Eve Ottenberg International nato

The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again

Europeans discontent with NATO and the war in Ukraine have been left out of North American media coverage, writes Eve Ottenberg.
Photograph Source: DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison – Public Domain

By Eve Ottenberg / CounterPunch

Tens of thousands protested against the skyrocketing cost of living and against Macron in France October 16, led by left-wing politician Jean Luc Melenchon, but there were few front page or top-of-the hour headlines in the U.S. Huge protests occurred in Rome the same day to demand an end to Italy’s involvement in NATO, but no coverage on the west side of the Atlantic. Thousands protesting in Paris October 22 against NATO, but little notice in North America. Massive protests against NATO and inflation due to sanctions on Russian energy in France, Germany and Austria in September, but little news of it here in the heart of the empire. German police beat citizens protesting energy shortages and record-high inflation, both due to Russia sanctions, the week of October 17, but that was not covered in the USA. Seventy thousand Czechs protested in Prague September 3 against NATO involvement in Ukraine, demanding gas from Russia (before some mysterious imperial somebody with means and motive blew up Nordstream 1 and 2, probably to nip the political effects of those protests in the bud) and ending the war, but that got little coverage in U.S. corporate media.

Ever get the sense there are things our media hides from us? Hmm. Ever wonder why enormous protests against the policies of the Exceptional Empire and its attack dog, NATO, seem, um, to be downplayed? Ever think our corporate news outlets behave more like the propaganda arm of our neoconservative state department and military than a free press? Well, if so, you may be onto something.

Lots of Europeans are unhappy about NATO, the Ukraine war, sanctions on Russia and the wild inflation and deindustrialization – which will result in gargantuan unemployment – those sanctions caused. As their living standards sink like stones, Europeans know who is to blame, namely their supposedly great ally across the Atlantic, and many have soured on their so-called alliance with the hegemon. But Washington doesn’t seem to care. Let the Europeans go broke and protest. The important thing is not reporting this news to the American people, who, if they heard about it, might get a subversive inkling that their government had not behaved in an entirely honorable manner.

Meanwhile lies swarm everywhere. Some unintentional, others not. Most recently we have U.S. joint chiefs of staff chairman Mark Milley claiming that if Ukraine falls, the current world order will collapse. Sadly, this is hogwash. What will collapse are the tumescent egos of U.S. and European politicos and military men. Not surprisingly, they conflate that with the world order. But there are other, far more sinister reasons to make such garishly incendiary pronouncements, namely to prepare the American population for the unthinkable – and it is unthinkable, because if the U.S. attacks Russia with nukes, both the U.S. and Russia will be annihilated. Will Biden and his generals get a nuclear war? Unclear. But what’s clear as day is that Americans travel like lemmings to their doom, thanks to the fibs of their rulers and media.

Somehow all the big news gets blacked out. Like China dumping $100 billion worth of U.S. treasuries and what that means if this becomes a trend (I’ll tell you what it means: we’re $30 trillion in debt and we can’t pay, so when we cart SUVs full of cash to the supermarket, we’ll make those Weimar wheelbarrows look petite). Or how sanctions on Russian energy backfired and caused ruinous inflation in Europe, pretty awful inflation here in the U.S. and pushed the whole west toward recession…or maybe ultimately depression. Or how Biden’s ever more reckless sanctions on China could wind up bankrupting us all. China is, after all the chief U.S. trading partner. Sanction China, as Biden recently did to its chip and semiconductor sector, and prices for everything explode upwards.

But money isn’t everything. What about Biden’s devil-may-care attitude toward continued human life on this planet, which he endangers every time he opens his mouth to bloviate that the U.S. will throw its military into the fray, should Taiwan and China go to war? True, Biden’s bellicose pronunciamentos do make the news – he is, after all, the ruler of one of the most violent empires in human history – but details of their global life-and-death implications, namely that they could kill us all? Not so much.

