Daniel Lazare and I Go Hot and Heavy on Biden-Russia

By Ray McGovern, Jan. 22, 2021

Are there straws in the wind that Biden my be able to create a more decent relationship with Russia? I say Yes; Dan says No. A wager of $.25 is at stake.

As I see it, the Democrats no longer need to use Trump’s “bromance with Putin” (Obama/Podesta) to ’splain why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, or to emasculate former President Trump.  Those incentives have pretty much evaporated.  And, besides, Biden won; so no need for the Dems to cook up stories about Russian interference this time round.

True, the Democratic Establishment still needs to bow to the MICIMATT’s requirement to portray Russia as a potent enemy, in order to justify obscene outlays of funding so desperately and demonstrably needed at home.  But China is becoming a useful substitute “threat” against which Washington must spend close to $740 Billion this year to “defend” against.  As one defense contractor reportedly exclaimed a few years ago, “Thank God for the pivot to Asia!”  There are some signs that the MICIMATT and its clients/advocates are getting a bit nervous, as Biden begins to negotiate New START, the Iran nuclear deal, and other issues on which U.S.-Russian cooperation will be needed.

That’s the backdrop against which Ray spoke of some straws in the wind suggesting that there might be some hope in the appointment of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, and the tasking she has received to look into:

— The recently discovered multi-month hacking of government agencies;

— The poisoning of Navalny;

— Reports that the Russians paid the Taliban bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan.

“Liberal” pundits have, de rigueur, seen Putin behind all this; and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi want to investigate Putin’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol (see:  https://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2021/01/20/round-up-the-usual-suspects-dont-forget-putin/ ).  So, some of Joe Biden’s former good buddies remain unhinged.  That does not mean, ipso facto, that Joe has to follow lemming-like what Obama once described as “The Washington Playbook.”

I speculate that Biden is trying to create some space so he can be his own man.  In my view, there is some chance — particularly if Haines and CIA Director nominee Bill Burns give him some honest intelligence analysis, that Biden can prevent himself from being shackled to a totally unnecessary, dead-end, hostile posture vis-a-vis Russia, in order to appease the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-MEDIA-Academia-Think-Tank) complex (MEDIA in all caps since it is the linchpin, the sine-qua-non ).

But during the interview, I was outnumbered three to one. Time will tell whether I emerge $.25 poorer.