FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Chasing Red Squirrels in DC

Photo by Andrey | CC BY 2.0

Democratic politicians, aided and abetted by their journalist supporters in publications like the Washington Post, New York Times and at electronic news organizations like CNN, MSNBC and NPR, are playing a dangerous game focusing their anti-Trump “resistance” energies on trying to revivify the moribund Cold War with Russia and China.

You hear almost nothing out of Democratic Party establishment figures about the continuing economic crisis facing most average and poor Americans, who continue to struggle trying to get by on lower paying jobs than what they had before the Great Recession (supposedly ended!), or working at part-time jobs, living from paycheck to paycheck while the rich get richer, and having the traditional tickets out of their family’s predicament — a quality public school education and then college for their kids, a home they can finance and ultimately own, and a secure support system for their parents, and eventually themselves when they reach retirement age — undermined and threatened with death by a thousand cuts — all taken from them.

Instead, they hear how President Trump is in some kind of conspiracy with the evil Russians, who we’re told insidiously helped destroy America’s election system, handing the presidency to Trump instead of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

There are so many things wrong with this picture.

First off, Russia these days, almost three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, is not America’s enemy — something that at least half of Americans understand instinctively, including most of those who voted for Trump in November. 86,000 US tourists and business people visited Russia in 2015, part of some 33 million who visited the country from around the globe to make it the ninth-most-visited country in the world.

Forbes magazine, when tensions between the US and Rusia were high amid Democratic Party charges that Russia was trying to throw the election to Trump last August, published an article [1] reporting that billions of investment dollars were flowing from the US into Russia from a Fortune 500 list of America’s biggest firms, including PepsiCo, Procter&Gamble, McDonald’s, Mondelez International, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson as well as resource companies like Cargill, Alcoa, and General Electric.

Russia, let us not forget, has been keeping the primarily US-owned and funded ISS space station staffed with its Soyuz rocket ferries, while the US flounders, trying to find the funding to develop a reliable transport system of its own following the forced retirement of the ill-conceived space shuttle.

Sure Russia has land and submarine-based missiles targeting the US, but remember these are in response to even more US missiles that are targeting Russia (and China), and it has been the US that has been blocking efforts to stand down those missiles, and to renounce the using them in a first strike, and that has been working to install anti-missile batteries on Russia’s western and eastern borders designed to make such a first strike conceivable. And sure Russia re-absorbed Crimea into its borders, taking it back from the one-time Soviet Union province of Ukraine. But remember that move came after a US-sponsored, directed and financed violent coup drove out the elected leader of Ukraine, replacing him with a pro-US government that initiated a violent campaign of harassment of ethnic Russians in the country, and that began making entreaties to join NATO — an organization whose sole purpose, rooted in the old Cold War, has been containing and ultimately destroying Russia.

Democrats are fond of calling Russia “aggressive” and its leader, Vladimir Putin, “a thug”, but remember that Russia only has one overseas military base, and that is the one in Syria, where the country was invited to come to back the existing Syrian government of elected President Bashar Al-Assad. Compare that to the US that has invaded some seven countries in recent years and is involved in undeclared and illegal wars around the world even now, including Syria, and that has some 800 military bases abroad, including in countries bordering Russia to the West, Turkey to the south, and Japan in the East.

Based upon hard evidence, as opposed to speculation and unsupported claims, Russia, far from being aggressive, is trying to develop expanded trade with Europe, to encourage foreign investment inside Russia, and to diversify its economy beyond being just a resource-based raw-materials exporter so as to raise the living standards of its people. It is not seeking to re-establish a zone of occupied countries in eastern Europe, nor is it even trying (as Moscow demonstrated by prematurely withdrawing most of its forces last year) to occupy and create a vassal state in Syria.

Meanwhile, as the Democrats focus on trying to build up Russia as a Cold War 2.0 bogeyman working in league with President Trump and his motley crew of billionaire cabinet officers and feuding advisors, they are both angering Trump supporters — many of them former working class backers of the Democrats — who aren’t falling for it and instead feel Trump is being unfairly labeled as a traitor — and at the same time are failing to reform the party to return it to its former “New Deal” and “Great Society” roots as a champion of the middle class.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, despite the corrupt, focused efforts of Hillary Clinton backers and the Democratic Party establishment to destroy his campaign, came last year within a whisker of defeating Clinton for the presidential nomination. That upstart campaign, and the tens of thousands of people who showed up at his rallies across the country, not to mention the countless “Sanders” placards in normally Republican-leaning states and counties during the primaries, showed that there is a desperate hunger among America’s working families for a party that will stand up for their interests. These would be things that polls consistently show the public wants, like higher taxes on corporations, increased funding and higher benefit levels for Social Security, better funding for Medicare, a single-payer health care system covering all Americans, lower military spending, a break-up of the nation’s big banks, improved infrastructure, reform of labor laws to make it easier to join a union, free public education through four years of college, and yes, serious action to combat climate change, etc.

That’s where Democrats should be focusing their efforts. Those are the issues they should be working hard now at finding convincing congressional candidates to fight for in coming campaigns over the next year and a half to retake the House and Senate.

But it’s not happening. All the action in the Democratic Party is focused, not out in the grass roots, but in Washington, in a losing game of trying to paint President Trump as a pro-Russian puppet, and in a vain effort to get him impeached by a Republican-led House and Senate.

It would be comical except that it’s just sad.

Unwilling to give up their dream of being the party of the “liberal-minded” and liberally cash-dolling corporate elite — the hedge-fund managers on Wall Street and the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs so ready to talk a good game about support for racial equality and transgender rights as long as they can get their carried interest and their low corporate tax rates, Democrats are continuing to turn a blind eye on the desperate need of most Americans who continue to see their incomes stagnate or even shrink, the prospects for their children shrivel, and their health care become ever harder to afford.

The end result is predictable: Democrats will perform miserably in the 2018 off-year elections, losing a chance to at least retake the House from Republicans, and Trump will manage to get re-elected in 2020, probably with continued control of both houses of Congress.

By the time the Trump nightmare is over in 2024, the country, like its by then water-logged coastlines, will be hard to recognize.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail