Did Putin Troll The Kavanaugh Hearings: Meet Mr. Mayhem
Reports are surfacing that Russian operatives had been using Twitter to troll the Kavanaugh hearings and continuing through the confirmation vote. In a recent tracking graph dated September 28, 2018, of Russian trolling recorded by Hamilton 68 which purports to track such events, six of the top ten trolling subjects from Russia were: “Kavanaugh Hearings”, “Kavanaugh”, “Confirm Kavanaugh”, “Brett Kavanaugh”, “Confirm . Kavanaugh”, “Christine Blasey Ford”. These included the top two trolling subjects. For more, see the article https://dashboard.securingdemocracy.org/ .
A while back, my Friend Debby Long, whom I introduced to TMV readers a few weeks ago, wrote a piece titled Meet Mr. Mayhem. It fits right in with these new reports.
Meet Mr. Mayhem
by: Debby Long
We look at the preposterous Paul Manafort, and all we see is his crumpled perp walk of doom. We look at General Mike Flynn, and we see a comic book quisling who weaseled his way into the amateur Trump White House. And with the taxi medallions and cugine style of Michael Cohen, this Oval Office drama seems to be the trailer for a Sopranos version of the 15th season of The Apprentice. This narrative comforts us into believing that Donald Trump, a New York arriviste with a flair for glitzy bombast, couldn’t possibly be at the helm of an effort to effect a soft coup on America.
So, meet Mr. Mayhem. Meet Vladimir Putin. Like Trump, we see Putin as a preposterous bad guy – a “little thug”, as Masha Gessen characterizes him. He’s a Bond villain who sports the face of a pit bull and knows Judo. Americans love theatre like this, and we export these stories globally. In fact you could say that we’ve globalized this kind of thriller narrative. Just ask John Frankenheimer; just ask Seth Rogen.
But in our failure to recognize what Mr. Putin represents, what objectives he has, and who he resembles in history, we fail to hear the soft knocking at the door – our door. And our failure to see the other major geopolitical shifts that accompany Putin’s vulpine predator-prey relationship with sovereign nations makes America look more like a tasty meal than, as Lincoln said, “the last best hope on earth.”
In the late 20th century, liberal democracy grew to become the predominant political system in the world. During the 90s, globalization, free-market capitalism, and information technology suggested a new theory of global cooperation. When Francis Fukuyama declared “the end of history” in 1992 at the fall of communism in the USSR, he said free-market liberal democracy had won and would become the world’s “final form of human government.” – Fukuyama was announcing the end of geopolitical evolution. He no longer believes that.
And twenty years ago, Thomas Friedman described his “golden arches theory of conflict prevention”, explaining that “no two countries that both have McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other since they each got their McDonald’s”. The idea was that the world had arrived at a “tip-over point at which a country, by integrating with the global economy, opening itself up to foreign investment and empowering its consumers, permanently restricts its capacity for trouble-making and promotes gradual democratization and widening peace”. I doubt that Friedman still believes that either.
Instead, perhaps George Monbiot has it right when he says: “…under the onslaught of the placeless, transnational capital that McDonald’s exemplifies, democracy as a living system withers and dies. The old forms and forums still exist – parliaments and congresses remain standing – but the power they once contained seeps away, re-emerging where we can no longer reach it….The political power that should belong to us has flitted into confidential meetings with the lobbyists and donors who establish the limits of debate and action.“
So, meet Mr. Mayhem – meet Vladimir Putin, perhaps the richest man on earth. Meet “the CEO of Russia, Inc. whose task is to protect the core assets of the economic system that he controls and which is managed by his inner circle”, as the Brookings Institute describes him.
We are witnessing a geopolitical evolution – a class in “Back to Basics 2.0”. The Great Game Redux. Its currency is corruption, its tactics are murder and mayhem, and its collateral damage is us.