Chris Hedges Forever Wars Original

Hedges: Waltzing Toward Armageddon with the Merchants of Death

The doctrine of permanent war dominated our lives during the Cold War and dominates our lives now.
“Raft of Doom” / Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism. 

That is why they have resurrected it.

The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” 

This provocation, a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, has seen Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia inducted into the Western military alliance. This betrayal was compounded by a decision to station NATO troops, including thousands of US troops, in Eastern Europe, another violation of an agreement made by Washington with Moscow. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps a cynical goal of the Western alliance, has now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism. The masters of war may be ecstatic, but the potential consequences, including a global conflagration, are terrifying. 

Peace has been sacrificed for US global hegemony. It has been sacrificed for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen. 

So what if the Amazon is reaching its final tipping point where trees will soon begin to die off en masse. So what if land ice and ice shelves are melting from below at a much faster rate than predicted. So what if temperatures soar, monster hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires devastate the earth. In the face of the gravest existential crisis to beset the human species, and most other species, the ruling elites stoke a conflict that is driving up the price of oil and turbocharging the fossil fuel extraction industry. It is collective madness.

The Butcher’s Cut / Illustration by Mr. Fish

The march towards protracted conflict with Russia and China will backfire. The desperate effort to counter the steady loss of economic dominance by the US will not be offset by military dominance. If Russia and China can create an alternative global financial system, one that does not use the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency, it will signal the collapse of the American empire. The dollar will plummet in value. Treasury bonds, used to fund America’s massive debt, will become largely worthless. The financial sanctions used to cripple Russia will be, I expect, the mechanism that slays us, if we don’t first immolate ourselves in thermonuclear war.

Washington plans to turn Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan, when the Carter administration, under the influence of the Svengali-like National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, equipped and armed the radical jihadists that would morph into the Taliban and al Qaeda in the fight against the Soviets. It will not be good for Russia. It will not be good for the United States. It will not be good for Ukraine, as making Russia bleed will require rivers of Ukrainian blood. The decision to destroy the Russian economy, to turn the Ukrainian war into a quagmire for Russia and topple the regime of Vladimir Putin will open a Pandora’s box of evils. Massive social engineering — look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Vietnam — has its own centrifugal force. It destroys those who play God.

The Ukrainian war has silenced the last vestiges of the Left. Nearly everyone has giddily signed on for the great crusade against the latest embodiment of evil, Vladimir Putin, who, like all our enemies, has become the new Hitler. The United States will give $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with the Biden administration authorizing on Saturday an additional $200 million in military assistance. The 5,000-strong EU rapid deployment force, the recruitment of all Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, into NATO, the reconfiguration of former Soviet Bloc militaries to NATO weapons and technology have all been fast tracked. Germany, for the first time since World War II, is massively rearming. It has lifted its ban on exporting weapons. Its new military budget is twice the amount of the old budget, with promises to raise the budget to more than 2 percent of GDP, which would move its military from the seventh largest in the world to the third-, behind China and the United States. NATO battlegroups are being doubled in size in the Baltic states to more than 6,000 troops. Battlegroups will be sent to Romania and Slovakia. Washington will double the number of U.S. troops stationed in Poland to 9,000. Sweden and Finland are considering dropping their neutral status to integrate with NATO.

This is a recipe for global war. History, as well as all the conflicts I covered as a war correspondent, have demonstrated that when military posturing begins, it often takes little to set the funeral pyre alight. One mistake. One overreach. One military gamble too many. One too many provocations. One act of desperation. 

Russia’s threat to attack weapons convoys to Ukraine from the West; its air strike on a military base in western Ukraine, 12 miles from the Polish border, which is a staging area for foreign mercenaries; the statement by Polish President Andrzej Duda that the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical weapons, by Russia against Ukraine, would be a “game-changer” that could force NATO to rethink its decision to refrain from direct military intervention — all are ominous developments pushing the alliance closer to open warfare with Russia.

Once military forces are deployed, even if they are supposedly in a defensive posture, the bear trap is set. It takes very little to trigger the spring. The vast military bureaucracy, bound to alliances and international commitments, along with detailed plans and timetables, when it starts to roll forward, becomes unstoppable. It is propelled not by logic but by action and reaction, as Europe learned in two world wars.

The moral hypocrisy of the United States is staggering. The crimes Russia is carrying out in Ukraine are more than matched by the crimes committed by Washington in the Middle East over the last two decades, including the act of preemptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal act of aggression. Only rarely is this hypocrisy exposed as when USAmbassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the body: “We’ve seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs which are banned under the Geneva Convention.” Hours later, the official transcript of her remark was amended to tack on the words “if they are directed against civilians.” This is because the U.S., which like Russia never ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty, regularly uses cluster munitions. It used them in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq. It has provided them to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Russia has yet to come close to the tally of civilian deaths from cluster munitions delivered by the US military.

The Dr. Strangeloves, like zombies rising from the mass graves they created around the globe, are once again stoking new campaigns of industrial mass slaughter. No diplomacy. No attempt to address the legitimate grievances of our adversaries. No check on rampant militarism. No capacity to see the world from another perspective. No ability to comprehend reality outside the confines of the binary rubric of good and evil. No understanding of the debacles they orchestrated for decades. No capacity for pity or remorse.

Elliot Abrams worked in the Reagan administration when I was reporting from Central America. He covered up atrocities and massacres committed by the military regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and by the US-backed Contra forces fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. He viciously attacked reporters and human rights groups as communists or fifth columnists, calling us “un-American” and “unpatriotic.” He was convicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra affair. During the administration of George W. Bush, he lobbied for the invasion of Iraq and tried to orchestrate a U.S. coup in Venezuela to overthrow Hugo Chávez.

“There will be no substitute for military strength, and we do not have enough,” writes Abrams for the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow: “It should be crystal clear now that a larger percentage of GDP will need to be spent on defense. We will need more conventional strength in ships and planes. We will need to match the Chinese in advanced military technology, but at the other end of the spectrum, we may need many more tanks if we have to station thousands in Europe, as we did during the Cold War. (The total number of American tanks permanently stationed in Europe today is zero.) Persistent efforts to diminish even further the size of our nuclear arsenal or prevent its modernization were always bad ideas, but now, as China and Russia are modernizing their nuclear weaponry and appear to have no interest in negotiating new limits, such restraints should be completely abandoned. Our nuclear arsenal will need to be modernized and expanded so that we will never face the kinds of threats Putin is now making from a position of real nuclear inferiority.” 

Putin played into the hands of the war industry. He gave the warmongers what they wanted. He fulfilled their wildest fantasies. There will be no impediments now on the march to Armageddon. Military budgets will soar. The oil will gush from the ground. The climate crisis will accelerate. China and Russia will form the new axis of evil. The poor will be abandoned. The roads across the earth will be clogged with desperate refugees. All dissent will be treason. The young will be sacrificed for the tired tropes of glory, honor, and country. The vulnerable will suffer and die. The only true patriots will be generals, war profiteers, opportunists, courtiers in the media and demagogues braying for more and more blood. The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods.  And we, cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria, clamor for our own annihilation.


Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated show On Contact.  Author Link

Copyright 2022 Chris Hedges

168 comments

  1. Arms makers, bullet-headed generals, bent politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike), and the filthy rich media moguls who cheer them on do not advance their careers and amass and maintain their fortunes by embracing de-escalation. They profit by systematically glamorizing and glorifying violence in entertainment fare and war propaganda, making and selling weapons, and instigating wars. It’s what they do, and we have all seen it, again, and again, and again. Their business is wholesale deceit, death, and destruction. Millions die, millions more are displaced as refugees, countless families are ripped apart, nations destabilized and destroyed. Now Western neocons openly flirt with a nuclear holocaust that would kill billions and end human civilization as we have known it, while Western leaders steadfastly refuse to do anything really useful to slow climate change!

    1. What about Eastern (Russian/China/Indian) leaders actions on climate change or do you not have expectations for them? This is quite an echo chamber here – looking through messages. Not a bad thing necessarily as long as all remain aware. Overall very interesting. Thanks D

      1. @David
        Solely to provide context, I’m a lifelong environmentalist. I was a campaigner with Earth First! and a paid employee with Greenpeace. I am a radical environmentalist and am very well versed in environmental issues, focusing on wilderness & wildlife protection and restoration, and root causes. I’m also a deep ecologist (look it up!).

        No country on Earth has taken any meaningful actions regarding global warming/climate change. This problem is caused by living industrially, and the only solution is to stop doing so. (“Green” energy is a scam and will not at all solve this problem. See Planet of the Humans and/or read Deep Green Lies.) This solution requires a major reduction in human consumption, especially for the richest among us (Americans, western Europeans, etc.), and a major reduction in human population. Both of these required elements of the solution will take hundreds of years to accomplish completely. But no country or world leader would ever propose taking these required actions, because 1) humans would rather fry the Earth and all life on here than live a lot more simply & naturally and in a lot smaller numbers; and 2) no world leader has the guts, integrity, or sufficiently high moral and ethical standards to tell people what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear.

        I don’t know what the point of your comment about this is, but it sounds like you think that some countries and/or leaders are actually doing something about global warming/climate change. Please allow me to disabuse you of that false notion.

    2. The U.S.’s hypocrisy is astounding, that is obvious. That the citizens of earth have bigger problems whose solutions will require cooperation and a new economic model is also obvious, but won’t happen because the rank and file have neither the means nor the will to do anything other than be lead to the slaughter. As Mr. Hedges himself says, human global chess is a game of move and counter move, action and reaction with the goal, if you can call it a goal, of hegemony. Although just because the U.S. has been a kleptocracy longer than modern Russia has, two wrongs do not cancel each other. It will be a war to the bitter end between the three major kleptocracies, the U.S., Russia and China. Sadly, the rank and file just cannot envision anything better.

