While the world is focused on the conflict in the Middle East, and the threat
to Europe posed by increasing terrorist attacks, the reality is that the “war
on terrorism” is being displaced by the West’s renewed cold war with Russia.
This is true for a couple of reasons:
1) For all the dramatic headlines they generate, ISIS and similar groups are
minor players in the scheme of things. Yes, al-Qaeda brought down the World
Trade Center and even got a shot at the Pentagon, but it and its mutant offspring
never represented an existential threat to the United States and its allies.
The most they can do is harass, provoke – and provide a convenient pretext for
Western governments to launch military expeditions and extend their powers on
the home front.
2) Foreign and domestic policy cannot be separated out, one from the other,
and there is little political motivation for Western political elites to continue
what was effectively a war on Islam launched by the administration of George
W. Bush. Indeed, they are seeing in the rise of Donald Trump a good reason to
put an end to it, as calls to ban Muslim immigration and a domestic political
backlash against our keystone alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states
is threatening the sacred “international order.”
With the “war on terrorism,” and the war weariness of the American public providing
little justification for huge expenditures on armaments and military force projection,
the War Party is looking for new enemies to demonize – and finding the perfect
candidate in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
This shift has been going on for some time, and the process has recently escalated
due to domestic political pressures in the US. As Donald Trump has called into
question the range of alliances that have created tripwires from the Pacific
to the steppes of Central Asia, the staunchly internationalist Democrats and
their neoconservative allies have responded with an all-out smear campaign linking
Trump to Russia. The Clinton campaign has released a new online
ad that all but says Trump is a Russian agent. Indeed, former CIA head Michael
Morrel wrote an op
ed piece for the New York Times endorsing Clinton, in which he wrote:
“Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not
American, interests – endorsing Russian espionage against the United States,
supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible
Russian invasion of the Baltic States.
“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited
Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
To say this is disgusting nonsense is an understatement. Anyone who questions
the utility of NATO is an “unwitting” KGB agent? If you want to “get along”
with Russia, as Trump has said, you’re a tool of the…