Russiagate and the lost hope for peace

Prior to the 2016 election, Vladimir Putin said he would welcome the election of Donald Trump because Trump advocated better relations with Russia.

But, as Robert W. Merry of The American Conservative pointed out, any faint hope of that happening was snuffed out by the exposure of Russian attempts to influence the election by means of fake posts on social media.   The Russians shot themselves in the foot.

Most of us Americans have no perspective on this because we don’t know, or choose to ignore, the extent of our own government’s meddling in foreign countries.

U.S. meddling not only includes propaganda, open and covert, but taking sides in civil wars and outright invasions of foreign countries whose leaders oppose U.S. policy.

I don’t argue the U.S. government should tolerate violations of American election law by foreigners in order to atone for American sins abroad.  I do say this should not be used as an excuse for risking war or suppressing dissent.


Russian Election Meddling: Worse Than a Crime, a Blunder by Robert W. Merry for The American Conservative.

A Consensus Emerges: Russia Committed an ‘Act of War’ on Par With Pearl Harbor and 9/11 | Should the U.S. Response Be Similar? by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.

Ex-CIA Director Thinks US Hypocrisy About Election Meddling Is Hilarious by Caitlin Johnstone.

Christopher Steele’s Other Job: He Ran an Info Op Against the United States (How to Steele an Election) by Peter Van Buren on We Meant Well.

The War on Dissent by C.J. Hopkins for Counterpunch.

The War on Dissent: The Specter of Divisiveness by C.J. Hopkins for Counterpunch.

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6 Responses to “Russiagate and the lost hope for peace”

  1. whungerford Says:

    Does the author accept that Trump favored better relations with Russia? This would be welcome if sincere. What Trump likely sought was permission to build hotels there. He may also have been subject to blackmail. Do Russians seek peace, in eastern Ukraine or in Syria, for example. Or do they hope to exploit Trump’s naiveté to their advantage?


    • philebersole Says:

      Sincerity? I lack the power to read Donald Trump’s mind. He consistently said during the campaign he was in favor of better relations with Russia, and received a lot of criticism – even before the leaking of the DNC and Podesta e-mails. Why would he have said this if he didn’t mean it.

      Motive? That’s a different thing. The one thing he has taken a stand on is to not implement sanctions against Russian individuals. He hasn’t resisted arming the Ukrainian government or taken steps to prevent armed clashes between Russians and Americans in Syria.

      That may indicate he has some hope of etablishing business relatonships with Russian individuals – a folorn hope up until now.

      I have no way of knowing whether that it true or not. If true, a Trump Tower in Moscow would be a small price to pay for avoiding a possible nuclear holocaust.

      As to Ukraine and Syria, the Russian government is trying to defend a status quo and the U.S. government is trying to shift the balance of power against Russia.

      Vladimir Putin’s stated goals and actions in Ukraine have been to preserve the Russian naval base in Crimea, to preserve the autonomy of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine and to prevent Ukraine from joining an anti-Russian alliance.

      U.S. policy is to make Ukraine part of NATO, an anti-Russian military alliance, and also part of the Western financial system.

      In Syria, Putin’s stated goals and actions are to preserve the Russian military base in Syria and to defend an ally against foreign-backed attempts at regime change. U.S. policy is to sponsor the overthrow the Assad regime.

      The aggressor and deender are both willing to fight, but it is the aggressor who is the threat to peace.


  2. Bill Harvey Says:

    Phil, I certainly agree w your most important political conclusion, that none of this should “be used as an excuse for risking war or suppressing dissent,” wherever we come up on the various allegations concerning Russian meddling. But I cannot accept the explanation that the Russians shot themselves in the foot on this. Whatever the level of Trump’s sincerity regarding better relations with Russia- open to questioning and debate, for sure- he had little chance as incoming president to change much on Russian policy because he was up against the entire foreign policy Establishment, and he was/is, after all, only the President. All of the most important sectors of corporate capital (energy, military producers, finance, and more); both the “humanitarian interventionist” wing at the head of the DP and the neo-cons in charge of the RP’s foreign policy, w the rest of both parties’ tops bringing up the rear; the Pentagon; the mainstream media and punditocracy, along with “legitimate” university and think-tank intellectuals; and more were in lockstep on an anti-Russian course long before 2016. The reasons for this are found in Russia’s unique role as impediment #1 to the US imperial game plan- there’s a lot to go into here too, but think first of R’s geopolitical location, its functional nuclear parity, its role in international energy politics especially in Europe, and its blossoming alliance w China. The Russia factor has been key in one of the biggest stories of the first year of T’s presidency- they’ve made a functional Republican out of him. Cheers, B

    Liked by 1 person

  3. whungerford Says:

    I enjoyed Phil’s and Bill’s comments. I don’t understand Phil’s claim that Russia seeks to maintain the status quo in Ukraine, unless the status quo is prior to Ukraine’s independence. The Russians seized and annexed Crimea by force. What right had they to do that?

    I don’t understand how investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing by Russians risks war or suppresses dissent.

    While we all might agree about American imperialism, regarding Russian imperialism as non-existent or benign is naive. I don’t think that view would have legs in Estonia, for example.


    • philebersole Says:

      By the status quo in Ukraine, I mean the status quo prior to the coup in February, 2014. Here is some background on this.

      I most certainly am in favor of investigating and prosecuting violators of American election laws. I hope I did not give the impression that I don’t.

      I do think the Russiagate investigation is being used as a justification to making a military buildup along Russia’s borders, setting up anti-missile defenses which could be used to facilitate a first strike, and developing a new generation of battlefield nuclear weapons, and also to draw Ukraine into an anti-Russian alliance.

      The majority of the Crimean population are ethnic Russians who wouldn’t want to be subject to an anti-Russian government, and Crimea is the location of a vital Russian naval base. Having this base fall into the hands of NATO would be like, I don’t know, having the San Diego naval station fall into the hands of the Warsaw Pact.

      The danger here is of a new Cuban missile crisis – but in reverse. The Cuban government had a perfect legal right to allow Soviet missiles and atomic weapons on its soil, but the U.S. government was not willing to permit a potential threat to its existence. No government is willing to do that.

      The government in Moscow allowed the Baltic states to secede peacefully, and recognized their independence. It is not pleased that they are part of NATO, but has made no move to re-annex them.

      I agree that Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian ruler who has done bad things. The world is full of authoritarian rulers who have done bad things, some of them allies of the United States. I don’t see any fundamental conflict of interest between Russia and the USA, except maybe in the Arctic, and that can be worked out through negotiation.

      I also think that Russiagate is being used as an excuse to censor dissenting thought, just as anti-Communism was so used in an earlier era.

      I express myself somewhat abruptly, but I do appreciate your interest and comments.


  4. peteybee Says:

    It’s a topic bound to stir up emotions, that’s for sure.

    Considering Trump was the eager figurehead of the Birthers, I won’t say Democrats should play fair with Trump.

    However I think those who buy into the central significance and top priority of Russiagate, should recognize that the personality of the D party and allied media is becoming more and more like a mirror image of Fox News. That’s not healthy.


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