Guest Post by Caitlin Johnstone
At a graduation ceremony for the US Naval War College (barf), US Secretary of Defense James Mattis asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America’s moral authority,” and that “his actions are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals.”
This would be the same James Mattis who’s been overseeing the war crimes committed by America’s armed forces during their illegal occupation of Syria. This would be the same United States of America that was born of the genocide of indigenous tribes and the labor of African slaves, which slaughtered millions in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Libya and Syria for no legitimate reason, which is partnered with Ukrainian Nazis, jihadist factions in Syria and Iranian terror cultists, which supports 73 percent of the world’s dictators, which interferes constantly in the electoral processesof other countries as a matter of policy, which stages coups around the world, which has encircled the globe with military bases, whose FBI still targets black civil rights activists for persecution to this very day, which routinely enters into undeclared wars of aggression against noncompliant governments to advance plutocratic interests, which remains the only country ever to use nuclear weapons on human beings after doing so completely needlessly in Japan, and which is functionally a corporatist oligarchy with no meaningful “democratic model” in place at all.
A casual glance at facts and history makes it instantly clear that the United States has no “moral authority” of any kind whatsoever, and is arguably the hub of the most pernicious and dangerous force ever assembled in human history. But the establishment Russia narrative really is that cartoonishly ridiculous: you really do have to believe that the US government is 100 percent pure good and the Russian government is 100 percent pure evil to prevent the whole narrative from falling to pieces.
If you accept the idea that the exchange is anything close to 50/50, with Russia giving back more or less what it’s getting and simply protecting its own interests from the interests of geopolitical rivals, it no longer makes any sense to view Putin as a leader who poses a unique threat to the world. If you accept the idea that the west is actually being far more aggressive and antagonistic toward Russia than Russia is being toward the west, it gets even more laughable.
In order to believe that the US has anything resembling “moral authority” you have to shove your head so far into the sand you get lava burns, but that really is what is needed to keep western anti-Russia hysteria going. None of the things the Russian government has been accused of doing (let alone the very legitimate questions about whether or not they even did all of them) merit anything but an indifferent shrug when compared with the unforgivable evils that America’s unelected power establishment has been inflicting upon the world, so they need to weave a narrative about “moral authority” in order to give those accusations meaning and relevance. And, since the notion of America having moral authority is contradicted by all facts in evidence, that narrative is necessarily woven of threads of fantasy and denial.
Establishment anti-Russia hysteria is all narrative, no substance. It’s sustained by the talking heads of plutocrat-owned western media making the same unanimous assertions over and over again in authoritative, confident-sounding tones of voice without presenting any evidence or engaging with the reality of what Russia or its rivals are actually doing. The only reason American liberals believe that Putin is a dangerous boogieman who has taken over their government, but don’t believe for example that America is ruled by a baby-eating pedophile cabal, is because the Jake Tappers and Rachel Maddows have told them to believe one conspiracy theory and not the other. They could have employed the exact same strategy with any other wholly unsubstantiated conspiracy narrative and had just as much success.
In reality, Russia is nothing other than a rival power structure that the US-centralized empire wants to either collapse or absorb, but they can’t just come right out and tell the public that they’re dangerously escalating tensions with a nuclear superpower because westerners live in an invisible empire ruled by insatiably greedy plutocrats, so they make up nonsense about Putin being some kind of omnipotent supervillain who has infiltrated the highest levels of US government and is trying to take over the world.
I think it’s time we give Vladimir Putin his due. He is clearly the greatest intelligence agent —ever . He has engineered the unraveling of the western alliance, fidelity to democracy in the United States and the severing of the UK from the EU. It’s a remarkable achievement
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 10, 2018
Of equal interest to the Defense Secretary’s “moral authority” gibberish is his claim that Putin’s actions “are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals.”
I mean, like… what? So Russia isn’t challenging America militarily and isn’t taking any actions to attempt to, but it’s trying to, what, hurt America’s feelings? All this new cold war hysteria and nuclear brinkmanship has basically been America acting like a bitchy high school drama queen because Russia is saying mean things about it behind its back? How does a guy named “Mad Dog” get to be such a thin-skinned little snowflake?
I’m just playing. Actually, when Mattis says that the Russian government is trying to “undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals,” he is saying that Moscow is interrupting the lies that Americans are being told about their government by the plutocrat-owned media. As we’ve been discussing a lot recently, control of the narrative is absolutely essential for rulers to maintain their rule. When you hear establishment policy makers babbling about “Russian propaganda” and Putin’s attempts to “undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals,” all that they are saying is that the plutocrats who rule America need to be able to control the way Americans think and vote, and that the Russian government is making it a bit harder for them to do that.
More and more, the threads of the establishment narrative are ceasing to be unconsciously absorbed and are being increasingly consciously examined instead. This development has ultimately nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with our species moving out of its old relationship with mental narrative as it approaches evolve-or-die time in our challenging new world. I am greatly encouraged by what I am seeing.