    3. This article ignores the fact that diplomacy was unlikely to prevent Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. People who have followed Russia and Putin very closely (Julia Ioffe, Masha Gessin, David Remnick, Tim Snyder, etc.) do not believe that NATO expansionism is the primary motivator behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine; Putin has his own twisted historicism about Ukraine and other baltic states being fundamentally Russian that he is seeking to ratify through his invasion. And, if we read Putin’s writings and listen to his speeches on Russian history, Ukraine is just the tip of the iceberg of Putin’s ambitions to revive the Russian empire. If he is not stopped now, the smart money is that he will keep on going. Appeasement is a fool’s errand. And if insanity is defined as making the same mistake over and over again, appeasement is lunatic. It is either sophistry or sophomoric to equivocate between America’s foreign adventurism over the last two decades and Russia’s, unless you believe that there is no difference between the promotion of despotic totalitarianism (Russia) and the promotion, however clumsily, of democratic ideals (United States). It is equally sophomoric to assume that if we weren’t fighting wars against each other, we would be working as one to fight climate change. Wars are bad, militarism is bad, and addressing climate change is the existential challenge of our times — I agree with each of those premises. But the rest of what follows in this article reads as the reaction of an overly-sensitive immune system to the allergen of the possibility of America entering a war, needlessly (and improperly) summoning macrophages of moral relativism, white blood cells of wishful thinking, and anti-bodies of anti-imperialism. There might be an intelligent argument to be made about how to prevent WWIII without feeding the military industrial complex — and I’d like to read it –but this article does not make it.

      1. I’m in full agreement with your reply. I’ve grown weary of reading about the dangers of Imperial America from Chris Hedges and his ilk without a single word on solutions. All his writing does is fire up the irrational left against reality. Putin started this fucking war and America didn’t ask for it. Chris gleefully hopes for the demise of the Western order. The suggestion that had NATO not moved into Eastern Europe all would be peaches and cream is utter nonsense. And he fails to acknowledge that the citizens of these nations wanted the security that the European Union and NATO provide.

        I’m with you, please provide me with an “intelligent argument” on avoiding WWIII without funding the military-industrial complex. Because this is a waste of internet space.

      2. @DonJon Vonavich
        Your response and that of Manny are detached from reality. Many if not most U.S. foreign policy EXPERTS have been warning for at least 25, starting with Senator Joe Biden in 1997, years that eastward expansion of NATO would provoke Russia. You deny reality because of your USA, USA! attitude and its resulting hatred for Russia and Putin. Totally irrational and disgusting. All of us are opposed to the invasion, but the U.S. and NATO are the root cause of it.

      3. Obviously Manny and some others have not read Putin’s speeches that he made before t he attack on Ukraine. I’m not supporting the war, but I’m just saying that he was asking for negotiations and had been for some time. The West and NATO refused to compromise on anything. Of course the popular propaganda is to think the opposite or to say that we can’t believe Putin. Can we believe what our government is saying about a lot of things? Unfortunately we think that being the superpower we can draw the lines between friends(allies) and enemies()other big powers). Just think, if we cooperated with them, how much good we could do for the poorer countries using our money not for war and weapons, but for food, health, and other opportunities for all. We need a change of mindset.

      4. To Sally,
        Seems to me if Zelensky, et.al. had proceeded to implement the MinskII agreements in a timely fashion – Ukraine would still be intact – but we will never know now, will we … too many did not really want peace …

      5. The U. S. has gone from “no standing army” to one vast military camp. Why? Kipling and Rhodes set it out. London wanted the U.S. to pick up “the white man’s burden”. WW1 and WW2 ended America’s isolationism after Britain inveigled them into war and then the Americans found they had a taste for throwing their weight around.
        Fine until you aren’t dealing with the Viet Cong or Taliban anymore but a nuclear superpower.

      6. You have named sources who can no longer be trusted. Masha Gessen hates Putin so much she can barely speak. She has infected the New Yorker, formerly known for fact-checking, with this hatred and it’s spread to the other staff writers there. Just because she was born in Russia doesn’t mean she has a handle on the truth of Putin, but people sop up what she says. Example, she keeps calling the odious Alexei Navalny “the opposition,” as if that gives this opportunist credence, he who is the most racist person I’ve ever known. The Russiagate thing that was disproved right out of the box began with Hillary who thought she could kick Putin out in a coup as she, et.al, did in Ukraine which began an 8 year war on Russian speakers, murdering thousands (Nazi forces supported by the world.) Don’t believe me: read her emails. Putin put out his hand in friendship for 30 years and was slapped down every time. He knows diplomacy. The US has none being so freakin’ arrogant. Can’t wait for its demise. The only way this invasion can stop is with diplomacy. Zelensky, a guy with no experience, knows he will die if he crosses the Nazis who rule the most corrupt country in Europe. We have no statecraft. Just send in weapons is our motto.

    4. Hedges hates it that Kleptocrat Putin is being exposed on the world stage. And Hedges does it in the most gooey, fraught, junior high school – level, sophistry.

      It’s pathetic.

      Hedges has the history wrong, he blames the USA for the invasion of Ukraine instead of, (Dare I suggest?) THE INVADERS! I see that some of you are impressed by this kind of glop.

      Raise your standards, or be left behind in Chris Hedges’ “Jonestown”, sipping on Kool Aid.

      1. It WAS the USA’s fault. I strongly suggest you read this:
        DIANA JOHNSTONE: “For Washington,War Never Ends”
        March 16, 2022 ConsortiumNews
        Her research is impeccable and accurate. It’s an eye-opening read for those who don’t know the background to this mess.
        Putin reached out his hand in friendship for 30 years. WE, on the other hand have no sense of diplomacy whatsoever. The US has slaughtered innocent people all over the world, a stead diet of killing…weapons, you know, our biggest business.
        BTW, Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe, but we are worse.

      2. Consortium News has been a great source of information & analysis on Ukraine. It is scary how few sources like that there are – even among supposed progressive sites. Some of them have gone batshit bonkers. You’d think they would have learned something from Russiagate.

        I’d also highly recommend Oliver Stone’s documentary, Ukraine on Fire. Robert Parry is one of the main commenters / interviewers. He’s the founder of Consortium News. It’s on Rumble.

      3. Yes, “Ukraine on Fire” is great. People should see it while they still can get it on rumble because it’s banned elsewhere. Loved seeing Bob Parry again, one of the greatest reporters of all time. We were all shocked when he died. Still miss him.

      4. @Rob Roy
        None of these braindead USA, USA! types care about the U.S. & NATO being the root cause of the invasion. They just want to blame Russia and hate Putin. They’re little more than Pavlov’s dogs, feeling and doing exactly what the establishment tells them.

        Now we’ll probably be called Russian- or Putin apologists, even though we say that Russia was wrong to invade, assuming that you’ve also said that. It’s too much for most people to understand that there are no good guys here, just evil psychopaths on both sides. China is the only large country that has taken an objective and ethical stand on this issue, and I’m sure that’s being done for their own interests, not because they’re morally superior.

        With all this extreme war-mongering in the U.S., by the corporate/establishment media, by elected politicians and other high government officials, and by the general population, we’re lucky if we don’t end up with a nuclear war. As much as I hate the guy, I have to say that Biden has been good at not totally acquiescing to the war mongers so far regarding this situation (though it was totally disgusting, hypocritical, and dangerous for him to call Putin a war criminal in public). I’d much rather have Biden in office now regarding this situation than Trump or Clinton. The latter two would probably have us in nuclear war by now, Trump because he knows nothing about international affairs and would have let the war mongers run things, Clinton because she’s a psychopathic war criminal who has tried to provoke Russia into war previously and takes the same position now.

  2. Another fantastic piece, Chris. As always, you nailed it.
    You have said in the past that “the good is attracted by the good”.
    True, but I would add to that, “Still, evil always wins”.

    1. Well…not this time…The Evil European Edomites finally Fkd Up and will get Annihilated

  3. Hedges is great, as always. Although I doubt Russia & China will form a new economic alliance that renders US Treasury bills worthless. The US can freeze accounts; it can’t seize assets (except for poor people caught with drugs in the house). If I’m fabulously wealthy, I trust a sleazy US financial firm over a Russian Bank, any day.

    1. @James F,
      ” … it can’t seize assets …”
      Tell that to Afghanistan …. I am sure they would be relieved to know that …
      Or Venezuela, or …

      1. Yes, what about CITGO, or is it CITCO? Venezuelan gas company in the U.S. It was seized and profits fed to Guaido. The Brits seized Venezuelan gold and won’t return it.

    2. Or people who donate through GoFundMe to a peaceful demonstration against government overreach.

  4. Those of us who’s minds are open and will not be censored applaud you sir for your truthful information Thank you 🙏

  5. A valuable warning for us. Sadly, Americans don’t get it. We are always the good guys and there are always people easy to demonize. Just get rid of them and we can rule the world. Let’s at least help our president see things more clearly. Let’s suggest he read this article, and then sign on to a petition and open letter to him called “If reason doesn’t work, let’s try Humor” at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/open-letter-to biden-on-war. We gotta do something, even with humor.

    1. @Sally McMillan,
      Bless you – if only that would work – that has been tried for ages, Hedges has been writing this stuff for ages – TPTB don’t give a “sh..” about what we the people think or want, with or without humor – unless, that is, they become convinced that we will remove them from power if they don’t listen – and, since at least Roosevelt, they haven’t been concerned about that at all – because over and over we have engaged in the politics of fear – the LOTE – at the polls. We have had good candidates for over 20 years to choose from – but alas and alack, they’re 3rd party, and we all “know” that “3rd parties can’t win” and are told they are “spoilers” if they even enter the race – those 3rd parties whose platforms are based on what we the people have said we wanted in poll after poll – that the “major” parties will never give us unless we “force” them to – and as sad as I am to say this – marches and petitions and phone calls won’t cut it – have been there and done that for years – how many marched against the war in Iraq, e.g.

      So until we are prepared to “spoil” things and screw our courage to the sticking place in greater and greater numbers, every time, at the polls until they get the message we and the rest of the world will keep circling the drain at a greater and greater pace – no matter which “major party” we vote for instead .. We have wasted decades with this LOTE voting pattern – we could have had much better by now, but we chickened out every time – these folks in power, make no mistake, WE put them there ….

      The most sinister and effective lie in politics – “3rd parties can’t win”

      1. @Jay H,
        Sorry – I forget periodically that there are folks out there who are unaware of all the lingo that has been used for years to describe how we justify our voting habits
        LOTE – lesser of 2 evils, and another, TINA – there is no alternative, often attached to “3rd parties can’t win” so there is TINA to the duopoly
        The biggest, and in my opinion the most effective, lies told in politics …

      2. The fact is third-parties can’t win. If they could you would see third-party advances in all states and municipalities. I had once believed that we needed a viable third party. I voted for Ralph Nader and we got George Bush and war with Iraq. Had those votes gone to Al Gore, we would not have been in Iraq and he would have advanced the conversation on climate change. So, yeah, your vote has consequences and those votes for Nader had seriously bad ones.

