Sunday, July 29, 2018

Shedding Light on the Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative

At the least, The Nation writer Aaron Mate is not a fan of the Trump administration. He considers it dangerous, for reasons that I will not detail here. And yet, Mate, like his colleague Stephen Cohen, counts among those on the left who are rejecting the mainstream Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Mate is sane and sober in assessing the situation:

Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true. Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country’s election can never be justified. But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an “attack,” even an “act of war,” are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed.

Pundits and politicians have even compared Russiagate to Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and Kristallnacht, accompanied by bellicose calls for revenge. According to Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a sufficient response would be “a cyber attack that made Russian society valueless.… If they all fell underneath the Kremlin and buried together, it’d be too soon” [sic].

Mate continues, outlining points made by Daniel Greenfield on the Sultan Knish blog. Namely, that the Trump administration has been notably far tougher on Russia than the Obama administration:

Fixation on the alleged Russian threat does not just obscure our own past. With the attendant suspicion of Trump’s potential subordination to Putin, it is obscuring the reality in front of us. Anyone paying attention to Trump’s actual policies cannot escape the conclusion that his administration “has been much tougher on Russia than any in the post-Cold War era” (Daniel Vajdich of the NATO-funded Atlantic Council), wherein “U.S. policy toward Russia has, if anything, hardened under [Trump’s] watch” (Brookings fellow and former State Department official Jeremy Shapiro). The new Pentagon budget earmarks $6.5 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative—a military program aimed at confronting Russia in Eastern Europe—a 91 percent increase over President Obama’s last year in office. Following Trump’s decision to sell anti-tank missiles to Ukrainea move Obama resisted—the Pentagon has just announced $200 million in new military assistance. The NATO summit right before Helsinki prompted widespread suspicions that Trump was undermining the transatlantic alliance, possibly at Putin’s behest. All seemed to overlook what Trump actually did: openly criticize Russia’s prized Nord Stream 2 gas project with Germany and badger NATO members to increase military spending. At a post-Helsinki Senate hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touted Trump’s “massive defense buildup that threatens Vladimir Putin’s regime” and reaffirmed that the United States will never recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea.

For all the hue and cry about facts, it takes a reporter from The Nation to set the record straight, to examine the Trump record on Russia dispassionately and objectively. What is the world coming to?

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Why did the Democrats/liberals/progressives suddenly decide they needed the Russians to be an enemy? I mean, they just loved them for decades.