Sunday, March 27, 2022

                                             March 27, 2022

  

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

John Mearsheimer, Ukraine, and the Global Deep State



Friends, 

I pass on links to two significant presentations that Dr. John Mearsheimer (Prof., University of Chicago, and author of a number of scholarly studies) has offered concerning the origin, history and responsibility for the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing conflict.  

The first of these occurred as the war has grown in intensity and was given on March 11, 2022.  It appeared in THE ECONOMIST (UK) and is a comparatively brief (1500 words) but also a balanced and comprehensive summary of his assessment. Here is the access link.  

The second lecture dates from February 15, just nine days before the Russian invasion, and in a very real sense, he accurately predicted what would happen due to the belligerent and continual pressures and outright interference of the neocons in the US State Department and the Biden administration in that part of Eastern Europe. His lecture was given via Zoom to students in King's College, Cambridge University.

Despite the unwillingness of many in the United States to understand the critical significance of this history and background, the diagnosis and comprehension--the history of how this situation came to be--remain extremely important if we are to in any way disentangle it.

And this understanding, I would suggest, is vital if we are to also understand how this particular conflict will be used to cement the control of the managerial Deep State over the United States and eventually, the world.

Both the GOP and Democrats, dominated by the neoconservatives, now work in close tandem and collaboration, fomenting the whipped up frenzied Russophobia which now boils over and extends into nearly everything, including the canceling and banning of Russian artists and Russian music, great works of Russian literature (e.g., Dostoevsky in an Italian university), Russian chess players, even Russian cats.  The Ukraine conflict offers an opportunity to advance their programmatic designs which openly and boldly proclaim the establishment of a new world order, what Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum terms "the Great Reset."  Joe Biden, himself, admitted this goal, openly and boldly, recently at  the meeting of the Business Rountable CEOs when he proclaimed: “We’re going to — there’s going to be a new world order out there, and we’ve got to lead it.  And we’ve got to unite the rest of the free world in doing it.”

The totality of broadcast media, from MSNBC to Fox continually offer lurid accounts of massacres and terror inflicted on the poor Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military, without the slightest skepticism as to accuracy or origin of the brutal images we see day after day. Then, the omnipresent Brian Kilmeade offers canonization speeches via Fox Nation for St. Volodymyr Zelensky, while pronouncing the formal damnation of Vladimir Putin as a new Hitler.

Yet, interestingly, as I watched Fox News recently practically all the horrific images were courtesy of the Azov Battalion, especially in Mariupol (notice the captions in the upper right corner of your television screen). The Azov Battalion and other Ukrainian militia groups have been specifically called out in the past for their use of terror against civilians, use of human shields, false flag operations, and faked war crimes. But it does not seem to bother the gung ho reporters at all, who then convey those images to American viewers without the slightest question as completely genuine.

The domestic aspect in this process involves not only the coordinated canceling of dissent on the issue of Ukraine, but by extension the aggrandizement and assumption of additional powers by the Federal government. Was it not Rahm Emmanuel who once said, "Never let a crisis go to waste"?  Indeed, have we not just seen how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada utilized the truckers' protest crisis north of the border to arrogate to himself and his government broad new powers and authority?

In the United States the managers in the Democratic Party fully understand the unpopularity of the Biden/Harris administration. But how then, they ask themselves, to prevent being turned out of office in November 2022?  One method now being employed is to link various GOP congressional representatives such as Madison Cawthorn (NC) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) to the January 6, 2021 "insurrection." Suffice it that since they had even slight contact with any of the participants--participants on any level whatever--in that protest, for Democrat operatives and front groups that is sufficient to charge them before state election boards and judges as being in violation of the 14th Amendment's clause enacted to prevent former Confederate officers who had engaged in "treason" from being elected to Congress.

But it doesn't stop there, not by any means. Now the entirety of corporate America, including this nation's tech monopolies, have almost totally canceled any opposition to the official position on Ukraine. There is a stunning unanimity here, and an unnatural and bizarre haste for not just politicians of both parties and corporate America to virtue signal, but almost compete with each other to see just how far they can go in doing so. And in this unseemly race, Republicans outdo the Democrats in their use of that last refuge of scoundrels: an unhinged and intolerant patriotism that ventures into the worst kind of blind jingoism and angry persecution.

This over-the-top frenzy has casualties, the first being any real search for truth and justice. Those who do attempt to dissent or express doubts and skepticism, are denounced, in addition to the unanimity of the Democrats, also by a Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse or Mitch McConnell of the pliant and pusillanimous GOP. And increasingly those who venture even the mildest doubts are charged with “treason” (e.g., as Tulsi Gabbard and Tucker Carlson have been) and demands that they be cancelled or even prosecuted.

