Sunday 10th of December 2023

ratification of bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements......

The United Nations released “A New Agenda for Peace” on July 20. In the opening section of the report, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres made some remarks that bear close reflection:


“We are now at an inflection point. The post-Cold War period is over. A transition is under way to a new global order. While its contours remain to be defined, leaders around the world have referred to multipolarity as one of its defining traits. In this moment of transition, power dynamics have become increasingly fragmented as new poles of influence emerge, new economic blocs form and axes of contestation are redefined. 

There is greater competition among major powers and a loss of trust between the Global North and South. A number of States increasingly seek to enhance their strategic independence, while trying to manoeuvre across existing dividing lines. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the war in Ukraine have hastened this process.”


We are, he says, in a moment of transition. The world is moving away from the post-Cold War era, in which the United States and its close allies, Europe and Japan, (collectively known as the Triad) exerted their unipolar power over the rest of the world, to a new period that some refer to as “multipolarity.”


By Vijay Prashad
Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research


 The Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine accelerated developments that were already in motion before 2020. The gradual attrition of the Western bloc has led to contestation between the Triad and newly emerging powers. 

This contestation is fiercist in the Global South, where trust of the Global North is the weakest it has been in a generation. The poorer nations, in the current moment, are not looking to yoke themselves to either the fragile West or the emergent new powers but are seeking “strategic independence.” 

This assessment is largely correct, and the report is of great interest, but it is also weakened by its lack of specificity. 


Inability to Govern Neo-Colonialism

Not once in the report does the U.N. refer to any specific country, nor does it seek to properly identify the emergent powers. Since it does not provide a specific assessment of the current situation, the U.N. ends up providing the kind of vague solutions that have become commonplace and are meaningless (such as increasing trust and building solidarity).

There is one specific proposal of great meaning, dealing with the arms trade, to which I shall return. But apart from showing concern over the ballooning weapons industry, the U.N. report attempts to erect a kind of moral scaffolding over the hard realities that it cannot directly confront.

What then are the specific reasons for the monumental global shifts identified by the United Nations?

Firstly, there has been a serious deterioration of the relative power of the United States and its closest allies. The capitalist class in the West has been on a long-term tax strike, unwilling to pay either its individual or corporate taxes (in 2019, nearly 40 percent of multinational profits were moved to tax havens). 

Their search for quick profits and evasion of tax authorities has led to a long-term decrease in investment in the West, which has hollowed out its infrastructure and its productive base.

The transformation of Western social democrats, from champions of social welfare to neoliberal champions of austerity, has opened the door for the growth of despair and desolation, the emotional palate of the hard right. The Triad’s inability to smoothly govern the global neo-colonial system has led to a “loss of trust” in the Global South towards the United States and its allies. 


Birth of BRICS — and the Military Response

Secondly, it was astounding to countries such as China, India and Indonesia to be asked by the G20 to provide liquidity to the Global North’s desiccated banking system in 2007–08. The confidence of these developing countries in the West decreased, while their own sense of themselves increased. 

It this change in circumstances that led to the formation of the BRICS bloc in 2009 by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the “locomotives of the South,” as was theorised by the South Commission in the 1980s and later deepened in their little-read 1991 report.

[Related: Mutiny Against the World Order]

China’s growth by itself was astounding, but, as the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted in 2022, what was fundamental was that China was able to achieve structural transformation (namely, to move from low-productivity to high-productivity economic activities). This structural transformation could provide lessons for the rest of the Global South, lessons far more practical than those offered by the debt-austerity programme of the International Monetary Fund.

Neither the BRICS project nor China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are military threats; both are essentially South-South commercial developments (along the grain of the agenda of the U.N. Office for South-South Cooperation). 

However, the West is unable to economically compete with either of these initiatives, and so it has adopted a fierce political and military response.

In 2018, the United States declared an end to the War on Terror and clearly articulated in its National Defence Strategy that its main problems were the rise of China and Russia. Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke about the need to prevent the rise of “near-peer rivals,” explicitly pointing to China and Russia, and suggested that the entire panoply of U.S. power be used to bring them to their knees.

