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More ‘Fake News,’ Alas, From the New York Times

Disregarding President Trump’s insistent claim that the establishment press propagates “fake news” requires a constant effort—especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I cherish the First Amendment. Mark me down as favoring journalism that is loud, lively, and confrontational. When members of the media snooze—falling for fictitious claims about Saddam’s WMD program or Gaddafi’s genocidal intentions, for example—we all lose.  

So the recent decision by Times editors to publish an op-ed [1] regarding Paul Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine is disturbing. That the Times is keen to bring down Donald Trump is no doubt the case. Yet if efforts to do so entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble. Put simply, ousting Trump should not come at the cost of whitewashing the follies that contributed to Trump’s rise in the first place.

The offending Times op-ed, the handiwork of Evelyn N. Farkas, appears under the title “With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine.” During the Obama administration, Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and Mess Kit Repair.  Okay, I added that last bit, but it does seem like quite an expansive charter for a mere deputy assistant secretary.  

The story Farkas tells goes like this.

First, from the moment it achieved independence in 1991, Ukraine was a divided nation, “torn between Western Europe and Russia.” Ukrainians in the country’s western precincts wanted to join the European Union and NATO. Those further to east “oriented themselves toward Russia, which exerted maximum influence to keep Ukraine closely aligned.” In one camp were enlightened Ukrainians. In the other camp, the unenlightened.

Second, Manafort’s involvement in this intra-Ukrainian dispute was—shockingly—never about “advanc[ing] the interests of democracy, Western Europe or the United States.” Manafort’s motives were strictly venal. In what Farkas describes as a “standoff between democracy and autocracy,” he threw in with the autocrats, thereby raking in millions.

Third, Manafort’s efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, “Putin’s man in Kiev.” Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas’s words, “experienced a burst of membership expansion” right up to Russia’s own borders.

In response to Yanukovych’s action, “the Ukrainian people,” that is, the enlightened ones, “took to the streets,” forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia’s Vladimir Putin “instigated a separatist movement” in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering “a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day.”

To accept Farkas’s account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail.

Such was hardly the case, however.  One need not be a Putin apologist to note that the United States was itself engaged in a program of instigation, one that ultimately induced a hostile—but arguably defensive—Russian response.  

In the wake of the Cold War, the EU and NATO did not experience a “burst” of expansion, a formulation suggesting joyous spontaneity. Rather, with Washington’s enthusiastic support, the West embarked upon a deliberate eastward march at the Kremlin’s expense, an undertaking made possible by (and intended to exploit) Russia’s weakened state. In football, it’s called piling on.

That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.  

That at some point a resentful Russia would push back was all but certain. Indeed, more than a few Western observers had warned against such a response.  

The proposed incorporation of Ukraine into NATO brought matters to a head. For Putin, this was an unacceptable prospect. He acted as would any U.S. president contemplating the absorption of a near neighbor into hostile bloc of nations. Indeed, he acted much as had Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when they assessed the implications of Cuba joining the Soviet bloc.

That doesn’t justify or excuse Putin’s meddling in Ukraine. Yet it suggests an explanation for Russian behavior other than the bitterness of an ex-KGB colonel still with his shorts in a knot over losing the Cold War. Russia has an obvious and compelling interest in who controls Ukraine, even if few in Washington or in the editorial offices of the New York Times will acknowledge that reality.  

Furthermore, Russia was not alone in its meddling. The United States has been equally guilty. When “the Ukrainian people took to the streets,” as Farkas puts it, the State Department and CIA were behind the scenes vigorously pulling strings.  Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland believed it was incumbent upon the United States to decide who should govern Ukraine. (“Yats is the guy,” she said on a leaked call). Nuland would brook no interference from allies slow to follow Washington’s lead. (“F–k the EU,” she told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.)  

That Ukraine is, as Farkas correctly states, a torn country, did not give Nuland pause.  Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list.

Even so, can’t we at least assume Nuland’s motives were morally superior to Putin’s? After all, President Putin is clearly a thug whereas Nuland is an estimable product of the American foreign policy establishment. She’s married to Robert Kagan, for heaven’s sake.  

Persuade yourself that the United States is all about democracy promotion, as Farkas appears to believe, and the answer to that question is clearly yes. Alas, the record of American statecraft stretching over decades provides an abundance of contrary evidence. In practice, the United States supports democracy only when it finds it convenient to do so. Should circumstances require, it unhesitatingly befriends despots, especially rich ones that pay cash while purchasing American weaponry.  