      3. To DonJon,
        Well you, apparently, like too many others, have bought the “misinformation”, hook line and sinker, that has been so effectively spread by the duopoly, esp the Ds .. All the “talking points” are there, I have seen the same for a couple of decades now
        1) “Nader got us Bush” – no the SC got us Bush when they stopped the recount in Fla. More Ds voted for Bush in Fla than the number of Nader’s votes – THEY got you Bush.
        2) The assumption that we wouldn’t have had a “war” without Bush – Clinton had already decimated the country with sanctions – remember Albright’s “we think the price is worth it” for the half million dead Iraqi children? And remember – the war was very much a bipartisan affair. Nader was a blip on the screen in ’04 and Bush still won …. They even tried to blame Stein for Trump!
        The question is why did you vote for Nader? Why not Gore? Had you figured out that neither Ds nor Rs were going to give us what we have been “voting” for in opinion polls in increasing numbers for years now? That the ones who were in fact “spoiling” things for the “99%” WERE/ARE the Ds and Rs? That if we had voted 3rd party in increasing, instead of decreasing, numbers in each election we would have had, or been well on our way to having, that stuff we want and need, because the Ds would have understood that if they didn’t actually produce that stuff instead of just talking about it, they would be toast – how many times do we have to be fooled before we figure it out? We have wasted sooo much time on voting “lesser evil” and time is running out …
        The 3rd parties can’t win bit is blatant nonsense – any person on a ballot can win if enough folks vote for ’em – and the pols spreading that lie KNOW it isn’t true – or why have they been making it more difficult for 3rd parties to get on ballots, why have they been keeping them out of debates and making it more difficult to get matching funds – because they don’t want such parties to “spoil” it for them – “spoil” what? Their chance to stay in power and do what? What have they done besides “spoil” stuff for us. Under BOTH their reigns, as they say, “there’s nothing surer, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” … So until we “screw our courage to the sticking place” and vote in the electoral polls for the folks who stand for what we say we want in opinion polls – we will continue circling the drain …

      4. @DonJon Vonavich
        Third parties almost never win IN A RIGGED SYSTEM like ours. That’s the problem. We need to change to proportional representation like every other democracy beside the U.K. has.

        Voting for one evil party over the other one is not the answer, never was. Voting for Democrats is a vote for war and for Wall Street, to name just two major evils off the top of my head.

        Dick Cheney is one of the most evil people on Earth, so I agree that it was really bad that he got put into the White House. But it’s pure fantasy to claim that if Gore had gotten elected, everything would have been fine. Gore was nothing but a right wing Democrat who paid lip service to environmental issues.

    2. Please do not use the term “we” when you mean the imperialist government of the United States. The aims of the government (owned by the wealthy and the corporations) are not the aims of ordinary citizens, who are just struggling to survive while a pandemic rages throughout the country unchecked and lied about through the mainstream media, unemployment benefits are cut off, people are evicted from their homes and seniors increasingly are unable to live on social security’s meagre “benefits”. I have no part of that “we” and, I suspect, neither have you or you wouldn’t be reading Chris Hedges. I do not vote for the capitalist politicians and have not done so for decades. The government, to a worker, is not “we” but the oppressor.

    3. Thanks for speaking out Chris. I have been saying similar on social.media in order to quell the hysteria but have.mostly been met wjth condemnation and threats

  6. This is my fear, that we are now in 1914, things spinning out of control, the Generals making one mistake after another, leading to catastrophe.
    I just finished the fictional book Never by Ken Follett. Its premise is that 1914 was started by a series of events that spin out of control and lead to war. He wondered if the same thing could happen again in our time? Hence the book. Right now its looking prophetic.
    I am genuinely frightened.

    1. The World War I carnage was sparked as you say by a collection of events spinning wildly. Millions died to “preserve the neutrality of Belgium.” Our looming catastrophe will be earmarked by reasons equally dangerous, frivolous and stupid.

  7. Regarding the hypocrisy of the USA and the rest of the world having a meltdown of mass hysteria around Russia attacking Ukraine I offer the following article that shows all the countries attacked and deaths due to the USA since WWII. It is estimated that somewhere between 20 to 30 million folks have died as a result of the USA and its love for war and profit off of them.
    https://countercurrents.org/lucas240407.htm
    As far as I am concerned all wars are crimes. But I sit and shake my head at all the deaths and wars the USA is responsible for and never did it receive such outrage and sanctions for its outright illegal attacks on sovereign nations. I am so damn tired and angry as the USA projects its own lust for violence against other countries who act in the same manner (although arguably far less than the USA) as the latest face of evil incarnate. I’ve never witnessed such mass hysteria against a nation as Russia in this latest incident while the USA has done far worse for decades with nary a finger wagged its way. The USA is by far the world’s largest terrorist nation and yet it is never held accountable for all the death and destruction it has wrought an any meaningful manner. I detest the country of my birth for the hell it has wrought upon the earth since its founding. And all the while the USA is pointing fingers at others in the world, it is rapidly collapsing from within politically, economically, environmentally and so forth. But the USA will keep on waging war on others until the bitter end because that is how it was founded and knows no other way to be. We are now in the final days and they will be ever more darker and more dystopian with the USA leading the way.

    1. You are absolutely correct. I disagree only with your premise that the USA was founded by waging war on others. It is true that the Europeans waged a war against the native Americans, but the Founders originally did not want anything to do with foreign wars or the British Empire. Thanks for the link to the list of US wars. I will be sharing that. Dying empires, like cornered and wounded animals, lash out and snarl for all they’re worth, refusing to see that their days are numbered. Unfortunately, this lashing out takes millions of innocent lives.

      1. For a country that did not want anything to do with war – the founders of the U.S. sure did a “good” job waging war on indigenous people.

      2. Native American genocide by the European settlers continued into the 1800’s which meant war was waged against the Native Americans for 200 years or so. And let us not forget the African populations who were enslaved starting in the early 1600’s into the 1800’s as well. I would consider both of those waging war, and I would consider the African slavery trade as waging war on foreign soil. Just another example of racism from the very beginning of this violent nation. And the USA is as violent and racist today.

    2. https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

      It’s not just the wars per se, it’s the sanctions, and the coups. The US Government believes it has the Right to interfere in the sovereignty and independence of any country if its political donor class benefits.

      Take Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama for example. He continued Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (the “Surge”) and started wars in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan. He overthrew democratically elected Morsi in Egypt, Zelaya in Honduras, and of course Yanukovych in Ukraine. Additionally Obama passed Ongoing National “Emergencies” with sanctions in some of these and other countries including Venezuela and the Central African Republic (with undeclared warfare throughout the region).
      Freezing assets, as recently with Russia, and with the Canadian trucker donors by Trudeau, is the big new thing. Look for nationalization of American (global) industry as response, again. Starving children to death, as with 500,000 Iraqi children by Albright, or due to the present freezing of Afghan assets by Biden, is just as Evil as killing, maiming and destroying civilians and their homes as routinely done by the US.

  8. Great work.

    I’m reading in the mainstream press that Putin will not negotiate. But this seems inconsistent with his putting forward a nine-point draft treaty, with NATO and the US, in December 2021. I’ve looked it over and it all seems pretty reasonable as a starting point. I didn’t see the “demands” that are described by Western media, iy looked more like restoration of older norms to minimize conflict. My conclusion is that its actually Biden that won’t negotiate because he doesn’t want to solve this problem through diplomacy and right now he is winning this game without any real effort. Just a lot of lying.

    What does Biden have to lose in this game right now? Every dead Ukrainian and Russian is a point for Biden. Every Ukrainian hospital hit is hundreds of points for Biden. Ukraine is a pawn, or the ball, in this Putin-Biden game. What better way to damage Russia, and revive NATO, than to bait Putin into a trap in which he and Ukraine can only lose. Sending weapons to Ukraine will only get many more Ukrainians and Russians killed and score Biden more points.

    I also see Russia’s talks with Ukraine being used by the West as a distraction from the real negotiations that Putin is asking for. The Ukraine-Russia discussions presumably do make demands on Ukraine to drop the pursuit of Crimea – which was annexed to Ukraine by the Soviet Union in 1954 – and to be remain neutral, i.e. not a part of NATO. My sense is that most of these are discussions to find a way to get as many civilians out before Russia rubblizes the larger cities; which given the small force Russia has deployed, would seem to be a likely goal if this drags on.

    I believe that Biden could end all of this today by simply agreeing to talk seriously with Putin about his draft treaty.

    1. I agree with you. The United States does not want to negotiate. It wants blind obedience to its imperialist agenda and nothing else.. It is playing, once again, a very dangerous game. The problem is that the pervasive warmongering propaganda is driving all sense from the minds of too many people. The spinmeisters of US propaganda are experts in manipulating human emotions to such an extent that critical thinking nearly vanishes. Here is a link to an article on Cognitive Warfare:

      https://www.innovationhub-act.org/sites/default/files/2021-01/20210122_CW%20Final.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1Pxe48eiOl1_1-lFoD8aox5-sEcZcgzK1X4mv3s9LtMRWmtLbzcXMQjqI

    2. I think you may be right. I caught a glimpse of Tulsi Gabbard on t.v. one night & she said Biden should have told Putin in no uncertain terms that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO . It was like poking the bear.

  9. What I don’t understand is that if the Sociopathic and Psychopathic so-called Elite Globalists (Cabal that controls the world) is known to CIA or Military and they know where to locate them, then, why not simply send a few drones their way with a few missiles, and be done with them, instead of constantly creating wars and carnage for them. Some might say that it cannot be done. I want to know why it cannot be done. If they have been destroying humanity for centuries, its time they were the topic of destruction assuming that Peace, Love and Compassion cannot do the job..

    1. The CIA and military work on behalf of the global oligarchs (based in the USA) to which you refer. And other oligarchs around the world have their own equivalents severing them. That is why it cannot be done. Those same oligarchs have the citizenry right where they want them, cheering for war against the latest Hitler figure, instead of the oligarchs themselves who are literally heading us all to extinction with exponential climate catastrophe as they chase and amass artificial wealth.

