Wednesday, July 12, 2017
A genie appears in front of an Englishman , a French man and a Russian and offers each of them a wish. The Englishman asks for a cottage, the Frenchman desires a vineyard, the Russian points to his neighbor in the nearby field: "My neighbor has a goat and I don't," he complains. "Kill my neighbor's goat!"
That is the attitude of the Russian diaspora in the US. From Dmitri Orlov to The Saker, there is a decided undercurrent of resentment and disdain for their adopted country, and their writings perfectly reflect the attitude expressed in the adage above. Their own country is a ramshackled ruin and they are bound and determined to undermine the American hegemony that is currently bestriding the globe dressed in army fatigues and boasting an arrogant exceptionalism that rankles. So they smugly attack the very values that allow them to simply adopt a country whose leaders they express nothing but contempt and disdain for. Much as their most famous writer, Nabaokov, did before them, they defect and detest the West even as it gives them refuge. They attack not only their own country (as Nabokov did from Paris with his support for the White Russians and his fellow aristocratic emigres, most of whom held the same contempt for the suffering Russian peasants as for the French Bourgeoisie, as neither group measured up to their Divinely-sanctioned standards) but the one that took them in as well.
No one knows how to arrest the decline of the Russian economy that sanctions has initiated, and the oil price collapse kicked into high gear. Even after the demise of the Soviet Union, a political system that transformed an agrarian nation into a World Superpower, the Russians can't transform their economy into a modern one despite being, now, as it was during the Soviet era, the world's largest energy producer. That's quite an accomplishment. The US had, during the same period, gone from the world's energy supplier to the world's energy hog, sucking in 2/3's of the oil it needed to run its economy by the turn of the century. And in the 90's the hated Clinton's were in the White House and the economy was growing faster with them at the helm than the Russian economy has ... oh, I don't know, EVER.
The Putin era more resembles the Gorbachev era than Russophiles would like to admit. GNP is going down even as inflation is heating up, and next year threatens to be even worse. Putin may be a hero to his followers for his scorn of any rights for perverts and his support for the thugs that brutalize them, but he wins no Nobel Prize for economics. One could easily use the same phrase for him that was thrown at Gorbachev: "If it ain't broke, it soon will be."
But, lacking the ability to reform his own economy, he has take the Russian proverb about the genie to heart and decided that it is the US economy that, "If it ain't broke, it soon will be", as the method of killing his neighbor's goat, and to do so he has the unconditional support of the US Russian ex-pat community, many of whom are well-versed in the mysteries of the Deep Web and Cyber Security, and know well enough how to break through most defenses, as visitors to the Sochi Olympics discovered soon enough, most of their laptops having been compromised before they even had time to make the journey from the airport to their hotel rooms.
With the latest exposure of the email trail of the youngest of the DT's, that is, Jr., we see the mechanism the Russkies used so that they didn't in fact have to hack the DNC's server. They instead pulled the same ruse on someone in Hillary's campaign, some low functionary, someone much easier to bait, being trusting liberal and all, than a Republican, with a trap baited with dirt they claimed they had on Trump. We already know this. That dossier finally landed, or was placed by the FBI, in McCain's hands, and it is a badly made video of the President in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes peeing on the bed, or some such nonsense. SPWANG! the trap is sprung and the DNC e-mails that were leaked, were in fact not from a Russian hack, (why use a method that leaves fingerprints when the far more lucrative tool of blackmail can get someone else to do it for you?) but from, just as they claim, someone inside the DNC itself. The small part they like to forgo mentioning is that that someone had been similarly compromised in much the same way we are now seeing they compromised Jr.
But this is just too much for primetime. Only Samantha Bee and The Daily Show have made sly references to this material, but it is what was used to blackmail a DNC staffer to release the e-mails to Wiki-Leaks where it was immediate pounced on by the waiting Russian emigre writers who gleefully romped around the web in an orgy of Hillary bashing that was reminiscent of the vitriol of the GOP during her attempt to get support for her Healthcare Bill during her husband's term in office. There was nothing subtle about their desire to put Trump in the White House, not because he would make a better President, but because he would be an easier mark for Russian influence peddling.
