Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mutual Meddling: US and Russia, Nothing New

History is one long argument. Having little formal training in it, the best I can do to understand the past is to read and watch TV.  In that, I suppose I'm not much different from  my fellow citizens in those Blue Wall states.
1870 cartoon in New York Daily Graphic 

Lately I've been reading "Reilly: Ace of Spies" by Robin Bruce Lockhart and the more widely marketed, but far less compelling book on Reilly by Andrew Cook. 
And I've been watching "The Americans" on Amazon, and David Lean's version of "Dr. Zhivago," (a film made by a Brit, starring an Egyptian in the title role and an American actor as the chief villain.)
Sidney Reilly the real article 

From all of these sources the underlying concept I've formed is America (and Britain and France and most certainly Germany) have been reaching into Russia and trying to manipulate Russia for at least 150 years. We've had our hands up Russia's skirt so often, it is small wonder the Motherland is quick to slap us, and to want to return the favor.
TV version of Reilly

As early as 1870, at least some in America recognized Russia as a colossus we would have to deal with on a global scale. Britain orchestrated Russia's defeat and the loss of its Navy in the Russo-Japanese war at the beginning of the 20th century and its agents (including Reilly) tried to overthrow Lenin when Russia pulled out of World War One. 

Brits tried to remove this guy

The first World War was a revelation for many in Russia, as the true meaning of the word "decadence" surfaced in the terrible suffering of the many owing to the indifference of the rich few.  

As Lockhart observed, Russia's "gallant but inadequately equipped army was being mauled by the Germans while in the cities and towns the people starved in the bread queues. In Petrograd, the aristocracy and rich bourgeoisie continued to live an orgiastic existence in which champagne, caviar and bedding their coachmen's daughters and their neighbours' wives were the main ingredients. The Russian nobility was an intellectual superfluity lost in artificial life, in sensual pleasure and in unbroken egoism. They had reduced love for women to a kind of voracious gourmandise."

If the Russians did try to "influence" our 2016 election, one has to say, "So, what else is new? We've done the same and worse many times over to Russia."

And the fact is, Democrats have tried to blame their losses on the Koch brothers, and now the Russians, when, in fact, the truth lies closer to home. As the Koch brothers have noted, if money and the TV ads it can buy were sufficient to win an election, they would have been more successful in electing their candidates to office.  In fact, Hillary Clinton outspent Donald Trump five to one in most states she lost and and nine to one in some. The money, the Citizens United case, none of it made a difference. 

If the Russians somehow managed to actually hack the voting tallies, actually managed to turn a Clinton electoral victory into a computer hacked defeat, well, then we'd have a case of Russia succeeding in doing something the Americans have apparently never succeeded in doing, but which the British most certainly tried, i.e. actually placing in power their man as opposed to the man the local population voted for.

Like the best spy stories, the truth will never to known about the particulars. But the truth about the greater story is obvious:  The United States tries to control Russia and the Russians would like to do the same to us.
Maybe this image isn't photo-shopped 

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, I had mostly forgotten about the Russians. They were mostly a bogey man I didn't really believe in growing up during the cold war, but then they faded and were replaced by the undeniably vicious and rabid Islamic fundamentalists. 
Enough Endless War

The new problem for me is our own FBI.  Looks like we've got the Republican FBI and the Democratic CIA/NSA.  We used to laugh at the Russians and the Germans who had politicized their national police, and saw the various organizations fight among themselves.

Now look at us.

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