Saturday, March 4, 2017
For Democratic Elites, "The Resistance" Isn't About Saving The Country-It's About War
We all knew it was coming. The buildup to it had been happening for months-years, in fact, if you counted the whole history of this drama. But when the inevitable did at last appear, it felt no less shocking and appalling than in any other case for the fairly small minority of Americans who disapproved of it. On March 4, 2021, the new president has announced the U.S. is now planning to send forces into Russia.
Some have seen this coming for a lot longer than others. For many on the far left and the far right-who, it turns out, have a lot more in common than it would appear-expectations of something like this happening have been experienced for as long as four-and-a-half years ago, when establishment Democrats started doing to their opponents what Republicans used to do to them and went on a relentless Red-baiting campaign. In this case, the Red Scare was based on the still unsubstantiated claim that Putin's hackers gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails. From there on things only got crazier.
By mid-winter, Obama was spending the last weeks of his term using the at that point religiously accepted "Russia hacked the election" narrative to push sanctions onto Russia while the beloved gang of late-night liberal comedians made really ha-ha funny jokes about taking this feud with Russia further. By spring 2017, top Democrats were blatantly saying they wanted war with Russia, a development that was shortly followed by NATO allies starting to express similar sentiments. As the Russia rhetoric coming from establishment Democrats, anti-Trump neocons, and Deep State officials grew more and more unhinged, so did the conspiracy theories they used to justify it. When the great economic crash of 2017 happened, many of the leaders in the pre-war effort tried to deflect attention from the fact that the crisis was largely the fault of Obama by claiming it was the result of Putin's trying to "sabotage the American economy." By the time much of the pro-Trump fervor following the terrorist attack of 2017 died down, some of them even tried to link the attack to Putin. All the way through, much of the American population accepted this 21st century Cold War propaganda, and the theoretical war's supporters only grew going into the 2020 election.
Hillary Clinton's victory over Trump in 2020 was as narrow and unexpected as her defeat had been in 2016. Having become the Democratic nominee only because of the massive voter suppression and electoral fraud perpetrated by pro-Clinton primary election officials as had been the case in 2016, she'd always appeared to be an even weaker candidate than she'd been the last time around. The one factor behind her coming-from-behind victory, it seemed, was the fact that she and her supporters had run the most rabidly McCarthyite campaign imaginable, which motivated the at that point solid majority who wanted war with Russia to come to the polls. And now, after a month-and-a-half of president Clinton laying the final foundations for this war with sanctions and quiet deployments of NATO forces close to Russia, she's finally done what we've all come to quietly expect. Americans may not have much money these days, or much more time where oil is easily accessible, or hope for a stable climate, but at least they now have an entertaining show to watch.
Dystopian essay concluded. I'm of course not saying this is exactly how I think the next four years will unfold, or that Hillary Clinton will be the one to usher the war in if it does happen (though that's a real possibility), or that things won't go completely the other way. But I am saying that as the members of the Deep State, the Democratic leadership, and the corporate media continue to assess their priorities for the Trump era, this is certainly the kind of future that they intend to bring about. And the so-called resistance movement is their most valuable tool for realizing that future.
We'd all like to think the current dynamic is a contest between the Trump regime and the Trump regime's noble, rightly unified opposition. If that were the case, things would be simple for those who want to avert the nation's slouch into fascism at the hands of Trump and Friends; all we'd have to do is get behind the Resistance movement, and everything would be fine. The complex truth, though, is that there's currently a quiet effort to divert the energy of the anti-Trump movement into something that could very well ultimately create something just as dangerous as a Trump Reich: a full scale war between Russia and the United States.
Anyone who's been paying much attention to the recent actions of the non-Trump forces within the American centers of power can tell they're preparing for a new war with Russia. Half the country believed Russia and the U.S. were heading for conflict in Gallup's latest poll on the matter, and that survey was taken a full year ago, before the breakout of this "Russia hacked the election" business. If that poll were taken now, well above 50% would no doubt think war with Russia is coming, and a significant faction among them would likely approve of this. All of what I said in the second and third paragraphs of this piece preceding the mention of a 2017 economic crash is true, with those in the coalition that's formed between establishment Democrats, Deep State officials, and much of the major media amid the rise of Trump having been engaging in an unsettling campaign of Red baiting. And this campaign resembles an all-out war effort more all the time. Such a war would be very profitable for these forces, both financially and politically, and they're going to be spending these next three-and-a-half years exploiting every bit of the public's righteous anti-Trump sentiment with the goal of building support for this project.
The propaganda they've employed in the effort to do so has been both frightening and amusing. They've created something of a buffer to protect their supporters from finding out their true motives by often strongly implying that any news sources outside of the corporate media's neoliberal Democrat echo chamber are run by Kremlin operatives. They've used every means reality provides them to try to draw a link between the Democratic establishment's opponents and Russia. They've in some cases, like the one pictured above, gotten rank-and-file individuals to become outraged at their baseless McCarthyite claims instead of the real problems our country is facing.
