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America has won Europe’s war Whatever happens now, Washington will prosper

War has been kind to Joe Biden. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.


March 10, 2022   6 mins

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western leaders have gone out of their way to condemn Putin and express their solidarity with the victims of the conflict. And yet, one cannot help but suspect that behind closed doors they are raising toasts to the Russian President.

After all, this war is nothing less than a godsend for Western elites. Domestically, it is a well-known fact that periods of international crisis or war tend to bolster the popularity of a country’s government or political leaders (the rally-around-the-flag effect) — especially if the country in question doesn’t actually have boots on the ground, and therefore coffins returning home, in which case it’s all gain and no pain.

You might remember the eerily prescient 1997 satire Wag the Dog, in which the US president enlists the help of a Hollywood producer to fabricate a fictional war in Albania to distract voters from a sex scandal in which he’s involved. Every major Western leader could do with a similar booster shot. Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, and Justin Trudeau have all been performing abysmally in the polls, due in no small part to their disastrous (if not outright authoritarian) handling of the pandemic and its social and economic fallout.

The latest data shows that the rally-around-the-flag effect is already working its magic: approval ratings for all Western leaders have registered a significant bounce since the beginning of the war. Biden has enjoyed the best makeover of all, going overnight from Sleepy Joe — the embarrassing grandad known for farting at parties — to “leader of the free world”, as he self-styled himself in his State of the Union address last week.

But there’s more at play here than a few percentage points in the polls. On a deeper level, we seem to have entered a particularly decadent stage of Western capitalism. Today, ruling elites are increasingly unable to generate societal consensus or hegemony in either material or ideological terms — due to neoliberalism’s innate tendency towards ever-growing levels of capital concentration and its disdain for democratic participation and empowerment — and are therefore forced to rely on repressive and militaristic measures in order to remain in power and stifle any challenges to their authority.

Hence their need for a more or less permanent state of crisis or emergency capable of justifying such measures. Which might help explain why the West seems to have been mired in a perennial state of “crisis” for much of the past 20 years: the post-9/11 global terrorism crisis, the post-2008 financial-economic crisis, the pandemic crisis and now, just as the latter seemed to be waning, the military crisis in Ukraine. All this against the background of a worsening climate and ecological crisis. Indeed, “crisis” no longer represents a deviation from the norm; it is the norm, the default starting point for all politics in the West.

In this sense, the framing of Covid as a “war” — the ultimate state of exception — was no accident. But nothing beats a real war when it comes to rallying people around the status quo. This moment is bound to exacerbate the worrying trends that have emerged during the pandemic: the consolidation of the media, the blatant resort to crude propaganda, the shutting down of any meaningful form of public debate, the “cancelling” of dissenting voices, and the demonisation and criminalisation of whomever happens to be the public enemy of the moment — yesterday the unvaccinated, today the “pro-Russians”.

At the international level, the weaponisation of the suffering of the Ukrainians might prove even more beneficial to Western elites. Their order isn’t merely in an internal crisis but externally as well. It’s threatened by the rise of new regional powers — first and foremost China but to some extent Russia as well. In the US, they still struggle to accept that the “unipolar moment” is over. Our world is multipolar, whether the State Department in Washington likes it or not. The crisis in Ukraine is in many ways a result of this collective denial, of the West’s inability to conceive a new order, and of its foolish dream of somehow turning the clock back to the Nineties.

By meddling in Eastern Europe, and ignoring Moscow’s security interests, the West invited conflict in Ukraine. It’s worth noting that the US is now adopting against China the same strategy of military encirclement that ended up triggering Putin. When a similar crisis breaks out with China at some point down the road nobody should be surprised.

Events in Ukraine make such a conflict increasingly probable. And that is because they offer the West and its military-industrial apparatuses the perfect excuse to whip up a new Cold War and militarise Western foreign policy, under the guise of defending the “free world” from a new Russo-Chinese Evil Empire. It also helps that billions of dollars are waiting to be made in the process. Indeed, arms manufacturers are licking their lips at the prospect.

