The American leadership class has achieved one of the great goals of the Russian Communist Party. They are remaking America along Soviet lines.
To clarify, our leaders are not building gulags, organizing secret police forces, or hanging pictures of Lenin on the wall. Instead, America’s leadership is adopting many of the worst practices of the Soviet elite.
For example, one of our best journalists Matt Taibbi observes frightening similarities between Soviet-Era Russian newspapers and recent American media stories. In the Substack article, Sovietization of the American Press Taibbi documents a “transformation from phony “objectivity” to open one-party orthodoxy” in the American media.
The Sovietization of the American Media
In particular, laudatory headlines about President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) remind Taibbi of 20th Russian headlines about Soviet leaders. Recent US headlines about Biden include such frightening drivel as “Biden’s historic victory for America” and “Champion of the middle class comes to the aid of the poor.”
Taibbi notes the similarity between that garbage and the classic Pravda bullshit: “A Mighty Demonstration of the Union of the Party and the People.” The Pravda headline was about the fake elections the Russian Communist Party held for its phony legislative body, the Supreme Soviet.
Similarly, Soviet newspapers always described party leaders as: “full-hearted,” “wise,” “mighty,” and “courageous,” Taibbi notes. How is that propaganda any different from “Champion of the Middle Class?”
A more bothersome trend Taibbi notes is the failure of America’s humorists to mock such a ridiculous figure as Joe Biden. Biden is a doddering old man who sometimes shows symptoms of dementia.
Yet, the same people who savagely mocked everything ex-President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) ignored Biden’s weaknesses. Notably, recent episodes of South Park and Saturday Night Live; two outlets that were merciless in their Trump parodies, ignore Biden’s existence.
Saturday Night Live is the outlet that drove at least one president, the clumsy Gerald R. Ford (R-Michigan) out of office with its parody. Yet it cannot attack such an obvious target as Biden.
I think the American media’s behavior towards Biden is worse than the Soviet media’s. The KGB could drag remember Soviet journalists and comics off to the Gulag if they criticized their leaders. Today’s American journalists and humorists face only criticism if they mock or question Biden’s competence.
Thus, the American media, like the Soviet media, has become a cheering section for the empire’s leaders. The Soviet propaganda machine hastened the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) by hiding the reality of the Communist system’s failures from citizens, the nation’s leaders, and outsiders.
Joe Biden’s Soviet PR Campaign
A particularly Soviet event was US Vice President Kamala Harris’s (D-California) 16 March 2021 visit to Denver. Harris was in town to promote the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief scheme in the “Help is Here” tour.
No reporters were allowed into Harris’s “event” and the Vice President spoke to no local media outlets. In a throwback to Soviet days, no journalists could attend Harris’s “question-and-answer session” with “small business people.” The only publicity was one camera in the room to relay the leader’s comments to the people.
Instead of answering reporters’ questions, Harris took a question from a little girl in a staged event. The question was about plastic pollution in the oceans, not the relief package. Since Denver is thousands of miles from the nearest ocean, all the question did was make Harris look good.
Harris’s tour reminds me of the antics of Soviet leaders such as Yuri Andropov, who ignored Western journalists while talking to American children. Andropov, the former KGB chief turned Kremlin boss; who oversaw atrocities in Afghanistan, received enormous free publicity by inviting a young American girl Samantha Smith to Russia for a visit.
Andropov talked to Smith for the same reason Harris took the little girl’s question. Listening to the cute child offered publicity without the need to listen to reporters and their questions.
Andropov did not have to explain the slaughter in Afghanistan, or the Red Army’s inability to defeat Afghan guerrillas, when he hosted Smith’s visit. Harris does not have to explain President Joe Biden’s (D-Delaware) failure to implement a $15 minimum, the ongoing American wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and the $2,000 stimulus payment that became $1,400 when she talks to the girl.
Sadly, the world’s press fell for Andropov’s scam and glorified a Stalinist thug as a friendly grandfather. The Soviet Union collapsed just eight years after Smith’s visit. I have to wonder if Harris’s adoption of Soviet propaganda tactics portends a similar collapse.
Disturbingly, I only learned of Harris’s totalitarian behavior because Kyle Clark, an anchorman at Denver’s Channel 9 KUSA pointed it out on his Next with Nine Kyle Clark broadcast. So yes, America has some real journalists left.
Soviet thinking in America
In the Soviet Union, loyalty to the party and its leaders was the only litmus test for officials. Frighteningly, similar thinking now abounds in America.
For example, this recent Washington Post headline: “New York’s vaccine czar called county officials to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo amid sexual harassment investigation.” Cuomo is New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-New York City).
Critics accuse Cuomo of implementing policies that led to thousands of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and covering it up. To explain, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to take patients with coronavirus, an action that infected hundreds of people.
There were other places to put the coronavirus patients, including a US Navy hospital ship and temporary hospitals built at taxpayer expense. However, nursing home operators could not make money if patients were in those places. Unfortunately, nursing home owners are major donors to Cuomo’s campaigns, so the governor helped them by sending the patients and coronvivus back.
Evidence of the deaths Cuomo’s actions caused became apparent immediately. Predictably, Cuomo’s aides tried to cover it up. For instance, top Cuomo Aide Linda Lacewell removed true data from official reports about the deaths, Insider alleges.
Insider describes Lacewell, the head of New York State’s Department of Financial service, as “a former professor of ethics in government” at New York University’s School of Law. Hence, ethics in government in modern America comprises lies, character assassination, threats, propaganda, and cover-ups, as in the Soviet Union.
