The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


How Big Is The Chinese Economy Compared to The West?


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 24, 2022


  1. Ché Pasa

    I thought I’d just drop this here.

    James Hilton condensed a conversation between Connolly and the High Lama of Shangri La (about the war to come) in his novel Lost Horizon, 1933, and put it in the Preface to the 1936 edition:

    “It will be such a storm as the world has not seen before. There will be no safety by arms,, no help from authority, no answer in science. It will rage till every flower of culture is trampled, and all human things are leveled in a vast chaos… The Dark Ages that are to come will cover the whole world in a single pall; there will be neither escape nor sanctuary, save such as are too secret to be found or too humble to be noticed …”
    How much happier one would be to dismiss all this as thoroughtly out-of-date, than to admit, as one must, that in 1936 it has become more terrifyingly up-to-date than ever!

    The War to Come did come, of course, soon enough, and it was worse, much worse, than the previous world war, and yet most people survived, most of “civilization” endured, most of the ruins were cleared, most of the earth recovered more or less well, and we carried on.

    Hilton’s vision was shared by many others at the time. They knew or sensed that the Great War had concluded nothing, that another round of the fight would be coming, and no matter the efforts to forestall it, the world would be plunged into darkness for the duration yet again.
    And here we are again on the precipice of darkness, chaos and annihilation of civilization. Many of us share the vision of absent future, destroyed by the vanities of the powerful and not very clever few who rule over us. They cannot seem to stop themselves.
    War-fever and bloodlust have spread so widely now that I don’t see any way for the ruling classes to back away from the brink. Let’s hope they do, but how many people hoped the same in 1914, 1939, and on and on and on. Only occasionally — and almost accidentally — did wiser heads prevail.

    This time around, I’m not seeing any wiser heads atop the rulers.

  2. Z

    I’ve come to believe that the Head PR Man for the Point Zero One Percent Obama is affiliated with the CIA and his newest crusade doesn’t cause me to reevaluate those beliefs:

    Yes, “disinformation” is a threat to “our” “democracy” and we must ensure that the messaging to the public is correct (((manufactures consent))).


  3. Z

    I suppose we’ll get our first pulse test soon on how the European public feels about NATO and the Russia-Ukraine war with Le Pen running against NATO.

    The NYZ Times, the Grey Jezebel, our rulers’ paper of propaganda, CIA approved headlines on the war yesterday:

    A senior Russian military commander said Moscow aimed to take “full control” of southern Ukraine, though his warning drew skepticism

    Ukraine acknowledged that Russia had taken some 42 small towns in its initial drive to seize the east, ahead of what is expected to be a grinding brawl

    Dug in on the front lines, Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to repel the Russian onslaught

    Russia’s military paid a high price for the Kremlin’s “victory” in the ruined city of Mariupol

    Military analysts forecast that the problems bedeviling Russia’s forces will continue in Ukraine’s east

    The destruction of the wold’s largest aircraft, a beloved symbol for the Ukraine, has stirred an outpouring of grief


  4. Willy

    I’ll play devils advocate and ask the question: Why is the NATO-military-industrial-media-neoliberal complex championing underdog Jewish-Nazi Ukraine against psychopathic nuclear Putin, when there are so many other ‘safer’ conflicts around the world from which to profit?

  5. Lex

    I’ll take a crack at it. The plan was to threaten Russia with a hostile, neo-Nazi Ukraine on its borders. There was no real planning for if Russia actually did something about it because in the imperial court it is understood that everyone is terrified by the might of the empire and won’t dare stand against it.

    A second piece may have been the frackable gas fields in Ukraine’s east. *If* there was actually a plan for a Ukrainian assault on Donbas and crimea, I could see the plan being to use it to cut off Russian gas supplies to Europe via sanctions and those supplies replaced by Ukrainian gas. Establishing naval bases on the Black Sea and preferably denying Russia Sebastopol would be very tempting to the US/UK.

