Welcome to the spy game of the new age

opinion March 08, 2017 01:00

By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation

Round One is going to Marxism. There are two possibilities regarding the alleged Russian interference in US politics: Either the claim is true or it is false. Either way, people in the Kremlin must be rolling on the floor laughing right now. Wait. It’s Capitalism that is actually on the floor at the moment.



Of course, the two opposing doctrines have clashed before, leading to the cold war and all. “Round One” here refers to the latest showdown, which is scary for some but entertaining for others.

Donald Trump has already had three of his major appointees badly tainted by the “Russian meddling” scandal. Three and counting, considering the way things are going. Vladimir Putin’s shadow is looming large over America’s political landscape, a situation encapsulated best by CNN: “The first weeks of a US presidency are usually filled with optimism – a fresh face with a clean slate settles into the White House and maps out a vision for the next four years,” the network said in a lead article. Not now, it added mournfully.

For Capitalism, the demise or near-demise of the appointees has probably not sunk in yet. They were handpicked by a “democratically elected” leader, something Marxism never advocates. If the allegation is a lie, the whole episode can be described as “Democracy destroying itself by using Marxism”. If the allegation is true, well, Marxism has obviously found a chink in Democracy’s armour.

(You may notice that this column sometimes calls Capitalism “Democracy”. Well, that’s deliberate. There may be subtle differences between the two, but let’s just treat them as the same entity for now. After all, America is the ultimate champion of both.)

The story of Russia’s alleged meddling is complex but can be summed up like this: During the election campaign some big-name people in the Trump camp were speaking to Russia’s ambassador to America (whom CNN has dubbed “poisonous”). Revelations of those contacts have now led to them either timidly exiting the political scene or protesting “I did nothing wrong”. 

Which is why the Kremlin must be rocking with laughter. If the allegation of election meddling is untrue, all Russia needs to do to screw things up in the Land of the Free is have its ambassador send birthday cards to the who’s who of Washington and wait for US politics to do the rest. For example, one apparently harmless e-mail from the ambassador to a top US politician saying “It was such a nice talk the other day” can lead to weeks of headline news and heads up on stakes.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to US media, is considered by US intelligence to be one of Russia’s top spies and spy-recruiters. Russia has denied it, but maybe it doesn’t need to. 

It is common practice for diplomats of almost all countries to double as “spies”, seeking contacts, recruits and information in their host countries.

As such, Capitalism only needs to strengthen in the espionage department. Wedding invitations, friendly e-mails and chats on the phone are methods of contact that US ambassadors to hostile nations should be trained in on a regular basis. The more the better, since the diplomatic ramifications of doing otherwise can be explosive – perhaps even atomic.

This may sound sexist, but the spy game doesn’t have to be a macho game of satellites and silencers. Acting like a jealous or scorned woman in order to create suspicion can be equally effective. Several of the accused Trump men have testified that contacts with the Russian camp were made innocently. It didn’t matter. Heads are rolling.

Capitalism, or Democracy if you will, has one big disadvantage in comparison with Marxism – “freedom of information”. If the Kremlin had lost face in the same way, it would have been handled behind closed doors. Russia wouldn’t have needed a national inquiry with every detailed finding available to the media, or a congressional impeachment process that could take months if not years, with everyone from keyboard warriors to flag-waving protesters getting a piece of it. Kremlin heads would have been put up on stakes, too, but in a different manner or process.

For all his controversial declarations, including accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping him, Trump should be heeded when it comes to one particular remark. He asked if it would be good if America and Russia could be friendlier toward each other. It’s the right question, even if it was asked for the wrong reasons.

Marxism and Capitalism are polar opposites but they share a common goal, which is global domination. Some may want them to keep fighting, though, to maintain a world of checks and balances. In which case, Capitalism must pick itself up immediately.