Saturday, March 22, 2014
The Measure of Propaganda -- Ukraine Edition
The corporate news -- such as it is -- has been dominated with an intense barrage of Anti-Soviet propaganda since well before the opening of the Sochi Olympics. The inundation of Anti-Soviet propaganda has been complimented with as strenuous an Anti-Putin demonization campaign as we've seen since the days of Stalin.
Most people alive today never directly experienced Anti-Soviet/Anti-Stalin propaganda and may have difficulty making the connection, but I'm old, and I have witnessed it in the past. I lived through the Post War/Cold War Red Scares and hysterics, and even though I was a child, it made a big impression on me. I knew even then that it was propaganda, and it was mostly based on lies and fantasies. It was story-telling on a grand and destructive scale, intended to keep us from knowing what was true and from thinking critically about any of it.
Similar tactics were used to demonize Saddam Hussain and Iraq in the lead-up to the catastrophe of the Second Gulf War, perhaps the most egregious example of war of aggression since the Unfortunate Era of the 19th and 20th Centuries, when the war of aggression was refined to an art form and implemented widely, not solely by Hitler!!!!™ either. Far from it. The war of aggression was a basic tactic in the Imperialist kit bag, frequently employed by colonialist and imperialist powers -- with or without pretext -- to seize and control what they wanted. The colonialist and imperialist powers were not supposed to do it to one another, but sometimes they did anyway.
That's all water under the bridge, however. We're in a New Century now, the supposed American Century if the neo-cons get their way, and progress requires continued conquest or the game is up. Can't have that.
You'd think they'd learn, but they don't.
Reading the beads and parsing the text, what I'm getting out of the current propaganda barrage regarding Ukraine is that the nation-state called Ukraine is falling apart, disintegrating. The reasons why are somewhat masked under the propaganda barrage, but it might be due to the fact that Ukraine only ever existed before as a satrapy and province of the Russian Empire and relatively briefly as a dependent republic of the Soviet Union. It was never organized into an independent nation-state, in other words, but was always the appendage to some other Empire, state or interest. Even during its brief hey-day under Nazi occupation, the point was never for Ukraine to be an independent nation-state, but for it to be a colonial resource for the benefit of Germany and the Aryan Race, no matter how this status was being sold to the Ukrainian people.
The disintegration of Ukraine is not due to Russian pressure, nor is it due to the return of Crimea to Russian control, though the propagandists like to pretend Russia is the cause of all troubles in Europe's Eastern Partnership. It's just not true.
What seems to be true is that internal tensions are the driving forces underlying the disintegration of Ukraine. The population, for example, is not homogeneous but is in fact quite disparate. It's not simply a matter of Russians here and Ukrainians there. The ethnic issues are far more complex than that. It may be analogous to the situation in Yugoslavia prior to its breakup and civil war. Under Russian Imperial control or Soviet control, the pseudo-state of "Ukrainia" (actually, they do use that term over there) could function relatively well, because loyalty was not to "Ukrainia" but to Russia or the Soviet Union. Ukrainian nationalists were the outliers.
Now it seems "Europe" wants to become the master and overlord of the Ukrainian nation and people as a whole, and it doesn't look like it is going to work. The Ukrainian people(s) have different interests. Their national identity is weak. The various ethnic enclaves each have separatist notions of their own. Russia's modern history in Ukraine (that is since the disintegration of the Soviet Union) is slight at best, something the propagandists can't seem to grasp. Independent Ukraine has been a full-on basket-case from the get-go. Despite the billions of dollars pumped in by the United States and Europe to prop up some form of nationalism and national government, it hasn't worked.
The desperation of the Interim Government (so-called) to "integrate" with Europe is palpable. But to what object? Certainly not on behalf of the Ukrainian people(s). It's self-evidently a personal quest of those in charge for the moment, something they've wanted for themselves, bugger the "people." They're trying to sell a pig in a poke, not even bothering to put lipstick on it, and it's not very pretty.
Russia's claim on Crimea can be disputed on technical grounds, but not on historical, social or practical ones. Europe's counter-claim on the whole of Ukraine under a EU puppet government -- which is what has been installed using local Nazi shock troops to make it so -- is truly outrageous. Russia's claim on Crimea seems modest by comparison. Despite the hysterics in the West, Russia appears to have no particular interest in the rest of Ukraine.
Let them go their own way, poor devils. They'll learn their lesson soon enough.
And if Ukraine is disintegrating anyway, perhaps the EU/NATO will wash its hands of the mess it has made, leaving the constituent parts of what will come to be called The Former Ukraine to sort out their own fates and futures.
Of course, they'll be unlikely to do that so long as global corporations have their hooks in and assert their prerogatives and power. It's all highly unseemly.
And as always, the people being squeezed from both sides are the losers. On its present trajectory, no matter what the propagandists tell us, there is no good way for this to end for the Ukrainian people(s). They've been had.