Cont’d from the introduction
Several comments to my introductory piece on the Russo-Ukraine conflict—from our own Gerald Plummer of all people—demand that I be clear about the underlying aim.
It’s not to condone war, even a “just war,” for every war is hell. It is, rather, to bring the reader’s attention to the one-sided account of the events on the ground. The account in question is a direct product of US propaganda, disseminated at large by most of our complicit mainstream media. And it’s being reverberated ad nauseam throughout the West, the EU community and our NATO allies included.
It’s these developments that are the object of this inquiry, for it’s my considered opinion that the US-led Western account of the conflict does more great harm than good.
What is the US-led Western account of the conflict?
I should think it pretty transparent, but some commenters—again, Gerald Plummer comes to mind—had demanded clarification, especially since I labeled it as the “official” position. Right off the bat, Gerald accused me of resorting to a “loaded phrase with its own bias,” and perhaps ‘tis so. But seriously, folks! If providing Ukraine with funding, weaponry, and military intelligence doesn’t make up a definitive foreign policy backed by action, I don’t know what does.
And then, there’s the constant barrage from mainstream media, even such seemingly “progressive” news outlets as NPR, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! and BBC News World Service, each of which only reinforces the US stance as regards the ongoing conflict. Indeed, you can’t turn on TV news anymore without hearing that Ukraine’s winning and Russia’s losing, or that Ukraine just must and will win, there being no other option in sight, or that Russia’s playbook had failed—as though anyone in the West had intimate knowledge of Russia’s objectives or strategy.       
To make matters worse, the DHS had just set up a Disinformation Governance Board whose intended purpose is to “coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security, focused specifically on irregular migration and Russia [in particular].” NewsGuard is one of its tools. 
To make a long story short, it’s extreme in government-sponsored censorship in that news outlets or platforms that offer alternative viewpoints are not only being discredited for “peddling disinformation” but are also liable for their purportedly treasonous activity because they’re deemed to jeopardize national security concerns—a public disservice, for sure!
In the next installment, I’ll focus on some of the key points concerning which the Western, US-generated narrative of the ongoing conflict differs from alternative accounts. Examination of the motives of the US-led Western coalition and those of the Russian Federation should bring us closer to the truth.
Meanwhile, let’s keep an open mind.
- The all-congenial Morning Joe program on MSNBC, starring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, is perhaps the most egregious example of the mainstream media bias. I suspect the reason is that Mika is a daughter of Zbigniew Brzezinski, a super-hawk and an avowed Russian homophobe, and Mika & hubby must have swallowed Brzezinski’s belligerent worldview hook, line, and sinker. (For Brzezinski’s views on the new world order with the US in charge, see Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, a pdf.)
- Mr. Scarborough was always given to rambling, although speaking with a forked tongue might be a better description of his MO. And in most cases, it’s mildly amusing, but it’s far from amusing as regards the Russian-Ukraine conflict—a conflict that has the potential to develop into worldwide hostilities. To give but an example, just listen to the podcasts of May 9 and May 10, and these aren’t exceptions. Amidst trivial references to last Sunday’s Kentucky Derby event and Boston Red Sox, Mr. Scarborough’s perennial hobbyhorse, the “ever-likable Joe,” as he likes to portray himself, treats the unfolding conflict as an event comparable to this year’s Red Sox losing record—Russia being the analog. Mr. Scarborough’s favorite ploy is the devil’s advocate game—suggesting what Russia ought to be doing in the theater of operations but doesn’t, indicating thus its abject failure—as though he were rooting for the adversary! It’s an instant giveaway.
