Monday 20th of May 2024

zelensky smoked the churchilllian cigar thinking he was napoleon...


ABC: On the morning the Nova Kakhovka dam was blown up in southern Ukraine, Hanna Zarudnia woke to both shelling and flooding. 

"I felt very loud shelling during the night," she told the ABC.

 "I spent the last three nights in the basement.

"Antonivka [on the outskirts of Kherson] was heavily bombed that night. In the morning, I came out and saw that the neighbours had no roofs."

But that was not the only problem facing her neighbourhood following a much bigger explosion at the dam.

"I urgently needed to leave, because Antonivka was already surrounded by water from all sides. We found ourselves on an island," the 69-year-old said.

The residents of Kherson and its neighbouring villages have suffered constant disruption in the 15 months since Russia's full-scale invasion.

They have dealt with the horrors of the Russian occupation, an almost constant shelling since the city's liberation, and now being flooded out of their homes after the Nova Kakhovka dam was blown up.

Hanna Zarudnia is one of the thousands who were evacuated in the hours after the blast.

The ABC spoke to her at the train station in Mykolaiv after she had made the two-hour journey from Kherson to flee the flood waters.

"The height of the dam is 16-18 metres. The volume of water is colossal. Blowing it up and letting all this water now into the Dnipro valley is simply terrifying," she says.

"Water flooded the main road. There was flooded roads, stadium, school. Everything is flooded."

 The question at the heart of Ukraine's burst dam

The dam was a lifeline for the people of southern Ukraine. It provided fresh drinking water, irrigation for key crops and helped cool the reactors of Europe's biggest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned last year that Russia had mined the area. There are concerns the flooding could carry those mines into residential areas.

He described the blast as an act of terror and said Russia had "detonated a bomb of mass environmental destruction".

"It was an absolutely deliberate, prepared explosion. They knew exactly what they were doing," he said.

"Just imagine the volume of water held by this dam. It is one of the largest reservoirs in Ukraine. The flooding of the southern regions of our country has been ongoing since last night."

United States national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington the US "cannot say conclusively what happened at this point".

The Kremlin says it had nothing to do with the attack and has accused Ukraine of sabotaging the dam to distract from what it described as its "faltering" counteroffensive. 





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from the NYT nazi cloaca.....


By Patrick Lawrence
Original to ScheerPost


I tell you, serving as a New York Times correspondent these days cannot be easy. 

You have to convey utter nonsense to your readers while maintaining a straight face and a serious demeanor. 

You have to suggest the Russians may have exploded a drone over the Kremlin, that they may have blown up their own gas pipeline, that their president is an out-of-touch psychotic, that their soldiers in Ukraine are drunkards using faulty equipment, that they attack with “human hordes” (Orientalism, anyone?) and on and on — all the while affecting the gravitas once associated with the traditional “Timesman.” You try it sometime.

I am reminded of that pithy passage in Daniel Boorstin’s regrettably overlooked book, The Image. “The reporter’s task,” Boorstin wrote in 1962, “is to find a way of weaving these threads of unreality into a fabric that the reader will not recognize as entirely unreal.”

Boorstin reflected on America’s resort to imagery, illusion and distortion as Washington geared up its gruesome follies in Vietnam. The reporter’s task is a whole lot harder now, given how much further we have wandered into illusion and distortion since Boorstin’s day.  

And now we have the case of Thomas Gibbons–Neff, a square-jawed former Marine covering the Ukraine war for the Times — strictly to the extent the Kyiv regime permits him to do so, as he explains with admirable honesty. This guy is serious times 10, he and his newspaper want us to know.  

Tom’s job this week is to persuade us that all those Ukrainian soldiers wearing Nazi insignia, idolizing Jew-murdering, Russophobic collaborators with the Third Reich, gathering ritually in Nazi-inspired cabals, marching through Kyiv in Klan-like torch parades are not what you think. 

Nah, our Tom tells us. They look like neo–Nazis, they act like neo–Nazis, they dress like neo–Nazis, they profess Fascist and neo–Nazi ideologies, they wage this war with the Wehrmacht’s visceral hatred of Russians — O.K., but whyever would you think they are neo–Nazis? 

