The 2018 Word of the Year

A strong candidate for 2018 Word of the Year is "Russophobia." It's partially deserved, as Russia's nationalist hubris and hegemony provoke geopolitical instability.  However, much of the prevailing anti-Russian sentiment is being ginned up by demented Democrats.  At a time when wisdom and coherent diplomacy are required to stall the doomsday clock, Democrats are winding it up by demonizing Russia.

Perception is often more consequential than reality, and Putin himself feels put upon.  Raising the specter of nuclear war during his annual news conference last week, he insisted that tensions are rising partly because "Western countries are antagonizing Russia for their own domestic reasons, and at their own peril."

Democrats are indeed annoyingly antagonistic, as their resistance to duly elected President Trump hinges upon deriding Russia, Russia, and Russia.  But they simply "Russia-ed" to judgement – so desperate are they to thwart Trump that when collusion proved elusive, they concocted "collusion-y," a 2018 WOTY runner-up.

When the Michael Cohen sentencing memos claimed that he met with a Russian who offered "political synergy," the dumbed down anti-Trump media couldn't resist the wordplay.  Synergy sounds collusion-y, they spouted.  As usual, this umpteenth "bombshell" imploded, and for his part, President Trump insists, "I'm the least collusion-y president in history."

Despite our conflicts of interest with the Russians, we do agree with them on one thing: the "Russian Witch Hunt Hoax," as White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said, "probably does undermine our relationship with Russia."  Clearly, we need to have a serious chat with them; in that regard, a dose of Realpolitik would be more effective than Democrat-induced Russophobia based on collusion-y Russian sympathizers.

The army of Russian trolls (who spent a pittance when compared to the billions spent by the presidential campaigns) were ineffective, especially in the "blue wall" states.  Indeed, their effective efforts to undermine confidence in American democracy came after the 2016 election (56 percent of Facebook ad impressions) and dovetailed with the Democrats' resistance.  Nevertheless, phobias are inherently irrational, which is probably why Democrats are all in on Russophobia.

Obsession with their collusion-y agents, trolls, ephemeral bots...or whatever Russian meddlers they can conjure distracts from the real threats Russia poses, as evidenced by its provocations in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine, the Black Sea, Syria, Venezuela, and the U.K., among others.  But myopic Democrats (and a handful or Republicans) insisted that Trump cancel meetings with Putin after Russian intelligence officers were accused of hacking Democrats' computers during the 2016 presidential race.

We certainly have rational reasons to confront Russia, but irrational Russophobia foments anti-Russian sentiment reminiscent of the near-apocalyptic Cold War.  We barely escaped that mortal MADness – more through luck than rationality.  Surely, one of the lessons learned is the importance of keeping the lines of communication open, lest a dreadful miscalculation such as this war game that could have ended the world reoccurs.

That perilous period, where nuclear Armageddon teetered between accident and miscalculation, is starkly demonstrated by this terrifying timeline.  Some say we've entered a new Cold War, but what we do know is that Russia, ever proud and nationalistic, is openly touting a new missile, appropriately named Satan 2.

Theoretical physicist Max Tegmark is pretty good with numbers.  He observes that, even with the risk of global nuclear war as low as 1 percent, math alone suggests that a nuclear war caused by accident or miscalculation is likely within a century.

That morbid probability may have gone up a bit thanks to the Democrats stoking Russophobia.  As Putin warns, this can only increase resentment and distrust, while decreasing the restraints on a steaming Satan 2.

Russophobia, because it incessantly inflames interactions with a confrontational military superpower stretching 11 time zones, is the 2018 WOTY.  That's alarmingly nutty.

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