What your views on Russia and Islam say about your politics… A specter is haunting Europe and the United States. Well, actually, two of them: The supposed menace of the Kremlin, meddling in the affairs of Western democracies, and the putative threat of Islam, infiltrating Western society and destroying it from within. Both visions are overblown (particularly the latter). But whether you fear Russians or Muslims has become a curious indicator of partisan alignments in the United States
Right off the bat, it isn’t difficult to see through the absurd moral equivalence of the WaPo, in comparing “views about Russia” with “views about Islam.” The imprudence of such a comparison is made clear by the facts. Let’s be reasonable, shall we? Where are there any facts about ousted national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that would warrant any hysteria about dealings with Russia? It is an overblown fear that Democrats and their cronies are fanning and flaming.
Fears relating to Islam, however, are based on sound evidence. Ubiquitous and copious reports confirm that Muslim migrants have committed mass rapes of multitudes of girls and women; Islamic State jihadists have infiltrated the refugee stream; tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the world have joined the Islamic State; jihad attacks on Western soil have sent the costs of security soaring; billions of dollars are being spent by German taxpayers to clean up the migrant chaos; 80 percent of Swedish police are considering quitting over migrant dangers; millions are being (and have been) murdered and persecuted by jihadists and even gruesomely executed by Sharia states, including Muslim “apostates”; calls for attacks on the West by the Islamic State and al Qaeda are ongoing; etc. Finally, there is indeed a Muslim Brotherhood plan aimed at North America to destroy it from within (if anyone at WaPo actually read it). What is the WaPo not understanding?
This simple-minded equivalence of “views on Russia and Islam” and what each says “about your politics” is embarrassing at best, treacherously propagandist at worst. The WaPo ran another such article in January; it also made a bizarre comparison while trying to intimidate those who advocate for a declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist group. The WaPo stated:
The statute also criminalizes “expert advice or assistance.” At first glance, this is also not necessarily troubling. If one agrees that it is reasonable to prevent a U.S. citizen from advising al-Qaeda or the Islamic State on how to hide money or build weapons, then the argument follows that there is not an unqualified right to provide “expert advice or assistance” to a terrorist organization resulting from the right to speech or association….. According to interpretations of the law, it is also illegal to provide any organization on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations (or even just “terrorists” not on the official list) with “expert advice or assistance” even if it aims at peaceful, or even peacemaking, aims.
“What your views on Russia and Islam say about your politics”, by Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, March 3, 2017:
A specter is haunting Europe and the United States. Well, actually, two of them: The supposed menace of the Kremlin, meddling in the affairs of Western democracies, and the putative threat of Islam, infiltrating Western society and destroying it from within.
Both visions are overblown (particularly the latter). But whether you fear Russians or Muslims has become a curious indicator of partisan alignments in the United States. A similar dynamic also seems to be emerging on the other side of the Atlantic.
After a fleeting reprieve, the Trump administration is yet again buffeted by controversy surrounding its contacts with Russian officials. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has now joined ousted national security adviser Michael T. Flynn in apparently misleading U.S. authorities when questioned about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (For now, the substance of the conversations between the two men isn’t the issue.)
On Wednesday night, my colleagues broke the story of two previously undisclosed meetings last year between Sessions and Kislyak. On Thursday, amid a media firestorm, Sessions recused himself from ongoing investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. He may now also face a fight for his job: Leading Democratic politicians are calling for his resignation — and for a special prosecutor to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.
The partisan bickering in Washington mirrors a broader, deeply fractured political landscape. Overall, as a Gallup poll published last month revealed, American attitudes toward Russian President Vladimir Putin have grown more and more negative over the past decade.
But there is a pronounced partisan split, with Putin’s favorability among Republicans jumping some 20 points over the course of a campaign now shadowed by allegations of Russian meddling.
Defenders of the Trump administration are already lashing out at the Democrats’ supposed witch-hunt, arguing that the contacts with Kislyak — a diplomat whose job it is to meet local politicians and power-brokers — are being overplayed and that the Democratic uproar is simply a case of sour grapes.
It seems ironic that Republicans, who spent decades aggressively grandstanding on any threat posed by Moscow, now look benignly upon Putin. But, as we noted earlier, there is a genuine ideological affinity between some American conservatives and Russia’s right-wing, nationalist leader.
Meanwhile, Democrats seem unconvinced about Trump’s fear-mongering and promises of civilizational war with Islam: A separate Gallup poll also published last month found a huge gulf between Republicans and Democrats over Trump’s attempts to halt Syrian refugee resettlement, underscoring a pronounced ideological divide over immigration and attitudes toward Muslims. A large majority of Democrats do want to see further investigations into Russian activities and disapprove of Trump’s supposed friendliness toward Moscow.
Increasingly, what you choose to get animated about — the hand of Russia or the cultural danger posed by Islam — marks out your electoral choices, as well. The battle lines may be more stark in the U.S., but they’ve been clearly drawn on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Europe, leading far-right politicians, including French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, have publicly stood up for Russia in the face of E.U. censure. In some cases, far-right European parties maintain direct ties to the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, Le Pen’s critics in the French political establishment have for weeks been pointing to alleged acts of Russian meddling in the French elections, including reports of hacking targeting Le Pen’s main opponents. “This kind of interference in French democratic life is unacceptable,” said Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last month. “The French will not accept anyone dictating their [electoral] choices.”
According to German officials, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has long been warning about apparent Russian interference in European elections, is now Europe’s “main target of fake news articles” — an online disinformation campaign some E.U. officials are connecting to Moscow…..