peace

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MSM Offers Rare Glimpse Into How Bad Things Are Really Going For Ukrainian Forces

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/05/2022 - 11:16pm in

Tags 

peace, News, Media, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/ef04aba49c3a375d62338e0bbc1f7a3a/href

While everyone’s focused on the latest mass shooting in the US, The Washington Post published what may be the first major acknowledgement from the mainstream western media that Ukraine’s war against Russia has not been nearly the cakewalk they’ve been leading the public to believe.

In a new article titled “Ukrainian volunteer fighters in the east feel abandoned,” WaPo reports that contrary to the triumphant narratives the western world is being spoon fed, many troops in eastern Ukraine have been surviving on one potato per day and deserting their posts because they feel their leaders have turned their backs on them and they’re being sent to certain death.

“Stuck in their trenches, the Ukrainian volunteers lived off a potato per day as Russian forces pounded them with artillery and Grad rockets on a key eastern front line. Outnumbered, untrained and clutching only light weapons, the men prayed for the barrage to end,” The Washington Post reports, citing multiple named sources.

“Ukrainian leaders have projected and nurtured a public image of military invulnerability — of their volunteer and professional forces triumphantly standing up to the Russian onslaught,” the article reads. “But the experience of Lapko and his group of volunteers offers a rare and more realistic portrait of the conflict and Ukraine’s struggle to halt the Russian advance in parts of Donbas. Ukraine, like Russia, has provided scant information about deaths, injuries or losses of military equipment. But after three months of war, this company of 120 men is down to 54 because of deaths, injuries and desertions.”

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WaPo reports that volunteer troops in that part of the country “quickly found themselves in the crosshairs of war, feeling abandoned by their military superiors and struggling to survive.”

“We are being sent to certain death,” said one volunteer. “We are not alone like this, we are many.”

“Hours after The Post interviewed Lapko and Khrus, members of Ukraine’s military security service arrived at their hotel and detained some of their men, accusing them of desertion,” WaPo reports. “The men contend that they were the ones who were deserted.”

Some commentators have remarked on the fact that at long last we’re seeing some realistic coverage of this war in the mainstream press.

“First major US media I’ve seen to report catastrophic condition of Ukrainian forces, collapsing Ukrainian morale on the front. Seems obvious we should know the truth about a war our government is so deeply invested in,” tweeted journalist Mark Ames, a frequent critic of the mass media blackout on conditions in the Ukrainian military.

“This might be the first article in a mainstream publication that punctures the PR spin and secrecy of the foreign military that the US is subsidizing. Two commanders were arrested after they spoke to the Washington Post, painting an extremely grim picture,” tweeted journalist Michael Tracey.

This is indeed a major break from standard mainstream reporting on this conflict, which is normally more in line with this recent Newsweek article titled “Putin’s Elite Soldiers Getting Wiped Out as Russia Makes Mistakes — U.K.,” sourced entirely in unevidenced claims by the British government and the military industrial complex-funded neocon think tank Institute for the Study of War.

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So anyway, there it is. That’s the reality on the front lines of this conflict that westerners have been cheering on from their comfortable homes while calling anyone who advocates a negotiated peace settlement a Putin apologist and a Kremlin troll.

These big brave sofa warriors have been on social media demanding that Ukrainians keep fighting in this way until they’ve secured total victory over Russia and reclaimed Crimea and the Donbas, tweeting “Slava Ukraini” with their little blue-and-yellow flag emojis during the commercial breaks of their favorite TV show in between mouthfuls of Funyuns.

Westerners would be a lot less cavalier about demanding a foreign population keep fighting until total victory if they truly understood the horrors of war. Unfortunately there’s a propaganda machine of unprecedented sophistication that has spent generations preventing them from obtaining that very understanding.

That’s why they’re so happy to throw endless Ukrainian lives into the gears of the imperial war machine, and that’s why the WaPo article we are discussing here is receiving very little mainstream attention online as of this writing. It will be dismissed and ignored by empire managers and their brainwashed flock with a “Hmm, you just can’t hire good cannon fodder these days.”

