What You Need to Know About Ukraine

In 1654, Ukraine signed a military protection treaty with Russia. As a result, Russia gradually overtook Ukraine and made it part of the Russian Empire. In spite of that, Ukraine maintained its linguistic and cultural differences from Russia for the next 250 years. When the Russian Empire fell apart after the Bolshevik revolution, Ukraine immediately declared independence and started a process of nation-building. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long because the Bolshevik regime gained strength and forced Ukraine to integrate into the USSR.

Mind you, Ukraine was never part of Russia. Just like the US was never part of England and Mexico was never part of Spain. The actual differences are even more profound because the US shares its language with England and Mexico shares its with Spain. Ukraine, on the other hand, always had its own language and a very distinctive culture. (I’m a Ukrainian married to a Russian, and believe me, we feel our cultural differences daily).

In the USSR, Ukraine was one of the 15 republics with its own constitution, national flag, anthem, and a legally defined (although obviously unenforceable) right to leave the USSR.

Throughout the late 1980s and very early 1990s, there was a massive desire for independence in Ukraine. I was there at the time and experienced it daily, so please let’s not debate this point. Finally, Ukraine conducted a referendum where people overwhelmingly voted for sovereignty and left the USSR. As a result, the USSR collapsed. This was a happy moment for Ukrainians but a deeply traumatic development for most Russians who still perceive it as a tragedy 30 years later.

To show its readiness to join the civilized world and leave behind the legacy of the Cold War, Ukraine gave up its gigantic stock of nuclear weapons to demonstrate its commitment to stopping nuclear proliferation. At the urging of the United States, Ukraine peacefully handed over its nuclear weapons to Russia, its biggest geopolitical enemy. This was an unprecedented gesture of goodwill and peacefulness. In return, the US and the UK promised to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and protect the country if Russia invaded. This was called “Budapest Accords.” Please look them up for more details in case you are still wondering why Ukraine is America’s business. US has been trying to stop nuclear proliferation for decades. Reneging on its official and recent promises to Ukraine will destroy all of its credibility for any future negotiations with countries that want their own nukes.

For the next 25 years, Ukraine was a sovereign nation but much of its political and cultural space was controlled by Russia. This means no true democracy was possible because Russia is culturally resistant to democracy for a variety of reasons (and I’m not saying that it’s good or bad, just that it’s a fact) and Ukraine has culturally been very receptive to democratic institutions for centuries.

In 2013, the people of Ukraine were finally ready to try a real democracy and not a corrupt fake kind that existed in the post-Soviet space since 1991.

Russia understandably freaked out and invaded. Ukraine at that time had no standing army to speak of but Ukrainians made an inhuman effort of willpower and patriotism and repelled the invasion. Still, about 1% of Ukraine’s territory was occupied by Russia and has been occupied ever since. Now Russia is threatening to renew the invasion.

It’s been years, though. Since then, Ukraine managed to create and train some pretty serious armed forces. It has also experienced some quite extraordinary successes (and quite a few setbacks) in building a real market economy and fighting corruption. It’s a slow process because what isn’t? Do you know anybody who came out of 70 years of a totalitarian regime and went on to prosper fast after that? Me neither.

So what does Ukraine want from the US?

The #1 thing to know is that nobody in Ukraine ever wanted, suggested or dreamt of suggesting that the US send troops to Ukraine to fight against Russians. The idea is ludicrous. Ukraine has an army that has been fighting for years. Ukraine is defending itself. Everybody needs to relax and stop fantasizing about “Ukraine as the next Afghanistan.” This is idiotic and I’m ashamed of hearing formerly serious people go on about it.

What Ukraine needs is, first of all, moral support. Ukrainians believe in the values of the Western civilization in the best meaning of the world. Even if the West itself has decided to abandon them, these values still feel attractive to many people in Eastern Europe. The incapacity of the West to stand proudly for its great civilizational achievements results in this sad relativism where even saying “democracy is better than authoritarianism” becomes impossible.

And another thing that Ukraine needs (or, rather, needed because, sadly, that boat has now sailed) is US’s opposition to Nordstream 2.

That’s it. Moral support as in “we are so happy you guys want democracy, capitalism and individual freedoms, yay for you!” and no Nordstream 2. It’s not that much to ask.

In the next post, I will explain Russia’s position in all of this.

I welcome questions.

78 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Ukraine

  1. Before any questions, my deepest respects to Ukraine. They’ve achieved so much, with so little. And no joke about the inhuman effort of willpower and patriotism… I still remember this willowy, artistic 20-year-old girl that had volunteered to join the army back when Russia invaded, and her older, jaded cousin (whom I had heard this from) who was all like …ok but where are we going to find her equipment, what does she need, ok, some decent boots but what else? I can’t imagine any Romanian family where the reaction would have been that instead of various forms of don-t-risk-your-life-for-an-ideal. Mad respect.

    Now to the questions part:

    1) I’m a bit confused about the Northstream situation. The obvious reason is that a situation in which Russia gets good money for their natural gas is a situation in which they can afford to pay for an invasion, but wouldn’t they have the money already by dealing with China, who is v. much trying to switch to a natural gas source that can’t be cut off by blockading ports right now? What am I missing?

    2) Would love more details on the cultural differences that make Ukraine predisposed towards democratic institutions and Russia…not quite. Or cultural differences in general.

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    1. Thanks Clarissa!!! Such an informative piece! Why on earth no newspaper is as clear and succinct about the Ukraine-Russia relationship? I’m off to print it.

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    2. “the Northstream situation”

      IINM Northsteam is an attempt to cut out middle countries so that Russia can soothe German anxieties while it interferes with other countries: “why are you worried about what we’re doing in Ukraine? you’ll still get your gas, Deutschland”
      Germany’s desire for Russian natural gas is sort of like an 80’s businessman’s lust for cocaine – it quite blinds to potential hazards…

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    3. Thank you for the great comment. I’m stunned myself that Ukrainians got themselves together so fast and so decisively. I did not think I’d see it in my lifetime, and it was such a beautiful, inspiring moment.

      As for Russia and China, the situation is complex. Russia is handing over to China big chunks of its sovereign territory on the sly. Anybody in Russia who notices this fact tends to die in mysterious circumstances. I’m guessing that becoming completely beholden to China as its gas market would aggravate the issue of the territorial negotiations. That’s a lot of land that Russia is losing already. And it’s a country whose national identity is heavily tied into the size of its territories.

      In terms of cultural differences, two factors had a major impact. One is a difference in who invaded and conquered both regions historically. Russia’s biggest medieval foe that captured and dominated them for 150 years was the Mongol Empire. Ukraine’s biggest foe and conqueror was Poland. As a result, Russia and Ukraine adopted very different customs (for example, in what concerns the position of women) under these disparate influences. From at least 1400s and until our days, the differences in the women’s role in the family and the amount of autonomy women have are a constant topic of discussion in Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian women never had to cover their faces. Never had to live in a separate “female” area of the house. Chose their own husbands and were allowed to see the future husbands and even spend time with them alone before marriage. Ukraine never had a custom of father-in-law being entitled to sex with his son’s wife, like Russia did. We don’t even have a word for this practice in Ukrainian. And many, many other things. This all accumulates over centuries, producing different patterns of behavior in the present. You either have many generations of sons who had to watch their father have sex with their wife and stay silent or you don’t. And who’s more likely to learn to blindly obey authority as a result?

      The second factor was that Ukrainian lands are very fertile and allowed for individual farming while Russia has some very infertile lands where people had to live communally and work on the land together to survive. So the idea of individualism, private property, individual rights, etc developed more easily in Ukraine.

      Sorry for a long comment but this is a subject that is endlessly interesting to me.

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      1. Forgive my ignorance, but what is it about Nordstream 2 that is a problem for Ukraine? Maybe I’m unusually dense, but I’m not connecting the dots here (then again, I confess I know very little about Nordstream 2)

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        1. Russia stopped the invasion in 2014 because the world prices of oil and gas dropped off a cliff. It ran out of money. Nordstream 2 gives it the needed money.

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        2. Nordstream 2 will pipe Russian natural gas under the Baltic to Germany. It will make Germany much more dependent on Russian gas and earn Russia quite a bit of money. Germany’s dependence on Russian gas will make it harder for Germany to oppose Russia. The EU does absolutely nothing without the Germans on board, Germany hat the third largest military in NATO, and Germany is also where the majority of US troops in Europe are stationed.

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      2. ” Ukraine never had a custom of father-in-law being entitled to sex with his son’s wife, like Russia did. ”

        I’m sorry, but what the fuck?!? And we’re talking about post-1400s Russia, so at least theoretically an Orthodox Christian culture? How.

        The difference-in-external-enemy part is very interesting, and I’d love to read more about it – feel free to recommend any English-language sources, assuming they exist.

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        1. “I’m sorry, but what the fuck?!? And we’re talking about post-1400s Russia, so at least theoretically an Orthodox Christian culture?”

          It existed up until and including the first two decades of the 20th century. The Revolution largely put an end to it but there’s still some. . . confusion on the subject deep in the countryside. And it’s just one of many things. Russia had Domostroy – a set of ultra-patriarchal customs – until the revolution. Ukraine never had anything comparable.

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  2. America – the North American colonies – were never a part of England, true. We were a part of the British Empire ruled by the British elite in London, which is a different thing. The English people are themselves still subjects of that apparently much diminished and perhaps partially eclipsed Empire, and many of them would like to extricate themselves as much as possible from it, which explains all the sturm und drang over Brexit.