Yanukovych was Putin’s man, “and therefore, indirectly, so was Mr. Manafort,” Farkas concludes. All that now remains is to determine “the extent to which Mr. Manafort was Putin’s man in Washington.” For Farkas, the self-evident answer to that question cannot come too soon.

As to whether Russia—or any other great power—might have legitimate security interests that the United States would do well to respect, that’s not a matter worth bothering about. Thus does the imperative of ousting Trump eclipse the need to confront the pretensions and the hubris that helped make Trump possible.  

Andrew Bacevich is writer-at-large at The American Conservative.

39 Comments (Open | Close)

39 Comments To "More ‘Fake News,’ Alas, From the New York Times"

#1 Comment By John Fargo On November 7, 2017 @ 11:17 pm

This is why the term “fake news” is so harmful and should not be used by media outlets. The use of “bad journalism” would be much more useful as it forces the claimants to justify their reasons for doing so.
“Fake news” is just a dog whistle.

#2 Comment By William Dalton On November 8, 2017 @ 12:02 am

Has it not occurred to the foreign policy establishment in Washington that it is more in America’s national interests for Ukraine to remain in Moscow’s orbit, so as to strengthen U.S.-Russian relations, not exacerbate tensions, rather than to pull them into the EU, or, God forbid, NATO? Isn’t this what any of the seasoned experts at Foggy Bottom would tell you? Why aren’t they doing so?

#3 Comment By Tiktaalik On November 8, 2017 @ 2:49 am

Two comments in order
1) Yanukovich won in 2004 as well and the election results were hijacked by ‘Maidan’
2) Yanukovich wasn’t Putin man back in 2010. As a matter of fact, he and his party actively promoted EU integration deal, until they read its actual conditions. After that they backtracked and rushed to Putin for a support.
So it was classical case of sitting on to chairs simultaneously.

#4 Comment By JonB On November 8, 2017 @ 5:39 am

Completely agree with John Fargo. “Fake News” should be reserved for deliberate falsehoods published knowingly. This NYT op-ed amounts to “an interpretation of history Bacevich doesn’t agree with.” I may not agree with it either – but it’s not like claiming that the Vegas shooter was anti-Trump, or creating a Facebook account for a non-existent person or organization.

#5 Comment By Nolan On November 8, 2017 @ 6:42 am

Mr Fargo: Disagree. “Bad journalism” implies the author is lazy yet innocent in their way. “Fake news” is more about narrative control and manipulation of the reader through reinvention or exaggeration, et cetera. Calling articles and outlets fake news is more accurate and levies much more weight against the lies and deceit than simply accusing someone or thing of bad journalism.

#6 Comment By Christian Chuba On November 8, 2017 @ 6:54 am

This is why we should disband politically oriented NGO’s. In essence, a country is only a democracy if it is pro-U.S. Resistance is futile.

Meddling at this level will only bring about more conflict, instability and military obligations will follow. It is good to be king but it is also quite expensive and ultimately ruinous.

#7 Comment By Fran Macadam On November 8, 2017 @ 7:30 am

If it were all about democracy promotion, they wouldn’t also be so anxious to negate an election here at home. Imperialism rules other peoples against their will, necessitating for its survival the lessening of democratic accountability at home, too, since it lessens the importance of citizens’ own concerns, also requiring for its warmaking security keeping voters in the dark.

#8 Comment By SteveM On November 8, 2017 @ 7:36 am

Re: “More ‘Fake News,’ Alas, From the New York Times”

Make that, More ‘Fake News,’ Of Course From the New York Times

Saturated with Fake News of various manifestations, the NY Times and its rancid analog Washington Post on the other end of the Crony-Elite NY-DC axis are unreadable.

Re: “That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.”

Given a ham-fisted EU run by Elite hacks in Brussels that is white washing Europe’s Christian legacy, mandating overbearing economic and social controls and absorbing millions of net negative migrants, the Czechs, Poles, Hungarians and Balts seem to be having second thoughts.

BTW, The Russians will not and do not want to invade those countries. As the EU spins out of control and the One Belt One Road initiative develops, Russia only needs to ask them what direction they want to face in the future.

#9 Comment By Dee On November 8, 2017 @ 8:08 am

How is it someones “opinion” constitutes “fake News”? Trump did not win by policy issues, he rode the right-wing outrage at all things clinton/libtard better than anyone else. His policy positions were mostly promise everything to everyone, but his campaign was about Lock her up/ build the wall!After bashing Goldman Sachs during the election, once he won he promptly filled his cabinet with them and other mega donor types.

