This is, at request, a translation of my earlier article ‘De russen komen’
O! How familiar this sound must be to the older generations of our world. A throwback to the Cold War. Finally a paradigm one can understand again. The Telegraph reported on January 16th there will be a probe into Russian activities in the EU and in Europe that destabilise the political situation and nations. How easily we forget ‘our’ own meddling. Furthermore it is exactly what intelligence services are doing, all the time. It is commonplace amongst those institutions of State entrusted with the secret dealings of its masters. However, this time it is thrust into the public debate at a time when public support is not seeming to go the way of the Washington. Thus, something sinister must be afoot. That is conspicuous, especially because the allegations provided by the Telegraph are not able to be verified independently, outside of rumours and speculation. Yet they could have an impact on the ordinary citizen that is shaping his opinions on important matters, such as the Association Treaty with Ukraine, which is currently subject to a referendum in the Netherlands.
Since the first of July 2015 it is possible to petition the Dutch government on, essentially, any law. Three organizations did so, concerning the Law for approving the Association Treaty of the European Union and its Member States with Ukrain. Burgerforum EU, Geenstijl and Forum for Democracy are united in GeenPeil and they managed to receive over 450.000 written signatures in support for this referendum. Whatever one might think about the nature of this referendum, it exists and people will be voting on it com April 6th 2016.
The Dutch government does not appear to be happy with this development. Various calls not to cast a vote, that voting is pointless, that the chosen subject is the wrong one, the reluctance to grant enough public funds to support election places where people can actually vote and municipalities and cities that respond, somewhat prematurely, by announcing that they will greatly decrease the number of voting booths, because they themselves do not expect a high turn-out. Despite a 63% turn-out in the 2005 referendum that, temporarily, knocked down the EU-constitution. These are all examples from which a basic stance can be deducted towards this referendum from the Dutch government and some of its subsidiaries.
That basic attitude is understandable seeing the ambiguous relationship politicians in the Netherlands have with this democratic instrument. Ten years ago, the referendum was a political failure. People were laughed at on live television for voting overwhelmingly against the EU constitution, only to show what those politicians were thinking of the 61.5% that voted against it. Total participation was 63.3%. The current referendum is again strongly related to the EU. Therefore it is not unnatural to display a certain political reluctance towards this new democratic possibility and campaign, as our government, in favour of the Association Treaty
Controlling the paradigm
Luckily such a campaign is not necessary, because now there is the probe, sanctioned by the American Congress that Mr. Clapper will determine what the influence is of the activities of the Russian Federation within the EU and Europe. (H.R. 2596 sec. 338) Altough, we do not know whether has happened, because there is only a secret report that no one saw, except the Telegraph. More on that later. For now, one can only speculate, and thus Dutch media are doing so. Interestingly this is a game called ‘guilt by association’ which is played on numerous primary school playgrounds and goes like this: “I heard from John that James never takes a shower and he stinks, but I am not at liberty to tell you who told it to John.”As you’ll understand, Joe who hangs out with James, is now a dirty boy as well. Nobody wants to be associated with ‘the dirty boy’. Thus Joe will not be playing with James anymore.
The article in the Telegraph does mention that no specific parties are named in the report, however does not fail to name a few themselves. Dubious clubs like the Golden Dawn, Front National, Lega Nord and that Hungarian one all, supposedly, receive funds from the Russ. Will than Berlusconi also be investigated for his visit to Crimea, or the leftist parties in Poland that expressed the desire for normalized relations with Russia, or the German industrialists who argued openly for ending the embargo, simply because it hurts German trade? No, those parties were not mentioned by the Telegraph and thus is shown what it really is about. It is about what we think. With whom would ordinary citizens associate rather, with Front National or German businessman?
By way of association by guilt your thinking process is being steered. In particular concerning the Dutch referendum of which the Telegraph writes: “Sources said arguments deployed in support of the referendum “closely resembled” known Russian propaganda.” That is revealing. It is about the arguments. Arguments are the expressions of ideas, of philosophies, of ways to observe the world and of a democratic process. What this says is that the way of thinking by Geenpeil would not coincide with the, preferred, American policies. You can make of that what you want.
Yes, an investigation into Russia exerting influence in the European Union will be started. In itself this is nothing new. That is how geopolitics works and it is good to assess each others positions now and then. New however is that a psychological trick is being played within the paradigm of the Cold War. Through the method of association by guilt, ordinary citizens are discouraged to associate themselves with those who think differently. It reminds us of the clear and binary world with just goodies and baddies. Of course, we want to side with the goodies. However, it poses a problem that this investigation is now apparently used to influence a democratic process recognized by the government another country. Ironic.