That ICC arrest warrant: an Indian view

21 Mar

Vladimir Putin with his co-accused, Maria Lvova-Belova

I’ve already written two posts on the ICC warrant against Russia’s president, and had thought that the end of the matter. In itself the move isn’t all that important, and I’ve given – here and here – my view of what it signifies.

Yet here I am, writing a third post. I now think I’ll need a fourth before I’m done.

It’s been my view for a long time that the Western public, its liberal intelligentsia especially, is the most brainwashed in the world. It’s not that the propaganda we are subjected to is more deceitful or intense than elsewhere. Just more developed and all-encompassing. From cradle to grave the ideological air we breathe – in the warp and weft of home, school and workplace … through art and literature, education and entertainment, and pictures of the world constructed by what our news media do and do not tell us – serves in ways gross and subtle, often with wit, sophistication and even seeming contradiction and negation, a barely conscious view, steeped in implicit racism yet Borg-like in its adaptability and capacity to co-opt currents of opposition, that West is Best.

(As that old cold war saw used to have it: “the folks living behind the iron curtain are in better shape than us. They know their media and politicians lie to them.” )

The power of that narrative can be adduced from its ability to shrug off 500 years of colonial plunder with extreme violence as an onwards and upwards march of Enlightenment values. And even more so in the wildly evidence-defiant belief – rampant within the Western intelligentsia – that Washington is not the world’s most tyrannical and blood-soaked regime by a massive and easily quantifiable margin.

More specifically, it is in the West that the dark arts and science of shaping public opinion have been most thoroughly perfected. I mean commercial advertising of course. Just as we all seem to believe advertising “has no effect on me” …

On whom then? And why do billions of dollars change hands each year under the quaint misapprehension that market behaviour can be thus manufactured?

… we all seem sincerely to believe our views of a Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad are ones we arrived at on our own sweet lonesome. Independent souls that we are … 1

… even though few of us take the trouble – not easy, I grant you, given media/web censorship – to study their words in context, expose ourselves to what media in their own countries say, and acquaint ourselves with facts not mentioned by ours. Indeed, most of us would see that as just plain stupid. They don’t have independent media like we have, do they?

(Our media told us so.)

Misrepresentations by systemically corrupt media 2 do include active lying. It beggars belief, for instance, that when Guardian writer Luke Harding claimed – backed by his boss Katharine Viner – that Julian had met Trump gofer and soon to be convicted felon Paul Manafort in London’s Ecuador Embassy, at the time the most monitored building on the planet, they were just being sloppy. Despite the physical impossibility of such a meeting, the lie linked two agendas. One was the all-out character assassination of a courageous whistle-blower, in which The Guardian took a leading – the  leading – role. The other was a Russiagate narrative now discredited, yes, but which served its purpose in forcing Trump to back off from his declared intent to work with Russia against Salafist terror in Syria.

More important, however – and subject of a recent post – are media lies of omission. Take the way media favoured by the liberal intelligentsia cite “the international community” to leave us with the robust impression that, a few nut jobs aside, everyone in the whole wide world shares “our” view that Vladimir Putin is the latest “new Hitler”.

Here’s that whole wide world, as understood by corporate media in the West:

To be sure, the (implicit) map’s shedding of a few countries – whole continents even – is not the most important corporate media omission in their Ukraine coverage. That dubious honour goes to their silence on the existence of a US empire driven by its own doctrines of exceptionalism, full spectrum dominance and Project for a New American Century – a God-given right to control global markets and resources, and subdue by all necessary means any obstruction to that end.

Nevertheless, let me leave you with a perspective from one of that map’s many gaping blue holes: an India which, together with China, houses a third of all people that on earth do dwell. Here is M K Bhadrakumar, a former career diplomat, on that ICC warrant. 3

US paranoid about Russia-China summit

The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Vladimir Putin can only be seen as a publicity stunt by the Anglo-Saxon clique, with the US leading from the rear. Ironically, though, the ICC acted on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Iraq in 2003, which led to horrific war crimes but the “judges” at Hague slept over it. Both Washington and London admit today that the 2003 invasion was illegal — based on trumped up allegations against Saddam Hussein.  

There’s no chance, of course, that the ICC warrant will ever be taken seriously. ICC has no jurisdiction in Russia, which, like the US, is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. But the intention here is something else.

The mud-throwing at Putin is yet another display of President Biden’s visceral hatred towards the Russian leader that goes back to a joust in Moscow well over a decade ago when Putin told him off brusquely, and is timed to distract attention from the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on Monday, an event that not only has spectacular optics but is sure to intensify the “no limit” partnership between the two superpowers. 

