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  1. #301
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    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/1...ayal.html#more

    The Art of Betrayal

    The recent history with the Syrian Kurds has shown that the United States can betray absolutely anyone, regardless of personal relationships or official promises and guarantees. It’s nothing personal, you know, strictly business…

    For example, what do the Ukrainians have in common with the Syrian Kurds? At first glance, their people, geography and history are completely different. But then what about the panicked tweets from former Ukrainian foreign minister Pavel Klimkin, in which he wonders in forlorn trepidation whether the US can betray the Ukraine just as it has betrayed its key ally in Syria. But what about the endlessly promised eternal friendship?

    It is easy to understand Klimkin’s quandry. The Ukraine’s bet on American support is today the last and only foundation stone of the Ukrainian failed state. Just a little while ago the previously monolithic Western block fell apart in a glaringly obvious and jarring fashion. Washington and Brussels are engaged in a sanctions war, and the EU now regards the perspective of continuing to support the American project in the Ukraine as burdensome. Europe has already wrung out of the hapless Ukrainians everything it could possibly want.

    Thanks to the efforts of European, American and international banks, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank especially, the Ukrainians have been reduced to permanent indentured servitude. With a nominal GDP of just $124 billion for 40 million inhabitants and a huge budget deficit, the Ukrainian government’s external debt as of November 2018 has reached $74.32 billion, of which $13 billion is owed to international creditors, $21.19 billion to other owners of Ukrainian debt, and $7.29 billion to nominally private entities (such as the Ukrainian railroad company) but with government guarantees.

    The list of the Ukraine’s creditors is long and varied. It includes both international financial institutions and foreign governments. It owes $500 million to Japan, $300 million to Canada, $260 million to Germany, $610 million to Russia, but just $10 million to its former best friend the United States. That is, even if the Ukraine is turned into a complete and utter Uk-ruin and disappears from the political map the US will suffer losses which, relative to the $60 billion a month spewed forth monthly by the printing presses at the Federal Reserve, will not be noticeable.

    If the Americans’ interpretation of the word “friendship” seems exotic, so is the Ukrainians’. Watching the ease with which Trump abandoned the Syrian Kurds to be ground under by invading Turkish tanks, Ukrainian officials suddenly started stressing the inviolability of the former friendship, having conveniently forgotten that just thee years ago they were actively attempting to undermine Trump by conspiring with his enemies. Meanwhile, the story of Ukrainian political meddling in the democratic process in the US is growing more comic and grotesque every day. It started as an attempt to overthrow Trump by alleging him to be a usurper, installed through secret meddling by Russian special services, but while chasing after evidence to use against Trump his enemies managed to tip over a filing cabinet packed with highly embarrassing skeletons.

    The efforts to unearth evidence of Russian meddling have all ended in failure, but it turns out that Ukrainian meddling did in fact take place. This has been known since 2017, although mass media in the US, which is openly, blatantly biased against Trump, has succeeded in keeping this fact out of the public eye, by hammering on the unproven nature of the allegations, by portraying it as part of the endless partisan bureaucratic battles within the US, and by other forms of misdirection.

    They really wanted to find a role for the Russians in all this, and did their best to disregard all facts that did not further this goal. And it could have all been kept quiet, except for the Ukrainians’ propensity to step on the same rake again and again. During a radio appearance, the former Ukrainian chief prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko stated directly that his country not only meddled in the most direct fashion possible in the US presidential elections in 2016, but that one the main participants in this process was none other than the current director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine Artëm Sytnik.

    Sytnik didn’t violate any Ukrainian laws, so what’s the big deal, right? He just gave copies of the financial documents of the Ukrainian Party of Regions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He wasn’t planning to meddle. He just wanted to cut off American funding to his domestic political enemies—the Party of Regions. And its American political supporters turned out to be mostly Trump supporters. And the enemy of my enemy is… oops!

    It was all a little too clever. This scheme allowed Hillary to charge Trump with colluding with Moscow. You see, the Party of Regions was seen as pro-Kremlin, and if Trump supporters were supporting it, then they were supporting the Kremlin, so what was Trump getting in return? It could be anything—money, secret information, operations to influence public opinion—and such allegations could be used to declare the election results to be invalid.

