The ‘Russian meddling’ conspiracy theory was hatched by Democrats in 2016 as a way to defeat Donald Trump. Now the Trump administration is invoking it to justify massive military spending, spying, coups and censorship.
Secretary of State – and former CIA director – Mike Pompeo is the latest Trump administration official to reaffirm what has become an article of faith in the Swamp of Washington, DC.
“Of course the Russians interfered” in the 2016 election, Pompeo told the audience at an event on Monday, hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) )and The Hill.
“It goes without saying they were a threat to our elections in 1974, they interfered in our elections in the ’80s,” he added. “The fact that this town seemed shocked by the fact the Russians don’t care for us — in that case the Soviet Union — I find stunning.”
We should expect in 2050 the Russians will still be at it still.
He went on to argue that Russia, but also China, Iran and non-state actors are “trying to undermine the very sense of Western democracy” all over the world, which presumably requires some kind of global American military and diplomatic response – not that Pompeo and some of his ambassadors can tell the difference.
Having declared his faith in the dogma of “Russian meddling,” in the very next breath Pompeo denounced the “dossiers”filled with unconfirmed information. This was clearly a reference to the so-called “Steele dossier,” a dodgy document compiled by a British spy working for a firm paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the DNC, and used as a basis for much of ‘Russiagate.’
So it’s not as if Pompeo is clueless; he knows perfectly well what’s behind the conspiracy that tried – and failed – to prevent Trump from sitting in the White House. He’s just acting in the traditional Swamp manner of never letting a crisis go to waste, using Russia – and Iran – as a pretext for US-backed regime change in Venezuela, for instance.
FBI chief Christopher Wray sang from the same hymnal at another CFR event on Friday, declaring that Russia uses “social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up.”
Russian intelligence agencies seek to “pit us against each other, sow divisiveness, discord, undermine Americans’ faith in democracy,” Wray added.
This is classical scapegoating, projecting the blame for a process that observably takes place every day away from US mainstream media and partisan activists and onto an external enemy, in this case “Russian spies.”
Can’t have Americans asking questions about what exactly is going on at the FBI, DOJ, CIA and others involved in “surveillance” of Trump’s campaign – purely for the protection of America, of course, nothing to see here, move along…
A careful observer of ‘Russiagate’ accusations might notice that the original claim – that Russians hacked Democrat party computers and John Podesta’s emails – has morphed into vague-but-still-sinister accusations of “meddling with our democracy” and “sowing discord.” Much like Wray and Pompeo, Mueller’s report asserted Russian hacking, but never proved it: to the sorrow of all prosecutors everywhere, indictments don’t actually count as evidence.
Ironically, there was a time when Russia actually meddled in US affairs – and no one seemed to mind. Back in September 1863, with the Civil War still raging, a dozen Imperial Russian Navy ships paid a visit to New York and San Francisco. They stuck around for seven months, their officers attending parades, parties and balls, before sailing back home. No reason was given for the visit, leaving everyone free to read into it what they wished.
“God bless the Russians,” declared Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, calling the fleet visit “something significant.”
The practical effect of the visit, even skeptical US historians admit, was that Britain and France did not dare side with the Confederacy, enabling Abraham Lincoln’s administration to fight the war till victory. Ah, but that was then, and this is now.