#10 Comment By Mario Diana On November 8, 2017 @ 9:30 am

@John Fargo – I’m in almost complete sympathy with Mr. Bacevich’s essay, but you make an excellent point. “Bad journalism” is the better term. In fact, the only criticism I can make of your statement is that “dog whistle” is the wrong term. Everyone associates the term “fake news” with Donald Trump. (If it were possible, he no doubt would have trademarked it.) Using the term alienates the very people who need to hear criticisms like those in Mr. Bacevich’s essay. They hear it, too; and upon hearing it, they stop listening.

#11 Comment By Egypt Steve On November 8, 2017 @ 11:34 am

Look, elite and non-elite self-delusion about the purity of U.S. motives abroad dates back to the Roosevelt administration at least — and I mean the Teddy Roosevelt administration. I don’t see how any of this amounts to a defense of charges of money-laundering against Manafort.

#12 Comment By Professor Nerd On November 8, 2017 @ 11:36 am

Agreed. This isn’t “fake news.” It is a guest editorial from “the blob.”
While I enjoy reading TAC a great deal, one core aspect of conservatism is to dial it back a little. Mr. Dreher’s “sky is falling” headlines are growing tiresome, for example.

#13 Comment By Janek On November 8, 2017 @ 11:37 am

I disagree with John Fargo. The news that NYT, Washington Post, and other media outlets (not only liberal ) “produce” is the “Fake News”. “Bad journalism” should be reserved and used in the sense Nolan explains. Besides the “Fake News” on the so called “left” in American politics in general is the problem of “double speak” and speaking with the “forked tongues”. American “right” is the camp of the white flag.

#14 Comment By Tom On November 8, 2017 @ 12:20 pm

The op-ed page is for opinion pieces of writing and that is what this was an opinion. It isn’t fake news because it isn’t news.

#15 Comment By SteveM On November 8, 2017 @ 12:43 pm

Re: Janek:

Besides the “Fake News” on the so called “left” in American politics in general is the problem of “double speak” and speaking with the “forked tongues”. American “right” is the camp of the white flag.

I’ve mentioned the various “flavors” of Fake News before. There is (1) the obvious – what is claimed as true is actually false. But also (2), what is claimed as important, actually isn’t. And (3) what is important, is weakly or not reported at all.

An example of Type 2 is the WaPost reporting on its front page before the 2016 that Jared Kushner may have been greased into the Harvard MBA program. As if Ivy League greasing by monied Elites is unheard of. How was that front page news? And how about the acceptances of Chelsea Clinton (Stanford) and Malia Obama (Harvard)?

The cases of Type 3 Fake News are much more egregious. For example, the reasoned arguments and analysis by retired American intelligence officers and academics that the Syrian forces “chemical weapon attack” in April was almost certainly a false flag with staged recovery activity.

The NY Times and WaPost have consistently refused to acknowledge that those arguments and analysis even exist.

The linking of Russia to the DNC email leaks as factual by the Times, Post and NPR without a scintilla of published hard evidence is another example.

There are many more examples of Type 3 Fake News that could be demonstrated. Much of what claims to be journalism by the MSM is now Fake News trash.

#16 Comment By Simon James On November 8, 2017 @ 1:06 pm

My how our standards have fallen. “Yet if efforts to (bring down Trump) entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble.”

Grotesque distortions of U.S. policy DURING Trump we can wink at.

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 8, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

Disregarding President Trump’s insistent claim that the establishment press propagates “fake news” requires a constant effort—especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I agree in principal, although I note that President Trump and his team are as guilty of fake news as anyone, and the president himself appears to be positively delusional. I might at times disagree with Bacevich as to which news is fake.

I would also agree that there has been a great deal of “fake news” out of Ukraine, and what is really going on their is a former SSR with a bitterly divided population that each has about equal numbers, proponderance in some territories compared to others, and equally opportunistic leadership showing no great commitment to anything recognizable as “democracy.”

#18 Comment By Herbert H On November 8, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

This piece is pure Kremlin propaganda.

