On the Forces Behind Neo-McCarthyism

One of the most memorable moments from the 2012 election was when President Obama dismissed Mitt Romney’s claim that Russia was the most dangerous threat to America. “The 1980s are calling, and they want their foreign policy back,” he famously quipped during one of the debates.

Obama has been repeatedly roasted for that in recent weeks, given the fact that four years later, with the Democrats losing ground in Congress, and the White House, and possibly more losses ahead, the Russians are suddenly the scourge of the earth. They have been blamed for costing Hillary Clinton the election, by alleging that it was Russian hackers who provided Wikileaks with the information it would then leak in driblets during the last few months of the campaign.

The Russians have also been blamed by those on the left for the new epidemic of ‘fake news,’ which is more aptly described as ‘news and opinion that disagrees with the leftist narrative.’

These charges represent the latest in the offensive against Russia and President Vladamir Putin by the left. Combined with the hatred of Russia from some on the right, and you get a sort of ‘neo-McCarthyism’ in which Russia is the bad guy and thus anyone with the slightest of positive things to say about Russia is possible traitor. Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian Studies at NYU and Princeton, and one of the only mainstream voices preaching common sense, discussed some of this with John Batchelor in a recent podcast. The following is how his description of how institutionalized this ideological stance now is:

Cohen also points out that today’s neo-McCarthyism, unlike its predecessor, is coming mainly from self-professed liberals and their leading media outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and MSNBC, which thereby betray a fundamental democratic principle—protecting, even encouraging, free speech in the form of minority opinions. Democratic Senator Harry Reid, for example, following in McCarthy’s footsteps, insisted that the FBI investigate two of Trump’s American supporters for their alleged “Kremlin ties.” Cohen adds that this is very much an elite project and apparently did Clinton no electoral good. He thinks that a strong editorial in an elite, opinion-shaping newspaper such as the Times, Post, or Wall Street Journal might end the new McCarthyism, but they remain silent, even complicit, while largely banning dissenting opinions about the origins and nature of the new Cold War and featuring only those who blame only “Putin’s Russia.”

For those on the left, the opposition to Putin/Russia is mostly based in the culture war. Consider this quote from Putin, given in a 2013 keynote address:

We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.

The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.

This is the mindset with which Putin governs Russia. It is an increasingly Christian nation, particularly in comparison to the atheism of communist USSR (which was adored by the left). The Russian Orthodox Church plays a large role in society, and in government, although Russia is officially a secular nation.

Putin is also staunchly anti-abortion, and under his Presidency pro-life forces have risen to prominence. There call to ban abortion has grown louder and louder. Beyond this, there has been a bit of a Putin baby boom, with Russia having a rising fertility rate as opposed to the declining rates seen in much of the West. This runs counter to leftists promotion of postponement of childbearing for women and mindless hedonism, the result of which are birth rates which are now below the rate of replacement in most of the West.

Putin also dislikes the normalization of homosexuality. If you want to organize a Pride Parade in Moscow, you’ll find very little support among the population. Much was made of legislation banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ and huge penalties for exposing children to such propaganda. Indeed, this was behind the denigration of the Sochi Olympic Games by the old media.

In short, not only does Putin oppose the leftist model of culture, he calls such a trend a direct path to degradation. Just as Putin recognizes and fears the spread of this model, the left fears and hates the likes of Putin, because the increase of his, and Russia’s global standing means an increase in the standing of traditional views.

For those on the right, the beef with Russia stems more from Russia being in the way when it comes to Neoconservatives and their Perpetual War Machine, in the advancement of globalism. With respect to Putin, one of the earlier shots across the bow came at the 2007 Munich Security Conference (video below). Putin addressed several world leaders, including warhawk Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, telling them in no uncertain terms that what he saw as an attempt by the United States to create a ‘unipolar world’ in which it was the leader in all aspects of culture, economics and security was creating a far more unstable world.

