Caitlin on Gaza; Korybko on Ukraine

14 Nov

The virulent hatreds – not to mention rank bad salesmanship from a hasbara  point of view – routinely spewed out by Israel’s far right are not the voice of that country as a whole. If they were, there’d have been no need for Likud fanatic Itzik Zarka to scream at liberal protestors this July:

That said, as their country rains down genocide on Gaza, it’s hard to fault Caitlin’s post today on that way Israelis have of shooting themselves in the foot, PR-wise. How? By being honest about what they really think.

Israelis Keep Hurting Their Own PR Interests By Talking

As Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

One problem Israel keeps running into is how the institutionalized dehumanization of Palestinians which keeps the apartheid state operational also causes Israelis to say things that non-Israelis will find extremely shocking, which hurts Israel’s PR interests.

We saw this illustrated in a recent New Yorker interview with Daniella Weiss, a leader of the push to build illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Weiss stated frankly and unapologetically that she supports apartheid, that she doesn’t believe Palestinians should have any sovereignty anywhere, that she doesn’t believe Palestinians should have voting rights, that she wants the population of Gaza to be replaced by Israeli settlements, and that she is untroubled by the killing of children in Gaza because she feels it’s being done in the interests of Israeli children.

Asked where the Palestinians in Gaza should go, Weiss replied, “To Sinai, to Egypt, to Turkey.” When the interviewer said the Palestinians are not Egyptian or Turkish, she contended that “The Ukrainians are not French, but when the war started they went to many countries.”

To the question “When you see Palestinian children dying, what’s your emotional reaction as a human being?”, Weiss answered, “I go by a very basic human law of nature. My children are prior to the children of the enemy, period. They are first. My children are first.”

Asked if she believes human rights are not universal and should not apply equally to everyone, Weiss replied “That’s right.”

But perhaps the most revealing statement Weiss made was her entirely truthful explanation of what drives the Israeli push to colonize Palestinian land:

“In Israel, there’s a lot of support for settlements, and this is why there have been right-wing governments for so many years. The world, especially the United States, thinks there is an option for a Palestinian state, and, if we continue to build communities, then we block the option for a Palestinian state. We want to close the option for a Palestinian state, and the world wants to leave the option open. It’s a very simple thing to understand.”

That one paragraph right there will teach you more about the present-day realities of the Israel-Palestine conflict than an entire year of watching CNN. It’s horrid, and it’s jarring to hear it spoken out loud in a favorable way… but it’s true.

This sort of thing has been happening for years. Israelis who’ve been marinating in a self-validating echo chamber of Zionist ideology which dehumanizes Palestinians and normalizes oppression and abuse don’t think twice about saying things that make Israel look bad on the world stage, because to them it’s just the standard status quo way of looking at things.

Continue to Caitlin’s full piece …


Meanwhile, apropos another WW3 flashpoint near you …

Vilifying Russia, no matter how contrary to facts and reason, is de rigeur  for Western elites but that doesn’t always mean they have nothing of importance to say. Andrew Korybko, also writing today, does a good job – and not for the first time – of sifting wheat from chaff, realpolitik from rhetoric, in a Bloomberg piece this Saturday by a former NATO Supreme Commander, Admiral James Stavrides: South Korea’s Lessons for Ukraine’s Reconstruction.

Over to Andrew Korybko, on the subject of why the Western public …

… Should Heed The Former NATO Supreme Commander’s Words About Ukraine

Although writing in a private capacity, he’s still perceived by the targeted Western audience as speaking from a position of military-strategic authority owing to his former role as NATO’s Supreme Commander.

Former NATO Supreme Commander Admiral James Stavridis published a concise piece at Bloomberg over the weekend about “South Korea’s Lessons for Ukraine’s Reconstruction”, which is paywalled for some but can be read in full here. These lessons are to: “find the funds for reconstruction as rapidly as possible; construct real and enduring security guarantees; and be willing to negotiate a land-for-peace conclusion to combat.” All three should be heeded by the Western public as soon as possible.

The failure of Kiev’s over-hyped and ultra-expensive counteroffensive over this summer led to fall’s growing Zelensky-Zaluzhny rivalry over the future of this conflict, in between which US aid for Ukraine was impeded by congressional dysfunction and officials reportedly pressing for resuming peace talks. Zelensky outright refuses to countenance this and even declared that he’ll continue fighting without American aid if it comes to that, but the US is unlikely to allow him to do so in that scenario.

