Russians Under the Bed

Since the implosion of the Democratic Party and the election of Donald Trump, American liberals have been wracked by the notion that Putin’s Russia is orchestrating the collapse of American institutions. Putin’s mastery of political dark arts are responsible for a “post-truth” media age, domestic fifth columnists and the sexual blackmailing of Donald Trump. While Trump and his administration are surely criminally incompetent the role of the Russia narrative is one that shields American liberals from confronting hard political truths. In this academic essay for Overland I use this political identity crisis to discuss Lacan’s notion of the void and symbolic castration in identity. There is a libidinal investment in the Russia conspiracy in which a foreign agent has conspired to steal what would otherwise a social wholeness.

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