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Never in living memory has the West been plunged into the kind of hysteria and madness that currently engulfs its political and media establishments.
Just pause to consider where we are for a moment. We have lame-duck US president, in the shape of Barack Obama, threatening Russia with retaliation for alleged Russian cyber-hacking and interference in the US elections, while at the same time the man who is about to replace him in the White House in just a few weeks, Donald Trump, has been refuting those allegations.
What does this say about the level of polarization and disunity that has become the new normal in Washington? It describes political paralysis and a political class thrown into disarray by its inability to come to terms with a world that has changed -- i.e., one that is no longer theirs to dominate and control. It is a truth, a hard truth, that many in Washington are clearly unable to grasp, plunging normally rational human beings into paroxysms of anguish and despair.
There is simply no other explanation for the torrent of anti-Russia paranoia that has been unleashed since the US presidential election on November 11. Indeed, it has now surpassed a torrent and to become a full-blown flood, wherein everything from Trump's victory to Brexit to the weather is being blamed on Moscow. It is what democracy looks like when it is tested and fails that test.
Not that this is a defense of Donald Trump. My own preference for president, speaking as a non-US citizen, was Bernie Sanders, the only candidate whose anti-establishment principles on the side of working people are authentic, inclusive, and eminently more credible than Mr Trump's.
But then Sanders was denied the nomination by a Democratic Party machine that supported Hillary Clinton's nomination from the outset, and which approached the presidential election as courtiers at a coronation rather than officials running an impartial primaries election process. It is their inability to deal with Clinton's defeat at the hands of a billionaire reality TV star with no prior political experience that lies at the root of the current crisis.
On the allegations of hacking, a group in the US calling itself Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) publicly disputes them. The group's spokesman, Bill Binney, a former high level intelligence analyst with the United States National Security Agency (NSA), believes that contrary to the claim that the emails released by WikiLeaks came via somebody hacking the DNC, they were instead leaked from within Washington.
In a recent open letter, six retired US intelligence officials write:
"The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider -- as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC."
Britain's former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has also stated that the so-called Podesta (John Podesta, Clinton presidential campaign chairman) emails were leaked from within Washington, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange maintains that they have not come from Russia or have anything to do with Russia.
Thus far the CIA has failed to produce any compelling evidence for its allegations that Russia hacked the DNC and interfered with the US election. However there is a vast trove of evidence that the CIA, throughout its history, has interfered with countless elections, subverted the political systems of other countries, and worked to bring down sovereign governments all over the world. For a comprehensive account of this ignoble history and record, the work of US author and historian William Blum is unsurpassed.
History reveals that the decline of empire is a messy affair. The ideological and psychological shock suffered by its proponents is monumental, challenging received truths and cultural values without which they are left rudderless and spiritually bereft. This is what we are witnessing now when it comes to the decline of the empire of our time, emanating from Washington.
As such, the challenge for the rest of the world is managing that decline, the psychological and ideological damage incurred, to ensure the process of transition from uni-polarity to multi-polarity is as smooth as it can possibly be under the circumstances.
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