One thing we should have learned over the past year or so is you can take any narrative being pushed by the corporate media and Democrats, and assume that the exact opposite is true:
From Michael Krieger:
The current Trump-Russia hysteria could very well turn out to be the latest and most embarrassing example of this phenomenon. In fact, well known Putin-critic, Masha Gessen, recently warned in an interview with Politico that her biggest fear is a Trump-Putin conflict, not some imagined alliance.
Below I provide the excerpts from this lengthy interview which I believe are relevant to the topic.
Glasser: I want to talk a little bit about where we are right now. And then back up to why it is, in your life, you’ve figured out this expecting the unimaginable. But recently, you know, American politics has been consumed by Russia. Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. And you wrote something that a lot of people were surprised by the other day, although I was not. And you said, “Beware the conspiracy trap.”
And that, in fact, the Russia scandal that now threatens to engulf President Trump’s very new presidency, you wrote, “In effect, could be actually helping President Trump and amount to a sort of a colossal distraction for us.” What did you mean by that?
Gessen: Well, a couple things. One is that, if you look at, you know, what we actually know about the Russia story, which changes every day, but what—at this point, what we actually know suggests that the likelihood that there’s going to be a causal link between the Russian interference in the American election and the outcome of the election. The likelihood that was a causal link, and that that causal link can be shown, is basically vanishingly small, right?
So—and I think that part of the reason—there are basically two reasons that a lot of journalists and a lot of activists have been focusing on Russia is because it serves as a crutch for the imagination. And again, I’m coming back to this topic of imagination, which obsesses me.
So one way in which it serves as a crutch for the imagination is that it allows us to imagine that, maybe, Trump will be so sullied by this Russia scandal, by this connection, even if he can’t prove a cause—causal link, just that the darkness of the scandal will be thick enough of a cloud that he will eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress.
That’s a huge leap. And it also, I think, doesn’t take into account the tools—the rhetorical tools that will have to be used to sully Trump in such a way, right? Which are basically xenophobic and, you know, corrosive to the public sphere. And the other way in which it serves as a crutch for the imagination is it also serves to explain how Trump could have happened to us, right? The Russians did it.
Glasser: That’s exactly right; if it’s an external thing. And you wrote that very, very early on. Actually, before this latest round, that the real threat to Trump would be to misunderstand where this comes from. And if it’s not Americans who voted for him, but somehow, it’s a wily, dark conspiracy theory. That leads you down a whole different set of responses to Trump.
Gessen: Right. Which—
Glasser: I think that’s your point.
Gessen: That is my point. And also that it’s destructive to politics. Politics is what happens out in the open. And there’s lots of politics happening, right? There’s this endless barrage of frightening bills being filed at this point. There are the Cabinet appointments. There’s the, you know, dismantling of the federal government as we have known it for generations.
All of that is going on out in the open. And we only have so much bandwidth. If we’re not talking about what’s going on out in the open, if we’re talking about conspiracy instead, then we are, by doing that, destroying the politics that we should be preserving, right? I mean, how do we emerge out the other end, when Trump ends, and Trump will eventually end. Everything ends, right?
If we’ve engaged in conspiracy theorizing this whole time, instead of engaging in politics—and only by engaging in politics can we actually preserve the political space…
Gessen: I’m worried about Russia. I’m—this is—I mean, we’re already out of the honeymoon phase, and it’s been less than two months. And I think it’s—I mean, the danger of having these two unhinged power-hungry men at their—respective nuclear buttons cannot be overestimated. But—
Glasser: So you would see them as potential enemies as much as potential friends? That this scenario—
Gessen: Oh, absolutely.
Glasser: —we should worry about is Trump versus Putin, not just Trump and Putin uniting?
Gessen: Right. I’m actually worried about a collision with them.
She’s exactly right. I completely agree that the disaster scenario with Putin and Trump is if and when they actually clash. Once that happens, the corporate media and Democrats will pretend they had nothing to do with it, as they always do. As Mark Ames noted on Twitter:
All the worst Iraq war liars still have their fat media jobs—where they now tell us public distrust in Establishment is a Kremlin conspiracy
Moving on, I want to once again turn to Robert Parry of Consortium News to highlight just how ridiculous the whole “Putin bought off Trump aides” conspiracy is. From yesterday’s piece, The Missing Logic of Russia-gate:
Democrats circulated a report showing that retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, had received payments from several Russia-related entities, totaling nearly $68,000.
The largest payment of $45,386 came for a speech and an appearance in Moscow in 2015 at the tenth anniversary dinner for RT, the international Russian TV network, with Flynn netting $33,750 after his speakers’ bureau took its cut. Democrats treated this revelation as important evidence about Russia buying influence in the Trump campaign and White House. But the actual evidence suggests something quite different.
Not only was the sum a relative trifle for a former senior U.S. government official compared to, say, the fees collected by Bill and Hillary Clinton, who often pulled in six to ten times more, especially for speeches to foreign audiences. (Former President Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin, The New York Times reported in 2015,)
Yet, besides Flynn’s relatively modest speaking fee, The Washington Post reported that RT negotiated Flynn’s rate downward.
Deep inside its article on Flynn’s Russia-connected payments, the Post wrote, “RT balked at paying Flynn’s original asking price. ‘Sorry it took us longer to get back to you but the problem is that the speaking fee is a bit too high and exceeds our budget at the moment,’ Alina Mikhaleva, RT’s head of marketing, wrote a Flynn associate about a month before the event.”
So, if you accept the Democrats’ narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin is engaged in an all-out splurge to induce influential Americans to betray their country, how do you explain that his supposed flunkies at RT are quibbling with Flynn over a relatively modest speaking fee?
Of course, you’ll never hear any of this emphasized in the corporate media, they’re too busy pushing for a conflict between the U.S. and Russia. A conflict that once it happens, they will vehemently deny playing any role in propagating.
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