Russophobia is back, and it’s not just for the John Birch Society anymore!
America’s traditionally anti-war left was, on the whole, not impressed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to keep the peace during the Syria crisis, as seen in this embarrassing attempt at humor in the Huffington Post:
Russia, where no one smiles and where people actually look disappointed that they are white.
Mr. Putin, we put a man on the moon and you barely got a monkey home safely. We invented the computer and you invented the way to steal it. Your country is filled with our fast food businesses and yet there is not one Russian take out place in the whole United States.
You are known for Siberia, we are known for Big Sur. We make Cadillacs and Lincolns and God knows what you call those little square deathtraps. It’s one thing to put down exceptionalism, but before you do that, you at least have to produce one Broadway show, or make one commercial airliner, or invent one type of salad.
See my blog entry on the Syria crisis for a detailed breakdown of the Assad government’s alleged chemical attack:
The bad Russia jokes of the Syria crisis transformed into something more of a hatred of Russia and the Russian government in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, as the Russian law banning distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia) became characterized in the West as “Putin’s anti-gay law.”
The general misunderstanding of this law and the hysterical reactions of the media in the US and Europe can be traced to wildly misleading articles like this one from The New York Times:
Russia’s Anti-Gay Crackdown:
Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days. Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay — can go to jail.
Jay Leno compares Putin’s Russia for gays to Nazi Germany, from Gay Star News:
Tonight Show host Jay Leno has compared Russia to Nazi Germany while interviewing US President Barack Obama about the plight of gays under Vladimir Putin’s reign.
‘Something that shocked me about Russia, and I’m surprised that this is not a huge story, suddenly homosexuality is against the law – I mean this seems like Germany – lets round up the Jews, lets round up the gays, lets round up the blacks,’ Leno said…
The law was neither a crackdown on gay people, nor a law banning homosexuality. In some respects, it was actually an improvement over existing laws in Russia. The most obvious problem with Western outrage over this law is the fact that gay people have much more freedom in Russia than they do in many countries around the world in which homosexuality is illegal!
Amid Calls to Boycott Sochi, where is the Outrage for the Qatar World Cup? From Breitbart:
With the 2014 Winter Olympics looming, Americans of all stripes have called for boycotts and protests against Russia’s human rights abuses. But given the time they take to plan, change before the Games begin is an unreasonable goal. Instead, human rights advocates should look at another target: The Qatar World Cup in 2022.
When is the far-right acceptable to the West? When it’s in Ukraine, from RT:
Western elite figures have criticized Russia over the 2013 law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors, with French President Francois Hollande being just one of the leading western politicians to announce that he’ll be boycotting the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Yet, whatever our views about it, the law in Russia is very similar to one in force in Britain from 1988-2003, when, revealingly, there were no calls for a sporting boycott of the United Kingdom.
Listen to establishment figures in the West and hawkish newspaper columnists and you’d get the impression that Russia was the worst country in the world for gay rights. You certainly wouldn’t think that there are almost 80 countries in the world where – unlike in Russia – homosexuality was still illegal, and that many of them were strong western allies. The same President Hollande who is boycotting Sochi last year made a two-day official visit to Qatar (a country where male homosexuality is illegal and the punishment is up to five years in jail) to discuss strengthening economic ties with the outgoing Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and his son Sheikh Tamim. The French president talked of the “mutual respect and understanding” between his country and Qatar. Qatar is due to host the 2022 football World Cup, but Hollande, the “principled” politician who’s boycotting Sochi, had nothing to say about the country’s record on gay rights.
The Truth About Russia’s “Anti-Gay” Law, by Paul Joseph Watson:
The Olympics of Hate in a Nation of Anti-Gay Laws? From Blacklisted News:
Mitt Romney: Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe”
Perhaps the Russophobic left liberals who voted for Obama made a mistake. Maybe they should’ve voted for the one candidate who was ahead of the curve in Russophobic hysteria – Mitt Romney!
Romney: “This is without question our number one geopolitical foe; they fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors.”
Chris Lapetina, an analyst for the journal Democratic Strategist, also says the Cold War legacy is the engine behind Romney`s remark.
“There is some sentiment left over from the Soviet Union, there is an element of Americans both on the liberal side and the conservative side that almost suffer from paranoia about enemies seen and unseen,” he said, adding that “Republican candidates are trying to tap into some of these people.”
Foreign Policy Magazine took the opportunity of the Syria crisis to lavish praise on the Mormon prophet:
It shouldn’t be surprising that Mitt Romney would be a raving Russophobe, given the White Horse Prophecy of his Mormon faith:
The White Horse will rescue America from the Black Horse and his allies Gog and Magog. “The doings of the Black Horse will be terrible.” China will invade from the west. “The nations of the earth will be led by the Russian Czar and his power will be great, but all opposition will be overcome and this land will be the Zion of our God.” And then Jesus Christ will return to Jackson County, Missouri.