    What I think went wrong was that there weren’t serious plans but general concepts. Along with an assumption of how Russia would act/react militarily and an assumption of Russian military incompetence. What Russia actually did both in acting first and how it acted really messed up the “plans” and caused panicked reaction with sanctions that were/are counter productive.

    So now the US has backed itself into a corner and learning the hard way that, no, the whole world doesn’t kneel before it and do it’s bidding on command. And its ideas were almost all based on finance rather than production. That’s how we could convince ourselves that financial sanctions would immediately collapse the Russian economy without considering how we’d supply enough diesel and fertilizer to keep America running.

    The fundamental issue being that we have leaders who are ideologues so our plans are all based on assumptions and best-case scenarios backed up by a real belief that the US is exceptional.

  6. bruce wilder


    Why is the NATO-military-industrial-media-neoliberal complex championing underdog Jewish-Nazi Ukraine against psychopathic nuclear Putin, when there are so many other ‘safer’ conflicts around the world from which to profit?

    1.) “Safer” for whom? A plan to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian is safe enough for the American upper classes living in the Virginia suburbs or New York City and ‘burbs.
    2.) Underdog v sinister Dictator are practically stock characters with mythic referents — what halfway articulate journalist couldn’t spin out such a narrative when the opportunity arose?
    3.) Better for the Media to double-down on Russiagate than to go all skeptical and objective at this late date.
    4.) Why bother with facts when the Ukronazis have atrocity claims and video! Or if people say they want facts, tell them you have geo-located the video source! (The video was definitely taken in Ukraine — there’s a fact for you!)
    5.) As for alternative conflicts, why choose if you are used to having it all?!! The Russians are more resource-constrained than the U.S. — let the Russians worry about holding Syria now or defending Armenia. Some might think the U.S. could ease up a bit on Iran now that Mister Bone Saw has stopped taking Biden’s calls. Others might imagine now would be good time to soft-pedal Taiwan independence, not Teh Blob!

    On a meta-level, I think it is wrong to imagine anything the U.S. does in the way of foreign policy is the outcome of ratiocination on U.S. (public) interest. The folks who brought us the invasion and occupation of Iraq or two trillion dollars spent on twenty years in Afghanistan, not to mention Libya are not the cynically wise and clever patriots of a Tom Clancy novel. “We” are not the good guys and if the NY Times or CNN are making it sound as if we are, or are backing “good guys”, or that this will turn out well, the balance of probabilities based on long experience says they are both lying and mistaken.

    But, who knows? Maybe this time will be different. Maybe this time the fools will be fired, the war criminals will be prosecuted, the failures will be held accountable.

    Seriously, as events unfold, I wonder whether The Narrative will be elastic enough to cover up the latest round of lies and missed predictions. Or if we will have another round of the best being wrong for the right reasons whocoodenode? (Assuming we are not witnessing a long walk on the short pier of WWIII.)

  7. Willy

    I was gonna quote the “JonBinet Ramsey Theory”, that since a single cute European-looking little girl is worth more to the western media than 1000 brown and/or dusty looking ones, it’d play well. But the I worried that somebody would beat me over the head with their theory that Ukrainian babushkas are way more grandma-loveable than those hijab-wearing grannies.

    Thanks Lex. And Germany still buys Russian fossils keeping both their economy and the war rolling. That’s a weird situation.

    As you may be aware, I’ve heard so many theories… bad language decrees, language wars, farmland grabs, Nato expansionism, Donbas massacres by crazed Azovs, black sea ports, it’s just a game of oligarch chess east and west, they’re conquering Russia the neoliberal way, they’re conquering Ukraine the Russian way, Zelinsky is an asshole, I’m an asshole… that I decided to cut that Gordian knot mess of theories and simply proclaim that Putin invaded because he was just plain bored. But then I’ve been wrong before.

  8. bruce wilder

    NY Times reader that I am, I have questions.

