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Relations with Russia Sour Further

2017 July 31
by Ian Welsh

So, we have an anti-Russia sanctions bill moving through Congress, which will increase sanctions on Russia and include fines on non-American companies who do business with Russia in specific ways. It will remove Trump’s ability to remove sanctions. While Trump could veto it, the two versions (House and Senate) both passed with super-super-majorities (the Senate version is 98-2).

The White House has indicated that Trump will likely pass it, and if he doesn’t, will seek a “harsher” bill.

Meanwhile Russia has expelled 755 diplomats and seized two US diplomatic buildings in Russia, a move which brings American diplomatic numbers in Russia to the exact same number as Russian diplomats in America. This is in retaliation for Obama’s seizure of two buildings and removal of Russia diplomats just before he left office.

Russia had put off retaliation in hopes that Trump would reverse Obama’s action.

One of the few good things one hoped for with respect to the Trump administration was an improvement in US-Russia relations.

But Russia hysteria is in full swing in the US; red-scare reborn, based on accusations that Russia put Trump in the White House. A lot of people believe this, there were certainly plenty of contacts between various Russians and the Trump campaign, and heck, Russia probably did prefer Trump, hoping he’d undo sanctions and be less hostile.

(Meanwhile, the US appears to be working to overthrow the Venezuelan government.)

Proof of significant action by Russia is lacking. It may be that some minor help was given, but I have yet to see any proof that hacking was ordered by the Russian government, only repeatedly asserted by a variety of intelligence agencies, all of whom have a long record of lying when convenient.

If interference did occur, it appears to have amounted to “release of true information that was harmful to Clinton.”

If this is worthy of sanctions, then the rest of the world should lock up America and throw away the key given America’s actions; repeatedly not just interfering in elections, but overthrowing governments–including democratically elected ones.

It is worth remembering, again, that Russia has enough nukes to destroy the world, and so does America. Good relations are in the interest of world survival.

It is perhaps also worth looking, with a cold eye, at whether America or Russia, over the last 20 years or so, has done more harm to other countries and their citizens? If you are honest in the exercise, you might begin to wonder who is the greater threat.

Meanwhile, we also have more sanctions against Iran and North Korea coming down the pipe.

North Korea is, by the way, still at war: The Korean war was never ended with a peace treaty, only with a truce. North Korea is under perhaps the most extensive sanctions in world history, but somehow those sanctions haven’t stopped it from getting nukes, and it’s possible they may even wind up with missiles able to strike the US.

There is a rumor that the current leader of North Korea was left a note by his father, which said, “Don’t give up your nukes. Saddam gave up his program, and that’s when the US went for him.” It has also been noted that Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program, played nice with the West, and as a reward, got sodomized with a knife and killed. (Clinton was very happy about this: “We came, we saw, he died.”)

I don’t know if the rumor is true, but I do know that North Korea would be insane to give up their nukes as anything but part of a comprehensive peace deal which removed sanctions, and maybe not even then. This is simply as a matter of survival. You don’t have to like the North Korean regime (I don’t) to not realize that people aren’t going to cut their own throats for your convenience.

As for Iran sanctions… bah, fill it in yourself. This is vile stupidity, and I hate any form of theocratic government.

I blame Democrats and the media for a ton of this. The hysterics have been never-ending. Better relations with Russia are a good thing under most circumstances. Instead, the US is ratcheting up tensions and giving Russia every reason to see the United States as its enemy. (Lets’ be frank, the US is Russia’s enemy, and, save for a brief period when they were allied against Germany, has never been anything else.)

So, the world gets stupider, more propaganda ridden, and more dangerous. The sanctions won’t “work” (and appear to be about forcing Europeans to buy American oil instead of Russian), not in the sense of making Russia do what the US wants or not do anything they can to undo damage done to their country.

If you don’t want someone to treat you as a threat, perhaps don’t act as a threat. (Insert long essay here about how, actually, the US is far more of a threat to Russia than Russia is to the US.)

This is all pathetic, and everyone involved in it should be ashamed, but is, instead, proud.

Pathetic.


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65 Responses
  1. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    There is little or no doubt that China will be the world’s next great superpower.

    The worst that could happen is for China and Russia to ally together against America.

    The best that could happen is for Russia and America to ally together against China.

    So, of course, we will opt for the worst case scenario.

  2. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 31, 2017

    It’s Chest Beating on both sides, but not much more. If America was serious, they would send every Russian Oligarch with residences in America packing and seize control of their properties. America is not going to do that and the reason it won’t is obvious. Money always Trumps Patriotism.

    Russian Billionaires Battle for Fisher Island

  3. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 31, 2017

    I think the days of a SuperPower are coming to an end. If Humanity is to survive the Environmental Crisis, SuperPowers can’t be a apart of that equation.

  4. Jeff Wegerson permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Germany proposes EU actions to counter U.S. Sanctions.

    . reut.rs/2vkZkxe

  5. bruce wilder permalink
    July 31, 2017

    That the Democratic Establishment adopted Russia hysteria as their preferred narrative around which to organize propaganda against Trump and it “worked” in that the Media ran with it — a lot of journalists and pundits have been individually enthusiastic purveyors of this narrative — tells us a lot about the degenerate state of the political class.

