Media Criticism Opinion Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: “The Narrative Is Coming Apart”

Ukrainian modified T-72M1R. Mil.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

“In total, more than a thousand square kilometers of the territory of Ukraine have been liberated since the beginning of September,” Volodymyr Zelensky advised the world in his nightly video recently. The Ukrainian president, in his usual grubby T–shirt as if he had just come in from the front, had a day before told us Ukrainian forces had taken numerous towns and villages in the environs of Kharkiv, a key city in the north. But no, he couldn’t name any of these: “Now is not the time to tell you which ones.”

Various Western media reproduced these assertions as if they were entirely serious. A thousand square kilometers, 386 square miles, in eight days? I can’t tell you where?

For once, Zelensky seems to have spoken truthfully, or truthfully in part. As of this weekend it is clear the Armed Forces of Ukraine have made a substantial advance in the northeast. We now know the names of some of the towns the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has retaken. It is a victory for Kyiv, a defeat for Moscow and Lugansk, one of the two republics known as the Donbas, the other being Donetsk to the south. Russian forces have withdrawn from Izyum, a city commonly described as key since they took it early in the conflict.

What are we looking at—or trying to look at, given Kyiv will not let correspondents anywhere near the area, and given Western reporters don’t go near the front lines even when they are permitted? The AFU’s advance looks on the maps like a bulge deep into Russian-held territory.

By all appearances we witness the great counteroffensive Kyiv has been promising for some months. Wait, you say: The counteroffensive was launched in the south a couple of weeks ago with the immediate objective of retaking the city of Kherson. Kherson was supposed to be but a stop on the AFU’s drive to retake all of the south on its way to Crimea.

Go ahead and say it: That was indeed the advertised counteroffensive. But the counteroffensive Kyiv told us about sent Ukrainian forces across broad open steppes where they had no cover. By all reports other than those of the professional cheerleaders filing to the major Western dailies, dug-in Russian troops and artillery mauled them. With little to show other than very heavy losses, the Kyiv regime folded its tent in the south. No more Kherson counteroffensive.

Now the counteroffensive is on in the northeast. I find Zelensky’s claim to have retaken a thousand square kilometers implausible—this equates to a pretty good whack of Connecticut—but the AFU’s advance, however much ground they have covered, has been swift. There appear to be reasons for this.

Chief among these, Russia seems to have made a radical miscalculation—either this or it never considered the territory at issue as important as was supposed. In any case, there appear to have been no regular Russian army units in the territory the AFU has taken. Russia left its defense to militias of the Lugansk republic. These are a mixed bag: Most of the troops the AFU has pushed back were reservists not trained to endure an offensive mounted by numerous Ukrainian brigades. There has been very little fighting in the course of the AFU’s advance, it is worth noting. 

In other words, the AFU found a weak spot in the Russian front and went for it.

Are we to celebrate this as some kind of apocalyptic victory—not a decisive defeat for the Russians, but the decisive defeat, a radical shift in the fortunes of war?

 No, thanks. The implications of this turn—psychological, political, and so on—are yet to be determined. But the long arc of this conflict has not changed. Russian forces still retain overwhelming superiority—ground, air, artillery, matériel, supply.  The AFU’s losses have been heavy by Kyiv’s admission. Ukraine is still a corrupt basket-case economy with unstable institutions. These are “facts on the ground.” 

But never mind that. The new drift among Western officials and media is that Ukraine’s march to victory has begun. I am impressed by the coordination of this spin campaign, even if it is transparently spin, but this is what an information monoculture is for, after all.  

The same day Zelensky told us about the thousand kilometers—same damn day—CIA Director William Burns reckoned that it is “hard to see Putin’s record in the war as anything but a failure.” Our chief spook continued, “Not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed, but there is going to be long-term damage done to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians.”

The same day as Burns spoke and the same day Zelensky spoke, Ben Hodges, a retired general who once commanded U.S. forces in Europe, gave Newsweek his opinion of the AFU: “They’ve set the conditions where they can restore full sovereignty, to include Crimea, I think, within the next year.”   

Golly, do I have this one upside down. I thought the Russian army was proceeding slowly and methodically to keep down casualties—its own and civilian—while grinding down Ukrainian forces to talcum powder. Remember: Ukrainians are fighting for land; the Russians aren’t. Moscow’s objective is to demilitarize Ukraine, as it has often stated, and time is on the Russians’ side. “No hurry,” as President Putin said a few months ago.

 Zelensky, official Washington, and the mainstream media seem determined to carry on in this fashion, facts on the ground notwithstanding. I continue to wonder what the plan is when said facts can no longer be obscured, when cheerleading no longer does it, when it proves no longer enough simply to repeat falsified accounts and judgments as if by dint of repetition they will come true. 

When everything fell to bits in the case of Russiagate, all those unnamed intelligence sources who had plenty to say for years disappeared back into the shadows and the traditional press slithered silently out the side door. As Dean Baquet, the now-retired executive editor at The New York Times, said at the time, We covered that. It’s not a story anymore. 

