|This interview appears in the December 23, 2016 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Senator Mike Gravel:
Sen. Mike Gravel: First off, it’s ridiculous! It’s far-fetched ridiculous! We know—and here we can be grateful to Edward Snowden—that the United States’ capability, along with their partners in Britain, have the capability of vacuuming up every single communication in the world. That means that the NSA has all of Hillary’s emails; has all of the communications between the U.S. and Russia. And so for the government to come out and say via the intelligence community, that this is all instigated by Russia, is just part of the demonization that we’ve seen taking place about Putin and Russia, as part of a plan in the United States to have regime change in Russia. Believe it. We’re seeing what’s happened in Syria with regime change, which is hundreds of thousands of people displaced and killed. And now we know that it was the U.S. that financed the coup in Kiev, that unseated Ukraine’s duly-elected President, who was favorable to Russia; which, of course, is normal, since they are neighbors and were essentially one country at one point. And so we destabilized that, and that was admitted to by [the Assistant Secretary] Victoria Nuland, who’s still there; was there under Clinton. She admitted that the United States had spent $5 billion over a 10-year period, to destabilize the government of Ukraine. We succeeded.
Then, of course, as a reaction to that, when Russia had to continue its fresh-water port, which is Sevastopol, which came under threat, they protected it by annexing it—re-annexing it, let’s put it that way—because it was part of Russia before. It was given away by Nikita Khruschev several years ago.
So, in point of fact, we have all the knowledge in the NSA. Maybe the NSA doesn’t talk to the FBI, or doesn’t talk to the CIA. I don’t know. We’ve had this problem in 9/11, with nobody connecting the dots; and may have that same problem right now. But there’s no question that the United States government does more activity in the cyber world than anybody else. Russia is probably a distant second. China is a distant second. But there’s nobody that holds a candle to what we’re capable of doing.
So, for our government to turn around—or elements within our government, let’s put it that way—to turn around and say that the Democratic Party was hacked and these hacks were given to WikiLeaks who then released them; well, it seems odd that the American government would have to be partners of WikiLeaks to let this stuff out. What seems more likely, is that somebody within the government, whether rogue or by intent, saw this as an ability to try and embarrass Russia; embarrass Putin, and to save face for Hillary, who was promptly losing the election with her skullduggery.
As a result of this, we now see the New York Times—and this should not surprise us—the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two major national newspapers of note, have done a lot of disinformation over the years, and I think this is just one more instance of that disinformation coming out of the New York Times. Keep in mind it’s the New York Times that ginned up the war to invade Iraq. You can take your credits from there, as to what they’re capable of doing when they put their mind to it.
So, that’s essentially what I think is the case. Here too, we have enough people with skills and knowledge, particularly with our group, the former intelligence officers in the government, very senior intelligence officers—because none of us are spring chickens—to be able to question what has been put out, and say that this doesn’t seem accurate, and doesn’t make sense.
Ross: All of this might look like it’s a bunch of flailing around to explain the electoral defeat by blaming anybody except for the terrible candidate that the Democrats had, but it’s much more than this. You have to remember, this isn’t just domestic theatrics; the case is being made for—as Obama put it—a revenge attack or some kind of answer being made to Russia in some way or another. That is, threatening a nuclear-armed nation over allegations that have not been backed up with any specific evidence, and frankly, accusing Russia of things that the U.S. admits to doing all the time. So, we asked Senator Gravel, what was the intent; why the anti-Russian hysteria? Is this just about the election? What’s the push for this? This is what he had to say:
Sen. Gravel: The intent is to sabotage the potential new relationship [with Russia]. That’s what the intent is. But here too, I think Trump has his own areas of expertise in this regard. And the new Secretary of State designate, Rex Tillerson, he also has a great deal of experience with the Russian leadership. And so, as a result of that, they’re going to dictate their own policy.
