In Part 1 we referenced the infamous hysteria triggered in Salem Massachusetts by Betty Parris (age 9) and Abigail Williams (age 12).
In 1692 their prepubescent imaginations were apparently more than capable of detecting the evil doings of witches at loose in their community; and a population hopped up with Calvinist enthusiasm for the supernatural works of the Almighty apparently was also capable of lapsing into collective madness – at least for a spell.
But who would have thought that in the year 2018 the grizzled adults and racketeers who populate the Imperial City would fall prey to the same momentary outbreak of deliriums?
After all, Vladimir Putin was the very same Putin who made a mere cameo appearance in the 2012 presidential debates. He got an honorable mention when Barack Obama appropriately schooled Mitt Romney on the fact that Russia was not America’s principal national security threat.
Indeed, the MSM commentators who are shrieking about Trump’s parlay with Vlad today were knowingly furrowing their brows about Romney’s alleged gaffe back then.
So the question at hand is what changed? How did the politics as usual debating points about the status of Russia and Putin only 69 months ago turn into a veritable Salem style hysteria?
We’d suggest two pivotal events turned the Imperial City upside down. To wit, Barry lost his nerve in August 2013 on the Syrian red line and Donald Trump won the 2016 election in the red zones of Flyover America.
In between, the mainstream media completely lost its grasp on reality as the Imperial City dove headlong into it latest and greatest Indispensable Nation adventures by intervening in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen, and Iraq for the third time.
The Indispensable Nation conceit, of course, is the ultimate cover story for the work of Empire and is the polar opposite of the rudimentary America First notions on which Donald Trump rode into the White House.
As it happened, the Indispensable Nation meme flourished when the neocons and liberal interventionists became ascendant during the Clinton and early Bush 43 era; and they virtually ran the policy tables after 9/11 as the full-throated War on Terrorism cranked up a powerful head of steam.
Nevertheless, the acolytes of Empire nearly lost their political lunch when Shock & Awe in Iraq turned into a bloody quagmire and the retaliation against the Taliban for harboring the 9/11 conspirators ended up as an endless trillion dollar war in the Hindu Kush.
That’s why the peace candidate won in 2008. And it didn’t matter that Barrack Obama was an utterly unqualified greenhorn Senator and former part-time law professor and community organizer who had no more claim to the Oval Office in his day than the Donald did this time around.
But Barry was too much the quick study by half. Rather than dismantle the rogue postwar Empire of the neocons and militarists, he sought to make it smarter and more deft. So he populated his national security team with moderate neocons like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus and Victoria Nuland and a posse of liberal interventionists including Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.
Our point here is not simply that peace never had a chance with that crowd in charge of policy; it’s that the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring in early 2011 triggered a toxic brew of interventionist enthusiasm among Barry’s foreign policy team that quickly metastasized into R2P (responsibility to protect) madness in Libya and Syria.
Needless to say, even a newly arrived Martian visitor in 2011 what have been scratching his head about Libya.
In his advancing old age, Khadafy had turned himself into a model non-proliferator and exclusively inward focused tyrant. Libya thus posed a threat to exactly no one outside its own borders; and it was just plain laughable as a matter of concern to the security of the American homeland.
But Hillary and her posse famously danced on Khadafy’s grave after NATO-enabled terrorists brought about his brutal demise. So doing, they learned a dangerously erroneous lesson.
Namely, that uncooperative dictators who purportedly threatened their citizens with genocidal repression could be clinically removed for a few billions worth of bombs, drones and aid to local rebels.
That proposition really had nothing to do with homeland security in America and was belied by the fiascoes in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now the "smart" people were in charge, and both Libya and Egypt were proof they knew how to make Regime Change happen with a minimum of muss and fuss.
Yet any intelligent reading of the impossible sectarian politics of Syria put the lie to that conceit in a heartbeat.
Indeed, given the 40-year history of the Assad family business built around Baathist secularism and a protective umbrella for Syria’s numerous minority confessions – Alawite, Druse, Shiite, Christian, Jewish, Kurd etc. – the very idea of arming Sharia-spouting Sunni Arabs to overthrow the Assad regime was sheer lunacy.
So whatever the immediate origins and allegedly peaceful intentions of the anti-Assad uprising in the spring of 2011, it did not take long for these clashes to degenerate into bloody urban warfare.
