This Won’t Be That Kind Of War

For three quarters of a century the west has sent armies to kill foreigners who could not fight back and damaged their countries, without suffering damage ourselves. Fighting Russia won’t be like that, fighting China even less so – but both would still rather trade and prosper than fight


A few years ago I began to read stories in the aerospace journals and foreign press about a brand new Russian nuclear weapons system. At first I thought it was a joke, because the whole idea of it seemed so outrageously over the top – and surely the nuclear weapons we already have, get you to that insanely terrifying level just fine as it is, without needing any boost?

As I read more and more (certainly deliberate) leaks and details, I realized with sinking heart that it is not a joke at all. The weapon is a small unmanned submarine, which can deliver a multi-megaton warhead to a coastal area, unmolested by all missile defence, and there create a massive explosion and very possibly a devastating tsunami (though some argue it would produce a hellish steam-cloud pressure-wave instead). Two or three of these things could completely destroy the East coast of the US for generations. Another couple on the West coast, and all you’d have left of America afterward would be the much disdained “Flyover” heartland which so many coastal urbanites despise with a rare pure contempt that they usually reserve for hate-of-the-month-club foreigners.

I have a dear friend in LA who still has nightmares about the Japanese Tsunami all these years later, and I know many who were deeply affected by that disaster – so clearly this was intended to be a genuinely terrifying weapon, but why bother going to all that trouble? So much national treasure, buried (just as with so many hyper-expensive US weapons systems which steal from social advance).

I finally got an answer to that ‘why bother’ question a couple of weeks ago, and it was so obvious and so horrible in its implications, that I could not help but grudgingly understand their reasoning.

The fact is, the golden-billion of “The West” have become so outrageously narcissistic and blind to their own sins, failings and errors (by which I mean bullying, extortion and mass murder), that they have even stopped being appropriately afraid of nuclear war. This new undersea monster is a weapon specifically designed to terrify incredibly stupid people (and I hate to be the one to say this, but folks, that would be us).

I have to stop here to do a reality check, which will seem shocking to people who consume a diet of propaganda only, not yet having realized that the old “Mainstream News” which once served citizens also, not just the corrupting corporate powerful, has been completely dead for several years.

There is no “Stalemate” in Ukraine, as so many dishonest spin doctors are still saying. The Russians are not only winning, but there was never any chance that they wouldn’t – and the very same people who conned the inexperienced (and corrupt anyhow) Ukrainian government into believing that they could defeat their far more powerful neighbour and former patron, knew all along that Ukraine would lose and be utterly destroyed. The actual goal of their plan was simply to use Ukraine to smash Russia. Trick slavs into killing other slavs for the benefit of slav-haters. Thing is, those demented American warmongers were deluding themselves, just as badly as they tricked the Ukrainians (though with infinitely less lethal costs borne to their homeland – thus far).

Every single thing the western media has said about the war has been an Orwellian lie – seriously. The United States block is the party refusing diplomacy, Russia has been trying for a comprehensive European peace framework for a couple of decades now. There is simply no reciprocal interest.

The last thing Putin and Biden discussed (just before the war began) was the idea that the US would never station nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Biden agreed with the idea, so Putin had Lavrov call Blinken the next day, to build from that very important starting place. Blinken said Biden had made no such promise, and if he did, it didn’t matter, they definitely WOULD station American nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the only thing they might be willing to discuss is how many.

Russian tanks rolled days later – exactly as US tanks would have, if Russia did that in Mexico.

And be clear folks – when I say the last thing they discussed, I mean it – the US has REFUSED all further diplomatic contact with the Russians (probably scared, because Lavrov is brilliant and Blinken may just be the least competent diplomat in America’s long history of weird-dumb-nasty diplomacy).

Cranky old man pouting? Just another un-reconstructed racist asshole? Not a leader, that’s the point.

Cold Comfort

Can I back up my assertion that the Russians were trying for peace, and WE in the west forced war? Yes I can, and the historical record is so thick with evidence, I don’t have to rely on just one initiative.

The Minsk II accords (to resolve the unrest following the 2014 Maidan coup) would have restored the Russian language rights of Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas and left those oblasts (provinces) as a part of Ukraine, only Crimea would have been lost to them – and Crimea has always been historically Russian, it just ended up as part of Ukraine thanks to a random decision made during the days of the USSR, back when it didn’t seem like a huge deal, because everyone assumed they’d always be together (like the States of the US, or the original EU countries of Western Europe, still do today).

But “Mutti” (mommy) Merkel told interviewers that the west was never negotiating that peace deal in good faith, just stalling for time to arm Ukraine for war that they intended to force. Jens Stoltenburg (a Quisling for our time) the head of NATO has said the Russians were very clear about their red lines about Western Military expansion, and then he announced with a smile “Of course we ignored them.”