Not only does the United States have a vast network of roughly 800 overseas military bases – hundreds of which encircle Eurasia – it also has military allies from Germany to Japan that provide the U.S. with forward positions against both Russia and China. 

For many years, the naval fleets of the U.S. and its allies have conducted aggressive “freedom of navigation” exercises that encroach upon the territorial integrity of both Russia (in the Arctic, mainly) and China (in the South China Sea). In addition, provocative manoeuvres such as the 2014 U.S. intervention in Ukraine and massive 2015 U.S. arms deal with Taiwan, further threatened Moscow and Beijing. 

In 2018, the United States also unilaterally withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (which followed the 2002 abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty), a move that upset the apple cart of nuclear arms control and meant that the U.S. contemplated the use of “tactical nuclear weapons” against both Russia and China. 


Unipolar Moment Is Over

The United Nations is correct in its assessment that the unipolar moment is now over, and that the world is moving towards a new, more complex reality. While the neo-colonial structure of the world system remains largely intact, there are emerging shifts in the balance of forces with the rise of the BRICS and China, and these forces are attempting to create international institutions that challenge the established order.

The danger to the world arises not from the possibility of global power becoming more fragmented and widely dispersed, but because the West refuses to come to terms with these major changes.

The U.N. report notes that “military expenditures globally set a new record in 2022, reaching $2.24 trillion,” although the U.N. does not acknowledge that three-quarters of this money is spent by the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Countries that want to exert their “strategic independence” – the U.N.’s phrase – are confronted with the following choice: either join in the West’s militarisation of the world or face annihilation by its superior arsenal.

“A New Agenda for Peace” [the first was in 1992] is designed as part of a process that will culminate at a U.N. Summit for the Future to be held in September 2024. As part of this process, the U.N. is gathering proposals from civil society, such as this one from Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, Basel Peace Office, Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign, U.N. FOLD ZERO, Western States Legal Foundation, and the World Future Council, who call on the summit to adopt a declaration that:

“Reaffirms the obligation under Article 26 of the U.N. Charter to establish a plan for arms control and disarmament with the least diversion of resources for economic and social development;

Calls on the U.N. Security Council, U.N. General Assembly and other relevant U.N. bodies to take action with respect to Article 26; and

Calls on all States to implement this obligation through ratification of bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements, coupled with progressive and systematic reductions of military budgets and commensurate increases in financing for the sustainable development goals, climate protection and other national contributions to the U.N. and its specialised agencies.”


Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is an editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations.  His latest books are Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism and, with Noam Chomsky,  The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and the Fragility of U.S. Power.

This article is from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.



FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW, ALBO...................


Clearing the Fog of ‘Unprovoked’ War


     by  Posted on August 09, 2023

For the record: I was born in Ukraine, studied in Russia, and worked in America as a laser fusion researcher and Professor of Mathematics and Physics. I have relatives and friends in all three countries, and for the last 35 years, I have been trying to do my best to make them friends, partners, or even allies. Instead, all three are now at war, even if some call the U.S. war only a war “by proxy.”

This looks like a total failure of my efforts, but I hope this short summary clears a bit the fog of war, which might help in the search for avoiding a worst-case scenario.

I think I was the first one to recognize the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union back in December 1976, i.e., 15 years before Ukraine got its actual independence after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. This happened at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria during my application for an entrance visa. Vienna was my first stop after expulsion from the Soviet Union for dissident activities. My major “crime” was the distribution of the underground literary magazine “Kontinent,”  which was a leading publication of Russian pro-democracy forces. It was founded by Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, edited by writer Vladimir Maximov, and both had been expelled earlier. Magazine was printed by German publisher Axel Springer, and then smuggled into the USSR where at that time distribution of such literature could get you thrown in prison, mental institution or out of the country. In my case it was the latter, due to high-level family connections — but this is another story.

The visa application form included a question about my place of birth, to which I answered “Kiev, Ukraine.” Embassy officials didn’t object, and this information was later used in all subsequent documents, including my first U.S. passport after I got my citizenship.

