Russiagate and Captain Queeg’s Search for the Elusive Key

In the midst of over 40 million people out of work – 1/3 of whom haven’t been able to access unemployment benefits due to dysfunctional application systems – a pandemic and unrest in the streets all over the country, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1960’s, the Democratic Party establishment has decided to respond by trotting out a variation of the completely discredited Russiagate narrative yet again.

During an interview with CNN on May 31st in which former Obama-era National Security Adviser Susan Rice – who’s also in the running as Joe Biden’s VP – provided her opinion on the dynamics behind the George Floyd protests that were heating up throughout the nation. And what grand insight did Ms. Rice offer? Russia done it. Here’s part of the exchange:

“I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook,” Rice, who served as national-security adviser to president Obama, said in a CNN interview on Sunday. “But we cannot allow the extremists, the foreign actors, to distract from the real problems we have in this country that are longstanding, centuries old, and need to be addressed responsibly.”

Anchor Wolf Blitzer responded, “you’re absolutely right on the foreign interference.” Blitzer then asked Rice if she thought the Russians were attempting to “embarrass” the U.S. by “promoting the racial divide in our country.”

“Well we see it all the time, we’ve seen it for years, including on social media where they take any divisive, painful issue . . . and they play on both sides,” Rice said. “I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides on social media . . . [or] that they’re funding it in some way, shape, or form.”

Note that Rice admits she’s not basing this on any actual evidence – “I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days” – but that she’s basically just spit-balling this ludicrous idea that Russia is behind massive protests involving hundreds of thousands of Americans in every major city in the country and even some smaller ones. Let’s see, I guess that all-powerful and pernicious Putin decided, in the middle of dealing with a public health crisis and economic recession in his own country, that he was going to get into a time machine and create the slave trade, Jim Crow, lynching, and police brutality mixed with a poorly handled economic and health crisis and dilapidated infrastructure in the U.S. Damn, he’s good.

This constant flogging of a phantom Russian conspiracy to destroy the U.S. reminds me of Captain Queeg’s obsessive and paranoid quest to find an elusive key to explain the imaginary theft of a quart of strawberries aboard ship in The Caine Mutiny, ordering his officers to search the entire vessel and all the men to find it.

Here is the scene from the 1954 movie, starring Humphrey Bogart, in which Queeg convinces himself that someone stole a portion of leftover strawberries:

This is comparable to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment convincing themselves of a conspiracy to explain their embarrassing loss to Trump in 2016, kicking off the Russiagate scandal.

Here is the scene where Queeg orders his officers to toss the ship in search of an imaginary key he thinks is at the center of an elaborate scheme to break into the icebox and steal the strawberries:

This is the equivalent of the Mueller investigation and the unhinged rantings of Representative Adam Schiff who kept insisting that he was privy to evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Eventually the Mueller investigation ended with a whimper and not the bang we’d been promised for months. Now that the transcripts of closed-door interviews between Congress and members of the intelligence and security community as well as the CEO of Crowdstrike have been released, we know that Schiff was lying. There was no evidence of collusion or that the DNC had been hacked, much less by Russia. The Democratic Party establishment had no problem turning Washington upside down looking for the symbolic key that would prove their election strawberries had been stolen.

It’s becoming clear how the cynical political class will be shaping the narrative around the George Floyd protests for the upcoming election. The Democrats will blame Russia, while the Republicans blame the radical left (“antifa”). Though they will blame different parties, the bipartisan consensus will conveniently be that they don’t really have to offer anything to meaningfully help the American people – universal health care, a jobs program, UBI, and an end to the wars will be off the table.

Unlike this sad fiasco, The Caine Mutiny was based on good literature and Queeg, as it turns out, really did believe his own paranoid delusions, making him a pitiful character who elicited sympathy rather than the despised ogre he’d seemed throughout the story.

8 thoughts on “Russiagate and Captain Queeg’s Search for the Elusive Key”

  1. Bravo, Natylie, let’s hope Biden doesn’t pick Rice. I didn’t think anyone would be so blindly absurd. She doesn’t even consider how this must her cohorts feel….

    1. I was talking with someone else who considered Rice to be too absurd to be chosen, but I think she probably moved up a notch after it came out that Klobuchar was responsible for not charging Derek Chauvin for his previous misbehavior while she was Minneapolis prosecutor. If Biden knows how to read the room, so to speak, he won’t pick any of the prosecutors on the list (Klobuchar, Harris and Wittmer). Given that many voters vote more on domestic issues than foreign policy, someone may think she’s a safer bet. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. Rice: “I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days”.

    That could be considered a point in her favor, but the rest is vintage Dead Ender flailing about for a scapegoat.

  3. Well put, Natylie. But even the able reporting of Aaron Mate, Ray McGovern and William Binney hasn’t been enough to overcome the repeated lies of the NYT, WaPost, et al. And in our “democratic” society , most of our citizens seem to be moved more by repetition than by reason, especially repetition which slips easily, lazily, into the room left by a lifetime of brainwashing. … And where, in all the current widespread protests, is the righteous indignation for all the foreign lives we’ve taken (see William Blum’s “Killing Hope”) since 1945 and for the risk of nuclear war we’ve taken with the Democratic-Party-saving hoax of “Russiagate”?

    1. True, there is a demographic – that votes more consistently than other demographics – who still relies on CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, etc. They really believe this nonsense. What’s more, they want to continue to believe it because it is an easy salve and they don’t want to have to dig any deeper into the problems of this country because it would just be too uncomfortable for them.

      I read Killing Hope by William Blum around 20 years ago and it played a major role in my education on US foreign policy, along with The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, and works by Noam Chomsky.

      1. I’m glad to hear Chalmers Johnson remembered. A splendid example , all too rare, of an open mind. Many of us remember Chalmers as the competent, but stuffy and conservative, reporter on the press of China and Japan for “World Press”, KQED, San Francisco. Then, when the USSR dissolved, and no peace dividend followed, the cobwebs fell from his eyes and he saw the Empire for what it was.

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