activism Paul Street Ukraine

Stop This Imperialist Russian War

We must press the war masters on both/all sides of the Ukrainian conflict to negotiate for peace since there’s no social justice, no democracy, and no livable ecology for the common good on a war-levelled planet any more than on a climate-baked Earth.
[Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Paul Street / CounterPunch

Try Harder

I would encourage many online “leftists” to try a lot harder not to come off as Vladimir Putin bootlickers indifferent to the plight of ordinary Ukrainians (and for that matter of everyday Russians who are losing access to non-state media and who face 15 years in prison for even calling Putin’s war of invasion a war or an invasion) when you bring up the undeniably horrible role of the imperialist United States and the imperialist North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Russian people are captive to an imperialist capitalist gangster state understood as such by many Russian Marxists, who oppose Putin’s war of invasion. F*ck Putin and his oligarchic regime.

“We so-called ‘bootlickers,’” an old white left Putinist wrote me in the name of anti-imperialism, “are standing up to the pressure of the new Cold War just as Paul Robeson stood up in the first.” I guess Comrade Dinosaur hasn’t heard about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of kleptocratic gangster capitalism in Russia. Everyone on what’s left of an actual Left opposes NATO and a New Cold War (see below), but the smarter ones among us reject the false belief that there’s only one imperialism (the US-American Empire) on Earth.

F the Zelinsky Cult Too

At the same time, I would encourage other leftists and progressives and liberals to also distance themselves from the Cult of Zelinsky – a mediocre comedian turned oligarchic politician who was first granted world celebrity status by Donald Trump (who earned his first impeachment by trying to use the threat of withholding US military aid to bully Zelinsky into somehow providing political dirt on Joe Biden) and who has now been turned into a Western messiah by Vladimir Putin, the US, Europe, NATO, and the corporate media. Zelinsky’s call for a NATO-imposed No-Fly Zone over Ukraine is a call for US warplanes to directly engage Russian jets and thus a call for great power escalation potentially proceeding to World War III, which nobody wins. Talk about reckless!

“If you won’t close the air-space over Ukraine, then give us planes to fight back,” Zelinsky says. That’s not much better than No-Fly. That too will make it impossible to NATO to be taken seriously in claiming that it is not at war with Russia. Who will fly Polish Soviet-era fighter aircraft into Ukraine? “If Ukrainian pilots do,” the military historian Alexander Hill writes on The Conversation, “then they are operating from NATO bases, but if Polish pilots do, then are they participants in the war? Few in the West or Russia want open war between NATO and the Russians…For the West to get even more deeply involved militarily,” Hill adds, “would undoubtedly open the door to a much wider war, one that would dramatically increase the possibility that nuclear weapons will be used. The current Ukraine crisis simply cannot be allowed to morph into the Third World War or a conflict in which the West’s end game is Putin’s ‘unconditional surrender.’ Even if he’s saber-rattling to instill fear, Putin’s hints at the possible use of nuclear weapons must not simply be dismissed, because the stakes are too high….”

Zelinsky soaks up the love and adoration the television actor craves in his new role on the global stage while women and children die so that Ukraine can cling to the poison option of someday joining the mass-murderous Western imperialist military alliance (NATO) – something that any Russian state (including an imaginary socialist Russia) would legitimately consider an existential threat (Imagine Ontario refusing to stay out of a Chinese and/or Russian military alliance that already claimed northern Mexico, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan).

No to Zelinsky and his Western imperialist allies and the vast Western ideological apparatus that have converted him into a symbol of “democracy” and “freedom.” He is, as I once described Barack Obama, “the [US and Western] Empire’s New Clothes”: a supposedly insurgent but in fact oligarch-backed rockstar called forth by history to wrap the bloody-toothed wolf of Western capitalism-imperialism in adorable sheep’s clothing.

Perhaps that judgement is too harsh, but this seems clear: the cult of Zelensky, the related exaggeration of Ukraine resistance power, and the smoothing of the path to NATO engagement with Russia (via Polish planes and/or pilots) seems likely to get a large mass of human beings turned into corpses before their time.

As events speed forward to possible if not likely further and expanded disaster, it is difficult indeed not to acknowledges the wisdom of George Kennan’s oft-quoted 1997 warning. In a New York Times opinion piece, the architect of the United States Cold War policy of Soviet “containment,” argued that “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error in American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” Kennan predicted that “it would inflame nationalistic, anti-western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion,” “have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy,” “restore the atmosphere of cold war to east-west relations,” and “impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”

You Can Oppose Two and Even Three Things at the Same Time

Here is a very wise reflection from the venerable Left commentator Peter McLaren:

Listening to many news reports that have decried the bloody violence inflicted by the Russian military in Ukraine reveals a disturbing trend: there appears to be a flagrant ethnocentricity and racism at work. Some pundits appear to be upset with the Russian attack on Ukraine mainly because (as they shockingly proclaim) it’s a war between prosperous middle-class people, between peoples that you would never find in Third World populations in Latin America or Africa, between ‘civilized’ people, people who ‘look like us’ – fashionable victims, unlike those unfashionable victims being bombed in, say, Yemen. If they were reporting on a war between tribal factions in Africa, they would not be nearly as emotionally invested. Those are the pundits whose demands for NATO to impose a no-fly zone are the loudest. But a physical engagement between Russia and NATO would be guaranteed to bring about mutually assured destruction…Social media accounts of the war raise our emotions to a fever pitch. But we cannot lose our capacity for sound, rational judgement. And that means that those of us in the West must continue to challenge the imperialist playbook of NATO, as we continue to challenge Putin… We must hold all imperialist regimes accountable for their crimes the world over. That is why socialist internationalism is so important, especially at this inflection point in history… All imperialist regimes must be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Notice McLaren’s ability to properly criticize two, even three things at the same time – Putin’s criminal aggression, NATO imperialism, and racist selectivity in media designation of who counts as a worthy victim of imperialist aggression. We need more thinkers and activists to chew gum, walk, and raise and chant for peace at the same time.

“The Last Thing the U.S. Wants is for Peace to Break Out”: Hence “the New Winston Churchill”

On the morning of Monday, March 7Reuters reported the Kremlin’s offer to immediately cease hostilities – to end its military actions “in a moment” – if Ukraine and the West do four things: cease military action as part of a wider ceasefire; change Ukraine’s constitution to enshrine neutrality, meaning pledge to stay out of NATO; acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory; recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states. In other words, the Minsk Accords.

The offer received little if any attention in the big three cable news networks (CNN, MSNBC, and FOX) entrusted with manufacturing mass consent to US and Western imperialism. As my correspondent Frank Hughes explains:

“Basically the Minsk Accords which Russia has agreed to in principle all along and the us has consistently scuttled. As [Russian foreign minister Sergi] Lavrov has stated on multiple occasions, ‘they refuse to negotiate.’ The last thing the US wants at this point is for peace to break out. From the US perspective the more dead Ukrainians, he better. Ukies need to wake up. There’s no doubt about who will ‘win’ this and Russia’s offer is not going to get any better.”

As another correspondent, Terry Thomas reflected on Tuesday morning:

“I have checked all over the internet and see no reference this peace offer anywhere. Everything is ‘Biden to prohibit Russian energy imports.’ Also, and this is rich, apparently kissing Maduro’s ass to try to get oil from Venezuela. Just saw an article referring to Zelensky as a new Winston Churchill. And my guess is Biden wants to humiliate and completely defeat Putin, probably wants him gone. Then he can announce to the world that freedom has prevailed and get a big boost in his flagging approval ratings. The idea of rational conclusion to this bloody chapter may have gone away when Russian troops crossed the border, which would help explain [Washington’s] apparent refusal to really negotiate with Putin prior to invasion. Perhaps they were not completely displeased when the shooting started.”

Negotiate

It’s a shame, likely to kill a large number of soldiers and noncombatants. Instead of dismissing and burying Putin’s peace offer, the West should, well, negotiate to save lives and to pre-empt the slide to great nuclear power conflict. As the bloody battle for Kyiv beckons, what in the name of God would be so horrible about (a) pledging Ukrainian neutrality (maybe this could be negotiated down from a constitutional change), (b) officially accepting the fait accompli of Crimea’s incorporation into Russia, and (c) recognizing independence (or perhaps negotiating increased autonomy) in the two Russian-speaking breakaway provinces? How many more Russian and ordinary troops and how many Ukrainian civilians needs to die so that some version of the Minsk Accords can’t be implemented? Is the prevention of official Ukrainian neutrality and demilitarization really worth tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths and potential escalation to nuclear winter? Seriously?

The alternatives are not pretty and the likelihood of decent outcomes with accepting some version of the terms offered are not high. “Putin won’t back down without some sort of win… If things carry on as they are,” professor Hill writes. Further:

“the result will eventually be diplomatic discussions about just the sort of terms Putin has put forward — but after countless additional deaths and unimaginable suffering in Ukraine. The likelihood of Ukraine fighting Russia to the point at which Putin is willing to drop any demands is still extremely low, no matter how many weapons the West provides Ukraine. There’s a chance Putin will be overthrown, but at this moment in time that too is unlikely. Putin has more support in Russia than many western commentators seem willing to admit, and currently has a firm hold of the reins of power…A long, drawn-out war and the impact of sanctions will drain Russian support for Putin’s war, but we shouldn’t underestimate the strength of Putin’s resolve or patriotic elements within Russia.”

Wise words.