The end of the Soviet Union also ended the Cold War, the smell of freedom could be felt all over the new Russia. But in my case, it happened even a few years earlier, when in October 1988 I got a call from Soviet President Gorbachev’s science advisor Yuri Ossipyan, who was also a Vice-President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Yuri and I knew each other back in Moscow, where I was working as a nuclear physicist. He invited me to discuss various ideas for improving relations between the two countries. Taking into account my background, including TV interviews and publications in the U.S. media highly critical of the Soviet Union, this was quite unexpected. Nevertheless, I decided to accept, and in Moscow, I was introduced to many Soviet VIPs, and later to Gorbachev himself. The summary of these meetings can be expressed as follows: Moscow is constantly sending proposals to Washington asking to significantly expand the agenda for cooperation beyond arms control, but it doesn’t get an adequate response, only bureaucratic verbiage. Therefore, they made a decision to engage in what is called two-track diplomacy, sometimes called “people’s diplomacy” or “back channels.”

I liked the idea, and we agreed to exchange visits by Russian and American delegations to formulate concrete proposals. It was a huge effort that included many back and forth trips, exploring areas starting from business, science, education, culture, medicine, agriculture to space, security, military, etc.

The mayor of Moscow provided a downtown mansion for our office, while in Washington money was raised to buy a townhouse in Dupont Circle area for the same purpose.  Both buildings placed American and Russian flags on their outside walls, and in Washington it was named “Russia House” where we installed on its front a bust of Andrei Sakharov, the famous Russian nuclear physicist, Nobel Peace Laureate who was praised in the West but persecuted by the Soviet authorities until pardoned by Gorbachev.

Drafts of our “Track Two” proposals were discussed during regular U.S.-Russia forums on Capitol Hill and at the Russian Academy of Sciences, with participation of Members of Congress and the Russian Duma deputies, as well as with government officials, and experts in particular fields of both countries.

Some of us had direct talks in the White House with President George Bush, Sr., his Vice President, Dan Quayle, and in the Kremlin with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, who became Russian President after Gorby resigned on December 25, 1991.  Even the U.S. mainstream media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post wrote laudatory articles about our activities at the time,

To celebrate 1992 New Year’s Eve, we brought about 300 American businessmen, some with their families, to the Kremlin where they were joined by the Russians Who’s Who and U.S. Ambassador James Collins. The following day the Americans were invited to different Russian homes to continue our celebrations and pledge friendship and cooperation.  U.S. ratings among Russians at that time were well over 80%. In a symbolic gesture, Moscow State University transferred their Communist Party office to the recently registered American University in Moscow (AUM). Moreover, the mayor of Moscow transferred to AUM a downtown mansion which had previously housed the Communist Party’s young leaders’ school, plus a 200-acre estate that held previously country houses (dachas) of Members of Politburo, including Brezhnev’s, for our future campus.

Vice-President Quayle sent me a personal congratulation letter on behalf of President Bush, and in Congress a large bipartisan coalition was working on a bill to fund this university. I didn’t forget my home country, and at the same time, was working on the establishment of American University in Ukraine as well.

The good times had arrived, the sky was the limit, and my dreams were coming true. Many exiles, including Solzhenitsyn and Maximov were returning to Russia, so did magazine “Kontinent”, where it got direct financial support from both, Moscow Citi government, and the U.S. Embassy.  My wife and I were placed on the Embassy’s receptions guest list.

As it turned out – whoops, not so fast. While some Americans, whom I shall call the “good guys,” were ready to turn former foes into friends, partners, and allies, the “bad guys” from other powerful groups had different ideas, which had been described a few years earlier by a less naive and more realistic thinker, a distinguished American diplomat, and former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow George Kennan: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy,” – said Kennan.

Still, with George H.W. Bush in the White House the “good guys” had some leverage, but after Bill Clinton won the 1992 elections the Washington foreign policy establishment, sometimes called the “deep state,” was not interested in our work. The euphoria about winning the Cold War, and the dawning of what they saw as an era of a unipolar world under total American leadership, some called it hegemony, made them believe that Russia and her interests were no longer relevant.  In their calculations, from now on, Moscow would have no choice but to obey orders from Washington since it had nowhere else to go. As Kennan predicted, our ideas of mutually beneficial business and security cooperation were largely ignored.

