The global tyrant

25 Aug

A few snippets from Caitlin today:

People tell me, “If you lived in Russia or China you’d be thrown in prison for talking the way you do.” 

If I lived in Russia or China I’d still be focusing all my energy on criticizing the US empire. It would be the world’s most powerful and destructive regime no matter where I lived.

Oddly, I hear no one wanting to contest this on the basis of factual and quantifiable evidence. Does everyone else agree with Caitlin too? Or do they fear fact based inquiry while believing – so deep down they barely know it – she must be wrong or the media would have told us? 1

The correct debate is not whether Putin was right or wrong to invade Ukraine in response to western provocations on its border. It’s whether Putin did anything the US wouldn’t have done in response to the same kind of provocations on its own borders. 

I think this is what she has in mind.

Arguing about whether Russia’s invasion was “bad” is an infantile conversation for mental midgets. Mature adults are interested in talking about the real world as it actually exists and how governments behave in it, not how they’d behave in some imaginary hypothetical fantasy land where the US isn’t constantly making all those moral positions meaningless with its own actions and aggressions.

Mental midgets!  I love it when Caity goes non-PC. Marx went in for sizeist put-downs too, and for the same reason: sheer exasperation at the inanity of otherwise sensible people too idle or fearful or cynical to use their brains on matters vital to ruling interests.

As for what mature adults are into, in this context at least Chicago academic John Mearsheimer has a name for it: realism.  

But what of those who agree that Washington did indeed provoke the invasion, yet in the same breath say Russia should not have ‘taken the bait’? I’m still waiting for their detailed account of what her leaders should have done instead … 2 3

* * *

  1. Corporate media employ many subjectively sincere (if self-servingly credulous) writers and even editors. What’s more, on important matters which may embarrass power, some at least are capable of being truthful with us. Only on matters which go to the heart of power, and are by that fact non negotiable, does it become apparent – and then only to the few who, not fully caught up in a propaganda blitz, are still paying attention – that far from holding power to account they are its most dutiful servants. For the mechanisms of this, see Britain decides! and Monolithic control at the Guardian?
  2. Paul Craig Roberts, an erstwhile Reagan appointee at the US Treasury, is one of those gamekeepers turned poacher whose proliferation I – mangling my metaphors horribly – call the canary in the coalmine. He has been saying for years that Russia has been turning the other cheek way too long. Indeed, he blames “Putin’s appeasement” for expediting rather than averting WW3. In March 2018, Mr Roberts opened a piece –  Can Nuclear War Be Avoided? – with this:

    Two factors are driving the world to nuclear war. One is the constant stream of insults, false accusations and broken agreements that the West has been dumping on Russia year after year. The other is Russia’s response, or, perhaps more correctly, the lack thereof

    He continued in the same vein – that in being too placatory, Chamberlain style, Moscow had been sending all the wrong signals; making it almost as culpable as Washington in endangering us all. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t – but was Paul Craig Roberts too quick to find fault? What we seem to be learning now, as the West hurls its combined but inadequate might at fighting Russia to the last Ukrainian, is that Moscow was all the while quietly heeding the words of 4th century Latin blogger Vegetius: si vis pacem, para bellum

  3. Still on the subject of gamekeepers turned poacher, here’s former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who at no small personal cost refused to rubber stamp the lies which twenty years ago laid Iraq to waste, looking angrier than I’ve ever seen as he blasts “stupidity on a massive scale …”

6 Replies to “The global tyrant

  1. Nobody does contest this on the basis of factual or quantifiable evidence, because they can’t, as evidence contrary to this doesn’t exist. They just babble “Putin bad because KGB!” Or I’ve heard “China bad because communism!” As if the CIA didn’t exist or as if capitalism is warm and kind and cuddly. I point out to these people the size of the body count that western countries are responsible for with their never-ending wars and invasions, but my experience is that just makes them angry because their comforting world view has been disturbed. They refuse to see the blindingly obvious. Really frustrating. It’s infantile, but unfortunately millions think like that.
    You only have to look at how many in this country think the British Empire was something to be proud of. Why? Murder, starvation, torture, thieving of their resources! Ah but they built railways. They also imported homophobia and stuff to countries that previously didn’t have it. Ffs.
    Anyway that’s my rant for the night.
    Hope you have a nice weekend.

    • Have a good weekend yourself, Margaret. Good to hear from you.

      The frustrations you describe are known to all who challenge mainstream propaganda. In theory we should be patient and non judgmental. Even when – as is often the case, those who push ignorance and non sequitur are expensively educated. One reason I blog is I find it easier to keep my temper online than in face to face exchanges. In the latter, the ego monster in all of us has a knack of hijacking things. It cares only about ‘winning’, as opposed to ‘winning over’.

      If I see such an argument looming I try to ask myself, what are the chances of this being a productive exchange? More often than not the answer is, vanishingly small … In which case I try to change the direction. It’s a lot easier to avoid getting caught up in these futile and nasty slanging matches than to behave with decorum and integrity, or simply to walk away, once they’ve started.

      • PS my words are mostly for my own guidance!

        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
        Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

      • I actually find when world events like wars and stuff come up in conversation, it’s those whose views I challenge that become angry. I cite incontrovertible facts, something they can’t do because they don’t know what the facts are. The Ukraine war is a perfect example. They think Putin is the most evil person on the planet because that’s what the “news” says, and nothing I say would shift their view, so I give up and change the subject to avoid a row. I do have a temper like most people but I don’t get angry in these situations because some of those with these views are people I love. I remember years ago saying to my husband that the BBC news is just propaganda, and his response was “It’s just the news” as if he thought I was deluded, but that was a long time ago and he sees it as clearly as I do now. I even hear him telling other people now that the BBC is state propaganda! We’re not voting in the next election, for the first time in our lives, unless someone worthwhile stands. We have a Blairite/Starmerite MP who I’ve voted for in the past but no more. One of his staff once lectured me on how Blair was right to invade Iraq. He cited as evidence a book by one Nick Cohen, someone in the news recently as we know! Lovely man. The labour MP before the current one was even worse! One of Blair’s babes. Unfortunately some of my other family members haven’t a clue about the true nature of the US empire and their vassals like the UK. It’s good to talk to friends who know the score though. One problem, apart from people getting their “news” from the MSM, is that they skim over things, never taking the time to discover facts, and context. We know that the phrase “Putin’s unprovoked invasion” has been used relentlessly, despite a cursory look at the background and historical events going back a few years clearly shows just how provoked he was.
        One sign of hope is that increasing numbers no longer trust the MSM.
        Yeah nice weekend. We’re just going for a walk while the sun shines.

        • First item on the list in today’s post of symptoms of brain disorder, courtesy Caitlin Johnstone, is this:

          You get triggered whenever anyone highlights the well-documented western provocations that paved the way to the war in Ukraine.

          Good you can keep your cool. I remember Norman Finkelstein saying the reason Palestinian supporters get mad, when arguing with Zionists, is they haven’t done enough homework. They sense Israel apologists are wrong but haven’t the facts – or the ability to martial them in the heat of the moment – to hand.

          His observation is generalisable.

  2. Yes his argument is generalisable but even when armed with the facts, people don’t want to hear. Reminds me of the saying, forget who said it, it’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them they’ve been fooled. It’s also an indication I think of people’s lack of confidence in their own worldview that a challenge triggers an angry reaction.
    I read most of Caitlin’s pieces, but even though it’s writing like hers that keeps me sane in a crazy world, and I like to keep myself informed, some days I just find it all too bleak to take.
    I did read today’s contribution from her though.

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