    It tells us that there is an inability or unwillingness to think critically.

    It tells us that there is widespread disbelief in consequences. That people in the Democratic Party and the Media were not worried at all about the impact on relations with Russia is very worrisome.

  6. S Brennan permalink
    July 31, 2017

    While this observation is true:

    “One of the few good things one hoped for with respect to the Trump administration was an improvement in US-Russia relations.”

    The Democrats, in particular, the DLC/DNC/Al-From [D]’s own this. The Democratic party, in it’s present form, is the most dangerous organization on earth. I say this as a former Democrat and present day FDRist.

    The Democrats widespread abuse of “wiretapping” to collect material for dossiers intended to exert social/political control exceeds anything ever conjured by Orwell, indeed the Stazi Police must be envious.

    Obama/Hillary’s fan club can’t get enough of war…well…as long as they don’t have to serve and can just make up stories of how they weren’t allowed to join the Marines because of [find an excuse that denigrates your political opponent and insert here].

    The Democrats complete obsequience to Wall Streets every whim was made manifest when Obama /Hillary used the apparatus of the deep-state, in violation of federal law, to incarcerate those brave citizens who peacefully assembled to exercise their 1st amendment right to seek redress for crimes committed by financial institutions.

    And now we have the DLC/DNC/Al-From wing readying Kamala Harris [think Hillary’s policies redux] to be shoved down our throats while the rank & file are told to stare at the swinging Russians.

    Until Democratic voters send the DLC/DNC/Al-From wing carpetbaggers packing and return the party to FDR’s principles, we are doomed…and no, you are part of the problem if you vote Democratic thinking you are voting for the “evil of two lessors” er…um…”lessor of two evils”.

  7. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ Bruce

    That we can’t seem to come up with a way to either punish or dispense with these traitorous types, who, from a position of public trust, consistently put their own short term selfish interests ahead of the public good, also tells us a lot about ourselves that is very worrisome.

    IOW, are we mice or mice? (OR, maybe we’re just mice lol.)

  8. S Brennan permalink
    July 31, 2017

    RC, to your 1st comment, the idea that we see Russia as an expansionary power when it doesn’t have enough people to populate it’s present day land mass is surely the result of delusional thinking. China, on the other hand, seeking to return it’s Asiatic Empire back to itself with a burgeoning population should, but is not, be a concern.

  9. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ SB

    Who said Russia wanted to be expansionary?

    How about, more conservatively, Russia just doesn’t want to have a major adversary on each flank?

  10. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Too funny. The folks here who helped pushed Trump are still pointing to Hillary & The Democrats as the True & Only Cause of their woes. The Political Duopoly (meaning either The GOP or The Dems) isn’t going to get it done and all you Numbnuts who promoted Trump as an answer, as Thee Answer, like Cowards, refuse to take accountability & responsibility for your Numbskullery in thinking that was somehow a solution to this mess.

    RC, I’ve observed your remarks every step of the way and you have tacitly supported Trump as Thee Answer at this blog and other blogs where you use a different handle. And then you and others here provide cover for Trump by continuing to point to Hillary & The Dems even though Trump and his Creepy Billionaire Backers are the ones at The Helm. You’re not fooling anyone, or at least you’re not fooling me. I see your Game and I see your Badge.

  11. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    I see the pathetic level of your reading comprehension.

  12. Herman permalink
    July 31, 2017

    The dumbest thing about the Russia hysteria is the constant use of the Soviet flag and other Soviet symbolism, especially by partisan Democrats. Do these people live in a time warp where it is still the 1950s and Joe McCarthy is still alive? Did they not get the memo that the Soviet Union collapsed more than two decades ago?

    Also, people need to read up on Russian history to understand why the Russians do what they do. Russia has been attacked many times from the West. The Teutonic Knights, the Poles, the Swedes, the French under Napoleon, the Germans twice, just to name a few invasions of Russia by people to their west. The Russians are understandably paranoid about Western aggression so they are trying to create buffers in their near abroad and to hopefully weaken NATO by supporting nationalists in Western Europe.

    If we hadn’t kicked Russia when it was down in the 1990s, breaking our promise not to expand NATO eastward and supporting vicious “shock therapy” economics that caused millions of Russians to die and suffer unnecessarily , maybe relations with Russia would be better. People should read up on the awful behavior of Westerners in the gangster-filled world of 1990s Russia, including the sexual abuse of desperate Russian women by Western men who used their relative wealth and status as sexual leverage. Then you will understand why some Russians hate us and support Putin despite his many flaws.

  13. DMC permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Who lives by Benghazi, dies by Benghazi.
    “Are you now or have you ever been a witch?”