    The Democrats would tuck into this sheaf of documents with knife and fork. There would be investigations. American funding for the Party of Regions would dry up. It would kill two birds with one stone: knock out the Party of Regions (which didn’t have enough fundraising channels of its own) and make the Democrats (who were predicted to win) very grateful. In turn, this gratitude would result in a flow of American funds in support of “Ukrainian democracy,” i.e., into the pockets of corrupt Ukrainian officials. A win-win!

    Beyond the urge to line their nests with American cash, the Ukrainian officials also entertained certain megalomaniacal ambitions. War against Russia was one of the key leitmotivs of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In this, it neatly coincided with the fratricidal tendencies of Ukrainian nationalists, causing them to dream of Americans supplying them with weapons, money, and maybe even showing up to battle the Russians. And then the Ukrainians would ride into Red Square atop an Abrams tank. And then they would carve up occupied Russian territories. All the best ones would be claimed by their masters from overseas, but even the Ukrainians could hope for a few crumbs from the master’s table.

    If you feel that this line of thinking is utterly delusional, then you are right. The Ukrainians’ thinking is delusional through and through and, hilariously, the Ukrainians still can’t bring themselves to understand why such a promising scheme fell through. If they did, they would definitely keep quiet about it. But they simply can’t absorb the idea that although Russia and the United States may have some divergent interests, America under Trump is not at all the same thing as it would have been under Hillary Clinton.

    Trump’s America has been able to recognize that Obama’s effort to pull Russia into a fratricidal war with the Ukraine has failed, rendering the Ukraine completely useless as far as US interests are concerned. Quite the opposite: the US is now far more interested in the Ukraine’s demise. This is not even a matter of revenge, although Trump is known to be compulsively vengeful and has quite an axe to grind with the Ukrainians. There are three factors that are even more important.

    First, in its support for the Ukraine’s anti-Russian regime, the US has run out of maneuvering space. Anti-Russian sanctions have been shown to only make Russia stronger, while militarily all that is possible is to declare nuclear war on Russia, and this the US is decidedly against doing. But it can’t just fester in place without losing face in an important geopolitical contest.

    More importantly, the US now sees Russia as a target that’s secondary to its far more important war of economic attrition with China. In this situation, a brilliantly executed tactical retreat appears to be the best option. Ideally, this would be done in a way that would void all previous American declarations, agreements and commitments, providing a blank slate on which to scribble some more empty promises.

    Secondly, those Americans who stood to gain from hopeless Ukrainian indebtedness have already done so, and even its complete and utter ruin would not cause them any appreciable losses. Quite the opposite: it would mostly hurt those institutions which Trump has repeatedly promised to reform—specifically, the IMF and, even more importantly, the European Union.

    The US didn’t sign the Minsk Agreements—the key international documents designed to compel the Ukrainian government to sue for peace with its separatist eastern regions, to reform itself into a federation (and, given the irreconcilable differences between its regions, to disband shortly thereafter). Therefore, Washington can now wash its hands of the Ukrainian mess, declaring it to be an internal European problem.

    Third, by enlarging the Ukrainian scandal to the largest extent possible, Trump can now deliver a blow to the Democrats who are now up to their ears in it. With his reelection just a year away, this is by far the most important consideration for him. Enlarging the scope of this scandal in the run-up to the 2020 election has helped his chances and hurt those of the Democrats, not just because Joe Biden’s chances have been instantaneously zeroed out, leaving behind much weaker Elizabeth Warren, but also because of automatic damage to the reputation of anyone who would associate themselves with the Democratic party even if it were to find a more promising candidate.

    The Mueller investigation has shown that Moscow did not aide Trump and this is now established as a fact. And now it turns out that Trump’s adversary did in fact avail herself of foreign meddling. To say that this is awkward and embarrassing for the Democrats would be quite an understatement! But the Ukraine brings back luck to anyone who engages with it, and it remains to be seen whether Trump will be the exception that proves the rule.

    The Ukraine has brought particularly bad luck to the Ukrainians themselves. Their governing elite still hasn’t been able to absorb the meaning of multiple warnings they have been receiving from across the Atlantic, ever since Mike Pompeo’s visit to Sochi in May: that the Ukrainian project is being shut down. Some Ukrainian officials may still dream of stuffing their pockets some more on their way out, but the Ukrainian state has no future, not in any abstract sense but quite literally.

