When we talk about “what happened” regarding the 2016 elections, we should always start with the clear point that in the bourgeois political extravaganza, no one is willing to take responsibility. And, obviously, the masters of not taking responsibility are the Clintons.
In the video, Colbert and Clinton spend the first two minutes on general fluff and wound-licking. Following that, Clinton says the point of her book is to figure out what happened, “so that it doesn’t happen again”. Of course, she receives raucous applause for this line. After all, she is on Colbert’s show.
What is “it” exactly? Bourgeois elections? The Democrats losing elections? I suppose she means the government of the Russian Federation “interfering” in the elections, but we’ll cover that a bit later.
She says at around the 3:40 mark, that she’s being as candid as she could be about “the mistakes [she] made, … but also, … everything from sexism and misogyny to voter suppression to the unusual behavior of the former director of the FBI and the Russians, and the Russians and you have been sounding the alarm about this, because I believe so strongly that they think they succeeded in messing with our democracy…”
We can unpack this more as the interview goes on, but you’ll notice how quickly she pivots from talking about her own actions to blaming everyone else. Throughout the rest of the interview, she fails to mention anything else about what she could have done to change the outcome of the election.
That’s not to say the other things aren’t important, but rather that in her perspective, she is not responsible for her own loss. Well, what the fuck? For someone who apparently extolls the virtues of the Amerikkkan political process, why is she complaining about it so much? I don’t remember any (literally, not one) of the other losers in my lifetime doing anything remotely like this.
Back to the video…
Around 4:30, she says that the “Russians” definitely were “influencing voters and, therefore, influencing opinion…”
Let’s assume, for a moment, this is true. What does that mean? The government of the Russian Federation supposedly bought ads on Facebook and published news articles that were particularly aimed at Clinton and her campaign, placing her in a bad light.
What’s the issue here?
Last time I checked, that’s perfectly legal and acceptable. In fact, that’s what you do in an election! You attempt to influence voters and opinion in order to help you achieve your personal desirable outcome.
Now, dear reader, you might protest that the problem is that Russia is a foreign government. However, I don’t hear anyone complaining about how Clinton received money and blessings from Saudi Arabia and Israel (along with countless other states).
So what’s the deal? Russia bought Facebook ads? And by doing so, influenced the election?
Good for them. They played the game and beat out other countries. It seems like if we accept the narrative that Clinton and Colbert are pushing, the whole process was merely a power-play between different countries. And in that power-play, Russia beat Saudi Arabia.
Around 5:07, she claims that she’s “a bit of a Paula Revere.”
Can’t you hear it now? The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!
This is fear-mongering and highfalutin bullshit at its finest.
So now we get to hear Clinton’s breakdown of Vladimir Putin’s strategy. Fasten your seatbelt, dear reader, because you’re about to get thrown through a whirlwind of garbage.
At 5:12, she begins:
“You know, you’ve gotta understand what Putin’s strategy is. He really doesn’t like democracy. He thinks its an inconvenient, messy process. And he doesn’t like us. And he wants to destabilize our country, sow doubt about our democracy. I mean, these latest revelations where you had Russians pretending to be Americans. You had fake Americans with fake news and fake stories and fake demonstrations. That wasn’t just because he’s bored and has nothing to do. He wants to undermine how we see each other, how we respect each other, how we support our institutions and our society. So, I think they believed they had a good outing in 2016 and I think they will be back in 2018 and 2020 unless we stop them.”
This analysis received applause. And it really shouldn’t have.
The hypocrisy here is so blatant and so shameless, I’m surprised it got past people at all.
Putin doesn’t like democracy? Putin is trying to sow doubt about “our democracy”?
What the hell is she talking about?
Who is the person who just wrote a book and is appearing on television to say that the most recent elections were illegitimate? Not Putin!
Who is the one saying that we had people faking citizenship and lying about facts in order to help their side? Not Putin!
Who likes democracy? Not Putin and certainly not Hillary Clinton!
At 6:30, Clinton speculates as to why Putin wouldn’t like her. She concludes that it’s because she questioned the legitimacy of the elections in Russia in 2011. She goes on to say that Putin is still upset about the dismantling of the Soviet Union and that he wants to “undermine the European-American alliance.”
I think there are probably a few other pretty good reasons for Putin to cheer for anyone opposing Clinton. It’s true, she did question the legitimacy of the elections in 2011 – as did everyone else, because it was obviously rigged.
So, that’s probably not the primary reason.
Who ran on the platform of shooting down Russian planes flying over Syria?
Who was Secretary of State and oversaw the total destruction of Libya?
Who threatened to give more money to the Ukrainian government and started peddling revisionist narratives of the events of 2013-2014?
Clinton has a very proactive record of military aggression against sovereign countries and trying to corner Russia into very tight positions. As the regional power, the Russian government has seen these maneuvers (rightfully) as threatening and has opposed them.
Obviously, Dumbass Trump has been little better, but we can all rest assured that, through incompetence, Trump has been unable to get as much done as Clinton would have.
And that’s a good thing for Russia (and everyone else, btw)!
Starting around 7:35, Clinton starts telling a story about a time she met with Putin “in his dacha” in order to demonstrate that Putin is a terrible misogynist.
It, of course, doesn’t take a genius to realize that Putin is a patriarchal piece of shit. His whole image is that of ultra-masculinity. However, we should ask ourselves the question: what’s the function of this story?
It’s to make sure that everyone is on Clinton’s side against Putin (and, of course, we must hate Russia, because we hate Putin).
Why doesn’t Clinton focus on other avowed misogynists?
Like King Salman or Bibi Netanyahu?
Or how about Bill Clinton?