“Back After This Brief Message”: Scenes of Depravity Floating in the Icy Waters of Bourgeois Calculation

Here is a grave MSNBC understatement I saw a few nights ago: “A No-Fly Zone is a big ask.” No shit! Someone should tell NBC there’s no advertising revenue from Liberty Mutual and Pfizer under conditions of nuclear winter. Which reminds me: it is deeply offensive and disturbing to watch the cable news talking heads move from scenes of sheer horror in Ukraine to the Liberty Mutual insurance idiot with is f*#king emu. Wow: “we’ll be right back with more images of dead families, live coverage of nuclear power plants under artillery attack and reflections on potential nuclear after a few infantilizing messages from our parasitic corporate sponsors.” Thomas again:

“Been watching these scenes of pain, misery, and cruelty for more than a week now, and I have hit a point where the commercials have become something different than they were before. Previously, before this all started, I sort of saw them as part of the creepy absurdity of late consumer capitalism and a bizarre manifestation of the obvious power behind the information I was being fed. I would turn the volume off when they came on. But it was just sort of the pathetic way our pathetic society did its pathetic thing. But now they seem like something way worse, way darker: something truly odious, disgusting, and quite frankly evil. These talking heads can go through scene after scene of absolute human depravity and then inform us they’ll be back after “this brief message” to show us some more depravity. They don’t blink an eye or even show embarrassment at what they are doing. It all just speaks volumes. How anyone could watch the juxtaposition of the two and find it anything but filthy and existentially hollow is beyond me. Real horror brought to you by evil absurdity… It’s not like this horrible stuff doesn’t happen on a regular basis, and of course a good deal of it the result of the degenerate late capitalism complex that also pukes up the Liberty Mutual commercials. But it is the way cable news is covering this particular horror story, and then they have the audacity to simply do the other shit without as much as a comment or an apology. It is really beyond description. And apparently Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett and Lawrence O’Donnell don’t seem to notice or care at all, which makes it just surreal.”

These are things that the Frankfurt School, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, and Neal Postman, among others, have tried to warn us about. Like also-capitalist US foreign policy, it’s shameless, soulless, crass, cynical, cold, calculating. “The bourgeoisie,” two young and peripatetic German philosophers-turned-communists wrote in 1838, “has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation… All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned….” Capitalism is imperialist and it is also socio-pathological like the modern corporation and the military industrial complexes it has hatched.

No War but the People’s War

“Fight the Rich, Not Their Wars.”

“No to Putin, No to NATO: Stand with the People.”

“No War but the People’s War.”

“The Working People Have No Country.”

These slogans no doubt strike many liberals, and many “left” campists as empty platitudes. I disagree. We must press the war masters on both/all sides to negotiate for peace since there’s no social justice, no democracy, and no livable ecology for the common good on a war-levelled planet any more than on a climate-baked Earth. But we must also wage a people’s war on class rule and oligarchs of all national stripes for it is the chaotic and soulless capitalist order that most fundamentally gives rise to modern imperial war (and eco-cide) in the first place.

Paul Street’s new book is The Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement.

95 comments

  1. “I would encourage many online “leftists” to try a lot harder not to come off as Vladimir Putin bootlickers indifferent to the plight of ordinary Ukrainians ”

    I would encourage Counterpunch to not come off as Biden cocksuckers indifferent to the plight of ordinary Ukrainians.

    1. Hmm, I must not have read the same article.
      Thanks for the redirection of understanding.
      Even cognitive dissonance hasn’t got a pittance of a chance relative to some interpretations.

    2. Naah, I’m all with him. When he’s done dismantling USnato I’ll have a talk with Putin. I’m sure we can work something out.

  2. When I point out on social media that Putin has expressed concerns that are vital to Russia and not imaginary, that the Biden neocon crew has refused diplomacy and exacerbated conflict, and that Biden et al are the ones who can stop this war in an instant, I get labeled as Paul Street says people call, “an ass-licking Putin apologist.”
    I agree with Paul, but I usually limit myself to only two things to keep in mind at once, “this war in Ukraine is literally terrible, the US/NATO are responsible as much as Putin.” Or, is that three things?

  3. I’m simply bewildered at how people can’t see It by now. Yet I’m quite sure if a well-known academic, scholar or politician voiced similar observations then their peers would at the very least be engaging with the author and perhaps even discussing them publicly.

    Seems however the unconscious hierarchy of interpretation will remain ingrained until a ‘name’ puts their head above the parapet. Until then, like it or not, acknowledge it or not;

    ‘Tory Militarisation of UK Is Inevitable’ (2022) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-33w

    …which if it succeeds on its own terms will be made to spread – globally.

    Good luck all but honestly, we really haven’t helped ourselves…

    Twitter: @GasGilligan (©2017) *free download*.

  4. Excellent column. We the people ought to oppose all the sides.
    Stop the war and end NATO.

  5. Our top legislators have approved an additional $1.5 trillion for our military just for Ukrainian operations. We’re supposedly not escalating this crap?

    1. You have either a problem understanding the news or a problem telling the truth.
      Congress approved a 1.5 T$ spending bill for all federal expenditures, 13.6 B$ (less than 1%) are allocated as aid for the Ukraine.

  6. I agree with most of the sentiments expressed here, even though I don’t consider myself a leftist. I do think it’s very… idealistic, which is okay in my book, in theory. Unfortunately, relations, let alone wars between large and powerful states are seldom, if ever, based on noble principles and high ideals. They are closer to the strategies and tactics employed by rival gangsters in old-time Chicago.

    As the people, the working class, are virtually powerless almost everywhere, have no political organisations, no mass-circulation newspapers, no tv channels, no rivals to Google or Facebook, no political leaders and are subjected to mass political indoctrination by mass propaganda… I don’t know what their role in what’s happening in Ukraine is? The left, liberals, are so fragmented and disorganised that I don’t see how they can influence anything. If we lived in healthy and functioning democriacies in the West, where citizens had real power, influence and true citizenship, things would be different. Only we don’t live in those kind of states anymore, if we ever really did. I think the era of ‘democracy’ is over in the West. We’ve still got much of the ritual and rhetoric, but the substance has been eroded to almost nothing.

    It gets much worse. We cannot have meaningful democracy when we’ve been on an aggressive war spree for decades. Democracy would have stopped this lurch and practice and put the political elite on trial for their obvious crimes. Only this didn’t happen anywhere in the West, on the contrary, going to war became easier, not harder. The difference was we didn’t send vast armies abroad anymore, we used mercenaries, terrorists and proxies to do the killing and bleeding, like in Afghanistan.

    I’m not sure what choice Russia had in Ukraine. Washington didn’t want a peaceful resolution to the problems there, they wanted conflict. First one creates a ‘coup’ that overthrows the elected government, speardheaded by ultra-rightists, then one pours weapons into the place and supports the creation of a Spartan state preparing for war against Russia down the line. A state dedicated to war and little else as far as I can see and Washington was fine with this. Only Ukraine in NATO a Ukraine that attached Russia would mean WW3 breaking out for obvious reasons.

    Washington is ready to sacrifice Ukraine to bring down Putin’s regime, whatever one thinks of it, and that’s a price worth paying seen from Washington’s perspective. A new Afhanistan in the heart of Europe, right on Russia’s doorstep, and didn’t Afghanistan turn out well? As the media is under almost total state/corporate control in the West and democracy has broken down, there is no left anymore or anti-war movement to speak of. Washington wants war and destruction in Ukraine to weaken Russia in a giant great game on the imperialist chessboard. Here there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, no ‘good’ or ‘bad’, only the battlefield. What was so bad about creating a neutral and peaceful Ukraine based on compromise. A federal Ukraine, with regional autonomy? Only Washington didn’t want that outcome and the ultra-nationalist didn’t either. They all wanted war and worked hard for war, and now they’ve got it.

  7. As ugly as things appear to be, I fear there are deeper, uglier truths lurking just below the surface. Like what’s with those bio-weapons labs we have in the Ukraine? Why does half of the democratic leaderships close relations have connections with corrupt Ukrainian Oligarchs? Why doe’s the leadership of the west seemed determined to blow up the entire world economy while at the same time creating and irrevocable schism with over half the population of the world (Russia, China, India) over a self manufactured crisis in a country that at least in theory has no economic benefit to the west at all (Ukraine).

    When I declare that we are led by madmen and psychopaths, I often think people interpret that as being overly dramatic. I wish.

  8. Read this piece on Counter-Punch last evening. So glad to see it again here at Scheer post.

  9. In December 2021 Putin put forward a nine-point draft treaty to discuss his concerns about the further expansion of NATO, the management of war games on each others borders, the US dropping out of key nuclear treaties, and other matters. This was described as “his demands.” They all seemed reasonable to me and they were proposed for discussion, I did not read them as ultimatums. Biden chose to ignore this proposal and , very unfortunately and I’d feel stupidly, Russia invaded Ukraine. Now all we hear from Biden is escalation and further arming the Ukrainians, nothing about ways out of this mess. In addition, Biden keeps sending Zelensky back to negotiate with Putin.

    My summary of this situation is that there is a football game going on between the US and Russia. Ukraine and maybe others in the World, think that the game is between Ukraine and Russia. Biden sending Zelensky back for negotiations might make it look this way. But for Russia and the US, Ukraine is the football, not a player in this game. And every time a Ukrainian or a Russian dies, Biden scores a point. When the Russians bomb a hospital, Biden wins big time. His goal is see Russia damaged to the greatest extent possible, so its all the better when they damage themselves. Only Ukrainian and Russian lives are at stake anyway, right?

    For all of the “support” the World has for the Ukrainian people in the way of sanctions – which may never have an effect – I am not hearing people call for real negotiations to end the killing and destruction.

    1. @Mike McElfresh
      So if the Russians really want to stick it to Biden they should just go home! It seems that you imply that Putin is an American sleeper agent doing Biden’s bidding!

      1. My comment is quite simple, the real game is between Biden and Putin, enemies of each other. No sleeper nonsense, they are enemies. Ukraine is the ball these guys are using to play their game. Ukraine is the biggest loser, but as long as Biden refuses to come to the table to discuss NATO, the Russians are also losing and Biden keeps winning. And the more weapons the West gives Ukraine the more Ukrainians that are going to die. Biden could stop this immediately if he chose to do so.

        You may want to read Meirsheimer and McGovern on this. This is straight out of the post-WWII US playbook.

