The Reluctant Enemy

Israel Shamir — The Unz Review Aug 4, 2016

putin

The DNC 2016 reminded me The Triumph of the Will, the paradigmatic film of Leni Riefenstahl. The fiery oration of “four-star general of the Marine Corps” General (retired) Allen, ready to kick ass of the Russkies, flag-waving, hysterical rhythmical shouts Uoo-eS-Ay, runaway aggressiveness, military pomp and above all exceptionalism of “America is great because America is good”; the United States as an “indispensable, transformational power in the world,” the poisonous mix of Uber Alles and Manifest Destiny fits like a glove to the matrix established at the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany.
There similarity ends: the Demo version is all for the bankers and against the workers, while the Nazis called themselves “the workers party” and spoke against financial capital. The Nazis said they were for the family and the majority, the Dems say they do not care for workers’ votes, as they have enough votes from feminists and queers.
And the Jews are now for, rather than against. The Jewish news agency JTA described General (ret) Allen fire-breathing delivery as “the Jewish moment at DNC … to further reassure the security hawks in the Jewish community” as he promised that “our armed forces will be stronger”. Bill Clinton came with a button saying Hillary in Hebrew, mobilising the Jewish community for Clinton and war. The devoted Zionist Rupert Murdoch published in his New York Post naked pics of Mrs Trump.
An American Israeli writer Bradley Burston wrote in the Haaretz newspaper a piece called This is the war, and Trump is the enemy. We knew that US elections are not for vegetarians. Mark Twain’s witty Running for Governor is an evidence they were and are a no-rules-and-no-prisoners-taken fight. Still, such pieces as that of Burston will easily turn the elections into a shooting, not shouting match.
If your only objection to Nazis was that they were beastly to Jews, you’ll have no objection to American militarism.
The presidential candidates announced their choice of the enemy. Carl Schmitt, a great political philosopher of the last century, said the choice of an enemy is the most important political choice, more important than the choice of a friend: this choice was sealed at the DNC. While the Enemy according to Trump is unemployment, outsourcing, immigration, wars abroad, neocons and free-wheeling allies, the Clintonites chose, or rather confirmed, the Russians as the Enemy.
In words of Jeffrey Sachs, “Hillary is the candidate of Wall Street. Even more dangerous, though, is that she is the candidate of the military-industrial complex supporting every war demanded by the US deep security state run by the military and the CIA.” And now she and her party set their sights on Russia.
The Russians have no say in this decision: they were formally appointed to the high post of The Enemy of the Empire, and this appointment requires no agreement of the victim.
Why were the Russians chosen? Who else fits the bill? The US war machine needs an enemy, and the world is not that large. Europe is subdued and occupied. China is too big, India is too soft, the Arabs are too small. Japan was fitted for an enemy in early Nineties, but surrendered. Putin perfectly understood the US war machine’s search for an enemy when he proposed to Americans at the UN they fight the Islamic State together with Russia. This nefarious Islamic State remains a possibility that will have to do, meanwhile, but for a greater and more serious enemy, able to attract nice budgets, Russia suits best.
Russia has an additional charm: it is a successor state to the USSR, that was the designated enemy for the West for a long time, until 1991. Thus it is a traditional enemy. Hillary as a Goldwater Girl supported the most warlike Russia-hating candidate, and apparently she still remembers the thrill. It is true that Russia’s enemy status had been explained by the satanic nature of godless communism, and this explanation is as dead as a dodo, but explanations are not reasons, they are secondary rhetorical devices. The reason is the need for an enemy so the war budget will grow nicely and keep generals and weapon manufacturers in the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
Liberal-interventionists are wonderfully good at explaining away why fighting an enemy chosen by the war machine is necessary and good for mankind. They are too good at it: they succeed in demonizing the enemy to such an extent that peace become impossible. For them, every adversary who did not duck fast enough is a new Hitler. Now it is Russia and Putin.
Russians often wonder what can be done to avoid American wrath. The answer is nothing. This is not Crimea, as before Crimea there were other explanations, notably the lack of gay adoration, a refusal to let Russian children be exported abroad for same sex “families”. Before that, there was Putin the dictator. Even earlier, there was corruption, Russian mafia and unfair ownership of abundant resources that should belong to mankind meaning to the US corporations, as per Madeleine Albright. It makes no sense to fight explanations, for the Russians can’t change the reason: the real need of the US war machine is to have an enemy.
Americans should decide whether they want to keep fighting new Hitlers and enrich generals, bankers and mass-media owners. If they want this, Clinton will do nicely. Listening to these guys brings America to war with fearsome regularity. But if they do not, they have a choice.
Donald Trump is not a “lesser evil” – he is a fearless man who intends to change the US paradigm from war to peaceful tending of its own garden. I am amazed by Trump’s fortitude in the affair of the dead Muslim officer and his family. The story is clear: this man died for the US war machine in a war of aggression that killed (and continues to kill) millions of Muslims and Christians in the Middle East. He died, in effect if not in intention, to bring the Islamic State to power. His father disgustingly used his son’s death to promote his son’s ultimate killer. Trump said something quite soft along these lines, and he was assaulted by his enemies in the Party and outside. I would cringe and collapse in face of such attack, but Trump did not give in an inch.
