Media Criticism Opinion Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: The Causes of Things

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

Casus belli 

Over a summer sup on the back lawn the other night, a Times-reading, MSNBC–watching, NPR–listening neighbor asked what I thought she should read to acquire what she is not getting from these media, an accurate understanding of what goes on in our world. I loved the question: It suggested a healthy lapse of faith. Somebody else, I thought, is cottoning on to the fact that something is missing in her daily sources of information. 

I named some independent publications and webcasts, ScheerPost high among them. But I reflected afterward that this reply was incomplete. 

The outsized responsibilities of independent media are plain enough given the utter mess the corporate-owned press and broadcasters have made of themselves since, in my estimation, the interval following the tragedies of September 11, 2001. We reach a point when it is simply impossible to grasp the events that define our world without the reporting and analysis to be found in non-corporate, non-mainstream media. These media are plentiful, uneven, and essential now. I say this quite apart from my place in the profession. 

But it is also a matter of learning how to read, view, and listen to the mainstream publications and networks, for they, alas, still flood our public discourse, they still define the national consciousness. It is best to know with what they flood us. 

I would have told this admirably curious neighbor to begin with four words: “Keep reading what you’re reading. You may as well know the orthodox line. But always watch out for the history, context, chronology, and responsibility attaching to a given development. Are these present or absent in the reporting?”

In other words: What is the pertinent history as I read about A, B, or C? In what context did the present circumstance become the present circumstance? What was the order of events—when did this, that, and the other happen? And who set these events in motion? Who is responsible for what I am reading about what happened yesterday?

History, context, chronology, and responsibility coalesce to suggest my favorite word of all, causality. 

The New York Times and the other major dailies—and The Times effectively tells the other major dailies what is kosher to publish of a given day—are not short of outright lies: There are no Nazis in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s intent is to rebuild the Soviet Union. China is aggressing in East Asia. Cuba is a nation of 11 million unhappy people. Those who sought to bring down the Syrian government were—infamous phrase at this point—moderate rebels. These are lies, open and shut. 

But outright lies carry the danger of exposure: “They lied and we caught them!”  Omission, often paired with distortion, leaves nothing for the critics to hold up to the light, nothing to discredit. 

I have for years referred to this practice as POLO, the power of leaving out. POLO has been part of American media’s repertoire since the Cold War decades. The distinguishing mark of our time is that the habit of omitting is now institutionalized. It is no longer a question of what is erroneously missing in a news report. The omission of all that I have noted—history, context, chronology, responsibility, and at last causality—is now a daily occurrence. 

In my years as a correspondent, you got hell from your foreign editor if you left out pertinent facts and background. Nowadays you are more likely to get hell for putting them in, and they will take them out on the foreign desk so your story conforms to “the narrative.” Omission—and it is time for someone in the profession to say this—is an insidious form of lying, akin to passive aggression, that most intractable of neuroses.

I am telling you this because the game of POLO is now so universally played that it is changing our already troubled republic into a nation dangerously ignorant of the world as it truly is. I say dangerously ignorant because in this condition, those purporting to lead us are effectively unchecked by the force of public opinion. I leave it to readers to choose the term that defines this kind of society.

I step back and realize most Americans have no clue of the history, context, and all else that bears upon the Ukraine crisis. NATO’s eastward expansion, Washington’s long effort to turn Ukraine into a forward base on Russia’s doorstep, Moscow’s 30–year effort to negotiate a mutually satisfactory security order in Europe, the Kiev regime’s fanatical—not too strong a term—Russophobia: All of this is left out. 

From a ripe orchard of examples illustrating the practice of POLO as it is played day to day, I choose a much-noted speech given last week by Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s long-serving foreign minister, to Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of RT, Russia’s equivalent of the BBC. It was reported by RIA–Novosti, a government-funded wire service. 

This was an important occasion. Lavrov announced that Russia’s objectives remained the same but its strategy was evolving and offered an explanation as to what has prompted this evolution. Lots of media reported on Lavrov’s remarks, so we know what he said and what the American press, The Times per usual in the lead, left out, distorted, or reported and then erased. In this case, it did all three. 

“Everyone in Russia wants to know when this war will end…. Where do you think it will end—where will it end geographically?” This was Simonyan’s key question.

Lavrov replied that Russia’s objectives remained as initially stated—to de–Nazify and demilitarize Ukraine “that there are no threats to our security, military threats from the territory of Ukraine. This task remains.” 

