International John Feffer Russia-Ukraine

As Falls Russia, So Falls the World

North Korea has been driven ever closer to fellow nuclear powers Russia and China, and is poised to become a leading member of a possible future “Eurasian Union of autocracies.”
Vladimir Putin. [Antonio Marín Segovia / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

By John Feffer | TomDispatch

Here’s a nightmare scenario: Unable to recruit enough soldiers from the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin takes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un up on his recent offer to send 100,000 North Koreans to join the Russian president’s ill-fated attempt to seize Ukraine. Kim has also promised to send North Korean workers to help rebuild that country’s Donbas region, parts of which Russian forces have destroyed in order to “save” it. Consider this an eerie echo of the fraternal aid that Eastern European Communist states provided Pyongyang in the 1950s after the devastation of the Korean War.

The current love connection between Russia and North Korea is anything but unprecedented. The Kremlin has provided a succession of Kims with military and economic support. If Putin were ultimately to rely on so many North Korean soldiers and laborers, however, it would mark the first time that country had returned the favor in any significant way. As a down payment on the new relationship, Pyongyang is already reportedly assisting Moscow’s war effort with shipments of Soviet-era rockets and ammunition.

An even tighter alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang, now just one goose step from reality, suggests the possibility of a future Eurasian Union of autocracies, including China and several Central Asian states. Just a few years ago, an anti-Western alliance making up nearly 20% of the world’s landmass and roughly the same percentage of its population would have seemed unlikely indeed. For all its autocratic tendencies, Russia was still pretending to be a democracy then and, together with China, maintaining reasonable economic relations with the West. North Korea, on the other hand, was an isolated outsider, suffering under a hereditary dictatorship and tight sanctions that restricted its access to the global economy.

Now, instead of North Korea adopting the political and economic norms of the international community, it’s surging to the front of the illiberal pack as Kim waves his tour-guide flag to encourage others to walk his way. Putin, for one, seems ready to enthusiastically follow his lead. Over the last decade, after all, he’s taken steps to eliminate Russian civil society, while creating a top-down, corporatist economy. After ordering the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Russian leader now faces the same kind of sanctions regime that plagues Pyongyang, forcing his country to pursue its own version of juche, North Korea’s philosophy of self-reliance. Both nations have largely replaced their governing ideologies of the 1990s — communism in North Korea, democracy in Russia — with an ugly, xenophobic nationalism.

At a more fundamental level, North Korea and Russia are both exemplars of exceptionalism. From its founding after World War II, North Korea has generally considered itself an exception to any rules governing international conduct. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, meanwhile, has cemented in place Putin’s version of a new Russian exceptionalism, meant to bury once and for all the efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin to bring the Soviet Union and its successor states into greater compliance with global norms.

Nor are Russia and North Korea exceptional in their exceptionalism. Thumbing a nose at international authorities has become an integral part of a growing authoritarian populism, which has manifested itself as anger at economic globalization and disenchantment with the liberal democratic elites who have supported that project. Although the assault on liberalism and the embrace of illiberal exceptionalism have taken an acutely violent form in the war in Ukraine, they can be found in less virulent but no less troubling forms in Europe (Hungary), Asia (Myanmar), Africa (Ethiopia), and Latin America (Brazil).

Ground zero for modern-day exceptionalism, however, has always been the United States, where a longstanding bipartisan consensus holds that America has the right to do almost anything it wants to maintain its global hegemony. Of course, exceptionalism here is also on a spectrum, with liberal internationalists like Joe Biden at one end and Donald Trump, a Russian-style autocrat in the making, at the other. Put differently, there’s a growing struggle here over the degree to which this country should play well with others.

What’s taking place in Ukraine — an exceptionalist power trying to crush a liberal internationalist system — is a version of that very same power struggle. Indeed, the ongoing bloodbath there anticipates the kind of carnage that could ensue in this country if Donald Trump or some politician like him were to take the White House in 2024.

The End of Accession?

Nationalists hate globalization because they believe that international bodies should not be writing the rules that constrain the conduct of their governments.

