February 10, 2024
From Internationalist 360
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Ben Norton
The U.S. TV host Tucker Carlson set off a political scandal by traveling to Moscow this February to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This provoked a debate in the media, which – as is so often the case in partisan U.S. politics – completely missed the forest for the trees.

Liberal war hawks like Hillary Clinton portrayed Tucker Carlson as a traitor and “useful idiot” of Putin.

Democrats have been blinded by their obsessive hatred of Russia and are utterly incapable of seeing what is happening geopolitically.

In reality, Carlson and other Donald Trump allies in the Republican Party have tried for years to drive a wedge between Russia and China while maniacally pushing for war on Beijing.

Trump’s former top advisor Steve Bannon, who ran the far-right leader’s 2016 presidential campaign, stated openly in 2018: “We’re at war with China.”

Bannon called to “unite the West against the rise of a totalitarian China.” And he considers Russia to be part of the “West.”

This strategy was also adopted by France’s far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, who stated in 2022 that she wanted to improve relations with Russia in order to prevent it from allying with China.

The Trumpist Republicans and their far-right counterparts in Europe see Russia as white, European, Christian, and capitalist, and a potential ally against China, which they demonize as a non-white, Asiatic, atheistic, and communist threat to so-called “Judeo-Christian Western civilization.”

Carlson has played a key role in this warmongering campaign against China.

When he had his prime-time show on Fox News, Carlson declared, “Russia is not America’s main enemy. Obviously, no sane person thinks it is. Our main enemy, of course, is China. And the United States ought to be in a relationship with Russia, aligned against China”.

The narrative that Carlson is “anti-war” is totally false. The reason that he opposes the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is simply because he wants all resources focused on war with China.

Carlson insisted on his Fox program, “The biggest threat to this country is not Vladimir Putin; that’s ludicrous. The biggest threat, obviously, is China”.

The far-right TV host is afraid that a China-Russia alliance would end U.S. hegemony over the planet, which the close Trump ally wants to preserve.

“If Russia ever joins forces with China, American global hegemony, its power, would end instantly”, Carlson lamented. “If Russia and China ever got together, it would be a brand new world, and the United States would be greatly diminished. Most Americans agree that would be bad”.

Since he was fired from Fox News in 2023, Carlson has continued pushing this same warmongering narrative: that the U.S. should ally with Russia against China.

In his February interview with Putin, however, the Russian leader could clearly see that Carlson is a political operative acting on behalf of the Republican Party and Trump, and that they hope to encourage division between Moscow and its most important ally.

Putin pushed back against Carlson’s hysterical anti-China narratives, which he referred to as mere “boogeyman stories”.

The Russian president emphasized that China wants peaceful cooperation, and that “China’s foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive”.

The following is a transcript of the February 6 exchange:

TUCKER CARLSON: The question is what comes next? And maybe you trade one colonial power for another, much less sentimental and forgiving colonial power. I mean, is the BRICS, for example, in danger of being completely dominated by the Chinese, the Chinese economy, in a way that’s not good for their sovereignty? Do you worry about that?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have heard those boogeyman stories before. It is a boogeyman story.

We’re neighbors with China. You cannot choose neighbors, just as you cannot choose close relatives. We share a border of a thousand kilometers with them. This is number one.

Second, we have a centuries long history of coexistence. We’re used to it.

Third, China’s foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive. Its idea is to always look for a compromise. And we can see that.

The next point is as follows. We’re always told the same boogeyman story, and here it goes again, through a euphemistic form, but it is still the same boogeyman story.

The cooperation with China keeps increasing. The pace at which China’s cooperation with Europe is growing. It’s higher and greater than that of the growth of Chinese-Russian cooperation.

Ask Europeans. Are they afraid? They might be. I don’t know. But they are still trying to access China’s market at all costs. Especially now that they are facing economic problems.

Chinese businesses are also exploring the European market.

Do Chinese businesses have small presence in the United States? Yes.

The political decisions are such that they are trying to limit the cooperation with China.

It is to your own detriment, Mr. Tucker, that you are limiting cooperation with China. You are hurting yourself.

As Putin made clear, the Republicans have failed to isolate China from Russia and divide BRICS.

The irony is that the Democratic Party’s hysteria over the Russiagate conspiracy, combined with the war in Ukraine, prevented the Trumpist elements from realizing this strategy.

