Military Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: In the Terrain of World War III

Anatomy of Our Murderers (Mr. Fish / Original to ScheerPost)

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) advanced decisively into Russian-held territory in northeastern Ukraine two weeks ago, exposing the weakness, incompetence, and cowardice of Russian soldiers and officers. The tide of this war has turned. The Russian army is on the way to defeat, and President Vladimir Putin could go down with it.

 Was it that way? Or was it this way:

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the aid of U.S. intelligence, identified a region from which the Russians had more or less withdrawn, leaving its defense to cursorily trained militias from Luhansk, the northernmost of Ukraine’s two breakaway republics. The AFU thus advanced against next to no resistance. The course of the war has not fundamentally changed.

We do not know precisely or certainly what happened, and how, in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine during the first two weeks of September. I incline to the latter version of events, but never mind that. None of this matters as much as it did even a few days ago.

Suddenly, abruptly, we know something vastly more important: Recent Ukrainian advances, under whatever conditions they were achieved, now prove a tripwire, over which the U.S. and Russia, possessing the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, have stumbled into the gravest threat of world war at least since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and probably since the victories over Japan and Europe 17 years earlier.

A pair of speeches on Sept. 21—Putin to his nation, President Biden to the U.N. General Assembly hours later—bring us face to face with this grim new reality. They are “must” to read or hear  for anyone concerned with the direction geopolitical events now take. As to a negotiated passage through this dangerous impasse, Biden doesn’t seem to be bothering with even the back-channel contacts President Kennedy used to defuse a potentially nuclear confrontation over the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.  

Let us “think with history” at this critical moment, to borrow a phrase from Carl Schorske, the late and distinguished Europeanist. And let us find causality and responsibility in it. It will then be readily evident that the sobering, sit-up-straight dangers confronting us are the perversely logical outcome of a long succession of deluded and reckless policies Washington has insisted on pursuing and imposing on its European allies over many years—and most actively over the past eight.

David Stockman just published a forceful piece in antiwar.com asserting that the Putin and Biden speeches mark the start of “a disastrous endgame.” He asks, “What in hell were those bloody-minded Washington/NATO neocons thinking?” It is a good question. My answer: They weren’t, and, with exceptions such as the Nixon-Kissinger opening to China, they haven’t for seven and some decades. It is America’s hegemonic hubris and an egotistical will to power that land us in a global crisis that could have been avoided at many turns by resort to the mahogany table. In the war planners, technocrats, rational-choice charlatans, and game theorists who “reasoned” the world into this mess, we find what I call the irrationality of hyper-rationality. 

Following the AFU’s recent advances, we had a surfeit of comment to the effect that the fortunes of the Ukrainian forces had changed and that the Putin government could collapse in consequence. “It’s Time to Prepare for a Ukrainian Victory: The liberation of Russian-occupied territory might bring down Vladimir Putin”: This was the headline atop a piece Anne Applebaum published September 11 in The Atlantic. “Instead of showcasing Moscow’s newfound might, the Ukrainian war—now in its seventh month—is laying bare Russia’s weaknesses”: This was Yaroslav Trofimov’s take as published in The Wall Street Journal five days later.

It took less time than I had expected for these irresponsible predictions to dissolve. Ukraine’s successes were indeed a psychological shock and indeed shook the Kremlin leadership—these and other commentators had this much right—but they otherwise got it perfectly upside-down. The criticism Putin has faced lately, and there appears to have been some or much, was leveled most forcefully by hawks unhappy with the Russian high command’s restraint in Ukraine and its reliance on the Luhansk and Donetsk republics to man the front lines. Putin put Russia and the West on notice in his speech Wednesday that both halves of this strategy are now cast aside.

The important elements of that speech are two: Russia will now begin to mobilize and deploy up to 300,000 trained reservists in Ukraine. And referendums are to be held in four regions of Ukraine—the two republics and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia  regions—to determine whether their residents favor Russian sovereignty over Ukrainian.

In the time it took for Putin to speak, these steps transformed a “special military operation” initially intended to demilitarize and de–Nazify Ukraine into something much larger, more consequential, and more fraught—into, this is to say, a war.

We have read incessantly over the past seven months of Russian incompetence, disorganization, demoralization, and so on: The running theme has been the Russians do not have it in them to prevail. This now seems to me mere cover for those unwilling to acknowledge that Russian forces were not operating at anything like maximum force. As the cliché police have taken a day off, I will say this directly: Putin and his high command have just taken the gloves off. I leave it to readers to think through where this conflict is now likely to head on the ground.

