A continued exploration of my family history and how the past can guide us through turbulent and dangerous times.
What all of this portends, worldwide, is far from clear. Though there are also significant signs of hope, some commentators have — with good reason — been quoting Gramsci’s observation from his prison cell: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”
I probably won’t change many minds about Trump/Russia in what I’ve written above. Some will probably conclude that I’ve sold my soul to the Clintonites (for the record, I did not support Clinton in the election), or that I’ve bought into anti-Russian propaganda emanating from the neoconservative foreign policy establishment. But that’s also part of the story: we are entering a post-truth era in which tribal alignment matters far more than mere facts, which are becoming ever harder to establish to everyone’s agreement. Jennifer Kavanagh calls this “truth decay,” and notes that it makes the job of informing and mobilizing the public much harder—not just with regard to Trump-Russia or politics in general, but also when it comes to climate change and the other collective survival threats
When it comes to the Russiagate scandal, progressives usually take one of two positions. They either dismiss the scandal as a lot of hooey, a “nothingburger,” just a way for warmongers and the “Deep State” to revive a cold war between Washington and Moscow. Or they treat the scandal as just a means to an end, a way to cast doubt on the 2016 presidential election, implicate the administration in a variety of crimes, and ultimately impeach the president. Both of these positions are wrong.
Overall, Snyder’s message is that the United States is not unique—neither in the world today nor against the backdrop of history—in being pushed in more authoritarian directions. If anything, Trump is exploiting the same tactics Putin and state-run media in Russia use, but with the American addiction to 24/7 media and smartphones and other devices, we’re making it easier for an emerging authoritarian like Trump to consolidate his power.
Is the war on terror therefore like the war on drugs: does it actually promote what it allegedly is fighting against? The facts suggest that this is the case.
The news about North Korea is at a fever pitch. Again, we have to ask, why now?
How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.
Everyone ought to be sad at what the beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to. Everyone ought to grieve the death of innocents.