Sunday 4 December 2022

The left and right agree about Ukraine

People who admire Putin, back his invasion of Ukraine or think him a standard-bearer for Christianity are horribly mistaken, but mistaken too are people who see wars simply as crimes, rather than the continuation of diplomacy by other means.

"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'. 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. That doesn’t justify it, but it was massively provoked. Top US diplomats have been talking about this for 30 years, even the head of the CIA."

Noam Chomsky. (I absolutely hate to agree with a crazily left-wing figure who once praised Pol Pot's 'noble experiment', but here he is right.) 

"When you ignore all the empty narrative fluff and really boil it down to the raw language of actual behaviour, NATO's existence really does seem to be premised on the circular reasoning that without NATO there'd be nobody to protect the world from the consequences of NATO's actions. It goes out of its way to threaten powerful nations and then justifies its existence by their responses to those threats. It's a self-licking ice cream cone, or, if you prefer, a self-licking boot."

Caitlin Johnstone, another left-winger. She has a point, at least up to a point. I am ashamed of agreeing with her, though. She thinks the poverty of Africa and Asia is the result of theft and oppression by white men.

“In order to maintain its hegemonic position, the US supports Ukraine to wage hybrid warfare against Russia…The purpose is to hit Russia, contain Europe, kidnap ‘allies,’ and threaten China.”

Professor Lyle Goldstein

“The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.” A 'senior official' quoted by Politico on 24th November.

In case you missed this, which I linked to long ago, here are quotations from people, including George Kennan and Dr Kissinger, who warned that Nato expansion would or might lead to war.


  1. Peter Hitchens:
    I only heard about this short, devastating book a few days ago and know nothing of its author. But everyone should try to get hold of and read its urgent, well-researched arguments.

  2. The Road To War

    1. The one person responsible for most Ukrainian deaths since Stalin:

    2. How the West Brought War to Ukraine
      Misguided American and NATO policies created the Ukraine crisis.
      Benjamin Abelow
      This essay is now available in book form — Paperback, eBook, and Audible. You can view these at Amazon, where you also can read endorsements by Noam Chomsky, Ambassador Jack Matlock, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, political scientist John Mearsheimer, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Chas Freeman, and others.

  3. Peter MacFarlane5 December 2022 at 15:43

    One does rather wonder what these people would say if we agree to Putin taking over Ukraine, and then he starts on Bulgaria. Or Romania. Or Slovakia…you get the idea.

    And he is on record as saying that the collapse of the USSR was the worst geopolitical tragedy ever, more or less.

    At what point do they think it might be worth resisting him? Or would any resistance at all just be the fault of the US?


      “The Dogs of War” are loose and the rugged Russian Bear,
      Full bent on blood and robbery, has crawl’d out of his lair;
      It seems a thrashing now and then, will never help to tame
      That brute, and so he’s out upon the “same old game.”
      The Lion did his best to find him some excuse
      To crawl back to his den again, all efforts were no use;
      He hunger’d for his victim, he’s pleased when blood is shed,
      But let us hope his crimes may all recoil on his own head.

      We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do,
      We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too!
      We’ve fought the Bear before and while we’re Britons true
      The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

      (McDermott’s War Song – G.W. Hunt, 1878)

    2. I agree with Benjamin Abelow.

    3. Toma I was recently looking for a recording of that song by the Great MacDermott. I found a recording on the net years ago but now cannot find it.

    4. Here it is! Sung by the Great MacDermott himself!

    5. I found it in my own wonderful blog - here.

    6. I also mention the song here.

    7. Did the West ‘bring war’ to Ukraine?

  4. 'he is on record as saying that the collapse of the USSR was the worst geopolitical tragedy ever'

    So it is now perhaps time to see what it was that Putin actually said. Here it is: first in Russian, “Прежде всего следует признать, что крушение Советского Союза было крупнейшей геополитической катастрофой века.” and then in the official translation into English, “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.” Hyperlinks take you to Putin’s Address to the Federal Assembly on 25 April 2005 on the Presidential website. That is the “original source”.

    Not the greatest; not the most important; not the largest of anything. Not Number One. Not the superlative. One of many geopolitical disasters of the century, but a “major” one. If you like, you could argue with Putin about whether it was “major” or “minor” – here are his reasons for putting it on the “major” side of the list; you put yours:

    As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself. Individual savings were depreciated, and old ideals destroyed. Many institutions were disbanded or reformed carelessly. Terrorist intervention and the Khasavyurt capitulation that followed damaged the country’s integrity. Oligarchic groups – possessing absolute control over information channels – served exclusively their own corporate interests. Mass poverty began to be seen as the norm. And all this was happening against the backdrop of a dramatic economic downturn, unstable finances, and the paralysis of the social sphere. Many thought or seemed to think at the time that our young democracy was not a continuation of Russian statehood, but its ultimate collapse, the prolonged agony of the Soviet system.

    Certainly big; anyone would agree that it was a bad enough disaster at least for those who lived through it. But bigger than any other disaster? No, but Putin isn’t saying it was. It ought to be perfectly obvious what he’s talking about: not a desire to re-create the USSR but an accurate description of how miserable the 1990s were for Russians (and, actually, for most other people in the former USSR).