In Brazil, Trump-style President Jair Bolsonaro has lashed out at U.N. agencies and transnational environmental organizations for their criticism of his laissez-faire approach to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Euroskeptics like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the United Kingdom’s Brexiteers dislike having to abide by regulations from European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels covering everything from the size of cucumbers to the freedom of the press. Trump famously pulled the United States out of every international accord that came within swinging distance of his MAGA machete, including the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Ukraine has moved in the opposite direction. After the 2014 Euromaidan protests sent its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, packing, the more-or-less liberal governments that followed certainly didn’t shy away from appealing to Ukrainian nationalism. Still, they were also willing, even eager, to submit to the rules and regulations of external powers, at least those further to the west. The Ukrainian political struggles of 2013-2014, after all, centered around a desire to join the EU, support for which has recently topped 90%.

Putin has, of course, held out a very different kind of membership to Ukraine — in a Slavic brotherhood. Whatever the pluses or minuses of any future tight partnership with Russia and neighboring Belarus, it would flow from compliance with the parochial dictates of the Kremlin. In other words, Ukraine has faced an all-too-stark choice: become an unwilling partner of Russian exceptionalism or willingly accede to the rules of the West. Given such options, it’s hardly surprising that Euroskepticism barely registers there.

Nor, of course, is Ukraine the only country eager to knock on the EU’s door. Several others are already in the queue, undoubtedly including — if it votes to separate from the United Kingdom and its Brexiteers — Scotland. For Europe, in response to the challenges of economic globalization, including pressures to privatize and a potential race to the bottom when it comes to environmental and labor regulations, the response has been to establish a transnational system that preserves at least some social-democratic features. And that seems like an attractive compromise to a number of countries huddling outside the EU’s door, exposed to the harsh winds of free trade and onerous debt.

But Brexit has hardly been the only challenge to the power and breadth of the European Union. A refusal to abide by the democratically determined policies of Brussels has united right-wing populists in Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, even as it’s generated a strong current of Euroskepticism in countries like Romania. Support for the far right — as well as the Euroskeptical left — remains strong in France, particularly among the young. A coalition of far-right parties historically allergic to European federalism is poised to take over the governance of Italy after elections later this month. In fact, the EU faces a threat even greater than its possible fragmentation: a hostile takeover by right-wing forces determined to destroy the system from within.

Such authoritarian nationalism is on the rise elsewhere as well. According to the metrics of the largely government-funded research institute Freedom House, only 20% of the world’s population now lives in “free” countries. (In 2005, it was 46%.) And of that 20%, many are in countries where authoritarian nationalists — Trump in the United States, Marine Le Pen in France, Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel — have a plausible chance of taking or retaking power in the near future.

What a far cry from the 1990s when much of the former Soviet sphere scrambled to join the EU after the Warsaw Pact dissolved. In that decade, too, even China lobbied hard to join the World Trade Organization, finally gaining Washington’s support in 1999. It was such a golden age of United Nations conferences and international agreements — from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development to the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court — that the name the U.N. chose for the 1990s, the Decade of International Law, seemed extraordinarily apt. Unfortunately, today it seems more like ancient history.

Of course, the need for international cooperation has hardly disappeared. Think climate change, pandemics, and the loss of biodiversity, to mention just three urgent crises. But any enthusiasm for creating binding international commitments has dwindled to the vanishing point. The 2015 Paris climate accord was voluntary. Transnational cooperation during the Covid pandemic, beyond scientific circles, was minimal and often undermined by export restrictions on critical medical supplies. Nuclear arms control agreements remain at a standstill, while the”modernization” of such arsenals continues apace and military budgets rise as the weapons trade hits new highs.

The 2020s are shaping up to be the Decade of the International Scofflaw. Ukraine’s tragedy lies not just in its geography, so near to Russia and so far from God, but in its timing. Three decades ago, after the Soviet Union imploded, Ukraine’s desire to accede to international norms was unremarkable and its willingness to relinquish its nuclear weapons universally applauded. The worst response an EU application could have engendered back then was a cold shoulder from Brussels. Today, the desire to join Europe has led to war.

Whither Autocracy

Autocrats often hide behind sovereignty. China argues that what’s happening to its Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province is simply none of the international community’s business. North Korea insists that it has the sovereign right to develop nuclear weapons. And, of course, in the U.S., Donald Trump’s MAGA crew stoutly rejects snooty foreigners passing judgment on the American attachment to fossil fuels, border walls, and guns of all sizes.