The consequences for Europe will be profound. From the perspective of the US, it prevents the strengthening of Russian-European relations and the rise of a Eurasian geopolitical reality. It allows the US to reassert its hegemony over Europe, in particular Germany. Indeed, several commentators have argued that the crisis in Ukraine was partially manufactured by the US in order to torpedo the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

That pipeline was vehemently opposed by every element of the US establishment, from Joe Biden to Donald Trump. It’s no secret that thanks to the “shale revolution” the US is now a direct competitor of Russia in the field of natural gas exports. But even more importantly, the US feared that stronger, friendlier relations between Germany — and with it the rest of the EU — and Russia would have chipped away at Europe’s reliance on the United States’ security umbrella.

Well, as a result of recent events, the pipeline has been shelved once and for all. In fact, the talk in Europe is how to “decouple” once and for all from Russian gas (that’s if Putin doesn’t decide to turn off the tap beforehand). This is a double win for the US. Europe is likely to pivot towards the US for its gas imports as relations with Russia grow colder. And tensions with Russia have already boosted European support for Nato, which had become lukewarm in recent years. The result: the US maintains its military stranglehold over Europe.

It’s worth remembering that not too long ago Macron diagnosed Nato as being “braindead” and called for Europe to build its own common defence system. Both France and Germany reacted with the diplomatic equivalent of disgust to the new security pact between Australia, the US and the UK (AUKUS). That’s a thing of the past: now European leaders are once again lining up to pledge their unconditional allegiance to Nato — and to bolster their military spending and thus their contribution to the Alliance.

Consider Germany’s foreign policy pivot — the announcement that it will be increasing its military spending to over 2% of its GDP in direct response to the situation in Ukraine. Sweden and Finland have reportedly given consideration to joining Nato; Switzerland is ending its neutral status and joining the EU’s sanctions on Russian assets. Even Ireland, neutral for a century, is considering joining Nato. Increased military spending in Europe means more US military hardware entering the continent. Moreover, the crisis along Europe’s eastern flank, should it be prolonged, will inevitably hamper trade relations with China. For America the geopolitical view looks cloudless.

The EU’s political autonomy will be reduced, to the extent that military considerations — determined in Washington — will trump other concerns. It will now be far harder for the EU to punish countries like Poland and Hungary for alleged deficiencies in their “rule of law” given their strategic importance for Nato. As Wolfgang Streeck writes: “In short, as Western Europe is returned to “the West”, the EU is reduced to a geoeconomic utility for Nato, aka the United States. The events around Ukraine are making it clearer than ever that for the US, the EU is essentially a source of economic and political regulation for states needed to help “the West” encircle Russia on its Western flank… The implication for von der Leyen and her crowd is to confirm their subordinate status”.

That’s not to say that the crisis is not an opportunity for EU elites as well. It offers them a chance, at last, to push ahead with plans for a “common defence policy”, something Macron has been advocating for a long time. The issue had been contentious, both in Washington — where it was feared that a militarily independent Europe would be less reliant on the US – and in Berlin, which was sceptical of helping France use the EU as a cover for its global ambitions. Public opinion in Europe never embraced the idea.

However, the conflict in Ukraine has swept away any doubts. For the first time ever, the EU is supporting member states as they supply military equipment to embattled Kyiv, mobilising €500 million under the European Peace Facility. This is a classic example of the EU’s long standing integration-through-crisis strategy: exploiting moments of public fear and disorientation to surreptitiously deepen an integration process that lacks popular support.

From the US perspective, such plans don’t represent a direct threat at the moment, so long as Europe’s military machine remains under the effective command of Nato. Whether they will create transatlantic tensions down the road remains to be seen. For the peoples of Europe, neither option is particularly appealing. Either a European army under the aegis of the US security establishment or one under the aegis of France and a remilitarised Germany? Whatever happens, arming the EU — an institution as undemocratic and oligarchic as they come — remains a bad idea. But war is a racket, as US Marine Corps Major General Smedley D. Butler famously claimed, and no one wants to be left out.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Jonathan Weil
JW
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago

“Whip up a new Cold War”?

“Triggering Putin”?