They are just regular guys. They wear the Wolfsangel, the Schwarze sonne, the black sun, the Totenkopf, or Death’s Head — all Nazi symbols — because they are proud of themselves, and these are the kinds of things proud people wear. I was just wearing mine the other day. 

The slipping and sliding starts early in “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History,” the piece Gibbons–Neff published in Monday’s editions. 

He begins with three photographs of neo–Nazi Ukrainian soldiers, SS insignia plainly visible, that the Kyiv regime has posted on social media, “then quietly deleted,” since the Russian intervention began last year. 

“The photographs, and their deletions,” Gibbons–Neff writes, “highlight the Ukrainian military’s complicated relationship with Nazi imagery, a relationship forged under both Soviet and German occupation during World War II.”

Complicated relationship with Nazi imagery? Stop right there, Mr. Semper fi.  Ukraine’s neo–Nazi problem is not about a few indiscreetly displayed images. Sorry. The Ukrainian army’s “complicated relationship” is with a century of ultra-right ideology drawn from Mussolini’s Fascism and then the German Reich. 

As is well-known and documented, the neo–Nazis who infest the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the AFU — among many other national institutions — have made idols of such figures as Stepan Bandera, the freakishly murderous nationalist who allied with the Nazi regime during the war.

This history is a matter of record, as briefly outlined here, but Gibbons–Neff alludes to none of it. It’s merely a matter of poor image-making, you see. In support of this offensive whitewash, Gibbons–Neff has the nerve to quote a source from none other than Bellingcat, which was long, long back exposed as a C.I.A. and MI6 cutout and which is now supported by the Atlantic Council, the NATO–funded, spook-infested think tank based in Washington. 

“What worries me, in the Ukrainian context, is that people in Ukraine who are in leadership positions, either they don’t or they’re not willing to acknowledge and understand how these symbols are viewed outside of Ukraine,” a Bellingcat “researcher” named Michael Colborne tells Gibbons–Neff. “I think Ukrainians need to increasingly realize that these images undermine support for the country.”

[Related: Ukraine Parliament Cheers Nazi Collaborator]

Think about that. The presence of Nazi elements in the AFU is not a worry. The worry is merely whether clear signs of Nazi sympathies might cause some members of the Western alliance to decide they no longer want to support Nazi elements in the AFU. 

I am reminded of that Public Broadcasting news segment last year, wherein a provincial governor is featured with a portrait of Bandera behind him. PBS simply blurred the photograph and ran the interview with another of the courageous, admirable Ukrainians to which we are regularly treated.

I hardly need remind paying-attention readers that the neo–Nazis-who-are-not-neo–Nazis were for years well-reported as simply neo–Nazis in the years after the U.S.–cultivated coup in 2014.

[Related: Caitlin Johnstone: What MSM Can No Longer Say]

The TimesThe Washington Post, PBS, CNN — the whole sorry lot — ran pieces on neo–Nazi elements in the AFU and elsewhere. In March 2018, Reuters published a commentary by Jeff Cohen under the headline “Ukraine’s Neo–Nazi Problem.” 

Three months later The Atlantic Council, for heaven’s sake, published a paper, also written by Cohen, titled, “Ukraine’s Got a Real Problem with Far–Right Violence (And no, RT Didn’t Write This Headline).” 

I recall, because it was so surprising coming from the council. The original head on that paper was “Ukraine’s Got a Neo–Nazi Problem,” but that version now seems lost to the blur of stealth editing. 

Then came the Russian intervention, and Poof! There are no more neo–Nazis in Ukraine. 

There are only these errant images that are of no special account. 

And to assert there are neo–Nazis in Ukraine — to have some semblance of memory and a capacity to judge what is before one’s eyes — “plays into Russian propaganda,” Gibbons–Neff warns us. 

It is to “give fuel to his”— Vladimir Putin’s — “false claims that Ukraine must be de–Nazified.” For good measure Gibbons–Neff gets out the old Volodymyr-Zelensky-is-Jewish chestnut, as if this is proof of… of something or other.