(Washington’s failure to divide Russia from China has only further incentivized the United States to focus heavily on allying with India’s far-right government, seeking to provoke conflict between New Delhi and Beijing. Both Trump and Joe Biden have sought to woo India.)

Carlson’s bellicose anti-China rhetoric was not mere red meat for his typical Fox News conservative audience. Since he was fired, Carlson has continued churning out this cartoonish propaganda as an independent broadcaster.

On February 2, just four days before he interviewed Putin, Carlson published a video claiming that China is “fueling the invasion of America”. The implication was that war would on Beijing would be justified in response to a supposed Chinese communist-backed “invasion”.

In November 2023, Carlson released an interview with Trump, in which both fearmongered about Beijing.

“Why is China allowed to conduct imperialism in our hemisphere?” Carlson asked.

Trump replied, “Yeah, and it’s far beyond Cuba; it’s all over South America”. The former U.S. president then claimed, without a shred of evidence, that “China is building military installations in Cuba”.

Carlson is a personal friend of Trump, and acts as a propagandist for the former president and his faction of the Republican Party.

But their relationship goes deeper than friendship. In fact, Trump has publicly said that he has considered Carlson to run with him to be vice president of the United States.

This is especially relevant considering that Trump may very well win this year’s presidential election. Most polls show that he is leading over Biden, including in critical swing states.

As he campaigns for president, Trump has pledged to implement extremely aggressive anti-China policies. The Washington Post reported, citing his advisors, that “Trump is preparing for a massive new trade war with China”, and wants to impose 60% tariffs on all imports of Chinese goods into the U.S..

When asked about this on Fox News, Trump floated tariffs even higher than 60%, stating, “I would say maybe it’s going to be more than that.”

Historically, economic wars of this magnitude often lead to military conflict. So, Trump’s hawkish anti-China policies could escalate into a conventional war.

In addition to being a close ally of Trump, Carlson has used his large post-Fox personal media platform to promote the Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Together, they have China and fearmongered about war over Taiwan.

Ramaswamy has campaigned on a Trumpist and Carlsonian foreign policy platform, arguing that the U.S. should ally with Russia in order to try to isolate China.

Ironically, this strategy advocated by Trump, Bannon, Ramaswamy, and Carlson was also previously promoted by Henry Kissinger.

Back in the Richard Nixon administration in the 1970s, Kissinger used “triangular diplomacy” to play China against the Soviet Union. Washington’s alliance then with Beijing was a significant factor that led to the destabilization and, eventually, overthrow of the USSR.

In 2018, Kissinger called for returning to this triangular diplomacy, but in the opposite direction. The Daily Beast reported, “Henry Kissinger suggested to President Donald Trump that the United States should work with Russia to contain a rising China”.

Putin mocks Tucker Carlson for applying to join the CIA

With the rise of Donald Trump and his far-right movement, Tucker Carlson tried to rebrand himself as a so-called populist.

But Carlson was always blue-blooded media royalty. His middle name is Swanson, and his stepmother was the heiress of the eponymous food corporation.

The scion of a powerful, wealthy, politically connected family, Carlson started his media career as a neoconservative hawk, churning out diehard pro-war articles for the notorious neocon bible the Weekly Standard.

Carlson was soon kicked upstairs, in the 2000s, to host shows at CNN and MSNBC, before later moving to Fox News.

In the Trump era, Carlson has marketed himself as a paleoconservative, condemning neoconservatives to try to score points with “populists”. But back during the George W. Bush administration, Carlson was a card-carrying neocon.

Carlson eagerly supported the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, using crude, neocolonial, racist talking points.

As The Daily Beast wrote (emphasis added):

Tucker Carlson described Iraqis as “semiliterate primitive monkeys” in past comments made on the Bubba The Love Sponge radio show, according to new audio recordings uncovered by Media Matters. The Fox News host also claimed Iraqis don’t “behave like human beings” and said he had “zero sympathy” for Iraqis or their culture during a May 2006 discussion of the Iraq War on the popular radio show. “A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks,” Carlson said—adding that Iraqis should “ just shut the fuck up and obey” the U.S. because “they can’t govern themselves.” In a Sept. 2009 episode, Carlson also proclaimed that Afghanistan would never be a “civilized country because the people aren’t civilized.”

