Opinion Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: The Democrats’ Assault on Diplomacy

Actions speak louder than words and the Dems' "diplomacy first" approach has been all bark and no bite.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, and Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin met at Yalta. US government photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

It is only two years since Joe Biden, hitting the hustings in pursuit of the White House, had to promise big change on the foreign policy side. Americans were beyond weary of the forever wars. People were beginning to see that the Pentagon’s outlandish budget had everything to do with America’s miserable social welfare programs, collapsing infrastructure, poor public education, and so on.

“Diplomacy first” it was for Team Biden, resort to the military last. His main national security people—Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, William Burns—couldn’t stress the theme often enough. Lots of people—and I was not among them—thought it was terrif, a promising sign that the ship of state was at last changing course, that Burns, a former diplomat of ambassador rank, had been named director of the Central Intelligence Agency. No more covert ops and interventions.

Burns, I will remind readers, was among those who once upon a time counseled against advancing NATO eastward to Russia’s borders and provoking Moscow by arming the Ukrainians. 

“Time and time again, we’ve seen how over-reliance on military tools can lead us into policy quicksand,” Burns said in an interview with Foreign Policy in the spring of 2020. “Time and time again, we’ve fallen into the trap of overusing—or prematurely using—force. That tends to make diplomacy a distorted and underused afterthought.”

That was how the Biden people sounded back then. It was what many, many Americans wanted to hear. But the optimists didn’t quite understand that hearing it was all they were ever going to do. As soon as Biden won the November 2020 election and named the aforementioned to senior national security posts, all the talk of diplomacy went the way of “Build Back Better,” a higher minimum wage, no first use of nuclear weapons, and all the other promises Biden made and broke as quickly as you can say “No more support for the Yemen war.”

Burns—a second reminder—is now as hawkish as they come in support of the proxy war in Ukraine that lately has the whole world frightened of a nuclear exchange.

The recent fiasco following the “Dear Mr. President” letter the so-called progressive caucus published, modified, and outright retracted in 24 hours pushes our faces into many bitter truths. One of them is that diplomacy has not dropped from first resort to second or even last. It no longer rates consideration of any kind among the policy cliques and on Capitol Hill. A few years ago those of us who advocated a neo-détente with Russia wondered amid all the primitive attacks we endured whether our critics were criminalizing diplomacy. This is a pretty close call given the fallout since 29 of the 30 congresspeople who signed the infamous letter, which meekly proposed opening talks with Moscow, now cower pitifully in the corner.

Ro Khanna deserves mention here. The California Democrat is the sole signatory to stand by the letter amid the warmongers’ din, telling CNN last week that advocating a diplomatic channel between Washington and Moscow is nothing more than “common sense.” This is the case, open and shut, but common sense is plainly not welcome in the corridors of power anymore.  

I well recall thinking after Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and their “progressive” colleagues were elected to Congress in 2018 that all the fuss and fanfare was misplaced. I figured Washington would either eat them alive or force them to fold their cards and conform. We now have confirmation, if any were needed, that the latter of these has come to be. “The Squad,” whatever its members’ youthful altruism, is a pack of nebbishes in a heated competition with President Biden to see who can break more promises. Utterly useless.  

Lesson No. 2: For the moment, and it looks to be a long moment, it is impossible to present a case for an alternative foreign policy in this country. In the years before he died in 2020, Steve Cohen, the noted Russianist, used to say there was only one political party in America, the War Party. What I took then to be a clever figure of speech is now the grimmest of realities.

The letter that detonated a political explosion last week is the work of mice who forgot how to roar, if ever they knew. Its signatories took great care to protect their political flanks by opening with unreserved praise for Biden’s profligate military support for the Kyiv regime and an implicit condemnation of Russia. Only when these signals are sent does the letter suggest that the administration “pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push.”

For this the signers were called every name you can think of and some you probably cannot. Faced with a vociferous roomful of protestors who justly felt betrayed by her position on the war in Ukraine and the retracted letter, Ilhan Omar gave us the opening to another lesson. “I am sorry, you aren’t ‘antiwar protesters,’” she wrote on Twitter, “you are dangerous propagandists who are literally making a mockery of the antiwar movement. I have never had the pleasure of responding to [Russia’s] ridiculous internet disinformation in person before. Thank you for the opportunity.”

What a punk. And Omar’s punkery leads us to our next lesson.