Even after Russian forces first moved into Ukraine in a show of force meant to compel negotiations, their diplomats were working hard on a peace deal in Istanbul. They even withdrew many of their advanced forces as a show of good faith (and still insist the French requested this, back-channel). But in the Western media, that peace directed withdrawal was portrayed as “Heroic Ukrainian forces sending the Russians fleeing” (and sure enough, they did open fire on units that were already withdrawing, repeatedly). The Istanbul deal was quite similar to Minsk – it would have left Ukraine neutral and again, except for Crimea, completely intact (including the Donbas), and it could have been signed a year ago last spring, preventing all of the heaviest fighting and destruction of society and infrastructure that poor Ukraine has suffered, ever since it began acting as a pentagon puppet.

Ukraine was into the deal, Russia was into the deal – it was us – the west – who wrecked the peace. We’re the war-force here, the yay death people, the racists first and always (and for profit, of course).

Psycho Lindsay Graham even said the quiet part out loud just yesterday “Ukraine is filled with precious mineral resources, if the Russians get them, they’ll share them with the Chinese!”

All this on top of the idea that fourteen THOUSAND civilian deaths constitutes “Unprovoked”.

(which is only true to the sort of Nazi-minded bastard who really does believe in untermenschen)

All The Bloody Visionaries

We have to be very clear here, Ukrainians are not well represented by their stupid government, or by their worst fanatics. Every culture has some people out on the edge. It wouldn’t be any more fair to say the US is essentially just a giant KKK, even though they certainly have elected Klansmen and sympathizers as presidents. (Like ‘righteous’ Wilson, author of a million ongoing tragedies).

But the Ukrainian people never elected an anti Russian faction to power democratically, knowingly. In 2003, the CIA spent billions staging a colour revolution to depose one pro Russian leader (the Orange revolution), only to see the next election cycle bring another leader to power who wanted compromise, peace and trade with Russia.

So came the much more expensive CIA backed Maidan coup in 2014, in which foreign mercenaries were hired to fire on police holding back a demonstration, goading the police into firing on massed demonstrators. Evil stuff of course and hardly democratic means, but powerful myth-making for sure.

Starting in 2014, that new unelected CIA backed replacement-regime enacted incredibly hostile anti-Russian measures, including a ban on the language itself (which is especially weird because most Ukrainians spoke Russian regularly, and many, like Zelensky himself, spoke nothing but Russian, until it became politically expedient to assert this new-brand/old-brand separatist nationalism).

The Russian speaking Ukrainians in the eastern regions (the Donbas) were outraged and rose up. Two parallel myths start here – either these were terrorized citizens defending their citizenship and rights, or they were all suddenly terrorists who deserved sustained military attacks against civilians and infrastructure (which attacks on civilians continue to this day, despite ammunition shortages).

In any case, the United Nations was there, watching and counting, as over the next eight years of chaos, fourteen thousand Russian speaking civilians were killed by their own government. And we must remember, if that many were outright killed, many times more were wounded hurt or terrorized.

Russia also seized Crimea (which has been the base of the Russian black sea fleet for centuries), fearing that an anti Russian Ukrainian government would try to deny them that crucial port (which was in fact the plan their CIA backers had in mind – that odious line “A NATO lake”). Also has to be said, Crimea, like the Donbas, identifies as Russian culturally, so the shockingly anti-Russian Ukrainian regime really did make it clear to the people of Crimea that they needed a new protector, and fast. So far I have seen many on the ground testimonies that that referendum about joining Russia was fair, and no evidence at all it was not. (much more on this here, if you doubt the point)

But I must digress just a moment to note a funny thing about that. Though this has been an outstandingly dumb and violent period, I don’t think any more preposterous idea has been advanced in this century than that of American “anti-racism.” There can be no such thing by definition – class remains class (and abuse, abuse) but the Roman underclasses were still arrogant Romans. I’m not just trying to be a bastard here, there are exceptions to every rule, but even Americans who think themselves highly enlightened have for decades, casually dismissed the mass murder of foreigners, and then turned to advance the advocates and organizers of that murder as moral paragons.

This isn’t a new thing at all (Zinn will get you there – but so will Tuchman, or even Oliver Stone) but it is a thing which absolutely puts the lie to the claims of progressives, that sin, hatefulness and cruelty to foreigners is only on the other side. Actually, Democrats start just as many wars – but, very much like the anti slavery protesters of industrial England who demanded their governments intervene in Africa (yes, sorry folks – the masses drove the colonialism effort, capital just steered that force right back into their own pockets), the Democrats always invade bomb and slaughter for “moral” reasons. One is tempted to classify them with the old concept of proselytizing-by-bayonet ‘Christian’ soldiers, only this modern crowd are undoubtedly atheists, but with that same contempt for disagreement and unendingly violent overturning fervour.