    2. The “Elite Globalists” run the CIA and the Military. It is their aims that the CIA and the military exist to perform.

  10. World leaders are psychopaths but we think they are human like us, WHY? because the leaders of the past have told Humanity for thousands years, they are human just like us. They are NOT human like us. We are stupid to think that anyone is human who lives a behaviourally destructive life that is the antithesis of our own. We must face the facts. Psychopaths and those with a psychopathic bent are the ruling class all across the world. Their “values’” are not human values, although they mimic human values. Our world is very likely to get worse if we fail to wake up to this fact. Republicans are acting as psychopaths toward us. Democrats are no better. Our world will die unless we can rid ourselves of all psychopaths and their lying murderous behavior. Trump, Putin, the Saudi prince are obvious examples who bring to mind Bundy, Dahmer and BTK. They have no conscience or empathy for anyone -follow that idea to a conclusion and you end up with the ultimate destruction of Humanity by psychopaths. As Cleckley said in the 50’s “Psychopaths are everywhere, even in Government” They are not us, they are their own species and shouldn’t rule over us or control the world we live in. We need to search them out and stop them.
    A corporation is a psychopath and all our politicians are loyal to them but neither have ANY HUMAN QUALITIES AT ALL.
    Humans are loving, life enhancing and we have no use for psychopathic monsters. Name them and blame them then stop them before they destroy the world

    1. Whoops Mr. Judges…You forgot to name Biden, Obama & Clinton. Equal playing field for all psychopaths please. I know it hurts for Democrats to name them, but please open your eyes. Admit it. It’s hard to be a Democrat these days. I gave up on ALL of them years ago. Rs & Ds.

    2. Yes, this is caused by the reliance on competition as means of organizing our civic/economic lives. But, for those of you that suggest that all politicians are psychopaths, I would suggest looking at the advancements being made by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Had we had two more votes in the Senate an amazing amount of real positive policy would have been passed this year with BBB and HR1.

      1. Nonsense. Said like a true socialist’, however. Competition is healthy as long as the market adopts healthy habits to keep it balanced and symbiotic. That’s not possible ,however, when the currency system we’re all using is debt based with no symbiotic partnership to debt-free circulating medium.

        The over indulgence in the use of debt is highly toxic to economics , specifically for the sake of liquidity, market balancing and organic price discovery.

        The monetary “Yin” needs the monetary “Yang” in order for balance and symbiosis to emerge. That’s totally up to the free market. Socialism makes a real effort to keep us all “in the dark” ….. and does it innocently.

        If you have any doubts at all, just look in your wallet. How does it feel to proliferate the use of IOU’s and be a coconspirator in the demise of the economy we all rely on ?

      2. @Michael G
        Sorry, you’re both wrong. Problems like this are caused by human overpopulation. Natural societies have leaders, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that where humans overpopulate, the leaders become egomaniacs. Now we’re at the point where they’re psychopaths.

        Regarding economic systems, a good mix of competition with strong social safety nets is the correct approach. All companies should be worker-owned, except for natural monopolies, which should be owned by the government. But ideally, money shouldn’t even exist and humans should focus on other things beside materialism.

      3. —>>> Sorry, you’re both wrong. Problems like this are caused by human overpopulation

        Define over-population and I’ll show you that it comes back to too much debt.
        We have the capability to support even larger populations while also addressing the largest macro struggles that go to environment, energy, health, food & agriculture and people’s whole standard of living.

        You’re seeing a symptom of highly over-leveraged debt. I’m pointing out the underlying disease. Strike the root.

      4. @Michael G
        Human overpopulation began when people started using agriculture 10-12,000 years ago. This is a biological problem above all else, and it started before money even existed. Therefore, it has nothing to do with debt. Before agriculture, there were only 5-10 million people ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. We have cities with more people now, just to show how grossly overpopulated we are.

        Humans are only one species out of tens of millions on the Earth. How about making some room for some others?!

      5. Your reference is to fully natural equilibrium. It’s a nice thought but we’re well past that aren’t we ? It’s what we do with this time that matters today. You’re romancing the past. I’m saying we can improve all of our systems as long as we don’t let debt get in our way, which is something we can achieve now.

        What to do, move backwards or forwards ?

      6. @Miachael G
        I’m not romanticizing anything, I’m merely pointing out how overpopulated we are, when it started, and the fact that is has nothing at all to do with money. My response was a direct answer to your question.

        Lowering human population is not moving backward, it’s correcting the worst physical problem on the planet. I’m not interested in tinkering around on the edges or putting Band Aids on symptoms; I’m interested in actually fixing major problems, and in order to do that you have to fix the root causes. We’re not “well past” anything either. Human population is easily lowered using birth control. Countries like China, Japan, and Russia are seeing or will see a major reduction in population as soon as the older people die off.

        You seem to think that your magical debt scheme will fix problems immediately. All the major human problems have been going on for a very long time in human terms, and they’re not getting fixed “now” or at any time in the near future. We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we’re not getting out of it overnight either. Sorry, no magical solutions in this realm.

      7. Stay tuned to the changes on how people transact. Something is coming. I hope you are ready.

      8. DonJon,
        The Democrats caused this immediate war by its coup in Ukraine in 2014. Obama and state dept cohorts which led to a war that’s gone on for the last 8 years, with Azov Battalion, Right Sector, Svoboda, Stafan Bandera followers murdering 15,000+ Russian speakers in the Donbas and Crimea, voters for Pres.Yanukovich who legally is still president. So much for Democrats.

  11. The future looks particularly grim. The resources, time and energy which, in a sane world, would be devoted towards at least attempting to tackle climate change, will, instead, be wasted on weapons and war. What a tragedy. How truly grotesque it all is.

    Germany promising/threatening to massively raise its military expenditure and once more step out onto the world stage. Ordering tens of F-35’s, because, as the newspaper Bild says, it’s an open secret that these plans can be easily modified to carry and launch nuclear bombs! Come again, Germany thinking of, being allowed to prepare for nuclear weapons! What could possibly go wrong? Bild speculates that these bombs or cruise missiles would come from the United States! Wow! The US giving nuclear weapons to Germany in a crisis situation. What could possibly go wrong? But, will the Germans be sastisfied with this? Surely, at some point they’ll want their own nuclear weapons? Can they really rely on Washington to protect them and support them, like Ukraine did?

    But what happens to ‘democracy’ at home, if we’re gonna spend so much on expanding the military? Too much butter and not enough guns? If the left have vanished, swamped by militarism, if dissent is tantamount to treason, what happens to freedom of speech? Does ‘democracy’ survive the growth of the new, national security warfare state? I have my doubts.

    Do the American people support all of this? The creation of a new Afghanistan in the centre of Europe? A new afghanistan, only this time with the threat of sliding, as in 1914 into a bigger and more terrible war, only this time with the added ingredient of mutual nuclear suicide on a global level! The ruling elite in Washington may have signed up for this madness, but what of the American people, don’t they get a say at all? That’s why ‘democracy’ dies in this kind of atmosphere and in this kind of warfare state.

  12. “… cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria…”
    -C.Hedges ( excerpt )

    Reading that, I sheepishly saw what I now have in common with my fellow hysterics .

    -Geeezus, J.J. ( @ Detroit – Canada’s least fave suburb)

  13. More than food for thought. It’s a last supper for thought. Thx, Hedges. At always, u know how to place everything in perspective.

  14. Chris: You put the entire onus on the West. What about Russia? Why do they feel threatened by NATO and “democratic” governments? This is a two-way street. Blaming the West for Russian aggression does not seem to parcel culpability. What should’ve been done was total destruction of nuclear weapons, though that seems highly unlikely (and of course, they will find ways to hide them). Furthermore, to blame the west for the murder of innocent citizens and children is putting it in the wrong place.

    You know, I’ve heard this argument already several times from other Progressives. Are there any people who think independently anymore? It seems once you’re on one side you all agree. You might as well be sheep, like the average citizen you always denigrate.

    It’s the same way in alternative health which opposes vaccines. They march in lockstep, like soldiers in formation. Sure, there are problems with vaccines but they can’t separate a pandemic from a normal situation.

    So, poor Putin is being forced into be a monster — is that your thesis?

    1. Check the many references in Hedges’ articles to:
      1. the NATO violation of 1991 promises not to expand toward Russia;
      2. NATO support of subversion and terrorism in Chechnya and Afghanistan;
      3. NATO support of the 2014 coup to displace the Russia-leaning former president of Ukraine;
      4. NATO support of the shelling of Donbass which has caused 14,000 civilian casualties;
      You don’t think victims should feel threatened by bullies who push them into a corner?
      You think western governments and media controlled entirely by money are democracies?

    2. Anyone should know that if you poke a bear too many times in too many places – the bear will lash out …

  15. A superb article by Chris Hedges, perhaps to encourage Mr. Putin not to give “the warmongers what they wanted.”
    Surely Russia will do all it can to prevent the US making “Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan.”
    The capture of Ukraine’s forces at the Donbass LOC as hostages seems inevitable.
    Russia can also hold the coast from Donbass to Odessa, to control the Ukraine economy.
    Surely Zelensky will offer the necessary treaty terms before his aggressive forces and economy are destroyed.
    Russia should seek a quick conclusion if possible, retreat to the desired defensive line, and allow the tally of casualties to show the dishonesty and hypocrisy of western propagandists.

    1. @Sam F,
      “Surely Russia will do all it can to prevent the US making “Ukraine into Chechnya or the old Afghanistan.”

      And surely the US will do all it can to make sure that Russia will be bogged down in this “new Afghanistan” aka Ukraine

      1. Yes, the US certainly has planned to do so. But I will be surprised if Russia does not pull back to the largely-Russian areas and suppress remilitarization with remote attacks. We’ll see.

  16. Great column, Chris. But your statement that the left has been silenced fails to mention that the Socialist Equality Party, on its web site WSWS, has been opposed to this war from the beginning. It has opposed the Russian invasion, and promoted stories of antiwar demonstrations in Russia, while never failing to trace the provocation back to the United States. This is a serious omission on your part, since you are acquainted with David North of the SEP and certainly know that the WSWS has been against the war hysteria.

  17. I’d like to read this agreement that Hedges alludes to in one of this article’s opening paragraphs: “a violation of a promise not to expand NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany,….” Thanks in advance for any links.

