War

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Kayfabe Populism: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 29/05/2022 - 9:11am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/74cdebeaf6c6fc15a9c8883423ce4a5f/href

It’s so important that the public have no real say in US politics that the empire not only set up two oligarchic puppet parties which pretend to oppose each other, but also set up fake populist movements within each of those factions which pretend to be fighting the establishment within those parties.

It’s a very clever illusion that sucks up almost all real opposition. If you don’t fall for the first kayfabe conflict and realize the game is rigged for the powerful, you can still end up buying into the fake populist movements set up to oppose them. I fell for them both early on in this commentary gig. But after a while of watching what they do (as opposed to just listening to what they say) and seeing where they actually stand and fight or refuse to fight, you see it’s all an Inception-level fakery. The opposition is controlled, and so is the opposition to the opposition.

It’s like when you dream you’re waking up from a dream but you’re actually in another dream; you awaken from the liberals-vs-conservatives puppet show and then turn to the fake progressive Democrats or the bullshit MAGA camp as a solution, but you’re still asleep.

This all sounds like an awful lot of work to go through until you remember that an entire globe-spanning empire depends on the ability to prevent the American public from either (A) voting in a disruptive government or (B) fighting a revolution. So much power rides on their ability to do this.

Ever since the school shooting in Texas we’ve been watching an entire country learn that it’s not actually cops’ job to save anyone or risk any danger and the only reason they assumed otherwise was because of movies and TV shows.

Idea for an action movie: The Rock needs to rescue his kid from an elementary school where there’s an active shooter, but first he needs to fight his way through an army of cops trying to stop him.

You end mass shootings in America by ceasing to have America serve as the hub of a globe-spanning empire that’s held together by violence and nonstop mass media psyops. It’s not impossible. It’s not even difficult. It’s just not an option anyone in charge would ever consider.

I’m finding myself having less and less patience with people who think the US is an innocent little flower regarding the Ukraine war. It’s like, come on. Grow the fuck up.

Friendly reminder that for a fraction of the cost of funding a world-threatening proxy war against Russia the US could simply have protected Zelensky from the neo-Nazi militias who were threatening to lynch him if he tried to make peace with Russia and prevented this entire war.

The airhead mainstream narrative that Ukrainian forces have been destroying Russian troops and humiliating Putin in epic win after epic win has become unsustainable:

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Another shout out to all you big brave sofa warriors who’ve been screaming that a negotiated peace settlement is unacceptable and helping the US empire throw Ukrainian lives into the gears of a stupid proxy war for US unipolar hegemony while you sit safe at home eating Doritos.

If you’re more hawkish than Henry Kissinger, you’re too fucking hawkish.

Whenever I try to talk about the risk of the Ukraine war escalating into a nuclear holocaust I get people telling me if that happens it will be Putin’s fault. Like that would make it okay somehow. Like that would somehow validate all the steps our leaders took to get us to that point.

Of all the intensely stupid ways team loyalty and partisanship can express itself, I really don’t think you could come up with one dumber than “Our nuclear brinkmanship isn’t a problem because it’ll be the other side who launches the first nuke” if you tried.

Even pretending it’s certain that Russia would be the one to initiate a nuclear exchange, would that thought actually comfort you when you feel the earth shake? Would you feel any better about the decisions which gave rise to that moment by telling yourself Putin started it? I mean if there’s any time when it doesn’t matter who “started it”, it’s surely when the “Mutual” and “Destruction” part of Mutually Assured Destruction goes into action? I think at that point all our dopey team sports cheering and booing pretty much goes out the window, no?

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Hollywood lies about what American journalists really do in the same way it lies about what American soldiers and police really do, and it has just as disruptive an effect on people’s perception of reality.

People who accuse you of having Kremlin loyalties when you question or criticize the US empire are admitting that they don’t care whether statements are true or false, only whether they demonstrate loyalty to our rulers. That’s the lens through which they examine the world, and it’s pure brain poison. How can people think lucid thoughts and engage in lucid discourse about ideas and events when they are continuously measured not by how truthful they are but by what loyalties they appear to demonstrate? They cannot.

Empire loyalists have exactly two arguments:

1. “That foreign leader my government dislikes is comparable to Adolf Hitler.”