Lesson No. 3: When the Democratic Party fingered Russia after Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing mail was leaked in 2016, it was soon evident that in the small cause of Clinton’s political reputation the Democratic elite was perfectly willing to set loose a wave of paranoiac Russophobia with vast geopolitical consequences. There is a straight line between that episode and the “diplomacy never” line now prevalent in Washington. The state of hysteria that grips the policy cliques on all things to do with Russia is in large measure Hillary Clinton’s legacy.

I have always detested the deplorable Clinton and her allies for this recklessness. And for another reason as she ran for president: Republicans are who they are and make few bones about it; Clinton and her liberal insincerities were scoring off the legitimate aspirations of ordinary Americans to sell them a late-imperial foreign policy diametrically opposed to their interests.

I put Omar and her colleagues in the same file now.

Which brings us to Lesson No. 3a: The utter fraud of “identity politics”—a blight upon us all—now has people of color selling Americans war in the name of peace, diversity, democracy, and an antiwar consciousness. They are every bit the charlatans Hillary Clinton has so frequently proven to be.

The administration has taken the occasion of the letter to confirm that the official line is that any question of negotiations toward a diplomatic settlement is for Kyiv’s to decide. This is a patently ridiculous dodge. So far as can be made out, Kyiv does nothing without Washington’s dispensation, excesses such as the regime’s call for NATO to strike Russia with a preemptive nuclear attack notwithstanding.

Lesson No. 4: The U.S. cannot speak straightly or honestly at this stage in its late-imperial decline. All is obfuscation. Those purporting to lead America have given themselves over to sheer force and force alone to defend a passing hegemony that is ultimately indefensible. They have nothing else left—a truth that cannot, of course, be acknowledged. We are left with the diplomacy of no diplomacy, as I have called this condition elsewhere.

Not to be missed in the shout fest we witnessed in Washington last week, there is a growing number of voices calling for a diplomatic opening between Washington and Moscow—this on both sides of the Atlantic. You can hear these voices in The National Interest, as noted in this space a few weeks ago, or in Newsweek or in the Financial Times. The Council on Foreign Relations weighed in on October 28, when Foreign Affairs, its august house organ, published a piece under the headline, “Don’t Rule Out Diplomacy in Ukraine.”

Nobody is howling at those radical screwballs on East 68th Street. What is going on here?

Lesson No. 5 is to my mind one of the most frightening. In our unmapped, unprecedented condition—Mama never said there’d be days like this—the force of language itself, the most essential instrument in the exercise of dissent, is waning. This is surely among the morbid symptoms—Gramsci’s famous phrase—of a nation willing to destroy itself in the name of a lost primacy.  

It has been evident for some time that America’s political process is indifferent to the wishes of those who continue to participate in it. Now it is also evident the ruling elites have rendered themselves immune to the power of language, and they are immune to the power of language because they are immune to rational thought. We must ask: Does anything we say matter to those who exercise power most directly?

The answer here is other than bright and cheerful. It follows only—forgive the paradox—that those who hold to the imperative of reason and rational discourse must keep on saying and saying and saying, a little like Medieval monks scribbling manuscripts to preserve civilization from the barbarity all around them.


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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.

40 comments

  1. The DNC thinks if you are for diplomacy or peace, it means you support Putin or Russia. However,
    if you support the USA and Ukraine, it means you support Nazism. As if that is any bit better. Either side
    means the end of the human species. How dumb can you get.

      1. DNC, RNC, MIC, NED, CIA ….. what’s the difference? Its all nazis as far as one can see. They just use different letters to keep people confused.

        Especially effective in a country where constant attacks on public education and teachers over the decades have in turn led to the predictable large amounts of functional illiteracy.

  2. “His main national security people—Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, William Burns” of a quality difficult to sink below, give us an idea why the USA is threatening to go to war with both Russia and China for completely spurious reasons. Taiwan is part of China-that is a fact acknowledged by the UN and the world including the USA.
    Russia lives next door to Ukraine and will continue to do so. This is NOT your business, but you interfered as you often do. Russia’s national security not unreasonably involves NOT being attacked , by nukes especially, by NATO which has declared Russia an enemy despite NO genuine need. Why attack Russia rather than solving your own real problems? National security includes peace, food, shelter, education NOT making enemies, invading others, sanctioning those you disagree with.

