Friday, March 03, 2017

The Russian thing

I want to provide some links here to more left-leaning critics expressing caution about the anti-Russia sentiment that currently seems even stronger than in the Republican Party.

Stephen F. Cohen Interview with Michael Tracey of TYT Politics 02/27/2017:

Here's another skeptical take, Post-Soviet Russia: America's "Colony" to #1 Enemy TeleSUR Empire Files

Norman Solomon in The Risk of Baiting Trump on Russia Consortium News 02/207/2017 warns about how careless Russia-baiting can help the aims of people with darker motives than protecting the sanctity of American elections:

The incessant goading and denunciations of Trump as a Kremlin flunky are escalating massive pressure on him to prove otherwise. Exculpatory behavior would involve setting aside possibilities for detente and, instead, confronting Russia — rhetorically and militarily.

Hostile behavior toward Russia is what much of the U.S. media and political establishment have been fervently seeking. It’s also the kind of behavior that could drag us all over the brink into thermonuclear destruction. But c’mon, why worry about that?

For countless media commentators and partisan Democrats including many avowed progressives — as well as for some Republican hawks aligned with the likes of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham — the benefits of tarring Trump as a Russian tool are just too alluring to resist.

I highly recommend Marcy "emptywheel" Wheeler's careful close readings of the news and official reports on the Trump-Russia story at Emptywhee. Amy Goodman interviewed her on Friday, As Sessions Recuses Himself From Campaign Investigation, Questions Remain Over Trump-Russia Ties Democracy Now! 03/03/2017:

I don't share the optimism of some commentators that Trump's conciliatory - sometimes even apologetic - attitudes toward Russia are evidence of some pacifist tendencies in Trump's America First Isolationist rhetoric. But it's based on a fundamentally militaristic and reckless foreign policy outlook.

I'm in favor of Americans, especially those with very direct roles in formulating foreign policy, to be as realistic about Russia. We need to have a real, effective investigation of the election meddling and the Trump team's dubious dealings with Russian officials.

Also, recognizing there is a real need for an investigation doesn't require us to forget that there can be all sorts of motives behind the leaks that have been driving this story. (Gareth Porter, How ‘New Cold Warriors’ Cornered Trump Consortium News 02/25/2017)

Paul Pillar gives a sober statement of the need for such an investigation in Shaking the Foundations of Loyalty LobeLog Foreign Policy 03/03/2017:

What we, the public, don’t know about these matters still exceeds what we do know, and this screams a need for the most thorough, objective, partisan-free investigation possible. Meanwhile, significant damage already has been done as a result of the doubt and distrust and uncertainty about the ultimate interests that those in power are serving. Foreign intelligence services, for example, can be excused if they hesitate to share with the United States valuable information that they don’t want to fall into the hands of the Russians. And the United States is worse off as a result.

And whatever sleazy ties there may be to the Trump team and Russia, the United States should be very careful about trying to control the course of events in, say, Nagorno-Karabakh.

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