General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., who is the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in July 2015 “My assessment today, is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.” He said “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia. And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
In February of 2015, NATO Supreme Commander Philip Breedlove said “”Russia has chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies and partners.”
One can go back to the Russo-Georgian War in 2008 or to the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution to find reasons for such views among military leaders. However, military leaders can always find reasons and threats; history is filled with material to exploit. Military figures are trained, paid and promoted partly on the basis of clarity, firmness, and preparedness against potential enemies. They are bound to tend to have an anti-Russia and an anti-China bias, at least some of them; and these will be the most vocal and aggressive in publicizing their views. The same phenomenon is observed among those in Congress. There’s very little political downside to advocating military strength and to warning against enemies, small, large, real or imagined.
Men and women who have held positions in the military and politics also frequently get positions in think tanks and in defense companies. Being anti-Russia, or anti-enemies is a position that pays off handsomely if exploited over time.
Politicians find the anti-Russia position useful in another way. They need only link their opponents to a Russia viewed as an enemy or hostile force in the world. Hillary Clinton raised the issue of Russian cyber attacks in the first debate, Sept. 26, 2016. James R. Clapper, Jr., director of national intelligence, provided ambiguous but supportive statements less than two weeks later, basically saying that he didn’t know the source of hacked e-mails being released by Wikileaks: “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” He attributed the hacking to computer servers located in Russia. In early November, Julian Assange denied this: “The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything. Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That’s false — we can say that the Russian government is not the source.”
The major media in America are owned by about 6 companies, like Google, Time Warner, Comcast and News Corp. They, like the military, defense companies, and politicians share personnel, one with another, share contacts, and cooperate on joint projects. For examples, see here. This article mentions “William Kennard. He previously served on the board of the New York Times and became chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission. But he then joined the massive defense and technology investment firm, the Carlyle Group, as Managing Director, where he led investments in telecommunications and media. Carlyle Group also happens to be a major defense contractor, which majority-owns Booz Allen Hamilton, the notorious corporate giant managing several NSA mass surveillance programs.”
It mentions “Douglas Warner III. A former senior banker who was chairman of the board of JP Morgan Chase & Co., he sits on the board of General Electric, which owns the US media corporation NBC. He has also served as a director of French mobile phone company Motorola Inc., and sits on the board of counselors of the Bechtel Group, a major defense contractor for the US and UK governments.”
Consider “John Bryson, who served as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce until 2012. Prior to that, he sat on the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company for about a decade, which of course owns the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He was also on the board of directors at giant US defense contractor Boeing.”
Murray Rothbard has been important among libertarians for raising and elaborating the issue of the elite that was identified by C. Wright Mills in his “The Power Elite”. The Wikipedia entry on Mills includes this passage:
“The Power Elite (1956) describes the relationships among the political, military, and economic elites, noting that they share a common worldview; that power rests in the centralization of authority within the elites of society. This centralization of authority is made up of the following components: a ‘military metaphysic,’ in other words a military definition of reality; ‘class identity,’ recognizing themselves as separate from and superior to the rest of society; ‘interchangeability,’ i.e., they move within and between the three institutional structures and hold interlocking positions of power therein; cooperation/socialization, in other words, socialization of prospective new members is done based on how well they ‘clone’ themselves socially after already established elites. Mills’ view on the power elite is that they represent their own interest, which includes maintaining a ‘permanent war economy’ to control the ebbs and flow of American Capitalism and the masking of ‘a manipulative social and political order through the mass media.'”
The internet’s alternative media take all sorts of political positions, and among these is the anti-elite position of libertarians, simply because the power elite operates through power in fundamentally anti-freedom ways. We can expect the elite to attempt to control internet discourse and suppress its free speech. Internet censorship is of critical importance. The problem is that private property rights on the internet that would assure free speech can be attacked by government laws. Any property rights can be attacked by the state, internet rights included. The power elite ensures its own survival by its control over laws. That’s the most fundamental challenge to freedom. It is the fact that law is based on state-founded legality and not on natural law principles. Natural law has been eclipsed because state power can only be augmented via state-founded laws that override the freedoms that are respected by natural law. One cannot have a powerful state and a just society based on natural law simultaneously. Since power battens on enemies, we find that as enemies like Russia are manufactured and become “realities” to be combated by greater exercises of state power that is controlled by the power elite, freedom and justice at home necessarily diminish within our society. The laws of the state more and more conflict with the natural law that is being overridden and shunted aside.