The Ukraine War: Take everything you hear from both sides with a very large pinch of salt


The propaganda is flying thick and fast over the war in Ukraine.  The US mainstream media are apparently bending over backwards to publicize and popularize the talking points of the Biden administration, and the hawks in both the Republican and Democratic parties (who basically never met a war they didn’t like) are beating their drums more and more stridently in an effort to portray Ukraine as a vital US strategic interest.  It isn’t (as I pointed out some time ago) – but that hasn’t stopped them.  They see it as an opportunity to galvanize public opinion into supporting them.

As a result, we aren’t getting any straight answers on the situation in Ukraine.  The battlefield(s) are shrouded in propaganda fog, and we don’t know what’s actually happening on the ground.  As usual in such situations, it’ll probably take years before an accurate account of the fighting becomes available.  Meanwhile, we should be very cautious about believing anything we hear about the war, and check and double-check anyone’s and everyone’s claims about it.  The mere fact that certain media outlets are repeating a given “fact” or “facts” parrot-fashion is not confirmation that those “facts” are true.  More likely, it means that those outlets are listening to the same paymaster and obeying its wishes.

Here are a few articles I’ve found useful and timely when considering the war.  Click on any headline to be taken to that article.

Neil Oliver: We watch Ukraine and Russia – but at the same time we should watch what our leaders are up to here in the West

I’ll be honest. I don’t know what’s happening in Ukraine. I don’t understand it either.

I ignore most of the mainstream media because I don’t trust it. In the Wild West world of online, where I graze widely, it feels like there are as many different assessments and explanations of the situation in Ukraine as there are people with keyboards and phones.

What I do know is that truth is rarer than gold, and therefore harder to find.

I also know that whatever Vladimir Putin is up to in Ukraine, the West must accept responsibility for a share of the blame for what is now being suffered and endured by ordinary people there … I do know that I don’t trust Putin and I don’t trust our leaders or our government, or Europe’s governments or the governments of North America either – I certainly don’t trust any of them to tell the truth.

Crony capitalism, in one form or another, has seen governments and corporate entities – some corporates so vast they have more clout than nation states, anyway – slide into bed together for the making of profits and the keeping of power. Too many people with fingers in each other’s pies, amassing wealth at the expense of the wellbeing of the rest of us. I don’t trust the lot of them as far as I could throw them.

. . .

I do know this has happened because here in the West we have stood fiddling while Rome burns. We have watched the erosion of our freedom. We have watched while the very idea of liberal democracy is hollowed out, filleted, to leave behind nothing but an empty shell … Putin is in part our fault, just as Trudeau and Macron are our fault.

We watch Ukraine and Russia. But at the same time we should watch what our leaders are up to here in the West.

Putin Goes All-in Beyond Eastern Ukraine, Tactically Appearing to Advance for All Ukraine

In many ways Ukraine is a vassal state of U.S. leftist politics.

Ukraine has been a satellite operation for the U.S. State Department for approximately 15 to 20 years.  The U.S. has held control over Ukraine, and manipulated every political outcome inside Ukraine, for well over a decade.  This reality is the source of Vladimir Putin’s angst toward the west for the same amount of time, and it’s the same reason why the EU, specifically Germany, is tenuous in any collaborative response.

. . .

Vladimir Putin seeking to take the entire country of Ukraine back under his control – highlights, at least to me, that when Joe Biden took office, the scale of U.S. manipulation and influence went back to maximum levels.  This is in contrast to four years of President Trump not manipulating Ukraine or trying to use Ukraine as a vassal for U.S. foreign policy interests. Obviously, this puts the DC and Deep State (CIA and State Dept) attack on Trump, using Ukraine, into a specific context.

While there is no justification for President Putin to take all of Ukraine, an independent nation under Russian control, the Occam’s Razor geopolitical explanation would indicate Putin just reached a point where enough was enough.  Taking all of Ukraine away from U.S. control puts a stop to our using the Russian border state for our own interests.

Again, the scale and scope of Putin’s commitment here shows a particular radically strong motive to cut out what he sees as the U.S. cancer completely. This is the aspect I did not anticipate.  I expected Putin to throw a strong brush back pitch against the U.S. and retake control over eastern Ukraine, where he is appreciated.  I did not expect Putin to throw multiple fast balls directly at the head of team U.S.A.

Ukraine’s Deadly Gamble

Yes, the Ukrainian soldiers standing up to Putin are very brave, but it was Americans that put them in harm’s way by using their country as a weapon, first against Russia and then against each other, with little consideration for the Ukrainian people who are now paying the price for America’s folly.

. . .

Yes, Putin wants to prevent NATO from expanding to Russia’s border. But the larger answer is that he finds the U.S. government’s relationship with Ukraine genuinely threatening. That’s because for nearly two decades, the U.S. national security establishment under both Democratic and Republican administrations has used Ukraine as an instrument to destabilize Russia, and specifically to target Putin.

