Katrina vanden Heuvel Media Ukraine

Katrina vanden Heuvel: We Need a Real Debate About the Ukraine War

Bringing the war in Ukraine to an end will demand new thinking and challenges to the orthodoxies of this time.
President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking at a news conference in Kyiv on April 23. [manhhai / CC BY-NC 2.0]

By Katrina vanden Heuvel | Washington Post

It’s time to challenge the orthodox view on the war in Ukraine.

As Russia’s illegal and brutal assault enters its fourth month, the impact on Europe, the Global South and the world is already profound. We are witnessing the emergence of a new political/military world order. Climate action is being sidelined as reliance on fossil fuels increases; food scarcity and other resource demands are pushing prices upward and causing widespread global hunger; and the worldwide refugee crisis — with more international refugees and internally displaced people than at any time since the end of World War II — poses a massive challenge.

Furthermore, the more protracted the war in Ukraine, the greater the risk of a nuclear accident or incident. And with the Biden administration’s strategy to “weaken” Russia with the scale of weapons shipments, including anti-ship missiles, and revelations of U.S. intelligence assistance to Ukraine, it is clear that the United States and NATO are in a proxy war with Russia.

Shouldn’t the ramifications, perils and multifaceted costs of this proxy war be a central topic of media coverage — as well as informed analysis, discussion and debate? Yet what we have in the media and political establishment is, for the most part, a one-sided, even nonexistent, public discussion and debate. It’s as if we live with what journalist Matt Taibbi has dubbed an “intellectual no-fly zone.”

Those who have departed from the orthodox line on Ukraine are regularly excluded from or marginalized — certainly rarely seen — on big corporate media. The result is that alternative and countervailing views and voices seem nonexistent. Wouldn’t it be healthy to have more diversity of views, history and context rather than “confirmation bias”?

Those who speak of history and offer context about the West’s precipitating role in the Ukraine tragedy are not excusing Russia’s criminal attack. It is a measure of such thinking, and the rhetorical or intellectual no-fly zone, that prominent figures such as Noam Chomsky, University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and former U.S. ambassador Chas Freeman, among others, have been demonized or slurred for raising cogent arguments and providing much-needed context and history to explain the background of this war.

In our fragile democracy, the cost of dissent is comparatively low. Why, then, aren’t more individuals at think tanks or in academia, media or politics challenging the orthodox U.S. political-media narrative? Is it not worth asking whether sending ever-more weapons to the Ukrainians is the wisest course? Is it too much to ask for more questioning and discussion about how best to diminish the danger of nuclear conflict? Why are nonconformists smeared for noting, even bolstered with reputable facts and history, the role of nationalist, far-right and, yes, neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine? Fascist or neo-Nazi revivalism is a toxic factor in many countries today, from European nations to the United States. Why is Ukraine’s history too often ignored, even denied?

Meanwhile, as a former Marine Corps general noted, “War is a racket.” U.S. weapons conglomerates are lining up to feed at the trough. Before the war ends, many Ukrainians and Russians will die while Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman make fortunes. At the same time, network and cable news is replete with pundits and “experts” — or more accurately, military officials turned consultants — whose current jobs and clients are not disclosed to viewers.

What is barely reflected on our TVs or Internet screens, or in Congress, are alternate views — voices of restraint, who disagree with the tendency to see compromise in negotiations as appeasement, who seek persistent and tough diplomacy to attain an effective cease-fire and a negotiated resolution, one designed to ensure that Ukraine emerges as a sovereign, independent, reconstructed and prosperous country.

“Tell me how this ends,” Gen. David Petraeus asked Post writer Rick Atkinson a few months into the nearly decade-long Iraq War. Bringing this current war to an end will demand new thinking and challenges to the orthodoxies of this time. As the venerable American journalist Walter Lippmann once observed, “When all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

97 comments

  1. Another brainless, witless Katrina vanden Heuvel virtue signaling paen.

    Check out The Nation weekly and SEE if a REAL DEBATE about the UKRAINE WAR has been provoked by this hapless woman.

    No.

    The Lead is about fossil fuels as a national security danger. Her essay is fifth or sixth.

    First thing for Ms. vanden Heuvel to so is decry the

    ILLEGAL AND BRUTAL ASSAULT AND HYBRID WAR AND BROKEN PROMISES AND VIOLATIONS OF THE RULES BASED INTERNATIONAL ORDER BY THE US EMPIRE/NATO ON RUSSIA …

    which is to say get her facts straight and cause/effect right.

    Otherwise, spare us any more useless drivel from Ms. Vanden Heuvel. Like Hillary Clinton, she is useless but at least she is not evil.

    1. When your beloved corporate lawyer/diplomat father was a protege’ of Wild Bill Donovan there is not much you can say.

    2. Thomas Prentice,

      Two observations: 1. See “Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement” to review/learn that name-calling and ad hominem are ineffective as criticism. 2. Learn to proofread for composition/grammar errors before posting.

  2. Oh, that multimillionaire voice of the people of ZioUkraine:

    Left-liberals are in a huff, demanding another shot at reforming finance capital, perhaps through “breaking up” the five (or maybe, 20) biggest banks. They might as well prescribe a regimen of behavioral modification to fight Stage IV cancer.

    The rehash of reformist debate is occasioned by news that JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s biggest bank, lost at least $2 billion betting in the derivatives casinos. President Obama feigns shock at the very idea that an institution with derivatives “exposures” of $70 trillion – larger than the gross planetary product of Earth! – has been caught, heaven forbid, “making bets in these derivative markets.” Since Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is, in Obama’s estimation, “one of the smartest bankers we got,” who knows what the less intelligent honchos at the other behemoth banks might be up to? Together, the top rung of “too big to fail” institutions accounts for 56 percent of the U.S. economy: $8.5 trillion in assets, last year, out of a GDP of about $15 trillion. Throw in the rest of the top 20 banks, all of which are “unsafe and unsound,” according to economics law professor William K. Black, of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the great bulk of the U.S. economy is in “unsafe and unsound” hands. These same hands politically control the State, to protect and further facilitate their “unsafe and unsound” practices.

    “The great bulk of the U.S. economy is in ‘unsafe and unsound’ hands.”

    Does “breaking up the banks” solve the problem? No, not unless the whole class of gamblers and thieves is removed from centrality in the national and world economy – and, thereby, the political process – and their derivatives abolished. But, don’t tell that to Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation. In the magazine’s current issue , she swears by Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s bill to cap the size of individual banks at 10 percent of “the market” and stop them from “racking up non-deposit liabilities of more than 2 percent of the GDP.” Others, like Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, would allow the bankers to continue to bet , but not with depositors’ funds or “free” money from the Federal Reserve discount window.

    Here is the historical truth: at this late stage of capitalism, the financial class desperately needs to gamble on derivatives and manipulate markets on a huge scale in order to survive. The old, tried and true law of diminishing returns on investment, combined with the global rise of economic powers beyond their ability to control, caught up with the Lords of Capital some decades ago. Wall Street invented derivatives so that the big boys, the only ones equipped to play – and, therefore, rig – trillion-dollar games, could generate sufficient windfalls and mega-scores to keep the decaying system going. “Productive” investment – the kind that creates good jobs in mature capitalist societies – no longer sufficed to keep Wall Street’s speculative pumps primed.

    RE; Glen Ford

  3. The Romans said it in the best way : Si vis pacem para bellum
    You cannot conduct ” persistent and tough diplomacy to attain an effective cease-fire and a negotiated resolution, one designed to ensure that Ukraine emerges as a sovereign, independent, reconstructed and prosperous country” from a position of inferiority on the battlefield. Laying down arms and waiting for Russia to do the same is suicidal.

      1. Apropos nukes Zelensky craves.

        From telegram:

        “The Director of the IAEA reported on the enormous reserves of plutonium at the Zaporozhye NPP. Kiev denies everything.

        According to The Wall Street Journal journalist Lawrence Norman, Rafael Grossi said at the Davos Economic Forum that there were about 30 tons of plutonium and 40 tons of enriched uranium on the territory of the station.

        According to him, the agency wants to be sure that these stocks are not lost.

        The Ukrainian operator of the nuclear power plant hastened to issue a rebuttal. Energoatom called the words of the Director of the IAEA “nonsense”.