The four referendums have greatly larger implications. We already read that they are a “sham”—the approved term. I do not know where Western officials, reporters, and commentators get this, as these polls have not yet been held. To me we are getting a preemptive dismissal because it is almost assured that those in all four regions will decide they wish to be reintegrated into Russia.

These are Russian-speaking people who have been betrayed since a small minority in the west of the country overthrew their elected president in 2014. These are people whose language was immediately outlawed after the U.S.–cultivated coup. Many of these people—those in the two breakaway republics—were denied the federalist autonomy called for in the two Minsk Protocols of 2014 and 2015 because the Kyiv regime refused to take those commitments seriously. This same many then suffered eight years of shelling, at a cost of roughly 11,000 civilian lives, by those valorous, upright, clean-living Ukrainian forces.

Will these ballots be fixed? I do not know anyone who is in a position to say, but it appears evident in view of the above, and the history of these regions, there is little reason for any such chicanery. The vote tallies in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions may not prove so decisive as in the two republics, but those in all four regions are likely to say, Kyiv’s made a mess of Ukraine. Let’s go home. 

John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinians and who is now a writer, cast a useful light on the legal questions the referendums raise in a piece  published the day Russian began its intervention: “There is an inherent, indeed irreconcilable conflict between two fundamental principles of international law—the territorial integrity of states and the self-determination of peoples.” It is implicit in the referendums themselves that Moscow rests its case on the self-determination argument.

Post-referendums, assuming the result is as anticipated, the AFU will be waging war against Russians on Russian territory—not, grotesque as it has been to watch, against its own people. This will change more or less everything. These votes will preclude any prospect of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv. And the U.S. and NATO will thenceforth be arming the Kyiv regime in a war against the Russian Federation.

Now we approach World War III territory. In this, Putin seems to have taken the gloves off on the diplomatic side, too. Even as he announced plans for the imminent referendums, he redefined the Ukraine conflict into a defense of Russia against an existential threat posed by the U.S. and its allies:

The purpose of this West is to weaken, divide, and ultimately destroy our country. They are already directly saying that in 1991 they were able to split the Soviet Union and now the time has come for Russia itself, that it should disintegrate into many mortally hostile regions…

It is against this background that Putin made his most-noted remark:

And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff. 

This has been widely reported to be another one of Moscow’s threats to deploy a nuclear weapon. I do not think this interpretation is any more certain than it was on earlier occasions. I tend to put Putin’s statement in the same file with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s earlier in the Ukraine conflict: They are at bottom warning against further threats from the U.S. and the West.

We come to the stiff speech Biden delivered at the U.N. shortly after Putin spoke. It was as if the two were conversing, which seems to me a useful way to consider these two addresses. What did Biden say and what did he not say? These are equally important.

On the “said” side, Biden identified Russia as the primary threat to world order and pledged America’s continuing engagement in the Ukraine conflict:

Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter—no [sic] more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force. 

… If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for. Everything.

… We chose liberty. We chose sovereignty…. We stood with Ukraine.

… So, we—each of us in this body who is determined to uphold the principles and beliefs we pledge to defend as members of the United Nations — must be clear, firm, and unwavering in our resolve.

… We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner. 

It is difficult to take seriously any American political figure who complains about another nation pursuing “imperial ambitions without consequence,” but we must: This is the voice of the world’s most powerful nation.

To begin with, the world is advised that the U.S. has no intention of stepping back from its current course, or even altering it in response to changed circumstances. Implicit here is a recommitment to the delusions of a Ukrainian victory that led to this crisis. The weapons shipments will continue. The wasteful deaths and destruction will continue. The silence between Moscow and Washington will continue.

“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War.” Biden has said this many times, and we must conclude at this point the man doth protest too much. The many years of provocations since the 2014 coup, the NATO deployments eastward toward the Russian frontier, the covert disruption of negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv in Istanbul last March— take out the two “nots” in these sentences and you arrive at the truth of things. If Biden is to be taken seriously on this point, why isn’t he on the telephone with Putin as we speak? As things stand, it starts to look as though Washington wants a Cold War well on the way to a hot one.

Not to be missed, there is “We chose sovereignty. We stood with Ukraine.” Here Biden is taking a position on the question John Whitbeck raises. Biden places a higher value on the nation-state and its power than he does on self-determination for the millions of Donbas residents the Kyiv regime has violently alienated for the past eight years with the West’s blessing. Jefferson must be spinning.