And it did not take a lot of figuring to also see that arming Muslim Brotherhood sectarians was absolutely guaranteed to generate a violent response from Damascus. That’s because the Brotherhood had been the historic vanguard of Sunni religious opposition to the Baathist secularism of the Assad regime; and had been brutally suppressed by the senior Assad in the 1980s.
Beyond that, it was also a given that the Shiite polities on either side of Syria’s borders would likely come to Assad’s aid. That is, the Iranians in the east and Hezbollah across the southwest border in Lebanon – to say nothing of the regime’s longtime Russian patrons, whose only naval base in the Mediterranean was located on Syria’s tiny slice of coastline.
In any event, Obama’s neocons and R2P liberals threw every caution to the wind. In going all in for regime change and demonizing Assad as a butcher who used barrel bombs and chemical weapons against innocent civilians, they maneuvered Obama – newly feisty as the slayer of Osama bin-Laden – into drawing his famous red line on the use of chemical weapons.
Needless to say, that was catnip to the Nusra Front and ISIS jihadists who dominated the armed opposition. It did not take long for them to mount a false flag attack in Ghouta in August 2013, which horrified the social media connected world when 1300 civilians suffered gruesome deaths from what was apparently sarin gas.
Only later did rocket experts demonstrate that the sarin had been delivered by short-range projectiles launched from jihadist controlled areas outside of Damascus, not by Assad’s forces 15-20 miles away. But at the moment, the job was done: Obama was on the hot-seat of his own foolishly drawn red line – exactly where the jihadist and his own interventionists wanted him.
When he attempted to escape the trap by punting the decision to bomb Assad to Capitol Hill, however, Cool Hand Vlad saw his opening. To wit, he quickly brokered a deal with Assad to have his entire chemical weapons arsenal removed and destroyed under international supervision.
That was operationally executed by the acknowledged neutral experts at the OPCW (Organization For The Prevention of Chemical Weapons) and there is little doubt that the preponderant share of Assad’s arsenal was eliminated.
Yet for that act of constructive statesmanship, the neocons and liberal interventionists never forgave Putin. Then and there he became Bad Vlad because his action on chemical weapons but the kibosh on Washington’s excuse for regime change in Damascus.
In fact, the War Party interventionists of both stripes – neocons and R2P liberals – went on the all-out attack in September 2013, transforming Putin from the also mentioned adversary of the Obama-Romney debate one year earlier into a veritable demon. Hillary now even insisted his was a modern day Adolph Hitler.
As it happened, the duly elected President of Ukraine chose that same fall to pursue an economic bailout deal with Moscow to rescue his country’s debt-laden, corruption ridden post-Soviet economy; and he did so in lieu of the far less attractive deal that had been offered by the west through the EC, IMF and Washington.
Not surprisingly, that wholly appropriate decision by the leader of a sovereign nation became exactly the opening for the Washington interventionists to strike hard at Putin and Russia.
We have detailed elsewhere how the so-called Maidan uprising on the streets of Kiev in February was funded, organized and enabled by Washington and its cadres of operators from the CIA, NED, State and sundry NGOs; and how that divided the country to the quick politically when Washington installed and recognized a radical nationalist government that immediately moved against the Russian speaking populations of the Donbas and Crimea.
Indeed, enabling the Kiev coup and instantly recognizing the crony capitalists, ruffians and neo-Nazi nationalists who formed the new government was the single stupidest act of peace candidate Barry’s entire presidency.
But by then the interventionists were in high dudgeon. So there was no stopping their virtually instantaneous demonization of Russia and Putin for actions which were self-evidently driven by Russia’s vital national interests in it own backyard – not some kind of aggressive quest for territory or lebensraum.
To wit, Putin did not "seize" Crimea like it was some country in the Benelux that he coveted. To the contrary, Crimea was virtually Russian to the core after it was purchased by Catherine the Great in 1783 and thereafter when Sevastopol become the homeport for the great black sea fleet of czars and commissars alike.
For crying out loud, Crimea was never part of Ukraine until Khrushchev had the Soviet Presidium transfer it in 1954 from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic as a gift to his Ukrainian compatriots who had stood with him the bloody struggle for Stalin’s succession.
So Washington decided to declare economic war on Russia through Obama’s idiotic sanctions in order to make sure that the dead hand of the Soviet Presidium’s writ is enforced 64 years later.