Sovereignty was once the king’s prerogative; he was, after all, the sovereign. Today’s autocrats, like Vladimir Putin, are more likely to have been voted into office than born into the position like Kim Jong-un. The elections that elevate such autocrats might be questionable (and are likely to become ever more so during their reign), but popular support is an important feature of the new authoritarianism. Putin is currently backed by around 80% of Russians; Orban’s approval rating in Hungary hovers near 60%; and while Donald Trump could likely win again only thanks to voter suppression and increasingly antidemocratic features baked into the American political system, millions of Americans did put Trump in the White House in 2016 and continue to genuinely believe that he’s their savior. Bolsonaro in Brazil, Nayib Bukele in El Salvador, Narendra Modi in India, Kais Saied in Tunisia: they were all elected.

Yes, such leaders are nationalists who often act like populists in promising all sorts of handouts and feel-good nostrums to their supporters. But what makes today’s autocrats particularly dangerous is their exceptionalism, their commitment to the kind of sovereignty that existed before the creation of the United Nations, the earlier League of Nations, or even the Treaty of Westphalia that established the modern interstate system in Europe in 1648. Both Trump and Xi Jinping harken back to a Golden Age all right — of rulers who counted on the unquestioned loyalty of their subjects and exercised a dominion unchallenged except by other monarchs.

Sovereignty is the ultimate trump — sorry for that! — card. It can be used to end every argument: I’m the king of this castle and my word is law inside its walls. Autocrats tend not to be team players, but increasingly democracies are playing the sovereignty card as well. Even Russia, in so obviously violating Ukrainian sovereignty, has done that by arguing that Ukraine had always been part of Russia.

The war in Ukraine boils down to a conflict between two conceptions of world order. The first is defined by a one-against-all exceptionalism, the second by an all-for-one transnational cooperation. Unfortunately, the latter has become associated with economic globalization (which is really about ruthless competition, not global cooperation), Davos-style political elitism (which is usually more focused on collusion than transparent collaboration), and trans-border migration (which results from wars, the miseries of global economic inequality, and the ever more devastating nightmare of climate change). Anger at these three elements of “globalism” pushes voters to support “the other side,” most commonly an authoritarian exceptionalism rather than an authentic internationalism.

The dismal endpoint of such political devolution could be a Russia with North Korean characteristics: isolated, belligerent, and tyrannical. Today, countries that take such a path risk the outlaw status North Korea has enjoyed for 75 years. The question is: What happens if, in some future moment, the outlaws constitute the majority?

What’s truly frightening, however, is that this larger geopolitical conflict is a two-front war. Even as the West unites against the Russia that Putin built, it finds itself fighting homegrown variants of authoritarian exceptionalism, from Trump to Orban. Think of this as the geopolitical version of that commonplace horror-film twist: the phone call from the serial killer that turns out to be coming from within the house.

Can the heroine of this story, true internationalism, survive the onslaught of lawless maniacs bent on reviving a world of unaccountable sovereigns and promoting a war of all against all? We can only hope that our heroine not only survives these harrowing challenges but goes on to star in less horrifying and more edifying sequels.

Copyright 2022 John Feffer

John Feffer, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of the dystopian novel Splinterlands and the director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. Frostlands, a Dispatch Books original, is volume two of his Splinterlands series, and the final novel in the trilogy is Songlands. He has also written Right Across the World: The Global Networking of the Far-Right and the Left Response.

45 comments

  1. Once again ,now John Feiffer and the execrable Uncle Tom
    Dispatch bloviate on a topic dear to the heart of Nazi supporting American closet Nazis (aka formerly progressive Regressives) which is a phony belief that
    Vlad the Nazi Impaler is losing in Ukraine(Russia is humanely winning decisively).
    Putin is the hero of this deNazification project and the collapse of American Nazism is at hand.
    Why Robert Scheer republishes this crap when Scott Ritter,
    Douglas McGregor and John Mersheimer and the Duran and Gonzalo Lira and Moon of Alabama and New Atlas and
    Andrei Martyanov and Eva Bartlett and many others are telling the truth about Russia’s rescue roll in Ukraine – I do not understand

