Monday, December 12, 2016

Russia and Treason

The rhetorical battle over whether or not Russia overly influenced or even "stole" the election for Donald Trump is heating up.  Even leading Republicans seem to be concerned that Russia may have tampered unduly with our election.

Plenty of Clinton supporters have been quick to blame Russia's tampering for the loss.  They've also blamed millennials, third-party voters, misogyny and Bernie Sanders, more or less everyone but themselves.

There's been a corresponding reaction to these anti-Russian accusations, which, in my opinion, constitute an over-correction: that any criticism of Russia's tampering in the election is itself 100% off-base, purely a red herring, that such thinking is strictly Russophobic, etc.  In fact there's been a strange impulse amongst the Left over the past few years to accuse any critic of Russia of being a pawn of, perhaps, Ukrainian neo-nazis - claims that are not without truth but perhaps miss the point.

(To the point above: I wish I had better written documentation of this phenomenon.  I'm sure someone smart has written an article on this subject, no?  Right now, I'm basing this off my Facebook feed, so you're just going to have to trust me on this one I'm afraid.  If you've got a great piece of writing addressing this subject that I should read, please sock it to me.)

There's been a lot of heated talk about Trump and Hitler.  We'll see how the Trump administration goes; Hitler talk is often quite overblown and let's hope that turns out to be the case under President Trump, eh?

Russia under Putin, however really has lifted a few pages from Hitler's playbook, specifically with regard to the tactic of inciting trouble in ethnic enclaves as a prelude to annexing them.

There's really no reason one has to rush to Russia's defense simply because one thinks that Russian tampering was a less instrumental reason for Clinton's loss than the flawed candidate herself and her over-hyped ground game.  Russia is ruled by an intense homophobe who relies on assassination as a instrument of politics and jails musicians.  Why, Vladimir Putin is such a strong leader than he's afraid of fucking musicians!

I love Russian literature and music, but I wonder what in God's name most liberals find in modern Russia that makes it worth defending?  Liberals have not had a problem taking issue with Saudi Arabia in the past, yet Saudi Arabia provides Americans with a steady supply of cheap oil.  That oil shows up in our cars, our computers, our tennis shoes and so forth.  By contrast: what the fuck does Russia do for us?  Anything?  It's unclear that Russia provides the United States of America with anything other than chagrin.

It appears that America under Trump is in fact going to pivot to Russia - that the pro-Putin talk of Trump and his allies runs deeper than mere rhetoric.  The decision to name Rex Tillerson Secretary of State is strongly indicative of such a pivot.  Appointing the Chairman of ExxonMobil as Sec'y of State isn't an especially crazy move.  In the private sector, you don't get much more well-versed in international affairs than you do the CEO of ExxonMobil.  Still, what he brings to the table mostly appears to be a close relationship with Russia.  I hope Tillerson works out in general, but closer relations with Russia appears to be the main rationale behind nominating him in the first place.

Given that the world is already awash in cheap oil, and that America continues to be on good terms with Saudi Arabia - and, under the Trump administration, is likely to take a harder line against Saudi Arabia's traditional enemy, Iran - what do we need Russia for?  We certainly don't need Russian oil.  From the perspective of oil companies, there is likely too much oil floating around.

Russia's population is in absolute decline.  Think about that!  A nation that is getting smaller population-wise.  That's not easy to find on this here planet Earth.  Russia's economy, roughly the size of Spain's, is a goddamn disaster.  Look at this!

Russians aren’t nearly as productive as they could be. For each hour worked, the average Russian worker contributes $25.90 to Russia’s GDP. The average Greek worker adds $36.20 per hour of work. And Greece is not a country you want to trail in productivity. The average for U.S. workers? $67.40.

In addition, endemic corruption costs the Russian economy between $300 and $500 billion each year, or roughly the cost of three Greek bailout packages combined. This year, Freedom House gave the country a 6.75 on its corruption scale; 7 is “most corrupt.”

It’s no surprise then that well-educated Russians are leaving their country in droves. Between 2012 and 2013, more than 300,000 people left Russia in search of greener economic pastures, and experts believe that number has only risen since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last year.

(emphases added mine)

Does this sound like a country the United States of America should be in a rush to team up with, or that we should throw out like an old couch?

The nationalist in me is offended.  Of all the empires in the world to be building bridges with, Russia?  Meanwhile, we're getting ready to surrender a shitload of political capital vis-a-vis the actual other superpower in the world, China.  China, the enemy, and Russia, the friend!  Wow.  I really hope that works out for all involved.

I want to close with a Facebook quote from my friend Andrew Sydor, who gave me the OK to quote him.  IMPORTANT CAVEAT:  he did not read my blog in advance! I have no idea if he'd endorse anything I've written here other than his own quote below.  Here it is.  I think it hits the nail square on the head:

Nixon worked with Hanoi to get himself elected. It was treason, but we gave it a pass. Reagan worked with Iran to get elected. It was treason, but we gave it a pass. Are we going to give a Trump a pass too?

Look, you can still hate on Hillary all you want. She was an awful candidate, she blew this election. She sucks. Amen.

But don't give Trump a pass on treason. When we did that with Nixon and Reagan, they fucked up this country in ways we're still suffering from. Don't give Trump a pass.

No comments:

Post a Comment