Where to begin to analyze the madness of mainstream media in reaction to the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki? By focusing on the individual, psychology has neglected the problem of mass insanity, which has now overwhelmed the United States establishment, its mass media and most of its copycat European subsidiaries. The individuals may be sane, but as a herd they are ready to leap off the cliff.
A cartoon illustrating the evoked dementia, by RJ Matson, The Mercury News
For the past two years, a particular power group has sought to explain away its loss of power – or rather, its loss of the Presidency, as it still holds a predominance of institutional power – by creation of a myth. Mainstream media is known for its herd behavior, and in this case the editors, commentators, journalists have talked themselves into a story that initially they themselves could hardly take seriously.
Donald Trump was elected by Russia?
On the face of it, this is preposterous. Okay, the United States can manage to rig elections in Honduras, or Serbia, or even Ukraine, but the United States is a bit too big and complex to leave the choice of the Presidency to a barrage of electronic messages totally unread by most voters. If this were so, Russia wouldn’t need to try to “undermine our democracy”. It would mean that our democracy was already undermined, in tatters, dead. A standing corpse ready to be knocked over by a tweet.
Even if, as is alleged without evidence, an army of Russian bots (even bigger than the notorious Israeli army of bots) was besieging social media with its nefarious slanders against poor innocent Hillary Clinton, this could determine an election only in a vacuum, with no other influences in the field. But there was a lot of other stuff going on in the 2016 election, some for Trump and some for Hillary, and Hillary herself scored a crucial own goal by denigrating millions of Americans as “deplorables” because they didn’t fit into her identity politics constituencies.
The Russians could do nothing to build support for Trump, and there is not a hint of evidence that they tried. They might have done something to harm Hillary, because there was so much there: the private server emails, the Clinton foundation, the murder of Moammer Gaddafi, the call for a no-fly zone in Syria … they didn’t have to invent it. It was there. So was the hanky panky at the Democratic National Committee, on which the Clintonite accusations focus, perhaps to cause everyone to forget much worse things.
When you come to think of it, the DNC scandal focused on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not on Hillary herself. Screaming about “Russian hacking the DNC” has been a distraction from much more serious accusations against Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders supporters didn’t need those “revelations” to make them stop loving Hillary or even to discover that the DNC was working against Bernie. It was always perfectly obvious.
So at worst, “the Russians” are accused of revealing some relatively minor facts concerning the Hillary Clinton campaign. Big deal.
But that is enough, after two years of fakery, to send the establishment into a frenzy of accusations of “treason” when Trump does what he said he would do while campaigning, try to normalize relations with Russia.
This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic “cooperation” associations. They have based their careers on the illusion of sharing the world empire by following U.S. whims in the Middle East and transforming the mission of their armed forces from defense into foreign intervention units of NATO under U.S. command. Having not thought seriously about the implications of this for over half a century, they panic at the suggestion of being left to themselves.
The Western elite is now suffering from self-inflicted dementia.
Donald Trump is not particularly articulate, navigating through the language with a small repetitive vocabulary, but what he said at his Helsinki press conference was honest and even brave. As the hounds bay for his blood, he quite correctly refused to endorse the “findings” of US intelligence agencies, fourteen years after the same agencies “found” that Iraq was bursting with weapons of mass destruction. How in the world could anyone expect anything else?
But for the mainstream media, “the story” at the Helsinki summit, even the only story, was Trump’s reaction to the, er, trumped up charges of Russian interference in our democracy. Were you or were you not elected thanks to Russian hackers? All they wanted was a yes or no answer. Which could not possibly be yes. So they could write their reports in advance.
Anyone who has frequented mainstream journalists, especially those who cover the “big stories” on international affairs, is aware of their obligatory conformism, with few exceptions. To get the job, one must have important “sources”, meaning government spokesmen who are willing to tell you what “the story” is, often without being identified. Once they know what “the story” is, competition sets in: competition as to how to tell it. That leads to an escalation of rhetoric, variations on the theme: “The President has betrayed our great country to the Russian enemy. Treason!”
This demented chorus on “Russian hacking” prevented mainstream media from even doing their job. Not even mentioning, much less analyzing, any of the real issues at the summit. To find analysis, one must go on line, away from the official fake news to independent reporting. For example, “the Moon of Alabama” site offers an intelligent interpretation of the Trump strategy, which sounds infinitely more plausible than “the story”. In short, Trump is trying to woo Russia away from China, in a reverse version of Kissinger’s strategy forty years ago to woo China away from Russia, thus avoiding a continental alliance against the United States. This may not work because the United States has proven so untrustworthy that the cautious Russians are highly unlikely to abandon their alliance with China for shadows. But it makes perfect sense as an explanation of Trump’s policy, unlike the caterwauling we’ve been hearing from Senators and talking heads on CNN.
Those people seem to have no idea of what diplomacy is about. They cannot conceive of agreements that would be beneficial to both sides. No, it’s got to be a zero sum game, winner take all. If they win, we lose, and vice versa.
They also have no idea of the harm to both sides if they do not agree. They have no project, no strategy. Just hate Trump.
He seems totally isolated, and every morning I look at the news to see if he has been assassinated yet.
It is unimaginable for our Manichean moralists that Putin might also be under fire at home for failing to chide the American president for U.S. violations of human rights in Guantanamo, murderous drone strikes against defenseless citizens throughout the Middle East, the destruction of Libya in violation of the UN mandate, interference in the elections of countless countries by government-financed “non-governmental organizations” (the National Endowment of Democracy), worldwide electronic spying, invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the world’s greatest prison population and regular massacres of school children. But the diplomatic Russians know how to be polite.
Still, if Trump actually makes a “deal”, there may be losers – neither the U.S. nor Russia but third parties. When two great powers reach agreement, it is often at somebody else’s expense. The West Europeans are afraid it will be them, but such fears are groundless. All Putin wants is normal relations with the West, which is not much to ask.
Rather, candidate number one for paying the price are the Palestinians, or even Iran, in marginal ways. At the press conference, asked about possible areas of cooperation between the two nuclear powers, Trump suggested that the two could agree on helping Israel:
“We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”
In political terms, Trump knows where political power lies, and is counting on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, which recognizes the defeat in Syria and the rising influence of Russia, to save him from the liberal imperialists – a daring bet, but he does not have much choice.
On another subject, Trump said that “our militaries” get along with the Russians “better than our politicians”. This is another daring bet, on military realism that could somehow neutralize military industrial congressional complex lobbying for more and more weapons.
In short, the only chance to end the nuclear war threat may depend on support for Trump from Israel and the Pentagon!
The hysterical neoliberal globalists seem to have ruled out any other possibility – and perhaps this one too.
“Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world” Trump declared “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”
That is more than his political enemies can claim.