The prophecy predicts that a Mormon led United States along with Anglo-Saxon Northern Europe will engage in a world war against Turks (Islam), both Roman and Orthodox Catholics, and the rest of the world led by Russia. The whole of the world would be forced to surrender to the Mormon United States.
The Ukraine crisis and Putin’s “invasion” of Crimea
Ridiculously misleading cartoons like the one above highlight Western ignorance on the Ukrainian situation. To get a taste of the real hysteria and shallow, anti-Russian fearmongering, one need only visit a few of the many Facebook pages available with titles like, “We Support Ukraine,” and “I Support Ukraine.” The typical posts involve comparisons of Putin to Hitler, and glorify the Euro-Maidan fascist / soccer hooligan revolution.
The ‘We-Hate-Putin’ Group Think, from Consortium News:
The “we-hate-Putin” hysteria has now reach the point that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has deployed the “Hitler analogy” against Putin, comparing Putin’s interests in protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine with Hitler citing ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe to justify aggression at the start of World War II.
The west’s do-somethings will do nothing for Ukraine, from The Guardian:
Putin’s rectifying of Nikita Khrushchev’s 1954 “donation” of Crimea to Ukraine may be technically illegal. So was the west’s war on Serbia over Kosovo. It is hardly on a par with Hitler’s invasion of the Sudetenland, or the west’s violent seizure of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Western russophobia has reached new heights in the aftermath of the Euro-Maidan fascist coup in Kiev. Political leaders and media pundits have charaterized Putin’s actions as Hitlerian, which is incredibly ironic given the rise of fascist and even Nazi-inspired groups in Ukraine. Putin’s rationale for increasing the Russian military presence in Crimea has much to do with the threat these groups pose to ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
See my previous blog entry, The Ukrainian uprising / coup – some things you may have missed:
The usual suspects are beating the drums of war, and criticizing Obama for not being tough enough on Russia.
Charles Krauthammer of Fox News calls for immediate action:
“The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement,” he said. “What he’s saying is, we’re not really going to do anything.”
Krauthammer’s buddy at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, has some harsh words for Putin, calling him a ‘thug’ and comparing him with… you guessed it – Hitler!
“Taking a play out of the Hitler playbook, Russian President Putin has invaded Ukraine,” Bill O’Reilly said in tonight’s Talking Points Memo.
I’m starting to wonder if left-libs calling for action against Russia have been watching too much Fox News! What’s up, guys? Have they finally gotten to you?
John McCain, of course, is raring to go and fight those Russkies! Note that the ostensibly left-liberal Think Progress isn’t upset at McCain for being a warmonger, but rather for calling Obama weak!
McCain: ‘It’s Tragic’ There’s No U.S. Military Option In Ukraine, from Think Progress:
Libertarian Senator Ted Cruz is also calling for action and criticizing Obama’s weakness:
Cruz: The U.S. “has a responsibility to defend our values.”
“A critical reason for Putin’s aggression has been President Obama’s weakness,” Cruz told Karl on “This Week.” “That Putin fears no retribution… [Obama’s] policy has been to alienate and abandon our friends and to coddle and appease our enemies.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leads the charge of the Democrats on the road to Moscow! Here are a few examples of his irresponsible, rambling threats which we have come to expect from our incompetent and loopy Secretary of State:
Does anyone even remember the days when he was running against George W. Bush as the anti-war candidate?
The Brzezinski Plan
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor and co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, has long been the master Russophobe of American politics.
Brzezinski, on his role in drawing the Soviet Union into a bloody war in Afghanistan:
Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
The outrageous strategy to destroy Russia – article from 2004:
Zbigniew Brzezinski recommends how Russia should be militarily weakened and intimidated. He is convinced that the best way to achieve it is by destabilizing its border regions, a political strategy that aroused the interest of former presidential candidate John Kerry’s team who recruited his son Mark Brzezinski as its foreign policy adviser.
…Russia’s nuclear arsenal is not, as John Kerry says, a present-day threat. Kerry’s real objective is related to Zbigniew Brzezinski’s strategy of Russia’s subordination but, from now on, it will be much more difficult to convince the world public opinion of Russia’s evil and totalitarianism.
This is why in some recent Wall Street Journal and Novaya Gazetta interviews, Brzezinski characterized Vladimir Putin as «Russian Benito Mussolini».
Should Russia accept ‘Brzezinski`s plan’? Article from 2011:
What kind of Russia does Brzezinski want to see?