        Enriched uranium and plutonium can be used to make nuclear weapons. Since the end of February, the Zaporozhye NPP has been under the control of the Russian military.”

        It is all part of demilitarization of Ukraine.

        So why Russian are so obsessed with nukes in Ukraine ?

        Not only because Ukraine exists because they are nuke free. It was not a dictate of Moscow but agreement among Russia, UK and US etc., of so called Budapest Memorandum on Security that required Ukraine to decommission, destroy all its nuclear weapons under eyes of international monitors and end research and development of such weapons.

        Ukraine was leading in many areas of Soviet nuclear technology including enrichment of nuclear elements.

        However ruling elite in their hatred to Russians such as former PM Julia Timoshenko already in 2014 called for nuclear attack on Moscow.

      2. @redhonyet: fluffing yer ignorance? if ye had any observational skills, ye might have noticed that putin has not taken even a babystep towards serious peace negotiations,,,
        the fact that Kyiv was bombed WHILE United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was there speaks volumes. and the only party fluffing their nukes has been putin, the EU- NATO side has not even dared to provide some mig fighters to Ukraine out of fear of provoking putin… so get yer facts straight!!!

    1. A questionable trope does not become wisdom simply because it is offer in Latin, especially the work of one Roman military author speaking for as militarized a state as ever was. And, the quote holds no more weight than it’s more reasonable variant, “Si vis pacem para pacem” – “If you want peace, prepare for peace.”
      Any decent amateur historian can blow holes in your bombast with readily available recent history of Ukraine; the Ukrainians certainly COULD have attained peace & prosperity even within a position of military inferiority, by either rejecting nationalist ethnic cleansers in high public office, or signing the Minsk accords.
      History is going to show that Ukraine missed a golden opportunity to become a wealthy prosperous neutral nation by allowing it’s machismo-first national culture to take refuge under the broken wing of the American war eagle world hegemon.

      1. @C. Kent
        Exactly! But hey, we’re Americans, so we have to blame Russia.

        I’d go one step further: The whole world could be much better off if NATO had disbanded after the Soviet Union broke up, or had at least accepted Russia’s request to join it. Russia tried to play nice, and the U.S. told them to f*ck off. This country has to go, and the sooner, the better.

      2. You probably have a very vague idea of Ukraine-Russia relations beyond the late XX century to come up with such claims. I wonder if you happen to know anything about they way they stood in, say, 17century? or 19 century? Probably not. And now you talk about ‘amateur historians’)

  4. It is high time to scold the media for their shortsightedness and for leaving -onve more I should say- the American people in the dark of what is really happening in the world:

    The Ukrainian war has been depicted as a heroic fight of the small, patriotic Ukraine against a comic strip like ruthless aggressor with a madman at the helm.

    I see instead a compelling strategy here, that gives Putin advantages on various fronts and it enables him to keep a promise he made long ago

    The advantages:
    – he wanted us to believe that he miscalculated. It made us more delusional that Ukraine could win this, which in turn caused more military aide, which will help drive the inflation to insane levels.
    – while the inflation will further destabilize the West, the Russians will endure also a 50% downturn of their economy. They are used to hardship and don’t have lifestyle issues
    – Inflation and an international crisis will help bring down the Democrats. A Trump Republican party is better for Putin’s plan because it means another four years of internal turmoil with little space left for the US to deal with international issues
    – He already has what he wants: Eastern Ukraine, Mariupol and Crimea. This is his wedding gift to Chi Jin Pin: free access to the entire Mediterranean for Chi’s Silk Road project.
    – in six months to a year’s time, when the newscycle has long moved on and the West is exhausted (midterms, Republican Congress, Trump will announce his presidential puppet) he will put Zelensky in front of a very tough choice: give up Eastern Ukraine and end the war, or travel twice weekly to sites of atrocities, mourn the lives lost and make empty promises to your people

    The promise:
    As a young journalist in Germany, in 1993, I met someone who knew Putin when he was stationed in Dresden as a KGB resident. According to this person, on the night of November 9, 1989, when no one in the Kremlin was answering his calls, Putin vowed to make it his life’s work to right this historic wrong: According to Putin, the USSR should have won the Cold War. WWII cost 60 million lives worldwide. About 30 million of these lives lost were Russians. Historians say that if a war causes the death of more than 1% of a population it is perceived as a tragedy by this people. The Russians lost 20% of their people. That means there was a death to mourn in each and every Russian family.

    I can only invite the media to start telling the whole story -an not only about the issue of the Ukrainian war. We are, at the moment, here in the US, living the result of a propagandist media -on both sides- and god only knows where this might end. Journalists, start to finally do the job you’re paid for!

    1. @michel esser… it is so tiresome to fight the same lies again and again… it was not RUSSIA who lost some 27 million people to WW2 [and its consequences] it was the SOVJET UNION which matters insofar as in this number of 27 million are INCLUDED, amongst many other nationalities, the 7 MILLION people who were UKRAINIAN… so take yer lies, or sloppy research, elsewhere!!! it is downright pathetic that ye claim “the media aren’t telling the whole story” while in the same post, ye LIE BY OMISSION….

    2. @Michael Esser
      The Nazis in Ukraine would kill Zelensky if he agrees to Russia having Crimea or allowing the Donbas to be independent.

      U.S. propagandists and their defenders like to claim that Nazis are just a small element in Ukraine and that they don’t matter, but the truth is that they have a lot more power and influence than their numbers indicate because they like fighting and killing — their own words — and because not only do they threaten politicians with death if they don’t do what they say, they actually carry out those threats, causing the politicians to be scared of them and to do what they say.

      1. @jeff… calling yer B.S….. do a google search of all the assassinations of politicians in Ukraine that could possibly have been done by ‘nazis’ [russia done poisoned some politician a while ago, too, them – unbeknownst to ye, also meddle in Ukraine, imagine that!] and then, being in possession of FACTS, try to claim that shite again. .. Zelensky currently has russian murder squads after him and ye want to tell us he is overly concerned with nazis? or even better, give us a list of antisemitic murders, [mebbe ye don’t know, but that usually indicates presence of Nazis]
        the JERUSALEM POST, so zion-fascist that they will hit ye with 3 antisemitism charges after ye said ‘occupied’ and before ye could get to ‘territories’, wrote the following:
        “Jan 13, 2022 — Ukraine today boasts the lowest rate of antisemitic sentiment in eastern Europe and probably most of western Europe too.”
        so ye seriously want us to buy that Ukraine is under the rule of nazis who:
        a] do not win elections and are not represented in government
        and b] are not on the radar of the jerusalem post at all, they know nothing of this problem ye wish to conjure out of thin air?
        and c] really don’t seem to kill a lot of people…
        i would bet ye could find more nazi-murders in let’s say germany…. nazis like cockroaches, find ’em in every country including russia…
        ye need to do some research before posting!

  5. There will be no debate. There will be no conversation. Such things died a long time ago. What absolutely staggers me every time I think about it is the fact that nobody seems to have noticed. Day after day, article after article I see statements like “we must do this” or “what needs to be done is”….and none of them ever deal with the gigantic elephant in the room that our democracy is stone cold dead and change is no longer possible within the system.

    When was the last time the system did something good for the American people? I am quickly approaching 60 and in my entire adult life I cannot think of a single thing. Not one. Anything positive done at all has always been just a cover for another snatch and grab crime, or so flawed that it made the situation worse and not better.

    Orwell nailed it when he wrote Freedom is Slavery, and the best slaves are the ones that don’t even know they are a slave.

    1. I agree and thought for awhile – maybe the Wilderness Act might be a single example of when the system is something good (and yes, it is not perfect and has been undermined by the bureaucracy).

      1. @Bill+Wolfe
        Good one, I forgot about the multiple environmental laws passed in the 1970s: the Endangered Species Act (that, the Wilderness Act, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act were the best and most important), the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. These were all good laws that benefited not only people, but more important they benefited the Earth and all the life here. Of course these laws were weaker than they should have been and a lot of loopholes have been driven through them further weakening them — Ronald Reagan’s Habitat Conservation Plan amendment to the ESA being the most harmful — but you can’t have real environmental laws while your society is still making war against the Earth with industrial living.

  6. It is becoming more and more reasonable to accept the idea of “planetary hospice”, when everyday we are reminded that (unless we take immediate action, which we won’t), our expiration date is a mere 1-3 decades away.