What we see right now, is the last regurgitation of a failed policy, one that was very dangerous. In demonizing Putin the way we’ve done in American media, Western media, and then turning around and levelling the charge at them that they are trying to destabilize Western and Eastern Europe—it’s ridiculous. I know of no instance—and I would question anybody to quote an instance — where Russia has threatened anybody in the last decade in Eastern Europe and Europe proper. He sells them oil and gas; why would he want to destabilize his customers? It makes no sense at all. But to the neo-cons, who are intent on trying to protect the hegemonic position of the United States in the world, this makes a lot of good sense for them. They need to demonize Russia and Putin, they need to demonize Chinese President Xi Jinping and China, and assert our military prowess in the world. We have a significant economic position in the world, and these militarists feel they’ve got to shore that position up, with militaristic policies that make no sense at all.
What they should be doing, is joining with China in the New Silk Road (“One Belt, One Road”), to raise the economic level of the world to a higher level, and that would be the biggest contribution we could make to the well-being of people around the world, and to the issue of having world peace. That’s what we should be doing. But that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is what we learned from the study of the “Thucydides Trap” [invoked by Harvard scholar Graham Allison], where the power which is the global power—which is the United States—is now facing the problem of an ascending power like China moving in and surpassing us. Well, our egos may not be able to take that, but certainly the people of the world could take it; because it would mean greater economic activity, on the part of China.
So, it’s all mixed up with this insanity that exists within the American government, by a group of people called neocons. They start with Cheney. They go from Cheney/Rumsfeld, that crowd, into the present group of neocons. Here you have a person like John Bolton, who’s being considered for the Number Two man at the State Department. I can’t think of a person who’s more idiotic, as a neocon, than John Bolton. I think Trump is just wantonly picking people, hither and yon, to satisfy the conservatives.
creative commons/Gage Skidmore
I think what they’re going to find, is when these neo-conservatives attempt to assert policy positions that are at variance from Donald Trump, they’re going to find they’re short-lived. He’ll fire them. He’s done that on TV and he’s used to that. “Give me the wrong advice, you’re fired!” That’s what you’re going to see from a President who’s going to be tweeting. He’s going to be tweeting his policies to the American people and the world, all by himself, in his room, with his little computer.
Ross: You know, if you have time for one more question, I’d like to ask you about China, which you brought up. One of Trump’s recent appointments was the former governor of Iowa, which is a state that President Xi Jinping of China has close ties to—having lived there for years, studying agriculture when he was a lower-level figure in the government. You brought up the “One Belt, One Road” as a potential for the U.S. to be involved in. It’s currently something that, under the Obama administration, the U.S. has been opposing. The U.S. did not join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; the U.S. urged other nations not to join it as well. What would you see as the proper or the best—what should the U.S. role in the world be? What should U.S. relations with China in particular be with regard to this program?
Sen. Gravel: Well, the U.S. role should, first and foremost, rest upon economic activity—raising the quality of life for the people in the United States and for the people in the world. That’s the goal that China has set with respect to its “One Belt, One Road.”
We oppose that because we are refusing to accept the fact that China is the ascendant power, and that within a couple decades, will be the Number One economic power in the world; but not the military power. If you just look at the amount of money they’re spending, they spend about 10% of what we do on our defense posture. That demonstrates that they have no interest in becoming the militarily predominant power in the world. They’re ceding that to the United States.
But that, of course, is not all that attractive, as you saw in Obama’s “Pivot to Asia.” Thank God that we have a new President, Duterte, in the Philippines, who is now creating a rapprochement to China, which is the most enlightened thing they could do. Their future is not with the United States; their future is as a player in the economy of Asia. That’s what a rapprochement with China portends—that the Philippines will be the recipient of extensive “One Belt, One Road” financing to raise the standard of living in the Philippines, which used to be superior to many of the other countries in Asia, and is now in the lower brackets.
My recommendation for the United States and the new administration would be Trump negotiating his “deal.” And the deal he can negotiate is that, yes, the United States will join with China, and will raise the economic threshold of the world.
Ross: That sounds like an excellent direction for the U.S. Do you have any other, final thoughts you’d like to leave for our viewers?
Sen. Gravel: No, not at all, except to thank the LaRouche organization for doing good work in advancing the cause of peace, and in advancing the cause of economic growth. The only way we are going to bring about world peace is when we raise the standard of living of the people throughout the world. Again, thank you for the good work in that regard.
Ross: Senator Mike Gravel, thank you very much.