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Hillary’s ‘Puppet’ Screed

by Michael Tracey at the American Conservative

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She accused a rival nominee of being a stealth agent of a foreign power

For months she had only intimated it, or delegated the real dirty work to her surrogates and campaign staff, but at the final televised debate this week Hillary Clinton finally let loose: Donald Trump is “a puppet” of the Kremlin, she declared.

It’s worth pausing to consider just how extreme and incendiary that allegation is. For Trump to be a “puppet” of a hostile foreign power—especially Russia, arguably America’s oldest continuous adversary—would be an event of earth-shaking magnitude, unrivaled in all U.S. history. It would mean that by some nefarious combination of subterfuge and collusion, the sinister Russian leader Vladimir Putin had managed to infiltrate our political system at its very core, executing a Manchurian Candidate-style scheme that would’ve been dismissed as outlandish in even the most hyperbolic 1960s-era espionage movie script.

Trump is often accused of violating the “norms” that typically govern the tenor of U.S. presidential campaigns. And these accusations very often have validity: at the same debate, he declined to preemptively endorse the legitimacy of the election outcome, which appears to be without precedent. As everyone is now keenly aware, he’s unleashed a constant torrent of brash histrionics that defy discursive standards and violate “norms” of many kinds—You’re rigged! I’m rigged! We’re all rigged!

But Hillary too violated a longstanding norm this week with her “puppet” screed, which was the culmination of her campaign’s months-long effort to tarnish Trump as a secret Russian lackey using the kind of retrograde nomenclature (“Puppet”? Really?) that would’ve made even the most hardened old-time Cold Warrior blush. Because of Hillary’s barb, there will henceforth be a precedent for accusing a rival major-party nominee of being a stealth agent of a fearsome foreign power, based on only the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.

Extrapolating from Trump’s stated belief that cooperation, rather than antagonism, with nuclear-armed Russia is desirable, Hillary’s boosters have long surmised that he must therefore be under the spell of a devious foreign spymaster: it can’t be that he genuinely prefers to be friendly with Russia and forge an alliance with their military. The only tenable explanation by their lights is this harebrained mind-control conspiracy theory.

One central irony to all this is that Trump basically has the same position vis-à-vis Russia as Barack Obama. As Trump pointed out in the Wednesday night debate, Obama attempted to broker a military alliance with Putin’s Russia only a few weeks ago; it fell through after American forces in Syria bombed soldiers loyal to Assad in direct contravention of the terms of the agreement. But it was an instance of deal-making nevertheless, so if Trump is guilty of accommodating the dastardly Russian menace, Obama must be similarly guilty.

Hillary’s increasingly hostile rhetoric on the homefront also likely contributed to “nuking” the accord with Russia, as she’s repeatedly accused Putin of subverting the American electoral process by way of hacks, as well as lambasting him as the “grand godfather’’ of global extremist movements—including the U.S. “alt-right.”

It would be one thing if these fantastic claims were ever substantiated with ample evidence, but they’re just not. At the debate, Hillary attributed her theory regarding the Russian orchestration of recent hacks on her campaign and the Democratic National Committee to unnamed “intelligence professionals.” These unspecified individuals have also failed to produce tangible evidence linking Russia to Trump, or Russia to the hacks. They are also the same sorts of people whose proclamations about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq were uncritically parroted by media allies.

She launched into the “puppet” rant after moderator Chris Wallace quoted an excerpt from one of her speeches delivered to a foreign bank, which had been published by WikiLeaks. It should be reiterated that Hillary had actively concealed these speech transcripts over the course of the entire presidential campaign, and the only reason the American public can now view them is thanks to WikiLeaks. But in an effort to change the subject from her newly revealed (and damning) comments before admiring cadres of financial elites, Hillary accused the rogue publishing organization of being party to a Russian plot. “This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself,” Hillary proclaimed.

