HomeArticleWhy The US Empire Works So Hard To Control The International Narrative About Russia

Why The US Empire Works So Hard To Control The International Narrative About Russia

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, John Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?” asked Napolitano.

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.

“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”

“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said. “And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”

I am going to type a sequence of words that I have never typed before, and don’t expect to ever type again:

John Bolton is right.

Bolton is of course not right in his pathetic spin job on the use of lies to promote military agendas, which just looks like a feeble attempt to justify the psychopathic measures he himself took to deceive the world into consenting to the unforgivably evil invasion of Iraq. What he is right about is that conflicts between nations take place in an “anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

Individual nations have governments with laws that are enforced by those governments. Since we do not have a single unified government for our planet (at least not yet), the interactions between those governments is largely anarchic, and not in a good way.

“International law”, in reality, only meaningfully exists to the extent that the international community is collectively willing to enforce it. In practice what this means is that only nations which have no influence over the dominant narratives in the international community are subject to “international law”.

This is why you will see leaders in African nations sentenced to prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, but the USA can get away with actually sanctioning ICC personnel if they so much as talk about investigating American war crimes and suffer no consequences for it whatsoever. It is also why Noam Chomsky famously said that if the Nuremberg laws had continued to be applied with fairness and consistency, then every post-war US president would have been hanged.

And this is also why so much effort gets poured into controlling the dominant international narrative about nations like Russia which have resisted being absorbed into the US power alliance. If you have the influence and leverage to control what narratives the international community accepts as true about the behavior of a given targeted nation, then you can do things like manufacture international collaboration with aggressive economic sanctions of the sort Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is currently calling for in response to the the completely unsubstantiated narrative that Russia paid Taliban fighters bounties to kill occupying forces in Afghanistan.

In its ongoing slow-motion third world war against nations which refuse to be absorbed into the blob of the US power alliance, this tight empire-like cluster of allies stands everything to gain by doing whatever it takes to undermine and sabotage Russia in an attempt to shove it off the world stage and eliminate the role it plays in opposing that war. Advancing as many narratives as possible about Russia doing nefarious things on the world stage manufactures consent for international collaboration toward that end in the form of economic warfare, proxy conflicts, NATO expansionism and other measures, as well as facilitating a new arms race by killing the last of the US-Russia nuclear treaties and ensuring a continued imperial military presence in Afghanistan.

We haven’t been shown any hard evidence for Russians paying bounties in Afghanistan, and we almost certainly never will be. This doesn’t matter as far as the imperial propagandists are concerned; they know they don’t need actual facts to get this story believed, they just need narrative control. All the propagandists need to do is say over and over again that Russia paid bounties to kill the troops in Afghanistan in an increasingly assertive and authoritative tone, and after awhile people will start assuming it’s true, just because the propagandists have been doing this.

They’ll add new pieces of data to the narrative, none of which will constitute hard proof of their claims, but after enough “bombshell” stories reported in an assertive and ominous tone of voice, people will start assuming it’s a proven fact that Russia paid those bounties. Narrative managers will be able to simply wave their hands at a disparate, unverified cloud of information and proclaim that it is a mountain of evidence and that anyone doubting all this proof must be a kook. (This by the way is a textbook Gish gallop fallacy, where a bunch of individually weak arguments are presented to give the illusion of a single strong case.)

This is all because “international law” only exists in practical terms to the extent that governments around the world agree to pretend it exists. As long as US-centralized empire is able to control the prevailing narrative about what Russia is doing, that empire will be able to continue to use the pretext of “international law” as a bludgeon against its enemies. That’s all we’re really seeing here.

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Latest comments

  • Would the world were more anarchic and less chaotic. The mania that Bolton supports with lies and violence prosecutes commands with little reference to any Constitution, whether within the States or abroad. It substitutes hierarchy for order, conflagration for energy, medicine for health, currency for wealth, and rape for nurture.

    After long consideration, I must acknowledge that spit-roasting John Bolton will almost certainly not help these matters. Have the Democrats announced him as a vice-presidential candidate yet?