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There’s no real reckoning with exactly what’s happening and exactly what these people are being called on to put themselves through. In the children’s crayon drawing version of this war that lives in the heads of western so-called centrists, this is a team of heroic Good Guys righteously beating the tar out of hordes of Bad Guys because that’s what happens in the movies and on TV.

But this is not the movies, and this is not TV. People are dying in a US proxy war that was deliberately provoked by the US-centralized empire, and behind all the narratives and spin they are ultimately doing so for nothing more noble than the agenda to secure US unipolar hegemony.

Many of the blue-and-yellow flag wavers are well-intentioned, and really do think they are advocating for Ukrainian freedom and sovereignty. But in reality all they’ve been cheering for is Ukrainian subservience and enslavement to the empire, Ukrainian death, Ukrainian suffering, and the continuation of a dangerous proxy war between nuclear superpowers that threatens the life of everyone on earth.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Featured image via Pixabay.

They’re Just Outright Telling Us That Peace In Ukraine Is Not An Option

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/05/2022 - 2:34am in

Tags 

Russia, War, peace, News

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/87d84ee46a129a86adc5bb751bc39f36/href

US Senator Joe Manchin said at the World Economic Forum on Monday that he opposes any kind of peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

Manchin, who at the moment is one of the most powerful elected officials in Washington, added that only the complete forcible ejection of Russia from all of Ukraine is acceptable, that the war should ideally be used to remove Putin from power, and that he and the strategists he talks to see this war as an “opportunity”.

“I am totally committed, as one person, to seeing Ukraine to the end with a win, not basically with some kind of a treaty; I don’t think that is where we are and where we should be,” Manchin said.

“I mean basically moving Putin back to Russia and hopefully getting rid of Putin,” Manchin added when asked what he meant by a win for Ukraine.

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Manchin clarified that he did not mean pushing Putin back to “pre-February”, ostensibly meaning with Russia still controlling the largely Moscow-loyal Crimea and supporting separatist territories in the Donbass, but with Kyiv fully reclaiming all parts of the nation.

“Oh no, I think Ukraine is determined to take their country back,” Manchin said when asked to clarify, further clarifying that he wants his call for regime change in Russia to be carried out by “the Russian people.”

“I believe strongly that I have never seen, and the people I talk strategically have never seen, an opportunity more than this, to do what needs to be done,” Manchin later added. “And Ukraine has the determination to do it. We should have the commitment to support it.”

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Manchin’s comments fit in perfectly with what we know about the US-centralized empire’s real agendas in Ukraine.

Earlier this month Ukrainian media reported that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky on behalf of NATO powers that “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they are not.”

Last month US Secretary of “Defense” Lloyd Austin acknowledged that the goal in this war is not peace in Ukraine or the mere military defeat of Russia but to actually weaken Russia as a nation, saying “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

Last week The New York Times reported that the Biden administration is developing plans to “further choke Russia’s oil revenues with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy.”

Just the other day Ukraine’s military intelligence chief announced that the mission has already creeped forward from the goal of defeating the Russian invaders to reclaiming the Crimean territory which was annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014.

Two months ago Biden himself acknowledged what the real game is here with an open call for regime change, saying of Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Statements from the Biden administration in fact indicate that they expect this war to drag on for a long time, making it abundantly clear that a swift end to minimize the death and destruction is not just uninteresting but undesirable for the US empire.

This is not a proxy war with peace as an option anywhere within sight. It’s not about saving Ukrainian lives. It’s not even about beating Russia in Ukraine. It’s about achieving regime change in Moscow, no matter how many lives need to be destroyed in the process.

Peace is not on the menu.

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This war could easily have been prevented with a little diplomacy and reasonable compromise. As the University of Ottawa’s Ivan Katchanovski recently explained to The Maple, “an agreement in which Ukraine promised to remain a neutral country and the fulfilment of the Minsk accords could have stopped Putin’s invasion.”