He then addressed the “where” question. “Geography-wise, the situation is different. It is far from being only the DPR and LPR [the Donbass republics]. It is also the Kherson region, the Zaporozhye region, and a number of other territories” — all three west of the Donbass. Significantly, as in very, Lavrov did not, when asked, rule out the expansion of the Russian operation through to the western city of Lviv—in other words, all the way to the other end of the country.

Lavrov was very clear as to why Russia’s thinking had changed. The arrival in quantity of advanced artillery known as HIMARS, highly mobile advanced rocket systems, means that to protect itself against threats to its security Russia would have to demilitarize all territory within the range of these systems. 

It comes to simple arithmetic: The most advanced HIMARS units have a range of 300 kilometers, not quite 200 miles. As the U.S. continues to supply the Kiev regime with increasing numbers of these, the Russian military will have to go commensurately further into Ukraine to secure itself from attack. This was the most important point Russia’s top diplomat wanted to make.

Let us state this simply: The U.S. and its NATO allies will prolong and expand the Ukraine conflict so long as they continue flooding the nation with advanced, long-range weaponry. Cause, responsibility, effect. Not too complicated. 

In its July 20 report on the Lavrov interview, The Times could not simply omit entirely an account of Lavrov’s reasoning. It was too widely reported. There are occasions when the POLO strategy requires slight elaboration, and this is one of them: You report it, distort it, then erase it best you can.

From The Times report: “He pointed in particular to multiple rocket launchers that the United States has begun delivering to Ukraine, which have been credited with slowing the Russian advance by hitting faraway targets like munitions depots.”

Fine. True. Next paragraph: “But Western officials have always scoffed at Moscow’s claims that its invasion is anything less than an act of expansion—an attempt to reclaim territory lost with the fall of the Soviet Union.”

Not fine. Not true. The Times report goes on to assert that we must not trust Russia’s explanations for its intervention in Ukraine because they are always changing and do not make any sense. Not remotely true. They make eminent sense so long as you bear in mind my four words plus one: How did things come to this and who is responsible for it.

Into the dark Times readers are again plunged. 

Next time I see my kindly neighbor I will tell her: Read The New York Times or listen to NPR, which customarily recites the front page of The Times in its newscasts, to know what you are supposed to think happened. Then go in search of an account of what happened. 

Why does our century end?

Harper’s has done us all an enormous favor. Its July cover story carries the headline, “The American Century Is Over. What’s Next?” atop a lengthy piece by Daniel Bessner, a scholar at the University of Washington. Andrew Bacevich, the author of many notable books on the American imperium, has done us another. In a piece responding to the Harper’s essay, first published in TomDispatch and reprinted in Consortium News, where I read it, Bacevich ruminates usefully on Bessner’s question. His piece appears under a wonderful head: “Imperial Detritus.” 

I have been on the edge of my seat for years about this. And at last the topic finds its place in our public discourse. Not only can we now think critically about Henry Luce’s “American Century” without risking universal opprobrium; we are all of a sudden talking in public places about its end while wondering what might come next. 

I see this as a potential opening. I do not know what kind of comment or discussion the Bessner and Bacevich pieces will precipitate, but this is not precisely the point. Whether or not they get the attention they deserve, these are voices of the times. 

I would place these two on the outer rim of acceptable discourse. Were LBJ weighing in, he would say they’re inside the tent urinating out. Fine. A few years ago this kind of work was limited to those outside the tent urinating in. The sun gradually rises upon our American darkness. The thought that we may find our way out of the eternal present that entraps us and think about a different future is not much short of intoxicating. 

Luce, of course, was the influential publisher of TIME and LIFE and famously declared “the American Century” in a much-remarked editorial that appeared in the latter magazine in late 1941. He had in mind a certain kind of America when he named a century after it—a powerful America, an exceptional America, a capitalist America, a corporatized America, an ideologically driven America. 

Bessner is very fine as he captures the sheer hubris of Luce’s notion. I was especially pleased to see he fished out that extraordinary passage in the editorial wherein Luce asserted that Americans must “accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world and… exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit.”

Our republic was destined to be “the powerhouse… lifting the life of mankind from the level of the beasts to what the Psalmist called a little lower than the angels.” Jeez, if I may say so. People such as Luce said things like this in public back then. 

