America’s Persistent Russia Delusion by Publius Tacitus


How long can American citizens continue to display such an astonishing degree of ignorance when it comes to the topic of Russia and meddling in political affairs? The media is pounding away like a hyperactive child with a new drum–bang, bang, bang–insisting that Russia is every where in our political system and is controlling our destiny. This kind of bald faced lie goes beyond egregious. It is diabolical. It has only one purpose–provoke confrontation with a nuclear power. If that does not qualify as the true definition of insanity, then you are beyond the reach of reason.

The deviant fantasy that has enveloped the weak minds of most Americans with respect to Russia conjure the image of a gleeful Putin,  keen on conquering the world, lusting for blood and running a global criminal syndicate. And there stands Ma and Pa Kettle, our mom and dad, our brother and sister. It is up to us, the humble, peaceful Americans, who must lead the charge in thwarting this malevolent tyrant. This is the bullshit that is drowning the media in the United States and most appear quite willing to imbibe this toxic sludge.

Let us start with some very simple facts:

1. The United States has carried out unlawful military operations in Russia. Russia has never done the same in the United States.

The U.S. Army's 339th Infantry Regiment, was sent in 1919 to Archangel, Russia and carried out attacks on Bolshevik forces along the ailroad between Archangel and Lake Onega. Nikita Kruschev recalled America's Russian Expedition by saying "We remember the grim days when American soldiers went to our soldiers headed by their generals…Never have any of our soldiers been on American soil, but your soldiers were on Russian soil. These are facts."

2. Since 1990, the United States has sent its military forces to fight wars in Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Panama, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. Russia? It has supported rebels in the Ukraine and annexed Crimea after a national election. Total deaths from U.S. actions? Approaching 1 million. Total deaths from Russian military operations? Less than 5,000.

3. The United States continue to conduct multiple, annual military exercises, on a bilateral and multilateral basis, in countries that border Russia. These include naval exercises in the Baltic Sea and in the Black Sea. Russia has never conducted a military exercise in Canada or Mexico nor has it carried out naval and/or air exercises off either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts. Yet we claim that Russia is the aggressor.

VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia – Militaries from four nations participated today in the first ever helicopter troop insertion exercise by Georgian Special Operation Forces at the Vaziani Training Area, Georgia on Aug.6, 2018. The exercise included the U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard, Ukrainian Infantry Marines and mechanized infantry from the German Bundeswehr. This training evolution is one of many during Noble Partner 18. It is a Georgian and U.S. Army Europe-led exercise in its fourth iteration. The exercise is intended to support and enhance Georgian, participating nations, regional partners and U.S. readiness and interoperability during a multinational operation.

Exercise Rapid Trident 2018 will take place Sept. 3-15, 2018, at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Ukraine. Rapid Trident is an annual, multinational exercise involving approximately 2,270 personnel from 14 nations. The exercise is composed of:
• a multinational, brigade-level, computer-assisted command post exercise, that is
• integrated with a battalion-level field training exercise, and
• a platoon-level situational training exercise.

Saber Strike–Around 18,000 troops from 19 mostly NATO countries begin annual U.S.-led military exercises in Poland and the Baltic states on Sunday to boost combat readiness on the alliance’s eastern flank. The key objective of the eighth Saber Strike, which runs until June 15, is training and exercising NATO’s four enhanced forward presence battle groups in land missions, with the usual U.S. focus on interoperability and joint operational capability.

Atlantic Resolve–is a demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region. Since April 2014, U.S. Army Europe has led land forces efforts on behalf of the U.S. military, by conducting continuous, enhanced multinational training and security cooperation activities with allies and partners in eastern Europe.

BALTOPS–This year's installment (2017) of the annual exercise, known as Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), has gathered 55 aircraft, 50 ships and submarines and about 4,000 personnel from 14 nations, mostly members of NATO, to rehearse military maneuvers in the strategic European region. This year's large-scale drill deeply involves NATO's Forward Presence, the codename given last year to U.S.-led NATO's military buildup against what it perceives to be Russian military and political aggression in Europe.

4. Since the inception of the Soviet Union, the United States and the government in Moscow have waged a global information war against one another. It has only been in the last ten years that Russia's efforts in the information sphere have lagged behind what used to be the norm. The United States has been particularly aggressive in propagandizing the Russians. There was Radio Free Europe, there was the Voice of America and there were numerous CIA covert actions designed to flood the Soviet Union with "truth."

The United States, until recently, paid little attention to Russian covert information operations. Why? Because when we had an open society that stood in stark contrast to the rigidly controlled information in the Soviet Union, it was easy to spot foreign lies and was extremely difficult to control information and manipulate public opinion. The rise of the internet and the growing concentration of the media in the hands of a few corporations, especially in the West, has created a bizarre situation. On the one hand, it is more difficult for any government to control information flow. The variety of social media outlets provides a fertile ground for any aspiring writer . On the other hand, the concentration of the electronic and print media in a shrinking number of corporate giants, makes it easier to control who gets access to sanctioned media platforms.

If you watch any of the so-called "news" shows on U.S. cable you will quickly realize you are viewing a video version of the UK tabloids. It has little to do with news and a lot to do with shaping a message of the day. The fact that FOX News has a different message from CNN and MSNBC is more a commentary on the editorial and marketing decision to appeal to a narrow group of viewers. Total viewers of the most popular programs for the three main cable networks is less than 6 million a day. But that does not stop the push of a message that Russia is an enemy and must be stopped.

This phenomena is not confined to the U.S. It is rampant in the United Kingdom as well. Ironically, there is greater state-control of information in the U.S. and the U.K. than in Russia. It is the West that is moving towards what the old Soviet Union once was in embracing lies and pushing bizarre fantasies. Such as? Iran is the greatest sponsor of terrorism (it is not, most terrorism over the last 15 years has been carried out by Sunni groups with no ties to Iran). Or, our Department of Defense has been impoverished and is being rebuilt (fact–The U.S. defense budget is more than three times the size of Russia's and China's budget combined).

But why focus on facts when you distract and confuse the public with propaganda designed to paint Russia as an implacable, insatiable foe. That kind of language justifies multi-billion dollar defense budgets, expensive weapon systems and bloated intelligence bureaucracies. Paring back and cutting defense systems is verboten. Anyone who dares propose such nonsense is, by definition, a puppet of Putin and keen on selling America out to tyrants. Scary times. 

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