The Triumph of Edward Bernays


by Deena Stryker, New Eastern Outlook:

America’s latest anti-Russian frenzy is a supreme tribute to Edward Bernays, the Austro-American ‘father of public relations’ who convinced psychologists and politicians alike (starting with Goebbels and Ford) of the power of propaganda. Realizing that people are irrational and likely to go with the crowd, he showed how psychologycould be used to shape their opinions, and especially, to support government or business policies.

I lived in Europe through most of the Cold War, when America’s anti-Soviet campaign was limited to warnings about Russian tanks poised to overrun the central plain all the way to the Atlantic. In the current campaign to prepare the public for war against Russia, twenty-four hour news is the gift that keeps on giving. From hour to hour, different faces, different sexes, different tones of voice, all directed as if by a choir master, develop and repeat the same message: Russia bad.

Neither Trump’s shady business dealings (nor those of his daughter, sons and son-in-law) or his dalliances with porn stars, come close to justifying impeachment. But congratulating the Russian President on his 76% election win after three terms in office comes just short! Meanwhile, the alternative press ignores the issue. The Intercept, for example, run by two well-known ‘progressive’ journalists, solves the problem by concentrating on revelations and analyses of crimes against the many in the US and elsewhere, only approaching the Russia issue tangentially by providing an elaborate time-line for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s firing.

With chaos reigning in the White House among the few aides who haven’t yet resigned or been fired, President Trump’s Generals, McMaster, Mattis, and Kelly recently decided it is he who must go. Instead, they were fired, one by one, and uber-hawk, John Bolton was brought in to head national security.

Meanwhile, the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to sway the election in Trump’s favor drags on, with no end in sight. Possibly contemplating resignation, Trump is the proverbial ‘bull in a china shop’, upsetting every area of activity that is important to the safety and security of the country, from starting a world-wide trade war to a meeting with the person he refers to as ‘Little Rocket Man’ that will ignore any State Department carefully constructed script.

Little noticed in all of this, the man who in 2016, a propos Trump’s desire to build a tower in Moscow, said “I will make it happen and our boy will become President of the US’, revealed the meaning of that phrase in a television interview.

Felix Sater had been helping Trump make deals for years, and his Moscow contacts are partly due to his fluent Russian, so the idea that they could have helped obtain Putin’s approval for Trump’s plan is not far-fetched. What was striking, however, was the way Sater emphasized the true meaning of his 2016 statement. His earnest tone of voice and grave expression showed that Trump’s desire to builda tower in Moscow that would propel him to the White House was based on the conviction that this enterprise would transform the threat of nuclear war into a rock-solid US-Russia alliance.

At a time when the hands of the doomsday clock have advanced to two minutes to midnight, the sentiment transmitted by Saterexplains why Trump refuses to say anything negative about Vladimir Putin: it’s not about any ‘dirt’ the Russians may have on him (how could there be more dirt on him in Moscow than in the US?), it’s the elemental fact that he wants to build a tower in Moscow rather than perish in a nuclear war.

Day after day were are confronted with ‘beltway’sopposition toTrump’s grand policy. Although relations were tense, Obama congratulated Putin after his 2012 re-election. Since Trump’s election, supposedly with Russian help, Vladimir Putin was at first referred to by politicians and the press as an ‘adversary’, and is now declared an enemy. And while until now, Trump was accused of being ‘unfit’ for the job of president, after he observed diplomatic tradition by phoning to congratulate Putin, one politician suggested this was almost treason!

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