What to expect from Russia and what to expect from the USA.
We should expect any government of Russia to defend its interests, especially near its own territory and for their government not to trust our government most of the time.
We should expect our government officials to feed us a very skewed and one sided version of international affairs and paint Russia as “Putin and the bad guys”. (Great name for a punk rock band?)
The reason why most Americans have a distorted view of Russia, Putin and what is going on in the Ukraine, Syria and about a dozen other places was on full display on NPR’s Morning Edition in an interview with an expert named Jon Finer.
Who the hell is Jon Finer? A former State Secretary John Kerry senior staffer back when it was the Obama administration who was busy with a number of very aggressive actions against Russia and its allies. In other words, he is one of the people responsible for creating the mess we are in with Russia and in Syria.
Jon Finer, as interviewed by David Green, was supposedly telling us what the current Secretary of State, oil exec turned Trump official Rex Tillerson should expect from those (rascal) Russians.
First off, expert Finer talked as if the Russians were all of one mind and were categorical about everything their government might want from ours. Putin and “the Russians” are synonyms given a character of a cagey personality that is up to something making Boris and Natasha seem like the sophisticated portrayal of Eastern Europe.
Let’s hope that Rex Tillerson, who as an oil exec knows a lot about Russia, might be more nuanced than this “objective expert” and knows that it depends very much on which Russians he talks to as to what their priorities are.
Finer gets to his worse when he starts to pigeon hole all Russians saying that they will come up with all kinds of outlandish points to obfuscate the Syria issues implying that these Russian complaints are without value because they are old or unrelated. For these two “way back then” means last year.
What did he mention as off topic or out dated in Russian-American international affairs?
- Cold War actions by the United States.
- The invasion of Iraq claiming weapons of mass destruction.
- US and Saudi involvement in backing armed groups in Syria.
- Other actions along the Russian border itself, such as overthrowing the government of the Ukraine or placing missiles in Poland claiming that they protect Europe from Iran.
Finer’s discourse could be summed up in two words: pooh-pooh.
And Greens journalism with the two words: yuk-yuk.
They agreed that it was over the top for the Russian foreign affairs department to demand that the United States “show us the proof” about the gas attacks as if having proof before sending 80 million dollars’ worth of missiles against an air base in Syria was a trifling formality.
(This is where the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq story stops being faded old news)
Far from being outlandishly obscure arguments distracting talks from the subject at hand, these are the reasons most of the Russian government does not trust our State Department and are not willing to join the latest US government demand that the Russian government drop its decade’s old support for the current Syrian government.
It's probably good to hear one of these pseudo journalists talk to one of our pseudo experts playing down what officialdom does not want to address. It is not fake news, it is pseudo news that informs us of where our officialdom wants limit and guide public debate and what they want to talk about. In this case Finer also gave away what he does not want to talk about.
For more realistic and professional reports one should go to independent media talking with more independent analysts.
The same morning you could find exactly that on Democracy Now. Amy Goodman talking with Allan Nairn is just as much two like-minded individuals expounding on their views as the Green-Finer show, with the exception that Allan Nairn is bringing up some of the facts that Finer finds irrelevant, such as the fact that the United States has already been bombing Syria for a while and has killed more civilians than were ever gassed.
As an admitted news junkie taking in news from several different sources in a few different languages each week, I will report that the NPR report was playing down exactly what everyone else is reporting as the main issues in play. It is frightening to see how far our mainstream press is from covering the outstanding issues and how often what we are told is simplistic and loaded with the most deadly and successful of all lies: the half-truth.
Allan Nairn is not the best Middle East expert that Democracy Now puts on the air, nor is he meant to be. The Nairn story was meant to be an editorial interview, yet it had more news than the NPR story that claimed to be information.
A visit to the Democracy Now website would bring you to interviews with some very informed people, left right and center on our current relationship with Russia and our current involvement in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ukraine and Afghanistan (to name the main ones with shooting right now). Listen to the whole Nairn interview for some insights to other issues such as NATO expansion and our New Right.
One interview that struck me in the past couple months was a former US ambassador who said that if any Russian leader did not oppose the eastward expansion of NATO, they would probably be overthrown. (Subject for a different blog).
The NPR story was called “What To Expect As Tillerson Travels To Moscow”.
I doubt that we got what it promised, but we did get an idea of what to expect from Democrat and Republican officials and their domesticated press.