    By freely and openly admitting to Ukrainian meddling in the last presidential election in the US, Ukrainian officialdom has signed its own death warrant. It managed to do the impossible: to unify revenge-seeking Trump and his opponents against it. They don’t wish to see their dirty laundry paraded before the public, and certainly don’t want to risk their own money, as has happened with the company of Nancy Pelosi’s own son.

    Most amusingly, none of these interested parties have to do a thing in order to ease the Ukraine toward its timely demise. Washington doesn’t have to support the Ukraine militarily and can decline to influence the IMF, which has become reticent in granting the Ukraine any more tranches, seeing as its government has failed to show any progress in fighting corruption or in selling off agricultural land (a key IMF demand).

    Meanwhile, all of the Ukraine’s neighbors want to compel it to implement the Minsk agreements: to deescalate militarily, to enter into negotiations with its separatist eastern provinces and to federalize. But this is politically impossible, because the Ukrainian ruling elite has no ideas beyond radial Ukrainian nationalism, which federalization would make null and void.

    Even if the elite were to wake up and realize that it has no future in any case, there is still the problem of the Ukrainian nationalists themselves. There are no internal political forces that can control them, and although the number of protesters who came out against implementing the Minsk agreements was only around 10 thousand, their overall level of support within the population is no less than 3-4 million people, or 8-10% of the population, and they are not going to surrender without a fight.

    Perhaps even more importantly, to one extent or another the entire Ukrainian political class and the Ukrainian oligarchy are opposed to peace, because if peace were achieved and law and order restored, they would be expected to take the blame for it all—the over 10 thousand dead, the half a million injured, the horrendous property damage, the economic ruin… all of it! But they all want to live, and they have nowhere to run.

    They had one last hope: that their big daddy overseas would bail them out. That hope sprung eternal even after president Zelensky’s disastrous trip to Washington, during which Trump told him that the Europeans aren’t doing enough to help the Ukraine, and so the US won’t either and, most pointedly, that he should talk to Putin and resolve their differences. This residual hope mostly expressed itself in irrational, emotional outbursts, along the lines of “But how can they do that to us?”

    Next came the abandonment of the Syrian Kurds, demonstrating that America, especially when its president’s political survival is at stake, can abandon absolutely anyone, ignoring all previous promises and commitments. And this is when cold sweat started to pour down Ukrainian faces; not so much from those who are in power there now (who still think that they can somehow maneuver out of this cul de sac of their own creation) as from their predecessors, such as the previous president Peter Poroshenko and his aforementioned foreign minister Pavel Klimkin. They now know that they have become expendable, and feel it in their anal sphincters that their hides are about to be offered in payment.

    These Ukrainians thought that they were so clever, standing up to Moscow, siding with Washington, manipulating US elections. They felt beyond Byzantine in their cunning and deviousness. But now they will have to pay for their stupidity… just like the Syrian Kurds.

    Source: Alexander Zapolskis

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  3. #302
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Propaganda Chris and essentially untrue. The fabric is moth eaten
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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  5. #303
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    Propaganda Chris and essentially untrue. The fabric is moth eaten
    Well, this one comes directly from Russia, so it is certainly not unbiased. Still, I think it provides an interesting perspective, particularly on the Ukraine.

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  7. #304
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris ...


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  9. #305
    Senior Member Fred Steeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Well, this one comes directly from Russia, so it is certainly not unbiased. Still, I think it provides an interesting perspective, particularly on the Ukraine.
    It's always a good thing for genuinely curious Westerners to take a look at what non Western media is saying. I'm betting that said problem with this latest piece you have posted is that if it doesn't scream to the high heavens paying homage to current popular memes, it's of course either a conspiracy theory or propaganda.

    Among the current flock is "Syria Bad Guy", Iran Bad Guy, "Russia Bad Guy", and of course "The Phone Call", always have to have the big bad boogie men lined up and ready for the limelight. You know the Russia Muh Pussia thing is getting so absurd here now that even one of our Presidential candidates, who is also active military and a sitting congresswoman, is more and more called a traitor and a Putin puppet because she dares call for the end of arming terrorist groups and regime change wars.