  14. SnarkyShark permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Congress has been invisible. They gave up all responsibility to the obummer administration and have done nothing for the people since(some geld for their playmates got passed). And this is their big kumbya moment? What a bunch of ignorant self unaware assholes. I bet you can look at the vote tally and see exactly all the fanbois who gave Bibi a standing ovation and Sheldon Addleson a blowjob.
    Pathetic

  15. S Brennan permalink
    July 31, 2017

    RC; I don’t think Russia is being expansionist in the least but here are two examples…Iput more but I think I’d trigger Ian’s link limit

    Russian expansionism may pose existential threat, says Nato general
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/20/russia-existential-threat-british-nato-general

    Russia flaunts Arctic expansion with new military bases
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/russia-flaunts-arctic-expansion-military-bases/story?id=47091750

  16. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Scaramucci, Scaramucci,
    Could not do the fandango!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist lol.)

  17. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ S B

    Yeah, I get it, some people think it, but I am not saying that.

  18. different clue permalink
    July 31, 2017

    The (Insert Long Essay) space could be filled with any number of Russia-related articles posted on the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog, link here . . . http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/russia/

    If I get a longer timechunk, I will find a particular article about how antiRussianitic NATO policy has been leading Russia to re-prepare for major scale conventional war in a way it hadn’t bothered to do for most of the post-Soviet years.

  19. different clue permalink
    July 31, 2017

    For those who prefer not to remember this little exposure of Hillzebub’s psychopathic depravity ( “we came, we saw, he died . . . cackle cackle” ) here is a link.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

    The little I have been reading about Kamala Harris over at Naked Capitalism raises the possibility that she may indeed be a piece of pro-corporate shit in the Obama/ Clinton mold. If the Clintonite Shitobamacrats nominate Harris, I may well be voting for Trump again. Whereas if the Sandernistas could somehow take over the Clintonite Shitobamacrat Party and purge and burn and exterminate every single piece of Clintonite filth and Obamazoid pus from out of that party . . . and make it the Democratic Party again . . . then I will vote for Sanders.

  20. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ STMB

    My comment just yesterday:

    “realitychecker permalink
    July 30, 2017

    All that’s left on the actual menu (as opposed to the fantasy deus ex machina menu so many seem to believe in) is the hope that the corrupt outsiders now in power will somehow serve to partially break down the status quo duopoly system put in place by the corrupt insiders.

    Mental masturbation does not a successful revolution make.”

    Compare and contrast that with your rabid remarks above.

    I think you need more help than you can get here.

  21. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 31, 2017

    RC, I don’t consider them Outsiders, although they are as corrupt as the Insiders, but obviously not as surreptitious. The Insiders are your Best Friend even though they’re picking you clean while stroking your ego. The Trumpians aren’t your Best Friend, won’t pretend to be and just pick you clean in broad daylight and make you thank them for their service. A True Outsider never would have made it as far as Trump. Hell, a True Outsider never would have made it to 1st Base.

    The problem with supporting the Trumpians versus supporting no one is that the Trumpians may break the Duopoly but what fills the Power Vacuum won’t be a Revolution by The Little People or even a chance of that. Instead, what I think we’re going to get is an autocratic Military Dictatorship. Trump, wittingly or unwittingly, is setting us up for that. He’s surrounding himself with Military Brass and he’s increasingly unstable. When the next Pearl Harbor hits, and it will, Trump will be considered a danger to National Security and the situation will be dire enough, because it will be many times worse than 9/11, that temporary Military Rule will be implemented and Trump will be removed from office and placed in a Padded Room for his own protection and for our protection. Of course, once the Military takes over, it will never relinquish its power. They’re being groomed politically as we speak. By the time the next Pearl Harbor hits, they’ll understand enough about governing to rule with an Iron Fist.

  22. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    July 31, 2017

    And then we’ll finally get what all of us have been pining for all these years — Decisiveness.

    Just not in the manner we had hoped for.

  23. bruce wilder permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ realitychecker

    “. . . tells us a lot about ourselves that is very worrisome.”

    Indeed.

    One thing it tells us is that the general public are not politically organized in even rudimentary ways. It takes a lot of investment in talking and thinking and showing up to do so, to get a politics that is even half-way intelligent and discerning. We stay at home and watch teevee and treat voting like it is ordering items from a restaurant menu based on a Twitter-long description and whether we like the decor or the muzak.

    Attempts to organize, such as MoveOn or DailyKos, just seem to turn into confused blobs — slime molds in search of donor sugar with just enough of a nervous system and vision to be distracted by shiny objects.

    There certainly are people, like Ian, who bring intellect and a moral compass to hear, but they are not the ones writing op-eds for the NY Times or hosting shows (good name) on cable tv.

    I would observe we get the politics we pay for and should pay more attention to who pays for the two Parties, who makes sure that that arrangement remains undisturbed by mere gadflies and peons.

    I do not think what we see in politics is who we are, individually or even collectively. Institutions matter. And, our institutions suck. The problem may be that we are mice trapped in a maze seeking cheese that is no longer there, wondering why we are perpetually lost. If so, the problem is the maze at least as much as that we are mice. Politics is taking responsibility for the design of the maze. Better maze, better mice.

  24. realitychecker permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ Bruce

    The cheese is power and control over what affects our lives.

