US politicians and media have evidently become so unhinged from Russian conspiracy theory, they are perhaps best treated with the mockery they deserve
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was in Washington this week to discuss serious global issues with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson. Instead of asking the pair about the Syrian conflict or the danger of nuclear war breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, all the assembled US media was clamoring to know about were the diplomats’ views on James Comey, the sacked FBI chief.
Lavrov couldn’t contain his contempt for such boorish behavior. He shrugged his shoulders and feigned surprise by saying: “You’re kidding me. You’re kidding me.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin was interrupted from partaking in an ice hockey game in Sochi by an American reporter who also pressed him for his view on Comey’s firing. Putin replied: “Your question is funny to me.” And he went on to say that the matter has nothing to do with Russia, being internal political business for President Trump and his law enforcement agency.
If the Russian leaders can be accused of anything is that they are being too polite in the face of such nonsense.
If someone insists on asking you a stupid question, loaded with prejudice and paranoia, then it is best to simply ignore rather than dignify the nonsense with a considered answer.
For over six months now, since Donald Trump was elected US president on November 8, the US media and much of the other Western media too, have been dominated by claims that Russia “hacked American democracy” to get Trump into the White House.
Not one shred of evidence has been presented to support these lurid claims, which have mutated to also include allegations of Russia hacking into the French and other European elections. It’s all based on speculation, usually by politicians, think-tanks and unscrupulous journalists linked to unelected state intelligence agencies.
This is a relapse of Cold War-style Russophobia, but one which has become totally divorced from any reality. At least in the old Cold War days, Western states could create a semblance of there being a Soviet enemy. It was still overblown propaganda back then, but there was the appearance of ideological enmity between West and East.
Today, it is objectively hard to plausibly portray Russia as an enemy state with malicious designs of conquest over the West. That disconnect, however, has not stopped the Western mainstream media churning out propaganda articles warning of the imminent Russian invasion of Europe or subversion of Western democracy.
The trouble is that there is such a credibility deficit to such claims; because they are based on nothing, except Russophobia and a desire by powerful Western state factions to fuel global conflict and massive military expenditure. In short, deep state militarism, propping up bankrupt Western capitalism.
There is also a deep inherent problem in Western societies of traditional politics having completely lost legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary citizens. Decades of failed capitalist economics and burgeoning social inequality have fomented widespread disillusionment and contempt for the political establishments. The latter has run out of any solutions to address today’s urgent social needs of decent work, public services and welfare.
So much so that when elections don’t go the way that the powers-that-be want, then there is a tendency to find a scapegoat to explain the breakdown in political order. Russia and its alleged hacking into electoral process is the handy scapegoat for the US and its European allies to blame for what is inherent decay in their own systems.
The election of business tycoon Donald Trump defied the political-media establishment in the US. And so his surprise victory has to be “explained” by a nefarious foreign plot allegedly carried out by the Kremlin. A more realistic, accurate assessment is that Trump won simply because millions of ordinary Americans have come to despise the fat-cat politicians who sit on Capitol Hill doing the bidding for corporate lobby groups. But that explanation cannot be admitted by the decadent establishment.
The self-serving paranoia of Russophobia put out by the Washington establishment just keeps digging a deeper hole for itself.
Trump fired FBI chief James Comey this week because the top law enforcement officer was riding a gravy train that is supposedly investigating alleged collusion between Trump’s election team and Russia. There is no evidence for these claims, therefore the probe should be shut down as an obscene waste of taxpayer money. Yet, Comey’s gravy train was set to keep on rolling, on and on.
Comey wouldn’t look into investigating Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton for provable violations of government secrecy rules when she was formerly the Secretary of State. But the FBI man wanted to keep stoking the smoke over outlandish claims that Trump is a “Russian agent.”
The whole charade is a ridiculous waste of time and taxpayer money, and Trump is right to call a halt to it by sacking Comey.
Rather than coming to their senses, however, the US media and large sections of the political establishment are doubling down on their paranoia.
Trump is accused of closing down Comey in a cover-up of the “truth” about his alleged Russia links. Comparisons are being made to the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon in 1974. Top US media outlets like the New York Times are openly calling Trump a “liar.”
But what “truth” are they talking about? The allegations of collusion with Russia and the latter hacking US democracy are all based on hearsay, conjecture and prejudice. The only reason why this absurd story has kept on running is because of deep-seated Cold War-style paranoia and Russophobia among the American political elite.
Trump’s reception of Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov at the White House the day after he terminated Comey was more fodder for the unhinged American media and political class.
Lavrov was right to treat the stupid US media questions about his view on Comey with the contempt that they deserve. Trump was right, too, to exclude the same media posse from the Oval Office where he greeted Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
If US media are not capable of holding intelligent questions about real-world pressing matters then they should be shown the door. And if they persist in indulging in paranoid fantasies, then the only suitable reality-check is to hit them with a dose of mockery.
Genuine questions deserve a genuine response. Ridiculous questions that are persistently asked to further a spurious political agenda should be spurned.