While the timing of Putin’s attack on Ukraine is no doubt connected to a variety of factors, including the Russian dictator’s read on U.S. domestic politics and the preferences of his own superpower sponsor in Beijing, the sense that Ukraine poses a meaningful threat to Russia is not a product of Putin’s paranoia—or of a sudden desire to restore the power and prestige of the Soviet Union, however much Putin might wish for that to happen. Rather, it is a geopolitical threat that has grown steadily more pressing and been employed with greater recklessness by Americans and Ukrainians alike over the past decade.

War Propaganda About Ukraine Becoming More Militaristic, Authoritarian, and Reckless

There is a … climate that arises whenever a new war erupts, instantly creating propaganda-driven, dissent-free consensus. There is no propaganda as potent or powerful as war propaganda. It seems that one must have lived through it at least once, as an engaged adult, to understand how it functions, how it manipulates and distorts, and how one can resist being consumed by it … war propaganda stimulates the most powerful aspects of our psyche, our subconscious, our instinctive drives. It causes us, by design, to abandon reason. It provokes a surge in tribalism, jingoism, moral righteousness and emotionalism: all powerful drives embedded through millennia of evolution. The more unity that emerges in support of an overarching moral narrative, the more difficult it becomes for anyone to critically evaluate it. The more closed the propaganda system is — either because any dissent from it is excluded by brute censorship or so effectively demonized through accusations of treason and disloyalty — the more difficult it is for anyone, all of us, even to recognize one is in the middle of it.

When critical faculties are deliberately turned off based on a belief that absolute moral certainty has been attained, the parts of our brain armed with the capacity of reason are disabled.

. . .

It is genuinely hard to overstate how overwhelming the unity and consensus in U.S. political and media circles is. It is as close to a unanimous and dissent-free discourse as anything in memory, certainly since the days following 9/11 … And U.S. public opinion has consequently undergone a radical and rapid change; while recent polling had shown large majorities of Americans opposed to any major U.S. role in Ukraine, a new Gallup poll released on Friday found that “52% of Americans see the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as a critical threat to U.S. vital interests” with almost no partisan division (56% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats), while “85% of Americans now view [Russia] unfavorably while 15% have a positive opinion of it.”

The purpose of these points, and indeed of this article, is not to persuade anyone that they have formed moral, geopolitical and strategic views about Russia and Ukraine that are inaccurate. It is, instead, to highlight what a radically closed and homogenized information system most Americans are consuming. No matter how convinced one is of the righteousness of one’s views on any topic, there should still be a wariness about how easily that righteousness can be exploited to ensure that no dissent is considered or even heard, an awareness of how often such overwhelming societal consensus is manipulated to lead one to believe untrue claims and embrace horribly misguided responses.

And finally, a reminder that the Ukraine conflict has the potential to dramatically increase the price – and reduce the availability – of food worldwide.  Allied to drastic increases in price and shortage of supply of fertilizers, this could be the tipping point for genuine food shortages, even famines in poorer countries.  Two reports make that very clear.

How a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ‘breadbasket of Europe,’ could hit supply chains

From wheat to barley, and copper to nickel, analysts tell CNBC that supply chains are set to be disrupted as the crisis takes a turn for the worse.

Ukraine is considered the “breadbasket of Europe,” and an invasion would result in the food supply chain getting “hit hard,” said Alan Holland, CEO and founder at sourcing technology company Keelvar.

. . .

Ukraine produces wheat, barley and rye that much of Europe relies on, analysts said. It’s also a big producer of corn … In fact, it’s not just the European Union that will be hit — many nations in the Middle East and Africa also rely on Ukranian wheat and corn, and disruptions to that supply could affect food security in those regions, said Dawn Tiura, president at Sourcing Industry Group.

“China is also a big recipient of Ukrainian corn — in fact, Ukraine replaced the U.S. as China’s top corn supplier in 2021,” she said.

Wheat and corn prices were already soaring. Wheat futures traded in Chicago have jumped about 12% since the start of this year, while corn futures spiked 14.5% in the same period.

Food inflation has been rising, and could worsen if an armed conflict erupts.

. . .

Russia is also the world’s top wheat exporter. Together with Ukraine, both account for roughly 29% of the global wheat export market.

Michael Yon puts that harsh reality in perspective.

Global Food Supply: CRITICAL

We never have experienced a global famine. Conditions are set.

Food Security has been divided into 5 Levels:

1) Minimal (January 2020, the world was at this level)

2) Stressed (by mid to late 2020, the world on whole was here)

3) Crisis (We are here)

4) Emergency (later this year)

5) Famine (scattered later this year, and severe risk globally in 2023)

This simply cannot be overstressed. If you have not already, you MUST stock up. Encourage as many people as possible to stock up. Threat Level is CRITICAL.

