Anyone who knows anything about Soviet politics, understands the process of a public figure being officially rehabilitated by the state.
Essentially, when a public figure is officially condemned by the authorities, months, years or sometimes decades later he or she can be rehabilitated. It’s as if to say, ‘we were wrong, he was actually a patriot and a good guy after all’.
An example close to my heart is that of my favourite 20th century composer, Aram Khachaturian. In 1948, Soviet politician Andrei Zhdanov pronounced a degree whereby Khachaturian’s music was branded as formalist (where technicality is valued over a style which supports communism) and as a result he was shunned by the state.
Khachaturian, a loyal communist, was devastated by the decree. Months later though Khachaturian was rehabilitated and he went on to create more beautiful compositions. When he died in 1978, he was remembered as a leading Soviet artist. His music remains treasured throughout the world, particularly in Russia and Armenia.
Western governments do the same thing, but it often is less of an official process than it is one controlled by mainstream media.
When George W. Bush was US President millions throughout the world marched against his illegal war in Iraq. He was ridiculed by the press as being semi-illiterate, crass and apish.
Now though he is being embraced by the liberal mainstream media. He is doing the rounds on the US comedy talk-show circuit promoting his new ‘art’ book, Portraits in Courage.
To his credit his new found comedy routine is at times funny. To his fault he still believes invading Iraq and Afghanistan was the right thing to do.
George W. Bush is regarded by millions throughout the world as a war criminal. The million Iraqis who died as a result of his invasion speak to this, as does the division and instability which has blighted Iraq from 2003 to the present day. The birth of ISIS was a direct result of the illegal war.
But all of this is forgiven and forgotten by the US mainstream media. And why? He has criticised the mainstream media’s favourite target, Donald Trump.
Because of this Bush has been re-branded as a kind of liberal stand up comedian come frustrated artist. It’s all laughs these days when it comes to Bush’s relationship with the media.
The hypocrisy of the mainstreamers is astounding. In 2004, Donald Trump was the darling of the media. He was the ‘people’s millionaire’ hosting a popular reality tv show. Meanwhile President Bush was a blundering fool who even galvanised what little was left of the anti-war movement.
Now though the tables have turned, even though Trump has not launched a new war and by the looks of it, under Trump, military aid to terrorists in Syria and the fascist regime in Kiev will be reduced.
Yet, it is the unrepentant Bush who is the darling of the liberal media.
In many ways this is an endorsement for Trump.
Bush was not a true conservative by any means. He was a big war, big intervention, big American exceptionalism, big government, big surveillance, big mass migration neo-con. He always was, and as a result he did a great deal of damage to his own party, and of course to the world.
In many ways Bush’s rehabilitation is a credit to Trump as well as a helpful political development. With all of the neo-cons running to the open air of neoliberal mainstream media, it is clear who the real conservative is, and who the real war criminal was and remains.