“This massive anti-Russian propaganda campaign is one of the biggest fake news operations in US history,” charges Salon.com founder David Talbot in his foreword to the sure-to-be-controversial The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin, a book notable for having been written not by a professional Trump or Putin apologist, but by human rights attorney and Huffington Post contributor Dan Kovalik, who, while finding Trump’s politics deplorable, is no more impressed by Trump critics’ insistence on granting any credibility to the CIA, an organization concerned not only with intelligence gathering, but with the creation and dissemination of disinformation on behalf of corporate interests. Kovalik’s rebuttal of “Russiagate” (or, as skeptics have dubbed it, “Muh Russia”) is mostly relativistic, situating claims of Russian “aggression” and “meddling” in the context of a decades-spanning history of US terrorism and regime change in countries as far-flung as Chile, Guatemala, Vietnam, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kovalik writes with a progressive readership in mind, and conservatives will find their stomachs churned by such reflections of the author’s as “how influential the left in general, and the Communist Party in particular, were in this country at one point, and, I would argue, for the good.”
Kovalik argues that US “humanitarian” criticisms of Putin are disingenuous and cites as an illustration the fact that US collaborator Boris Yeltsin’s massacre and maiming of hundreds when he shelled the Russian parliament in 1993 failed to produce anything resembling the hostility to Putin presently evident in the American mainstream media. Kovalik insists that, “in the end, what galls the US the most about Vladimir Putin is not how authoritarian and un-democratic they view him to be […] but that Putin has helped Russia rise from its knees and become an independent nation and world actor again.” He suggests that “the US-Putin relationship seems to have gone sideways when Putin did not go along with the second Gulf War in 2003” and that “it was after this point that the US started feigning concern about democracy in Russia.” Kovalik’s enthusiasm for the posited worker-friendly legacy of the USSR and his simplistic understanding of the Second World War almost verge on being cartoonish. In addition, his book gives occasional evidences of having been rushed into print; but not even poor proofreading can dampen the ardor of his commitment to a more peaceful multipolar world political order. “In the end, it is important for American citizens, both liberal and conservative, to stand against such madness, and to stand for a foreign policy based upon reason and facts,” Kovalik concludes, adding, “Confrontation with Russia is justified by neither of these.” The rightness or wrongness of Kovalik’s views is, as always, for the individual reader to determine.