Most famines do not last more than two years. However…this one has great potential to be a doozy. Everything you buy now is far more expensive than in 2020, but “on sale” compared to what you will pay later this year.

All the above articles provide food for thought.  I can only suggest that you read them in full, and think about them – particularly the last two.

Finally, I repeat:  DON’T TRUST ANY NEWS MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN UKRAINE OR WHAT IT MEANS.  Nobody knows for sure what’s happening, and we won’t know for some time to come.  In the meantime, if the news media are untrustworthy about what’s going on, politicians are even less trustworthy.  Take anything they say with a double pinch of salt, and if they all agree with each other, take it for granted that they’re lying and/or trying to mislead you – probably both.



  1. As Vox Day likes to point out, whatever the real story is, you can guarantee that whatever story the mainstream media and its backers are pumping out is not it.

  2. Yeah so as someone from a former soviet state, I’m not going to be able to put much stock in the political opinions of someone who thinks that the only possible reason for a former soviet state to be anti-Russian is for them to be on US payroll. Clearly we’re not going to agree on the politics of the matter.

    I’d be more interested in your analysis of tactics and strategy (or seeming lack thereof), based on your knowledge, prior research, and experience of war and combat. There’s a lot of interesting goings-on out there and it would be interesting to hear your opinion on them. What would you expect to be seeing, what would you expect to be hearing. What’s missing from the reports, from the photos, the video; what’s there that shouldn’t be.

  3. Russian economy in freefall, and Putin's headed for early retirement, either incommunicado to his dacha, forever, or else after committing suicide by shooting himself in the back of the head three or four times.

    If he makes it to the end of next week alive and still running things, I'll be surprised.

    He's not in control, he's Captain Ahabski.

  4. M4 points a view that few Americans seem to get, SU occupation after WW2 is quite enough of a reason to be anti Russian State whatever it's political orientation is said to be.

    I think the Russian tactics originally were very simple: march in with no opposition and take charge. It did not go quite that easily. I have seen a few pics with tracked vehicles stuck in the famous Ukrainian mud, if the melted ground frost is common then the Russians are limited to roads. You let them in in patches and destroy on the roads after they run out of gas or they run into the ambushes. If so it is kind of risky but fairly effective if the defender has enough ammo, tried and tested here in WW2.

    If on the other hand the Ukrainians are just lucky to get some of the road columns they are going to lose, slowly but surely. On the way Russian casualties are going to be very high but Vlad does not care much about that.

  5. @m4


    I don't think anyone in any of those articles – I admittedly have not read every one – has the position that the only reason, blah blah blah.

    So, as someone in the same boat as you, since you used that as authority to back up your opinions:

    1) We have yet to see if Putin makes good on limiting himself to his stated goals, barring changes brought about by outside forces.

    2) Sure, the Nazi thing may be overexaggerated, but, given what the ADL screams about around these parts, if we in the US had independent battalion-level private militias complete with support weapons and armor operating with the tacit support and consent of the government, sporting SS symbology, with it's own officials admitting that 10-20% of the recruits are likley neo-nazis, that for giggles goes around attacking california and beating up angelinos for being liberal (doesn't map perfectly to beating up and killing russian speakers out of hand), do you think the ADL and libs would minimize it?

    3) Nato no longer has a reason for existence, and even if it hadn't made promises not to, has been the expansionary power for the last three decades

    4) Ukraine is hardly innocent in it's treatment of the eastern provinces.

    5)The government of Ukraine, as it is, is a puppet state, bending the knee to our politicians when asked to do minor things like, oh, fire a prosecutor doing corruption investigations when the vice president's son just happens to sit on the board of burisima. Apparently for his vast energy experience.

    6) While we're at it – how many other nepotistic assignments were made in Ukraine for top senators/etc from the US?

    7) When the shoe was on the opposite foot back in the 60's, we nearly went to war with the USSR over it, not just Cuba.

    8) Putin's a thug, sure. He's also a competent thug in the evil overlord kind of way. I'm sure some of this is him wanting to expand his own power, but that doesn't change the fact that we've handed him this excuse.

  6. I think it would take months of hard research to understand the impacts from the economies of Russia, and the Ukraine. A fat, healthy economy makes the comfortable lazy, the hungry desperate, and the bankers throwing all ethics away. If I had to guess, Russia is facing an economic crises, resources are not as they should be, and Ukraine wanting to join NATO is a threat that can't be ignored; especially after all the corrupt politics of the last three decades. Putin may be playing his last ace, and going all in with the hope he can save his nation.

  7. One only needs to know the position that George Soros and Klaus Schwab have adopted in the Rus-Ukr conflict in order to decide who the bad guys are.