The sheer pabulum of which Biden’s speech is mostly made is indicative of what he would not say. This cannot have been lost on the assembled heads of state, the majority of whom do not stand with the U.S. on Ukraine–and the majority of whom know all about Washington’s intolerance should they choose to associate with “partners” the U.S. does not like.

The U.S. takes no cognizance of Moscow’s longtime and continuing security concerns, Biden said by leaving these unmentioned. They are still the “nonstarters” they were called when Moscow put them on paper last December. The U.S. does not care if Russians and the Russian leadership feel under threat. It has no intention of opening diplomatic channels with a view to negotiating a settlement not only of the Ukraine conflict but also of the wider question of a stable European order.

Once again, the world’s most powerful nation, ever boastful of its virtues, has nothing to say to others. 

Roger Cohen, in a piece in The New York Times published after the two speeches Wednesday, asserted that Vladimir Putin is now  in a state of desperation. “Mr. Putin cornered is Mr. Putin at his most dangerous,” he wrote. 

This is more of the incautious bunkum we had after the AFU’s advances. I do not think Putin is cornered. I think he is fed up, altogether rightfully. And I think he is frightened now, as we all must be. As I have argued for many months, he faces an imperium that has decided Ukraine is its make-or-break moment—its O.K. Corral, its big roll of the dice in defense of its declining power.

It is a strange thing to think about. In 1847, the French historian and critic Charles Augustin Sainte–Beuve wrote these words in a notebook:

There are now but two great nations—the first is Russia, still barbarian but large, and worthy of respect…. The other nation is America, an intoxicated, immature democracy that knows no obstacles. The future of the world lies between these two great nations. One day they will collide, and then we will see struggles the like of which no one has dreamed of.

The question of the West and why it had recently coalesced as a political construct in response to the rise of czarist Russia was much in the air by Sainte–Beuve’s time. Jules Michelet, the honored historian, and de Tocqueville had sounded similar themes by then. I have never figured out why the French were onto these thoughts so early. For now we must remark on their exceptional prescience.  

I wonder, as of last week, whether Sainte–Beuve’s “one day” has arrived and we are on the brink of those undreamt struggles in consequence of the irresponsible dreams of the irresponsible people who have brought us to this day.

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.

45 comments

  1. “Eve Of Destruction”

    The eastern world it is exploding
    Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
    You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
    And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
    Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for four days in space
    But when you return it’s the same old place
    The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me
    Over and over and over and over again my friend
    You don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction
    Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    But I believe we are on the eve of destruction and the flock of Zombie Sheep are going to be very very surprised. I can hear the words now…”How could this have happened”…right before the nuke blasts.

  2. It seems the biggest problem is the multitude of people involved in US government ( and industry ) who live in their own little world & are concerned with nothing else. They seem to be not concerned with the results of their actions.

  3. At the rate the industrial nations are using up or and compromising resources, conflict is bound to happen. But it seems that the “professional” writers of today leave resources out of their arguments. Do you want us to believe that Putin and Biden are not thinking about making resources available for their corporate buddies/oligarchs? Does the 500 year supply of coal in Donbas not mean anything at all?

    So I get tired of reading works that center on political thinking, like Mr Lawrence’s because they say the same thing over and over again.

    1. Don’t confuse Biden’s oligarchs with Putin’s oligarchs. Biden’s don’t pay taxes, Putin’s do pay taxes.
      This SMO is entirely the fault of the US. I have said for years that NATO’s surrounding Russia was the Clintons’ goal since the early 90s to force a US/Russia war, and was happy to have that theory vindicated by none other than Stephen F. Cohen (RIP). H. Clinton forced the 2014 coup to begin the 8 years of murder of Russian speakers forcing Putin to finally say, enough. Next step is nuclear war.
      Again, Mr. Lawrence writes an excellent article which clears up the situation. Thank you.

      1. Rob Roy: Right on the money! Excellent reply to Beeline.

        Slick Willy (I plead guilty for voting for him twice, brought up with the “lesser of two evils” baloney) I believe, took his marching orders from Allan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, and reneged on the deal which the naive Gorbachev and James Baker shook hands on, regarding NATO. Of course, none in the State Department or Congress listened to Professor Stephen F. Cohen’s expertise, because he said Russia wasn’t our “enemy”, which the war-mongers and imperialists did not want to hear.