To the likes of McCain and Lieberman, Putin’s comments might as well have been a declaration of war. You could see the unease they felt as Putin spoke. Fast forward to today, and you can see the continuation of the clash of viewpoints in the Syrian debacle. The United States, continuing its aim to remove all secular dictators from the Middle East set its sights on Syria at the beginning of the decade. The Russians, having seen the mess that was made in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Egypt, decided they didn’t want the same to happen in Syria, an ally and geographically closer than the rest.

This was the landscape which has led to the Syrian civil war, a proxy war with the opposing sides backed by the Russians and Americans. The neocon cohort, led by McCain has been pounding the table for the establishment of a no fly zone over Syria, an action which top generals repeatedly have said would be tantamount to war with Russia. According to the neocons, humanitarian violations were, and continue to be the justification for that increased war effort.

On US television, Putin is regularly referred to as a murderous thug and painted as one of the ultimate villains of World History, up there with the likes of Hitler or Stalin. As Cohen pointed out in his interview, the anti-Russian climate in America is buoyed by the idea that Putin is some sort of war criminal, such that military opposition is justified. Furthermore, to speak positively of Putin in any manner is an outrage.

With both the left and neocon right standing in opposition to Putin/Russia, much of the current political discourse becomes clearer. The old media went to great lengths in blasting Trump during the election for being ‘cozy,’ or ‘friendly’ with Russia, and for his stated aim to get along with the Russians (the horror!). Cohen, now speaking to Democracy Now, articulates this point:

We’re in the most dangerous confrontation with Russia since the Cuban missile crisis. It needs to be discussed. And at the moment, it can’t be discussed because of these charges that everybody is a client of Putin who disagrees with the mainstream opinion. And it’s coming from the Senate. It’s coming from The New York Times. It’s coming from—and I wish we had a second to say what the motives are. But one motive is to keep Trump from going to the White House. Another is to delegitimize him before he gets there. But the main motive—and you can hear it clearly—is Trump has said he wants cooperation with Russia, and the war party here that’s against that is determined to stop it. And the way you do it is level against Putin the kinds of accusations that Mr. Roth uncritically levels, so the rest of us will say we can’t have any cooperations with Putin because he’s a war criminal.

On one hand, you have the neocon warmongers, and on the other the social justice left. And both are singing the same anti-Russian tune. Hillary Clinton was the physical embodiment of this, given she ran her campaign with a severe focus on those leftist issues, while at the same time embracing the neocons on the Russian question. She openly supported the no fly zone, and thus war with Russia.

The American people, in electing Trump, voted against all of that, and Putin understands that. Speaking yesterday, in his end of year press conference, he noted the existence of a substantial part of the electorate which shares sympathies with his line of thinking:

It seems to me there is a gap between the elite’s vision of what is good and bad and that of what in earlier times we would have called the broad popular masses. I do not take support for the Russian President among a large part of Republican voters as support for me personally, but rather see it in this case as an indication that a substantial part of the American people share similar views with us on the world’s organisation, what we ought to be doing, and the common threats and challenges we are facing. It is good that there are people who sympathise with our views on traditional values because this forms a good foundation on which to build relations between two such powerful countries as Russia and the United States, build them on the basis of our peoples’ mutual sympathy.

This is a rather powerful comment. It is a simultaneous dig at both the neocon right (similar views on the world’s organization), and the cultural Marxist left (traditional values being the foundation for positive Russian-American relations).

That both Putin and Trump, two of the most powerful men in the world, are standing on the same side of the issue (that is both men represent nationalism and traditional values over globalism and cultural decay) is potentially an important development in world history. It represents a roadblock against the largely destructive movements of the last 50 years, one which for the first time in my lifetime poses a formidable riposte to those entrenched factions. How it all plays out remains to be seen, but what is certain is that 2017 and beyond will see a lot of history-changing conflict.