What evidence has been furnished that demonstrates “Putin himself” directed such efforts? Absolutely none that we are yet aware of. One could feasibly posit that such a blithe willingness to launch baseless attacks against foreign leaders is indicative of a poor temperament on Hillary’s part; it’s exactly the kind of bluster that could escalate into hot conflict, and will likely sour the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship for years to come under a prospective Clinton Administration.

In addition to accusing Putin of hacking the U.S. election, Hillary again announced her staunch support for a “no-fly zone” in Syria, which would necessitate the deployment of thousands more U.S. ground troops to the war-torn country and provoke direct, hostile confrontation with Russia, which is sustaining its client Assad. When asked by Wallace if she would authorize the shoot-down of Russian warplanes, Hillary evaded the question. (A simple “no” would’ve been nice.)

It’s long been known that Hillary is a hawk; she is supported by many of the same neoconservatives who once gravitated to George W. Bush. But her bellicosity toward Russia, which climaxed with the “puppet” diatribe, demonstrates that her hawkish tendencies are far from conventional; they are extreme. Hillary seems to be at her most animated (and one might say, perhaps even crazed) when she is aiming ire at supposed foreign adversaries, which of late has almost entirely been Russia, Russia, Russia. (Russia was the number-one topic broached at all this year’s debates, according to a tally by Adam Johnson of the media-watchdog organization FAIR.)

The tenor of the international situation has gotten exceptionally dire. Last Friday it was reported that the CIA is preparing to launch an “unprecedented” cyberattack on Russia; relations between the two states are at a dangerous nadir not seen in decades, to the point that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that a nuclear exchange is perilously likely.

Trump, for all his faults, has long advocated a sort of détente.

So why aren’t these developments front-and-center in media coverage of the campaign? Instead, it’s still a relentless focus on Trump’s many foibles, notwithstanding what appears to be Hillary’s steady sleepwalk into a potentially catastrophic war.

Michael Tracey is a journalist based in New York City.

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17 Comments

  1. It’s very easy to criticise US politics especially if you aren’t American. It’s how they wish to conduct themselves and as such they call the shots. One does concede such liberality falls flat considering US foreign policy, especially since 1899. Given such blatant disregard for any rule of law other than their own we can be forgiven for casting opinions.
    Fraudulent elections within the US are very common, as common as many other nations. What appears to set US elections apart is the level of sophistication such corruption attains, to the point where it becomes acceptable to those who feel compelled to cast a vote. Common sense is shed as easily as accepting founding father myths. The details of such corruption are indeed distressing yet Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton are but details of a deeply corrupt form of governance, one that isn’t confined to that side of the Atlantic either. I don’t know the solution but do understand, to vote is to acquiesce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “One does concede such liberality falls flat considering US foreign policy, especially since 1899.”

      I noticed you wrote that sentence in English, not German. On behalf of America, you’re welcome. 😉 (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

      Seriously though, “It’s how they wish to conduct themselves” is a pretty sweeping statement. There are many of us who don’t wish to conduct ourselves this way. Sadly, the ruling class has spent over a century wresting political power away from the general populace. Even sadder is that many people have accepted political powerlessness as normalcy. But there are more of us than you might think who are opposed to killing people in foreign lands to maintain our hegemony, who are opposed to locking up our fellow Americans in cages or subjecting them to homelessness and starvation, who are opposed to being ruled by corrupt, soulless money-worshippers. But it’s difficult to get people to come together to demand changes when we have to spend all our time working, working, working, struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck, trying to keep from sliding into homelessness and starvation ourselves. But although you won’t see us on TV, we do exist.

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      • Alan and John, you both have fair points! John, I think Alan means the politicians, not Americans in general, as the article is about Trump and Clinton. (“…easy to criticise US politics… it’s how they wish to conduct themselves)
        I’m not sure I understand the German issue? Is Alan German? Or does he quote a German??
        Anyway, I’m Irish, so John, I’m one of those looking at your situation from afar, but although we see how fucked up it is, most people here (like me) don’t assume that none of you Americans know what’s happening in your messed up system.. it’s happening here too, you know – Shannon, Apple, etc…

        The future is wavy.