    1. Jay Heyman, it’s all in the National Archives
      “Washington D.C., December 12, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

    2. The following link (from a somewhat surprising source in my view) gives a pretty thorough rundown of how we got here, with copious supporting reference links.

      https://www.veteranstoday.com/2022/03/11/blockbuster-declaration-of-archbishop-carlo-maria-vigano-on-the-russia-ukraine-crisis/

      there are 3 links on the agreements under the heading “The expansion of NATO”. Some may need to be translated from Italian, but Google will do that for you.

      And to John Joslin – a lot of us up here like and appreciate Detroit!

    3. It’s my understanding that this was a verbal statement by James Baker to Gorbachev as a quid pro quo for Gorby peacefully allowing a unified Germany. Your immediate reaction might be that Gorbachev should have gotten it in writing but any Native American can tell you that written agreements and treaties with the United States aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. So it likely wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

      1. Estranio,
        Recently released documents from the National Archives has all the information.

  18. Where is policy debate in this mad ignorance of the goals and proposals of other nations?
    The UN does not conduct balanced debates of the facts: its faction members merely spout superficial propaganda.
    An effective balanced debate would solve the practical problems and soundly discredit the tyrant warmongers.
    The public Needs an independent institution of balance policy debate to present all viewpoints, facts, and arguments.
    See CongressOfDebate dot com for the solutions; it is in the implementation phase.
    There you will find many arguments of our great need for such an institution.

  19. HEDGES almost always displays the right instincts.

    The betrayal of Russia or the Soviet Union started long before the end of the Cold War.

    The Anglo-Saxons have always had their eyes on the resources of Russia – from Napoleon to Biden. With the intention of balkanizing Russia and controlling or stealing those vast resources.

    Indeed, in the second decade of the last century Russia was invaded by the Western powers.

    Again, at the end WW2 and having sacrificed 27 million, being responsible for about 80 percent of Nazi soldiers, bear no comparision to the duplicitous role the White racist American and British governments played in immediately thereafter trying to invade the Soviet Union at this its weakest point.

    But America has always been a racist state. Even today such an expression can be seen in the election of an openly racist Donald Trump and the fervent supports of Nazis and White supremacist formations not limited to an apartheid South Africa and the Zionist regime in Palestine. Even the Star Spangled Bannner, today, glorifies slavery.

    It has always seemed unlikely that the criminal regime in Washington will ever be willing, aided by fanciful notions of exceptionalism, a shorthand for White supremacy, to ever contemplate relinquishing global leadership to China, as a non-White nation or Russia, a country peopled largely by Slavs, a people American exceptionalism sees as being too connected to chattle slavery.

    Given these circumstances, a sixth extinction event either triggered by a nucleur holocaust or a climate catastrophe may very well be unavoidable options in removing this fountainhead of global racism. Unfortunately, all living things as well. Options proving unavoidable.

    1. @Pachamama,
      Forgive me, but i don’t think “racism” is limited to “white” people …

      1. What is racism, as a scientific phenomenon, it’s etymology, not the simplified dictionary notion?

      2. So why don’t you tell me what you mean by “racism” – always good to define your terms …

    2. Only the US and Ukraine vote NO repeatedly on a United Nations law to make naziism illegal.

      1. With Canada abstaining.

        Yes, the prime minister who was so offended (as were many Canadians) to the Nazi symbols displayed in the trucker convoy.

  20. More profound arguments from Hedges, but he could have expounded more on the impact of American mass media that greatly encourages and approves of war as a solution for All problems. After WW2, all wars on Yellow, Brown nations were unanimous supported and all were disasters where American war crimes of napalm and agent Orange were used indiscriminately on every one.

    Without popular support for wars then you have the anti war, Vietnam protests that turned the sentiment.
    Without doubt America has a war culture and the society collapses without war spending.

    Americans offer only military solutions, weapons, sanctions, financial war, threats, and punishments but absolutely no diplomacy, negotiations, compromise, or the skills of Kennedy during the Cuban crisis.
    This crisis is no different than the Cuban missile crisis except Americans are willing to go all the way to maintain their Empire.

    A miracle, Russian, prevented the Cuban crisis from nuclear war, this time another miracle is unlikely.

  21. “The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century.”

    There is no money in peaceful coexistence for the MIC.

    “… now solidified an expanding and resurgent NATO and a rampant, uncontrollable militarism.”

    There is good money in this for the MIC. Real good. Obscene-level good.

    “Peace has been sacrificed for US global hegemony.”

    There is no money in Peace for the MIC. There is LOTS of money in US hegemony.

    “Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war.”

    When nations have nothing useful or productive to offer, They offer the only thing They are good at: War. War is the adult-age result of the Middle School bully who lives only to torment and punish others. These misfits grow older without ever growing up and become war peddlers on a World scale.

    “The decision to destroy the Russian economy, to turn the Ukrainian war into a quagmire for Russia and topple the regime of Vladimir Putin will open a Pandora’s box of evils.”

    That’s what Middle School bullies do. And They never grow up to be responsible adults.

    “This is a recipe for global war… when military posturing begins, it often takes little to set the funeral pyre alight. One mistake. One overreach. One military gamble too many. One too many provocations. One act of desperation.”

    These are the misfits who like to strike matches around filled gas pumps or in fireworks factories. They are HOPING for something to flash. That’s what Middle School misfit bullies live for. Chaos. Harm. Threats to others.

    “No diplomacy… No check on rampant militarism… No understanding of the debacles they orchestrated for decades.”

    Diplomacy and checks on militarism do not make money for the MIC. And the central purpose and driving mission statement for The Exceptional Nation is solely to make money for the MIC.

    “There will be no impediments now on the march to Armageddon. Military budgets will soar.”

    Let’s see where the MIC spends all that money they have sucked up and raked in after Our Planet is destroyed. Or have They really finished those rumored space ships to transport their sorry carcasses to some other Planet They can eventually destroy also?

    “The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods.”

    They believe they ARE gods. Without knowing that They never grew into becoming men (and women) or anything resembling human.

    Didn’t have to grow up. Becoming a responsible adult doesn’t make money for the MIC.

    ‘M-I-C.’

    Yeah, you know the song.

    ‘K-E-Y… M-O-U-S-E.’

    That’s what They are.

    ‘Why? Because we HATE you (us)!…’

  22. Good morning Ukraine! I love the smell of cluster bombs in the morning! \s

  23. I find this article extremely weak, and Mr. Hedges’ “prophetic voice” increasingly helpless and irrelevant, but not for the reasons he thinks it is.

    To him all suffering we are witnessing leads to Washington. And I have to ask myself why? Because I know enough to know that life and reality isn’t that simple.

    I’m not looking for confirmation of my beliefs in the articles I read– but I am looking for a balanced assessment of reality, and I think Mr. Hedges is way too drunk in his own certainty of how the world works and who is at fault for him to be open enough to the truth and to be able to share it.

    As such, I find his articles at times like this– wanting and unhelpful.

    When 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees are running for their lives, Mr. Hedges’ focus seems to be on proving he is right about the source of the problems rather than informing people how to help these people.

    As such, I believe Mr. Hedges will feel he widely missed the mark at an important moment in history. For all his talk about the primacy of human values, the Beatitudes, and truth, he seems unable to personally rise to the occasion, which would manifest in helping Ukranians immediately.

    Instead, he will remind you how hypocritical it is to care about certain victims and not some other victim. Wow. It’s just like– just stop.

    A helpful voice, in my opinion, is the historian Alfred McCoy, whose article at this site is powerful and whose excellent book “To Govern The World” provides powerful context for what is happening in Ukraine now.

    At this site, I find little coverage on the mountains of evidence that Putin, over the last 20 years, has murdered journalists and opponents, both in and outside Russia; has massively destabilized the democratic world, including direct attacks on elections in the US and France, through troll farms; has committed war crimes in Syria; has recently shut down nearly all independent media (according to the 2021 Nobel-Peace Prize winning Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov); has attacked Ukranian nuclear facilities, has slaughtered thousands of civilians in Melitopol and other Ukranian cities and recently has threatened the use of nuclear weapons.

    To all of this, Putin gets a pass. Why is that? I think it is pathetic.

    The interview between Scheer and Stone? It reminded me of Bush extolling Putin’s eyes and the good soul behind them. It was arrogant, pathetic, thoughtless. Somehow these two lone, enlightened Mavericks letting us in on how the world really works, while Ukraine burns.

    1. @Chris,
      Perhaps the point is the best way to keep from having to put out fires is to not start them ….

    2. @Chris,

      I disagree with your post, but have the feeling that such disagreements are often the result of an absence of an underlying layer of credible, verifiable facts. If you are getting yours from Fox, or even the NYT or WaPo or the Guardian, you are reading modern versions of Pravda.

      In any case, Diana Johnstone has written an excellent response to your post in todayʻs Consortium News: “For Washington, War Never Ends.” Good history lesson.

    3. I see you rebuke Mr. Hedges for the topic of his article: he analyzes only the source of the problem and gives no solution. Can you offer any good solution (except for fantastic ones)?

  24. It is unknown to this writer how HEDGES could construct this one-sided Manichaeism – equalizing all politicians as bad, without gradations. Even as a thought experiment this is problematic.

    Certainly, and in the case of Putin, a man you defended the Syrian government from American Deash agents.

    On Ukraine, Putin, the oligarch, tried for more than 20 years to join the European project and NATO but was serially rejected.

    On Donesk and Lugansk Hedges and his peaceniks have failed to play any role in stopping the carnage supported by his own goverment, the regime in Washington as 14000 people died over 7 years.

    His equalization of madness, painting all politicians as equally exhibiting the same malady is highly problematic for even in psychiatry or psychology there are no scientific tests to validate findings of the people he has determined to be phycopaths.

    No amount of spreading blame around in this fashion could cover up the sins of the American government as the greatest purveyor of evil in the world nor those of the dead peace movement for its failures to go beyond mere emotional diatribes.

  25. In USA middle school in the 60s, especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we regularly practice ‘duck & cover’ under our desks, like some game of charades gone mad. Between classes, it became a jocular litany of, “In case of nuclear attack, bend over, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.”

    Tonight we watched daredevil theatrics on “America’s Got Talent” and I instantly recognized the ‘bread & circuses’ immorality play redux for the 21st century. As my radical feminist mother remarked during the Watergate hearings, “2,000 years since Christ and nothing’s changed but the f*cking plumbing.” She’s dead and gone over a quarter century now and scarcely a week passes that I don’t shake my head, fondly recalling her acerbic wit. I get the same deep sense of dark wonder and grim awe every time I read or watch Hedges discern and convey the truths of our times with laser precision and chilling clarity.