No, this news is not of interest to the editorial bigwigs who tell us what to think. They’re too busy stuffing our heads with bubble gum for the brain like rubbish about Tik Tok, or celebrity drivel or anything else deeply stupid enough to cretinize viewers and readers, so they won’t notice that their utility bills doubled in recent months, or their grocery bills shot up many percentage points, or the world is closer to being incinerated in a nuclear apocalypse than it has ever been.

But they notice anyway. And even though they may lack the finely tuned mental framework to fit it all together, thanks to their news consumption habits, lots of people have begun to glimpse that Washington’s idiocy could get them blown up tout de suite and meanwhile is bleeding them dry and will very soon be bleeding them drier. Hence the public’s growing reluctance to keep handing Ukraine, the most corrupt country in Europe, blank checks. The GOP even climbed onto the bandwagon and announced it won’t fund this misbegotten war if it regains congress. I, for one, will be astonished if Republicans have the backbone to keep that promise. Anyway, Biden plans to preempt this oath by forking over more billions to Kiev now. This will not, ahem, help the Dems, which is probably what Republicans count on. But then Biden gets to look like he’s a man of principle (the show must go on), while the rest of us go broke and calculate our distance from atomic ground zero. Americans struggle with utility bills, grocery and gas prices, medical and educational debt. They don’t need to fund defense contractors to the tune of billions of dollars so Ukrainians and Russians can kill each other halfway around the world. And they certainly don’t need a war that has humanity teetering on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

In an unexpected dribble of good news, on October 24 the Washington Post reported that some 30 members of the progressive caucus urged Biden to get diplomacy to end the war rolling. The next day, they sniveled and recanted. This was the first time any Dems had the guts not to cheerlead for more bloodshed and more war on Moscow. What caused this initial sea change, I don’t know. But it was good news. Better late than never, it seemed. It appeared to mean some on the so-called left in Washington had finally come to their senses and just might not behave as disgracefully as so many European socialists did once World War I started, when they abandoned their erstwhile pacifism. For a long time, honestly, it has looked like that was the inheritance Dem progressives wanted to claim, an inheritance not just of shame and mass murder, but, were the Ukraine war to morph into World War III, human extinction.

For less than a day the sun of reason and goodness shone down. Briefly, the people who consider themselves of the left decided this danger of humanity’s mass execution was worth speaking out about and that diplomacy for peace is the only sane route out of the fiasco. But then, the next day they chickened out of bucking their party’s bloodlust. Even their timid gesture was too much to ask. These people are not leftists. They are cowards. They are a disgrace to the left. If anyone in the progressive caucus ever speaks out for diplomacy again, I’ll be very impressed.

Speaking of being impressed, how about that Washington Post actually playing this story big, about progressives calling for diplomacy, instead of burying it? That was unexpected, to say the least. Because it’s long been sickeningly obvious that our mainstream media show one side of the story: the NATO, Washington, imperial, war-mongering side. And it’s been doing that, shamelessly, for a generation. (It did that earlier too, but with a bit of actual embarrassment, whenever it got called out.) Remember Iraq’s infamous weapons of mass destruction? The editors who hyped that lie for months on end went on to bigger and better things, and so did the politicians – Biden even became president! – while an entire country, Iraq, was bombed to smithereens, based largely on mendacious reporting and political chicanery and now, decades later, has simply swirled down the drain.

And who can forget the frenzy whipped up to justify NATO’s criminal 1999 bombing of Serbia? Nowadays Biden and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg would have you believe NATO is a “defensive” organization. What it did to Serbia should have tossed that mistake in the trash long ago. Instead, the error persists (not accidentally). When Russia reacted to the chance of Ukraine joining NATO and thus the presence of a hostile bomb-happy axis on its borders, western rulers protested that NATO is “defensive.” So also clamor our media, prevaricating just as they do every time they mention the U.S. defense department, which should ditch that moniker and return to the previous, more honest “war department.”