Worse than that, under the leadership of Clinton-Gore and their top Russian advisor, Strobe Talbott, the greatest robbery of the 20th Century under the “Bandit Capitalism” system had begun. There are many stories with the details of this robbery, including Congressional Report “Russia’s Road to corruption,” prepared by a group of Members of Congress.   This is what one of the most outspoken critics of Russia, who can be hardly called a Putin apologist, said in his article titled “Who Robbed Russia?”: “What makes the Russian case so sad is that the Clinton administration may have squandered one of the most precious assets imaginable — which is the idealism and goodwill of the Russian people as they emerged from 70 years of Communist rule. The Russia debacle may haunt us for generations.”

Even worse than that, at the same time, Clinton and Talbott also started the push for NATO expansion, including Ukraine, to which many strategically thinking Americans strongly objected. Among them was the above-mentioned George Kennan, who called it a “fatal foreign policy mistake,” majority of members of the Arms Control Association, 19 U.S. Senators, and many others. New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that “NATO expansion would open the door to future nuclear war.”

Our Ukrainian friends had a different agenda which we’ve been trying to publicize in Washington. The summary of this agenda is as follows: Free from the communist yoke, having strong industrial and agricultural sectors, a favorable climate and fertile land, Ukraine had great potential to become one of the most prosperous European countries.  Effective anti-corruption reforms, a certain level of autonomy for the regions with large Russian ethnic population, and neutral status with no membership in any military blocs would have made Ukraine definitely a happy and prosperous state.

In May 1993 we organized a trilateral meeting on Capitol Hill with legislators from the U.S. Congress, Russia’s Duma, and Ukraine’s Rada to discuss what the U.S. were prepared to do to help Russia and Ukraine in their difficult transition from communism to democracy thus bringing them to our fold.

Congressman Tom Lantos of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who chaired this meeting, said that had Gorbachev told us in 1989 that he was prepared to dissolve USSR and the Warsaw Pact – and requested a trillion dollars to do it – Congress would most likely have agreed, authorizing 100 billion annually for a period of 10 years. However, as it turned out, the Russians did it all by themselves. So why spend U.S. taxpayers’ money when the job is already being done? “You are on your own, guys,” said Lantos. CIA director James Woolsey and other Members of Congress who spoke afterward more or less repeated the same lines.

If that message sounded cynical, well, foreign politics always is.  But it was also a bit misleading since the U.S. did not leave Russia and Ukraine alone, Yankees didn’t go home. Billions of American tax dollars were poured in Ukraine, not to boost its economy but to reformat public opinion that was predominantly in favor of neutral status and against joining NATO.

It was Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland who admitted that “We have invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.” In reality the purpose of this money was to drive a wedge between the two Slavic nations, and push Ukraine into NATO.

This money, plus funding from George Soros, Canada, and other Western countries, helped to instigate the “Orange” color revolution in 2004 to bring a pro-NATO government into power. They succeeded but the anti-NATO mood in the country remained strong. Therefore, a second revolution was needed. This time its name was “Maidan,” and it was Victoria Nuland who coordinated it on location in Kiev while constantly reporting and getting input from then-Vice President Joe Biden, to whom Obama gave the Ukrainian portfolio.

All the media attention in her leaked phone call with the U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing the details of the coup two weeks before it actually happened on February 22, 2014, was concentrated on her expletive language insulting the EU. However, almost totally ignored is that a few seconds later she also mentioned that she is constantly discussing her work with Sullivan, and added that “Biden willing.”

Needless to say, that the new Ukrainian government that was selected by Washington immediately declared its intention to join NATO.

There is no doubt, that if not for this coup, there would be no war in Ukraine today but in line with the disgraced “Russiagate” narrative it’s no surprise that the White House, a bipartisan majority in Congress, and think tanks that are funded by the military-industrial complex are blaming it all on Russia.

One should note that the position of the U.S. mainstream media is especially disgraceful. Ashley Rindsberg in “The Spectator” called the anti-Russian hysteria the “media’s Vietnam.” She bitterly writes that the crusade against Russia has become “the raison d’etre of the mainstream, so important that it has forced some of the most famous publications in the country to openly renounce cherished journalistic values such as objectivity and neutrality.”