  3. Yes. The hegemon is losing its shit, no doubt, and desperately trying to maintain it. But, like the Ukrainians fighting a superior Russian force, will not retreat, will fight to the last man standing.
    Mr Lawrence states, “People were beginning to see that the Pentagon’s outlandish budget had everything to do with America’s miserable social welfare programs, collapsing infrastructure, poor public education, and so on.”
    For at least 50 years, American elites were able to maintain a reasonable standard of living with relatively low taxes in America while still engaging in expensive foreign wars and adventures, purchasing foreign assets, and importing to our heart’s desire. They paid for the current account deficits by issuing Treasuries which then became the basis of international reserve currencies. In effect, the Chinese paid the Americans to encircle them with nuclear armed bases.
    At this point in time, Treasury sales are reduced and other currencies are taking the place of the dollar. The result is a much poorer America where we have to pay for our military ourselves. The result is a noticeable fall in the common standard of living and the American people begin to notice. Of course, the elites will not suffer…
    At any rate, the imperial ship has sailed for foreign ports and we are still clutching at the docklines, desperately trying to keep her.

    1. Note: except for the metaphors, the content of my comment comes from Michael Hudson’s revised version of ‘Super Imperialism’.

      1. It could also have come from Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam”, April 4, 1967. Not much has changed along the way, except for getting worse.

        “It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. ”

        Of course, in this modern age, anyone who considers ‘militarism’ to be a giant triplet that must be conquered would obviously be one of Putin’s agents. 🙂 One could certainly not be in the Democratic Party talking in such a fashion. Of course, Dr. King was never a Democrat.

    2. There is only so much money to go around. The MIC and The MSM + the Masters of Mankind have clearly stated that the posterity and survival of humanity are not on the table.Only the rich shall live and prosper. The working class and people of color all over the world can pound sand while rapacious Capitalism and Imperialism reign supreme.What we have is more money for profits and nothing for peace.

  4. The critical point will come when Russia’s Winter Campaign starts. At that point, according to the apparent Biden war policy, Biden will double-down again. What will be his action should it appear Ukraine might be overrun? He won’t have enough soldiers to intervene directly? Perhaps he is working at convincing gung-ho Poland to intervene? Or more likely, as is his nature, he will blow-up Russian divisions with tactical nukes then blame them for striking first. Where there is no apparent diplomacy, there is only a policy of escalation and war.

    1. From the signals in the US propaganda, I suspect that the US response to Russia’s upcoming Winter Campaign will be direct US air support, including drones and cruise missiles and bombs.

      There has been a recent drumbeat about air power, the Russian drones is just the most visible focus.

      Nordstream Pipeline sabotage and yesterday’s drone attack on the Russian navy are just the beginning moves.

    2. Don’t forget the other fronts.

      Old Killer Joe, with a big assist from Nasty Nancy, is desperately trying to start a war also with China. And, Joe has also not given up on his other front against Iran as well. Israel is having elections again, so who knows what they might do as a campaign photo op?

      There is no place in this world where Joe Biden and the Democrats do not want World War III. The chant from Hilary through today that we’ve heard incessantly from the Democrats has been “We Want Nuclear War. And We Want It Now!”

  5. This is a wonderful, although despairing, article. I plan to copy it. I plan to support Patrick Lawrence’s journalism in the future. There are truthful voices for diplomacy; he points to one. There are more: Chris Hedges, Jeffrey Sachs, and others that suffer censorship in various forms. We must seek them out.

  6. Superb piece, and this is one of the best sentences ever written:

    “Lesson No. 3: When the Democratic Party fingered Russia after Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing mail was leaked in 2016, it was soon evident that in the small cause of Clinton’s political reputation the Democratic elite was perfectly willing to set loose a wave of paranoiac Russophobia with vast geopolitical consequences. ”

    I was amazed to see an anti-war protester shouted down at a press conference by Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Biden student debt relief (a small concession). The attendees, many black, started chanting to squelch the verbal barrage from the protester.

    Could you imagine a crowd at a Martin Luther King Jr. event shouting down anti-war protesters with slogans from LBJ’s urban renewal program?????

    1. Elizabeth Warren is another phony who was placed on a pedestal early on by so-called progressives She goose steps to the DemoRAT Party elite.

      But she was funny during the not to be redundant but the so-called presidential debates, in her constant diatribes to Mike Bloomberg, who was calm and probably thought Lizzy needed a rabbi shot or a tranquilizer to finished the “debate.”

      1. It’s easy to critique the RATS who are the current sock puppets for the MIC, but wait until it’s the REPUGS. Ben Norton had an excellent story about the Ukrainian Nazis, many who immigrated to the West and joined conservative parties.