We know now that the US intelligence cartel had good visibility into what the Kremlin had planned for Ukraine, so they would have known exactly what could have been done to prevent the invasion. They knowingly chose to do none of those things, because the goal was to provoke this war the entire time and then weaponize it against Moscow.

That’s why the Biden administration has been hindering diplomatic efforts to negotiate an end to this war, why it has refused to provide Ukraine with any kind of diplomatic negotiating power regarding the possible rollback of sanctions and other US measures to help secure peace, and why Washington’s top diplomats have consistently been conspicuously absent from any kind of dialogue with their counterparts in Moscow.

Empire spinmeisters and their propagandized victims like to claim that Ukrainian forces are fighting for “peace” in Ukraine. The other day Kyiv Independent’s Illia Ponomarenko, who has called the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion his “brothers in arms,” tweeted this:

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But anyone who understands this war knows this is ridiculous. Peace is not the goal in Ukraine. Most of the Ukrainians doing the fighting surely believe they are fighting for peace in their homeland, and peace is surely their intention, but that’s not something the empire will allow if the empire gets any say in the matter.

Even if Ukraine does somehow avoid being used as cannon fodder to draw Moscow into a long and costly slog as US officials have admitted was done in both Afghanistan and in Syria, and even if they do somehow manage to deliver a crushing and conclusive defeat to Moscow in the near term (which is far less probable than the western media would have you believe), that wouldn’t be the end of the war. The war would just change shape as the empire and its proxies go on the offensive against Moscow.

This war does not end with Russia being driven from Ukraine, it ends with regime change and the balkanization of the Russian Federation. Really it doesn’t end until the rise of China has been stopped and US unipolar hegemony secured. Or when the empire collapses. Or when we all die in a nuclear holocaust.

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All forward motion in this war has nothing but violence as far as the eye can see on its trajectory into the future. No matter how much wealth and war machinery you pour into this conflict, that trajectory of death and destruction will just keep stretching out to the horizon. As Chris Hedges recently explained, war is the only path the empire has left open to itself.

I’ve seen some cute kids in my time, but nobody’s as adorable as people who think the US pours weapons into foreign nations in order to achieve peace.

_______________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Everyone’s Anti-War Until The War Propaganda Starts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 27/04/2022 - 11:11am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/7176a90dc066a6ebe1916158d8816925/href

Everyone’s anti-war until the war propaganda starts. Nobody thinks of themselves as a warmonger, but then the spin machine gets going and before you know it they’re spouting the slogans they’ve been programmed to spout and waving the flags the flags they’ve been programmed to wave and consenting to whatever the imperial war machine wants in that moment.

Virtually everyone will tell you they love peace and hate war when asked; war is the very worst thing in the world, and no healthy person relishes the thought of it. But when the rubber meets the road and it’s time to oppose war and push for peace, those who’d previously proclaimed themselves “anti-war” are on the other side screaming for more weapons to be poured into a proxy war that their government deliberately provoked.

This is because the theory of being anti-war is very different from the practice. In theory people are just opposed to the idea of exploding other people for no good reason. In practice they’re always hit with a very intense barrage of media messaging giving them what look like very good reasons why those people need exploding.

Being truly anti-war isn’t easy. It doesn’t look like people picture in their imaginations. It looks like getting smashed with a deluge of information designed to manipulate and confuse and working through it while getting screamed at by those who’ve fallen for the brainwashing. It’s not cute. It’s not fun. It’s not the feel-good flower power time that people intuit it is when they look at the part of themselves that seeks peace. It’s standing up against the most sophisticated propaganda machine that has ever existed while being offered every reason not to.

When people think of themselves as “anti-war”, they’re usually imagining themselves as anti- another Iraq war, or anti- some theoretical Hitler-like president starting a war because he likes killing people. They’re not picturing the reality of what being anti-war actually is in practice.

Because selling the war to the public is a built-in component of all war strategy, the war will always look necessary from the mainstream perspective, and it won’t look like those other wars which we now know in retrospect were mistakes. It’s always designed to look appealing. There’s never not going to be atrocity propaganda. There’s never not going to be reasons fed to you selling this military intervention as special and completely necessary. That will be the case every single time, because that’s how modern wars are packaged and presented.