  10. LEFT LOCKDOWN SKEPTICS:

    For, now, we have almost the entirety of the modern left lining up to support the authoritarian ‘pandemic’ policies of the world’s capitalist states, and its neo-Stalinist ones, that the left of old would have once instinctively screamed blue murder about, including:

    shutting down entire economies and throwing masses of workers out of jobs whilst slashing wages for those left idling in the limbo-land of state-paid furlough,
    trashing civil liberties (freedoms of speech, association, protest, movement, etc.) which have been the fruit of centuries of working class struggle,
    saturating the media with totalitarian-intensity government propaganda whilst censoring dissident views and debate,
    forcing the wearing of filthy face-rags and other rituals of regime loyalty,
    cancelling children’s education,
    micro-managing people’s everyday lives with arbitrary, ever-changing and ludicrous Public Health Orders on what is and isn’t allowed using made-up ‘science’ which is kept hidden from the public,
    forcing an unnecessary for most, harmful for many, and ineffective for all, experimental gene-therapy on the population,
    demonising, marginalising, scapegoating and discriminating against a subset of second-class citizens who decline to hand over control of their body to the state,
    facilitating Big Pharma to turbo-charge its profits ledger as a reward for its stage-magic of the Saviour Vaccine; and
    suspending working class recreational and cultural pursuits whilst generally sucking all the pleasure and joy out of life.

    As if all that weren’t enough, the modern left has deemed, as both necessary and unproblematic, cockamamie levels of ‘pandemic’ government expenditure which is seeding a major rise in inflation (at thirty/forty year highs) which will erode real wages and reduce living standards, and which our economic managers will attempt to control by lifting interest rates, increasing taxes and cutting social expenditure, all of which are the precursors to a recession which will be further deepened by the servicing of a stonking great ‘pandemic’ debt through the giant financial Ponzi scheme of yet more government borrowing and money-printing (‘quantitative easing’) at the expense of the next generation of the working class. A macro-economic program all socialists could get behind!

    Before Covid, the left would have put a big red cross against all of these anti-working-class policy disasters but, après Covid, the pro-restriction/mandate left are the new reactionaries arguing for state authoritarianism, police state repression, censorship and medical discrimination whilst it is the anti-restriction/mandate right which has now found itself in the, largely unaccustomed, space of standing up for working class well-being, civil liberties and free speech and standing against the criminal, profiteering beneficiaries of the madcap response to the virus. It is the Covid-crazy left, the self-proclaimed ‘party of science’, which is now defending the state-approved voodoo science of job-killing lockdowns, restrictions, the dud vaxxes and their unethical mandates and passports, whilst it is the ‘science-denying’ Right that is now defending science and the scientific method on all things Covid.

    MORE AT

    https://leftlockdownsceptics.com/2022/03/left-right-left-right-left/?doing_wp_cron=1646931136.6486699581146240234375

    1. Just refuse to get it.
      It’s not left vs. right.
      Or, black vs. white.
      Or, day vs. night.
      It’s rich vs. poor.

      1. @Southpaw

        So who is who in this war?
        It seems to me the Russians are the rich and the Ukrainians the poor!

      2. @alteyid48

        I will try to clarify my comment.
        The topic that I was replying to concerned Covid.
        There is no war in Ukraine.
        It is a military operation, akin to USA’s police actions, albeit far less lethal.
        If this was a war, Ukraine would have already been reduced to dust and rubble.
        As for Russians as rich, and Ukrainians as poor, I don’t see the people who occupy those places on earth as a monolith.
        There are rich and poor people in both of those man made constructs called countries/ nations.
        Just as there are rich and poor people in your unnamed party to the conflict, the USA.
        Who benefits from the weapons of war being deployed to this conflict?
        Those people are the rich that I am referring to.
        The poor are the people whose lives are disrupted, or ended as a result of weapons being deployed and used.
        And, the people who are damaged as a result of this conflict and not confined to the area called Eastern Europe.
        Where are the peacemakers?
        While I can’t know what transpires in the halls of power that dominate this world, if I take the words of Mr. Putin at face value, denazification and destruction of weapons seems laudable to me.
        Is Mr. Putin being truthful?
        How can you or I know that for certain?
        Is the US government or media being truthful?
        In my experience, the answer to that question is never ever.
        In a subsequent reply to a post that I made, you appear to mock the concept of chivalry.
        You and I are of different mindsets about that concept as well.
        I think that chivalrous conduct is a net positive.
        But, chivalry is just a word.
        The behavior that one attaches to that word is what determines its value.
        I continue to maintain that anyone who floods a conflict with lethal weapons is aiding and abetting death.
        And, I’ll betcha the those creatures are rich, in terms of money anyway.
        In terms of decency, they are broke a$$.
        Now, you can save your drive by observations for someone else.
        I’ve engaged with you as much as I intend to.
        I wish you well.

      3. Well said. I would have just “upvoted” but that doesn’t work for me on scheerpost for some reason.

      4. @Southpaw
        I agree that it’s a military operation and not a war, but try telling that to any members of the vast majority of hysterical people in the west who are frothing at the mouth over this. I can just imagine the reaction! I don’t even dare to mention to any but a few non-hysterical friends that Russia’s military tactics have been totally restrained compared to what the U.S. does. As you said, there would be little or nothing left in Ukraine if Russia was not greatly restraining its military actions there.

      5. I would just point out that ‘chivalry’ refers linguistically to horse men, warriors on horseback, men who are quite a cut above the common foot soldiers. Their ethic is that of the ruling class.

  11. You sound hysterical. How did this tripe get past the editors. I didn’t read this type of article when huge numbers of people were killed and displaced in other parts of the world. How shall we ‘press’ the war masters on both sides?

  12. Mr. Street,

    As you appear to know, there are serious ethnic differences in Ukraine which were well under control under a democratically elected government until the U.S. removed that government from power in a violent coup in 2014. The U.S. then stirred the cauldron of latent hate to a boiling point (as it often does in order to create turmoil and violence where it deems it useful), using the large neo-Nazi element to effect its coup, then to murder approximately 14,000 Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass because they opposed the illegitimate government forced on them by the U.S. I decline your invitation to regard “both sides” (the U.S. and Russia) to be equally at fault for this mess. For eight years following the coup, Russia tried in good faith to resolve the issues by diplomacy and agreement. It agreed to the Minsk Agreements which would have accomplished that purpose. The U.S./Ukrainian government refused to implement them. Russia tried in vain to obtain some kind of help from the United Nations, all to no avail. Nonetheless, it continued to try to persuade the U.S. to resolve the matter diplomatically. Russia’s last effort to do so was its presentation of two detailed agreements, both completely reasonable, in December of 2021. One agreement was presented for the signature of the U.S./Ukrainian government, the other for the signature of NATO. The U.S. rejected the agreements out of hand and continued its steadfast refusal to negotiate in good faith. Russia was left with two options: 1. Continue to accept the de facto inclusion of Ukraine as a U.S. controlled satellite which would continue to murder the dissenting Ukrainians in the Donbass and serve as a de facto U.S. military base; or 2. Do as it warned it would do – resolve the matter by force. It is well past the time when the people in this Country must accept two facts, both clearly established by U.S. foreign policy since WWII (and especially so post 9/11): 1. The U.S. has explicitly rejected international law by promoting and adopting its “Rules-Based International Order”, which is a fancy term for only one rule – The Rest of the World Must Follow U.S. Orders; and 2. The U.S. does not practice diplomacy. The State Department has been made into a de facto part of the War Department (the real name for what is called the Defense Department). When faced with good faith proposals to negotiate, as Russia has done with regard to Ukraine, the U.S. amateurs posing as “diplomats” automatically respond with insults and threats. They are not just unprofessional – they are rude and an embarrassment to their Country. Russia was left with no option but to allow the U.S. to roll over it and do what it clearly intended to do, which is to place missiles right on its doorstep, as it has done in the Baltic States. Russia was right to conclude that there would be no end to U.S. aggression and it had no choice but to use force to resist since the U.S. has clearly rejected both international law and diplomacy.

    1. The war will be finished in a moment if Russia would fulfill its commitment under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum to to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country. This means removing all its forces from Ukraine, giving back Crimea and accepting that the DRP and LRP are part of Ukraine (special status can then be negotiated).
      See, everything is so simple when you respect your word.
      When you do not, why should anybody believe that the next agreement is worth anything?

      1. You are a few decades behind the times. Also, the U.S. demanding that others “respect its word” will cause informed people to collapse in laughter. That extreme hypocrisy is also seen in the U.S.’s long practice of “spreading democracy” by overthrowing democratically elected governments. — that list is very long. The blame for the mess in Ukraine lies squarely with the U.S. Except for the European poodles, much of the rest of the world has had enough of this thuggery and is uniting to put a stop to it. There are going to be some ugly repercussions from that. The fools at the helm in Washington don’t appear to be aware of that.

      2. Likewise, the war will be over in an instance if the US and its NATO toadies were to implement the Minsk Accords, the diplomatic solution to the crisis offered in 2015. It does not include the return of Crimea, but it maintains the Donbas Republics as autonomous entities within Ukraine. Further, it guarantees neutrality for the Ukraine. It was soundly rejected by the Americans and even though President Zelesky campaigned in favor of negotiating with the Russians, his will was thwarted by the opposition of the Americans and his internal political situation, i.e. the Nazis threatened to kill him.

      3. The US abrogated the Budapest Memorandum, which they have signed, when they overthrew domocratically (internationally monitored) Elected Yanukovych in the Maidan Coup in 2014, and installed their own puppet government. ALL SIGNATORY PARTIES including the US, not just Russia, agreed to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”. After the US broke that agreement, per usual, just as in the US agreement with Russia to not expand NATO “an inch to the east”, they have not allowed their puppets to honor Minsk II (from which the US is excluded, probably because of their refusal to abide by the Budapest Memorandum.) The OSCE has noted that over 14,000 have been killed in Donbas fighting, over 80% those in the breakaway republics. Russian war WILL become horrible but it has been provoked since the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, by the US.

    2. Paul Street –

      You claim that Putin is overseeing “a capitalist gangster state,” and has an “oligarchic regime.” With what evidence do you make these claims and how much of your thought can be attributed to Russia expressing self-determination and autonomy from Western subjugation, post 2000?

