The military genius of The Economist

3 Jun

This constant escalation can lead to serious consequences. If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the US behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons? Hard to say. Do they want global conflict?

Vladimir Putin

Apologies for inviting you, for the second time in three days, to put yourself in the shoes of those whose children are buried by rubble, courtesy of Washington. But how do you suppose the Kremlin will react – will be forced to react – if a Crimean school, which is to say a Russian one, is hit by a stray ATACMS when these can only be deployed with hands-on NATO knowhow?

British weekly, The Economist, has from the outset acted as unabashed cheer-leader for the US proxy war on Russia in Ukraine and, like Guardian, Telegraph  and their counterparts across the collective West, lied on an industrial scale. Mainly by omission, to prop up the monstrous fiction that Russia’s invasion was unprovoked …

Of course it was provoked. Otherwise they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as unprovoked. Censorship in the United States has reached a level beyond anything in my lifetime … you are not permitted to read the Russian position. Literally. Americans are not allowed to know what the Russians are saying. 1 

Noam Chomsky cites Western censorship of Russian media to Palestine Chronicle, June 23, 2022

… which is to make the preposterous claim – implicitly of course; it’s too fact-defiant to be said out loud – that Western deceit over Minsk, and 14,000 ethnic Russians slain in the Donbas, had nothing to do with anything. Ditto the US fomented Maidan coup d’etat  of 2014 (throwing Ukraine into eight years of civil war prior to  February 2022) and eastward creep of NATO long after its ostensible raison d’etre  – The Soviet Threat To Democracy – had ended. 2

But back to The Economist, whose teaser this week – I can’t give a link; it appears only in the inboxes of newsfeed subscribers – held this gem from “Editor-at-large” Simon Long:

News from Ukraine has been mostly grim for those, like The Economist, firmly on the side of the invaded country against the invader, Russia. But today we published a report suggesting that the long-delayed passage in April by America’s Congress of a military-aid package worth $61bn is already beginning to make a difference.

In particular, the arrival of ATACMS ballistic missiles, with a range of 300km, means Ukrainian forces can hit any target anywhere in Russian-occupied Crimea. As a result, says a former commander of American forces in Europe, the Ukrainians are in the process of making Ukraine “uninhabitable” for Russian forces. Crimea was supposed to be Vladimir Putin’s “unsinkable aircraft-carrier”. It is becoming a strategic liability.

For years I’ve kept a careful eye on The Economist. Not because I take it seriously. Its decade of doomsaying on the “imminent” economic collapse of China, reflecting a childish inability to sift how it wants things to be from how they truly are, makes that a literal impossibility. 3 But rather like its generalist liberal counterpart, The Guardian, The Economist  can at times feature useful and interesting pieces on matters not fundamentally threatening to power.

More importantly, I like to know what the Devil is up to.

And what the Devil is up to this week is cheerleading – I’m past guessing how much is down to conscious mendacity, how much to useful idiocy – for WW3. Lets look at two possibilities. One, we ignore weeks of European leaders locked in a bidding war for Chest-thumper-in-Chief 4 and instead take at face value the idea of strikes confined to Crimea. Has it occurred to that military genius Simon Long that while these will certainly up the death count, they won’t so much as put a dent in the inevitability of Ukraine’s defeat? 5

And has it occurred to this would-be Clausewitz that Russia, besides taking out Ukraine’s entire power supply, a capability it has long refrained from exercising, will step up its north and west advance into Ukraine to place Crimea – whose people, having seen Kiev fall hostage both to US geo-scheming and its own fascist elements, voted by a 2014 landslide to reunite with Russia 6 – out of range?

Alternatively, let’s not ignore that bidding war for Chest-thumper-in-Chief. Let’s not disregard calls for direct NATO involvement in a thus far proxy war, and for ICBMs capable of reaching Moscow. And since we’re dropping the selectively deaf charade, let’s not set aside the double-speak from Blinken and Kirby. Let’s assume instead that we’re hellbent on Armageddon.

What was Simon Long’s job title again?

* * *

  1. Chomsky, born in 1928, was already an adult in the McCarthy era. So when he speaks of the worst censorship “of my lifetime”, we should pin back our ears. (For a then-and-now comparison equally unfavourable to the latter, see Talking WW3 Blues …) As for our not being allowed to know what Russia says, did a single mainstream mouthpiece offer, as its stenographers poured a scalding mix of ridicule and bile on Tucker Carlson, a link to his February 7 interview with the RF President? I think not, and see those who vilify Mr Putin as textbook cases of weak opinions strongly held. What they actually know, as opposed to media spread conspiracy theories that make no logical sense, far less offer verifiable evidence – think Skripals and Navalny – could be written on the back of a stamp.

    I really could not have a lower opinion of people who would rather talk about Navalny’s persecution in a far away country that has nothing to do with them than Julian Assange being persecuted by their own government. It’s the most pathetic, boot-licking behavior imaginable. (Caitlin Johnstone)

    Putin poisons water in hotel room. Navalny gets sick and is taken to Omsk hospital. No one kills him there, though a hospital is an easy place to do that. Russian authorities approve transfer to Berlin, where medics find novichock. Merkel accuses Russia, EU imposes sanctions. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? (steel city scribe recalling an FB comment long ago, author unknown)

  2. The old cold war was only superficially ideological. Russia’s vast natural wealth, markets closed off to Western capital, and above all 500 years of the West fearing a Pan Eurasian threat to its supremacy were – and remain – its key drivers. Putin’s error, failing for all his passion for history to grasp these realities, was to think the West would embrace a post Soviet but not subservient Russia. That’s a delusion he no longer labours under, as Russia turns decisively to the east – very much to the cost of Europe.
  3. I don’t say wishful thinking is the only driver of The Economist’s  wolf-crying. In its litany of doom, each “warning” – of dire consequences should Beijing not surrender all state control to private capital – made with blithe disregard for the emptiness of those that came before, I sense too a desire to deter would-be investors in Belt & Road.
  4. As if to prove that empty vessels make the most sound, while further negating the always fanciful notion – Baerbock? Von der Leyen? – of women leaders as more peaceable, Kaja Kallas, leader of tiny Estonia, issues shrill calls for NATO boots on Ukraine soil. (Echoing Hillary’s self entitlement, she even put herself up for NATO Secretary General since it was “time the job went to a woman”. Not that she could possibly be one whit worse than the US puppet, Jens Stoltenberg.)
  5. On the inevitability of Ukraine’s defeat, notwithstanding Simon Long’s courageous call for Russia to be fought to the last Ukrainian, a soberly magisterial overview of the war – from initial SMO of February 2022 to current offensive north of Kharkov – has appeared today, June 4, on the Information Clearing House site. It’s written by former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, whose principled refusal to endorse Anglo-American lies on Iraq having WMDs made him a household name in the countdown to that empire bloodbath. I stress the “soberly magisterial” because, while I hold Scott’s supremely informed output in high regard, I’ve in the past faulted him for a needlessly gung-ho tone absent from his recent podcasts on Gaza and Ukraine. Absent too from this invaluable piece.
  6. It’s easy to forget that Zelensky, his democratic mandate in any case now expired, was elected on a 2019 platform of mending fences with Russia and – above all by honouring Minsk to give Donbas and Crimea a say in their own destiny – east Ukraine. Instead, west Ukrainian “nationalists” – fascists of Azov, C14 and generally Banderite stripe – made an offer he couldn’t refuse. Why easy to forget? Because Western media whose ‘quality’ sections had from 2014-21 voiced frequent alarm at Ukraine’s slide to the right and naked anti-Semitism (the real kind) ceased to do so For The Greater Good.

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