The Russians Are Coming, Again! The new Cold War as farce.

Summary: Trump, supported by the Democratic and Republican parties, ramps up a new cold war. Let’s remember the tragedy of first one before we burn away a big chunk of our national income and put the world at risk.

“’Bad’ Russia helps to reaffirm US national identity and visions of exceptionalism and righteousness at a time of escalating domestic crises.”

The Russians are Coming, Again
Available at Amazon.

 

Review of
The Russians Are Coming, Again:
The First Cold War as Tragedy,
the Second as Farce
.

By Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano.
Monthly Review Press, May 2018, 240 pages.

Review by Ron Ridenour
in the Black Agenda Review
.

 

The US has been waging hot and cold war against Russia for almost a century, wars that are always accompanied by massive lying to the American public.

“To the millions of victims of the Cold War, and those who have struggled valiantly for a lasting friendship between the American and Soviet/Russian people.”

That is authors’ dedication of this scholarly work that should be a text for high school, college and university students in the US and worldwide.

“We write this book as the curtain slowly draws down on the American Empire,” thus opened Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick their monumental historical tome The Untold History of the United States. (Their book accompanies the 2012 Showtime documentary film in 12 episodes.) This could easily have been the opening sentence of, The Russians are Coming, Again (TRACA).

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!
Available at Amazon.

US citizens are again being instructed to fear the ‘Russian menace.’”

The book’s title comes from the 1966 Academy Award–winning film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, directed by Norman Jewison, which parodies the Cold War paranoia pervading the US during the war against Vietnam and depicts chaos that seized a small coastal New England town after a Soviet submarine ran aground. The sub-title – “first as tragedy, then as farce” – comes from Karl Marx’ description of history repeating itself.

Half-century after the film was released US citizens are again being instructed to fear the “Russian menace.” Bastions of “objective media outlets” bombard us with such ridiculousness. Why?

Just ask one question. What could Russia gain from being a menace to the world’s mightiest of nations; from interfering in its elections; from threatening war by moving some of their military close to their own borders where they are encircled by US-NATO forces, which spend ten times what Russia does on military might; “menaced” by a president who offered and provided real material assistance for the US war against Afghanistan; by a Russian president who went fishing with the two Bush presidents, a Russian leader who plays the piano and sings “Blueberry Hill”?

“US-NATO forces spend ten times what Russia does on military might.”

The charge of election interference has been accepted by most of the media even though intelligence agencies, whose legitimacy is at one of its lowest points following the weapons of mass destruction lie-debacle in Iraq – released a report so bereft of actual evidence that they could only make an “assessment.” In Deep State jargon that means a “guess.” Forensic specialists working with dissenting intelligence veterans asserted that the hack on the email server of the Democratic National Committee chairman was the result of a leak by someone on the inside carried out in United States eastern time zone.

Much of the book centers on an historical perspective of contemporary U.S.-Russian relations emphasizing how the absence of historical consciousness has resulted in a repetition of past tragedies and farces mainly conducted for economic profit for the massive weapons/war industry.

Here’s a key paragraph at the conclusion of the book emphasizing this theme.

“One clear lesson we can draw from history is that the Russians have more reason to fear us than we have to fear them. We should not be fooled by alarmist claims about Putin and a new Russia imperialism, a form of projecting our own behavior onto someone else…” {as history has shown}.

“The Russians have more reason to fear us than we have to fear them.”

“It was the United States that invaded the Soviet Union – not vice versa. It was the United States that encircled the Soviet Union with military bases during the Cold War and initiated many other provocative policies while intervening aggressively in Third World nations under the pretext of fighting Communism. A study by Ruth Leger Sivard that analyzed 125 military conflicts from 1946 to 1981, 95 percent in the Global South, found ‘Western powers accounting for 79 percent of the interventions, communists for 6 percent.’” “Most of the latter were enacted around their borders with the exception of Cuba, which supported multiple African liberation wars against European colonial powers.”

The foreword of Sivard’s book, World military and social expenditures, 1981, was written by George F. Kennan , who had been the epitome of a US imperialist war strategist. Late in life, he reversed himself, regretting his policy of “communist containment” which he authored under President Truman. Kennan is but one of thousands of key military, intelligence/covert operatives, and close presidential advisors/secretaries who have come over to the side of truth and peace. Many of those people are key protestors of the current war hysteria: Paul Craig Roberts, William Blum, Jack Matlock, Ramsey Clark, John Stockwell, Ray McGovern.