You know things are bad when absurd chuckleheads like former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi are the ones almost nailing reality on the head. He did that October 20 with his remarks that Ukraine provoked Russia into its invasion. It could be argued that Kiev did so by slaughtering 14,000 Russian-speakers in the Donbass since 2014 and then, last winter, massing huge numbers of troops on that region’s border, in preparation for what Moscow took to be a genocide. But actually, Ukraine’s supposed instigation had lotsa help. It would have been more accurate for Berlusconi to say that Ukraine’s puppet master, the U.S., provoked Moscow with its nonstop incitement by expanding NATO eastward since the Soviet Union’s fall, as numerous American experts and diplomats – from cold war brain-trust luminary George Kennan to former ambassador to the USSR Jack Matlock to CIA chief William Burns to great powers expert John Mearsheimer, and others – had  warned, and more recently egged Moscow to attack with a 2014 Kiev coup and the eight years of violent nonsense that followed, and that Washington did so with premeditation to rupture the economic relationship between Russia and Europe; but nonetheless Berlusconi landed his verbal dart on the board with the bullseye. And when you have to go to Berlusconi for informed commentary, you’re in trouble, because he recently chose his side in the Italian government and it was the fascist one. So now things are so bad that fascists are among the people objecting to imperial propaganda. Fun times.

But we have the same disastrous mess here in the U.S., where the next presidential election could shape up to be a choice between Trump’s fascism or Biden’s nuclear war. Choice? Ho, ho. That’s no choice. That’s death on the installment plan or instant death. Either way it’s disastrous for ordinary people, because Trumpism either ends what civilization we have in America, which has a dire, global because imperial impact, or Bidenism directly ends civilization on earth.

At the start of the Ukraine war, Biden promised not to launch World War III. He broke that promise, by flooding Ukraine with weapons, CIA operatives and some special forces. To call this reckless is an understatement. Biden’s refusal to use his considerable weight to promote peace negotiations killed thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, will likely kill many more, and also endangers the lives of billions of other people, worldwide – 5.3 billion from nuclear-winter-induced starvation, who would suffer a slow, agonizing death. And I’m not talking about the canard that Russia may use a low-yield nuclear device on the battlefield. I’m talking about Moscow and Washington determining that they really are in a hot war and the long-range, high-yield nuclear missiles that could then begin to fly.

Biden’s sole task is to prevent this. His desire to be seen as the new FDR, as a friend of the unions, as some sort of social democrat, mean nothing if he can’t deescalate this war with Moscow. If Biden wants any legacy other than that of earth’s destroyer, leaving humanity a cold, charred, radioactive planet, he will stop his war-mongering garbage at once and throw his definitive, presidential heft behind peace negotiations with Moscow. And Washington must be an in-person party to those negotiations. Absent that, anything else he does goes down in history, if there even is a history, as a waste.


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Eve Ottenberg
Eve Ottenberg

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Hope Deferred. She can be reached at her website.

18 comments

  1. For some reason, the neocons in power in the USA and its minions seems to think that a change in the world order would not be a good thing, as if the last fifty years have been a great benefit to most of us on the globe. Perhaps the 87% of the world would not agree, and some even want sovereignty and independence, even democracy for their own lands, NOT what the USA decides is best for everyone.

  2. Thank you for some truth Eve.
    It’s refreshing, and at the same time alarming as heck.
    I’m always amazed Americans seem to think their government is working for them.
    You don’t get people to think like that without life long brainwashing.

    1. Thank you Eve for your comprehensive and informative article that unfortunately supports all of my terrified and angry ruminations. I cannot believe how people go about their daily lives as if they do not care. I guess only a military draft would lead to some activism, and that is not going to happen, alas. I cannot believe I am saying “alas”. Biden, who to my mind is evil incarnate, along with Nuland and Blinken, will not make the mistake of reinstating the draft.