Rather, it’ll almost certainly force him to do their diplomatic bidding or replace him with Zaluzhny if he still remains obstinate. Way too much has been invested in reconquering some of that country’s previously lost territory and holding the Line of Contact (LOC) up until now to risk a Russian breakthrough that could reverse those costly achievements. The US would have to either accept a decisive defeat in this proxy war or gamble that a direct NATO intervention doesn’t spark World War III.

No policymaker wants to be placed in that dilemma, hence why the US is gradually disengaging from the conflict after losing the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” to Russia and realizing that more on-the-ground losses are inevitable unless it freezes the LOC to safeguard its aforesaid costly achievements. Therein lies the reason why they’re reportedly pressuring Zelensky to resume peace talks, with this emerging diplomatic context explaining the timing of Stavridis’ piece.

Continue reading on Andrew Korybko’s newsletter …

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9 Replies to “Caitlin on Gaza; Korybko on Ukraine

  1. Both Stavridis and Korybko are still operating on the basis of assumptions which may not be realistic. Which is that the Russian Federation will sit down and negotiate with the monkey when there is every reason to anticipate they will not even sit down to negotiate with the organ grinder.

    Having experienced the perfidy of Minsk 1 and 2, following decades of NATO expansion through Eastern Europe right to their border along with current attempts to destabalise the Caucuses whilst at the same time opening up Georgia and Moldova as well as the rump Ukraine to EU membership, the Russian’s are certainly unlikely to sit down with those they have concluded are agreement incapable. They are well aware that any pause/freeze will be a rerun of Minsk to enable the Empire to re-group for another attempt at some point in the future.

    In this very practical context any Russian leaders who fell for that gambit would not last very long. The counter demands of the Russians would never get past Congress – or Chatham House. Wheat which has been missed and thrown out with the chaff as a result of the unrealistic assumptions being made by both writers as a result of the point made here….

    … Douglas MacGregor that the Beltway – and by extension its scribes – has no one capable of listening and understanding anyone other than their own limited, emotional and exceptionalist point of view. Hence the flawed assumptions in the above piece which ignore inconvenient practical realities.

    Present internal strife and regime power struggles in Ukraine provide every incentive for the RF to await not only the implosion of the Ukraine but also that of the West by keeping the pressure on.

    • Both Stavridis and Korybko are still operating on the basis of assumptions which may not be realistic. Which is that the Russian Federation will sit down and negotiate with the monkey when there is every reason to anticipate they will not even sit down to negotiate with the organ grinder.

      Team Biden is not going to speak directly to the Russians, least of all in the run up to a US election. It has conducted this war at arm’s length and will sue for peace the same way, giving Kiev no realistic alternative. I know that; you know that; and so does Andrew Korybko.

      • Whilst that is certainly the position of the US under the collective Team Biden it is also the case that any assumption based on the Russian Federation going along with such a peace by proxy process in the context of its European Security architecture objectives set out in the December 2021 draft treaties is fundamentally flawed.

        Indeed, previous statements in the public domain from senior Russian figures alluding to the Ukraine conflict lasting until at least the end of 2024 suggest they recognise no meaningful progress in terms of these wider security objectives are possible until at least the collective Team Biden is gone.

        Though that position itself seems to be based on the assumptions that: (a) there remains sufficient competency in the US system to produce a meaningful and successful Presidential election in the US in twelve months time; (b) that the Collective Team Biden will not win such an election and; (c) that what replaces the Collective Team Biden will be any better.

        • Russia will drive a very hard bargain in any peace settlement. Anything less would be unacceptable not only to Kremlin hardliners but, after all that has gone down, to the Russian people at large. But there’s no reason to suppose Moscow would not “go along with” the face saving formula of pretending to deal with Kiev not Washington. As I read it, ego plays little part in Kremlin calculations. Getting what it needs, plus “expenses”, is the important thing.

