The Russia / Ukraine shitshow – some tentative, initial thoughts

Dave – the editor

Just as the Covid crisis and the shitshow around how that was being leveraged for some pretty dubious ends comes to an end, a major war gets rolled onto the stage. It would have been nice to have a bit of a breather before the next crisis hits us but that’s life for you, isn’t it? Namely, just one f**king thing after another! At least we’ll have the bleak amusement of watching those online pundits who tried to convince us they knew all there was to know about pandemics, viruses, public health and vaccines suddenly pivot to being ‘experts’ in international relations and military strategy.

These are my initial thoughts on this crisis which, if you’ve been paying attention, has been brewing for a long time. As with a fair bit of the stuff I write, it’s me thinking out loud while trying to come to some kind of understanding of what’s a complicated and messy situation with no obvious ‘good guys’ to see when it comes to the respective regimes involved. So messy and complex in fact, that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ simply won’t cut it in any way, shape or form. If anything, this piece is as much about asking questions as it is about trying to formulate some kind of position.

If anyone thought that a westward orientated regime in the Ukraine brought about by what some see as a questionable colour revolution was going to sit easily alongside a revanchist Russian one, they’re very much mistaken. If anyone thought that NATO using the Ukraine to constantly prod a revanchist Putin wasn’t going to elicit a reaction, they’re dangerously naïve. At some point, the brown stuff was going to hit the fan and it just happens to be right now. The Russians have obviously been keeping a close eye on the West, not just on the material realities of how the armed forces are set up and equipped but also the political and social culture. They’ve concluded that as things stand at the moment, the West is weak, divided and has no real sense of purpose so now is as good as any time to make a move on the Ukraine. Whether that judgement call turns out to be a prudent one for the Russians or a total disaster, only time will tell.

Plenty has been written from a range of perspectives about the geopolitics of the situation over the years. With a bit of effort and applying some judgement, you’ll be able to find material that both fits your perspectives and challenges them. As I’m still feeling my way into this mess, I’m not in a position to suggest what you should be reading to get a grip on the geopolitics involved. At this point, I’m open to suggestions for readings that stretch across the range of opinion:)

As for what’s happening on the ground in the Ukraine, one of the first casualties of war is the truth. Sure we have the Net and the endless source of information that, in theory, it offers us. It also offers a mass of misinformation and propaganda. If one of the tactics used to deter further Western involvement in the conflict is the deployment of cyberwar, then there may well not even be much of a Net and Information Technology (IT) structure left. Mind you, given how dependent our lives are on the underlying IT structure that supports pretty much everything we do, should that be taken out, we’ll be too busy simply trying to survive to even care about what’s happening in the Ukraine!

Many thanks to The Slow Burning Fuse for this graphic:)

I make no apology for viewing the shitshow that’s unfolding / being unfolded before us with what I regard as a healthy degree of skepticism, detachment and cynicism. When you think about what’s been done to us over the last two years in the name of supposedly dealing with Covid, it would be naïve beyond belief to start taking a lot of the commentary and rhetoric about the situation at face value. The starting point has to be asking some searching questions about not just the protagonists, Russia and the Ukraine, but also about the involvement of the West as well. It would also be prudent to start questioning the motives of those jumping on the bandwagon in support of either of the protagonists. This ranges from the virtue signallers donning the blue and yellow of the Ukraine at every opportunity across to the tankies who are uncritically supporting Putin. I will however stick my neck out with this – there is some sound anarchist opinion on the conflict coming from both Russia and the Ukraine.

“No War Between Nations! No Peace Between Classes!”

Mural in Moscow by anarchist group Avtonom: https://avtonom.org/

The commentators in the mainstream media are already having a field day upping the ante. Calls for the public to realise the gravity of the situation and be prepared to make sacrifices have already been made. Given the prominence of Russia as an energy supplier, it’s pretty safe to assume that any sanctions imposed upon them will result in them throttling the supply of energy to the West. With revanchism coming before pragmatic economic and material considerations, the Russian government will be willing to take the hit. For us, that means energy prices soaring with the inevitable consequence of a rapid and steep rise in inflation, throwing many people into deep poverty. It has to be said at this point that if some difficult and controversial choices had been made, the UK would be in a better place to deal with rising energy costs. However, we are where we are and an energy crunch and rampant inflation are pretty much inevitable if this conflict drags on.

So, as a result of a messy conflict stoked by an expansionist NATO on the one hand and a revanchist Russia on the other, we’re all going to be called upon to make sacrifices of one kind or another. The worst case scenario would be direct military involvement by the UK at which point all bets would be off. What is more likely is an energy crunch, rampant inflation and if we’re subjected to a sustained cyber attack, widespread disruption to the systems and services we rely upon for our survival. While the politicians and commentators on all sides posture and pontificate, it’s us, the people who will have to suffer. So, maybe it’s time for some serious prepping and building / strengthening the networks of mutual aid and solidarity we’ll all need if the conflict widens up to a major war.

As stated at the start of this piece, these are my initial thoughts on the situation. As things develop and as I find more verifiable information and coherent analysis, I’ll be in a position to come up with a more comprehensive take on the situation. Suffice to say that regardless, I’ve no intention of picking a side in this conflict – the situation is too complex and messy for that kind of posturing. Obviously, I’ll be taking the side of the ordinary people on all sides who just want to live their lives in peace and instead, find themselves getting screwed over and used as pawns in the sick power games of the elites who presume to rule over us.

Many thanks to Dave Downes for this graphic:)

One comment

  1. How to understand Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine?

    To what does this unilateral action compare? Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974? The border dispute, known as the Mexican American War of 1848? A more ancient act of imperialism, the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland took place during the late 12th century?

