An American Crackup?

There are many fissures in Western societies, and there are individuals and nations who wish to exploit them. Lets look at the fissures in both the United States and Europe.
The New York Daily News carried this headline on June 24, 2016 – And now Texit: Texans consider seceding after Brexit — especially if Donald Trump loses election.
But after Trump won, I got message on Facebook that in response to this awful event, California should secede from the union.  I took a look at the website of the California secession movement, and they say they feel they are subsidizing the other states, and are hampered by protectionism (I agree with them there) and that the rest of the country is not doing enough about global warming!
According to the Los Angeles Times, these Texas secessionists AND California secessionists AND Hawaii secessionists cozied up with other Western separatist groups at a Kremlin-funded conference in Moscow, hosted by a seven-foot Russian dude “who wears crocodile leather shoes” and leads Russia’s Anti-Globalist Movement.
According to Alexander Ionov—the aforementioned crocodile-shoe wearing leader of the small anti-American group that organized the conference—the Russian government chipped in part of the cost of the conference at a swanky hotel close to the Kremlin.
My guess is that the Ukraine secessionist movement (they want no part of Russia) was not represented.
Texas Secession?
So what are a few (not all) of the other fissures in our society?)
Some of the fissures that could be exploited cross the traditional boundaries of left and right.  For example, some believe that “neo-conservatives” (generally Jewish) got America into a war in Iraq which turned out to be a huge disaster.  Some believe that those same neocons want us to be belligerent toward Russia, which, according to this line of thinking, is simply asserting its rightful place in the world.
And of course there are racial fissures.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement believes that policemen kill blacks due to racism.
Conversely, we read a police officer, Jeff Roorda, saying that:
Genocide, constabulicide, the great blue massacre … whatever term you choose to use, you should consider – strongly – the possibility that what we’re witnessing now has escalated into something beyond just a war on police. If Dallas, Baton Rouge and Palm Springs didn’t convince you of that, the eight police officers that have died in a recent eight-day span should. The ambush-style execution of police has become a common occurrence in 2016, and now the cowardly assassination of the two Des Moines area police officers on Nov. 2 culminated a bloody spree of anti-police violence that took the life of an average of one American hero in blue per day starting on Oct. 26.
He adds:
I was on the streets of Ferguson and I heard the seething words of hatred that came from the mouths of the antagonists who overthrew an American city. More than just the words, it was the intensity of expression in their faces…
This mob mentality that has spread like cancer across America and has soaked our streets in blue blood should be recognized for the genocidal movement that it is. To write it off as anything else imperils the lives of even more cops and the very fabric of our democracy.
jeffroordaThen there are the culture wars:
a U.S. government letter of guidance stated that under Title IX, schools were prohibited from forcing students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.   Obviously if you tell people that their teen age girl has to share a bathroom with any male who claims  he’s a woman, you will create a fissure.  These people will feel they are beleaguered and attacked by their own government.
The final fissure I’ll mention is due to a leftist tactic… An SDS radical once wrote, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”  He is not alone in saying that, and if ‘issues’ and ’causes’ are waystations toward the ultimate goal, then you would expect leftists to look for issues to inflame and exploit.
Looking at the rest of the world, Douglas Shoen wrote a book about Russia with the paranoid sounding title Putin’s Master Plan.  He says this:
…Russia’s proxies [include]…far-right nationalist parties that admire Putin’s muscular, boldly chauvinistic leadership style, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France or Jobbik in Hungary. And some are far-left radical parties that share Putin’s antipathy toward the economic and political institutions of the West, such as Greece’s infamous SYRIZA or the newly ascendant Podemos in Spain. In some countries, including Greece, France, and Germany, Putin has allies on both the left and the right who compete fiercely, but what’s important to him is that both answer the phone when Moscow calls..
Its interesting that several (not all) of these groups share 1) a protectionist attitude toward trade  2) anti-American attitudes   and 3) pro-Russian attitudes.    For instance, Hungary’s Jobbik party and the French National Front and the Spanish Podemos share all three.  You can be a leftist, or you can be a rightist, it doesn’t matter, you share these three attitudes.
Shoen piles on more examples:
Greece’s infamous neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has deep connections with and receives considerable support from Russia’s right-wing activists, who operate only with Putin’s approval and implicit imprimatur. Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, even received a letter in prison from Putin adviser and Kremlin insider Alexander Dugin, one of the ideological architects of Putin’s Eurasianist ideology, expressing support for Golden Dawn’s geopolitical positions and requesting a line of communication between Golden Dawn and Dugin’s Kremlin-linked think tank in Moscow.
In Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party advocates a set of policies similar to those of France’s National Front: It is against Islamic immigration, against the EU, and against America. In July 2015, the AfD elected Frauke Petry as its leader based on “promises to make every effort to convince Berlin to strengthen ties with Russia.
( Unfortunately Europe is not the bulwark it used to be.  For instance, a Pew Research Center study conducted in spring of 2015 finds that “at least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia. . . . Americans and Canadians are the only publics where more than half think their country should use military action if Russia attacks a fellow NATO member.”)
The Interpreter, the online magazine of the Institute of Modern Russia, a prodemocracy group, says that Russia spreads conspiracy theories in the West.
Conspiracy theories can take a valid complaint, but attribute it to the wrong cause. Take ISIS.
ISIS, the Russian president suggests, is a Western creation— specifically, a creation of the United States, which, after all, housed the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a POW in Iraq. The Russians have helped foster this conspiracy theory among many Iraqis, which doesn’t make the American project in that beleaguered country any easier. The truth about ISIS is far different, as Putin— and Bashar al-Assad— well know. Assad funded ISIS’s predecessor organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq, for nearly a decade, as it fought against American forces there.
According to the website “WarOnTheRocks”, Russia encourages
…wide-ranging conspiracy theories promote fear of global calamity while questioning the expertise of anyone who might calm those fears. Russian propaganda operations since 2014 have stoked fears of martial law in the United States, for instance, by promoting chemtrails and Jade Helm conspiracy theories….
Conspiracy sites [may]…repeat and repackage the same basic content for both right- and left-wing consumers. Sometimes, these intermediaries will post the same stories on sites with opposite political orientations.
Sincere conspiracy theorists can get vacuumed up into the social networks that promote this material.
In at least one case, a site described by its creator as parody was thoroughly adopted by Russian influence operators online and turned into an in-ironic component of their promoted content stream, at least as far as the network’s targeted “news” consumers are concerned.
Sloppy thinking, and misattribution of negative events, lead to mischief-making dictators like Putin making inroads with their propaganda, much of which does not have the label “from Russia” on it.  But if real issues – such as the real problems that came with Muslim immigration, the high unemployment in many countries in Europe, and so forth, can be dealt with by responsible leaders who admit there is a problem, and that their constituents are not “deplorables” or whatever other name they come up with, then perhaps the democracies can defuse the power of the movements that Putin wants to make common cause with.
Schoen, Douglas E.. Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence –  Encounter Books. Kindle Edition. 2015

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