The anti-Russian rhetoric in Washington is reaching unprecedented levels. Moscow's meddling in the US election is compared with the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 and with the 9/11 destruction by Al-Qaeda of the twin towers in Manhattan. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee demanded that Trump should consider designating Russia as a terror sponsor state after Moscow missed a deadline to explain how a Russian former informant for Britain’s foreign intelligence service was poisoned in the UK.
Those who follow the Washington scandals know that in the past Menendez has been accused by government prosecutors of bribery, fraud and other charges, including accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron in exchange for official favors. He still awaits the case mistrial due to the jury split so one could suspect that his appeal to the White House about Russia is an attempt to score some patriotic points with the media. However, in the wake of the current highly toxic and extremely dangerous anti-Russia hysteria it would be important to identify the major forces behind it, so in case of the worst case scenario of the direct military East – West confrontation we would know who to blame.
Prior to the 2016 presidential elections we could identify 3 major groups in this camp. First is the military-industrial complex which is a huge network of institutions, both public and private, whose bread and butter depend on global adventurism. The financial industry, government contractors, think tanks, many NGOs, lobbyists, and, of course, the mainstream media that nowadays practically lost its journalistic ethics and serves to satisfy the demands of its corporate owners.
Second, it would be a mistake to think this is all just money-grubbing. The same way as members of the old Soviet nomenklatura depended on Marxism-Leninism both as a working methodology and as a justification for their prerogatives and privileges, the entrenched duopoly of Democrat liberal interventionists and Republican neoconservatives relies upon an ideological imperative. A 1996 (long before Putin's Munich speech, Georgia, Ukraine and Syria wars) article by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, misleadingly titled "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” called for the US to establish and maintain indefinitely "benevolent global hegemony” – American world domination. Kristol and Kagan laid down virtually all of the elements that have guided US foreign policy during the ensuing years, including confronting Russia and China.
Third, the bipartisan Washington network and its ideological "software” are an open invitation to ethnic and foreign lobbies bent on spoiling the historic opportunity for rapprochement with Russia and making Moscow an ally instead of an adversary. NATO’s eastward expansion was thoughtlessly influenced by the abovementioned military industrial complex and neocons/neolibs and Bill Clinton’s belief that it would help him to win reelection in 1996 by bolstering his appeal with immigrant communities. Today, weak allies like the Baltic States and Poland that contribute nothing to American security – along with non-allies Ukraine and Georgia – are happy to behave provocatively towards Russia, the only power on earth capable of destroying us, because Uncle Sam has their back.
Then came the 4th addition to anti-Russia alliance when after Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 another and more numerous group emerged. It consists of Hillary Clinton loyalists who believe, some sincerely, some cynically, that it is Russia and primarily Putin who stole their victory which was already in their hands. Brainwashed by DNC, the Democratic Party leadership and the media they do not understand how these accusations denigrate American people (deplorable by Hillary’s definition) who could be so easily manipulated by a few remote bloggers, some using broken English.
As it turns out, there are some democrats who are beginning to realize that. For example, a much respected former senator Sam Nunn who said the following: "We've got to understand that given the nuclear arsenals and the fact that we can destroy each other we've got to communicate. And the more the tensions go up, the more we need to communicate. I would start with military to military, because the military on both sides are pretty darn professional and I've seen them be able to have a discussion when the political side was so poisoned and so much distrust there wasn't any way to have a discussion.”
Then 3 current democratic senators Jeff Merkley, Dianne Feinstein, and Edward Markey as well as independent senator Bernie Sanders openly called upon the Secretary of State to send US personnel to negotiate with Putin’s minions over our survival on this planet.
Well, as we know this letter was addressed to Rex Tillerson who got fired before he could respond but will his replacement Mike Pompeo carry the ball? Hopefully we will find out sooner rather than later as the stakes are too high.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.