      The fact is that Putin rescued Russia from the wreckage created by capitalist oligarchs in the aftermath of the Clinton regime-supported neoliberal gangster and criminal Boris Yeltsin. It’s important to point out that the looting and destruction of Russia’s economy during this time was cheered on and encouraged by both Left and Right parties in the U.S.

      In return, Putin gave Russia back to the Russians by developing Russian industry and its vast natural resources and reversing the Western imposed economic austerity that resulted in what many Russian historians view as one of the worst calamities to befall the Russian people during the twentieth century.

      You note that Putin will immediately cease all military activities in Ukraine if the Western backed Ukraine government would agree to the Minsk Accords. This will never happen, as reader Jim Thomas clearly noted – the goal of U.S. foreign policy since the end of the last Cold War has called for the destruction of any country that challenges U.S. dominance in the world.

      1. @Charles Badal

        “You note that Putin will immediately cease all military activities in Ukraine if the Western backed Ukraine government would agree to the Minsk Accords.”
        That’s what you say. Putin made many other demands: denazification (i.e. removing the Jewish President??), demilitarization, neutralization, removing US and NATO troops from Eastern European countries etc.
        Ukraine agreed and signed the Minsk Accords ( which by the way are somewhat of a joke – 900 words and not including anything specific beyond some lofty, very abstract declarations such as respect of Ukraine territorial integrity, more autonomy for Donbass inside the Ukraine etc.)
        Taking into account that DRP and LRP have been recognized as independent states by Russia the Minsk Accords are meaningless.

      2. You misinterpret or reinterpret unchangingly to twist history to your preconceived view. For starters, Putin has said a lot of things, usually in the same vein that NATO threatens Russian security. We all know that NATO has pushed towards Russia, positioned nuclear weapons near Russia, and conducted military exercises close to Russia. We also know that NATO has bombed Serbia and Libya, so it is hardly a ‘defensive organization’. If you were Putin, would you not be concerned.
        Secondly, the Minsk Accords (1 & 2) were a solid starting point for negotiations; instead, Kiev neglected to implement them and the US opposed them. Putin’s stated concerns are 1) denazification (& if you believe there are just a few Nazis, you neglect their influence and danger–look up the Odessa Massacre); 2) Ukrainian neutralization (this does not mean being a Russian vassal, just not a Russian enemy); 3) recognition of Russian Crimea (the Crimean people did not want to be a part of the Kiev coup government and desired to return to Russia).

  13. Fantastic article! Unfortunately my experience no matter how careful you are with wording these days you’re dismissed as a Russian troll. The length and intensity of the propaganda campaign to perpetuate the Cold war has indeed been firmly rooted and is growing. Articles like this are sorely needed in multitude.

  14. It’s another imperialist US war — and we spent over a year talking about it. Biden, sending thousands of US/NATO troops into Eastern Europe and along Ukraine’s western border, in violation of the 1990 NATO agreement against eastward expansion. Provoking war. As pointed out all along, what has been needed is UN diplomatic teams to help resolve the conflict between Ukrainians, that is the root of this war (those who want to align with the west vs. those who want to maintain alliance with Russia).

    1. @DHFabian
      There has not been an agreement against eastward expansion. In any case, the eastward expansion happened 15-20 years ago so it seems strange that Russia took so long to react to it.
      The conflict between Ukrainians was on the point of being solved before massive Russia military intervention in 2014.

      1. NATO expansion happened at the expense of Russian security and it certainly was noticed and rejected by Russia, especially after 2008. Russia watched the destruction of Serbia, then Libya, then Syria by the US and NATO, with considerable alarm. Nevertheless, Russia has not been willing or able to confront the West until 2022, when essentially, NATO “crossed the red line.”
        As to your contention of Ukrainian resolution in 2014, you need to read some history. Maidan was a US conspired coup, using western Ukrainian, Bandara-loving Nazis as their main weapon. Russia only reacted after the fact. Ukraine has been a failed, undemocratic state ever since and members of its leadership are guilty of war crimes and attempted genocide in the East.

  15. Anyone who wants to understand what the hell is going on with Russia and Ukraine should go on YouTube and search for the recent Scott Ritter interviews. Lee Camp has one with him. Also another great one is titled “Will Ukraine be Putin’s Afghanistan?” That last one is hosted by Justin Podur. For those who can’t remember Scott Ritter was the UN weapons inspector who warned the world that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Scott lays out all the historical context clearly and what is really happening in Ukraine. He truly knows his stuff. There are other interviews with him and they are all worth watching/listening to if one truly cares about understanding some truth about this conflict. Western media is gaslighting the world into mass hysteria with bs propaganda.

  16. I think Paul is being unduly harsh on Zelensky. He has shown courageous leadership; you have to admire that, whatever you might believe.

    I think this situation is comparable to the No-Vax issue. Vaccines can be harmful but almost never life threatening, and they save lives. In the case of the war, sure we may had a role in instigating it, but wholesale murder and devastation have nothing conceivable that can be supported. And the only thing that matters now is to stop it.

    1. A courageous leader doesn’t send men and women out with weapons to kill other men and women.
      A courageous leader, leads those young men and women, into the battle, he or she so strongly believes in.
      I don’t see courage in any of the leaders in this conflict.
      I suggest that the cannon fodder turn their weapons on those not so courageous leaders.
      The ones exhorting others on to kill, need to be eliminated, by any means necessary.

  17. Being on the side of the working class, aka cannon fodder, in the wars of the rich is very much the heart of the matter. But I’m afraid the propaganda war has already been won when it comes to Ukraine. Because the world war waged for the past two years of siege to state-of-emergency crimes against humanity apparently has been all but forgotten for those now captive to this war’s timely redirection from rising resistance to that war and the fuller extent of its mass murder, from unprecedented lockdown of national economies destroying the (re)production of life to bioweaponized assaults upon prisoners of the biosecurity state in the form of ‘vaccines’.

    Psychological warfare not only gets working people divided among ourselves as Street addresses above, as if we have to take sides with some global gangster over another. It brainwashes consciousness clean of the wider wars of class rule which remain constant and interconnected across space and time, borders and history. And so now the “bewildered herd” (Walter Lippmann) pivots from ‘pandemic’ to Putin and other persona upon the stage of spectacle with this war, which is made to consume consumers of corporate controlled communications 24/7 until oblivion, or, same thing, until the next news du jour recreates reality.

    Professional class critics who ride the coattails of the MSM with their dissent still do us disservice in taking us along for the ride. That’s what Street does here, along with so many other ‘leftists’ who still have no clue with the covid coup, who even collaborate in pushing the totalitarian lies and rule rolling out still, as war in Ukraine not only distracts from the continuing campaign of the Great Reset, but contributes further to its disaster capitalism, from destabilization of the balance of powers among nation-states in preparation for the new abnormal’s global governance of technocracy, to more supply chain breakdowns, increased inflation and austerity, potential cyberwar and digtial dicatorship, and more on the way to both population control and depopulation.

    The Great Reset Phase 2: War
    http://winteroak.org.uk/2022/03/09/the-great-reset-phase-2-war/

    WORLD WAR III Part 3
    https://hugotalks.com/2022/03/09/world-war-iii-part-3-hugo-talks/

  18. Paul Street’s idealistic wishes for no war is Ludicrous.
    On one side we have an Empire that is based on a war economy and war culture that would collapse with out constant military conflicts. The other side is totally encircled and threaten with extinction.
    After many red lines have been crossed and numerous unheard pleas, Russia has no other recourse unless they dig up Moscow and move it to Mongolia.

    Once Russia is diminished, then China will easily be isolated and reduced to poverty like 50 years ago.
    Then India would be next to be fractured into irrelevant mini states and nothing more than subservient sepoys.

    Americans have always been wrong about their wars since Korea, this cold war is no different but they have the very best social media that cons and shapes the world’s opinions. Americans failures in their wars do not prevent them from pursuit of more and more as there is much profits to their economy.

    1. @Keith Mcmaugh

      Please enlighten us folks who is totally encircled by whom.
      Unless China and the -stan republics joined NATO overnight, a grand total of 4 NATO countries have a common border with Russia, for less than 5% of the Russian land borders.
      As for the geopolitical predictions , they are a joke (not very funny).

  19. It is Paul Street who needs to get his head on straight. I have made the argument that I oppose Russia’s invasion, that all large countries and world leaders are bad including Russia and the U.S., and that the U.S. and NATO are the root cause of this problem. I also make the point that if you live in the U.S., you need to focus your complaints against the U.S. and what it does, that the U.S. has invaded at least four countries in the past 20 or so years and caused more damage than Russia has caused in Ukraine so far — in fact, Russia’s invasion has been totally restrained compared to what the U.S. does, which is just bombing the hell out of everyone and everything before sending in ground troops — and that the U.S. is the dominant empire on the planet by far. For this, I get called a Russian puppet and/or a Putin puppet. So to use Street’s language, f*ck the people calling me that.

    Street’s rant is nothing more than a distraction from the real problem in the west, including the U.S., which is the extreme hysterical gross overreaction to this invasion. Fully 75% of Americans support nuclear war with Russia, because they support a no-fly zone over Ukraine. (I realize that they don’t know what a no-fly zone would entail, but they shouldn’t be supporting it if they don’t know that.) The only sane, moral and ethical response to Russia’s invasion that I’ve seen from a major country has been from China, which has basically taken the position that I laid out here. As to the rest on both sides: f*ck ’em!

  20. Finally, someone expresses how I truly feel! Thank you for publishing this great article.

  21. “We so-called ‘bootlickers,’” an old white left Putinist wrote me in the name of anti-imperialism, “are standing up to the pressure of the new Cold War just as Paul Robeson stood up in the first.”

    I am also old, white, and an anti-imperialist. Insulting people for the crime of being born white a long time ago is the sort of childish playground name calling that only helps to keep what’s left of the Left divided.

    It’s important and correct to point out that imperialism, whether Russian or American, must be resisted. But it is an undeniable fact that it is the American sociopathic power elite that have murdered millions with their bombs and economic sanctions since the end of WWII. So I guess making that point makes me a “Putinist”, too. It doesn’t help your argument to insult people with different opinions from yours. My college English writing professor taught me that, back in the olden days. Respect.

