Listen now | Evgenia and I recorded a late night episode on the May 9th Victory Day celebration and parade that took place last week in Russia. Not much to celebrate this year, unfortunately.
John Mearsheimer has this lecture from 2015 where he talks about why he thinks NATO shares blame for the 2014 coup, and I almost missed it when he said it, but he says "if you want to defeat Russia, trick them into thinking they can invade ukraine". As soon as I heard it I knew that that was probably americas plan, but this was long before February so I still thought it was a distant chance. Now I think the state department jackals are probably comparing themselves to the guys who started the afghanistan war in the 80s like its a good thing.
Its commentary and analysis like this on Russia that I value. Rather than the superficial stuff we get on mainstream Western media.
Just finished listening. Thanks. I know what you mean with the stuff about Substack subscribers holding this simplistic view that Putin is pushing back at American empire and all that. And while I can empathize with that angle, my own take on this situation is one of extreme worry. For the world.
That said, I think it's important to point out that since I have absolutely zero power to influence anything Putin does, I tend to focus my criticisms on my own country and the leaders with whom ostensibly (but which we know not to be the case) I have an audience (vote, calls and letters to reps/senators) and the duty to speak out about to whoever will listen. So yeah, I am extremely angry with how the US government has handled this situation dating back to the end of WWII, but more so since 2014. There have been ample opportunities to resolve the Donbas crisis as peacefully as possible, but not only have they been systematically scuttled and ignored by the American government, "we've" done the exact opposite. I should've realized more about what was happening during the Maidan coup and then Russiagate and Ukrainegate as I saw each as distinct, unrelated events and scandals but which I now realize was all part and parcel to a long-reaching campaign to vilify and weaken Russia and Putin and to prevent any 'serious' peace proposals from being heard in the west. Thanks to the war industry, I guess we have to have an 'official' enemy and that a superpower can't be a superpower without a super threat or existential foe at all times; one that's made out to be always plotting for our demise and doing so with almost superhuman abilities (hacking the election, paying Afghanis to kill Americans, breaking into our electricity grid, controlling a sitting president, etc. - things our immensely more influential CIA even has trouble pulling off).
I ramble, but the point is that Putin did exactly what Washington *wanted* him to do with this invasion and now we're all in danger whether most of us here in the west choose to think much about it or not. All of that having been said, it's not hard to look at the situation, the broken promises, the encroachment and harassment of Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, among others, and be convinced that in some way, Russia and Putin are indeed facing an existential threat. The nature and purpose of that threat is subject to debate and Putin is by no means a brave resistance fighter against western imperialism - and especially not against western-style private finance capitalism imperialism. He and his oligarch cronies clearly practice a much more streamlined and exclusionary form of it than what we see here in the west, but at the end of the day it's all about consolidation of power and wealth for the few at the expense of the many. So in that sense, if he's standing against anything it's the western private finance gangsters and oligarch billionaires who would like to get their own hands on what he and his circle currently have in theirs within Russia and her sphere of influence. He doesn't care about the Russian people any more than Donald Trump or Joe Biden care about average Americans, or Boris Johnson does about British citizens, despite all of them talking their game and pretending they do. It's a billionaire's con game that costs real human lives to maintain.
With respect to the war and Putin, I don't pretend to be able to get inside his mind like so many commentators both pro- and anti-Putin do here in the corporate and alternative news ecosystem. I have no idea if what is happening was *mostly* what was planned or whether the whole thing has gone south on him much more quickly than he and his inner circle of planners anticipated. I think it's silly to do this and rather choose to try peering through the fog of war (and contrived all-encompassing information warfare) and make assessments based on available information, which I cross check as much as possible. But I always find myself back at square one; namely, that the US and the oligarchical energy, finance and weapons industry actors who control our government have intentionally done everything they could for a decade to make this happen and that we'll be lucky if the whole planet doesn't suffer drastic consequences for another decade or more as a result.
Just a fucking sad and hopeless situation we find ourselves in and which we have to rely on people over whom we have little to no control coming to their fucking senses and doing something different.
It surprised me to learn that Suvorov's book on Soviet culpibility in WW II is published by the Naval Institute Press. While obviously a press with strong right-wing tendency, it's generally considered a relatively mainstream press. I assumed that the book was either self-published or on some way the hell out press--not that the Naval Institute Press isn't in it's own way, but its rep seems to be that of a source of credible military history (if that, again, isn't almost automatically a right wing project).
This new film came to my attention today, but I don't know where to find it. Have you guys heard of it or seen it?
"The film focuses on the story of a local Ukrainian family trapped at the epicenter of the crash of MH17. The actions unfold on July 17, 2014, in the village of Grabove, Donetsk region, near the Russian border. The protagonists Irina and Anatoly are expecting their first child, as the war brutally invades their lives along with the wreckage of a downed Boeing. The woman refuses to evacuate, even when the village is occupied by armed groups."
When you were talking about soldiers returning from the Chechen war to harsh conditions at home, did you mention a book, movie or TV series I could check out? Sorry if you mentioned it and I did not catch the name.
Returning from war to find things have changed at home is a universal theme going all the way back at least to the Odyssey. I'm actually in the middle of an excellent series on those topics called "Under Correction" (excuse the pathetic English translation). Main character returns from WWII to a society that's been utterly crushed by the Soviet bureaucracy. Fascinating production that's really grabbed my attention.
Thanks again for the spirited discussion!