As the conflict is ramped up by American intransigence and prodding of the regime in Kiev, can such action be long in coming? Has not Merrick Garland’s Justice Department already signaled that “domestic terrorism” is the chief threat to America and his number one priority?

You would think that after the incessant Russophobia of the Trump years, all of which was demonstrably fake and politically-motivated, that conservatives and Republicans would have some skepticism about embracing this latest and far more dangerous episode of Russia and Putin hatred. You would think that after the verified reports of the immensely lucrative and longstanding Biden connections to Ukraine, by father and son, were suppressed by Mainstream Media before the 2020 election, serious and probing questions would arise now with the narrative and news from Ukraine.

But, no. Rather, we have witnessed the actual amalgamation and virtual union of both political parties in foreign policy, with hardly a dissenting voice.

Certainly, the national parties continue to express pro forma public disagreement over various questions—a Supreme Court nominee, green energy and climate change, perhaps our southern border. But who indeed is writing the campaign checks and really determining policy in Washington? In our vaunted “democracy,” not the citizens.

And we want to impose this on all the other nations of the world?

Thus, the importance of comprehending the conflict which is really going on in Ukraine and the reasons why, and that it is not really about the poor Ukrainian people and their inviolate borders and their “democracy” (which doesn’t really exist), but rather it represents the next step after the COVID episode and its disastrous effects on our liberties and our election system…the next step in the ongoing globalist process which began with the conclusion of World War II.

Professor Mearsheimer assists us to see a slice of this history, and that should unsettle any American genuinely concerned about our future and, indeed, the future of our world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

                                            March 16, 2022

 

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Fox News, Ukraine and the Onset of the New World Order



Friends,

I have been writing and saying in numerous essays and articles published since 2013 that Fox News (that is, the news portion of the media operation) serves as a propaganda voice for the Neoconservative globalists of the managerial Deep State.

That much should be clear simply by tuning in for just a few minutes to view Fox News’ over-the-top coverage of the Ukrainian conflict.

It’s nothing new.

Two prominent examples immediately come to mind. Both primetime announcer Bret Baier, author of a potboiler praising Ulysses Grant, and Brian Kilmeade, author of an unserious volume praising the collaboration of Abraham Lincoln and radical revolutionary Frederick Douglass, serve as a zealous “amen corner” for American intervention globally. (Both books were no doubt written with critical collaboration from “ghost writers”)

And who can forget the unbridled globalism (and anti-Trumpism) of the late Charles Krauthammer, and his boast that after the fall of Communism, “we now live in a unipolar world,” controlled essentially by American business and political elites and the US state department, and anyone who stands in our (their) way must be taught “a lesson in American democracy?”

Just as our Federal government had “saved” the Union in 1861-1865 by beating down those unprogressive racist Confederates and their traitorous leaders (e.g. Lee and Davis), so now America must go round the world to “enlighten” it about all the wonders and blessings of our form of liberal democracy.

Whether in Syria, where Fox was joined at the hip to the late John McCain’s frenzied calls for the United States to intervene against the legitimate and Christian-supported government of President Bashar Assad (as McCain stood on the ground arm-in-arm with ISIS-connected guerrillas), or its plea that American soldiers must stay in Afghanistan long after the imposed twenty-year US “experiment in democracy” had been deemed a failure, or now with its unbelievably propagandistic coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, Fox News is not adverse to employing disinformation and extreme emotionalism in the causes it advances.

As I do each morning, but only for a few disagreeable minutes, Tuesday  (March 15) I switched on “Fox & Friends.” The program ended with the network offering its viewers a performance by pop singer Vladimir John Ondrasik of his new “patriotic” song: “Can One Man Save the World?” As I listened to Ondrasik and the words of his song, the motivation and object were apparent: the embattled president of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelensky, has become the new “savior of the world,” indeed a near-perfect, holy, Christ-like figure, sent from Heaven to lead the peoples of the earth into a new age, annealed in democracy, freedom, and accompanying exaltation…despite the fact that the country he leads is probably the most corrupt and undemocratic in Europe.

And Brian Kilmeade, seizing the moment and deeply affected by Ondrasik’s cloying paean, almost genuflected in homage. Here was “the Abraham Lincoln of Ukraine,” leading his beleaguered nation against those awful pro-Russian secessionists in Donetsk and Lugansk provinces which have declared their independence from Kiev (the flag these states have adopted is modeled on the Confederate Battle Flag) and against the forces of the new Satan himself, Vladimir Putin, brooding and mentally-deranged, crouching in the dark recesses of the Kremlin.