  3. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Eve. I totally agree with you about the MIC. It’s been that way ever since the original Mick started playing for the Yankees. They’re in control and there’s seemingly nothing we can do but shout angry diatribes from a skyscraper and jump to our deaths in protest.

    It’s so frustrating to read a piece like yours and those of Chris Hedges because you’re preaching to the choir.

    What we need are plans of action to combat it.

  4. Right on‼️An essay with the meat and the potatoes of reality delivered with an attitude clearly in touch with the life force from where the survival instinct emanates. Full of fire in the belly and a mind clear of intellectual pretense. Yes, as much as the Progressives squeaked about peace then swallowed their squeak – they modeled a person not loving their god with all their heart, mind and soul where demanding and persisting in insisting on peace negotiations would risk their losing committee assignments, access and running for Congress again (the Democratice calculus a la Queen Pelosi). A bit like Ruth Ginsberg’s refusal to retire to afford a a solid justice minded Supreme Court Justice named to her place. Who in public political life models that devotion to something that dwarfs their ego?

  5. So, we have a choice in the next election- immediate incineration by nuclear bombs or nuclear death on the installment plan. The only affect we have on the government is our vote. What that seems to do is underwrite our own destruction. I’ve been writing for some time that the way to get the government’s attention is to start a country-wide moratorium on voting in the presidential race. Do you think that would get attention? If it doesn’t then we’re really doomed.

  6. Thank you Eve for this clearsighted appraisal of a fool of a president and the situation we are in, it is utterly scandalous. Perhaps the Europeans can wake up and reject the USA and Mr. Biden wholeheartedly like the global south has and make it the most isolated and detested nation on earth.

  7. The entire article reads as one long plea for:
    (a) the West rolling over and dying when the least little pressue or discomfort is placed on it
    (b) in the process completely disregarding the ethical question of the Ukraine war
    (c) disproportional attention to anti-NATO protestests

    Its examination of recent events starts from a marked (pro-Russian) viewpoint in which all and any measures against Russia’s war of aggression in the Ukraine or assistance to the Ukraine to help it resist Russian aggression are (without critical examination and indeed mistakenly) condemned, smeared as futile, or portrayed as reckless. Such pieces are generally known as propaganda, not ‘journalism’.

    Protests are a political signal but do not in themselves constitute poll or a vote. A divided public opinion is practically the hallmark of Western democracies. It is striking to note that such protestors almost always reside in countries that themselves are not at risk France and Italy which have an excellent buffer zone between themselves and e.g. Russia, unlike Finland, the Baltics, Poland, etc.

    Last but not least, the mere fact that people are worked up about something in no way indicates that they are right.

    Just consider the Trump rallies, the massive resonance of memes about a ‘stolen election’ (which have been thoroughly debunked wherever they were investigated), and the widespread acceptance of ‘Flat Earth’ theories (along the lines of “anti-authoritarian” and “critical” attitudes. Race segragation laws in South Africa were based on solid parliamentarian majorities (among the only voters: whites). The Nazi regime too was able to mobilise large swathes of public protests.

    Anyone want to contend that any of these heartfelt and population supported viewpoints were ‘right’?

    If not, we must conclude that, yes, protests are all very well, but we should never let the mere fact that people protest lend weight to what the yare saying. That should only ever be decided on merit. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of that in Ottenberg’s piece. Rather the opposite in fact.

    1. Wasn’t a basic concern of Eve’s essay – the omissions of information/facts in our media coverage? That the coverage is pronouncedly one-sided? A pro USA lens that insists on its own innocence while viewing Russia as evil incarnate? Isn’t it odd – in a nation that asserts itself as a democracy with a Bill of Rights with freedom of speech and the press – that no serious discussion about Peace negotiations has occurred in the major media and where in fact the recommendations by Progressives for such were decisively and promptly squashed?Aren’t more than a few things added to the endangered Democracy list when opposing viewpoints are viewed from the get go as traitorous and suspect? As though the opposing or third way view holds no wisdom? I shudder at the false equivalence of Nazi induced German protests and current European protests at the stupidity of their government’s economically suicidal decisions forcing their citizenry to pay the exhorbitant USA oil and gas companies’ prices. so that their cost of living – literally- as skyrocketed. As I write these things, I imagine your response as derogatory, as in viewing my thoughts as pro-Russian. I fear it is not within your interest or domain to want simply a path to more life and least death by adults – rooted in the preciousness of life instead of its commodification – arriving at decisions to construct a Peace that works best for both sides. The alcoholic views the world in black and white. The recovered alcoholic in a multitude of greys. And knows well the personal sacrifice required for that nuanced lens of the truly “adult”.