I don’t see that it will be so easy this time. It is one thing to hack around with an extravagant conspiracy theory such as Russiagate, the mother of them all, and quite another to make things up about a war.

Independent media—“There he goes again!”—have made accurate accounts of the Ukraine conflict available to those paying attention and within the limits of their resources. The question is when sound reporting and analysis will break through the placid, everything-is-all-right surface of the mainstream press and broadcasters. We are beginning to see this now—tears in the tissue of lies, if you will forgive the mixed metaphor.  This marks a significant turn, in my read.

“Yes, that is my judgment. I do believe the narrative is coming apart—slowly but surely in the United States, but much faster in Europe.”  That is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago named Ramzy Mardini, who has had the good fortune to study under the estimable John Mearsheimer, that troublemaking presence in the “realist” school of American foreign policy scholars and analysts. Mardini sent along a lengthy piece he published in the Aug. 12, 2022, edition of The National Interest, and I quote from an email exchange I initiated on reading it. 

“I do see many in the United States are beginning to question U.S. foreign policy toward the crisis and its participation in a proxy war,” Mardini’s note continues. “I also see more and more speaking out, which was most certainly not the case back in March, when I felt like I was alone. 

“The essay in The National Interest is 10,000 words and is a comprehensive critique of the narrative. I make the case that without challenging this narrative, a pivot to diplomacy is not possible. It is the narrative that is obstructing the West re-evaluating toward Ukraine.”

Ten thou is a lot of words for a journal such as The National Interest to devote to a topic with the headline, “Course Correcting Toward Diplomacy in 0the Ukraine Crisis.” The subhead is even pithier: “Washington must come to terms with its role in provoking and now prolonging the war.”

I thought Ph.D. students were supposed to trade in language so dense you can’t find your way to the far end of a sentence. Not Herr Doktor-in-Waiting Mardini. He starts out calling President Biden’s familiar rhetoric—“Whatever it takes so Russia cannot in fact defeat Ukraine and move beyond Ukraine”—evidence of an “escalatory” position. Then Mardini gets down to real business:

“… These purported assertions are erroneous. And yet they’re propagated, repeatedly, within the Western discourse over the war. The purpose of the narrative they conjure up is straightforward. The distortion and inflation of the threat serve to compel and enable Western governments to pursue—and maintain—hardline policies to deny Russia a victory in Ukraine.

“Early on, with bias run amok in the West, the media’s glaring and lopsided access into the conflict had also undercut its legibility of what was happening on the ground. By default, it over-relied on information furnished by one side of the war’s ledger. This empowered Washington (and also Kyiv) with nearly unfettered access to shape the interpretation of the war and its events to Western audiences without facing much, if any, scrutiny.

“In effect, the American public has been bamboozled into supporting a costly and risky proxy war against Russia. Then, it was actively led to believe that Ukraine was winning the fight, despite later reports that the U.S. intelligence community has lacked an accurate portrayal of the war on the ground from its very onset.”

Testify, Ramzy. Tell it like it is.

It is a lengthy read but a breath of air amid the smog.   

Mardini covers, among much else, the running theme that American intelligence got it right before the Russian intervention—“misleading”—and the media’s version of Moscow’s objectives: “Contrary to the media’s popular depiction, the war isn’t, and never was, about conquering Ukraine.” As to the Kyiv regime’s direct culpability: “Unbeknownst to the West, it was Zelenskyy’s government that made the first provocative move that incited the initial deployment of Russian troops on the border in February 2021, a year before the invasion.”

I don’t know about Mardini’s “unbeknownst.” So far as I can make out Zelensky doesn’t put on yesterday’s T–shirt in the morning without checking with the Biden people back in Washington. (Memo to the White House: Get this guy some new T–shirts next time you pledge more billions. My sources tell me the procurement people at the Pentagon can ship some for as little as $4,000 or $5,000 each.)

I could not be more pleased to see Mardini’s exegesis of this “bamboozle” in a mainstream publication. I count this a significant sign of what is going on beneath that placid surface I just mentioned and of things to come in acceptable public discourse. While I am wary of exaggeration, this could be the start of something big.   

Interesting that Mardini published in The National Interest, the realist’s house journal, which counts among its adversaries “liberal hawks and neoconservatives” who “disparage realism as a moribund doctrine wholly inimical to American idealism.” The current edition features none other than Henry K. on its cover.

It has been many years since I have seen any point in traditional distinctions between “left” and “right” in American politics. Nothing remains of the former, and you can’t talk about “the right” if everyone resides at that end of the garden. 

In this connection, Mardini shopped versions of his essay for months before The National Interest took it, and I am given to understand that numerous publications commonly understood to be “left” or “left liberal” were among those who declined it. 