The Cuomo case is disgusting because they gave the governor a special International Emmy Award for “Masterful COVID-19 briefings”, NPR reports. However, The New York Times alleges Cuomo’s briefings were as fake as any Pravda article. In particular, The NYT claims Lacewell and other “Cuomo Aides Rewrote Nursing Home Report to Hide Higher Death Toll.”
The Cuomo case shows one of America’s most populous states, suffers from a corrupt Soviet-style leadership that manipulates the media and values loyalty over competence. Worst of all, the media was lauding Cuomo as a brilliant and compassionate leader as the governor caused thousands of needless deaths. They even gave the governor a prestigious award in November, though some media had widely reported the charges of nursing home deaths for months.
Authorities estimate over 15,362 New York State nursing residents died during the pandemic. Yet the media kept glorifying Cuomo until evidence of his lies surfaced in December 2020.
The American party Line
Finally, Cuomo’s behavior resembles that of another prominent American leader, former President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida). Trump has blatantly lied about election fraud for months while trying to throw anybody who doubts his lies out of the Republican Party.
Trump is now behaving like a Soviet-era Communist Party boss. Worse Republican Party leaders are imitating Soviet apparatchiks by glorifying the leaders who torment them.
Trump’s lawyers sent the Republican National Committee (RNC) a letter demanding that organization stop using name and likeness for fundraising. The Washington Post reports the RNC responded with an email asking“President Trump’s most loyal SUPPORTERS” to virtually sign “the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.”
Thus media and political operatives in both parties are making loyalty to leaders and adulation of leaders the primary activities in politics. Frighteningly, I think the media was trying to build a Trump-style personality cult around Cuomo.
As in the Soviet Communist Party, such cults exist not to glorify the leader but as a gauge of loyalty to the leader. To elaborate, party hacks brand anybody who refuses to worship the leader as disloyal and punish that person.
Notably, Cuomo called New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) and threatened to destroy him, CNN reports. Kim’s crime? The Assemblyman went against the party line by attacking Cuomo’s handling of nursing home patients.
The New York State Nursing Home Crisis is reminiscent of the behavior of Soviet leaders. The leaders’ corrupt and incompetent behavior creates a crisis. Instead of trying to fix the problems, the leaders devote all their time and energy to hiding their failures and punishing critics.
Similarly to the Soviet leaders, Cuomo ignored the crisis, lied about it, and viewed criticism of him as a greater problem than the deaths of elderly nursing home residents.
One cause of Soviet collapse was the Communist Party’s obsession with technological prestige at the expense of ordinary people.
For example, in the early 1960s the Soviets launched the first man into space at the same time they were buying grain from the United States to feed the Russian people. The Kremlin was importing grain because Soviet agriculture never worked. Yet they did not fix Soviet agriculture, instead the Soviets focused on space.
Now consider these excerpts from a 13 March 2021 Washington Post article:
“The Perseverance rover, fresh off its flawless landing, was on a mission, scouring the surface of Mars for evidence of ancient life, relaying crystal-clear images of an alien world, proving that when it comes to space exploration, no one does it better than the United States.”
“And 139 million miles away, back on Earth, 38-year-old Chris Prescott was still washing dishes, bathing and cooking with bottled water.”
“It had been two weeks since an Arctic blast swooped into Texas, knocked out the power grid and busted Prescott’s pipes just as Perseverance was touching down. For many in his impoverished Houston neighborhood — only a short drive from the Johnson Space Center — the water coming out of their taps was as dark and dingy as the Martian landscape.”
The Soviets could not grow grain, but they could launch rockets and cosmonauts into orbit and land probes on the Moon and Mars. Now The Washington Post notes:
“America can put a rover on Mars, but it can’t keep the lights on and water running in the city that birthed the modern space program.”
America’s Soviet Style Military
In another similarity to Soviet Union, the United States devotes a disproportionate amount of its’ resources to the military.
For example, Statista estimates the United States spent $732 billion on its military in 2019. In comparison, America’s greatest rival China spent $261 billion on its military in 2019. The third-largest military power, India spent $71.1 billion.
Hence, the United States has adopted the Soviet practice of maintaining a military that far exceeds its defense needs for no logical reason. A combination of fear and misplaced national pride drove Soviet military expenditures.
Greed and national pride drive modern American “defense” spending. One difference between the USSR and the USA is that there is a large class of companies and stockholders that profit from American defense spending.
America’s Soviet Empire
Finally, the Soviets like today’s American imperialists refused to abandon any corner of their empire, no matter how wasteful it was.
Massive Soviet military forces remained in Eastern Europe to preserve unpopular Communist puppet regimes until 1989. Ironically, those regimes were probably a greater threat to Russian national security than NATO. Remember, it was the failure of the Warsaw Pact states that led to the wave of revolutions that brought down the Soviet Union itself in 1991.
Similarly, the Soviets maintained a military presence in Cuba and shored up Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, even though it contributed nothing to Russia’s defense. Indeed, supporting Castro and other third-world puppets drained resources from Russia. Russian troops remained in Cuba for decades, even though the threat they posed to the United States was negligible.
Today’s American military deployments are more ridiculous than the Soviet entanglements. For example, the US maintains around 45,000 military and support personnel in Germany; 32 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, USA Today estimates.
There are another 60,000 American military and support personnel in Japan and over 6,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines scattered across Africa, USA Today calculated. The only purpose of many of those troops is to “show the flag,” an eerie similarity to the Soviet presence in Cuba.
Finally, USA Today estimates there could be 800 US military bases in 150 countries around the globe. That’s a deployment that rivals the British Empire at its height in the 1920s. The British Empire collapsed just 20 years later after World War II.
Taibii is correct, modern America has become a parody of the Soviet Union. However, only future history will show us if the United States can extricate itself from that conundrum or follow its old rival into the ash heap of history.