    1. Mr. Bennett,

      Thank you for writing this short total rejection of the fantasy written by John Feffer. I was tempted to write a rebuttal to each of the falsehoods in Feffer’s article, but it occurred to me that they are so numerous my rebuttal would be longer than his article. Suffice it to say that this is nothing but a rehash of the lies generated by the Washington lie machine, which has been cranked up to top speed in the effort to sell this latest US war of aggression, this time being fought by its proxy puppet government in Ukraine. One specific point should be made to aid those who are still bamboozled by the US intentional conflation of international law and the phony made in US “Rules-Based International Order”. The latter is a fancy term used to describe the One Rule which the US illegally and immorally insists be followed, which is that the rest of the world must follow US Orders. By its promulgation of its rogue Rules-Based International Order, the US has explicitly rejected international law, which it routinely violates. All of Mr. Feffer’s high sounding rhetoric about “the West” being the promoter of freedom and democracy is sheer pretense and an outright lie. The US started this war in Ukraine as a war against Russia. The illegitimate puppet government it established by overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine (what the US calls “establishing democracy”) proceeded to murder 14,000 Ukrainian citizens who rightly refused to recognize that government. The Nazi storm troopers trained by the West had amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Donbass contact line early this year for the purpose of launching a genocidal attack on the dissenters. That is what prompted Russia to launch its SMO in February. It is disappointing that Sheerpost allows garbage like Mr. Feffer’s piece to be published on its website.

      1. Could you mean that Mr. Scheer received “a visit” and had “things” explained?
        As what appears with other of the more sophisticated, liberal learning “independent” journals.

        The US is heading into The Mid-Terms and, to state matters obvious, it’s quite important for the DNC not to lose.
        The Mainstream Media assumes the readership has the memory of goldfish.
        They may be right, of some of them, as Russia-Gate Redux Redux is run out.
        https://les7eb.substack.com

      2. Well, I had mentally prepared a rebuttal to Mr Feffer’s regrettable screed, but you, Jim Thomas, and Terrence Bennett have so ably written. I would add that it is not just “American Exceptionalism”, but “American Exception” that is the cornerstone of US policy and practice, as Aaron Good describes in his book of the same name. Good shows how domestically and internationally, America just makes its own rules, and has done so far many years.
        Another bit of interest is Feffer’s claim of only 20% of the world’s population now lives in “free” countries. Except for Japan and South Korea, those are all white countries. John Mearscheimer calls the Western disfunction, “liberal hegemony.” People like Feffer believe that they are right, they are certain their way will prevail.

      3. “The US started this war in Ukraine as a war against Russia.”

        This is nonsense. The one that crosses the border and starts killing people is the one that started the war, That role is too often the US’s, but not here. Here it was Putin’s Russia.

        “The illegitimate puppet government it established by overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine”

        More nonsense. The “democratically elected government” was “democratically elected” on the promise of allying with the West, not the East. When Yanukovych reneged, there was a big *democratic* uprising in objection, and he fled to Moscow. Zelensky was then *democratically elected* in his place, and apparently has done nothing to betray the people’s trust because they haven’t driven _him_ out of office and the country yet.

        Only in the US, where we have never yet had democracy in anything but name (see the work of the late Robert A. Dahl), do we believe that the legitimate meaning of the word is that once we have spent perhaps hours standing in line and the 15 minutes to mark the ballot, our political and legal power completely transfers to the one that supposedly got the most votes, and we cannot do anything about it until our next 15 minutes of voting, which is years away. Chomsky has complained about that more than once, but we can’t be bothered to listen.

        Many other countries take the view that democracy applies *all the time*, and if someone betrays the people he should consider himself lucky if he escapes with his life. Ukraina is such a country, and the contrast between its people and the supine USAians could hardly be greater.

        We don’t even demand that the government prove that our so-called elections were honest! We get these incredible —really incredible!— upsets, as when Biden popped up out of nowhere and, supposedly, got more primary votes than Sanders,. We have it demonstrated to us that the computer-based voting machines can be subverted with hardly any effort, yet we just drift away, unthinking, uncaring. And then moan about people who aren’t having any of that in their own nation.

        Now if only we’d do for the Palestinians what we’re doing for the Ukrainians, we’d be perhaps a quarter of the way back to respectability as a nation.

      4. Congratulations, you have the US/CIA false narrative down very well. The facts clearly rebut that narrative. It is pointless to say anything more. This is yet another US war of aggression which will leave Ukraine in ruins. The difference is that this time the US picked a fight with a Country which can fight back. The most important question is whether there is anyone in US “leadership” with enough sense to avoid a nuclear war. If so, I don’t know who it is. It is certainly not the neocon warmongers who have been appointed to serve in the State Department. It appears that the US leadership does not know how to admit its mistake and end this war. Unfortunately, many people have, once again, fallen for the torrent of lies spread to sell this war (for examples, see A socialist libber’s recital of the talking points) and have been foolishly waving their Ukrainian flags. The Nazi trash which the US has used to put its puppet in place will be eliminated by Russia, as planned by its SMO.