          I could be wrong. Maybe Mr Putin will want to rub DC faces in their own mess. Nothing I’ve seen of the man – and like you I’ve studied him carefully, ditto Sergey Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu – suggests he or they are driven by such trivial pursuits. But what if I am wrong? It doesn’t alter the substantive points here. What Mr Korybko wants – rightly IMO – is for the West to heed this NATO scribbler’s declaration of the need to:

          find the funds for reconstruction as rapidly as possible; construct real and enduring security guarantees; and be willing to negotiate a land-for-peace conclusion to combat.

          The first is not Russia’s problem, not directly. (Though does any state want a basket case economy on its border?) The second and third map onto two of Jeffrey Sachs’s four points as set out in my last post but one:

          1. NATO enlargement must stop.
          2. Kiev and the collective west must accept Ukraine will lose territory. (Clearly, the longer Kiev delays talking to Moscow, the greater the loss.)
          3. USA and Russia must – just so we don’t lose the big picture amid all the detail – re-enter the nuclear treaties Washington walked so arrogantly away from.
          4. A return to the principle of collective security, with a jettisoning of the fantastical notion that any nation may enter any alliance she chooses, regardless of the threat to any other nation – except where that other nation is America.

          Make that three points of overlap, since point 4 is an extension of point 1. In fact make it all four! One of the reasons NATO enlargement is unacceptable to Moscow is its exacerbation by US withdrawal from nuclear treaties, and placement of Aegis Missile Systems in Poland and Bulgaria.

          I think if there’s a flaw in Mr K’s thinking it lies elsewhere:

          The US would have to either accept a decisive defeat in this proxy war or gamble that a direct NATO intervention doesn’t spark World War III. No policymaker wants to be placed in that dilemma, hence why the US is gradually disengaging from the conflict …

          I’m sure the US doesn’t want to be “placed in that dilemma” but while I think it unlikely – given recent antics in Congress – I’m still only 99% sure that the WW3 option, by way of NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine, is entirely off the menu in DC.

          That 1% of uncertainty bothers me mightily.

          • The key problem with the Stavradis proposal is that the “security guarantees” in this statement….

            “find the funds for reconstruction as rapidly as possible; construct real and enduring security guarantees; and be willing to negotiate a land-for-peace conclusion to combat.”

            …..breach points one and four of the quoted Jeffery Sachs provisions. ie what Stavradis means with those “security guarantees” is that the rump Ukraine minus Crimea, and the two Donbass Republics (and possibly one or two more areas like Odessa) will become a member of NATO. With Ukraine split along the lines of Korea. One part in NATO, the other in Russia.

            This might well be interpreted in any number of ways but, given Russia is adamant on no NATO membership for any part of Ukraine, a realistic negotiating proposal and position is not one of them on any planet. Simply because accepting this would represent a strategic defeat for Russia and undermine the security they are seeking.

            Those pushing this proposal clearly demonstrate the absence of any comprehension of the Russian position. Believing that the Russian federation will swap a bit of land for a peace deal which achieves the NATO expansion objective at a time when there is both internal strife in the top echelons of the Ukrainian Government and all the signs of a collapsing and severely degraded Ukraine military all along the entire front.


            There is nothing here in terms of incentive to draw the Russian Federation into any kind of negotiations. The proposal does the exact opposite of meeting the Russian Federation Security requirements at a time when there is internal strife in the Ukraine Government and its military is collapsing.

            Reading what Stavradis is selling here – which seems to be being endorsed by Korybko – there still seems to be an unrealistic understanding of the Russian position that any part of Ukraine stays out of NATO.

            This is consistent with the line taken by the Collective West which wrongly assumes what the Russian position and objectives are to suit the convenience of their own flawed narratives. Its simply another example of ‘creating your own reality’ by forcing an unrealistic Western view of what Russia’s position and objectives should be rather than what they actually are.

            • Yes but what Stavrides “means by [his] proposals” is not IMO the germane issue. Of course there’ll be all sorts of fantasy elements to his reasoning – or to what he is prepared at this point to say out loud. The point is that one of his seniority has gone further than any of his peers in acknowledging the strength of Russia’s position now.

              That’s what matters.

              Is he still underestimating – in public at least – that strength? Of course! How could he not – in public at least? Does it matter? Not one whit. Moscow will drive a far harder bargain than Stavrides is saying. I think you overstate the extent to which Mr K – who’ll have no more influence on the outcome than you and I – endorses Mr S but that too is beside the point. A public debate has opened; its core premise that Russia is winning and Ukraine will lose territory and stay out of NATO. That you and I – and FWIW Mr K – agree these to be minimal outcomes, well short of what Russia will accept, is secondary to what’s new here.

