The Problem With The Clinton-Russia Collusion Narrative

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So I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the Republicans have finally found an answer to the dangerous Russiagate narrative which the Democrats have been using to pummel the Trump administration and help the US power establishment manufacture support for potentially world-ending escalations with a nuclear superpower.

The bad news is that their answer has been to create another Russiagate of their own.

I don’t expect this to be one of my more popular essays; the ones where I talk about the bullshit on both sides of the mainstream political debate seldom are, because I can’t rely on the manic energy of partisan politics to help circulate them. That said, the Clinton-Russia collusion narrative being eagerly embraced by Trump supporters everywhere lately presents some very serious problems that I’d like to bring into consciousness a bit, for those of you willing to indulge me a moment.

The problem with the new #ClintonRussia angle is not that the accusations being leveled by Trump supporters at Democrats are less legitimate than those being leveled by Democrats at Trump. The problem is that adding a new Russiagate scandal into the mix risks creating a bipartisan game of chicken which can cause the new cold war escalations to ramp up much faster than they already are.

Memories are amazingly short on the political scene, so people may have forgotten how this whole Russiagate thing got started in the first place. Dems started banging on about Russian hackers to distract from the revelations in last year’s WikiLeaks releases, which became exponentially more frantic following a CIA leak to the Washington Post in early December alleging that Russia had deliberately meddled in the November election with the intention of securing Trump’s victory. Democrats were fully on-board with the establishment Russia narrative from that point on since that nation was now married to the fear of Trump which had been instilled in them by the mainstream media, but it wasn’t until CNN reported in January on the existence of the Steele dossier (which Buzzfeed then published) that the Russia hysteria really kicked into fifth gear.

From that point on, any actions taken against Russian interests had the full-throated support of mainstream Democrats, from Sanders/TYT progressives to stalwart Blue Dogs, which worked out nicely for the unelected power establishment known as the US deep state. Increasing troop presence on the Russian border, aggressive sanctions, NATO expansionism, corporate internet censorship, and even Trump’s missile strike upon the Syrian government in April all enjoyed widespread support from Democrats across the spectrum. And now two nuclear superpowers are well into an ever-escalating new cold war, the consent for which was manufactured by the Russiagate hysteria under the pretense of “resisting” Trump.

After watching this very closely over the last year and writing about it extensively, I find it very concerning to see Trump and his supporters beginning to move in a very similar way:

I’m not denying that the Uranium One scandal and the controversy over the funding of the Steele dossier are legitimate concerns, and I’m certainly not naive enough to think I can convince America not to engage in tit-for-tat partisan bickering, but it’d be great if that could happen without starting World War 3. I am aware that Trump’s base is only trying to engage the Democrats on their Russia hypocrisy and not intentionally helping the deep state manufacture the tensions with Russia it’s been seeking in order to secure geopolitical hegemony… but I do see a very real risk of that happening.

Democrats weren’t pushing an anti-Russia agenda until it became advantageous in their partisan fight against Trump to do so; they mocked Mitt Romney for his hawkishness toward Moscow in 2012, and I don’t think any of them could’ve predicted they’d one day be obsessing day and night over Vladimir Putin. It didn’t take much to get them on board with the deep state’s goal of sabotaging the dominance-threatening Russia-China tandem by aggressively disrupting the weaker and more confrontational of the two nations, though. I see nothing in the GOP that would make them immune to such manipulations themselves. This is more or less the same group that was duped into becoming active cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion and labeling any American who opposed it an unpatriotic traitor. Republicans are just as susceptible to dangerous deep state manipulations as Democrats are, and the seeds have already begun to sprout toward that end.

Can you understand why this is making me nervous? It’s impossible to use Russian collusion as an attack against your opponent without making Russia into a big scary boogieman, and we’re now looking at the possibility of both of America’s huge mainstream factions fighting one another over who hates Russia more and who’s the bigger Putin puppet. Any remaining inertia on aggressive sanctions, NATO expansionism, proxy wars and nuclear brinkmanship may be wiped out if each side becomes eager to prove that they’re toughest on Russia, a game of chicken that can only end in a mushroom cloud.

I know I have a lot of Trump-supporting readers, and I know none of you want this. I’m not going to ask you to stop pointing at the corruption and scandal aspects of Uranium One and Fusion GPS, but I do ask that you turn and scream at the first voice among your ranks who begins escalating that into anti-Russia red scare tactics. It’s one thing to accuse the Clintons of corruption, but to accuse them of treasonous collusion with an enemy state is feeding into something that could wipe us all off the map. Our planet’s two nuclear superpowers should try to get along at all cost. There is no legitimate reason for them not to.

Cold war is not less dangerous than hot war, it’s just an all-or-nothing wager instead of playing chip-by-chip. There are so many small, unpredictable moving pieces involved, any one of which could go wrong in any instant, as they nearly did more than once in the last Cold War. If you somehow make it through all the decades of escalation and brinkmanship, then great, nobody died, but if a single nuke gets discharged in the confusion and chaos due to panic, misunderstanding or miscommunication, everything dies.

A 2014 report published in the journal Earth’s Future found that it would only take the detonation of 100 nuclear warheads to throw 5 teragrams of black soot into the earth’s stratosphere for decades, blocking out the sun and making the photosynthesis of plants impossible, starving every terrestrial organism to death that didn’t die of radiation or climate chaos first. The United States and Russia currently have about 7,000 nuclear warheads apiece that we know of.

In 1983, Soviet Air Defense Forces officer Stanislav Petrov received a notification from the Soviet early warning system that the US had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile attack on the USSR. The standard protocol for this notification was to sound the alarm for an immediate counterattack, but Petrov didn’t think it looked right and kept his cool. It turned out to be a false alarm caused by a technical glitch. In 1962 we came even closer to extinction at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis when, due to a communications breakdown, a Soviet submarine ended up under fire from light explosives by a US naval fleet who did not know that the sub was nuclear-armed. Two of the three officers whose consent was required to deploy the nuke moved to launch it; only a third, Vasili Arkhipov, kept his head in the stressful and chaotic situation and refused.

You owe your life to both these men. If Arkhipov had had a little less rationed water to drink on the hot submarine that day, or if Petrov had gotten into a fight with his wife that morning, if any of the many, many variables that fed into those situations had been a tiny bit different, you and I and everything we love might not be here today.

This is not a game. This is more important than getting Hillary locked up or getting Trump reelected in 2020. Trump supporters are opening Pandora’s box with this new #ClintonRussia narrative. Please watch what you’re doing very carefully and shut it down if things look like they’re headed down the dark path I’m warning of. If a single nuke gets deployed, it’s over. You can’t take it back. Please act responsibly.

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