2. “If you object to what my virtuous government has planned for that leader it means you love and support that leader.”

I honestly don’t understand how anyone can stay abreast of the day-to-day depravity of the oligarchic empire without a daily practice geared toward inner peace. Things are so insane and confusing and only getting more so; you’ve got to have a regular discipline to form stability.

Meditation, self-enquiry, healing and energy practices, whatever gets you there, but surely you’ve got to have something before you can stare into the face of the beast continuously without going mad. I can’t imagine looking at this thing every day without any kind of a practice.

________________

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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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.

Has America Tried Bombing Its Mass Shooting Problem? Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2022 - 10:36am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/29150e873042879997a3495a552bff1a/href

Oh cool it’s the part of the news cycle where Democrats and Republicans pretend something’s going to change about American gun laws for a few days.

“It’s a gun control problem!”

“Nuh-uh it’s a mental health problem!”

[Nothing changes about gun laws or mental health care]

[Repeat]

There’s probably a correlation between the fact that the US is the only nation with a mass shooting epidemic and the fact that Americans are the most aggressively propagandized population on earth.

If you took any armed population and psychologically pummelled them from birth with narratives about how mass military slaughter is fine while turning them into underpaid, alienated gear-turners and giving them an artificial culture mass-produced in Los Angeles, you’d probably see some mass shootings.

There’s only so far you can warp the human psyche before it snaps. Bash hundreds of millions of people in the brain their entire lives with indoctrination programs telling them madness is sanity and sanity is madness, and eventually a few of them are going to wind up mass murderers.

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It’s surely not a coincidence that the nation which serves as the hub of a globe-spanning empire that’s held together by mass murder and war propaganda and mass-scale psychological manipulation is the only nation with a mass shooting epidemic. But this will never be studied.

It will never be studied because empire is invisible to mainstream science and social psychology, in the same way it’s invisible to mainstream media, mainstream politics, and mainstream academia. The empire is not even acknowledged to exist within the spheres of mainstream thought, and this is a deliberately engineered reality. The spheres of mainstream thought which prevent people from understanding that we are dominated by an unacknowledged empire which stretches across nations and influences our lives more than virtually anything else our attention is diverted to are actively influenced by that very empire.

We are all marinating in the US-centralized empire: its influence, its propaganda, its artificially manufactured culture, its ways of thinking. We’re so immersed in it we can’t see it. It’s like water for fish to us. So we won’t see any research into its influence on the collective psyche.

It’s weird how every US president is expected to say something after a mass shooting when US presidents are always orders of magnitude more murderous than the act they’re decrying.

“Who’s the one person we should look to after a horrific mass murder? Oh how about the head of the most murderous power structure on earth whose very existence depends on nonstop mass murder?”

Everyone shit their guts out for weeks when Trump made some asinine tweets about North Korea but Biden repeatedly threatening direct hot war with China while waging a world-threatening proxy war against Russia is just fine normal stuff.

In terms of contemporary analysis of conflict and strategy, Henry Kissinger hasn’t been one of the world’s worst war hawks for decades. This is true not because he has gotten less psychopathic, but because everyone else in Washington has gotten more so.

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Yes Henry Kissinger is a war criminal. Yes Henry Kissinger is a psychopath. Yes the world will be better off when it is finally disencumbered of him. And, also, the US foreign policy establishment has grown much, much more insane than Henry Kissinger.

The US empire has been using impoverished human beings from the Global South as testing animals and target practice for its instruments of war in preparation for much larger military confrontations that it has long been planning for.

You’ve got to graduate from an Ivy League university and read all the latest reports from the most esteemed think tanks to get smart enough to understand why it’s a good idea to fight Russia and China at the same time.

If there was a giant multitrillion-dollar corporation that was allowed to kill anyone it wants to secure its success, its behavior would not be functionally different from that of the US empire.

I never give mainstream media “credit” on those rare occasions when they do something right. They’re supposed to get it right. You don’t get brownie points for not lying and propagandizing as aggressively as you normally do. You don’t give a cop credit for not shooting everyone.

If you’re a popular comedian living under a murderous and tyrannical globe-spanning empire, it’s pretty pathetic to spend your career punching any direction but up.