“The mass media tirelessly demonizes Russia and President Putin, preparing public opinion for war.”

These dissident veterans remind us that it was the United States that expanded NATO toward the Russian border in violation of a 1990 promise not to do so, and meddles in the affairs of nations on Russia’s border, including Ukraine and Georgia. They also oppose overthrowing leaders not totally under US tutelage, like Qaddafi in Libya, Hussein in Iraq, and attempting to remove Assad in Syria – all of which alarms the Russians.

It is the US government that has methodically and chronically interfered in scores of nations’ elections; removing their leaders by murder or invasion. Just read one of William Blum’s books about this sordid record of manufacturing “democracy” for those it wishes to rule.

“Russia has a checkered past as a nation as do we,” write the authors, “however, it has never intervened militarily in Mexico or Canada, funneled expansive military aid to them, tried to manipulate their politics,” as the US has done and does to Russia’s neighbors.

Here is but one of many examples the authors provide readers about how unfair and imbalanced the US media are about US and Russian politics.

“The United States expanded NATO toward the Russian border in violation of a 1990 promise not to do so.”

“The mass media tirelessly demonizes Russia and President Putin, preparing public opinion for war while ignoring or belittling the few peace activists in the US. For example: according to Edward S. Herman, the Times from January 1 to March 21, 2014, had twenty-three articles on the Pussy Riot group to signify alleged Russian limits on free speech, and gave one member of the group op-ed space to denounce Putin. The group had been arrested after disrupting a church service and were given a two-year sentence. Around the same time, eighty-four-year-old Sister Megan Rice was given a [three-year] jail sentence for protesting a nuclear weapons site in Tennessee, but she was mentioned only in the back pages and not given an opportunity to publish an op-ed. {And also this when convicted, this when sentenced, this op-ed, and this when the conviction was overturned.} Nor could she meet with the Times editorial board as Pussy Riot did.” She, and two comrade activists, served two years before release in 2014.

The first chapter of TRACA discusses the new Cold War, with a focus on the Russophobic discourse and demonization of Putin in the New York Times and its political implications. The second chapter goes back to when the Franklin Pierce administration sent a military delegation to assist Russia during the Crimean War (ironically enough), and Russia returned the favor by sending a naval fleet as a signal to Britain and France to not intervene militarily on behalf of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. Half a century later (1918-20), the unprovoked U.S. invaded the new Soviet Russia without the consent of Congress.

“US and British troops pioneered the use of nerve gas.”

The US military commander in Siberia, William S. Graves, considered the invasion a violation of Russia’s sovereignty. Graves also denounced horrible atrocities conducted by both US forces and allies in the Russian White Army. Among those killed were former members of the constituent assembly, railroad workers who had struck for higher wages, and at least two thousand Jews.

In that war US and British troops pioneered the use of nerve gas designed to incapacitate and demoralize the Red Army.

Editor’s note: nerve gases were invented in 1936 by chemists in Germany. See Wikipedia. In 1919, the Brits used poison gases against Bolshevik forces in Russia. I have seen no claims that the US did so. In 1921 the Soviet Union used chemical weapons to suppress the peasants in the Tamboy Rebellion.

In the United States, critics of the intervention were prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts that made it a crime to “willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the U.S. form of government, constitution, military or naval force or flag.” So Much for Freedom of Speech!

The book also shows how the Russian army and people were the actual victors of WWII. Less than half-a-million US forces lost their lives compared to 27 million Russians and other Soviet people, about half of all deaths in the war.

In February 1942, General Douglass MacArthur, who later was willing to invade “red” China and use nuclear weapons, said of the Russian military, “I observed such effective resistance to the heaviest blows of a hitherto undefeated enemy, followed by a smashing counterattack which is driving the enemy back to his own land. The scale and grandeur of this effort marks it as the greatest military achievement in all history.”

The next four chapters provide a panoramic history of the first Cold War, showing how it was an avoidable tragedy.

