I’ve stopped apologising for showing yet again a map I can’t possibly show too many times.
I’ve had a few days respite – reading, walking, doing jigsaws, catching up on Peaky Blinders and otherwise recharging the batteries – from months of near daily blogging on the scariest war of my life. Not the bloodiest, to be sure. Cambodia had more bomb tonnage dropped on it than the total in WW2. 1 More recently, millions of lives have been erased – by hi-tek ordnance, by sanctions and sectarian terror, and by farms and factories laid to waste – in the US-led wars of oil grab and dollar hegemony on the middle east. 2
But given the real reasons for war in Ukraine, as recognised by those who look to facts rather than the most powerful narrative machine ever (witness tens of millions of otherwise intelligent souls believing, without the excuse of surface appearances, the equivalent of a non heliocentric solar system) – given too its potential to go literally nuclear – it is on any global reckoning the scariest.
Since a corollary is that media coverage of every aspect of this war is, for reasons stated many times on this site, utterly untrustworthy, the work has been intense. I needed time out.
Now I’m back and working on a response to allegations, of war crimes by Russia, given wall to wall coverage by corporate media. I’d need to have taken leave of my senses and forgotten all I’ve learned this past decade – which is a lot – to take those allegations at face value, given the powerful interests they (and ultimately the media giving said wall to wall coverage) truly serve. You likely know my grounds for saying so. If not, my forthcoming post will restate them.
Meanwhile a pal at Sheffield Hallam sent me this link to an appearance yesterday on the Jimmy Dore Show by GrayZone’s Aaron Maté. Though it omits what I see as the biggest perspective of all – that of a US Empire determined to see off the economic challenge to its “unipolar” world order posed by China; however high the price to Europe 3 and the global south, however great the risks to humanity and for that matter however self defeating a project – I urge all who truly wish to understand what is happening to tune in.
For a global perspective I turn to other commentators, like economist and geopolitical analyst Michael Hudson. But what Aaron Maté does – providing the critical reportage of an ongoing US war, in this case by proxy, which corporate media haven’t provided since Vietnam – is no less important. To the fairy tale of the war in Ukraine beginning on February 24 of this year (it began with the Maidan Coup of 2014, immediate alienation of 40% of the country’s population and consequent civil war in the east whose images of carnage westerners have been spared) – and painting (since fairy tales need heroes and villains) of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal (by media which cheered on Bush and Blair!!) and Volodymyr Zelensky as a national saviour in the mould of William Tell – these twenty-two minutes offer a vital antidote.
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- The bombs Nixon and Kissinger rained on Cambodia, unbeknown to Congress and by that fact a war crime even by the low standards to which a post WW2 USA holds itself, created the conditions of mass hysteria in which a tiny and unrepresentative but well organised sect, the Khmer Rouge, could seize power. This foreshadows the rise of ISIS in the wake of Shock and Awe in Iraq, 2003. And while I don’t say the USA planned the rise of either, the parallel goes further in that Washington subsequently weaponised – ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ – both the KR against post 1975 Vietnam, and a rebranded ISIS against Syria. History doesn’t always repeat itself as farce.
- The ‘oil grab’ aspects of the US-led war crimes in Iraq are hardly a secret, as even the Guardian has acknowledged. The dollar hegemony aspects range from the specific – like those leaked Hillary Clinton emails showing that Gaddafi had incurred DC wrath by aiming to move Libya from petrodollars to a gold based currency – to the universal; a USA determined to reassert control over the middle east as a whole in the context of Eurasia Rising.
- “… no matter how high the price to Europe …” – this in fact understates the case. As both Michael Hudson and former UK diplomat Alastair Crooke have convincingly argued, impoverishing Europe to increase its ties to Washington is a major war aim anticipated by the 2019 RAND Report cited in a January post on the failed coup in Kazakhstan.
And now, of course, Biden is after China, as reported today:
Thanks Esther. Hard to gauge what is really going on when Beijing not only knows that, should Russia be defeated by the forces arrayed against her, a similar baiting of China, most probably in Taiwan, must follow as night on day. Equally important, Washington knows that Beijing knows!
My best guess? I’m with Professor Mearsheimer and the ‘political realists’ on this if little else: leaders – I don’t mean Biden, hardly less of a puppet than Zelensky – seldom lie to their opposite numbers in states seen as adversaries, but constantly lie to their own citizens.
Especially leaders of ‘democracies’. What Reuters is saying is for Western ears.
Good to see you back. There are few voices for sanity and very few with the integrity to tell the truth or shut up in these dying cultures today.
The leaders of western opinion have basically stopped pretending. After decades of increasing hypocrisy they have ceased pretending, outside the culture itself where the show goes on, that they have appetites for anything more than power and wealth.
The liberal position, that the UK has any right to pretend to judge other countries, is no longer sustainable. And the world, which has long known it, no longer bothers to disguise its disbelief. And contempt- the Priest has been found naked in the Convent.
The entire show is falling apart and the morrow belongs to those who understand it and act accordingly.
Nobody who cannot-or more likely will not- see through the current propaganda has any political future.
Those like you who tell the truth will become increasingly influential, those who whitewash Nazism, in Ukraine and elsewhere, will go down with that sinking ship.