The West, the West, always the West. Kind of egocentric and racist, is it not, to deny agency to Putin and Xi of all people, and make everything the result of what “we” whip up.

Sub-Corbynite drivel.

Richard Pearse
RP
Richard Pearse
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Amen! Reading this anti-West(, Anti- American) drivel, I couldn’t decide if this guy was serious (occasioning a WAR to satisfy the polls and the military-industrial complex), nuts or merely LARPing to stir us up. It’s adjacent to the books after 9/11 that “proved” that that disaster was planned by Bush et al.

The WEST is the bad guy because Putin broke the treaties from the 1990’s with Russia? Biden (the incompetent, pathetic party-farter) plotting to stop the Nord-stream II pipeline by being incompetent and pathetic toward US energy independence, halting the arming of Ukraine, begging for oil from Russia and OPEC while halting US energy exploration, in order to improve our position with Germany? You shitting me!?
My brain still hurts after reading this.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

It’s hard not to be anti-American these days. What with all the nonsense.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
2 years ago

Could you be more specific about which nonsense?

D M
D M
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

It’s not just agency that Putin and Xi have but rather military power which Putin , at least, was prepared to use. The war was not the west’s fault by any means but it didn’t have its eye on the ball to prevent it.

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
2 years ago
Reply to  D M

Another variation on the presumption of infinite US capability to prevent others from doing bad things, if only US politicians weren’t so incompetent.

D M
RM
D M
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Actually I think it was the Europeans who have been weak expecting to rely on the US and relying on Russian gas. And Europe could have provided a counterbalance to the wokeness coming from the other side of the pond.

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Can you point to anything in the article that is actually untrue?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

Only one tiny little thing, which is the entire suggestion that this brutal invasion forms some part of a conspiracy by Western elites and by the US government in particular!

Eric Kaufman’s has an excellent article on UnHerd l about some parts of the anti-liberal Right and their near or actual apologia for Putin’s aggression. ‘Putin is anti-woke, he is fighting for Christian civilisation’, or similar rubbish. The critique equally applies to Fazi.

Let’s get back to attacking the EU or the State Department, which is our comfort zone!

The apologia for Putin at this moment is particularly grotesque. Do you know that having your cities flattened might be a tad worse than having to attend a stupid ‘diversity training course’, or on the (economic) Left, not getting a pay rise.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Calm down dear calm down
I do not think there was any suggestion on the part of the author that the invasion was the result of a conspiracy by Western elites.
What the author was pointing out was that there is plenty of upside for our elites which is plainly true.
Among the many things we learned for WWI and II was how profitable they were for the US and how quick the US were to seize the opportunities they presented.
As to your reference to the State Department, the point has been validly made by others that the antics of the US over the last 70 year, and our tacit and sometimes active support, means that, at least morally, the US and in the UK have no standing to condemn Russia for doing what we have done elsewhere.
I will go further and say if we had no already torn up the rule book over Iraq, Ukraine and half a dozen other places, it is most unlikely the Russia would have invaded Ukraine.
The first step to bring this war to a quick and sensible conclusion is not more rhetoric but to recognise that we do not have clean hands

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Excellent skewering of this supposedly ‘radical’ anti-elite Marxist, who now seemingly uses Putin’s precise justifications as his own, a unfortunately do many commentators of the Right.

Endless excoriation of western leaders, ok, often deserved, but then at the same time an utterly naive, if not malevolent, apologia for Russia’s series of outright aggressions.

You’d have thought someone so supposedly concerned about the people’s rights against elites would pay some attention to the fact that every single Ukrainian oblast voted for national independence in 1991, including Crimea, Luzhansk and Donetsk.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Frankly this is depressing. Who on earth would approve of e.g. Biden as president? How can Trudeau ‘whitewash’ what he has done. Voters must be pretty stupid….

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

Politicians exist only because voters are stupid – or lazy, which is the same thing. My personal theory is that voters vote by looks, appearances, entertainment value, boredom with politicians, their own personal history.

I think that almost no-one votes for principles.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Sure but what are those principles?

