfortable situation (for them) of having to mount an attempt to exculpate the Russians, or at least lessen their culpability.
But now, Rosenstein has presented them with one of those exquisite “Aha!” moments: at last, the onerous burden of disputing Russian connections with the Trump campaign has been lifted, but they can still, with more reason, keep those evil Russkies in the cross hairs as the supreme enemy of America!
And this fits to a tee their ideological predispositions. For the Neocons (and most of the Fox punditry)—who are the dominant voice of the so-called contemporary “conservative movement” and the intellectual brain trust for much of the GOP—are inveterate Russophobes. It makes no difference to them that Russia in 2018 is definitely not Russia of the old Soviet days; it makes little difference to them that since 1991 Russia has emerged as the leading global power in opposition to the secularist New World Order, and that its political and cultural trajectory is, if anything, more conservative and traditionalist. They ignore the fact that Gorbachev voluntarily agreed with George H. W. Bush to dissolve the Warsaw Pact (which he did), ending the Communist control of Eastern Europe, on condition that the United States not advance NATO further east (which is exactly what the United States then proceeded to do). They have repeatedly ignored and rejected Russian overtures for partnership, collaboration and cooperation (not the subinfeudation and subjection that Paul Wolfowitz and Charles Krauthammer demanded). They rip out of context Putin’s statement that the dissolution of the old Soviet Union was “a monumental catastrophe” for Russia, failing to understand that his comments dealt specifically with the radical and disastrous ethnic and political consequences of the break up, with millions of ethnic Russians now in regions that were always part of Russia, now separated from the Mother Country, economically adrift and incapable of true independence.
Back on February 6, in an effort to briefly explain some of the background for this zealous Russophobia, I wrote the following in a column:
“The Neocons, of course, owe their intellectual origin decades ago to that other major stream of Marxist thought, identified with Leon Trotsky and his zealous internationalism. Early on for those intellectual descendants of Trotsky their opposition to Soviet Communism was just as much a hatred for Russia, which they saw as anti-Semitic (e.g., the infamous “doctors’ plot”) and “reactionary,” as it was for what they perceived as Stalin’s (and Brezhnev’s) perversion of the original “humanist” and “democratic core” of Marxist theory. Thus, even with the daily revelations, the reports and all the accounts of skulduggery by agents of the Deep State that seem to seep out, the narrative of “the Russians Did It!” must be maintained, by both Progressivists AND the Neocons. Either the Russians and that “new Hitler” (to use Neocon Max Boot’s ill-chosen comparison) Putin were somehow directing Donald Trump like a puppet master controls a stick puppet, or the Russians and that “new Hitler” were working with Hillary and the DNC to blacken Donald Trump’s good name and unseat him. Either way “the Russians Did It!”
So, now we hear the news from Rosenstein that thirteen individual Russians and Russian organizations, beginning back in 2014, two years prior to the 2016 elections (and before Donald Trump was even mentioned as a real candidate), are charged with “attempted meddling” in our national elections…using mainly the Internet and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). But no American citizens were compromised, and there was no collusion with the Trump campaign.
Duh. So? This is news? That a major world power spent a paltry million dollars (in a campaign in which a total of billions of dollars were spent) in some rather uniformly unsuccessful attempts to “meddle” here?
You would think that the Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor or that Putin’s Cossacks had landed and seized Miami Beach! This story has nearly displaced the tragedy of the school shooting in Broward County, at least on Fox. With obvious satisfaction, Laura Ingraham (whom I do like on occasion), intoned on her Fox program: “I’ve been warning about the Russians for years!” But when she asked her guest former CIA director Admiral R. James Woolsey if we ever “meddled” in other countries’ elections and governments, he simply laughed a bit nervously and attempted to avoid answering. (The answer is of course we do and have done so for decades: Guatemala, Iran, the Kennedy-approved assassination of President Diem, the recent Ukrainian coup against a popularly-elected but pro-Russian president, our funding of candidates subservient to our interests—the list is endless.)
