What we are seeing today with the revival of the cold war mindset is in many ways the complete opposite of the “old” McCarthyism: the target may be the same – Russia as the bogeyman de jour – but the methods and sources of the neo-McCarthyites are quite different.
To begin with, the “old” McCarthyism was a movement generated from below, and aimed at the elites: the “new” McCarthyism is a media construct, generated from above and created by the elites.
The average American, while hardly a Putin groupie, is not laying awake at night worrying about the “Russian threat.” The fate of Ukraine, not to mention Crimea, is so far from his concerns that the distance can only be measured in light-years. And when some new scandal breaks as a result of WikiLeaks releasing the emails of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, Joe Sixpack doesn’t think “Oh, that just proves Julian Assange is a Kremlin toady!” WikiLeaks is merely confirming what Joe already knew: that Washington is a cornucopia of corruption.
The Acela corridor elite, on the other hand, does lay awake at night wondering how they can pull off a regime change operation that will eliminate the “threat” represented by Putin once and for all. Ever since the Russian leader started mocking Washington’s hegemonic pretensions, criticizing the US invasion of Iraq, and pointing out how US-funded Syrian “rebels” are merely jihadists in “moderate” clothing, Putin has been in their crosshairs – and the propaganda war has been relentless.
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