Amid the intermittent riots and looting; the disbanding of police departments; the increase in armed disagreements between citizens; a four-year coup; an economy in turmoil; and talk of a geographic separation between Americans who have a race-based view of the human condition and those who don’t, one would think our country’s current upheavals — unyielding even to a plague (itself partisan) — would see us wanting to reduce our headaches, perhaps by making nice at least in the international sphere.
Especially since Russia just announced that it has a COVID-19 vaccine ready for production. But one would be wrong. Rather than take the opportunity afforded by the pandemic — and proposed by Russia — to rethink relations and work together, Washington has taken the usual, opposite approach, foregoing glasnost in favor of naglost. “Naglost” is “gall” in Russian, cubed. It’s like going to the bathroom on someone’s front doorstep, then ringing the doorbell to ask for toilet paper.
Never mind former U.N. Ambassador and potential Biden running mate Susan Rice saying last month that she suspects a Russian hand in the George Floyd riots; no sooner did the foundation fall out from under the Russia-hacking tripe (the DNC server was never examined by the FBI, and Robert Mueller himself said only that it “appeared” the Russians hacked it), than the next Russian cyberattack story was unveiled: A May 23rd AP headline read, “Top UN official warns malicious mails on rise in pandemic.” The article went on, “Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas, whose country holds the [U.N.] Security Council presidency and organized Friday’s meeting … condemned cyberattacks targeting hospitals, medical research facilities and other infrastructure.” The implication, bolstered by the acting U.S. deputy ambassador, was that Russia is behind whatever this is or isn’t.
Meanwhile, President Trump admitted this weekend that two years ago we did launch a cyberattack on a Russian troll farm, though he was careful to add, “Whether or not it was so, [trolls interfering in the election] who knows?”
Indeed, in a May airing of Fox News’ “Watters World” was Aaron Mate, the journalist who broke the story that CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry testified three years ago there may not have been any hacking at all. He said, “Mueller suggest[ed] that [a] Russian troll farm was part of some sweeping Russian government operation. Mueller then had to admit that, actually, he has no evidence tying the troll farm to the Russian government and then when the troll farm fought back, Mueller recently dropped the case.”
But more fun than all that is the latest whopper, the month of June closing out with sensational news that “Russia has been secretly paying Taliban insurgents to kill US troops in Afghanistan,” the U.K. Express reported, citing conclusions by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials. It’s a claim denied by Taliban spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid, who insisted, “Our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before. We did it on our own resources … That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”
Nice. The White House’s non-reaction to the latest nonsense was promptly blasted as yet more “accommodating” of Vladimir Putin. On cue, Sen. Tim Kaine and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul postured outraged that Mr. Trump dared invite Russia back into the G7, “knowing” they were having Americans killed. John Bolton, meanwhile — still on his spite-book tour — was unconvinced but said, “[I]f the reports are true, Mr. Trump must immediately pursue ‘very severe measures’ to punish Moscow. Daily Express added, “If the intelligence is fully accurate then it is the first time that a Russian spy unit has worked with the Taliban and orchestrated attacks on Western troops.” Which would be an outrage, since financing and arming jihadists against power rivals is our exclusive purview.
Not to be outdone by jihadists, Poland remained ever ready to wallop Russia, too, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki offering: “I deeply hope that … part of the troops based today in Germany which are being removed by the United States will indeed come to Poland,” The Express quoted him as saying. It also previewed a June 24th announcement (timed to Moscow’s 75th Victory-Europe parade?) that “The US is set to deploy a squadron of hunter-killer drones in Poland in a clear signal to Russia‘s President Vladimir Putin … In addition, a location for a US armoured brigade combat team has been agreed, while the two countries are discussing…a combat aviation brigade.”