This is why you’ll always see a number of self-described leftists and anti-imperialists cheering for the latest US war project. They are ideologically opposed to the idea of war in theory, but the way it actually shows up in practice is always different from what they pictured.

Our entire civilization is shaped by domestic propaganda, but the only time you ever hear that word in mainstream discourse is when it’s used to discuss the comparatively almost nonexistent influence of Russian propaganda on our society. All the mainstream alarm ringing about Russian propaganda gives the impression that it comprises close to 100 percent of the total propaganda that westerners consume, when in reality it’s a tiny fraction of one percent of the total propaganda that westerners consume. Almost all of it comes from western sources.

Propaganda is the single most overlooked and underappreciated aspect of our society. It has far more influence over how the public thinks, acts and votes than any of our official mechanisms for doing so, yet it’s barely discussed, it isn’t taught in schools, and even the best political ideologies barely touch on it relative to their other areas of focus.

All the fretting about Russian propaganda from establishment narrative managers comes so close to giving away their secret: that they know it’s possible to manipulate the way the public thinks, acts and votes using media. They just don’t admit that they’re the ones who are doing this.

It’s actually the weirdest thing in the world that there’s something that has been directly affecting our minds our entire lives, and which directly affects the way our entire society is organized, but we don’t talk about it constantly. It should be at the front and center of our attention.

But of course that’s the whole idea. Propaganda only works on those who don’t know they’re being propagandized. The US-centralized empire’s ability to hide its propaganda machine is a foundational element of its brilliance.

Being truly anti-war is necessarily a commitment to finding out not just what’s true about all the war narratives currently promulgated by the imperial war machine, but all the narratives you’ve been fed about the world since you were young. It’s a commitment to truth that takes on an almost spiritual quality in the way it informs every aspect of your life when truly espoused.

It’s important to research and learn new things about the world, but what’s equally important and which doesn’t get emphasized nearly enough is the practice of examining the beliefs you already hold about your society, your government, your nation and your world. Inquiring as to whether they’re really true, and who might benefit from your believing them.

Don’t make the error of assuming you’ll be aware and informed enough to spot all the lies right away. You’re dealing with the single most advanced and powerful propaganda machine that has ever existed, and you’ve been marinating in its effects your entire life. It takes some time. Even the most aware among us were indoctrinated into the mainstream worldview to some extent earlier in their lives, and to this day most of the information they get about the world has some of its roots and branches in parts of the propaganda matrix.

It takes work to see things clearly enough to form a really truth-based worldview. But unless you do this it’s impossible to be truly anti-war, because you can’t skillfully oppose something you don’t understand. To fight the imperial war machine is to fight the imperial propaganda machine.

______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Feature image via Vladimir Yaitskiy (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic), altered for size.

More Evidence That The US Is Trying To Prolong This War

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/03/2022 - 1:04am in

Tags 

News, peace, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/3b2b4b81fb077a79040c1fffe8b695cb/href

The Washington Post has a new article out bemoaning the fact that Russian military commanders are declining calls from the Pentagon to discuss their operations in Ukraine (I dunno guys, might have something to do with the fact that the US is sharing extensive military intelligence on exactly those operations directly with the Ukrainian government). Tucked all the way down in the eighteenth paragraph of the article, we find a much more interesting revelation: that Washington’s top diplomat has made no attempt to contact his counterpart in Moscow since the war began on the 24th of February.

“Secretary of State Antony Blinken has not attempted any conversations with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, since the start of the conflict, according to U.S. officials,” The Washington Post reports.

So the US government is continuing its policy of refusing to attempt any high-level diplomatic resolutions to this war despite its public hand-wringing about the horrific violence that’s being inflicted upon the people of Ukraine. This revelation fits nicely with a recent report by Bloomberg’s Niall Ferguson that sources in the US and UK governments have told him the real goal of western powers in this conflict is not to negotiate peace or end the war quickly, but to prolong it in order “bleed Putin” and achieve regime change in Moscow.