    I say “apparently much diminished and perhaps partially eclipsed” because it’s unclear to me what the true nature of international politics actually are.. The incestuousness of the international elite manifested in institutions like the Noble Committee, Rhodes Scholarship, Davos, TED talks, the IMF (etc. etc. etc.), the preeminence of Anglo-American universities and institutions (like Harvard/Yale/MIT/OxBridge/The London School of Economics) in educating that elite, all manifesting most saliently in the simple fact that English is the universal lingua franca of world politics, science and trade, suggest that at the deepest subterranean level that that Empire is in an essential fashion still very much alive, only now directed from multiple hubs apart from London that were once formally a part of it – like New York, Hong Kong, Singapore – which while now superficially “liberated” might still be thought of as a part of that still very much potent Anglo-American Imperial web.

    All of which is merely to say that all discourse over the Ukrainian situation – whether Ukrainian democracy is real or not, whether people in Donbass or Crimea prefer Moscow to Kiev or not, whether Maidan was a true expression of popular political will or the original CIA incited “color revolution,” the questions whether either or both the U.S. guarantee of Ukrainian independence or the promise to Russia not to expand NATO should be honored or not – all seem to me (an American, a U.S. Army Veteran, a Catholic Christian) to be subordinated to the question of whether we in the United States should still be embroiled in “the Great Game” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Game ) with the Russian Empire or not.

    That’s my first question to you, Clarissa. You are now an American citizen, right? Your husband and daughter are, as well? Is it our business – my business – to interject ourselves into Asian politics like this? I agree that moral and political / economic support of Ukrainian, or Taiwanese, or South Korean (so on, so forth) independence is in principle probably morally correct.. But that has to be conditioned by the larger question of whose empire or imperial sphere do we want to live in, and what will the nature of that empire be?

    “Our” Empire – the Anglo-American/Western European one is currently eviscerating its own authority morally and politically from within. Putin is making major rhetorical gestures – through his speeches, social policies, media like RT and Sputnik – expressing his support (superficial and cynical though it may be) of people like me who are becoming ever more increasingly weary and disillusioned with the ever more manifestly satanic character and behavior of our own culture’s political and economic elites..

    Am I really supposed to trust them when they start squealing we need to go to war in Ukraine? Because that is what they are explicitly saying. Watch Joe and Mika Brzezinski Scarborough – the CIA’s dynamic propaganda duo – and the rest of the corporate media clown cast say exactly this, telling us Tucker Carlson is a KGB stooge for suggesting all of it is little to none of our affair..

    All due respect to Ukrainians, but what business is it of mine? Do I have to simply fall in behind the CIA line?

    Also, what about Hunter’s portfolio in Ukraine? The Biden/Kerry families and Clinton Foundation (etc. etc. etc.)’s obvious corrupt conflicts of interest in the middle of all of this? Of what relevance is all of that? Is it of any at all?

    Thanks for your insight into all of this. I am truly grateful for your perspective. I do not know anywhere near enough about all of this, and the more light you can cast on it all, the more appreciative I will be.

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    1. “Is it our business – my business – to interject ourselves into Asian politics like this?”

      Have you read the part of my post about Budapest Accords? I have answered this question clearly and in detail.

      “All due respect to Ukrainians, but what business is it of mine?”

      Again, Budapest Accords. We are all the results of our past actions. The US pledged itself, willingly and freely, to a certain line of actions in case Russia invaded Ukraine. This was very recent. Going back on that pledge now is not a trivial issue. Try going to your bank and explaining that yes, you took out a loan last year but now you no longer feel obligated to pay it because what business is it if yours what happened all those months ago. This is not a serious position. If the US wants to withdraw from world politics, I’m fine with that. But this should be done after at least acknowledging previous obligations.

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      1. Leaving aside geopolitics, here’s a metaphysical question I have. You know how we often say that the American left hates America? That it’s possessed with hatred for its own culture?

        OK. But isn’t the right doing the same? In a conflict between the people who hate you with the power of a million suns and people who admire you deeply you instinctively and immediately side with the people who hate you. What’s the evidence of? An average Russian detests you for being American. It’s just a fact. And an average Ukrainian feels the opposite. Also a fact. Isn’t it evidence of self-hatred to side with those who want you dead?

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        1. Excuse me for letting my angst spill out here in such a welling pool, Clarissa. I was thinking about this assertion of yours that Russians hate us, and Ukrainians love us.. It reminded me of my – which to say all of our – good Polish friends, whom I mentioned earlier.

          But I’ve been thinking about it more, and a few other anecdotes have occurred to me..

          I first left the States in 1991 to spend a year and a half studying in Switzerland and living with my family in Turkey. My father was head master of an American school there, and I would spend summers with them when not at school. I don’t know if you might remember it in the same way I do..

          “Bliss ’twas in that dawn to be alive, But to be young ’twas very heaven..”

          Being American abroad then was like being a minor celebrity. Everywhere we went, we were met with enthusiasm and good will. I hitchhiked everywhere: from Fribourg to Nottingham, from Fribourg to Prague and back being the two most epic forays. I also milked two Eurarail passes for every mile they were worth.

          I cannot tell you how much fun it was. I would get picked up and people would take me out for beer, invite me to stay in their homes..everywhere I went, I was met as a friend.

          I always took the train home from Switzerland to Turkey, down to Bari or Brindisi, ferry to Patras, train to Athens, ferry to a Greek island (Chios, Samos), ferry to Çeşme, bus to Izmir.. Return trip in reverse. I did this round trip three times, with one major variation: for Christmas break my girlfriend in the States flew in, and we took the train to Prague, then Budapest. Then Sofia..Then Istanbul, where we caught the bus to Izmir.

          Daftly, I didn’t check where the train from Budapest to Sofia would be routed. I simply assumed that because Yugoslavia was fractured with violence, that it would go through Romania. I don’t know why I presumed that.. Maybe because the thought that it would cruise through a civil war just to get us to Bulgaria was unthinkable. We’d gotten Romanian visas in advance, it was so beyond the pale of what I assumed possible.

          The train subverted my expectations. we left Budapest bound for Bulgaria..Next thing I knew there were a couple hundred boisterous drunk singing Serbian soldiers sharing our car, in full battle rattle armed with kalashnikovs.. Some of them began groping this poor Finnish girl traveling alone on our car, who fled to our cabin for protection.

          The three of us reached the Bulgarian border otherwise unscathed, where the train parked swallowed in a great trench topped by barbed wire, lined with sentry towers.. There we were joyfully greeted by border guards in great coats and those bear hats with red stars on them (“just like in the movies..”) who hugged and welcomed us with long inscrutable discourses.. The only word I could understand was Amerikanski, but their meaning seemed perfectly clear: We were their friends. They were very glad we were there.

          Sofia was unbelievably depressing and sad. Prague and Budapest had both had the same dull film over nearly everything. Everything new was ugly, brutalist, both had a general overall tenor of poverty and shabby disrepair,

          But both cities also had exquisitely elegant ancient hearts, their beauty strangely magnified by the surrounding besmirching Stalinist brutalism, that seemed to be receding somehow away from them.. Like dark mud hedging and heightening the refraction of light in a partly buried gemstone, being pulsed and rinsed away by rain..

          There was energy, hope, some wealth and vitality in both places, a sense of kinetic energy, optimism and expectation..

          Not in Sofia. All there was, was cold, coal smoke, grey skies, grime and patina of decrepitude and despair caked thickly everywhere. The first thing you saw walking out of the train station was a great cooling tower, I think it was a nuclear power plant. This, in the center of the city..

          Cracked sidewalks, massive grotesqueries of socialist realism bludgeoning your mind on and around every public building,. There was no where to eat, nowhere to become warm. The one store we found was entirely bare apart from a few dozen tin cans with uniform red blue and grey Cyrillic labels and no other sign of what was inside.

          The tree of us went back to the station and waited for the Orient Express. Bulgarians approached us, and asked in rudimentary English to exchange addresses, asked us to promise that we’d write.. I’ve exchanged addresses with many other people traveling, but never with anyone with such a tone of pathetic desperation. We made insincere promises. They seemed grateful for them, they were desperate in some way that we save them. But I didn’t know how.

          While this was happening, two policemen armed with rifles began beating a drunk old man who’d fallen in the middle of the station floor. They were brutally kicking him, cursing him. I stood up to intervene, but my girlfriend pulled me down. No one else in the crowd of hundreds around us reacted. On the great wall of the station behind them was a huge mural of the new socialist man reaching forward, I don’t know what he was reaching for, because nothing else was there.

          Years later, when I was teaching in Mexico, I would walk home by the fairground on the skirts of Obregon. One week the traveling circus was there, and they had a small elephant staked to a very short chain just beyond the fence running along the road. The elephant was utterly listless, it seemed almost dead. Every evening I saw her, I had the impulse to jump the fence, break the chain, to set her free. I could send her into the desert, where perhaps she could escape and make her way to an oasis to live in freedom, glad solitude and dignity..

          One night that same week, I was walking along that road, almost to where the little elephant was. Just as she came in view, I saw three policemen crowded around this old homeless woman who I knew. She was lying on the ground, leaning up against the fairground fence, shielding her face with her arms, sobbing.. She had come by our house begging a couple weeks before, and I had given her one of my jackets. It was green, from LL Bean. She had it on. They were yelling at her, occasionally hitting her with batons and kicking her.

          I walked by, saying nothing. They didn’t even look at me. I did nothing to stop them. I did nothing to set the elephant free.

