Ukraine and the death-logic of escalation

26 Apr

When will it sink in? While the brainwashed-whose-name-is-legion dance to that Zelenski good, Putin baad  number we move closer to the unthinkable than at any time, Cuba ’62 not excepted, since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Here’s former UK diplomat Alastair Crooke, writing just yesterday in Strategic Culture (whose banishment from billionaire owned Facebook, Twitter and You Tube predates both February 24th and  the outlawing of corporate media use of content from RT and Sputnik). 1

Mr Crooke first appraises geopolitical realities. One, Russia cannot be coerced into submission by sanctions. Two, for Russians this proxy war with the US empire is existential: neither defeat nor capitulation are options. Since the smarter sort in Washington know that fiscal/economic war won’t work, the voices for escalation – no-fly zones, boots on the ground and, yes, ‘limited’ use of nukes – have gained traction.

Which leads him to appraise the US political scene, on which he offers the surprising and to my mind – insufficiently au fait as it is with Beltway calculations – improbable conclusion that de-escalation may yet come from the Donald Trump wing of the GOP. 2

Finally he surveys a Europe if anything even more gung-ho. Britain’s embarrassing tendency to dress up nauseating subservience as “the special relationship” aside, there’s little comfort here for either the gushing “I love the EU” set – not that its mass membership has ever been strong on detail or for that matter logic 3 – or the slightly more critical “we can reform it” tendency:

The euphoria of the EU élites – so completely de-coupled from national identities and local interests, and loyal rather to a cosmopolitan vision in which men and women of consequence network endlessly amongst themselves and bask in their peer approval – is opening deep polarisation within their own societies …

As for the EU’s rooting for escalation over Ukraine:

… the EU has less of a reverse-gear than the U.S. The Brussels zeitgeist is set in concrete. Structurally, the EU is incapable of self-reform, or of radically changing course and wider Europe now lacks the ‘vessels’ through which decisive political change can be effected. 4

To quote the closing words of Alastair Crooke’s scarily lucid piece, hold onto your hats guys …


The Dynamics of Escalation: ‘Standing With Ukraine’

Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars

As it dawns on the West that whereas sanctions are deemed capable of bringing countries to their knees, the reality is that such capitulation never has occurred (i.e. Cuba; North Korea; Iran). And, in the case of Russia, it is possible to say that just ain’t going to happen.

Team Biden still has not fully grasped the reasons why. One point is that they picked precisely the wrong economy to try to collapse via sanctions (Russia has minimal foreign supply lines and oodles of valuable commodities). Biden’s staffers too, have never comprehended the full ramifications of Putin’s monetary jujitsu linking the rouble to gold, and the rouble to energy.

They condescend to Putin’s monetary jujitsu as yet another forlorn strike versus the dollar’s ‘impregnable’ reserve currency status. So they choose to ignore it, and assume that if only the Europeans would take fewer hot showers, wear more woollen jumpers, forego Russian energy, and ‘stand with Ukraine’, the economic collapse finally would materialise. Hallelujah!

The other reason why the West misconstrues the strategic potential of sanctions is that the Russia-China war on western hegemony is assimilated by its peoples to be an existential one. For them, it is not just about taking fewer hot showers (as for Europeans), it is about their very survival – and consequently their pain threshold is much, much higher than the West’s. The west is not going to smoke their challengers out so ridiculously easily.

At bottom, the Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars.

The strategic problem though, is two-fold: Firstly, the window for a Plan ‘B’ de-escalation via a political deal in Ukraine has passed. It is all or nothing now (unless Washington folds). And secondly, albeit in slightly differing context, both Europe and Team Biden have elected to take the stakes sky-high …

Read full piece here …

* * *

  1. “Liberal” complacency – indeed, positive enthusiasm – over rising censorship by those billionaire owned platforms is even more worrying than the censorship itself. On the same day as the Crooke piece, MintPress posted this, on “intellectual no fly zones”. Here’s how it opens:

    Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

    Note the blanket nature of the censorship. No exemption for claims which happen to be evidentially based. Seriously scary. Postmodernism has found its logical resting place in a post truth era.

