Connect with us




America’s Russophobic craze is sabotaging peace and building China into a major power

The end result of engineering conflict between the US and Russia is a shift of power to the orient




(The National Interest) – When thinking about male-pattern baldness, what comes immediately to mind? Genetics? Thanks for this, grandad.

But then I conducted my own scientific research and discovered the following: I started losing hair at the temples or the crown of the head when Vladimir Putin first held the position of president from 2000 to 2008, and my hairline receded big time after the Russian leader took office again in 2008.

Coincidence? Or is it possible that the balding Putin, resenting the hairy Dmitry Medvedev, not to mention those American presidents with their incredible full heads of hair, decided to do something about that? Isn’t that what you would expect from the Kremlin’s notorious alpha male, who was probably envious of my Fabio-like flawless hair in the late 1990s?

So did my hair loss have anything to do with the RT programs I started watching in the beginning of the new century? Or with the news reports on I was devouring daily? Or perhaps my bald spot was expanding as a result of paying more attention to the sexy Russian ads on Facebook? Or should I blame those Russian trolls on the social media who wanted to become my virtual friends and were posting videos of cats playing the piano on YouTube?

Well, after an extensive research of the topic, I am now more inclined to blame my late grandpa, not Putin, for my receding hairline.

But then surely we can still all agree that the Kremlin has been responsible for much the problems plaguing the world today, like the rising protectionist tide and the emergence of right-wing nationalist political parties in Europe. And of course, Putin was behind the election of President Donald Trump and the Brexit vote.

In fact, according to a study issued last week, one of the many research projects conducted these days about alleged Russian intervention in the electoral process of this or other country, more than 150,000 Russian-language Twitter accounts posted tens of thousands of messages in English urging Britain to leave the European Union in the days leading to last year’s referendum on the issue.

Similarly, the Spanish media have been accusing Russia of playing a major role in the Catalan independence crisis by employing its state-controlled media outlets, like RT and Sputnik, and its legions of trolls on Facebook and Twitter, as part of a strategy to encourage Catalan separatism. Much like the case of Brexit, Russia has been accused of trying to weaken the EU and NATO and devastate the West.

Many of these “the Russians did it” accounts assume that supporters of Brexit in England’s East and West Midlands and the pro-Trump voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as well the backers of independence in Catalonia, were driven to the polls by a sophisticated propaganda campaign directed from Moscow, which is believed to have coordinated with candidate Trump and his aides.

Indeed, according to a report on the Russian electoral interference, released by America’s intelligence agencies on January 6, the coordinated activities of RT and the online-media properties and social-media accounts that make up “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine” have been utilized by Moscow to “undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order.”

Yep. Forget about the impact the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy had on the British public, or the impact of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s bashing of the “deplorables,” or the rise of secessionist movements in Catalonia—not to mention the deep structural economic and political changes sweeping the West in response to the effects of unrestrained globalization and mass migration, and the backlash against the political and business elites. It’s the Russians, stupid!

We are supposed to buy into the notion that white blue-collar workers in deindustrializing areas of the Rust Belts of the United States and the UK spent the last days of the 2016 Brexit campaign and the American presidential race getting their news from RT and Sputnik while exchanging tweets with Russia-friendly trolls. We are supposed to believe that they just couldn’t get enough of those ads on Facebook, which induced them to switch their support from Hillary to Trump.

If Russian propaganda is to be blamed for Trump’s electoral victory, we might as well take seriously serial killer Ted Bundy’s explanation for raping and murdering women in the 1970s. Pornography drove his behavior, he insisted during an interview a day before his execution. Penthouse made him commit all those horrific crimes!

But contrary to communication scholar Marshall McLuhan’s quip, the medium is not the message or the massage. The same news story or political or commercial advertising would have different effects on different audiences of perhaps have no effect at all.

You probably won’t be able to convince an Eskimo to spend his or her vacation in Antarctica or to sell sand to Bedouins in the Arabian Peninsula. Nor would a billionaire financing an expansive campaign in support of polygamy have a major impact on the views of the large majority of Americans.

This explains why the extensive Soviet propaganda machine had almost no effect on American public opinion during the Cold War, and why it was mocked by those who were exposed to it.

That RT, which, according to a 2015 survey of the top ninety-four cable channels in America by Nielsen, a research firm, captured at one point just 0.04 percent of American viewers, suggests that today’s Russian global-propaganda apparatus, isn’t much more effective. It certainly has not had much impact when it comes to reaching British voters in the country’s rural areas who spend more time drinking in pubs than watching RT.

America’s spooks, who asserted in their much-cited report that RT videos get one million views a day on YouTube, didn’t bother to add that much of what it posts there consists of footage of natural disasters or dancing dogs.

But then how do you explain that the loser in the 2016 presidential race and her allies spent about $1.4 billion on their campaign, including on ads, compared to the roughly $1 billion spent by the winner’s campaign? How do you explain that some of the best media strategists on the planets were working on Clinton’s campaign?

If you watched the recent grilling of the heads of the social-media companies on Capitol Hill, then you might conclude that what turned the election outcome in Trump’s direction was a decision by “the Russians” to spend $100,000 on Facebook ads and the “Russian trolls” who posted disinformation or fake news online.

Recall that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook was until recently considered by Democratic lawmakers to be a cross between Henry Ford and Albert Einstein, while liberal pundits celebrated Facebook as a leading force promoting democracy and freedom worldwide, not to mention its role in helping Barack Obama win two presidential elections.

But now that they conclude that Zuckerberg supposedly provided a platform to the disinformation campaign of the notorious Putin and his evil partner, Trump, Facebook is “too big” and it and the rest of the social media need to be regulated.