  8. This article seems to be a rehash of opinions about the political ‘mistakes’ the USA has made but does not reflect on the importance of other world players or the quest for resources or control of shipping lanes etc.. The reality out there is more like a world chess game.

    I believe that China welcomes the conflict between Ukraine and Russia because it can use this war as a smoke screen to intensify its expansionist work throughout the world. China has been building a network of military and or “security bases” throughout the world and reporters here do not seem to even notice. I also think that Russia is very aware of China’s expansion and is getting nervous like many other countries but it is obviously not going to poke a political sharp stick in the side of the dragon.

    Someone needs to put a detailed map of where the USA and China have bases around the world and talk about the purpose of such bases and what resources are being coveted/controlled by these powers to get a better idea of what is going on.

    Completely blaming the USA for the world situation is short sighted.

  9. Beeline – Please provide your resources for your assertion that China is building a “network of military and or “security bases” throughout the world”. For example, the USA leads all other countries in the number of military installations in foreign countries “There are roughly 750 US foreign military bases; they are spread across 80 nations! After the U.S is the UK, but they only have 145 bases.” (www.thesoldiersproject.com) And, helpful too, is your evidence supporting you opinion about Russia’s “nervousness about China.” Contrast that opinion with this. “Chinese and Russian companies have reached agreements on key industries such as energy, food and other daily commodities on the sideline of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) from June 15-18, as the two countries are unleashing greater potentials in bilateral trade to boost the regional economy.” (www.globaltimes.cn) And then this.”Energy giants Gazprom PJSC and Rosneft PJSC signed agreements with the world’s largest energy consumer as President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of the Winter Olympics. The two leaders are drawing their nations closer together, united by political, military and economic frictions with Europe and the U.S.”(bloomberg.com) Have you read discussions by various countries of wanting a multipolar world instead of a unipolar one (one controlled/dominated by the USA)? For example – If you lived in Thailand, would you favor a multipolar world? Or prefer to be controlled by the USA via its demands and then sanctions when you refuse to go along with it because you desire something benefiting Thailand more than what the USA offers?

  10. First of all, thank you for your thoughtful to-the-point response and marked lack of invective.

    (1) Media bias. When you say: “coverage is pronouncedly one-sided” with reference to the protests the article refers to, I take it that you think that the editorial choice of certain mainstream publications left mention of them out in many cases. I believe there is some justification in regarding that as a bias.

    However:
    (1.a) this bias isn’t universal: there are mainstream news outlets that did report it. See e.g.: https://www.voanews.com/a/thousands-protest-in-madrid-against-nato-summit/6633737.html
    https://nypost.com/2022/09/03/70000-protest-in-prague-against-czech-government-eu-nato/
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-09-03/tens-of-thousands-protest-in-prague-against-czech-government-eu-and-nato

    (1.b) bias isn’t censorship (unlike the article suggests) and neither is it a sign of any organised attempt to suppress such news. The information was out there and available, e.g.: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/tens-thousands-protest-prague-against-czech-government-eu-nato-2022-09-03/ As you and the article point out however, this news often wasn’t given a prominent spot.