    Anyone who has attended to the dying knows that, though it goes unspoken, the quicker it is over the better. To prolong death is to prolong suffering.

    If we apply that wisdom to our current plight, the threat of nuclear annihilation, may begin to look like our collective “comfort medication”, administered just in time to avoid the dreaded death throes of civilization’s collapse.

    1. @Daniel Brooks
      The problem with what you said is that you have no consideration for the Earth and the non-human life here, the latter not only being the vast majority of life on the planet, but also far more important than humans.

      If humans are willing to kill themselves because they refuse to live naturally and limit their population to natural numbers, that’s their business. But it could not be more evil and immoral to advocate for killing all or virtually all life on Earth just because you want to end human suffering, and that goes double because humans have no one to blame but themselves.

      1. @jeff – on the environment, i agree with ye… but y’all are stuck waiting for society, or ‘the government’ to change things… if ye all radically started to live YER OWN LIFE with Gaia in mind, things would incrementally improve… i have lived off solar and wind electricity, solar hot water, passive solar heating [greenhouses] and biogas since i built my own house in 1998…
        what have ye to show for yerselves? just talk?

      2. @arvo
        I agree that people need to take personal responsibility for these problems, but we also need large societal changes. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. We’ll never get out of this with just a tiny percentage of us trying to consume and breed a lot less.

        I too fell for the “green” energy lie and put solar panels on our roof, but it is in fact a big lie. There are massive environmental problems with solar and wind energy (see Deep Green Lies by Derrick Jensen). We will not fix environmental problems by changing sources of energy. The only solutions are living a lot more simply & naturally, and greatly lowering our population. All else is at most rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, usually not even that. For example, I have no kids, and I got rid of my last car over 20 years ago. I don’t go “shopping,” and what I mainly buy is food. I focus my life on being, not on having. Those are the types of things we need to do.

        I can’t speak for anyone else here, but this is what I’ve done: I was a campaigner for Earth First! and volunteered thousands of hours doing that. But at my age, you’re right, I mainly write. Physical activism is for younger people, not old farts like us.

  7. Thank God, Katrina vanden Heuvel, for raising this crucial question when all the mainstream, corporate media, even PBS, are falling in line behind the Biden Administration policy. It has been a lonely battle for those few of us who have tried to write emails or pass out leaflets questioning the war and NATO’s complicity in it. I think of Codepink and Scheerpost.com as courageous voices in the last weeks. Of course, the war is illegal and immoral and wrong, but questions need to be asked why the US is not supporting negotiations and trying to deescalate the conflict. As you say, urging peace in this conflict is not appeasement.

    1. Putin DID call for international diplomatic teams to help Ukraine resolve this crisis (in reality, a conflict between the people of Ukraine). The US ridiculed him for that.

      1. Putin has been mocked by the U.S./NATO since he came to power. His argument that Europe could be stabilized on the principle of indivisible security, i.e., that one nation’s security not be achieved at the expense of another nation’s security, fell on deaf ears.

      2. Putin gave 8 years for the Minsk II accords to be honored. Very American of Zelensky to sign an agreement with no intention of honoring it (because Russian speaking Ukrainians are “Cockroaches!”)

      3. @DH Fable – yeah, and to show his peaceful intentions, Putin lobbed a few missiles at Kyiv WHILE United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was there… nothing spells ‘peaceful intent’ like a few rockets raining down , right?

      4. @DH Fabian
        With the exception of his unhinged video speech shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in which he pined for the old Russian empire, I’ve never hear Putin say anything I disagreed with. His attitudes and ideologies are far superior to those of U.S. leaders and politicians as far as I can tell. That doesn’t make him a good guy, he’s still just another evil leader of a country that’s way bigger than it should be, has nuclear weapons, destroys the environment, etc. But for Americans to say anything bad about Putin is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

  8. Our once independent Academicians are now wards of the State, and are threatened if they speak the truth. This is sick, sad and real. The so called New World Order progresses and we need to stop it at every chance we get. We must call out the threats, the lies, the stifling of free speech, and the endless insane rhetoric of division and separation espoused by the Dems and their President Biden.

    This government is NOT my Government it never was the People’s government and will not be one until we change the system completely. Run by sick sociopaths hell bent on ruling the world and enslaving us all, they have lost touch with reality in favor of following a demonic agenda of ignorance greed and power.

    1. @Edward William Case
      All true, but this is the government we get in a nation filled with materialistic religious fanatics. It’s not just the U.S. The world is run by a bunch of psychopaths, because humans as a whole have obsessed on ego, intellect, and materialism. What we see now is the result of thousands of years of those obsessions, which started with the use of agriculture.

  9. Needed: a some notes of reality:

    — “International law” is a fiction: citing it is an insult to our collective intelligence.

    Since the end of WWII, the US, stepping to the shoes of the colonial empires it “opposed,” has made the UN into an impotent debating platform and noise maker. The UN does some good humanistic work, but its power to make peace is zillch, courtesy of the USA. The US — in Vietnam, Afghanistan,. Iraq and Libya — has repeatedly done what Putin has just done, i.e. use the “rule of international law” for toilet tissue.

    Putin is an arriviste in the realm of rogue state mendacity.

    — There is no “debating” with this entity or its many minions, the role of the left is to work to destroy it. The US made itself clear with the Wolfowitz Doctrine: no other nation will be permitted to approach, let alone exceed the power the US.

    You can’t reason with that, you destroy it, put it out of our misery.

    — The US’ owners have descended into rabid sociopathic self-delusion and arrogance: as they revive Jim Crow voting restrictions, make abortion illegal, sanctify corporations as people, reverse the paltry advances made here since the 1960s — they are creating the objective conditions for revolution. The conflicting forces of the oligarchy cannot create anything coherent or stable, it’s all going to keep falling apart.

    There will and can be no “pressuring” of the ruling elites to be nicer.

    They must be overthrown.

    The “democratic” socialists are useless at best, a co-opted diversion at worst.

    Bourgeois democracy is a con job: what’s required is a multi-generational effort to obliterate racism and racists, work with other nations on climate change, restructure our society.

    These goals cannot be achieved by letting various political dramatists mount and maintain careers that depend on public confusion.

    Contrary to capitalist paranoid fantasies, revolutions cannot be plotted or planned.

    They erupt.

    The task for the REAL left is to be ready.

    An important part of the prep is mental: we must inculcate into ourselves and our strategies the same kind of ferocity exhibited by the FARC and Mexican drug cartels.

    No quarter, no compromises.

    Our only “offer” to the ruling elites: surrender or vanish.

    Where did the pacisfim of Ghandi lead? To the muddled, vastly unequal state of India, headed by a Hindu fanatic.

    Where did the unswerving revolutionary ideas of Mao lead?

    To the first power to beat the capitalists in their own economic arena and realistically threaten the capitalist hegemon.

    1. I’m going to suggest that we don’t actually “need” anything we don’t already have, other than liberation from other humans. Sadly, so far, after centuries of thought on the subject, we have found no “way” to do that. We have devised no paradigm, no amount of wealth, no technology, no political system, zero, zip, zilch that has managed to upend the power evil humans have over the collective experience. It’s an ongoing war that good people lost a long time ago.

      That’s a terrible position to be in given the circumstances. Yup. Very sad.

      1. @Tupe
        I say that what’s really needed is for humans to liberate the rest of the planet from themselves. Humans’ domination of one another is a minor detail in comparison, though I agree that it’s a bad thing. The main causes of this domination are agriculture, and its resulting overpopulation and civilization. You don’t see hunter-gatherers trying to dominate everyone (“everyone” means all life, not just humans).

      2. To Jeff,
        Not to worry, Mother Nature is in the process of liberating the rest of the world from humans, unfortunately there is, and will be, a lot of “collateral damage” in the process

      3. @SH
        There can be no doubt that’s what will happen, but it didn’t have to be that way (maybe it still doesn’t, but that’s another discussion). Some of us have been saying for decades — and traditional indigenous people for much longer once they were unfortunately subjected to civilized people — that either we return to living naturally and in naturally much smaller numbers VOLUNTARILY, or the Earth will do that for us. The former is obviously the preference because it’s the only right thing to do, because making the changes voluntarily will prevent a lot of harm and killing of the natural world and all the life there, and because it will be much less painful for us than if if those changes are forced on us by the Earth and its natural processes. Unfortunately, humans never opted for doing it voluntarily (with only rare exceptions that now comprise a small fraction of 1% of humans), so here we are.