#19 Comment By John Sheridan On November 8, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

If opinion journalism (op-ed) is fake news, then that puts TAC solidly into the camp of fake news. As a regular reader and contributor, I don’t believe that, but neither should Andrew Bacevich believe that about another journal’s op-ed section. Evelyn Farkas simply has a different view of the situation than Bacevich. Did the op-ed contain factual representations that are demonstrably untrue or is it simply interpretations that Bacevich disagrees with.

The snarky comment about Farkas’ title in the DOD does little but undercut Bacevich’s authority. It’s one of four DOD senior executive positions within the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs. It’s a key policy role within DOD that existed before Farkas and continues today. It isn’t a silly minor role simply because Bacevich has never heard of it. Given that about 26,000 people work in the Pentagon, its highly likely that there are other departments he hasn’t heard of.

Same with the snark about Victoria Nuland. Married to Robert Kagan? So what? How is that an argument against her position on the Ukraine?

Bacevich presents defensible arguments, but fails to support them with solid counter arguments against the policies favoring US support of pro-western. Rather than deconstruct them, he just dismisses them as morally and intellectually inferior. Rather than spit out juvenile insults, Bacevich should display his own authority as a retired Army Colonel, PhD, and professor at a prestigious institution.

#20 Comment By Hardley T Whipsnade III esq. On November 8, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

Op Ed as in … ‘ opinion !

So regardless of how accurate that opinion may or may not be .. the fact is .. it is an ‘ Opinion ‘ piece … not news . As is clearly stated by its title and place within the pages and website of the NYTimes . So now who’s guilty of making erroneous and fraudulent claims ?

#21 Comment By Fayez Abedaziz On November 8, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

Say, can we refrain from using the word ‘journalism’ when we refer to the American media?
We should.
The internet and sources overseas, such as the Independent News paper/site out of Britain,
have news that is not purposely spun as is by the neo-con American news papers and magazines. Not as much, anyway.
Several points here, for example of what bad news (pun intended) the joke of American media is:
1- quit calling the main stream media liberal or left. They are liberal in a ‘social issues sense,’ that is, to be politically correct.
2- So,having said that,on foreign policy they, all newspapers and the vast majority of magazines, are war-peddling neo-con supporters.
3-They have agendas.
Do we not remember how they, at the new york times, peddled the war against Iraq and how, when you look at the editorial page you feel that these people and the guests opinion writers are soulless people that have no concern for America’s ‘flyover’ country?
4- Yeah, isn’t that ironic that these people look down on America’s middle class, blue collar workers and yes, it’s troops, by that constant bashing of nations here and there and pushing for aggressive stands or even military attacks?
Let the people at the major newspapers like this n.y.times rag tell us when they served in the U.S. military or their when their offspring did or when they’re gonna join and volunteer for combat duty.
Never mind, I’ve got the answer-none of ’em.
Do not buy any major newspaper.
Let them wither away and, it wasn’t fake spun ‘news’ we have been getting only this year:
fake agenda driven bull has been going on for decades.

go to the internet and overseas for news
think what I said over and you will see

#22 Comment By Janek On November 8, 2017 @ 3:39 pm

@SteveM

Not everybody has the time to analyze the deluge of all the “Fake News” and categorize it into classes and/or sub-classes you or somebody else proposes. Where all that leads? Soon we will have new sociopolitical discipline and experts on “fake-newsology” that will introduce another layer of pseudo-information that will have to be translated to the uninitiated and unwashed. All this social, economic and political mess is the result of deregulation in the economic, social, political spheres. The effects of those deregulations are now quite obvious in: economy, society, morality and politics that are already corrupted to the core, but the corruption is not stopping there, it is consuming everything else on its way. There is no end to it, and what is even more surprising is that people want even more of all kinds of deregulations etc. Wouldn’t it be more logical to bring back responsibility, moral standards and decency to politics, society and economy etc? What I now see in media is the total lack of any ideas on how to correct the obvious, but instead everybody is spinning his/her lies to make them more believable to the yet unconverted. This is pure relativism and sophistry and it destroys not only the USA, but the West as well.

#23 Comment By A D.C. Wonk On November 8, 2017 @ 4:28 pm

This entire premise is ridiculous.

Op-ed means it’s the guest opinion page. All sorts of folks write there: left and right. To ascribe an opinion there to the paper’s editorial stance is utterly absurd.

I don’t have a subscription to the NYT, but look at who is regularly on the op-ed pages of The Washington Post: George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al. Would you call WaPo Conservative?

