His November 25 article in The Atlantic “It Wasn’t a Hoax”, is one of several efforts to belittle the increased evidence contradicting the flawed Russiagate narrative. Frum uncritically uses David Satter as a reliable source.
Satter is propped by Frum for stating that the Russian government was behind some apartment bombings in 1999, as a means of gaining support for an armed campaign in Chechnya. Frum references Satter saying that the Steele Dossier looks like Russian government fed misinformation.
None of these claims are well substantiated. Frum completely omits the Democratic Party linked Chuck Dolan’s apparent role in the Steele Dossier – something brought up in my last article.
Frum brings up Donald Trump’s effort to make money in Russia. One senses that Trump might very well have a legit basis to contest some of what Frum says. Frum makes no mention of the Clinton Foundation making a half million dollars from Russia and Dolan having done PR work for the Russian government.
Russia has a market economy in a global order. Seeking to have business ties in that country doesn’t serve as smoking gun proof of a sinister action.
Concerning Frum’s other reference to Satter, the Russian government had no reason to risk a scandal for its second post-Soviet military operation in Chechnya. It’s a well-established fact that prior to the apartment bombings, terrorists from Chechnya were creating trouble in Dagestan, in addition to the growing lawlessness in Chechnya. Later in 2004, there was the horrific Beslan school tragedy in North Ossetia-Alania, involving children, terrorists and the effort to end that crisis.
Frum has a neocon local yokel worldview, overlooking some otherwise key variables. In stark contrast, he’s quite the opposite if the situation involves the Israelis in place of Russians and Palestinians instead of Chechens.
Seen another way and within reason, these situations exhibit shades of gray, as opposed to a black-white imagery. To get as complete an analysis as possible, it’s best to have as many key views represented.
The Atlantic is a slanted commentary venue, contrasted from news media organizations professing to be great examples of journalistic reporting. Too often, some of them are more in line with The Atlantic.
So there’s no misunderstanding, I’m not against the existence of opinion outlets favoring one set of views over the other. That stance shouldn’t be confused with the selectively skewed blacklisting of certain venues because some influential politicos don’t like their content.
Trump’s administration wasn’t soft on Russia – especially when compared to Barack Obama’s period as president. Trump sought the advice of Henry Kissinger, who has suggested that the US could benefit from improved relations with Russia as an offset to China’s growing clout. The Machiavellian minded Kissinger was a key part of the Nixon administration which broke the ice with China, at a time when the Soviet Union was perceived as the stronger adversary.
By the way, Trump has had extensive business ties in China. Yet, that didn’t stop him from making pointedly critical comments against the Chinese government.
As Tucker Carlson brought up with Mike Turner (an Ohio congressman, who is heavily funded by defense contractors) and contrary to what the likes of Frum advocate, there’s a reasoned basis for the US to not automatically go against Russia on every issue. Carlson and Turner discussed the situation between Russia and Kiev regime controlled Ukraine.
A good portion of US mass media sided with Turner, in a way that ducks some realities. Kiev regime controlled Ukraine isn’t in NATO, with the US having no defense obligations for that entity, which is governed under the influence of a corrupt kleptocracy and ultra-nationalists, in contradiction to a democracy.
With Kosovo in mind, harping on the Budapest Memorandum vis-à-vis Crimea, while suggesting that the US hasn’t supported a post-Soviet era armed territorial change is pure bunk. Before Crimea’s reunification with Russia, an internationally brokered power sharing agreement involving then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was violated by his opponents. Shortly thereafter, a regime in Kiev was undemocratically setup, which favored anti-Russian stances.
Regarding Russia-Ukraine matters and in contradiction to Frum, The Atlantic, et al., Ukrainegate appears to be the greater reality than Russiagate. There’s good reason to believe that the activity of the Russian based Internet Research Agency has been over-hyped, given its overall manner, relative to what’s known about it.
The Democratic Party connected Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa, sought dirt on Trump. This activity included her interacting with people in Ukrainian government positions. Chalupa’s effort contributed to Paul Manafort’s arrest for financial disclosure irregularity, having nothing to do with the claimed Russian government meddling in the 2016 US presidential vote. Likewise, the claim of Manafort being some kind of a Russian government conduit is hokey.
Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, wrote an August 4, 2016 article which is critical of Trump. To date, there’s no Russian version of Chalupa working with the Republican National Committee to find kompromat on Hillary Clinton. Much unlike Chaly, Russian government officials typically express the preference of not being seen as favoring one US presidential candidate over the other during an election campaign.
At the time of the 2016 US presidential vote, many Russians liked what Trump said when compared to Clinton. That sentiment is understandable, but not subversive. On US-Russian relations, Clinton was overly confrontational when compared to Trump.
There’s one more thing to throw at Frum and his fellow Russiagate hoaxers. California Congressmen Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell said they have proof of Trump-Russia collusion. This proof has yet to be revealed.
The continued insistence at trying to spin the Russiagate narrative as reality, is all the more reason for US Department of Justice Special Counsel John Durham, to continue his investigation with a detailed accounting of what transpired. Then again, some folks seem set on their views no matter what happens.
Michael Averko is a New York based foreign policy analyst and media critic.