    The choice, it seems to me, is to fight for it, or decide not to fight for it.

    The political process as it stands has shown it will never do the job in our lifetimes, if ever.

    I think you are one of the smartest who show up here, and there are some others, but none can seem to explain why they still have any faith in a regular political process within this rigged and corrupted political system as it exists today.

    I understand the desire to get a good result without running any risk, but I really struggle to understand any hopes in that direction, given what we have already come to know.

  25. Tom permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Nothing will change till the current US Constitution is scrapped and replaced by a new one that breaks the duopoly with a multi-party system elected by proportional vote to a Unicameral Parliament at the same time the president is elected.

    What America needs is an Erdogan who can take the fight to the deep state, survive being backstabbed repeatably, and still expand democratic participation and control of the government.

  26. marku52 permalink
    July 31, 2017

    “And, our institutions suck.”

    Even the conservatives have begun to notice. Rod Dreher, who if you ignore his religion is not incoherent:
    “The main point is that the elites keep failing, but there’s no accountability for them. They look after each other. …I don’t have faith in American universities anymore. I don’t believe in general that they really know what education is. I struggle with belief in the media. I’ve worked in newsrooms, and I know that most reporters are fair-minded professionals, and I believe they do good work….I want to believe in the military as an institution, but I have heard too many stories from friends who served during wartime, and who told me of their own disillusionment at their higher-ups, and their loss of faith that things could change. So I don’t know.”
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/american-failure/

    I told my son “This is not the country I grew up in. Nothing works anymore. Not justice, not education, not finance, not health care, certainly not the government. I don’t think there will be a USA in ten years.”

    Certainly I admit that this country has never worked for POC and gay people. But now it doesn’t work for anyone except the .1%

  27. Peter permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Trump’s hardening stance on Russian sanctions may have something to do with the recent testimony that Putin was colluding with the DNC to sling mud at candidate Trump related to the Steele document. Putin was playing both sides to sow discord in the system and weaken it no matter who won the election.

    Putin saved his response to Obama’s parting gesture for a better time and powerful target which would be Trump and his administration. Neither Putin’s preemptive action nor the new sanctions are that dramatic and they shouldn’t interfere with some cooperation in Syria.

    Trump’s plans to cooperate with Russia on some issues may be difficult because much of the trash talk about them is true with their latest expansion being permanent airbases in Syria. Russia doesn’t have the economy needed to support military expansion or invasion and I doubt that China would loan them money for any such project.

  28. bruce wilder permalink
    July 31, 2017

    @ realitychecker

    You say what I am thinking better than I do: take charge of the cheese and the maze.

    We are a long distance from being able to do that effectively.

    I keep my political opinionating on-line, because in person, I am too likely to ask my interlocutors just how stupid they think they can be and still breathe.

    People are stupid about politics because they are made stupid by the political system and they cooperate in being made stupid, by accepting their own passivity.

    I am not hopeful that this will end well. — It won’t end, of course; political anacyclosis will continue, even if civilization continues thru centuries of decline toward collapse, which seems the most likely course.

  29. Willy permalink
    July 31, 2017

    Focus your targets. Sooner or later everybody’s gonna hate the Kochs, and their dead-end economics henchmen.

    Is Kelly new job and this post topic a coincidence?

  30. July 31, 2017

    I’m surprised you’re so dismissive about Russia’s attempts to fuck with U.S. elections. Yes, Hillary ran a dismal campaign, and yes, Democrats have attempted to scapegoat Russia for the party’s electoral failures.

    But none of this changes the fact that there is very credible evidence that Russia, at the very least, attempted to hack U.S. voting machines in the last election. See here, for example: https://theintercept.com/2017/06/05/top-secret-nsa-report-details-russian-hacking-effort-days-before-2016-election/

    Yes, the U.S. has interfered in other countries’ elections in the past, but that doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and let Russia do the same to us.

  31. V. Arnold permalink
    July 31, 2017

    There is a potential upside to the U.S. insanity towards Russia; a quick draw afficionado sometimes shoots themselves in the foot.
    Germany and Austria are furious, as most certainly are others; a very good chance this will drive them towards Russia.
    Two articles below, Cunningham’s being the best, IMO.

    Pepe Escobar
    https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201707291055991504-us-russia-sanctions-germany-trump/

    Finian Cunningham
    https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201707261055902033-us-russia-sanctions-absurd/

  32. EverythingsJake permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Once again, Shaw’s “Arms and the Man” continues to be one of the most revealing pieces of writing.

  33. EverythingsJake permalink
    August 1, 2017

    I am, apologetically, not qualified to do. Aside from removal of literal doom, is there any real benefit to trade as taught in high school, we both meet, we both benefit, we don’t bludgeon one another over the head? So y’know not domination through empire.

  34. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Have you ever considered that the consistent & steady leak inside the White House is actually Russia itself? The joke would be on the MSM for being Russia’s dupe & messenger in Russia’s strategy to collapse America from the inside out.

    War’s a different animal these days — very different. There are so many more ways in which to wage it. Some ways, maybe many ways now, don’t require the firing of a single ordinance. All you need to do is find the enemy’s many petards and hoist ’em by them.