      2. Lizzie is worse than that. Consider back to the 2020 elections.

        The American Left began that cycle with their best chance to elect a President since Franklin Deleano Roosevelt. Lizzie had a big role in sabotaging that possibility.

        Consider a ‘might have been.’ Early in the cycle, Sanders and Warren announce a unified progressive coalition to fight this campaign. Perhaps Warren is pre-named as VP or Sec of Treasury or whatever she wants in the next, progressive administration. Not only would this have unified the two main progressive vote getters in 2020, but it would have sent a strong signal to the rest of the left that now was the time to unify and take power.

        The early primaries would have been different. Instead of the Joe from MasterCard hanging around near the lead after some early, weak showings, instead we would have been seeing larger Progressive majorities in the early primaries. There is a big difference from ‘Bernie 25%, Warren 20%, Biden 15%’ to ‘Bernie/Warren 45% v Biden 15%.’

        Why did Lizzie sabotage the Left’s best chance at power in a century? Inquiring minds want to know.

  7. This morning NPR broadcast an interview with Heather Conley, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

    Ms. Conley said there was no possibility of diplomacy or negotiations with Putin!! Listen:
    https://www.npr.org/2022/10/30/1132658572/understanding-the-biden-administrations-approach-to-diplomacy-with-russia

    The NPR host wet her up to make those remarks with a question about the Progressive Caucus’ Dear Biden letter on diplomacy. The interview was a blatant propaganda stunt to explain to the liberals and provide liberal talking point about why negotiations and diplomacy are off the table. Shameful.

    1. Thanks for posting the link to the NPR segment. It’s really an indication of how willingly NPR has become the servant of Empire, when the host sets up her clearly war-loving guest with this:
      “RASCOE: What does diplomacy look like with a country that is flagrantly violating international law and the U.N. charter with actions like annexing another country’s territory? How do you even approach that when you have a country that is engaging in these sort of violations? ”

      Those who read the type of writing that Patrick Lawrence does so well will recognize how patently dishonest that question is – in its complete hiding of the actual historical context of Russia’s actions in the Donbass; and of the U.S.’s flagrant violation of international role in its engineering of the coup in Russia, its recruitment and support of actual neo-Nazis and their 8-year violation of human rights (and killings of 1000s) in the Donbass, etc.

      It’s not that I expect any better from NPR. They sold their collective souls long ago- a partial result of the Reaganite attacks on public media , but a sellout to the corporatocracy regardless of rationale. But I never thought they’d be so blatant about it. I guess it’s just like the professional assassins will say – the first time or two is the toughest… but after a while, it gets easy (to tell lies and cheer murderous wars).

    1. Jim Gala, thank you, as no one seems to bring this up, the dismantling of Henery Wallace as Vice-President (everyone knew FDR would die very soon, which he did), the Democratic Party apparatus would not stand for the pro-Soviet Union Wallace as the next President. I truly believe that Wallace could have prevented the Cold War from ever materializing had he been given the opportunity to try, as the delegates had already decided in favor of Wallace, the Democratic “leadership” thought differently, we got Truman, and his idiotic “Doctrine”. Please read ‘The Untold History of the United States’ by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. Also, ‘The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party’ by John Nichols. Again Jim Gala, kudos for bringing forward this point, most needed in today’s realty.

      1. Thank you, Mark for bringing up Henry Wallace. It was a tragedy that he wasn’t selected to be FDR’s running mate in the ’44 election. Had he been the successor to Roosevelt the country, quite possibly, would not be in the fix it is today.

    2. Good link, Jim! If I remember correctly, it was Jimmy Byrnes who sabotaged Henry Wallace’s nomination to be FDR’s VP.

      You saw how the MSM belittled the two only honest Democrats, Mike Gravel of Alaska and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and were literally made “invisible by the MSM.

      I had the honor of meeting both gents at different times and places, and speaking to them.

  8. Patrick:

    Please consider projecting the consequences of the war and sanctions for Europe and the US out a year, and then a few years in a future article. Russia will win the war with Ukraine (see, for example:
    https://sonar21.com/did-general-david-petraeus-let-the-ukrainian-cat-out-of-the-bag/) , unless the US creates a false flag event that neutralizes any victory for Russia (such as a dirty bomb or damage to a nuclear power plant). If the US army intervenes directly, it is unprepared for a peer competitor in Russia, unless it escalates to nuclear war, where nobody wins.