    The latter example not now nearly as pertinent as the former. The issue at stake, centers not upon Russian interests to keep the Ukraine out of joining NATO, but rather the disgrace of UN hypocrisy and its silence to denounce and condemn this latest invasion by countries who dream, think France, that they should merit the status as a ‘Great Power’ in Europe.

    The UN repeats and perpetuates this continuous drip-cowardice; the UN condemns repeatedly ad infinitum the Jewish State of Israel. Yet when China pulls shtik with the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, likewise comparable to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, UN piety immediately loses its religion. Therefore, it seems to me that Nations should respond to UN hypocrisy by withdrawing membership from this House of Cards club.

    The Russia\China axis thrived during the Stalin\Mao era. China faces a similar fuel crisis as did Japan during WWII. Formosa and the Japanese Islands make control of the ocean quite formidable. Therefore China would very much like to conquer Taiwan. For China to fight and win a war that would most probably trigger multi-national involvement, it requires a secure ally which can supply it with oil and gas. Russia fits that need to a tee. Mao rejected Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin’s war crimes. That’s when Sino–Russian relations turns south.

    Russia, even after the fall of the USSR, remains the odd man out among Nato dominated Western European governments. The West, currently jabbering about sanctions blah blah. The Art of War centers upon crippling the supply lines of the enemy. A failure which defines the defeat of US imperialist invasions in both Vietnam and Afghanistan. Those supply lines represent the underbelly of the beast. Quite naturally all belligerent nations understand this critical weakness. A Sino-Russian alliance make tremendous good strategic sense for a new Cold War Russia.

    It seems to me, that the art of politics centers upon whose feet a person can singe in the fire. As a person with duel citizenship, do not want the US to go to war over the Ukraine and Israel ,,, Simply — Hell No. So who can the public hold accountable? For me there’s a simple solution. Denounce, condemn, and expel the UN from New York.

    Weaknesses to my arguments … Brought no proof of US sanctions against Russia. Sanctions constitute part of Washington’s standard operating procedures. The US frequently boycotts, for example, the Olympics. The Russian pipeline to Germany … its almost completed. But Washington opposes this economic alliance with Russia. The Ukraine invasion serves as a pretext for Washington to exert diplomatic pressure opposing the completion of this pipeline. A knee-jerk reaction which Moscow fully expects. Both Russia and China would like to take the dominance of the international US dollar down a notch or two.

    Also my opening blog made no attempt to argue, much less prove, that the UN exists as an illegitimate bastard child of the Allied victors of WWII. This seems an obvious given to me, seeing that the League of Nations spouted out of the puss of the Great Powers following WWI. The UN invites all nation who agree to honor their charter. The UN Charter mandates that the UN and its member states will maintain international peace and security, uphold international law, achieve “higher standards of living” for their citizens, address “economic, social, health, and related problems”, and promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

    What a pompous highfalutin load of political rhetoric. North Korea honors this narishkeit in the breach. The UN has never expelled a member nation for violating its “charter”. Lastly the Ukraine, originally part of ‘Mother Russia’. Russia has every right to determine its international borders which directly involve the Ukraine. States who share no common border with Russia, unlike Poland and the Ukraine, they have no business what so ever getting directly involved in this border dispute. Why? Whenever a foreign country which shares no common border with other countries, should a “hostile State” attempt to impose the borders of any country to which it shares no common borders, such a policy defines the criminal war crime known as “Imperialism”.

    The Ukraine shares a 530 km border with Poland. Its one thing for an invading army to conquer a country like the criminal Bush Administration conquered Iraq. Something all together different for that invader country to hold and maintain Order within that conquered country. This invasion, it promises gorilla warfare for many years to come.

    Unless Mother Russia commits millions of troops to enforce the extension of its international borders to include the disputed Ukraine\Russian borders. Should Moscow commit itself to such a policy, it seems very reasonable to equally assume that if the border with Poland proved itself as hostile … that the Russian military could patrol and close down the borders between Poland and the Ukraine. Poland has a long history, wherein Great European powers – have carved that country, something like a Thanks-Giving turkey, into divide ‘spheres of interest’. Russia, unlike France, it primarily fought and defeated the Nazis. Without any question or doubt it qualifies as a “Great Power” within the States of Europe.

    The French poodle, all it can do – bark like a dog. France has made noise for so long. Russia has gotten used to its empty bark which has no bite. England, remains an occupied nation by the US military forces. It hardly qualifies, especially since the total collapse of its empire, as a Great Power State within Europe. And perhaps this reality nails the 2nd world status of Western European nations, straight upon the head. Post WWII, Europe has no mandate as a Great Power in international politics. Phony attempts by these wannabe, former Great Powers, to impose their criminal imperialism upon nations to which they share no common borders, merits the respect shown to a person who farts in an elevator.

    This brings us full circle back to the UN talking puppet. The UN attempts continually to impose borders upon nations. The states who vote these criminal policies in both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, they share no common borders with the nations which UN meddling seeks to establish. The obligation of diplomacy rests first and foremost with the nations who share a border dispute eruption.

    But what so often transpires alien foreign nations, together with their Press make ad hominem irrational slanders against the leaders of a dispute country which they oppose. Nation states always have strategic interests which have thrived and lived on from generation to generation. State strategic interests vis a vis border state nations do not change like a fashion model removes outfits from off her body. Leaders, both talented and incompetent, come and go — but the strategic interests of a Nation remain permanently fixed.

    The irrational and utterly absurd ad hominem slander attacks foreigners condemn the leaders of conflict nations, this reveals the shallow hollow nature of the people who make these ad hominem slanders, not the leaders who set the policy of State to achieve strategic national interests.

    Like

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