    One is what kind moral depravity does it take to publish report after report on Mariupol without ever acknowledging that it was the base of the Azov battalion?

  9. Blueberry Hill

    I’ll take a crack at it. The plan was to threaten Russia with a hostile, neo-Nazi Ukraine on its borders. There was no real planning for if Russia actually did something about it because in the imperial court it is understood that everyone is terrified by the might of the empire and won’t dare stand against it.

    So the West and NATO didn’t goad Russia into invading Ukraine? Which is it? Those who defend Russia in all things and at all costs have been claiming since Russia’s invasion that Putin was goaded by the West and NATO to invade and therefore Putin is not culpable and cannot and should not be held to account. It’s all the West’s fault.

    If the West and NATO goaded Putin into invading as the Russia defenders proclaim, then surely the West expected Russia to invade and wanted Russia to invade and had and have contingency plans for when Russia invaded. Hell, the much and deservedly maligned American intelligence community said Russia was going to invade before Russia invaded and as deservedly maligned as it is, it was right this time. Putin obliged. He took the bait as Pavlov smiles. Many leaders in Europe, Western Europe at least, didn’t believe it. They thought Putin would not invade. He sure proved them wrong, didn’t he? Now they think Putin would never use nukes whereas the American intelligence says it’s probable he will. Will Putin prove the Western European leaders wrong again? I sure hope not but hope isn’t a deterrent, is it. I guess even if Putin ultimately does use nikes, it could never be his fault, right? Because it’s about Russian survival, right? And when Russian survival is at stake, everything is on the table, right?

  10. anon y'mouse

    why this fight and not others?

    more critical to Anglo (i don’t say U.S. anymore. i think there’s enough evidence that we remerged back with the UK and we’ve been in lockstep with the “five eyes” ever since the days of the Robber Barons marrying off their daughters to the UK lordlets) hegemony, and a much greater ability to play “white hat” to Russkie “black hats” and make an example out of them to terrify all of the smaller places into falling in line.

    we have to keep Europe chained to us. can’t let them figure out that their interests lie with others along their own land mass. many of our plans seem to involve taking an area and purposely driving wedges of ethnoreligious strife, then dividing up the land between warring factions of this strife(see Yugoslavia or the “plans” for the Middle East) so that the neighbors can’t or won’t get together to do much that is productive and have to go into the world markets (that means US, the dollar system) for nearly everything, especially investment and further development. we wanted to do that to Russia back in the Yeltsin days, and it’s on our longer term plan for nearly everywhere on earth. U.S. is to be the only “multicultural” society, which is why we are remaking our armed forces and “intelligence” services into a deliberate Rainbow Brigade.

    yeah, helping S.A. bomb goat herders in Yemen or do stuff in Africa (which we’re still doing, but just not publicizing) is a lot harder thing to get over as “necessary” on the public and come out looking morally clean, so focus on Black Hat Russkies allows us to sweep that all under the rug as well. and it allows us to identify internal dissidents and neutralize them with more “conspiracy theorist/dictator apologist” brandind schemes, so the mind control we need on the proles to get all of this done while using them and their kids for cannon fodder can continue in peace.

    many many benefits to this game beyond just selling more arms worldwide for our ruling classes.

    i would love for someone to explain to me why picking a fight with China, who was helping us turn our country into back into a 3rd world plantation Brazilianified society so happily, is a good idea though.

  11. Ché Pasa

    Multiple things can be true at the same time. Yes, Putin was goaded by Ukraine and the West; yes, there are internal issues in Russia that mean the invasion might have happened anyway without the goading; yes, there has long been a neo-libcon plan to dismember the Russian Federation and feast on the parts; yes, large portions of Ukraine are being destroyed for no good reason; yes, there are Nazis and Nazi-adjacent fighters in Ukraine and much of Eastern Europe and elsewhere doing battle with Russia now or eager to do so; yes, Eastern Europe is being armed to do so with the blessings of Nato and the US oligarchy; yes, Europe, Russia, and the United States are on the cusp of a nuclear war and elements in all of these places are eager for it.