My mind goes to that lovely Donovan lyric from the Scottish singer’s Zen enlightenment phase. Remember “There Is a Mountain?” The famous lines went, “First there is a mountain/ Then there is no mountain/ Then there is.” There were neo–Nazis in Ukraine, then there were no neo–Nazis, and now there are neo–Nazis but they aren’t neo–Nazis after all. 

A Few Considerations 

There are a few things to think about as we consider Gibbons–Neff’s story, other than the fact that it is horse-droppings as a piece of journalism. For one thing, nowhere in it does he quote or reference any member of the AFU — no one wearing a uniform, no one sporting one of these troubling insignia. 

Various image-managing officials speak to him about the neo–Nazis who-are-not-neo–Nazis, but we never hear from any neo–Nazi-who-is-not-a-neo–Nazi to explain things as a primary source, so to say. 

I wager Gibbons–Neff never got within 20 miles of one: He wouldn’t dare, for then he would have to quote one of these insignia-sporting people saying that of course he was a neo–Nazi. Can’t you read, son? 

For another, Gibbons–Neff resolutely avoids dilating his lens such that the larger phenomenon comes into view. It all comes down to those three unfortunate insignia in those three deleted photographs. 

The parades, the corridors of neo–Nazi flags, the ever-present swastikas, the reenactments of all-night SS rituals, the glorification of Nazis and Nazi collaborators, the Russophobic blood lust: Sure, it can all be explained, except that our Timesman does not go anywhere near any of this.

[Related: On the Influence of Neo-Nazism in Ukraine, Consortium NewsJoe Lauria]

Gibbons–Neff’s story follows by 10 days an even more contorted piece of pretzel-like rubbish published in The Kyiv Independent, a not-independent daily that has been supported by various Western governments. This is by one Illia Ponomarenko, a reporter much-lionized in the West, and appeared under the headline, “Why some Ukrainian soldiers use Nazi-related insignia.”

This is the kind of piece that is so bad it tips into fun. “No, Ukraine does not have ‘a Nazi problem,’” Ponomarenko states flatly, and this is the last flat sentence we get in this piece. “Just like in many places around the world, people with far-right and neo–Nazi views, driven by their ideology, are prone to joining the military and participating in conflicts,” he writes. And then this doozy, where begins a riot of irrationality:

“It is, of course, true that, for instance, the Azov Battalion was originally founded by neo–Nazi and far-right groups (as well as many soccer ultra-fans), which brought along with it the typical aesthetics — not only neo–Nazi insignia but also things like Pagan rituals or names like ‘The Black Corps,’ the official newspaper of Nazi Germany’s major paramilitary organization Schutzstaffel (SS).”

But worry not, readers. It is merely an aesthetic, part of a harmless, misunderstood “subculture”: 

“In the oversimplified memory of some around the world, particularly within various militaristic subcultures, symbols representing the Wehrmacht, Nazi Germany’s Armed Forces, and the SS are seen to reflect a super-effective war machine, not the perpetrators of one of the greatest crimes against humanity in human history.”

But of course. SS insignia, Wehrmacht iconography: Seen it everywhere people admire super-effective war machines. Remember this logic next time some liberal flamer proposes to persecute a MAGA supporter who partakes of this “subculture.” 

Has Tom Gibbons–Neff given us a rewrite job? Having been around the block for a good long time, I have seen this kind of thing often enough — correspondents scoring off the local dailies to look deep and penetrating back on the foreign desk. 

It is also possible, assuming for a moment Gibbons–Neff’s editors still read other newspapers, that they asked him for just such a piece after seeing Ponomarenko’s. Either way, we get this in Ponomarenko’s recognizably illogical style:

“Questions over how to interpret such symbols are as divisive as they are persistent, and not just in Ukraine. In the American South, some have insisted that today, the Confederate flag symbolizes pride, not its history of racism and secession. The swastika was an important Hindu symbol before it was co-opted by the Nazis.” 

If you are going to reach, Tom, may as well reach for the stars.

We have a New York Times correspondent quoting Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and Bellingcat, an intel cutout that is part of a NATO think tank, and then rather too closely, I would say, aping a Western-supported newspaper in Kyiv. Yes, Virginia, I believe we all got ourselves one of them-there echo chambers, just the way the Deep State likes ’em.