          In all my travel in the Middle East and in other places among Muslims, I am always humbled by how often they are still open and kind to me. But when I am met with open hatred and contempt, I do not mind. I understand. I know why they hate me. It is correct somehow that they do. I respect them for it. I forgive them for it.

          In Fribourg, there was this Swedish girl that I knew, that I would see frequently around town. Whenever I saw her, we would talk. I grew to like her, began to crush on her a little bit. She was tall, almost as tall as I am, blonde with blue eyes. To say that she was beautiful would be trite understatement. When it dawned on me that I liked her, I knew I had to ask her out.. But I was slightly intimidated by my own desire, and of course I awkwardly balled it all up..

          But she agreed to go walk around the cliffs along the Sarine in the twilight with me, and I was happy.. I was tongue tied, and hadn’t much to say.. I don’t know why. So she started to tell me about how evil the United States is, how awful Reagan was, how Geo. H.W. Bush is a war criminal. I listened to her, mostly nodding along, because I thought some of what she was saying was more or less true, and as for the stuff I thought was nonsense, well.. She was Swedish. And blonde. And very pretty. I forgave her for being daft. She was allowed to be non-sensical, so long as she walked above the river with me.

          Then we reached the copse of a hill overlooking the city, stopped and stood facing one another in the pale of a streetlight.. She turned her rhetorical ferocity on me. She told me that I was an American imperialist cowboy. She hated my guts, and she never wanted to see me again. This, in her perfectly accented colloquial English – she sounded like an American herself.. Damned Scandinavian women. So pretty, such good English. Why is it so many of them are so absurd?

          I didn’t quite understand what she was saying. A cowboy? Me? What the hell does that mean? I’m from f***king Maine, for pete frickin’ sake. My hometown is full of lumberjacks and moose, not cows. I still am slightly astonished, and it’s been thirty years.

          But it was funny. What was I supposed to say to that? I said nothing but goodbye.

          Later on, it dawned on me that she’d paid me a pretty high compliment. You really think I’m in the same class as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, the characters they played, Maja? The sort of men who drive cattle for weeks across the prairie to the stockyards?

          Okay. I don’t deserve that, but I’ll take it just the same.. Thank you, Maja. I’m quite flattered you think of me in that way.. If I were an actual cowboy, things would have been very different between us.. You would not have been able to resist me.

          Helas. I’m no cowboy. I didn’t save any of the people I’ve seen being beaten by the cruel vicious fascist bullies that I’ve just told you about. I didn’t save the little forlorn elephant, I never set her free. I haven’t saved a town from thugs like Liberty Valence or Frank Miller and their gangs..

          Maybe I should have tried, but I didn’t. Maybe I should try now.. I don’t know. Maybe Donbass needs a sheriff, to set everything straight. Maybe I’m the man who will save their city from the bad guys..

          But I don’t hate Russians. I rather like them. I’m a bit disappointed that so many of them apparently hate me. Does the fact they hate me, and that many Ukrainians like me, mean that I should want intervene if they decide to start killing each other? I wish them all well. My feelings toward Russians are almost wholly positive, no matter what they may think of the United States..

          I likely agree with many of their probable critiques.. If they have any advice on how to address our flaws, or want to help in any way, I would be glad. Especially if the Russian is question happens to be tall, and blonde, and pretty beyond all triteness.. In that striking fashion so many Slavic women are. I’d prefer she have an accent, sounding like an American is rather boring..I only hope she has an interesting critique, smart things to say..

          But even if she doesn’t she has a pass, I’ll listen to whatever she’s got to say, so long as she doesn’t mistake me for a frickin’ cowboy.

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        2. I can’t imagine many Americans actually care what Russians think. The right just has a general preference for “strong leaders” and militaristic societies.

          Plenty of people on the American left admired Castro because he “provided healthcare” but how many would actually bother to visit Cuba?

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          1. I keep thinking about that time during the BLM riots where groups of liberals would drop to their knees to signal their subservience to people who clearly detested them. This is the same thing. This need for self-abasement knows no party lines.

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            1. So. I guess you missed the point of my stories. I suppose my rumination got too abstract, maybe my point wasn’t clear. I was delving into the taxonomy of my dreams, and I suppose I got too Jungian.. I’ll sharpen my point.

              I’m not bending a knee to Putin, BLM, or anyone else. I bend my knee in prayer to the God of Jacob.

              I’m not afraid of Putin. I like Putin. I’m afraid of our own so called elite, not the Russians. Our self styled illuminati masters are far more dangerous to me than Putin is, far more likely to destroy us. I don’t care if Putin or any other Russian likes me, hates me, or not. I like a lot of people who hate me. I respect many of them for their hatred, because it is often rational and justified. Most women take hatred too personally. Many men take it as a compliment, and return it with affection.

              I think the United States has a greater interest in being cordial and friendly with Russia than we do with Ukraine. The only reason the ghouls in DC have any interest in “defending” the Ukraine is that they want it weak corrupt and broken and under their power so that they can keep sucking it dry, like they broke and sucked to the entire former Soviet Union dry back Yeltsin’s time.

              Your problem is that you have divided loyalties, ones you want me to honor. I’m sorry that you’re disappointed in me, in us, Clarissa.. I don’t have any particular loyalty toward, or interest in the Ukraine. I know Joe Biden, John Kerry, the Clinton Foundation have particularly lucrative relationships there, and maybe other people like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump do, but I don’t. Nor do the vast majority of Americans.

              You should avoid being snarky and insulting in your disappointment, though. It’s childish and unbecoming.

              The question of how to balance Russian power is a subtle one. The vicious neocons broke their empire into pieces, and then fed on the corpse. In victory, they behaved like the satanic vampires they are.. But Russia has revivified, and is pushing back. Obviously, Russia regaining all of the territory it lost in the Caucasus, Central Asia, etc. would be problematic. But that is not going to happen, not any time soon.

              There may be a debate to be had about our defending Poland and the Baltic states against Russia. But we, the American people, have not had it. Our so call leaders have arrogantly made the decision for us, without properly informing us of the score and possible consequences. Like they blithely do so many things, they put our lives and honor are on the line, and most Americans have not thought about it, at all.

              If you want to risk your life and the life of your family fighting Russians, go back to the Ukraine and do it. Do not ask me to risk mine, for us to risk ours.

              To me the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian is about a great as the difference between me and Canadian. I cannot appreciate the nuances that evidently are so obvious to you. Why should we get into the middle of a conflict in which the average American will have no idea how to distinguish the sides from one another?

              We’re supposed to referee another ancient tribal conflict where nuances insignificant to the vast majority of Americans take on massive salience to the combatants?

              I was just involved in a long conflict like that. Shiite or Sunni? Most Americans did not know either word twenty years ago, did not care to know. Most still have no idea what those two words really mean. Yet here we are still taking sides in their 1400 year old religious civil war.

              You know that girlfriend I took with me on my train ride to Bulgaria? She still doesn’t understand that Turks speak a different language than Arabs. She’s been to Turkey. She’s an upper middle class educated woman with an expensive education who told me that Turks speak Arabic.

              I speak Arabic. Or at least I have spoken Modern Standard well enough to 2+/2/1+ on the DLPT, and I can tell you from professional experience that it’s a labyrinth that would make the average America’s head explode. I’m an above average American in most ways, and I barely survived that maze with my mind and head intact.

              We seem compelled to plant ourselves in the middle of someone else’s bloody civil war at least once every generation.. Catholic Vietnamese, Buddhist Vietnamese? We could hardly tell the difference, and didn’t understand why the hated each other.. Because we didn’t care. We were fighting commies, that’s all that mattered to us. Remember that one? The smell of napalm in the morning, the acrid scent of self immolating Buddhist monks’ bodies and Agent Orange in the air? That one was great fun.

              Now you want us to reprise the Charge of the Light Brigade with M1A tanks, and without Tennyson..

              Leave me alone, Clarissa. I’m not going to do it. I’ve got the poem, I know how it ends.

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              1. Absolutely nobody wants the US army in Ukraine, CRC. You don’t want it, I don’t want it, Clarissa doesn’t want it, Ukraine doesn’t want it, Russia doesn’t want it, Biden’s corrupt family doesn’t want it (there are easier ways to protect whatever business they have in Ukraine), absolutely nobody wants it. Ukraine managed to hold off Russia last time with a ragtag bunch of volunteers outfitted by their grandmothers, it’s going to do so again with a well-equipped and trained quarter-million army, plus a bigger and way-less-ragtag bunch of volunteers, this time trained and outfitted by the army. No question. Their country, and Russia isn’t getting any more of it.

                What Ukraine would like, and what you guys promised with the Budapest Accords, is that when a Budapest Accords member such as Russia attacks the integrity of Ukrainian territory, the other guys (e.g you, since nobody really cares about what the UK has to say on this) figure out a diplomatic way to stop them, so that the loss of life that’d happen in the military solution doesn’t. In this case, you apparently already have one that works e.g Nordstream. Please put it to use instead of continuing with whatever senile fuckery is currently going on. Ukraine destroyed its whole nuclear arsenal (a third of the old Soviet Union one) on the strength of that promise. They’ve been positively saintly about this until now, but they absolutely do have the resources, knowledge and ability to manufacture new ones from hole-in-the-ground-to-nuclear-ICBM entirely in-country. This is not a medieval shithole, but the country and people that built quite a bit of the original USSR armament, and while until now absolutely nobody wanted Ukraine to have nukes, if absolutely nobody except Ukraine wants Ukraine to have nukes, Ukraine’s going to have nukes, no questions about it 🙂

                So this is really not a case where America’s the belle of the ball whose favours are being courted by two suitors that she cares about less than she does about the all-you-can-eat buffet. This is a case where if America wants, it has the chance to prevent a war without a single American boot hitting Ukrainian soil, and if she doesn’t, the war’s going to happen, Ukraine’s not going to lose much territory if any up until the point where it gains nukes, and America’s ability of getting anything done outside its own borders without putting boots on the ground is going to take a major blow. I know it’s very hard for you guys to think of a situation in which you aren’t the center of the world but it’d still be a good idea to act, for your sake as well as the sake of others, but the fact is that this is the situation you are in right now. Good luck.