– Russia without Putin
– Russia as a confederation, not a federation
– Russia as a periphery country providing the West with energy resources
This blog would go on forever were I to catalog all the Russophobic voices of intervention into a matter of no consequence whatsoever to vital American interests abroad – and make no mistake, what goes on in Ukraine is utterly irrelevant to American interests. It is a problem for Ukraine and for Russia, and so far, Russia has dealt with this problem delicately, with caution, and with a long-term view of possible consequences. If you don’t believe me, compare Putin’s actions with those of the Bush administration regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Obama administration’s wreckless actions regarding Libya and Syria. Anybody remember “Shock and Awe,” or “Mission Accomplished?” Abu Ghraib? Guantanamo Bay? I wonder how many Ukrainians have been waterboarded by the Russians. What about Hillary Clinton – “We came, we saw, he died?” Does any of that ring a bell at all?
A lot of these anti-Russia commentators speak of some vague fear of Russian expansion or rebuilding of the Soviet empire, and base much of this fear on the myth of the 2008 “Russian invasion of Georgia.”
What they hope you have forgotten is that the so-called “invasion” was a Russian counterattack!
From The Guardian:
Moscow sent in its warplanes after Georgia launched an offensive to regain control of the separatist South Ossetia region, which is a Russian ally.
From der Spiegel:
It was interesting to follow the events in South Ossetia on Yahoo News as they happened. The key words “Russian counterattack” were featured much more prominently in the early stages of the reporting, but were gradually edited out, with perhaps a passing mention near the bottom of the page. In the age of Internet news, it’s important to follow a story from the beginning, as a single article can go through multiple revisions which won’t be indicated later on. Pay particular attention to words and phrases that get edited out or moved gradually to the bottom of an article, and watch as the official version of events evolves!
There is also no lack of anti-Russia sentiment over Ukraine in Britain and Europe.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague:
Russia must negotiate or there will be consequences, from The Telegraph:
Russia could be shut out of the G8 over Ukraine crisis, from The Telegraph:
Nato members should increase defence spending in response to Ukraine crisis, from The Telegraph:
Russia has made ‘big miscalculation’ over Ukraine warns Hague, from The Independent:
The German magazine der Spiegel seems to be suffering under the delusion that Russia has invaded Crimea, not realizing that Russia has always maintained a legal military presence there.
Russia’s occupation of Crimea has violated international law and created a new crisis among world leaders. Now the EU and the US are fighting over the best means to address Russia’s reawakened expansionary ambitions.
Beyond Ukraine: Russia’s Imperial Mess, from der Spiegel:
Here’s another great example of the silly hysteria from Poland:
But there is a widespread sense of insecurity in Poland. In an opinion poll last week, 59% of respondents believed Russia’s foreign policy presented a threat to Poland’s security.
“I feel threatened by Russia because we’re next. Ukraine is first, then the Baltic countries and then (Russia’s President) Putin will make something bad here,” Michal, a 30 year-old librarian told me.
It is not surpising that Poles believe every geopolitical action on Earth is somehow in reference to them! Not many people gripped by this Russophobic hysteria have noticed that Russia’s actions in relation to Ukraine have been purely defensive.
If you are a real anti-war left-liberal, or anti-war libertarian or anti-war whatever, please take a moment to examine the petition below. Please sign it if you’d like to tell the White House to ignore neo-con fools and warmongers like Krauthammer and McCain, and to tell Obama that we will not tolerate wasting one dime or one drop of American blood in support of the fascist coup in Kiev!
From the United Front Against Austerity:
Are you opposed to courting nuclear war for Chevron and Monsanto shareholders? Are you opposed to the US contributing $6 billion and counting to the illegal, fascist overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government? Would you rather see that money and political focus go into food stamps, extended unemployment benefits and similar programs?
Would you like to start taxing Wall Street and stop destroying other countries on their behalf?
Then we’ve got the petition for you! Register your distaste for Nazis, disaster capitalism and WW3 at http://wh.gov/lyLA8
Tell President Obama to disinvite Arseniy Yatseniuk and deny his entry to the US to beg our support for the coup against Ukraine. Legitimate president Viktor Yanukovich already agreed to step down and hold legal elections – but this wasn’t enough for Wall Street and London, who want to drive Ukraine’s living standards into the toilet and use the nation as a geostrategic weapon against Russia and the EU. It’s time to be a “good neighbor” and leave this matter to Ukraine and Russia.
We have 2 days to make this petition go viral – stay tuned and join us as we work to rally DC-area peace groups for a #YatsGoHome protest at Lafayette Square in front of the White House on Wednesday, March 12.
If you view Russia as the perennial enemy of peace and American national interests, please take the time to view this lecture by Dr. Webster Tarpley on CSPAN:
CSPAN Lecture on Russian Fleets of 1863:
To get some idea of the situation in Russia that led to the rise of Putin and the horrors of the “shock therapy” 90’s for Russians, have a look at part 3 of the BBC series The Trap:
See all three parts of The Trap for a broader outlining of the western world’s modern notion of freedom, a succint explanation of “positive” and “negative” liberty, and the problems we’ve inherited by accepting the overly simplistic characterizations of freedom given to us by our politicians and thinkers.