Remember when Russia was cool? It was 2014.

I just got through watching another episode of The Young Turks in which Cenk Uyger seems to be proceeding from the assumption — as are most others in media — that the Cold War never ended and we are still somehow at “war” with Russia, that Russia “is our enemy” and so anyone having ANY dealings with Russians of any stripe is automatically guilty of “trading with the enemy.”

Maybe I missed something, but weren’t we supposed to be dealing with Russia? Indeed, aren't the sanctions imposed on Russia supposed to bite simply BECAUSE we had so much business on the line with them?

We have only been angry with Putin since 2014 (Crimea). Prior to that, relations with Russia were — relatively speaking — normalised. Americans and American companies were supposed to be dealing with Russia. Indeed, opening up Russia to Western business interests was one of the reasons that the US “meddled” in Russian elections to install that drunken puppet, Yeltsin, in the first place. Has everyone forgotten that? We were crowing about how we had fixed those elections.

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So the Clinton-Russia narrative is one that can, I believe, serve three very practical and useful purposes:

  1. The Uranium One deal shows that US-Russia (and indeed US-Canada-Russia) business deals were not something illegal or even embarassing up until a short time ago, and any major “player” in the US was bound to have dealings with Russia. This is true of the Clintons, the Trumps, and any one of the hundreds of other American oligarchs who were active in any way on an international level.
  2. The “scandal” surrounding the Clinton-Russia story has nothing to do with “collusion” or trying to subvert American Democracy. Rather, it is just plain, old-fashioned, Clinton Pay-to-Play corruption. A financial quid-pro-quo that represented only a fraction of the total corruption campaign that the Clintons were practising on a global scale for almost a decade through the Clinton Foundation and the CGI.
  3. This tale of corruption between the Clintons and Russia thus “normalises” Russia. By this I mean that Russia is not an imminent threat to the American way of life — no more than are Norway, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Canada and the dozens of other countries that gave millions to the Clinton Foundation in order to receive preferential treatment from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And they were just one more country in which the “old dog” Bill Clinton himself pocketed hundreds of thousands for speaking engagements to groups of financiers. You know — normal Clinton stuff, and stuff which all good liberals from Bill Maher to Trevor Noah will defend as legitimate.

If the Clinton-Russia narrative is played correctly, if we can get the correct message out, it might be a way to neutralise the Democrats calling for WWIII and take the temperature of the debate about Russia down several degrees. But we need to be sure to stress that the Clinton Russia scandal is nopt so very different from the Trump Russia scandal. And that I will address in a separate post (coming soon).

Joe is a US Ex-Pat with dual US-EU citizenship, who travels Europe extensively, commenting on trends, attitudes, politics and more.

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