The Steel City Household is leaving today, the steelmobile packed with camping, photography and canoeing kit – plus two canines and two humanoids – to head north for the border and Easter it out near Hawick in the Southern Uplands of Scotland.
So I won’t be posting for a week.
It won’t have escaped your notice that I take events in Ukraine seriously enough to have since late January posted on them with unprecedented frequency. In a nutshell, the following apply:
- A fading and by that fact triply dangerous US empire, with 800 military bases circling the planet, is bent on defeating all states disobeying or otherwise standing in the way of its exceptionalist right to rule a dollarised world.
- As one of the two most powerful disobedient states (both nuclear armed) Russia has been on Washington’s extensive hit list for regime change since Putin took over from a more accommodating Yeltsin. For a quarter century at least, the West – which with the occasional tantrum from France or Germany (never the UK) does what Uncle Sam says – has dumped lies, insults, embargo (amongst other provocations) and broken promises on Russia.
- The war in Ukraine could have been prevented at any point in the past eight years (we could go back further, to the first wave of post USSR Nato enlargement as depicted above in green, but I’ll take the Maidan ousting of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, and the murderous civil war immediately ensuing, as my start date). All Washington had to do was assure Moscow that Ukraine would never join Nato and, having unleashed neo-Nazi currents in Kiev – as even close ally Israel has noted – rein them in. Even at this late hour it could do those things and the war would be over. So why will Washington not make these concessions, their cost trifling? Because it does not want the war to end. Rather, it wants Russia bogged down in a financially draining and politically destabilising situation, regardless of the price to Europe and global south, and ever present danger of nuclear escalation.
- I say, “regardless of the price to Europe” but this is misleading. Raging inflation and plummeting living standards in Europe are not, for Washington, a regrettable but unavoidable downside of “standing up to Russia”. Rather, they reflect a prime aim – some say the prime aim of DC intransigence. Given the attractions to Europe of doing business with Russia (not just for her energy but as a stepping stone to the far more lucrative trade opportunities with China and Belt & Road) Uncle Sam wants to lock Europe more tightly in his deadly embrace.
- Everything else about Ukraine is at best secondary and likely fabricated. I’ve written for years on how, ultimately and when it most counts, the serving of power rather than truth is an an inevitable consequence of corporate media business models. In times of war, even proxy war when the stakes are as high as this, truth goes out the window. It never ceases to dismay me how so many friends, at other times acutely aware of how ill served we are in this regard, suffer instant amnesia amid the fog and moral hysteria of war.
Evidence and reasoning for all of the above has been set out in some fifty posts on this site, all written this year and most since late February.
I’ll leave you with two Easter offerings. One is from John Mearsheimer, Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago. He is also, since the death of Stephen Cohen, the most prominent of the school known as ‘political realism’. Here he speaks for forty fascinating minutes on who armed Ukraine:
As it happens a key tenet of political realism is that leaders of ‘democracies’ lie more to their peoples than do leaders of overtly authoritarian states. And that leaders of adversarial states seldom bother lying to one another, since the intelligence each holds on friend and foe alike vastly exceeds what their own citizens know.
Which brings me to my second Easter offering. This one is from Glenn Greenwald, featured in other posts on this site, on subjects including but not confined to Ukraine:
Western Dissent from US/NATO Policy on Ukraine is Small, Yet the Censorship Campaign is Extreme
Preventing populations from asking who benefits from a protracted proxy war, and who pays the price, is paramount. A closed propaganda system achieves that.
If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive.
On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union — citing “disinformation” and “public order and security” — officially banned the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law.
But what was “unprecedented” just six weeks ago has now become commonplace, even normalized. Any platform devoted to offering inconvenient-to-NATO news or alternative perspectives is guaranteed a very short lifespan. Less than two weeks after the EU’s decree, Google announced that it was voluntarily banning all Russian-affiliated media worldwide, meaning Americans and all other non-Europeans were now blocked from viewing those channels on YouTube if they wished to …
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