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      2. No. I haven’t. But I will.

        As as foreign policy pledges go, what our foreign policy establishment has done in the past is of course relevant to the present. The problem is that circumstances change. Not only do they change, but the original motivations of the elite who made those decisions were often corrupt.

        The American people are largely ignorant of anything beyond the very parochial bounds of their own lives, and what they do know about the wider world is filtered though the very narrowly focused and distorted lens of the major corporate media and the slight distorted history they picked up in high school. They do not care about foreign policy. Not until it reaches out and traumatically effects them personally, in intimate fashion. They have had utterly naive trust that our leadership is making good decisions, ones with their best interests in mind. That trust is very misplaced. We’re under the illusion that this is a republic with democratic praxis. It’s actually a republic verging into fascist oligarchic dictatorship.

        I’m a former soldier in military intelligence, former Arabic linguist in cryptology and signals intelligence. I’ve lived for at least a year in eight countries, been to sixty eight. I have tried to understand as much as I possibly can about everything. I am in no way an expert in anything, but I know more than enough to assert with utter confidence that most of the people making decisions for us in Washington are not experts in anything other than their own bank balances. And those that are intelligent and informed are very often – in fact, I would say most often – acting from what amounts to either malice or casual callous disregard for the interests of normal people. Not just normal Americans, but normal people everywhere.

        I have some Polish friends. I was house mates with about a half dozen of them in Israel a few years back, and have a few others that I know in other contexts..They are all are very anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian. One even went to Kiev to help his Ukrainian cossack brothers engage in fisticuffs with the riot police during the demonstrations. One is a Pole of German descent from the south whose paternal grand father was in the Waffen SS during the war.. His politics – if he honestly articulated them in full, which of course he doesn’t really do – are probably what you could call ethno fascist.

        They’re all very interesting people. They tend to overflow with florid conspiracies and paranoia about Russia. They would often harangue me about how untrustworthy the United States is, about how when the Russians once again finally are on the plains of the Vistula, we Americans will cut, run, and abandon them. I’m sure that that they would probably describe themselves as “pro-American,” but they rarely expressed much confidence in, or had much good to say about us

        I would laugh, and tell them that there is no way Dick Cheney and the board of Carlyle Group and Rand Corp will ever allow that.. Most Americans have no clear idea of where Warsaw and Krakow (or Osweicim) even are, but Raytheon does. You will get your air defense missiles, no worries.. Their shareholders’ dividends depend upon it. I told them I’ve lost a few friends defending local freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the Russians come at you all, I’ll lose a few dozen more defending Lvov. We’ll all go down together.

        I mean, if we don’t, the American Empire is finished. An attack upon one NATO member state is an attack upon us all. There are some bereaved Polish families who lost sons in Iraq and Afghanistan who can explain it all very vividly to you.

        Oceania is always at war with East Asia, see. The maritime power must always blockade the Mongols, to keep them from crossing the sea. And you Western Slavs are the liminal bulwark of Oceania, a necessary strategic hedge. The Pope and his Jesuitical minions have made sure of that..You Uniates can all thank God for it.

        I try to keep my political banter wry and light hearted. I try to maintain general existential gallows irony to mask my broken heart and salve my fear. Because while I know you are personally vested in the fate of Ukraine, Clarissa, very, very few other Americans are. They have no idea what guarantees and promises have been made on their behalf, what lies have been told to and for them. They are not paying any attention at all.

        They won’t notice until their children come home in body bags. Or their homes are consumed by thermonuclear flame.. The grace in the latter eventuality is most of us won’t feel a thing. It will be over before we realize it. We can thank God for small mercies, as much as the great, right?

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        1. Spot on.

          The idea that the U.S. state has any honor or credibility at all at this point/i> is absurd. Maybe someday, if we can take our country back, or rebuild her, but not today.

          The best help Ukrainian expats could try for, assuming they retain an understandable, if divided, loyalty to the homeland, is to convince individual Americans to kit up and go adventuring ala the volunteer jihadis* Or to support the old sod with money and care packages and prayers like the Irish did the IRA et al.*

          And to convince the fools and criminals and perverts ruling us that they need to focus their attention on local crises and let the rest of the world sort out their own affairs.

          Honestly it boggles the mind that anyone would imagine attracting the full attention of the U.S. oliigarchs can cause anything but harm.

          *I cannot think of positive examples off the cuff, but I do not mean it as a negative. It’s a very romantic and typically USAian thing to do.

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        2. —I’m sure that that they would probably describe themselves as “pro-American,” but they rarely expressed much confidence in, or had much good to say about us
          I would laugh, and tell them that there is no way Dick Cheney and the board of Carlyle Group and Rand Corp will ever allow that..

          My attitude is similar to that of your Polish friends. I am not as optimistic about Dick Cheneys and all that jazz though… US military-industrial complex will likely decide that its interests will be much better served by a couple of decades of a new and much escalated cold war against a demonstrably evil enemy (see, they attacked Poland/Latvia/Northern Macedonia/etc) and not by having a real war with the enemy in whose case superiority is uncertain. And I doubt they will care more about bereaved families of Polish soldiers than they care about American ones.

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          1. Let’s say the US military-industrial complex decided its interests won’t be served by a new cold war. In fact, it clearly did decide that back in the 1990s and kept doggedly pretending that Russia is a great friend and everything is peachy. What did that change? Pretty much, nothing. Because you can’t unilaterally decide how things are going to be. Russia clearly wants to be at odds with the US and keeps looking for ways to be at odds. Objective reality can’t be wished away.

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            1. I do not see a contradiction between our positions.
              I am just pointing out that Cheneys of this word may not be economically motivated to send any US soldiers to actually fight for Ukraine or Poland or Estonia, no prejudice against any particular country here. They would gladly use any pretext (and real pretext of Russia really occupying some country is better than some imaginary one) to ask for increased budgets in perpetuity. Solving this problem is not good for business, the problem has to persist forever.

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        3. “I have decided I’m now a man. Circumstances change, and I feel different now than I did before.”

          Have you wondered why countries honor their foreign debt obligations even after regime change? Why the concept of national debt is even possible? Why it doesn’t get wiped out after each election? Haiti owed reparations to France for something that happened 200 years before, and it took France releasing Haiti from the obligations for it to change.

          When somebody signs a contract with you, you expect them to stay true to its terms. That’s why civilized life is possible. Marriage, business, the banking system, international relations – simply saying that I changed my mind and have unilaterally decided that out contract is void simply doesn’t work. There needs to be a formal acknowledgement and a lengthy process of dissolution of contractual obligations. That’s objective reality. Believing that how one feels trumps objective reality is what we don’t like about liberals, isn’t it?

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        4. I’m replying here to Stille in the thread above.

          I agree with you 1000%. We Americans are not the center of the world. We are not the global police.

          The word is blasphemous to globalists, but I am basically an isolationist. The less we meddle in everyone else’s affairs the better. If someone isn’t directly threatening our territory or people or legitimate trade interests, then it should be none of business.

          Our problems began when Wilson went and stuck our nose into everybody else’s business. If we had stayed home, the British and French elite would have probably had to strike a much more equitable peace with Germany. Versailles would not have wrecked the Austro Hungarian Empire, would not have given rise to the “stab in the back” narrative that fueled the rise of the Nazis, and we probably would never had have a continuation of that war twenty years later.. The 20th Century would probably have been less horrific, and the world would likely be a better place.

          Ukraine should reconstitute its nuclear program. Do it now. If the Ukrainian people truly want independence from Russia, you cannot rely on NATO. Rely on yourselves, not the insincere promises of mendacious foreign politicians whose mandates end every four to eight years.

          The idea that nuclear disarmament will lead to peace is idiotic. That genie is out of its bottle, and will never be put back in. We should be glad, because in his absence the sociopaths in charge of major militaries would have little actual skin in the game. They love sending other people to kill and die for them, the bomb guarantees that their decision making involve some personal risk calculation. With out the atom bomb, Stalin would have had the Red Army eating paella in Lisbon in 1950, and the world would be a much more terrifying and brutal than it is. Thank God, therefore, for the bomb, and arm yourselves with them now.

          A big stick keeps the bullies in their place. Get one, and they will leave you alone, because they are cowards. Word to the wise.

          We, in America, cannot defend you. You must take care of yourselves. Most of us – a part from sociopaths amongst our leadership – wish you all the best, and look forward to relationship based in friendship, once we take care of the problem of your corrupt oligarchs bribing our corrupt politicians.

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              1. I’ve never co-signed anything for anyone. I did take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, though.

                I’ve been pondering the metaphysics of ownership, debt, and money.. Wondering about government, both corporate and civic.. These metaphysical constructs and relationships seem quixotic. There are all sorts of interesting ethical and other philosophical issues at play, here.

