Russophobia, as psycho-social-political pathology, is diagnosed as a disorder in The West since before the 1000-year-old Roman-Orthodox religious schism and most recently manifested with a vengeance in the course of the 2013-14 with Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance by the US and its covert activities leading to the Ukraine coup with Russophobia used thereafter as a weapon of mass deception to inflame this latent pathology in the public.
After more than a year since we first heard the BBC “breaking news” about the “Russians Poisoning the Skipals”, all we have are allegations, but there is still no real evidence to present before a judge and jury for a just trial, only media propaganda which has provoked even more fear and hysteria meant to distract people from the government’s bungling and high level of anxiety over Brexit by once again blaming Russia. Never-the-less, it prompted politicians to administer instant sanctions against Russia as punishment. That first day, the "evidence", presented in the usual clipped, "authoritative" British accents, included interviews with a conservative British MP, then the former US Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow (2001-05), now with the notoriously hawkish US-based think tank, the Atlantic Council. Thus, the three of them: the BBC “journalist” and the two “experts”, colluded to transform false allegations into "facts"... fueled, as always, by their perpetual prejudice, RUSSOPHOBIA, in the course of their propaganda war to force Russia to surrender to American-led Western Domination or else: have their economy destroyed & their people suffer. Indeed, it is a threat to the whole world played to the discord of rattling nuclear swords with a chorus of vindictive Russian oligarchs, whom Putin expelled for robbing the Russian people. So, now living in London as expats, they would seem to be the more likely culprits. All the while elsewhere in London, thanks to our “special US-UK relationship”, Julian Assange has been excommunicated and imprisoned in a tiny “cell” at the Ecuador embassy for revealing embarrassing American secrets via Wikileaks.
There we have it: the poisoning of our minds by the media and politicians which are owned and controlled by the US-UK-EU 1%, who benefit from Western Hegemony. So, these deluded few are now desperately defending it from the rising powers led by Russia and China with India not far behind demanding a multi-polar, democratic world order.
My search for the roots of this particularly vicious and extremely dangerous hate campaign began in a Dartmouth College Russian Foreign Policy course, which led me to the book, “Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy” by San Francisco State University Professor Andrei P. Tsygankov (2009). And there, the detoxification of my mind began as I studied his deft, well-documented deconstruction of the political propaganda disseminated “by various think tanks, congressional testimonials, activities of NGOs and the media” (preface p. XIII)
Then in Italy the following winter, I discovered the work of the Swiss journalist, Guy Mettan, in the Italian geopolitical journal, LiMes: an excerpt from his book, “Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria” (2017). There, Mettan informs us that this psycho-social pathology in Western Civilization” goes back more than 1000 years: to the division of Christendom between the Orthodox and Roman churches. Indeed, his research into the depths of history confirms the diagnosis by our renowned American psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, in his 2003 book, “Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World”. Therein, Lifton states: “More than merely dominate, the American superpower now seeks to control history. Such cosmic ambition is accompanied by an equally vast sense of entitlement, of special dispensation to pursue its aims.” (p.3) And Mettan’s analysis of Russophobia also underscores the work of University of Chicago Professor John J. Mearsheimer, our leading international relations “realist” in his three Henry L. Stimson lectures at Yale University November 2017: “The Roots of Liberal Hegemony”, “The False Promises of Liberal Hegemony” and “The Case for Restraint”: with his book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams, International Realities” published in 2018.
But what about “Russian Aggression” in Ukraine & Crimea?
In the first place, it was the astute Mearsheimer, who, in the Sept-Oct 2014 Foreign Affairs, informed us “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin” (pp 77-89), but the American foreign policy establishment, together with ambitious politicians and the me-too media, paid no heed and continues to repeat its fabricated “facts”.
Never-the-less, Mearsheimer is backed up by Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent. In Sakwa’s book, “Russia Against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order”, 2017, we turn to the section on “Reality Wars and American Power” on p. 217 to read: “It does indeed seem that Russia and Western elites live in totally different worlds, divided by different epistemological understandings of the nature of contemporary reality. The Ukraine crisis crystallized the profound differences between Russian and Atlanticist understandings of the breakdown and its causes.” And he continues on p. 218: “Elite and policy-maker perceptions and attitudes forged in the Cold War years sustain these legacies and frame the discussions of such crucial issues as NATO enlargement, democracy promotion in the post-Soviet area, and strategic arms talks.” Adding that these “are no longer so much legacies as self-regenerating narratives and modes of discourse that preclude a more open-ended understanding of the dynamics and concerns of Russia today.”
Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now; we create our own reality.”
[In 2004, journalist Ron Suskind wrote in The New York Times magazine that a top White House strategist for President George W. Bush—identified later as Karl Rove, Bush’s Deputy White House Chief of Staff—told him, “We’re an empire now, we create our own reality.”]
Thus, we’ve become trapped in a contrived “reality” promulgated by neo-conservative warriors under cover of neo-liberal “democracy-spreading-humanitarian-interventionists” to justify an American Empire promoting itself as the indispensable “Liberal World Order”. However, under that global order, as Sakwa points out on p. 219: “If a foreign power is considered to have violated ‘international order’, then it can be overthrown” as a rationale for American “regime change” anywhere around the world: whether to control the supply of copper in Chile or oil in Iran. And, with its eye on Russia’s vast oil, gas and other natural resources, America claims the right to threaten Russia by ringing it with weapons which we would not abide were the Russians to place missiles in Mexico…as the Soviets did in Cuba to defend it after our “Bay of Pigs” invasion that brought humanity to the brink of nuclear war. Thus, Russia was defending itself in Ukraine against further NATO expansion while Crimean citizens, by majority vote in a democratic referendum, chose to rejoin Russia as they had been one country ever since Catherine the Great…except for an interval in the '50s when Crimea was” gifted” to Ukraine while they were all members of the Soviet Union.
“Ditching Solzhenitsyn, Defender of Russia”
And not to forget that in 1974, after being expelled from the Soviet Union, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and his family fled first to Zurich then to Vermont in 1976 and lived on a farm near Cavendish, where he continued to write and publish his work. Meanwhile, Mettan, as a journalist covering events related to Russia, became quite distressed over "the widespread prejudices, cartloads of clichés and systematic anti-Russian biases of most western media." And he went on to say that “the more I traveled, discussed and read, the wider I perceived, the more the gap of incomprehension and ignorance between Western Europe and Russia became evident.
"That was why, during the 1990s, I was shocked by the way the West treated Solzhenitsyn. For decades, we had published, celebrated, and acclaimed the great writer as bearing the torch of anti-Soviet dissidence. We had praised Solzhenitsyn to the skies as long as he criticized his native country, communist Russia. But as soon as he emigrated, realizing that he preferred to isolate himself in his Vermont retreat to work rather than attending anticommunist conferences, western media and academics began to distance themselves from the great writer.
"The idol no longer matched the image they had built and was becoming a hindrance to their academic and journalistic career plans. And once Solzhenitsyn had left the United States to go back to Russia and defend his humiliated, demoralized motherland that was being sold at auction, raising his voice against the Russian 'Westernizers' and pluralist liberals who denied the interests of Russia to better revel in the troughs of capitalism, he became a marked man, an outdated, senile writer, even though he himself had not changed in the least, denouncing with the same vigor the defects of market totalitarianism as those of communist totalitarianism.
"He was booed, despised, his name was dragged through the mud for his choices, often by the very people who had praised his first fights. Despite that, against all odds, against the most powerful powers that were trying to dissuade him, Solzhenitsyn defended his one and only cause, that of Russia. He was not forgiven for having turned his pen against that West that had welcomed him and felt it was owed eternal gratitude. A dissident today, a dissident wherever truth compelled, such was his motto. This deserves to be remembered." Mettan, pp. 15-16 in “Creating Russophobia”.
Russophobia: akin to Racism
From another perspective: Mettan’s chapter on "German Russophobia" set me thinking that this "Western Supremacy" political-cultural pathology known as Russophobia is like the racism which I knew growing up in totally segregated Oklahoma. Until in high school, I became so perplexed and appalled by the curtain of hate and “justifications” in which we were smothered: the Negro schools on the other side of town? and why were there separate waiting rooms, drinking fountains & restrooms in bus and train stations?...that I began poking holes in the curtain to see what was outside...and found a book in the library: "South of Freedom" by Carl Rowan, an African-American Minneapolis Star Tribune journalist, describing his journey from South to North. So, thanks to what I learned from Rowan, I began to tear the whole damned curtain down...at least in my mind.
Whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad?