Warren T
WT
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Half want to vote for the guy/gal who will leave us the hell alone! The other half votes for the one who promises to give away “free” stuff.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

We live in comfortable times. Hardly any member of the university educated suburban upper middle have known adversity or undertaken dirty dangerous work in arduous conditions where mistakes kill or cripple. Before WW2 those from grammar and public school at least had to play rugby on cold wet muddy pitches, box in PT classes, experience cold shower and were occasionally caned. As one wit said when he saw a new prisoner entering the Japanese POW ” Don not worry it is not as bad as Marlborough “.”Those below the age of 60 have probably never experienced any discomfort in their lives.
Population living such a sybaritic existence are highly unlikely to vote for tough dependable leaders tempered by adversity; capable of making the correct life and death decision after days without sleep, while wounded, in pain hungry and thirsty and utterly exhausted.
Shackleton’s ship “Endurance ” has just been discovered. The family motto is ” By Endurance We Conquer “. What should be the motto of the comfortable suburban university educated middle classes of the 21st century?

Jean Nutley
Jean Nutley
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

How about:- “Woke and wasted” ?

Richard Parker
RP
Richard Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Well, I’m 53, was beaten at school, sometimes in front of the class, played Union Football in the snow and had cold communal showers in an open-doored sports pavilion. Can’t say it made me a better person, of course. I’m just thinking maybe some practices persisted longer in Yorkshire than elsewhere!

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Stupid and lazy are not the same thing. Unfortunately some are stupid and very active hence the chaos we see all around us.

Jeff Butcher
JB
Jeff Butcher
2 years ago

Yes I’ve always maintained that idiocy is more of a force to be feared than evil – both my own idiocy and that of others

Sally Owen
Sally Owen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I think that idiocy is begat by evil and there is so much evil about now! Let there be light! When there is light all will be well!……

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I disagree – I always vote according to what principles are at stake and who may/may not share my values.

The problem these days is that principles are a hindrance in politics and the choice is usually between this unprincipled liar or that one….

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly said that “A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights”, which may well be true.
He also said that, in politics, stupidity is not a handicap. That is demonstrably true.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Who would approve of Biden as president? Maybe someone who thought Trump and AOC both would be a lot worse.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Trump, bellicose and unnecessarily divisive as he is, is WAY better than Biden. He called lots of things right – indeed he seems prescient now.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

they could never allow it, making up with the bogey men (NK, Putin, Syria) and not allowing the hawks their way…that is why he had to go (forget the election/voting, that was so corrupt it is laughably obvious, how easily they pulled it off just shows the state we are in). The openly treasonous actions (no exaggeration) of many US senators and generals – totally without consequences for them – shows how badly they needed him out.

D M
D M
2 years ago

I agree it’s depressing having Biden and that Trump seems better but I can’t agree that voters are stupid. Voters vote for what they think is best according their own criteria for what is best. You can’t reasonably claim that some voters are ‘better’ ie less stupid than others. Who has the right to claim that someone else is stupid ? It’s not as if any of the candidates have great principles – and there are no universal principles in any case. It’s usually a question of choosing between bad options and picking the least bad. Don’t tell me that your principles are better than mine or anyone else’s

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  D M

How is it possible for people to vote for a clearly senile person?

D M
D M
2 years ago

I don’t have a cynical view of voters collective wisdom. The forty shilling freeholder voting qualification was abolished more than a century ago in the UK. Everyone has an equal vote and their vote is sovereign. I was a Trump fan but I accept the result of the US election with good grace. If it weren’t for the collective wisdom of UK voters we’d still be stuck in the hopeless EU . And I was a remainder who came to realise I was wrong..

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
2 years ago

The USA population is so soft, entitled and comfy that so-called ‘mean tweets’ (actually ‘honesty’) triggers them. A backbone-free populace.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

You must be talking about the college crowd, which is 60% female over 90% far left, and the vast numbers of useless and clueless government employees.

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  D M

Yes, you can claim some voters are stupid or at the very least uninformed. Have you ever seen man-on-the street Interviews where they ask the simplest questions -ie who is the Vice President? What form of government is the USA? How many branches of government are there? – and they have absolutely no clue? Forget understanding history- in the USA Today the vast majority couldn’t provide ballpark dates for the American Civil War. The ignorance is truly astounding.