                Do the wills of the likes of Dick Cheney, Anthony Blinken and the bankers sitting on the Board of the Federal Reserve truly bind my own? Am I in conscience bound to every stroke of their pens?

                Am I meant to march upon Siberia when and if they so command me?

                Am I supposed to trod the path worn by les soldats de la Grande Armee and the Prussian Wehrmacht in order to put a stop to the Nordstream pipeline?

                These are puzzling conundrums, Cliff.. I’ve been pondering the concept of “consent of the governed..” What exactly is that? What does it mean to consent to government?

                There were a bunch of contracts involving pipelines I’ve already had a hand in voiding, involving the Russians and the prior government of Iraq. The Iraqis have a new government now, and new contracts with British, Saudi and American oil firms.

                All this in very very small part thanks to my efforts and dedication to the rule of law. I’m all about honoring contracts. I as a rule generally keep my own.

                Except ones with Russians. They can go to hell, or gulags in Siberia, amiright? I guess it’s my job to ensure they get there..

                That’s how all this works, Cliff?

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              2. And nobody is asking you personally to do anything, are they? The representatives of the government (of any administration because this is beyond partisan differences) are doing what they must. I’m simply explaining why they must. This is information that’s never covered in the news, and I’m trying to fill the gap.

                By the way, it’s not the first time that crucial information is being concealed from us by the media.

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            1. Everything courses with poetry with me, Stille. Everything. The larks dance with dryads at glad intimation of approaching dawn, everything shimmers like shook foil in twilight’s welling.

              It’s always an interesting question to me, whether the day begins as most Westerners conceive it at dawn, or at dusk as Semites do.. I believe everything is paradoxical, and so believe it happens both ways at once, just as the eighth day is the first day and the eighth the first, last day is the first, and the first day the last.

              I have my own beefs with my government, Stille. They’ve broken far more than one sacred trust. The one’s they’re violating with you aren’t on my list. Still, I sympathize. We’ve all been metaphorically sodomized by Kissinger’s disciples and acolytes.

              You could think of this thread as a survivors support group. We can console one another here, until they finally get around killing us all.

              Anyway, you’ve heard about how God ordered Israel to forgive all debt at the Jubilee? Rejoice, Stille. I think the Jubilee is finally at hand, after long hiatus.

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      1. “Betraying a country that gave up its nuclear arsenal on your good word is… not something I have words to describe.”

        What specifically was the content of this “good word”? A commitment to defend with force of arms the integrity of Ukraine’s borders? No enforcement mechanism whatsoever? Could it possibly be that the Budapest Memorandum was never meant to be anything more than feel-good window dressing?? Gosh, I’m shocked and surprised.

        Great Powers are lawmakers and lawbreakers in international politics. The only way a weaker state can pursue its claim of injury against a Great Power is by enlisting a rival Great Power to take up its cause (think Belgium in WW1 and Poland in WW2)

        So should the US and the west begin to militarily mobilize against Russia because… Budapest Memorandum? As far as I can see NATO and the U.S.’s permanent war party are all keen to at least make a big show of beating the drums here because it serves their material interests to do so. Could this lead to an accidental real war breaking out (as if mobilization of the Great Powers never led to accidental wars in the 20th century.)? And make no mistake, an accidental war between NATO and Russia would almost certainly lead to some level of nuclear exchange.

        Canada and Mexico are weak states that border a Great Power. Both of these countries have to mind their manners when dealing with the US because… well, they are weak states that border a Great Power. Let’s just say that the leaders of either of these bordering states were mad enough to sign a military alliance with Russia or China (think Cuban Missile Crisis). How do you think American policy makers would react to pious calls from Russia and China to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbours?

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  3. Thank you. Fantastic overview of the subject. I have the same Nordstream question the first commenter did and I will scan the other comments now for the answers.

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  4. I have two questions:

    1) While it is absolutely true that Ukrainians and Russians are different people and Ukrainians want to be their own country, how mixed are Ukraine’s border areas? There’s pretty much never such a thing as a clear border area where everybody on one side is one ethnicity and everybody on the other side is the other. But some border areas are more neatly divided than others.

    So how many people in the border regions are pro-Russians? I’m sure there are some, but I have no sense of just how many or how few.

    That wouldn’t legitimize what Russia is doing, of course, but it would help me to understand the contours of this situation if I had a sense of just how “Russian” the border areas are or aren’t.

    2) During the Soviet era, how did Ukraine have nukes? I thought that the Soviet Republics were more like US states, able to deploy forces for certain domestic matters but completely subordinate to the central authorities in any serious military matter. The idea of saying that nukes on Soviet bases in Ukraine were Ukrainian nukes seems like saying that nukes on US bases in California are California’s nukes.

    So how did Ukraine get control of nukes, instead of the nukes just defaulting to Russia, since the Soviet Union was a Russian-controlled entity? When the Soviet Union collapsed, why did Soviet troops look to local authorities rather than taking cues from Moscow?

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    1. Great questions!

      The border is complicated because it’s very long. This is a large country we are talking about. I grew up in a city just a few kilometers from the border. 100% Russian speaking with many ‘ethnic Russians.’ But in 2014 when Russia tried to organize a takeover and sent shock troops, people got together and repelled the invasion within days.

      In the Donbass, the country side is completely Ukrainian speaking. But the cities are completely Russianized, so the invasion was more successful. By now, Russia has occupied everybody who was even theoretically likely to be interested in being part of Russia. Any new invasion will be against people who have been fighting for 8 years to stay in Ukraine.

      As for the USSR, the republics had a lot more sovereignty than the US states. You can’t go against how people feel. National feelings were very strong, which ultimately destroyed the USSR. In the US, there’s no single state that tries to force the rest of the states to declare its innate superiority every single day. If it did, it would soon face a fierce blowback. Try telling people they are inferior because of their ethnic origin and you’ll see the reaction. Things being as they are, this might happen sooner rather than later in the US.

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    2. In the Soviet time nukes were definitely controlled by the central government and there were no such things as “Ukrainian nukes”, or “Kazahk nukes”. I am not 100% sure what happened during the transition period, but I suspect that the governments of the republics that acquired independence had only nominal control of those weapons. The arm/launch codes were most likely still in Moscow. Most officers in the units were not local and were either loyal to Russia (how ever you define it – USSR, empire, etc) or not loyal to any entity any more, so there was a real danger that they could become loyal to the highest bidder. I am not saying this problem was unique to Ukraine, there were similar fears with respect to the nukes inside Russia. But at the time the consensus of everyone, including Ukraine (that did not want to support the expensive infrastructure associated with proper handling of nukes) and the West was that handing those weapons to Russia and offering some guarantees to Ukraine (which the West miscalculated Ukraine would never need) was a lesser evil.

      I am surprised no one mentioned another important detail concerning Ukraine. Western Europe will not BECOME dependent on Russian gas with the opening of Nordstream II. It already is. There is Nordstream I, since recently. And some recent pipe under the Black Sea. And the other pipe, that existed for a long time, goes through Ukraine. For as long as I can remember, Russia and Ukraine had fierce arguments about how much Ukraine should be getting in transit fees. (This is a polite, PC description of their arguments.) So eventually Russia decided to cut the middleman whom they perceive as unfriendly. And who, in theory, could turn off the valve on one of the main Russian exports.

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  5. thank you for re-iterating in clear,concise language an over view of russia/ukraine realtionship.
    personally, an organizm that is not growing, is dying.
    for the US to keep growing, it needs access to markets around the globe.
    this does not mean we should fight other people’s wars for them, nor foment war for petty politics.
    it means we are the police of the commercial lanes, where ever they are: we keep the peace as best we may.
    every military presence we give up, opens up that space to be controlled by whoever has the power to do so.
    power abhores a vacuum – we give up access to markets to our detriment
    Americans are so arrogant, to be so bored of living in a state of decadence the people of oppressed nations so yearn for!
    i sorely miss the peace the previous administration was able to stear us to; a sentiment obviously in the minority.

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    1. I’m with you! Somehow Trump managed to keep peace and prevent these aggressive outbursts. All Biden has to do is to follow Trump’s playbook. How hard can it be?

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  6. Please, please, please continue to blog about Ukraine. I find your views fascinating and enjoy reading information from someone who has lived through it. I shared your blogs about Ukraine and Russia on my Facebook account for my friends to read because so few of us understand or remember the commitments we made. Thanks!

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      1. Thank you. It’s quite sad to see that with all the coverage that the issue gets nobody mentions the Budapest agreements which are at the heart of the issue. It’s shocking how lazy journalists are.

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  7. “These are puzzling conundrums, Cliff.”

    Dude, Clarissa said all Ukrainians want is moral support, that is some reassurance that the road they’re setting down upon (and paying for in blood) is worthwhile

    And you’re all “back in the spring of ’59 I met a bedouin who whispered magic words to me and later I found a special cat in Stockholm.. and no apples are as sweet as those in Cyprus…. so maybe our entire political system is rotten to the core… nothing to do about anything” as a way of saying “Nope, I’m not gonna support anything related to a country trying to negotiate a better future.”

    “I’ve never co-signed anything for anyone”

    The government that represents you did. Don’t you want ot hold them to it?

    “There are all sorts of interesting ethical and other philosophical issues at play, here.”

    This is the flipside of Soviet (and broader) Eastern European cynicism… they at least have the excuse of decades of authoritarian to totalitarian governments and the social dysfunction that comes from that. What’s your excuse?