But Volodymyr Zelensky—who is he really? Well, he is a comedian and former performing drag queen who was literally plucked out of nowhere to become the current president of Ukraine. Archbishop Carlo Vigano’, former Apostolic Nuncio in the United State for the Catholic Church and an highly informed observer of Eastern European cultural and political matters, offers this picture:

Zelensky’s performances as a drag queen are perfectly consistent with the LGBTQ ideology that is considered by his European sponsors as an indispensable requirement of the “reform” agenda that every country ought to embrace, along with gender equality, abortion and the green economy. No wonder Zelensky, a member of the WEF [World Economic Forum]  (here), was able to benefit from the support of Klaus Schwab and his allies [including George Soros] to come to power and ensure that the Great Reset would also be carried out in Ukraine…. In his homeland, many accuse him of having taken power away from the pro-Russian oligarchs not to give it to the Ukrainian people, but rather to strengthen his own interest group and at the same time remove his political adversaries.

After his election Zelensky closed seven opposition television channels, suppressed the opposition press, and arrested and accused the leader of the major opposition party in Ukraine, Arsen Medvedcuk, of treason, while naming his friends and associates to powerful and lucrative high positions in the government.

And this is the man that Nancy Pelosi holds up as “the champion of democracy” and for whom Brian Kilmeade blubbers his unreserved admiration as another Abraham Lincoln.

Since 2014, the seceded republics of Donetsk and Lugansk have suffered approximately 14,000 civilian casualties at the hands of organized and irregular Ukrainian troops. But no Western media carry news of those outrages.

Instead, what American viewers get are graphic images of hospitals, maternity wards and civilian apartments destroyed, it is repeated incessantly, by Russian missiles and long-range artillery fire.

Yet, careful investigation of those purported “war crimes” should cause viewers to doubt what they are seeing. The first question that arises is: why would the Russian Army specifically target civilians and hospitals, for all the world to plainly see, when already they are receiving such negative press in the West?  Indeed, with nearly 20% of the Ukrainian population ethnically Russian and stated Russian war aims to pacify and win over at least portions of the country, such mindless attacks would seem counter-productive.

And that brings us to the tactic of various irregular groups fighting at the behest of the Ukrainian government, such as the fanatical Azov Battalion militia group (trained by the CIA) and other violent nationalist formations which have engaged in terrorism against Russian civilians since 2014. Part of the strategy of such groups is to stage false flag operations, to occupy a hospital, for instance, and use it as a base for sniper fire against Russian regulars. Then, when the Russians fire back, to show vivid images to eager Western reporters of the “war crimes” committed by those hated Russians. Nothing gets the attention and sympathy of American viewers more than scenes of dying innocent mothers with their young babies, savagely slaughtered by those evil Orc-like demons from the cold north. And nothing makes better fodder for Ukrainian propagandists than those images spread across American HD wide-screens.

As Archbishop Vigano’ has observed (March 6):

It is dismaying to see with what hypocrisy the European Union and the United States – Brussels and Washington – are giving their unconditional support to President Zelensky, whose government for eight years now has continued to violently persecute Russian-speaking Ukrainians with impunity (here), for whom it is even forbidden to speak in their own language… And it is scandalous that they are silent about the use of civilians as human shields by the Ukrainian army, which places anti-aircraft positions inside population centers, hospitals and maternity wards, schools and kindergartens precisely so that their destruction can cause deaths among the population.

Investigative journalists, Glenn Greenwald (on Substack), and Chronicles magazine assistant editor Pedro Gonzalez (March 7), have documented the incredibly large number of such instances, of horribly tragic attacks seemingly aimed at civilians, supposedly by the Russian army, only on closer inspection to have been committed by Ukrainian irregulars—who thereupon can utilize the unquestioning bias and favorability of the Western media to present their version widely:

…while the Western media shows images of the video game War Thunder (here), frames from the movie Star Wars (here), explosions in China (here), videos of military parades (here), footage from Afghanistan (here), from the Rome metro (here) or images of mobile crematoria (here), passing them off as real and recent scenes of Russian “war crimes,” the reality of the war in Ukraine is ignored because it has already been decided to employ the conflict as a weapon of mass distraction that legitimizes new restrictions of freedoms in Western nations, according to the plans of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset and the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.

And then, as intended, comes the outrage of American viewers, the feverish calls in Congress “to establish a no-fly zone” over Ukraine (an insane idea embraced by Republicans Lindsey Graham and Adam Kinzinger, which would lead undoubtedly to World War III) or to assassinate President Putin of Russia.