But as Democratic campaign consultant, Mark Penn, explained in the Wall Street Journal, there is no evidence that the Facebook ads and fake news had any effect on the election outcome.

“Even a full $100,000 of Russian ads would have erased just 0.025 percent of Hillary financial advantage in the campaign,” wrote Penn, who calculated that only half of the “Russian” ads went to swing states. In the last week of the campaign alone, Clinton’s Super PAC dumped $6 million on ads into Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

If the Russians were indeed engaged in a propaganda campaign, it proved overall to be very inept and amateurish. Certainly there are no signs that RT has captured larger American television audiences than other foreign-media outlets, like the moribund Al Jazeera America, or similar operations launched by China and other foreign governments.

But don’t tell that to the Washington elites who, through media reports and a government investigation, have continued trying to convince themselves and the rest of us that Russia, in collusion with Trump campaign officials, was responsible for Clinton’s election loss.

Their efforts have gained steam thanks in part to the way that Trump and his close aides conducted their campaign. Boasting that they would not rely on the assistance of so-called Washington insiders and disregarding standard operating procedures, like the need to properly vet political advisors with or without ties to foreign governments and businesses, they made it easier for their adversaries to depict telephone conservations and brief conversations with Russian diplomats and businessmen as “collusion.”

It’s important to point out the obvious: the United States and Russia are not at war and the Americans maintain extensive diplomatic and economic ties with the Russians, much like they do with the Chinese communists or the Saudi theocrats. That China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Israel and other friends and frenemies spend a lot of money recruiting political allies in Washington or expanding their business operations in the United States shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone. It would also explain why any big time lobbyist and political operator maintains some sort of ties to these countries.

The current demonization of Russia as a global threat to American interests and values, and of President Putin as the world’s leading arch-villain, can be explained as an extension of the Cold War, of auto-piloting a foreign-policy paradigm that Republicans and Democrats feel comfortable with. But that is intellectually dishonest, considering American partnerships with mass-murderers like Stalin and Mao, and runs contrary to U.S. interests.

First, the preoccupation with the alleged Russian threat makes it impossible to cooperate with Moscow in dealing with common interests in the Middle East and elsewhere, which was President Trump’s goal in reaching out to Moscow, hoping to work out a deal to end the civil war in Syria and reduce the costs of American intervention in the Middle East.

Moreover, the long-term challenge to U.S. global military and economic power is China, and not that second-rate power, Russia.

The continuing American obsession with Russia, like the never-ending military interventions in the Middle East, plays directly into Chinese hands and makes it less likely that Washington would be able to develop an effective strategy to deal with China, including through ad-hoc cooperation with Moscow.

Instead, keeping the Russia collusion story would only encourage China and Russia to further collaborate over and target U.S. interests. And unlike my receding hairline, that isn’t a funny joke.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Notify of


Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone



Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:

The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


EU’s ‘toothless’ response to creation of Kosovo army risks worsening the crisis – Moscow

Russia’s ambassador to the UN said that the EU could have and should have done more to stop the breakaway region from creating its own army.





Via RT…

The creation of Kosovo’s own 5,000-strong army is a threat to peace and security in a turbulent region and may lead to a new escalation, Russia’s UN envoy has warned, calling the EU’s lackluster response irresponsible.

Speaking at the UN Security Council emergency meeting on Kosovo, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzya said that the EU could have and should have done more to stop the breakaway region from creating its own army to replace its lightly armed emergency response force.

“The EU reaction to the decision by Pristina cannot be described as other than toothless. This irresponsible policy has crossed the line,” Nebenzya said, after the UNSC meeting on Monday.

The diplomat said the lack of decisive action on the part of the 28-member bloc was a “great disappointment,” adding that the EU seems to “have turned a blind eye on the illegal creation of Kosovo’s ‘army.’”

The law, approved by Kosovo lawmakers on Friday, paves the way for doubling the size of the current Kosovo Security Force and for turning it into a de facto army, with 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 reservists.

The move did not go down well even with Kosovo’s usual backers, with both NATO and the EU voicing their indignation. NATO’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg called the decision “ill-timed” and lamented that Kosovo’s authorities had ignored “the concerns expressed by NATO.”

The EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, has echoed those concerns, saying in a statement that the mandate of Kosovo’s forces “should only be changed through an inclusive and gradual process” in accordance with the state’s constitution.

The only nation to openly applaud the controversial move was the US, with its ambassador to Kosovo, Phillip Kosnett, saying that Washington “reaffirms its support” for the upgrade as it is “only natural for Kosovo as a sovereign, independent country” to have a full-fledged army.

The Kosovo MPs’ decision has drawn anger in the Serbian capital Belgrade and provoked a strong response from Moscow, which calledon the UN mission in Kosovo to demilitarize the area in accordance with UNSC resolution 1244, and to disband any armed units.

Nebenzya pointed out that the UN resolution does not allow any Kosovo Albanian military units to be present in the region’s territory. He accused Western countries, including members of the NATO-led international peacekeeping force (KFOR), of “condoning and supporting” the violation by Pristina of the resolution.

It is feared that the army, though a relatively small force, might inflame tensions in the region and impede attempts at reconciliation between Pristina and Belgrade. Serbia has warned that it might consider an armed intervention if the army becomes a threat to the 120,000-strong Serb minority in Kosovo.

“The advance of Kosovo’s army presents a threat to the peace and security in the region, which may lead to the recurrence of the armed conflict,” Nebenzya stated.

In addition to creating its own army, Kosovo in November hit Serbia with a 100 percent import tariff on goods, defying calls by the US and the EU to roll the measure back.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.



Via Zerohedge

Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...


Quick Donate

The Duran
Donate a quick 10 spot!


The Duran Newsletter