    If the US does nothing, it will continue to be marginalized in the world economy after having destroyed Europe’s, then pushing Eurasia to strengthen and make its own economies more self-sufficient. A stagnant US economy and inflation, as others have suggested, means an angry populace and political turmoil at home, not to mention finding it more difficult each year to sustain the massive military spending.

    I can’t see how the public, or even isolated representatives like “the Squad”, can deal with the influence of the MICIMATT (Ray McGovern) because the money and force multipliers heavily favor big business and govt, protected by the police and intelligence services: the MICIMATT is a self-reinforcing system, which is why as abhorrent as it is, the system works so well. This political stasis and indifference to the realities average people face will lead to more disillusionment and eventually overt fascism, as Chris Hedges warns.

    1. “… can deal with the influence of the MICIMATT”
      ———
      It can be done. There is an alternative.
      “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out”

      Its worked to stop a war once before in my lifetime. And, key parts of the formula are still required today. Both the “Tuning In” to other voices, and the “Dropping Out” from the militaristic war culture.

      One thing that is hard to do is to fight against a militaristic war culture from within that culture while constantly imbibing the products of that war culture. It is actually much easier to drop out from that culture, and then build a better culture, or counter-culture, that you can better live with and grow to appreciate and defend. Thus, “Dropping Out” was a key step towards stopping a murderous war by the military state.

      The interesting thing is that once you’ve dropped out, the MICIMATTs have a very hard time even reaching you to influence you. It does not matter what lies the New York Times tells if I’m dancing to the Grateful Dead and not paying them any attention. 🙂

      Thus, Dropping Out serves to disarm this key power of the MICIMATTs. And its a lot more fun than listening to hateful people who want to destroy the world for their profit.

  9. Another sad but true gem penned by Mr. Lawrence. I particularly appreciate his acknowledgment that our “leaders” simply cannot tell any truths. Their whole organized-crime system has depended for many decades on us not seeing what they’re actually up to, with billions of lies told to hide and enable them. They can’t stop now. It’s all-in all the time and there’s no turning back for them.

    From my little spot in the US – in push-back to this insanity, I learn everything I can. I try to keep a nimble mind, I engage my critical thinking skills, and I engage with any who are willing on matters of history, governments, war, and peace. My hope is that there are billions like me the globe over, and that we can change the conversation if we try.

    Mr. Lawrence moves us down the field, and for that I’m grateful.

  10. I’m writing this one more time because the first time it was rejected. I must have trespassed a FORBIDDEN notice. What I said is that because Mother Earth is in her last throes and fearful humans keep turning away or investing in substitute crises, I would bracket those other crises, such as identity politics, for example, including #MeToo, pronoun mania, even LGBTQ+ and invest fully in the climate crises and unnecessary wars, most of which involve the US. If the earth more or less survives then we can resume where we left off.

    1. Well said, but two brief points ….

      The politics of today is the full-fledged politics of hate. It comes in many forms, but almost all of it revolves around hate. In modern politics, every group has their own Domestic Enemy to hate, and an External Enemy that must be destroyed and ground into tiny bits and used to salt the land. And, as the good doctor once taught us, hate can not drive away the darkness, only love can provide the needed light. Not much light in America these days. More like Mordor than a Garden. Everybody thrives, and fund-raises, on the darkness.

      The Earth will survive. The Earth is on a much longer time frame than us monkeys. Lets just say that life on Earth takes a big hit and it takes 100,000 years for it to recover. But, that’s only a bit of a bad stretch in the life of a planet.

      Maybe the Earth will have better luck next time and not end up with monkeys armed with nuclear weapons? Funny, drop me into the middle of a Garden, where food literally grows on trees, and I can think of better things to do than to blow it up and burn it to the ground. Ah, …. monkeys. ……sigh.

  11. Dear Patrick, Another important article and timely message about the cowards who reneged on their letter which you described. Three Cheers for Ms Khanna for standing up for her genuine beliefs by signing that document.

    The writing is on the wall, and the propaganda ministers in Amerika and vassal Europe work 24/7 in altering the way people think about nuclear war.

    Hope I’m wrong, but I think the evil empire has crossed the Rubicon with their nukes and want a quick missile strike in the Russian Federation in order to take over their abundance of natural resources and land. It “ain’t” rocket science!

