Before we begin today’s commentary, I want you to listen to a part of the below linked video and let me know what you think. This video
was produced by a group that says it wants to improve US-Russian relations. Start at minute 30 and listen to this man’s suggestions for improving US-Russian relations.
Then please send me your thoughts on the following:
In your opinion, does this man have a sensible idea for how to improve Russian-US relations?
Does he understand Putin, his philosophy and his MO? That is, does he have reasonable expectations for Putin based on what you know about Putin? (I am assuming most of you have read my articles on Putin and Russia here, here, here, here and elsewhere. If not, it would be good to read some of this before responding).
Keep in mind that the group that posted this video has the avowed goal of making Russians and Americans understand each other. Earlier in the video the speaker says he does not like Putin. Do you think the Russian people will sympathize with this man because they too have misgivings about Putin or do you think Russians generally like Putin and will be put off?
I will appreciate your taking the time to respond to at least part of this.
We have various groups that say they want to end war. I wanted you to see what some of these groups are doing so that you can assess their work and their approaches to the problem they are attempting to solve.
I would prefer if you would take the time to provide your answer below at the forum, but you may also write me directly. Thank you!
Now back to today’s business:
Our fear is killing us:
by Don Hank
Let me start off with an anecdote. Today I was walking in our neighborhood with my wife when a young dog, an obviously very playful and gentle female, came up to us and started rearing up and putting its paws on our legs to be petted. I petted its head and fell in love with it right away. But my wife started getting nervous and declared “I’m afraid it will bite us.” What was the source of her irrational fear? She had heard the old myth that if an animal smells your fear, it will attack you. Try as I might, I could not calm her or convince her that this myth does not apply to gentle dogs that do not bite.
This encounter with the gentle dog reminded me of Westerners and their irrational fear of Russia, Assad, Iran, all far-away places that we are supposed to fear and hate and that we are trying to destroy because of the fear ginned up daily by the press and the political class.
The following email from our friend JB is a clue as to why Trump is even more dangerous than GW Bush.
My email correspondent JB, a staunch fiscal conservative with a Master’s from a prestigious university, would agree that the msm are not reliable. But now Trump is president, and Trump is in agreement with the same msm that falsely accused him of being a Kremlin spy, so his followers now suddenly believe the press. This kind of thinking would seem silly to any unbiased rational person. But many Americans do not question the leaders we have chosen. To do so would be embarrassing and make us feel guilty. So we blindly let the tail wag the dog, and pray.
Why do we do this? In fact, both sides focus on their evidence, but this exchange with JB shows that evidence is not the issue here. The real issue is found in the fields of anthropology and mass psychology – that is, the mindset of the average American and what makes him tick.
The most solid evidence that the US citizen lets the tail wag the dog is the fact that after Donald Trump sided 100% with the Establishment, the US people kept siding with him thinking that they were being anti-Establishment. In fact they were now being Trump Establishment, of course. No different from the run-of-the-mill Establishment.
They were in fact suffering from a bad case of group-think, and what they believed to be thought processes were nothing more nor less than a monkey-see-monkey-do slave mentality. They were looking over their shoulders to see what other “anti-Establishment” people were doing and saying, and they were imitating them as best they could – for warmth, the same reason cows huddle together in the winter time. For the most part, they simply let Trump do the leading and switched off their brains. After all, they shallowly reasoned – if it could be called reasoning – since Trump has proven himself as the anti-Establishment leader, then we can trust him (OMG!). Yet Trump had never been a political leader before he began siding with the Establishment that he claimed to oppose. He had been a candidate. Candidates are not leaders. They are just basically car salesmen, some selling decent cars, some selling lemons. They become leaders only once they assume the presidency. But once Trump entered the White House, he almost immediately switched sides and let the Neocon / Neoliberal Establishment lead HIM. Now he is clearly selling lemons and the public is buying them without question.
Tragically, very few noticed this, and aside from a few bloggers like myself, who are not ambitious to land important positions in msm or politics, no one has any interest in exposing the ugly reality. Only by following and supporting a powerful movement can an activist succeed in the West-osphere In fact, let me tell you something personal.
Two writers and activists, who purport to be in favor of getting along with the Russians recently contacted me and complimented me on my work. But I noted that they only praised me for forwarding the work of other authors, never my own personal writing. I admit, I am utterly incendiary and no one knows what to do with me (because, while my writing often stings, I carefully document everything I say). Few up and coming Western activists or authors would dare quote me (though I often see the ideas expressed at my humble web site finding their way into their writings). Their narrative is that I am too pro-Russian, and on top of that, pro-Assad and, —gasp!—pro-Iran! But our president has commanded us to hate and fear Iran. So I am dangerously out of step and for now they won’t touch me. Eventually, they will cautiously let me know I was right, but only after the current administration has led them over the cliff and it becomes fashionable to disagree with Trump.
Therefore, the legions who are currently following Trump into WW III would not dare express support for my opinions. Not yet.
But who loses here? Is a warmonger who fails to see the risk of provoking a nuclear power not the real danger and not a little guy with no skin in the game who is only trying to warn America of a grave danger?
I guess WW III is no big deal. I have even had close friends tell me that human beings have no business trying to prevent wars using reason because – are you ready? – only God makes wars and only government “experts” are qualified to discuss war-related issues in detail. I kid you not. I have been told that by friends!
This commentary is a hard lesson in American anthropology. And this is one very important reason why more than 50% of Americans now agree with Trump’s attack on the Shayrat airbase, despite the fact that no investigation was conducted – or even called for – by the administration. We watched GW Bush do the same sort of thing in Iraq, we saw it fail catastrophically in the long run, and yet, it is the adrenaline rush, the emotion of the moment, and the desire to please powerful people who are in fact our enemy, that drives us. No rational considerations need apply. So what are the chances now of us shaking off our emotion-induced stupor and realizing that we are buying one more lemon from the car salesman-in-chief du jour? Does America stand a chance? Well, perhaps about as much chance as we have of the FED and Congress spontaneously ending deficit spending before we fall over the debt cliff. America – both official and private – is a creature of habit, and so far shows no sign whatsoever of abandoning ingrained deadly habits. It is my humble conclusion that any change in our thinking must come from outside the country. The US is not yet capable of governing itself.