Go figure. Ever since the Russiagate fiasco I’ve often felt as if I have a case of nitrogen sickness: What is up, what down? Where am I? What are the warmongers and Russophobes doing on what used to be the left, and why are the peaceniks often on what used to be the right?

Maybe there was something to Deng Xiaoping’s famous mot: It doesn’t matter whether the cat’s black or white so long as it catches mice. 

“The Western media’s coverage of the war in Ukraine has been heavily influenced by two sources of bias—one of structure and the other of disposition,” Mardini writes in a later note. “By structure, I mean the composition of access. The media establishment in the West does not have access to the opposing side of the war’s ledger…. The dependency between state and media was nearly absolute….

“By disposition, I mean how favoritism shapes how the news is covered. The media establishment in the West willingly avoids applying the same level of scrutiny of the information that is propagated by one side in the war as opposed to the other…. Those that have reasonable yet alternative arguments that challenge the existing narrative are not engaged with by journalists. Nobody calls them up for their comment or expertise in a story. I haven’t seen their columns accepted in the mainstream….”

Succinct, Doctor-to-be. It is just as you say. There are among Americans the “Sayable” and the “Great Unsayable.” And you may have just moved the needle. 

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.

43 comments

  1. “You’re throwing a billion-ruble party,” one pro-Russian blogger wrote in a widely circulated post on Saturday, referring to the Putin-led celebrations in Moscow commemorating the 875th anniversary of the city’s founding. “What is wrong with you? Not at the time of such a horrible failure.”
    how about them apples, pat?

  2. Thank you! Under today’s circumstances, daring to question the “official narrative” and to be heard, is no easy task. But the fact is that we see our government following the same familiar course, with media writing and reinforcing the same old story lines and phrases, that we’ve seen before. And in the case of Ukraine and Russia, anyone familiar with the history and politics of the region (and indeed, with the most basic facts about the current conflict) can see why the propaganda simply makes no sense.

  3. While the press is giddy with Zelensky having Putin on the run, I couldn’t help but notice that even MSM uses the word “settlements” in terms of territory “retaken.” (And as noted, reporting on the great southern surge ignored.) Svatove (pop. ~16,000) seems to be the AFU’s number one blow to the Russian military. Given my review of the map of Ukraine, it looks to me like I could go block a highway or two in West Texas and claim to control several thousand square miles.

    PL–keeping it real. Thanks for the update and introducing Mardini.

  4. Russia just turned the lights out in Ukraine. From initial reports it sounds like all of Ukraine. Also reports of the water cut off too.

    Russian social media is joking that the Ukrainians are shelling their own power stations…making reference to the absurd claims that Russia had been shelling its own Nuclear Power Plant.

    Russia has been playing nice up to this point despite the absolutely psychotic and depraved behavior of the Ukrainian government.

    It looks like that stops now.

    Your reap what you sow. Now with winter fast approaching, it looks like Ukraine has just entered the dark ages.

    Congratulations Ukraine.

    1. Good observation! Zelensky has been attacking Ukrainian infrastructure– including electricity and water since 2014 in Eastern Ukraine and recent hit electricity across the Russian border. The UkroNAZIs know their “atrocities” are always forgiven and further provoke the Russians, as seems Biden’s approach since 2014 as VP. For sure this will result in more Ukrainian deaths, as a high percentage of Russians are now clamoring for the “gloves to come off”. The question is: will Putin continue to focus on UkroNAZIs in Donbas (with the arrival of 10s of thousands of fresh unfortified UAF troops) or will he expand the SMO into a WAR hitting Kiev and Lviv, and knocking out WESTERN Ukraine infrastructure, which Putin has avoided so far; pressure (by both sides) is for the latter.

      I disagree with PL’s packaging of Russiagate and the Ukrainian conflict. Since long before the Maidan Coup in 2014 Ukraine has been a US puppet state, and VP Biden encouraged/ordered(?) the shelling of the Breakaway Republics (analogous to Kosovo from Serbia) for eight years as provocation. Russiagate is an important part of the Ukrainian crisis, and won’t go away. Trump’s first failed Impeachment was not an isolated political attack on the corrupt Bidens, it was a shot across the bow not to mess with the Establishment military adventurism in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Black Ledger, fake like the Steele Dossier, failed to knock off Trump, but did get rid of Manafort (Trump like Obama, was not committed to Biden’s Dream, of a Ukrainian offensive against Russia).
      The biggest problem for the US is the huge shift from the money-laundering playground of the MidEast, to super corrupt Ukraine (and Eastern Europe generally).
      The State Dept/ CIA and State Media have far too many officials whose familes “escaped” the Soviet Union (often with lots of money!) and want to settle scores for their losses collaborating with NAZI Germany– just read Nuland’s and the Kagan’s family histories and those of Max Boot, Christina Freeland, Michael Smerconish, the Vindmans, Marie Yovanovitch, Dennis Alperovitch, Bill Browder, and on and on. These people are passionate about the US and “the last Ukrainian” settling their family grudges– not unlike all those Cubans who fled to Miami and pushed for the overthrow/ assassination of Castro by Americans. At least the Establishment THEN had the good sense to keep themselves separated from THAT lunatic fringe– though they courted their votes– the anti-Russian, anti-Chinese lunatic fringe today IS the Establishment.