  12. Thank you, Patrick, for saying what needs saying; and so clearly, honestly, directly.
    I know that those of us who agree are relatively powerless to change the direction of things- the course that this nation’s ‘leaders’ have set and continue, like drunken captains on a Titanic. Yet the truth must out. And the more it is outed and the more voices which carry it, the better.

  13. I wanted to add that Western populations are managed and exploited as another resource: Chomsky’s “Manufactured Consent”. As Chris Hedges has alluded to, what are wanted are not well rounded, healthy, active citizens, but drones, technicians or bureaucrats that can keep the system running. Look at how the US (and my country Canada) can treat army veterans, migrants, the poor: disposable. I imagine this tendency to commodify other people and the earth is as old as civilization itself, especially if you belong to an economic class far removed from pain and toil.

    The unreality of the propaganda machine can happen whenever a person feels insulated and far removed from negative consequences of decisions they make, the “failing upwards” that seems to happen in govt or big business. The party can’t last forever, but people are financially rewarded their entire careers for the behaviors Patrick talks about in his articles, Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton being classic examples.

  14. Any peace that does not result in fully independent and sovereign Ukraine and does not restore its territorial integrity (guarantied by Russia itself in the denuclearization Budapest Memorandum agreement) is not peace at all but a surrender to Russian unprecedented, unjustified and unjustifiable military aggression and nuclear weapons’ normalization.

    Putin trampled the diplomatic avenue when he conquered Crimea and escalated Ukrainian ethnic tensions in Eastern Ukraine into a full-scale civil war in 2014. He doubled down on the contempt he has for diplomacy that does not guaranty the fulfillment of his imperial ambitions when he tried to conquer the entire country in 2022, flaunted international law when he unilaterally declared conquered territories Russian, decimated Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, and threatened the use of nuclear bombs throughout the conflict and ‘dirty’ bombs recently.

    The ideas espoused in the pile of demagogic propaganda bile above, and make no mistake, Patrick’s Orwellian attempt to present the Democrats’ noble and principled support of the victim of Russian military imperialism in Ukraine as anti-diplomacy warmongering is not simply demagogic but Goebbelsian through and through, are a new level of low in the saga of trans-morphing the left-ish, Neo Progressive past truth-saying into full fledged, alt-fact, Orwellian and fictional story-telling.

    It might make for an interesting read for those of us who favor fantasy texts, but if you seek facts you’d have to look elsewhere!

  15. Thank you Mr. Lawrence for this excellent article. It has been forwarded. I wish other editors could maintain the standards I see here. I won’t mention names, but they begin with ‘J’. Also thanks to the commenters, who have almost universally held to a high standard. But as usual, we can expect reactionary troll DGA to be the exception. I suppose Mr. Scheer establishes his tolerance credentials by not blocking him.

  16. more evidence the american liberal is both nazi and fascist—something long ago proven by Marxists, Parsonians, etc

  17. Some 60+ years ago I was paid (poorly) by the government to spend 2 years being immersed all day every day in learning the Russian language, history, economics, and culture.

    Our teachers were a mix of Russians and Russian-speaking (second language) Ukrainians, Belorussians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and one Georgian who liked to tell jokes as a way into culture. They were all refugees from the USSR.

    They had formerly been classroom teachers and professors, researchers, members of the Academy of Sciences, and military/naval NCOs and officers up thru the rank of Colonel/Captain First.

    Some of the Ukrainians had fled when the SS and Gestapo showed up after they (the Ukrainians) had welcomed the Wehrmacht as liberators (the Ukrainians remembered the Holodomor, which was committed by the Russians, not the Germans): they didn’t like the lose-lose race conditions: would they be killed by the NKVD for welcoming the Germans or by the black-leather-overcoat monsters for being “Untermenschen”. Others fled later. Most of those who successfully escaped ended up in the US.

    After I quit that Russian-speaking job, I trained in psychology and developed an interest in psychopathy, since psychopaths, who are a small minority in the population, nevertheless cause perhaps 80-90% of all “unnatural” misery around the world.

    Putin is a psychopath. If you need to know what you can expect from a psychopath, read “Without Conscience” by Robert Hare PhD. Hare is a Canadian experimental psychologist who spent his career studying psychopaths. He is also the developer of the standard diagnostic instrument used around the world, the Psychopathic Checklist (Revised) v.2. If you want more, read “Snakes in Suits” by Paul Babiak PhD (Hare is second author). It covers the behavior of high-level psychopaths in organisations.

