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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.