But if you think this stunningly crude and arrogant, pause for a sec: Luce said it, everyone with a good job in Washington still thinks it and acts on it. The news Bessner and Bacevich have to deliver in these pieces is still… news to them. Isn’t there some outfit called Project for a New American Century and am I right to assume people take it seriously?

The dissident colonel, as Bacevich is known in this household, was right to point out that Bessner is amiss in not noting Luce’s religious background. It is key to the story, as the above passage suggests. The son of missionaries in China, Luce had a messianic dimension in his thinking that cannot be overlooked if we are to understand the man and what he stood for. Remember, TIME editors routinely turned the files of their China correspondents into propagandistic mush when they reported accurately during and after the “who lost China?” years following Mao’s arrival in Beijing in October 1949.

Bessner and Bacevich share credit for judging the American Century a failure waiting to happen from its inception. “The more one considers the American Century, in fact, the more our tenure as global hegemon resembles a historical aberration,” Bessner writes. “Geopolitical circumstances are unlikely to allow another country to become as powerful as the United States has been for much of the past seven decades.”

Exacto, Daniel. I see no nation that aspires to any such debilitating position. Empires are a 19th century Western technology. If I read history correctly, America’s may turn out to be the last humanity must suffer.

Here I depart from Bessner’s thesis. He argues that “two transformational events have begun to reshape the United States’ place in the world.” One is Donald Trumps’ victory at the polls in 2016, and the other is China’s emergence as a regional and, let us face the music here, a global power. 

One, I am not on for Donald Trump as the personification of American decline. This is liberal escapism. Our 45th president was a symptom, not a cause, and was not entirely devoid of good ideas. The Biden regime, indeed, is leaving these aside while picking up intact all the bad ones.

Two, external factors, or exogenous factors if we want to include the Trump phenomenon, are not what cause the beginning or the end of anything. They are manifestations of underlying realities in the way politics is at bottom an expression of culture, or a society’s lack thereof I suppose I should add. 

The American Century did not end with Donald Trump’s emergence in national politics or with China’s immense success in rising out of poverty and making itself an influential nation. It ended, in my judgment, with uncanny precision on the morning of September 11, 2001, leaving us with a 60–year century.  

Here I go to Toynbee, the out-of-fashion historian, and I confess a peculiar taste for out-of-fashion historians (and a distaste for academic fashions). Toynbee asserted that civilizational decline is the result of inner, spiritual collapses, lapses of belief in those drives and purposes that push societies confidently on, whatever the validity of these drives and purposes. This is what happened on September 11. The nation that thought of itself as immune from the forces of tawdry human history and time suddenly discovered it was subject to both. The hand of Providence failed to come down from the clouds.

I was there to watch this, as many readers surely were. Tragic as were the fatalities that day, the greater deaths were of spirit, of belief in ourselves and our story. That endlessly looped footage of the planes as they piled into the World Trade Towers: That was our objective correlative, our way of watching and mourning what we had just lost. 

A dozen years later, in Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century, I made my case for September 11 as the true ending of the interim Luce named. I hold to it. All America has done since, all the messes, illegality, and grandiloquence, has been in the way of forlorn denial. The Biden presidency reminds me of García Marquez’s Autumn of the Patriarch. The man is perversely perfect for our moment.

Bessner sees the post–2016 discourse as divided between liberal interventionists and the “restraint” crowd, he a member of the latter. This is fine, but I do not think his conclusion is. “For those of us in the latter camp,” he writes, “the withering away of the American Century cannot be reversed; it can only be accommodated.” This is not, to put my point mildly, an occasion for an accommodation of the past. We simply do not have time for it. I have often wondered whether the truth is always radical. I have no answer to my question except to say it certainly is in our time.  

The dissident colonel has a better handle on our moment. “Better in my estimation to give up entirely the pretensions Henry Luce articulated back in 1941,” he writes. “Perhaps it is time to focus on the more modest goal of salvaging a unified American republic. One glance at the contemporary political landscape suggests that such a goal is a tall order. On that score, however, reconstituting a common moral framework would surely be the place to begin.”

Indeed, Andrew. But what is the matter with tall orders? 

What we must next push into the discourse is a nice, fulsome conversation under the heading, “post-exceptionalism,” a topic I have explored at length elsewhere. By this I mean a new understanding of ourselves and our place in the world—altogether a new consciousness. This is what truly must come next if anything else of worth is to follow. 

