It sure is a good thing that the Russians decided some ten years ago to fund a massive multi-lingual news network. It is also good that the Russian independent media pulls ten times their weight. Otherwise the fact that “poor backwards corrupt” Bearistan is now the one sending medical supplies to the U.S. would probably have been ignored.
A good example in the spin behind the story comes when we compare Fox’s and the Guardian’s take on it. They both ran very surprisingly neutral sounding headlines. “Russia sending plane filled with medical equipment to U.S. amid coronavirus pandemic“ and “Coronavirus: Russia sends plane full of medical supplies to U.S.” respectively. Although, the devil lies in the details of The Guardian’s subhead…
“Critics likely to claim Moscow will exploit goodwill gesture as public relations coup”.
This is a very odd statement to make as a news organization, for this is a vague prediction rather than news. Speculation about the future of the economy or an election cycle makes perfect sense, but trying to guess what opinions could be, makes it seem like the Guardian is trying to convince the reader of what they should be. And just who exactly are these critics and why do they matter? Movies have movie critics. Music has music critics. Does international humanitarian aid have its own form of critics? If so that would be by far the most boring content on YouTube.
The only real concrete criticism in the article came from a quoted Tweet from a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace…
“Hopefully someone will tell Trump that he’s playing right into a propaganda ploy”
Foreign Policy mirrored this attitude with their article…
“Beware of Bad Samaritans – China and Russia are sending medical aid to Italy and other coronavirus-stricken countries, but their motives aren’t so altruistic.”
Not surprisingly Russophobia’s shining light on a hill The Washington Post went with the headline…
“Trump called Russia’s coronavirus aid to the U.S. ‘very nice.’ Putin may use it as a propaganda coup.”
So ultimately as we sift through the Mainstream Media and their pundits’ reactions, we don’t see the old style Russia collusion narrative, but instead a new sort of warning to an ignorant orange skinned Trump about a “ploy” by Putin. After all, Russia’s willingness to help Italy deal with the Coronavirus situation in their country has allowed many impressive photos of Russian military transport and men seemingly moving about the boot-shaped peninsula freely. Other than for some sort of international military parade, it is hard to imagine Russia being able to get their “polite people” to do cooperative work deep in the historical heartland of NATO. But, the Coronavirus situation is a crisis, and any crisis can open up doors for change thought impossible just weeks before.
It must also be noted that the materials being delivered from Russia are commercial products produced within the countries that others could order/buy. The days of the Soviet Union are long gone and the supplies that Washington will receive come from Russia’s private sector but delivered on a government airplane.
Perhaps the Mainstream Media and punditry in the U.S. have become spooked by what is happening in Italy and subconsciously fear it could spread to America. This fear is probably doubled in the minds of those who are still convinced that Trump is a Manchurian candidate.
The likelihood of Russian green men being needed to “help out” on American soil is something we will probably never see in our lifetimes. And if you care about America’s national sovereignty you should hope it never happen at any point in the future. But what the punditry/geopolitics wonks really fear is that not only has Russia become an “unshuttable” countervoice in news media but Moscow is starting to take a segment of the humanitarian aid game that they will never give back.
Normally it is the exclusive unwritten right of the USA/West to be the ones to conduct Marshall Plans and send out all sorts of humanitarian aid with or without strings attached. In fact this is such a large part of U.S. foreign policy that we cannot forget that there is an entire official branch of the government that deals solely with it – USAID.
In fact USAID is a very serious state organ and is funded to almost half of what the Russians pay for their entire military budget. The panicked punditry who are flipping out over Russian aid coming to America are probably afraid that the Russians can do more with less funding like they have done in the news media – budget-wise RT is completely outgunned and yet it is a smashing success that influences narratives even in the West.
There is one other factor that is creating a strong backlash from the mainstream punditry regarding assistance coming from Moscow – pure racism. The U.S. has used foreign aid and assistance to win favor (i.e. as propaganda “ploys”) for decades and this is perfectly reasonable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the U.S. using its wealth to buy influence and positive views from across the world. This seems like a normal and natural thing to do that America just happens to be better at doing than pretty much anyone else. Good for America!
But, when Russians or the Chinese (or anyone Washington doesn’t like) tries to do exactly the same thing, now it is unacceptable. The logic looks something like “The Russians are sending humanitarian aid? It must be a ploy! They are inherently evil after all.” And this friends is the very definition of racism. Perhaps the geopolitics boys are just tweeting their basic primal fears that some other tribe is stomping on their territory.
What we are seeing in the Mainstream Media’s/Punditry’s reaction to Russian aid being sent to America:
They fear that Russia may shatter the virtual monopoly on foreign aid giving that the U.S./West possesses, in the same way they did in terms of news media.
The #Russiagate narrative is shifting from Trump being a Manchurian Candidate for Moscow to him being duped by Putin’s “ploys”. This leads one to believe #Russiagate may finally have died.
Automatically assuming that Russians providing foreign humanitarian aid is an evil scheme while the U.S. always does so altruistically is pure backwater hillbilly bigotry.
Fox and conservative media are less spooked and actually display tweets from the Russian side. This is another drop of evidence in the bucket, that for the near future the America Left will hate Russia and the American Right will hate China.
Russia was able to get their gesture into the public/media consciousness in the United States. Something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
By Tim Kirby
Source: Strategic Culture