De-Legitimizing 45

Ever since the election, leftists in the old media have been constantly attempting to de-legitimize Donald Trump’s victory:

  • The knee jerk response was to create the narrative that ‘Racism Won,’ best exemplified by Van Jones’ infamous ‘whitelash’ comment on election night. This was followed by further highlighting the alt-right, and Richard Spencer’s antics at his NPI conference a few weeks later.
  • The idea that ‘fake news’ spread on social media cost Clinton the election.
  • The recounts, based on spurious findings by computer scientists that the election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (the states which won Trump the election, which coincidentally have enough electoral college votes to award Clinton the presidency had they been flipped)
  • The promotion of faithless electors via the biggest megaphone in the old media
  • The ‘confirmation’ that the Russian government influenced the 2016 election with a view to helping Trump win

These narratives have all been splashed across the media nonstop in the month since the election with the express purpose of de-legitimizing the result. The leftist old media did everything it could in the run up to the election to stop Trump, and those efforts failed. Having lost, it has retaliated by attempting to brainwash the public into thinking that Trump’s presidency is somehow not legitimate.

Given that many on the left, particularly the hardcore Social Justice set were so blindsided by the result, it is easy to understand why this line of response by the old media could be viable. But to the rest of us, it looks like sour grapes. There would be none of this if Clinton had won.

Trump is about to pick Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State, according to most rumors. This has set the old media alight, given Tillerson’s friendly stance with Vladamir Putin. Of course there was none of this outrage when Clinton was still a presidential candidate, despite having dealt very favorably with the Russians as Secretary of State herself.

Indeed, the old media would have the public believe that the Russians are America’s public enemy number one, a position they laughed at Mitt Romney for having four years ago. They are siding with neocon warmongers in making saber-rattling display towards a nuclear power, simply because that position is the one on the other side of Trump’s.

The old media is playing a dangerous game, and to implicitly advocate for nuclear war over a disdain for the politics of its opposition suggests how bankrupt its views really are.

About The Cercle Rouge

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: “When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.”

So says the epigraph of the film Le Cercle Rouge. To be sure, it never happened, and it isn’t a real quote; director Jean-Pierre Melville made it up. However it accurately sets the table for the film and in some ways describes life in general.

On its surface, Le Cercle Rouge is a standard heist movie. On deeper inspection it is an examination of fate, and how one’s actions can place one on a vector to an inevitable destination. The three thieves cross paths in a protracted manner. The movie starts with two of them gaining new found freedom – Corey via the ending of his prison sentence, and Vogel, a criminal, escaping from a police inspector while in the process of being transferred.

Vogel’s escape leads him to climb into the back of a parked car at a diner – which happens to be the car belonging to Corey. The two then form a partnership which is strengthened after Vogel saves Corey’s life. Corey continues to help the fugitive flee to Paris, where he informs Vogel of the opportunity to rob a jewelry store that he was given while in prison. Vogel says he knows someone who can help, and the third accomplice is introduced.

Meanwhile, the police inspector, Mattei, is working on finding Vogel. His boss is a stern man, who believes that all men have crime within them, and it is a matter of each person constantly keeping it at bay. Mattei believes that men are born innocent, and crime enters them from outside as time goes on.

Loyalty, revenge, self-discipline, honor, consummate professionalism, amongst other things are themes and traits which the main characters all show. They all have different motivations, and have all entered into this drama from different paths, but they are all currently within it, within the red circle. What they do next then sets in motion another series of events, events which will lead to more men inevitably meeting in more red circles.

To me, ‘The Red Circle’ is simply ‘the predicament,’ whatever it may be. It may be as menial as an individual getting an oil change. It may be as grandiose as international military conflicts. The bottom line is that, while we can control our own actions, they do not happen in a vacuum. The latticework made from individual decisions combine to create situations, which in turn necessitate further individual decision making. There is a certain inevitability to all of this.

With the forthcoming writings, I seek to discuss the various ‘red circles’ that fill our existence. The subject matter is likely to be diverse, given I have interests in many areas. Whether that arena is financial markets, sport, entertainment, politics, culture or something else, the main breadth of my writing will be about where we are, how we got there, and where we’ll go if we keep on the same path. To paraphrase the economist Henry Hazlitt, the mark of a good economist is the ability to look at not the immediate consequence of an act or policy, but to look at the longer effects of the act on all groups.

I believe that the same philosophy is true outside the realm of economics, and that mindset will be apparent in my work, where it warrants.