D M
RM
D M
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Ignorant yes but stupid no. It’s the highly educated, ‘knowledgable’ but misinformed woke middle class who are , at least in my personal opinion, on the wrong side of history but I wouldn’t call them stupid either. Education and wisdom are not correlated – better to trust your gut instinct han the woke nonsense.

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Well, as we’ve come to realize that children in public schools have been attending indoctrination sessions for at least a full generation, if not more, while their parents weren’t looking, it’s easy to see the reason for all of the uneducated people on the streets.

D M
D M
2 years ago

I think the Ukraine war is bringing western policy back to the obvious reality ( realpolitik vs idealism ) that military strength is the only way to maintain security. This will change the world order tremendously but it is too early to pontificate on how. The elites will always be the elites and maintain their privileged position. Orwell made some comment which I am paraphrasing to the effect that you can only sleep at night because there are rough men willing to fight to protect you

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Doug Pingel
DP
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  D M

Wasn’t that James Joyce (Not our american contributor – the Irish Writer) “Rough men walk at night. You might not like what they do but you are glad that they do it”. Maybe Orwell said something similar?

D M
D M
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Or Grenier or Kipling or Churchill ? Quite difficult to find the true source for sure.

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
David Owsley
DO
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  D M

because many have said the same thing. Goes back centuries I imagine because it has always been true; and WWI poetry alludes to such as well.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Owsley
D M
D M
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

And as we learn from history these ‘rough’ men are prepared to fight for their country, perhaps reluctantly for NATO or similar but hardly for the apocryphal ‘rules-based International world order’

Last edited 2 years ago by D M
Yan Chernyak
Yan Chernyak
2 years ago

>> By meddling in Eastern Europe, and ignoring Moscow’s security interests, the West invited conflict in Ukraine.

Enough of this bullshit, already! Seriously, this becomes annoying. Un-herd doesn’t mean we need to be continuously exposed to this ridiculous propaganda just because it’s not a mainstream thinking.

Last edited 2 years ago by Yan Chernyak
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Yan Chernyak

So you’d prefer it if we just accept the propaganda of ‘The West’ unquesioningly. Is it not better to try to peel off the layers of the onion and try to seek the real truth, rather than just blindly accepting ‘the truth’ provided by either party. It sounds very similar to us being told to just accept ‘the science’ over the last two years, as though there is only one ‘science’.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

It’s not an either or. Both sides have interests. This is not a game.

David Owsley
DO
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Not even the Great Game? Same participants are still at it with some added extras.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Look at that quote. It says that Russia has a legitimate right (‘security interests’) to control the people and countries of Eastern Europe, and that it is wrong for other countries to interfere (‘meddle’) with that right.
1) Is that really what you believe?
2) What about the Ukrainians. Is it also wrong for them to meddle with Russia’s right to control their country?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

ever heard of the Munroe Doctrine? Ever wondered about GB ‘divide and rule’ and various other Empire examples? ? Ever heard of thousands other occasions throughout human history? You use “legitimate”, it is clearly not ‘legal’ but it was very – VERY – easily avoided and WE decided not to.

Wim de Vriend
WD
Wim de Vriend
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Russian leaders who predate Putin by centuries were also concerned about Russia’s position on the flat northern European plan and its lack of natural borders, which have facilitated many invasions, from the Mongols to the Swedes, from Napoleon to Hitler. That’s why Catherine the Great observed that the only way she could secure her borders was to extend them, which was among her reasons for securing Ukraine. Whether holding such feelings was or still is a ‘legitimate right’ is hard to say; but there can be no doubt that Stalin’s post-WWII USSR and its vassal states filled that need. Hence Putin’s obsession is history-based; but today one wonders if he would not be wiser to quit obsessing about the war-adverse EU and instead worry about a potential invasion and land grab of his Asian lands by the Chinese.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Good discussion to have after we’ve been vaporised by Putin for not considering his interest enough.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Yan Chernyak

