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Dec 10

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 12:23 PM 

In 2011, Fiona Hill was seated next to Putin at the Valdai conference in Moscow for the second year  in a row.

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Part 2 is here. 

I have been trying to think of the best word to describe Russia expert Fiona Hill's worldview. 

Assuming "non-partisan" is out, and "transcendent" inadequate, it may be best to turn away from the political firestorms of the Schiff show to focus on something less combustible. I have chosen Hill's introduction as moderator to a 30th anniversary Brookings Institution panel on the Reykjavik summit between Reagan and Gorbachev. In this 2016 appearance, the Harvard Ph.D. and former White House official specializing in Russian and Eurasian affairs under Presidents Bush (43), Obama and Trump presented a series of "scene-setting" events in Cold War history leading up to that 1986 summit moment.

Hill's Cold War chronology (excerpted from transcript) commences with "detente." 

1) We had, of course, détente between the United States and the Soviet Union and Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and the 1970s but

2) by the 1980s, the Soviet Union was actually convinced that the United States had become a clear and present danger.

3) By 1981, the Kremlin leadership was thoroughly convinced that the United States was a nuclear threat.

4)  March 1983 was a full-scale war scare.

a) U.S. President Ronald Reagan ... announced the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative ... and Yuri Andropov ... accused Ronald Reagan of plotting a nuclear holocaust.  

b) Queen Elizabeth II actually drafted a World War III speech ... basically urging Britons, as one might expect, to remain united and resolute against the madness of nuclear war.

c ) President Ronald Reagan made his very famous “evil empire” speech, on March 8, 1983, about the dangers posed to the United States and the way of life [by] the Soviet Union.

5) So, things were pretty bad in 1983; they got worse at the end of that year. People might remember that Soviet warplanes intercepted and shot down a South Korean Airlines plane, KL007, believing it was a U.S. spy plane ...

And the whole idea of an impending nuclear World War III was reverberating around in pretty much every world capital.

6) August 1984 ... Ronald Reagan frightened everybody ... with one of the most infamous hot mic incidents in international affairs when he joked on U.S. National Public Radio, just before a live broadcast in California, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

7) As we now know from declassified Soviet archives, nobody got the joke there and complete panic set in, in Moscow.

8) So it was only when these gentlemen all came along, after March 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev came into power ... things started to calm down. 

Apart from the war hysteria Hill conveys (which was not a feature of the 1980s as I lived through them), what do we notice?

To recap, briefly, pace Hill:

The Soviet Union was actually convinced the US was a clear and present danger. The Soviet Union was thoroughly convinced the United States was a nuclear threat. Reagan announced the development of S.D.I. and Andropov accused Reagan of plotting nuclear holocaust. Soviet warplanes shot down KAL 077 (believing it to be a spy plane). Reagan frightened everybody with his hot mic ("We will begin bombing in five minutes"). Complete panic set in, in Moscow. Only after Gorbachev came into power did things start to calm down.

Could there be a better word for Hill's POV than "Soviet"?

It's not just that she has no appreciation for Ronald Reagan (let alone a glimmer of admiration). In each of her historical references, she seems to channel the Soviet opinion of him, and no other. We don't even get the hoary fig leaf of "moral equivalence" which Enlightened Ones once used to cover their antipathies toward the non-communist West and justify all manner of communist crimes, from torturing dissidents at home, to spreading revolution, terrorism, narcotics, and subversion abroad. Notably, from Fiona Hill's post-Soviet vantage point, there is not even this pox on both their houses.There is only a no-fault Kremlin bracing for the next dangerous launch of words by that frightening Reagan. 

I looked up Queen Elizabeth's "World War III speech" to see whether the Queen, as Hill suggested, had urged her countrymen to remain united "against the madness of nuclear war" rather than a more traditional foe. Declassified in 2013, the speech was written for a British war game initiated by a Soviet (not Reaganite) nuclear strike. By Hill's description, one might expect the Queen to have declared the country Better Red than Dead and exhorted the British people to join the anti-nuke Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

I didn't find an inkling of anti-nuke sentiment in the speech, or, for that matter, a mention of the Soviet Union. Along with words of comfort and resolve, however, Elizabeth conveyed the traditional nation-at-war message. “My husband and I share with families up and down the land and the fear we feel for the loved ones who have left our side to serve their country first," Elizabeth wrote. "My beloved son, Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit. So, we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women who are at home and overseas...”.