  26. Please speak openly (even more openly) about the phenomenon which has made American citizens “cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria”: the massive amount of propaganda with which we are bombarded night and day. And the legacy media is the mouthpiece for this propaganda.
    We didn’t get into all of those dysfunctional mental states naturally: we were pushed.
    The US spends even more on propaganda than they do on the military. That’s the only way they maintain control.

    1. Yes, thank you, Susan, the American media vastly contributes to the acceptance of war as the solution to all problems. USA has been wrong on all wars since after WW2 but our media is an important part of our war culture as we are always right and they are always wrong.
      And also are based on Lies, manufactured incidents, false theories and deliberate provocations to maintain the Yankee Empire.
      And we will use napalm on all the villages many times over.

  27. Thank you Mr. Hedges for your voice of reason and sanity.

    Unfortunately, it seems the majority of the citizens in the United States of America are not listening.

    History repeats itself?

    Peace be with you and yours.

  28. Thank you Mr. Hedges for your voice of reason and sanity. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of the citizens in the United States of America are not listening. History repeats itself? Peace be with you and yours. Loading…

  29. Not a superb article, actually. Another excuse for the Russian invasion. Sick. And why no mention of the Budapest Memorandum? Does Hedges even know such a document exists? Why no mention? The left is utterly crapping on itself over this. Tragic, really tragic.

    1. If you actually read what Hedge’s wrote instead of filtering it through your own biases you would know that Hedge’s condemns what Russia did. But what Hedges does write about is context of how this unfolded. That is not the same as excusing what Russia did. It’s called context and that is what Hedges does best. But most Americans seem to care not a whit about such things, they simply respond like Pavlov’s dogs when the bell rings they simply hate on cue without a thought about part their own government has played with their lies to not encroach Russian. Perhaps you might recall the USA’s response when Russia put a few misses in Cuba back in the 60’s. It’s all context.

      1. I did read what Hedges wrote. Meanwhile, by current left standards, it would’ve been fine if JFK had invaded Cuba.

  30. Don’t forget Assange. The criminal England court just denied his appeal. He may be sent to US prison by the end of this year. Help him! He is a hero. England and US are both criminals. England and US deserve punishment.

  31. They sow ignorance
    We reap fear.
    They sow fear.
    We reap war.
    They sow war.
    We reap destruction.

  32. This Ukraine adventure by Biden and his neo-cons is another classic example of the micro-militarism of collapsing empires.

    The other crazy action was the freezing of Russia’s foreign reserves (and other countries) which demonstrates to every country not on the US bandwagon that the Western financial system cannot be trusted. A system that is based SOLELY on trust. This financial imperialism brings forward the day when the $US is no longer the global reserve currency.

    When the Republicans take back both houses as a consequence of Biden’s continuing abandonment of ordinary Americans he will be impeached for his crimes in Ukraine. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke. In 2024 Trump will return. He will have no competition.

    It’s frightening and I am an Australian.

    See Chris I have been reading your books and listening to you.

  33. Chris, I would like to see a collaborative effort, which revives War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, and Empire of Illusion, which focuses on the here and now, on modern media, and military malfeasance. ( to put it mildly)
    Focus on the nation of your origin.
    You’ll be ravaged by many, and lauded by some.
    But, your work would be an effort to fulfill the ideals of the first amendment, and the fourth estate.
    For professed USA constitution lovers, such a book should be welcomed with open arms.
    Sequels seem to be popular.
    Another superhero movie is not what I’m looking for.

  34. Looks like Chris Hedges is cranking out extra essays these days; gotta replace that Russia Today paycheck now that Putin pulled the plug.

    1. Except I don’t think it was Putin that pulled the plug. It was a decision by Western governments (we can’t get it in Canada anymore either), in the interests of ensuring “balanced coverage”.

      Clearly citizens are not to be trusted to make up their own minds any more.

      1. Don’t make things up. RT was cut by the last few providers and devices that would carry it and they pulled the plug themselves. Sites like this carry the same messages and no one has a”shut” it down, so you can still get your Putin propaganda in the US easily.

  35. I’m confused by your assertion that it’s the West’s encroachment into the East that’s the issue without mentioning Putin’s grand plan to restore the Russian empire? He’s articulated his ambition throughout the years, and to not include that as a factor in the equation seems shortsighted.

    Instead you’ve outlined America’s misguided adventures abroad, which we rightly deserve criticism for, as somehow the catalyst that’s provoked Putin. Are you completely sure about this? I don’t think that’s wholly the case; Putin’s dreams of empire are well known and are probably shared by many Russian countrymen. While this war may become the ultimate shootout between East and West, Putin is the one guilty of firing the shots here at Ukraine to get it started!

    1. If you’d listened to Putin’s addresses to the nation and his interviews and read his writings, you’d know that the whole “wants to go back to empire” is not Putin’s goal, but rather made up propaganda in the west, per usual. I’m over being amazed at the gullibility of Americans.
      If anyone knows the extent that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are the background for this invasion, s/he knows what the basis is for this war which may lead to the destruction of the world. Where is our Jack Kennedy when we need him…diplomacy, you know. Bill Clinton, “We’re going to shove NATO down the Russians’ throats.” Barack Obama, “Why can’t Sevastopol be a U.S. military base. Let’s just take it.” (And, BTW, spend 8 years killing 15,000 Russian speakers in east Ukraines first. Most Americans think this war started a few days ago instead of in 2014. Huh?) As for NATO, anyone who knows the background for that aggressive organization, knows, as B.Clinton did, it’s to encircle Russia, NOT keep anyone safe. Check out the Nazis of Poland who helped found the damned thing.

    2. Robin,
      Putin’s goal of empire “is well known” by whom? I listen to all his addresses, read his writings, heard his interviews. No indication of that goal whatsoever. That junk is from western propaganda. He just doesn’t want nukes pointed at Moscow from the last remaining security border. We didn’t want them pointed at us from Cuba. Same thing. Besides if you read the recently released National Archives documents, it proves we promised not to move NATO past a united Germany. “You can’t trust the Americans,” said Gorbachev

  36. Yeah well…Nostradamus nailed it…said the Moronics tribe was infiltrated by the Bornagainians that was later integrated into the Neoconics. They end up all perishing in fire and flood.

    So there’s that……

  37. Such is our lot that systems make life and beauty redundant with weapons, laws and military agreements. Yet we still breath, bring children into this world, and watch everyone we know, suffer.

    How do we make peace relevant again? With nothing but our mind and flesh?

  38. The left hasn’t been silenced, it’s just that no one really cares what the “Let’s disband NATO (They’re the real villains!), stop providing military equipment to Ukraine, end sanctions, and then ask Russia nicely to stop being so mean to people!” segment of the left has to say about anything. 90 years ago socialists from around the world went to Spain to fight fascism, now you tell people to just give the fascists what they want and everything will be fine. What a sad state of affairs.

  39. “ Putin played into the hands of the war industry. He gave the warmongers what they wanted. He fulfilled their wildest fantasies. There will be no impediments now on the march to Armageddon. Military budgets will soar. The oil will gush from the ground. The climate crisis will accelerate. China and Russia will form the new axis of evil. The poor will be abandoned. The roads across the earth will be clogged with desperate refugees. All dissent will be treason. The young will be sacrificed for the tired tropes of glory, honor, and country. The vulnerable will suffer and die. The only true patriots will be generals, war profiteers, opportunists, courtiers in the media and demagogues braying for more and more blood. The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods. And we, cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria, clamor for our own annihilation.”

    Wow. There ya go! Hedges at his depressing best. More depressing than his America: The Farewell Tour. He may be right though. Hard not to feel (or think) we’re fucked.

    Climate catastrophe looming and then COVID and now the Ukraine. I’m as depressed as fuck. Keep your chin up doesn’t cut it anymore. Hope is just a fucking word to cling onto like the tiniest crimp hold on a vertical cliff face while you’re free soloing.

    “Global Green New Deal Now”, he whispered meekly, stupidly, dumbly, ignorantly, fearfully, exhaustingly and shamefully. Hedges doesn’t
    even do that.

    Talk about existential fucking fatigue…and I’m one of the privileged!

    FUCK.

  40. Clear and powerful assessment of the lust for militarism and propaganda .
    Usual waste of life, youth , economy
    for the war games that never seem to die.

    Rich old men moving the pieces to increase their wealth and power…

  41. “The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.” (George Orwell, 1984)

    As hysteria around the pseudo-pandemic began to wane in the face of mounting resistance and revelation of the true plagues of totalitarian rule, including off-the-chart, across-the-board excess mortality following bioweaponized non-vaccines, now we are awash in a new wave of panic porn around war in Ukraine. Given fake film footage of combat and destruction flooding propaganda sources, blue-and-yellow, color-revolution theatrics among Euro-American populations to manufacture solidarity with Ukraine to the benefit of longstanding US-NATO aggression, revisionist rehabilitation of a war criminal like Zelensky into a war hero such that yesterday’s shelling of the Donbass has become today’s defense of the people, continuing management of noble lies like the free world’s support for neonazis since overthrow of an elected government in 2014, reports of minimal casualties from the invasion, and more, we in the West (or Oceania) may wonder whether we are now being subjected to a pseudo-war.

    What above all, or beneath all, remains hidden in plain sight, however, is how this opportune conflict presented repeatedly, relentlessly, as the threat of WW3, if not nuclear annihilation, notwithstanding prior conflicts on the grand chessboard of global imperialism having posed similar risk, keeps providing means for further rollout of the New World Order, and world war upon humanity, initiated two years ago with the covid coup and its Big Brother biosecurity state. Consider, for example, how coveniently crackdown on mis-, dis-, and mal-information receives new life for killing free speech, and with it any other semblance of freedom, beyond the already formidable assaults launched with the virus crisis and blitzkrieg imposition of infrastructure for an absolutized AI-Panopticon and universal surveillance system over social relations. This same fasicst logic of lockdown on a prison planet still prevails as we remain instructed, as always in times of war’s health for the state, as to what and what is not thought crime by thought police from the Department of Homeland Security priming us for the war on domestic terrorism to professional class punditry spewing forth a resurrected round of cold-war anti-communism in anti-Russian rhetorical hype.