Besides, Russia did conduct a referendum which was fair by all objective accounts; and under which 83% of the eligible voters elected to return to Mother Russia after what had been an historical short interlude of rule by the Ukrainian state. Among other things, the overwhelmingly Russian speaking population of Crimea as not enthusiastic about being culturally "cleansed" the Ukrainian nationalists who now ruled in Kiev.
Likewise with the Donbas and the other nearby Russian speaking provinces on the eastern border. Many of them had been put there generations earlier by Stalin to man what was the industrial maw – coal, iron, steel, chemicals and heavy engineering – of the Soviet Union.
And all of them knew of the terrors that had occurred during WWII when the Hitler’s Wehrmacht marched through the Donbas and destroyed everything and everyone in sight on its way to the siege of Stalingrad, and how it had been accompanied by legions of Ukrainian collaborators during the terror.
They also knew that the region had eventually been liberated from the Nazi terror by the Red Army as it returned through the region on its way to Berlin.
Yet the interventionist fools in Washington ignored all of this and proclaimed Putin menace to peace and the rule of law because he came to the aid of the overwhelmingly Russian-speaking population, which did not want to be ruled by the Ukrainian nationalists who had illegally sized power in Kiev.
The obvious solution all along was partition – just like happened when Washington forced Serbia to give up Kosovo; or when the artificial country of Czechoslovakia, created by backroom intrigue at Versailles in 1919 peacefully decided to separate into two sovereign countries a few year back.
In short, there is no there, there. The Ukraine/Crimea "aggression" is nothing of the kind, and Putin was in Syria because he was invited to be there by its sovereign government.
In fact, the whole demonization campaign, the sweeping economic sanctions and NATO’s provocative encroachments on Russia’s borders in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea are nothing more than retaliation for Putin’s wise rescue of Barrack Obama from his own stupid red line.
But this isn’t the end of the stupidity. In part 3 we will strip the bark off the Russian election meddling meme by laying out the simple fact that a country which is no threat to the security of the American homeland, but which has been viciously attacked by Washington, might will seek to make it’s case for a different policy.
That is to say, none of this is about espionage or stealing military secrets. It actually boils down to the obvious fact that Donald Trump had an open mind about Russia and had not been party to Obama’s cabal of neocon and R2P interventionists and their campaign of revenge against Vlad Putin.
That Putin preferred Trump was a no brainer and he admitted as such at the Helsinki Summit. But that Putin’s preference for Trump had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the election is also patently obvious.
Nevertheless, the Deep State has cooked up a massive fiction that claims Moscow
made every effort to do so.
We intend to tear that Big Lie limb-for-limb in Part 3, but suffice it here to consider the take below from CIA veteran Philip Giraldi. It does remind that Salem on the Potomac is actually happening in the here and now:
Beyond what is or is not contained in the document itself, there is a clear misunderstanding regarding how a sophisticated intelligence organization, which certainly includes the GRU, operates. If there had been a large-scale Kremlin sanctioned plan to disrupt the US election, it would not be run by twelve identifiable GRU officers working with what appears to be only limited cover and resources. If the facts are correct, the activity might have been a routine probing, collecting and selective dissemination of information effort that all intelligence agencies engage in. The United States does so routinely in many countries, interfering in elections worldwide, far more than Russia with its limited resources, and even carrying out regime change.
If the Kremlin’s objective were truly to undermine American democracy, a task that is already being undertaken very ably by the GOP and Democrats, hundreds of officers would be involved, all working under deep cover and operating securely out of dispersed sites. And no one involved would be using computers connected to networks that could be penetrated to enable personal identification or discovery of the ultimate source of the activity. Everyone would be working in alias on stand-alone machines and the transmission of information would be done using cutouts to break any chain of custody. A cutout might consist of using thumb drives to transmit information from one computer to another, for example. There would be no sending or receiving of information by channels that could be identified by NSA or CIA and compromised.
So the idea that the United States government identified twelve culprits who were responsible for trying to overthrow American democracy is by any measure ludicrous, if indeed there was a major plan to disrupt the election at all. The indictment is little more than a political document seeking to undermine any effort by Donald Trump to establish rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. It will also serve to give fuel to the Democrats, who are still at a loss to understand what happened to Hillary Clinton, and Republican hawks like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse who persist in seeking to refight the Cold War. As Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin said in their Helsinki press conference, the coming together of the leaders of the world’s two most powerful nuclear armed countries is too important an opportunity to let pass. Cold Warriors in Washington should take note.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.