“NATO chiefs tellingly concluded in 1950 that the Soviet armed forces had not increased since the end of the Second World War, and there were no serious ‘indications that the USSR is preparing for [war against the West].’ General Albert Greunther, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff in Europe, stated that Soviet ‘industrial production [was] not geared to an all-out war,’” wrote the authors.

“Third World nations suffered from proxy wars and regime change operations.”

Kuzmarov and Marciano conclude that it was “the imperatives of class rule that drove the United States to expand its hegemony worldwide,the warping of the American political economy through excessive military spending, [and caused] the purges and witch hunts, and the Cold War’s adverse effect on the black community and unions.”

The final chapter delves into the Cold War’s effect on Third World nations, which suffered from proxy wars and regime change operations. The era’s victims and dissidents are spotlighted, and it is hoped that their “wisdom and courage may yet inspire a new generation of radicals.”

Again, the authors cite the rabid anti-communist General MacArthur, of all people, who asserted that during the Cold War …

“Our swollen budgets constantly have been misrepresented to the public. Our government has kept  kept us in a perpetual state of fear – kept us in a perpetual stampede of patriotic fervor – with the cry of a grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”

From his speech at the Annual Stockholders Meeting of Sperry Rand Corporation (30 July 1957),

“There has always been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up.”

The Cold War was started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman despite having no fear of any Soviet military threat. General Walter Bedell Smith became the Central Intelligence Agency’s second director (1950-3). He had been General Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff and Truman’s ambassador to the Soviet Union. He was so confident that the Soviets would not “undertake a deliberate military attack on …our concentrations of aircraft at Wiesbaden [Germany]” that he would “not hesitate to go there and sit on the field myself.”

The authors’ conclusion about the Cold War: “As brutal a leader as he was, Stalin cannot be held singularly responsible for starting the Cold War if we consider that the US controlled more than 2,000 bases and 30,000 military installations at the end of the Second World War, virtually encircling the Soviet Union.” Add to that the USSR was totally impoverished, bankrupted and shattered by Nazi genocide.

“US Cold War further waged ‘limited wars’ in Korea and Vietnam where it splashed oceans of napalm, defoliated the landscape, killed millions of civilians, supported drug trafficking proxies in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and unleashed chemical and likely biological warfare, while training repressive police forces in dozens of countries.

“The Cold War was started by Winston Churchill and Harry Truman despite having no fear of any Soviet military threat.”

“The Cold War also devastated communities of leftists and activists in the United States as a result of McCarthyite witch hunts, eroding the prospects for social democracy and included the warping of the US political economy and development of a permanent warfare state; the corruption of science, US universities, and the media; victimization of blacks; and the abuse of civil liberties…and its lingering effects on US political culture, which can be seen in the hysteria about Putin.”

So what did the US get out of the Cold War? “Enormous profits for military contractors like Lockheed, Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, Chrysler, and Hughes Aircraft. These corporations employed legions of former army officers, spent millions of dollars in lobbying, and increasingly financed the political campaigns of candidates from both major parties. US taxpayers were the ones who got fleeced. A 1959 congressional probe led by F. Edward Hébert (D-LA), a Southern conservative Democrat, found that major military contractors had defrauded the government of millions of dollars by pocketing excess profits and charging unnecessary overhead for no-bid contracts. They were given blank checks to produce weapons systems that often-proved to be faulty.” That criminal behavior continues today.

“The US killed millions of civilians and supported drug trafficking proxies in Southeast Asia.”

What did the people get? About 20% are poor and many suffer mal-nutrition. Americans rank number 18 in infant mortality. The nation’s infrastructure is in ruins, the schools are imprisoning students who learn far less than most other industrialized nations’ students. The blockaded and attacked small nation of Cuba has better health care and educational benefits than does the richest nation and greatest aggressor in the world.

Trillions of dollars the people could have benefited from pay for murderous projects like Operation Paperclip, which left a legacy of “ballistic missiles, Sarin gas cluster bombs, underground bunkers, space capsules and weaponized bubonic plague.” Eight of the scientists had worked directly with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, or Herman Goering, ten were part of the Nazi storm troopers. Six stood trial at Nuremburg …. The best-known Paperclip scientist was Werner von Braun, who was instrumental to the development of guided missiles and the U.S. space program.