Last March, Gibbons–Neff was interviewed by The New York Times. Yes, they do this sort of thing down there on Eighth Avenue, where they simply cannot get enough of themselves. 

It is enlightening. The unfortunate Times reporter assigned as the straight man asked, as our intrepid correspondent self-aggrandized, “What have been the biggest challenges in covering the war?” Gibbons–Neff’s reply is pricelessly revealing: 

“’Wrestling with access and being allowed to go certain places to see things that you need the press officer for, or permission from the military unit,’ the fearless ex–Marine explains. ‘Ukrainians know how to manage the press fairly well. So navigating those parameters and not rubbing anyone the wrong way has always been tough.’”

Forget about bombs, missiles, gore, the fog of war, courageous sergeants, trench stench, grenades, or any of the other horrors of battle. Gibbons–Neff’s big problems as he pretends to cover the Ukraine war are maintaining access, getting the Kyiv gatekeepers’ permission to go someplace, and avoiding annoying the regime’s authorities. 

Does this tell you everything you want to know about our Timesman or what? 

It is always interesting to ask why a piece such as this appears when it does. Dead silence for months on the neo–Nazi question, and then suddenly a long explainer that does its best to avoid explaining anything. Always interesting to ask, never easy to answer. 

It could be that a lot of stuff on these awful people is sifting out from under the carpet. Or maybe something big is on the way and this piece is preemptive. Or maybe either Gibbons–Neff or his editors saw the Ponomarenko piece as an opportunity to dispose of one of the Kyiv regime’s most embarrassing features. 

Or maybe the larger context counts here. As mentioned in this space last week, the Times’ Steve Erlanger recently suggested from Brussels that NATO might do a postwar Germany job with Ukraine: Welcome the West of the country to the alliance and let the eastern provinces go for an indefinite period, unification the long-term objective. 

Late last week Foreign Affairs ran a fantastical piece by Andriy Zagorodnyuk, formerly a Ukrainian defense minister and now, yes indeedy, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council. It appeared under the headline, “To Protect Europe, Let Ukraine Join NATO—Right Now.” 

Zagorodnyuk’s argument is as loopy as his subhead, “No Country Is Better at Stopping Russia.” But these kinds of assertions, dreamily hyperbolic as they may be, have a purpose. They serve to enlarge the field of acceptable discourse. They inch us closer to normalizing the thought that Ukraine must be accepted in the North Atlantic alliance for our sake, the sake of the West, no matter how provocative such a move will prove.

This suggest that Gibbons–Neff’s piece, along with the one he followed in the Kyiv paper, are by way of a cleanup job. 

The Western press, working closely with intelligence agencies, did its best to prettify the savage jihadists attempting to bring down the Assad government in Damascus, you will recall. Remember the “moderate rebels?” Maybe Gibbons–Neff is on an equally dishonorable errand. 

Semper fi, huh? Always faithful to what?


Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of  Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new book Journalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

This article is from ScheerPost









zelensky is nuts.....


BY Finian Cunningham June 6, 2023


It’s not the Russians who are perverse and barbaric. It’s the Western regimes and their Nazi terrorist front in Ukraine. 

Western media would have its consumers believe that Russians are the most devious, perverse, and self-destructive people on Earth. Following a flood of jaw-dropping, biblical proportions in the Russian-controlled Kherson region this week, the Western media amplified the Kiev regime’s talking points, which is to say, the Kiev regime’s Western sponsors’ talking points.

The Russians are destroying themselves for propaganda gain, according to those talking points.

The giant Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant was spectacularly blown up by an explosion or explosions and its vast reservoir began flooding hundreds of cities and villages in the surrounding Kherson countryside. The nearby city of Nova Kakhovka with a population of 45,000 is being evacuated. Aerial images of the deluge show an unprecedented disaster with huge environmental, economic and social repercussions.

The damage from the dam’s collapse is catastrophic. The impact of displacement and destroyed livelihoods, businesses and industries will affect millions of Russian citizens. Kherson is one of the four former Ukrainian territories that voted to join the Russian Federation in referenda last year following Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine to neutralize what was then ongoing aggression from the Kiev regime towards ethnic Russians.