  5. Once again Patrick you hit it out of the park! Though how will the western media now that their narrative is unravelling try to spin this to cover their laziness and dishonesty. Where are the real war correspondents like Chris Hedges who actually went into a war zone with courage and guts to get some semblance of the truth of what was going on, they seem non-existent today. I cannot even watch western news reports as they profess certainty about military affairs without any real facts at their disposal. Scott Ritter seems the only one with a critical lens willing to also say he doesn’t know when he is unsure.

    One wonders if Biden, Trudeau, Johnson/Truss and Zelensky et al will be held accountable for this debacle or will like Afghanistan the western media idolize these leaders along with the military incompetents who waged 20 years of war that left a failed state and now continue to starve a suffering people. How about some war crimes trials for these deplorable human beings.

    1. Hedges writes here and has criticized the war repeatedly. He also has his own substack account. Of course, he and all critics are blacked out of US media coverage.

  6. We in US already learned that the narrative of Empire is created then marshaled into existence through policy. Immediate health of society is limited to upsides of policy for certain interests. Since 2001 there’s no connection between news as narrative and what’s going on. In a strange inversion of knowledge, radical intelligence technology lets us see more of nothing as information is so contextual and so controlled that unnecessary facts aren’t permitted to exist in public, not because they’re censored, but because they’re filtered out by the sources. Those with the capacity to assess matters on the ground contrary to the narrative aren’t permitted into positions of oversight. This was boldly stated as a theorem termed “Reality Based Community” which is attributed to Ron Suskind dishing Karl Rove, during war on Iraq, but my recollection from the time is this was said by Don Rumsfeld: “people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ […] ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    The recent advance of Ukraine into contested territory in the East looks like precisely what you might expect when US satellite surveillance is used to locate a logistical weakness then troops are directed to “rout” the area and claim victory. The strategic gain of favorable press is worth maybe more than the terrain because the measure of success is not the turf but the ideological map which keeps the public on board with policy. Ultimately, all war is for mind share.

    But the turf is still there. People live on it. It matters. It just matters to policy-makers in a very different and detached way than the people who live there.

    We are invited to think that policy-makers understand the people who live there as their constituents, but we in USA have seen forever the enormous and ever widening gap between what people of a region think and what policy-makers decide for them. One of the wonders of the West is the maintenance of pathological cognitive dissonance, where the disenfranchised are distracted from any position of caring that there’s an underlying reality, forgoing any study of what’s been done, merely told what reality is.

    1. Fortunately, there are always some brave souls who ‘leak’ or report the reality, the truth of what is actually happening. I recall the “Teach-Ins” in 1965 about the Vietnam War that primed me to suspect any news from government. Right in 2014, why the press was crowing about a “glorious revolution” in Maidan, I discovered the Nazi roots of its success and both CIA and NED preparation. From a friend living in Donetsk, I discovered the perfidious attacks on civilians by Ukrainians. News actually reported the Odesa Massacre of 2014.
      Somehow, reality still has a way of rising to the surface for the intellectually wary to skim it and use it.

  7. The core of western narrative was a lie that on battlefields small weak Ukraine was facing all dominating military behemoth. The fact is that Ukraine started this war with 260,000 army of highly trained by NATO advisers and another 300,000+ reserve called by March and April as well as additional 350,000+ support troops in six waves of general mobilization. Russian troops initially consisted of 190,000 men and LDPR militia of 40,000+ men. Russia had neither reservist nor general mobilization at all. Now Russians have less troops in Ukraine.

    That gave Ukrainian force three to one advantage and with initially 2,500 tanks and APCs and over 350 aircraft constituted formidable force able to challenge Russian armed forces from the start and in fact prevent any significant incursions of Russian forces (in fact they did not even attempt to do that).

    Russian military capabilities in Ukraine may only be described as narrowly operational and interventionist meaning able to temporarily take and hold territory for purposes of conducting assigned operations/tasks and then move toward new operational tasks.

    Many compared Russian intervention in Ukraine to mass police operation to root gang infested neighborhoods only to leave communities after task was accomplished. Russians called it Demilitarization and Denazification.

    As in any war those tasks changed as Kiev regime run by Washington puppet masters in March refused political settlement of the issues and Donbas and Crimea security and economic development.

    Hence Russians were forced to unilaterally assure such economic security via plans to annex Kherson and Zaporoze areas critical for Crimea water and electrical power security. That caused panic.

    Ukrainian late August’s counteroffensive in Kherson area with 35,000 AFU force advertised as first step to taking over Crimea was soundly defeated as it was vital for Russians to hold that territory.