Seconded

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

And “thirded”

Alexander Morrison
AM
Alexander Morrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Yan Chernyak

Quite – this is someone who clearly has no comprehension that Putin is waging an ideological war. The invasion of Ukraine is the fruit of profound intellectual corruption within Russia, which has allowed the poisonous historical fantasies of Medinsky and his ilk to become orthodoxies that actually inform state policy. The Eastern European countries that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact or the USSR are today sovereign entities which made a free choice to join NATO or the EU and to turn away from Russia’s repellent, kleptocratic embrace. Russia does not have a right to dictate either their internal systems of government or to veto their membership of any collective organisation which it does not dominate – these are not ‘legitimate’ security interests. Just because Putin doesn’t believe Eastern European countries have any real agency and that NATO is just a front for American empire doesn’t mean we should swallow it whole, as this writer appears to.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
2 years ago

…It is indeed wise not to swallow it in “whole”. However, it is very unwise to abstain from it, for its real world consequences. Diversity is nature’s strength you know.

Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Except it’s not exactly as if Ukraine itself is not highly corrupt. I remember reading somewhere recently, perhaps even in the pages of Unherd, the Ukraine ranks higher than Russia in the corruption league of nations.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

….and a certain comedy actor in the pocket of a Ukrainian oligarch …but …shhhh

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

For a start Ukraine is 117 and Russia 120 on corruption list, when I last look.
Level of corruption in Ukraine is irrelevant to discussion of Russia aggression.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Yan Chernyak

errr…it was what UKRAINE signed up for AND what US/UK/EU and Russia AGREED!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

So Ukraine signed up to accept being invaded by Russia if they joined NATO – WAIT, they haven’t! If they disrespected Russias security interests? WAIT, they are in no condition to threaten Russia and have not let in foreign troops! If they disrespectfully refused to do as they were told by Moscow? Really, they agreed to that??

I should like to see the agreement you are talking about. It must be an interesting document.

andrew harman
AH
andrew harman
2 years ago

I think the article credits policymakers with too much coherent and joined up thinking.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
2 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Totally right. The crass ineptitude of so called policy makers is all the explanation for the successive waves of crises you need. All these crises are manufactured by a pampered ill educated class utterly divorced now from the realities of enterprise/private sector; thry are utterly bewildered as much by the digital globalised world economy as they are by ‘science’ and climate studies. Toxic Identitarianism is their default activity. The rest – the real big stuff – is Too Complex. Never mind failing to deter Putin. The ongoing Net Zero ‘policy’ imposed by the crass Miilband/May zealot club shares more ideological DNA with Pol Pot (study him) and Greta than anything remotely rational. We have a Labour leader who supported a shrill madman (Oh Jeremy) who practically denied the Salibury poisonings…while Keir and his front bench today do not even know what a ‘woman’ is. From such muck, multiple crises flourish.

Doug Pingel
DP
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

No mention of the present PM’s spouse for pushing the idiotic Net Zero policy onto the Tory party? Worse in some ways because she is not an elected politician.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
2 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

…too true. But that’s how things got started in 1914.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
2 years ago

If the headline is correct, then it’s only fair. Biden was the president Europe wanted, not the one the US wanted. Think before you jump in to congratulate fraud in a theoretically democratic election, else you get what you wanted, good and hard.

David Owsley
DO
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Sean Penley

perfectly put.

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

Indeed, “crisis” no longer represents a deviation from the norm; it is the norm, the default starting point for all politics in the West.

And it is a norm that the global elites, the three letter organisations, and our political leaders thrive on. You can’t let a good crisis go to waste.

As a mere pleb I am just glad we have such honest and capable leaders who ooze integrity from their every pore

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago

The gang running western countries can’t do anything right, whether by design (the great reset) or incompetence, they have spent the last two years wrecking their economies and now are causing further destruction by perpetuating the Ukraine war and causing further food and energy shortages. Maybe Biden will see his approval rating creep up to 40% but the people of the USA, Canada and Britain will all be poorer.
As usual the only winner will be China.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bryan Dale
Gintautas Australas Kaminskas
GK
Gintautas Australas Kaminskas
2 years ago

This article is garbage and I’m shocked that Unherd would publish it. Saying « By meddling in Eastern Europe, and ignoring Moscow’s security interests, the West invited conflict in Ukraine.  » is unhinged pro-Kremlin treason. Every sovereign, UN-recognised country has the right to exist unmolested. Russia has no God-given right to a “sphere of influence””.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
2 years ago

Agree!!