I think that what is happening now in Ukraine is worse than American wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, starting with Iraq and on. At that time, one at least could use a fight with communism or terror as a pretext. Here we see a policy of provoking, funding, and prolonging a war between two Christian nations that lived together for over three centuries and are bound together by close historical, religious, economic, cultural, and family ties.

If not for the Biden-Nuland coordinated coup to remove the democratically elected Ukrainian president in February 2014, that country would still retain its full territory, including Crimea.

Despite constant use of the word “unprovoked” the current war was indeed provoked by the U.S. and NATO. It denigrates not only the principles of a democratic country but contradicts the basic spirit and soul of America itself.  There is no democracy in Ukraine, which Washington pledges to protect as long as it takes, and Russia is not planning to invade any other country. As any other nation, it does want to take its security interests seriously. In this particular case to insist that the pledge given to Gorbachev “not to expand NATO one inch East” is honored.

One phone call from Biden to Putin prior to February 24, 2022, with a pledge to guarantee Ukraine’s neutral status would have ensured there would be no war. Russia’s other security concerns could be then negotiated in a calm working atmosphere.

It is obvious, and no one is hiding the fact that collective West under current U.S. leadership wants to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia without going to war directly but rather by using Ukrainians as cannon fodder. How all this corresponds to Western, or in broader terms Judeo-Christian, values are hard to explain. Besides, according to Russian military doctrine, in case of the approaching of such a defeat Moscow would use nuclear weapons.

Frankly, being an optimist by nature, in this case I don’t feel too many glimpses of hope in avoiding what Senator Sam Nunn, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, along with many other leading American experts, the process of “sleepwalking into nuclear catastrophe”

All of the above might be viewed as “voice in the bewilderment” but I hope it will at least add a few new folks to the “good guys” list, and this subject will take precedent in the upcoming presidential campaign.

Edward Lozansky is President of the American University in Moscow.









The  mainstream media repeated assertion that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked” defies  facts and journalistic standards, yet has managed to permeate the collective consciousness of the West.

By Caitlin Johnstone


Arguably the single most egregious display of war propaganda in the 21st century occurred last year, when the entire western political/media class began uniformly bleating the word “unprovoked” in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On February 23 of last year, the day before the invasion began, the New York Timeseditorial board wrote that “an unprovoked invasion of a sovereign European state is an unprovoked declaration of war on a scale, on a continent and in a century when it was thought to be no longer possible.”

After the war began, the Biden White House released a statement titled “Remarks by President Biden on Russia’s Unprovoked and Unjustified Attack on Ukraine.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared Biden’s statement on Twitter with the comment “Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Ukraine blatantly disregards the lives of innocent men, women, and children, Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and international law.”

In early March of last year, the New York Times editorial board wrote that western sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the invasion “have demonstrated that there are consequences for unprovoked wars of aggression.”

In April of last year the New York Times editorial board again repeated this slogan, writing that Putin had “ordered an unprovoked war to satisfy his ambitions of empire and the destruction of a neighboring nation.”

In May of last year the New York Times editorial board reiterated that “Ukraine deserves support against Russia’s unprovoked aggression.”

According to analyst Jeffrey Sachs, the New York Times used the word unprovoked “no fewer than 26 times, in five editorials, 14 opinion columns by NYT writers, and seven guest op-eds.”

But it wasn’t just the Paper of Record singing from the same hymnal as the US government on Ukraine. The Guardian editorial board wrote that “Mr Putin’s unprovoked war against a smaller, democratic neighbour has resulted in 1.7 million people fleeing their homes.” The LA Times editorial board wrote that the “most conspicuous victims of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine are the people who will lose their lives in defending their country against a brutal (and nuclear-armed) neighbor.” The Chicago Tribune editorial board made reference to “Putin’s audacious, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.” The Financial Times editorial board made reference to “Putin’s unprovoked assault on Russia’s neighbour.” The Washington Post editorial board made reference to “Moscow’s disastrous, unprovoked invasion” and to “Russia’s unprovoked invasion” in two separate pieces.

