Michael McFaul, former amerikan ambassador to Russia under Obama, took to twitter to rail against the claim that amerikan interference in the affairs of sovereign states is at all relevant to the discussion of alleged Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential elections. He was specifically referring to ultra-right blowhard Sean Hannity, who had brought up past “meddling” by the united $tates abroad, mentioning an apparent plan by the Obama administration to undermine the Israeli prime minister in his own bid for reelection. Hannity also mentioned the cold war era, and the manipulation of governments and elections throughout the world in the interest of promoting democracy and defeating communism—although he takes pains to clarify that he indeed endorses such interference as a moral foreign policy effort.
Ultimately, Hannity’s show was a confused neoconservative mess, wherein Fox’s own Canio flails breathlessly, straddling (poorly) the line between defending Trump’s legitimacy as president and opposing covert Russian interests by insinuating that the democrats are somehow the real Russian proxies. McFaul’s gripe is not with Hannity’s eclecticism, however. He is interested in the insinuation that amerikan foreign policy may somehow be comparable to the alleged activities of the Russians during the 2016 elections. Apparently, to make such an obvious connection is nothing short of Kremlin propaganda, unfitting of a real response by the democratic establishment. This line of thinking has since extended to virtually anyone who doubts the validity—or at least the relevance—of claims of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
McFaul and his neoliberal allies cannot deal directly with the accusations of amerikan interference in world politics, and instead resort to the use of thought-terminating cliches. Their first recourse when presented with evidence that corrupts their narrative is to write it off as “fake news”. After all, the neoliberals are always right, and their arguments are always wholly based on fact. If this will not suffice, and the evidence is far too strong or the knowledge so ubiquitous that it cannot be denied, then it now seems they have another alternative: unpatriotic “whataboutism”. It’s not that amerikan interference doesn’t happen, but that—according to them—it simply doesn’t matter, and that bringing it up is just pro-Russian propaganda.
MSNBC’s “Deadline Whitehouse” were quick to expand upon McFaul’s original statement, insisting that the kind of interference the united $tates engages in is “different” than what they claim to have experienced in 2016. According to them, amerikan violations of sovereignty around the world are permissible because they represent the expressed amerikan foreign policy objective of “promoting democracy” worldwide. If it is difficult to see how democracy is being promoted in Libya, or how the Pinochet dictatorship promoted democracy in Chile, for instance, don’t be alarmed. Throwing communists from helicopters and raping a sovereign head of state is a part of the “democratic” process.
Ironically, Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC’s latest benchwarmer to rotate in, even attempts to evoke the image of Iranian authorities hanging gay dissidents from cranes with the rallying cry “this is what our foreign policy opposes” when, in fact, this is standard operating procedure in Saudi Arabia, a great ally (read, satellite) to imperialist amerikan foreign policy.
This kind of neoliberal sophistry is employed precisely because, as an opposition, the democrats and their allies still have a vested interest in protecting the amerikan imperialist state. The full extent of their problems with amerikan imperialism ends with the current executive, and under these circumstances they must position themselves as the “patriotic” opposition. After all, on the anti-imperialist and communist left we are well aware of what this policy of “promoting democracy” really means, and are reassured by the pro-imperialist ranting on the part of the neoliberal opposition that a change in executive will do nothing to impede it. As a result we are acting as an internal opposition among the anti-Trump camp, and must push the narrative into the territory of revolutionary change, and away from cyclical coups launched against one section of the imperialist bourgeoisie by the other.
So while, to the democratic party, these accusations of amerikan imperialism and international interference may appear to to be pro-Russian “whataboutism” obscuring the real issue, it is, in fact, the real issue. This is the bottom line for the real opposition, and we must combat their attempts to write it off as obfuscation by so-called foreign agents. The real fight is against amerikan imperialism and the wanton murder of people all over the world for the sake of preserving amerikan hegemony and capitalist exploitation. The opposition, as it stands, is concerned primarily with Trump, but we must concern ourselves primarily with what comes after, and if it is peace, equality and liberation that we desire, it cannot be the preservation of this system.