It isn’t just Obama, who actually bragged on the record that he found he had a real talent for picking targets for drone assassination, in his weekly “Murder Tuesdays” briefings. Those few who were paying attention always thought extrajudicial robotic assassination was bad enough, but now that we have caught a much clearer glimpse of the Israeli use of AI for target selection (including a program called “Where’s Daddy?” – in which they deliberately wait until a suspect is back at home, so they can bomb and kill their entire family – perhaps the most evil use of software ever), some have started looking back again and realizing that those much cruder AI systems Obama was using, kept making one incredibly obvious error, over and over. Same one that had the US air force bomb a family delivering bottled water, during their ridiculously badly planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.

They never could tell the difference between a delivery driver or journalist, who visited people on all sides, as a completely normal part of their crucial work, and a terrorist partisan who went to those same suspect places – because that was all they were tracking – who went where, for how long?

Which finally validates claims which were long dismissed as frauds or conspiracy theories, that many times, dear beautiful well spoken Obama was actually using multi million dollar sky robots to murder journalists and perfectly normal workers – as well as killing and wounding many others who just happened to be gathered around them at the same time, always lightly dismissed as so called, collateral damage. (A designation strictly reserved for non Americans, who presumably are accorded some fractional personhood, and a very very small fraction, at that).

Now here’s how dumb and racist I am, by dint of smug western presumptions. Even as a lifelong history keener, pacifist and skeptic of government, I assumed with complete utter certainty (at the time) that the Americans had skilled intelligence people on the ground, watching each of their targets personally, taking careful notes, confirming they were definitely terrorists, and then selecting the best place to attack them, so they’d do the least possible damage to others.

Nope, it was always a computer plotting dots on a map, and a paranoid math geek saying what those movements of those dots “must” mean. This explains the dozens (hundreds?) of large outdoor weddings in Afghanistan which were bombed by American missile drones with vicious anti-personnel weapons. A whole bunch of people gathered together for hours? To the math geek who programmed the system, and to the teenager with a joystick in an air-conditioned trailer in Arizona, that wedding was preparing to attack!

Really though, who would have thought something as handy as geolocation can actually kill you?

Now here’s how casually racist a lot of other people are, when it comes to places like Russia and China which we are faithfully trained to disdain as inferior not just as governments but as cultures (even while also secretly despising them for being so inexpensively and inarguably excellent, in many ways that we, for all of our wealth, resources and starting advantages, simply are not).

When Navalny died, media in the west had an orgy of celebration about Putin the murdering vampire. Even peaceniks I know began their comments about it with an assumption of his guilt. You know who hates Putin more than anyone on earth? Ukrainian intelligence – and they don’t think he did it. Why? Because they rely on evidence, rather than reflexive bigotry. Try this exercise – why would he? Electorally speaking, Navalny was never a serious challenge (and he actually was a piece of shit racist bastard who was videotaped describing to his contact, how much money it would take for him to destabilize Russia by promoting divisive racist nationalism – even aside from his being CIA).

Some say he got something from his lawyer on his last visit, so he could commit suicide in time to cue up his wife’s (by then widow’s) passionate speech before the European Union. A bit cynical for me.

Still, we keep starting from one dumb myth then projecting a bunch of our bias, and using that mix to come to fantasy conclusions which are a screwed up combination of racist, stupid and dangerous.

The Old Ones Always Knew

NATO is not helping Ukraine, it never was, and it was never intending to – the whole point was to use Ukraine as a tool to smash Russia to bits, leaving both of them in desperate powerless mutually suspicious pieces, which would be cheap and easy for Western oligarchs to buy up wholesale.

For decades Ukraine forbade all foreign ownership of land. Early in this century, the IMF forced them to change this policy to get a loan. Now western companies and oligarchs own an even higher percentage of the land in post-Soviet Ukraine than the Russian army has taken, in all this fighting.

Now I want to run an extremely telling clip from before the war began, and I’m going to do it the most honest way, which means letting the guy do a dangerous rant about several very unsound ideas, that he now regrets greatly, just so you can understand the paranoid reasoning which lead to this truly horrifying disaster for all Ukrainians. Arestovich was an actor and blogger before Zelensky’s rise, and he then became a key strategic advisor to his government. Keen and passionate, no question. And I should remind you, Zelensky was elected because he promised to sign Minsk II – that peace deal which would have left Ukraine intact, aside from Crimea (that is, once again the citizens clearly voted against this dangerous foreign influence campaign of Anti-Russian hostility in their government – and once again they were overruled by a combination of hubris and foolishness from those who always think they know better than the wisdom of the people – plus all those big-big American bribes).