  8. @LR can’t answer all those points, but I’ll take a punt at a few.
    1) He’s been lying about the casualties and about the “precision weapons” / where they’re landing, so he’s not exactly doing well on the truth.

    2) While noted, and reminding ourselves that as much as one side will minimise the other will maximise, I also recall that the Russians invaded my homeland to get rid of the Nazis (the real thing, hitler and all), and they also neglected to leave until they were thrown out forty years later. Let’s not forget the persecution of our pilots who had fought hitler in the skies over Europe.

    3) I’d disagree, the country that is being invaded isn’t part of NATO and the remaining non-NATO neighbours were told they’re next if they so much as think about it. Having a mutual defence pact in the event of an invasion by Russia is a very good thing right now.

    4) While I can neither confirm nor deny this statement, I am quite confident that the recent shelling of those regions was a false flag attack to provide a pretext for this invasion – even as far back as Crimea, Ukraine has been *very* careful to not look like the aggressor and ensured the world was watching. Again, no comment on any other allegations as I’m not familiar with those.

    5) This is the same puppet state that had to have aid withheld so as to be convinced to do something? Maybe let’s not go there; even if taken as entirely true that our politicians have undue influence there, they’re not Belarus or Chechnya. You won’t see US nukes in Ukraine and you won’t have Ukraine firing missiles at Russia just because a US politician said so.

    6) Pass, entirely outside the scope of my knowledge. You’re welcome to bring me up to speed if it aids your point.

    7) That would lend some credence to my theory that Putin is actually trying to start a (“defensive”) war with NATO. Then again, Cuba had Russian troops/equipment and Russian nukes on the ground as I recall, so I’m not sure if the comparison holds. Could be Putin is afraid that it’d go that way, but that would require admitting that Ukraine is of strategic importance to the US, which Peter would have us believe it is not.

    8) He’s been trying to provoke an excuse for weeks (years if we count Crimea) and eventually manufactured one out of whole cloth. Ukraine has been very careful not to give him anything to work with, and NATO is likewise doing its level best to stay the hell out of it. I’m not at all sold on the idea that anyone’s handed him an excuse so much as he’s helped himself to one.

    Personal theory, he wanted to start a war with NATO so he could sweep in while everyone’s looking at Ukraine and military spending is low. Ukraine not falling would be a major sticking point of that plan, as would NATO failing to intervene militarily. If this theory were to be correct, we’d also be seeing provocations against NATO (which we’re seeing in terms of “stay out of this or we’ll nuke you”, “don’t join NATO unless you want to end up like Ukraine”, the increased readiness of the nuclear forces, and the threatened nuclear proliferation in Belarus) as well as unconscionable acts in Ukraine to try to provoke intervention (not seeing that, the current collateral damage seems entirely in line with careless rather than deliberate acts… but there’s still time).

    Don’t know how much confidence I have in that theory, but it’s the best I could come up with (other than Soviet-grade misappropriation of funds / propaganda) to explain the situation out there. Based on a few factors which themselves may or may not be accurate etc. Very much a banter over a pint sort of theory.

  9. The last time Russia had control of the Ukraine they killed 3.9 million men, women and children by deliberate starvation. Then they mismanaged Chernobyl and exposed the Ukrainians to radiation; all the while lying about it.
    Would one think all that, might enter into the Ukrainian decision-making process?

  10. I posted this at Chicagoboyz, yesterday, after a long, long thread immediately below, concerning war developments. (a discussion which verges on the heated, BTW.)

    The Bodyguard of Lies

    "It’s screamingly obvious to anyone save perhaps the most gullible in a present-day university history program, that attempting to research the events and conduct of a war – and figuring out what is happening while the war is still ongoing is an impossibility. Were the defenders of Snake Island all killed in a Russian barrage … or are they alive, and prisoners of war? Is the Russian advance going as clockwork towards their goals … or are they being turned back? Have Ukrainian fighter aircraft shot down a Russian transport aircraft? Successfully ambushed a Russian column on an unspecified mission here or there in the conflict zone? Who is coming out ahead, dead or alive, on the ground or in the struggle for the eyeballs and sympathies of the outside world, watching with unswerving attention? What are we being told, and what is there to gain from us believing it?"

  11. China is the leading supplier of of phosphate fertilizers, and they have an export ban in place. Ukraine and Russia are not only leading exporters of wheat, but of ammonia and potash fertilizers. Natural gas is the feedstock for ammonia fertilizers, and the European plants shut down due to the price of natural gas over there.

    If outright famine is to be averted, we need to open the fracklog here, we need to send frackers to Europe to start natural gas production there, and the fertilizer factories in North America need to run around the clock.

  12. Regarding Ukrainian propaganda, my need for the truth from the Ukraine is less then their need for survival.

    I wouldn't base policy, tactical or strategic decisions on anything written in corporate media, or on social media.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *