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The SPLC Attacks Russia Insider, Our Contributor Gilbert Doctorow Responds

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Editor's Note: I couldn't be more pleased that I, and Russia Insider, are the subject of a critical article by the SPLC, because this organization has become the laughing stock of well more than half of the American people.

They are the epitome of the free-speech and free-thought repressing 'hate-hustlers', shaking down corporate America for fun and profit - and they merely confirm the point of my article, by trying to enforce a taboo that people are simply no longer willing to be intimidated by.

The internet is awash with SPLC exposés, so I don't need to go into their nefariousness here. If you've been living under a rock and are not aware of their true nature, you can start here:  SPLC

Let me take this opportunity to extend a warm Thank You! to Mr. Ross and the SPLC for bolstering my credibility among millions of Americans who probably have never heard of me or Russia Insider.

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Charles Bausman, Editor and Publisher, Russia Insider

My first thoughts on reading the trash article on the SPLC website by Alexander Reid Ross was to write a rebuttal. But the rebuttal genre presupposes that one’s opponent has a logical argumentation to rebut. The piece instead is a sloppily researched attempt to lob mud at myself, Consortium News, the American Committee for East West Accord in both its original composition from 1974-92 and its revived version of 2015, Russia Insider and its editor Charles Bausman, and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, among others.

No, the ambition of the author goes further: to tie together “the Far Right and pro-Putin networks”  through a guilt by association and pseudo-market research of the metrics search engine Alexa. This is brought out in the final paragraphs, where the author exhorts the Left to “disconnect from collaborations with far-right groups in the context of networks that support and are often supported by Putin’s Russia.” The American Committee, in this context is “facilitat[ing] the growth of transnational, far-right politics and, more specifically, the fascist neo-Eurasianist movement.”

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To any normal reader who has read any of the authors and portals cited, the author of this article  clearly has a deranged mind.  Point for point analysis and refutation becomes a redundant exercise.  Yet to clear the air of some of this mad speculation, I offer the following remarks.

The jumping off point for Alexander Reid Ross is the editorial by Russia Insider editor Charles Bausman of January 15 in which he launched a debate on the Jewish factor in Russia-bashing media and politics in the United States.  My Letter to the Editor in response, which Reid Ross picks up like a bloodhound on the scent, was something more than “cautiously complimentary”: as quite a few people picked up, it was a warning to Bausman not to publish hate material that his call for debate could easily bring in.

And yes, I believe that breaking the taboo on the subject at hand could be useful, because the anti-Semitic rants are everywhere in Comments sections of leading media of all political persuasions. The fact is that most media rely on Disqus and have no screening of Comments posted on their sites. Maybe 1% of readers leave comments on any given site, and many of these are by conspiracy theory whacko-s, including Zionist conspiracy nuts. Yet no one deals with this.  So, against this background what Bausman was inviting could conceivably serve a useful purpose, depending on how he handled it.

In my letter to the editor, I pointed out that all the minority nationalities who left the Russian Empire either as emigrants before WWI, or left the Soviet Union in the 1970s, or who became  independent nations as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Empire – all of these peoples have had a grudge that was passed down for generations.  I was not speaking of their having done poorly financially in the Russia that they left, which is the message Reid Ross is putting in my mouth.  I will not dwell on this point here because I set it out in sufficient detail in the Letter, which is easily accessible to anyone with Google Search.

The overriding fact is that Hungarians, Czechs, Poles who settled in the United States were a potent political factor against Russia in the 1990s when Clinton faced the dilemma of what to do with the New Russia.  The Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians have been a major factor within the European Union working against normal relations with Russia in the new millennium  And since the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, even before the overthrow of Yanukovich in 2014, Ukraine has figured prominently in all Russia-bashing both in North America and in Europe. In that sense, the Jews are only one of many having a grudge against Moscow.

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Mine was not the only letter or article that Bausman subsequently published although they ran directly against the point he was making. One in particular by one of his own staffers noted correctly that Jewish disaffection with Russia was a phenomenon of the late 20th century, whereas in the decades following the Revolution straight up to the 1950s, Jewish intellectuals had been more prominent for pro-Communist and thus pro-Kremlin positions.  

I find it sad that Reid Ross still hangs Aleksandr Dugin and his Eurasianist gibberish around the neck of Putin and the regime.  Eurasianism had a brief flurry of interest about a decade ago, but finally official Russia decided he was a charlatan.  Dugin was fired from his professorship in Moscow State University and one hardly ever hears his name today except in the circles of Reid Ross.