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  8. Is the fix in? Just saw this… (from a source that’s usually pretty reliable)

    “According to unofficial reports, the US and Germany are planning on evacuating some embassy staff in Kyiv in the coming days”

    Everything I’ve read (across the political spectrum) indicates the US (and probably the UK and EU) would gladly sell out Ukraine and is planning on doing so. Right and Left have different reasons and justifications, but…. not looking good….

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  9. In response to your last comment, Clarissa:

    Nobody is asking me for anything personally? As an American (or Canadian, I assume you are one, the other, or both) you and I are both citizens of a NATO member state. The fact that Poland, the Baltic States are members of NATO has direct personal vital relevance to both of us.

    The fact that the neo liberal cons in DC and Brussels seem bent on extending membership to Ukraine, Georgia, and even the Central Asian Republics (!!!) is of immense personal relevance to all of us. They are writing guarantees that are backed in our own personal blood and treasure.

    Excuse the accent of mounting contempt and Fury. The vast majority of us have never had to face the reality of violence. We live cosseted, pampered paltry little bourgeois lives, where we think war is a fucking game.

    It’s Call of Duty. You die, you get to just reset the Playstation. Maiming and blowing away NPC’s is great fun, perfect preparation for the Space Force drone pilot program.

    All those funny little people being eviscerated on screen are unreal, they are especially unreal when they are thousands of miles away. It’s only when they are actually in Arizona kicking in the doors of your air conditioned trailer armed with semi automatic infantry weapons that they actually manifest materially. That’s how modern American metaphysics work.

    I had to sit a listen to idiots spew nonsense about “our obligation” to “liberate” Iraq twenty years ago. I was told that “the war would pay for itself” and that the “Iraqi people would greet us as liberators.” I listened as major pundits and politicians repeatedly assured us the “Iraq was behind 9/11” that “Baathist Iraq and Iran are harboring Al-Qaeda..” People like John McCain would repeatedly publicly confuse Hezbollah with Hamas, and assure us the Mahdi Army was in league with Osama bin Laden.

    These are the people making and propagandizing our foreign policy. Do they have any binding authority over us?

    Be very careful, Clarissa. The devil’s blandishments are enticing. He’ll offer you what your idolatrous heart most desires.. He’ll fulfill the letter of whatever contract you sign with him. But the cost of that contract will be your soul.

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    1. ” DC and Brussels seem bent on extending membership to Ukraine, Georgia, and even the Central Asian Republics ”

      Totally against the will of the citizens of those countries? This has been addressed before.

      What they want is moral support, but a country with no moral fiber left is going to regard that as an affront…

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      1. Right. I don’t disagree about providing moral and material support to Ukraine. I have the same attitude viz.Taiwan.

        The problem, Cliff, is that that’s not all that’s at issue. There’s a massive occulted (in multiple senses) subterranean reality here, that has only begun to verge into public consciousness. The glib surfaces narratives are obviously facile, verging on nonsense.. This is true of almost all the major narratives we’re fed, and always has been..

        I refer you back my last post, the one you’re commenting on here. We are never dispassionately told deeper unbiased truth by governments and corporate media about what is happening the Middle East. All we get is propaganda designed to manipulate and deceive. I know far less about the circumstances in the former Soviet Union, but I know enough to see that these simple moral and political narratives being foisted upon our minds here are the same sort of psyops perversion.

        I always try to focus and reduce things in terms of ethical principle. I will not accept any obligation foisted on me that obliges me to participate in violence that violates my conscience. All of this talk about my obligation to have a strong opinion about the Nordstream pipeline is offensive nonsense.

        There are so many conflicting values and interests at play there – Germany and the rest of Europe’s need for Energy, U.S. Dutch, British Saudi and Gulf Emirate natural gas interests, Russia’s natural gas interests, and a guarantee to Ukraine that this pipeline will not be built???

        Look. Honest to God. I don’t know who has been making promises to you people that I am supposed to be bound by.. You have the nerve to tell me that I have to honor the promises made by Anthony f’n Blinken or Colin freaking Powell – or God knows which ever cretinous hypocritical homunculus Aramco, Dutch Shell and British Petroleum have barfed out of the maw of Washington DC to negotiate on my and “our” behalf…

        You all can go – I have a word on the tips of fingers here, it begins with and f and ends in k, I leave it to your collective imaginations to divine which word that is – yourselves upside down and sideways.

        WW I began because a bunch of elite idiots made a slew of alliances that cascaded into a global war that ended senselessly (on a very hermetically resonant date, notice) after tens of millions of people had been butchered. One of WW II’s major catalysts was Britain and France honoring what were basically meaningless security guarantees to Poland..

        I hate nazism and thuggery from my pith, so I can’t quibble too much with that move.. But I suspect that the people on the boards of General Electric, IG Farben, IBM were all there in the background, chortling, gleefully counting the mounting profits and casualty numbers as they rolled off the ticker tape.

        What I do more than quibble with is how morons’ default historical analogy is always to that specific context. Putin is Hitler, Dugan is Rosenberg, the Russians are Nazis.

        I say the better mixed metaphorical analogy is that it’s 1914 and you are all lemmings about ready to run off a cliff, not into the sea, or into trenches, but into a planetary thermonuclear furnace. And I’m going to burn with you. Thanks for that.

        My cursed blessing is that I’m not a lemming. I’m just a poor doofus waiting wearily to be trampled again by your absurd muppet herd, as you all rush hysterically to and fro.. “Oh my God! It’s COVID! Eeek, it’s OMICRON!!! Oh, oh NO! Putin is overthrowing our government!! No, No, the Russians are coming, they’re here!!”

        Whatever. I’m tired thinking about all this. Go look into Hunter Biden’s finances. Then explain to me again why anything “my” government does in Ukraine has anything to do with defending or advancing my interests.. Why Joe Biden and dozens of others in our foreign policy establishment ought not be tried then executed for treason..

        Maybe it all makes coherent, ethical sense? Like how Jack Ruby’s motive was he wanted to spare Jackie from having to return to Dallas for Oswald’s trial, and Jeffery Epstein hung himself..

        Whatever. I’m sure our Ukraine policy of playing chicken with Putin is sensical, when you understand it all as well as you guys do.

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        1. @CRC I know all that, but still… you’re mired in the cynicism of a dying empire, destroyed by…. lots of factors.

          Your repeated refusals to assert (if only morally) the right of a country to some degree of self-determination is a symptom of the rot. I get it, the US system has become horribly corrupt and the absolute worst that the country has to offer is now running the place (joe… biden? seriously?)

          The only way out is not to retreat to cynicism or religion or whatever, but to try to imagine a better future. That’s what Ukrainians are doing and you seem furious at them for it…

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          1. Yeah. I am cynical. And pessimistic. The data leaves me no other reasonable existential option.

            But you’re wrong about religion. You are preaching your religion to me, now. The “better future” you imagine is born of secular religious hope. You are a utopian, like all secularists.

            I, on the other hand, have no such faith in humanity. I expect our future will be filled with ever greater crime and calamity. It will be filled with evil, it is only a question of how great it will be. Whatever its degree and magnitude, I will not be surprised..

            You, on the other hand, probably will be.

            I don’t mean that our present crises won’t pass, that some sort of mercy and justice won’t occasionally reign in a limited way.. I mean that your secular utopian expectation is a false faith, and you do not recognize that.

            All you have rationally to look forward to is quantum death. I have a different hope, another expectation.

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            1. “our future will be filled with ever greater crime and calamity”

              Then why even try? From that point of view the collapse of the Soviet Union was pointless, trading one kind of corruption and horror for another.

              “You are a utopian”

              I live in a formerly communist country… only a demented fool could be a utopian in such an environment. There’s no utopia, no perfect state, even really good is hard to achieve and fragile and prone to decay (see the US now). But between the utopians and the utter cynics there’s a lot of room…. I’m not ready to turn my back on the world just because there’s a lot wrong with it and I’m not ready to cede every area of engagement to the influence peddlers and kleptocrats infesting public life.

              I don’t know the first thing about the Syrian civil war. It’s far too complex and too many players (inside and outside Syria) for me to make sense of it short of learning a lot more than is feasible and so I have next to nothing to say about it (beyond the repercussions felt in Europe).

              I knew that US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq would be disasters in pretty much the way they have been (I did know the American justifications and expectations and recognized it all as dangerous nonsense that would achieve nothing beyond getting US personnel and local people killed). No one listened to me beforehand (it was the era of war blogs and utopian idiots) and I’ve mostly kept my silence since.

              What I know about the Ukrainian situation (living metaphorically next door) puts me strongly on the side of the Ukrainians. They stood up to their government (in 2004) for the first time (AFAICT, something the Russians have yet to do) and even if corrupt evildoers from NATO and the US were trying to get involved and manipulate things (cause of course they were)… I don’t care. It (and 2013) were both parts of a grassroots movement to change their country for the better.

              Even if they fail, even if outsiders are getting involved (cause of course they are), I still support that because it seems like the right thing to do. I have similar feelings about Belarus (the portion that stood up against their government, even though they’ve failed for the time being).

              Russians have stagnated and retreated to traditionalism (which means acceptance of despotism) and so I don’t support Putin (lots of other reasons but anyone who thinks he’s moved his country in the right direction simply isn’t paying attention). Hand waving away about the evils of the world making it futile seems like the wrong thing to do.

              I’m incapable of religious faith and wonder about the utility of a belief system that amounts to “I’ve got mine, Jack” (where ‘mine’ means salvation beyond the grave).