        As always, Mr. Patrick Lawrence put on his thinking cap, did his homework (research) and yes, wrote another excellent article which helps clear up the situation in the Ukrainian catastrophe caused by the United States.

    2. The press is so captured by the establishment that it’s refreshing to hear the truth over and over and over again!

  4. Well, amazing indeed that Sainte-Beuve was much more than a literary critic and dilettante! But most perceptions of de Tocqueville (and secretary Gobineau) also meditating the obvious power of expanding 19th Century America (the narrative of I lost my heart in Wounded Knee-or Enterre mon coeur) were also quite right and sometimes unflattering. The reason peoples and citizens worldwide are not in uproar on the streets and realizing what those words and declarations at the UN this week really meant and indicated, that is why we are not yelling out our exasperation with our despicable politicians in all and any Megapolis of our deeply-in-debt and decaying western countries is because of the levels of lies, now to the worst stage of the unbearable. At this point -or at some point, the settling of scores becomes wished for and it accounts for justice was if (like in Middle Ages or the Renaissance royal joutes) the winner is God’s chosen avenger. Problem is the weapons are fatal to any life. Thanks again for these articles mentioned, this analysis and your vigilance Mr.Lawrence.

  5. Patrick:

    What forces can the US bring to bear, if Russia decides to use its air force and scorch any threats or major infrastructure in Western Ukraine? It’s not as if there’s any fuel to sustain a NATO army unless they plan to steal the last of it from Europe’s citizens. The supply lines from Russia are fully loaded and short by comparison.

    Putin has made his red lines clear in his speeches, but the same cannot be said of Biden. I read the text of Biden’s speech and must have missed a firm line drawn along the Dnieper. The US wants a never-ending, low intensity conflict in Ukraine that fattens its MIC, but Russia is ready to end it. I suspect, like Afghanistan and Iraq, the US will try to walk away, rationalize in the media, and find distraction elsewhere. When the US draws red lines, in the same way that Russia has over Ukraine, then I will await Russia’s response in the media.

    I find it hard to believe that the US will escalate to nuclear war over Ukraine. The US will lose face to the extent it has done in withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan, failed states it rarely acknowledges today. It’s more likely the US will use the one weapon that has been effective, its media and propaganda, to rationalize away any defeat by Russia.

    1. Ukraine, part of the former USSR, has been independent since 1991. Ukraine is a small country, roughly the size of Texas alone. Russia is one of the three world nuclear superpowers. Obviously, ownership of Ukraine has not been a goal of Russia. That said, look into the spread of NATO forces in Eastern Europe, closing in on Russia’s border in recent years, all in direct violation of the 1991 NATO treaty – presenting a direct threat to Russia. There is unconditionally no chance that Russia will allow a line of US/NATO bases along the Ukraine/Russian border. What we are watching is the US insanely trying to provoke nuclear world war.

      1. Ukraine has been a US Puppet State– without independence or sovereignty– since the Orange Revolution in late 2004/ early 2005. The CIA installed an American trained banker, Viktor Yushchenko, claiming the elections were fraudulent without any evidence (besides, this is Ukraine!) Yushchenko was married to an American citizen (a State/ CIA officer, rumored to be his beard). Yushchenko was a good puppet for the CIA, glorifying the UkroNAZI collaborators and proclaiming Stepan Bandera as “Hero of Ukraine”. Unfortunately for the US, Yushchenko only received 5% of the vote running for President in 2010, and Victor Yanukovych won in a UN-monitored election. Despite American “handlers”– the Podesta Group, Greg Craig and Manafort– Yanukovych was a BAD puppet, intent on getting the best deals possible for Ukraine, playing the EU against Russia. When Russia offered lower interest rates for loans (not that Ukraine ever pays back their loans), Yanukovych announced in late 2013 that Ukraine was going with the Russian package. The Viceroy of Ukraine, VP Joe Biden, was not pleased and the Maidan Coup followed in February 2014, pushing for ethnic Russian Ukrainian genocide, killing >10,000 civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk before the Russians invaded.
        Putin has followed the Clinton “Kosovo plan” for the breakaway republic from Serbia to the letter– belatedly recognizing the breakaway republics, citing “collective self defense” of UN Charter Article 51, and also allowing plebiscites. If Clinton’s Bosnian War was legal, so must be Putin’s Ukraine War.
        Of course the Ukrainians wanted NO WAR (Zelensky was elected on a “Peace with Russia” campaign platform, with over 70% of the vote), but obviously our State/ CIA and Biden know best! Hopefully for the Ukrainians’ sake Putin is not aware of Hillary’s and John Bolton’s “Libya Model”.

