In a thought-provoking discussion with the Judging Freedom YouTube channel, Columbia University’s distinguished professor, Jeffrey Sachs, delves into the historical origins of Russophobia in the United States.
Russophobia, he argues, has its roots firmly embedded in the legacy of the British Empire. In this article, we’ll explore how this deep-seated bias against Russia has evolved over time and continues to influence American perceptions.
1. The British Empire’s Enduring Influence
Professor Sachs highlights the striking prevalence of Russophobia in the British Empire, suggesting that it is even more pronounced than in Washington. He traces this fervent desire to contain Russia back to the 19th century and beyond. It was during the heyday of the British Empire that Russophobia began to take root in American culture, perpetuating a legacy that endures to this day.
2. The British Empire: Still an Imperial Mindset
Sachs goes on to emphasize that the British, to this day, consider themselves an empire in many respects. This imperial mindset plays a significant role in their enthusiasm for any conflict involving Russia.
He points out that the UK welcomed the Ukrainian counteroffensive, despite its ultimate heavy toll on the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This enthusiastic support, he suggests, stems from an unrelenting animosity towards Russia that blinds the British to the broader implications of such conflicts.
3. Hatred of Russia: A Blinding Force
In a concluding remark, Professor Sachs underscores the blinding effect of this hatred towards Russia. It clouds the judgment of those who harbor it, preventing them from seeing the full picture and potential consequences of their actions. Russophobia, he suggests, has become deeply ingrained in the British psyche, influencing their stance on geopolitical matters.
This perspective on the British Empire’s role in nurturing Russophobia aligns with similar views expressed by Sergei Naryshkin, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Naryshkin emphasized that the UK has historically been a staunch geopolitical adversary of Russia, a rivalry that spans centuries.
The colloquial phrase “the Englishwoman” remains relevant today, symbolizing the enduring tension between Russia and the British Empire.
In conclusion, understanding the historical context and the influence of the British Empire provides valuable insights into the origins of Russophobia in the United States.
It sheds light on how biases formed in the past continue to shape contemporary attitudes and perceptions. Recognizing these roots is essential for fostering a more nuanced and informed approach to international relations.