  22. Mr. Street, consider these ideas to end the war…..
    Convince Russia to surrender to Yankee Empire’s expansions,
    Or
    Convince Russia to employ 300,000 Asians from RFE to quick subdue their Euro centric foes who are claimed to be a rebirth of Nazi elements which are also very active in Trump world.

    Stalin used a million Asians, mostly Muslim, to overcome the Nazi in WW2, this tactic would be terrifying and can quickly end the war.

  23. Advising progressives not to “come off as Putin bootlickers” is like advising Black people or women not to come off as too “pushy.,”

    The corporate media will paint us that way ANYWAY , our only recourse is to clearly state our positions the US and NATO AND Zelkinsky goaded putin into launching a criminal and stupid war.

    The israeli government, of all people, has put this in clear context.

    https://www.debka.com/zelenskys-knesset-speech-offered-no-clear-endgame-could-ukraine-conflict-trigger-world-war-iii/

    Key excerpts:

    The speech Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered by Zoom to Israel’s parliament on Sunday, March 3, left the impression that he is not altogether clear about the endgame he wants for ending the war with Russia. A certain unease is creeping into the corridors of power in some NATO capitals over this lack of clarity and doubts about Zelensky’s agenda. Some are beginning to suggest that were it not for the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Kyiv, the Russian invasion might have been averted. As matters stand now, the crisis threatens to run out of control and could even escalate into a world war.

    Although no one condones Moscow’s decision to attack Ukraine, some Western analysts wonder if Vladimir Putin did not feel goaded into pursuing his unpardonable extremities by Zelanskyy’s volatile attitude. Is the Ukraine president bent on rearranging the balance of power in central Europe? Is he trying to dictate a new game to the world powers? If that is his goal, he is doomed to fail. Ukraine may be the largest country on the European continent in area – but is too weak militarily and politically to pull off any such tactic.

    Zelensky managed to put up many Israeli backs by his aggrieved tone against Israel’s shortcomings. He criticized the country at length for withholding military aid and opting out of NATO sanctions, while trotting out a selective history lesson. His complaint that Israel refused to give his army Iron Dome anti-missile batteries was seen as unwarranted when humanitarian aid is freely offered. Israel is not a world power, his audience noted, and to make up the shortage of this vital system for its own defense, is forced to rely on the US topping up its stocks – most recently with $1million worth of assistance. Diverting any number of Iron Domes to Ukraine would leave Israel exposed to rocket and drone on one of its own fronts, the north or the south. Moscow would also be expected to exact punishment by hampering Israel’s air strikes against Iran’s looming military presence in Syria.

    Repeatedly invoking the Nazi Holocaust of World War II to condemn Russia\s misdeeds in Ukraine misfired badly in a place where memories are long and documented records precise. Parliamentarians in Jerusalem were not slow to remind Zelensky that in the years from 1941 to 1944, a million Jews were murdered in Ukraine alone by the German Einsatzgruppen units and their Ukrainian personnel. The new-Nazi Azov Battalion today is furthermore an integral part of Ukraine’s National Guard.

    1. @BabaYago
      This is really weird about Israel. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with that apartheid country about anything before this. China has had the best perspective on this war of all the major nations (pretty much the same as mine, which is that while the invasion was wrong, it was ultimately caused by the U.S. and NATO) and has said to the West something to the effect that, You put the bell on the tiger’s tail, you get it off.

      1. I think they’re making an objective judgement. It’s interesting they made this public, directly contradicting the US position/raving about “Tsar Putin” and imperial desires.

        The corporate press has been obediently repeating the State Department mantras, while at the same time maintaining that Russians only get one side of the story. MSNBC’s Ari Velshi, who earned and has now lost his role as a competent, honest journalist, looked into the camera and stated repeatedly that “It’s NOT about NATO.”

        The facts, of course, make it clear that it IS.

      2. @BabaYaga
        First, i forgot to mention: great moniker!

        I’m appalled at the hysterical gross overreaction by the West. I guess propaganda and brainwashing work better than I thought. Even people who had been anti-establishment are hysterically screaming the establishment line on this, despite the clear facts to the contrary. People in Congress and politicians in other countries calling for a no-fly zone, when that could easily lead to nuclear war? The west has lost its collective mind.

      3. Thank you 🙂

        Many people are reacting to the fact that the Trumpoids are backing Putin.
        Trump Has no geopolitical vision: he’s just taking advantage of Americans’ well-founded reluctance to get involved in foreign adventures.
        Plus he and Fox News admire Putin’s neo-fascist nationalist approach.

        The bobblehead “liberal” press such as MSNBC has long backed the warmonger/Hillary branch of the Democratic party.

        Biden may be a warmongering exceptionalist — ]ust like all American presidents — but he’s not stupid enough to trigger WWIII by starting air combat with Russia.

        Putin is doing enough damage to Russia on his own, Biden will happily send weapons to extend the damage. He wants this to continue, as long as feasible. That’s why he’s fulfilling Obama’s strategy of goading Putin into a senseless war. No one cared about Georgia, but this is a spectacular event for the advocates of purposeful confrontation.

        Ukrainians are collateral damage, and the images of dead and displaced white people provide a great “look” for the war party types and advertising for their future appeals for ever more weapons and money.

      4. @BabaYaga
        I said at the time Russia invaded that Putin was insane for doing that, because of the great harms that it’s doing to Russia, and because of the serious threat of nuclear war. The U.S. and NATO immorally backed Russia into a corner, but Russia should have figured a better way out than invading Ukraine.

      5. What should Russia have done? Give me something other than “should not have invaded “. I’m tired of hearing that. They did that for decades and were given no other options.

        So what specifically?

      6. Putin could have achieved better results with the kind of missile attacks that landed in that training camp near the Polish border and with that hypersonic missile that just blew up a large ammunition and weapons storage facility, also near the NATO border.

        A barrage of pin-point attacks, with few civilian casualties, that would destabilize Ukraine until it agreed to not join NATO.

        This would have been more than sufficient to accomplish the goal without revealing the weaknesses of the Russian military or creating large numbers of killed, wounded and displaced white people who have aroused western ire, and kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

        No more provocative than American drone and missile strikes on “our” adversaries.

      7. Alternatives to invading Ukraine:
        1) Massive artillery and aerial bombardment of the Ukrainian army facing the line of control in the Donbas–a stand-off event with no Russians ever crossing the border.
        2) A hard push to face the Ukrainian army in the Donbas–a minimal invasion with Russians only entering the separatist regions. This is what the Bidenery thought would happen.
        Apparently, Putin decided that Ukraine was a weed with its Nazis, its corrupt President, and its army on Russia’s doorstep. Thus, he decided to pull the weed out by the roots, destroy the Ukrainian army, and replace the government with Nazis falling out of government and military service, probably via the 9mm solution.

      8. @John
        I don’t know. Maybe what BabaYaga said. It’s not my job to figure that out, it’s Russia’s, namely Putin’s and whoever else makes those decisions in that country. If you are in a position of power like that, you have great responsibilities, and one of them is to avoid invading other countries.

        Russia had legitimate grievances and Ukraine is on its border, whereas the U.S. invasions had none of those factors, but invading another country is still wrong regardless.

      9. If you consider the US, NATO, and Zelensky’s continuous provocations, including threats of war from Zelensky, starting close to when Biden took office, it is not surprising that Putin considered escalation in Eastern Ukraine to be an existential threat; which he has called it for a long time. Biden and NATO could have respected Putin’s overtures to talk with his draft treaties he forwarded in December,, but they gave him the finger and still are.

        We’ve got a new Truman as President and that is a very bad thing.

      10. @Mike McElfresh
        I have no disagreement with anything you wrote. But John is the inverse of the people who call those of us who point out that the U.S. and NATO are the root causes of this problem Putin- or Russian apologists. John can’t understand those of us who say that but still oppose the invasion. If you’re anti-war, you can’t make exceptions. If you do, you’re not anti-war by definition. I’m anti-war, so I oppose the invasion.

      11. I think the serious people I know, who have been following this since before the NATO expansion, were shocked that Putin invaded, as was I. All considered it a mistake. Others had predicted years ago that this was inevitable and that NATO expansion was a historic mistake. It certainly hasn’t been a mistake for the military industrial complex, but as predicted it has made Europe much less secure a place for a long time. The continued escalation by the West may exacerbate the situation since many of these are acts of war not diplomacy, as they like to call them. This can all end tomorrow if Biden comes to the negotiating table. Only the Russians and Ukrainians really have much to lose, so why should Biden care? There is nothing new here.

      12. @Mike McElfresh
        I agree about being surprised that Russia actually invaded. I was surprised, as was everyone I read, watch, or listen to.

        Leaked documents show that the U.S. doesn’t WANT the war to end. The U.S. plan is to force Putin out of office — no doubt because he won’t do what the U.S. wants — by causing Russia a lot of deaths & injuries plus monetary expenditures from the war, and due to western sanctions. The U.S. wants Russia bogged down in Ukraine as much as possible, so the U.S. isn’t going to try to end the war. Hell, the U.S. isn’t even negotiating seriously.

      13. @ BabaYaga
        @ Tedder
        @ Jeff
        @ Mike McEfresh

        I am not apologizing for Putin. I am not “justifying” what he did.

        It may have been better had Russia (NOTE: Putin did NOT make this decision on his own) taken the hypersonic missile or the artillery barrage options suggested, but then @Jeff would be telling me that those options are “wrong” too. I would not disagree. In a “moral universe” there is “right” v “wrong”. I surely understand that question and find it rather insulting to be labeled as someone who can’t “understand”. I “understand” that the issue has been so simplified as to make it a meaningless question. I know the words to Buffy St. Marie’s “universal soldier”.

        Who goes to a Clint Eastwood movie and doesn’t root for him to destroy the bad guy? When Michael Corleone murdered Solazzo was he “wrong”? Of course, in a totally moral universe — but then his Dad would be dead. What Jeff is doing is called “begging the question”. It is also the “Trolley Question”. Jeff wants a solution that is not on offer.