Have you read Michael Brenner’s latest (and last?) https://consortiumnews.com/2022/04/06/jerks/
Yes, and this is why, for all my admiration of Caitlin Johnstone’s sparkling output, I don’t buy her proposition that all that has to happen for a new and better carry on to emerge is for the scales to fall from the eyes of the many. On this she reflects the failure of a humanitarian perspective, even one as fiercely intelligent and eloquent as hers, to see how well prepared – in weaponry, ability to shut down comms, anti insurgency know-how etc – are the few to face down the pitchforks of the many once gloves are off, and the trappings of democracy cast aside.
Not that humanitarians are alone in this. A gaping crater in the ‘vanguard party’ pie in the sky is its silence on how the armed might of an advanced capitalism – its armies no longer the ‘workers in uniform’ of Lenin’s day – could be defeated by dishing out a few Kalashnikovs to workers’ militias.
For my part I welcome Eurasia Rising and its promise of a multipolar world – and of economic regeneration through Belt & Road – and will continue to speak the truth as best I know it. (Thanks for kind words, btw.) To what effect I can’t possibly know.
Look forward to reading the Brenner piece.
This Brenner piece from early March is also worth the time:
“In a move that should be inscribed in its own page of infamy, humanitarian Joe Biden literally stole $7 billion of Afghan money held in U.S. based banks and the Federal Reserve. That is not Taliban money, and it is not just the state’s money either. Most belongs to small merchants and individuals whose deposits were transferred to the Afghan central bank for safe-keeping. That is as close as you can get to actually taking bread out of a baby’s mouth.”
The Group Think which Brenner identifies and defines here (and implicitly in the piece bevin has linked to) is as much a problem within what defines itself as the political ‘left’ as it is in what defines itself as the political ‘right.’
All the wailing and gnashing of teeth over a litany of far worse events than Ukraine, in terms of civilian victims and infrastructure wantonly destroyed, – Vietnam, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Ethiopia, Yeman and other examples – have one thing in common. The wailing and gnashing of teeth failed to prevent a single one of those events or even mitigate them.
Events which are not some abstract dialectical concept. To have been prevented required not endless helpless earnest moralising discussions occurring in a safe space comfortable vacuum but practical solutions which prevented them from ever occurring.
A practical reality which one comrade of acquaintance once implicitly recognised, as I recall, in Hyde Park one September Saturday in 2003. Surrounded by at least another million or so like minded souls (along with millions of others there in spirit). Referencing my short army background (three years) in a conversation whilst wondering out loud what they might be able to do with such training and access to weapons as a means to respond to the planned invasion of Iraq and its inevitable outcomes?
This practical reality, the bottom line inability to prevent all of the above means that where we are now, in Ukraine, and, yes, Yemen (among other conflicts still taking place) is just as much the responsibility of what likes to think of itself as the collective ‘left’ as it is of those pulling the strings.
Given the substantial and evidential track record there can be little doubt that a failure on the part of the Government of the RF to take the necessary practical steps we have seen would sooner, probably rather than later, have resulted in far worse outcomes in the Donbass and subsequently Russia itself and then China.
And, doubtless, had the planned invasion of the Donbass breakaway Republics not been preempted there would once again have been yet more fine words and empty useless virtue signalling rhetoric, along with the accompanying wailing and gnashing of teeth , about how terrible and deplorable it is that after eight years of bombardment by neo-nazi thugs supported by the 1% of the 1% of 13% of humanity (whilst the rest of that 13% looked on helpless to do anything practical to prevent it) further increased slaughter was taking place.
Wondering who would be next and why doesn’t someone do something practical about it? Recognising, however reluctantly, that all the condemnatory words in existence have zero practical impact to prevent the continued onslaught of what Brenner refers to as the ‘Jerks.’
Don’t look now, but someone has. It might not be ‘ideal’ depending on a given value of ‘ideal’ – as Terry Pratchett would have put it) but its infinitely more practical in dealing with the reality of the consistent patterns of behaviour of the ‘Jerks’ than standing around with your thumb up your arse and your brain in neutral mouthing platitudes to each other which has, so far, been notable only for its singular failure to prevent any of the outcomes it condemns.
Andrei Martyanov quoted some dark humour going the rounds the other week:
“Two Soviet soldiers in Berlin sharing a cigarette in the bombed out remains of the Reichstag during the spring of 1945.
One turns to the other and says; ‘The rumour is we lost the information war.'”
To coin a phrase which might best be used by Russians in the present situation: ‘You’re Welcome.’
Thanks Dave and bevin for the Brenner pieces. Last might I read both and if I can find the time, will likely use them in a post on this site.
So what did you think of the end of Peaky Blinders? I found the whole thing to be ludicrously overblown. And it’s interesting that it ended with Dylan’s “All The Tired Horses” – though not by the man himself. This was the opening track from his infamous “Self Portrait” album which caused a stink at the time – prompting Greil Marcus’s never-to-be forgotten opening line “What is this shit?” But it went through the obligatory “reassessment” and is now considered the first album of “Americana” and someone must have used the term “postmodernist” to describe it. The version featured on PB was by one Lisa O’Neill and was suitably overwrought.
And how about Mosley portrayed as a kind of chilling version of Freddie Mercury?