If anything, Hill's description of Reagan's "evil empire" speech is even more off the mark. Returning to this landmark 1983 speech, it strikes me that this must be the only Better Dead (and a believer in God) than Red (an atheist enslaved by the state) speech delivered by a President of the United States. Elaborating on the centrality of morality in life and statecraft, the speech is certainly not about, as Hill stated here and has written elsewhere, "the dangers posed to the United States and its way of life by the Soviet Union."

Reagan discussed at length the importance of religion and morality to the freedom of the United States. In its specifics, the 40th president discussed a host of "social issues," including his support for parental notification of a minor's intention to have an abortion at a federally funded abortion clinic, and the duty of a religious and moral people -- parents, families -- to link morality and sex. He spoke about school prayer and preserving life, also about "transcending the moral evils of our past," and fighting hatred. When he turned to the Soviet Union in the speech's final phase, it was in the context of Marxism-Leninism's rejection, at its core and to its furthest reaches, of Judeo-Christian morality.

Reagan said:

And this brings me to my final point today. During my first press conference as president, in answer to a direct question, I pointed out that, as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution. I think I should point out I was only quoting Lenin, their guiding spirit, who said in 1920 that they repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas–that’s their name for religion–or ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war. And everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat.

Well, I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. We saw this phenomenon in the 1930s. We see it too often today.

This doesn’t mean we should isolate ourselves and refuse to seek an understanding with them. I intend to do everything I can to persuade them of our peaceful intent, to remind them that it was the West that refused to use its nuclear monopoly in the forties and fifties for territorial gain and which now proposes 50 percent cut in strategic ballistic missiles and the elimination of an entire class of land-based, intermediate-range nuclear missiles. 

At the same time, however, they must be made to understand: we will never compromise our principles and standards. We will never give away our freedom. We will never abandon our belief in God. And we will never stop searching for a genuine peace, but we can assure none of these things America stands for through the so-called nuclear freeze solutions proposed by some. (Emphasese added.)

Only here does Reagan finally get to the "evil empire" -- a fairy-tale-term, really, to describe the demonic dictatorship that murdered tens of millions of people and enslaved hundreds of millions more. The term was explosive in its day (and still unthinkingly judged to be controversial) for breaking "politically correct" speech codes against using morally acute language. Rather than describing the dangers posed by the Soviet Union to the American way of life, as Hill states, the president was asking his audience of religious leaders to stand on their moral principles when considering national defense, and, more specifically, not to give way to the drumbeat of "moral equivalence" between the West and the Soviet system.

In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride— the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. (Emphasis added.)

I have written before about this speech in American Betrayal:

Reagan’s exhortation to face “the facts of history” was a broad challenge, his reference to “the aggressive impulses of an evil empire” an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment. The cataclysmic histories of Ukraine, Finland, Bessarabia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Korea, East Germany, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Angola, and on and on were not the shining raiment becoming an empire of peace. Reagan was challenging us to acknowledge the implications of this fact, to fight the paralysis of “moral equivalence,” and see not two bullies in a playground, as the East-West struggle was repetitiously framed, but one aggressor seeking to impose a totalitarian system over as much of the world as possible. Good and Evil. Reagan may have had to struggle to explain this to the West, but the Soviets, as Robert Conquest reminds us, looking back from the vantage point of 2005, were never unclear, morally or otherwise, about their intentions:

The Soviet Union, right up to the eve of its collapse, was committed to the concept of an unappeasable conflict with the Western world and to the doctrine that this could only be resolved by what Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko described, as officially as one can imagine (in his 1975 book The Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union) as world revolution: “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union subordinates all its theoretical and practical activity in the sphere of foreign relations to the task of strengthening the positions of socialism, and the interests of further developing and deepening the world revolutionary process.”

As Conquest added, “one could hardly be franker.” 

One may read or listen to Fiona Hill discuss Soviet/Russian affairs and never get a sense of the connection to Soviet/communist doctrine that has driven them. 

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There's another item to flag from the Reykjavik panel Fiona Hill moderated, which featured Ken Adelman, who was part of the Reagan team, and journalists and Brookings fixtures Marvin Kalb and Strobe Talbott.