    It's not far from being as absurd as posters like below from about a century ago.
    Name:  WW 1 Propaganda.jpg
Views: 53
Size:  14.0 KB

    As an aside, I was waiting to hear the author at least mention the 2014 US sponsored coup in Ukraine and he didn't, I wonder why?
    The unexamined life is not worth living.

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  11. #306
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    lol, another trigger point. As a wise man once said, in this case, me earlier this week... "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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  13. #307
    Senior Member Malisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Well, this one comes directly from Russia, so it is certainly not unbiased. Still, I think it provides an interesting perspective, particularly on the Ukraine.
    But who could/would be considered "non biased" in this planet? Is there really that a thing? Ever?

    "My daddy is better than your daddy" :P
    Last edited by Malisa, 19th October 2019 at 07:10.

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  15. #308
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    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nat...er-the-dragon/

    Enter, the Dragon

    You’d think Hillary Clinton might come up with a better zinger than “Russian asset” when she flew out of her volcano on leathery wings Friday and tried to jam her blunted beak through Tulsi Gabbard’s heart. Much speculation has been brewing in the Webiverse that the Flying Reptile of Chappaqua might seek an opening to join the Democratic Party 2020 free-for-all. Wasn’t “Russian asset” the big McGuffin in the Mueller Report — the tantalizing and elusive triggering device that added up to nothing — and aren’t most people over twelve years old onto that con by now?
    It’s not like Tulsi G was leading the pack, with two cable news networks and the nation’s leading newspapers ignoring her existence. Tulsi must have been wearing her Kevlar flak vest because she easily fended off the aerial attack and fired back at the squawking beast with a blast of napalm:

    “Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies….”
    Ouch! The skirmish does raise the question, though: is the Democratic Party so sick and rotted that it would resort to entertaining Hillary Clinton as the 2020 nominee? Fer sure, I’d say. The party has been on suicide watch since the Mueller Report blew up in its face. At this point, it’s choking to death on its current leaders in the race. Apart from his incessant hapless blundering on the campaign trail, Joe Biden will never survive assisting his son Hunter’s grifting adventures in foreign lands. It’s just too cut-and-dried and in-your-face. The kid scammed millions out of Ukraine and China and it’s all documented. Mr. Biden will soon announce his retirement from the field — to spend more time with his family, or for vague health reasons.

    Mrs. Warren has been on a roll since August — with Joe B foundering — but she has two big problems: 1. She seems incapable of telling the truth about her personal “story.” For decades she pretended to be a Cherokee Indian for the purpose of career advancement on various college faculties (including Harvard), and lately she told a whopper about being fired from a teaching job years ago on account of being pregnant, apparently unaware that a tape recording existed of her telling a totally different story — that she quit the job to do something else, even when they offered her a new contract. How many times would those bytes be replayed in 2020? And 2. She’s retailing a cargo of economic policy bullshit that would turn the USA into Venezuela with sprinkles on top, and she’s already hard-pressed to explain all the numbers that don’t add up in her Medicare-for-all package. Over the weekend, she demanded that transgender illegal border jumpers “must” be released into the United States. There’s a winning issue in the Rustbelt states!

    And of course, there are questions a’plenty about the DNC itself and the peculiar mix of race hustlers, Wall Street catamites and war-hawks currently running the outfit. Sounds like a Hillary quorum to me. The DNC handed off the whole operation to the Hillary campaign in 2016 and fixed the nomination with super-delegate hugger-mugger. Is it possible that Hillary still controls the leadership? My guess is that a big chunk of the loot assembled into the Clinton Foundation over the years has enabled HRC to buy the tattered remnants of the DNC lock, stock, and barrel. All that funny money bought a whole lot more, too, including all the predicating bullshit that kicked off RussiaGate, UkraineGate, and now ImpeachGate.

    The next gate to go through will be the wholesale prosecution of a whole lot of government officials, elected, appointed, and retired, for the malicious shenanigans that led to the current administrative civil war between the branches and agencies of the government itself. It may prove to be a gate too far for the existence of constitutional government as we’ve known it. All that rot leads to the heads of the big fish: Barack Obama and Hillary. When they are officially implicated, that will be the last roundup for the old donkey. Perhaps something new will organize around the stalwart Tulsi G. She is not alone out there.