- Russia’s stated objectives are (i) to [demilitarize and] de-nazify Ukraine; (ii) to destroy its NATO-harmonious military structure; (iii) to impose neutrality and a political restart; and (iv) to assure the safety of ethnic Russians. (See March 21 opinion, “Evoking Human Responses,” and Tom Luongo’s March 18 article, “Putin: Destined to Hang or Drown?” in Gold Goats ‘N Guns.) As to strategy, consider the following points in Gilbert Doctorow’s “The Russian Way of War” (February 26), and I cite: (i) Russia’s “humane treatment of enemy’s servicemen… results from an awareness that the military is a handmaiden to diplomacy and to politics, not vice versa, as has been the case in each of the major wars that the United States fought and ultimately lost in the past thirty years. That is why the Russians are not practicing ‘shock and awe,’ which is the American way of war,” but subscribe instead to von Clausewitz’s idea, whereby war is merely the continuation of policy with other means: (ii) since nuclear weapons become useless in the garden variety conflicts that we see everywhere and in every age, what counts to project power at the regional level, which is where Russia positions itself, is conventional weapons which can be and are used in attempts to resolve intractable conflicts by force of arms. This is precisely where the Russians amazingly caught up with the United States, bypassing, incidentally, all of the weapons industry of Western Europe in quality and quantity: and (iii) “there is [a] continuity in Russian military behavior which makes it predictable. In the takeover of Crimea, the game-changer favoring the Russian PsyOps was their ability to disrupt entirely the military communications of the Ukrainian enemy, so that field units lost touch with their commanders and were exposed on the spot to calls for surrender and desertion, to which the vast demoralized and confused majority acceded at once. There is evidence that the same technique is being practiced today by Russia in Ukraine.”
- “Demilitarization” of Ukraine, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, doesn’t mean “a complete dismantlement of the Ukrainian army.” Instead, it “implies neutralization of its military potential, which has grown significantly in the recent period, in particular, due to the active measures of third countries (see Interfax).” According to the same source, Kremlin might consider demilitarized Ukraine as “a workable compromise.” For an in-depth analysis of the demilitarization process, which goes back to 2014, see “Disarm and defuse: The demilitarization of Ukraine,” an article by Veronika Krasheninnikova in The Frontier Post. According to Ms. Krasheninnikova’s narrative, “the most rational and sensible solution [to the demilitarization question] would be for Ukraine itself to give up the role of a military foothold and expendable material against Russia. Without a doubt, the vast majority of Ukrainians do not want to play such a role at all. But the leadership in Kyiv, having won the elections on the promise of peace, only moved away from the promises–under the approval of the trustees. And [it] decided the fate of the country and the people in a different way.” (The Minsk agreements, I and II, provide the context for re-opening the question in 2022.) As Putin himself had stated in his February 22 speech, just two days before the commencement of special military operation, “Minsk agreement no longer exists,” and he’s been correct in this assessment, if not de jure, then de facto. Truth be told, the agreement was but a chess game between competing powers, but it ended in a stalemate with no end in sight.
- In the same speech, Putin offered an interesting take on modern Ukraine, and I cite: I will start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia—by separating, severing what is historically Russian land. Nobody asked the millions of people living there what they thought. Then, both before and after the Great Patriotic War, Stalin incorporated in the USSR and transferred to Ukraine some lands that previously belonged to Poland, Romania and Hungary. In the process, he gave Poland part of what was traditionally German land as compensation, and in 1954, Khrushchev took Crimea away from Russia for some reason and also gave it to Ukraine. In effect, this is how the territory of modern Ukraine was formed. Actually, as I have already said, Soviet Ukraine is the result of the Bolsheviks’ policy and can be rightfully called ‘Vladimir Lenin’s Ukraine. He was its creator and architect. This is fully and comprehensively corroborated by archival documents, including Lenin’s harsh instructions regarding Donbas, which was actually shoved into Ukraine. And today, the ‘grateful progeny’ has overturned monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it ‘decommunization.’ Agree with it or not, Putin’s account has much to recommend itself, despite Ukraine’s over a thousand-year old history of subjugation from every conceivable quarter.
- Last, a word of two concerning Putin’s announced goal of “denazification.” According to Diana Johnstone, the term “Nazi” does not mean quite the same thing in East and West. In Western countries, Germany or the United States, “Nazi” has come to mean primarily anti-Semitic. Nazi racism applies to Jews, to Roma, perhaps to homosexuals. But for the Ukrainian Nazis, racism applies to Russians. The racism of the Azov Battalion, which has been incorporated into Ukrainian security forces, armed and trained by the Americans and the British, echoes that of the Nazis: the Russians are a mixed race, partly “Asiatic” due to the Medieval Mongol conquest, whereas the Ukrainians are pure white Europeans. (See March 16, 2022 article, “For Washington, War Never Ends,” in Consortium News.)
