When the Democratic Party ramped up its attacks on Russia during and immediately after the 2016 election, the rhetoric was reminiscent of that used during the Cold War. It portended the hysterical reaction being displayed by political leaders (including our own congressional delegation), the media, neo-cons, and most astonishingly, “liberals” who, after years of rejecting the duplicity of U.S. intelligence agencies and criticizing the U.S. government for its treachery in other countries, now suddenly embrace the establishment’s narrative without any thoughtful analysis.
Equally counter-intuitive is the vilification of Wiki-Leaks and Julian Assange who, though once touted as a hero by liberals, is now being called a pawn of Trump and Russia simply because Wiki-Leaks exposed the machinations of Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Freedom of expression is under attack whether directed toward a publication (Wiki-Leaks) or individuals who dare to question the ‘party line.’
Even if one grants that the allegations in the indictments are provable, what is the evidence that the so-called meddling changed the outcome of the election? Why aren’t liberals spending more time investigating the impact of disenfranchisement (gerrymandering, voter suppression) and the privatization of the ballot box?
The shameless hypocrisy is painful to witness. How many times has the U.S. interfered in other country’s elections (including Russia’s)? How many times have we overthrown leaders who wouldn’t cooperate with the U.S. agenda and installed brutal dictators? (e.g. Indonesia, Iran and throughout Latin America) Why is Russia deemed more malicious than Israel and Saudi Arabia whose governments are responsible for mass murder that’s been underwritten by the U.S.?
Neither do comparisons between internal conditions in the U.S. and Russia merit such hyperbolic statements about Russian repression. Does Russia warehouse young people of color? According to an NAACP fact sheet, “Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32 percent of the population, they comprised 56 percent of all incarcerated people in [the U.S. in] 2015.” Don’t we have political prisoners? Mass criminalization and incarceration of immigrants isn’t new even if the Trump administration’s blatant racism has a crueler twist.
It’s a little difficult to take the moral indignation of mainstream Democrats too seriously when, for example, they’re directly responsible for destabilizing Ukraine (then blaming Russia for annexing Crimea) and now the U.S. and Israel are arming neo-fascists in the Ukraine. Not to mention that the US supported (covertly and overtly) a coup in Honduras which has devastated that nation and resulted in families fleeing to the U.S. only to be turned away or incarcerated.
Of course, there are a lot of corporations that stand to get rich from the new Cold War and with congressional complicity, they will continue to drain our country of the resources which could be better used in so many ways: to create well-paying jobs that would protect our environment, provide universal health care, education, and housing to name a few. On a more subliminal level, this new McCarthy era fuels our xenophobic national mindset in both obvious and subtle ways by adding to our long list of internal and external enemies.
One can only hope that the public will wake up to the fact that the new Cold War is only in the interest of the oligarchy. It does not serve the rest of us very well. Its only result will be to hasten the economic, social and moral deterioration of our society.
Jane Nadel lives in Essex.