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  17. #309
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    This guy's got some good vocabulary.

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Isn’t this whole thing being misinterpreted. The way I understood it. Gab bard was favored by the Russians and Jill Stein was the groomee. It’s like a game of telephone messaging
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Senior Member Fred Steeves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    Isn’t this whole thing being misinterpreted. The way I understood it. Gab bard was favored by the Russians and Jill Stein was the groomee. It’s like a game of telephone messaging
    This is getting old, hell I'd rather listen to the kids bicker back and forth than this continual drivel from you; it makes the whole forum look shallow and stupid...

    Now, at least get the official story straight when spewing this shit. Whenever you get confused about what exactly it is you think about something, in this case the latest Russia Muh Pussia meme, it's very easy to find Hillary's original, evidence free cheap shot which is blowing up in her face even at CNN.

    Or are you just trolling? I still can't decide.
    The unexamined life is not worth living.

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    Heads up... I've just deleted four posts from this thread ─ only one post was really offensive, but the others were responses to that. Ad hominems are not allowed here, okay?
    = DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    The closest thing I can find where clinton states gab bard is a Russian asset is nowhere. There is one ‘comment’. Paraphrasing clinton’S statement but it is presented in a split context implying Clinton stated Russian asset. I don’t think she did. What she did do was leave the implication up in the air. Thus my original comment on the forum a week ago about Clinton being bitchy. I’ve always believed Clinton should have been a republican and it is no wonder Those two so similar in nature would eventually be at each other’s throats. Once again let us see what history has to say about it. Yabba
    Last edited by NotAPretender, 22nd October 2019 at 17:51.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    The Hillary Clinton-Tulsi Gabbard feud, explained

    Neither of them come out looking particularly good.

    Vox - Understand the News

    Hillary Clinton emerged from relative political obscurity last week to claim that Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate and member of Congress from Hawaii, was “the favorite of the Russians” prepping for a third-party spoiler run during a podcast interview. She went so far as to imply that the representative was “a Russian asset.”

    Gabbard fired back by calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” In Gabbard’s telling, her party’s 2016 nominee was behind “a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation ... through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine.”

    “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me,” Gabbard, who is at 1.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics primary polling average, concluded. “Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

    This is a bizarrely intense fight given that these two are members of the same party. Clinton suggesting Gabbard is the Kremlin’s chosen agent for destroying the Democrats in 2020? Gabbard accusing Clinton of being the puppet master behind a massive conspiracy against her? Are these people serious?

    Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “yes” — in ways that reveal some troubling tendencies among American liberals and leftists today.

    On Clinton’s part, the accusation reflects a remarkable overestimation of Russian influence on the part of certain Democratic Party loyalists — and a corresponding willingness to fling around baseless allegations of people they don’t like being aligned with the Kremlin agents. At bottom, it’s a conspiratorial way of viewing the world that disconnects Democrats from reality.

    Gabbard’s bizarre counter-allegations of a Clinton conspiracy reflect the way in which her nominally anti-war politics are actually a kind of pro-authoritarian, conspiratorial worldview — particularly on Syria, an issue at the top of the political agenda right now. Her approach has a handful of fans on the party’s left flank but has really found its base on the pro-Trump right, real-life proof the horseshoe theory of the political spectrum has actual merit.

    Fortunately, these tendencies do not seem to be afflicting any of the top contenders for the party’s nomination at the moment. Politicians closer to the center like former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg don’t sound like Clinton; left-wing candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders don’t sound like Gabbard. But this ugly fight exposes real internal problems on the (broadly construed) left half of the American political spectrum, ones that liberals and leftists cannot and should not ignore.

    What Hillary Clinton gets wrong about Tulsi Gabbard and why it matters

    To be fair to Clinton, one can see why she would think it’s plausible that Gabbard is Russia’s favorite candidate in the 2020 primary.

    Gabbard is a combat veteran and US Army reservist who has made issues of war and peace the central plank of her campaign platform. She has sold herself as a non-interventionist, a critic of “regime change” and “endless war.” In practice, though, Gabbard’s record doesn’t fully bear this stance out. She has long spoken favorably about American use of force when it’s not directed at toppling dictators, arguing that the US needs to refocus on fighting Islamist terrorists.