These operations also included [the CIA and] US army’s biological weapons program at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which led to the creation of anthrax, pest-laden bombs, and herbicides like Agent Orange, which resulted in birth deformities, cancers, and environmental damage in Southeast Asia… and Operation MK-ULTRA sponsored research in the behavioral sciences.” The CIA helped to place Nazi scientists in universities, which also trained secret police in Vietnam.

“Cuba has better health care and educational benefits than does the richest nation and greatest aggressor in the world.”

Under the mad illogic of the Cold War, the United States developed a nuclear stockpile of 22,229 warheads (or 10,948 megatons of TNT) by 1961 compared to 3,320 Soviet warheads (3,420 megatons of TNT). In 1954, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) put forth a plan to attack the Soviet Union with hundreds of bombs, turning it into “a smoking, radiating ruin at the end of two hours.” “The plan involved killing 80 percent of the population in 118 major cities, or 60 million people.” “That same year the United States began to place nuclear weapons in Europe…a clear provocation and threat from the Soviet point of view, one that ignited their own escalation of the arms race.”

The Cold War ideology intertwined with the racist McCarthyism of the times. Key African American leaders for equality, justice and peace were demonized by it – W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King.The Establishment even cajoled some black spokespersons to condemn these heroic fighters for justice, and this atmosphere aided in the assassination of King.

In the 1980s, the most popular president in US history, Ronald Reagan, was the circus master of internal conflicts throughout Central America where he backed gruesome dictators and militarists who massacred and tortured hundreds of thousands of people.

The CIA helped to place Nazi scientists in universities.”

Reagan’s administration supplied over $100 million in weapons to Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, whom Reagan dubbed as “freedom fighters” in the style of the American founding fathers. In January 1984, CIA agent Duane Clarridge inaugurated a program to mine Nicaragua’s harbors. Two Nicaraguans were killed and fifteen sailors were injured. The World Court condemned the US for mining the harbor in Managua, which caused death and destruction. Its verdict was ignored just as was the verdict that Reagan had sponsored the Iran-Contra crime and defied his own Congress that prohibited military support to the Contras. That “patriotic operation” included sending weapons to Iran, which was at war with Iraq, and the US was allied with Iraq.

The crimes of the Cold War are too long for any book review, but the authors do their best to re-reveal them. They point out that during the first Cold War, “the Soviet Union was a perfect foil for the United States because the absence of political freedom could be played up for propaganda purposes. The true danger, however, was that communism represented an alternative to capitalist industrialization, structured around a command economy, attractive to Third World nations that equated capitalism with colonialism.”

“W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King were demonized.”

“Putin’s Russia fulfills a similar function in US demonology…[bad] Russia helps to reaffirm US national identity and visions of exceptionalism and righteousness at a time of escalating domestic crises, and helps rationalize the expansion of NATO and maintenance of huge military budgets. The result is that we are again threatened with the outbreak of a Third World War, with the United States again bearing considerable responsibility.”

Without a movement supporting the sovereign rights of Russia and all nations, US politicians and the mass media hypnotize ordinary people with the false slogans that the US fights for democracy, i.e. majority rule. A June 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 87% of Russians have confidence in Putin; 58% of Russians say they are satisfied with their country’s direction. The New York Times, however, depicts Putin as a new Tsar, a threat to global stability.

So much for majority rule!

Kuzmarov and Marciano point out that the masses of Russians appreciate their elected leader because he turned the country back to them after the Yeltsin-Clinton plundering. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union, GDP in Russia plunged by 40%, people lost their social benefits, 75% were plunged into poverty, longevity for men dropped to about fifty-seven years and disease epidemics revived. The 1990s was a horrible decade, though the New York Times extolled Boris Yeltsin as a “key defender of Russia’s hard-won democratic reforms” and “enormous asset for the U.S.’” Today, economic and social conditions have greatly improved.

“Eighty-seven percent of Russians have confidence in Putin.”

The authors provide a wonderful index. They are meticulous in documenting how establishment politicians and militarists are recreating the Red Scare witch-hunt of the 40s – 50s. One of numerous ironies is that its early advocates were Republican Party hawks such as Senator Joe McCarthy and his chief aide Roy Cohn. The right-wing fanatic Cohn was also a key player in the murder of the heroes Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Then he became a loyal friend and lawyer of Donald Trump.

