09:34 GMT27 January 2020
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    US policy-makers have long been obsessed with scapegoating, pinning the blame on the Russians, the Chinese or Muslims for their own problems. The intelligence report on Russia's alleged meddling in US presidential election is yet another example of this disturbing trend.

    The US needs to get rid of its bad "scapegoating" habit, American columnist and essayist Patrick Lawrence notes in his latest opinion piece for The Nation, commenting on the US intelligence report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    "The joint report presented last week by James Clapper, Michael Rogers, John Brennan, and James Comey is so devoid of substance even The New York Times seems to take half a step back," the US columnist wrote.

    "It [the report] amounts to 25 pages of the cotton-wool language official obfuscators always deploy when making something of nothing," Lawrence remarked.

    To add to the embarrassment, it was James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, who denied that the NSA ran extensive data-collection programs four years ago, the essayist recalled.

    Lawrence believes that the ongoing anti-Russian hysteria "reflects the panic prompted by Trump's proposal to turn relations with Moscow from irrational hostility to sober, reasoned cooperation."

    Meanwhile, on Tuesday a bipartisan group of US Senators led by led by John McCain (R-AZ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation aimed at implementing sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in cyber hacking during the US presidential election.

    Commenting on the issue, Radio Sputnik contributor Oleg Obukhov pointed out that the sanctions are targeting not only Moscow but also the next US administration.

    Obukhov calls attention to the fact that the Senators are in a huge hurry to pass and enact the bill since after January 20, the Republican-dominated Congress will listen to the opinion of the new boss in the White House.

    However, according to the analyst the bill is unlikely come into force, given the fact that the sanctions regime imposed on energy cooperation with Moscow would also harm US energy companies — longstanding sponsors of the Republican Party.

    Commenting upon former Exxon Mobil CEO and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, "as far as we are aware, is a practical man," Obukhov underscored.

    "We are on notice now: Elements within the Pentagon, the CIA, the national-security apparatus, the NATO bureaucracy, and the defense contractors will go to the mat to prevent whatever kind of neo-détente Trump may have in mind. They need a hostile world, and we will live in one until enough of us insist otherwise," Lawrence stressed.

    But that's half the story. According to the essayist, Washington has long been known for pinning the blame on other nations to divert the US public opinion from domestic problems.

    The US' scapegoating habit is deep-rooted and includes Russophobia, Sinophobia and "the always-handy Islamophobia," he remarked.

    The US essayist believes that Donald Trump's China-bashing is no better than the US intelligence anti-Russian stance.

    Jeffrey Sachs, American economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, shares similar concerns.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik's correspondent Denis Bolotsky, Sachs underscored that Trump's possible confrontation with China will add yet another headache to the Americans.

    "What I hope is that he [Donald Trump] doesn't start new problems, for example, economic confrontation with China which seems to be one of the things possibly on his agenda," Sachs told Radio Sputnik.

    "That would add just another headache on top of our all existing headaches," he stressed.

    Lawrence noted that it is too early to say whether the US President-elect's team will engage in confrontation with the Chinese. He's worried that if they do, "the mess could be big."

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    Tags:
    cyber-attacks, election hacking, cyber, 2016 US Presidential election, US Congress, Rex Tillerson, Jeffrey Sachs, Donald Trump, China, United States, Russia
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