        I imagine the choices presented by Tedder and BabaYaga were considered by the Russians and rejected. Would Jeff then tell us those options were also “wrong”?

        I very much disagree that Russia has revealed any military weakness. But then I perhaps listen too much to Scott Ritter.

        Russia and China closely coordinated their response to these events. The goal now (once it became obvious that the US would never compromise) is to destroy US hegemony and they are winning. Russia has revealed to the world that the US will never honor its commitments. Heck, the USA even stole the currency deposits of Afghanistan leaving that country to starve to death. (may I recommend the Ganzalo Lira youTubes?)

        The consequences of this crisis are going to be devastating to the “average American”. Pepe Escobar and Michael Hudson have many articles and interviews explaining this so I cannot point to just one. However, one prediction that should awaken everyone is Hudson’s admonishment to any Millennial that wants to live a happy life: “Learn Mandarin”.

      14. @John
        So what’s your position John? Are you anti-war or not? If you are, you can’t excuse the invasion. It’s OK to not be anti-war (it’s not at all OK to be a war monger, but that’s totally different), there are very legitimate arguments for that position, and this situation is a perfect example of one.

        How is what I’m doing begging the question? That’s logical fallacy meaning that I’m using circular statements, such as, a circle is round because it’s circular. I do no such thing here. I don’t even know if what the U.S. has been doing in that part of the world over the past 30 years isn’t so evil and sinister that there’s no ethical way to stop it. But like MLK’s comment about nonviolence not being for cowards, being anti-war means opposing ALL wars, no exceptions. But while my position is that the invasion was wrong, I never said that you’re wrong if you justify it; our difference is that I don’t.

        All that said, I think we agree that the big evil in this situation is the U.S. and NATO, not Russia. My position here is that there are no good guys involved. China is the only large country that has an ethical and objective position on this, though I’m sure their position is for their own purposes, not because they’re more ethical than anyone else.

      15. Jeff: In a “moral universe” there is “right” v “wrong”.

        There’s zero evidence the universe is “moral.” Quantum mechanics, relativity, a lot of ionized gas, that’s pretty much IT as far as anyone can verify.

        Morality presumes free will: that’s an illusion, explained clearly here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

        RE: Putin’s disastrous military pratfall: The French have a saying: “It’s worse than a crime. It’s a mistake.”

        Opposition to American imperialism means opposition to NATO and its expansion, so if Putin had subjected Ukraine to more targeted and destabilizing attacks, that would have been, in my view, effective without revealing the ineptness of the Russian military.

        I suspect the Pentagon always knew Russia is not a credible threat to the West or even Ukraine, but needed to keep up their lies — see: Saddam’s WMDs –to justify NATO and its drang nach Osten. Whether they actually thought the Warsaw Pact was a serious threat is also a doubtful proposition, given the questionable reliability of German, Polish. Czech and Romanian “allies.’

        Putin has done exactly what the US hoped he would. The “downside” is that they are going to have to somehow claim Russia is both military inept and an existential threat to the West. The confused American public will shrug and try to believe both at once.

        The forces that have been uncorked by this war, sanctions and the responses of other nations are impossible to foresee at this point.

        It’s already clear that much of the non-white world does not think it needs to be concerned about white people killing each other on a large scale in Europe (again.) Nations representing a large bulk of the global population abstained from the UN condemnation vote, skeptical as they are of the American “rules-based” nonsense and it makes sense for them to interpret current conditions in light of their own interests.

        After all, that’s what the US’ “rules” really enshrine — US interests.

      16. @BabaYaga
        “[M]uch of the non-white world” will become very concerned if this ends up in nuclear war. They should also be concerned about the massive environmental destruction that war causes. But that said, I get your point. China is the only major country with the proper perspective on this war (maybe India, but I’m not clear on what exactly its position is).

        I also agree with your “American ‘rules-based’ nonsense” comment. That crap is just self-serving U.S. hypocrisy, as in, “We’ll do whatever we want, but YOU have to abide by these rules.” I’m all for enforceable international laws preventing wars, war crimes, environmental harms, and human rights crimes, but regardless of dishonest pretexts so long as those laws are equally enforced against everyone including the U.S., that’s not what this supposedly “rules based” system is about.

      17. @BabaYaga
        Sorry, the 2d paragraph of my response to you got messed up (I was talking on the phone while typing).

        What I mean to say was that ” I’m all for enforceable international laws … so long as those laws are equally enforced against everyone including the U.S., that’s not what this supposedly ‘rules based’ system is about, regardless of dishonest pretexts.”

        I also forgot to respond to your comments about free will and morality. I don’t see how quantum physics relates to this discussion at all. As to free will, we all have it to some extent. Russia didn’t HAVE to invade Ukraine, even if it felt that its hand had been forced to do so. Just like no one is forced to join a volunteer military, even if they’re poor and think that’s their best option for future financial success. The issue you raise is HOW MUCH free will individuals have, not WHETHER they have it. I fully recognize and feel the oneness of everything, but individual agency is also a reality.

      18. So Jeff:

        Michael Corleone did not have to murder Sollazo. The result would have been that Sollazo would have murdered his Dad.

        Did Michael do the wrong thing?

      19. @John
        If you believe that killing is wrong — and/or, in this case, that all war is wrong — then there is no correct answer to that question.

        People have been asking for decades (mostly in science fiction), if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, should you do so? Personally I probably would, but I’m not sure. As the saying goes, the world is an ocean and our knowledge a mere drop. What if killing Hitler led to something even worse? There are so many variables in life, so many unknowns, and so many unforeseen consequences, that all we can do is to stand up for and act on our principles.

        And to be clear, I ultimately blame the U.S. for this war for all the reasons mentioned. As an American, I’m far more upset with the U.S. than with Russia — though Putin threatening the use of nuclear weapons was a big no-no — and most of my ire for this situation is directed at the U.S., not Russia. But as I’ve said all along, there are no good guys here, all big countries are evil as are their leaders, so this is basically a lesser-of-evils situation. If I lived in Russia, I very likely would have been one of those demonstrating in the streets against the war and getting arrested.

      20. You did not answer my question.

        Was Michael suppose to let Sollazo kill his dad? Period.

        Saying: “– then there is no correct answer to that question.” Doesn’t answer the question.

      21. @John
        I’ve answered your question the best I can. You can’t expect a simple yes-or-no answer to such a deeply complicated question. I also can’t answer regarding fictional characters, I saw that movie so long ago that I don’t remember what you’re talking about. My answer was about the real world, not fiction.

      22. So basically you’re saying that you haven’t a clue about what you’d do. So you’re condemning Russia without understanding the context in which they were operating. The USA has been trying to destroy Russia since 1918. They were the nation that won WWII while the USA and Britain waited for Germany to destroy Russia. The USA was the nation that installed Yeltsin so the Oligarchy could privatize the nation’s economy in 1991 after the reunification of Germany. The USA has been expanding NATO ever Eastward. Putin tried for over a decade to come to an accommodation with the West. It failed.

        But you believe you can be wishy washy and blame Russia for this Special Operation while completely ignoring the millions that the US has been responsible for murdering.

        Pull it out…

      23. @John
        Wow, the detachment from reality is on both sides here. I never said that I “blame Russia,” I said that while I oppose the invasion, the root cause of it is the U.S. and its NATO tool.

        I’m not wishy-washy, my friends would die of laughter if they heard you say that about me. I’m being nuanced here, which you obviously can’t handle. This isn’t a simple black & white situation if you’re anti-war. As I responded to another commenter here, if I weren’t anti-war, I’d be solidly on the side of Russia in this situation, though I don’t support ANY large country, including Russia, and think all countries should be broken up into much smaller ones. But if you’re anti-war you can’t make exceptions, just like if you’re nonviolent you can’t defend yourself and have to turn the other cheek. You obviously can’t see the world beyond your black & white version of it, so you don’t understand my position and instead have this false idea that I blame Russia for this mess.

      24. After study and consideration, I conclude that Putin had no choice but to mount war against NATO–not Ukraine, but NATO and the US. They pushed and pushed, threatened and threatened, and at this juncture, Putin and his colleagues decided that enough was enough. Think of this war as a giant “Fuck You!” to the US–tragically, Ukrainians and Russians suffer.
        As far as nukes are concerned, according to Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corp Major and UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Russia’s invasion force left large border areas in the north undefended. Putin essentially said, “Try something there, and I will end you.”

      25. @Ted+Tripp
        If I weren’t anti-war, I’d be siding with Russia on this hands down. I just can’t abide killing except to eat or in direct self-defense (I realize that you think that this was self-defense by Russia, but they weren’t attacked), and that goes a million times more for industrial war.

      26. I also find war repugnant, but your contention that Russia was not attacked is really strained. It is true that the Russians drove their tanks into Ukraine in February, 2022, but the war as such started in February, 2014. We could go farther and say that NATO attacks began in 1996. Russia asked to be a part of NATO, but was rejected. Then, wars on Serbia, Afghanistan, and Libya put the lie to its mandate as a ‘defensive organization’.
        The Maidan coup was a covert attack on Russia, funded by the US. The fact that both Crimea and the Donbas rejected the coup government in Kiev and mounted punitive war against Crimea and the Donbas were overt attacks on Russia inasmuch as these provinces were ethnically Russian. I hear different figures, up to 14,000 Donbas people, mostly civilians, died in the Ukrainian attacks. Before the invasion, as many as 80,000 Ukrainian troops were massed in the east and heavy artillery bombardment commenced.
        In addition, NATO was not quiet during these years, conducting military exercises close to Russia’s borders. Economic sanctions due to annexation of Crimea were another form of attack.
        NATO poked the bear, not once, but many times, until the bear slashed back.

      27. Well said. Good points and useful information.

        Shortly before the invasion, I seem to recall a major escalation in attacks by the Ukraine military on the Donbas separatists, witnessed and reported by UN observers, to which Putin initially responded by annexing the Donbas and then shortly after invading. Do know more of the story? I only have pieces on this. The timing seems to have been intentional to provoke a Russian response.