    (1.c) Due to space limitations and the need to sell one’s services as a new agency, it’s not possible to provide news that can pass muster as historically accurate and evenhanded (except perhaps Reuters but they’re a news wholesale outfit rather than an end-user news agency), i.e. without bias. Bridging the gap between what to put on the front page from what’s available as news agency reports is the editorial policy. And yes, this is always a source of bias. It cannot be avoided. Every newspaper does it, out of necessity. For that treason I personally make an effort to look at more than one news source; I have an idea of the editorial policy of a number of news sources so I tend to contrast their stories when I’m really interested in a particular topic.

    And yes, I believe that most mainstream meadia in the US have an editorial policy that would be regarded as decidedly right of the centre in most of Europe. So, in that respect, I believe you and the article have a point that US mainstream news services show bias.

    The issue is: how much of a bias, how bad this really is, whether this is sort of a conspiracy as the article purports, and whether complementary news sources are available.

    (1.d) An important issue (to me) is that mainstream media have been extensively villified by those on the right of the US political spectrum. I get the impression that most rightwingers in the US use the term ‘mainstream media’ as one of the most derogatory monikers they have, and do not trust mainstream media. In a sense therefore, US mainstream media seem to occupy a sort of middle position between the Rightwing and Progressives.

    So what do they do about it? Well, they get onto facebook, twitter, Reddit, tiktok and lots of less well-known Internet sites where they get the kind of news that confirms their worldview.

    Their rationale for doing so closely resembles a phrase the author of the above article uses, namely: “Ever get the sense there are things our media hides from us?”. Plus choice comments like: “Ever think our corporate news outlets behave more like the propaganda arm of our neoconservative state department and military than a free press? Well, if so, you may be onto something.”.

    This is exactly the kind of insinuating smear that the mainstream media are beholden to ‘corporate interests’, part of a conspiracy, beholden to lefwing / righwing [cross out which doesn’t apply] propagandists. This feeds e.g. into the firm belief by Trump followers that the 2020 presidential election was somehow ‘stolen’ (no matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary).

    The article we’re discussing advocates exactly this kind of attitude and applies exactly this same kind of smear to the mainstream media. Just from a different viewpoint (this time not from Trump adepts but ‘Progressives’).

    For that reason I think the article crosses several lines and that the conspiracy-theory atmosphere it conveys leads diectly to conspiracy theories news bubbles (left-wing and right-wing) that serve as breeding grounds for extremists.

    Bias is to be expected and practically unavoidable. As long as the information supporting different viewpoints is not suppressed (as it is in e.g. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, etc.) I think it’s more of an inconvenience than a problem.

    (2) Discussion about Peace negotiations.

    (1.a) What strikes me is that you, the author of the article and the ‘Progressives’ launching the suggestion of peace negotiations actually seem to believe that this suggestion, at the time and place in which it was proposed, in the way it was proposed is somehow neutral, helpful, or even fair. Well, it absolutely is not.

    This initiative comes smack in the middle of an active conflict in which Russia is blatantly violating international law by waging a war of conquest and aggression on its weaker neighbour’s territory. Russia attempted to kill and replace the Ulrainian government in something that is the state equivalent of a mugging. It currently holds large swathes of Ukrainian territory and fundamentally denies (via its president) Ukrainian sovereignty and the Ukraine’s right to exist. It has done this 8 years after illegally annexing the Crimea from the same Ukraine. The only difference is that at that time the Ukraine was militarily incapable of resisting, and today it is not.

    (2.b) Russia has shown that unless and until its objectives are met (obliteration of the Ukraine as a sovereign country and its re-integration into Russia), there will be no prospect for peace. At most there will be a lull in fighting until Russia feels it’s opportune to launch the next war of conquest.

    Given that Russia is currently getting a bloody nose on the battlefield, this ‘Peace initiative’ can only serve to solidify Russia’s land-grab, turn the world’s attention away from it, and give Russia an opportunity to enjoy its gains, replenish its losses, and effect a Russification campaign to entrench the position in the lands it stole from Ukraine by demographic means. In other words, this ‘Peace initiative’ is simply playing into Russia’s hands and rewarding it for its crimes.

