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Establishment narrative managers have been performing this obnoxious trick for years; this is just the most publicly it's been brought into the spotlight. They claim someone is a Russian asset, then when asked to provide proof that the person is working for Russia, they say they might be an "unwitting" Russian asset, or a "useful idiot," who does the Kremlin's bidding without realizing it by sharing ideas and information which the Russian government agrees with. Which is just another way of saying that they hold positions which diverge from the microscopic Overton window of establishment-authorized opinion.
Such positions typically consist of some form of opposition to longstanding US military agendas, such as America's failed policy of regime change interventionism. Both Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard have inserted skepticism of US military policy into mainstream political discourse, which is tremendously inconvenient for the people whose job it is to manufacture consent for new wars and endless military expansionism.
The "Russian asset" smear has given the establishment narrative managers the ability to make incredibly inflammatory and scandalous accusations about anyone who opposes the US establishment foreign policy consensus, without ever having to back them up with facts. It's no obstacle for me if I can't prove that you have any connection to the Russian government, because I can still smear you as a Russian asset by saying your views align with Moscow's interests, or by noting that Russian news media has done news reporting on you as our friend Neera Tanden does here:
Tulsi is definitely NOT backed by Russia. https://t.co/4mQFLg0PLC
Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) October 19, 2019
Never mind the fact that there are many, many reasons to oppose the US establishment foreign policy consensus which have nothing to do with Russia. Never mind the fact that the US establishment foreign policy consensus has been an unmitigated disaster that has only made the world worse and is pushing the US-centralized power alliance toward a point where a direct military confrontation with Russia, China and their allies becomes inescapable. Never mind the fact that Russia is far from the only country in the world that wishes America would scale back its aggressive military expansionism. It has been firmly established beyond any doubt that it is now literally impossible for an American political figure to vocally oppose US warmongering without being labeled a Russian asset.
In reality, "Russian asset" is nothing more than a completely meaningless noise that war pigs make with their face holes, no more coherent and communicative than the barking of a dog or the chattering of a squirrel. If we were to come up with a definition for that term which reflects the way it is actually being used in modern political discourse, that definition would be something like, "An incantation which magically makes political dissent look like something treasonous and Machiavellian."
Establishment narrative managers are getting more and more aggressive with the psychological bullying tactics they are using against political dissidents. Applying a ridiculous, meaningless pejorative to anyone who disagrees with mainstream US foreign policy views is just one more ugly tool in their infernal toolbox.
It is not normal, healthy or acceptable to accuse someone of being a Russian asset just because they disagree with the authorized commentators of the American political/media class, and when they make such accusations they should be publicly shamed for it.
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