Amidst a tense stand-off in the Middle East between Russia and the United States, it is not surprising that tensions are rising by the day. Over the election, rhetoric coming out of the White House and the Kremlin was becoming increasingly antagonistic, which had damaging implications for the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The election just gone can be characterised by the blatant red scare tactics exhibited by Clinton and the Democrats, largely aimed at insinuating that Donald Trump, WikiLeaks, and even Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein were de-facto Kremlin agents.
It felt like we were in the 1960 election as opposed to the 2016 one. The neo-McCarthyism adopted by the Clinton campaign to deflect any reasonable criticisms one may have had of her flawed candidacy was unnecessary and paranoid. Not only this, but it drew attention away from the real issues and problems that America faces as a nation – many of which Clinton and fellow centrists have been the root cause of. Whenever Clinton pivoted to Donald Trump’s or Assange’s alleged ‘associations’ with Russia in response to valid criticism of her campaign – you knew that she was as guilty as sin.
Of course, the baseless red-baiting claims made by Clinton were repeated by her friends in the press. As a uniting figure between both moderate Republican and Democrat establishment media – she commanded swathes of commentators to publish scare stories relating to Donald Trump and the Russian government. Moreover, there was a clear campaign to liken Trump to a host of enemies of the United States, including Joseph Stalin, Hugo Chavez and the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A Clinton supporting Super PAC even made a website to collate these moronic think-pieces called www.putintrump.org. Equipped with a hammer and sickle, despite Trump and Putin both taking the side of the super-rich against the working class, this website serves as an example of the pernicious Cold War 2.0 atmosphere that is poisoning American political discourse.
Interestingly, these absurd comparisons also had another purpose – to absolve the American political and economic system of creating a proto-fascist presidential candidate. By likening Trump to a foreign, largely anti-Western figure, they were purposely ignoring the fact that it is the hyper-capitalist American system that has given Trump and his jingoistic rhetoric the opportunity to thrive. One only has to look at the readings of Leon Trotsky, who described the rise of Nazi Germany as “capitalist society puking up undigested barbarism” to realise the interconnectedness between the two. As advocates of the neoliberal economic order, it is not surprising that much of the commentariat rushed to disassociate the rise of Donald Trump with the broken system they were compelled to defend.
It goes without saying that political attacks on a rival candidate void of any intellectual capacity are deemed fair game during a presidential election. However, it was Clinton’s attacks on whistle-blower WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange that revealed her true intentions – to demonise any threat to her candidacy as a wider Russian plot. It was WikiLeaks that revealed the Democratic National Committee contrived with the Clinton campaign to undermine primary challenger Bernie Sanders – which is in direct contravention with the DNC’s so-called ‘neutrality’ rules. Evidently, anything remotely re-distributive and socialist in its approach was treated with disdain by what is a neoliberal Democratic establishment full of ideologues and representatives of big business.
Instead of addressing why Hillary Clinton and her useful idiots in the DNC were actively working against a progressive movement inside their own party, she immediately went on the attack, claiming WikiLeaks were acting on behalf of the Russian government in an attempt to destabilise her candidacy. Months and several damaging leaks later – the Clinton campaign has still not addressed the plethora of misdemeanours that have been revealed about her and her campaign’s conduct. Instead, she has claimed in national presidential debates that WikiLeaks is colluding with the Russian state without a single shred of evidence to back up her assertions. It appears that McCarthyism is alive and well after all - being used to not only ramp up mind games in the geo-strategic battle for the Middle East as well but also delegitimise the damning content of the leaks in question.
The topics of the presidential debates further illustrate the absurd nature of the anti-Russian point scoring throughout the campaign. In all four presidential debates, Russia was mentioned 178 times and was the most discussed topic. Meanwhile, the national debt, social security, the Supreme Court, racism, income inequality, climate change and privacy were mentioned a total of 83 times combined. Instead of addressing the issues that will impact working Americans every single day, Clinton favoured hawkish, unhinged discourse towards a foreign superpower. Even worse, all of her claims have been proven to be intellectually and morally bankrupt.
There were hundreds of different issues to attack Donald Trump on – he is almost certainly America’s worst President-Elect in modern history. Instead, Clinton and her campaign irresponsibly engaged in mind games with Putin’s Russia in order to whip up anti-Kremlin sentiment while detracting from the serious flaws surrounding her as a candidate. It is a far cry from the rhetoric Clinton was espousing in her primary battle with Bernie Sanders, and as suspected, it appears it was all spin to pander to the centre-left. Her intentions were clear – to escalate conflict with Moscow while painting anyone who did not want to maintain the status quo as a Russian plant. For what it’s worth Hillary, I, for one, am not expecting a Kremlin stamped, Putin signed cheque through the post anytime soon.
This article was originally published in The Morning Star (UK).