In the mean, let us thank these two writers for pushing us along in the only direction we can go if we are to do well in our new century, everybody’s century.

Patrick Lawrence
Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a media critic, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon siteHis Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored without explanation.

36 comments

  1. It cannot be possible for America to move on without a new full investigation of what really transpired on 9/11/01.

    1. That will not come Barbara. An attempt to do so would only be cloaked in terms of a conspiracy theory. The facts are out there to see but a curious thing happens with them: they are not believed until they who lead us acknowledge them.

    2. Let’s say, evidence comes out that the CIA was behind 911 or JFK for that matter. So what? What would change? Nothing. It would be blamed on a few bad apples from a past era. Mistakes were made. Some folks were tortured. The gulf of Tonkin. Babies in incubators. WMDs. $54b to Ukraine instead of Medicare for everyone and housing for the unhoused. Maybe the issue is citizen control of government, democracy.

  2. Lawrence falsely assumes that americans can think. Thinking is painful for an American; they prefer to copulate w mobile phones

    1. Gilligan, hee, hee, hee.
      Almost, not quite. Most Americans are plenty smart.
      They are just wilfully dumb, blind and deaf to their wars.
      The rest are natural born killers. We, all have benefits and not likely to do anything dramatic, drastic or unusual to stop our war loving affairs.

      Americans are stuck with the Empire that must destroy, diminish, and cripple any nation that challenges our privileges and primacy.
      Nothing will change or could be changed unless the Empire collapses.
      Empires usually end from self inflicted wounds and climate change that overwhelms the population.

  3. Very well put, Patrick. I’m ready to put in place a Very Tall Order, no matter that it seems impossible right now.

      1. What a delightful moment to read your prose Mr. Patrick Lawrence! When one stands close to America but a foot (or so) outside the American “fantasy” of exceptionalism: speaking French in Québec permits anyone educated that Europe’s repetitive declines -for us, here, notably France’s symptoms of inevitable Fall since 1815, with our outsider position helps a lot in this quagmire task of noticing the symptoms of decline. After experiencing these declines, three in total-I will name them shortly below, one can relate to what you are explaining so clearly. On the subject of Ukraine, as we are entangled into these illusions of perceptions poorly maquillées, I wish you could read Jacques Baud’s book entitled “Poutine maître du jeu ?” because the question mark at the end is of crucial importance in the final answer he helps us ascertain.
        Like you, in all 3 languages I have attempted to master in my lifetime, I m dismayed by the distortions and the lack of method in the corporate media, that this fundamental quote from your comment outlines when these four omissions occur and are lamentably absent: “History, context, chronology, and responsibility coalesce to suggest my favorite word of all, causality.” They are simply always left out. But, rejoice with me, on Ukraine they are underlined and explained in full in Jacques Baud s recent book (Feb.2022, one ought to await the coming next one this September 2022- I doubt anyone courageous enough to propose and realize a rapidly effective or properly needed translation in English).
        Noticeably, how lucky your neighbou is, that is so fortunate to come chat with you for supper…should simply- if any light or sensitivity to profoundness animates her or his- brain-simply to be able to consult with you and feel assured of finely directed in well intended guidance. Hence, this second passage from you is very good counselling :”Read The New York Times or listen to NPR, which customarily recites the front page of The Times in its newscasts, to know what you are supposed to think happened. Then go in search of an account of what happened. ” I now have one last comment to add.
        As for the moment of decline for America, I hesitate between the Truman presidency and the Reagan presidency for the intensity level of the lies that came to light constantly. The 8-year-presidency G.W.Bush-Dick Cheney were the extreme years of dismay worldwide before the 8-year Obama deceit in such grand-elegance-style of lying with chic…already there since Truman’s first term as proof of the advanced gangrene incurred by the mob running your “holy land” or attempting to defend it by invading others in maniacal ways. It helps me, from Montréal, to have been able to visit Cuba many times before figuring out how it has been a deafening response in kind, sometimes in the worst “counterexamples” to the horrible soloist of greatness in the Halls of NATO, the UN, or the “organisation des États Américains” or any other acoustically astounding places where this US tenor among nations, namely POTUS, searched for applauses (genuine ones or the ones paid for).
        Finally, I’m extraordinarily happy to have discovered you like I once discovered Patrick Seale’s books on the Middle-East or Jacques Benoit-Méchin’s entire production on so many subjects of history…And you are so witty in saying or writing this: “If I read history correctly, America’s may turn out to be the last humanity must suffer.” Imagine, yes the suffering caused worldwide by the USA just recently under Nuland-Rice-Powell-H-Clinton in World Affairs but since it began mingling in tempting hegemony (the First World War 2 terrible treaties of Versailles and saint Germain or even perhaps as far back when it established its Monroe doctrine) and not carefully respecting its original desire not to take part in wars abroad . Hegemony is always tantalizing and tempting and, hypocritically, Canada has surfed on the Greatness of 3 recent empires it associated itself with as a colony: France’s hegemony (till 1760), Great Britain’s hegemony (till 1940) then the USA’s apparent hegemony (till February 2022 shortly after Monsieur Biden’s strange overnight triumph despite Ben Shreckinger’s prudent but incisive recent book on this appalling powerful triumphant influential “family”).

