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War Propaganda About Ukraine Becoming More Militaristic, Authoritarian, and Reckless

First time ever… Glenn Greenwald

The propaganda is being applied so thickly. It’s layer atop layer of hyperbole and hysteria forcing me to go through multiple garbage reports to find what is rational, realistic and factual

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), on Friday explicitly and emphatically urged that the U.S. military be deployed to Ukraine to establish a “no-fly zone” — i.e., American soldiers would order Russia not to enter Ukrainian airspace and would directly attack any Russian jets or other military units which disobeyed. That would, by definition and design, immediately ensure that the two countries with by far the planet’s largest nuclear stockpiles would be fighting one another, all over Ukraine.

Kinzinger’s fantasy that Russia would instantly obey U.S. orders due to rational calculations is directly at odds with all the prevailing narratives about Putin having now become an irrational madman who has taken leave of his senses — not just metaphorically but medically — and is prepared to risk everything for conquest and legacy. This was not the first time such a deranged proposal has been raised; days before Kinzinger unveiled his plan, a reporter asked Pentagon spokesman John Kirby why Biden has thus far refused this confrontational posture. The Brookings Institution’s Ben Wittes on Sunday demanded: “Regime change: Russia.” The President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, celebrated that “now the conversation has shifted to include the possibility of desired regime change in Russia.”

The insanity charge belongs firmly to western leadership and media. Their insane rantings suggest some time spent locked up would do them and the world a whole lot of good

Having the U.S. risk global nuclear annihilation over Ukraine is an indescribably insane view, as one realizes upon a few seconds of sober reflection. We had a reminder of that Sunday morning when “Putin ordered his nuclear forces on high alert Sunday, reminding the world he has the power to use weapons of mass destruction, after complaining about the West’s response to his invasion of Ukraine” — but it is completely unsurprising that it is already being suggested.

There is no propaganda as potent or powerful as war propaganda. It seems that one must have lived through it at least once, as an engaged adult, to understand how it functions, how it manipulates and distorts, and how one can resist being consumed by it.

As I examined in the first part of that video discussion, war propaganda stimulates the most powerful aspects of our psyche, our subconscious, our instinctive drives. It causes us, by design, to abandon reason. It provokes a surge in tribalism, jingoism, moral righteousness and emotionalism: all powerful drives embedded through millennia of evolution. The more unity that emerges in support of an overarching moral narrative, the more difficult it becomes for anyone to critically evaluate it. The more closed the propaganda system is — either because any dissent from it is excluded by brute censorship or so effectively demonized through accusations of treason and disloyalty — the more difficult it is for anyone, all of us, even to recognize one is in the middle of it.

The propaganda here in Canada is mind numbing and dangerous

When critical faculties are deliberately turned off based on a belief that absolute moral certainty has been attained, the parts of our brain armed with the capacity of reason are disabled.

To believe that this is a conflict of pure Good versus pure Evil, that Putin bears all blame for the conflict and the U.S., the West, and Ukraine bear none, and that the only way to understand this conflict is through the prism of war criminality and aggression only takes one so far. Such beliefs have limited utility in deciding optimal U.S. behavior and sorting truth from fiction even if they are entirely correct — just as the belief that 9/11 was a moral atrocity and Saddam (or Gaddafi or Assad) was a barbaric tyrant only took one so far. Even with those moral convictions firmly in place, there are still a wide range of vital geopolitical and factual questions that must be considered and freely debated, including:

1-The severe dangers of unintended escalation with greater U.S. involvement and confrontation toward Russia;

2-The mammoth instability and risks that would be created by collapsing the Russian economy and/or forcing Putin from power, leaving the world’s largest or second-largest nuclear stockpile to a very uncertain fate;

3-The ongoing validity of Obama’s long-standing view of Ukraine (echoed by Trump), which persisted even after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 following a referendum, that Ukraine is of vital interest only to Russia and not the U.S., and the U.S. should never risk war with Russia over it;

4-The bizarre way in which it has become completely taboo and laughable to suggest that NATO expansion to the Russian border and threats to offer Ukraine membership is deeply and genuinely threatening not just to Putin but all Russians, even though that warning has emanated for years from top U.S. officials such as Biden’s current CIA Director William Burns as well as scholars across the political spectrum, including the right-wing realist John Mearsheimer to the leftist Noam Chomsky.

5-The clearly valid questions regarding the actual U.S intentions concerning Ukraine: i.e., that a noble, selfless and benevolent American desire to protect a fledgling democracy against a despotic aggressor may not be the predominant goal. Perhaps it is instead to revitalize support for American imperialism and intervention, as well as faith in and gratitude for the U.S. security and military state (the Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer suggested this week that this is the principal outcome in the West of the current conflict). Or the goal is the elevation of Russia as a vital and grave threat to the U.S. (the above polling data suggests this is already happening) that will feed weapons purchases and defense and intelligence budgets for years to come. Or one might see a desire to harm Russia as vengeance for the perception that Putin helped defeat Hillary Clinton and elected Donald Trump (that the U.S. is using Ukraine to “fight Russia over there” was explicitly stated by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Or perhaps the goal is not to “save and protect” Ukraine at all, but to sacrifice it by turning it into a new Afghanistan, where the U.S. arms a Ukrainian insurgency to ensure that Russia remains stuck in Ukraine fighting and destroying it for years (this scenario was very compellingly laid out in one of the best analyses of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, by Niccolo Soldo, which I cannot recommend highly enough). Jeff Rogg, historian of U.S. intelligence and an assistant professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at the Citadel, wrote in The LA Times that the CIA has already been training, funding and arming a Ukrainian insurgency, speculating that the model may be the CIA’s backing of the Mujahideen insurgency in Afghanistan that morphed into Al Qaeda, with the goal being “to weaken Russia over the course of a long insurgency that will undoubtedly cost as many Ukrainian lives as Russian lives, if not more.”

Again, no matter how certain one is about their moral conclusions about this war, these are urgent questions that are not resolved or even necessarily informed by the moral and emotional investment in a particular narrative. Yet when one is trapped inside a system of a complete consensus upheld by a ceaseless wave of reinforcing propaganda, and when any questioning or dissent at all is tantamount to treason or “siding with the enemy,” there is no space for such discussions to occur, especially within our minds. When one is coerced — through emotional tactics and societal inventive — to adhere only to one script, nothing that is outside of that script can be entertained. And that is all by design.

Read the rest at the opening link. It’s in depth.

2 replies on “War Propaganda About Ukraine Becoming More Militaristic, Authoritarian, and Reckless”

Your post sums up what I’ve been saying for two weeks now. SOMEBODY has to take out all the political, corporate and “scientific” garbage that has piled up all over the world in the past 60 or so years [ever since the assassination of JFK] There is a lot of stinking, rotting garbage around and nobody to take it out. With the exception of Vladimir Putin, that is.

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