The reason I say I’m showing this the ‘honest way’ is that many just use a tiny clip from this interview (in which he clearly says that joining the EU and NATO means at least one major war with Russia – maybe THREE!, as the price of admission). That makes him look too crazy and enthusiastic for war, in an unfair way – far better if you can see how he builds to his crazy conclusions with paranoid logic which we can at least understand – (and sure smells like classic cold war CIA work, to me).

So now here’s the amazing thing about Arestovich. He is still outspoken and influential, but no longer welcome in the government ministries, because he now says very clearly that the Ukrainians were tricked, and they picked the wrong side. They believed all the western promises about superior weapons, tactics, training and support, and every one of those promises turned out to be bullshit.

Western Weapons were designed in and for the Eighties (no kidding) and since the end of the cold war, our training has been custom designed for efficiently killing people who don’t have airforces or artillery and can’t really hope to fight back symmetrically, our tactics have been that way all century.

The Ukrainian government of Zelensky and Co (which was very expensively created from whole cloth – but that’s another essay entirely) bet their entire country on their “good friend” Uncle Sam, and now that he has turned out to be a lying fink, they realize something that their own voters (along with millions of war-dodging refugees) were trying to tell them the whole time – somewhere in between better the devil you know – and – dance with the one that brought you.

Every time an idiot one-note reporter says “He’s a Churchill” I sigh, “No you doofus, he’s a Diem.”

On the other hand, Churchill did manage to bankrupt the entire British Empire for good, even while making himself the absolute hero of all he surveyed, the whole time he was doing it – so there’s that.

Most people use history wrong – then again, these days most people also use intelligence wrong. When I say wrong, I’m not talking about my own approval or opinions, I’m talking about function.

The way we use intelligence wrong (to get and stay stupider, long term, when it is there to do the opposite for us over time, when used correctly) is really obvious when we see it displayed by people we disagree with, and incredibly hard to see in ourselves in the mirror (like so many things).

Very simply it is about being lazy and smug (that is, too emotionally undeveloped to know why we should USE our intelligence), and then instead of using our cleverness to embrace and overcome challenge, building sinew and technique as we go, we use it to avoid uncomfortable thinking altogether. Not even with a serious refutation, though – what we really want is a sly dodge – a way to skip class and go smoke a joint behind the portables instead.

The most obvious example of this is the great popularity of the smack-down argument – the sneering “bullshit” refutation. Primatologists have never stopped being aware that many animals of our type really enjoy throwing feces at each other, when we get all excited and territorial. But the rest of us domesticated primates tend to lose track of that reality, and instead pretend that only the other guy has a handful of shit – whereas our position is sophisticated, sound and in every way more advanced – even when we are making profoundly lazy unprincipled and dishonest arguments!

True intelligence places useful insight above ego, every single time (and people who really love learning are always the ones who are most easily corrected when they’re wrong – they don’t get mad, they light up with curiosity, because it isn’t a blow to their pride, but rather a learning opportunity – as well as an always-welcome reminder to modesty).

History has that basic problem (most use is lazy and dishonest, instead of high integrity) but it gets quite a bit weirder than that, thanks to a few special characteristics. First, even the clearest and truest history is always partial and interpretive – you have to have a perspective, find a through-line to make a story out of what could otherwise be a chaotic meaningless jumble. Even when trying for maximum fairness and thoroughness, you must leave some things out and put more emphasis elsewhere.

It isn’t that humans are completely incapable of thinking in terms of giant dynamic constructs of subtle interrelationship. I do know a few scientists who get outright angry about layman’s lazy reliance on simplified ‘picture-models’ – which inevitably relate to the visual understanding of humans far better than to the essence of the math and physics involved. The pleasing distortions are too big for comfort.

On the other hand, the people who can visualize like that are rare, and even people who can do it in one field, will usually struggle in another field where they know much less. That isn’t the same as saying you must be a prodigy or mutant to get there. Back in times of higher discipline and patience, huge numbers of people used to be able to read sheet music and sound it out in their head, to varying degrees – my own father can do that with a full symphonic score. Then again, he was in the best music school in the city as a kid – education really can make a big difference to our later capacity.

Sadly, rigorous thinking in abstract mathematical or scientific terms simply is not what our education system is good at these days. Many kids still get there, but far fewer manage it without some helpful learning boosters in their own community. That old social good of having surplus resources at school for gifted poor kids has been largely foreclosed upon – no less by wrongheaded do-gooders than by greed-heads – somehow both do that dance of dismissal that wastes potential and breaks hearts.