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Building on an earlier report from The New York Times that the Biden administration “seeks to help Ukraine lock Russia in a quagmire,” Ferguson writes that he has reached the conclusion that “the U.S. intends to keep this war going,” and says he has other sources to corroborate this:

“The only end game now,” a senior administration official was heard to say at a private event earlier this month, “is the end of Putin regime. Until then, all the time Putin stays, [Russia] will be a pariah state that will never be welcomed back into the community of nations. China has made a huge error in thinking Putin will get away with it. Seeing Russia get cut off will not look like a good vector and they’ll have to re-evaluate the Sino-Russia axis. All this is to say that democracy and the West may well look back on this as a pivotal strengthening moment.”

I gather that senior British figures are talking in similar terms. There is a belief that “the U.K.’s №1 option is for the conflict to be extended and thereby bleed Putin.” Again and again, I hear such language. It helps explain, among other things, the lack of any diplomatic effort by the U.S. to secure a cease-fire. It also explains the readiness of President Joe Biden to call Putin a war criminal.

Earlier this month when The Intercept’s Ryan Grim was able to get a word in edgewise at a White House press briefing amid the throngs of mass media reporters demanding to know why Biden still hasn’t started World War 3, Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave a very revealing answer.

“So, aside from the request for weapons, President Zelensky has also requested that the US be more involved in negotiations toward a peaceful resolution to the war. What is the U.S. doing to push those negotiations forward?” asked Grim.

“Well, one of the steps we’ve taken — a significant one — is to be the largest provider of military and humanitarian and economic assistance in the world, to put them in a greater position of strength as they go into these negotiations,” Psaki answered, completely dodging the question of whether the US was actually doing anything to help negotiate peace.

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As we’ve discussed previously, the US government has a well-documented history of working to draw Moscow into costly military quagmires with the goal of preoccupying its military forces and draining its coffers. Former US officials are on record publicly boasting about having done so in both Afghanistan and Syria. This is an agenda geared toward sapping the Russian government, manufacturing international consent for unprecedented acts of economic warfare designed (though perhaps ineptly) to crush the Russian economy, to foment discord and rebellion, and ultimately to effect regime change in Moscow.

The US empire doesn’t care about Ukrainian lives, and it’s insulting that its operatives continually pretend to. The empire will happily feed every man, woman and child in the entire nation into the mouth of this war if it means unseating a disobedient leader from a nuclear-armed seat of power which has become unacceptably cozy with Beijing and intolerably comfortable with intervening against US imperial agendas. And all the Ukrainian-flag-waving propagandized westerners with their #StandWithUkraine Instagram activism and blue and yellow profile pics will cheer for it every step of the way.

I hope this brutal proxy war ends and peace comes to Ukraine very quickly. But from what we’re seeing today there appears to be an immense globe-spanning power structure holding its foot against the door of the only exit from this horror.

___________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Let’s Re-Learn The Word ‘Detente’: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 11/03/2022 - 12:15am in

Tags 

Russia, peace, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/4091060fe8af1a4bb93c6e768168fe54/href

Western powers insisted that they were trying to prevent this war while doing everything possible to ensure that it happened. Now they say they are trying to end this war while doing everything possible to ensure it continues.

Normally when western powers are involved in a war they at least pretend they support the people in the enemy nation and just oppose its government. With Russia they’re just “No, fuck your music, fuck your food, fuck your books, fuck your cats, fuck everything about all of you.”

The word “detente” has been deliberately scrubbed from the western lexicon. This has created a false dichotomy where everyone thinks the only choices are either escalate until we have a nuclear war or “OMG SO JUST GIVE PUTIN WHATEVER HE WANTS AND LET HIM TAKE OVER EUROPE???”

Any time you oppose freakish world-threatening escalations that’s the response you always get: “So just give into the bully and let him have everything?? That’s appeasement!” They’re sincerely unaware that there’s a third choice between World War 3 and crowning Putin Emperor of Planet Earth.