    2. Man, old Joe Biden was ready to carve up Iraq into 3 ethnic republics, but he is reluctant to become the butcher of Ukraine, because that sovereignty sauce is so delicious, and lucrative. It’s like when a brain-dead patient’s organs are kept functioning by artificial means and the hospital bills run into the millions. In the case of arms shipments to a Nazi state it could run into the trillions. Maybe Joe will forgive us the first $10,000.

    3. “The supply lines from Russia are fully loaded and short by comparison.”
      Until they are cut by the US Navy. (recent pipeline sabotage, on pipelines already not delivering much) Do you think (the collective elite entity) known as Biden ordered this? Was it Blinky the Blinker, Jake the Fake or Lord Austin Vader? I feel a disturbance in the Force.

  6. I wanted to add it’s more likely Russia’s strategy is to let General Winter defeat Ukraine, and see the people of Europe turn on the neo-liberal leadership that has abandoned them to cold and hunger. It will be a very different political climate in Europe come next spring.

    A great discussion about this takes place over at The Duran, with a prescient guest Garland Nixon:

    1. (L)et General Winter defeat Ukraine, and see the people of Europe turn on the neo-liberal leadership that has abandoned them to cold and hunger.

      Seems like Pooty and Bidey (Recent Nord Stream sabotage) are on the same page.

  7. The part left out of most US discussions is that these regions have large ethnic-Russian populations. Dare we say (yet) that Zelensky’s agenda appears to be one of “ethnic cleansing,” eradicating Russian Ukrainians?

  8. I guess that when your source of information is Russian government propagation, Russian victory is obvious and inevitable.

    You might have hard time explaining, if such is the case (i.e., if Russian withdrew most of their forces from 9,000 sq k to consolidate their forces) why the urgency in declaring Ukrainian territories Russian, and what is the conscription of reserve forces for, though I am sure Russian seasoned propaganda gymnastics would come up with something…

    1. “ I guess that when your source of information is Russian government propagation (sic)…”

      Hahahaha! Where did you get that from, CNN or NYT???

      1. “Nir Haramati” is a rightwing Dem Party troll who comes in here spewing the Party line pretty reliably. Pay him no mind.

      2. @Elial

        “In the time it took for Putin to speak, these steps transformed a “special military operation” initially intended to demilitarize and de–Nazify Ukraine into something much larger, more consequential, and more fraught—into, this is to say, a war.”

        the phrase “special military operation” ” to demilitarize and de–Nazify Ukraine” is a verbatim quote from Putin’s speech he gave at the beginning of the invasion.

        “a small minority in the west of the country overthrew their elected president in 2014.” is precisely how Russian government-controlled media describe the Maiden Revolution, dubbed “U.S.–cultivated coup” by the same sources.

        I don’t watch CNN, nor read NYT, but if what I said is what they say, you should pay more attention!

    2. Russia has all the tendencies of “us first”states in that they deceive themselves by thinking the locals can fight the war for them, if they send weapons and ammo. I actually hate to say more, but remember how the US sponsored government forces melted away in Afghanistan…. it’s only been about a year and we have forgotten. (the debt remains)

    3. nir nazi always admires the fascist—when Russia redeployed from a few villages—5000 dead ukies nazi soldiers 7000 hospitalized—only 200 Russian casualties…..I prefer Russian truth to amerikan lies…..”the men Americans most admire dare to tell them the most extravagant lies; the men they most despise try to tell them the truth”. HL Menkhen
      “no people are more entertained and less informed than americans”. Neil Postman
      “americans are ignorant and unteachable”. George Santayana

  9. Putin has no “urgency in declaring Ukrainian territories Russian.” He wants the Nazis/Fascists (Azov Battalion, Stefan Bandera-ites, Right Sector) out of the Donbas (two free republics) and retain Sevastopol, Crimea as a Russian (navy base). Completely rational.