So – to reach normal non specialist people, history has to be told in the form of stories – which brings up one of the funniest traps that we have to watch for. A lot of the really popular stories are actually terrible history – that is, the kind of stories we like best, are those which stir us emotionally, rather than those which are more strictly fair, well-reasoned and true. Put a different way, we’d rather hear a compliment of some sort (including an insult to those we hate most) than a growthful challenge.

Conservatives noticed this about the 1619 project right away – and even the historians who were consulted for that project refuted the central claims made, as soon as they were asked. America was not founded on hatred alone, it was a hell of a more complicated than that. But people who want to feel angry and justified, much prefer the simplified incorrect misunderstanding version of the story which validates their own internal anger and pins it on someone else (even someone who died generations ago), to a story which might help them win back workers, majorities and their country.

Funny thing is, historians long ago noticed the same thing about Jared Diamond’s wonderfully appealing “Guns Germs and Steel” hypothesis, which set out to make dominant Western civilization a lottery winner, instead of simply the most organized and violent player over the last few centuries of the great game (a more fair and balanced view, to me). Not saying we’re just the top killers – science politics and economics count for a lot (especially when it comes to the soft power the west used to wield, before it destroyed every last shred of its own moral authority) but we definitely won the top spot by being vicious in ways which many other cultures could not even imagine. (One might say the modern tools of hegemony were British made, but are now almost entirely American operated).

The Prize And Victim

When I was a little kid, the Vietnam war was still raging. I didn’t understand it one bit, but every time I heard a helicopter overhead I would run for cover instinctively. I just knew that thing meant death.

As an isolated teenager I found a short-wave in the garbage and got it working, and every night I was glued to the latest news from Tehran about the uprising, the Shah being driven out (by a popular front that was soon betrayed), the American hostages – and the unbelievably FUBAR rescue attempt.

Even more impactfully, I was a newspaper-boy, reading “Frontiers and Wars” Churchill’s book about Imperial conflicts in Afghanistan and Sudan (Still can’t forget the line “There is nothing quite so exhilarating as being shot at, without effect.”) the day the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan.

I can still remember dragging the heavy bundles into the apartment building lobby and assembling all the sections of the thick Saturday papers (if you’re under thirty, you’ve never seen a real newspaper, and the pleasure of a good one, in the pre-net age, cannot be easily communicated). It was almost a psychedelic experience. This wasn’t a microfiche of a newspaper from almost a century ago, like those I so often browsed for research at the library, this was fresh, brand new – but also History!

From then until now, I have been trying to study our moment with an eye to how it becomes history. Especially in terms of paying attention to those most telling clues which are often obscured later, to make an oversimplified story go down easier, for those who don’t know enough to know it is a lie.

That’s how I noticed the foul doctrine of Madeline Albright at the time, when most people were still concentrating on the highly theatrical bad guy Gingrich, and – even with evidence in their face – still celebrating sex-predator Bill Clinton as a charming and heroic defender of women’s rights.

What was the Albright doctrine all about? Making the Democrats the war party, by coming up with way more reasons to make use of American military force around the world – for “moral” causes.

She played a long game (and her disciples Hillary and Victoria Nuland played it even longer) but I defy any of my readers to say she did not finally win what she was after. Pacifists are no longer represented at all in American politics – only gleeful murder ever onward into the infinite future.

From the superb Ryerson Image Gallery = GO!

I do not like Richard Nixon at all, in detail (two biographies was as much as I could take, and more than enough to prove he was a creep in myriad ways). But while his domestic record and backing of foreign coups and dictators still horrify me, I have come to understand that he was more serious about some diplomacy, that is, more properly afraid of nuclear war, than most other presidents.

The fact is, you just can’t win a nuclear war, like most wars, the only sane strategy is to prevent them.

I don’t give this grudging respect because I enjoy it, but because I am fair minded, and I’ve spent a lot of time listening to whistleblowing ex-diplomats lately, and they have some amazing things to share.

I actually did like Jimmy Carter quite a bit. A genuine science keener and a principled man, his exploits as an ex-president in particular, endeared him to many around the world.

But now we get to a strange question – did Jimmy Carter being a nicer guy make him a better president? There actually are some strong ways to make that case, but few Americans bother.

Personally, I thought his “Tighten our belts” speech, where he addressed the American people like adults and called for new resolve and responsibility, could have been as important as Eisenhower’s famous exit speech, when he described the dangers of the military industrial complex gaining power.

Problem is, Carter misjudged his audience – he wasn’t really talking to adults. So when Reagan came along and said to hell with conservation and responsibility, I say balloons and flags instead – he swept the stage handily. It wasn’t just that his team understood media better (though they did), but also that they read the room more accurately. This was the moment when the middle class started to respond to the idea that they were ripped-off rich people, instead of fortunate poor people.