I’d like to end this with a story, just so we have the entire context here.
There was a significant event in 1996 that ought to be retold – the second election ever in the Russian Federation. Boris Yeltsin was running for re-election under very bad circumstances. He had been wildly popular in the beginning and watched that popularity dwindle as he did things like literally bomb the parliament building in central Moscow in 1993. At the same time, the economy was failing and the Russians were bombing Grozny to hell in the separatist republic of Chechnya.
So things weren’t going very well.
At the same time, a lot of people were looking back on the Soviet Union and realizing that they had lost a lot – public finances going to social security, healthcare, and education. Worker’s protections were also important. In Russia today, people refer to the 90s as “the wild 90s” and almost no one I’ve ever talked to has had anything positive to say about that time.
At this point, Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the newly-formed Communist Party of the Russian Federation (replacing the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) looked like a superstar, promising to fix the economy and put Russia back on track as it moved into the 21st century.
Bill Clinton, president of the U.$. at the time, was not about to let a communist win the Russian elections.
In the run-up to the election, the U.$. and the IMF funneled money to the Russian government. Yeltsin was also given logistical help from the Clinton administration. Pretty much everyone agrees, in the end, Zyuganov would have won the election, but the government committed wouldn’t allow free and fair elections.
Essentially, the Clinton administration made important moves (up to and including direct election fraud) in order to ensure that Yeltsin won the 1996 elections.
Following this move, the Russian economy continued to spiral, the Russian government continued the War in Chechnya (and admitted defeat just a month after the election).
So, allow me to pose the question to you, dear reader: who in truth has a track record of interfering in foreign elections? Is Russia really the bogey-man that Clinton and her minions are trying to paint it as? Or is it the case that the Russian government simply refuses to be a vassal of the U.$.?
Two of these people are about to lose a war that they started over sectarianism and imperialism.
I’ll let you guess which two.
In my last post comparing the death tolls under Joseph Stalin and Bill Clinton, I decided to include the deaths of the Rwandan Genocide and the Congo Wars.
I took the position here that Clinton and the administration in Washington acted (or failed to act) out of either gross negligence or perhaps out of interest in allowing both the genocide and the wars to occur (at least in the way that they did).
With regards to the Rwandan genocide, there are generally two competing narratives. The dominant narrative has been very public: the administration (and Clinton himself) expressed time and again that they made an egregious mistake by not intervening. So, if we accept this narrative, then I think it’s fair to include the deaths that they admit that they didn’t stop.
However, if we accept an alternative narrative, presented in books like The Politics of Genocide by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, then the U.S. intervened fairly heavily. For example, according to Herman and Peterson, the United States was very involved in helping the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) assassinate Habyarimana in 1994 and then militarily conquer the country and subsequently massacre Hutus, Pygmies, and even Tutsis in reprisal killings, which, they argue, probably outnumber the 800,000 killed in the genocide. By accepting this narrative, although much more controversial, we would be able to attribute far more deaths to Paul Kagame and, by extension, Bill Clinton.
This is why I decided to include the death toll of the events in Rwanda under Clinton’s name.
Following this, Kagame and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda decided to invade Zaire in order to remove Mobutu from power. This is what is referred to as the First Congo War. As is discussed very in depth in Africa’s World War by Gérard Prunier, the U.S. very heavily backed Kagame and Museveni during the First Congo War. Prunier argues that Clinton saw an opportunity to get rid of Mobutu, of whom the U.S. was embarrassed for supporting throughout the Cold War. In fairness, pretty much everyone was in favor of ousting Mobutu in 1996/1997 and Kagame and Museveni got support from pretty much everyone except France.
Rwanda and Uganda installed Laurent-Désiré Kabila as president, who renamed the country as the Democratic Republic of Congo and who proved to be an uncooperative puppet in Kinshasa.
The Second Congo War began when Kagame and Museveni agreed to get rid of puppet #1 and try to set up puppet #2. This war, however, was much more complicated and the sides were much more convoluted – with Angola, Zimbabwe, and Sudan maintaining their support of Kabila. The big players officially took a much more hands-off approach during the Second Congo War. Nevertheless, both the RPA and the Ugandan government were able to rely on their backing of the U.S.
This is obvious, because Clinton could have roped in Kagame and Museveni (both during the genocide and the subsequent wars). Or he could have continued to give aid to the DRC. But instead he traveled himself to Rwanda in 1998 and sent officials to Kigali and Kampala after the most brutal parts of the wars. Bill Clinton could have made sure that the United Nations thoroughly investigated Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army. But instead, he actively blocked UN investigations to continue with regards to RPA’s massacres in the Kivus and their reprisal killings.
Those are the reasons I decided to include his involvement as sharing responsibility for the deaths in Rwanda and the DRC.
Ultimately, comparing the death tolls was an exercise in showing the absurdity of “death counts” in the way they are commonly used. When I was teaching, I often heard students repeat the completely ludicrous claim that “Stalin was responsible for more deaths than Hitler”. This, of course, is nonsense. Nazi Germany, as shown by even anti-communist historians, killed many millions more than the Soviet Union.
It seems to me that a huge fallacy is being made when we decide to attribute deaths to state leaders. When we analyze deaths, both as the direct and indirect result of state policy, they need to be placed in their greater context – especially during the 20th century, where “death counts” often lead to counter-intuitive assessments.
The highest example of this is shown by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze in their book Hunger and Public Action, where they argue that there have been more deaths from low-level hunger in India than from the largest famines under Mao and that fewer people would have died if India had pursued similar (communist) policies as the People’s Republic of China. They even conclude “that every eight years or so more people die in India because of its higher regular death rate than died in China in the gigantic famine of 1958-61. India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame.”