  2. In this context see my 2017 post, Why Trump rolled over on Russia. But Trump aside – ditto the widespread failure to understand the new war on Russia because we were sorely misled about the true motivation of the old one – I take cold comfort from any analysis which looks for deliverance to Washington’s internecine machinations. Which I guess makes me even more worried than Mr Crooke.
  3. My unflattering remarks on the EU Fan Club are quite separate from the Brexit issue, and doubly so from its car-crash implementation. As set out in my several posts on the matter, I voted Remain for reasons including but not confined to the fact that most Leavers laboured under the mirror opposite delusion that Whitehall was somehow more accountable than Brussels, while the more sophisticated Lexiteers never did persuade me that, in this political climate, the interests of British workers would be served by Leaving.
  4. Here too Mr Crooke overstates the case. Should Washington find a ‘reverse gear’, the EU would find its own in the blinking of an eye.

4 Replies to “Ukraine and the death-logic of escalation

  1. And right on cue, Friday to Monday is a long time in what passes for politics among the euphoric European elite:

    In a major reversal following Chancellor Olaf Scholz only days ago voicing strong resistance, it appears Berlin has bowed to the mounting pressure among allies and approved new tank deliveries to Ukraine from Germany’s own stock, which Scholz had previously said was depleted.

    The German Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that delivery of Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine has been approved. As part of Scholz’s earlier rejection of sending heavy weapons systems, he had cited the potential for the West and Russia sliding into a WW3 and nuclear war scenario…

    “We need to do everything to avoid a direct military confrontation between NATO and a heavily armed superpower such as Russia, a nuclear power … I will do everything to avoid an escalation that could lead to World War III – there can be no nuclear war… That’s why it is all the more important that we consider each step very carefully and coordinate closely with one another … to avoid an escalation towards NATO is a top priority for me … That’s why I don’t focus on polls or let myself be irritated by shrill calls. The consequences of an error would be dramatic”

    The German Chancellor in Spiegel, Friday 22 April

    Given this fresh reversal it seems he did in fact, in his own prior words, let himself “get irritated by shrill calls”.

    Not that this German kit will make the slightest practical difference. It takes a year’s training to use it, not to mention the maintenance required on an aging piece of kit (unless they are going to provide the trained personnel and maintenance crews?)

    Still. Wish I’d kept my ‘Noddy (NBC) Suit’ when I got demobbed.

  2. These tanks only make sense if, as you say, they come equipped with operators. That would be German soldiers.

    We have long since passed the point at which NATO became a co-belligerent. It is almost certain that there are hundreds of NATO personnel in Ukraine, actually taking part in the fighting against Russia and the militias of the two Peoples’ Republics. It is widely assumed that the Kiev regime is being supplied with US intelligence, and not just for defensive purposes.

    In my view the Russian action is completely justified and in a country in which such reputable sources of information as Strategic Culture are excluded from the discourse, opinions to the contrary, from people who have had, for example, no opportunity to consult Daniel Kovalik’s justification of Russia’s actions under international law can hardly be taken seriously.

    It is hard to recall a government – wherever it may be – as lightminded and silly as the one to which NATO marches in lockstep, which has come up with the current strategy of daring Russia to take the measures necessary both to defend itself, and its people, and to swallow insults, provocations and humiliations clearly designed to drive it to the obvious next step of sending a salvo of missiles deep into NATO territory.

    The situation is very dangerous- the inmates of the locked ward have taken over the asylum in Washington and NATO’s other governments are offering no resistance.

    In fact it is worse: just as NATO is fulfilling the worst nightmares of generations of critics, Russia’s near neighbours in Scandinavia have decided to join it if they can. And, in a sudden enthusiasm for representative democracy’s worst features, they have decided to join whether the electorate wish to or not.

  3. Some of the information I rely on is posted here:

    This is where I first learned of Germany’s(Angela Merkel)hope of transforming the German Military as a governing force back in 2015. Patrick Lawrence is a writer, commentator, a long time newspaper and magazine correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the “International Herald Tribune”. He is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer and writes often on Europe and Asia. Lawrence has published five books; his most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.