    2. @Baba Yaga

      “Where did the unswerving revolutionary ideas of Mao lead?

      To the first power to beat the capitalists in their own economic arena and realistically threaten the capitalist hegemon.”
      Yes, but only after Deng & Co. totally extirpated any remains of Maoism from CCP economic and cultural policies.

  10. We’re currently swamped by Biden admin. war propaganda, about an issue that most Americans know very little. US/NATO troops stationed along Ukraine’s border, and now a segment of Russia’s border, insanely provoking nuclear world war. (And at the least, in gross violation of the 1990 NATO treaty). Meanwhile, multi-millionaire Zelensky sits back giggling and throwing spitballs.

    1. While I was disappointed in Hope and Change, Obama had a much better grasp of Ukraine (I think Biden and his State Dept/ CIA of East Europe are too caught up in opportunities for corruption in a war there.)
      Relative to Biden, Obama seems almost sane:
      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/the-obama-doctrine/471525/

      “Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.

      “The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-nato country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do,” he said.

      I asked Obama whether his position on Ukraine was realistic or fatalistic.

      “It’s realistic,” he said. “But this is an example of where we have to be very clear about what our core interests are and what we are willing to go to war for. And at the end of the day, there’s always going to be some ambiguity.” He then offered up a critique he had heard directed against him, in order to knock it down. “I think that the best argument you can make on the side of those who are critics of my foreign policy is that the president doesn’t exploit ambiguity enough. He doesn’t maybe react in ways that might cause people to think, Wow, this guy might be a little crazy.”

      “The ‘crazy Nixon’ approach,” I said: Confuse and frighten your enemies by making them think you’re capable of committing irrational acts.

      “But let’s examine the Nixon theory,” he said. “So we dropped more ordnance on Cambodia and Laos than on Europe in World War II, and yet, ultimately, Nixon withdrew, Kissinger went to Paris, and all we left behind was chaos, slaughter, and authoritarian governments that finally, over time, have emerged from that hell. When I go to visit those countries, I’m going to be trying to figure out how we can, today, help them remove bombs that are still blowing off the legs of little kids. In what way did that strategy promote our interests?”

      1. @michael888
        Watching political entropy unfold in the U.S. during my lifetime has been as disappointing as it has disgusting. We used to say that it couldn’t get any worse than Nixon, then we got Reagan. We said it couldn’t get worse than Reagan, then we got Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc.

        The fact that Biden’s group is so much worse on foreign policy than that of a corporate Democrat like Obama is astounding, but here we are. Even jerks like Trump & Kissinger, the latter a major war criminal, are calling for peace negotiations, with Kissinger having said long ago that eastern expansion of NATO was a bad idea.

        We also have to stop talking about U.S. interests. Those interests are the interests of the rich & powerful, not of the U.S. population at large. Even more important is that it’s totally immoral to promote U.S. interests at the expense of the interests of other countries. No empire is morally defensible, and that includes the U.S. empire.

    2. @DH Fable.
      a correction here – there is no 1990 NATO treaty which was violated. GORBACHEV himself, said the subject of NATO enlargement in fact never came up in 1989 or 1990. “The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was never discussed; it was not raised in those years. I am saying this with a full sense of responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country brought up the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact had ceased to exist in 1991,” he told the newspaper Kommersant in October 2014.
      but ye know better than Gorbachev? fact is, the russians NEVER got anything in writing, and my ten-year old son already knows the difference between a spoken statement and a written guarantee…
      i will give ye something which was put in writing. it is the “BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM”
      In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia, and Britain committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country. Those assurances played a key role in persuading the Ukrainian government in Kyiv to give up what amounted to the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, consisting of some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads..
      ye may not have noticed, since partial blindness is a common disease amongst yer kind, but it looks to me like russia done did some violating of Ukraine’s borders, as well threatening and using force. so may i suggest ye spare us yer crocodile’s tears about some broken verbal promises to Russia , and explain why it is just fine for Russia to violate written agreements… no can do? i thought so….

      1. Big deal Ukraine gave up nukes. no they did not give up what they did not control.

        Those warheads Ukrainians had were under total control of Moscow and they would never be able to be used. They did not have codes or encryption keys digital and physical. What the Budapest memorandum (BM) was all about is preventing proliferation of military grade nuclear materials and commitment of dismantling all nukes and dispose them under international monitoring ending most of all nuclear research and development. Ukraine did not stop nuclear research actually funded by NATO.

        It was unilateral disarmament agreement traded for security guarantees. It was not a treaty as defined by international law but a political agreement, all sides could withdraw anytime with all the consequences of loosing security and border guarantees.

        Any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons or allowing such weapons to be present or deployed on Ukrainian territory automatically renders Ukraine security agreement null and void and especially automatically voids conditional recognition of old Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic internal Soviet era administrative borders by Russia, borders never recognized internationally.

        Jushtchenko, Poroshenko and Zelensky NATO bid was in fact in violation of Budapest Memorandum (BM) as it would implicitly make nuke presence in Ukraine a good possibility.

        Zelensky in 2021 in fact formally requested BM to be gutted so he can acquire nukes and by that idiotically called for Russia withdrawal from BM, free from restrictions to execute military intervention of denuclearization of Ukraine what Putin is doing now by taking control over fission material in Zaporoze NPP.

        Later in 2014 former PM Julia Timoshenko was begging US to gave them nukes so they can drop them on Moscow . By itself it was enough for Russia to ditch BM and intervene. But they did not.

        Just to note that no NATO country can opt out of possibility of presence of nukes as apart of deployment of NATO troops. US call it strategic ambiguity as they never confirmed or denied presence on nukes on any US ship in NATO ports or on US bases permanent or temporary. Any US Navy operational ship in Odessa was in violation of BM

  11. America is a warrior nation that condones endless war and the preparation for it no matter what the draconian cost to the nation and its people of a bloated and counterproductive military/industrial budget is. Unless the citizens of the United States rise up in revolt to demand an end to wasteful spending on the military and the countless military adventures abroad, this country will continue its steady decline as a beacon of democracy and become impoverished in the end.

  12. I often hear from good liberals the refrain, similar to Katrina’s of “Those who speak of history and offer context about the West’s precipitating role in the Ukraine tragedy are not excusing Russia’s criminal attack.” How can anyone take note of “Precipitating role” and “criminal attack” in the same sentence? As is often said, Putin pulled the trigger, but Joe Biden gave him the gun.

  13. The comments here, like those so often, basically amount to saying that because the poster, vanden Heuval, Chomsky, etc is not condemning or condoning x,y,z as well as i am, (s)he is a, oh, pick your insult of the day …

    I have followed this site long enough to know pretty much who the regulars are and what they will say – and by this time they have already introduced info, etc that is useful enough so that we pretty much know what is going on by now – at this point it is bringing coals to Newcastle …

    Seemed to me from the get-go that the answer is a) get the hell out and b) put people in office who will – so let’s get crackin’ …

  14. Even Katrina has to go on about illegal or brutal ;Russian “attack” when Putin is almost infinitely patient and finally was goaded by the US and the Ukrainian buildup of attacks in the Donbass (after 8 years of waiting and NOT bringing the LPR and NPR inside Russia despite their appeals after the illegal takeover of the govt in 2014.)
    Why is only Russia the one to be sanctioned for invasion!! of another country? It is nexwt door to Ukraine and lives there. The USA is thousands of miles away, but it interferes to destroy Russia? who is cruel and illegal??? Who encourages NAZI influence and removal of 11 opposition parties- the adored President Zelinskyy!!!!

    1. Good news. Some real Ukrainians entered the debate.

      https://t.me/sputnik/4776

      Quote:
      We don’t want to go to the meat grinder for minced meat” – another brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine refuses to go into battle

      The servicemen of the 71st Jaeger brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were sent to the front line without fire cover — the soldiers considered the order “criminal” and left the positions. [by Ukrainian law they cannot reveal the human or material looses such commands resulted in].