Of the countless consequences from the dam’s destruction, there are two main specific impacts of priority concern. The Kakhovka power plant serves to supply water for the upstream Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant – Europe’s largest civilian nuclear power station. Disruption of the water supply could adversely impact the cooling systems at the nuclear plant, causing its reactors to blow up thereby creating a radiation disaster. The Zaporozhye nuclear station is in Russian-controlled territory and has been under Russian military protection since the beginning of Russia’s military intervention on February 24, 2022.

A second consequence from the dam’s collapse is the threat to cut off supply of drinking water to Russia’s Crimea Peninsula where some 3 million people live.

It is obvious who gains and who loses from the blowing up of the Kakhovka hydro facility. The NATO-backed Kiev regime has inflicted massive damage to Russian infrastructure in the Kherson region and beyond.

Yet, in spite of the patently obvious conclusion, Western media and governments are trying to tell the world that the dam was sabotaged by Russian “terrorists”. British foreign minister James (Not-So) Cleverly and the European Union’s Charles Michel were among the Western politicians who were immediately trying to cast the Kremlin as the villain.

It takes an inestimable capacity for double-think and debilitating Russophobia for such logic to be articulated with a straight face.

This a repeat of the same stultifying nonsense that followed the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last September. When the Russian-owned pipelines under the Baltic Sea were blown up, the Western governments and their dutiful media immediately blamed Russia for sabotaging its own infrastructure. It transpired later that the gas pipes were mined by the U.S. military, an act of terrorism that was ordered by President Joe Biden, according to respected veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. Months later, the Western media ignored or censored out this most plausible cause as a means to delete European-Russian energy trade for America’s strategic interests.

The same double-think by Western governments and media has been deployed over the constant artillery attacks on the Zaporozhye nuclear plant. For months, the plant has been bombarded by the Kiev regime with U.S.-supplied HIMARS rockets. The unspeakable nefarious objective is to cause a nuclear catastrophe in Europe. The Russians are guarding the nuclear facility and have presented documentary evidence to the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency of who is doing the shelling. Yet, the UN and IAEA as well as the Western media feign a cynical agnosticism about who the nuclear terrorists are, trying to leave question marks that Russia may be somehow inflicting self-sabotage.

The same shelling tactics have been used to hit the Kakhovka dam over many months by Kiev regime forces. It was Russia that has repeatedly warned of the imminent danger of flooding if the hydro plant was crippled. That warning has come to reality, though the Western media are defying cause, motive and past record to invert the accusations.

The Kiev regime has claimed that Russia bombed the Kakhovka dam in order to hamper its planned counteroffensive. This week saw intensified efforts along the 1000-kilometer front line between Ukrainian forces and Russian-held territory. Moscow said it repelled the attacks with heavy losses incurred by the Ukrainian side. Those battles occurred much further to the north from the Kherson region on the Black Sea where the dam was blown.

Adding two and two and getting five is the usual Western media formula because, more than ever, this media system is shown to be a propaganda service, both private and state-owned.

The shamelessness of such media’s double-think is breathtaking to any rational observer. What’s more, the Western public can more and more see through the lies and preposterous pretensions of “independent journalism”. The Western media is a war ministry aiming to demonize Russia as barbarians whose level of sub-humanity, it is implied, is deserving of war and destruction.

In case you didn’t notice, such a mindset is consistent with Nazi ideology.

It’s not the Russians who are perverse and barbaric. It’s the Western regimes and their Nazi terrorist front in Ukraine.










zelensky is a turd.....


‘Give War a Chance’ – A ‘War That Even Pacifists Can Get Behind’


Alastair Crooke June 5, 2023


The West is now waking up to the reality of the emerging, polycentric and fluid global order, Alastair Crooke writes.

More than a year into Russia’s Special Operation, the initial burst of European excitement at western push-back on Russia has dissipated. The mood instead has turned to “existential dread, a nagging suspicion that [western] civilisation may destroy itself”, Professor Helen Thompson writes.

