While some wars may be necessary and unavoidable, a war pitting Russia against Ukraine—and potentially involving the United States—doesn’t make the cut. Yet, should such a war occur, some members of the American commentariat will cheer. They have yearned for a showdown with Vladimir Putin. The depth of their animus toward Putin and the hyperbole it inspires is a bit of a puzzle that deserves examination.
A veteran New York Times correspondent charges that Putin “has put a gun to the head of the West.” In an op-ed recently published in the Times, a former US national security official accuses President Biden of “sending the message that the United States is afraid of confronting Russia militarily.” “In an era when fascism is on the march,” a Boston Globe columnist warns, “much more may hang in the balance” than simply the security of a single country on the far eastern fringe of Europe.
A sense of impending doom punctuates the taunts: With unnamed fascists gathering outside the city gates and the very survival of the West at risk, the sitting president succumbs to cowardice. Whence does such overheated language come? What does it signify?
One obvious explanation is the unvarnished Russophobia pervading the ranks of the American political elite. With roots going at least as far back as the Bolshevik Revolution, disdain for Russia only deepened across several decades of Cold War. Although the Cold War ended a generation ago, this habitual animus survives fully intact, nowhere more so than in Washington. Demonizing Russia is an easy sell.
Read the full article in The Nation.