      “With machine guns we stand against cannons, Grads, mortars. No one helps us, we don’t have any sensible weapons, [tons of NATO weapons apparently went into black hole nowhere to be found ] there is nothing. How can we fight for a country that doesn’t care about us?”, – complains one of the fighters.

      Earlier, the military from the 101st and 115th Theroborona brigades complained about all the above including lack of food and ammunition but most of all about abandonment by command who fled in civilian cars and clothes and left them to die.

      May be we should let Ukrainians sort things out with Zelensky and his Nazi regime.

    2. @rosemerry yeah, putin HAD TO go to war cause Ukraine could have become a member of the EU in ten years, and of NATO mebbe in 20,,,,
      so he HAD TO START A WAR RIGHT NOW, and the tens of thousands of killed civilians, a lot of them elderly or kids, why that’s just “collateral damage” ye sound like Madeleine Albright shilling for the Iraq war, same dishonesty, same complete lack of empathy for the victims of an equally stupid and unnecessary war…

  15. It’s hard to take seriously a call for real debate from someone who would have us turn to bought-and-paid-for ruling institutions of think tanks, academia, media, and politics for that possibility, remote as it may be.

    War is a racket, alright, and this propaganda piece does its own part in the con by keeping us narrowly focused on Ukraine’s theater of conflict to distract us from the criminal enterprises rolling out there and across the world in the new abnormal.

    Whatever “fragile democracy” we might have left on this planet is under all-out assault by the Great Reset’s war on all things human.

    Debating what our masters have assigned for our controlled attention is manufacturing dissent for slavery, and death.

    Meanwhile, monkeypox, or moneypox, is the latest scam of the biosecurity state’s march toward its final solution for human livestock. Be sure to get your kill shot today!

  16. The idea Putin’s Russia would settle for anything less than the complete subjugation of Ukraine to Russian dictates or, alternatively, the dissolution of the NATO alliance, is a dangerous left-ish Neo Progressive delusion.

    In the alternate universe where Vanden Heuvel is from, NATO is the main culprit of the war, which was forced on Russia by a 2014 US coup in Kiev, leaving them no choice but to conquer Crimea in order to save Ukrainian democracy, start a militarized civil war in Donbas and Luhansk, and eventually force the Russians into a full scale imperialist invasion to ‘denatzify’ and ‘demilitarize’ Ukraine by conquering Kiev, cutting the Ukrainian Black Sea access, blocking Ukrainian grain shipments and grind whole cities to dust.

    The reason no sane western media outlet would provide platform to left-ish Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs is not for fear of alternative views, or even the fact their views are a near verbatim parroting of Russian propaganda, but primarily because their opinions stem from an entirely different, and completely unsubstantiated sets of facts. For example, the so called ‘2014 US coup against a legitimately elected president’, an oft used left-ish talking point, never happened. The “Maiden Revolution” in 2014 was a result of Yanukovych refusal to implement a parliament vote, and his own election promise, to favor closer economic ties with the EU, resulting in weeks long protests that were met with deadly force by Yanukovych, who oddly escaped Ukraine immediately after a compromise between the protesters and him have been reached. The US involvement was limited to advisory position, at the request of Ukrainian opposition, and after the protests had already started, and was restricted to gleaning ways to precede from protests to political, democratic actions. Rather than through a ‘coup’, Yanukovych was ousted, following his bizarre nightly escape, through a (near) unanimous parliamentarian vote. There was no ‘coup’, the US involvement was marginal, after the fact, and entirely inconsequential and, to the extent that protests, and certainly parliamentarian votes, are an integral part of legitimate and essential democratic processes, the idea that the Maiden Revolution disrupted democratic procedures is cynical BS at best.

    In other words, the mutually exclusive sets of facts from which the differing worldviews stem makes the complaints expressed in the text above premature. At best, such an encounter would immediately deteriorate into disagreement on what constitute a fact of the matter, with both sides ending exactly where we are now, except that we wasted time and space on nonsense.

    1. @DGA

      Stop proliferation Kiev Nazi Regime fantasies.

      Russia is not blocking Ukrainian grain shipments, period.

      It is Ukraine that blocked their own ports by deploying hundreds of old Soviet sea mines and by deliberately sinking ships and barges at the port entrances in first weeks of the conflict and by prohibiting foreign ships to leave and keeping ship crews as hostages like in Port of Mariupol. Russians let them go.

      Russia opened a marine trade shipping corridor for wheat weeks ago. Check IMO communique, the corridors for all foreign vessels willing to take Ukrainian wheat are open. The message is continuously broadcasted on all marine frequencies in Black Sea. In fact shipping going on as usual in the rest of Black Sea under watchful eyes and protection of Russian navy.

      As long as no weapons are delivered to Kiev Regime by sea Russia has no problem. In fact right now Ukraine massively exports wheat via railways connections to Romania even partially to Poland. But the problem is that none of that is going to needy Africa or Asia but to Western Europe to pay for useless military junk most already blown up by Russians.

      Nazi Kiev regime aims at deliberately starving world population and became a conduit for fraud and speculation as all wheat it exports cheaply is being resold on world markets for astronomical profits with a sizable cut for a boss, Zelensky who became a new billionaire just in three months.(he was multi multimillionaire before that).

      Fortunately Russia just projected best ever wheat harvest season and will help the poor world as at least 100 countries in the world rejected nonsense of western sanctions against Russia and will be trading with Russia in Rubles or Yuans.

      1. @Kalen

        You seem to be in the wrong universe.

        Just saying.

    2. @democracy: why, Victoria Nuland done handed out cookies to the demonstrators on maidan square, and it was this nutrition which enabled them to shake of a thoroughly, totally, demonstrable CORRUPT politician named Yanukowich. and as we all know, Russia NEVER meddled in Ukrainian affairs, cause putin, him noble, just and merciful, right?
      The fact that a multitude of free and fair elections have happened since in Ukraine, when there were plenty of russia-friendly parties and politicians to vote for [and only relatively few did], why let’s not talk about this…. it destroys the whole propaganda lie..

  17. You can’t even begin reading this drivel can you? ‘illegal and brutal assault’ is right there a declaration of biased and stupid viewer.

    It wasn’t illegal and it wasn’t/isn’t brutal. They’re plain simple facts for plain simple people wanting to understand.

    All these pundits and elevated observers pronouncing on it all is 99% junk rubbish. They as a class have proved themselves for two years during the covid thing to be absolutely bankrupt of morals, sense, honesty, industry, anything at all…

    All that needs saying about Ukraine is very simple:

    . Stop the war immediately, Ukrainians. YOU are the aggressors right now. Draw up your cease fire lines and STOP. The cost/benefit analysis of this shows you deeply, deeply in debt and getting further. You CANNOT profit from further warfare.
    PROFIT comes from immediate cessation of hostilities. Defend if attacked otherwise stand still. Putin is NOT attacking. Putin is NOT trying to invade and conquer Ukraine and he never was.
    STOP. You are pursing some philosophy, some dream, some meme, some propaganda, someone’s urging. And you are making people die and suffer unimaginably while you do it. In order to ‘Punish Putin’, ‘Make democracy safe’ – I don’t know what catchphrases you use but consider instead of catchphrases and all that bullshit high sounding philosophy the stark facts:
    1. What would you have suffered if you’d acceded to Putins demands in the first place? Leave NATO alone. Leave the Donbas alone. Honour Minsk? What? I’ll tell you: Nothing. You’d have suffered nothing.
    2. What are you suffering now? I’ll tell you: you big mouths with you philosophical and theoretical cant: nothing. Not a thing. Growing fat on it. The mothers and the fathers, the children, the grandfather and grandmothers, the sons and daughters – they’re suffering in the maelstrom of war where the unimaginable horrors are commonplace. A shell blows up and you’re blinded for life and a leg torn off – a house comes down and a child lies under the rubble pierced through the abdomen by a reo bar from the shattered concrete… slowly dying in agony…

    Where is your cost benefit?

    Ah…. afterwards you’ll have the glory of having fought bravely and the USA will lend you money and US companies will come in and rebuild your cities and there’ll be jobs for all and all it will cost will be your nation – but you’ll get fat won’t you?

    And all it costs now is a few lives of those not as smart and manipulative as you.

    That’s all that needs saying at this point. STOP fighting.

