The US Foreign Policy Establishment’s Obsession With Russia – OpEd
During an August 16 segment on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), described his organization as a “non-partisan institution“. Under the ironic title of “Disinformation and Election 2020“, an August 8 CFR webinar, includes this excerpt from host Carla Robbins, a vanguard for the US media’s responsibility to society:
“And The Times mentioned yesterday, in a story about the State Department report on Russian disinformation, about Michael Averko, who is a particular favorite of mine, who’s a writer for something called Strategic Culture Foundation, which is a front for the Russian Intelligence Service. And how he had published a repeated op-eds in the Yonkers Tribune which is a local Westchester New York newspaper attacking a former Obama official Evelyn Farkas, who was making a run in a primary. And it’s interesting that the local paper didn’t check where he came from, or what his agenda was for this, do you see this, you know, the sort of targeting of other local, you know, in other local campaigns? And how do local media, which have fewer resources–and I’m not saying that the big papers don’t make mistakes, too–how do we protect ourselves?”
“Yeah baby, yeah!” A Dave Chappelle conducted musical piece comes to mind. I’m also reminded of Dr. Zaius from “The Planet of the Apes“, who sought to protect society via censoring measures. This mindset serves to explain why Carla didn’t invite me on, even though I’m a “particular favorite” of hers.
The late Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis is lauded for his advocacy of making “good trouble.” At issue is what does and doesn’t constitute “good trouble.”
In matter of fact terms, Robbins states that the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) is a Russian Intel front. Some conclusive proof please. Regardless, my views aren’t influenced by whether the SCF is or isn’t linked with Russian Intel. With no disrespect to the SCF, the likes of Robbins are a greater motivator for me. Ditto situations like a US taxpayer wasted FBI visit. (The FBI seems to have some serious issues.)
In the above CFR excerpt, I’m described as “attacking“, which some might construe as my being subjectively overbearing. That characterization is a parody from Julian Barnes’ August 5 New York Times article reference of me. Seeing how she perceives things, Robbins might take this piece of mine as an attack on her, unlike her apparent perception of being comparatively more objective.
My comments concerning Evelyn Farkas are fair game. Farkas’ incessant Russia bashing has been evident before, during and after her campaign. I’ve the right to express my views on such matter. What did I say in my pieces at issue that’s incorrect?
How does Robbins know about the decision-making behind the Yonkers Tribune selecting two commentaries from me? IMHO, the above CFR excerpt comes across as a round about way of supporting the kind of censorship discussed in my last article.
BTW, the Yonkers Tribune has a comments section under its posted material. To date, the few negative comments on my two pieces run at that venue on July 30 and May 25 are a flop. I’m of the impression that the truly good journalists don’t shy away from hard criticism. Relative to this observation, how often have the chief US foreign policy establishment journos (including Fareed Zakara and Tom Friedman) participated in that situation?
Shifting course, Aaron Mate’s August 14 Grayzone show featured Democratic foreign policy legal politico Norman Eisen. Along with a good number of the usual suspects (including Farkas), Eisen signed the August 11 Politico run open letter, that’s extremely negative towards Russia. That communication is an extreme response to the August 5 Politico featured open letter, which I debunked for its overly faulty opening, along with Farkas’ crackpot conspiracy theory, pertaining to the SCF and yours truly.
Mate is a great journalist. Nonetheless, Eisen got in some unchallenged and negatively inaccurate comments regarding Russia – the kind that I’ve refuted. On that show, Mate and Eisen said they’ll lock horns again. Their Russia related give and takes are generally lacking in US TV news media.
Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article first appeared in the Strategic Culture Foundation’s website on August 18.