Originally appeared at The Unz Review
A persistent line emanating from the “national security” experts who have flocked to Hillary’s side is that Trump would threaten the safety of the United States. That many of the crossovers are neoconservatives who have brought us a number of unnecessary wars in the past fifteen years is pretty much ignored by the media just as the argument that the U.S. has a presumptive right to intervene militarily wherever and whenever it chooses is generally accepted.
The latest talking head who stands firm for national security is Paul Wolfowitz, who was interviewed by the German magazine Der Spiegel on August 26th. Some readers might recall Wolfowitz. He was the number two at the Pentagon under Donald Rumsfeld. A forceful advocate for the Iraq war, he is famous for having observed that the Iraqis would welcome the American invasion and that the war would pay for itself rather than the $5 plus trillion that it has actually cost. How he came to the latter erroneous conclusion is not very clear, though it may have had something to do with looting Iraq’s oil reserves and exporting them through a pipeline to Israel, an idea that was once floated by Wolfowitz’s godfather Richard Perle.
Wolfowitz has never been apologetic. He now claims that he was deluded by the information provided by the intelligence establishment into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, an odd claim as he himself was largely responsible for the bad intelligence through his setting-up of the Office of Special Plans, a separate organization within the Pentagon intended to critique and supplement what CIA was producing.
Wolfowitz’s zeal was rewarded by George W. Bush, who appointed him head of the World Bank, a position that he was forced to relinquish when it was determined that he had been concealing his relationship with a woman who worked for him as well as promoting her far beyond organizational guidelines. He was also accused of general mismanagement. Some things apparently never change.
In any event, Wolfowitz, who has now characteristically found yet another comfortable and well remunerated niche at the largely defense contractor funded American Enterprise Institute, has finally joined the neocon host that is working for a Hillary victory in November. They understand that it is a bread-and-butter issue. Hillary is clearly predisposed to continue the kinds of mindlessly aggressive policies that have made Neoconservatism Inc. and its vibrant cash flow possible in the first place.
More to the point however, in the real world both Hillary and Wolfie sometimes visit, there is renewed enthusiasm for jumping on the hate Russia bandwagon. To belong to that club one has to repeatedly accuse Moscow of interfering in American politics, preferably without any evidence at all to support the claim. Not surprisingly, the reality is actually quite different. It is the Hillary camp that has injected Russia into the campaign debate to use it as a bludgeon to beat on Trump. They do so without considering that regular excoriation of Russia in the media and from various political pulpits might actually have consequences.
Wolfowitz believes it is weakness in a leader to avoid confrontation with adversaries. He writes that Trump’s apparent desire to “step back” from crises in the world makes him “Obama squared.” It is a principal reason why he will likely be voting for Clinton in November. He describes Trump as a security risk precisely “because he admires Putin” and is “unconcerned about the Russian aggression in Ukraine. By doing this he tells them that they can go ahead and do what they are doing. That is dangerous” as “Putin is behaving in a very dangerous way.”
In a recent speech Hillary Clinton also piled on Russia while affirming that she is now the candidate of “American exceptionalism,” an obvious ploy to attract even more neocons and dissident GOP hawks. Hillary has also denounced Trump’s appearance on stage with Nigel Farage, who headed the successful British Brexit movement. Hillary declared Farage to be both racist and sexist before castigating him for being a stooge of the Russians. His crime? Appearing on Russia Today television, where the author of this piece has also appeared numerous times.
So Farage and Trump are together part of Hillary’s alleged vast right wing conspiracy and the strings for that are being pulled by Moscow. She went on to call Putin “the godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism” before launching an attack on Trump personally, claiming that he “heaps praise on Putin and embraces pro-Russian policies.” And he does that because there is something “wrong” about him: he is part of a “paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook took the argument still further, observing that “Trump is just a puppet of the Kremlin,” taking the claim that Trump is a Putin collaborator and elevating it to make him a true Manchurian candidate, a tool of what used to be Godless communism but is now something more like a revival of the Holy Russian Empire run by the KGB.
Justin Raimondo notes that putting all the bits together one comes up with a Hillary view that her nemesis Donald Trump is the face of a “Vast Right Wing Pro-Russian Conspiracy,” making him an enemy that comprises both domestic and international threats, producing a target rich environment for the slings and arrows produced by Hillary and her hack speech writers.
The Clinton view of Putin is particularly ironic as it runs against the frequently expressed Russian government desire to work together with Washington to solve mutual problems, to include dealing with Islamic terrorism and stabilizing the Middle East. Putin in fact pulled President Barack Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire in 2013 when the latter got caught in a series of lies relating to Syria’s alleged chemical weapons.
It would be bad enough if a delusional Hillary Clinton were alone, a voice crying in the wilderness, but she is not. She is supported by a growing number of neoconservatives as well as the Establishment Dems in her own party. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has called on the FBI to investigate whether the Putin government is trying to undermine the November ballot, implying that they might try to cyber-meddle with election results. Of course, if Hillary wins as expected he will fade back into the woodwork and stop complaining.
And then there is the media, which is playing its part by fearmongering. On August 18th The reliably neocon Washington Post featured two op-eds, one written by David Kramer and the other by Angela Stent. Kramer, who is a Senior Director with the McCain Institute for International Leadership and an ex-George W. Bush official, posits that “Russia is now a threat. The U.S. should treat it like one.” That an ex-GWB official should expound on sound policy from the pulpit of an institute reflecting the values of Senator John McCain might be considered comical, but Kramer asserts that “Russia under Vladimir Putin is an authoritarian, kleptocratic regime that poses a serious threat to our values, interests and allies. We should contain and deter Russian aggression…”
Kramer cites the familiar examples of Ukraine, Crimea and Syria as evidence of Putin’s bestiality but his descriptions are curiously one-sided, making it appear that Russia is invariably purely malevolent while all the alleged victims are peace loving and high minded democrats-to-be. Such thinking is, of course, nonsense. Putin is a realist and a nationalist who is well aware of his country’s limitations but who is willing to protect his genuine interests. Would that President Hillary Clinton might be intelligent enough to do the same.
In the second op-ed Stent, who directs the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University, blames Russia for failing to integrate into “Euro-Atlantic and global institutions” while also “thwart[ing]” America’s “commitment to create a peaceful, rules-based post-Cold War order.”
I must have missed some of the recent history that Stent recalls so unambiguously, possibly because I was somehow misled by the reported looting of Russia by the west and the western aligned oligarchs as well as the more recent interference in the country’s internal affairs by Congress and the White House. She also seems unaware that the United States has a far worse international record than Russian since 1991, invading Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya while also interfering in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. And, oh yes, there was also that little matter of expanding NATO up to Russia’s doorstep, which just might seem provocative, as well as the direct encouragement of anti-Russian sentiment and worse in Georgia and Ukraine.
Stent admits that she does not know if Moscow actually hacked U.S. computers or released embarrassing information about candidates, but she nevertheless is confident enough to see Russia as “clearly intend[ing] to sow doubts about the legitimacy of our democratic election process.” What to do? Forget about any reset with Putin and instead consider building up military strength to “deter any further attempts by Russia to destabilize its neighboring countries.”
One has to wonder what stimulants they are serving in the coffee at the McCain Center and Georgetown, but it really doesn’t matter as the Wolfowitzes, Clintons, Kramers and Stents of this world are all bottom feeding out of the same gravy boat. For them, a world in conflict with a genuinely dangerous enemy that keeps them employed is a highly valuable commodity. The only problem is that Russia might really, really get pissed off by all the flatulence being directed at it. That could become very dangerous.