From that moment to this, that basic (absolutely wrong) understanding has shaped western politics (Thatcher was an even better salesperson for her own version, and did just as much long term harm).

I am super tempted to go off on an economics tangent here, but I have before and won’t today. Let me get back to mister nice guy Carter for a minute, and look a bit harder at his nice guy legacy.

In 1998 Zbigniew Brezhinsky, Carter’s national security advisor, gave a famous interview in which he explicitly claimed credit for dragging the Soviet army into Afghanistan. That is – not that the US had responded to and supported the resistance only after the invasion – but that they had carefully contrived to outright provoke it, by making the underground factions the CIA had organized, appear to pose not just a danger on their border, but a danger to Soviet stability.

A lot of arguments have gathered around this point. For many W years, people on the left liked to dig here, to talk about the foul war-mongering corruption at the heart of the deep state – and then Trump used the phrase – so now they mock the idea, pretend they never used the phrase themselves, and just to show how evil Trump is, they now faithfully repeat CIA propaganda, word perfect, every damn time. Take that!

Now allow me a Canadian digression. I have never been able to dismiss the strange repercussions of the feature interview the FLQ (Quebec separatist terrorists of the late 60s, who were almost trendy, until they became hyper-violent) gave to McLeans magazine – Canada’s “Time” at the time. The terrorists, believing themselves inspiring revolutionaries, staged a fake training camp for the reporter, to make it look like they had hundreds of partisans, instead of a couple dozen (the actual number).

The kidnapping and murder of deputy premier Pierre Laporte, a very popular provincial politician was the last straw – but I am certain that the idea that the FLQ organization had serious numbers – a lie promoted by the terrorists themselves, contributed greatly to the dramatic scale of the response.

Pierre Trudeau, who openly called himself a Socialist, did try talking, but when talks broke down he declared martial law (the War Powers Act), and put the army on the streets of Quebec (mind you, using highly respected Francophone units only) and just rounded up everyone. 497 members and sympathizers of the FLQ were arrested and interrogated in a state of suspended law. This in a famously polite and retiring country, which likes to winkingly (and of course contemptuously) apologize for our loud boorish neighbour, even if we do have to do ourselves down (near fatally), to seem sweet by comparison.

Which is to say yes, you can definitely provoke a huge reaction with the right lie, timed just so.

If you want to settle these arguments about Afghanistan for yourself, why not read Brezhinsky’s book about it? He talks in great detail about his vision, derived from great British imperialists of old (Mackinder, esp), about hegemony being obviously virtuous, and the natural prize of the one who controls the world’s trade, which to him and the British, ends up meaning controlling Central Asia.

The other part of Z-Big’s grand vision, which popped up again in the work of evil Madeline Albright under Bill Clinton and all of her foul war-spawn like Victoria Nuland, (who spent a long career at the state department working on destroying Yugoslavia, invading Iraq, the devastation of Libya and destabilization of Syria, then the use of Ukraine against Russia – so many new and glorious racist mass-murder projects, to further American empire) was to break up Russia into somewhere around sixty different ethically squabbling pieces, so it wasn’t any kind of a unified nation (or threat to the American hegemon) at all. Picture civil war in America, with every state turned against every other.

If you don’t understand that the American government never stopped trying to kill Russia, then you can’t understand this moment at all (which is not your fault, because our media is now utter shit).

During the nineties, when the old Soviet Union fell apart, Jeffrey Sachs was dispatched to try to “help” the new economies of Eastern Europe with western economic ideas. I read a truly fantastic piece which described this and much more, from the eastern point of view the other day. I’m an old school leftie, and I think Aleks, who writes the superb Black Mountain analysis substack, describes that process beautifully. Western “help” came almost entirely in the form of well organized big capital economic predation on businesses which were simply not configured to play in that league at all, having been protected by a safe (and SOCIALLY USEFUL) market niche for generations. But in fairness to Sachs, personally (who has demonstrated outstanding integrity in recent years – speaking out with moral clarity, where far too few will dare), I must mention he was lied about by several famous commentators (Naomi Klein and Oliver Stone), just because they assumed that the pathetic results he came home from Russia with, fairly represented his starting intentions.

Personally, I am convinced by his own forthright explanation. He went to several countries before Russia, and in each, he looked at the books, saw that the western debt was really screwing them up at that tough moment, and said they’d recover far faster and become better markets and trading partners if the debt was forgiven. That worked with Poland (and a few other former East block countries, though I forget which). When he looked at the Russian accounts and came to the exact same conclusion, then reported back that they badly needed debt forgiveness, to be able to get their economy back together, he was told that in the case of Russia there was absolutely no way, even though the very same recommendation was accepted, when it came to all the other countries he had visited, for the exact same reasons as he saw in play in Moscow.