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
2 years ago

….there you go! A loyal foot solder of the Empire of the Rules Based World Order, happy to march towards his own destruction.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

Nor does the USA, although that might be whataboutism. I don’t agree with the article, but let’s go easy on the talk of treason.

Rick Fraser
Rick Fraser
2 years ago

When Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice pushed George Kennan to the sidelines, the U.S. became very myopic in its views about Russia. Albright’s father was Rice’s professor at Stanford and he passed along his deep hatred of Russia to both of them. (Victoria Nuland appears to be cut from similar cloth.) Kennan did his best to warn the Clinton administration that NATO expansion at that time would produce tragic consequences in the future. He was ignored and now pretty much everything he foresaw has come into full view.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Fraser

Indeed! The steps are very clear and each one totally avoidable.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

LOL, indeed, “invited” is the the wrong word; guaranteed would be better; ‘paid for’ indirectly maybe…oh, you’re serious.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

Just putting this recent disturbing development out there. This was under oath before congress.
Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland admits Ukraine has “biological research facilities”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y39veTO7kF4

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Not disturbing at all unless there is more detail as to what type of Biomedical Research is being conducted.
There are Biomedical Research centres everywhere all over the world, dozens just in London. Even medical ones are a biological risk to public health of not properly looked after (especially during an armed conflict).
More context would be beneficial to the video – Glen Greenwald should know better as he’s adding 2+2 to get 200 there.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

If that is the case, then why should we be especially concerned about these? Did you not pay a bit of attention to the wording of her answer? The United States funded gain of function research in Wuhan and look how that turned out. The benign is not so benign these days and some things are not benign at all. Currently the US government is scrubbing as much information about these labs as they can. Unfortunately, the internet and archive systems have long memories. I should probably also add the very existence of these labs was “debunked as a QAnon conspiracy theory” just a few weeks ago.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
A Spetzari
AS
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Only by insinuation and circumstance.
As you say, we will probably find out. But I’d pop the placard back in the cupboard for now. Focus on what we know not what we think might be true so that it confirms our pre-existing beliefs.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

They lied that these labs ever existed in the first place. Then they said there was nothing to worry about and these labs were not doing anything sketchy. Now they are saying if the Russians get a hold of these labs there just might be a biological warfare incident. I also noticed Nuland did not actually answer ‘no’ on the question of whether Ukraine had biological or chemical weapons. So forgive me if it raises just a few eyebrows!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I guess, anthrax, tularemia, hemorrhagic fevers, the plague, are all of no consequence. Actually there are very few labs in the UK handling really dangerous pathogens, all of which require either P3 or P4 labs. An example in the UK would be Porton Down.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Whoosh! You’re missing the point
Is it a biomedical lab dealing with biopsies or dealing with complex pathogens? That detail is absent. Until/unless we know more, or have more context than Glen’s video we cannot make that judgement.
The fact that it’s a biomedical lab is in itself relatively unremarkable.

David Owsley
DO
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I agree, could be a vaccine manufacture lab or something very innocent.

Matt Hindman
MH
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

I don’t know about you, but I have had my fill of vaccine manufacture labs at this point.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
2 years ago

“The latest data shows that the rally-around-the-flag effect is already working its magic: approval ratings for all Western leaders have registered a significant bounce since the beginning of the war.”
Just HOW stupid ARE people? FFS!

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago

A: very

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
2 years ago

Wow what total nonsense. Sorry guys, but some opinions deserve to be UnHerd because they are so stupid.
We are now looking at about a 10 percent chance of global nuclear annihilation. Surely those evil EU leaders will find a way to turn this to their advantage! Their stock portfolios will go up yippee!
And the US threatening to “encircle” China? Can you read a map????