This is by design, because detente and US unipolar hegemony are mutually exclusive. You can’t dominate the entire planet and also let Russia be its own nation; it’s either one or the other. Detente was a popular concept back when we lived in a multipolar world, during the USSR, but since it’s been dominated by one single superpower that word has been phased out of public awareness. Now that US unipolar hegemony is the normalized mainstream consensus ideal within the western empire, any talk of working toward peaceful solutions that don’t subjugate one power to the other show up before indoctrinated minds as outrageous heresy.

Putin: Don’t cross this red line or it will mean war.

Westerners: He’s probably bluffing. Cross that red line.

Putin: *starts a war*

Putin: Now don’t cross this other red line or it will mean nuclear war.

Westerners: He’s probably bluffing. Cross that red line.

I’m really not feeling great about how much of mainstream western punditry today boils down to “What’s the maximum amount we can provoke and attack Russia without starting a nuclear war? Some say the line is here, but I think it’s probably further back.”

It’s starting to feel like westerners won’t understand the seriousness of nuclear brinkmanship until there’s an actual nuclear exchange. One of those rare lessons in life that you can’t learn until it’s too late to benefit from having learned it.

It reminds me of young drivers, how they’ll get into accidents because they don’t have a good visceral understanding of the very real dangers on the road. Except instead of damaging your fender, they’ll wipe out all life on earth.

There’s such a massive, massive disconnect between the unparalleled dangers we’re toying with here and people’s attitudes about them. In the general public, and throughout the political/media class as well. It’s so easy to imagine an “Oh shit it wasn’t a game after all” future moment.

No part of the way empire managers have acted up to this point suggests they can be trusted not to set off an unthinkable chain of events from which there’s no return. They’ve been making wrong calls every step of the way. And it’s so easy to fuck this up.

“Tankie” used to mean “western Stalinist”. Now it just means “person who understands power dynamics and foreign policy”.

People say, “Ukraine has a right to choose its own alliances and join NATO if it wants.”

Sure, and NATO has a right to reject it and promise it will never make Ukraine a member. And it should have. That’s how alliances work; it necessarily goes both ways. Not everyone gets membership. It’s not a fucking library card.

Those who support a no-fly zone or any other direct attack on Russian forces are enemies of our species. They have the most dangerous worldview in existence, without exception. They are more dangerous than Nazis, and they should be reviled as such.

The fact that support for nuclear brinkmanship is mainstream doesn’t make it okay, it makes it infinitely more dangerous than if it were a fringe position. It’s not less important to condemn it because it’s mainstream, it’s more important. Much, much more important.

I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs for years about the mounting risks of nuclear war while people called me a crazy idiot the entire time. Now nuclear superpowers are on hair trigger alert while officials hurl accusations that the other side is preparing a biological weapons attack.

At least I fucking tried. With what precious little influence I have in this space, I have done my very best. Come what may.

____________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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What does Gallipoli mean to us, and who says?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/04/2021 - 5:31pm in

[First published in BWD magazine, autumn 2021, Braidwood NSW.]

The word Gallipoli evokes one of our most potent cultural stories, but in truth it is not one story but many. There are stories of sacrifice and national identity, but there are also stories of folly and destruction, and stories overlooked. We all, presumably, want to honour the fallen but there are those who, wittingly or otherwise, exploit the stories for other purposes. Can we have a conversation about these stories? Can we talk about which stories to keep, whether some might be corrected or discarded and others picked up?

On an obscure beach in Turkey many of our young men died in a battle that ended in disastrous defeat and withdrawal. More of our young men went on to fight and die in the trenches in Europe. They distinguished themselves as soldiers.

There were those in Australia who proclaimed those events to signify the birth of a nation, a uniting of the former colonies and perhaps a necessary ‘blooding’ to baptise us into the company of nations. That was the Anzac story I grew up with, but I never thought it rang true.

Behind that story was a fear of being seen as inferior colonials and of needing to erase the ‘convict stain’. There were also those who sought to advance themselves by serving British commercial interests.