Speaking of which, these threats posed by the Trump regime-elevated militarism, increasing racial and economic inequality, climate change, expanded government authority to survey, punish, and censor citizens-are not the concern of these "resistance" leaders. All of these things have very much been perpetrated or endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Deep State, and the corporate media, and when they claim to be standing in solidarity with the cause of climate, labor, civil libertarian, and human rights activists who represent the truly productive aspect of the Resistance, it of course isn't genuine. Paul Street assesses the real problems these figures have with Trump in his piece The Deep State's Hatred Of Trump Is Not The Same As Yours:
"The establishment’s contempt for the orange-haired beast, I noted [in a past article on this subject], was different. The nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire were perfectly willing to live with most, if not all, of what the left hated about Trump. After all, I reasoned, they’d been backing or tolerating most or all of those terrible things under presidents from both major United States parties for decades. Trump, I wrote, faced ruling-class disdain because he was considered bad for transnational capital and the American empire. For the most part, the 'deep state' masters who backed Hillary Clinton did not appreciate The Donald’s blustering promises to roll back the neoliberal 'free trade' agenda in the name of the forgotten working class. The foreign policy and 'national security' establishment especially hated his criticism of Washington’s long march toward war with Russia. They did not relish the related threat Trump posed to Brand America. It is longstanding, bipartisan, U.S. ruling-class doctrine that this country is the world’s great beacon and agent of democracy, human rights, justice and freedom. American reality has never matched the doctrine, but smart rulers knew that it would be especially difficult to align those claims with a president like Trump."
Furthermore, as Counterpunch's Chris Floyd observes after criticizing the joke about war with Russia that I mentioned earlier, these figures aren't even truly at odds with Trump: "See how ha-ha funny that is? Especially from the funny ha-ha folks at SNL — who paid Trump to be the host of their show while he was conducting the most racist, hateful political campaign in modern American history. They normalized his hatred, they gave him a national platform to show he was an all-right guy with a sense of humor, no big threat, no big deal. They normalized him, lionized him, helped him reach millions of people who pay little attention to the news. Now, of course, they’re 'leading the resistance' with 'cutting-edge comedy' — Alec Baldwin puckering his lips and fawning on a shirtless Putin — and with really funny ha-ha stuff like saying Trump should totally be more like that gutsy Hitler guy and 'take on Russia.' Meanwhile, Trump and his minions and the Congressional extremists are already rolling back every law and regulation they can lay their hands on in a slavering frenzy to poison the earth, remove all restrictions on corporate rapine, strip millions of health care, roll back decades of hard-fought civil rights advances, double the military budget and build a Berlin Wall on the Mexican border. It’s a full-bore Barbarossa on the wellbeing and common good of the American people (and the world) — but who cares about that? According to the funny ha-ha guys at SNL — and practically the entire Democratic Party and the so-called liberal media — what Trump should really be doing is 'taking on Russia.'"
In short, if you think this picture is as simple as us, the military and intelligence communities, the major media, the Democratic Party, all those wonderful late-night liberal comics, and that similarly lovable George W. Bush against the Trump regime, you're being taken for a dangerous ride. As I've said before, Trump needs these figures to keep up his charade of being an admirable enemy of the establishment, and these figures need Trump to keep up their ruse of being noble protectors of a sane order. Trump, in his usual carelessness, has even blown the cover multiple times on this symbiotic relationship of theirs by tweeting last year that he would rather run against Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders, and then having tweeted last week that he couldn't be happier for the Republican Party now that the neoliberal Tom Perez has been appointed DNC chair. So it's a surprise that about half the left and most of the right still doesn't seem to recognize what's really going on here.
Given that, a U.S.-Russia war isn't the only kind of conflict Democratic elites want to perpetuate-they also stand to gain from a largely theatrical war between themselves and the Trumpists. The staged scuffle between Republicans and Democrats that the oligarchy until recently used to protect its interests has escalated into a war between neo-fascists and sleazy, warmongering neocons. And since the conflict between the Trumpists and the Clintonists is a lot more evenly matched than it appears, with the former camp able to gain a lot more political leverage through terrorist attacks and wars with countries other than Russia, this war could continue for a while, possibly until two election cycles from now. Because by then, the oligarchs who profit from all these wars could very well be forced to retreat into the luxury survival bunkers that many of them are creating for themselves after their half-century long quest for more collapses society as we know it.
The encouraging thing we can take out of all this is that the oligarchy-benefiting war between Republicans and Democrats has been escalated for a reason. The plutocrats are taking notice amid the populist uprisings that have appeared in the recent years, and they're desperate to divert the energy of these movements away from the direction of defeating the neoliberal order. Through determined efforts to resist the war efforts mentioned, we can unite not just the Sandersist left but pretty much all of the 99.9% around the goal of taking away the power of the corporate and deep states. We can set the country in a better direction. But to do so, we'll need to understand the war-related obstacles that are being put in front of us.