Where was I in the nineties, while Clinton managed to completely screw-up the end of the cold war?

I was in a basement in Toronto, repairing recording equipment at the busiest music store in Canada. To my great fortune, the technician at the next bench was a brilliant and playfully cantankerous Russian from St Petersburg, who kept a live feed of events back home running on his computer, and treated me to a whole lot of insight, commentary and weirdness (Zhirinovsky singing – OMFG!)

We just have no idea. I mean that seriously. People in the west completely ignore the extent to which, when Russia actually did need our help, we told them to screw off, and took every possible advantage of their weakness. Standards of living crashed, the life savings, expectations of safety and all the well-earned rewards for which the elderly had toiled so long, all just evaporated overnight. Life expectancy fell to shocking levels, alcoholism went through the roof. The economy was in free-fall. Desperation was widespread. The future looked utterly hopeless.

As I mentioned elsewhere, this was the moment when the US should have been pivoting to a peacetime industrial economy for good. I’d like to think Bill Clinton even wanted to do that, on a personal level – but when it came right down to it, the inter-agency just wasn’t having any of it.

One of the creepiest quotes I’ve heard from the many diplomats and insiders I’ve been listening to is this. “When you see the State Department, The CIA and the Pentagon are also there. When you see the CIA, the State Department and Pentagon are also there, when you see the Pentagon….”

Hard to think of an easier way to describe the interagency. It even has a birthday, it was born in 1947 with the National Security act of 1947, which is best understood (in story history terms) as “The Thing That Ate The Constitution.”

It might seem strange for a Canadian to admire the founding document of so irritating a hegemon (we don’t just get the international bullying plays, we have to put up with their snoring, too), but I do, and there are many strong presumptions of rights which I very much wish Canadians enjoyed also.

The founders’ warnings against permanent military establishments or foreign entanglements were just as prescient as Eisenhower’s much later military industrial complex take. Perhaps veteran generals really do see it best – war is a lousy tool – and always represents a fundamental corruption of any society it touches. After a lifetime fighting for corporate American interests around the world, the renowned general Smedly Butler said “War is a racket.” (And wrote a still sharp book about it, too)

This is why I say the National Security act of 1947 ‘ate the constitution,’ because by establishing the CIA and the NSC (national security council) they added two incredibly powerful forces in government at a point in the hierarchy well above effective congressional supervision or any hope of public accountability. Secret budgets for skilled professional liars is kind of an obvious problem, no?

It might be an inevitable result of game theory (itself highly influenced by self-admitted paranoid schizophrenics) or they might just have been one hundred percent corrupt and cynical. Let’s give them the best possible excuse and say, their paranoid framing said it really was the “best” course.

The point is that the conclusion they came to was that war was an unbeatable economic driver, especially from the point of view of American industrialists, bankers and investors, and since the US had just taken over England’s old role as hegemon of global trade, there really was no need for them to relinquish the powerful (albeit evil) industry that world war two had just built up.

Instead of running a Soviet style command economy, they innovated another approach to the complete sabotage of actual market capitalism (which even I, a leftist, can defend as more vital).

America hasn’t been market-capitalist in almost a century, it has a government controlled economy – developed and strengthened, all through the cold war – but instead of controlling individual citizens, they just managed war industry directly and let it generate spin-offs. Yes folks, Reagan didn’t invent trickle-down economics, he just came along and, with a big grin, said the quiet part out loud.

True Revelation of Process (and Destination)

I was having a hard time wrapping all of these pieces together, without re-treading old ground (I have already talked about how Russia, without seeking it, now has a partial but proven first-strike capability, which the west, for all the billions wasted, never got near, and also about how weird things get when the hopeful person you elect, decides to completely betray you, right after you gave them your vote and voice – based on one specific now-broken promise. I even did a piece about how many lies the media now embraces, because truth simply isn’t important to their business model.

But then I came across a really special interview – three extremely smart men with very different perspectives on the world, all quite unintentionally proving as they converse that wisdom tends to come together, even as foolish theories (and theorists) predictably fly apart.

John Mearsheimer is probably the world’s foremost living exponent of the realist understanding of international relations. He’s also got a ton of nerve (faced huge backlash for writing a book about the immense influence of the Israel lobby, on the decisions made by American politicians). That particular assertion shocks no one now (when a new speaker rises to say his first official act will be for a foreign nation, you know you have a foreign influence problem – but it ain’t Russia or the Chinese who have your representatives balls in a vice, and routinely make them say and do unprincipled things).

I start from a strong objection to the realist school, because it is most often portrayed as the team which believes in doing business with dictators, as if that makes them both immoral and profiteering.

But Mearsheimer used a really powerful phrase in this talk, which I could not stop thinking about, afterward. He described the present western powers as “Crusader States” all of which truly believe they have the right to force other states to adopt their ideas – because that will produce good for all.