  10. Russian victory and dominance as obvious as american failure and decline—the US ruling class is far more clever than the moron US peasants: they will not risk their status. for them a real war with Russia would end what little influence they possess

  11. THEY ARE THINKING–ONLY THINKING–AND THAT’S INHUMAN

    Mr. Lawrence rightly calls out “the war planners, technocrats, rational-choice charlatans, and game theorists.” Same type who brought us Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest, as in the title of Halberstam’s book. Or the logical, abstract science that brings us nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Lawrence is right to call this mentality “the irrationality of hyper-rationality.”

    He’s NOT right to answer Stockman’s question about what they were thinking by saying “they weren’t.” Yes, they were!!! What they weren’t doing is feeling. Or drawing on empathy. Or intuition. Or any of the nuanced values processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, those denigrated as mere arts and humanities. But they’re the other half of ourselves. To act without them is to become inhuman.

    What has this hyper-logical left brain dominance led to? In the 2019 edition of his book The Master and His Emissary, the neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist says in a preface: “The left hemisphere (of the brain) is about grabbing stuff, about utility… appropriate with forms of military or economic imperialism. The left hemisphere view offers simple answers. Its mode of thinking prizes consistency above all…the same mechanistic models to explain everything that exists, …enthusiasts for technological solutions to what are complex human problems… In an era where truth is up for grabs… reductionism has become a disease, a viewpoint lacking intellectual sophistication and emotional depth BLIGHTING OUR ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHAT WE NEED TO DO ABOUT IT. We face a very grave crisis indeed.”

    1. When the level of Cartesianism scares a climate denying investor like David Stockman that’s “beyond the pale.” (Thanks Rafi for bringing him up.)

  12. This is getting to be a lot worse than the Cuban missile crisis and back then cooler heads prevailed. The Ukraine war could have been prevented if the US leadership had not displayed utter disregard for the Russian concerns about Ukraine joining NATO.
    A balance of power is what the world needs and has always preferred to a unipolar world. But the powers that be want full control, Hegemony, a rules based world order where the rules are written in Washington DC.

    War is coming and the our fearless leaders heads are still in the clouds ( let’s hope not mushroom clouds)

    1. The leaders in the US are beholden to the donor class, military industrialists and investment capital. They were not trying to avoid war. They have stated that the goal is to weaken Russia. The unstated goal is profit. These powerful donors and policymakers are not suicidal. They will walk away from Ukraine or any other conflict they foment, but they will continue to foment unrest and economic instability throughout the world, regardless if we vote red or blue.

  13. Truly an excellent piece! Mr Lawrence at his best. One cannot help think the US and NATO are way over their heads, and like a two-year old, have no idea of the fire they are playing with.

    1. absolutely false—decayed empires like USA seek to delay their demise—there will be no war

  14. Did Putin conclude a recent statement by warming of a kind of conflict that “no one ever dreamed of” or some such?

    Was he reading French historians too?

    That phrase rang bells in my addled brain. Anyone here recall that?

  15. As Lawrence sees it: “Putin and his high command have just taken the gloves off.”
    Does taking the gloves off mean a sudden promiscuous “conscription” of males without previous military training as old as 50?

  16. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine generated one of the largest refugee problem in Europe since WW II, where 16 million Ukrainian were displaced, half of them within Ukraine itself, and half in Europe, North America and Russia.

    While some have returned to their homes (e.g., to places like Kiev, where the danger is no longer immediate due to one of Putin’s most resounding and obvious failures in Ukraine), the majority of refugees are likely residents of the 4 ‘referenda’ provinces – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – where the war was, and still is in three of the four, the fiercest and longest.

    On that alone, i.e., the fact that the majority of residents are not there at all at the moment because of the on-going war, the ‘referenda’ are a “sham”.

    Then there is the fact that these provinces are controlled by Russia, which staked its next move – changing the character of its imperialist war on Ukraine to one defending ‘Russian’ territory – on a ‘yes’ vote by the four provinces. Under the Russian military might, literally, it is unlikely that even the bravest of the Ukrainians wouldn’t consider the futility, and actual physical danger, of voting no on the ‘referenda’.

    Every time I read Patrick’s piles of demagogic, propaganda bile one or more of his paragraphs simply leaves me speechless.

    Consider the following excerpt:

    “Will these ballots be fixed? … there is little reason for any such chicanery. ”

    Putin, facing a territorial loss of thousands of square miles and mounting opposition to his latest Reservists’ conscription, pivots his entire next reckless gambit in Ukraine on transforming an imperialistic war into one where he can pretend he defends the Russian Homeland.

    This is not simply a “little reason for any such chicanery”, but a humongous one, and the very rational for rushing the ‘referenda’ in the first place!

