Increasing US Military to Deter Russia & The Dangerous Russia Narrative
On Tuesday, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of America’s European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that he needs a larger combat force, including an armored division and more warships, to deter Russian forces on the continent. A January 2017 poll by Reuters found that a stunning 82% of Americans now view Russia as a threat. We are entering dangerous times, eerily reminiscent of the Cold War era.
In the post-WWII era, US and Russia relations have never been exactly great. This rocky relationship lead to decades of cold war tensions. The world lived knowing a possible armed conflict between two nuclear superpowers was always on the brink. With the recent allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections tensions have risen once again. Some even use terms like “Russian aggression” and call Russia’s actions an act of war. Though it is understandable for people to be upset about the possibility of interference, the media has carelessly run this Russian aggression story non-stop; effectively laying the groundwork for another Cold War. Some politicians, like John McCain and Mitt Romney, have pushed the narrative of getting tough on Russia and Russia as the number one enemy for years. This is an extremely dangerous narrative.
We know people are upset, but we must heed the consequences of the narratives that trigger-happy politicians and ratings-dependent media push. Always in war, the civilian populations suffer the most while those in power who push the war rhetoric are often safe and sound. Consider the actual consequences of an increasingly hostile relationship between two nuclear super powers. A nuclear war, even a “small one”, would kill millions and potentially permanently alter our planet’s atmosphere. Russian interference in an election with two candidates, who are already corrupted by corporations and wealthy donors, pales in comparison to the consequences of a nuclear conflict. Yes, any foreign government interfering in another country’s elections is wrong and there must be consequences. But let us also remember that the U.S. has a history of decades of involvement in shaping the governments of countries around the world. The U.S. has gotten a taste of its own medicine and rightfully so the people are angry. However, we can’t be careless with our anger. Let us also remember our anger when our government involves itself in the elections and governing of other nations as well.
If you have studied crowd psychology you know the power of media and incessant repetition, and the dangers of an angry mass. Crowd psychology tells us it doesn’t matter if something is true or false. If you repeat something enough times people will start believing it. Then, once an idea becomes an accepted societal belief, to question it becomes heresy. The Russian aggression narrative threatens to do the same. If we keep carelessly beating the drum of Russian aggression and fueling our anger we risk crossing a threshold that is hard to return from. We risk crossing the threshold to where truth doesn’t matter and to where tensions are so escalated that we develop a tunnel vision; a tunnel vision where military action seems the only foreseeable option. So yes, where there is wrongdoing let’s hold it accountable, but let’s move forward carefully; keeping in mind the very real dangers of the nuclear era we live in. And let’s remember Russia is not the only corrupting influence in our nation.
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