It doesn’t take much work to understand that the US government is an evil institution. It does take a fair bit of work to understand that the US government is a uniquely evil institution on the world stage, with no one else coming anywhere close. People have trouble getting this; for some reason it’s not too psychologically confrontational to acknowledge that your government is or is allied with one of many bad actors, but it often causes a lot of cognitive dissonance to grapple with the possibility that it’s the absolute worst actor, by a very large margin.

_______________

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.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

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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Western Media Run Blatant Atrocity Propaganda For The Ukrainian Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 11:05pm in

(This article contains reports about child rape which might be intense for some people.)

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/ea061254bab5b72ba17cc1cc8c79700c/href

The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.

The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.

“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”

At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:

“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”

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In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.

“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.

The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:

I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.

I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!

The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!

This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.

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We cannot say definitively that these rapes never happened. We also cannot say definitively that the Australian government isn’t warehousing extraterrestrial aircraft in an underground bunker in Canberra, but we don’t treat that like it’s an established fact and publish mainstream news reports about it just because we can’t prove it’s false. That’s not how the burden of proof works.

Obviously the rape of children is a very real and very serious matter, and obviously rape is one of the many horrors which can be inflicted upon people in the lawless environment of war. But to turn strategically convenient government assertions about such matters into a news story based on no evidence whatsoever is not just journalistic malpractice but actual atrocity propaganda.

As we discussed previously, the US and its proxies have an established history of using atrocity propaganda, as in the infamous “taking babies from incubators” narrative that was circulated in the infamous 1990 Nayirah testimony which helped manufacture consent for the Gulf War.

Atrocity propaganda has been in use for a very long time due to how effective it can be at getting populations mobilized against targeted enemies, from the Middle Ages when Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian children to kill them and drink their blood, to 17th century claims that the Irish were killing English children and throwing them into the sea, to World War I claims that Germans were mutilating and eating Belgian babies.

Atrocity propaganda frequently involves children, because children cannot be construed as combatants or non-innocents, and generally involves the most horrific allegations the propagandists can possibly get away with at that point in history. It creates a useful appeal to emotion which bypasses people’s logical faculties and gets them accepting the propaganda based not on facts and evidence but on how it makes them feel.

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And the atrocity propaganda is functioning exactly as it’s meant to. Do a search on social media for this bogus story that’s been forcibly injected into public discourse and you’ll find countless individuals expressing their outrage at the evil baby-raping Russians. Democratic Party operative Andrea Chalupa, known for her controversial collusion with the Ukrainian government to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign, can be seen citing the aforementioned Daily Beast article on Twitter to angrily admonish the New York Times editorial board for expressing a rare word of caution about US involvement in the war.

“Before writing this, the members of the New York Times Editorial Board should have asked themselves who among them wanted to have their children, including babies and infants, raped by Russian soldiers, because that is what’s happening in Ukraine,” Chalupa tweeted.

See that? How a completely unevidenced government assertion was turned into an official-looking news story, and how that official-looking news story was then cited as though it’s an objective fact that Russian soldiers are running around raping babies to death in Ukraine? And how it’s done to help manufacture consent for a geostrategically crucial proxy war, and to bludgeon those who express any amount of caution about these world-threatening escalations?

That’s atrocity propaganda doing exactly what it is meant to do.

Now on top of all the other reasons we’re being given why the US and its allies need to send Ukraine more and more war machinery of higher and higher destructive capability, they also need to do so because the Russians are just raping babies to death willy nilly over there. Which just so happens to work out nicely for the US-centralized empire’s goals of unipolar domination, for the Ukrainian regime, and for the military-industrial complex.

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And that wasn’t even the extent of obscene mass media atrocity propaganda conducted on behalf of Ukrainian officials for the day. Newsweek has a new article out titled “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team,” which informs us that “The leader of a Ukrainian bomb squad has said that Russian forces are targeting children by placing explosive devices inside their rooms and under their beds.”

Then at the end of the second paragraph we again find that magical phrase:

“Newsweek has not independently verified the claim.”

The Newsweek report is based on part of an embarrassing ABC News Australia puff piece about a Ukrainian team which is allegedly responsible for removing landmines in areas that were previously occupied by Russian forces. The puff piece refers to the team as a “unit of brave de-miners” while calling Russian forces “barbaric”.