The propaganda works its magic. Not only is American corporate enterprise terminating all its business ventures in Russia, while most of the world, led by the United States state department and its Neocon apparatchiks, does the same, but anything or anybody in any way who dissents from the dogmatic establishment viewpoint on the conflict is “cancelled” or denounced as a “traitor” (e.g., Mitt Romney’s vicious attack on former Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s quite factual words as “treasonous”).

Have we not heard this chorus before? Is our memory so short that we cannot recall the unceasing examples of Russophobia during the Trump presidency? And yet many of the same “conservatives” who strongly and rightly resisted the disinformation percolating for the past six years, now accept the words, the photo montages, and the reporting of the same media and government voices as absolute, incontrovertible gospel?

Our news media decries censorship in Russia; the Russians, they say, are only presenting one side to their population. But, let me ask, is not the American media doing exactly the same thing? Are not their strident voices—and not just that of the brain-dead Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger—demanding that any dissenter, even the mildest and most circumspect (e.g., Tucker Carlson), be censored, throttled, even imprisoned for “thought crimes”?

Even such internationally-famed artists and cultural icons as the Russian orchestra conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko are immediately fired, their contracts summarily terminated by practically all American and Western institutions they were to grace with their talent because they won’t openly and forthrightly denounce and condemn their home country and its president. And, more, the dozens of DVDs and compact discs of their performances are now disappearing from sellers, or prices for their works are now reaching astronomical figures.

Not even during the hottest moments of the Cold War was such extreme censorship exercised.

Yes, it IS censorship, perhaps less open and more subtle, but there just the same, progressively accomplishing its goal of silencing and punishing anyone who demurs.

The American pot is calling the Russian kettle black.

Far too many Americans do not comprehend the fundamental issues involved in this conflict. Of course, Ukrainians are fighting Russians, and the near-totality of the West is both condemning the Russians and aiding Ukraine. But Ukraine is only a pawn in a much larger global game. Our managerial and foreign policy elites, despite their professed anguish over the blood being shed tragically in that corner of Eastern Europe, do not actually care about the poor Ukrainians living in besieged Kiev or the poor Russians living in the war-torn Donbas. What is important to them is, above all, the major effort and push for a globalist “Great Reset” using the Ukrainian conflict to finally accomplish their objective of bringing the entire world in accord with their plans for a New World Order. And to do that, Russia, which now stands athwart their designs, must be diminished and brought into line.

As international leaders from Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, to George Soros, with his multiple international NGOs, to various government officials in Kiev have declared (in the words of Ukrainian parliamentarian Kira Rudik to Fox News): “We know that we are not only fighting for Ukraine, but also for the New World Order.”

And that new order is not that of the traditional Christian West. Nor is Volodymyr Zelensky the “one man who can save the world.” That Man suffered on a Cross for us 2,000 years ago.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

                                              March 9, 2022

 

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Abraham Lincoln and the Ghost of Karl Marx



 [This essay appeared in the March/April, 2022 issue of Confederate Veteran magazine, pp. 20-23]

 

Friends,

Back in early 1981 the brilliant Southern scholar and traditionalist, Professor Mel Bradford, was the leading contender to receive President Ronald Reagan’s nomination as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bradford was the epitome of the accomplished and erudite academician, yet his deep-rooted Southern and pro-Confederate beliefs disqualified him in the eyes of many national “conservatives” such as George Will and Bill Kristol. Bradford’s worst sin, they asserted, had been that he had harshly (if with laser-like precision and accuracy) criticized the modern icon within the “conservative movement”—Abraham Lincoln.

 

Bradford’s major accusations were that Lincoln essentially “remade” the American constitutional system, asserting “equality” as the country’s foundational value and enlarging the ultimate power of the federal government at the expense of the states, and, thus, beginning a process of governmental expansion and control that continues largely unabated in our time.

 

It was largely criticism of Lincoln that became the new bar, the “red line” which one could not violate that doomed Bradford (and ushered in William Bennett at the NEH instead). Since then criticism of Lincoln is not acceptable, not tolerated by mainstream conservatives. Instead, the conservative establishment now heralds such neo-Reconstructionist historians as Allen Guelzo or even Marxist Eric Foner (a favorite of Karl Rove). Any dissent from the virtual canonization of Lincoln in contemporary American society usually comes mostly from Southern traditionalists and their allies, Paleo- (or Old Right) conservatives, who are usually then dismissed or derided by the establishment Republican Party, various pundits on Fox News and the present-day “conservative movement” as reactionary know-nothings, unable to understand the natural evolution of the American republic.

 

Yet, beyond Lincoln’s role in unleashing the power of an omnipotent federal government, there is another aspect of Lincoln’s background that should worry Americans—not only Southerners—just as much. It is perhaps the best guarded confidence in American history. It certainly isn’t something that the dominant “conservative movement” wishes to acknowledge, much less see debated publicly. Yet, the factual record is there for anyone with initiative and curiosity to see for himself: Abraham Lincoln not only had a favorable opinion of Karl Marx and his writings, but was at times sympathetic to socialist policies and ideas.