#24 Comment By Thaomas On November 8, 2017 @ 5:24 pm

But why is Ukraine membership in the EU or even NATO necessarily “hostile” to Russia. (I can see the argument that to have a country as culturally similar to Russia becoming more liberal over time would seem threatening to the Putin regime, but that’s not the same as Russia.)

#25 Comment By Bills Come Due On November 8, 2017 @ 5:32 pm

“Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers have assigned to themselves a magical ability to repair such tears and to make broken countries whole. The results of their labors are amply on display everywhere from Somalia and Haiti to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Now add Ukraine to that sorry list.”

Our foreign policy establishment is incompetent. Worse, it is positively dangerous to others and even to us. We have wrecked countries all through the Middle East, N. Africa, and also Ukraine. Trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dead, and nothing to show for it, except lots of people who hate us, some of whom will come here to attack us at some point.

And yet they continue to pretend they know what they’re doing, or that NOW they know what they’re doing.

Our “elites”. Pathetic. But it’s no great surprise. Half of them aren’t even real Americans.

#26 Comment By max skinner On November 8, 2017 @ 5:53 pm

Opinion pieces like the one this author is writing about is not “news.” It is opinion and unless the writer of the op-ed piece is lying about the opinions stated in it, it is not fake.

#27 Comment By Captain P On November 8, 2017 @ 6:08 pm

So many commenters here appear hung up on the fact that Farkas’s piece was printed in a section called “Op-Ed.” The fact that it appeared in that section doesn’t mean that is incapable of being true or false — it’s not as if she was ranking her favorite flavors of ice cream.

Her piece is making propositional statements about history that are so twisted and incomplete that they are, indeed, false.

#28 Comment By Roman Gerschack On November 8, 2017 @ 6:09 pm

@Janek

You nailed it 100%. The United States and the West are quite literally a post-truth society where relativism rules supreme. The implications are frightening. When reason and logical analysis are sacrificed at the alter of rhetoric and PR designed to boost and sell the delusions and distortions of the left and of the right to a public that thinks opinion is synonymous with truth and acts reality is subjective – well, these are the symptoms of a mortally wounded society.

Russia and China and other “reality-based” nations are regularly running circles around the US and the West. America has so much invested in the idea that it is the “exceptional” and “indispensable” nation, and therefore has a God-given right to rule the world that, unlike the Brits and the European powers, it will not go quietly into the night as its power declines. There is a real danger that a bellicose and delusional (and nuclear armed) American leadership will choose war and a fight to the bitter end rather than accept the reality of a post-empire America.

#29 Comment By Celery On November 8, 2017 @ 6:36 pm

Wow! The American Conservative is indulging in fake news! Op-Ed pieces aren’t news. They’re opinions. This article, that wants to discuss the degradation of journalistic standards, is perhaps using itself as an example.

#30 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 8, 2017 @ 6:49 pm

This is but one example of why I am not having apoplectic fits about Pres. Trump. The foreign policy establishment just doesn’t have much room to point fingers given their history of problematic advocacy.

Our role and encouragement in toppling an elected admin doe not speak well for their judgement.

As for the New York Times, enough said with the second paragraph.

#31 Comment By Cynthia McLean On November 8, 2017 @ 7:39 pm

Good article and you managed not to mention “regime change” as US policy or the fact that the Ukraine government is flush with Nazis.

As for the NYT, I lost trust when they backed Bush’s Iraq invasion, followed by their support for Israel devastating Gaza, several times, and the overthrow of Ghaddafi in Libya. I scan NYT articles on line, but read a diversity of reporting and opinion from around the world.

I am actually rather saddened that I cannot believe the NYT, especially on US foreign and military policy issues. It would make life easier if I could.

#32 Comment By Tundra On November 9, 2017 @ 2:09 am

Even if Eastern Europe benefited from NATO expansion the US was still unjustified in its meddling. Our actions were pragmatically stupid, unconstitutional, and imperial. When we act this way we always do more harm than good, even to ourselves.

#33 Comment By cka2nd On November 9, 2017 @ 2:53 am

“That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.”

It did not, and should not be applauded.

Tiktaalik says: “2) Yanukovich wasn’t Putin man back in 2010. As a matter of fact, he and his party actively promoted EU integration deal, until they read its actual conditions. After that they backtracked and rushed to Putin for a support.”