The Anglo-Saxon clique is watching with dismay the talks in Moscow tomorrow. To be sure, Moscow and Beijing have decided to stand together to bury the US hegemony.

Today, China exceeds the combined manufacturing capacity of the US and its European allies, and, equally, Russia has emerged as the world’s largest nuclear weapon state superior to the US both in the quantity and quality of weaponry. 

It has dawned on the American mind that Russia cannot be defeated in Ukraine. There is a chicken-and-egg situation facing NATO, according to a report in Politico. Massive investments are needed to catch up with Russia’s defence industry but Europe’s ailing economies have other critical priorities of survival and battling mounting social unrest.

The notions of defeating Russia in a proxy war in conditions of “sanctions from hell” have turned out to be delusional. It is the US banks that are collapsing, it is European economies that are threatened by stagnation. 

The US’ exasperation is evident in the top secret mission by MQ-9 Reaper drone near the Crimean peninsula on March 14. US Global Hawk drones have been spotted regularly over the Black Sea in recent years but this case is different. 

The Reaper’s transponder was switched off as it approached Russia’s temporary regime for the airspace established for the purposes of the special military operation near the Crimean peninsula (which Moscow had duly notified to all users of international airspace in accordance with international norms.)

In the event, Russia’s Su-27 fighter jets outmanoeuvred the Reaper, which lost control and drowned in the Black Sea. Moscow conferred state awards to the two pilots who drove Reaper to the seabed.

Russian ambassador in Washington since warned that while Moscow is not seeking any escalation, any deliberate attack on a Russian aircraft in neutral airspace will be construed as “an open declaration of war against the largest nuclear power.” 

If the US had planned the drone incident to test Russia’s reaction, well, the latter has given an unambiguous response. And all this took place in the immediate run-up to President Xi’s visit. 

Biden since hit back by welcoming the ICC warrant on Putin saying “it’s justified… (and) makes a very strong point.” But Biden’s ageing memory is failing him again. For, the stated American position on ICC is that Washington not only doesn’t recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC but if any US national is arrested or brought before the ICC, Washington reserves the right to use military force to rescue the detainee! 

Furthermore, Washington has threatened reprisal against any country that cooperates with an ICC warrant against a US citizen. The George W Bush administration stated this categorically as US policy on ICC against the backdrop of the Anglo-American clique’s horrific war crimes in Iraq, and the US never resiled from it. 

By the way, there has been no referral by the UN Security Council or General Assembly to the ICC. So, who organised this arrest warrant? Britain — who else? The Brits bullied the ICC judges who are highly vulnerable to blackmail, as they draw fat salaries and would sup with the devil if it helped secure extended terms for them at the Hague. This becomes yet another case study of the piecemeal destruction of the UN system by the Anglo-Saxon clique in the recent years.

Suffice to say, the drone incident and the ICC warrant vitiate the climate for any dialogue between Moscow and Kiev. Evidently, the Anglo-Saxon clique is worried like hell that China might spring another surprise as it did by mediating the recent Saudi-Iranian deal. 

In a meaningful remark, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday that Xi’s visit is partially to promote “peace.” Beijing has already released a “peace plan” for Ukraine, a 12-point agenda for “a political resolution of the Ukraine crisis,” which is  on Zelensky’s desk in Kiev although the West studiously chose to ignore it. 

In a phone call on Thursday, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing hopes “all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, and resume peace talks as soon as possible.” 

The Chinese readout said Kuleba discussed “the prospect of peace talks … and noted that China’s position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis shows its sincerity in promoting a ceasefire and an end to the conflict. He expressed the hope to maintain communication with China.”

Unsurprisingly, Biden is paranoid about China’s push to mediate between Moscow and Kiev. The point is, he and Zelensky are

 — the corruption scam involving the activities of Hunter Biden in Kiev is hanging over the father’s political career like the Damocles’ sword, while on the other hand, Zelensky is also fighting for political survival and is increasingly daring to act on his own accord. 

Disregarding western doubts about the wisdom of holding the shattered frontline city of Bakhmut in Donbass, Zelensky is digging in and keeping up an attritional defence that may drag on. (Politico) 

Evidently, Biden is acting like a cat on the hot tin roof. He can neither let go Zelensky nor can he afford to be locked into a forever war in Ukraine while Taiwan Straits is beckoning him to a greater destiny.