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you, Cliff.

                I don’t care about military aid, all of that. Ukraine will be fine without US military aid.

                It’s the emotional identification of so many Americans with Russia in this conflict that rankles. I watch Russian news, and the amount of glee that is expressed over every mishap in the US, it hurts. During the BLM riots, the narrative in Russia was worse than Rachel Maddow. You’d think there are daily mass lynchings of black people in the US based on this coverage. And it’s like that every day. The America that Russian people believe exists is a terrible, unredeemable force for evil. The reports about the US crime rates are celebrated with abandon. They are an excuse to not notice the crime situation in Russia, which is out of control. The way they celebrate school shootings in the US or COVID stats or homelessness. . . You’d think there’s no homelessness or COVID in Russia.

                This immediate and unreflective support for somebody who detests you and wishes you ill is what I don’t get. If Americans started praising Iran en masse it would be less surprising.

                Another thing I don’t get is why there’s such an immediate expression of contempt for the idea that Ukrainians want democracy. What’s so wrong with democracy? Yes, efforts to build democracy by force in Iraq failed. But Ukraine is not Iraq. It’s a European country with strong historic tradition of democracy dating back to the 1500s. Democracy in Ukraine is something that people want. Why is that bad? Why is it worse than Russia’s corrupt globalist oligarchy?

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          2. “the right of a country to some degree of self-determination”

            Sounds good, even noble, but what does this actually mean?

            As applied in the Treaty of Versailles, self-determination was a total disaster that led directly to the mass murder circus, claiming tens of millions of innocents, that was WW2.

            Self-determination, as a political slogan, was later employed to create any number of weak, corrupt and frequently impoverished mini- and failed states in the 1950s/1960s and again in the 1990s whose citizens were through the device of this slogan victimized through extreme exploitation by local elites, the Great Powers, and international capital.

            If there is such a “right,” where does it come from and how is it/should it be enforced? Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs both claim the right of self-determination over the exact same land. How does one untangle such claims?

            Who precisely in “a country” gets to determine what “some degree of self-determination” means in the real world of international politics? Public opinion? The legislature? The executive? The military and foreign policy bureaucrats? All of the above? And what mechanisms translate “the right” into policy?

            In case one imagines that I’m engaging in smart-assery that doesn’t relate to Ukrainians “try[ing] to imagine a better future” let me remind that it was Serbian nationalists trying to attain “self-determination” from the Hapsburgs that set the spark that started WW1. Because of the enormous potential for a spiral into WW3 here we all have a stake in this, it’s not just about “the rights” of supporters of one political faction or another in Ukraine.

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  10. “the emotional identification of so many Americans with Russia”

    How times change… it used to be

    Random American: Democracy is a good thing.

    Random Soviet: А у вас негров линчуют!

    To

    Random Ukrainian: We want democracy!

    Random American: А у нас негров линчуют!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. “Leftists” – those who detest sacred order, because it limits them – hate nations, just like they hate nature (biology) and religion. They’ll hypocritically use any stick they can find at hand – like racial tension and prejudice – to destroy those limitations, so as to impose their utopian vision – in which they tyrannically usurp the role of God – upon the universe.

        Americans who want to destroy this country (who hate it and all its inherent restrictions on their own power) want to eliminate our borders and dissolve personal, local and state freedom and power, then turn all of us against each other. Tribal civil war is the solvent that will release these amoral antinomian ubermenschen from the check of our individual rights and collective power. Civil war will enable them to dominate us all by dividing us and watching us all conquer ourselves.

        Democracy is rule of the people. It can not be imposed on anyone. It can only be collectively fought for, consciously claimed and then vigilantly defended. If the Ukrainian people truly want it for themselves, they have to win it for themselves. We can give them moral and material support, and a model to imitate, but we cannot claim it for them.

        One of the many troubling contradictions in the current situation is that the same forces and people dissolving existing democratic praxis and culture here and in Europe (the Western intelligence agencies, the EU, the UN, Biden, Soros, Gates, etc.) are simultaneously hypocritically rhetorically advocating for it in places like Ukraine.

        You asked if we have any questions for you, Clarissa. There’s a question I’d like your thoughts on: Why do you think that is?

        Soros in particular seems to have made it his life’s mission to destroy everything so as to advance his own power. He’s Zelig, Keyser Söze, a satanic cipher (what exactly did he do in Hungary during the war? how is it that he survived?) who’s involved nearly everywhere things have been falling apart. He’s directly involved in what happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, as well as what is happening in Portland, San Fransisco and the Ukraine, today.

        There’s also the factor of China, here. We all hear about American, British, Russian, Israeli intelligence all the time. But we never, ever hear about CCP intelligence. That silence is deafening. Because if you start to pay attention to the wider fractal patterns, it seems that their power is also involved in everything, as well. That they are not more prominent in the wider narrative speaks volumes about what is probably going on here.

        I keep thinking about Hunter Biden and the Pelosi and Kerry spawns’ exploits in China, as well as the millions Mitch McConnell and his wife (among many other powerful people in America and Europe) have taken in these past two decades in business dealings there, and how that their corruption has been so studiously ignored..

        Could it be that one of the essential “foreign policy” goals here may be to drive Russia toward China? Because that is emphatically what is happening. China and Russia are natural enemies, but they are now in de facto alliance against us, due to the shenanigans of Obama and Biden.

        The Soviet Union – Stalinism – had some points of interest. The Soviets had some great art and cinema. The Soviet university system was interesting. China, on the other hand.. Maoism is a different animal. The Chinese since the Cultural Revolution have produced no new art of interest, almost none. It has only been pure nihilistic materialism and stale imitation, there. The “leftism” we are seeing emerge now all across the West is akin to Maoism, not Stalinism. The pattern is more like a sort of inverted naziism than Stalinism, too.. Stalin wasn’t about tribalism, really.. But our contemporary neo-fascists emphatically are.

        As for Russian Christianity, you obviously have much more intimate experience of Russians than I do. I’ll just say that Russian literature seems in some ways one of the most Christ haunted in the world. I keep referring to Dostoyevsky, Solzhenitsyn for solace and insight. Even Pasternak and Tolstoy. I have that new novel Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin (Who I guess is Ukrainian? But writes in Russian? Is he liminally both Ukrainian and Russian? See how the differences are so indistinct to me?) on my shelf to be read, soon.. I hope someone records it so I can listen to it in my car..

        I’m meditating on Russian history. The context of the 1905 and 1919 revolutions, the Christian and Jewish responses to them, seem ever more and more relevant to us.. If there is going to be a sane response to what is happening to us now, it will be in referring back to what they did, then..

        Which is merely to say I wonder if your prejudices are clouding your judgement, sometimes.. I know mine cloud mine, so I am casting no stones here.

        I shot by bolt in that other comments thread of yours, yesterday.. I rarely do that anymore, because it is ill-disciplined and stupid. But this Ukraine situation is intolerable, and I needed catharsis. Excuse my brutally seeking it here. I’m merely pushing back impotently against this insanity that seems threatening to engulf us all.. Again.. I apologize if I was at all offensive.

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        1. San Francisco, maybe, but the idea that Soros is somehow behind the fight of Ukrainian people against authoritarianism and corruption is . . . and I’m trying to be very polite here . . . not true.

          “Driving Russia towards China” is not a serious analysis. China does what Russia says (one example is releasing the SARS-COV-2 virus) because China gets something very important from Russia in return. If you don’t know what that is and why China does Russia’s bidding, I don’t think you should attempt an analysis of China’s foreign policy.

          I tried reading Vodolazkin but he’s a terrible writing. You probably can’t notice it in translation but in the original, he’s writing is bizarrely bad.

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          1. Back in the 90’s I almost applied for a Soros Foundation position in eastern Europe. Same time I was studying for the Foreign Service exam. I ended up not neither applying, nor taking that exam.. I thank God I didn’t. I didn’t understand then what either was about, that there would have been no way I would have either succeeded or been happy working for either most NGO’s or the foreign service.. The latter was being more fully captured by the interests that created the former, eliminating any separation that may ever had existed between them. Both basically now represent the same plutocratic “neocon” interests that are essentially inimical to mine.

            I have close friends in the NGO world (ICRC, etc.) cueing me in. That realm from the beginning has always been deeply influenced, and is ever more increasingly weaponized by the likes of Soros.

            I use his name as shorthand for the plutocracy. What is going on in Ukraine is in fact deeply linked to the activities of NGO’s funded by the likes of Soros, Gates, all sorts of “philanthropic” foundations that that represent the “foreign policy” (if you will, so to speak) of major equity. The agendas of the U.S. government, EU, UN and the major NGO’s all interrelate.

            You can’t separate the major Western NGO’s from the U.S. government. They share common plutocratic agenda, and they are driving what is happening in Ukraine, as well as everywhere else, including your university.

            I’m guessing the thing China needs from Russia is oil and other strategic resources. Do I win a prize?

            I’m not surprised that COVID is really Putin’s fault. Of course it is. Nothing concerning COVID or Putin surprises me anymore.