ABC uncritically reports all the nefarious ways the evil Russians have been planting explosives with the goal of killing Ukrainian civilians, including setting mines in children’s beds and teddy bears and placing them under fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Way down toward the bottom of the article we see the magical phrase again:

“The ABC has not been able to independently verify these reports, but they back up allegations made by Ukraine’s President.”

Ahh, so what you’re being told by Ukrainian forces “backs up” what you’ve been told by the president of Ukraine. Doesn’t get any more rock solid than that, does it? Great journalism there, fellas.

The Ukrainian government stands everything to gain and nothing to lose by just saying whatever it needs to say in order to obtain more weapons, more funding and increasingly direct assistance from western powers, so if it knows the western media will uncritically report every claim it makes, why not lie? Why not tell whatever lie you need to tell in order to advance your own interests and agendas? It would be pretty silly of them not to take advantage of the opening they’re being given.

This is something the western press know is happening. They know full well that Ukraine is waging a very sophisticated propaganda campaign against Russia and seeding disinformation to facilitate that infowar. It’s not a secret. They are participating in that campaign knowingly.

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The mass media have been cranking out atrocity propaganda about what’s happening in Ukraine since before the invasion even started, like when they reported in February that Russia has a list of dissidents, journalists and “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons” who it plans on rounding up and torturing when it invades. Funny how we just completely stopped hearing about that one.

And this is all happening at the same time the western political/media class continues to shriek about the dangers of “disinformation” and the urgent need to strictly regulate its circulation on the internet, even after US officials came right out and admitted that they’ve been circulating disinformation about Russia and Ukraine. I guarantee you none of these completely evidence-free claims will be subject to censorship by the “fact checkers” of social media platforms.

The fact that both Silicon Valley and the mainstream news media have accepted it as a given that it is their job to manipulate public thought about this war tells you everything you need to know about how free and truth-based the so-called liberal democracies of the western world really are. We are being deceived and confused into consenting to agendas that could very easily lead to nuclear armageddon, and if we ever raise our voices in objection to this we are branded Putin propagandists and disinformation agents.

It’s getting very, very bad. Turn around, people. Wrong way.

______________

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.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

*Don’t bother applying in Russia, it’s no use now

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/05/2022 - 1:51am in

Tags 

mcdonalds, War

*Don’t bother applying in Russia, it’s no use now

On Bush’s Freudian Confession

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/05/2022 - 10:09pm in

Tags 

News, USA, Politics, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/a10d6f2b9799c6b88901331209f1149b/href

Oh my God. It happened. I can’t believe it really happened.

During a speech in Dallas at Southern Methodist University’s George W Bush Presidential Center on Wednesday, the man himself, George W Bush, did the best thing ever. I am pretty sure it is the single best thing that has ever happened. I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say that.

While criticizing Russia for having rigged elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following comment:

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.”

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And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.

And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Putin doing was hilarious to them.

There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.

As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”

One of the many, many interesting things about this occurrence is the likelihood that Bush’s words tumbled out in the way they did because he’s either heard a lot of criticisms of his invasion or has been thinking a lot about them; a familiar neural pathway would explain why his brain chose the exact worst word he could possibly swap out for “Ukraine” in that moment. This would be a small light in the darkness for we ordinary folk who oppose war and love peace, because it suggests that even the worst empire managers cannot fully insulate themselves from our criticisms.

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The bullshit doesn’t get any more brightly illuminated than this, folks. All that spin and narrative management they’ve been pouring into the US proxy war in Ukraine, and Bush undoes it all with the Bushism to end all Bushisms.

While the western political/media class constantly rends its garments over “disinformation” about the Ukraine war even as US officials openly admit they’ve been using the media to circulate disinformation about that same war, and even as the Biden administration imprisons and persecutes a journalist for exposing US war crimes, we get a square admission that the US is no better than Russia and that the only thing obscuring this is the fact that we are all swimming in a sea of disinformation and propaganda provided by that same political/media class.

And this admission comes not from any low-level empire lackey, but from the man himself. The guy. The man whose name alone serves as a one-word debunk of every claim made about how uniquely nefarious Vladimir Putin is on the world stage and how uniquely depraved is his invasion of Ukraine.