    2. Agree with Mr. Bennett. While it is good to hear opposing viewpoints, still, all viewpoints should be backed by facts, and in this piece they are sorely lacking. Surprised because Bob Scheer must surely know this. After all, many of the people on the Bennett list, and the additions I offer below, are given space on his space and in interviews.
      To Mr. Bennett’s list – while I figure he did not mean it to be exhaustive; nor do I – I would add Patrick Lawrence, The Grayzone, my brother, Ray McGovern; John Pilger, many contributors to Consortium News.

    3. Could not agree more. I especially love the line about Putin building a top-down corporatist state, while no mention of Zelenski ringing the bell of the NY stock exchange and announcing that unions in Ukraine can go to hell. Lol. What a joke.

    4. H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

      William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

      Thank you for this criticism of MSM ‘Sargent Schultz’ defence of US-NAYOYO behaviour. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      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=eFkmRp_G2uo
      Solomon Burke – None of us are free

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11Au-64D7Wc
      Rodney Crowell – The Obscenity Prayer (Give It To Me)

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

      As usual, Mr. Cockburn has it correct almost 40 years ago, and again 10 years ago. Bro, ‘Kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight’.

  2. Good grief! This article, to put it mildly, is a bunch of clap-trap – I was laughing all the way through it. A well scripted comedy …
    The US indeed has been a “model for the world” – “exceptionalism” is breaking out all over the place …
    I am sorry, but there is too much BS in this piece for me to list it all …

  3. The utter failure of liberal democracy is on full display as these events occur.

    It’s a con game that inevitably devolves to oligarchy, kakocracy and incoherence.

    These are features the US and Russia have in common: labeling the Russian format as “authoritarian” or “autocratic” muddles the essential fact that both nations are actually run by people that actually determine important developments and operate in their own self-interest.

    Russia has a Putinesque political filter for candidates, the US has a money filter.

    So why is China’s government better?

    Because it’s competent, effective and has the best interests of its people as a guiding motivation.

    Contrast the million dead under American “freedom” with China’s COVID containment.

    It’s delivering solid achievements, has national plans and is run by competent people.

  4. First of all, Russia is NOT falling. They’re doing the exact opposite of what the ” crippling sanctions ” were supposed to do. Secondly, Russia is, and has always been, on the offensive. Thirdly, Russia’s goal is NOT to seize Ukraine, but to put an end to the constant shelling from the NAZIS in Western Ukraine, who have flagrantly violated the Mississippi accord since it was allegedly agreed to.
    Please do your audience a favor, and tell them the truth. NOT the CIA talking points of the day.

    1. Russia is not falling because those sanctions devolve into a joke.

      Today seven Russian banks are reconnected to SWIFT, in March it was only Gazprom bank , western insurance companies can insure Russian ships and ships with Russian cargo like oil as a ban relates to UK, EU only. US is still buying after courting Iran and Venezuela collapsed. Hungary doubled their import of Russian crude oil and gas. US and EU never banned Russian Potash in fact encouraged others to buy from Russia. Bulgaria considers lifting ban of Russian oil And in fact the rest of Europe like France bought record volume of Russian liquified natural gas for record prices. Despite ban of Russian gold by London gold exchange EU is violating UK sanction and buy lots of gold directly or from Shanghai exchange. Expected Russian Y/Y GDP In December to be flat no decline no western predicted collapse, Russian unemployment 3.8%, inflation on par with US about 8%.Y/Y Russians federal budget surplus is above 50% of last year budget.

      The increases of Russian import and even some exports to Russia skyrocketed in dollar terms as Ruble is at historic high against dollar while euro collapsed. Sanctions became lucrative for Russia joke.

      Here is German example.

      From RT

      “ According to the Russian trade representative in Germany, Andrey Sobolev, the rise in imports of fuel and energy products through July was 40.5%. Purchases of Russian gold have risen more than tenfold, while the volume of silver imports jumped by almost five times. The EU country has also boosted purchases of other metals from Russia, including copper, aluminum, and nickel.

      The report also indicated that German exports to Russia decreased by 43.6% to $10.2 billion compared to the same period last year. Declining exports caused a $17.7 billion trade imbalance for Germany.

      The trade representative explained that, despite the general decline in exports to Russia, “there was an increase in supplies from Germany of pharmaceutical products, seeds and fruits.”