Adelman took exception to Hill's depiction of the Soviet government living in fear of a US nuclear attack. He said that he used to have the same argument over Kremlin mindset with Robert McNamara, who would invite him to breakfast on their shared birthday every year ("he had just always come back from Moscow just for this," Adelman said) and tell Adelman "basically, that the Soviet Union was scared out of its mind about us, an American nuclear attack."

Adelman:

And I said, well, the last time I checked, all of their bombers are lined up on the airfield right there, and over 90 percent of their submarines are in port at any one time. We never had 50 percent of our bombers on any airfield at any time; 50 percent had to be in the air. The submarine port was -- I don’t know what the numbers were, but way over half had to be at sea at any one time.

If he [Gorbachev?] was scared to death, why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t the Soviet Union do anything about it? They were there talking about getting attacked by nuclear weapons, but they had no easy actions that we could have done on that.     

A strong argument, to be sure. What is more interesting, however, is Moderator Hill's reaction to it. After Adelman discussed other aspects of the summit, Hill thanked him for his "blow-by-blow" and said:

Just one quick thing on the war scare. We actually do know that the Soviet Union was pretty freaked out by all of this, just to put it very bluntly, because there’s an awful lot of material that has now been released from Soviet archives. And, in fact, a lot of it is an open source on the websites from the CIA and the Institute of Intelligence Security Studies. ....  (Emphasis added.)  

She continued:

So though, as you say, they still had all of the planes and ships out there in plain sight, they were constantly scouring for any piece of evidence that the United States might be preparing for a nuclear war. And, again, we can see all that material out there. It might not have seemed so at the time, but now we know 30 years on that was actually the case.

Marvin Kalb piped up:

I’m not [questioning ] that the material existed, I’m questioning whether it was sincere.

Of all people, Marvin Kalb has introduced the unconventional (but obvious, when you think about it) concept that these "Soviet archives" themselves may be seeded with or used to convey good, old-fashioned KGB propaganda. After all, the Russian government (US government, too) controls its archives, and the "secrets" it chooses to release may serve as something akin to what Vladimir Bukovsky called "double-dyed disinformation ... turned loose upon the world, this time in the guise of historical truth." 

HILL: Well, I think there’s an awful lot of people who do believe it was sincere.

KALB: Right, but why don’t they actually take some action to show that this could happen? If everybody was saying in my neighborhood, you know, there are a lot of robbers around here, you’ve got to be careful around here. You’ve got to be careful because the robbers are up around here. You know what I’d do? I’d lock my door.

HILL: Well, the Soviet Union actually did do something like that, they launched their own operation at the time; again in the files. I don’t want to turn this into a kind of a back-and-forth on this particular issue.

KALB: Okay.

HILL: Because I do think it’s very important, just to get to Reykjavik, that it was really ending -- it appeared where there were real genuine fears of a nuclear war.

KALB: Yeah, that’s true. I agree.

HILL: Which you yourself said, certainly in the West, but it was just as real in the Soviet Union. So this is what I would think makes this such an important summit.

Doctrinaire, much? Hill's concern here (as the moderator, after all) is not to quiz, or amplify the opinions of the panelists who were actually at the summit but rather to return to an assigned point of summit-departure: a fear of nuclear war in the world including in the Soviet Union. That's her narrative, and she's sticking to it. And so what if the leading war-monger in the world once called this poor, terrified opponent the "evil empire"?  

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Hill took it on herself, as she put it, to "intervene" a second time with Ken Adelman, this time over "the reason" the USSR dissolved, his reason being there was something intrinsically wrong with the system, hers being there was dastardly plotting against Gorbachev. Theorizing aside, Hill was once again asserting the primacy of her narrative as it touched on an event she considers significant, and with deep influence on her contemporary analysis.

One of the reasons, she explained, Gorbachev was supposedly targeted (read Judgment in Moscowto learn why this is probably just a myth) was "because he was trying to have a new union treaty [among the republics] which would decentralize the Soviet Union." Hill was referring to a failed national referendum supported by Gorbachev in 1991 "to save the USSR," as she put it in a article about Brexit she wrote in 2016. 