        I hope some students have benefitted of your excellent mind and analysis over the course of your career about which I know little but that I can wholeheartedly appreciate here, with irony and laughter and this je ne sais quoi of yours!

  4. Having previously read and digested both the Bessner and Bacevich articles mentioned, I am delighted to see Patrick’s reflections. Spot on in my opinion. And I like that Bacevich added to Bessner’s take and Patrick adds yet another layer of thoughtful reflection. Such is civil discourse as it should be.

    As to the Lavrov POLO we have experienced, Patrick is certainly right about the need of knowing how to listen to the mainstream press. I’m just an unremarkable retired man who could easily enough reconcile Lavrov’s change in geography comments while the brilliant ivy league graduates that dominate MSM, the administration and the halls of congress pretend not to know (as Patrick puts it) cause, responsibility and effect. Indeed not too complicated. Of course, anything that complicates “the narrative” is too complicated. We must trust the decades of lies about our greatness. Hubris abounds.

  5. I agree that few Americans have a deep knowledge of the History of Ukraine. But why would they? They are busy with the important things in their lives, family, work, community. I disagree that a discerning person with a little effort can’t get a balanced picture of what’s going on but you won’t get that balance from this author.

    He raises a handful of what he claims are MSM lies. Let’s take a look.

    Are the Cuban people unhappy. I don’t know but I think that their everyday lives are happy enough. I think they would be happier if they could have democratically elected their government over the last 70 years but that’s primarily America’s fault.

    The Human Development Index, measuring a broad array of factors used by the U.N. to rank general human development and quality of life ranks Cuba at 70, in the top half of nations. The U.S. is 17, Russia 52 and Ukraine 74.

    The author, disingenuously I suggest, refers to the Kremlin as an abstact decision maker in Russia, as if there is an active Politburo. Vladimir runs the show and we all know that.

    Just as you could read Mein Kampf in the 1930’s to have known Hitler’s intent, you can read PUTIN’s exstensive writings and speeches to know his.

    It is to reassemble the greater Russia and Ukraine is at the heart of that goal. Why do you think he first attacked from the north west and tried to March on Kiev? He wanted the whole of Ukraine. Does he want the Stan’s back? Probably not.

    This article is another one of the author’s NATO made me do it apologias. Please provide some evidence that NATO was planning to invade Russia.

    It is ludicrous for the author to suggest that now, because Ukraine has the HIMARS system, which is accurate up to 200 miles, that it has forced Russia to conquer 200 more miles to keep itself safe from the HIMARS system.

    HIMARS was not in Ukraine until after Russia invaded!

    Are there Nazis in Ukraine? Sure. more than there are in the U.S. Don’t know. But I did not hear Ukraine ask for Russia’s help to get rid of Nazis.

    Is it a lie that China is aggressive in East Asia as the author states? I don’t know, you might want to ask Hing Kong and Taiwan.

    Sometimes things aren’t all that complicated. Putin wants Ukraine to be part of his Russia. He took Crimea. Now he wants the rest.

    Nazis, HIMARS, NATO expansion……all a sideshow to the aim event.

