By Patrick Dele Cole
THE dominance of the West in communications cannot be over-emphasised. As we read what the West says about Russia, we all need to do so with a large dose of salt. The United States has been gripped by Russo phobia for a very long time.
Ironically, President Donald Trump was poised to change this perception, but he has gone about it in a bull in a China shop fashion. There are several other issues connected to this, so that a simple repositioning of its Russia policy is now in a quagmire because too many people seem to have lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, as to what really was the position of President Trump and his associates before and during the election.
The Conventional wisdom is that people lie in order to cover something up. What are President Trump and his team trying to hide? Russia is a victim, a pariah of US media myopia. Did Russia intervene in the US election? We in Africa should know how the West interferes in our elections. The US and the rest of the West have for decades, been doing this and is not about to stop.
The United States claims that Russia is an existential threat to it. How so? Let’s look at the facts. The US intelligence community, as well as that of European, believes that Russia interfered with the elections in the United States and Europe.
The evidence they produce is that this was done through cyber-attacks and adverts on the internet aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump who had unofficial contacts with The Trump campaign. Basically, the quarrel between Russia and the US is geopolitical. The US through NATO, has surrounded all of Russia including the sensitive northern countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with military weapons.
The West overthrew a pro-Russian President in Ukraine which had over half its population as Russians. Russian protected itself by occupying Crimea whose population is almost all Russian and is supporting the breakup of Ukraine. The West influenced the International Community to impose severe sanctions on Russia on the Ukrainian question. That conflict is not likely to end soon. Russia had reached out to the Trump’s campaign team to convince them to lift sanctions against Russia due to the latter’s failure to comply with the Minsk Accord. In March this year Vladimir Putin would stand for election. Will the US not intervene?
The Russian ambassador, like all good ambassadors, was coordinating efforts at lifting the sanctions against his country. It reached out to the most likely candidate to give Russia what it wants. These were Trump’s acolytes who wished also to make money out of the rapprochement. His National Security Adviser Gen. Flynn, his campaign manager and his deputy, his son-in-law Louis Jared Kushner, his son Tom Trump and Mr. Trump himself told the Director of the FBI not to pursue the issue of his campaign and probable collusion with Russia prior to the election.
The odd thing about the whole of this episode is that there is no crime of collusion; the President has the power to change US relation to Russia. He had even fired his FBI Director, Mr. James Comey for precisely refusing to drop his investigation into Russia meddling in the US election and the consequential inquiring into the role of Lt. General Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser of President Trump.
What is surprising is that the US often pretends that we do not have Snowden papers and Wikipedia – documents which clearly details case after case of US meddling all over the world and doing many totally unacceptable things, in the interest of the US, to unsuspecting friends and foes.
The United States is the example par excellence of a country congenitally meddling in other countries’ elections. They meddled in Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, in all Africa, Asia, Middle East and East, etc. In Panama, they managed the murder of Trujillo; in Chile, the murder of Allende; in Georgia, the election of Mikheil Saakashvili; all the Presidential elections since 1953 in South Korea: all the elections in Vietnam, including that of Ingo Diem; in Egypt the election of General Mubarak and General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; in Iran, the election and imposition of the Shah of Persia; in Afghanistan, the election of President Karzai, in Iraq the election of President Jalal Talabani, etc.
It is the duty of an ambassador to meet politicians in his country of accreditation. Not to do so would be a dereliction of duty. The United States Intelligence Community, however, claims that the Russians went much further than they needed to; they used the internet to reach as many as 120 million US citizens against Hilary Clinton and in support of Mr. Trump’s rightwing conservatives, made up largely of racists, lower blue-collar workers and fundamentalist religious bigots reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan, KKK, who used to lynch black men in the South.
Politicians in Nigeria flock to the US embassy for all kinds of consultations. Many politicians regard closeness to the US as an advantage. What the US does is replicated by the United Kingdom and France all over the world. So why does the US cry foul when Russia does to them what they do to Russia and everyone else?
The US last week, released the main tenets of US Foreign Policy. Among other things, the policy included an acknowledgment that Russia and China were their competitors for influence and world power.