Another Fox pundit, Tucker Carlson on his program, briefly mentioned the “meddling” of Chinese operatives and organizations in the United States (where literally billions of dollars have been spent to shape American opinion and a major percentage of American commerce is now controlled by Beijing). Where is the Special Counsel investigating Chinese “meddling” and influence on American elections? Where are the congressional committees examining the extraordinary control by the Chinese of American business?
And what about Mexico which, using its various consulates scattered across the United States, helped engineer the registration of Mexican voters who would vote in the 2016 American elections? How many of those were—are—illegals? Except for such groups as ALIPAC, NumbersUSA, NC Listen, FAIR, VDare.com, and a few others, not a word…and certainly, no congressional hearings.
Then, there is Saudi Arabia and the billions of oil-based petrodollars that have found their way into the coffers of American political leaders. When was the last time that you heard a serious critique of the Saudis (or their virtual, if remote responsibility for much of the Islamic extremism in the Middle East)?
And, lastly, and most significantly—and this is the white elephant in the room—what about the incredible influence of Israel in American politics? Okay, I recognize that you’re not supposed to notice this, at least not mention it, lest you be labeled an “anti-semite”—an accusation, a stain, like the charge of racism that is difficult, if not impossible, to expunge. Yet, can anyone rationally deny the immense influence of Israel—and its “meddling”—in our elections and politics?
I will make no judgments here whether the issues advanced by Israel and its supporters, the positions pushed, are good or bad, whether they are in our national interest or not. Israel has been an ally since its foundation in 1948, and the cultural and political bonds between our two nations have been and are very strong. But that doesn’t change the facts: Israel is a major player in our politics, and such extremely powerful lobbying/public interest groups like AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) generally serve the interests of the State of Israel and attempt to identify them with American interests.
“Meddling” is an understatement when it comes to Israel. Remember the Jonathan Pollard espionage case? Pollard was a major American Israeli spy, whose spying and pilfering of top American secrets on behalf of Israel got him life imprisonment. And, politically, we only need to cast a brief glance to the past—to the defeat of Senators J. William Fulbright (Arkansas) and Chuck Percy (Illinois), and Congressman Paul Findley (Illinois), and the attempted defeat of Representative Walter Jones Jr. more recently in North Carolina (e.g, Bill Kristol’s million-dollar campaigns to defeat Jones in GOP primaries)—all of whom refused to go along with unquestioning support of a pro-Israeli American agenda, or who raised some embarrassing questions, even in the most respectful and mildest manner.
Years ago, when working with the founder of the older conservative movement, Dr. Russell Kirk in Michigan, I met Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, a thoughtful Jewish opponent of Zionism and of the kind of international entanglements that he sincerely believed gave the Jewish state and Jews universally a negative reputation. Later on he presented me with copies of his major documented study on the topic, The Zionist Connection (original edition, 1978, and revised, 1982), which were revelatory for me.
More recently, Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski’s impressively documented, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel (2008), and Drs. John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy (2007) have deepened aspects of Dr. Lilienthal analysis. And additional research and discussion by such writers as Philip Giraldi (“Are America’s Jews Driving America’s Wars,” 2017), and such distinguished authors of Jewish descent as Professors Walter Block (“Is It Permissible to Criticize Jews?” January 2018) and Paul Gottfried (his review of Neil Jumonville’s The New York Intellectuals, 2008, on the relationship between Russian Jewish emigres centered in New York and their powerful influence in American culture and politics), have raised questions that should be examined calmly and rationally, but probably won’t.
The shadowy Russians purportedly spent a million dollars to “meddle” and “sow confusion” in American politics, beginning two years before the 2016 elections. And the Neocon narrative, the template that indicts Russia, is preserved, and that is all you need to know. An anti-Trump “demonstration” in New York with forty-five sullen attendees, some fake ads on Facebook (which is literally filled with millions of other fake ads), some cyber interference, some phony URLs—and the Russophobes go literally wild.
And all the while the major players in meddling and espionage and influence here in the US—they skate, are ignored with a wink-and-a-smile, dollar signs in the eyes of the supposed guardians of the Republic!
Sheer hypocrisy and crass dishonesty incarnate.
[A portion of this essay has appeared at: http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/02/february-17-2018-my-corner-russians.html ]