Save the West! Russophobic hysteria hits new heights
If you think this headline hyperbolic, think again, because “Saving the West” was literally the title of the latest gathering organized by CEPA, a Russia-obsessed group funded by American corporations.
And the theme didn’t end at last week’s Washington junket as the Ukrainian President and NATO officials promoted the exact same talking point in recent days. It seems all parties have agreed on this narrative of how Russia - and its media - threaten the very existence of the West.
What do Lockheed Martin, the Raytheon Company, Sikorsky Aircraft and Bell Helicopters have in common? Well, there’s the obvious, that they are all defense contractors of different stripes. But here’s a less heavily publicized connection - all these companies fund the grandly titled Centre for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a pretend-academic enterprise, based in Warsaw and Washington, which, based on their publications, events and the rhetoric of its headliners, is dedicated primarily to promoting tensions between Russia and other Eastern European countries. Additional contributors to the pie include Boeing, FireEye and the US Department of Defense.
Of course another thing which unites these entities is that they benefit from increased NATO engagement in former Warsaw Pact nations. The weapons makers win because of a larger market for their products and the Pentagon gains by using the discomfort to justify increased military spending. Especially at a time when the biggest public enemies of the first decade of this century - Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden - are no longer available.
That’s presumably why CEPA’s traveling circus pitches up in Washington from time-to-time: to scare policymakers into loosening the purse strings for yet more spending.
The real agenda
One of outfit’s main objectives is to provoke panic about so-called “Russian disinformation” (i.e., the kind of news the Western establishment doesn’t want the public to see). To this end, it has employed several high-profile lobbyists. They include Anne Applebaum and Ed Lucas, who also moonlight as journalists, and Peter Pomerantsev, the author of a chimeric book about Russian media which was widely promoted in sections of the mainstream press. Of course they don’t call themselves lobbyists; rather, they are “Senior Adjunct Fellows,” “Project Chairs” and a “Senior Vice President.” Which does sound fancy, if rather vague.
Anyway, it seems their message of how the West must be saved has increased in volume from mutterings to screams as NATO officials and the Ukrainian President have now joined their Greek chorus. Petro Poroshenko is worried about RT’s popularity in the West and NATO is also expressing concern about the channel’s growing reach and influence.
Poroshenko turned up on CNN to decry “the danger that comes from RT and other Russian media” as well as the general danger posed by Russia to the European Union. He expressed confidence in how ALL Eurosceptics on the continent receive Moscow funding. After all, what other possible reason could there be for opposing the EU, unless you are paid by the Kremlin to do so? Not concerns about, say, immigration or austerity.
NATO officials also stepped up, insisting that “the West must step up its efforts to combat and counter the information war being waged by its opponents.” Why? Because the “West is ‘Losing Information War’ to Russia,” they cry to U.S. state broadcaster, Voice of America. If #SaveTheWest starts trending on Twitter, you’ll know whom to thank.
News that's fit To print
The only possible conclusion here is that all these groups and individuals want the public to believe in the idea of RT presenting a threat to Western civilization by covering the stories and angles that the mainstream media ignores. For instance, the US prison strikes, which are going on almost entirely unnoticed by leading American outlets. Or the atrocities carried out by the “moderate opposition” in Syria.
Or the actual concerns of the UK citizens, who shook the entire Western media establishment by voting to leave the EU. Somehow that too was RT’s fault, because we listened while the rest of the MSM dismissed millions of concerned citizens as “fringe”… or maybe were just too busy singing jolly tunes in Westminster pubs, who knows.
The hysteria becomes even more ridiculous when you look at RT’s rather conservative resources, compared to the competition. For example, the BBC, which recently accepted £289 million ($375 million) over four years from the UK’s security and defense budget. This was to boost its World Service output and is on top of the £245million ($325 million) annual cash pool the global [primarily radio and digital] wing already receives.
That’s right – this does not include their global TV channel BBC World. Or look at America’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (the parent of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), which collected $758 million this year. Or Deutsche Welle, which receives €294 million ($326 million) and keeps asking for more because The Russians Are Coming (#SaveTheWest, 2015 edition).
Don't forget either private entities such as CNN, which already boasted $856 million a decade ago and doubtlessly has more resources now. Not to mention the thousands of newspapers, dozens of heavily resourced websites and myriad TV stations that toe the NATO and State Department line on pretty much everything.
All of this, to RT’s $260 million for global TV broadcasting.
This lavishly funded, thousands-strong media army is led by the voices that literally cry “Save the West” … while ridiculing Russia as exhibiting baseless paranoia about how it's surrounded by enemies. It’s doubtful they’ll note the irony.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.