In truth our young men were ‘good’ soldiers because of the country they grew up in, well fed and strong, with less class repression and free enough to develop initiative.

The story of that country is much richer and more enriching than one futile battle. It is a story of the inventiveness and perseverance of many people, and of the foresight, persistence and not a little wisdom of leaders in bringing several colonies together peacefully to create a vigorous and innovative nation. In 1913 Australia was already a distinctive presence among nations, leading (with the Kiwis) in giving the vote to all men, then women, in advocating a fair go for all and in providing a social safety net. Blacks, though, were not invited.

Many in the new nation still felt a strong loyalty to the mother country, but that was neither universal nor unqualified. Prime Minister Billie Hughes was a much more divisive figure than his predecessor, the steady Andrew Fisher. Twice he held referenda to authorise sending conscripts overseas and twice the proposal was rejected, amid bitter and divisive debate. Hughes was prominent in promoting the claim that Australia came of age on the beach at Gallipoli.

At the opening of the Australian War Memorial in 1941 the Governor General Lord Gowrie said the Memorial would be ‘… not only a record of the splendid achievements of the men who fought and fell … but also a reminder to future generations of the barbarity and futility of modern war’.

Australia suffered heavy casualties and incurred heavy debt in the Great War, both of which weighed heavily for decades. The shock and trauma smashed the optimistic and progressive pre-war mood. There followed the Great Depression then another great war. Since then have been various smaller wars and invasions of debatable merit.

Only in the second great war was Australia directly threatened. Prime Minister Curtin had to defy Churchill and Roosevelt to being our troops home to defend us. Churchill  and Roosevelt would have left us to our fate, perhaps to be liberated later from a potential invasion that would have been severely traumatic, as invasions are. We need to be careful about the faith we place in allies.

Since then our involvements in overseas wars have been questionable. The need to fight in Vietnam was vigorously debated, and anyway it was another disaster and defeat. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were based on a lie about weapons of mass destruction, with the functional goal being US military dominance and capture of oil fields. We were involved primarily to curry favour with the US, but the invasions were highly counter-productive and the reliability of the US as an ally is even more debatable.

We have lost soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but more of them have died by their own hand after returning home. Now we have revelations of alleged atrocities committed by our own ‘special forces’. Such is the moral quagmire we and our soldiers can be placed in if the cause they fight for is not very clear, and clearly justified – if it ever can be.

The Government is now spending half a billion dollars to expand the War Memorial to include depictions of those dubious wars. They are accepting sponsorship from arms manufacturers, merchants of death. Can that be reconciled with the AWM’s role of reminding us of the ‘barbarity and futility of modern war’?

The Government spent around $400 million over four years ‘commemorating’ many centenaries of the Great War. How much of that was genuine honouring of the fallen? How much did the Government speak of barbarity? Of futility? They have spun a new fiction, that we fought alongside the US for democracy and freedom, when in fact we fought for empire and believed in White, especially British, superiority. How much of the Government’s message was thinly disguised glorification, or at least inuring us to yet more wars? Still following Uncle Sam, we now rattle our little sabres at Iran and China.

This Anzac Day, can we separate honouring the fallen from militarism? Do we need soldiers marching up the street and warplanes flying overhead?

What of those overlooked? Hundreds of women from across Europe and even from Australia courageously defied their governments and dominant public opinion to convene in The Hague in 1915 to devise strategies to stop the slaughter of their men. They formed the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. They influenced the formation of the League of Nations and thence the United Nations. They continue today. Do we acknowledge them and support their efforts to stop the futile barbarism? Do we have a statue of them in the main street?

Then there are those who fought to defend Australia from actual invasion. Yes, the First Australians. They are here. We, the settlers, are here. Are we big enough, yet, to acknowledge what our forebears did to their forebears, to acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice?

We can travel freely to Turkey, Germany, Japan, North Vietnam (or could, pre-pandemic). The bitter animosities are gone, if not entirely forgotten. What was the point?

The Role of Business in Enhancing Peace and Reducing Violence

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 10:23am in