Everywhere you looked, that word was being uncritically regurgitated by the western press. CNN saying “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has devastated the country, killing hundreds of civilians, sparking a humanitarian disaster and resulting in a wave of sanctions from the West.” Time babbling about “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.” The New Yorker saying “Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.” NBC News saying “Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine began Thursday, after weeks of buildup.” CNBC talking about “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”

This is just me citing a few of the basically limitless examples I can point to of this war sloganeering throughout the mass media. The western press uphold themselves as impartial arbiters of truth, purporting to be superior to the state media propagandists of nations like Russia and China, and claiming a legitimacy that ordinary people using social media don’t have. And yet here they are uncritically parroting the talking points of the US government and taking sides against Russia.

The western media claim to report the facts, but the way they’ve fallen in line behind the “unprovoked” narrative reveals that their actual job is to frame world events in a way that serves the information interests of their government. Which would be bad enough if that narrative was just a biased framing of a contentious issue, and not the bald-faced lie that it actually is.

During an interview last year with the Useful Idiots podcast, Noam Chomsky argued that the reason we keep hearing the western press using the word “unprovoked” in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is because it absolutely was provoked, and they know it.

“Right now if you’re a respectable writer and you want to write in the main journals, you talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you have to call it ‘the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Chomsky said. “It’s a very interesting phrase; it was never used before. You look back, you look at Iraq, which was totally unprovoked, nobody ever called it ‘the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.’ In fact I don’t know if the term was ever used. If it was it was very marginal. Now you look it up on Google, and hundreds of thousands of hits. Every article that comes out has to talk about the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”

“Why? Because they know perfectly well it was provoked,” Chomsky said. “That doesn’t justify it, but it was massively provoked.”

Indeed, you can disagree with Russia’s invasion or believe that Putin overreacted to the situation, but what you can’t do is legitimately claim that the invasion was unprovoked. It’s just a welldocumented fact that the US and its allies provoked this war in a whole host of ways, from NATO expansion to backing regime change in Kyiv to playing along with aggressions against Donbass separatists to pouring weapons into Ukraine. There’s also an abundance of evidence that the US and its allies sabotaged a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine in the early weeks of the war in order to keep this conflict going as long as possible to hurt Russian interests.

We know that western actions provoked the war in Ukraine because many western foreign policy experts spent years warning that western actions would provoke a war in Ukraine. There’s footage of John Mearsheimer back in 2015 urgently warning that “the west is leading Ukraine down the primrose path, and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked.” And that’s exactly how it played out.

The reason foreign policy “realists” like Mearsheimer were able to correctly predict the war in Ukraine is because they held at the forefront of their analysis the fact that great powers will never accept threats from other great powers on their borders. This is a key point to understanding the major conflicts of the 2020s, not just between the US and Russia but between the US and China as well— and the US is the one amassing the threats on the borders of its enemies in both instances.

“The thesis of the war being unprovoked is very strategic,” foreign policy analyst Max Abrams recently tweeted in response to my commentary on this subject. “It whitewashes the role of NATO expansion, meddling in the Maidan uprisings and siding with far right extremists in the civil war. Not only does it exonerate America but it helps vilify Russia and sell the war as wholly good.”

The reason the mass media have been bleating the word “unprovoked” in unison with regard to this war is because the mass media are propaganda organs of the US empire. Their repetition of this war propaganda slogan exploits a glitch in human cognition known as the illusory truth effect, which makes it difficult for our minds to tell the difference between the experience of hearing something many times and the experience of hearing something that’s true. Just repeatedly inserting the word “unprovoked” into Ukraine war commentary across the board causes people to assume it must have been launched without provocation, because the illusory truth effect can circumvent reason and logic to insert a narrative into the collective consciousness of our civilization.

The fact that all mass media outlets began doing this in unison, against all journalistic training and ethics, shows you just how united the mass media are in service of the US empire. When the need to push a narrative is particularly urgent, the facade of journalistic impartiality and independence drops away, and we see the true face of the most sophisticated propaganda machine that has ever existed.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

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Throwing bricks through the American Empire windows....


The 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg is right around the corner. CGTN hosts a round table discussion with analysts from the five emerging economies, discussing the benefits of the BRICS mechanism, the group's expansion, and how to push forward the development of the Global South in the light of historical evidence, sustainability, and current geopolitics....