              Likewise whether and to what extent Mr K is endorsing him.

  2. Totally delusional thinking from Former NATO Supreme Commander Admiral James Stavridis. He gives the game away when he says:
    “It is probably going to be necessary to acquiesce, at least for a time, in the occupation by Moscow of Crimea and a land bridge between that peninsula and Russia.”

    At least for a time! It is absolutely certain that the Russians have noted this caveat, and even if they haven’t, they will be very well aware that it exists in the minds of the cretins in Washington. As Dave says, there is no way, after the Minsk fiascos, that the Russians will go down this road again.

    Russia will keep on keeping on with minimal risk to its soldiers, until the money runs out, as it will, and the Nazi regime collapses. At that point, Russia can do exactly as it likes with the Ukraine. At a minimum I would expect referendums in two or three more of the south western oblasts, a new government in Kiev which will sign treaties of binding neutrality for at least 100 years, non membership of NATO and possibly also the EU, a declaration of friendship and co-operation with Russia, an unencumbered gas pipeline to Hungary, handing over for trials of war criminals, permanent and final renunciation of all oblasts wishing to join the RF including Crimea, and legal action against countries which have illegally sequestered Russian assets.

    In the longer term, depending on how much of the rotten, traitorous and criminal upper echelons of the EU can be got rid of, I expect the EU to fall apart, divided between the east (apart from maybe Poland and the Balts – but who cares about the latter) and the west which may still cling to the US, despite the mounting evidence that it is going down into the dustbin of history.

    • Needless to say I agree with your assessment, Jams.

      (My sole quibble being your “minimal risk” remark. Russia’s youth too is paying a heavy toll for the West’s dreadful and wholly unnecessary war. While not bleeding as heavily – in absolute or relative terms – as the UAF, Russian mothers too are receiving those black lined telegrams – or their 21st century Russian equivalents. I know you had in mind the balance of forces and inevitability of Russian victory – an outcome, let’s not forget, that much of the far left “Russia-is-imperialist-too” brigade once assured us was impossible – but this is a war of attrition and Russians too are dying in their thousands.)

      And yes, Stavrides’ “necessary to acquiesce, at least for a time caveat will have been duly noted in the Kremlin. It does after all chime with a chain of duplicity: from James Baker’s “not an inch eastwards” through the Merkel-Hollande boasts that Minsk had been a lie to keep Russia off guard.

      To repeat the opening sentence of my second reply to Dave, “Russia will drive a very hard bargain in any peace settlement.” As you say, she’ll be in a position to do so and, while I think hard realpolitik rather than ego will inform Russia’s stance, such lies and broken promises not only cause resentment in Russia. More importantly they reinforce the perception that the West cannot be trusted. This perception, forged while Russia was weak, will have consequences now that she is strong.

      As to your final para, this is one of the great imponderables, innit? For Berlin, Paris and London to pursue foreign policy independent of Washington would mark a seismic but vital shift. Europe’s leaders are discrediting themselves so fast – most obviously over Gaza but, as the costs of their folly in Ukraine sink in, this too will feature – that any half credible opposition would sweep away the Scholzes and Sunaks – and the der Leyens too. All groomed in DC and qualifying for a term, comprador, once reserved for pliant “third world” leaders.

      Alas, no such “half credible” opposition is in sight. That said, we’re seeing resistance in Europe’s eastern periphery (that’s logical: these states are well placed to forge lucrative trade deals with Eurasia rising via western sections of New Silk Road) and the beginnings of a timid distancing of Paris from Washington (though Macron’s no de Gaulle). From tiny acorns, major oaks may grow. At least, that’s an indulgence I occasionally allow myself!

  3. Yes.
    Re. the EU – if Hungarian and Serbian economies flourish through still getting cheap Russian gas via pipeline, this will eventually force unfavourable comparisons in the EU with those (like Germany?) who are tied to much more expensive US LPG laboriously sent, when available, by polluting* tankers. As you say, there are no obvious leaders now, but there are signs of rising discontent.

    * Not that that will bother many at the ‘top’.
    (When I wrote ‘minimal’ I didn’t like it but couldn’t be bothered think of a replacement).

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