I’m a huge fan of Caitlin Johnstone’s wittily penetrative and deceptively simple ways of showing how insane a world run by and for a tiny elite truly is, when what she is up against are systems of opinion manufacture controlled by that elite 1 and working 24/7 to normalise the insanity.
In her blog offering today – Having a Queen was Stupid: Having a King is TOO stupid – she moves from that topic …
Just stop having a royal family; it’s so dorky. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. They’re fantasy LARPers running around with swords and scepters and crowns and junk, except fantasy LARP props aren’t encrusted with priceless jewels stolen from colonized territories.
… to this one:
Americans: drinkable water please
US government: Sorry did you say send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine and Taiwan?
Americans: no, drinkable water
US government: Alright, you drive a hard bargain but here’s billions of dollars of weapons for Ukraine and Taiwan.
She follows by referencing a study commissioned by the Pentagon and delivered by the RAND Corporation – one of the more important of the many “think tanks” established by the military industrial complex to confer a veneer of impartiality on organisations funded at arm’s length by DC on the one hand, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin et al on the other. Says Caitlin:
We don’t talk enough about the fact that a 2019 study commissioned by the US Army found that the US could advance its geostrategic interests in Eurasia by baiting Russia into overextending itself in conflicts with US proxies in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Some level of competition with Russia is inevitable. This report defines areas where the USA can gain advantage. We examine nonviolent measures to exploit vulnerabilities and stress Russia’s military and economy, and political standing at home and abroad. These would not have defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might aid both. Rather, these are elements in a campaign to unbalance the adversary, leading Russia to compete in domains or regions where the USA has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend militarily or economically or to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence.
I went on to note that:
Chapter 3 of the [RAND] report assesses four “economic measures” to that end. For each, the potential benefits, risks and likelihood of success are set out, and a conclusion given. The four measures being:
- Hinder Petroleum Exports
- Reduce Natural Gas Exports and Hinder Pipeline Expansions 2
- Impose Sanctions
- Enhance Russian Brain Drain
In Chapter 4, the same template is applied to six “geopolitical measures”:
- Provide Lethal Aid to Ukraine 3
- Increase Support to the Syrian Rebels
- Promote Regime Change in Belarus
- Exploit Tensions in the South Caucasus
- Reduce Russian Influence in Central Asia
- Challenge Russian Presence in Moldova
In its overarching conclusion for Chapter 4, the report says this:
Russia’s commitment in Eastern Ukraine is its greatest point of external vulnerability; local opposition is active and Ukraine is a more capable adversary than any of the other states where Russian troops are committed. But even here, Russia has local military superiority, so controls the possibility of escalation dominance. Any increase in US arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia without provoking a much wider and even more violent conflict.
What does this all add up to? Allow me to quote Caitlin again, this time from a post three days ago on September 7:
It’s not OK to be a grown adult in September 2022 and still say the invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked. You have a brain between your ears, and an internet at your fingertips. Use them!
* * *
- I’ve no wish to overcomplicate and thus dilute the point here but in speaking of the elite’s control of opinion manufacture I don’t say the control is necessarily – or even usually – a matter of deliberate scheming. That does happen, to be sure, but the issues go wider and deeper. Ideology is a massive subject but the bottom line is that those who rule the West behind the chimera of democracy speared in Caitlin’s “dialogue” between America and its criminal governments – for specimen charges see footnote 1 to my September 9 post – steer us into opinions we fondly imagine we arrived at independently. As Marx put it, the ruling ideas of any age are those of its ruling class. (Yes, there are those who push back, like you and me, but as long as our voices stay marginal they are not only unheeded and by that fact inconsequential. From a certain point of view they actually abet the illusions of democracy and an open society.)
- The RAND objective of “hindering pipeline expansion” has been a resounding success for the USA; rather less so for Europe, whose energy nightmare could be over tomorrow – assuming a Russia willing to let bygones be bygones – were EU and Scholz in particular to defy the USA and assent to Nordstrom 2; an anathema to Washington because, unlike Nordstrom 1, this newer pipeline is under Russian control hence immune to hostile acts – implanting the American-Israeli Stuxnet computer worm, say – by external powers.
- In 2019, “lethal aid to Ukraine” could only be to help Kiev crush Donetsk and Luhansk in its brutal civil war in the east – ignored by most Westerners, for whom Ukraine did not exist until 2022 – but already five years old following the CIA backed ouster of Viktor Yanukovitch in the 2014 Maidan coup. Not, I hasten to add, that RAND’s brief was to find ways to crush Eastern Ukraine. Such a project fell well below its pay grade. Rather, RAND was tasked with finding ways to “exploit vulnerabilities to stress Russia’s military and economy, and political standing at home and abroad” and so “unbalance” her. Unlike an EU in frozen but thus far obedient horror (see footnote 2) Washington would love for this war to go on and on as it fights Russia down to the last Ukrainian exactly as it would fight China down to the last Taiwanese.