    Yes, it’s madness.

    And yes, it’s leading to a titanic struggle that will yield nothing.

  12. Lex

    @blueberry hill,
    Running NATO up to Russian borders is goading. Just like the Australian PM and the US are saying that a Chinese base in the Solomon Islands is a “red line”. There were 7 large scale NATO exercises in Ukraine in 2021 and a Ukrainian presidential decree to recapture crimea.

    In the interest of space I left out that expectations for a Russian invasion were almost certainly either a frontal assault on the LoC or a drive on Kiev. The first would have been a meat grinder and the second would have produced Russia’s Iraq invasion. But still, I doubt that the political side in the US thought that anything more than bullying (they cal it diplomacy) would be necessary.

    It’s ok to not like Putin, lots of Russians don’t particularly like him even ones who vote for him. The only good guys in this are the people of Donbas who have very much been the target of ethnic cleansing for 8 years. In any other place in the world, the US would be crying freedom for Donbas. But since those are our ultra-nationalists that have hijacked Ukraine we’re for ethnic cleansing. The US doesn’t have friends or ideals, only interests.

  13. NR

    The plan was to threaten Russia with a hostile, neo-Nazi Ukraine on its borders.

    Sorry, but this is just pure, unadulterated bullshit. I will once again point out some facts about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. The Azov Batallion, who most certainly are fascists, numbered 2,500 at the peak of their membership in 2017. When Russia invaded earlier this year, their membership was down to 900. That’s out of a military of 200,000. And in the last election, their political party got 2% of the vote and did not win a single seat in the legislature.

    The argument that Ukraine is overrun or controlled by Nazis is just Russian propaganda, and it’s disappointing to see people here regurgitating it.

  14. Lex

    A point of broader consideration. In 1991, Ukraine had more potential than any other Soviet republic – including Russia. Because the Ukrainian communist party was the dominant political force in the USSR after Stalin (3 soviet premiers), Ukraine was highly developed.

    It had like the 5th largest army in the world. It housed a massive and technical military-industrial complex (Antonov design bureau and factory for example). It could build ICBMs internally. It has large amounts of some of the world’s best agricultural land. The Donbas has coal, iron, other metals and contained some of the largest mine mills and steel plants on the planet. It had port access on the Black Sea and huge shipyards.

    It has been “helped” by the west all this time. The EU association agreements go back much further than 2014. And yet in 2022 it was still far and away the poorest country in Europe. It was racked by corruption and organized crime. Russia had to pay off its soviet debt to the IMF. So it’s worth asking why. Why with the support of the west and everything it could ever need to be a prosperous nation has it never developed?

    Are the Ukrainians incapable? I’d say no. Is it Al Russia’s fault? For at least the first decade plus, Russia had too many internal issues to effect much of anything in Ukraine. And given Russia’s willingness to pay Ukrainian debt and offer financial assistance with fewer strings than the west, whatever malicious influence Russia has had isn’t enough to explain Ukraine’s current state.

    Given that Ukraine is the US’s current poster child for freedom and democracy, we may have to consider that modern Ukraine is exactly how the US envisions the world should be. Or it just doesn’t care so long as there’s a profit to be made.

  15. Ché Pasa

    The sad thing is that Nazi-ism and its accompanying Aryan supremacy fictions have been so normalized in the West that their presence and power in Ukraine and much of Eastern Europe along with fierce anti-Russian sentiment isn’t even noticed.

    As long as they’re Our Nazis, it doesn’t matter, does it? As long as they side with the USandNato and fight wars for us, it doesn’t matter, does it?

    Back in the aughts, there were some in the US government who believed that the US should have aligned with Nazi Germany not the Soviet Union during WWII, and that it was a calculated mistake for the US to be on the wrong side of the war. They vowed it would not happen again.