    As far back as 2015, she has been advocating that the US work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — and his chief ally, Russia — in fighting ISIS and extremist factions among the Syrian rebels. This view has led her to take a remarkably pro-Russia stance on the Syria conflict, even when it clashes with the policies of her own party’s president and standard-bearer.

    @TulsiGabbard
    Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did. #neverforget911

    In January 2017, she traveled to Syria and met with Assad personally, catching the Democratic leadership in Congress off-guard. After returning to the US, she went on CNN and parroted the regime’s line that there was “no difference” between the mainstream anti-Assad rebels and ISIS. At last week’s Democratic debate, she described the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, which is controlled by America’s Kurdish allies, as “yet another negative consequence of the regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria” — a false description of what happened that seemed to let Trump’s troop withdrawal off the hook.

    The Kremlin may be taking notice. One recent analysis from the Alliance for Securing Democracy (an electoral interference monitoring group) found that Russian state media has given Gabbard disproportionate coverage relative to her poll numbers. It also documented Twitter bots that appear to be of Russian origin being active on her behalf. That said, the extent to which Russian bots are working to promote Gabbard is contested, and it’s not clear that Clinton is justified in saying that Gabbard is Russia’s favorite.

    But Clinton’s comment seems to go further than that. Take a look at the full context from an episode of Campaign HQ, former Obama aide David Plouffe’s podcast. It seems to suggest that Gabbard is not only Russia’s favorite but actually its agent in the Democratic Party:

    PLOUFFE: [Trump is] going to try to drive people not to vote for him, but to say you can’t vote for them either...

    CLINTON: They’re also going to do third party again. And I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody [Gabbard] who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. And that’s assuming [Green Party 2016 candidate] Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset.

    Now Clinton is not saying that Russia is “grooming” Gabbard as an agent — which many media outlets initially reported. Rather, she’s saying that Trump and the GOP are grooming Gabbard to be a third-party candidate, while she’s simultaneously getting outside support from the Russians.

    But the use of the word “also” in that last line about Jill Stein seems to heavily imply that Gabbard is a Russian agent. While it’s not clear if that’s what Clinton meant to say, her phrasing was at best sloppy and at worst making an inflammatory accusation against Gabbard (and Stein) without real evidence.

    It’s hard to overstate how serious it is to accuse a politician you don’t like of being an actual agent of a hostile power, of working to undermine the United States from within. The fact that Russian mouthpieces seem to approve of Gabbard and Stein is hardly sufficient to level such a grave charge.

    Yet Clinton’s comments are not a one-off: they reflect a tendency among Democratic loyalists, both in the elite and rank and file, to throw around charges of Russian influence without much grounding in fact.

    The most extreme manifestations of this are Twitter personalities like Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor, self-appointed Russia experts who built up a following among hardcore #resistance types by constantly predicting the reveal of proof that Trump is in Putin’s thrall — evidence that never seems to materialize. This strain of pure fantasy never became influential in the party, but there is a more attenuated version that did: Democratic politicians and liberal media outlets have frequently overhyped Trump-Russia connections or Russian penetration of the American political system, assigning it a degree of influence over American politicians and the voters’ minds that has not been supported by evidence.

    Clinton’s comments are emblematic of this more subtle version of Russian overhype. It’s a worldview that conveniently exonerates Clinton for her 2016 defeat, suggesting that the Russians rather than Clinton’s own missteps decided the election. It’s a kind of epistemic poison, leading Democrats astray in a similar-but-much-smaller-scale way that Fox News narratives mislead Republicans. When you develop a vision of American electoral politics that overstates Russian power, you end up missing what actually matters.

    Somewhat ironically, it’s also one that helps the Russians. The Kremlin’s email hacking and bot-tweeting campaigns were first and foremost designed to stoke divisions and inflame partisanship in the United States, turning up the heat on American partisan disputes and limiting the US government’s ability to coherently counter Russia’s aggressive foreign policy. Calling your political enemies Russian agents certainly helps this goal along.

    “Putin can rejoice in the actions of the latter-day witch-hunters who are forever spying Russian influence,” Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute, writes in the Moscow Times. “By turning political debate into a hunt for traitors, it generates the very kind of toxic, suspicious political culture that undermines the bonds of solidarity and civility that underpin democratic societies.”

