Bashar al-Assad recently gave a speech where he denied the Holocaust as well as promoted the idea that Jewish people in Israel are “Khazars”. Widely also reported was Assad’s claim that the US had enabled the Nazis.
Western editorial reactions to the speech primarily focused on Assad’s Holocaust denialism, and the denialism of the ethnicity of Israeli Jews via the Khazar conspiracy theory — and therefore a denial of the Israeli people’s Biblical right to Israel.
However, my primary reactions to the speech were to note Assad’s clear invocation of Russia’s cult of WW2 and ideology of victory as well as continued parrotting of Russian nationalist ideas within a ‘narrative warfare’ context in general.
Another strong takeaway I had was that despite his argumentation that his narrative was the truth, Assad seems to feel that this war for “truth” does not necessarily correspond to the true and the false. In this sense, that is much like the historical antisemitism which is represented by people who believe in forgeries like The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion despite all evidence they are inauthentic documents.
I imagined how funny it must have sounded when he said it:
“….whoever winth the truth… Of courthe, the truth, regardleth of whether it is real or falthe, ith the one who winth the war and the battle.” – Bashar al-Assad (sloppy lisp emphasis added by the author)
“they really hated J. Edgar Hoover, but the man they hated above all others was Martin Luther King. And the reason they hated him above all others is that their plan for the United States – they were really looking forward to it – was that the ‘long, and hot summers’ of the mid and late 1960’s would lead to race war in the United States. And the reason they hated Martin Luther King like they hated no other American, was that they feared he might put an end to the long, hot summers. So, when he dies in 1968, it’s a terrible thing to say – but it was a great day for the people at KGB Headquarters.”
Professor Andrew’s televised comments on Dr. King came just 12 days after the end of the so-called campaign of terror known as the “Russian apartment bombings” which was a decisive moment that catapulted former KGB agent and then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the Presidency of Russia.
Not even Professor Andrew could have realized at that time how KGB active measures would live on and remain much the same under Putin as they had in the time of the Cold War.
In the wake of 2020’s racial tensions which seem to have been exacerbated by Russia’s online information warfare activities on both the political far left and far right; it is time for us to awake to Dr. King’s “Dream” and the power it has to unite rather than divide us as a society in the face of Russian disinformation and active measures. Continue reading “Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Acknowledging the KGB’s Enemy #1”
I was delighted to hear Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declare loud and clear that the US is building a “New Liberal World Order“. This is an important diplomatic step that America should take in order to reinforce the post-WW2 peace and in order to counter authoritarian interests. However, as previously blogged here, our domestic American culture is increasingly polarized by conspiratorial elements who are traceable to the influence operations of Russia and other authoritarian cultures. As a result, post-Soviet US politics has become increasingly divided along extremist lines, and American bipartisanship and ‘liberalism’ (in a “John Locke” sense) has all but disappeared.
Until we address our political mess at home and forthrightly take on some tough questions about how to curtail such influence without damaging constitutional protections for free speech, I don’t see how this theoretically noble and necessary effort to re-entrench liberal power abroad can be credible or successful. Politically and mathematically, it seems to me that one of the best ways to ‘hack back’ against Russian political influence and force rational bipartisanship (without resorting to some kind of centrist authoritarianism in a three party system) would be to abandon the two party system in favor of a four party system which leads to the forced ‘gerrymandering of centrism’. (Maybe this is why the UK has gone this route.)
It can be hard to make sense of the world today, but once again, I think ‘Team America World Police’ offers great wisdom for our democracy.
Seriously though, it seems that our politics are now unarguably an extension of the 19th and 20th century Russian revolutionary disinformation which springs from Russian Tsarists (who spread fascism, Aryanism, and Anti-Semitism); and their conflicts with Russian Bolsheviks (who spread communism, Marxism, and anti-capitalism). Russia seemed to control ‘both sides’ of extremist political discourse in the run up to World War II and it seems they may do so again.