    They were the leaders that got us into the Iraq debacle among many others, and their admiration for Nazis hasn’t faded. It’s percolated through the government and the War Department along with penetrating many, many civilian institutions like local police departments and so forth to the point where despite their relatively small numbers they wield remarkable power over the rest of us. The same is true in Ukraine, has been for many a long year, and pointing to their lack of numbers does not in any way diminish their power.

    Nazis were never a majority in Germany, either.

    I recently read a smart take on the “Nazi situation” in Ukraine prior to the invasion, one that acknowledged the small numbers of Right Sektor and Azov Battalion members. Yes, they amount to few Ukrainians overall, but what’s happened, especially since 2014, is that their policy prescriptions including the suppression of the Russian language as perhaps their most benign, have been adopted wholesale by the Ukrainian government. In other words, their personnel are not necessarily in power (although some are), but policies they want most certainly are those of the Ukrainian government — no matter who has been in power since 2014.

    You can pretend it’s not true or that it doesn’t matter, but tell that to the ethnic Russians driven out of Odessa, Mariupol, and numerous other cities, towns and villages west of the Donbas. Tell it to the residents of the Donbas who have been under bombardment by Ukrainian armed forces for 8 years. Tell it to the Roma. Tell it to the scapegoated minorities all over the Ukraine. Tell it to Ukrainian citizens whose lives have continued to deteriorate while Ukraine’s oligarchy has continued to enrich itself.

    The idea that either the Nazis in Ukraine and their fellow travelers aren’t there or don’t matter is foolish. They are there and they do matter. You’ll find, if you look, that they have affinity groups all over Eastern and Western Europe, and in Britain and in the United States and Canada. This is not an inconsequential “movement.” And it is not Russian propaganda to say so. These groups are in Russia, too.

    Look around you. They aren’t far from you, either.

  16. Willy

    1.) “Safer” for whom?

    I thought it was obvious. Why risk nuclear war, iron curtains, reduced neoliberal sources of cheap labor, energy, and trading grounds when there are safer third world situations to play with? I’m speaking from the perspective of the PTB class, who enjoy moving lives around as if they were pawns in a game they own.

    It sounds like you’re answering my question (in many words) by proclaiming that the PTB care as much about gamma radiation as they do rising seas because they’re greedy, corrupt and stupid assholes at pathological levels not even seen during even the Cold War?

  17. Z

    I’ve been waiting to see who/what was going to jump the shark first in our rulers’ 24-7 narrative control/false flag operations. Would the lead stiff of Weekend at Biden’s wander from the teleprompter and go completely off skit and begin recounting in strange details his days as a WWII fighter pilot, with Corn-Pop reemerging as his co-pilot, to rally US citizens to continue supporting the war? Would the CIA release a director’s cut of Z-Bo!, a hagiographic account of Zelenskyy’s “heroic leadership”, and dress him up with a bandana and yellow and blue Ukrainian war paint for the advertising banner? Would the NYZ Times, the Grey Jezebel, our rulers’ paper of propaganda, run a CIA-inspired exclusive of Putin’s secret plans for an amphibious assault on Shanghai? Would Zelenskyy himself grant an Atlantic an up close and personal interview and exposé featuring a sexy, half-naked centerfold of him lying on his stomach in bed and batting his eyes at the camera with a velvet sheet laying tantalizingly low on the small of his back exposing a tramp stamp tattoo of NATO ensconced in a bloody heart impaled by a poisoned arrow?

    Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Malcolm Nance ended up beating them all to the jump by joining the Ukrainian forces:

    And then the money shot (note the uniform: a ostensible sign of the pride he has in his fighting unit that probably drives him to clean and press it everyday as soon as he gets back from the front lines):

    He mentions in the video that he had friends in Ukraine prior to the war who were in the Ukrainian Army and graduates of Defense Language Institute and that he joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine due to the brutalities that Russia is foisting upon the Ukrainian people which he terms as “extermination” and an “existential war” in which Russia is “mass-murdering civilians” (((if this is an extermination, what the f*ck was Fallujah?))) .

