If President Trump is “Putin’s puppet,” as the loonies of #TheResistance claim, then why is the Russian leader making speeches threatening to destroy the United States with “invincible” nuclear weapons – and illustrating his threat with a video rendition of a Russia ICBM circling the globe and hitting Florida? Although the Russians deny it, it looks to me like that missile is headed straight for Mar-a-Lago.
Putin’s recent speech was over two hours long: the first half was taken up with Putin’s take on every single aspect of life in Russia, from the state of the airports to the housing market to healthcare, illustrating the fact that there is hardly any aspect of human existence that is not touched by the Russian state. It’s a textbook illustration of what we used to call Oriental despotism: constantly exhorting his subjects to do better, Putin has an opinion on every conceivable issue, and then some.
After an hour and a half of this, when his listeners were numb with the sheer quantity of all that wordage, Putin launched into a vivid series of descriptions of the new weaponry Russia has developed, including an “invincible” nuclear-powered missile supposedly capable of evading anti-missile systems. He prefaces all this with a series of complaints, accurately pointing to the fact that the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, and averring that every attempt on the part of the Russian side to negotiate was met with indifference and even contempt by the West: “No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now.”
What we are listening to is a clear threat to destroy the United States – and, incidentally, all life on earth – with nuclear weapons. There’s no spinning this, no way to downplay the severity of the threat, or to miss Putin’s intention. Yes, he claims this is just for Russia’s defense, that aggression is not on his agenda – “quite the opposite” – but he knows perfectly well how all this will be viewed in the US.
By the way, this speech should dispel the rather weird notion being pushed by the Russia-gate crowd that Putin is some kind of evil genius who has a handle on how to manipulate the Americans at every turn. If this speech is an indication of how well the Russians know their American tormentors, then it is nothing less than a confession of pure ignorance. Americans don’t like to be threatened: they react, not with fear and trembling, but with a determination to teach a would-be bully a good lesson. This is precisely what the War Party wants, and the Russian leader has certainly given them the opportunity to claim that Russia represents a mortal threat to the US, to the West, and to the entire world.
After years of provocations – not only withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, but also massing NATO troops a few miles from Moscow, conducting military “exercises” that are essentially a rehearsal for a full-scale attack on Russia, engaging in “regime-change” operations in Ukraine and around the periphery of the Russian state, and even threatening to overthrow the current regime in the Kremlin – the Russians are finally responding. One can easily imagine ordinary Russians listening to their leader and saying “It’s about time!”
And that was his audience – the Russian people, who are going to be asked to vote for Putin once again and seem inclined to do so (in spite of Western propaganda pushing the very marginalized opposition parties). This was an electioneering speech – yet it was also directed at the West: “So listen now.”
Well, yes, we are listening, and what we hear is, frankly, quite depressing. The new cold war is now officially on: the hate campaign aimed at Russia by the Democrats and their neoconservative allies has succeeded. We can certainly rule out any peace talks between the US and Russia. While Putin, in his speech, says he’s open to negotiations, it should be fairly obvious to him and to the rest of us that this is not going to happen: the summit many of us were hoping for, at which the American relationship with Russia would be redefined, was a daydream that dissipated rather quickly in the hot winds of the American political discourse – which has turned into a firestorm of anti-Russian warmongering.
The Deep State has been desperately trying to block any US-Russia rapprochement – which is one reason why they launched a regime-change operation against President Trump. The “Russia-elected-Trump” propaganda campaign, which we’ve had pounded into our brains by the “mainstream” media for the past year and a half, is a vital part of this effort. As it is being slowly but surely debunked and discredited, it’s entirely possible that Trump might very well make good on his campaign promise to pursue a new relationship with Russia. Right now, however, we have to chalk up a big win for the War Party.
I’ve been warning for quite some time that the prospect of a military confrontation with Russia is the main danger to peace and security, and these new developments only underscore the urgency of that thesis. President Trump’s pledge during the campaign to find a way to “get along with Russia” – a pledge the voters endorsed – is now forgotten. Trump’s generals and advisors never agreed with it, and now they’ve succeeded in reversing it: a more dangerous turn of events would be hard to imagine.
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So now it’s up to you. The American people are sick and tired of foreign wars: our message of peace and nonintervention has never been more popular. Yet the political class resists the popular will – and the War Party is more determined than ever to lead us down the road to perpetual conflict. We really need your support at this crucial juncture: we can win the battle for peace, the opportunity is there – but we can’t do it without you. That means we need your tax-deductible donations now – because they’ll have double the impact with our matching funds program.
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NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.