Discover more from The Wayward Rabbler
The Fog Machines of War
How the Western Media is Obfuscating Ukraine News with Nonsense
“It should be noted that alliances concluded with princes who possess neither the ability to assist you because of their distance from you, nor the power do so on account of their poor organization, or for some other cause, offer more fame than real assistance to those who entrust themselves to them.”
- Niccolo Machiavelli [Discourses on Livy, 2.11]
There is a strange thing going on with Ukraine coverage. Whereas in most recent major global events, there has been a ton of raw footage and easy to find live-streams, in this instance there is very little of either to be found through normal sources such as Youtube. As I said in my last piece, I could only find Putin’s speech on Rumble. It is crazy that we’re dealing with a crisis which could provoke World War 3, and they don’t even want the public to directly see the speech of the supposed main antagonist. This presumably is because they know his message would have appeal to more people around the world than they wish. It is incredible to me that few seem to have noticed that unedited versions of this speech are clearly suppressed.
So what are we getting instead? An endless stream of various weak looking Western “leaders” and “experts” going on and on about sanctions and the same few clips of explosions. I have genuinely been unable to learn more than you would see on a few news tickers from watching a great deal of international 24 hour media coverage. RT has at least been somewhat focused on trying to tell you about the military situation even if from a Russian perspective, and Al Jazeera is at least doing something that broadly constitutes war journalism. Instead what we are getting is sanctions journalism.
Here are some examples:
If you go to their Youtube pages more of their saved videos are broadly relevant to military conflict, but the actual live streams of 24 hours news services are truly coverage of almost nothing but sanctions all the time.
This is very strange, because in this situation one expects them to produce blatant misinformation which is meant to express what they want you to believe about world events. It’s not clear what this is meant to accomplish, perhaps to intentionally bore and muddle the public. This coverage has not even been misinformation, it’s just been useless. I suspect this is what it has come to for the West: all we have are the least threatening people imaginable droning on about trade policy with no ability to self-reflect on if it will even work, simply taking it as an implied conclusion that no one could survive without our financial industries.
It is actually, in its own right, extremely depressing that this is all Ukraine has got from the West. Zelensky brought his country into this situation and all he got out of it was some ill-starred fame. Since he is being punished for his desire to be our “friend” (client) the news industry is most sympathetic, but they apparently consider it not worth their time to even send reporters to Ukraine to talk to people on the ground. He should have known that he was nothing to them, and that they were fighting over the principle of expanding NATO wherever they should want. They don’t even consider Ukraine important enough to put their reporters in danger, they are all safe in the capitals covering thrilling speeches like this one from Macron:
Meanwhile, this tragic clown Zelensky is basically left on his own to try and guilt the Western public into making their governments care:
Seeing this, at what was early Friday morning in Ukraine, my first assumption was that since he feels compelled to say he will stay in Kiev it almost certainly meant he would flee by dawn on Saturday.
For now, he released this strange video of him in the street at night:
I’m sure he feels really tough standing out there, but there are a few screwy things going on here. For one thing, if he is Russia’s number one target why the hell is he standing on the street with his main cabinet. Further, he claimed the Russians were targeting residential areas, which is exactly where he is standing safe in the streets. Most importantly, the Russians have very advanced technology, and at least him and one other person are actively using a cell phone in this location, which brings with it a massive risk of Russians finding him- you know they have the technology to launch signature strikes as well, it isn’t just the US.
It seems relatively more likely to me that he is full of shit and they are not trying to kill him and are not targeting residential areas and he is well aware of both of those things. But, with the international media being all sanctions all the time, how else is he meant to get the international public to care about the real military dangers faced by Ukraine? And of course, how are we to know what is true?
More so than ever before I am having a lot of trouble finding out what is immediately going on in Ukraine, but if I cared about clueless neoliberals discussing macroeconomics, I would feel more informed than ever. What we can assume is that the Ukrainian government is being less than honest in claiming that they’ve killed 2,800 Russian soldiers [you may have to click through to the tweet to translate]:
In spite of that great war record, it is being reported in Chinese state media that Zelensky wants to negotiate and Putin will send a delegation to Belarus [as I do my final edit, Zelensky is said to want to negotiate in Warsaw, I do not have a link yet.] However, Putin has made it quite clear that he won’t talk seriously until Ukraine surrenders. Meanwhile, Putin is encouraging the Ukrainian military to launch a coup.
Anything still could happen, but given that NATO claims it is absolutely not sending troops, and Russia does not care about sanctions, it appears that Kiev may fall on Saturday morning [in Ukraine]. No one knows what Putin will do from there, but pretty clearly place a pacified regime that agrees to have the same “friends and enemies” as Russia, as the Romans used to say. They may permanently annex some of it, but if they occupy the whole country it defeats the purpose of the buffer zone by moving their borders up to NATO. Similarly, just partitioning the country doesn’t really achieve the goal. I personally think it’s unlikely we will see an East and West Ukraine.
Clearly, Zelensky and Ukraine got absolutely no help from their obvious folly of relying on the Biden administration. He simply got a sympathetic Western press to make him a flash-in-the-pan global celebrity who may well spend the rest of his life in exile shuffling from news station to news station discussing the worst few days of his life for the next 30 years. Indeed, as Machiavelli said, it was more fame than help.
Honestly though, what I care more about than Ukraine is whatever the fuck is going on with media coverage. I’ve never seen a military crisis covered anything like this before. Perhaps they are simply trying to distract us from their own impotence. Perhaps they know they can’t sell the public on war like they did with Iraq- or at the very least that everyone who believes them is already a rabid anti-Russia partisan so there is nothing to convince them of. Whatever is going on, it bodes poorly for our ability to learn about future wars; on the bright side, it isn’t compelling as propaganda.
Either way, Zelensky made an absolutely horrible decision hitching his [and his country’s] wagon to Joe Biden’s star.
There is something extremely important to remember here: statesmanship is an art of the possible.
Internationally recognized neutrality was the best option for both Ukraine and the United States [and its failing foreign policy class] and it was Russia’s demand. Yes, they would have had to vigilantly guard themselves from the influence of their powerful neighbor [you know, like Mexico or Canada], but they would have maintained a great deal of political and economic independence. All they had to do was agree to not join NATO, all the United States had to do was agree to the same, and Russia would agree to respecting Ukrainian independence. There weren’t the votes for Ukraine to join NATO anyway.
But that was too much, because Russian man bad, and thus he must be recklessly confronted at every turn, reality be damned! Perhaps it is his trade as a comedian, but Zelensky seems to be more of a joke than your average political leader. And so, the worst possible result [besides being an international nuclear battlefield] is what Ukraine got. So much for an independent Ukraine.
It is no surprise that a political leader and the people were duped into making such an obviously bad decision for themselves. People don’t recognize their own good when they see it. None of this bodes well for the future of the Ukrainian state as we know it.
I will leave you with another quote:
“The people, deceived by a false image of good, desire their own ruin, and unless someone they trust can make them capable of distinguishing the good from the bad, this will bring endless danger and damage to republics. When fate decrees that the people will have faith in no one, as sometimes occurs, after they have been deceived in the past either by events or by men, this inevitably leads to ruin.”
- Nicollo Machiavelli [Discourses on Livy, 1.53]