    A quick look over Nance’s wiki screams CIA asset or regular CIA:
    Nance began working in the civilian intelligence arena through research into the history of the Soviet Union and its spy agency the KGB. He subsequently analyzed Middle East terrorism and sovereign nations with ties to the Russian Federation.

    Nance served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years from 1981 to 2001, receiving several military decorations. As a U.S. Navy specialist in Naval Cryptology, Nance was involved in numerous counter-terrorism, intelligence, and combat operations. He garnered expertise within the fields of intelligence and counterterrorism.

    In 2001, Nance founded Special Readiness Services International (SRSI), an intelligence support company. On the morning of 9/11, driving to Arlington he witnessed the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. He acted as a first responder at the helipad crash site where he helped organize the rescue and recovery of victims. Subsequently, Nance served as an intelligence and security contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan, the UAE and North Africa.

    Nance now directs a think tank that he founded, the “Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies”, which analyzes counterterrorism. Nance is also a member of the advisory board of directors for the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

    Who did you think he “contracted” with in Iraq, Afghanistan, the UAE and North Africa? Who else does business in all those places?

    Anyway, it’s kind of strange that he only now admits that he has joined Ukraine defense forces a month after he supposedly did so.

    It would not be surprising if there are US and NATO forces trapped in the Mariupol steel plant amongst the Azov folks. The fact that the Azov reps are making outrageous demands such as being safely flown out into another country suggests that they feel that they have some leverage and power in this matter beyond themselves. Also, Zelenskyy and co. are also threatening to call off all peace talks (((are there any in actuality going on?))) if the folks in the factory are killed also points to the possibility that there are US and NATO personnel holed up there. Shoot, Nance might have some employees from his “intelligence support company” there right now and that’s why he’s making his very public case that Russia is committing genocide which lays some justification, along with the civilians who are supposedly being used as human shields in the factory, for some sort of US/NATO rescue effort similar to Carter’s failed rescue of US hostages in Iran.

    This is how a situation like this can potentially escalate from a proxy war to playing chicken with a nuclear power.

    The Bucha “atrocity” that folks like Nance often eagerly point to as unquestioned proof of Russian brutality almost certainly was in part staged. The bodies look legit but at least on that street that is often shown of dead bodies they almost certainly were not killed at those locations, if the Russians killed them at all, as all the bodies are spaced apart in the street and primarily lying on a side walk in such a way as to suggest a pattern that is begging to be noticed.

    But ask yourself how those people would have naturally been killed there? Did they all get picked off as they got their mail or grabbed the morning paper?

    By presumably allowing contractors to operate in Ukraine and sending Ukraine so many weapons, particularly the drones, the US is playing a dangerous game. The lines between funding a proxy war and getting actively involved in it are blurred especially when you are giving them drones, training Ukrainians how to use them, and providing intelligence on the location of Russian forces so that all the Ukrainian operators have to do is type in coordinates and hit the red bomb button.

    It’s rumored that the sinking of the Moskva was assisted by intelligence supplied by Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites.


  18. Z

    I think it’s a pretty shrewd move by Putin to not bomb the factory in Mariupol. Again, there’s probably US and/or NATO personnel holed up in there along with the Azov folks with presumably dwindling supplies.

    Make them walk out sheepishly and surrender to prove to the world the extent of US on-ground support for the war and then use their release as a bargaining chip or make them and the Azov battle it out between each other for survival and possibly produce strife between Ukraine and its allies if the Azov kill them if and when they try to escape. If the US/NATO folks leave the factory the Azov lose any leverage they have to get out alive.

    The outrageous demands by Zelenskyy and the Azov is an indication of their desperation IMO.


  19. NR

    Nazis were never a majority in Germany, either.