- Ms. Johnstone is not alone in her assessment. For all forms of Nazism, “cultural” or otherwise, in Ukraine past & present, see, for example, Lucas Leiroz’s February 26 article, “Understanding Ukrainian Nazism,” in Covert Geopolitics, reprinted on March 5 in Monthly Review, or Gabriel Rockhill’s March 30 article, “Nazis in Ukraine: Seeing through the fog of information war,” in Liberation. For additional references, see (i) Luke Beirne’s“The Resurgence of Nazism in Ukraine”(February 11) in CounterPunch; (ii) S. Awan’s“The Truth About Nazism in Ukraine: And Why the Media Is Covering It Up …” (March 5) in Burning Blogger; (iii) Joshua Tartakovsky’s “Are There Nazis in Ukraine? A Visit to Lviv” (Jan 6, 2015) in Truthout; (iv) Jonathan Power’s “Nazism in Ukraine: is Vladimir Putin right?” (April 6) in The Citizen. For a more balanced view of Ukraine’s “Nazi problem,” see (i) Massimo Introvigne’s “Nazism in Ukraine — Separating Facts from Fiction” (April 20) in Bitter Winter, or even Allan Ripp’s “Ukraine’s Nazi problem is real, even if Putin’s ‘denazification’ claim isn’t” (March 5), in the “Think,” op-ed section of NBC News Now. While the first is a thorough historical account of Ukraine’s Nazism till the present, highlighting the complexity of the problem, the second stands out because it’s been published by one of the paragon organs of mainstream media. Zeeshan Aleem’s opinion piece, “Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable” (March 4), and Jeff Rogg’s op-ed, “The CIA has backed Ukrainian insurgents before. Let’s learn from those mistakes” (February 25), published by MSNBC and LA Times (in collaboration with Yahoo News), are also remarkable for the very fact, but these are exceptions, or tokens, more likely: most sites that offer an alternative account of the conflict are relegated to the dark side of the web. The Nation magazine remains the only reputable “mainstream media” outlet that continues to challenge the Western narrative, and Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editorial director & publisher, deserves our kudos.
- See this article, for example, and this Wiki entry explaining the board’s intended function. For additional information, see “Deep State Response, Dept of Homeland Security Will Establish Disinformation Board with Obvious Agenda” (April 27) in The Last Refuge and Jeff Thompson’s “The People Behind DHS’s Orwellian ‘Disinformation Governance Board’” (April 30) in The Organic Pepper. Of all the “luminaries” comprising the board, Nina Jankovicz, the executive director, is in a league all her own. Her karaoke, “Mary Poppins rendition” on TikTok speaks volumes. Also, see Tucker Carlson’s segment on Joe Biden’s Ministry of “Truth.” Mr. Carlson himself may not the brightest of lights, but compared to Ms. Jankovicz, a real-life bozo, he comes across as a levelheaded, down-to-earth person. But joking aside, Joe Biden’s “Ministry of Truth,” 21st-century edition, is a matter of grave concern. See, for example, the NewsGuard’s May 13 report identifying over 200 Russia-Ukraine disinformation sites and tracking the top “false narratives” they’re publishing about the war in Ukraine. The obvious intent is to confine the flow of information to the “official,” pre-approved script.
Concerning your last comment, Gerald, I think you’re jumping the gun.
Let’s just wait and see until the third installment gets published!
Again, in the interest of transparency and for the benefit of readers, I’m reposting an exchange (from the pages of “Roger & Co. Collaborative Project Group” on FB) between myself and Gerald Plummer.
Okay, I really only have one real question. On what planet can anyone imagine Ukraine attacking and invading Russia? Or NATO doing so? Or the USA? The reasonable answer is never. Not on this blue marble.
Now, we do know for a fact that Russia did invade and annex Crimea. And now we know it is doing to Ukraine with bloody, costly results.
As for the de-Nazification of Ukraine? Total horse crap. If Putin were worried about Nazis he’d start with his own Wagner Group, wouldn’t he?
“On what planet can anyone imagine Ukraine attacking and invading Russia? Or NATO doing so? Or the USA?”
Did I ever entertain any of these questions? That’s not at all what my article is about, Gerald.
From your article…
Examination of the motives of the US-led Western coalition and those of the Russian Federation should bring us closer to the truth.
For me, trying to pick apart what people say is not as important as what they do and have done.
Essentially what would motivate an aggressor, and what would be a reason or motivation to defend the victim of that blatant and unnecessary aggression.