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Brian Jones: Cold War II is exactly what the world needs

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) - Associated Press

Americans are livid about Russia’s attacks on their democracy, and Russian support for the violent thugs who assassinated their president and overthrew his duly elected government.

No, wait. That wasn’t Russia in Washington in 2016. That was the U.S. in Chile in 1973.

American politics in mid 2018 is characterized by frothy hysteria. A main concern is Russia’s “attacks” during the 2016 presidential election.

Thousands of American citizens murdered or “disappeared” by Russian proxies determined to control the country according to their ideological bent. No, wait. That, too, was Chile in 1973, with American proxies conducting real attacks that killed real people.

While we’re on the topic of “attacking” other countries’ democracies — or undermining their independence — let’s not forget U.S. and CIA guilt in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s; Vietnam, Cuba and Indonesia in the 1960s; Chile and Argentina in the 1970s; El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s. Governments overthrown, presidents assassinated, thousands murdered.

Those were real attacks on the politics of other countries. In comparison, the Russian “attacks” during the 2016 U.S. presidential election are laughable and preposterous.

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Let’s see: stealing emails vs. burying bodies inside stone walls; fake Facebook accounts vs. throwing people out of helicopters into the ocean.

America is ruled by a president who is apparently insane, and American society’s response has been to go insane along with him.

President No. 45 is an obnoxious, pompous boor who obviously doesn’t read or think. Describing him as “not very smart” is a kind evaluation of his limited intellect.

But many of his millions of critics, Americans and foreigners alike, commit a simple yet profound mistake: they conclude that, because of the above, No. 45 is always wrong and they are always right.

No. 45’s meeting this week in Helsinki with Russia’s No. 1 was indeed a political freak show. But the reaction to it was … insane.

Some American politicians and commentators declared that No. 45 didn’t seem to realize Russia is the U.S.’s “enemy.” People at the top of the political hierarchy apparently haven’t heard that the Cold War ended a few decades ago.

What is this, 1984? No, not George Orwell’s “1984,” but Ronald Reagan’s 1984, with his second electoral victory, the world constantly on the brink of nuclear annihilation, and talk of evil empires and first-strike capabilities and other outdated rhetoric.

Outdated, that is, unless you’re a 45 opponent whose brain is so addled that you really do think Russia is an “enemy.” There’s nothing like feeling nostalgic for the Cold War.

Speaking of threats to democracy, one commentator raged against 45’s continued insistence that he is right about Russia’s non-involvement in electoral “cyber attacks,” and 14 U.S. intelligence agencies are wrong.

No. 45 provokes such understandable vitriol among his opponents that some of them lose their minds along with all perspective. In terms of potential threats to democracy, hacking into Democratic party email accounts surely ranks far below the fact that the U.S. has 14 — fourteen! — intelligence agencies, a blatant example of statism run amok.

Not to be outdone during this week’s game of 45s, some said the Helsinki horror show was nothing short of treason. They actually used that word, “treason.”

How so? Well, for one, No. 45 agrees with No. 1 that Russia was right about Syria, and the U.S. was wrong. Treason!

True news: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a murderous tyrant.

True fact: the age-old adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is false.

True news: in 2011, former U.S. president Barack Obama and then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton intervened in Syria’s internal politics, siding with and aiding Islamic fundamentalist “rebels,” a move that sped the country into full-fledged civil war and sent millions of Syrians fleeing to neighbouring countries and Europe.

Treason? No. But irritating, yes, when the Oval Office Orangeman is occasionally correct.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at brian.jones@thetelegram.com.

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