    That move of holding forces in the south created situation that to accomplish tasks of securing south Ukraine contingent of Russian forces was largely insufficient to simultaneously take on sophisticated multiple Ukrainian defense lines in Donbas consisting of miles of underground fortifications, concrete bunkers and tunnels with food, ammo and fuel depots build for eight years. Some compared those Kiev regime Donbas fortifications to German WWII Siegfried line.

    As a result many military contact areas such as Izyum area were only covered by Russian militarized police units control and token LDPR force while Russians over past months slowly withdrew their forces and moved them to Donbas.

    Recent events of so called ad hoc Izyum “counteroffensive” likely based on US intelligence was purely propagandistic and opportunistic to take areas effectively undefended or abandoned and in fact none of the villages or cities were taken by small dispersed AFU units resulted from direct combat and breaking Russians of LPR defense lines.

    The element of confusion came from fact that Russians did not make the same mistake as in Kiev area and evacuated everyone who wanted to liberated areas or to Russia in fear of likely persecution of local population for cooperation with Russian forces.

    It is critical to understand that facing real frontlines of financial and economic war declared by the west against Russia Putin insists to conduct Ukraine SMO on cheap as it does not affect overall Russian economy already under unprecedented attack.

    That is why there was no mobilization in Russia and the war is being fought by Russian contract soldiers, Wagner mercenaries and volunteer and drafted LDPR militia facing overwhelming number of Ukrainian forces.

    Such Putin strategy of “hit run and move” obviously is vulnerable to propaganda hits in the west serving further western militarism and NATO upgrade and rearmament.

    However both sides including Russia are doing that under pretext of Ukrainian war. As both consider it as a prelude to future direct East west confrontation of reconciliation under multipolar globalist flag as Russia, China and India advocate would prove impossible.

  8. This is funny shit. About that black or white cat and your case of not knowing which side is up, here is the thing: we have been fed so much bullshit for so long that it doesn’t matter if the person who exposes it is a reactionary pig like Trump or a communist like Slavov Zizek we won’t let our values get in the way of loving it.

    I for one cheered when Trump said the system was rigged because like you say it showed the narrative was coming apart at the seams.

    Conversely, the media coverage of Ukraine’s supposed rout was annoying because of the failure to break this fishy narrative.

    But as for Zelenky’s T-shirt I have to say I like it!

    Shirt and tie in this case would be very bad taste.

    What I don’t like is hoping that Ukraine is losing just to prove that the narrative is coming apart.

    Do you know what mean Patrick?

  9. full declaration of war by Russia soon. nazi ukraine will cease to exist—-already Kharkov infrastructure electricity degraded…..the American swamp must be drained

  10. “golly” what a stupid self-involved rant

    i find it less funny than ridiculous that you fail to do so -> post names and links to the “Independent media” sources you refer to – seriously, wtf

    https://www.severreal.org/a/obvinivshih-putina-v-gosizmene-deputatov-osudyat-za-diskreditatsiyu-armii/32025478.html

    https://molomonosovskiy.ru/news/2022/09/09/3209/

    https://www.rferl.org/Ukraine

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/9/11/2122189/-Ukraine-Update-Massive-Ukrainian-victory-Russia-leaving-all-of-Kharkiv-oblast

  11. A bit worried for Ramzy Mardini if he’s just a PH candidate in that part of the world (U of Chicago, or was it Northwestern…etc…I recall Norman Finkelstein losing his bid for tenure for not holding the “narrative” in a film American Radical…where a powerful lawyer ruined his career of unorthodox views). He’s courageous this Phd candidate, but to the price perhaps of his degree being conferred, unless he has a real professor with integrity…even there or here now an oxymoron or some academic abnormality.

    Maybe to your interest: to this day, in my humble opinion, Mathieu Moreau from Stratpol on Odyssée not you tube-of course, is the best source of analysis of the war situation…as it must be very hard to get the real picture in the censured USA…but Moreau details it in French. We will know more -within 5 days perhaps- how far the Ukrainians with no air cover and no artillery support have gone (more than 65 km from the based artillery) having made an apparent incursion or incartade into these farmland with no trees…and how many of them have been or will be out of combat (massacre in the waiting) for the sake of an apparent vast offensive-counter-to-logic mostly as it proves only the opposite reality: so 3000 square kilometres that is how much land had been lost up there? If so, that’s a local bit of how much can be “regained”… Therefore not much of an Ukrainian victory or resistance…You are courageous to announce the end of the poundering to the gullible of the narrative… Unfortunately it is all we get in Canada and to our displeasure, in what should be neutral events, yesterday, at the US Open, the tailored “director of tennis n the USA” even made a great Hourah speech at the ceremony where a nineteen year old Spanish star and a 23 year old sportsman from Norway stood silent in live “custody” as enduring audience (as most of the disdainful crowd). There is no kind of decency to abuse sportsmen and great physical accomplishments for lowly politics-again where we proclaim “unprovoked” evil etc.. It’s not a time for tears even for a 96 years-old glittery woman who remained silent while being briefed “weekly-or weakly” by Tony Blair , like it had under Margaret Thatcher, and John Major, and this Johnson-Boris…what a caricature of alleged democracy with regal façades or imperial oligarchical motives. Thank you again Mr Patrick Lawrence.

