Contrary to the high hopes that many in the Alt-Media Community had for a Russian base in Venezuela after false reports and “analytical” innuendo were spread about this possibility, Moscow officially denied that it’s planning to permanently base its military forces in the South American country.
The Faux Challenge
Another day, another fake news scandal, except this time it could have epic international consequences after none other than the US government seems to have fallen for Alt-Media’s false reports and “analytical” innuendo about a supposed Russian base in Venezuela. Trump threatened that “all options” are on the table to prevent this from happening after Moscow’s latest dispatch of military aid to the South American country saw it sending roughly 100 troops to train their Venezuelan counterparts on how to operate their new unspecified equipment. That highly publicized and grossly misreported development sent alarm bells ringing after Mainstream Media and Alt-Media alike interpreted it as representing a Syrian-like challenge to the US’ regime change efforts there, with these two diametrically opposed information forces curiously seeming to agree on this false narrative for their own separate reasons.
The Rumor Mill
While it can’t be known exactly why they entered into tacit agreement to promote this narrative, one plausible explanation could be that both Mainstream and Alternative Media were influenced by the reports late last year about a possible Russian base in Venezuela, with the former seeing this as something deviously destabilizing while the latter appeared to regard it as a stabilizing godsend. Neither of them, it must be said, appeared to doubt the veracity of the unconfirmed report from Nezavisimaya Gazeta that RT catapulted to global attention at the time. The public at large seems to have had the attitude that if both the Mainstream and Alternative Medias actually agree on something, then there must be at least a kernel of truth to it, naively ignoring the fact that Russia couldn’t realistically maintain such a speculated facility halfway across the world in the face of Trump’s vigorous neo-“Monroe Doctrine” implementation of his “Fortress America” grand strategy for restoring the US’ unipolar hegemony in the Western Hemisphere.
Rubbishing The False Reports
Nevertheless, this “inconvenient fact” didn’t stop those in the Mainstream and Alternative Medias from imagining that Russia was “standing up” to the US in Venezuela when all that it actually was doing was simply fulfilling a profitable military contract irrespective of the dramatic optics that would ultimately surround it. The “chattering classes” – each for their own reasons – pretended that there was “something else going on”, wanting to believe that there’s “more to it than it seems”, but none other than Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman just quashed all that speculation when she unambiguously announced on Thursday that “It’s the first time that I hear about bases in Venezuela… Where have you seen such discussions? On the Telegram messenger? I have never seen any discussions on the topic of our bases.”
Russia’s official rubbishing of this false narrative probably won’t be believed by either the Mainstream or the Alternative Medias, and again, each of their own reasons. The first-mentioned never trusts anything that Russia says no matter what it is, while the latter is usually conspiratorially convinced that Russia denies certain things like this “just because it has to” (ridiculously assuming that only they can understand its “subtle messaging” while the US’ many intelligence agencies are apparently stupidly unaware of “what’s really going on”). It would be extremely troublesome, however, if purportedly “friendly” Alt-Media outlets, personalities, and commentators don’t open their eyes to the fact that there really aren’t any plans to build a Russian base in Venezuela and that continuing to advance this narrative actually plays into the US’ hands by “justifying” any potentially forthcoming forcible measures to “drive the Russians out”. The US is likely planning a conventional attack or outright invasion there anyhow, but feeding into its fake anti-Russian pretext for doing so is counterproductive.
In fact, it can even be argued that Trump is preparing to masterfully exploit the “fortuitous opportunity” of Russia’s training mission in Venezuela in order to inflict a crushing blow to its international soft power by destroying the Alt-Media myth that Moscow is “saving” the South American country and therefore disappointing the countless people who were misled into thinking that this is so. Nobody should have believed this anyhow when considering that the US still regularly bombs Syria despite Russia having rotated tens of thousands of its troops through the two bases that it currently has in the Mideast country that’s much closer to its borders than the South American one halfway across the world in which only around 100 of its trainers are deployed in a non-combat capacity.
Acknowledging these “inconvenient facts” doesn’t mean that Russia has no right to enter into military cooperation with Venezuela at the request of the host government’s democratically elected and legitimate authorities, nor that it should withdraw in response to Trump’s threats (even if it does have the “face-saving” possibility of doing so if Caracas publicly declares that their mission is complete), but just that the international audience shouldn’t have any false expectations about the strategic impact of Moscow’s latest low-level but highly publicized military deployment there. Trump is clearly taking advantage of the obviously false reports about an impending Russian base in Venezuela in order to concoct a “strawman” argument for “plausibly” intensifying his regime change operations there to the possible point of a conventional military intervention, but the wisdom of hindsight should make many people in Alt-Media realize how they inadvertently played into the US’ evolving infowar narrative over the past few months by hyping up such speculative reports and therefore cause them to think twice about doing so next time.
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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.