    Worst still, it is not as if Patrick himself doesn’t understand the enormity of Putin’s ‘referenda’ move.

    “It is implicit in the referendums themselves that Moscow rests its case on the self-determination argument.” That is, it would give credence to Putin’s ‘sham’ rational for his entire imperialist adventure, namely freeing the pro-Russian Ukrainian provinces from the Ukrainian ‘yoke’.

    Or it would allow Putin, and his left-ish, Neo Progressive useful i****s to pretend that Ukraine’s war for independence against Russian imperialism is “a war against the Russian Federation”.

    1. Message à Sheerpost: N’y a t-il pas moyen de lui fermer la trappe à ce monsieur Nir-je-ne-sais-quoi avec ses lubies insignifiantes et ses faussetés à l’emporte-pièce? Un commentaire devrait suffire, pourquoi insiste t-il sans cesse à rajouter des justificatifs dérisoires à ses méprises d’ignare endoctriné?

      Translation: Does this Mister Nir-Und-So-Weiter really need to make a fool of himself with repetitive messages here with not much more substance than what he regurgitates from the Presstitute media? Why Ad Nauseam?

    2. hirmati alway hysterical—Putin approval steeply climbing now 82%—hillbilly nir learned military strategy in trailer park—kiev never an objective—Russia has lost nothing—only gained 95% of ukraine productive capacity—why have 35% of Ukrainians fled to Russia in past 6 months? why are the Poles and Germans regretful that Ukrainian prostitutes are plentiful across both nations?

    3. hiramat hystericism amusing—35% ukies have fled to Russia—amerikans created the war…Russia will finish it. most that have left are from west ukraine, the most affluent. their Audis and bmv are ubiquitous in Poland Moldova Austri Germany. you know nothing—your comments reveal stupidity racism xenophobia….the US war and imperialism generates migration as it does from middle eastern people in EU and Central Americans inUSA—only a CIA agent asserts that Russians in east or south of ukraine want to live in the failed nazi state now a US colony

  17. by all means, Bob, do not lower yerself to talk to the plebs. nay, dwell with chris in the heavenly hedges where ye owe nobody no explanation for yer pro-war stance..
    i hope it pays the bills, yer betrayal of all yer pricipals.
    being anti-war is not a service to hire out to the highest bidder. it is an ethical choice. sorry ye missed that. hope the caviar tastes okay.

    1. arvo devoid of morality prefers to be a nazi oppressed by fascists—expected from an apologist for police state fascism and US imperialism—Hegel among many distinguished moral from immoral wars—but of course argo cannot comprehend moral philosophy

  18. when has a declining empire, w a failed military, monstrous domestic defects, an unproductive economy a stupefied population ever provoked a major war? never

  19. The links in this which Patrick provided in the article are worth reading, especially, IMO the one by John V. Whitbeck. The United States, like other countries, picks and chooses the kinds of states they approve of in seceding from the national state for various reasons and becoming a new sovereign nation.

    No matter how honest the elections are in the southeastern provinces of Ukraine, pipsqueaks like Biden, Blinken, et al will insist the elections were rigged by the “Big Bad Bear” to the East.

    When Slovenia, the wealthiest state in the former Yugoslavia decided to secede from that nation, they had our blessing, followed by Croatia seceding as well, with a short border war with Serbia, but the Croats had our approval as well.

    And the presage, or prescient (actually, both!) quote by Charles Augstin Saint-Beuve back in 1847 when the U.S. as a nation was still in it’s infancy, is amazing, and scary!

    Thank you Mr. Lawrence. You hit another home run!

  20. I fear we are already at world war 3. The west waits and baits Russia to proclaim it. That is why Anthony Blinkin can have the audacity to announce if the nordstream pipelines were damaged due to terrorism – that is in no one’s interest……sorry?

  21. All the rational, sane people of the word must stop this utterly nutty war that is bound to go nuclear. It makes absolutely no sense even to start this war over Ukraine joining Nato. Ukraine in Nato has no value whatsoever to the West. Yet the Westerners are bound and determined to push Russia into the nuclear option. Leaders in India, China, Latin America, others must pressure these war mongers as they are stuck on a downhill one way track and are totally blind in their rhetoric and propaganda.
    These non involved nations have to seriously demand the West justify their war for merely membership into Nato that has a high risk of being a nuclear conflict which could end the modern world for everybody.

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