  12. Both China and Russia need to realize that they are, in fact, at war with the US’ (badly) led West, and have been for some time now.

    Putin failed to realize this fact during the years when he whined and wrote plaintive op-eds about how American is ignoring international “law.”

    Russia, in particular, needs new leadership — not some absurd Gorbachevian twit but a collective leadership with a steel backbone, full national mobilization and war footing. The Russian people must understand that they have only two choices: submission to the West or victory.

    Putin could have done something similar to what China did: encouraged enterprises governed by a powerful state which would keep them from influencing politics, while they got rich creating a vibrant, varied economy that’s not a self-hobbled petro-state. Like China, such a state can discipline these dangerous forces with 7.62×39mm “vitamins.”

    A Communist return to power would be the best option. The Communist party was winning ever more elections until Putin ejected them from the ballot. I have no idea if the Russian Communist party is into the task however: impossible to get a clear idea through the sea of b.s. generated by the US media. The military”s support would be decisive.

    In any Eurasian union (a real one, not Dugin’s ridiculous white Christian neo-fascist absurdity) China will always be the major power.

    1. Baba Yaga: Interesting comments to another fine and may I say “unbiased” and informative article from Mr. Lawrence on the propaganda proponents of big corporate media outlets pertaining to the buffer-zone war in Ukraine.

      About 15 years ago, a fellow truck driver, originally from Poland, but living in Chicago, and I had a brief conversation, after hearing his accent, I was curious about his country of origin. When asked if he ever went back to visit the family, he said he did, two years ago (about 17 years ago, circa 2022) and when I questioned him on the now, non-communist and former USSR state, he said it’s expensive in Poland! I’ll never forget him saying that the old-timers felt more secure under the “old system” then under the capitalist, “every man for himself” concept. He said the younger generation likes the capitalist system, as they think they will be the next Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett. (Jeff Bezos of Amazon wasn’t quite in the picture yet)

      Russian must prevail militarily, or become subservient to Uncle Sam and the infamous “international bankers” with their latent and silent creed of grand theft usury, aka neo-liberalism. Think about the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

      And I laughed at Patrick’s humor about getting Zelensky a new olive drab tee shirt which the Pentagon will ship for just $4,000 – $5,000 apiece. That’s funny and a good addition to the sobering narrative of P.L’s latest.

      To me, the saddest thing in America is the credulity of the average person, who are conned so easily in believing the big lie by the spin masters.

      1. “Russian must prevail militarily, or become subservient to Uncle Sam and the infamous “international bankers” with their latent and silent creed of grand theft usury, aka neo-liberalism. Think about the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

        “International bankers”! “Usury”!
        You might try to keep your anti-semitism a bit more under wraps.

  13. I learned from Alexander of The Duran that the Russian MOD claimed the withdrawal from Izyum was a ‘deception’. The deception included lines of trucks apparently hurrying to protect Izyum, probably filmed on the Moscow rim road. Alexander was not pleased because he had believed that Russia would stand and fight and was disappointed. Me, I thought it was a very good joke. Without risking hardly any manpower, artillery and air cover killed more than 2000 soldiers and destroyed a plethora of equipment. In the end, the Russians are dug in on a river bank and have stopped the incursion.
    The reason for this strategy was suggested by Dima of Military Summary. It appears that the Ukrainians are preparing a third (or is it fourth?) counteroffensive in the southeast. This would threaten both Donetsk city and Mariupol, and would consist of many supposedly NATO trained soldiers and NATO supplied equipment–HIMARS, tanks, etc.
    The Russian General Staff surely knew about this pending attack and thus decided that Izyum had to be abandoned (it has shown to be of little practical advantage), thus the deception to move troops on the sly as a counter-counter offensive. New attacks on power stations can also be explained thusly because with no power, no trains to move force for the counter-offensive.
    We will see, but this analysis makes sense to me. However, it is illustrative how the media has gone crazy with joy over an irrelevant Ukrainian attack while real matters are ignored.

  14. Anyone in these comments who refers to the government of Ukraine as “nazi” or who characterizes the Russian goal in pursuing this war as aiming to effect the “de-nazificaton of Ukraine” is thoroughly out of touch with reality.

    Ukraine is a flawed but largely democratic country defending itself against a brutal autocratic power with regional imperialistic aims.

    Why the love for Putin on this site?

    1. The US press extensively reported that Ukraine had a “Nazi problem” BEFORE the Russia invasion.

      Congress withheld funds on that basis.

      Obama opposed funds to avoid weapons getting into the “wrong hands” (i.e. Nazi militias).

      Why has that story be sent down Orwell’s Memory Hole since then and those who make those claims are now McCarthy-ite smeared as Putin Puppets??

