Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, MIT professor Noam Chomsky, former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, and former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich are some of the left's most well-known Russia skeptics.
It's no secret that Democratic Party leaders and the corporate media lackeys who masquerade as progressives often attack actual leftists for not parroting their pro-war, pro-Wall Street narratives.
Examples from recent election cycles are numerous: Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Cynthia McKinney. All of these individuals, despite their credentials and principled stances, were lampooned and marginalized by our friends at NBC and CBS.
In American politics, if you start gaining any sort of traction by pointing out that the nominally left-wing party is actually in bed with the war profiteers and bankers, you quickly become a target for both Meet the Press and Saturday Night Live.
Over recent months, the same has proven true for anyone on the left who has not fallen in-line with the new Red Scare hysteria coming from the Democratic Party and "liberal" news outlets. Capitalizing on a popular hatred for Donald Trump, Russia hawks and Bush-era neocons are more than willing to literally reignite the Cold War.
Consequently, the peaceful left is now being demonized by their more educated, more politically-connected superiors. After all, as we have known since Ukraine, the unwashed left has been fooled by Putin.
Perhaps most notable of those targeted by for questioning the Russia narrative is two-time Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein. Truth be told, Stein was being accused of being a Putin-sympathizer by liberal outlets like the American Prospect during the election. But things only got worse following Clinton's defeat. Yes, even as she was the victim of right-wing conspiracy theories that she was a Soros puppet, Stein has spent the past several months being the victim of a Democratic conspiracy theory that she is Vladimir Putin's puppet.
In recent months, NBC "broke" the story that had never been a secret: that Stein attended a RT event where she sat at a table with Putin. According to the NBC article:
It was a (red) star-studded affair, the December 2015 dinner celebrating the 10th birthday of Russian TV network RT. At a luxe Moscow hotel, President Vladimir Putin and a host of Russian luminaries toasted a state-backed news channel that U.S. intelligence calls a Kremlin mouthpiece.
Furthermore, it's noted:
Stein did well enough to help Russia achieve its aims. Her vote totals in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan were all greater than Clinton's margin of defeat, and arguably denied Clinton an Electoral College victory.
Case closed! Not only did Russia want Hillary Clinton to lose (for reasons that must never be addressed), but the fact that Stein dared to run for President to the left of Hillary means she must secretly be to the right of Hillary, where Putin, Trump and the other Communists are... Or something.
None of this really needs to make any sense, however. In a Kafkaesque fashion, Stein doesn't have to be accused of anything to be found guilty by the corporate media. The mere fact that she exists makes her guilty.
The same is true of any leftist daring to question the authority of the anti-Russia intelligentsia. Just this week, Peter Beinart wrote a piece for the Atlantic entitled "Donald Trump's Defenders on the Left"... because apparently not wanting another Cold War means that you support Donald Trump.
In the piece, Beinart tries to discredit the glaring similarities to when the same pro-war Democrats and corporate media supported the invasion on Iraq 15 years ago:
It’s easy to say that because America’s intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, progressives shouldn’t believe them now. But there are critical differences. In 2002, the intelligence agencies faced intense pressure from the Bush White House and Pentagon to make Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs seem more menacing.
In doing so, Beinart tries to mask the guilt not just the corporate media and political elites, but indeed the intelligence agencies as well. Can't you see they were all just dupes of the Bush Administration? And he was a Republican... just like Trump! What else do you need for evidence that we need more sanctions against Russia and more troops in Poland.
According to Beinart, this case is different from Iraq because we aren't just talking about "over there." This is because the Soviets -- er, the Russians -- attacked us at home:
But it’s one thing to oppose defending the American empire. It’s another to oppose defending the American homeland. By intervening in the 2016 election, Russia did not threaten American influence in Afghanistan or Ukraine or Syria. It threatened America itself...
But last year, Russia unexpectedly attacked the United States itself in ways that genuinely harmed ordinary Americans. Trying to prevent Russia from doing so again doesn’t make you an imperialist or a hawk. No matter how anti-interventionist you are, you need to protect your own country.
Doesn't Beinart's repetitive diatribe make you feel genuinely threatened by the Ruskies? Because, you know, they committed the ultimate crime of exposing collusion between Hillary Clinton and the DNC. It was like another Cuban Missile Crisis, people!
Building off of this piece, the New Republic -- that "liberal" magazine where Beinart worked back when it called for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- gave aid to its former editor by publishing an accompanying article entitled "Why the Anti-War Left Should Attack Putin, Too". Although this second article pays lip-service to the Russia doves, it concludes with the ominous words:
Fighting Trumpism in America is not enough. Leftists have to be ready to battle it in all its forms, at home and abroad.
And there you have the pill that the mainstream media, Democratic Party leaders, intelligence agencies and military-industrial complex want the Trump-resisters to swallow: that the best way that you can stand up against our Clown President is calling for increased hostilities with a nuclear-armed superpower.
The beauty of new media, however, is that the left can actually push back against the idiocy and lies coming from the dinosaurs.
On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald responded when he hosted the Intercepted podcast:
"So, you have two nuclear-armed countries who have in the past come very close to nuclear war that would annihilate the species, and the reason those of us who are worried about where this is going are so worried isn’t because we love Vladimir Putin or support Donald Trump. It’s because we’ve seen the effects, the incredibly destructive effects, when this kind of militaristic confrontational rhetoric takes hold of the American opinion elite class, and where that leads to. And it seems, to put it mildly, not worth risking another Cold War, another military confrontation between the United States and Russia, over what, even if you believe the claims of the CIA, notwithstanding that there’s no evidence for it — even if you believe them, it’s nothing more than some garden variety hacking that countries do to one another all the time. And at the very least, I hope going forward that we can have this debate without papering over those actual concerns and trying to suggest that those of us who are skeptical are motivated by nefarious and treasonous motives."
In addition to interviewing Fox News' Tucker Carlson -- who recently debated Max Boot in a heated exchange -- Greenwald also had Putin/Trump critic Masha Gessen on the program. Despite being outspoken in her hatred for both the Russian and the American president -- even writing for the New York Times that Putin "seduced" Oliver Stone -- Gessen still remains logical in her analysis of the hacking claims:
"Basically, what the intelligence agencies are arguing is that the Russian government hacked the DNC and used the product of those hacks to influence American public opinion out in the open to help Donald Trump. The illegal and problematic part of it is the hacking. But then, with the participation of the New York Times, the Washington Post, a variety of cable channels, the products of those hacks influenced public opinion, which influenced the outcome of the election. Whether or not that kind of influence was actually legitimate journalistic activity on the part of Americans is something that we need to have a conversation about."
Even as the Russia doves seek to have this conversation, however, the hysterical backlash they are facing is intense. Making matters worse, even the progressive media is going after Russia doves.
Euguene Goodheart's hit piece on Stephen Cohen is concerning for a variety of reasons. Ben Cohen's on Caitlin Johnstone isn't much better. And reading how DailyKos describes Dennis Kucinich, you'd think he had served in the Bush Administration.
Still, the left's Russia skeptics are becoming too numerous to drown out. From journalists like Robert Perry to comedians like Jimmy Dore established icons like Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky, there remains a solid anti-war left not willing to let their disgust with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin trick them into supporting a new Cold War.
Yes, Donald Trump should be impeached. He should be impeached for bombing Syria or ramping up US involvement in Yemen. He should not be impeached simply a means to helping put the world back on the brink of thermonuclear war.
Opposing Trump and Putin for the purposes of world peace is one thing. Opposing Trump and Putin for the purposes of lining the war profiteers' pockets is quite another.