  5. John Feffer:
    You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it
    You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything
    When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed
    Say something once, why say it again? (PsychoKiller- David Byrne)

  6. Oh thank god for the more intelligent readers of SheerPost! I was so angry reading Feffer’s claptrap that I thought I would have to refute every one of his confusing mistakes (or lies?), but Mr. Bennett and Mr. Thomas have already noted Feffer’s folly. The man must be so confused by listening to decades of US deep-state propaganda that he is only able to project his beliefs onto other nations and their leaders. As Robert Barnes would say, this is Confession by means of Projection. (And BarnesLaw on Locals should be included in Bennett’s list of truthful analysts of worldwide political reality.)

  7. I have never read such rubbish in all my life !

    Maybe you are a shareholder in Lockheed Martin or Raytheon ?

    Who knows ?

    Have a good day

  8. I’m sorry, but what a disappointly ugly article. Hard to find anything redeeming about it, a total waste of the several minutes of my life it took to read it. I’m happy to read differing, balanced viewpoints on the current geopolitical world situation – but I’m left wondering why Scheerpost decided to inflict this garbage upon me?

  9. Monday 19 September 2022 @ 22:20 Greek time

    What a happy and reassuring discovery to find that fellow thinkers have excoriated this uniformed and highly biased article. Mr. Feffer continues to have limited vision and seems happy to throw in his lot with the military/political/corporate consortium. I am so tired of seeing commentators use the ‘Trump factor’ as the epitome of all evil, when it is clearly the case that the current batch of neocons and repellent aggressors has gotten us into a pretty pass, with nuclear extinction being touted as a political tool. What I found most distressing in terms of Mr. Feffer’s lack of understanding was his criticism of Hungary’s Victor Orban , who was the one EU leader who opposed the hubristic sanctions against Russia~~as he said, it would not benefit his people.

    There is far more intelligence demonstrated in the Comments Section than in this appalling article itself.

  10. What is your source of information that the seizure of Ukraine is Russia’s objective ? Right at the beginning of your article, you discuss Russia’s ‘ill fated seizure of Ukraine’
    then proceed to argue how Russia is failing at that goal.

    You impose on Russia an objective that has never been articulated by any Russian official, including,

    President Putin, Foreign Secretary Lavrov, Senior Russian Military command staff, or official Russian Spokesperson, in a speech l or a written statement.

    That’s because it is not the objective here.

    The only stated objectives of Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine are two-fold, as follows:

    The Demilitarizion and the DeNazification of Ukraine.

    It was and never will be Russia’s objective to seizure of Ukraine.

  11. In this commenters ‘open source’ – freely expressed opinion, this article is obviously by a loud-mouthed, loquacious flunky of Hungarian averse expatriate, George Soros and his “Open Societies’ rules (de)based global narrative order.

  12. What the international community sees is that Russian is handling a very bad situation very well. The US seems a little shocked that Russia would take action concerning Zelensky’s effort to eradicate the 11 to 12 million ethnic Russian Ukrainians, but under current circumstances, Putin has shown both wisdom and restraint. On any notions of “seizing Ukraine:” Note that Ukraine (roughly the size of Texas), part of the former USSR, has been an independent country since 1991. This would not be the case if (world nuclear superpower) Russia opposed its independence.

  13. I think this is one of the worst articles you have published. The anti US/western governments particularly Russia and China, have proposed the United Nations set all the international rules and not just the western allies. They want multi polar governance with respect for every countries sovereignty. He seems to miss this point altogether and it is a very very big point! No time to point out other un agreeable and misleading parts of his analysis. His point of view is off the mark by my standards.

    1. @Jack Raddatz
      How does respect for every country’s sovereignty fits in with Russia invasion of Ukraine??
      Russia and China are permanent members of the USC and do seem to like it!

  14. The state of this comment stream is a disgrace.
    You can’t tell who’s responding to whom. in any decent format, hitting a “reply” button creates a clear “reply”box or sub-paragraph.
    Is anyone getting e-mail notices when someone replies? I’m not.
    A “review”before publication is a conversation-killer. Most pubs have algorithms that sort out ‘forbidden” words.
    No ability to vary fonts or add emphasis.
    No editing after posting.
    Comments are a way for additional perspectives and conversations to develop.
    This place makes that difficult, cumbersome.

    1. They keep you in a box until they start declining your opinions.
      I’ve had two names banned here with no notification.
      It’s a manipulational proposition to keep writers guessing what will result in censorship. They do many of the things they complain about.