    1. You write a lot. Unfortunately much of it is wrong. Who told you that Russia wants to conquer all of Ukraine? Did Mr. Putin tell you? If you heard him speak his forces are doing just what he designed them to do. The action toward Kiev was a feint to hold down Ukrainian troops in that area. The attack from the north was a classic encirclement move. Time may prove me wrong but Kiev hasn’t been seriously attacked. If 60,000 Ukrainian troops didn’t threaten the Russian speakers in the Donbass, Russia would not have attacked. It was only after that fact that Russia massed its troops on the border. The Russians feel threatened by NATO on its border because they said so. Perhaps you’re not old enough to remember the Cuban missile crises. The U.S. felt threatened by Russian missiles in Cuba and almost started a world-wide conflagration because of it. How is this different from the present situation?

      1. I remember the Cuban missle crisis very well. It is a good example to think about. Of course the big difference is that we did not invade Cuba and we had not annexed a significant part of it in 1953.

        Can you cite me to any military expert who believes that the attack on Kyev was a feint. If it was it was a disasterous one.

        If you want to know Putin’s intentions for Ukraine you can read his 7,000 word essay in 2001 or his recent comments on June 9th upon the 350th birthday of Peter the Great. He wants all of Ukraine.

        Think about it for a moment, at Putin’s age do you really think he would risk worldwide condemnation and his entire legacy to protect some Russian language speakers in the Donbas, where his little green men have been operating for years.

        No, he wants to go down in history as Vladimir the Great who returned Russia to its Greatness.

        I don’t think Putin feels frightened by NATO or by anything else. If Ukraine had been part of NATO he would not have attacked Ukraine because he is a gambler but not a stupid gambler.

        Chamberlain would have been better off reading Mein Kampf instead of making three pilgrimages to Hitler. We should read Putin and believe what he says. The other downside of Munich is that it sank the impending coup against Hitler by his generals because the peace in our time agreement took the wind out of their sails.

    2. Rubbish. You really need to find some legitimate news sources WDD. The ones you have relied on have brutally abused your trust.

      1. Wdd.
        With respect, your note is a near-perfect specimen of what I wrote abt in the first item of this commentary. Very little of what you assert has any basis in fact, and much basis in what we read in our major dailies–a different thing.
        “We all know that.” At this point I find this phrase frightening. We do not all know that as regards the Kremlin. Many of us think we know that, a few of us know we do not know that. and a few of us know we do not know that because it is simply untrue–a comic book rendering of the complexities of Russian politics. But you can read all abt it in the major dailies.
        We all knew there was a surfeit of evidence indicating Russian involvement in the 2016 mail theft and Russiagate altogether. Except no one ever saw any–which I assert with confidence because there is none to see, and I invite you to counter me on this point. Let us not count the assertions of unnamed intel agents as evidence, please.
        Do take care with your reading habits, WDD.
        P.L.

      2. If you haven’t seen any proof on Russiagate you could check out the Mueller Report and consider that he has obtained indictments against two dozen Russian nationals and three Russian business entities.

        I suppose you could respond by saying an indictment is as good as a ham sandwich or the conclusion of all of our intelligence agencies is flawed or everyone is making it up or where is this secret evidence. To me that like drawing to an inside straight to take a position that it is all fake because you yourself have not actually seen the evidence.

        As for the Kremlin v. Putin, if you could point me to any member of the Russian ministry, parliament or judiciary that is in anyway a countervailing weight to Putin, I will check it out.

        It easy to say that I am all wrong and that I need to improve my reading habits, of which you know nothing, but you haven’t produced anything to prove I am wrong.

    3. Of all the items listed the most transparently wrong is … the claim that this article is “another one of the author’s NATO made me do it apologias. Please provide some evidence that NATO was planning to invade Russia.” There is nothing in the article that claims that NATO was planning to invade Russia. The US and NATO were, obviously, attempting to surround Russia with anti-Russian neighbors with an aim toward making Russia irrelevant. Not the same thing as invading…

  6. Can we not get together and produce a Website which chooses the top one or two stories of the day and give us “an account of what happened”? And then publicize the site widely?

    1. Micahel.
      Now that you mention it, I’m personally for prevailing on Mr. Scheer to bring back the estimable and memorable Ramparts. All the responsible independent voices in one handsome journal.

  7. Pssst, neighbors! Scan the headlines of WSJ and the Times, read in entirety anything that interests you. But certainly read Robert Herzstein’s biography of Henry Luce, Gerard Colby’s work on the Rockefeller’s or the DuPont’s in South America & pretty much everywhere, or anything by C. Wright Mills. Read Chomsky, or James Baldwin. Read the history of big oil and gas – that one is critical and a minefield of inane propaganda. Read the history of Russia, the rest of Eastern Europe, Japan, wherever your questions take you. Trust your common sense and experience. “…history is the shank of any social study; we must study it if only to rid ourselves of it” -C. Wright Mills

  8. What the NYT did with the Lavrov material is exactly what they did in burying Aaron Mate’s work on the Syrian chemical attack whistleblower’s material.