  • Ms. Johnstone, why the narrative? I agree with everything you have written, but why is Russia the bad guy for Americans? Putin is just another rich billionaire, a guy in Russia demonized for whatever this week’s reason is, but why? Iran went after Trump for war crimes also this week; the Iranian Court actually issued arrest warrants for Trump and the other officials involved with General Soleman’s assassination. It is not debatable,the Court did it…https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/06/29/628502/Soleimani-Tehran-prosecutor-Ali-Alqasimehr-Red-Notice-arrest-warrant-Interpol…I’d have thought it would have sent Bolton off with his war mongering, instead we’re talking about Russia. To me, the narrative is directing us towards Russia rather than ‘letting’ us look somewhere else. Maybe?

    • S he just runs ” alt right” mainstream narrative mind control programs for the ” woke” .
      Trump, Biden, Assange, Bad US, Good Russia and China , spiritual crumb rinse and repeat.

      • Yip .The CIA increasingly rely on the alt right for their mind control programming.
        And the readers,,,no sorry… followers few and far between the shills really do believe they are left and woke.
        A cult of believers eating out of the hands of the msm while criticizing it… what irony.

  • The truth about all wars – especially world wars – is that they are fought over power. Those in power do not see that they are moving towards world war three, and if they do not change course, will be destroyed – like all empires.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  • You make good points. It would be better if the US and maybe two or three other major powers openly and frankly acknowledged that they will never, or perhaps almost never, subject themselves to international law. They might even plausibly justify such exclusions as historically in keeping with practice throughout the long history of nations and kingdoms.

    Moreover, since life is not a controlled experiment, they might ask: What if there were no global hegemon? What would happen? As undeniably and monumentally nasty, bloody, costly and two-faced as US world policing has proved to be, the alternative of, say, many states contesting many issues might be a great deal worse in terms of misery and bloodshed. Or not. To get a picture of what an alternative might look like, Adam Tooze’s work on the machinations leading up to World War One is instructive (and wildly different from what we’ve largely been led to believe).

    An adequate response to the hegemon would BEGIN with concrete ideas for new structures based on a plausibly improved philosophy or ideology — flawed though these may be — that would stand a chance of garnering the agreement of most of the world’s existing 195 or so nations, with US agreement indispensable.

  • As I have been posting for several days, the validity of the accusation is not the point. The goal was this:

    1. Revenge against Trump for over 3 years of insults and disregard of CIA intel. [Trump’s bleeding]
    2. Keep Putin out of G7. [Done].
    3. Stop weakening NATO with the reckless and impulsive (which it was) withdrawal of troops from Berlin.
    [Done. Even if some leave, they will be reassigned elsewhere in the EU – and that will not soon re-occur.]
    4. Rekindle confusion about Russiagate after all. [Growing]
    5. MIC-bonus, stymie Middle East withdrawal – it’s bad for business. [Done.]

  • 30 years ago linguistic analysis and research discovered an incredible, reliable and unquestionable, fool-proof statistical method of exposing political con artists, liars and ignorant experts or officials. We can now easily test and check their communication for meaningfulness, transparency and truth. Of course and unfortunately, liars, political con artists, ignorant experts and arrogant academics have been waging a relentless battle for 30 years to denounce, hide or discredit this statistical analysis and method. Shame on them and sad for honest, properly informed, wise and courageous experts who get bullied into bowing to conventional bullshit.

  • Taliban? Hell! Just follow the money! Russia and other foreign entities have more wisely invested their money in bribes, kickbacks and other such pay to play schemes to buy off political favors from overly long entrenched U.S. political figures and this has been ongoing for many years. The U.S.A. has the best government that ANYONE can buy, period. This is sometimes done directly, sometimes through “Foundations” and sometimes through family members – but it is no secret. This “American Royalty” which has developed as a result of “no controlling legal authority” apparently operates totally immune from prosecution whether under national or international laws. They continue to go boldly stomping right across outright treasonous as well as malevolent, deadly grounds, all the while making confident smirks and sacrifices of “chickens to Moloch”. “If that f’king bastard wins we’ll all swing from nooses!”. Well, the bastard did win, and the rest of us can only hope her prediction becomes true.

    • The Queen has more power over America than America itself, but so does Israel. What does that say? The Queen knows all about Slavery, so does Israel, The American Revolution never really separated themselves fully, from who they were running away from, the British monarch, whom I may suggest here, STILL holds the central power of the US by the short & curly!
      The Queen met with Trump yesterday. Why?