If you really look at what just happened, really truly ingest it, this one incident just by itself is enough to show you that we are swimming in a sea of lies designed to give us an upside-down and ass-backwards perspective of what’s going on in the world. If Bush himself can’t always tell the difference between the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Ukraine, then this means our news media and our politicians are lying to us constantly. They lied to us through 2002 and 2003, and they never stopped lying, and they are lying now in the year 2022.

The entire mainstream worldview is a perceptual distortion filter which obscures the public understanding of world events so severely that Bush has been not just forgiven for his crimes but actively rehabilitated in the public eye, while the enemies of the United States are continuously compared to Adolf Hitler and condemned throughout the US-dominated world.

In reality the US is the single most tyrannical and destructive government on this planet, and it is only because the public is fed a nonstop deluge of propaganda that this isn’t universally obvious. Even the worst empire managers know deep down that this is true, and, in their less guarded moments, sometimes the truth slips out.

__________________

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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The TV Man Is Not Your Friend: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/05/2022 - 11:04am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/6fef5ea6cb6420a2792df897da18aaba/href

It’s very cute how empire apologists talk about driving Putin from Ukraine so there can be peace, like that’s a real thing. Like if it happened the war would just stop, and the US alliance wouldn’t with absolute certainty continue the attack and work to topple Moscow by any means necessary.

There’s zero reason to take on faith the MSM narrative that Ukraine is kicking Putin’s ass and victory is imminent, but even if that did happen there’d be less than zero reason to believe the fighting would stop there. If anything it would get much more dangerous from that point.

This doesn’t end with Russia leaving Ukraine, it ends with Putin being replaced with a Yeltsin-like US vassal and the eventual balkanization of the Russian Federation. Really it doesn’t end until Beijing has been subverted and the US empire secures total global hegemony. Or when the empire collapses. Or when we all get nuked and die.

Empire apologists don’t even really deny this:

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Marjorie Taylor Greene being better than progressive Democrats on Ukraine is noteworthy not because it makes Greene look good but because it makes those progressive Democrats look really, really, really bad.

People who think Tucker Carlson is fighting the establishment are exactly the same as people who think “the Squad” is fighting the establishment. Exactly the same. Same people, slightly different bumper stickers.

It’s obvious that every member of the “populist right” who’s now getting praise for being correct about Ukraine will function as virulent empire propagandists once the imperial crosshairs inevitably move from Moscow to Beijing. We know this because of their rhetoric about China today.

Do you know what happens to mainstream media figures who provide real resistance to empire agendas? They get fired or pushed out. Ask Phil Donahue or Chris Hedges. The fact that Tucker Carlson is a top pundit on imperial media (Murdoch media no less) means he’s an agent of the empire.

This belief that there are factions of the mainstream media working against the empire is as naive as the belief that there are factions of mainstream US politicians working against the empire. The empire doesn’t platform people who pose a threat to it. This isn’t complicated. The TV man is not your friend.

I run into far too many people who oppose war and can’t understand why I’m saying things about issues like China which disagree with what they’re being told by their “populist antiwar” heroes on the right. The propaganda campaign against China isn’t going to get better; it’s going to get much, much worse, and it’s important to start fighting it early. Because it’s going to be bad.

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They’re not worried about the spread of disinformation, they’re worried about the spread of information. Your rulers are not concerned that you’ll start learning wrong things about Covid or Ukraine, they are worried you’ll start learning true things about your rulers.

The imperial power structure which runs Silicon Valley, and which is imprisoning Julian Assange, and which literally just admitted it’s circulating disinformation about Russia, is not worried about disinformation. And it’s hilarious that anyone is pretending otherwise.

“No no you don’t understand, if the US and its allies didn’t give weapons to Al Qaeda and Nazi militias, the bad guys might win.”

The one single time the US had a monopoly on nuclear weapons at the same time it was at war, it used them. Not because it needed to, but as a show of force. That was the dawn of the modern US empire. That’s how it was born. And it never got any saner from there.

There is a kind of poetic beauty, I guess, in the way the US empire was birthed onto the world stage by a nuclear blast and will probably die in the same way.

Psychological abuse is still abuse. Psychological tyranny is still tyranny. The fact that a large amount of the tyranny in so-called free democracies expresses as mass-scale psychological manipulation does not make it less tyrannical, it just makes it more photogenic.