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        • Lol. The German thing was just a good-natured ribbing. I may be wrong, but I got the impression Alan is English. In America, we like to joke with the English, saying that they’d all be speaking German if we hadn’t come to their rescue. Twice. 😉

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  2. Mathmatician and statistician Richard Charnin who has studied electronic election fraud for years has just brought out his new ebook on the fraud in the recent D primaries ” 77 billion to one”.Clinton shouldnt even be running as the D candidate but has been long since annointed,and has virtually unanimous MSM support. One will recall that exit polling was stopped for the California D primary -this was because the exit polls esp those outside the margin of error were being assiduously studied and these studies were exposing the fraud. Other experts were rolled out like Nate Silver to seek to sew doubt in the reliability of exit polling science but they didnt make a dent as they are now internationally standardised and accepted within the MoE, but the aim is always to deceive voters of course. The MSM has also been loading the polling using out of date party affiliation %s which are favorable to HRC and underestimate the growth of independents and the decline of the D Party.Hopefully former Sanders supporters who pledge neverHillary will keep to their intentions.HRC is a war hawk and the very last person the USA or the world needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rtj1211 says

    Hillary Clinton should be required to provide incontrovertible evidence to back up this allegation and if she cannot she should be told forcibly to commit suicide before submitting the world to the genocide she is committed to enacting.

    Stop treating this woman with respect and treat her like the mass murderer she is…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If Russia is the source of all evil; how come Bill took half a million ‘speaking fee’ to persuade Hills to help the evil Putin secure 20% of America’s uranium ore?
    As uranium can obviously be made into nuclear weapons: it appears that for a small fee she will prostitute herself and forego her countries strategic defense to arm the enemy in a potential conflict.
    Is she completely mad, or is she calculating that ratcheting up the tension with Russia is a win win situation for her? Why isn’t Trump playing this card?
    Maybe someone needs to explain to the neocons that, if their little game goes wrong, you can’t eat money in a nuclear desert.
    http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-clintons-putin-and-uranium-2015-4?r=US&IR=T

    Liked by 1 person

  5. michaelk says

    And, after Clinton’s entire career has, to a greater or lesser degree, been based on ‘lies’ and they keep on comin’ cause she does it so well, they insist on claiming that it’s actually Trump who is the greates liar of them all! It’s the huge chasm, scale and importance between his ‘lies’ and hers that’s ignored completely. She lies about destroying entire countries and pouring down misery, death, destruction and suffering on millions of people, and this is somehow a sign of her greatness and radical feminist credentials, whilst Trump gropes some woman thirty years ago in a lift and apparently this is worse than wiping Libya off the map. Gawd, these liberals seem to have indulged in amateur lobotomy.

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  6. michaelk says

    Seemingly, most of the Guardian’s writers, I’m loathe to call them journalists, worship the ground Clinton… sorry, Hillary, walks on and she can do no wrong. She is a feminist, progressive, transformative, symbolic… a political version of Joan of Arc’s… granny ready to straighten out the world and that dreadful misogynist Trump and then on to Putin.

    Clinton’s campaign with help from the liberal media has successfully diverted attention away from her awful, destructive and bloodsoaked policies and turned the election into a referendum on Trump’s sexuality. Wow, that’s politics that matters. Just as Obama’s ‘blackness’ was sold as a defining, symbolic and meaningful ‘quality’, so with Clinton’s gender and feminism. That the election reminds one of a particularly grostesque Hollywood elite divorces case, bursting with wild accusations over how one divides the estate and the millions, is rarely touched on in the Guardian, which increasingly turns gullability and ignorance into a virtue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In one of Samuel Becket’s characters, opines ‘I must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.’ Such is American foreign policy. They seem drunk on their own messianic narrative and determined to press on convinced of their imagined invincibility. A good summary below

    ”The United States emerged from World War II in a position of global dominance. From this unparalleled military and economic power came a Pax Americana that has endured for more than six decades. It seemed the sun would never set on the U.S. empire.