Now, a word in my own defense.  I indeed am Brussels-based.  For the past 38 years to be exact. I am not retired, not in the least.  How my position with respect to Bausman’s editorial reflects on my career, as Reid Ross says, is a curious question:  which career?  I am now on my third or fourth career. My first and briefest was as a university lecturer. My career in international business was my longest, 27 years, including nearly 10 years as country manager, Russia for several of the world’s largest US, UK and Canadian multinationals in their respective industrial sectors.

For nearly 10 years I am in a career as “public intellectual,” which concretely has meant writing, speaking and engaging in political organization – nearly all of it on a voluntary basis. Anyone visiting my blog space on the Belgian mainstream French-speaking newspaper La Libre belgique will find an archive of 270 articles.  Many of these articles have been republished in a great variety of places. Among the first articles on Russia was one republished by the United States Air Force for use in one of its summer programs for cadets.  A major article on George Kennan and the Russian Soul was published in The Moscow Times (when it was still a print newspaper) and in the Harriman Review, the publication of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, for which I received an honorarium. A large number of my articles have been republished in Johnson's Russia List, a daily digest of Russia related articles operating from George Washington University and distributed to all US universities and think tanks having an interest in Russia.  Other articles have appeared in Consortium News, often in considerably modified texts. And yes, variants of my articles have also appeared fairly regularly on Russia Insider.  I have never sought or received remuneration of any kind from RI.

I have used my articles in La Libre belgique as the basic material for my publication of 4 books, one on the great American thinkers of international relations and three books on US-Russian relations. All can be seen and sampled on the website.

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Now, about The American Committee on/for East West Accord:

Ross Reid’s remarks on the ACEWA in both its original incorporation, 1974-1992 and its recreation in 2015 are full of slanderous insinuation and factual inaccuracies.

The American Committee on East West Accord was NOT an organization populated or run by “academics, leftists, politicians” as Ross Reid says. It was created by businessmen and run by a businessman, namely Donald Kendall, then Chairman and CEO of Pepsico.  Kendall was simultaneously Chairman of the US-USSR Trade and Economic Council, which was the main business association for all of corporate America doing business in the Soviet Union.

It is a bit difficult to imagine today, when nearly all of American business is mum about Russia, but back in the 1970s business had been encouraged by the Nixon White House to beat a path to Moscow, conclude mega-deals and lend support to the détente foreign policy.  Business did just that, and when détente faltered due to opposition in the Senate and specifically due to passage of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, then big business followed the cue from Nixon and set up ACEWA as a lobbying organization.  It was a gentlemen’s club doing its business in the bars of the Senate and House.  

Apart from business moguls, the original American Committee on East West Accord had on its board the iconic author of the policy of Containment George Kennan. But Kennan was a silent partner, just as were the retired admiral and other military in the ACEWA board.

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The American Committee began to put down roots in broader civil society only in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program and the dispatch of intermediate range nuclear capable rockets to Europe got the full attention of US campuses and a good many intellectuals saw ACEWA as a possible platform for their concerns.  That did not get very far precisely because it had an anti-Reagan motif that the dyed in the wool Republican Donald Kendall rejected.

In 1992 the ACEWA was disbanded. With the end of the Cold War, with fall of the Soviet Union, the future seemed to spell normalization of relations with Russia and the reason for its existence ended. It was not “dormant” as Reid Ross tell us. It was no longer.

However, those expectations of a coming golden age were dashed as relations with Russia turned sour in the late 90s and became vile midway into the first decade of the new millennium.  In that context of a looming military confrontation with Russia and possible nuclear war, Professor Cohen and I decided to incorporate the American Committee afresh.  Yes, it has prestigious members of the board as the high-minded purpose of raising public discussion of issues of war and peace would justify.

Typical of the smear technique used by Reid Ross is his reporting on a Round Table I organized at the Brussels Press Club in which Professors Stephen Cohen and John Mearsheimer were the featured speakers.  Mearsheimer was invited NOT because of his prior co-authorship of a controversial book on the Israeli lobby, as it suits the purposes of Reid Ross to say, but because of the highly relevant publication he had made in Foreign Affairs magazine on “Why the West is to Blame” for the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.  Mearsheimer happens to be one of America’s leading exponents of the Chicago-based Realist School of International Relations.

I will not go into the other numerous confused attempts by Reid Ross to pigeon-hole me either as facilitator of Right-Left coalitions or as a rightist, pure and simple.  He willfully misses the point. My political and authorial activities have had only one purpose: to facilitate public discussion of the reckless and ignorant foreign policy originating in Washington and followed slavishly in Europe which is leading us to nuclear Armageddon.

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This is something our war mongers like Alexander Reid Ross cannot fathom.

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