Has there ever been a country so vilified as Russia, a leader so demonized as Vladimir Putin?
It makes me dizzy just to think of all the crimes that have been laid at that particular doorstep. I could spend the rest of this column simply listing them, from the deaths of numerous Russian journalists to the extinction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions – that and so much more! The omnipotent Russian President has apparently poisoned so many Russian expatriates in Britain that the streets are awash in polonium, novichok, and god knows what else. Why, it only took a few thousand bucks spent on some Facebook ads that practically no one saw to steal the presidential election from the rightful winner. Vlad the Bad is the all-powerful villain at the center of so many sinister conspiracies that it’s hard to keep track of them.
The anti-Russian campaign that the media has been hyping ever since Trump took office isn’t anything new. Those of us born during the cold war years – the first cold war, that is – remember all too well the atmosphere of hysteria and unreason that prevailed in those days. The fear of Communist agents under every bed was exploited by the War Party to no end – no good end, that is – and one would’ve thought that the collapse of communism and the end of the cold war would put a stop to it.
No such luck. It started in 2003, when the neocons declared war on Russia for Putin’s refusal to sign on to the Iraq war. Richard Perle led the charge, demanding Russia’s expulsion from the G-8.
The hate-on-Russia campaign has been ongoing ever since that time, only increasing in intensity and changing as to the details over the years. The main instrument of this effort has been the “mainstream” media, which, like the “intelligence community,” has now begun openly acting in a coordinated manner, an activist component of the anti-Trump popular front. The Russia-gate hoax is the central narrative of the NeverTrumpers, and hatred of Russia is therefore central to the emerging ideology of #TheResistance – a trend that does not bode well for the future of what was once known as American liberalism.
What does bode well for the country, however, is the fact that the American people aren’t buying the new cold war. After all those years of frenetic propaganda, a new Gallup poll shows that nearly 60% of the American people prefer diplomacy over confrontation with Russia:
“In an era of increasingly tense U.S.-Russian relations marked by allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, Americans believe it is more important to try to continue efforts to improve relations between the countries (58%), rather than taking strong diplomatic and economic steps against Russia (36%).”
Every fifty years or so the War Party migrates to the other side of the political spectrum, and this poll shows that the switching of partisan polarities is well underway. The majority of Democrats – 51% — say it’s more important to impose sanctions and take other hostile actions against Russia than to engage in diplomacy, while a whopping 74% of Republicans take the opposite view of diplomacy over confrontation. The Trumpification of the GOP means a less interventionist Republican electorate, as I’ve been saying for many months. This poll confirms it: the Republicans (in general!) are the party of peace.
The good news doesn’t end there. The really great news is that the Democrats are badly split, with a significant minority choosing diplomacy over sanctions. The clincher is that the independents are with the peaceniks in the GOP: diplomacy, they say, is better than conflict.
The Great American Peace Consensus has spoken! If the Democrats run with this Russia-gate nonsense in 2020 they will lose, bigtime. There’s no way they’re going to sell the American people on a cheap remake of “Red Dawn.”
Oh yes, the good news just keeps coming:
“Just 9% of Republicans agree that Russians interfered and changed the outcome of the election. Rather, the majority of Republicans, 58%, believe Russia interfered but it did not change the outcome. Nearly one in three Republicans reject the idea that Russia interfered.”
On the other hand, the Democrats swallow the Russia-gate myth whole: 78% believe it, despite the lack of publicly available evidence.
What this means is that most Democrats are not only epistemologically challenged but they are also more likely to believe authority figures unquestioningly, whereas Republicans are more prone to freethinking – although there are still a few deadheads among them.
We haven’t heard much about this particular poll, and the reason ought to be clear enough: it illustrates the waning power of the “mainstream” media, underscoring their pathetic weakness even when they act in concert. And if you think their coordinated editorials against Trump the other day was the first instance of their consolidation into a political bloc then you haven’t been paying attention. They’ve been peddling this anti-Russian conspiracy narrative for years – and now to see that it has had almost no effect on the majority of ordinary Americans must be so humiliating. All that effort – for nothing! The American people have far more sense than the political class that purports to rule over them, and that includes the media.
Our journalists are extra sensitive these days, responsive to every slight, both real and imagined, precisely because they sense their own impending irrelevance. Do you wonder why it’s the journalists who scream the loudest in favor of censoring alternative voices like Alex Jones? They hate the competition and would love to stamp it out: Jones’s kookiness gives them the perfect foil and pretext.
Trump called them the “enemy of the people,” but that’s letting them off easy. Our media is the enemy of reality, and the servitor of entrenched Power. They’ve inverted their job description: instead of reporting the facts they are intent on hiding them. That’s why alternative media are growing by leaps and bounds, while the legacy media is on its last legs.
Of course, we here at Antiwar.com saw all this coming many moons ago: that’s why we’re here, and you’re reading this. Which reminds me: have you donated to the cause lately?
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.