Tuesday, January 10, 2017


     While Islamic terrorism rages violently at home and abroad, the two most prominent pseudo-Republicans in the U.S. Senate are busy directing their sputtering wrath against a fellow target of such terrorism:  the Russian Republic.

     Senators John McCain (Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have joined embittered Democrat allies in cultivating the canard that purported Russian "hacking" of various Democratic-operated computer systems somehow tilted the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump -- and thus undermined U.S. democracy. 

     It is hard to say whether McCain and Graham are having more fun recklessly attacking Russia or rashly seeking to undermine the legitimacy of Mr. Trump's 304-227 electoral vote presidency before it begins.  Both of them are horribly failed presidential candidates: McCain having surrendered almost without a struggle in the general election against Obama in 2008, and Graham having experienced defeat of ignominious proportions in his disastrous campaign in the 2016 GOP primaries.  It would be unfair, however, to suggest that their apparent determination to undermine Mr. Trump's incipient presidency by playing the Russia Card is motivated in any way by political jealousy and resentment.  Unfair, but not necessarily wrong.

     Whatever the motivation, these embittered cranks have indulged in Russophobic rants the likes of which have not been seen since the Red Hysteria at the height of the Cold War.

Unlike Russia's world champion lady figure skater, angry senators do not make a pretty picture to post on Splashing Rocks.  Courtesy YouTube.                   

     At recent senate hearings, for example, McCain inveighed that "every American should be alarmed" by Russia's purported meddling in the presidential election and that Russia's activities constituted "an unprecedented attack on our democracy."

     But SR is not at all "alarmed" by the fact that Russia engages in cyber-aided intelligence activities in the U.S., just as the U.S. and its allies do the same, and more, in other countries. 

     Here, for instance, is a quote from the same Washington Post that purports to be so "alarmed" by Russia's reputed cyber-spying on the feebly protected Democratic-operated computer systems during the past election period:  "U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011, the leading edge of a clandestine campaign that embraces the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Washington Post."  (WP, Aug. 30, 2013). The story went on to state that Russia was among the "top priority targets" of these "offensive cyberoptions [that] can be an important element in deterring certain adversaries.”

     If the U.S. has been aggressively engaging in such widespread offensive Cyber-operations against Russia and other countries, it is hardly "alarming" or "unprecedented" that Russia engages in similar operations here.  Indeed, as documented elsewhere, Democrats in the past have sought the then Soviet Union's help in their futile campaigns against Ronald Reagan.

     Yet the enraged Sen. McCain has gone so far as to charge that Russia's purported cyber activities constituted "an act of war," with the logical implication that a proportional bellicose response would be demanded.  What particular responsive "act of war" McCain recommends is not clear. 

     In any case, it ill behooves John McCain to rage against Russia's purported distortion of a U.S. presidential election outcome when McCain's own preemptive unilateral disengagement effectively conceded the 2008 presidential election to the divisive anti-constitutional candidacy of Barack Hussein Obama. 

     As a prime example, McCain perversely refused to raise, let alone press, the critically relevant issue of Obama's contemptible affiliation with Jeremiah Wright, the rabidly afro-racist preacher who was Obama's spiritual guru.  In effect, McCain deprived millions of ingenuous American voters of information that would have been crucial to an informed, moral, and intelligent vote.  McCain again diverted voters from the truth when he sought to suppress a campaign audience's entirely justifiable concerns about Obama's fitness for the presidency with this incredibly feckless campaign statement:  “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.”  That was false; as events have proven, voters had every reason to fear the divisive, anti-constitutional Obama presidency.  In short, McCain was withholding truthful information about the dangerous, radical leftist candidate he was supposedly opposing.

     In contrast, the supposedly subversive actions attributed to Russia (and WikiLeaks) during the 2016 campaign, if true, actually enhanced the voters' knowledge of the Democratic candidate and her party.

