Speaking from RT’s studio in Washington, DC, RT America host Rick Sanchez accused U.S. media of reporting “falsehoods and rumors” and passing them off as journalism. Sanchez offered his explanation of the “real” purpose behind the U.S. investigation of Russia’s interference in 2016 presidential election.
“Why did Russia become our exclusive bogyman when they are not even a communist country anymore, haven’t been for decades?” Sanchez rhetorically asked.
He answered: “The demonization of Russia is the engine that drives, if nothing else, our weapons industry. Using a complicit media, the arms industry makes billions and billions of dollars simply convincing us, and other countries all over the world, that they need protection from Russia… Whether Russia really poses a threat or not – doesn’t really matter. That’s the real story here, that’s the real takeaway from the Mueller report.”
While the Sanchez riff was meant as opinion, it was made without evidence. There are facts to cite on the relevance of Russian threats and whether a federal prosecution in the U.S. had demonstrable impact on the global arms industry.
Sanchez’s question about “why Russia” was made America’s “exclusive bogyman” and “demonized” fits the Kremlin’s long-standing narrative that “Russophobia” is the real motivation behind the U.S. -- aka “the West’s” -- moves in relation to Moscow. Russia has for years used this narrative to deny its own wrongdoing.
Here are just a few recent examples of what the Kremlin labels as “Russophobia”:
- The international response to the Russian annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine, including sanctions;
- The results of World Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation revealing state-sponsored use of doping in Russia;
- The results of the international investigation of the downing of MH-17, which found the Russian military responsible for the deployment of the missile used to shoot down the Malaysian airliner, killing all 298 people aboard;
- The results of the U.S. investigation into Russian clandestine operations targeting the U.S. presidential election in 2016;
- The results of the British investigation of Russia’s use of the military grade chemical weapon Novichok in poisoning at least five people on U.K. soil, one of them lethally;
- The results of the U.N. investigation of Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of Syrian civilian targets and, which found Russia guilty of war crimes.
- The results of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and Russia's actions blocking international attempts to hold Syria accountable.
These are just a few examples showing that rather carrying out a campaign of “demonization,” the U.S. has joined many other countries in condemning Kremlin actions, which have driven the country to the verge of becoming an international pariah and prompted a series of Western economic and diplomatic sanctions aimed at Russia.
The aforementioned points answer Sanchez’s assertion that “Whether Russia really poses a threat or not – doesn’t really matter!”
Notably, a number of EU nations have designated Russia as a threat to their national security, and done so independently, without respect to their relations with the United States.
Russia has been implicated in plots to stage a military coup and an assassination against political leaders in the Balkan countries.
Russia’s clandestine military operations have been reported from Africa to Venezuela.
Over the years, President Putin’s address to Parliament included his summary of nuclear weapons under development and implicit or explicit threats aimed at the U.S. In March 2018, as Putin announced a “new invincible” nuclear ballistic missile, a large screen behind him showed missiles targeting the U.S. State of Florida. In February 2019 during his address to the Federal Assembly, Putin levelled a threat to retaliate against “decision-making centers” should the U.S. deploy intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe.
As to Sanchez’s claim, made without evidence, that “the real takeaway from the Mueller report” is that “the arms industry,” using “a complicit media,” makes “billions and billions of dollars simply convincing us, and other countries all over the world, that they need protection from Russia,” independent analyses and databases show no correlation between the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and global arms sales.
"Europe is spending more on its defense. But the spree may be more cyclical than the result of US pressure," leading analysts told Al Jazeera.
The U.S. Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (also known as the Mueller investigation) was launched on May 17, 2017 and ended on March 22, 2019.
The 2018 Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which collects and analyses data on arms industry worldwide, concluded: “The volume of international transfers of major weapons rose by 10 per cent between 2008–12 and 2013–17, to reach its highest level since the end of the Cold War. The increase marks a continuation of the steady upward trend that began in the early 2000s.”
According to SIPRI, the five largest arms suppliers in 2013–17 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China, which accounted for 74 per cent of the total global volume of exports of major weapons.
“Since 1950 the USA and Russia (or the Soviet Union before 1992) have consistently been by far the largest suppliers and, together with West European suppliers, have historically dominated the top 10 list of suppliers,” the SIPRI 2018 Yearbook stated. It also reported that U.S. accounted for 34 percent of global arms sales. That was only a one per cent increase over the figure cited in the 2016 SIPRI.
Consequently, Polygraph.info finds Rick Sanchez’s claim that the real impact of the Mueller investigation is boosting the U.S. weapons industry by scaring other countries into buying American arms to defend themselves from Russia is misleading.