Attorney General Jeff Sessions was caught chatting with the Russian ambassador and now his immediate resignation is being demanded. Yes, again! Apparently, after Michael Flynn’s resignation, the anti-Trump forces decided that this is a sort of universal method of political struggle. Just accuse your opponents of “ties with the Kremlin” and ... he’s wounded and killed, wounded and killed!
No one cares that in 2016, Sessions met with the ambassadors of about 25 countries. Who’s interested in the United Kingdom, South Korea or even China? Everyone knows that Russia won the election for Trump, and that’s why it’s the worst of all. Any communication with the Russians is abasement, treason and a violation of basic political hygiene.
Yes, they really think so, and of course, that’s quite sad. Because, like it or not, the U.S. is a great power that sets a positive example for the whole world. When such a country slips into the rhetoric of confrontation with some randomly-selected “global evil” and blames it for all its troubles and failures, that can’t help but rankle. With Palestine, it’s all well and good. North Korea—fair enough. But don’t the Americans themselves find such a witch hunt degrading and absolutely incommensurate with their own place in the world?
In the 1950s, the witch hunt in the U.S. was at least partly justified because America was truly standing up to a powerful, universal project. The Soviets extended their influence in the world at a ferocious pace and positioned themselves as an alternative to the existing world order. Modern Russia, by contrast, is a bulwark of conservatism and of faith in the stability of the global system of checks and balances. “Europe’s policeman,” the Russian liberals of the 19th century would have said. We’re not the ones organizing orange and often actual “blood” revolutions in every corner of the globe. We merely tried to protect a few million Russians from the consequences of a military coup in a neighboring country.
The “Russian story” will, without question, be a shameful chapter in American history at the beginning of the 21st century. It’s a story about how a group of political losers are giving a mighty power a bad name before the entire world by forcing upon it an anti-Russian hysteria that may sometimes be appropriate for Georgia, Ukraine or Poland, but not for the United States. How did they even come up with this in the first place? It’s all well and good for conspiracy theorists to debate about the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, Soros, the Atlanticists,* the Jews, the Masons and other forces associated with the West in the idiosyncratic way they understand it. But what do the anti-Russian elite talk about? About the axis powers, about an isolationist internationale?
I’d rather not make banal remarks about how the fixation on an external enemy reduces America to the status of an East European ochlocracy and the American political scene to that of Ukraine with Anton Gerashchenko, Semyon Semenchenko, Iryna Farion and other “superheroes.”**
I’d rather simply imagine something similar in Russia. And somehow I’m having trouble. Yes, the patriotically-disposed media like to scold the United States. Yes, Duma deputies also enjoy pointing out our overseas colleagues’ mistakes. But officials being dismissed for conversations with the American ambassador? Election results being called into question? And most importantly, our liberal intelligentsia being the source and engine of this hysteria?
No, I can’t imagine it.
*Editor’s note: Atlanticism is a belief in the importance of cooperation between Europe, the U.S. and Canada regarding political, economic and defense issues.
**Editor’s note: Anton Gerashchenko, Semyon Semenchenko and Iryna Farion are Ukrainian politicians.