        Also, have you been able to see any reports from Zelensky’s August 2021 International conference that was supposed to develop plans for returning Crimea and Donbas to Ukraine? The use of military action was on the table from the beginning.

      28. @ Mike McElfresh

        Russia has not annexed the Donbas. It recognized them as separate states. They had both declared independence from Ukraine in 2014.

        This moonofalabama sit-rep 29 Mar will provide you some interesting perspectives: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/03/ukraine-sit-rep-part-ii-of-russias-military-operation-unfolds.html

        and This sit-rep from the Saker will provoke a lot of thought. The Saker is very much pro-Russian so take it with a lot of skepticism. However, the ineffectiveness of the Javelin seems to be well-known. I recall Ritter (it may have been someone else) saying a couple months ago that the Javelin was useless for the reasons the Saker outlines. Finally, the condemnation of the F22 in light of how effective Russian aerial defense was will give a lot of room to think. Recall that the purpose of Ukraine is to use up American Weapons systems so the MIC can build more while providing an excuse that Biden can’t cancel Student Debt or institute any Medicare for All. The entire purpose of the US actions WRT Ukraine is to funnel money to the American Oligarchy. We need to wake up to that fact. just over 600 individuals who buy and bribe everything.
        https://thesaker.is/sitrep-operation-z/

      29. Putin made it abundantly clear that he would not tolerate any further attacks on Russian territory and by extension, the Donbas. Remember when Russian troops massed on Urkaine’s borders of Russia and Belarus? The White House insisted that an invasion was imminent while the rest of the world including Russia denied any such thing. What did the White House know? They knew precisely that a Ukrainian invasion of the Donbas was in the offing and that this would not be tolerated. When the artillery started, Putin recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics; they then appealed to Russia for defense. Next came the invasion.
        I don’t follow Zelensky as I not longer find him amusing. He is a puppet of the US, his oligarch master, and the Nazis. It would be no surprise that he drew up military plans to conquer Crimea; that probably was the plan for the 60-80,000 man army in the east that is currently being pulverized by Russia.

      30. @Ted+Tripp
        Who’s straining here? None of the instances you raised were attacks on Russia. I agree with you that they were all morally and ethically wrong, but that doesn’t make them attacks. No one invaded Russia, bombed it, or attacked it with missiles. And again, I realize that Russia felt threatened, and rightfully so, and that the U.S./NATO is the big bad guy here, far more so than Russia. Where we differ is that I oppose all military attacks, no exceptions.

      31. @Jeff
        So if your wife was being raped you’d stand by and watch. Good to know. Anything other than a 100% affirmative answer to this simple question will reveal your hypocrisy.

      32. @ Ted+Tripp

        Excellent summary of the events that lead up to this crisis.
        This “phony” anti-war stance that refuses to acknowledge how it came about is infuriating. It is a bunch of morons chanting “USA, USA, USA”.

      33. I agree that industrial war is always brutal, and the loss of so many Ukrainian and Russian young men is terrible. I cannot ignore the fact of American aggression and the expected and predictable Russian response.
        During the many peace actions against the Vietnam War, I met a very impressive, extraordinary calm and peaceful man in a coffee shop after the event. We spoke and I found his grasp of Zen Buddhism was flawless. I asked him what he did for a living. He said he was a mercenary. I was taken aback and said so. He told me, “Ted, when I go on a battlefield, it is as if I were taking a walk. Only when someone tries to harm me do I react. That person’s intent to kill me kills him.”
        The lesson I took is that whenever one person tries to harm another, the wise man uses that against him, the vary principle of judo, the very truth of karma.
        So, right or wrong, good or bad, when the Americans went after the Russians, the Russian judo is automatic. Unfortunately, the Americans use Ukrainians as their proxy, so they die.

      34. Go ye well, Mr John. One aspect of this Ukraine crisis is people’s need to demystify Putin by imagining all sorts of needs, goals, and motivations other than the ones he states himself. I agree with you that Putin and his advisors (Matt Taibbi wrote that Putin did all this on his own) surely considered all options.
        What you point out are the insights from Hudson and Escobar that the US has already lost this war by its hamfisted economic programs.
        Me, not as a result perhaps, but during the Vietnam War, I learned Mandarin. I recommend it.

  24. @ Jeff

    What I meant to say, and did, and the clip I posted contains a detailed exposition . . .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

    … of why free will is an illusion.

    Free will is a foundational concept of morality.
    It means, literally, that effects sometimes do not proceed from causes.
    Morality has no objective existence.
    Discussions about morality lead to confused and ultimately subjective diversions.

    I mentioned quantum mechanics and the other physics discoveries because — that’s all there is, as far as anyone has been able to verifiably demonstrate.

    1. @BabaYaga
      The idea that beings either do or don’t have free will is a false duality. There is SOME free will, and there are some things that will play out a certain way regardless of what any being does. It’s not as simple as either/or.

      As to worshiping science, you totally lose me there. One of the major human defects is that humans are obsessed with their intellect, while they ignore equally or even more important things like wisdom, empathy, gut feelings, and instincts. There is far more to life than can be viewed by the intellect, and if the intellect is all you focus on, you’re missing out on a lot of life.

      As to morality, I’ll use Also Leopold’s: something is good if it aids the biotic community, and it’s bad if it harms it. I would add that for humans, something that aids in humans expanding their consciousness is good, and it’s bad if it impedes or thwarts it.

      1. Free will cannot exist because it means that effects can happen without a cause.
        We are parts of the universe, made of the same stuff — we aren’t exempt from the way it works.

        I never said I “worship” science, only religiously deluded people do that. Misquoting people is not a good idea.

        All those feelings are built in: some of them lead to murder, racism, sexism and other destructive acts. Others are among the more useful and beautiful capabilities we have.
        I’m not advocating a life without emotion, which is impossible, in any case.
        Reason is the only way we can sort these things.

        Our discourse began to deteriorate when people started saying ” feel” rather than “I think.”

        Reason will inevitably be accompanied by emotion, but reason has to be the final arbiter.
        Illustration: Lots of things taste REALLY good, are so-called “comfort food,” make us crave more and are very unhealthy.

        All the terms “good” and “bad”actually mean are “I like that” and “I don’t like that.”
        See: A.J.Ayer.

        Atheism is a necessary prerequisite for progressive social evolution.
        Science is the only evidence-based way humans have discovered to get an approximation of reality that reliably works.
        Once you start teaching people to believe things without evidence, you’re already off the rails.
        You have a population that acts based on murky, inconsistent and usually incorrect impulses.

      2. @BabaYaga
        Science as it is actually practiced is as perverted as anything, including religion. Science has totally unfounded biases of a mechanistic and reductionist view of life and the universe, and of human supremacism. True science is about the search for truth without preconceived notions to the extent possible. That’s not even close to what currently exists. Theoretical physics, astronomy, ecology, marine biology, and wildlife biology are examples of science that are legitimate disciplines in the search for truth, though even those disciplines have failings (biologists putting collars on wolves to track them, for example). But again, there are many things that science is incapable of understanding or explaining, because they’re not able to be perceived by the intellect, which you seem obsessed by.

        The biggest and deepest thing wrong with humans is their lack of spirituality. To be clear, I’m not talking about religion (with the exception of Buddhism as Siddhartha taught it and which isn’t really a religion anyway because there’s no god in it), which is largely anti-spiritual. If you don’t feel empathy with the Earth and all the life on it, if you don’t feel one with everything, you will do evil things, simple as that. People have no problem harming or killing the “other,” simply because they perceive them as the other. If people were instead to empathize with them and feel one with them, they wouldn’t harm or kill them. For example, people who are adequately mentally and spiritually evolved wouldn’t kill anything except to directly eat it (no killing trees, no killing native plants to grow crops, etc.). This description fits the vast majority of humans, and you seem to be a member of that majority. I generally agree with your intellectual arguments and positions here, but when we get into metaphysical issues, we’re polar opposites.

      3. @Jeff

        YOU: science has totally unfounded biases of a mechanistic and reductionist view of life and the universe, and of human supremacism.

        Reductionism provides an understanding of how complex things work, like human brain functions and what atoms are made of, how they act. Far from “unfounded” or a “bias” — it works, produces knowledge and knowledge of very crucial things that are not perceptible to human senses. Such as the electronics we are both using to communicate.

        There are also holistic ways to approach certain questions, such as complex interactions in, say, a forest of trees, fungi, plants — but there must be understanding based on reductionist science to have the”pieces” to work with. You can’t just stand there an intuit the answer, or derive it from some set of philosophical principles. Aristotle did that was proven incorrect.

        Human supremacism? Where is that in science? If anything, evolutionary science has “put us in our place” as just another species, not “a little lower than the angels.” Because of science, we know that earth and we are not the center of “creation.” Tiny Blue Dot.

        YOU: even those disciplines have failings (biologists putting collars on wolves to track them, for example)

        That’s not a “failing” an example of how scientists track animals,wolves, bears, whales, birds.. The lives of wolves are not discernable via metaphysics.

        The behavior you are looking for will be the outcome of a socialist, science-based society. Agriculture will abandon monoculture because it’s harmful and self-destructive and dangerously limiting –not because of some”spiritual’ impulse. People will cease wars when the economic reasons for them have been ended.

        Ashoka the Great for a time successfully implemented some of these “spiritually’ based ideas, but they were swept away eventually because the basic mechanisms of society had not been altered. The Teachings of Jesus ended up a gigantic catastrophe: Christianity, a blight on humanity, created a dark age. No science, but lots of “spirituality,’ ignorance and heretic-burning.

        Metaphysics was best defined by Voltaire “When one speaks, not knowing what he is saying, and another listens, not understanding what he hears — that is metaphysics.

