The Russians Are Coming!

I am not big on the "Russian interference" story currently wafting about in the mainstream Democratic firmament of this country. Not because it is not true, but because its perspective is myopic. Raise your hand if you seriously think there has been an American national election in recent times where the Russians, the Chinese, the Israelis, the Saudis or the Venezualans didn't try to influence outcomes by duplicitous means. And the US itself uses a range of cyber activities to try and influence political behavior in a number of other countries. That Russia made this move is neither surprising nor cause for outrage. Leaving aside our long history of toppling the democratically elected leadership of other countries, there is nothing that the Russian intelligence community did that the CIA isn't still doing — or trying to do — in places like Venezuela, Lebanon or the West Bank.

Russia making corrosive moves to influence American politics is not news, and American outrage over it is a combination of sheer hypocrisy and willful ignorance.

The reason Russia was able to interfere, buy influence, and corrode the process so successfully is because the American information system had already been poisoned by people like Murdoch and the Kochs, along with a heaping helping from a Democratic Party with unbridled contempt for its own electorate, and all the other stuff I never tire of rambling about.

The Russians may be shitting in our sewer but they ain’t the ones that stank it up. The way in which this line of thought is being put about now is sometimes outright loony. For example, the assertions that the US has a “puppet government run from Moscow” which I have seen more than once today.

It shouldn’t take a nanosecond's thought to see that, in a country like the US, the idea that “evil foreigners are responsible for my country’s problems” is a recipe for all manner of idiocy and eventual nastiness. I have lived in countries where popular political culture is laden with unreasoned paranoia about “foreign agents.” Now, we are nowhere near there. Yet. But some of this stuff I’m seeing about how “the Russians are behind it” has begun to ring some familiar alarm bells. 

No comments:

Post a Comment