Notably, the most warlike Republican Senator John McCain condemned Trump for speaking against the fallen soldier and his family. This is the same McCain who betrayed his fellow soldiers in the captivity of Vietnam. Ron Unz convincingly proved that McCain was the man whose mendacious testimony doomed the POW and MIA American soldiers to remain forever and die in the foreign land. This horrible crime notwithstanding, he became a Senator and a spokesman for the war machine. He blessed the Islamic State, he arranged a photo-op with the head-chopping monsters in Syria and Iraq, he called for delivery of weapons to the Ukraine. One of the first deeply satisfying acts by Donald Trump was his refusal to endorse the old criminal for re-election due this month. Hopefully good people of Arizona will send him to hell where he belongs.
An enemy can be used in many ways. Clinton used Russia as a means of changing the subject. While Wikileaks published the hacked DNC correspondence showing that followers of Clinton committed massive fraud by discounting millions of votes for Sanders, and her position trembled, they accused the Russians of the hack, Wikileaks of being the Russian tool and Trump of being Putin’s stooge.
Our colleague in Counterpunch was astonished by “the howls of indignation at Russian hacking of U.S. citizens’ communications. Have whistle-blowers not made it known to us that the NSA maintains records on the phone calls and internet activity of virtually everybody, everywhere? That they routinely monitor the communications of Angela Merkel, the pope, the UN Secretary General etc. without any sense of shame?” We know from Snowden files, that the US surveillance of Russian communications is near total. The State Department is proud of its interfering in elections in other states, including Russia.
So even if true, such a hack would be a case of what goes around comes around. I would welcome the Kremlin helping those forces in the United States that stand for peace with Russia and for democracy in America. But it is not the case. The Russians aren’t involved in the DNC hack. The Intercept said that NSA would know that, and the NSA did not confirm the hack.
So-called “pointers” of Russian involvement could be easily planted or manufactured. There are many Russian programmers outside Russia, in Israel and the US. “If hackers wanted to make it seem as if they were coming from Russia, they would put strings of Russian in their code and then compromise a machine somewhere in Russia and use it to launch the attack”, said USA Today, definitely not a Russian fan. I closely read all the reports: they are full of weasel words “likely”, “one can’t exclude”, “it stands to reason”. The headlines are bold and decisive: “The Russians did it”, but small script is far from conclusive.
Julian Assange said: “There is no proof of [Russian involvement] whatsoever. We have not disclosed our source, and of course, this is a diversion that’s being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign. That’s a meta-story. The real story is what these emails contain and they show collusion. The very head of the Democratic party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is now being forced to resign.”
There is no doubt that the publication of emails has been beneficial for the public. Julian Assange did a great thing disclosing the plot against the American people when he published the DNC emails. A long time ago, when I first met him, he told me: we shall uncover the plots of the elite against the people—and he was true to his promise.
Russians are nowhere in this story. I’d hail their participation, if they would unmask the DNC fraud, but they try to keep at arm’s length from Western dissidents, such as Assange and Snowden.
If Julian Assange were as close to Russians as they insinuate, he would be now in Moscow, not in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Actually the Russians were quite suspicious of Wikileaks, and for a long time they suspected it was a covert operation of the US secret services. In the same time others suspected it was a Mossad operation partly because Israel Shamir was there, and partly because no dirt on Israel was published. So Wikileaks was at once attacked as a Russian, American and Israeli spy outlet, and this is a perfect proof that it was none of those.
The Russians did not want to take Snowden, as well, and Snowden did not want to come to Russia. He was on a connecting transit flight from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he was supposed just to change planes and continue to Venezuela via Havana. It did not work out, as his US passport was cancelled by Obama. Snowden spent over a month in very uncomfortable conditions in Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport, until the Russians agreed to give him temporary asylum.
In short, Russians were and are unwilling enemies. They prefer to be friends, or at least partners with the US and European states. They do not want to quarrel, let alone fight a war. Now they are busy organising their life. They had spent a fortune doing a complete facelift of Moscow, turning this rather grim and rundown city into shining and comfortable European megalopolis with bicycle paths, new trees planted in tens of thousands, houses painted and roads brought to mint condition.
They seriously fight corruption: provincial governors, ministers, generals on the take have found their new home in Lefortovo Prison. Greedy personal friends of Putin like the head of Russian Customs lost their jobs. Godfathers of mafia families go to jail, too, beginning with the biggest of them. It appears that Putin decided to undertake the fifth labour of Hercules: he is cleaning the Augean stables of Russia, undoing the criminal webs formed in the days of President Yeltsin.
For this reason I believe that Donald Trump has a chance to change the ways of the world. He can stop the war machine, and put the money to work for the benefit of the ordinary Americans. Instead of spending a cool trillion on new nuclear weapons he can repair the infrastructure, bring industries back home and make the US great again. He will be able to do it because the person Clinton wants to have as the enemy, namely Vladimir Putin prefers friendship and partnership.

This article was first published in The Unz Review.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.

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