    From the perspective of e.g. the Ukraine this ‘Peace initiative’ is therefore nothing less than a stab in the back, an encouragement to Russia to persevere in its military approach, an attempt to cut its lifeline (the US willingness to aid it by supplying the weapons it needs to defend itself), and a huge reward for Russia in that it gets to keep what it grabbed.

    (2.c) Personally I don’t believe those ‘Progressives’ who proposed this ‘Peace initiative’ are paid agitators. I do believe they are utterly clueless and callously prepared to engage in virtue signally at the expense of a country that suffers from Russian aggression. As such I fully support all and any pushback to said ‘Peace initiative’. At the very least they could have had the basic courtesy of asking the Ukraine first if it wished them to launch this kind of ‘Peace’ initiative.

    To me this ‘Peace initiative’ is ethically analogous to proposing to the victim of a rape in progress to cease struggling (as that would result in the victim being hurt) and starting ‘peace negotiations’ with the rapist. I respectfully submit that the rape victim would have no patience with the ‘Wisdom’ of a ‘third way’ in the matter.

    (3) Your ‘shuddering’ at the ‘false equivalence’ of ‘Nazi induced German protests and current European protests’.

    (3.a) Perhaps it is my fault to refer to Nazi Germany as an example for why the mere fact of mass demonstrations has not bearing at all on whether the participants have anything like a reasonable point of view. Whenever Nazi germany is brought into a discussion, people tend to stop thinking and start ‘shuddering’.

    From your response I understand that instead of taking my example as stated (i.e. a refutation of the belief that since there is a demonstration its participants must necessarily have something reasonable to say) you prefer to portray this example as something I clearly did not write and did not intend to be understood as such. i.e. claiming that those protestors are comparable to Nazi’s.

    (3.b) When you write “protests at the stupidity of their government’s economically suicidal decisions forcing their citizenry to pay the exhorbitant USA oil and gas companies’ prices.”, I feel you are turning the world on its head.

    Economic sanctions are just about the least warlike response to military aggression one could imagine. Due to Russia’s dominant position in the European energy market, its decision to renege on its delivery contracts to the EU causes inflation and energy scarcity in the EU. What you are in fact saying is that you feel that the EU should turn its back on the Ukraine and continue to prop up the Russian war economy in order not to jeopardise its own energy supplies and keep inflation down.

    This of course could make excellent sense in terms of egoistical self-interest on part of the EU. The question is however: does this make sense in the medium or long term, and is it the kind of society the EU wishes to be?

    I submit that it is not in the EU medium-term interest to refrain from sanctioning Russia, and continuing to do business with Russia is not compatible with the kind of society the EU wishes to be.

    Russia has shown very clearly (time and again) that it wants several ex-USSR members back under Russian control and (force ‘neutrality’ and a state of helplessness versus Russia on others) and is prapared to use military means to achieve this where persuasion, diplomacy, or an appeal to the population fails. Unless the EU is happy to see Russia subjugate Finland, the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, Kazachstan, Belarus, and others it needs to take a stance.

    And for better or worse, policy isn’t set by a handful of demonstrators but by governments elected by parliaments. Any government measure has winners and losers but allowing a minority blocking rights is not usual.

    (4) Derogatory and pro-Russian

    (4.c) I view the article and your response as terminally short-sighted and unrealistic at best. You really seem to believe that appeasement will give you peace. This is not the case.

    The surrender of the Sudentenland to Nazi Germany during the Munich “Peace” conference prior to WW-II clearly demonstrates otherwise. All and any arguments on your part resting on “simply a path to more life and least death by adults – rooted in the preciousness of life instead of its commodification –“ would need to explain why tolerating the Nazi expansion prior ro WW-II would have saved lives rather than raising the death toll and the suffering.