      • To my reckoning the words, “God save the Queen” has always been a most curious arrangement of the English language. Two interesting facts come to mind, one fact being that there remains massive exports of opium out of Afghanistan in spite of long term U.S. occupation (or perhaps because of?) and the other fact may be best described by reviewing a number of hits from doing an internet search and educating oneself on the words, “East India Company and Opium Wars”. Despite the name, this is a British company which pretty well defined “Empire” for the longest time.

        • Hmmm

          According to the year 2000 CIA fact book Opium Production originating from Afghanistan had been reduced to roughly 80 tons. As a result the Taliban (you know the “bad guys”) cracking down on growers and producers, use of Heroin world wide, and particularly in the USA was almost non-existent.

          Fast forward after 7 years of US and British occupation: production was growing exponentially, as was the the use of Heroin worldwide, but particularly in the USA. Production was well over 8000 tons. 5 years later that number had increased to over 13,000 tons. Today that number is approaching 20,000 tons. Needless to say America’s and in fact the world’s Heroin problem that the Taliban had all but irradiated is now of such epidemic proportions is constitutes a threat not just to US National Security but the world at large……….

          How could this happen you ask: Simply put, because the US with the help of the Britons, began to not just guard the poppy fields and their growers, but they actively financed and protected the war lords making/selling the drugs out of Afghanistan………It is not a story that the war mongering zionists have allowed to get much traction in their MSM……I mean gosh, how would it look, what would people think? They might get the the idea the Taliban in Afghanistan were actually the good guys. Wait a minute!, that would mean………….

  • Russian leaders take their marching orders from the same secretive groups as western nations. Sovereignty is an illusion, as with pretty much everything else in this world. The cold war was a deception, of course. Nuclear weapons have been a hoax from the beginning. All of this makes most of the points in this article subnarratives, and therefore, in the grand scheme of things, moot.

  • At first, no one paid attention to The Blob. In fact, it was nearly snuffed out before it could gain its footing. But The Blob survived, and it grew and grew. Century after century, everything around succumbed to its ceaseless march. It grew so big that it encompassed the Whole World. No one could tell where The Blob ended and the Rest of The World began. The Blob was The World and The World was The Blob.
    .
    But once it took over the Whole World, the Blob wasn’t happy anymore. All The Blob knew to do was to grow bigger and bigger. Now, the Blob had become Everything. But it no longer had any fun. So it created a Rival Blob to play with. Now, it had something to conquer again! It was happy! The Blob lives! And The Blob and “Rival” Blob lived happily ever after. And then, one day…

  • Lamborghini Builds 4,000-HP Luxury Yacht
    No price tag was given but if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.
    https://carbuzz.com/news/lamborghini-builds-4000-hp-luxury-yacht

  • Russia once was (and still kinda is) very willing to enter the blob, but they were kept out, because the mic just couldn’t adapt to world peace.

  • It is clear that my government intends to start WW III.
    This vast increase in United States nuclear targeting capability, which has largely been concealed from the general public, has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of United States nuclear strategy and intentions. This article can be read here:
    Signs United States International Power Is Declining by Eric Zuesse!
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/06/30/signs-us-international-power-declining/

  • Hmmm

    It is one thing to lie to our enemies, it is quite another to lie to the American people. Bolton was attempting to conflate these two very different groups as one and the same in this regard, clearly they are not. Typically, as is so often the case, Caitlin very obediently supports the establishment line that the Constitution exists and should be defended and enforced only as long as dictated by the group of people holding the reigns of power in Washington. Right now that group is the zionists, and many are dual citizen israelis…….And there exists no doubt that the zionists consider the Constitution and Bill of Rights to be interfering with their service to israel…..

    Bolton’s statement then and subsequent actions to date give every appearance to be deliberate and definitive acts of sedition under 18 U.S. Code § 2384. and given his close ties and history of service placing the needs of israel before those of America and the American people, it is very hard not to see treason as well.

    Seditious conspiracy:
    “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”

    Bearing in mind of course that literally all authority derived by “our” government is defined by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and of course the people…… Which in turn begs the question: what flight of fantasy on what planet does Bolton think the individual Americans have any right what so ever to override or simply ignore the Constitution because they personally believe it is “necessary”

    For the record: John Bolton you can go to hell.