    People should get on their smartphones and the internet and seize every opportunity to contact soldiers on either side who’ve smuggled in cellphones or found or looted them or whatever and cellphone networks that work or where computer connections are still valid to the internet and communicate with them and say:

    You are being manipulated by the USA. Do not let it happen.

    1. @ab

      As I wrote just yesterday as soon as last slow kindergartner figured out that what we have in Ukraine is a beginning of hot phase of ongoing proxy war between imperial West and Russia and China spheres of influence in the realm of globalization and that included all US or its minions’ interventions in Chechnya, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, MENA central Africa and Central Asia, so called liberal left intellectuals suddenly came out of woodwork to join in to spin reality, pushing it into dead end of oxymoronic liberal democracy and sham of electoral politics and ultimately they aim to derail people attempts to stop elites’ profitable madness and make them accountable to the people by being tried, sentenced and imprisoned for their crimes against humanity.

      Katrina vanden Heuvel Is one of those “intellectuals” who are periodically cleaned, dusted and brought to fore at reactionary WaPo or NYT here solely for purpose of denying utter western defeat in Ukraine and to call not for dismantling US imperialism provocatively projecting itself tens of thousands of miles away from US shores but for another rotten negotiated deal we all are and will continue to pay for, while their political masters only want to win at the polls in November.

      It is a shame as they are politicizing real blood spilled in a confrontation among global elites to be used in ridiculous US stage production of meaningless political puppet show as is US election campaign.

      But when one argues that what we need to end wars is to overthrow socioeconomic and political system of imperial monopoly of finance capitalism and create equal, equitable, egalitarian societies of caring and sharing ruled by democratic consensus of the people what we only hear in response from those “intellectuals “ is to vote for lesser evil, a Democrat.

      Is fixing environmental, political, cultural, economic and social problems socialist Revolution perhaps too intellectual for western pseudo intellectuals? It used to be different but not much.

    2. @artur shillguard… i am not even going to point out the many lies in yer post. it takes a lot to shill-shock me, but yer demand that Ukrainians, whose land was invaded, people murdered and raped, their property looted, stop their AGGRESSION against russia, why that takes the cake… Goebbels would be sooo proud of ye!!! Cheney too!

    3. @arthur shillguard: the attack on ukraine was clearly illegal under international law. yer lies are easily exposed,.. and most folks [those with a conscience] would consider attacks on hospitals, shelters and residential towers brutal. most definitely the INDISCRIMINATE SHELLING of cities and villages is medievally brutal…. so yer ignorant shilling is very obvious…

      1. Ahh, the dirty polluted mind of Zbigniew Brzezinski and his nuking the world theses:

        The former White House National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter and author of The Grand Chessboard: America and the Rest of the World (1997), considered the White House geostrategic bible as well as the bedside book of successive generations of geostrategists and political scientists, is said to have recorded the beginning of the decline of the American Empire, stating that “it is true that our dominant position in international politics is not the same as it was 20 years ago, because since 1991 the United States, in its status as a world power, has not won a single war.”

        Therefore, he added that in his opinion “the time has come for the United States to understand that the contemporary world is much more complicated and more anarchic than the last years after the cold war, with which the accentuation of our values as well as the conviction in our exceptionalism and universalism, are at least premature from the historical point of view.

        Continuing his thesis on the decline of the United States, in a speech to a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Carter’s former adviser warned that “American dominance is no longer possible because of an acceleration of social change driven by instant communication that has brought about a global political awakening of the masses and is proving detrimental to external domination such as that which prevailed in the era of colonialism and imperialism. Similarly, in an article published in the magazine Foreign Affair (1970), he sets out his vision of the “New World Order” stating that “a new and bolder vision is needed with the creation of a community of developed countries that can try to effectively solve the great problems of humanity”, This was the outline of a theory that he would expound in his book The Technetronic Revolution (1971), in which he explained that “the era of the rebalancing of power has arrived with a power that must pass into the hands of a new world political order based on a trilateral economic link between Japan, Europe and the United States. It is a doctrine that would involve the subjugation of Russia and China and would include the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike by the United States using Trident II missiles against vital Russian and Chinese targets in the event of a declared World War III.

        https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/05/26/is-a-preemptive-nuclear-attack-possible-in-cold-war-2-0/

  18. The debate genes have been irradiated and morphed into stupid genes. This is now a country that plants more people than trees. I am glad I am not a school kid. I could not afford body armor, extra cell phones and a 20 pound trauma kit. No other country will have to attack the U.S.; people here will just shoot each other.

    1. Beeline’s direct, shorthand analysis is undeniably true, that the USA has degenerated to an individualistic struggle of every contestant for herself.
      It wasn’t caused by genetics, but by nihilistic social engineering. When the Iron Lady declared in the 80s that there is no such thing as “society” she was negating the social contract and asserting the supremacy of private property and the business contract. She was a ninny still standing in the bodega of her childhood worried about shoplifters. The same nihilism that allows NATO to sacrifice 44 million people living in Ukraine for a business advantage over the Russian Federation also allows the priority of gun rights over the safety of grade school children. In the same way that Star Wars was a Big Lie from the get-go, the idea that militarized policing can keep people safe is also a basic falsehood, just another defective product overhyped in media. We spent billions and remain unable to shoot down incoming missiles any more than an armed teacher could shoot down a mass murderer’s bullets. The lies and misconceptions forced on us have delegitimized all branches of government. Driven only by profit motive institutions are unable to act for the general welfare. Trade itself has become a hail of bullets, as has diplomacy. Even the Mafia has a sitdown when things get hot, but our leaders can’t. They put deals ahead of life. The market system has been in crisis for a long time, and the growing crisis was denied to allow just a little more time for business, just one more hand of poker. And that is why we are overwhelmed by climate change and instability, and by a looming financial collapse. Conservatives got control but they violated their own rules about thinking ahead and planning well. They blew their/our wad on showing themselves a good time. Now they evade their responsibilities. So they’re beyond redemption.

    2. @Beeline
      Empires like the U.S. collapse from within, but I doubt it will be from shooting each other. There are 330 million people in the U.S., I can’t imagine that much shooting.

      1. I can imagine the paralyzing onset of grief, horror and loss of faith long before Mama drills Papa.

  19. @SH,

    I don’t know if I propose anything. Certainly, I must make decisions for myself.

    I’m pretty sure we’re doomed. I look back and I know that I was convinced by sometime in the 1980s that humans were not going to stop tearing up the planet. That’s why I moved north. I love the Earth, and I wanted to see real Nature before it was gone.

    I wasn’t wrong in the 80s. I got see magnificent wilderness, I had a great life, and now I just try to live knowing, and I need to credit Dr. Hedges for this, that things are never going to get better again.

    I literally walked the forest and hugged trees and cried for two years after the extreme weather events began in 2012. I knew the beginning of the worst had arrived. I have no hope.

    1. @Tupe
      Like Russel Means said during Wounded Knee, focus on the present and the right thing to do. Don’t worry about the future, what’s important is living in the here & now and doing what you can.

  20. “In our fragile democracy, the cost of dissent is comparatively low.”

    That’s what I have been thinking. If people don’t have the courage to speak up in relatively free democratic societies, would they have had the courage under a Nazi terror regime to disobey orders?

    However, whether the cost for speaking up are low or high is relative. To a highly paid civil servant the risk of losing his income and social standing to end up as an outcast on the dole or as taxi driver is a substantial cost. How is he going to pay the mortgage on the villa or the school fees and all the other comforts he and his family have gotten used to?

    Before the war in Ukraine, a German general on visit in India was overheard saying it was relatively easy to avoid war if one just respected Putin a little. He didn’t even do it on purpose, he just didn’t know that the microphone hadn’t been switched off. It didn’t take 24 hours and he had lost his job as general. The punishment is immediate and severe.

    That’s why the only dissenting voices have come from retired officials: retired generals, retired ministers or secretaries of state, retired intelligence experts, retires security councilors, retired ambassadors, etc.

    1. @Humwawa
      Relatively low? Look at what they do to people like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. Not to mention people they kill or disappear who we don’t even know about. If you believe this naive crap, go ahead and get a large platform, then expose things like U.S. war crimes and see what happens to you.