     Although McCain's Russophobic fulminations are disturbing enough, his sidekick, Sen. Graham, has gone to even greater extremes in his anti-Russian rants -- to the point of impugning the political integrity and patriotism of any Republican who disagrees with him on the issue, while leveling ever more bellicose charges against Russia.

     In a recent appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," for example, Graham engaged in the following diatribe aimed at supporters of the President-elect: “To my Republican friends who are gleeful, you’re making a huge mistake. . . . Most Republicans are condemning what Russia did and to those who are gleeful it [sic]you’re a political hack. You’re not a Republican and you’re not a patriot.” He then continued his insulting rant by aligning himself squarely with the Democrat position on this issue ("When one party is compromised all of us are compromised," which is literally false) and calling for "bipartisan" anti-Russian sanctions -- all of which falls squarely in line with the Democrat objective of elevating the importance of the Russian activities with a view to delegitimizing Trump's victory, and his presidency.

     But Graham lurched even further into geopolitical lunacy with his incendiary remarks at a hearing held to showcase the angry duo's determination to engage in brinksmanship which neither of them will have to back up with action.  Flaunting his willingness to go far beyond Obama's diplomatic expulsion measures against Russia for the alleged hacking, Graham stated (emphasis added):

          "So, ladies and gentlemen, it is time now not to throw pebbles, but to throw rocks. I wish we were not here. If it were up to me, we would all live in peace, but Putin is up to no good, and he needs to be stopped."
     Graham did not specify what he meant by "throwing rocks," but his plain implication was that we could no longer "live in peace" with Russia because Putin "needs to be stopped."

     These are extreme and needlessly bellicose statements, out of all proportion to the purported Russian activities to which they are directed.  Fortunately, both President-elect Trump and President Putin are more rational and level-headed than Sen. Graham, and neither is likely accept his invitation to a new round of escalation and brinksmanship reminiscent of the Cold War.
     Nonetheless, it is worth considering the reckless and utterly imprudent nature of Graham's impetuous rant.

     Someone should remind Graham that a genuine conflict with Russia would not be conducted by "throwing rocks."  Although Russia's conventional forces are inferior to ours, Russia's nuclear capacity is reportedly at almost exact parity with the U.S. in terms of nuclear weapons deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles:  each country is believed to have about 1,640, although the details are obviously classified.  In other words, Russia remains an extremely dangerous global nuclear power, not to mention a formidable conventional arms power as well in the European theater.

     Given these realities, why would any responsible U.S. leader wish to cultivate hostile and confrontational relations with Russia except under the most severe provocation?  Although the purported Russian "hacking" of computer information carelessly maintained by various Democratic entities and persons would be objectionable, and would warrant appropriately measured response, it is far from the menacing "act of war" so glibly invoked by McCain and Graham.  As asserted in the above-quoted Washington Post report, U.S. intelligence services have likewise pursued "a clandestine campaign that embraces the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war."  Under these circumstances, it seems hardly prudent for the U.S. to suddenly treat the inherently devious and subversive acts of espionage, cyber intelligence, and propaganda engaged in by the U.S. and other nations as incendiary acts of war.

     Instead, it would probably be best if everyone took a deep breath and recognized the distinction between the Marxist-Leninist, atheistic, and world revolutionary Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; versus the emphatically Christian, heavily privatized, profit-loving and capitalistic, and Slavic-oriented Russian Republic.  Russia and President Putin have more interest in propping up their economy, suppressing Chechnyan and other Islamic terrorism, and securing their interests along their western border than in any kind of direct confrontation with the United States.  Not to mention maintaining the most graceful and talented array of lady figure skaters in the civilized world.

     In short, there are apt to be more areas of contained competition -- and even mutual interest -- between the U.S. and Russia than areas of irreducible conflict.

     President-elect Trump is prudent and reasonable in stating that it is foolish to denigrate and undermine good relations with Russia, as Senators McCain and Graham seem determined to do.  The U.S. faces more than enough imminent threats on its own borders and in the realm of global Islamic terrorism for it to seek confrontation and brinkmanship with Russia.


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