One of the reasons I supported Donald Trump and continue to hope for the best when it comes to his Presidency, is that he wanted to ease the totally unnecessary tensions with a fellow superpower, the Russian Federation.
In the final months of the Obama administration, America came close to walking into a war with Russia. If the much vaunted no-fly zone over Syria would have been established, it could have led to Russian and American planes shooting one another out of the sky. For all intents and purposes, this would have meant open war, on top of the existing proxy war.
But from the perspective of individuals like Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, her job would be a lot easier if America was in a formal state of war with Russia.
Shaheen wants to give the US Justice Department the powers to investigate the ‘funding sources and foreign connections’ of RT. It would require an expansion of the current Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Just to make the Senator’s job easier, here is some information. RT originates in Russia, that’s what the ‘R’ stands for. As a reference point the ‘A’ in ABC stands for American and the ‘B’ in BBC stands for British. I hope the Senator from New Hampshire is still with me on this.
America has a Constitutional first amendment, guaranteeing free speech and operates a broadly free market economy. This means that companies from around the world are allowed to operate in the United States and do so with the protection of the first amendment.
In times of war, such rights are often suspended in the name of national security. But America is not formally at war with Russia. That is why RT can broadcast in the US and make original programming in the US. This is the same situation that Canada’s CBC or Britain’s BBC find themselves in, just to name a few of the scores of foreign broadcasters with operations in the US.
That leaves Shaheen with two options. First of all, she can modify elements of the first amendment, although amending the constitution is a lengthy and cumbersome process.
Alternatively, she can convince the President to ask congress for a declaration of war on Russia. America has no grounds to go to war with Russia, but nor did America have any reason to reign war upon Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Yemen.
Even at the height of McCarthyite hysteria in the 1950s, the US didn’t engage in a hot war with the Soviet Union. Today, when one doesn’t even have the cover of Communist ideology to do to Russia what western powers have done for centuries, they’ve resorted to a kind of McCarthyism without the ideology. Russians are no longer bad because they’re communists, they’re bad simply because they’re Russians.
RT is only as popular in America as the American marketplace allows. The power of the internet and social media mean that Americans, like most others across the wider world, have access to a plethora of information and opinions from all over the world. I defy anyone in the US Senate to explain why this is a bad thing?
It’s as though the world has adopted the American First Amendment by proxy and seemingly they know what to do with it a bit better than the fading fake news media run by the US elite.
Short of going to war with Russia, Russian media in the US cannot be considered more dangerous than that any other foreign country, that is unless racism is involved.
The likes of Senator Shaheen are digging themselves into an ever bigger hole of hypocrisy and they are doing so on an issue that few Americans care about. Most Americans are concerned about the economy, living standards, jobs, their own free speech and anti-terrorist measures. Whether RT has the ability to be seen or not, doesn’t register outside of the hysterical circles of Washington D.C.
Oscar Wilde had his own famous battles over free speech and he said, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”.
I suppose in this case, Senator Shaheen is doing far more for RT than any of its ‘funding sources’ could. She’s giving RT free publicity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.