Brexit? What might Brexit and the dissolving Soviet Union have to do with each other? Hill, a reputed "Russia hawk" (or "cleareyed realist," as the New York Times tells us her "friends" prefer), explains it this way. 

[Gorbachev's] gambit failed. And so began the dissolution of the USSR, the event that current Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the `greatest geopolitical catastrophe' of the 20th century.

Today in the wake of the [Brexit] referendum on leaving the European Union, British Prime Minister David Cameron seems to have put the United Kingdom on a similar, potentially catastrophic, path. Like the fall of the wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fallout from Brexit could have momentous consequences. (Emphasis added.)    

I have reread this several times, but each time Hill is equating the dissolution of the USSR with the British vote to leave the European Union, and she seems to view both negatively. 

Give me tyranny or give me catastrophe.

How does one country's vote inform the other's? One Size Fits All in Fionaworld -- at least, if you skip all of the contradictory Marxism-Leninism and democracy stuff. Thus, in this same Brexit/Soviet piece, she takes great pains to forge a new, awkward coupling of the UK and the old USSR in transition. Here is an example of how she pairs them: 

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.K. and Russia have both had difficulty figuring out their post-imperial identities and roles. The U.K. in 2016 looks structurally a lot like the USSR in 1991, and England’s current identity crisis is reminiscent of Russia’s in the 1990s. 

Call this absurdity post-imperial equivalence. The incongruous analysis is significant not least because this is a person advising presidents, also providing star testimony for the current president's impeachment. For the record, the UK "post-imperial" identity crisis was raging at the end of World War II, this democratic country with colonies having destroyed itself in the cauldron of war that vanquished one totalitarian monster and created another (with ever more colonies and "satellites") in its place. The UK looks nothing like the USSR in 1991 (or any other time), however; nor is it "structurally" "reminiscent" of the prostrated communist behemoth undergoing its alchemical transformations at this supposed "end of the Cold War."    

Huff and puff aside, I suspect Hill is doing this sort of convergence-analysis as an exercise in narrative-creation (propaganda).

Next, she turns to the "rump state" of post-Soviet Russia. "Russians lost an empire, their geopolitical anchor, and their identity as the first among equals in the USSR," she notes, perhaps nostalgically ("first among equals" -- who says that?). 

As in the case of the USSR and Russia where all roads led (and still lead) to Moscow, London dominates the U.K.’s population, politics, and economics. London is a global city that is as much a magnet for international migration as a center of finance and business. London voted to remain in Europe. The rest of England, London’s far flung, neglected, and resentful hinterland, voted to leave the EU—and perhaps also to leave London.

(Let us pause to salute London's "resentful hinterland," bane of nomenklaturas, faculty-loungers and Brookings fellows everywhere.)

"At the end of the divorce process," Hill warned of Brexit in 2016

without careful attention from politicians in London, England could find itself the rump successor state to the United Kingdom. If so, another great imperial state will have consigned itself to the “dust heap of history” by tying its future to a referendum" (emphasis added).

A referendum? People voting? What is Britain coming to? In Hill's view, "another" great imperial state that may bite the dust, because, as in the case of the late, lamented USSR, it "[tied] its future to a referendum."

Hill has carried her convergence analysis farther than I ever expected, but here we are at the realization that a White House Russia adviser to three presidents regards the Soviet Union as just "another great imperial state" done in by a referendum (the people's will!), as in the UK and Brexit in 2016. To be consistent, the imperial state theoretically consigned to the dust heap of history in Brexit's case (I wish) is the European Union, but never mind. Three years later, it turns out Hill needn't have worried.

Still, another question comes to mind. Feeling the way she did in 2016 about Gorbachev's old Soviet Union, would Fiona Hill support sending lethal aid to a "break-away-state" like Ukraine? She didn't used to. What I glean from her writings, aside from the implicit sympathy with Putin's lament, are an echo or two of the New World Order notions of George H.W. Bush, who famously warned against "dangerous nationalism" on a 1991 trip as US President to Kiev. (Branded the "Chicken Kiev" speech by William Safire, this speech by Reagan's successor certainly frightened no one in the Kremlin.) Nearly thirty years later, "dangerous nationalism" is all that stands in the way of subsuming international socialist (and anti-Trump) elites, whose belief in free trade, globalism, arms control treaties and Huawei align them, under the static, with key aspirations of Russia's Putin and China's Xi. Given Trump's 2016 agenda to restore America, the nation-state, he stands in all of their way, America's epic counter-revolutionary figure. 