    The Number One characteristic of psychopaths (that term is preferred to “sociopath”, “malignant narcissist” and similar): they act without hesitation or remorse. Their emotional repertoire is like that of a crocodile. They have no feelings of empathy, so they can and do prey on other people, humans and non-humans alike, with the same indifference a crocodile displays. This is disorienting and terrifying to most people, because humans, like cats, dogs, horses, and other creatures with which we’re familiar behave much more like we do than like psychopaths do. They feel love, joy, curiosity, sadness, fear, terror, and have a sense of humor. Psychopaths do not.

    Psychopaths lie easily and with no concern at all about whether the person they’re lying to _knows_ that they’re lying. This tends to boggle the minds even of trained people like psychologists and psychiatrists because unimpaired people typically _cannot_ lie fluently and unconcernedly because most people are raised to tell the truth and so they’ll give off little signals of discomfort when they lie. The psychopath does not give off any such signals. (Remember, tho, that having some psychopathic traits does not necessarily make one a psychopath. Traits lie on a continuum, and it’s the presence of _many_ similar traits and behaviors that makes diagnosis possible.)

    Hare offers this example picture: a psychopath, standing on a street corner, narrowly misses being hit by an out-of-control car that plows into the other people standing there. As other people are rallying around to help, the psychopath sees that he’s spattered with blood, says “aw, @#$!, I just got this suit cleaned” and walks on, offering no help at all, unconcerned by the fate of the victims.

    Those of you who listen to and believe Putin’s claims should really locate some good history books about the rise of the eastern Slav states beginning with the Vikings who showed up to start the Kievan Rus.

    If you do, you’ll find that when Kiev was the rich European-oriented capital of a flourishing Slavic empire, Moscow was a trading-post village surrounded by a log palisade and a very large number of Mongols. It was in strife with the village of Tver’ to the northwest, which had the advantage of being associated with the hero, and later saint, Aleksander Nevsky. The “prince” of Moscow-the-trading-post was glad to curry favor with the Mongols, and the Mongols were happy to help Moscow become bigger and more important — they had their eye on the vast wealth in gold, art, and land that was Kiev.

    You’ll learn that Moscow was able to take over most of the Rus’, and arrogate the name for their own, because of the Mongols’ help, the failure of leadership in Kiev and the principal cities of the Rus’, and the success of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonweath’s attacks from the west and the southern Mongols’ attacks from the east.

    You’ll also learn that the Donbas was just a valley before industrialisation, an agreed border between the Don Cossack Host and the Zaporozhnian Sich. When Russia formed the USSR, it took the Donbas for its own, populating the cities and technical jobs with Russian apparatchiki. There were a lot of vacancies.

    And perhaps most important, you’ll find that the Ukrainians identify with the Cossacks who successfully fended off the Mongols for hundreds of years. They have _never_ identified with the Russians, who drove them off their land, starved them to death, and made most of the survivors work menial jobs.

    The Russians even claim Ukrainian heroes and legends! The three most famous bogatyry (knights-judiciars) from the byliny (legends) are embellished historical figures: Ilya Muromets (from Murom, a major cathedral city in the Kievan Rus about 200 miles east of Moscow), Dobrynya Nikitich (a diplomat and general who served Vladimir of Kiev), and Alyosha Popovich (the son of a priest whose legend is that of a trickster and scoundrel who nevertheless died serving Kiev in the 13th century)

    Putin is not worth anyone’s belief.

  18. All very interesting, but it sounds more like an effort to establish your credibility on these issues than saying anything relevant. Sorry, but I don’t see psychopathic behavior on the part of Putin; but then, I don’t consider myself an expert. I think western culture is so focused on the individual that Putin becomes magnified in importance, like Trump is with liberals. They aren’t even thought of as people any more – just phenomena. Everything ‘bad’ is attributed to these bogeymen Americans invent because they are told to by our media. What you seem to leave out is the Russian national psyche, which was very influenced by what they went through in WW2. About a third of the Holocaust victims were Russians, something excluded from most of our historical teaching in the west. When a national culture develops next door to them, memorializing one of the worst crimes in human history, and knocks on their door with threats of nuclear war, that resonates. By the way, your analysis also seems to leave out Zelensky’s lies, betrayals of agreements (like Minsk), and insane threats. Most of the readers here are distinguished by their tendency to inform themselves; so we see through your ‘expertise’ to your selective citation, or lack of it, of the relevant facts.

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