    Relying on anonymous sources for increasingly specious reporting is one such petard, but there are certainly many others in which America can hoist itself with a gentle nudge.

  35. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Germany and Austria are furious, as most certainly are others; a very good chance this will drive them towards Russia.

    How about Greece? You think Greece will go along for the Russia Ride considering what good friends it is with Germany & Austria?

    Look on the Bright Side. If Germany & Austria decide to take Russian Cock up their ass, the EU will be shattered once & for all considering Germany is the de facto leader of it. Who knows, maybe the UK & Italy will go along for the ride too since they have effectively been colonized by wealthy Russians who have bought up all the best Real Estate.

    I say, let Russia have all the ingrates and when the time comes for them to be defended again, instead of lifting a finger to help, shoot them the bird instead, laugh, then turn and walk away so they can enjoy the fate they’ve always deserved.

  36. Ché Pasa permalink
    August 1, 2017

    It seems to me that any government that had the capability to do what the Russians are accused of doing wrt the 2016 US election would do it. The wonder is that such fuckings-with haven’t been done more routinely and more broadly.

    Our electoral systems are rickety and vulnerable by design, and not solely for the convenience of foreign agents. Others can and do play in these fields as well.

    But the core accusation against Russia is not that they exploited the obvious vulnerabilities of the electoral mechanics (though they may have), it’s that they set about exploiting vulnerabilities in the propaganda/PR machines to spread both truth and falsehoods about all the candidates, not just Hillary, and thus “interfered” with the election by proxy.

    It worked too.

    One thing that Trump has said that is probably true is that it wasn’t just the Russians; there were likely a lot of different players, domestic and foreign, ratfucking and mind-fucking away, with almost complete freedom — doing it more for the sport of it rather than any desired outcome.

    Whether those 70,000 votes in those three states that put Trump in the White House were affected by the “interference” will never be known — because, as Jill Stein demonstrated, it cannot be known. Not only are the voting systems vulnerable, there is no way to determine whether the counts were accurate. None. It can’t be done. On the other hand, if the counts are accurate, there’s no way to know what influences (or where-from) affected voters or to what extent.

    As for the hope for better relations with Russia and an end to the global killing spree, where did that come from? Neither has happened, not even close. Relations with Russia continue to deteriorate, and the killing has been ramped up exponentially since the installation the Trumpist gang in the White House. Apart from political blather, there never was any likelihood that Russia/US relations would be “better” under Trump or that the killing would stop or at least not increase. People who were paying attention understood that. People who bought into the propaganda did not.

    Most people didn’t care one way or the other. Those issues were least on their agendas.

    What many seemed to want, and what many who adhere to Trump especially seem to want, is the advent of strong-man rule, a God-Emperor to smite enemies and rule the restive Empire with an iron fist — which apparently was supposed to happen in concert with Putin-the-Quasi-Czar of All the Russias.

    Well, it’s not happening. Not on a bet. There could hardly be a more striking failure than Trump as God-Emperor. He’s a Clown-Emperor, perhaps, a laughing stock and entertainment for the masses for the time being, but beyond that, not much.

    But yes, he is laying the ground work for a military dictatorship to succeed him. If he had been prevented from ascending the throne, it could only have happened through the intervention of the military. That didn’t happen, but now he is emplacing “his” generals in key positions to rule in his stead should the need arise… as it most likely will.

    In the end, we get what we deserve…

  37. bruce wilder permalink
    August 1, 2017

    NR “. . . there is very credible evidence that Russia, at the very least, attempted to hack U.S. voting machines in the last election.”

    The news report you linked to: “it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document . . .”

  38. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Che Pasa – I have to give you credit, you’re the first online lefty I’ve seen who is informed and honest enough to acknowledge: the entire case for “Russia Hacked The Election” boils down to the mere existence of media outlets independent of the managerial state. That they would name this “hacking the election” is a nice insight into how this class views itself.

    Regarding Trump, I would say that, at the very least, even if he had failed to achieve any of his agenda, he will have been the great unmasker. That is, merely by advocating for ordinary Americans, speaking plainly, and trying to do what he said he would do — he has exposed all sorts of people and institutions as frauds, for all the world to see. And he has already effected a massive shift in the Overton Window on things like trade and immigration.

  39. DMC permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Everything I read on the Russian hacking affair points to the Russians doing business as usual cyber-intel work, including “sniffing around” the US election system. I’ve yet to see anything that says “they changed some vote counts here”. The material from the DNC was loaded onto a USB drive from a computer inside their own headquarters and so was a “leak” rather than a “hack”. See the latest updates on the Guccifer 2.0 story.
    And who else finds it a bit rich that there’s all this brouhaha about supposed undue foreign influence, when 3/4 of Congress has “Property of AIPAC” tattooed on their asses?

  40. SnarkyShark permalink
    August 1, 2017

    “As for the hope for better relations with Russia and an end to the global killing spree, where did that come from? Neither has happened, not even close. Relations with Russia continue to deteriorate, and the killing has been ramped up exponentially since the installation the Trumpist gang in the White House.”