This “gay homophobe, the anti-Semitic Jew, the self-serving, self-loathing one-time chief counsel and henchman of red-baiting Senator Joe McCarthy of 1950s infamy …got Trump his tax breaks for Trump Tower. ‘Donald calls me 15 to 20 times a day,’ Cohn said in 1980 to reporter Marie Brenner,” so wrote Michael Kruse for Politico Magazine .

Today, the loudest of new Red Scare proponents are Democratic Party spokespeople and their comrades in the military, the Deep State and the media. Repeating history as a farce, the rekindled Cold War atmosphere makes those who explain Putin’s truly benign motives are subjected to neo-McCarthyite attacks.

“Sanders supports Clinton, the Democratic Party and Russiaphobia.”

The one bone I must pick with the authors is their placement of Bernie Sanders in the same category with protestors against this new Cold War scenario. They write:

“As the Bernie Sanders campaign, Occupy Wall Street, and spinoffs like the Democracy Spring movement have reminded us, the priorities of US government elites in both the Republican and Democratic parties are not the same as those of the public at large. Greedy, ideologically driven plutocrats want open markets, control of world resources, and access to military bases that could enable the extension of corporate interests, power, and U.S. hegemony. The public at large wants peace, security, a healthy environment, and access to good jobs, which plutocratic interests threaten at every turn.”

Bernie Sanders, however, is no different than other Cold Warriors. He has backed all the establishment wars for decades. He only voted against the Iraq war but then voted for funding it. Sanders supports Clinton, the Democratic Party and Russiaphobia. The first priority of every person who wishes to live in a peaceful world with justice and equality is to oppose wars of aggression for domination and profit.

I concur with the authors’ final words: “We believe that our only hope remains the development of a citizens’ campaign for peace and justice along the lines of the anti-Vietnam War movement, one capable of restoring some sanity to our foreign policy. We must do everything in our power to try to stop the new Cold War, which threatens even more damage to humanity than the first one, started by Woodrow Wilson following the Russian Revolution and extended by Harry S. Truman & Co.”

————————————

Ron Ridenour

About the author

From Ron Ridenour’s bio on his website, which also has links to his articles, books, poems, and short stories. He joined the Communist Party in 1964, he left after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

“Journalist-author-editor-activist for peace and equality is how I descirbe {sic} my life. I have written for the mass media until blacklisted, for the underground and now for social media. I have written nine books plus co-authored three.

“Born in the ‘devil’s own country’ of a WASP military career father, I sought the ‘American Dream’ until I entered the Air Force, in 1956, to fight the ‘commies’. Here, I witnessed approved segregated barracks in the Yankee base it established in Japan, and imposition of racism in Japanese establishments. I protested and was tortured by my white ‘compatriots’. This, and the fact that we had orders to shoot down any Soviet aircraft over ‘our’ territory in Japan – which never appeared – while we flew spy planes over the Soviet Union daily, led me to question American ‘morality’.

“The first time I exercised my democratic right to demonstrate was in Los Angeles, where I protested with others the Yankee invasion of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs. Cuba’s revolution, and my hate for racism, led me to become a radical then a revolutionary.”

He has written 13 books. His latest is The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert (2018).

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If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts  about Russia, about Information and Disinformation, about the cold war, and especially these…

  1. Let’s stop the 2-minute hate on Putin & think before we reignite the Cold War.
  2. How the world looks from Russia. It’s a picture the US media don’t show.
  3. The first rule of American war is not to believe what we’re told.
  4. Notes from the Victory Parade in Moscow about our amnesia, & peace.
  5. Did NATO betray Russia, breaking the deal to stay out of Eastern Europe?
  6. Stratfor: Russia’s economy burns; they have no good options.
  7. Learning from the Cold War to prevent war with Russia today.

A timely book about our government’s latest big con

The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert
Available at Amazon.

The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert

By Ron Ridenour (2018).

From the publisher.

“This is a true historical page-turner, is destined to endure and inform future readers, writers and researchers about both what has been reported – mainly malicious propaganda – and what truly took place in the one hundred years from the 1917 Russian Revolution until the eruption of the distinct harbingers of the collapse of the US empire in the early twenty-first century. Events often just seem to happen, caught up in the swirl of history. But still, we try to interpret them and to understand. And then, in many cases, take a stand for or against.