We’ve certainly accomplished a lot for a country in the throes of quarantine and revolution, which apparently have left us unencumbered to lay the groundwork for more devastation. We’ve even managed to depart from the Open Skies Treaty, just “another step in systematically demolishing the framework of arms control globally, and especially between the US and Russia,” as former diplomat Jim Jatras put it in an email to a baffled friend, “bringing us one step closer to a possible, hopefully unintended, catastrophe. On the other hand, for the US establishment, whose perks and privileges are based on confrontation and tension, it’s literally money in the bank.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Trump’s Space Force — the first new military service in 70 years—fits right into the mold. Last week’s Epoch Times quoted John Venable, senior research fellow for Defense Policy, Center for National Defense, likening the Pentagon’s recently published U.S. Defense Space Strategy “to the 2018 National Defense Strategy that explicitly reoriented the military as a whole to face China and Russia as military competitors.” The three key objectives cited by Mr. Venable sound like an interdimensional version of NATO’s: “to maintain America’s space superiority; to provide space support to all joint military operations; and to “ensure space stability.” God help us.
The document was released on the heels of SpaceX’s historic astronaut launch, which signaled the end of hitching rides to space from “Enemy No. 1,” Russia. On June 13th, Space.com quoted Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin: “The Americans were ‘pretty anxious about the fact that they were fully dependent on the reliability of the Russian Soyuz’ during the nine years it has ferried NASA astronauts into orbit…He added that the Russians kept the human space program going for all space station partners, while cutting Russian crews and experiments … (presumably, to allow Americans and … Europeans, to take seats in the Soyuz).”
Last January, John Feffer, director of the Foreign Policy in Focus project at the Institute for Policy Studies wrote, “What the United States is doing now with the new Space Force is the worst kind of response to the problem of the increased militarization of space. It is creating an imaginary ‘space gap’ that the United States has to pour money into closing … It will increase the risk of conflict in space, not reduce it … it’s Star Wars without end, sequel after sequel hitting military theatres near you.” It’s “American Exceptionalism” in 4-D.
On that point, a few years ago on OANN’s “Tipping Point” with Liz Wheeler, Mr. Jatras asked, “How many times have we here in the United States … looked at the growth of a huge faceless bureaucracy in Washington, or the abuses from the IRS, [and] the Supreme Court — [and said], “How far are we getting away from our Constitutional principles?” But then we assume when the same federal government acts abroad, it’s all Mom and apple pie … instead of [admitting that] we’re seeing the same Federal Government … also departing in the direction of … remak[ing] the world according to Hillary Clinton’s idea of progressive principles.’”
It’s the erosion of American exceptionalism, not the expression of it, the host pointed out. Something to think about when reflecting on all those color revolutions and regime changes we’ve fomented abroad—as we now get a taste of it ourselves. How does it feel to have your national identity stripped away layer by layer, your history and culture under attack? And to be told your foundations are invalid. All the while being guilted as the responsible party for the dissolution.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be the world’s avenging progressive angel? And perhaps Russia isn’t being aggressive in wanting to be left alone to her traditions and not have her identity remade? “2020 #BlackRevolution in #US against Trump isn’t just LIKE 2014 #DeepState #Soros coup in #Ukraine, in some ways it’s just a continuation of the SAME coup!” Jatras tweeted last month. Or take it from the horse’s mouth. Consider this recent headline from the NATO-affiliated liberal publication The Atlantic: “The Trump Regime Is Beginning to Topple: The best way to grasp the magnitude of what we’re seeing is to look for precedents abroad.” In it Franklin Foer writes, “What the United States is witnessing is less like the chaos of 1968, which further divided a nation, and more like the nonviolent movements that earned broad societal support in places such as Serbia, Ukraine, and Tunisia, and swept away the dictatorial likes of Milošević, Yanukovych, and Ben Ali.”
We can’t sow divisions in other lands and not reap the harvest in ours. We’ve divided countries along ethnic lines, particularly in Yugoslavia. That country no longer exists. But it’s never far away; in fact, our first lady was born and raised there. It would have broken up anyway, but with some legality; Western interference came in on the side of the hasty and warful — and ethnically separatist.
The turmoil that has always been the domain of other places just got real. We are no longer shielded from the consequences of the policies that too many Americans support. The North, Central and South Americas may someday welcome an East and a West America, divided by right and left. Our own foreign policies laid the foundation. We are balkanizing. Take heed.
Julia Gorin was a Soviet Refusenik who came to the U.S. in 1976. She is editor of “Hillarisms: The Unmaking of the First Female President.”