    While such scenes of repression remain normative in the new abnormal of the West, Russian overlords likewise impose even stiffer penalties upon its domestic population, its people as it were, for daring to even utter the word war, let alone world war. Instead, there’s a not-war (cf. Edward Slavsquat), or an operation to defend its own homeland. Given precedent of restraint in such geopolitical confrontation as Syria, as well as non-intervention in the numerous US-NATO encroachments upon Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, such characterization may be less far from the truth, even as prohibition of people speaking any other truths than those prescribed by the Ministry of Truth prevails.

    But this is only one of the many major fronts of the world war on humanity already underway before this war came along for both further distraction and destruction. Consider again how, for example, the World Bank/IMF front of financial rule over non-sovereign nations in debt bondage lays down terms for loan assistance to Ukraine which look to include UBI tied to injections from the Pharmafia (Ukraine has had low numbers of injected), and how Clearview AI, another company of corporate state billionaire and private partner (e.g., Palantir) with the military intelligence complex Peter Thiel, offers free aid for slavery to facial recognition and biometrics throughout a country supposedly under more serious siege from other enemies of its people.

    Meanwhile, excess mortality from the non-vaccine on both sides of the divide between Oceania and Eurasia remain overshadowed by the fog of this war and its frenzy for forgetfulness of that other war on, or rather of, bioterror. Even as other centers of the transnational ruling class like the WHO work behind the scenes now commanding programmed perception on another international treaty outside any popular consent, much less control, for the final solution to be irreversibly binding according to what passes as the rule of law under the organized crime of class rule.

    As economic supply lines for the (re)production of human life break down from war’s interruptions of trade beyond the lock downs of medical martial law, with smoke-and-mirrors sanctions providing additionally righteous cover for the already ascending inflation from the latter’s state-of-emergency state of siege, we the people across respective spheres of influence of these regional blocs are driven into deeper austerity and immiseration. And untermenschen in the old abnormal’s neocolonial domains, where third world war was waged under cover of cold war, await increasing famine and descent into greater genocide beyond that already suffered in the name of public health.

    With Russia’s likely economic if not military alliance with China (itself reeling economically), the old abnormal’s unipolar system of global capital under US hegemony will move closer to its expiration date, served notice by stakeholder capitalism’s Great Reset which takes China’s digital dictatorship as its model. Present war in Ukraine simply extends shock-doctrine destabilization and regime change of disaster capitalism initiated with the covid coup, especially targeting remnants of any (illusion of) liberal democracy for replacement by totalitarian technocracy extending across a multipolar world remarkably resembling the tripolar divide-and-rule, post-national order of 1984. While numbers of casualties inside the more or less impenetrable boundaries of Ukraine remain dubious, if not subject to inflation from psychological warfare where truth is always the first casualty, sudden influx of arguably greater numbers of refugees into nations of the West in particular add more to the strategy of tension, perhaps contributing more force to divide-and-rule immigration crises by reason of refugees who are unvaxxed setting up a pandemic of the unvaccinated for more mandates, passport restrictions, and (not-so) inalienable rights made conditional (and who knows where the Ukrainian biolab narrative will try to take us?).

    If war in Ukraine does not develop into wider conflagration, or nuclear end-of-the-world horrors, we still should realize we have arrived at Armageddon. The “masters of mankind” (Adam Smith) are going all out to get it all, converting us slaves of labor in the process to biodigital slaves, depopulating us useless eaters by any means necessary, whether as genetically modified property for lethal injection or radioactive ash. Wake up from the dreams of these monsters, and rise up against our real enemies, and fight the real war against those who would turn our common earth into a transhuman, post-apocalyptic nightmare. It’s now or never.

  42. There is something else about this article and its accompanying art by “Mr. Fish” that I feel needs to be said.

    This article and the art is devoid of hope, beauty or faith. And because of this both are deeply flawed and fundamentally unhelpful and irrelevant.

    As an art historian, I wonder what exactly is “Mr. Fish’s” intention with his art? His vision seems to be limited to demoralization, darkness and doom. I don’t doubt even he is bored by his own limitations.

    It is fitting that the writer and illustrator have found each other.

    All of us living through the Anthropocene need and deserve much more than what these two are doing.

    I respect Mr. Hedges for the valuable work he has done. Over the years he has bravely and artfully shone light (and continues to) at how thoughtless and yes, evil and murderous the American psyche and empire has been at times. But he too often fails to adequately celebrate what is good in the American psyche and story and what is useful now.

    We need more than the part of the truth at a time like the one we are living through now. We need hope and faith that there can be a future worth experiencing.

  43. The article fails to realize the real power of the US dollar, which is not in the currency application but in the price tool application where the dollar is now used in support of debt-free transactions in eCommerce. The blind spot is massive.

    Creating a currency is only a step toward creating a global “measure of measures” which takes a massive amount of good will and decades to develop and the west’s efforts here go all the way back to Bretton Woods in 1944.

    The USD price tool now creates a global transaction avenue that reaches around the world, thus providing the ability to instantly compare the trading values of any and all commercial debt-free economic goods and services. This is the prerequisite for balanced barter.

    When the above is properly understood, the whole rationale for Bretton Woods, the severing of the fixed price peg in 1971, USD hegemony and the petrodollar all come clearly into focus.

    The only thing left to do now is for consumers to adopt the use of debt-free trade as an entrance into peace and prosperity. This is a fully MARKET DRIVEN PROCESS that has begun, bottom-up.

    We must be as wise as serpents, yet as gentle as doves.

    https://members.lode.one/register/joinwith/1130057960/link

    1. @Michael G
      The U.S. changed the foundation of its currency from the gold standard to the petrodollar under Richard Nixon. Saudi Arabia just said that it will now consider accepting payment in yuan from China for oil instead of U.S. dollars. If Saudi Arabia does this, it could easily lead to the collapse of the U.S. dollar. I doubt that Saudi Arabia would do this because they get all of their weapons from the U.S., but the threat is serious. Personally, I’d love to see the U.S. dollar collapse, because the planet needs to be rid of the U.S. empire, but it would definitely cause major economic problems here.

      1. I tutor economists on the salient points concerning debt-free transactions that use precious metals as money and the USD price tool to measure trading value in real-time. The trades are eCommerce based.

        What you stated about the USD/oz price peg severance , where the relationship had been fixed and pegged , had to take place so that the pricing conditions were relinquished to the free market. Gold can only be market monetized by the grass roots of society on the basis that the trade value (price) of limited and finite weight is fully scalable for mass adoption and full economic reach. (usd/oz)

        The fixed price peg stood in the way. It was an abomination of free market law that seeks market balancing. In August of 1971, the USD became the price tool for gold. No fixed price. Enter oil into the global picture not no much later. Oil doesn’t “back” the USD currency in the sense that the dollar is redeemable in oil at a fixed price The dollar acts as the SCALABLE measure of value for crude , just as it acts as the SCALABLE measure of value for floating gold transaction’s. The only difference is the flow and the contract in the degree of flow.

        Why measure flowing oil when you can measure flowing gold ? Oil goes up in smoke. Gold can circulate round and round and round and round …etc…etc ….. all in support of SUSTAIBALE real economic growth and less reliance of debt. This market driven process has already begun. Bye-bye petrodollar, hello 21st century fishes and loaves… 🙂

  44. it’s encouraging to read most of these comments and to know that there are many people who understand the whole context of the Russia-Ukraine situation which Hedges explains. Now if all these people would send this petition to Biden, maybe he would start to understand, too. We have to hope so. He could end this war now.
    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/open-letter-to-biden-on-war

  45. From your comment, Tom, it sounds as if yo may be coming from a binary perspective. As an exercise focus on understanding the history and resulting dynamics rather than on deciding who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy.

  46. Those who engage in a one-sided demonizing of Putin do not understand 1) what a Nazi is and 2) the degree to which the Nazi element has taken over the Ukrainian state. Do you know what happened in Wolyn Province in Ukraine in WWII? The same organization that carried out this series of massacres still exists. If you engage in one-sided demonizing of Putin, this is what you are supporting by your silence:

    “On 11 July 1943 at the crack of dawn Ukrainian insurgent detachments and ruthlessly slaughtered Polish civilians in 99 Polish villages. Researchers estimate that on that day alone, known as Bloody Sunday, the number of Polish victims may have amounted to some 8,000 people, mostly women, children, and the elderly. However, the massacres continued for two years. Between 1943 and 1945, around 100, 000 Poles were murdered in 1865 places in Wołyń.”

    “The murders were committed with incredible cruelty. Many were burnt alive or thrown into wells. Axes, pitchforks, scythes, knives and other farming tools rather than guns were used in an attempt to make the massacres look like a spontaneous peasant uprising. In the blood frenzy, the Ukrainians tortured their victims with unimaginable bestiality. Victims were scalped. They had their noses, lips and ears cut off. They had their eyes gouged out and hands cut off and they had their heads squashed in clamps. Woman had their breasts cut off and pregnant woman were stabbed in the belly. Men had their genitals sliced off with sickles.” (Do a search for Wolyn on the site Justice for Polish Victims.)

    If anything good comes from this invasion, I hope that it is the de-nazification of Ukraine.

  47. Yes, once the wheels are in motion it’s difficult, if not impossible to stop or slow the momentum. Unfortunately, that’s where we are now.

  48. This article ignores the fact that diplomacy was unlikely to prevent Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. People who have followed Russia and Putin very closely (Julia Ioffe, Masha Gessin, David Remnick, Tim Snyder, etc.) do not believe that NATO expansionism is the primary motivator behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine; Putin has his own twisted historicism about Ukraine and other baltic states being fundamentally Russian that he is seeking to ratify through his invasion. And, if we read Putin’s writings and listen to his speeches on Russian history, Ukraine is just the tip of the iceberg of Putin’s ambitions to revive the Russian empire. If he is not stopped now, the smart money is that he will keep on going. Appeasement is a fool’s errand. And if insanity is defined as making the same mistake over and over again, appeasement is lunatic. It is either sophistry or sophomoric to equivocate between America’s foreign adventurism over the last two decades and Russia’s, unless you believe that there is no difference between the promotion of despotic totalitarianism (Russia) and the promotion, however clumsily, of democratic ideals (United States). It is equally sophomoric to assume that if we weren’t fighting wars against each other, we would be working as one to fight climate change. Wars are bad, militarism is bad, and addressing climate change is the existential challenge of our times — I agree with each of those premises. But the rest of what follows in this article reads as the reaction of an overly-sensitive immune system to the allergen of the possibility of America entering a war, needlessly (and improperly) summoning macrophages of moral relativism, white blood cells of wishful thinking, and anti-bodies of anti-imperialism. There might be an intelligent argument to be made about how to prevent WWIII without feeding the military industrial complex — and I’d like to read it –but this article does not make it.