    How about you provide a source for this hyperbole. Trump managed to close down McCain Headchoppers Inc(tm). He also killed TPP. The only killing that has ramped up is the Russian Air Force killing our former allies Al Ciada and Isis. That’s a good thing.

    TPP and the end of McCain Headchoppers Inc(tm) are two real results that short circuited the neocon world domination plan. You wanted Hillary than YOU are a defender of the status quo and thus part of the problem.

  41. Ché Pasa permalink
    August 1, 2017

    How many cities in the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula have so far been destroyed together with tens/hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in them? The “head-choppers” (except for the Saudis in Yemen) didn’t destroy those cities nor did they slaughter their civilian residents in numbers remotely approaching those killed by American/”allied” forces — supposedly to get rid of all the “head-choppers” except the Saudis, Trump regime besties, you know.

    Estimates run to 40,000 or more slaughtered in Mosul alone; of course it’s all the rebels’ fault, it always is. But they didn’t have an air force and multi-thousand pound bombs to drop with impunity as did “our side.” The dead are blamed on “them,” but they are all on us. Every. Single. One.

    The number of dead has risen exponentially since the inauguration as Trump told “his” generals, “Do as you will.” Cautions and restrictions thrown to the winds (not that they were ever very effective.) Our Russian partners have no compunction about killing civilians in the way, so why should we? Hm?

    TPP was dead long before the election, and neither Obama nor Herself could have reanimated it.

  42. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    August 1, 2017

    You wanted Hillary than YOU are a defender of the status quo and thus part of the problem.

    Hey, here’s something novel. I didn’t want Hillary, I don’t want Donald & I don’t want Vladimir.

    See, it’s actually possible to walk, or dribble a basketball, or think even, and chew gum at the same time, but apparently not according to Russian trolls inundating various comment sections.

    Surely the NSA knows, and is monitoring, the army of Russian cyber trolls providing cover for Trump — the same ones who permeated every comments section from here to eternity to convince people to vote for Trump.

    I don’t call that free speech. Rather, it’s an abuse of free speech.

  43. Hugh permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Re Russia, it is a dictatorship with an oligarchical class owning most of the economy. That economy is only 6-7% the size of the US economy. Two-thirds of its exports and half of the government’s revenues come from oil and gas. It has lots of nukes but its ability to project conventional military power is extremely limited. It doesn’t have the logistics or resources for any large scale, mid to long term involvements anywhere. This limits its scope to former European SSRs, like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, some of the corrupt Central Asia SSRs, and exactly one of its former clients: Syria. And even there, while it can interfere. It can’t dominate. Consider, for example, how long Russia has been in Syria. It has propped up and kept in power the Assad/Alawi government, but it has really been the US and its allies which have been rolling up ISIS. What all this comes down to is that Russia, despite Putin’s imperial ambitions, despite all the nukes, despite all the Democratic and Republican hysteria, is a mid-level player. It isn’t a top tier power like China, or a hegemon like the US.

    Re foreign influence in the US elections, Israel is by at least an order of magnitude a more significant interferer in them and in US politics in general. This does not preclude that Trump had extremely dubious, and possibly illegal, business relationships with Russian oligarchs. But the story so far has not been about the substance of any misdeeds but the impossibly bad Trump defense: constantly changing rationales/lies and Trump’s constant re-inflaming of the situation even as it is beginning to die down. We are left with a Negotiator in Chief who can’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag and advisers like Kushner whose defense is that he was so naïve and inexperienced that he couldn’t be trusted to tie his own shoes yet who is also tasked with bringing peace to the Middle East and addressing most of Trump’s domestic agenda.

  44. Hugh permalink
    August 1, 2017

    I would add that German efforts to counter US sanctions through the EU are probably mostly PR because they would be opposed by the Eastern Europeans, most notably Poland.

  45. SnarkyShark permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Ché Pasa
    I asked you for sources about how deaths have ramped up under Trump. You gave a rambling iternery of shit I already knew, and that happened in the previous administration. When you brought up how the Russians bomb hospitals and all I knew I didn’t need to hear your opinion. You have outsourced it to the false corporate media story line. I would give up on flogging the Russian horse. That shits tired and you and the rest of the Dem faithful have lost all credibility. I was a Howard Dean guy. I was with Cindy Sheehan at camp Casy. If you lost me you have lost all hope.
    Donald Trump has already proven to have been a better choice than Hillary. And THAT was the choice. You do remember why Bernie wasn’t a choice right?

  46. Peter permalink
    August 1, 2017

    @CP

    Just the guy to parrot some snowflake revisionist history, recent history. It’s true that Trump hasn’t done much to reduce the fighting in the MENA but exponentially increasing it, Bah.

    The estimated 40,000 dead people in Mosul seems a bit inflated, where are the bodies? The US air war killed many people in Mosul but people would run away from bombing not towards it.

    You have to send a number of MSM reports, before and just after Trump’s victory, to the memory hole to make your TPP fable believable but old commies and new snowflakes think the rubes won’t notice.