All of religion and almost all spirituality is glorified escapism at best and tyrannical psychological domination at worst, and humanity would be better off without it. But what remains just might save the world.

____________________

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.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Hospitality, The New Issue of Social Research

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 10:00pm in

Tags 

War

Image credit: Social Research The current issue of Social Research on hospitality, a subject that is intimately connected to that...

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Liberalism after Ukraine, Part 2: Changing Perceptions on Russia and NATO

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 7:54pm in

Tags 

Politics, War

It's been more than 80 days since the renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine. And so it's time for some punditry outside my expertise. I do so because the war is clearly reshaping the fate of contemporary liberalism.

Because of a badly handled American retreat from Afghanistan, Putin clearly assumed America is weak. In addition, his regime seems to have believed its own propaganda about Ukraine and so did not anticipate the military and political resistance it has encountered. When one listens to American military analysts like Michael Kofman and Dara Massicot about Russian performance, they emphasize two things: (i) don't believe the narrative you see on social media--we're still in the fog of war; (ii) it's inconceivable to send a giant army into combat that it has not really been planning to fight while keeping it secret from most of the backbone of that giant army [the logistical planners, the local commanders, etc.], and yet that's what seems to have happened. And, in addition, (iii) America's spies seem to have known more about the plans than those within the giant army.

On (i) it is worth noting that Finland's rush to abandon neutrality and join NATO and become a protectorate as part of Pax Americana, which (recall) I understand as empire with liberal characteristics, is as clear a sign of Russian weakness perceived by those with the greatest existential downside as any. Finnish neutrality has always been a least bad option for them (which has worked out surprisingly well); one their ancestors earned on the battlefield with great, heroic sacrifice; neutrality is still a bad option for them.* But since the transition period between signaling and applying for membership is the greatest risk for them in the face of stated Russian 'military-technical' retaliation, the fact that they have been increasingly brazen in pursing this otherwise high stakes policy is the clearest possible evidence of perceived Russian weakness by those who have the greatest incentive to get the facts about Russia right. The actual Russian retaliation -- suspension of some energy delivery -- has caused minor inconvenience (and suggests Russia is weak).

To be blunt: the military failures in Ukraine have exposed that Russian is no great power (in the sense that Realists use it). My friend Joshua Miller suggested this already before the war. Yes, it's a dangerous country because it has enormous amount of nuclear weapons, is capable of many lethal special operations (including electronic ones), has access to enormous natural resources, and a political leadership that is not averse to gambling with other people's lives. But it has many of the worst weaknesses of dictatorships: secrecy, bad internal communications, corruption, an economy that is seeing huge brain-drain, and a demographic crisis with declining birthrates. Their military has been able to defeat even annihilate militias, but it has not really faced modern armies (and it has been conspicuously restrained around Israel and Turkey).

At the moment Russia clearly lacks the capability of executing large scale military campaigns in a somewhat organized fashion. In fact, what has been astonishing over the last 80 days is the fact that it seems to lack the capacity to learn from failure in the field--something that is pretty much a given for any functioning army given the existential nature of war. The only really well designed military tasks that have been reported are disciplined retreats.

To be sure, the professional military analysists are right to say that Russia is no paper tiger. It has enormous fire-power. And it has shown a willingness to use it. It may well hold on to parts of Ukraine indefinitely. It's important that the Biden Administration continues its caution and level-headedness in not crossing various red lines that might lead to nuclear warfare. It's been very wise to maintain its involvement as a sponsor of a proxy-war without escalating to direct contact.

Another clear sign of Russian's regional weakness: Turkey (a NATO member) has closed off the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to warships meaning that Russia cannot now reinforce its naval capabilities in the Black Sea Fleet. So far Russia has not even bothered to try to challenge Turkey, and I have found no sign of a formal protest. (Russia does not consider its invasion of Ukraine a war; Turkey's invocation of the Montreux Convention suggests it does.) 

Of course, Russia is blockading Ukrainian ports militarily and commercially. If and when this war, as seems likely, extends into the next harvest season, world food supplies will become much tighter. (Ukraine is a major exporter.) The FAO food index is a third higher than a year ago. (The real question is if a failed Fall harvest is already priced in or not.) And high food prices, alongside rising global temperatures, are politically explosive in lots of countries.

