From Strategic Culture
There was a time when Russophobia served as an effective form of population control -- used by the American ruling class in particular to command the general US population into patriotic loyalty. Not any longer. Now, Russophobia is a sign of weakness, of desperate implosion among the US ruling class from their own rotten, internal decay.
This propaganda technique worked adequately well during the Cold War decades when the former Soviet Union could be easily demonized as godless communism and an evil empire. Such stereotypes, no matter how false, could be sustained largely because of the monopoly control of Western media by governments and official regulators.
The Soviet Union passed away more than a quarter of a century ago, but Russophobia among the US political class is more virulent than ever.
This week it was evident from Congressional hearings in Washington into alleged Russian interference in US politics that large sections of American government and establishment media are fixated by Russophobia and a belief that Russia is a malign foreign adversary.
However, the power of the Russophobia propaganda technique over the wider population seems to have greatly diminished from its Cold War heyday. This is partly due to more diverse global communications which challenge the previous Western monopoly for controlling narrative and perception. Contemporary Russophobia -- demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin or Russian military forces -- does not have the same potency for scaring the Western public. Indeed, due to greater diversity in global news media sources, it is fair to say that official Western depictions of Russia as an enemy, for example allegedly about to invade Europe or allegedly interfering in electoral politics, are met with a healthy skepticism -- if not ridicule by many Western citizens.
What is increasingly apparent here is a gaping chasm between the political class and the wider public on the matter of Russophobia. This is true for Western countries generally, but especially in the US. The political class -- the lawmakers in Washington and the mainstream news media -- are frenzied by claims that Russia interfered in the US presidential elections and that Russia has some kind of sinister leverage on the presidency of Donald Trump.
But this frenzy of Russophobia is not reflected among the wider public of ordinary American citizens. Rabid accusations that Russia hacked the computers of Trump's Democrat rival Hillary Clinton to spread damaging information about her; that this alleged sabotage of American democracy was an act of war; that President Trump is guilty of treason by colluding with a Russian influence campaign -- all of these sensational claims seem to be only a preoccupation of the privileged political class. Most ordinary Americans, concerned about making a living in a crumbling society, either don't buy the claims or view them as idle chatter.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week dismissed the Congressional hearings into alleged Russian interference in US politics. He aptly said that US lawmakers and the corporate media have become entangled in their own fabrications. They are trying to find evidence for conclusions that they have already made, said Peskov.
Other suitable imagery is that the US political class are tilting at windmills, chasing their own tails, or running from their own shadows. There seems to be a collective delusional mindset.
Unable to accept the reality that the governing structure of the US has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people, that the people rebelled by electing an outsider in the form of business mogul-turned-politician Donald Trump, that the collapse of American traditional politics is due to the atrophy of its bankrupt capitalist economy over several decades -- the ruling class have fabricated their own excuse for demise by blaming it all on Russia.
The American ruling class cannot accept, or come to terms, with the fact of systemic failure in their own political system. The election of Trump is a symptom of this failure and the widespread disillusionment among voters towards the two-party train wreck of Republicans and Democrats. That is why the specter of Russian interference in the US political system had to be conjured up, by necessity, as a way of explaining the abject failure and the ensuing popular revolt.
Russophobia was rehabilitated from the Cold War closet by the American political establishment to distract from the glaring internal collapse of American politics.
The corrosive, self-destruction seems to know no bounds. James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told Congress this week that the White House is being probed for illicit contacts with Russia. This dramatic notice served by Comey was greeted with general approval by political opponents of the Trump administration, as well as by news media outlets.
The New York Times said the FBI was in effect holding a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House.