      1. The Obama presidency was a long time ago…. Ukraine has changed…. Perhaps some of your perceptions of it should change too.

        But the question remains— even if there were a substantial nazi presence in Ukraine (which there is not)— what would entitle Russia to invade the country to “solve” it?

        Why is there so much rationalizing on behalf of Putin on this site?

    2. Anti-semitism, you say? And keep it under wraps! I don’t care what ethnic, religious, or racial group controls the money supply, usury is usury, pure and simple.

      And I suppose the Ukrainian Nazis who adore their WW2 hero, Banderas, are fine people, because they are anti-Russian, right? As is the Azov Battalion, with their version of the Waffen SS lightning bolt, which is overlooked by the war-mongering misanthropes of the “West”, both Jew and Gentile alike, but NOT all Jewish people or Gentiles, okay?

      The Russian Federation does not want NATO missiles on their doorsteps. Do you see something wrong with that? Save your “God’s Chosen People” sermon for someone else, or those who haven’t much knowledge of history, if any.

      If Russia is attacked, they’ll retaliate with thermonuclear weapons, which is what we called H-Bombs when I was growing up. Hubris is a negative trait, but military hubris is quite costly, and it scares the heck out of me.

    3. zimmer is pro nazi? there is nothing “democratic” about ukie–land….have you ever lived there? I have

  15. I’m no PhD candidate, but back on April 25, I wrote the following to the editor of a major on line news source:

    On 04/25/2022 4:35 PM Bill WOLFE wrote:

    XXXXX – Biden realized his presidency has failed – for sure by late 2020.

    To deflect from failed presidency, Biden set longstanding US military aid plans in motion

    Biden’s political objectives:

    a) salvage presidency – war presidency

    b) buffer ’22 mid term wipeout in Congress

    c) frame “Putin puppets” for ’24 Trump narrative

    d) consolidate support of deep state and MIC funders – military contractors

    Hillary Clinton got the ball rolling to avoid critical reflection on Dem. policies.

    This appears to be the fruit of her Russia-gate demonization of Putin and Russia.

    The Dems will double down on the Russia-gate framing – it’s all Biden and Dems have.

    They will tag anti-war journalism as “conspiracy theory”.

    They will tag war opponents at “Putin’s puppets”.

    According to Scott Ritter’s military analysis, the facts on the ground soon will no longer support the Biden “Ukraine is winning” narrative.

    At some point, the Biden story will collapse. Regardless, it seems pretty clear that Biden will not let Ukraine cut a deal with the Russians that creates the impression that Russia “won”.

    It will be very interesting to see how the US press corps extricates themselves from this propaganda operation, in light of those facts on the ground.

    While Blinken sees war going until the end of the year, you can be certain that it will not end before the mid-terms no matter what the facts on the ground are.

    Dems likely will continue to stir this pot into the ’24 Presidential cycle.

    W”

  16. //El Salvador was a flawed but largely democratic country defending itself against a brutal autocratic power with regional imperialistic aims. So why all the love for Reagan?//

    The answer is psychpathological projection. Putin is a nostalgic construct of the West, stuck back in time when young white American’s could brag about their conspicuous consumption, dynamic investments, and righteously kicking ass. Those guys are old now, taking stock of the sown seeds on their society, and returning through Russia to a majesty of noble imperial aims. They imagine something like mexicans in Nazi regalia shelling south Texas or Baja, and how America (Russia) has to stand up and dominate. While Zelensky comes off as a toady little pr**** begging for handouts from foreigners when his family is actually Russian.

    Democracy should not be underrated. Too bad we don’t practice more of it in the USA! But this connects to same white USA libertarian (conservatives) projections and self-hatred, because the greatest threat to democracy in the USA—and it’s a very serious threat—are Republicans! And the GOP is the single greatest bunch of bullshit artists in the free world, excepting maybe the British Royal Family.

    *War in El Salvador; The Policies of President Reagan and The Lessons Learned for Today*
    https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/ADA424940

  17. I have a large problem.I do.not.believe anything any representative of the
    US does or says. They.have.been lying for.so long it has become first nature to disemble. That goes for the NY Times,the.Post,MSNBC,CNN and any mainstream media outlet.These liars and thieves have been misleading the.populace since the Mexican War.That goes for Viet Nam,Afganistan and now Ukraine.What fools some people are.

  18. The Rightists aren’t necessarily pro-Russia or really against war in principle, especially the Christian Fascists. Truth be told, most of the “Populist” right couldn’t care less about whats going on outside their own Rural towns and Suburbs. At best, they are indifferent to war. They’re simply selfish consumerists who think America should always be Number 1 on the playing field. As a general rule, the majority Republicans will definitely be against any sort of multi polarity. As for the fake so-called left and the Democratic party? They represent the Bourgeoisie and Professional Managerial Class. They push Culture War politics onto the people and do nothing to fight Poverty and Corporatism. They fervently support NATO. So at the end of the day, us anti-War, pro-Peace Americans have nowhere to turn to.

