Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.)
The nearly two-year-long series of allegations and investigations now known as “Russiagate” were instigated by top American political, media, and (probably) intelligence elites (mostly Democratic or pro-Democratic, but not only). What they have wrought suggests profoundly disturbing characteristics of people who play a very large role in governing this country. Cohen specifies six such barely concealed truths, which he and Batchelor then discuss.
1. Russiagate promoters evidently have little regard for the current or future institution of the American presidency. At the center of their many allegations is the claim that the current president, Donald Trump, achieved the office in 2016 because of a conspiracy (“collusion”) with the Kremlin; or as a result of some dark secret the Kremlin uses to control him; or due to “Russian interference” in the election; or to all three. Which means, they say outright or imply daily, that he is some kind of Kremlin agent or “puppet” and thus “treasonous.”
Such allegations are unprecedented in American history. They have already deformed Trump’s presidency, but no consideration is given to how they may affect the institution in the future. Unless actual proof is provided in the specific case of Trump—thus far, there is none—they are likely to leave a stain of suspicion (or similar allegations) on future presidents. If the Kremlin is believed to have made Trump president and corrupted him, even if this is not proven, why not future presidents as well?
That is, Russiagate zealots seek to delegitimize Trump’s presidency, but risk leaving a long-term cloud over the institution itself. And not only the presidency. They now clamor that the Kremlin is targeting the 2018 congressional elections, thereby projecting the same dark cloud over Congress, as some embittered losers are likely to blame Putin’s Kremlin.
2. These same Russiagate promoters clearly also have no regard for America’s national security. This is revealed in three ways:
§ By loudly and regularly proclaiming that Russia’s “meddling” in the 2016 US presidential election was “an attack on American democracy” and thus “an act of war,” comparable to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, as recently inventoried by Glenn Greenwald, they are literally practicing the dictionary meaning of “warmongering.” Can this mean anything less than that Washington must respond with “an act of war” against Russia? Tellingly, Russiagaters rarely if ever mention the potentially apocalyptic consequences of war between these two nuclear superpowers.