For this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Mark Ames, a journalist and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast. Ames also is the co-author of “The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia” and “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.” He worked on a satirical publication that was shut down by the Kremlin.
Ames talks about the history of the United States government’s meddling in Russia, especially how the government backed Boris Yeltsin to lead the country. He addresses the frenzy over President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and the complete lack of evidence of any conspiracy. He also discusses Putin and who he is as a leader and how it is ridiculous to suggest Putin is similar to Trump.
“Yeltsin was our man. We over and over boasted that everything that was going on in the ’90s was thanks to us. It was basically a colonial project,” Ames declares during the show. He says when he arrived in Russia the country believed in what the U.S. was trying to do. By the time he left, the U.S. had so “utterly destroyed” Russia that any goodwill toward America was ruined for the foreseeable future.
On the notions that Russia had anything to do with electing Trump, “I just think this is the craziest thing. I wasn’t here throughout most of the lead-up to the Iraq War, but I just remember seeing some of it and thinking this country’s lost its marbles, and they’re all kind of whipping each other into this sort of mob hysteria frenzy about something and trying to do outdo each other with more scary and lurid stories that are headed to some sort of disaster. And no one is holding back.”
“I keep thinking we’ve hit peak Russia hysteria. There’s just no fire still at the center of this smoke so it’s got to just blow away. It’s got to be over with, and then it gets a new level of crazy,” Ames shares.
The reason why this is happening is the liberal establishment, in particular, was rejected in the 2016 Election. “They lost, and they can’t handle it. It’s not uncommon that you look for an outside enemy, that you turn to some kind of xenophobia and conspiracy theory to account for it because otherwise you’ll have to say it’s my fault, it’s our fault. We screwed up.”
To listen to the episode, click the above player or go here.