I sometimes wonder what Путин must make of the Western media obsession with him.
Do his ears burn each day with all the new articles, broadcasts, social media mentions – the myriad voices, guided by the Western political and media establishments, speculating, characterizing, creating – “Putin”?
It is unlikely that Путин is indifferent to the “Putin” spectacle as there are often statements by his proxies or himself that deny or contest reports in the Western press – or, request never-forthcoming evidence to back up incessant and unsubstantiated allegations.
Путин has been meticulously translated into the lifeworld of Western alphabets as caricature, a larger than life, Hollywood nemesis, woven out of an echo chamber of narrative clichés.
As with other mythological creatures, the poets elaborate the “Putin” tapestry by which we interpret the world. This mythos, distinct from the disinterested integrity of knowledge, operates unconsciously, at the level of mass psychology, amidst the zeitgeist. In this context, “Putin” becomes a trigger word for a nexus of prescribed, automatic feeling.
In the end, the conjuration of “Putin” is orchestrated according to the desires of the prevailing configuration of Western political power – and not by evidentiary truth. It is not meant to reveal Путин, but to disseminate “words that kill” that will erase him and his lifeworld.
To read the rest of the article, please visit Putin’s ears must be burning.
Trump has however won the election and he is on a direct collision course with the National Security establishment. Of course, Trump is an unlikely revolutionary. He has never said he would defy the National Security Act of 1947 (no president has), which means that he will accept its shadowy apparatus and its bureaucratic methodologies. Indeed, he supports increased NSA surveillance, expanded military spending, CIA activism, FBI phone hacking, etcetera. He is simply suggesting a different target for business-as-usual, by reminding us of our last propaganda cycle, the “War on Terror”.
Yet, Trump has thus far failed to articulate the “big picture” of a Russian rapprochement in the context of the necessity of a US glasnost – of a deconstruction of the National Security state. During a campaign characterised by serial violations of longstanding taboos (Sanders’ opposition to the CIA, his support of the Sandinistas and Cuba) and Wikileaks’ disclosure of sensitive and damaging government and campaign documents, Trump squandered his opportunity to lay out a credible vision for either radical reform or revolution. Indeed, he has been happy to simultaneously endorse the NSA surveillance state and Wikileaks – and without irony.
Trump’s has thus far failed to articulate a coherent vision of a cooperative, multi-polar world – in other words, to invite ordinary citizens to demand a radical change in the concept of national security and of the place of the US in the world. If he does not challenge the NSC, Trump’s insurgency will expose itself as a distraction to the urgent task of finding a pathway out of the labyrinth of empire. In its naivety, Trump’s “revolution” would then serve to further merely consolidate the unquestioned impunity of the National Security state.
To read the complete essay, please visit Trump vs. the National Security Establishment.