“Understanding is like discovering a new world, like converting to a new faith. Revolt invades your life and everything is different from what it once was. Ridenour’s book helps us along the way to first remembering the historical facts so that we can then understand.

“His new work documents clearly facts about the early years of the Soviet Union’s relations with the West, its difficult steps toward socio-political maturity and Communism, and its enormous sacrifices along the way: its defeat of Western intervention during the revolutionary and civil war period; its regulation of state economic planning and the reforms required for the industrialization of the nation; its defeat of the German Nazi military juggernaut at the gates of Russia’s major cities and the coup de grace in the ferocious battle in Stalingrad, defeating German invaders and crushing Nazi Germany before the USA even entered the war; and finally the arduous salvation of Russia after the collapse of the USSR under US post-WWII economic firepower and the most treacherous anti-Russian policies since the early 1900s. Those Western policies continue to determine US-Russian relations today.

“Throughout this long work Ridenour recalls and clarifies diverse significant historical details, obscured by time and by Western propaganda, facts that are so easily forgotten or that were never learned: such ignored truths as the importance of the USSR in the defeat of Japan in WWII and the timing of the US use of the atomic bomb in Japan. Not many people are aware of the extent of the destruction of many Japanese cities which the author details here. He points out that the Soviet Union kept its word to help the United States by its intervention against Japan, the decisive reason why Japan was defeated even before the atomic bombs fell.

“A stunning but little known fact is that in response to the Russians’ sacrifice the Anglo-American leaders – first Churchill and later Truman – were hatching Operation Unthinkable and Operation Pincher to launch a surprise war against Soviet forces in Europe. These military plots included the potential use of nuclear bombs. This is a book that no well-informed Western reader should be without, especially those inhabiting the homeland of the new empire, the dangerously brainwashed United States.”

11 thoughts on “The Russians Are Coming, Again! The new Cold War as farce.

  1. But how else will we prove ourselves Strong?

    In my old age I expect to see some interesting historical analyses of the fetishization of the military in the USA. Hopefully they will be written in English instead of Chinese…

  2. “US and British troops pioneered the use of nerve gas.”

    “The US military commander in Siberia, William S. Graves, considered the invasion a violation of Russia’s sovereignty. Graves also denounced horrible atrocities conducted by both US forces and allies in the Russian White Army. Among those killed were former members of the constituent assembly, railroad workers who had struck for higher wages, and at least two thousand Jews.”

    Dear God. Nerve gas wasn’t even invented until 1936.

    I have no use whatsoever for Cold War II, but these people are loons.

    1. The Man,

      (1) “Nerve gas wasn’t even invented until 1936.”

      Good catch! I missed that, and will add a note. Everyone who writes much knows that these kind of errors – about technical matters outside the author’s knowledge base – are inevitable. Professional outfits – who produce material that you pay to read – have fact-checkers. And some still appear in print.

      (2) “I have no use whatsoever for Cold War II, but these people are loons.”

      It’s fun to see how people seize on errors in tiny (usually irrelevant) technical details as a way to screen their minds — and minimize cognitive dissonance. In plain language, to avoid having to think. This is a classic example!

  3. Seasoned activist, leftist, apologist (see http://ronridenour.com/about.htm) Ron Ridenour quotes the following from the book.

    “The authors’ conclusion about the Cold War: ‘As brutal a leader as he was, Stalin cannot be held singularly responsible for starting the Cold War if we consider that the US controlled more than 2,000 bases and 30,000 military installations at the end of the Second World War, virtually encircling the Soviet Union.’ Add to that the USSR was totally impoverished, bankrupted and shattered by Nazi genocide.”

    Ridenour should have lingered longer on Stalin. See “Excess mortality in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin” here https://goo.gl/GR8Qb1 The estimates vary wildly/widely from 3 million, 9 million or sometimes 20 million. Of course the juxtapositions of “US … encircling the Soviet Union ….” and the statements about impoverishment are calculated by apologist Ridenour to ameliorate and deflect from the fact of the essential evil that was the Soviet threat to the Globe in those times.