A few years back (July 27, 2019) a short article by Gillian Brockell appeared in The Washington Post. Titled, “You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln,” the author catalogues the connections between Lincoln and Marx, and the list is—or at least should be—alarming for conservative Americans. (I acknowledge my debt to Brockell’s investigative reporting for this article.)

In his first annual message—his first State of the Union address—in December 1861 he ends the address with a peroration on what the Chicago Tribune at the time called a meditation on “capital versus labor.” “Capital is only the fruit of labor,” Lincoln elaborated, “and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

 

Those words could have come almost directly from Karl Marx, but they were spoken by Lincoln. Fascinating, since the sixteenth president was an avid reader of the father of Marxism and corresponded with him during the War Between the States. Abraham Lincoln was not a declared socialist, certainly not in the modern sense.  But Lincoln and Marx born only nine years apart were contemporaries. They had many mutual friends, read each others work, and, in 1865, exchanged letters.

 

During his only term in Congress during the late 1840s, Lincoln became a close associate of New York Daily Tribune editor, Horace Greeley. It was through Greeley’s paper that the ideas and program of the nascent Republican Party were spread. And these were not just the usual anti-slavery slogans we so often hear today when we read of the formation of the party. Often those positions sounded a great deal like socialism, including proposals for the redistribution of land in the American West by the federal government to the poor and emancipated slaves.

 

At approximately the same moment in time, across the Atlantic Karl Marx was penning his famous text, “The Communist Manifesto” (1848). The failed revolutionary uprising in Germany had compelled Marx to take refuge in England. Hundreds of thousands of other German radicals immigrated to and took refuge in the United States, settling in places like St. Louis, Missouri, where they would play a critical role in later securing that essentially Southern state for the Union in 1861-1862. According to historian Robin Blackburn, in his volume, An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln, Marx even considered immigrating and going west to Texas.

 

According to Blackburn Marx believed that the two most significant things happening in the world in 1860 were “the movement of the slaves in America started by the death of John Brown, and … the movement of the serfs in Russia.”

 

In 1852 Charles A. Dana, an avowed socialist and managing editor of the Daily Tribune, hired Marx to be the paper’s English correspondent. Dana had been active previously in the utopian socialist experiment Brook Farm, and he carried his vision of a workingman’s utopia with him. Marx, in exile, was a natural fit as a correspondent, and for the next decade the founder of modern communism authored 500 articles for the New York flagship paper of the Republican Party, many of them front-page editorials formally expressing the journal’s position. And like other contemporary Republicans, Lincoln constantly read the Tribune, and certainly, then, he read and digested the writings of Karl Marx. Indeed, it was the support of the German radical immigrants recently come to American shores and the Tribune that propelled Lincoln to the Republican presidential nomination in 1860.

 

In 1862 Dana left the Tribune, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton making him Special Commissioner for the operation of the War Department. Essentially, he became “the eyes of the Administration,” as Lincoln called him, with an inordinate influence over the conduct of the War…and over Abraham Lincoln. His opinions were received by the president as gospel, and frequently they mirrored the editorials of Tribune journalist Karl Marx.

 

After Lincoln’s re-election in November 1864, Marx wrote to him (January 1865) as representative of the International Workingmen’s Association, a group bringing together socialists, communists, anarchists and trade unions, to “congratulate the American people upon your reelection.” Marx continues in his communication:  “…the workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working class.”

 

The president’s response to Marx came by way of his ambassador in London, Charles Francis Adams. Adams declared that Lincoln considered the founder of Marxism to be a “friend” and that he possessed the “sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him by his fellow citizens and by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.” The Union, Lincoln added, derived “new encouragement to persevere from the testimony of the workingmen of Europe.”

 

But this was not Lincoln’s only tip of the hat to revolutionary social radicalism. In 1864 he met with the New York Workingmen’s Association where he insisted that “the strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.”

 

Of course, Abraham Lincoln never declared himself to be a socialist, and many of his utterances were likely politically-motivated. Yet, he certainly viewed socialists—the workingmen’s unions—as staunch allies in his war against the South. As author John Nichols in his study, The “S” Word: A Short history of American Tradition…Socialism (2015), comments about “the left leanings of founders of the Republican Party”: “…it is indisputable that the Republican Party had at its founding a red streak.”