      They’re like Bob Roberts:
      Some people must have
      Some people have not
      But they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain

      Some people will work
      Some simply will not
      But they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain

      Like this: It’s society’s fault I don’t have a job
      It’s society’s fault I am a slob
      I have potential no one can see
      Give me welfare. Let me be me!

      Hey, Bud, you’re livin’ in the Land of the Free
      ScheerPost’s not gonna hand you opportunity!

      Some people must have
      Some never will
      But they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain

      Hey, Bud, you’re livin’ in the Land of the Free
      ScheerPost’s not gonna hand you opportunity!

      Some people will learn
      Some never do
      But they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain
      Yeah, they’ll complain and complain and complain and complain and complain

      Tony: My opinion is just like the IBM Cloud commercial: We need more Whining Wayne.

  15. Nonsense like this will ultimately cause me to delete the bookmark for this website.
    Too bad. Started out as something better than the mainstream. Now turning into the SOS.

  16. I for the life of me, after reading so many fine essays on this site and truthdig, Bob’s former site, cannot fathom how this got past him. Perhaps he is trying to be balanced. Mr Feffer you are a fabulous fiction writer, which is what this piece of your’s clearly is. I surly hope that this didn’t appear on Tomdispatch. If so I will pull my support for his site.

  17. Somehow implied in Feffer’s essay is the proposition that Russia will fail.
    I can imagine the consequences.
    First, the Nazis would realize their fever dream of either murdering or driving the Russian-Ukrainian population out of Ukraine and seizing their land (Ukraine is poor, but Galicia makes Ukraine look good), perhaps this was their motive all along.
    Second, Putin and his faction would likely fall, instigating a political crisis in Russia. With the help of faithful CIA and NED NGOs, a separation of the Federation would occur, and the Americans would realize their dream of balkanizing Russia.
    Third, NATO would have such a strong position that they would accelerate politically, perhaps militarily, the dissolution referenced above.
    The final result would be new US proxy oligarchs quite willing to toady, quite willing to restore Europe’s fossil fuels.
    This is the dream

  18. You seem very fond of the word “autocrat”, and what springs to my mind is the United States – its the country that dictates to all others what it wants. As for Ukraine, the U.S. provoked that war, and it could have stopped it through diplomacy and adherence to the Minsk II agreements. Nor is it an interest of the Russians to “seize Ukraine” – they are doing what they said they would do – demilitarize and denazify.
    The world is changing, and in the favor of Asia, and the global South – you are incapable of seeing this, and of course, so is the United States.

  19. Well done, Mr Feffer… Finally, a sensible article in the Sheerpost about the rapidly deteriorating place of Russia in the world— emulating North Korea is not a good plan.

    And all the ranting in the comments! Oy.

  20. My biggest complaint about John Feffer is that he has managed to ally himself with Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Stanford journalism product and host of KPFA’s San Francisco Bay Area morning drive show, to pump this American imperial warmongering garbage out over the Pacifica Radio Network.

    Pacifica, founded in 1949 by pacifists as a voice to prevent war; KPFA, the first listener-sponsored radio station in history; infiltrated by propaganda-spewing agents of Pax Americana.

  21. Russia to mobilize 300,000 reservists—bye by nazi ukraine—welcome to the new world order–anglo NATOistan isolated decayed impotent

  22. Now and then Bob allows a mainstream article and the comments go berzerk as expected. This article is particularly egregious because it parrots the propaganda of the empire while posing as alternative, left wing thought. I just hope Bob isn’t falling for it.

  23. scheer=ruling class propaganda twitter warrior—USA desperate weak reckless…Russia to permanently denazify ukraine restore regions to Russia by referenda consistent w international law/convention

  24. This article seems more like the wishful thinking of liberals rather than the more substantiated and well reasoned pieces by journalists such as Scott Ritter or Chris Hedges. Seems like something you’d find on CNN or NPR.

    What’s going on with this website?!

  25. The enemy of my enemy isn’t necessarily my friend. Just because the US is wrong on Ukraine, it doesn’t make Russia right. Both can be — and are — wrong.

  26. This “article” is just a provocation especially when one reads this “trouvaille”: ”the more-or-less liberal governments that followed certainly didn’t shy away from appealing to Ukrainian nationalism. Still, they were also willing, even eager, to submit to the rules and regulations of external powers, at least those further to the west.” Wow, Jordan Peterson puts on analysis, in private, people so “disconnected” with reality.

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