    But America is increasingly unable to play the hegemon’s assigned role. Militarily, a hegemon is responsible for stabilizing key regions and guarding the global commons. Economically, it offers public goods by opening its domestic market to other states, supplying liquidity for the world economy, and providing the reserve currency. A hegemon is supposed to solve international crises, not cause them. It is supposed to be the lender of last resort, not the biggest borrower. Faced with wars it cannot win or quit and an economy begging rescue, the United States no longer fits the part.

    Still, many in the mainstream foreign-policy community see these as temporary setbacks and believe that U.S. primacy will endure for years to come. The American people are awakening to a new reality more quickly than the academy. According to a December 2009 Pew survey, 41 percent of the public believes that the U.S. plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.

    The epoch of American dominance is drawing to a close, and international politics is entering a period of transition: no longer unipolar but not yet fully multipolar.”

    This, of course, will be a very unstable and dangerous period and it will take some adroit diplomacy to avoid a full-scale war. The fact of US decline is palpable and the genesis of a multipolar world is evident, this will be the case whether or the Americans like it or not, but they will be loth to be relegated to a more equal position among nations. It is going to be a rough ride,.

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  8. bevin says

    It is hard to feel sympathy for American Conservatives who have spent most of the past hundred years fostering irrational fears of Russia, in order to serve the interests of Big Business in the USA and international fascism.
    Whatever their motives they have been talking rubbish about Russia, and Hillary picked it up from her John Bircher dad.
    What is shocking is not that this woman-who lies automatically- charges the Russians with giving a damn about her candidacy but that so many Americans are still so brainwashed that even if they don’t believe her they take the ludicrous allegations seriously.
    Only a complete idiot believes that the Russian government is involved with wikileaks or concerned about Hillary’s candidacy. All the signs are that her Presidency will be God’s gift to multipolarity- she is the rope that America is being given to hang itself with.

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    • GTFONWO says

      I agree 100%. I was a BIG fan of Hillary for a long time – but now I’m thinking that to vote for her is potentially a vote for nuclear war. Social media, the James OKeefe Project Veritas expose has sunk her & the DNC. If she gets in, it IS because the electronic vote machines are rigged in some key booths and/or states – as they were for the GOP, now for her, because they served the oligarchs.
      Alas, it has exposed the Graun for its nature as ‘controlled opposition’ on the biggest strategic issues which affect the US Deep State oligarchy. There is now now comments permitted – the most recent opportunity, re Elizabeth Warren, was closed after only 9 comments!

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      • Kathleen Lowrey says

        What worries me is not that the election is rigged in her favor but that it isn’t. I have not had a face to face conversation with anyone who doesn’t parrot, with glee, whatever are Trump’s latest perfidies and take it as a given that voting for Clinton is one’s fervid duty. It’s a “smash the Gang of Four” level gleam in people’s eyes. And I’m not talking about media spokespeople: I’m talking about real ordinary people, people whom I know well and like.

        I’m a strident feminist, but the cynical turning of a generational battle to get sexual harassment and assault taken seriously to the end of getting an imperialist who would put Cecil Rhodes to shame elected has been astonishing to watch. The cartoonish invocation of Putin as a kind of magically omnipotent Voldemort is ludicrous and yet, again, many people whom I think of as perfectly sensible, thoughtful, and good-hearted treat it very seriously. They aren’t sellouts, the Clinton campaign isn’t sending them envelopes full of cash. They just believe all of it. In a crowning irony, they also avidly denounce propaganda which they see everywhere: Russian, Chinese, right-wing, etc. It’s much worse than a simple rigging and more like a really really long con.

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        • Bless you Kathleen. Your words offer balm to my soul.
          To Bevin however I must object. If the state of Russia is not hacking and releasing information then they are not doing their job.
          Russia is quite likely to be safer without Clinton, and so am I.

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