 

In spite of the current historical legerdemain and outright falsification of history, Lincoln continued to be an icon of the Left after his death. In the early twentieth century Socialist Party USA leader, Eugene V. Debs, saluted Lincoln as a fellow “revolutionary.” And in the later 1930s American communists flocked to volunteer for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight, they claimed, “against fascism and Francisco Franco” in Spain’s bloody civil war.

 

One hundred years after Lincoln’s death, in February 1968, in an address praising communist W. E. B. Du Bois, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (reputedly a Republican, like his father) spoke in praise of Lincoln’s Marxist connection: “…Abraham Lincoln warmly welcomed the support of Karl Marx during the Civil War and corresponded with him freely. … Our irrational obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires….”

 

Every time, then, that a Dinesh D’Souza, Brian Kilmeade or Victor Davis Hanson on Fox News, or a representative of the Claremont Institute praises America’s sixteenth president and claims him for the conservative movement, while condemning those old “racist” Southerners, alarms should sound for genuine believers in the Framers’ Constitution.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boyd D. Cathey, a native North Carolinian, holds an MA degree in history from the University of Virginia (where he was a Thomas Jefferson Fellow) and a doctorate in history from the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain (where he was a Richard M. Weaver Fellow). He is former assistant to conservative author Dr. Russell Kirk and the author of numerous articles in English, Spanish, French, Polish, and Russian. His volume of essays about the South, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage, was published in November 2018. 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

                                   March 5, 2022


 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey


 

Ukraine and Falsehood in the Time of War



 

Friends,

It happened the other night, it was nearly 3 a.m.—a telephone call in the middle of my slumber. I could hear it ringing from downstairs. Thinking it might be something serious at that late hour, perhaps a neighbor in distress, I picked up the receiver next to my bed.

The voice inquired: “Is this Dr. Cathey?”

“Yes,” I answered, still half asleep. “Who is this…what’s going on?”

The male voice at the other end continued: “We know who you are—you are a traitor to the United States, you are a Communist who supports that war criminal Putin. Well, you need to watch your back, ‘cause things can happen to traitors.”

That got my attention; I repeated: “Who is this…why are you calling me?” No answer, and my interrogator immediately hung up.

About my three recently published 2022 essays concerning Russia and Ukraine (on January 7, February 19, and February 25), I had already received a couple of very ugly, profane email messages earlier accusing me of being a “Putin apologist.” Unlike several correspondents and good friends who have expressed rational if very different opinions from the ones I have, those messages were unsigned. I am pleased to discuss the Ukraine crisis with friends, and I understand that if you express strong views, sometimes you’ll get blowback. But the depth of venom, hatred, even personal threats? Even as a strong supporter of my Confederate heritage and my support for keeping our monuments to that heritage up, I’ve never been the recipient of such unrestrained vitriol as now.

It got me to thinking about questions I ask anyone who approaches me about my stance on what is going on in Ukraine: Why the over-the-top passion on this topic? Why Ukraine? Why such an hysterical response when Ukraine and its position in Europe and in the world are not strategically important to us? After all, the United States has been on the invading-end of conflicts for decades…Bosnia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and so on. Yet, somehow our foreign ventures are always virtuous and noble? And what kind of outrage did we express for those hundreds of thousands of Tutsis killed in Uganda or the thousands of Kurdish inhabitants eliminated by our ally Turkey?

Look at the intensity and what can only be called unleashed hatred directed at anything Russian and its leader—look at the expansive, all-encompassing campaign, from North Carolina’s governor Roy Cooper ordering that all state liquor stores dump Russian-made vodka, to the firing of one of the world’s greatest classical music conductors Russian Valery Gergiev from his position as head of the Munich Philharmonic because he wouldn’t publicly condemn Putin (he’s also had contracts with the Metropolitan Opera and a dozen other musical organizations cancelled—which was never done even in the “hottest” moments of the Cold War), to the attempted banning in Italy of the works of the great Russian novelist Fydor Dostoevsky, to the suspension of Russian television broadcasting in the US, to the cancellation of dozens of sporting events which were to feature Russian athletes, to the growing persecution of Russians living in the West, including vandalism of the Russian embassy in France. The list of such actions is endless.

Why the frenzied fury and the passion?

There are, I believe, several reasons for this.

First, there is an imperfect analogy with what happened regarding Germany long after the end of World War II in 1945. I recall when I was growing up that every “war film” I watched featured a nasty and cruel, smartly-dressed uniformed German soldier, monocled, in jackboots, probably with a whip, who was personally responsible for all sorts of mayhem and vicious criminality and murder. We knew those Germans were all evil Nazis, and they were soon to be “taken out” by the super-courageous American grunts, who became in a strange way the “new supermen.”  We could do anything…We never lost, and, in fact, in Hollywood our heroic and valiant boys kept winning glorious victories for three decades after Germany was defeated. We knew that Lee Marvin and “the Dirty Dozen” would get it done.