      4. @BabaYaga
        Reductionism is a tool, and the scientific community greatly overuses it. Looking at the world reductionistically gives you a totally false picture of it. I agree that reductionism is good for discreet purposes, but it should not be the way you generally view things. That’s what is meant by you cannot see the forest for the trees. Even in just the scientific world, you won’t have any idea of what’s really going on unless you look at things holistically, and I don’t mean for just the approach to certain questions. Your response to me is a perfect example of what’s wrong with western science and why, with some exceptions, I’m always skeptical of its conclusions.

        As to human supremacism, I’m glad that you understand what science has actually shown regarding that, but your understanding is not that of most scientists. I’m reading a book right now called The Myth of Human Supremacy, and there’s an entire section about how scientists refuse to acknowledge that other species can think, make decisions, and communicate, INCLUDING PLANTS, all because they think that only humans can do these things (plants don’t have brains, so how could they do these things?).

        “The lives of wolves are not discernable via metaphysics.” I don’t know what you mean, please explain. All I can say is, if humans didn’t think that they’re superior to wolves, they wouldn’t put collars on them. Would scientists put collars on humans? I fully understand the motivation for doing this, we’ve debated it in environmental circles, but I’m appalled by this and strongly oppose it and anything like it. If you’re not a human supremacist, you wouldn’t do anything to any other species that you wouldn’t do to humans.

        “The behavior you are looking for will be the outcome of a socialist, science-based society … not because of some ‘spiritual’ impulse.” No, you’ve got it backward. Until and unless people evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, they’ll never do the right things and always do the wrong ones. I agree with you that we also need major societal changes, these things need to go hand-in-hand. It’s not either-or, and if people don’t want to do the right thing, they’ll eventually fall into doing the wrong thing, regardless of what kind of society you try to set up.

        You don’t seem to know what spirituality is and confuse it with religion. As I’ve already mentioned, religion is generally ANTI-spiritual, because instead of advocating oneness, it advocates false dualities. The fanatic Christians of the Dark Age were not spiritual, actually they were the opposite.

        Finally, Voltaire is full of it, at least on this issue. As I’ve said, if you just view the world through the intellect and what you can intellectually prove, you miss out on most of the world. A lot of things can’t be perceived by the intellect, such as things that can only be felt. I’m not going to get into an argument here about altered states of consciousness that show different worlds and such. Science is strictly intellectual and binds reality. If you’re willing to let your world be bound like that, that’s your choice, though I consider it an unfortunate one. I would much rather experience the far more rich mosaic of the world and not shut myself off to things just because they can’t be perceived intellectually. Allowing the intellect to rule is one of the main reasons that humans are destroying the natural world and killing all the life there. This is not a good way to live or to perceive life.

      5. Reductionism Is an essential tool, without it, we’ll never get a complete insight into the universe or any natural processes. One of the more important outcomes has been the ability to understand matter and energy, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, genetics and numerous other vital areas of interest.

        This knowledge is not obtainable holistically.

        No one can demonstrate the existence of quarks by ingesting physics holistically. Particles need to be smashed together in an accelerator. The process has been humorously and accurately described as putting a watch in a bag, hitting it with a hammer, and trying to figure out how thewatch works by looking at the pieces. But it works and we have a better but still-incomplete grasp of matter and energy.

        Work continues on a unifying theory that would wrap everything into a simpler, overarching understanding — the ultimate “reduction.” That could elude us if the energies required exceed the capacity of humanity to generate.

        Holistic approaches work far better in areas like psychology, where it’s not possible (yet) to work out the exact relationship between specific physical events in neurons and other parts of the brain and emotions, actions and awareness. At this point,these activities are too complex to grasp and there are experiments that we cannot perform on other humans. Sociology is another such area: real science seems impossible — approachable but not like physics — and holistic approaches can produce valuable insights and understanding.

        Give me an example of how science “overuses” reductionism.

        Whatever you’re reading, I see the general consensus among scientists is that humans are not “special.” Darwin established that, and evolution is overwhelmingly accepted among scientists.

        It’s the “spiritual” folks who seem to think otherwise.

        There IS wide scientific agreement that humans are causing possibly irreversible damage to the planet’s ecosystem, that’s why many now label our age the Anthropocene. This is because of our “dominant” ability to manipulate the environment, but scarcely seen as a happy state of affairs.

        The best explanation of this I’ve seen comes from Noah Harari:

        “Humans use their language not merely to describe reality, but also to create new realities, fictional realities. A human can say, “Look, there is a god above the clouds! And if you don’t do what I tell you to do, after you die, God will punish you and send you to hell.” And if you all believe this story that I’ve invented, then you will follow the same norms and laws and values, and you can cooperate. This is something only humans can do. You can never convince a chimpanzee to give you a banana by promising him, “… after you die, you’ll go to chimpanzee heaven …” and you’ll receive lots and lots of bananas for your good deeds. So now give me this banana.” No chimpanzee will ever believe such a story. Only humans believe such stories, which is why we control the world, whereas the chimpanzees are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.”

        Disagreement among scientists is an essential part of the scientific process, and there are scientists — even veterinarians — who deny that animals have a high degree of consciousness or that plants do. I don’t know if that makes them “supremacists” or just skeptics another viewpoint.

        Some scientists have asserted that consciousness has been detected in some very complex electronic networks, and they think that consciousness arises as an epiphenomenon out of a sufficiently complicated structure of suitable elements. This might give us some insights into how/why our brains produce consciousness. It also scares some scientists about the potential AI might have to”replace” us.

        “All I can say is, if humans didn’t think that they’re superior to wolves, they wouldn’t put collars on them.”

        Nonsense. Humans who do this are trying to understand wolves: their research has led to some instances where wolves are protects, against very strong opposition. There are experiments that should be outlawed because they are cruel and the animals suffer. The ways to do this while still making medical progress are understudied and not being investigated because they would interfere with the profit motive.

        ” Until and unless people evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, they’ll never do the right things and always do the wrong ones.”

        Wrong. Racism decreased in the US because Civil Rights laws were enforced. Official segregation was ended, by force. Schools and businesses were integrated at bayonet-point.

        Hearts and minds will follow an imposed reality. Segregation and racism were imposed, and they caused belief: reversing the facts reversed popular thought and perceptions. Popular culture also helped, but altering the reality “at ground level” was decisive.

        Well, we disagree essentially on Voltaire and metaphysics as well as spirituality. I’ve never seen or heard any commonly-agreed upon idea of what “spirituality” is — just a lot of vague talk that easily devolves into virtue-signalling. This is not revelation, it’s just a blur.

        You misunderstand the role of science: no one claims that science is the ONLY way to experience life.

        But understanding the facts revealed by science produces the same effect as a person who understands music technically gets from their subjective enjoyment of a song or symphony: an expanded experience.

        This is liberation, not “binding.”

        When one looks up at the Milky Way at night, realizing what you’re actually seeing enhances your subjective sense of wonder. When people discover the genetic history of humanity, racism devolves into the nonsense it is.

        Intellect is not killing the environment: sociopathic greed and capitalist “growth” specifically are responsible.

      6. @BabaYaga
        Reductionism is only essential if you obsess on the intellect. I’d much rather that people expand their consciousness and leave the Earth and the life on it alone, than to know understand some of the concepts you mentioned. In fact, some of those evil sciences, like chemistry, physics, and genetics are what humans are using to pollute and destroy our planet. Far better off if they never existed! I really don’t give a damn whether anyone can demonstrate the existence of quarks or about any of this really. Theoretical physics is nice, but it’s certainly not worth killing even one nonhuman or destroying one molecule of natural land over. The most advanced humans on Earth BY FAR are hunter-gatherers who have focused on expanding their consciousness to the point where even your most brilliant scientists couldn’t begin to understand their mythologies. Oh, but those people don’t have cars and advanced weapons to destroy the planet and kill nonhumans, so we should just wipe them out, right? Sheesh. I’ll bet you’re one of the great majority of modern humans who falsely think that, for example, other species including plants can’t feel, communicate, or make decisions.

        Here’s the bottom line: we basically live in different worlds. In my world, the intellect is just one of many ways of viewing life, and definitely not the predominant way. I therefore perceive many things that cannot be perceived by the intellect. If you’re going to make the intellect the most dominant part of your perception and thus ultimately your being, not only are you going to miss out on a lot in life, but you’re going to end up with what Charlie Chaplin called a “machine mind,” which will be capable of doing horrendous things. In fact this type of wrongful thinking is one of the major reasons that humans destroy the Earth and have little or no respect for it, its ecosystems, or the nonhuman life on it.

        I really don’t think that we have any basis for further discussion here. As I said, we live in different worlds, and they’re irreconcilable. That doesn’t mean we can’t discuss other issues, but as I said at the outset of this one, we’re polar opposites on this issue.

      7. Actually, you’re the one with the simplistic set of notions, all based on illusions and false premises.

        “I’d much rather that people expand their consciousness and leave the Earth and the life on it alone”

        Translation: be ignorant and incurious. Reduce human life to turning food into feces. Procreate and don’t think rationally, too much. Maybe enough to figure out how to plant things?

        “I’ll bet you’re one of the great majority of modern humans who falsely think that, for example, other species including plants can’t feel, communicate, or make decisions.”

        Actually it was the integration of many rationally, scientifically discovered facts that allowed researchers to learn about how forests, plants and fungi form interconnected mega-organism and have a kind of consciousness.

        A person with no scientific insight might guess that, but guessing is unreliable. You might guess the other people over there are actually need to be sacrificed so that the universe can continue.

        Many hunter-gatherer people and other societies have acquired a very substantial amount of information about how things work via trial and error, over large time-spans. That know THAT something works, but not WHY. If their mythologies are impenetrable, as you assert, that would not prove either validity or sophistication. Like our modern religions, they might just not make sense.

        One of the symptoms of insufficient rational thought is the tendency to imagine things that don’t exist, like gods, creation myths or the idea that you know through the screen what another person thinks.

        ” I therefore perceive many things that cannot be perceived by the intellect.”

        Certain substances that seem to reveal aspects of reality that we may somehow suppress, and people experience “insights” and other phenomena that they don’t ordinarily. No one yet really understands if these perceptions are things our mind learn to block or are just induced illusions.

        An interesting area of study and it will be scientists who figure it out.

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