    1. You are so wrong, I don’t even know where to begin. All I can do is suggest you read Diana Johnstone’s historically accurate summary today in ConsortiumNews. “For Washington, War Never Ends.”

      1. Solid Grayzone interview with Col. Doug MacGregor. The horseʻs mouth on Ukraine. Right wing but non-neocon. I like his reference to the “uniparty.”

        Basically, Russia has already won.

        https://youtu.be/NFngc_8RiVc

    2. @Manny,

      One does not read Chris Hedges for a reasoned, evidence-based argument. His is a moral voice – one we all need to hear these dark days. However, there have been numerous excellent analytical pieces on this site and at Consortium News. I recommend todayʻs piece by Diana Johnstone, “for Washington, War Never Ends.”

      More to the point, I find it amazing that people attribute to Putin a desire to “revive the Russian empire.” This is in the same fantasy league as the claims that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or that Gaddafi was going to massacre people in Benghazi. Do you not see the pattern here?

      What I witnessed in the last two months was a country repeatedly asking Europe, the US and Ukraine to implement the Minsk Accords, offering a reasonable alternative to war, and a clear decision by the US to ignore diplomacy and to continue sending offensive weapons to a regime of Nazi supporters that actually celebrates Stepen Bandera as a hero. Those are not nice people.

      The US is the entity with 750+ military bases abroad, most of them encircling Russia and China. How many does Russia have? One in Syria. We need enemies and if one is not there, we invent one. We are the empire.

      1. Jen,
        Good comment. Diana Johnstone’s article was excellent. Now if only people would read it. Not much hope for die hard war mongers

    3. @Manny
      As opposed to your false and baseless psychoanalyzing of Putin, the fact is that virtually all U.S. foreign policy experts have been warning SINCE AT LEAST 1997 that eastward NATO expansion would provoke Russia. The first warning of these experts was Senator Joe Biden in 1997, you may have heard about him. Even the major war criminal Henry Kissinger said as much, and Kissinger based his career on expansion of the U.S. empire. Now U.S. and other western propagandists are trying to convince us that NATO’s expansion isn’t the ultimate cause of the Russian invasion? Gimme a break!

      Here are some facts that dispel the falsehoods you wrote: Putin clearly doesn’t want to take over Ukraine or anywhere else, despite the unhinged speech he put out shortly before the invasion. A video recording of Putin discussing this situation with other top government officials showed Putin strongly contradicting another official who wanted to annex other countries. Putin said that was not on the table, and that Russia wasn’t looking to annex anyone. So your domino theory paranoia — I had hoped that Americans and other capitalists had gotten over that BS after the Vietnam war — doesn’t hold water.

      You’ve clearly been brainwashed to hate Putin and view him as the ultimate evil on the planet. This idea would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. As an American, you need to look in the mirror. The U.S. killed more people around the world during the first week of the invasion than Russia did, and each of the illegal & immoral U.S. invasions over the past 20 or so years has caused far more death and destruction than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Westerners are only hysterical about this invasion because they’ve been brainwashed to be, simple as that. Your overreaction to it is so hypocritical, so extreme, that there are no words to describe it. What you and your ilk clearly don’t get is that the U.S., not Russia or any other country, is the dominant empire and the big evil on this planet. To paraphrase Jesus, look in the mirror and quit blaming others for what your country does more of and worse than any other.

  49. This is one long WHATTABOUT read. What happened to the guy that justly stood up for an unjust invasion of another country? “I fought facism not because I think I’ll win, but because I must” So what, only if it’s American Imperialism? Your global diagnosis is morally relativist and yet your prescription is absolutist.

    Hey Robert, ask Chris to write a post where he lays out what HE would do if he were King for a day. I’d really like to know what 100% wonderful world the man has planned if only we’d ask.

    Real politik or go home.

    1. @ Mel
      Hedges has explicitly said numerous times that he condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How is that whataboutism? It would only be so if Hedges were to have supported the invasion.

      And BTW, whataboutism is greatly needed when Americans complain about what any other country does regarding war or other military actions. The U.S. is by far the big problem on the planet regarding these issues, not Russia or anyone else.

  50. This column could basically just say, “the whole western world had gone insane” (which it has). The rest is just details and explanations of why. We are very lucky if we don’t end up with nuclear war, this seems as bad or maybe even worse than the Cuban Missile crisis. We have a bunch of psychopaths running the planet, which includes both the west and the east, with only China seeming to have some restraint (because it doesn’t want to lose its newfound wealth, not because it’s any more moral than the west).

    The reason for our current predicament is that humans have obsessed on ego and materialism, greed and selfishness, and the current world leaders reflect that obsession. (Forget what people say and focus on what they do, and it’s quite clear that the large majority fit this description.) We get the leaders and governments we deserve (not necessarily that we want), so here we are.

      1. @alteyid48
        I never agree with you, but I do agree that Putin was insane for launching the invasion. However, the whole western world is insane for its hysterical gross overreaction to it. Despite your American blinders, there are no good guys here, and the U.S. and NATO are the root causes of this problem. We just have to hope that the Dr. Strangeloves and General Rippers on all sides are constrained by the less insane types so we don’t end up with a nuclear war.

      2. The desire to maintain free market societies is to blame ???
        I realize it’s not perfect but it’s also incomplete and a work in progress.

      3. To Michael G,
        “…a work in progress” – yup, and it hasn’t “progressed” since it’s inception – except to redistribute wealth up the food chain – there is no such thing as a “free market” ….

      4. You’re showing your impatience now, my friend, as sure sign of being susceptible to temptations that create a leaning to the left. God may be slow but God is never late.

        Real-time prices and the practical use of real-time prices are only now beginning to seep into consumer’s buying habits in debt-free transactions.

        There has never been a way of implementing real-time transactions in eCommerce that are fully free from the use of debt until very recently.

        We cannot pour new wine into old wineskins. Everything has its time.

  51. Yes, this is caused by the reliance on competition as means of organizing our civic/economic lives. But, for those of you that suggest that all politicians are psychopaths, I would suggest looking at the advancements being made by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Had we had two more votes in the Senate an amazing amount of real positive policy would have been passed this year with BBB and HR1.

    1. @DonJon Vonavich
      The phony “progressives” in the Democratic Party are there to sheepdog progressives into that party and thereby neuter them. The Democrats are as much the enemy as the Republicans. You’ve been duped!

      To prove what I’m saying, just look at Ocasio-Cortez. She came out vehemently against Jimmy Dore’s idea — to force a vote for Medicare For All on the floor of the House by withholding the votes of the Squad for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker — and instead attacked Dore, who is a real progressive. These people talk a good line, but they’re just more lying politicians, even if they weren’t that way when they got elected. Assuming that Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Squad were honest and legitimate when they got elected, this just shows that you can’t change the Democratic Party, but it sure as hell will change you!

  52. The U.S. “used them [cluster bombs] in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq.“

    Serbia, too.

  53. Have we recognized that if Ukraine became Russia occupied, then Russia would have shared borders with NATO Poland … which circumstance is the very reason proferred for the invasion of Ukraine … (to dissuade them from joining NATO – thereby removing their “neutral” buffering effect between Russia and NATO). It is interesting to note that Russia has shared a border with NATO Norway since NATO’s founding in 1949.

  54. Communism in effect may be said to be an honest attempt to improve the pitiful condition for most of humanity from the domination of a ruling power because evidently the evolution of the human conscience has not developed in some people their primeval behavior patterns sufficiently to acknowledge even a modicum of concern and consideration for others of their kind, except for the use that they can make of them.

    Where the mass media is concerned the parameters of simple right and wrong can be avoided and the issue becomes vociferous claptrap, clamoring s, from the minions who represent the beliefs of their masters of self aggrandizement. The purveyors of this tragedy consciously or unconsciously are reducing the population into a conformity of banality.

    I am 82 years of age and of my sojourn here on earth and what I have been continually told of the evils of communism has been “Reds under the bed, Godlessness, Totalitarianism” – never an end whenever the occasion arises for bashing the Russians. Now I ask you after continually hearing all this who would dare to question the power of the establishment? There were and are only the few, although reason itself demands to be heard by everyone on the ethos of the subject. The concept of surplus value itself merits full analysis. There must be dialogue in the public arena that an explicit justification for what is being said against communism is true or false. People must be allowed freedom to think for themselves. All else is folly.

    Sadly, and in part understandable, a vast number of mankind are frightened to take any action.
    They will put up with much that is repeatedly told to them for peace of mind; to settle for what they have got rather than risk losing it in a world where indifference, without shame, without disgust, an absence of morality begins to flourish.

    It is an imperative that we must be better, do better. We owe it to the future. Gather our courage and although difficult, be prepared to speak and act against what is plainly wrong if we have any semblance of conscience within us.

    1. @eedipus
      In 6th grade during the heart of the cold war (1966), our teacher explained what communism is: from each according to their ability, to each according to their need. Even at that age, I immediately thought, wow, that’s a lot better than our system. Didn’t seem radical at all to me, just common sense and decency.

  55. What would possible happen should Putin tell Biden, if he doesn’t remove all sanctions he should be ready for a nuclear bomb. I’m really curious what world Bidens respond to this be?

    1. @Sam Folger
      I don’t know why you’d be “curious” about that. What you’re setting up is a bunch of Dr. Strangeloves and General Rippers on both sides confronting each other, and likely ending in nuclear war.

  56. I like how Chris is able to put relevant history into the present.
    As for Brezinski and Afghanistan his desire was to give the Russians “their Vietnam” which turned out to be our Vietnam 2. The irony is too much.

  57. It’s pretty simple really. All about oil of course.
    A trillion dollars is hard to understand but Biden Putin and all the other corrupt and criminal henchmen working under direct control and influence of the oligarch billionaires who believe they own the Earth understand very well!!
    They understand probaly no one is going to miss a few million here and there so they remain busy dividing and conquering looting and pillaging.
    I see it and understand and many comments here reflect this understanding.
    There is a solution.
    EAT THE RICH
    SOLIDARITY WITH THE WORKERS AND FARMERS OF THE WORLD

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