The Germans, you see, were intrinsically evil. And that meme built on the narrative dating from World War I. One of my great uncles would repeat to me when I was young a little ditty from that war, popular among Americans of the period: “Kaiser Bill went up the hill, to take a look at France; Kaiser Bill came down the hill, with bullets in his pants!”

And many of us over the age of forty will remember “the evil empire” that Nikita Khrushchev said “would bury us.” In primary school, I recall those air raid drills when we would crouch under our desks, lest a Commie missile somehow target our school.  The Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam and the Tonkin Gulf affair—it was those evil Soviet Russians who were responsible. At that time, arguably, we at least had a convincing case to make about the Communists and their efforts at world domination.

Leftwing columnist Bill Press sums up what we hear constantly from the media: “It’s about a lot more than Ukraine,” he writes.  “It’s about world security. It’s about the sanctity of national borders. It’s about the rule of law and the strength of international treaties. It’s about the future of democracy. It’s about the unchecked power of autocrats anywhere to invade and destroy their neighbors.”

Really? Let's unpack that a little.

For far too many Americans, especially those self-identified conservatives, their view of Russian history just stopped sometime around 1980, frozen in time. It is as if Communism never went away, and all the characteristics of “the evil empire” are once again threatening the very existence of democratic, freedom-loving America (well, Ukraine is in the surrogate position as our client state). Putin has become—has channeled—Adolf Hitler, a kind of combination of Hitler and Stalin, intent on “restoring the Soviet Union” and conquering the world.

There are dozens of examples illustrating this theme, both in the media and in Congress, including such insane, frothing-at-the-mouth examples as Representative Adam Kinzinger embracing Senator Lindsey Graham’s call for assassinating the Russian leader or declaring a “no fly zone” over Ukraine, which would most likely lead to nuclear war. 

Yet a careful reading of Putin’s actual comment about “the tragedy of the collapse of the Soviet Union,” offers a far different interpretation, as various scholars have indicated (e.g., Russia Against the Rest: The Post Cold-War Crisis of World Order, by Professor Richard Sakwa, and Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft, by Professor Allen Lynch). Putin has forthrightly condemned in the strongest terms both Communism and the hateful Soviet period of Russian history. Was he not correct to lament the break-up of the old union into fifteen economically-fractured, ethnically-divisive republics? Did not that break-up resemble in some ways the arbitrary and disastrous break-up of the old Austro-Hungarian empire which helped propel Europe into a Second World War?

A second reason is the intense “yellow journalism” media coverage of the conflict. Every national network, from CNN and MSNBC to Fox News, is acting like a well-oiled megaphone for Dr. Goebels’ propaganda bureau. It seems our media are attempting to outdo each other in portraying just how cruel and brutal those Russian soldiers are, and how evil that “reincarnation of Hitler in the Kremlin” is. There is practically no attempt at objective coverage, no attempt to balance the completely one-sided accounts.  Thus, Jesse Waters, with a grim, deeply pained expression on Fox News Primetime detailing in lurid detail how Russians were attempting to explode Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia and were raping defenseless Ukrainian women. Indeed, those stories still circulate as the latest Russian “outrage” and “war crime.”

But no one stops to question them. Why would the Russians launch strikes against a nuclear reactor that would, if exploded, potentially maim and kill hundreds of thousands of nearby Russians? Another different version, difficult to discover at Fox or CNN, is that Ukrainian irregulars occupied the administrative building at the site and began directing fire at oncoming Russian troops. No projectiles were aimed by the Russians at the nuclear component, and apparently now it has been safely occupied by them. But it is significant that the Ukrainian government continues to charge the Russians with attempted “nuclear blackmail.”

The independent journalist, Glenn Greenwald, has reported on a number of “fake news” pro-Ukrainian war memes spread across our supposedly “free and balanced” media. I list some of them here:

·  the inspiring story that the Ukrainian military shot down two Russian Il-76s transport planes (no evidence for this);

·  a Russian tank purposely and randomly ran over a civilian car (the video suggests an accident and, more importantly, subsequent news accounts acknowledged: “it wasn’t immediately clear if the armored vehicle was Russian or more likely Ukrainian hardware, or when this crash took place”);

·  mega-viral thread from a member of the EU Parliament claiming Russian oligarchs and Putin were screaming at each other in a bunker in desperation (pronounced “likely disinfo” by the US-intel-friendly and vehemently anti-Russia site Bellingcat);

·  gratifying story that Turkey told Ukraine that it informed Russia it was barred from using Turkish straits to enter the Black Sea (Turkey denied telling this to President Zelensky and said they could not and would not do that, then on Sunday said they had determined these events constitute a “war” such that they may have the power them to ban both Ukraine and Russia, but had not yet decided to so);

·  thrilling photo of Zelensky in body armor on the front lines against Russia (it was from months ago), and,

·  claims that Russia targeted a civilian apartment building with a missile (it appears now that the missile was a misguided Ukrainian air defense weapon). 