  19. GFW Hegel, The Philosophy of History, “What experience and history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”

    US – NAYOYO deliberately did everything in its power to start this war with the intent of fatally weakening Russia. Every President and Congress has implemented this foreign policy since Carter and Brzezinski. Systematic actions included breaking every statement, assurance, promise and treaty made with Russia. It involves directly threatening legitimate Russian leadership and government. It involved training and arming Banderite Nazis, supporting their genocidal goals against every argument for peaceful settlement, even against their own government, leaders, and ‘democratic system’. 

    Winston Churchill (1944): ”I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the [Nazi] army.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUBvIUtL0LU
    Bruce Cockburn – Call it Democracy – Russian

    Zelenskiy was elected on promises to attack corruption, and, peace and negotiations with Russia. As soon as he whispered ‘peace’ Ukronazis threatened to hang him from a tree. Obviously, US-NAYOYO approved brutally stupid intimidation tactics like the Ukrainian government kill list because they trained, armed, and support Bandera monsters making the threats. US leadership turned their backs on decades of nuclear weapons treaties, putting the world at risk, along with Russia. This war reveals Western promises, statements and treaties as completely worthless.

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981 – 1987) “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Casey uttered this definition of ultimate CIA success at Reagan’s first Cabinet meeting.

    1. Twitter: The deep realm of unfiltered facts… And bots.

      Ukraine, like everything, is a split realm of realities between what’s happening to the people who live there, what a narrow class of instigators are doing to them, and what the rest of the world are told about it.

      The battle in Ukraine truly is ideological, with its costs in life calculated, accounted and accepted in faraway centers of planning, and the stories for which are manufactured to suit the plans. Local suffering is the last thing on the world’s mind. There’s so much we turn away instinctively.

      Funny thing about democracy: it’s not about getting to vote on distantly remote referenda planned by others regarding circumstances of their gains. Democracy is about a local stake and voice in affairs that affect your livelihood. But what is local in the electronic age? You could know you have democracy when you see vast distributions of communities each found to be looking after their local interests, federated towards purposes of mutual interest using open channels of communication. It’s obvious that the quality of information is everything to collaboration across time and space. In United States, does anyone feel we have such democracy? No.

      Two big things have happened since the cold war: Russia has learned to be capitalist, and USA / UK have learned to totally control the cultural narrative from the top down.

      Everything else across the world is the industrial-political separation of wheat from chaff and the grinding grain into flour in mills, letting the spoils fall where they may under these superpower regimes. Russia’s problem is that it has to lose its super power to gain capitalism, while holding on its ethos of centrally planned supremacy.

      It’s easy enough to see that Russia is suffering the torments of being absorbed into the more diffuse ideological scene, but we all knew it was coming. Their oligarchs and plutocrats are steadily learning the lingo.

      The idea of nations is still alive, in a cartoonish sense. The same way the British Monarchy is still alive as a bunch of inbred magisterial power relations that protect their failing dynastic identities and wring their hands over the purity of their blood, to no other purpose than a belief in some vague divine expression of their nobility. And an amazingly broad swath of people are compelled by such fantasy. and will follow it no matter the cost. Even if their connection to that dynasties traditions have become as fake and superficial as history in Marvel movies.

      It’s reason for a good laugh because all we have left in USA are armchair quarterbacks to dynasty we rejected hundreds of years ago.

      1. Russia is socialist not capitalist–all important industry nationalized—free medicine, universal health , state paid mandatory maternity leave, free university education, 13% income tax except for rich, 89% own habitat—nearly no property tax except for rental property, utilities energy very low cost except for rich…Russian reserve fund devoted to the family supports, handicapped, artists, poets, etc

  20. fascist putin – a dying propaganda dinosaur

    with e.u.’s imminent accelerated transition towards “renewable energy” sources and future independence on russia’s gas and the threat of putin no longer getting massive fossil fuel CASH kickbacks flowing directly into his mafia bank accounts he decided to invade ukraine to slow that shit down – aint gonna happen one-foot-in-the-grave-boy fuckwad

    #Fuckputin & #trumpDiesInPrison2024

    Natural gas, power plants, and why Putin’s strategy is as bad as his tactics

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/9/13/2122566/-Ukraine-update-Natural-gas-power-plants-and-why-Putin-s-strategy-is-as-bad-as-his-tactics

  21. Cooke, Ritter, Serge, macgregor all write Russia has won the war vs USA..no surrender soon, another 100, 000 troops will die, infrastructure demolished and ukraine will no longer exist…it is likely that more territory will be permanently absorbed by Russia…now 7% Russian military in ukraine…if doubled and lethal weapons employed all of Black Sea will be lost to ukraine…concomitantly sanctions have enriched Russia. export income 2022 more than ever in history…Russian RESERVE fund has increased 100 billion$ past 6 months

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