    • (Good) knowledge, truth, is power. Therefore, people with a great desire for power will not only attempt to acquire truth for themselves, they will try to deny it to other people. One way to keep truth away from other people is to lie; others are to hide it, to obscure it, to reframe it, and so on. There is no reason for the power-hungry to stop at lying to foreigners, because their desire for power does not stop on one side of a border of another. Mr. Bolton is pretty obviously a power freak; why would his opinions about truth and lying contradict his most urgent desires?

    • In a capitalist ‘democratic’ society the people are the number one enemy of the government. I think under Obama something has already been passed to make it legal for the government to propagate (lie to) the people in the name of ‘national security’.

  • When the antivax movement hit Bill Gates movement of forced immunizations for everyone, chaos will ensue. Perhaps they will have to release an even more lethal pandemic to get everyone to vaccinate. Excuse me, I meant the Chinese and Russians will release the new more lethal virus.

  • John Bolton has a kinsman here in Australia – his name is Peter Hartcher – a Nine journalist ramping up the Trumpian/CIA anti-China rhetoric!

  • Here’s a complementary piece concerning a “Johnstone” from the Boomer generation, Diana Johnstone, whose recently published memoir mentioned Caitlin’s work.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/01/the-return-of-the-anti-antiwar-left/

  • That Mr Bolton is still at liberty and not in prison for his treason and war crimes is just one of the many failings of the corrupt Obomber regime which is still replete with unpunished war criminals , Mr Obomber being the leading light in that cabal , his inept leadership being responsible for the deaths of close to a million mostly women and children across Africa , Arabia , and the Ukraine

  • It matters not a jot if Russia or anyone else paid a ‘bounty’ for the scalps of the US imperialist invaders, and not a neutrino if there was overwhelming evidence for it. It’s a matter of principle that any imperialist invader of a non-imperialist nation be defeated militarily, that for Afghanistan the jihadis or the Taliban defeating the US imperialists and driving them out is a good thing.
    .
    This is regardless of the politics or the ideology of those opposing the imperialist marauder, and in Afghanistan’s case these indeed are very reactionary and backward. If we believe for a moment the fiction that the Afghanis really do need bounties to hasten imperialist defeat, then if that helps then all the better.
    .
    Any measure that brings the military defeat of imperialism that much closer, anywhere around the globe, is eminently supportable, not only for the sake of imperialism’s victims but for all those under the same iron heel in the imperial heartland.

  • For those with half a brain or more, after Mueller’s Russiagate report, any accusations against Russia are strongly suspect. Without hard evidence – and a mountain of it – any accusations directed at russia are now immediately suspect. In other words, for those of us who pay attention, the propaganda is having an effect that is dimetrically opposed to what the ill-found, unsubstantiated claims intend.
    That, of course, could be dangerous, it Russia ever actually does something truly nefarious.
    One other thought- the propaganda continues to promote a cooperative link between Russia (Putin) and Trump. Is it at least possible that these accusations are a plot to make it seem that, ‘Russia bad; Trump like Putin, therefore Trump bad, so vote for Biden?’ Would such a tactic be all that much different than the one behind the nonsensical Russiagate fiasco?

  • How absurd! To propose that the Taliban needed to be paid to kill US troops. They are quite eager to do so for free. Like practically every thing else the CIA infiltrated Mockingbird Media tells us, a bald faced lie.

    • In the real world CIA pays the Taliban to commit its atrocities , killing US troops was/is simply a small profitable sideline

  • I’m sure you’re right about the reality of and motivation for Washington’s non-stop slandering of Russia and its political leadership. However, it’s not just foreign countries like Russia, China and Iran that get this despicable treatment, no matter what a piece of excrement like John Bolton may say. The same immoral behavior actually prevails in the normal give and take of internal American politics. The president of our own country (Donald Trump, love him or hate him) has been subjected to such slanders and accusations that amount to nothing less than treason for nearly four continuous years. This shit goes on because in American society simply being accused of a crime, a charge or simply a bad attitude by the mainstream media is tantamount to being convicted in a court of law in the complete absence of evidence. The media don’t need no stinkin’ badges nor do they ever need any evidence to shred anyone’s reputation… and their accusers in the military and intel agencies will certainly never provide any. Proffering actual evidence is viewed as an entre to debunking it, so why take that risk? American politics like the American justice system deals mainly with confabulated narratives, not with the real world! Or, as many describe it, a “matrix” as harsh and unforgiving as the meme portrayed in the movie of the same name.

