US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a speech Monday in which he defended his record of “standing up to Russia” as an attempt to show his toughness compared with Democrats. However, in his statements, he also cast several “poison arrows” that are all but guaranteed to prevent the normalization of relations between the US and her most similar superpower in the world.
This is a tragedy because it continues to avoid the truth, and shows McConnell to be little more than a globalist elitist / US runs the world type person himself – something the US desperately does not need.
For reference, here is that speech, given on the Senate floor last night.
To Mr. McConnell’s credit, he starts his speech with several extremely valid points surrounding the present issue of political “McCarthyism” regarding the media’s attack against conservatives. However, the mixture of policy views Mr. McConnell expressed show themselves to be more and more divergent from reality as we draw closer to the present moment. Those policy views were centered on the Soviet Union, but later on Russia and American relationships with that country.
In these statements, the narrative is unchanging. While the Russian Federation is not the Soviet Union anymore, so goes the line, there is really no change in Russia. President Putin gets casted as “not America’s friend” in this speech, and Russia overall gets cast the same way.
However, the question this ought to beg in many thinking minds is, “what is it that would make McConnell and those like him consider President Putin and Russia friends of the United States?
Many Duran readers already know at least part of that answer. For these kind of leaders, Russia is to be a second-class nation, subservient to US-interests, just like it was briefly after the fall of the Soviet Union, until that pesky Putin came along and started to help the country reassert itself.
We hear this idea pointed at in McConnell’s speech. For him and those like him, the notion that any great power can rise in the world that charts its own course, yet is not actually an enemy of the United States and her interests is… impossible to conceive.
Nevertheless, in many ways, Mitch McConnell is a stalwart conservative senator, and in the US’ domestic policy issues in recent months and years, he has shown himself to be a fairly steady supporter of many conservative viewpoints. In most cases, he is by no means adversarial with President Trump and they have cooperated in important ways during the present presidential term.
However, Trump’s “America First” notion is extremely different from McConnell’s and that of others we might call either “neo-cons” or “neo-liberals” as suits the case. Those differences are now going to come into focus, and we can expect quite a struggle.
Both of the “neo” groups have a worldview where the United States rules the world, where its military forces bring order wherever the US feels it is needed. This is described really well in this piece from National Interest:
“…it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the United States has become an imperial world state—a world-empire—that sets the ground rules for smooth running of the global economy, imposes its will largely without constraint and without consideration of the reasonable desires of other countries, and severely punishes those few states and nonstate actors that resist its dictates.
Many of the most outspoken critics of US foreign policy point to this concept as the reason behind their disapproval, and most of the supporters of US foreign policy point to this concept as justification for what the American nation does with its vast power.
This is where Senator McConnell’s worldview is based. However, President Trump is showing us a new direction. To examine that let’s refer to a subsequent statement that National Interest pointed out:
“No one ever likes an empire, but despite Ronald Reagan’s memorable phrase, the word “empire” is not inseparably linked to the word “evil.”
President Trump outlined a vision in his 2017 speech to the United Nations, casting that body as a brotherhood of sovereign nations that work together, but he pointed out that his own view of “America First” is not meant to be “America rules all of you!” Rather, he noted that every leader of a sovereign nation ought to be putting the needs of his or her nation first.
“We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” – Donald Trump, UN General Assembly, 2017.
This viewpoint is a real contrast against the presently understood “motives” of the United Nations central administrative leadership, which seems to picture the world as “one state” though with distinct regions that retain the name of the formerly completely sovereign nation-states. This view, of course, fits in well with the overall secular humanist, globalist ideology. Through a homogenization process largely concerned with the elimination of traditional religion and cultural traditions, the world becomes “one” but at the cost of a lot of personal freedoms.
President Trump’s view is not really new. It was echoed in the early 20th century by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (now commemorated a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church) as well as many others. He envisioned a forum where nations could meet and discuss their problems with one another instead of fighting wars. This was the seed of what became the League of Nations and later the United Nations. However, there was never a mention of the member nations ceding their own sovereignty. That has become the accusation at least leveled against the United Nations in modern times, and one that does have some evidence of proof as one can see if they follow the linked text.
However, the notion that the US President spoke about does not appear to come with a caveat of “The world will be comprised of independent states under the United States’ control.” In fact – and this is what makes Mr. Trump’s worldview so interesting – he seems to seek disengagement on the global political scale, and instead wants cooperation, as evidenced in his recent trade discussions with Russia, the strictly executed trade war with China and an overall leadership mentality based on dealmaking and pragmatism rather than the export of American ideological principles.
To prevent this agenda, Russiagate blasted across the news headlines for some two and half years, and this “controversy” helped the more hegemony-supporting elements in the US continue to ratchet up pressure against Russia with sanctions after sanctions, brought for causes that were anything from spurious (election interference, which everyone including the US, tries to do) to utter nonsense (as in the declaration that Kaspersky Lab was a KGB run spy apparatus).
With the collapse of that narrative experiencing its final paroxysm of self-destruction on July 24, 2019 when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller III fumbled and bumbled rather sadly as GOP and Democrat representatives hurled ideologically charged rocks at him to see how they would bounce off, now the major press outlets are beginning to court the idea of the US cooperating more with Russia to head off China. A new “enemy”, one that is arguably a more challenging economic rival, is becoming popularized in the American press, which is still largely committed to upholding some semblance of hegemony and globalism put together. This has been covered already by some of us at the Duran here, and here. The New York Times Editorial Board wrote a piece about this, and this has since been followed up by Forbes Magazine.
This is largely a move to keep the struggling, falsehood-laced New York Times relevant (and in business), but there is likely to be more and more of this sentiment in coming weeks. This shift will be challenged by those with Russia views as expressed by Senator McConnell, but there is no longer any agreed-upon basis upon which to continue to treat Russia with hostility.