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It’s Mueller Time

This Week in the Narrative 67

Nigel Clarke

Finally, after so many months, some real-life indictments in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Smoke, meet fire.

Before wading into the inferno, a drumroll in the form of fun facts.

According to research by political scientist Dov Levin, the US and the USSR/Russia together intervened no less than 117 times in foreign elections between 1946 and 2000, or ‘one out of every nine competitive, national-level executive elections.’”
From The Guardian

This would include U.S. interference in the 2004 Ukrainian election between Western and Russian-centric candidates.

The Ukraine, for its part, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election (though in favor of Hillary Clinton).

China, the third of five permanent members on the United Nations Security Council, was accused of interfering with Australian elections only a few months ago. Shortly before that, in the elections of New Zealand, Canada, and, of course, the United States.

This crescendo leads to Mueller’s indictments, which the mainstream media said exposed “an unprecedented campaign by Russia” and delivered a “massive black eye” to Trump. They waxed poetic, unusually so, about the “perils faced by American democracy” and “sabotage.”

Rachel Maddow cried.

The indictments were of 13 Russian individuals and 3 Russian entities for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of their preferred candidate, Donald Trump. This interference allegedly included “disparaging Hillary Clinton” and posing “as Americans to operate bogus social media accounts, buy advertisements and stage political rallies.”

Wait a minute… where are the hacked election results? Where is the…*gulp*…collusion?

Instead, it appears the smoking gun is entry-level espionage, which, as suggested by The Intercept, “would fall well within the acceptable norms of great power behavior.”

It is not that attempting to influence the election of a sovereign nation by a foreign power is immaterial. It is just that this type of espionage is so globally common that it is, as a revelation, irrelevant.

As embarrassing as getting duped by a bunch of Ruskies is, we were not waiting for confirmation that international espionage exists, whether by Russia, China, or any of the other likely dozens of countries who tried to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election. We were waiting for confirmation that the current President of the United States was involved in this espionage, against his own country.

Perhaps the question mainstream media is asking is: Will people remember the original premise of this storyline — that the President has committed treason — or will they just scan the headlines and take in something about that Russia stuff being proven, criminal indictments, and onward?

Likely, for Mueller’s Russia Investigation, the indictments represent a slow work day, an attempt to get nervous suspects talking on tapped phones, and sending surveilled emails.

But the interaction with the story in the mainstream media is perhaps representative of a darker objective.

The motive is revealed through this paragraph in an article from CNN earlier this week discussing the escalating situation in Syria:

And those same problems — US backing of Syria’s Kurds over ally Turkey’s objections, Iran’s use of Syria’s civil war to advance its own hegemonic regional interests, Israel’s pent-up frustrations at Iran’s expansionism, Turkey’s battle with the Kurds, Assad’s continued bloodletting even in the suburbs of his own capital, and Russia’s intent to impose an unworkable peace — are all coming to a head.

Certainly, the situation in Syria has been growing more tense as of late. Israel had a fighter jet shot down and responded with massive military strikes in Syria, including on “part of Iran’s military establishment.” Russia also had a fighter jet shot down. In another skirmish, U.S. forces killed hundreds of Russian fighters. Whether they were officially soldiers of the Russian army or Russian-born mercenaries, and thus how seriously the transgression should be taken geopolitically, is unclear.

A revision to the CNN paragraph above: All interested and involved parties are using Syria’s civil war to “advance its own hegemonic regional interests.”

It has been reported: “Today, the veneer of proxies separating Russian and American forces is wafer thin.” The same can likely be said between Israel and Iran.

Perhaps the next time a jet is downed, or foreign soldiers killed, the thin “veneer” of proxy war will evaporate. At that time, it is crucial for the mainstream media to have hammered into the subconscious of the people the characterizations expressed above:

The U.S. as reluctant, yet powerful, diplomats, Iran as uncontrollable imperialists, Israel “aw shucks” frustrated at somebody else’s expansionism, Assad a savage butcher, and Russia an irrational thug.

In this way, Mueller’s indictments do not so much relate to Trump’s potential treason, but rather act as character development for an upcoming conflict.

Quote of the Week:

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Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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