In fact, Carlson was such a dedicated Reaganite and cold warrior that, back when he was in college, he applied to join the CIA.

Journalist Alan Macleod showed how, in the 1980s, Carlson traveled to Nicaragua to support the CIA’s far-right death squads, the Contras, in their terror war against the revolutionary Sandinista government.

Tucker’s father, Richard “Dick” Carlson, was the director of Voice of America, a U.S. government propaganda outlet that is closely linked to the CIA and other spy agencies.

Russian intelligence clearly knew about Carlson’s CIA ties. So when he interviewed Putin in February, the Russian leader mocked Carlson for having applied to join the notorious U.S. spy agency, which Putin emphasized had organized many coups d’etat and meddled in the internal affairs of countless foreign countries.

The following is a transcript of the exchange:

TUCKER CARLSON: With the backing of whom?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: With the backing of CIA, of course. The organization you wanted to join back in the day, as I understand.

We should thank God they didn’t let you in. Although it is a serious organization, I understand.

My former vis-à-vis, in the sense that I served in the first main directorate, the Soviet Union’s intelligence service.

They have always been our opponents. A job is a job.

Tucker Carlson’s neocolonial views on Latin America

Although he criticizes neocons today, Carlson’s foreign policy regarding Latin America is decidedly neoconservative, and neocolonial.

Carlson routinely treats Latin America like the U.S. “backyard”, and frequently complains that China is supposedly trying to “take over” and even colonize “our hemisphere”.

In 2022, when he was still at Fox News, Carlson traveled to Brazil to produce a propaganda documentary for far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who was staunchly pro-U.S. and anti-China.

In effect, Carlson was meddling in Brazil’s election, seeking to prevent the return to power of leftist Lula da Silva (who went on to win the 2022 election).

In the promotional video that Carlson made for Bolsonaro, he invoked the 200-year-old, explicitly colonial Monroe Doctrine, in order to fearmonger about China’s bilateral, consensual relations with Latin American nations – and to justify increasingly aggressive U.S. interventionism in the region.

The Fox News host declared (emphasis added):

In 1823, President James Monroe announced a policy that has been the center of American foreign policy for the last 200 years. Called the Monroe Doctrine, it has a very simple thesis: Great powers would not be allowed to control nations in the Western hemisphere. That would be a direct threat to the interests of the United States. And for 200 years, we haven’t allowed it.

Under the Biden administration, the Monroe Doctrine is no longer enforced.

Constrained by its ideological concerns, consumed with petty political grievances and above all, distracted by a faraway war in Eastern Europe [ie, against Russia in Ukraine], the Biden administration has abdicated its responsibility.

And into the void left by the United States moves a new superpower.

We’ve come to Brazil to see for ourselves the rise of China, and how the government of China is replacing the United States as the dominant power in our hemisphere.

Washington’s bipartisan imperialism

This anti-China, pro-colonial diatribe was a stark reminder that Carlson is, in fact, an ardent advocate for U.S. imperialism.

Carlson is not opposed to war on principle. He only criticizes the U.S. proxy war against Russia because he wants to focus the entire attention of the U.S. empire for war on China.

Carlson is co-opting many well-intentioned people who don’t want war on Russia, and brainwashing them to want war on China.

However, U.S. liberals’ hysteria over the Russiagate conspiracy has blinded them to this reality.

Of course, in Washington there is bipartisan opposition to China. But the Democrats are more fixated on Russia now, in the short time, while referring to China as a “long-term threat.”.

Republicans, led by Trump and Carlson, want to put aside differences with Russia and dedicate all of the U.S. empire’s resources into containing, weakening, and ultimately overthrowing the Communist Party of China.

Both dominant U.S. political parties are thoroughly imperialist. Their fight is not about whether the U.S. should be an empire; rather, their debate is about what is the best strategy to preserve the U.S. empire.

Carlson and Trump share much in common politically with neocons and liberal-interventionist hawks, whom they sometimes criticize for “populist” credit.

What unites them all is their desire to strengthen the U.S. empire and maintain Washington’s unipolar hegemony over the planet.

This is precisely why Tucker Carlson warned with terror, back on his Fox News show, “If Russia ever joins forces with China, American global hegemony, its power, would end instantly.”

Original Source: Geopolitical Economy Report




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