Bizarre, malicious disinfo everywhere. As Russia steps in publicly to support the Syrian and Iraqi governments with airstrikes against NATO/GCC-funded contras, the cold soup of Cold War era hysteria has been warming up on the stove. As the Italians say – it’s not a soup that reheats well. Narrative scripts stashed away for a decade were brushed off somewhat during the Maidan Putsch in Ukraine. Young Russian-Americans I knew confessed to me that they had never felt such living hostility in the United States before in their lives. Yet, the referendums and Russian-speaking minority of the country were firm in their resolve, and the tropes quieted down as the West turned it attention again towards the Middle East, always the barbaric and hysterical Middle East, with its head-chopping fanatics funded by the United States, NATO and its clients.
But with Russia stepping into Syria and Iraq, the irrational cacophony of ahistorical disinfo has once again ballooned. Lines are being drawn not just on the battlefields of the Middle East, but also in ideological circles worldwide. One one side, we have those grateful for pre-packaged op-eds railing against “Russian Imperialism”, and on the other side, those who understand there is no comparison between Russia, a country where 6.7 million Russians died as a result of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the United States, which has engineered, funded and caused the disintegration of countries worldwide as an important part of a foreign policy dedicated to domination and looting, especially after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
from Against Hayek, Paul Cockshot
These hysterics are to be expected. After all, the antagonism between the United States and Russia has been intense ever since the United States decided to invade on the side of capitalism in 1918. What continues to confound me is the unwillingness of self-professed anarchists and leftists to build a challenge to the US empire. In Syria and Iraq, the lies were immense. One was labelled a conspiracy theorist to say that the CIA was funding the so-called Syrian opposition to the Syrian government, as opposed to the terror being wrecked on the people of Iraq and Sham was homegrown, a product of an inherent violence of the besieged Arab. As the “left” we were suddenly demanded, for the first time in my life anyway, to rally for the violent overthrow of the Syrian and Iraqi governments, vis-a-vis a NATO no fly zone in Syria, arming the “rebels” and in some cases, even invasion. Meanwhile, the United States began dumping thousands of pounds of munitions in Iraq and Syria that hit targets such as “motorcycles”, “trenches” and “bulldozer”. Barack Obama admitted himself that:
The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: ” ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past.
- From his August 2014 interview with Thomas Friedman, NY Times (emphasis mine)
After Russia’s open involvement began (they were assisting the Syrian government before), the curtain was lifted and those who were calling against NATO intervention in Syria were vindicated – the Syrian “civil war” had been funded and supported by a NATO/GCC coalition led by the United States. Lightning-fast, however, the narrative was shifted. Now that Russia was on the scene, the same people who had called for a movement that would beg for war now demanded that anti-imperialists denounce Russian intervention in Syria and start an anti-war movement against Russia.
As most Americans remain, however, uninformed or apathetic about the going-ons of the US empire, if not quietly in support of it, the real target of this onslaught of anti-Russian propaganda, which is documented problematically by Gary Brecher here, is probably those who would raise objection to the fact that the United States has been exposed, has admitted it is responsible for the actions of their contras in the Middle East and North Africa.
There are those who understand history and those who do not. There are those who can look at the world through the lens of class warfare and those who are unable or unwilling to do so. The goal of the media as it interacts with those who would seek to become informed of the US’s rampage across the world is to discombobulate, disorient and misinform. This will necessitate a rewriting or complete ignorance of history.
Charles Davis, an editor at teleSur, writes today on the Cold War:
For developing countries, though — for much of Asia and the Americas, or rather: the world — the friendly competition between the globe’s leading imperialist powers was a festering sore that promoted the forces of reaction wherever its influence was felt (“left” as well as right) and often enough led those who fought for progress and social justice to a mass grave.
This presupposes several untruths: first, that the Cold War was in fact a “friendly competition”, that the Soviet Union was “imperialist” and that the people of the world were not better off in a world where the Soviet Union existed as a check to capitalism’s endless appetite for exploitation, rape and war. At one point, Davis mentions one million Vietnamese died during the US’s imperial onslaught, where more munitions were dropped on a poor developing country than during World War II and where people still die from Agent Orange exposure. Conservative estimates were always around 2 million, with 3 million being reported by the Vietnamese government and the U.N. World Health Organization reporting 3.8 million. These numbers only refer to violent death, not death by chemical weapons such as Agent Orange or other war-related deaths.
But the idea that the Cold War was a “friendly competition” is simply historical revisionism. A child can understand that pointing 9,000 nukes at someone does not indicate a friendly competition of any kind. Actively seeking to undermine a worker’s state through infiltration, sabotage and clandestine operations, as well as simply all-out war, is not how one would describe “friendly competition”. This bizarre, ahistorical view seems to be right out of Guy Richie’s new film which reboots a tired bumbling romantic comedy between CIA, MI6 and KGB agents.
Those who were persecuted for being communists worldwide, including in the United States, would hardly say that the rape and pillage of their communities and their persons was a result of a friendly competition. To most, this is taken for granted as historical fact.
As for the “festering sore” comment, that the Cold War was not a boon for oppressed people, this is yet another lie, as well as an obfuscation. Davis is really referring to communism – is the existence of communism a boon for the world’s oppressed majority? Absolutely – this is a truth without a shadow of a doubt. The world’s oppressed were (for once) able to develop governments and economies not dictated by the interests of the rich, build pan-Africanism and pan-Arabism, the black power and civil rights movement, make remarkable gains in labor and against racism and sexism worldwide. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the so-called “End of History”, these gains were almost immediately rolled back at a terrific speed. People worldwide enjoyed new public infrastructure, safer streets and better jobs during the Cold War. While the United States was relentless in trying to turn back these gains for humanity while engaging in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the bloody coups in South America, Asia and Africa, massive gains were made. Losurdo is quite clear:
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, George H.W. Bush was not puffing himself up when he declared a “New World Order” – one that was exclusive to the American desire to reshape the world to easier drain of life and resources. The first target for the American military was the Republic of Iraq, not incidentally in a constant state of war, bombardment and immiseration since then. Russia, meanwhile, has watched the gains a good proportion of its population once lived, fought and died for be rolled back worldwide.
But there is a red line for Russia, which still retains some degree of military and economic ability after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which still sits on a great percentage of the world’s natural resources, including 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water and what will probably, in the coming decades as the earth’s temperature continues to destabilize, be prime land for farming. As its last allies in the Middle East were destroyed – Libya, Syria, and Iraq, with Iran in constant crosshairs – it has selfish reasons to keep US bases as far as possible from its borders. It has selfish reasons to want to make sure that most of the world’s oil doesn’t come under the control of the United States. Yet, when Patrick Cockburn, who Davis is answering in with his essay on the Cold War, says that there is a possible benefit to the Russians becoming involved quite directly in what has become a messy war between a democratically elected government and dozens of armed gangs, he is not incorrect. This intervention will probably lead to a shortening of the conflict, unless the United States decides to turn Syria into a new Afghanistan and continue to torture the Syrian people.
To thinking people, it’s clear that the same people who would deny US involvement in Syria and Iraq (a proven lie), accuse Russia of not taking action against ISIS (a proven lie), and call for a cruise-missile left movement based on promoting the interests of those who sustained the conflict for so long (the actual goal of this disinfo) would not be reliable arbiters of history. It pains me greatly to even have to correct what should be common knowledge to most people. Yet, it should be done anyway, as this kind of reaction should not be allowed to masquerade as anything left of Reagan. Facts are still important, especially in this environment of disinfo married to imperial war.
Recommended: Domenico Losurdo, History of the Communist Movement: Failure, Betrayal, or Learning Process?