    There are good reasons to be skeptical of Gabbard’s stances on foreign policy. But Clinton’s insinuations of dark connections between her and the Kremlin absent solid evidence help no one.

    What Tulsi Gabbard gets wrong about Hillary Clinton and why it matters
    Gabbard’s response to Clinton was, if anything, even worse than the original comments.

    While Clinton never outright says that Gabbard is a Russian plant, merely heavily implying it, Gabbard accuses Clinton of masterminding a gigantic conspiracy against her without the slightest shred of evidence. She did so first in a series of tweets on Friday:

    @TulsiGabbard
    Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a ...

    @TulsiGabbard
    · Oct 18, 2019
    Replying to @TulsiGabbard
    ... concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and ...

    @TulsiGabbard
    ... powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.

    It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

    She continued to hammer home this theme in the days after. In an official video released on Sunday, she accuses an unspecified “they” (presumably Democratic elites) of organizing to “destroy” and “discredit” anyone who dissents from their official line. On Monday, she tweeted out a video of a friendly interview she did with Fox News host Tucker Carlson in which she accuses “Hillary Clinton, her proxies, [and] the warmongering establishment” of “conducting this coordinated smear campaign.”

    The idea that Clinton is masterminding some kind of coordinated smear campaign in the media, that all of Gabbard’s critics are Clinton “proxies,” is the textbook definition of a conspiracy theory. But it’s hardly the first time Gabbard has embraced outlandish ideas that happen to flatter her worldview.

    When Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians in April 2017, Gabbard said she was “skeptical” that Assad was responsible, aligning herself with conspiracy theorists against both US intelligence and the overwhelming majority of independent experts.

    Gabbard’s penchant for strangely reasoned defenses of militant foreign strongmen — she’s an avowed fan of India’s anti-Muslim, illiberal Prime Minister Narendra Modi — has contributed to her marginalization not only from both the Clintonite Democratic center but the also the Warren-Sanders left. Only a few on the so-called “anti-imperialist” left support her, a group made up of relatively obscure Twitter pundits with about as much influence on the actually existing Democratic Party as Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor. Her lack of a meaningful factional support base is a big reason why her poll numbers have been low for the entire primary.

    But her appearance on Carlson’s show reveals how she’s succeeded in building a different fanbase: pro-Trump conservatives.

    Gabbard has progressive views on domestic policy, despite some past stances to the contrary. But centering her political appeal on her foreign policy, where she’s honestly not very far from Donald Trump, has made her some fans in MAGA-world. Ben Domenech, the publisher of the devotedly pro-Trump website The Federalist, donated $250 to Gabbard’s campaign. Steve Bannon has expressed admiration for her; so too have leading figures in the alt-right.

    What this points to is a certain commonality, at the very extreme ends of the spectrum, between left-wing critique of “American empire” and right-wing isolationism — a foreign policy variant of the “horseshoe theory” of political ideology, which posits some factions on the extremes are closer to each other than those on the center-left and center-right.

    The left-wing variant starts from the idea that America has evil intentions for the rest of the world — that it is, in fact, the largest threat to global stability on the planet. The right-wing version argues that the United States has no obligation to the rest of the world; that the US needs to put “America First,” even when it means ignoring suffering abroad.

    These doctrines converge on the idea that the United States needs to stay out of foreign conflicts and even sometimes cross the line into outright apologia for bad actors abroad. This is how Assad and his Russian backers get painted as potential allies against jihadism rather than the human rights abusers they are, both by Gabbard and by Trumpists.

    I don’t mean to draw equivalences here. While Gabbard only has a handful of fans on the left, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. But Gabbard’s embrace of anti-Clinton conspiracies and foreign autocrats shows how a strain of left-wing analysis, applied sophomorically, can lead to pretty ugly places. She’s a useful cautionary tale at a time when the left’s stock is rising on the Democratic side of the aisle.

    Gabbard is actually losing favor in her home state of Hawaii, it doesn't look like she could win her 'whatever' seat she had...
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Gabbard couldn't handle having Ana present when she went on TYT to talk to Cenk.

    It reminded me of Nikki Haley running away from reporters into an elevator.

    "Help! Help! They might ask me a question I can't spin! Aargh!"

    Most disappointing.

    They're supposed to be tough.

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