    There is a huge difference between the amount of support Nazis in Germany had and the amount of support Nazis in Ukraine have. The Nazi party got 37% of the vote in the crucial 1932 German elections and, thanks to split opposition, became the largest party in the legislature (though lacking an outright majority). And again, the fascist party in Ukraine got 2% of the vote in their last election and did not win a single seat in the legislature. Those two situations are worlds apart.

    My argument is not that Nazis don’t matter or don’t constitute a threat. Even if their numbers are small today, under the right conditions they have the potential to grow. And yes, it is possible for ideologies, particularly violent ones, to wield power that is out of proportion to their numbers. But Russia’s claim that Ukraine is overrun or controlled by Nazis is simply proven false in the cold light of the fact that Nazis make up less than one half of one percent of Ukraine’s military and have virtually no support among the populace. If you looked, you could probably find that 0.5% of Canada’s soldiers harbor Nazi ideologies. Does that mean the United States would be justified in invading Canada?

  20. Z

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the reason that Blinken and Austin are meeting with Zelenskyy in Kiev is to try to figure out a way to solve a CIA-Azov conundrum playing out in Mariupol where the Azov know they need to keep the CIA in the steel plant with them in order to survive, they’re their only chip, and the fact that Russia won’t allow the Azov to walk away. Maybe they need to talk direct on this because they can’t take any chances of any communication between them being intercepted. They certainly wouldn’t want that divulged to the public.

    I haven’t seen any signs of it yet, and it’s probably a long shot, but if we see a drastically dovish change in their negotiation tone after their meeting that could very well be the reason why. The sticks aren’t working, maybe their discussing what carrots to dangle.

    Zelenskyy said something earlier this week along the lines that if the people in that factory are harmed all negotiations are off between Ukraine and Russia, but I hadn’t heard any talk that there were any negotiations going on at the time, so maybe it was more of a “don’t harm them, we can talk” tone between Ukraine and Russia and not the defiant one which Zelenskyy is spewing to the press.

    Again, I haven’t read anyone else who has indicated that, so maybe it’s just a wild idea, but it’s not like our statestream media would openly ponder the possibilities of it in front of the public.

    It does seems awful likely that there are CIA and/or US contractors (see CIA Assets) trapped in that factory since a French reporter from a fairly reputable publication said that the Americans were in control of the military operations at the ground level. Where, he didn’t say, but it sounded like he was describing a war zone.

    If there are a bunch of US contractors trapped in that steel plant and they get killed it could be very difficult to keep that from the public and could be potentially embarrassing and stressful for the production team of Weekend at Biden’s.


  21. Willy

    I knew two self-described socialists in the early 80’s. Just two. Both were fairly quiet about it, this being just after the Pol Pot disaster. I refused to join in with anything leftist since it was an unpopular position to have where I lived. But I was open to alternative viewpoints. I found those two (a young student and an old fisherman) to each be humbly persuasive, rational and plausible, instead of anything like a shamelessly relentless denier or apologist for recent totalitarian socialist troubles. They instead issued warnings about our coming late-stage capitalism, which in hindsight, proved to be highly accurate.

    But I knew lots of new age types, still all the rage back then. Crystals, channeling, astral projection, drug-addled wannabe shaman… I met a bunch. Usually white and without many financial struggles. One thing I knew, was that whenever they’d shamelessly and relentless peddle some implausible belief, I was to never disagree no matter how loony it got. It’d piss em off and they’d double down. In hindsight, none of their stuff wound up being very accurate.

    Jonathan Haidt recently wrote an article trying to explain why American discourse has been so stupid lately:

    I haven’t had the time to do more than just scan it. What I think I’m seeing are his reasons for the death of rational debate. He says that a very small percentage of social media influencers are either “progressive activists” or “devoted conservatives”, yet they dominate all the other groups identified because their extreme style is what the algorithms prefer. More important is that most influencers from those two groups were said to be the whitest and richest of all the groups identified.