Glenn Diesen, who also features in this extraordinary talk, has observed that the thirty years war in Europe, which followed the collapse of the Holy Roman empire, and did incalculable damage to every nation involved (and Europe as a whole) was the result of the belief (held by all parties) that a dominant power or hegemon was still necessary, even though the old one was gone. In essence it was a huge fight to become the boss of a gang which was no longer actually viable as a unified gang.

Finally, after two generations of fighting, exhausted, they came up with the peace of Westphalia, which has been the foundation of European and later international relations, for all the centuries since. Turned out that progress and stability did not require a hegemon, just a framework for mutual cooperation. In fact, the diverse gathering with allowable variance plan, was far better for promoting industrial artistic and scientific progress in Europe, than any kind of central control could have been.

The reason Mearsheimer’s line “Crusader States” hit so hard for me, was how it explained the missing piece behind the war-first Brezhinsky/Albright/Clinton/Nuland doctrines – and it turns out to be exactly the same as the best advice any writer ever gets about writing villains. Villains don’t think they are bad at all – they actually think they represent the one possible hope for good (like those hegemony seekers of the thirty years war) and therefore anyone who objects, or even asks to stop for some democracy, citizen awareness and oversight along the way, is evil and must be destroyed.

Hillary still boasts about her key role in the devastation of Libya (mostly for the sake of angry French oil companies – just as Dulles used his CIA to steal control of Guatemala away from a popular leader, strictly for the sake of his own corporate law firm client, United Fruit) because she actually thinks murdering advanced African nations is a great and virtuous thing, if they stand in the way of the one true hegemon, which alone represents all peace goodness tolerance and civilization in the world.

It isn’t actually snickering bloodthirsty evil, the way I so long thought, it is demented religious fanaticism (but in a faith which ultimately has no relationship at all to anything holy sacred respectful or grateful – only endless intercourse with mammon and the undertaker).

Same goes for a good detective novel, or a rollicking spy thriller, for that matter. If you don’t kind of understand the bad guy’s point of view, then he doesn’t weigh enough for beating him to feel good.

BUT you aren’t supposed to leave the theatre thinking – that psycho guy was right though, we should devastate the entire planet and human infrastructure, for the sake of these endangered butterflies.

We’ve heard the fancy footwork set-up, we’ve seen hard bans on media from foreign countries (unprecedented and scary) and still the truth is actually sinking-in for huge numbers, here and there.

Most Americans (British, French, Dutch, Germans, Canadians) want the war in Ukraine to be over. And most Ukrainians – even in the western areas which are the most historically anti-Russian of all, still refuse to fill-out their draught registration cards, even after the government introduced new legislation to punish resistors severely (confiscation of property and/or serious jail time).

Experts who understood the basics (and even comparative idiots like me who can count and read a map) always knew that there was no way for Ukraine to defeat Russia. To believe that, was believing in bloody pixie dust supremacy – not only our weapons training and tactics, but our economy and industrial base too are completely obsolete (irreplaceable tool-making apprenticeships, also), and over the last half century and more of western adventuring we can see very clearly that promises to pawns are NEVER kept, long term. We leave behind graveyards, not treaties, let far alone new prosperity.

Many Americans don’t even understand that after THEY bombed Cambodia and gave rise to Pol Pot, it was the Vietnamese, still trying to recover from years of American aggression, who sent in their troops and finally freed the Cambodian people from that madman. The US made touching movies about how sad it was, then got right to work smashing the next country (El Salvador, at the time, with the Nicaraguan Contras in the batting cage warming up).

We (the US and all the servile lackeys who yet serve Rome) are a grasping hegemon still desperately pretending righteousness, even as our foundation is fast eroding in a Westphalian tide. Laughably certain we are the only moral way possible, while murdering and blocking all compromise, to prove it.

Even now sure we are superior Rome – when the world sees instead Atlantis, in the year before.


Here are a few bonus things of considerable interest.

First, for those who are deathly afraid of immediate nuclear war – Doctrow is non delusional and yet reassuring (and they do have a lot of options short of that sharp shock, no matter how stupidly we keep daring them to do their worst, so our war industries can justify even more profiteering)

On the other hand, they really are quite sick of our murderous lying shit – as Larry Johnson, former CIA himself, found out on a recent visit to St Petersburg

Here is Jeffrey Sachs (pretty much the where’s Waldo of contemporary history – the guy in every key room) talking about “Why does the west hate Russia?”

And here is the much misssed stalwart pacifist and journalist John Pilger, in one of his last pieces

Let no one forget hero Julian Assange, or forgive any who fail to release him – even for an hour.


I am always curious about what you are thinking

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