Sunday, October 15, 2017

Masha Gessen on techniques of our governance

Peace, a life at peace, has always been
and continues to be an ideal for human-
ity. But peace as a state of world pol-
itics has never been stable... In the
last quarter century, the threshold for
applying force has clearly been lowered.
Immunity against war acquired as a re-
suit of two world wars, literally on a
psychological, subconscious level, has
been weakened.

No one has done so much to validate the
reflections cited above as the man who
uttered them, at a conference in Sochi
on the Black Sea in 2015, Vladimir Pu-
tin. Now, he has an emulator in Wash-
ington, an admiring co-practitioner in
the arts of disinformation which the ac-
tivist-historian of contemporary Russia,
Masha Gessen, shows to have destroyed
any prospect for a stable civil society,
much less a democracy, in that country.

Now Putin's American admirer has demanded
the harassment and de facto seizure of an
American broadcast network, for its exer-
cise of its press freedom, while every day
inundating the culture with disinformation
regurgitated by his kept cable news hacks,
preachers, and virtual internet hordes.

One reads Masha Gessen's fine book with a
sense of urgency of any Russian - yet, in
English, in the United States. The subject
is one of the implementation of a common
policy by common means. The diverting and
quaint concept, collusion, having been ren-
dered extinct by the structures of social
media, falls by the wayside of her inquiry.
Extinction, meanwhile, remains prolifically
at the center of the American President's
own discourse, as a condition of greatness.
His are no mere flirtations with war, they
are a cultural conditioning, well under way.

Masha Gessen
The Future is History
  How Totalitarianism
  Reclaimed Russia
Riverhead/Penguin, 2017©

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