  21. @redhonyet: fluffing yer ignorance? if ye had any observational skills, ye might have noticed that putin has not taken even a babystep towards serious peace negotiations,,,
    the fact that Kyiv was bombed WHILE United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was there speaks volumes. and the only party fluffing their nukes has been putin, the EU- NATO side has not even dared to provide some mig fighters to Ukraine out of fear of provoking putin… so get yer facts straight!!!

  22. Katrina claims: “the cost of dissent is comparatively low.”

    The cost of dissent, in challenging the US Empire, the military, or the national security state, is, at a minimum, career suicide.

    Among today’s careerists, that too high a price to pay. There are no more Ellsbergs.

    But, costs also include prison, as Assange and many others surely know. And other forms of persecution, which include frame ups, surveillance, blackmail, and worse.

    1. @Bill+Wolfe
      Katrina vanden Heuvel is part of the elite class and never has to worry about facing real consequences. I suppose she could change her stripes, become a radical, and start using her large platform to speak out, but that’s so unlikely that it’s not worth considering. It really irks me when privileged people like her minimize what everyone else has to go through that they don’t.

    2. What Katrina actually mens to say is, “The effect of dissent is nuttin’ honey.”

  23. The outrages are coming so fast and furious that its hard to keep up, but did anyone note the story that said US military was planning to eliminate the Russian blockade and take out the Russian navy under the guise of opening food exports in response to global famine and rising food prices?

    Am I the only one to note more than a tad of hypocrisy in the fact that just as Biden is globe trotting selling US arms and laying the foundation for WW III and nuclear annihilation (on top of reviving the corporate TPP deal), he returns to a Texas massacre and reacts by demanding US politicians grow a spine?

    1. @Bill+Wolfe
      I just saw that too. More insanity from the psychopaths. This was from a general who they’re planning to make the head of NATO no less. Hey, nothing like a good nuclear war to fix things, right? We might have been better off with Trump in office regarding this issue, certainly couldn’t have been worse.

  24. As the subject is a call for real debate, let’s begin at the beginning and invoke the work of one of the best, Thomas Aquinas:

    The parameters for Just War under Thomas Aquinas are: 1. Just Cause, 2. Comparative Justice, 3. Competent Authority, 4. Right Intention, 5. Probability of Success, 6. Last Resort, 7. Proportionality.

    (The parameters for Just War are not: 1. Popularity/unpopularity, 2. Sympathetic media presentation, 3. Volume of disturbing imagery, 4. Conformity with groupthink, 5. Association with mythical bogeymen, 6. Level of public outrage, 7. Unsubstantiated rumors of atrocity.)

    Hopefully you see where I am going: the author of this essay is serving up what is nearly sophistry, whereby first you declare from within a box the wrongness of the Ukraine crisis (to comfort readers), then you make intellectual demands about related issues (to comfort readers some more), including the lack of open debate, consequences of food prices, etc. This is weak tea. There is no “real debate” on the Ukraine crisis if you take for granted a presumption that Russia is in the wrong. If Russia in not in the wrong, not only are sanctions wrong, but we are wrong. My experience studying US history suggests there is a lot of debate ground to be gained thinking outside the box (not that St. Thomas Aquinas is that).

    ~~~~
    As for Just War’s first parameter, “Just Cause,” consider a hypothetical that does NOT involve a handy bogeyman nation (Russia), but some nation we all like very much (your choice): 1. neonazi nationalists have committed a coup d’etat in a neighboring nation that 2. has biological & nuclear technology experience, and 3. is committing ethnic cleansing in two of it’s states, and 4. those states request aid so that they may survive.
    Q. In that case, may that well-liked neighbor state act militarily? A. Yes, and we should support them.

    So much for parameter #1, interested readers should look into & carry on with the other six, in the interests of real debate.

    1. or, @ckent, we stick to international law – that be okay with ye? neither article 42 nor 51 of the charter of the U.N. apply to the attack and invasion of Ukraine by russia.
      care to tell me what other articles there are that only ye know about which would give legal cover for putin? i did not think so. so go shill out!

      1. The topic is open debate, right? Did you notice I say open debate should begin at the beginning?

        In consideration of the acceptability of war, the beginning is the theory of Just War. We have not begun at the beginning, rather the press has run a blitzkrieg on a public too busy to do the research, using logical fallacies like, “Putin = bad, so any war he wages = bad.” This will not do, unless the purpose is to manufacture consent.

        I agree International Law is a consideration, but it comes later, and is subservient to moral & ethical philosophy, because of course that is what good international law is built upon. I could go on about law and further make my case, but because you wind up with name calling & snark, I’ll not bother.

  25. A note to Katrina and others that share her beliefs…Big Finance took over the USA decades ago. It’s supra national wealth, more than most countries, was created through the seamless corruption of America and various other states. Their fully controlled media and stink tanks have given false information to the public, including pretty much all our politician’s for years. Now we’re even entering an enhanced censorship phase. That said it’s no wonder this issue and many other life and death issues of great seriousness cannot be handled in a manner equal to the scale of harm caused by making mistakes based on manipulated falsehoods and restricted discussions. Here non-reality will produce a very grim reality as we are presently seeing.

    Ironically lots of these uber wealthy depraved individuals are in Davos now screaming for more blood and money. Haven’t they done enough damage? Will such historically destructive entities be able to cause anything but harm in future schemes, and that’s what they are, certainly not plans? Repeating behaviors and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. We don’t need another performative debate where the speakers are armed with falsehoods, we need real change! True journalism is a start. The vanden Heuval article from Jeff (morbidly wealthy) Bezos Washington Post is an example of the journalistic control practised by the rich that I’m talking about. Surely not an unbiased newspaper! (Surprised to see that as a source of an article here when there are so many good voices on independent web sites.)

    1. @Normin
      To paraphrase a Native whose name I can’t recall, I can’t wait until all these money-obsessed idiots have to breathe, drink, and eat money. The problem is that money exists at all and people obsess over it, not who has how much.

  26. I was badly shocked by the fact that all five members of “The Squad” in the House of Representatives and Bernie Sanders in the Senate voted, along with every other Democrat, for the $44 billion Ukraine War bill. For six years I have been contributing to all of them but last night went to my ActBlue account and cancelled all my recurring donations to all of them. That’s it. Not a penny more to partisan politics, or even third parties. Our partisan political system is completely broken. Nothing good can come out of it. From now on I will only contribute to individual Substack and Patreon writers who are seriously undermining the prevailing elite media propaganda narrative, including corporate “wokeness.” (Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Wesley Yang and The Duran come to mind, along with Sheerpost and Consortium News). I will also explore real grassroots principled left groups that don’t essentially operate as arms of the Democratic Party, such as Code Pink. Oh, and a week ago I cancelled my online subscription to the New York Times (I had been reading the Times since I was in high school, almost 60 years ago.)

    1. @Guy Baehr
      Good for you and congrats! I also suggest Jimmy Dore, I’ve gotten a lot of really good information from his podcasts.

      As to electoral politics: 1) I see no harm in voting for 3d parties like the Green Party, but I understand if you don’t want to participate in this rigged system. There are as many good reasons not to vote in this country as there are to vote; and 2) what we need is proportional representation and elimination of ALL private campaign contributions, along with equal TV time for all candidates. Those fixes would get other parties into elected office, and would probably reduce the two current gangs to minority parties. Working for those changes is far more important than obsessing on which war monger Wall Street neoliberal/neoconservative gets elected.

      1. Unfortunately, drip by drip, the system has become so corrupted and dysfunctional that it cannot reform itself. What once might have been considered bugs or imperfections in the system are now so embedded that now they are the system. Anything vaguely democratic that might allow voters to actually influence policy are now viewed by the party elites as bugs or defects to be eliminated on the way to total control. We’ve passed the tipping point. Don’t vote. Don’t contribute. It just encourages them and provides them with cover. It’s wasted effort and distracts from solving the real problems. Not a very satisfying position to be in, but it’s better to know where we stand than to continue fooling ourselves and grasping at straws.

      2. @Guy Baehr
        I don’t think that we have any substantial differences here. If you don’t know what the changes are that I advocated, I suggest researching them. These changes would create a MAJOR overhaul of our rotten, corrupt, and unrepresentative electoral system and replace it with a system that either substantially reduces or eliminates these problems to the extent possible. I fully agree that our system can’t be fixed with mere reforms or tweaks.