    IMO Ridenour is a flamed out old flake who has worked overtime to beef up his personal resume and credit himself an informed grasp of things as they were in the 1950s in Japan. I have another perspective to lend to Japan’s defense and the Cold War in the 1950s after having personally been on the cusp of it and literally, personally flying into the eye of the radioactivity of those times.

    Ridenour puffs away with, “Before I understood the essence of US imperialism, I joined the US Air Force, at 17, to fight the Soviet “commies” when they occupied Hungary, in 1956. Posted to a radar site in Japan, I witnessed approved segregated barracks at the Yankee base, and the imposition of racism in Japanese establishments. I protested and was tortured by my white “compatriots”, who held me down naked, sprayed DDT aflame on my pubic hairs, and held me under snow. This, and the fact that we had orders to shoot down any Soviet aircraft over “our” territory in Japan—which never appeared—while we flew spy planes over the Soviet Union daily, led me to question American values.”

    Are we to get weepy about his being held down and sprayed with DDT? He must have been someone’s pain the in the ass to merit such treatment. So at 17, 18, or 19 he was most likely an enlisted Airman with access to not much more than Secret information on a strict need to know basis only. Yet he purports to be a real fighter who shot down Soviet aircraft and flew spy planes over the Soviet Union daily. Of course to the discriminating reader, his statements could be passed off as seemingly innocent hyperbole, but to the uninformed reader, they resonate with authority and credibility. In fact, they are self aggrandizing bull shit.

    So Ole’ Maxiumus, we take no issue with the abhorrence of resuming a Cold War confrontation with Russia. We take no issue with the contention that we’ve historically misbehaved around the Globe masquerading as a free Nation all-the-while … for example … reportedly incarcerating our own citizens at numbers exceeding even the most evil of totalitarian states. We could go on “ad nauseam” with a list of our own shortcomings.

    We do take issue, however, with the likes of the use of Ron Ridenour as a standard bearer for anything more than the clapped-out old activist, leftist, apologist that he is.

    s/ Wayne Wickizer The Ole’ Buzzard

    1. Wayne,

      “Ridenour should have lingered longer on Stalin.”

      That’s a category error, the fast track to cognitive errors. That Stalin was a bad guy is irrelevant to the specific question of responsibility for starting the cold war.

      “Ridenour is a flamed out old flake”

      I recommend that people stop reading comments and articles when they hit ad hominems like that. People who have logic and facts on their side don’t need to waste our time with such fluff. That works with your comment. I see no rebuttals to what he said, just ranting.

  4. Hi Larry,

    The brilliance of the Russian interference in the election propaganda campaign is that it has made Russiaphobia thoroughly bipartisan. If MbS wants to wriggle out of this Khashoggi mess, he should get his friend Tom Friedman from his New York Times bully pulpit to say the Russians set him up. No other allegation of Russian wrongdoing has needed a shred of evidence, and every allegation of Russian perfidy and sabotage has been gobbled up hook, line, and sinker by left, right, and center.

    Consider the Skripal affair. Here’s an elderly double agent who served time in Russia for his treason and had been living peaceably in England for years. Why whack him now? And why smear a nerve agent on a door handle on a rainy day? And if the stuff is so damned deadly, why is he and his daughter still alive? These are the same people that beat the Wehrmacht in the field; I think they could find a guy who could, say, knife Skripal to death — you know, actually kill him — take his wallet, and make it look like a mugging, however improbable that might be in his neighborhood in Salisbury. Of course, I don’t know what happened, but I do know that the mainstream reporting has been an uncritical parroting of the government line and completely devoid of any evidence at all.

    In Syria, the supporter of the secular, multi-ethnic state defending itself from a Saudi-backed, al Qaeda affiliated terrorist rabble is Russia. The US is backing Jabhat al Nusra and friends, al Qaeda affiliates and offshoots with the same objective as ISIL/ISIS/Daesh, just with different timelines. The US has some experience toppling Baathist strongmen sitting on top of multi-ethnic societies in the Middle East, but we don’t seem to learn from it, or our adventures in places like Nicaragua and El Salvador.