For an instant, a euphoria had coalesced around the putative projection of the EU as a world power; as a key actor, about to compete on a world scale. Initially, events seemed to play to Europe’s conviction of its market powers: Europe was going to bring down a major power – Russia – by financial coup d’état alone. The EU felt ‘six feet tall’.

It seemed at the time a galvanising moment: “The war re-forged a long-dormant Manichaean framing of existential conflict between Russia and the West, assuming ontological, apocalyptic dimensions. In the spiritual fires of the war, the myth of the ‘West’ was rebaptised”, Arta Moeini suggests.

After the initial disappointment at the lack of a ‘quick kill’, the hope persisted – that if only the sanctions were given more time, and made more all-embracing, then Russia surely would ultimately collapse. That hope has turned to dust. And the reality of what Europe has done to itself has begun to dawn – hence Professor Thomson’s dire warning:

“Those who assume that the political world can be reconstructed by the efforts of human Will, have never before had to bet so heavily on technology over [fossil] energy – as the driver of our material advancement”.

For the Euro-Atlanticists however, what Ukraine seemed to offer – finally – was validation for their yearning to centralise power in the EU, sufficiently, to merit a place at the ‘top table’ with the U.S., as partners in playing the Great Game.

Ukraine, for better or worse, underlined Europe’s profound military dependence on Washington – and on NATO.

More particularly, the Ukraine conflict seemed to open the prospect for consolidating the strange metamorphosis of NATO from military alliance to an enlightened, Progressive, peace alliance! As Timothy Garton Ash effused in the Guardian in 2002, “NATO has become a European peace movement” where one could watch “John Lennon meet George Bush”.

The Ukraine war is portrayed, in this vein, as the “war­ that even former pacifists can get behind. All its proponents seemed to be singing is “Give War a Chance””.

Lily Lynch, a Belgrade-based writer, argues that,

“…especially in the past 12 months, telegenic female leaders such as the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, and Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, have increasingly served as the spokespersons of enlightened militarism in Europe … ”

“No political party in Europe better exemplifies the shift from militant pacifism to ardent pro-war Atlanticism than the German Greens. Most of the original Greens had been radicals during the student protests of 1968 … But as the founding members entered middle age, fissures began to appear in the party – that would one day tear it apart”.

“Kosovo then changed everything: The 78-day NATO bombing of what remained of Yugoslavia in 1999, ostensibly to halt war crimes committed by Serbian security forces in Kosovo, would forever transform the German Greens. NATO for the Greens became an active military compact concerned with spreading and defending values such as human rights, democracy, peace, and freedom – well beyond the borders of its member states”.

A few years later, in 2002, an EU functionary (Robert Cooper) could envisage Europe as a new ‘liberal imperialism’. The ‘new’ was that Europe eschewed hard military power, in favour of weaponising both a controlled ‘narrative’ and controlled participation in its market. He advocated for ‘a new age of empire’, in which Western powers no longer would have to follow international law in their dealings with ‘old fashioned’ states; they could use military force independently of the United Nations; and could impose protectorates to replace regimes which ‘misgovern’.

The German Greens’ Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, has continued with this metamorphosis, scolding countries with traditions of military neutrality, and imploring them to join NATO. She has invoked Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s line: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. And the European Left has been utterly captivated. Major parties have abandoned military neutrality and opposition to war – and now champion NATO. It is a stunning reversal.

All this may have been music to the ears of the Euro-élites anxious for the EU to rise to Great Power status, but this soft-power European Leviathan was wholly underpinned by the unstated (but essential) assumption that NATO ‘had Europe’s back’. This naturally implied that the EU had to tie itself ever closer to NATO – and therefore to the U.S. which controls NATO.

But the flip-side to this Atlanticist aspiration – as President Emmanuel Macron noted – is its inexorable logic that Europeans simply end by becoming American vassals. Macron was trying rather, to rally Europe towards the coming ‘age of empires’,hoping to position Europe as a ‘third pole’ in a concert of empires.

The Atlanticists were duly enraged by Macron’s remarks (which nonetheless drew support of other EU states). It could even seem (to furious Atlanticists) that Macron actually was channelling General de Gaulle who had called NATO a “false pretence” designed to “disguise America’s chokehold over Europe”.