    Not worried about personal economics, they’re in it to win a sort of social media status game for personal points. Their pet peeve issues usually dodge the personal economics troubles which everybody else worries about.

  22. Z

    Well, the US definitely is not adopting more dovish rhetoric after Blinken’s and Austin’s visit to Kiev and are instead taking a more aggressive, I’d say antagonistic, stance by declaring that they want Russia’s military weakened.

    As far as the “why” our rulers appear so hellbent upon regime change in Russia, or at least weakening them military, there is a certain small, plucky country in the Middle East that has an enormous amount of influence on the US, has at least a powerful faction of its ruling class that has drawn a “red line” on Iran’s nuclear program, supposedly believes that Iran will have a nuclear weapon in less than a year if not deterred, and would seemingly benefit in what they consider an existential quest to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon if Iran’s ally and nuclear power Russia was weakened or broken up.


  23. different clue


    China is stronger than Israel. If China truly gives a rat’s ass about keeping Russia not-broken-up, China can support Russia and Iran enough to make sure that neither NATO-FUKUS nor Israel can do anything about anything regarding Russia.

    But will China do that? That all depends on whether a totally cynical and utterly ethics-free ChinaGov Great-Han-Lebensraum CommuNazi party-state regime thinks it has more to gain from keeping Russia together or letting NATO-FUKUS break Russia apart so that it can settle 500 million Great Han Lebensraum settlers all over Siberia
    in the Long Range Fullness of Time.

  24. Z

    Laying the grounds for another military strike of some sort against Israel’s enemy Iran …


  25. Z

    different clue,

    Man, you sure place a lot of responsibility on China.

    China had very little or nothing to do with creating the Russia-Ukraine and the US of Israel-Iran conflicts but it seems that you fully expect them to resolve them and if they don’t it’s all somehow their fault.


  26. different clue


    Please show me, with exact quotes from my actual written material, where I wrote that I expect China to resolve the Russia-Ukraine and/or Israel-Iran conflicts. With exact quotes from my written material.

    I don’t see anything in what I wrote where I claimed that China had anything to do with setting off these conflicts to begin with. I also don’t see anything in what I wrote that imposes any responsibility on China to “resolve” them.

    I think I wrote that if China wants to keep the Nato Eufukus side from dismantling Russia into separate little rump protectorates, China has the power to do so. And if China wants to make Iran just enough of a protectorate that Israel knows that Israel dare not do any regime-change in Iran, then China can do so.

    That is entirely the ChinaGov’s own choice or not, depending on whether the ChinaGov thinks its own interests are served by preserving Russia and/or Iran intact as un-regime-changed countries or not. China does have the power to do that. Or not. Depending on what China wants. Or not.

    Show me with exact quotes from my own material where I said anything more and/or different than that. And while you are at it, you might want to try convincing any skeptical co-readers, if you think you can.

  27. Z

    different clue,

    I didn’t say that that you wrote that China started those conflicts but I’d say that you are heavily implying that they’ll bear a responsibility, larger than I would lay on a country that has done little or nothing to start either of those conflicts, for whether or not Russia is broken up and Iran is not attacked by the US or Israel by writing “(i)f China truly gives a rat’s ass about keeping Russia not-broken-up, China can support Russia and Iran enough to make sure that neither NATO-FUKUS nor Israel can do anything about anything regarding Russia”.

    You make it seem like it would all be so easy … if they only gave a “rat’s ass” (((oh, I’m sure they give more than a rat’s ass about this))) … for China to step in and prevent this but of course they might not and according to you it depends upon whether their “totally cynical and utterly ethics-free ChinaGov Great-Han-Lebensraum CommuNazi party-state regime thinks it has more to gain from keeping Russia together or letting NATO-FUKUS break Russia apart so that it can settle 500 million Great Han Lebensraum settlers all over Siberia in the Long Range Fullness of Time”.


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