As in previous wars and conflicts in which the US has been involved I am reminded of what Senator Hiram Johnson (R-CA) said in 1917 about the First World War: “The first casualty when war comes is truth.”  Every media pundit and announcer should be made to read the classic study of war propaganda parading as objective news: Arthur Lord Ponsonby’s  Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War (1928).  Remember the fake stories of German soldiers severing the hands of Belgian babies, the unprovoked sinking of the Lusitania (which was indeed carrying munitions to the Brits), and the violation of innocent nurses? Does this not remind us of what we are now seeing and hearing constantly on Fox and at other venues?

After six years of drenching Russophobia and dozens of fake news stories which conservatives rightly batted down and that were finally disproven, one would think that the torrent of lurid reports brought to us by those same newscasters, politicians, and Intel agencies would engender some serious doubts. But apparently not.

A third reason is the fevered view of our managerial elites who see Russia as the major obstacle to their efforts to achieve global suzerainty and a new world order. Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, defined this movement as “the Great Reset,” the “window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.” It combines the globalism of the Neoconservatives who have dominated the American foreign policy managerial class for decades under both Democrat and Republican presidents, with the xenophobic anti-Russian stance of those on the farther left who despise Putin for his purported persecution of homosexuals, refusal to countenance same sex marriage, and staunch defense of the traditional nuclear family (with these policies reflected in Russian laws and education).

 

Some on the far left have gone so far as to, once again, attempt to tie President Trump to Putin, yanking his comments out of context. But to call President Putin a “genius” (as Trump did) is not to endorse his actions with regards to Ukraine. No opportunity is lost to damn and paint as opposed to equal rights, even as racists those Americans, mostly traditional Christians, who have approved of Putin’s defense of the traditional family. The Washington Post asserts that over the past three decades many traditional Christians “have forged a partnership [with Russia] in a global family values movement that not only embraces sexual and gender traditionalism but sees these practices as a solution to demographic changes around the globe.” Obviously, then, such Americans are, to revive an old charge from columnist David Frum, “unpatriotic.” Or, as Senator Mitt Romney told Yahoo News, “almost treasonous.” Dissent from the anti-Russian template will not be tolerated.  Is this not, then, “cancel culture” on an international level?

It should also be noted that many of the major voices of Neoconservatism—the Irving and Bill Kristols, the David Frums, the Max Boots, and others of Russian Jewish descent see a nationalist Russia, which openly embraces its Orthodox Christian heritage and traditions, as somehow the reincarnation of the old Tsarist empire which persecuted their ancestors who emigrated from the Pale of Settlement in the last years of the 19th and first years of the 20th centuries. Just as anti-Teutonic sentiment lingered long years after the end of World War II, so an animus against a revitalized nationalist, traditionally Orthodox Russia cannot be excluded as a reason for how prominent journalists and media personalities instinctively react to Putin’s Russia.

 

Some of the anti-Russian, or more precisely, anti-Putin managerial elites claim that the Russian president is (still) a KGB agent and a “thug.” Yet, a careful study of his life and his long-past membership in that organization (he held a desk job in Dresden in the defunct German Democratic Republic for a few years) give the lie to this portrait. As Professors Lynch and Sakwa detail at length (e.g., The Putin Paradox, by Sakwa, and Vladimir Putin & Russian Statecraft, by Lynch), Putin left the KGB and denounced it (just as he firmly denounced Communism). He was Deputy Mayor of Leningrad under and supporting pro-democrat Anatoly Sobchak, and when the August 1991 KGB counter-coup occurred it was Putin who saved Sobchak, then the leader of anti-Communist elements in Russia, from being arrested by the KGB. Charges of his personal corruption and venality are equally debunked.

 

But never mind the facts during war time. Our situation is one where attempting to ferret out something close to the truth is extremely difficult. As I have asked my friends—pleaded with them—can we not have just a bit of skepticism and doubt at all the suffocating feculence which is engulfing us? 


And once again, my questions: Why? Why is Ukraine so goldarned essential and important that a prominent symphony conductor in Bavaria must lose his job and his contracts because he won’t publicly denounce his native country and its president? Or that we attempt to purge Dostoevsky or ban Russian films? Or that prominent American politicians urge actions which would inevitably entail nuclear war?

 


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