    When you talk about “arriving at decisions to construct a Peace that works best for both sides.”, why not include the Ukraine as a ‘side’ and let it speak for itself instead of forcing it to submit to its more powerful neighbour because it runs out of weapons to defend itself?

  11. Am impressed by the intellectual energy put into this comment all leading to the ultimate point – you’re all commies and pro Russia if you happen to assert in the midst of high conflict that negotiating for peace is a good idea….So, when exactly do you begin pressing for peace when a war is going on? When everybody – including lots of citizens and everything is smashed? Is then when peace negotiations are best considered? And, is it possible to have an opposing viewpoint – like asserting for peace – without being grouped with the enemy? Actually, Russia hasn’t been pushing for peace has it? So asserting peace is the third leg of the stool.Given the intellectual input, would you be open to discussing if opposite viewpoints carry value at a time of high intensity conflict? And is it possible that moms and dads working two jobs each with a couple kids don’t have the luxury of time to research beyond the immediate newsflash as you do? it’s admirable that you read widely. As for excusing NYT and other news sources for neglecting to mention – even in one sentence or two that much of the world wants peace negotiations –because they have a right to their “bias”, how is that not a rationalization for the sin of omission? Can you ever see an instance where not informing the public about a key element of the context becomes more than mere “bias”? But instead, propaganda?

    1. What’s your point? You seem confused. Who is the enemy? Actually, if you read more you would discover from the very beginning that Russia has been pushing for peace. It was simply ignored. Do you think arming Ukraine to the tune of $60 billion is somehow aiding the peace process?

  12. @Selina Sweet

    (1) Am disappointed I clearly failed to put across that proposing ‘Peace’ negotiations now and without the Ukraine’s consent isn’t (in my view) about peace at all but about virtue-signalling appeasement at the Ukraine’s expense.

    (2) As to when exactly you start pressing for peace when a war is going on? How about waiting until parties intentions are no longer mutually exclusive (as in Russia pressing for the obliteration of the Ukraine plus annexation of its territory and the Ukraine pressing for its survival)? Or perhaps obtaining the Ukraine’s consent to negotiations before creating new facts that may affect their lifeline?

    (3) Having opposing viewpoints is fine; putting them forward in a way guaranteed to encourage the aggressor to persevere because the determination to support its victim is crumbling (which is what suing for ‘Peace’ means) seems a lot less fine. Or don’t you think this matters?

    (4) Is it possible that moms and dads working two jobs etc. ought to understand that they can’t hope to understand the nuances of world affairs through 30-second newsflashes and hence should reserve judgment until they are able to spend some time to understand what’s actually going on? As responsible voters perhaps?

    (5) Disappointed that it didn’t come across that bias in reporting is unavoidable. If you view Russia’s incursion as a war of naked aggression (the mainstream view) then how much mention can you make in a 30-second news flash that some people want appeasement without lending it more weight than it merits (e.g. considering how far the belligerents’ positions differ)? Granted: newspaper articles are in a different position. But I think the basic question remains.

    (6) When doe bias become propaganda? Hmm. How about omitting to mention that Russia seeks to obliterate the Ukraine when launching a ‘Peace’ initiative?

  13. @Robert Sinuhe

    “[…] Actually, if you read more you would discover from the very beginning that Russia has been pushing for peace. It was simply ignored.”

    The beginning you say? What beginning would that be? The start of Russia’s war against Ukraine? When Russia annexed the Krim? Or afterwards when Russia annexed Luhansk, Donetsk, and Cherson?

    Do tell. Links to public and verifiable sources for your claims please, or it never happened.

    “Do you think arming Ukraine to the tune of $60 billion is somehow aiding the peace process?”

    Yes, of course. Once Russia is militarily beaten and turfed out of the Ukraine would be an excellent opportunity for the peace process. Every dollar of that amount mentioned is helping.

    Err, can I ask you to pitch in too? Cordaid does a wonderful job with blankets or generators for the Ukrainian population who just had their power grid bombed to rubble at the onset of winter.

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