  • When I was a kid, it seemed that almost every evening the news was filled with reports from the U.S. of them boasting about how they were supporting and funding the the Mujaheddin to kill Russian’s

    • Only American military lives matter… in the Washington scheme of things.

      • You’re obviously correct with regard to military matters and foreign affairs. But when it comes to domestic matters and internal affairs, it’s more like “American lives matter…if they have money.”

  • Ms Johnstone, the very sad reality is that from the very top to the very bottom all government within these United States of America is completely corrupt. It is so corrupt that it flaunts its corruption in your face because no one can do a damn thing about it. It is very disgusting.

    • Give that man a cigar! You nailed it, man!

    • To be fair, all ruling classes are corrupt, whether they’re a government or not. Don’t let the neoliberals and their Mammon-worshipping sadomasochistic Calvinist eclownomics seduce you into thinking otherwise.

  • You’re right Caitlin, nut whereas you say that Bolton is right on one, but not the other I say he’s really right on both, because the only people in the US that call shots get shot, like JFK, MLK, etcetera. All the real shots are called by the City of London, and all of those people whom we know their names, any US president that thinks outside the box quickly finds themselves in a wooden box. We here in the US have no freedom just as you in Australia have no freedom. Do you remember your duly elected leader who did so much for the citizens of Australia only to be carried away by orders of the Queen? Basically the same here, and the oligarchs want their slaves back. But the first set of slaves ran away and therefore, as punishment all their descendants must be put to death, and the Latinix will now replace them. This world belongs only to the Anglo-Saxon, or so they believe; which of course is a laugh onto itself, because almost every single Anglo-Saxon that ever lived is dead, replaced by Jews who fled to Britain for refuge from other nations that they had plundered, and wasted no time slowly murdering the original inhabitants, read the genetic studies if you don’t believe and then look at America today, and the world today as well. Now ask yourselves, “Is Judaism really a religion; or is it really ‘Satan’, in a dress and panties?

  • “Sen. Schumer: “We need in this coming defense bill… tough sanctions against Russia.”

    Did anyone listen to Tucker Carlson from fox, interviewing another sen who was taking orders from this ass-wipe known as Schumer, whilst ignoring Trump? Trump is President, right? yet the Democrat scum (World Liberal Order) and this peace of shit Schumer, are doing what they want with total impunity, (Trump was voted in, like it or hate it), just as with both Clintons, Obama, DOJ, DHS, and the other fascist thugs, such as Gates, Fauci and the World Health Organization, among others!
    These soulless people and groups, have over time gained IMPUNITY for mal practice, as has the Banking Cartel, they can ALL freely do as they please, but we the people are shackled, bound by the laws, they have become the renegades breaking the law, abusing Nations all over the world in reckless abandon (with impunity),
    Our Australian Government has become a whore to these Impunity Giants, claiming like others that they are too big to allow to fail. Well i have news for our Government, if they don’t stop them, the people eventually will, with loss of life for many I have no doubt, including maybe his own!

  • Something during this generation is about to give which will change international dynamics. Power structures will shift. It may be militarily or financial but existing institutions are overstressed. I think everyone can feel it.

  • OFF TOPIC: Australia Vaccination Information, Autism, Vaccination vs un-vacinated, Vaccine victims, Vaccine diseases
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    https://avn.org.au/2019/04/claims-vaccines-do-not-cause-autism-have-no-substance-an-australian-perspective-part-1/
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    Take Note MUM’s & DAD’s, Contact is available from the site for requested information, along with other links very relevant to new born and younger children.

    • Autism makes people less vulnerable to mainstream narratives, doesn’t it?

  • Well, at least the US regime hasn’t broken down and accused Russia of looking at its boobs and making it feel funny, yet…

  • It’s the same sort of cynical appeal to xenophobia that led to the holocaust. I hate it.

    • There was never any such thing as a holocaust. Wise up a little.

  • It is sad that the so obvious truth you describe has to be repeated so often before the dangers it represents inspire anyone to action.

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