My guess is that China and India (who surely also expected a quick war) will come to regret their support for Putin once they are faced with the effects on food and energy prices of this conflict dragging on. Of course, a lot of the worst hit countries and individuals will be those with the least power to influence any outcomes. The failure of so many important states like China and Russia, but also others who prefer to focus on American and European hypocrisy, to ignore the need for collective security and the enlightened benefits of enforcing it will be one of the main lessons of this conflict. The longer they continue to support Russia, the longer they de facto support its blockade of Ukraine, the more local social unrest they should expect around the world.

Given the structural challenges facing the overstretched Russian federation, it is an open question if it can ever recover great power status. If anything, since its mineral wealth is concentrated in the relatively unpopulated East, one must wonder if it can maintain its de facto independence vis a vis China over the next few decades and avoid debilitating civil war once Putin leaves the scene.

The military experts all emphasize that a large part of Russia's military predicament is that the stated political objectives have not adjusted to the failure of its initial aims (capture of the main cities and regime change in Ukraine as a set-up to partial annexation). Crucially, it is not making the decisions to win a war of attrition. (And given Western sanctions its capacity to do so will weaken over time.) My own view is (going beyond the experts) that if the Russian regime continues to be unwilling to make a serious political offer to Ukraine, that is, to recognize it as a political equal, in order to settle the conflict on the negotiating table that might allow it to consolidate some of its earlier gains (especially Crimea), we may well see a total collapse of (what we may call) the Russian Ukrainian expedition force later in the Fall on par with the German collapse in the Fall of 1918. 

Meanwhile beyond the military tactics it's been a good few months for perceptions about American empire. American intelligence has been impressive (also aiding Ukraine on the battlefield). Its allies and dependencies have committed to increasing defense spending, a lot of which will end up filling American military contractors' coffers. The German establishment's generation long strategy to (a) play America and Russia off against each other, and (b) to normalize the Russian regime in return for cheap energy has resulted in failure. European elites are rushing to re-integrate into US led military alliance, and the political leadership of Hungary has made it clear there is no interest in defecting toward a more neutral stance.+

It's also been a good few months for liberal democracy as a species of war-time governance. The purported decisiveness and singlemindedness of dictatorship turns out to be hollow if good information (and a willingness to act on it) cannot reach the top, as it cannot in a kleptocratic regime, where submission to the leader is preferred over loyalty to the state or truth. The contrasting images between an isolating Putin at one end of his long table and a Zelensky surrounding by his team in wartime Kyiv under fire is going to haunt the dreams of all the friends and admirers of authoritarian, purported strong men. 

While there is huge amount of support for Ukrainian freedom across the European continent,  this has not made prior association with Putin truly toxic to European electorates. Orban got re-elected comfortably. And while Le Pen lost, she did make it to the second round and got an incredible 44% (more than doubling her dad's numbers a generation ago). It is by no means obvious if, say, NATO can survive a second Trump administration. 

One of the oddities of the last few weeks has been Sweden's political elites' rush to join Finland in membership application of NATO. Sweden's policy of neutrality -- while it involved some  deviations -- basically existed for two centuries prior to 2009. And while it has a whole bunch of recent mutual defense agreements, it has, as Professor Erik Angner has noted, avoided a large public discussion of the costs and benefits of joining the NATO alliance. (Swedish publish support for NATO membership only went over 50% after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.) This may well cause downstream trouble once it has to join NATO missions unpopular domestically.

My take on the Swedish elite decision is this: Sweden, which has to deal with tactical Russian naval and air incursions in the Baltics on a regular basis, has been an EU member for over twenty five years. Its political class has clearly come to the conclusion that a true intra-European defense capability is never going to be generated (perhaps one of the side-effects of Brexit). That is to say, it does not expect 'Europe' to find a way to match its economic power with independent military capabilities. And so it has opted for American protection now that it can sell the choice. America's empire may well last a while longer unless its political class falls into the self-inflicted precipice it's been dangling over.

+An early version mistakenly included Poland alongside Hungary. I thank Weronika Grzebalska for correcting me.

*The reason Finnish neutrality is bad is that it leaves Russia in control when to change the terms of their relationship.

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