    2. To Guy,
      So you are giving up on electoral politics (no 3rd parties) in your shock that members of a long known to to be corrupted political party ( remember all those folks have tied their political carts to the D donkey) didn’t vote the way that you thought they would …
      Too bad …

  27. the brutal amerikan war in ukraine has been terminated by Russia—heuval as always advocates the ruling class nazi position, claiming denazification in ukraine is “illegal”—Russian intervention is perfectly legal, moral and proper.

    1. Is this not the same as Cuban missile crisis of 1962???
      But this time America and Nato has ‘ defensive’ military in Ukraine while USSR had ‘offensive’ military in Cuba.

      Of course we are using Nato purely as Defense but have a long, long history of wars, invasions, interventions, etc.
      Why doesn’t Russia trust USA?, just because we destroyed : Iraq, Afghanistan, S. Vietnam, parts of Cambodia and Laos, N. KOREA, Libya, others, we should be granted absolute trust!!?

  28. @george simple: you have managed to submit a post in which every sentence, nay every part of every sentence, contains at least one lie! you aiming for the GOEBBELS- award?

  29. @Rev. Allen… sadly, the consensus in europe seems to be that putin has ZERO interest in peace negotiations right now. he wants to grab more land, and he, in fact, IS grabbing more land as we speak. what gets little attention here is that he very clearly has stated that Ukraine is not a real country, it belongs with russia – so he is just bringing it HEIM INS REICH [hitler-sudetenland et al]
    the fact that russian missiles were launched at Kyiv WHILE the U.N. general secretary Guterres was actually in the city, seems to speak volumes?
    but this winter, BEFORE putin started his stupid war of colonial conquest, why, just about every european and some other heads of state went to putin to sit on that half-mile table and avoid this… so don’t say nobody tried….

  30. Oh, that Russell. Didn’t he do a good job in Last of the Mohicans?!!

    Dennis, on the other hand, though by far my favorite man of the two, was rather wooden. I thought.

    When I worked in Indian Health Service a decade ago one of our patients was a Mojave woman from California. She had occupied Alcatraz with Russell when they were both young.

    I did meet Floyd Westerman once at a home in a very small gathering of people in the 80s. I’ve seen Wes Studi a couple of times in gatherings. One time was at that IHS hospital where he received a tour of the building.

    I’ve had a total crush on Wes forever, but my real true love is Lolly Vegas (Vasquez).

    1. Oh, I forgot to include that I have had personal phone conversations with, and a letter written to me by, Leonard Peltier. That’s how I met Floyd Red Crow Westerman, through activism.

      Poor Leonard. That’s so sad.

  31. Oh, and Jeff, I failed to make it clear I was responding to you in my above comments, for which I apologize .

    And, speaking of Native American wisdom, my soulmate Lolly said it,

    “What’s the matter with your feel-right? Don’t you feel right, Baby? Come and get your love!”

    I totally dig how they do that.

  32. Good report here:

    “I recently joined the National Network on Cuba’s 15th “May Day International Brigade” of Voluntary Work and Solidarity with Cuba. The full brigade takes place from April 24 to May 8, 2022, in Havana, Artemisa, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba provinces, and includes one week of work and education alongside Cuban workers, and one week of historic and cultural immersion in Cuba. Unable to attend the full two week brigade, I was able to join the brigadistas on April 30th to experience May Day in Cuba, realizing a dream my late husband and I had for years.” – Jacqueline Luqman

    It has been jarring coming back to the US where the confusion about who is the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict is so profoundly deep and expansive among so much of the population, but particularly among the alleged left. Jarring after spending a week in Revolutionary Cuba to witness the 2022 May Day Celebration in the country. The first since the pandemic and since the 2021 US- right-wing supported protests that spawned the failed #SOSCuba campaign, more than 6 million Cuban workers participated in May Day celebrations across the country, with the vast majority of them parading jubilantly, defiantly, and triumphantly through Revolutionary Square.

    I saw with my own eyes the celebration of worker solidarity and the indefatigable defense of the Cuban Revolution as waves of workers walked with signs and costumes and Cuban flags past the iconic images of Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the Ministry of the Interior building with the words he may be most famous for accompanying his image, “Hasta La Victoria Siempre,” or “Always onwards onto victory,” and another of Camilo Cienfuegos on the adjacent Telecommunications Building with the words “Vas Bien, Fidel,” or “You are doing well, Fidel,” underneath the image. Any picture or video captured of the May Day 2022 parade would reflect an unabated stream of masses of people holding banners, waving flags or scarves, and dancing to a vibrant live band between the billboards on one building at the entrance to the Plaza that read “Cuba vive y trabaja (Cuba lives and works)” and the imposing 109-meter tall José Marti memorial that overlooks the plaza. For a little over two hours, Cuban workers celebrated their country, their revolution, and their socialism, and they were especially jubilant when the announcers acknowledged the union or the company or the banner they carried, and they blew kisses and shouted “gracias” and “Bloqueo no! Cuba sí!” at the members of the foreign delegations that were in the stands as spectators.

    My arms were sore from waving at so many joyous Cubans waving back at me. My cheeks were a bit sore from smiling under that mask (and I should note that mask-wearing even among the millions who paraded on May Day, was nearly universal in Cuba). It was an extremely emotional experience seeing workers honored and celebrated so openly with such enthusiasm, seeing how the workers understood that their work does indeed defend their revolution and their country, with many in the crowds holding signs and banners in support of socialism – their socialism, their revolution. The day was also personally significant as this was the trip that was planned for next year with my late husband Abdushshahid, a truck driver who would have been just as emotional and full of joy had he been able to witness the level of respect and honor for the working class that doesn’t exist in the United States. Having made the trip a year early without him since his sudden passing in June of 2021, I know that he was with me in spirit, celebrating the contribution of workers right along with me.

    https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/05/24/revolutionary-cuba-delivers-marching-orders-to-the-us-left-to-defeat-imperialism-for-all-humanity/

  33. Vanden Heuval combines a lifetime of experience with a proven inability to evolve speech. The term “controlled opposition” is apt, because what she’s fighting for polemically is just a minor recovery of turf in a routine and dead-tired narrative of reactionary opposition to scribes of State. Everywhere we look we find Western voices obviously subject to thought control the Russkies could only dream about. Note to writers: Diffusion of thought is mistakable for freedom of thought. Oppositional thought merely reifies the object to be resisted. We know there’s something gravely wrong when we observe that ScheerPost’s strongest political position is that their funding spigots are dry. Let me be one more opinion that gives notice that one more opinion is not going to make a lick of difference to the challenges we face, because our biggest challenges are in the nature of how we speak, not what we talk about. Opinion has become merely a reminder to people who are otherwise to detached and too numb to recall — or even know — what they care about. A revolution is impossible without a change in speech, yet we are in an age where speech is mere signaling. Vanden Heuval and Hedges and Greenwald and pretty much everyone, including this scrivener, is operating like it they say something they can reprogram the train of thought in the cultural computer. It’s like every time your web browser updates it fixes more security issues and it never stops needing an update. At what point do you realize the updates are the problem? Maybe you don’t care because these security issues don’t really affect you and each new release brings some incrementally fascinating but largely meaningless access to new content. Meanwhile an alternative-press church organ blares hymns to which nobody even bothers sings along. It’s like a TV laugh-track where the show does the laughing for you. It’s inevitable that we will find ourselves sympathetic to Russia and China because they’ve been busy figuring out how to actually control the masses for the good of the masses, while the West is going insane trying to measure and compare the significance of ever more irrelevant choices, while giving carte-blanche to a cadre of oligarchical asshats, the Kardashians, and the Queen Mother. Want to see the real America, just turn on any TV and be gobsmacked by a society that is being driven insane and expressing its angst by self-mutilatiom. Who gives a flying-f”””-at-a-rolling-donut what The Nation thinks about anything. They’re part of the problem. Everyone’s waiting for a software upgrade to be distributed through the press, then we get all cranky because MSNBC just rolls out another version of you’ve been further commodified by inbred white-collar functionaries for the purpose of continuing the corporate rackets. You’ll know something big is changing when you stop waiting for others idiots opinions and start working on your issues with like minded people. The only thing you need to get started is a sense of your own mind!

    (We now return you to regularly scheduled programming)

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