Beijing’s stance has visibly hardened lately and the scorn that the US poured on China’s national pride by shooting down its weather balloon has only exacerbated the distrust. Similarly, the nadir has been reached for Russia with the Reaper drone provocation and the Anglo-Saxon clique’s ICC scam. 

Xi has chosen Russia for his first visit abroad in his third term also, the war in Ukraine notwithstanding. While announcing Xi’s visit to Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “As the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an important power, the significance and influence of China-Russia relations go far beyond the bilateral scope.”

Again, Biden would have thought he was putting Putin on the mat with the Reaper stunt and the ICC scam. But Putin is nonchalant, choosing today to make his first-ever visit to Donbass.

Putin toured Mariupol, the port city that was bitterly contested by the NATO operatives in league with the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi brigade, drove a vehicle along the city streets, making stops at several locations and surveying reconstruction works. It is a defiant signal to Biden that NATO has lost the war.

* * *

  1. It’s a fact beyond serious dispute – witness the experimental findings, widely replicated and upheld, of Solomon Asch, Irving Janis, Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo and others – that Westerners have a wildly misplaced faith in our own independence. It isn’t (I think) that non Westerners are more independent. Rather, that they have not been subjected for so long to a Robinson Crusoe model of man so useful to capitalism. One consequence being that projecting a rugged independence has mattered less in the global south than demonstrating loyalty and kinsmanship. Since being swayed by the opinions of others is less of a shame, there’s less invested in denying half our dual nature as individuated yet social beings. (Indeed, that those social psychology findings so shocked the West is itself indicative of Capitalist Man’s blindness to just how well our highly evolved impulse to conform has served our species – even if it does at times take us to very dark places.)
  2. I use the systemically corrupt media construct a lot, I know. It’s accurate. As Chomsky put it: “media are large corporations selling privileged audiences to other corporations. Now the question is: what pictures of the world would a rational person expect from this?  For answers, see Britain decides and Monolithic control at the Guardian?
  3. As I so often am, I’m indebted to steel city reader Dave Hansell for alerting me to Mr Bhadrakumar’s piece.

2 Replies to “That ICC arrest warrant: an Indian view

  1. That paranoia about the Russian-Chinese summit reflects the realisation that the game is up.

    “China and Russia are now allies, with China being the largest industrial power in the world and Russia the largest supplier of critical commodities. Their political union marks the end of Pax Americana and the U.S. domination of the international order.

    Pay close attention to the joint-statement of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping:

    ◾️ The Russian Federation positively assesses the position of China on Ukraine, and China positively assesses the readiness of the Russian Federation to launch negotiations;

    ◾️ Russia and China are concerned about the risks associated with the creation of AUKUS and their plans to build nuclear submarines;

    ◾️ Russia and China call on AUKUS to strictly fulfill its obligations to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

    ◾️ Russia and China are planning to strengthen a comprehensive partnership in the energy sector;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China believe that in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it is necessary to prevent bloc confrontation and incitement of conflict;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China are concerned about the military-biological activities of the United States, they demand clarification on this matter;

    ◾️ Russia and China will expand scientific exchanges to ensure the technological leadership of the two countries;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China urge to avoid the degradation of the crisis in Ukraine and its transition “to an uncontrollable phase”;

    ◾️ Russia and China oppose all unilateral sanctions imposed bypassing the UN Security Council;

    ◾️ Russia and China are pushing for the US to speed up the elimination of its stockpile of chemical weapons;

    ◾️ Russia and China will strengthen cooperation in agriculture to ensure food security;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China plan to promote mutual and global energy security;

    ◾️ Russia and China insist that NATO strictly observe the defensive nature of their organization and respect foreign sovereignty;

    ◾️ Russia and China oppose the formation of “closed exclusive bloc structures, bloc policies and opposing camps” in the Asia-Pacific region;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China will increase the scale and optimize the structure of trade, including through the development of electronic commerce;

    ◾️ Russia and China are going to increase the level of financial cooperation and strengthen cooperation in the financial markets;

    ◾️ The United States must take real action to address the legitimate concerns of the DPRK and create conditions for dialogue;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China are concerned about the intensification of US activities in the field of missile weapons and call for an end to undermining international security;

    ◾️ Russia and China are against attempts to use space for armed confrontation and will oppose such activity;

    ◾️ Russia and China will expand mutual access to agricultural products and strengthen investment cooperation in this area;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and the PRC are aimed at cooperation in the field of mutually beneficial supply of basic goods and mineral resources;

    ◾️ The Russian Federation and China oppose the militarization of IT, they are for multilateral, equal and transparent global governance of the Internet.”

    Squeaky bum time for the exceptionalists.

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