    To simply acknowledge the existence of either exposes the core lies that form the foundations of things too powerful to scrutinize.

  9. Just read Bessner’s piece. He frames the question of “What’s Next” incredibly narrowly, to just 2 camps: Liberal Interventionists and Restrainers.

    Both continue US empire.

    The noxious myth of Empire must be abandoned and the actual Empire dismantled.

    On the domestic economic front, we need a strategy of planned “de-growth”.

    It’s either that or collapse – ecological and economic and social.

  10. Very few have the ability to watch the mind poison without being negatively effected by it.

    For most it is best to avoid it altogether.

    Reach out into the world and you will find the truth. It’s out there, a new brand of citizen journalism that is quickly becoming the new fourth estate.

  11. Another top notch entry from Mr. Lawrence, though I may be biased to his opinions and style. Is the author no longer being published on Consortium News?

    1. Yes, he’s still contributing to CN. Bob Scheer had Patrick on his podcast recently (worth a listen) and offered then to support Patrick’s work.

  12. The one factor present in every war in history has been interest (or power). There’s no exception. People unite with those who do not share their values against those who do: this is because of power. But power is an illusion. Every empire has eventually faced the war it was trying to avoid – its own destruction. Everybody wants to avoid nuclear war. Yet that is the precipice we are standing, but cannot see the abyss below.
    https://patternofhistory.wordpress.com/

  13. I thought, on 9/11, and throughout the aftermath that we were all missing the point – the point being to provoke a hysterical reaction in the US that undermined everything. I thought that collectively we misunderstood the long game employed by older civilizations and that before acting our leaders should read something about Arabic philosophy – at least Idries Shah!

    The event popped the very fragile balloon on which we based our self confidence – raw power – though we continue to behave as if accumulating power and wealth is the only goal and motivator.

    I agree with you!

  14. “A Russian operative who worked on behalf of one of the Kremlin’s main intelligence services has been charged with recruiting political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda, including during the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the Justice Department said Friday.

    Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov is accused of using groups in Florida, Georgia and California to spread pro-Kremlin talking points, with prosecutors accusing him of funding trips to Russia and paying for travel for conferences.”

    “According to the justice department, Ionov was acting on behalf of the FSB Russian intelligence agency when he financially supported the groups at the center of the case, none of which are explicitly named in the indictment. He allegedly ordered them to publish pro-Russian lies and coordinated actions by them intended to further Russian interests.

    The department also claimed Ionov influenced a US political group in Florida under his control to interfere in local elections, supporting the St Petersburg, Florida, political campaigns of two people in 2017 and 2019. It listed the group and individuals as “unindicted co-conspirators” but did not name them.”

  15. WDD. It is useless to respond to you as you are dodging the questions, changing subjects, violate rules of debate by assuming facts not in evidence, peddle western propaganda bandwagon and all in all you simply want to stifle debate while you contribute nothing at all by regurgitating retarded fallacies straight from pages of Ukrainian propaganda that predicted by March 2022 Putin dead and general mobilization in Russia as all 200,000 of intervention forces were to be dead be then. Putin is alive, thre was no Russian mobilization and what we have is 1000+ dead and wounded Ukrainian soldiers according to Zelensky’s advisors.

    It is very entertaining but meaningless when you play Putin’s amateur psychologist with your ridiculous assertions of his supposed long term intentions you have no idea whatsoever.

    In fact if you really read Putin your would know that he is a globalist to the core, but you are too clueless to comprehend what it means in geopolitical context.

    If Putin had imperial goals they’re are the same globalist imperial goals of US that recently does not conquer anything by force but want to subjugate countries politically and financially by forcing them to join US economic and financial sphere US controls and dictates.

    Conquest of the world via war was so XX century now out of fashion too expensive, too messy.

    Putin threatened with consequences Ukraine not to arm themselves with western weapons, warned US and now fights the war on his border for national security reasons preventing Ukraine from joining unfriendly military alliance.