These writers are like Greta Garbo's Ninotchka, appalled by the licentiousness of the west, they are determined to stamp their own TRUE and NOBLE Russian imprimatur onto them, despite the fact that it is this very licentiousness that is the font of the West's vitality they so envy yet wish to see coming crashing down around our ears by convincing the polity, (Trump's inauguration address about America in carnage, and much of his campaign rhetoric, I couldn't help but notice, could've been lifted, not right out of Breitbart, but right from a Saker, or Dmitri Orlov blog posting) that the US is crumbling around our ears and we need an Authoritative figure (never authoritarian, they are quite clear about the HUGE difference between the two, and this distinction was used by Trump ... what other person in the West would be so apprised of this semantic as to make sure to use the Russian PC version?) like Putin, to save us from our own folly.
But lacking money to buy elections, they use slyness and subterfuge to implement, as the Saker put it, "this plan is to polarize society as much as possible to create civil strife so as to exploit the real systemic and structural problems of a completely dysfunctional society and discredited and illegitimate political order." Sound familiar? Maybe like a description of Putin's Russia? Or the old Soviet Union? Because Authoritarian systems produce functionaries, writers can stand aside and criticize, which is why they find success in the West, they can do what they do best without ending up in prison, so they tear down the very system that allows them to do that. They are not capitalists, which is why I've always been drawn to their writing, and cannot transform themselves into commercial entrepreneurs, managers, or even small-business men. The Soviet Union left an array of characters that lacked not only the skills, but the temperament and liberality necessary to manage the enterprises essential to a market economy. It did, however, enable them to hone bureaucratic skills, albeit not those needed for even civil service, but (and Trump's inductees to the halls of power are an exact mirror image of them) those based on personal relationships and the corruption of serving their own interests rather than their leaders' or the people's.
Thus, as in the Soviet Union, the Trump appointees, by their own admission and their bosses directives, benefit from the posts they occupy, (such as Scott Pruitt of the EPA), not for their productivity, in fact, quite the opposite, they are rewarded for their lack thereof. The best example, of course, being the ex-governor of Texas and mental defective, the Dick, Perry who was named Energy Secretary: made head of the department he promised to abolish if he were elected President, by the man who he told, on the national stage, he was going to abolish it. You can't get much more in-your-face and fuck you corrupt than that.
But despite this, and despite yesterday's marathon coverage of Jr's e-mail, not a whisper came out of Chris Matthews or Chris Hayes, Lawrence O'Donnell, Brian Williams, or MS.NBC herself, Rachel Madcow, about the extensive writings of this community running right up to the election and its similarity to the Trump's campaign rhetoric and modus operandi. It wAs as though the Donald was well-acquainted with these sites, (Via his acolyte, Steve Bannon, no doubt, as Drumph doesn't read), yet the Hillary campaign was moronically unaware of them ... at least so it would seem, because no mention was made during all those hours of coverage, that after the brouhaha'd G20 Putin/Trump meeting they had a conference during which "other issues" were discussed, one of them mentioned being the "adoption policy", which the reporter described as code for "Sanctions"(Russia basically disallowed US citizens from adopting Russian children in retaliation). So when the Kremlin lawyer Veselnitskaya maintains that she “wanted to talk about adoption policy", what she's really saying is that she offering her help with the expectation that in return Trump would lift the US sanctions. It wasn't her fault that the person she held up such a tempting tidbit in front of was too stupid to know that adoption policy and sanctions were connected at the hip.
This is the same scheme that the Reagan/Bush ticket used so successfully to ensure their own victory by negotiating with the Iranians to sell them arms if they kept the hostages until after the election, thereby keeping "conservation is the moral equivalent of War" Carter from serving a second term and resulting in the Reagan "rip those solar panels off the White House roof" victory, ironically, as it turns out, thereby assuring the implosion of the Soviet Union. The Deep State that the White House now deigns to disdain being intimately involved in carrying out both the arms for hostages deals and the deconstruction of the USSR.
Fake News, Deep State, and many other phrases picked up and used by the Trump administration, makes it sounds more closely aligned with RT than FOX, and not only before but since his election. Being a Russophile, I was in constant contact with all the subtly Russian views for years before this election, and their racist anti-black attitude could not be more aligned with the current administration's. They even had an effigy of Obama with a fuckin' banana in Red Square, fer Crissakes, something you'd never see in the West outside of an English soccer match. This leaves in my mind absolutely no doubt that there is at least an intellectual bond between Russian interests and parties in the White House, and it would be fairly naive to assume that the feckless reckless Apprentice is completely unaware of this, to say the least. But it will be interesting, if not nerve-wracking to continue to watch Donald duck this one.
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 3:56 PM