There are however, two related schisms that flowed out from this ‘re-imagined’ NATO: Firstly, it exposed the reality of internal European rivalries and divergent interests, precisely because the NATO lead in the Ukraine conflict sets the interests of the Central East European hawks wanting ‘more America, and more war on Russia’ up and against that of the original EU western axis which wants wanting strategic autonomy (i.e. less ‘America’, and a quick end to the conflict).

Secondly, it would be predominantly the western economies that would have to bankroll the costs and divert their manufacturing capacity towards military logistic chains. The economic price, non-military de-industrialisation and high inflation, potentially, could be enough to break Europe – economically.

The prospect of a pan-European cohesive identity might be both ontologically appealing – and be seen to be an ‘appropriate accessory’ to an aspiring ‘world actor’ – yet such identity becomes caricature when mosaic Europe is transformed into an abstract de-territorialised identity that reduces people to their most abstract.

Paradoxically, the Ukraine war – far from consolidating the EU ‘identity’, as first imagined – has fractured it under the stresses of the concerted effort to weaken and collapse Russia.

Secondly, as Arta Moeini, the director of the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy, has observed:

“The American push for NATO expansion since 1991 has enlarged the alliance by adding a host of faultline states from Central and Eastern Europe. The strategy, which began with the Clinton administration but was fully championed by the George W. Bush administration, was to create a decidedly pro-American pillar on the continent, centred on Warsaw – which would force an eastward shift in the alliance’s centre of gravity away from the traditional Franco-German axis”.

“By using NATO enlargement to weaken the old power centres in Europe that might have occasionally stood up to [Washington] such as in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Washington ensured a more compliant Europe in the short-term. The upshot, however, was the formation of a 31-member behemoth with deep asymmetries of power and low compatibility of interests” – that is much weaker and more vulnerable – than it believes itself to be”. 

Here is the key: “the EU is much weaker than it believes it to be”. The outset of the conflict was defined by a cast of mind entranced by the notion of Europe as a ‘mover and shaker’ in world affairs, and mesmerised by Europe’s post-war prosperity.

EU leaders convinced themselves that this prosperity had bequeathed it the clout and the economic depth to contemplate war – and to weather its reversals – with panglossian sanguinity. It has produced rather, the converse: It has put its project in jeopardy.

In John Raply and Peter Heather’s The Imperial Life Cycle, the authors explainthe cycle:

“Empires grow rich and powerful and attain supremacy through the economic exploitation of their colonial periphery. But in the process, they inadvertently spur the economic development of that same periphery, until it can roll back and ultimately displace its overlord”.

Europe’s prosperity in this post-war era, thus was not so much one of its own making, but drew benefit from the tail-end of accumulations hewn from an earlier cycle – now reversed.

“The fastest-growing economies in the world are now all in the old periphery; the worst-performing economies are disproportionately in the West. These are the economic trends that have created our present landscape of superpower conflict — most saliently between America and China”. 

America may think of itself as exempt from the European colonial mould, yet fundamentally, its model is

“an updated cultural-political glue that we might call “neoliberalism, NATO and denim”, which follows in the timeless imperial mould: The great wave of decolonisation that followed WW2 was meant to end that. But the Bretton Woods system, which created a trading regime that favoured industrial over primary producers and enshrined the dollar as the global reserve currency – ensured that the net flow of financial resources continued to move from developing countries to developed ones. Even when the economies of the newly-independent states grew, those of the G7 economies and their partners grew more”.

A once-mighty empire is now challenged and feels embattled. Taken aback by the refusal of so many developing countries to join with isolating Russia, the West is now waking up to the reality of the emerging, polycentric and fluid global order. These trends are set to continue. The danger is that economically weakened and in crisis, western countries attempt to re-appropriate western triumphalism, yet lack the economic strength and depth, so to do:

“In the Roman Empire, peripheral states developed the political and military capacity to end Roman domination by force… The Roman Empire might have survived – had it not weakened itself with wars of choice – on its ascendant Persian rival”.

The final ‘transgressive’ thought goes to Tom Luongo: “Allowing the West to keep thinking they can win – is the ultimate form of grinding out a superior opponent”.








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