I can’t confirm Tiktaalik’s characterization of Yanukovich’s original views on EU integration, but my view on the situation in Ukraine was almost completely decided by the competing EU and Russian economic deals. The EU deal would have flooded Ukraine with subsidized Western European agricultural products, wiped out Ukrainian manufacturing instead of modernizing it, and forced millions of Ukrainian workers and farmers to join the millions of Poles, Balts, Central and Eastern Europeans who have already migrated to Western Europe for exactly the same reasons, putting downward pressure on the wages, benefits and social supports of their Western European counterparts in the process. And, if memory serves, one other condition of joining the EU would have barred Ukraine from signing economic deals with other parties such as, hello, Russia. The latter’s deal would have preserved (and modernized, if my memory isn’t fading too fast) the Ukrainian agricultural and manufacturing sectors without forcing a massive economic out-migration from the country.

That Yanukovich was corrupt but nonetheless won elections deemed free and fair by international observers; that the “democratic” opposition included unapologetic fascists and anti-Semites; that sniper attacks attributed to the government may in fact have been a false-flag operation; that U.S. dollars were funding said democrats and fascists, alike; and that opponents of the Made In the USA “revolution” were literally burned to death in a union hall by said fascists only reinforced, bitterly and angrily, my choice based on the details of the “deal” the EU was offering Ukraine.

#34 Comment By DaveJoe On November 9, 2017 @ 6:54 am

At least for me, and ever since Saddam’s WMD and Judy Miller’s germ labs, the first address in fake news has been the NYT

#35 Comment By S.Rhee On November 9, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

re “ex-KGB colonel” Putin only reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, which by itself seems to represent a fast rise, in the KGB it used to take much longer to advance from one rank to the next, but maybe that was no longer the case in the final years of the Soviet Union.

#36 Comment By EngineerScotty On November 9, 2017 @ 4:44 pm

The suggestion that the mainstream media is constantly lying, and that only things such as Breitbart are telling the truth, is itself fake news.

At any rate, this is an op-ed; not “news” (i.e. reporting) at all. Category error.

#37 Comment By Jere Strittmatter On November 9, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

Hi, Please remember that Evelyn Farkas is a person of interest in the illegal unmasking and leaking investgations.

Ms.Farkas admitted breaking the laws on many occasions while bragging about her deeds against President Trump and many others.

The news media protected her for several weeks by reporting nothing about her radio admissions. Finally, they arranged news interviews with her to give her a chance to revise her incriminating statements.

The Justice Department should charge her with treason. Hopefully, Ms Farkas will cooperate with the investigation and bring others in the President Obama Administration to justice, finally.

Ms. Farkas shows poor judgement, knowingly commits crimes, and used her high position to further her personal, political views of right and wrong.

Very similar self importance traits similar to former FBI Director James Comey.

Please be cautious believing anything she writes or says.

#38 Comment By Ray Woodcock On November 10, 2017 @ 12:31 pm

In practice, the United States supports democracy only when it finds it convenient to do so. Should circumstances require, it unhesitatingly befriends despots, especially rich ones that pay cash while purchasing American weaponry.

No quarrel with this. It’s just interesting to be hearing it from a staff writer for a publication called The American Conservative. It is the sort of thing that I learned about, in college in the late 1970s, from a Marxist professor — talking about, for instance, the 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende. I hadn’t heard about such activities in the relatively conservative newspapers back home.

I guess one explanation would be that the conservative newspapers didn’t want to criticize Nixon. Another would be that conservatism primarily means anti-socialism, and socialism is at most a secondary issue in the countries mentioned here — Ukraine, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. Or maybe I’m remembering it wrong; or maybe conservatism changed from promoting U.S. strength abroad to nursing U.S. strength at home. Maybe the big labels (e.g., conservative, liberal) all cover the same spectrum of views and responses, just not at the same time, or for the same people or situations.

#39 Comment By steve On November 13, 2017 @ 1:01 pm

The NY Times leads the chorus and then the tail wags the dog. There are lies, damn lies and statistics all wrapped up by so called professional journalist who are mostly wandering between pillar and post thee days to find long term survival work. MM is nearly dead and the Times will kill it off all be itself. That dog won’t hunt. Stories are buried by the Times to suit the owners and their elite pals. The NY Times has turned into ‘a modest little paper with much to be be modest about’, Nowadays it is all “sources” “intelligence community” and similar buzz words that obfuscate and are packed with lies and opinion of the Sulzberger family swapping family yarns around their country retreat. It ain’t NEWS.News has turned into bullhorns for US government propaganda and Russia is where whistleblowers seek asylum (think Edward Snow)