    The US did the same by threatening to invade Cuba only because of her aspirations to join unfriendly military alliance with Soviet Union near American borders.

    Soviets backed off in 1961 and US invasion of Cuba was prevented. In contrast US did not backed down in 2022 and hence provoked this war.

    Wake up, imperial ambitions of US, UK, France, China or Russia are to expand economically across entire planet occupying no land but certain economic niches and friendly governments to support them. It is called exporting investment capital worldwide. Russia is no different.

    But hard analytical logic based on fundamental interests of ruling elites simply escapes your intellectual capability or you are simply lying to yourself.

    I bet you pretend to believe utter nonsense that Russians recently killed their own Azov prisoners themselves by shelling them despite the fact that extremely supportive Pentagon refused to confirm Zelensky’s lies this time as well as refused to confirm his lies about Bucha, Kramatorsk and mass rapes of Ukrainian children. In fact pendant state that they sen no evidences that Russian commits any war crimes in Ukraine.

    You are either gullible, naive or hypocrite who pretends to believe in US propaganda only when convenient while peddling Zelensky nonsense and lies told to get more US taxpayers money to steal.

    You implied that there is no military intelligence expert with combat experience who thinks that early move of RF army toward Kiev was military deception in order to bind 180,000 defenders of Kiev by 60,000 Russian forces so offensive in the Kherson area could succeed as it did.

    The truth is that they are many such experts . The most well known is Scott Ritter who in first weeks characterized Russian move on Kiev as brilliant, for the books of military strategy.

    As he knew what he was talking about. He himself as intelligence officer contributed to brilliant deception executed by US forces in southern Iraq in 1991 where US pretended to attack Kuwait from Saudi Arabia and by that binding largest Iraqi army group while actually attacking South Iraq to cut off Iraq military supplies and encircle Iraqis in Kuwait to defeat them and then withdraw as US did.

    Binding enemy forces via military deception is bread and butter of military strategists. But you wouldn’t know about that.

    US withdrew from Iraq after accomplishing goals namely liberating Kuwait as they at that time never planned to go to Bagdad even if they easily could occupy it in 1991.

    So Russia would have taken over Kiev if that was their objective but it wasn’t and hence after taking over Ukraine south they withdrew. The Mission was accomplished forces withdrew.

    My friend please for sake readers here you either move to NYT to comment where you will more likely be praised and your nonsense unchallenged or stop pushing nonsense on one of most INFORMED and sophisticated audience at SP. Nobody here can be easily fooled.

  16. So, don’t blame Donald or China’s rise. ‘Toynbee, civilization decline is the result of spiritual collapses…..’
    Patrick L. marks Sept. 11th as the point of true ending of the fabulous American century.

    Well, maybe. In the days of
    9-11-2001 there were no :
    QAnon, Stolen Election, rigged voting machines, Capitol Hill riots, alternate facts, mass shootings, school shootings, resistance to vaccines, improper Supreme Court.

    It sure seems now adays there are more Toynbee-type spiritual collapses than in 2001.

    It sure looks like we have more gun killings since then, and we lie about it to ourselves – – – only a Good guy can stop a Bad guy, but the good guy is always too late like in Uvalde where 40 police wait for about 1 hour.
    Our MS media, politicians, and Pentagon propaganda is on trend again to spend billions, maybe trillions, for another war but as China as the ultimate victim. But first, the defeat of Russia, then buy, bribed and payoff collaborators to be pro American.
    China then would be totally surrounded.
    Our Behavior does not change, we will have more and more of the same.

  17. Outstanding work Patrick thank you for this, despite those skeptical of your work, as you suggest they have swallowed the propaganda show without any serious critical thinking. All wars are a result of laziness and the unwillingness to do the hard work of serious diplomacy. NATO’s expansion eastward a case in point to enrich the arms industry and the military industrial complex that now assures our doom even more than the climate emergency. Less than 10 years before the collapse of the ecosystem but I am betting on militarism beating us to the punch. The ineptness of western leadership has never been more glaring!

    1. “All wars are the result of laziness and the unwillingness to do the hard work of serious diplomacy,” you say.

      Maybe some war, maybe even a few, but all?

      What diplomacy would have prevented both World Wars? How about Korea?

      Ho ChI Minh tried diplomacy and the West ignored him, how would diplomacy have worked in that situation.

      Which side was undiplomatic and lazy in the run up to the Civil War? The North or the South.

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