    His latest op-ed 26 April title “Our bubble of pretend” he states what too few of us understand. Here is an excerpt:

    …Bucha is a suburb of 35,000 souls a few miles north of Kiev and one of the cities Russian forces began to evacuate on 29 March as peace talks in Istanbul progressed. Two days later the mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, celebrated the city’s liberation in a selfie-speech to his citizenry. He made no mention of anything untoward in Bucha’s streets, backyards, or public spaces. Four days later, 2 April, a special unit of the Ukrainian national police deployed to Bucha. And suddenly the place turns out to be a hellhole: bodies in the streets – 410, according to the Prosecutor General’s office in Kiev – evidence of atrocities galore, people bound and shot point blank. The whole nine, in short.

    The outrage from Washington, London and Paris – “worldwide outrage,” this would be – was instant. No demand for an impartial inquiry, forensic inspections, or any such thing. No one asked why corpses left in the street for five days appeared to be fresh, or why the relatives of the dead left them there until Kiev’s commando unit arrived. António Guterres, the UN secretary general, was level-headed enough to state, “It is essential that an independent investigation leads to effective accountability.” This is the only sound position at this point. But we know from a long history how far SGs at the UN get with this sort of talk.

    In my read this is yet another of the false flags the Kiev regime flies almost by the day now. Paying-attention people will not miss the striking similarity between these incidents and the numerous put-up jobs that featured in Washington’s covert operation in Syria and the campaign of those famous “moderate rebels” who desperately wanted to draw the US into the conflict.

    As a matter of principle, we must await evidence of what happened in Bucha, even as we know we are likely to see as much about events there as we have in Mariupol. We also know that to most people neither evidence nor its absence matters.

    We have been told once again what to think and believe, and most of us will think and believe it. We are to add this to various other “truths” now almost universally accepted:
    The Russian intervention had nothing to do with NATO expansion and was unprovoked” – that favoured term in the Biden regime. Ukrainian forces have pushed the Russians into retreat: not that the pressure on Kiev was a Russian diversionary tactic to keep Ukrainian forces away from Donbass where the fighting is.

    After the Pentagon Papers came out in 1971, Hannah Arendt published an essay in The New York Review of Books called “Lying in Politics.”2. In it she wrote of America’s slide into a sort of collective psychosis she termed “defactualisation.” Facts are fragile, Arendt wrote, in that they tell no story in themselves. They can be assembled to mean whatever one wants them to mean. This leaves them vulnerable to the manipulations of storytellers. “The deliberate falsehood deals with contingent facts,” Arendt explained in this remarkable piece of work, “that is, with matters which carry no inherent truth within themselves, no necessity to be as they are; factual truths are never compellingly true.”

    A dead body in a Ukrainian street, in other words, can be assigned a meaning that, once it is established, evidence to the contrary cannot be used to erase. It is a half-century since Arendt published “Lying in Politics.” And it is to that time, the 1960s and 1970s, that we must trace the formation of what now amounts to America’s great bubble of pretend.

    “Sorcerer’s apprentices: The NATO-EU war alliance is about to squander Europe’s future”, by Karl-Jürgen Müller

    The NATO-EU alliance is pursuing a policy of war escalation. This is also served by the propaganda with its blatant accusations against Russian warfare. This deepens the “enmity” against Russia and risks an even bigger war. This hate propaganda contributes to the brutalisation of the war. Ultimately, it also shatters coexistence in our societies. “Ghosts” are being awakened that the NATO-EU alliance will no longer be able to control….One reason is the respective military strategies. The military strategy of the USA, for example, deliberately aims at destroying the civilian infrastructure of the “enemy” right at the beginning of a war. Civilian casualties are not only accepted but sought. According to all that is known and what can be read in official Russian documents – including on the current war – this is different for Russian warfare. Accessible Russian briefings emphasise respect for International Humanitarian Law at every report and give many indications of how Russian troops are trying to ensure this as well. This cannot be seriously verified at present. But even independent experts such as the Swiss Jacques Baud conclude that “the Russian army is trying […] to keep civilian casualties as low as possible”.

    And there’s more.

    Hope everyone on the site is well and getting themselves prepared for the coming backlash TPTB have exposed us to. There’s shooting oneself in the foot and shooting oneself in both feet and the head at the same time!

    Thanks for the articles as always, on the site I’m in good company.
    🙂 Susan

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