So, here’s a Swiss journalist punching a hole in this wall of Russophobic Western Supremacy… and through that gaping hole, we are reminded that the Russians are Europe’s neighbors who sacrificed more than 26 million of their own lives to save Europe, America and Russia from the Nazis. These are not poor "niggers" from the Eurasian ghetto we've been trying to club into submission as second-class citizens of “The Liberal World Order” dominated by US; they're nuclear-armed and no longer willing to sit at a separate, inferior table with no vote and no voice over who makes the rules...nor are China, India and Brazil. And last year, while the wave of Russophobic hysteria over alleged “Russian poisoning” was rolling out of the UK and engulfing the Western world in the latest siege of mass madness…with only Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labor party, having the courage to stand up in Parliament on the Ides of March and demand Evidence! only to be pilloried by the mindless politicians and media…led by the once esteemed BBC. And the week following the August 7, 2018 Trump-Putin Helsinki summit, will surely go down in psychiatric circles as another case of mass media-political delusions led by cheer-leader-in-chief, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.
Meanwhile, not to forget that it was Hearst newspaper propaganda that whipped the American public into a war frenzy to support our first step in empire-building: our 1898 intervention in Cuba’s war for independence from the Spanish Empire which had dominated all of Latin America for 500 years. As the former NYTimes journalist/bureau chief in Istanbul, Berlin & Central America, Stephen Kinzer reminds us in his latest book "The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire", Twain, Booker T. Washington and even Andrew Carnegie leading a handful of other anti-imperialists...were not able to prevail against Roosevelt with his Rough Riders and the Hearst newspapers’ war propaganda.
Regime Change Comes Home
Never-the-less, after a very long run of American “regime change” abroad leaving a bloody trail of destruction, dictatorships and chaos from Iran in 1953, when we joined with the British to overthrow the democratically-elected President Mohammad Mossadegh to maintain the Brit-US control of its oil…on through Guatemala, Vietnam and Chile…to name a few of our interventions…we were back for a second round with “coalitions of the willing” or not? in the Middle East where our regime-change machine managed to plow its way through Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya…before breaking down in Syria. Until now it’s been brought home again, renovated and renamed “RussiaGate” for another attempt at removing a President for trying to mend US relations with Russia. Though even after more than a year of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigations accompanied by such cinematic support as the movie, “Felt”, another “Watergate” re-run. Did anyone else notice the resemblance between “Felt” and Mueller? And despite the media’s commemoration of its 44-year-old “moment of courage” with the movie “The Post” to promote Trump’s ouster, our democratically-elected President, as of this writing, remains in power. However, in this rush to “regime change”, didn’t the our “ruling elite” read Jane Mayer’s “The Danger of President Pence” in the 10/23/17 New Yorker? At least the 70s' “ruling class” was smart enough to remove an unqualified Vice President Spiro (who?) Agnew…before “regime changing” Nixon and replacing him with the more or less benign Gerald Ford.
A Florentine Epiphany
But back to last January in Florence, Italy, when I was hiking in the hills beyond the Piazzale Michelangelo, with its spectacular view of that Renaissance city and its centerpiece, the Duomo, I came across the Villa Galileo, which had been his last home after his trial as a “heretic”, during which to save himself from torture and execution, he was forced to deny his helio-centric vision and henceforth lived under “villa arrest”, from 1631 until his natural death in 1642. While pondering his fate, I continued walking along the gently rising, ever-narrowing road between ancient stone walls overlooking villas and olive groves until I reached the peak, where I felt as if I were standing on top of the world as I contemplated both the Arno and Ema river valleys far below and where I swear I heard Galileo declare: “The world does not turn on an American axis!”
The 21st Century Inquisition
So how is it that we now have contemporary Inquisitors persecuting so many truth tellers…such as Edward Snowden, our electronic age “Solzhenitsyn?” in Russian exile; Chelsea Manning, imprisoned some 7 years for revealing US brutality in Iraq; Julian Assange confined to his Ecuadorian Embassy exile in London since August 2012; Katharine Gun, a whistleblower attempting to stop the Iraq invasion, who faced 2 years of British imprisonment before her case was dropped; James Risen, former New York Times journalist who was persecuted by our “justice” system for revealing our government’s surveillance of US!
Any Good Sense Left?
So, do we the people have enough good sense & independent thinking left to follow the advice of Henry David Thoreau?
“Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality.”
If not, the Doctor prescribes Shock Therapy:
For a week, a month, or however long it takes to cleanse and open the mind, one must adhere to strict abstinence from Mainstream Media propaganda, junk news, pseudo analysis, fake photos, TV & videos including absolutely NO phony “for, by & of the people” NPR, PBS, BBC or other Government-funded Neo or LibCon Imperial tranquilizer.