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          2. “the idea that Soros is somehow behind the fight of Ukrainian people”

            I’m sure organizations ultimately funded by him are in the mix and trying to influence things (it would be very weird if they weren’t).
            But being there on the ground is very different from being any kind of important player.
            I remember years ago (double digits… let’s leave it at that). I was invited to an American Thanksgiving dinner (organized by a very rich American guy living here who regularly held mixed Polish-American events like that).
            About half the Americans (about 15 or so total) there were American evangelicals who were here to steer Polish people away from catholicism and towards evangelical protestantism…
            I know of several other protestant outreach groups working here too, then and now…
            In the years after, I had a handful of students (maybe 5 or so..) who either dabbled in evangelicalism or who took it more seriously.
            Their main effect seems to have been to boost attendance at the already existing protestant churches (mostly Lutherans in name but.. culturally kind of….. catholic)
            So yeah, protestant outreach/evangelical groups have been on the ground trying to influence things for years in Poland… and have had astonishingly little real world effect (in either changing the religious scene or in directing… any other kind of change).
            I think the ‘influence’ of Soros in Ukraine has been similar.

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            1. Soros is against the nation-state, can we agree on that? He believes that the nation-state ultimately leads to fascism and does all he can to undermine the nation-state model around the world. This isn’t in dispute, I hope. Or is it?

              Ukrainians are building a nation-state, which makes Russia rabid. This is also not in dispute.

              Why would Soros be on the side of Ukrainian nation-state if he’s opposed to the entire concept?

              Putin is not building a nation-state. See his position on open borders, mass migration, and territorial sovereignty of Russia (he’s pro, pro, and anti). Does this go towards or against Soros’s vision?

              So what does Soros support?

              The idea that Soros supports Ukrainian nationalism and opposes Russian globalism makes no sense.

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          3. Oh, it comes across very well in translation, as well.

            The problem with Laurus is that it’s a fantasy book. Or, actually, science fiction only without the science. The universe is entirely comprehensible and works by some rather simple rules wrt salvation and damnation, the characters are about as complex as those of your standard space opera, only coming out of different archetypes, and the fact that Vodolazkin has heard about Dostoevsky’s “The grand inquisitor” (presumably from copying a classmate’s homework in 9th grade) adds a layer of …I can’t call it complexity, because it isn’t. Adds a layer of tube frosting to a poptart. That silence of God that makes, f’rex. Bergman movies be what they are can be found here less than in Lord of the Rings… hell, less than in Game of Thrones, and considering what our author is supposedly trying, this isn’t really a fixable problem.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Cliff, in response to to your earlier comment, I’ll just say that I think we live in increasingly apocalyptic times. The concepts of human freedom and personal dignity are metaphysical, which is to say essentially religious. They’re taken for granted in the West, but they are meaningless in the absence of transcendence.

      I’ll put it as a simple syllogism: If you aren’t willing to die for your freedom, you aren’t really free. If you don’t believe you’re alive eternally, you aren’t alive at all.

      As people lose their religious faith in transcendent freedom and eternal life, they are increasingly enslaved by their material needs and desires.

      As we hit critical mass hedonism, that’s when the devil will take us. He’ll come in a meta modern form, a sort of meta verse re-manifestation of Hitler and Stalin, but in the high definition pixilation of the great singularity’s reset of humanity. It’ll be Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of heaven, Microsoft’s utopia.

      As for Ukraine, I retract everything I’ve said. I spun out here. I’m completely on your and Clarissa’s side.

      Just let’s not go to war with Russia. That would kinda suck.

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      1. “concepts of human freedom and personal dignity are metaphysical, which is to say essentially religious”

        I’d say both ideas are very recent innovations in human history and very fragile and we’re seeing them come under consistent attack by those who want to return us to concepts of human bondage in which dignity plays no role…

        “If you don’t believe you’re alive eternally, you aren’t alive at all”

        What about Judaism since it seems to have no real consistently articulated version of life-after-death? (I could be wrong about that…)

        I’m essentially agnostic. Recently someone tried to pull me into a ‘who created the universe?’ argument (for me that’s a linguistic trick – I don’t necessarily think it was created – it exists and that’s enough).

        Liked by 1 person

  11. “Why would Soros be on the side of Ukrainian nation-state”

    To be perfectly clear, I meant that Soros organizations were/are doubtless on the ground in Ukraine (how could they not be?) but probably having virtually no effect (in any kind of direction that Soros wants, at any rate). AFAICT Soros wants to turn the whole world into London/Ontario – post national melting pots with no national coherence and filled with groups with no connection to each other (beyond rivalry and mutual loathing).

    Putin is essentially trying to rebuild a colonial empire (what the Soviet Union was in substance if not name).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. Soros is busily undermining the best things about the nation-state, such as, for example, the law and order protections. He wants to create chaos and lawlessness. This is why we keep hearing about “Soros-funded DAs” and the explosion of crime and disorder in NY, SF, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.

      That Soros would be for all this everywhere but for the exact opposite in Ukraine makes no sense. There needs to be at least an explanation for why this sudden abandonment of lifelong principles happened.

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      1. I promised myself last night that I would stop exposing myself to the “algor”othmic (that pun just leapt out at, me excuse me for inflicting it upon you.. ) Eye of Sauron at the NSA like this.. But I’m an intrepid fool, I will not be so easily daunted and silenced ..

        The interpretative key here, Clarissa, is that these people have no fundamental principles apart from the will to power. Ukraine and Russia currently exist as coherent semi independent entities that can potentially act in their own interests against those of the global elite. That cannot be tolerated in their Brave New Imminently Approaching Golden Dawn.

        That’s why they are being played off each other so cynically. All upstart barbarian tribes must be made to castrate and annihilate themselves, made sublimely supine, so that the Empire can effortlessly embrace them all into its beneficent, nurturing bosom.

        All principles exist for them merely as propaganda weapons to be cynically applied in order to control weaker, stupider, less spiritually evolved men’s hearts and minds. I refer you to Nietzsche. What we are now witnessing is the transvaluation of all values in practical application. This is Hobbes bellum omnium contra omnes. His masterwork is titled Leviathan because it refers to the Great Beast of Revelation.

        I need to be less subtle, more explicit, when discussing all this, I guess? I like to use irony, parables and hyperbole in metaphoric fashion, so as not to scandalize anyone.. The truth is difficult to accept. Cognitive dissonance is brutal, can even be deadly.. Milk before meat, all that..

        I’ll spell it explicitly out: This is the Apocalypse. It won’t be too long before even the dimmest of us understand that. It’s going to become limpidly, searingly, unmistakably clear, very soon. The prophecy is about to be made consummate.. Soon even the blind will see, and the deaf understand.

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        1. These are many words that aren’t answering the covers question. Why you are siding with the victimizer and not the victim? Why is your instinct on the side of the rapist and not the rape victim? Christian sentiment usually leads us to choose the side of the victim. It’s usually an automatic, unthinking, powerful feeling. I’m sure you’ve felt it many times. But not now.

          Just something to think about.

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        2. CRC, I do not quite follow. However, I do disagree with this statement, especially in reference to Russia: “Ukraine and Russia currently exist as coherent semi independent entities that can potentially act in their own interests against those of the global elite.” My impression is that the people in the West have this naive idea of Russia as being different and somehow freer. I think the leadership of Russia is just a different kind of a devil, in the end wanting the same thing as the global elite. The only difference of opinion is who should be in charge. I do not believe the fight between the “global elite” and Russia is some kind of a noble fight of good against evil. It is evil vs. evil, with Ukraine caught in the middle not as a cause of the conflict, but as some kind of convenient excuse. Either way, if this ends up being a war, it will be very bad for Ukraine and uniformly suck for all of us no matter the outcome.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah. . I don’t get it either. How is Putin less of a global elite than, for example, Justin Trudeau? He’s definitely much much richer. He’s been in power much longer. He’s been a lot more active internationally. His regime has been economically as neoliberal as it can possibly get. He’s more pro open borders than Biden and definitely more than Trudeau. I don’t get it.

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            1. The U.S. military is currently on war footing. The Russian navy is deployed off our coasts, the Russian air force is making sorties, and we are responding in kind, in a way we haven’t seen since the Cold War.

              https://areaocho.com/increased-activity/

              I just heard someone say that if we go to war with Russia, it won’t be over in a week.. That’s right. For many of us, it will probably be over in several hours, because there will almost certainly be direct strikes on American cities. Maybe even nuclear ones, because escalation could very quickly lead to nuclear exchange. The Russians can take out carriers, and probably will. One carrier has 5,000 sailors, which is essentially a full division. A Russian anti ship missile can kill all of them, and put their 13 billion dollar boat on the bottom of the ocean in minutes. If we go to war with Russia, millions of Americans could die in less than a day.

              If you are caught between St. Louis and Chicago your chances of survival are slim, and those that do survive will wish that they were dead, cf. Rev. 9:6.

              https://www.parowanprophet.com/Nuclear_War_Comes/target_map.htm

              This should be unthinkable. That so many of the usual suspects, the war criminals in Washington are pushing us in a direction where this could happen, is utterly unacceptable. 95% of Americans have been insulated from the consequences of all the violence committed in our name. It means nothing to them. That our military and its proxies bomb places like Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and casually kills hundreds of thousands of people is of utterly no consequence to them. The murderers in charge have been allowed to act with impunity..

              We’re like the Germans in 1939. We’re lead by sociopathic maniacs, whose violence up until now has been abstract to the vast majority of us. The COVID biowar psyops is probably just preparing us for what they have planned next, which will likely be far, far worse. We may be about to get a mass education in what airstrikes and “shock and awe” violence feels like to targeted victims. I say that it is about time. It’s only just that we finally come to understand.

              Everything else happening in Ukraine needs to be assessed according to these risks. Your life, the lives of N and Klara are all on the line. It’s not a joke.

              Like

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