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Fiona Hill also practices convergence-analysis on the US. The example before us is a 2004 article published at The Globalist. (I can't even muster a snarky comment) in which her ostensible point of departure is the development of the two countries' coastal regions.

OK, never really thought of that. She writes:

America and Russia headed for their respective coasts in roughly the same timeframe. They started from different points on the globe and moved in opposite directions — and yet they both ended up pushing toward the Pacific. ...

But the push to the Pacific had very different outcomes for the two continental powers.

And?

By the end of the 20th century, while the American dream seemed to have materialized in the West, the Communist dream had foundered in the East.

Got that? While the American dream "seemed to have materialized" out West (kind of passive, ya think) the Communist dream "foundered" in the East. But don't laugh. Communism, Hill now tells us, was Russia's catalyst of progress. 

The former White House adviser on Russia writes:

Communism dragged Russia kicking and screaming into the modern world. It brought electricity, full literacy, some of the world's largest industrial enterprises and ultimately a nuclear arsenal and space program comparable to America's.

Still, the socialist utopia remained a distant goal — and prosperity was elusive. The zeal of Communist planners ran afoul of the harsh realities and peculiarities of Russia's geography and climate.

Suddenly, I feel as if I am being held prisoner insider a box of old "Soviet Life" magazines. 

Speaking of  "the harsh realities and peculiarities of Russia's geography and climate," Hill dispenses her own history of Siberia.

Millions of people were moved into Siberia and into this region of inhospitable cold in the 20th century.

The bulk of them arrived in the Communist period after the Soviet state launched a mass industrialization campaign at the end of the 1920s. (Emphases added.)

How were they moved? Isn't something missing?

Ah, here it comes -- and so much more. Let's let Fiona Hill run on for a while:

Siberian migration was on a much bigger scale, and of a very different nature to the movement of people into the American Plains. There, hundreds of thousands of people migrated west on a largely voluntary basis.

"Largely" voluntary?

Yes, Russia did have its version of homesteaders under the Tsars, who were offered land and other inducements to move into Siberia. But in the Soviet period, the state used the GULAG — the prison labor camp system — to force people to go there against their will.

"To force people to go there against their will...." That probably hurt to write, but, like Khrushchev, Hill probably felt better afterward.

A total of about 18 million people passed through the GULAG system across the Soviet Union during the period of its operations. 

"Passed through" -- that's more like it, Comrade.

Their labor built the basic infrastructure — the roads, railway, factories, dams, canals and power stations — of the modern industrial state, especially in the most remote regions of the USSR. ...

Do I detect a glimmer of excitement?

After the GULAG ended, Siberia became a boom region — especially with the opening up of its vast oil and gas fields in the west and enormous coalmines in the east. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, some of the largest construction and industrial projects in Russian and world history were undertaken in Siberia.

These projects were monumental in their scale and investment — such as the world's largest aluminum plant, huge dams and power plants and the world's longest freight railway line.

The sap of Soviet apologetics is rising. 

The industrialization of Siberia was the apogee of Communism. The Soviet Union conquered the frozen wastes and built things that outside observers thought impossible in the places they were built.

Workers came to Siberia to earn higher wages and special privileges for their families.

Workers of the world, unite in Siberia for special privileges! 

But Fiona's not finished yet.

They also went there for the opportunity to be pioneers in a grand endeavor — the construction of Communism in the permafrost.

The industrialization of Siberia was an exercise in unbridled optimism and demonstrated a great faith in the Soviet system's ability to tame Siberia. It was also the result of a heady concoction of ideological and practical motivations. 

"Heady concoction"? Probably best not to comment further except to say that yes, "Soviet" is the best word to describe the Fiona Hill worldview. 

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Last exercise in FionaHillDom.

From NPR:

The week after Trump took office, [Fiona Hill] told a gathering at Harvard that Russia's meddling in the election that brought him to power was, as she put it, an affront to our national security. And she expressed sympathy for the woman who she said was the object of that meddling, Hillary Clinton.

But she was a non-partisan witness for the Schiff show.