  47. Ché Pasa permalink
    August 1, 2017

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of dead in Mosul is actually over 100,000 but we’ll never know because “we” don’t count civilian casualties — remember? The bodies are still rotting under the rubble of the destroyed city. Where they’ll remain until nothing remains.

    Search on “40,000 dead in Mosul” for links to the real horror of what went on there. Bad as the “head-choppers” may have been, it was nothing compared to the slaughter from above and the current spasms of revenge killings under the American slaughter-masters. Nothing.

    The death tolls in the rest of the restive rebel areas keeps rising, week by week, month by month. The end of the bloodshed is pushed farther and farther away.

    Your hegemon has done nothing to curb the slaughter. Nothing. And the survivors know it.

  48. Willy permalink
    August 1, 2017

    Look at the bright side. Those folks are enjoying the freedom we brought them without Saddam. After a few decades they’ll settle down and form soccer teams instead.

  49. VietnamVet permalink
    August 2, 2017

    The world has gone mad. It isn’t like there wasn’t a Cold War with Russia already that came close to annihilating civilization. Or, that Russia has been repeatedly invaded by the West to no avail. Since the Korean police action, the American Empire lost South Vietnam. Invaded, left and then returned to Iraq. Afghanistan continues to bleed. The Russia Federation halted probes of its borders at Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine. Syria, Iran and Hezbollah are on the verge of defeating the Daesh who are supported by American allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, the USA lost 20% of its Middle-Class families. Americans are dying at an earlier age. If history rhymes, the latest warrior North American Empire will collapse just as the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilizations died earlier due to forever wars, climate degradation and globalization.

  50. Blissex permalink
    August 2, 2017

    «That the Democratic Establishment adopted Russia hysteria as their preferred narrative around which to organize propaganda against Trump [ … ] tells us a lot about the degenerate state of the political class.»

    I have a completely different guess, and it is that post-soviet collapse the centrifugal forces that would split apart multi-national conglomerate empires have become stronger: there are independentist movements in California, Texas, Scotland, Catalunia, for example, which also tend to be rich.

    The propaganda about “russian aggression” is I guess a deliberate strategy to create the ghost of an external enemy to discourage independentist attitudes: if Scotland were afraid of a russian invasion, staying with England would seem a safer option.

  51. Mallam permalink
    August 2, 2017

    Well yes, that was entirely predictable because of Putin’s hubris and interference. It’s just so funny to me that people can “understand” Russia’s pov of “stop expanding NATO to the edge of our borders” and then watch their efforts in Crimea and Ukraine and go “well what do you expect their response to be?” The same applies here. What, you think people outside the US have reason to be pissed at our meddling in their elections, but USians can’t have the same anger at Russia? Putin has pissed off the entire center left in the US potentially for a generation — but he’s so so wise and two steps ahead. *eye roll*

    Nice defense of Venezuela canceling elections btw. It’s not 2002 anymore. Maduro is going down the path where violence is going to be answered with violence he doesn’t have to: hold elections as is required by Chavez’s constitution.

  52. different clue permalink
    August 2, 2017

    @Mallam,

    By “the entire center left” . . . I assume you mean the Clintonites?

  53. Hugh permalink
    August 2, 2017

    I agree with Mallam. I have never understood why progressives have chosen to apply such an egregious double standard to Putin. At the same time, I have never understood Putin derangement syndrome either. Russia and Putin represent mid-level threats to the US. And far from being the master of eleven dimensional chess, Putin has managed to antagonize pretty much the whole of the Washington political Establishment which has effectively boxed in Trump on the issue.

    That said, I think George H. W. Bush, the Washington Establishment and the Harvard Boys, like Jeffrey Sachs and Larry Summers, were criminally stupid pursuing a course to so weaken post-USSR Russia that it would never again be a significant threat/player on the world scene and to shock privatize the Russian economy. These twin policies produced Putinism as a reaction and Russia’s corrupt economic oligarchy as a direct result. If instead, the US and its allies had targeted a few billion at various points (tiny investments as compared to the costs of the Cold War) to ease Russia’s political and economic transition and supported its integration into Europe and the West, things might have been very different. But Washington Consensus triumphalism was not to be denied nor an adherence to markets and an economic ideology which if anything was even more rigid than the Marxist-Leninist command economy it forcibly supplanted.

  54. S Brennan permalink
    August 2, 2017

    *
    Clearly, Mallam you are trolling,

    But the people you represent are creating a vast Asiatic empire through stupidity, deceit and outright lies. Because, “isolating” Russia with sanctions for “invading Crimea” is having the desired effect. If…the desired effect was to unite two strong potential adversaries against the USA….that was the purpose right?

    What a bunch of a–holes. The taxpayers forked over a lot of tax dollars to split those two countries apart and now taxpayers are being forced to pay yet more to put them back together. All so a bunch of lazy no-good DC “foriegn policy experts” have an enemy of stature so they can make arguments for yet more military spending. The irony is, it was the excessive spending that created the need for an enemy in the first place. Save you faux gravitas for the ignorant plebs.

