Hatred of President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) might not be the real motivation for the America Left’s enthusiastic embrace of the ridiculous Russia Gate conspiracy theory.* Instead, hatred of the Russian people and a desire to punish them might be the real rationale behind the Left’s support of the “New Cold War.”
A wide variety of lefties; ranging from sitcom actor turned activist and director Rob “the Meathead” Reiner to self-proclaimed social democrat and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), are promoting the idea that Russia is America’s greatest enemy. Some observers like Caitlin Johnstone think that they are promoting a “new cold war” between the United States and the Russian Federation.
The Left’s Russia bashing goes far beyond disgust with Trump, Sanders used a response to Trump’s 2017 State of the Union speech to promote Russia Gate. Reiner produced a video that promotes the ludicrous notion that America is at war with Russia; he even recruited one of the biggest movie stars around – Morgan Freeman – to host it.
Does the American Left want to Punish Russia for Rejecting Communism?
These efforts reveal a long-standing hatred of Russia; and all things Russian, among American intellectuals that obviously predates Trump’s political career. The agenda here is clear to turn the American people against Russia.
Disturbingly, the real motivation for these efforts might be to punish the Russian people for rejecting Communism and overturning the Soviet Union. Many of those now promoting Russia Gate and the “new cold war” were among America’s biggest Russia lovers during the real Cold War.
Back then, American leftists enthusiastically embraced the Communist Party’s version of Russian culture, while ignoring the persecution of Russian intellectuals like Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn by the KGB. Such leftists swallowed almost every lie that came out of the Kremlin’s propaganda mills between 1917 and 1991 and often went out of their way to promote those fantasies as truth.
They were the same people whose parents refused to acknowledge the existence of the Gulag and hailed Joseph Stalin as a genius. Many of them portrayed Mikhail Gorbachev as a genius, and savior of the human race. At the same time, they mocked and attacked Ronald Reagan as a warmonger for criticizing the Soviet Union and opposing Communism.
Those same leftists were noticeably silent in 1991 when the Communist Party was overthrown and the Soviet tyranny dismantled. They provided only lip service to Boris Yeltsin’s bungling efforts to build and Russian democracy, and have made no efforts to help the Russian democrats opposing Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Why the American Left Hates Russia
Yet some of those same leftists are now among the most vocal promoters of Russia Gate and “the new Cold War.”
An obvious conclusion here is that these people hate Russia and want to punish it. There are several reasons for this that the Lefties would never acknowledge in public, those rationales include:
- The Soviet Union made American leftists look very foolish and destroyed much of their credibility. The leftists spent 75 years promoting the imbecilic notion that the Communist People somehow represented the Russia people. When the real Russian people rose up and exposed the Communists as nothing but a cadre of cynical technocrats and bureaucrats; who had no popular support, American leftists looked very stupid and rightly so.
- American leftists were doubly embarrassed because the events of 1991 proved their homegrown foes like Ronald Reagan right.
- Many American leftists still believe in Communism and Marxism. Some of them undoubtedly view the Russian people; and ex-Communists like Putin, as apostates and traitors that must be punished for their heresy. Something to remember here is that Communism is a religion, like all religions it is inherently irrational and emotional. Emotion-motivated true believers like American Communists never let facts get in the way of their hatred.
- The collapse of the USSR discredited Marxism, Communism, Leninism, and Socialism. Discrediting the revolution that overturned the Soviet Union is one way for Marxists, Socialists, Communists, and Leninists to breathe new life into their “faith.”
- The best way to discredit the revolution of 1991 is to spread the myth that the Russian people are a pack of violent, ignorant, uncouth, uncultured, and greedy barbarians led by ruthless oligarchs.
- American leftists have been spreading such nonsense in one form or another since 1991. Earlier examples of such smear campaigns; included hysteria about “Russian-organized crime,” tales of greedy Russian oligarchs and arms dealers, the effort to portray all Russian women as whores and gold diggers, the (partially-correct) portrayal of Boris Yeltsin as a drunken buffoon, news stories about human rights violations in Chechnya, news stories about corruption in the New Russia, and news stories about the rise of Russian fascism.
Russia Gate and the new Cold War are simply the latest examples of a long-standing hatred of Russia by the American Left and its allies in the media. It is time to acknowledge the real sources of this bigotry and expose them.
We must also resist the temptation to buy into conspiracy theories about a secret cabal of Marxist intellectuals promoting war with Russia. Instead, we must acknowledge the sorry truth of a cadre of aging and discredited zealots using news events to popularize their prejudices.
There are many legitimate reasons to oppose and criticize Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin. Ideologically-motivated bigotry; and a desire to undue historical events a misguided minority finds unsettling, should not be among them.
*Exposes of the shoddy truth about Russia Gate abound. For right-wing criticism of the hypothesis see the excellent commentaries at The American Conservative. Excellent leftist critiques of Russia Gate can be found on Caitlin Johnstone’s Medium feed.
The Week’s Ryan Cooper makes several good points about the replacement of political discourse with hucksterism on both sides of the aisle in America. Russia Gate; like the crooked Hillary nonsense on the right, is largely a scam designed to separate gullible supporters from their money not an issue.
Note: I’m resisting writing about Russia Gate because I think it is a waste of time that should be ignored. Like most conspiracy theories, Russia Gate is also incredibly dull – I have no desire to be perennially bored by such nonsense.