Hill also wrote a doozy of a post-election op-ed posted at the Brookings site. I think it is distinguished from the rest for being probably her greatest offense against history and her adopted country both. By now, readers will recognize what I have taken to calling Hill's method of convergence-analysis whereby she mashes historical apples and oranges together to make a really weird brew. In the case of this op-ed, she lumps together the lawful U.S. election process with the Marxist-Leninist savagery of the Bolshevik Revolution.

"The U.S. election came hot on the heels of the 99th anniversary of the Russian revolution," she wrote, using the coinciding dates as an unwieldy news peg. "The result was the contemporary American version of a Bolshevik revolution."

What?

"Donald Trump rode a wave of popular anger against the establishment, promising to bring down the old guard and seize the White House."

What?

"Like the Bolsheviks, his campaign was big on slogans and short on content."

True to form, just as Fiona Hill's downplays or omits discussion of Marxism-Leninism when referencing Soviet history and aftermath. she has omitted here any mention of the democratic process (hello?), which, of course, would turn her convergence analysis into so much goop.

It gets worse.

Speaking of Bolsheviks, she brings in Putin and Trump.

Maybe it takes a “Bolshevik” to know one—or rather, someone who knows what a Bolshevik, a revolutionary, thinks like. And among the handful of people who seemed to call this electoral outcome was Russian President Vladimir Putin. The reasons why are instructive.

In the noxious paragraphs to come, Hill plays up Putin as the nationalist Bolshevik Svengali populist pollster genius (and, most gratingly, as she would have it -- the role model for Donald Trump, the last man on earth who needs a role model). Here's a sample.

Putin’s message was more sophisticated than Trump’s stump speeches, but he worked to burnish an image as a scrappy street fighter who would never let an insult stand, and a tough guy who would speak his mind in uncompromising and colorful terms. ... Putin has become a global celebrity and a populist leader par excellence. His macho style is now broadly emulated, including by the American president-elect.  

Puh-leeze. Not only does the "Putin-critic" protest too much, the idea that Trump is emulating anyone's "macho style" is another absurdity, as can be readily established by running through just a fraction of the past forty years of Trump appearances on his own TV show, talk shows, commercials, Saturday Night Live, prize fights, beauty pageants, and political conventions. False notes aside, there is something claustrophobic on entering Fiona Hill's self-consciously reductive analysis of historical movements, events and men. Her technique is to take This and That, whether it's light and dark or good and evil, and intertwine them, stripping away distinguishing features, until they are one and the same, repurposed to rope in some subversive goal. 

Her twisting of the Russian and American electorates is typical.

From the Kremlin perspective, the frustration and public dissatisfaction of a large segment of the American public, in the wake of a great recession and industrial dislocation, looked a lot like the frustration and public dissatisfaction in the USSR of the 1980s and Russia of the 1990s.

Totally non-comparable, again, given the toxic waste dump communism made of Russia, which is something Hill ignores so consistently it becomes a form of denial.

She continues:

The economic and societal ills of small American cities and rural areas, were familiar to the Kremlin. U.S. grassroots grievances resonated with Russian resentments. Donald Trump’s 2016 slogans had shades of Putin’s 2012 campaign: bashing out-of-touch elites, championing the little guy, projecting the image of the strong leader who could get the people what they wanted, making his country great again, and teaching everyone else a lesson in the process.

"U.S. grassroots grievances resonated with Russian resentments"? "Donald Trump's 2016 slogans had shades of Putin's 2012 campaign"? More poisonous propagand and far more sophisticated than Hill's 2004 apologia for "the construction of Communism in the permafrost." The earlier essay nearly glistens with the moist eyes and quivering lips of the true believer, while her more recent effort is more carefully geared toward narrative-control in a  darker and more deceptive way.

She concludes:

Based on their own experience, the Kremlin judged (correctly) that in America’s essentially “Russian moment,” a U.S. “Bolshevik” and showman would better fit the angry mood than the alternative from the ancien régime.

I find myself unwilling to engage with this slander of our duly elected, innately anti-communist 45th president as a "Bolshevik"; or our miraculous electoral victory over the socialist Washington establishment in 2016 as "America's essentially `Russian moment.'" It is just perverse. I will instead bring this very long project to a close with the fervent prayer than Fiona Hill never again serve in the US government. 

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