    “Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha, until 1954, when Khrushchev transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, Crimea was forced by Kiev into accepting Ukrainian rule, although a referendum at the time showed a vast preference for becoming part of Russia proper.”

    *hung up in moderation…I presume because I provided a link

  55. S Brennan permalink
    August 2, 2017

    test

  56. V. Arnold permalink
    August 2, 2017

    S Brennan
    August 2, 2017

    Hear, hear +1
    The utter nonsense re: Russia, is just nuts.
    The U.S. nearly destroyed Russia in the early 90’s and the impact on its population was devastating.
    But: The result was a completely new paradigm shift in thinking; very dynamic to say the least.
    The west hasn’t had anything approaching that since the great depression and the resultant thinking is stuck in a downward spiraling psychotic thought process.
    Russia is not, I repeat not, the west in any way. Language, religion, culture, and most especially values.
    The bile I’m reading here, from people who should know better is insultingly rediculous…

  57. Mallam permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Hugh is of course correct in everything he says. Somehow that’s difficult to admit among the “anti-imperialists” here who stand with Russia’s imperialist ambitions (or Soviet Union imperialism before that) simply because it is against the US. Although in reality Putin doesn’t have a problem with US imperialism, as has been demonstrated in the ME. He just wants his seat at the table to carve out his own little sphere.

  58. Mallam permalink
    August 4, 2017

    different clue, no the entire center-left which is defined by the Democratic Party, not just Clintonites. They remember who hacked them. A Supreme Court seat was effectively stolen and will be hampering a lot of progressive legislation for decades to come, and to a lot of people Putin is partially responsible for that. Just as Mandos tried to warn you when Assange started dropping emails in the middle of the election to actively harm Clinton that it would permanently taint Wikileaks (good I say, stop allying with fascists who will burn you every time), and that it would have the opposite effect of its intentions (well the fascist won so Assange can be happy about that).

  59. V. Arnold permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Mallam
    That is so much crap, it’s hardly worth a response; and frankly, I have to say in response; bullshit!
    May the gods help me…

  60. S Brennan permalink
    August 4, 2017

    V;

    Mallam is a troll.

    Hugh seeks to emulate EZ-rah Klein by putting a “liberal” spread of hydrogenated-corn-oil on a totalitarian phallus, all in the hopes of being noticed and going “big time” and getting on the gravy train that Ezra whored his way into.

    Together, the two spend their lives waiting t0 get the “last word” in on post thinking their totalitarian neoliberal/neocolonial[aka-neocon] words will be seen as the final word on the subject…and I suppose, for low-information readers, their technique would work if they kept it to a line or two, but…

  61. different clue permalink
    August 4, 2017

    @Mallam,

    I was skeptically hostile towards Clinton but ready to consider voting for her until she said that “when elected”, she would put Bill Clinton in charge of the “economic recovery plan.” That was her way of saying that she supported NAFTA, WTO Membership for America, MFN status for China and more such Free Trade Agreements to come. So I realized at that point that Clinton was America’s enemy and I would not vote for America’s enemy.

    When Clinton stated that her goal for Syria was to overthrow Assad and establish “no fly zones” and so forth, I realized that Clinton wanted war against Russia and was perfectly satisfied to risk it going nuclear. At that point I realized she had to be stopped.

    I wanted Sanders. But the corrupt and deceitful DNC wouldn’t let me have my Sanders. So I wouldn’t let them have their Clinton. I voted for Trump here in Michigan to do what I could to keep the evil Free Trader Traitor out of office. Enough other Michiganders felt the same way when she said her husband NAFTA Bill would be put in charge of the “economic recovery effort” that they also voted for Trump in order to show their opposition to the Free Trade Traitor. That also happened in the other “Brexit States” as Michael Moore calls them and as Michael Moore predicted.

    Here is an article for your reading pleasure by Central European Emigre’ intellectual Edward Luttwak called: Why The Trump Dynasty Will Last Sixteen Years. The fact that the Clinton-Obama Third Way DLC New Wall Street Democrat Party is the Party of Free Trade Treason is part of the reason. But here is the link . . . if you dare to read it.
    https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/trump-dynasty-luttwak/

    @Hugh,

    Can you explain in specific terms what the mid-level threat is which Russia and Putin pose to the United States? Can you explain in specific detail when Putin-Russia first became that threat?

  62. V. Arnold permalink
    August 4, 2017

    S Brennan
    August 4, 2017

    Yes, you are of course, correct on both counts.
    There is something seriously wrong with Usian’s critical thinking abilities.
    Even Ian’s Russophobia I find disturbing; we live in a dark and dangerous world, inhabited by lesser evil; there is no good to be found; except on an individual level…

  63. V. Arnold permalink
    August 4, 2017

    different clue
    August 4, 2017

    +1
    Very good; straight to the heart of it…

  64. different clue permalink
    August 5, 2017

    @V.Arnold,

    Thank you for the kind words.

  65. August 7, 2017

    Quite so. I had hoped that a Trump administration would improve relations, but as you say he is up against hysterics. Even so he should veto the bills on principle.

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