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Donovan
R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

I don’t enjoy the use of the term ‘neoliberalism’. It implies that our current situation wasn’t the aim of liberal philosophers of the 18th century all along i.e. an atomised world of individuals ruled by capital and free movement of people.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

I always thought it more as the b**tard child of liberal economics, whereby an individuals freedom to make as much money as they please trumps the needs of society as a whole. One person getting fabulously wealthy is ok, even if it causes a thousand others to exist on the breadline

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 years ago

‘All this against the background of a worsening climate and ecological crisis.’ Citation needed.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

..and the same with, ‘citation needed’ – particularly in reference to claims that are so widely believed and researched as to be closing in on settled science. Moreover, the comments section, as its name implies, is is not a peer reviewed journal.

Rick Fraser
Rick Fraser
2 years ago

When Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice pushed George Kennan to the sidelines, the U.S. became very myopic in its views about Russia. Albright’s father was Rice’s professor at Stanford and he passed along his deep hatred of Russia to both of them. (Victoria Nuland appears to be cut from similar cloth.) Kennan did his best to warn the Clinton administration that NATO expansion at that time would produce tragic consequences in the future. He was ignored and now pretty much everything he foresaw has come into full view.

michael stanwick
MS
michael stanwick
2 years ago

... due to neoliberalism’s innate tendency towards ever-growing levels of capital concentration … 
Notwithstanding the ‘neoliberalism’ term, has the author heard of the Pareto Principle regarding their observation of ‘capital concentration’? Hardly innate to ‘neoliberalism’.

Last edited 2 years ago by michael stanwick
Peter Mott
PM
Peter Mott
2 years ago

Thanks for publishing this – it is good to see how feeble a traditional Left take is.

David Kingsworthy
DK
David Kingsworthy
2 years ago

This piece makes very good points but the statement “For America the geopolitical view looks cloudless” is careless when we consider the great storm cloud represented by China.

Fintan Power
Fintan Power
2 years ago

“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western leaders have gone out of their way to condemn Putin and express their solidarity with the victims of the conflict. And yet, one cannot help but suspect that behind closed doors they are raising toasts to the Russian President.” Are they really raising toasts? Suspicions are not facts. Putin started this war. He’s the person to blame.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
2 years ago

Any article frequently citing ‘elites’ is likely to be as cliched, reductionist, doctrinaire as the term itself. Same with, ‘the MSM’.

Red Sanders
Red Sanders
2 years ago

When I reached “By meddling in Eastern Europe, and ignoring Moscow’s security interests, the West invited conflict in Ukraine”, I quit reading. Up to that point, I was laughing about Biden’s swell in popularity. Now I’m angry!

Every time we gas up, pay for electricity or fuel to heat our homes and businesses or buy groceries, we are reminded of the cause of the spike on costs – Joe Biden!

And now we are the cause of Putin being a megalomaniac?

This author would fit right in with Biden’s or Putin’ sycophants.

Now looking for an Unherd article that’s not fantasy!

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 years ago

This is why independent journalism is so important. This is analysis you will not see in any major American media outlet.
5 years ago I would have laughed at the proposition that a cabal of military contractors and neo-con war mongers conspiring to whip America into a war frenzy over Russia with the goal of keeping Europe dependent. Today, I’m not so sure. But it’s absolutely worth talking about, and no one else in the American press is willing to.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Did you take a day off from presenting Russian TV ‘News’ to write this?

Dustshoe Richinrut
DR
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“- remains a baadd idea. But war is a racket, as Major General Smedley Butler once claimed, and no one wants to be left out.”

Ollie pulls over, halts his vehicle, pulls back on the handbrake.

“Stan, tell me that again.”

Laurel looks puzzled, suddenly worried.

“Well, since Russia’s invading of Ukraine, our messed-up leaders are way off, having gone to blend in with Putin, and solidify the victims of the conflict. And yet you cannot help but suspect that behind closed drawers they are raising their fists to the Russian President. Beating him up.”

“In a nutshell Stan. Now I’m with you.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Dustshoe Richinrut