    It’s interesting to see that the Cheney/Bush/Project for a New American Century foreign policy became that of Obama and is firmly ensconced in the Clintonian/establishment wing of the Democratic party as it is also, identically in the McCain/Graham/establishment wing of the Republican party. Neocons can live comfortably in either camp these days where the invasion of Iraq is no longer a mistake but a shining exemplar of righteous muscular American exceptionalism. No conspiracy here — it’s exuberant in its plain sight when Rachael Maddow and John Bolton see eye to eye on Russia. Bipartisan blood lust for a new Cold War.

    Regards,

    Bill

    1. Bill,

      I agree with your comment about the oddities of US foreign policy. I look at it and see an iceberg, with 80% hidden from view – about which we can only guess.

      “The brilliance of the Russian interference in the election propaganda campaign”

      I suspect you are being sarcastic, but that’s an important subject – a tremendous successful propaganda campaign by the folks running America. That is, what Russian interference? Estimates vary, but most estimates I’ve seen are an equivalent cost of about $100 thousands (close order of magnitude). Total spending on the 2016 elections was $6.5 billion. So the Russian “interference” was equivalent to very roughly two-millions of the total spending.

      Also, the examples shown have no theme. It’s not evidence how this is “interference.” Most likely, the Russians were probling — seeing how social media works, and how Americans react to messages. Standard intel stuff since WWII.

    2. Hi Larry,

      My use of brilliance wasn’t meant as sarcasm or praise, but as (perhaps poorly worded) recognition of how truly decisive and effective the campaign has been. Of course, in the dissident and alternative press folks roll their eyes at 99.9% of the Russia propaganda, but when you’re getting the same line from Rachael Maddow and Max Boot and David Welna (and…), well that spectrum covers a lot of people that don’t have the time and interest to dig (alas). Sadly, some of my friends are so wound up by Trump bristle at even questioning the narrative. I’ve seen the same order of magnitude 100s of thouands for what the Russians spent (and I suspect your assessment is correct about probing/understanding), but when I brought that up and compared it to HRC/DNC’s near-billion dollar war chest and the billions spent, they’ll have none of it. I keep harping on Maddow because she’s the primary source for “proof” by many of my MSNBC-leaning/watching friends. Confirmation bias is a powerful thing.

      The iceberg metaphor is apt!

      I’ll leave you with this from the iconic Donald Rumsfeld:

      Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

      Regards,

      Bill

    3. Bill,

      There is no evidence of a Russian campaign to interfere with the election, let alone one with the intent to produce the current Russia-phobia. So it didn’t exist and wasn’t brilliant.

  5. “It’s fun to see how people seize on errors in tiny (usually irrelevant) technical details as a way to screen their minds — and minimize cognitive dissonance. In plain language, to avoid having to think. This is a classic example!”

    Loons I sez, My cognition has no dissonance whatsoever. There’s a lot more than just the bit about the nerve gas that’s wrong here, but whatever. One point I will expand on:

    “The mass media tirelessly demonizes Russia and President Putin, preparing public opinion for war.”

    I don’t think these people see themselves as preparing public opinion for war. Which is not to say they might not blunder their way into one given half a chance. A lot of the hostility to Russia is rooted in domestic politics. (Which does not, mind you, make it any less dangerous) I don’t think they have any intention of going to war with Russia, but if we muck about in their near abroad and make a sufficient nuisance of ourselves some very bad things might happen.

    Just for the record, I’m going to have to re-watch that movie. Alan Arkin was at the top of his game in that one.

    1. The Man,

      (1) “I don’t think these people see themselves as preparing public opinion for war.”

      That’s absurd. The word “war” — like so many words today — have been expanded far beyond the earlier (I won’t say “original”) intent. War on Cancer, War on poverty, fourth generation War referring to pretty much every kind of social conflict, etc.

      The obvious meaning by the author is “cold war”, as is explained at great length in text. Assuming the author means “preparing for the end of life in WWIII” is silly (and that’s being generous).

      If that’s your justification for calling the author a “loon”, I’m sticking with my original comment. You have your mental deflectors on full power, determined not to think — and instead coming up with pretty daft rebuttals.

      (2) “A lot of the hostility to Russia is rooted in domestic politics.”

      That does not come close to explaining US foreign policy in the cold war or now. Many, perhaps most, of those foreign interventions had little public support — hence the need to build some support thru intensive propaganda barrages. The author explains this at great length. Did you read the essay?

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