Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lies Lies Lies

“Cyril Figgis: ‘How do you keep track of all these lies?’
Sterling Archer: ‘Practice Cyril. Lying is like 95% of what I do.’
Cyril Figgis: (awkward pause) ‘... In your job.’
Sterling Archer: ‘Sure.’”

- Archer

My earlier feeling that we might be getting sold a load of BS from the US government regarding Ukraine and Russia is getting stronger by the day. Here's a few good links that cover the dubiousness of some of the ‘evidence’ far better than I can (especially the first link, which I can't recommend highly enough):

The West's Reckless Rush Towards War with Russia

US Releases Satellite Images Allegedly Proving Russian Shelling Of East Ukraine

Reuters Debunked: Khodakovsky Denies Interview Aspects

Until I see some actual good evidence to the contrary, I’m now acting on the assumption that the US government’s case is severely jumping the gun at best (less likely), and at worst is deceptive propaganda designed to serve an agenda (more likely). I say the latter is more likely because of the speed of the accusations and the timing of the new sanctions and the quickly assembled smear campaign.... it reeks of a prepared response. More specifically, it points to a US (and possibly European) agenda that needed a reason to be brought into play. Instead of solid evidence, we’re given questionable evidence from social media, Ukraine’s own security service (who's the furthest thing from an impartial observer), and old satellite imagery from private companies but not any from our own spy satellites at the actual time of the incident. And any time our government comes out of the gate this certain and this vocal so early in the game before all (or even some) of the facts can be determined says to me that they’re trying to quickly create an emotional response and belief in people, in the hope of blinding most to any contrary evidence that may come later. It's human nature that more often than not people tend to rely more on systems of belief rather than logic or evidence.

So what the hell is the agenda or real reason behind the beating of the war drums? I’m thinking there are at least four major factors at work:

1) The first is that US and Europe want Russia, and especially its regional dominance in the supply of energy, contained and diminished. Not just with Ukraine but also other eastern European and central Asian nations that have energy resources or are ideal routes for oil or gas pipelines. As I mentioned a couple posts ago, the leadership of most nations are at least becoming aware there’s not going to be enough resources to fill the expected future needs for all nations, so many are trying to make arrangements to ensure their own needs are met first before the others. China is probably the most forward-thinking and fast-acting in this respect, focusing on making deals and partnerships in various African nations that have substantial energy and mineral reserves or quality farmland. The US government, however, seems to think that the only tool needed is a precision-guided high explosive hammer, and that every problem is a freedom-hating nail.

2) The second is that the US wants to nip in the bud the recent trend of some nations (Russia being among the most vocal of them) moving away from the use of the dollar in international trade. While this non-dollar international trade is still a pretty small amount overall, there is potential for it to snowball over the next decade to deal a serious blow to the US dollar’s premier status as a global reserve currency. Also playing a part is the BRICS announcement of their own global bank alternative to the IMF (the very IMF in which the US and Europe conveniently have a dominant influence). A huge amount of US power and leverage and ability to borrow comes from it possessing the world’s reserve currency. So perhaps they feel it’s best to act now rather than sit back and wait for a legitimate justification to come along.

3) The third is the current administration’s desire for payback for recent embarrassments, namely Putin’s clever handling of the US case against Syria last year, Russia’s swift and near bloodless seizure of Crimea, and the granting of asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

4) The fourth is the desire to establish a scapegoat; a common enemy that can keep the nation’s populace united and supporting the leadership in the face of unpopular policies and a disastrous economy in the near future. It is a time-proven method of mass manipulation that has often had fair chances of success. Please know that I do not condone this, I’m simply acknowledging its usual effectiveness. My hunch up until several months ago was that China would eventually be the one to get this honor, but I guess it was decided Russia was the better target considering its leverage and influence as a major oil supplier, its smaller economy, its previous history as our adversary, and because it has fewer avenues for non-military retaliation against the US than China does. And as a bonus, this media blitz also serves to distract the public from other world events (like ISIS in Iraq… funny how that seems to be barely a blip on the news cycle despite the fact that ISIS is as much a threat to Iraq as ever). Quite understandable from the government’s point of view, since many such events are at least partly the result of disastrous US foreign & military policy and are signaling (to anyone paying attention) the waning of US influence and power, .

I can't help but wonder if those who make the decisions in the halls of power are also feeling the same sense of foreboding and pivotal change that some of us do, and in a perhaps rare act of foresight they're planning to situate themselves as best as possible while putting other competing powers at a disadvantage before things get really messy. Unfortunately, if this is the case, they also appear to be arrogant and egotistical enough to think they can do it so solely by threats and use of force. So maybe what we have here all boils down to forward planning combined with a power-hungry and tragically overconfident mindset.

So if the US and most of Europe is dead set on creating Cold War 2.0 with Russia, is there anything we can do to change this? Well unfortunately, probably not a whole lot. We can refuse to take at face value anything coming from government (whether US or European or Russian) and mainstream media, and encourage others to do the same. At least then less of us will be unwittingly offering support for some half-assed, careless geopolitical maneuvering planned out by people who are not as smart as they think they are. We can also make it clear in any public polling that we don’t support the government’s actions in this regard. Some have proposed that the somewhat negative public opinion polls regarding military intervention in Syria had played a part in the US ultimately backing down from that option… I’m not sure how big a part that ultimately played, but at the very least it can’t hurt anything to blast them in the polls. And lastly, we need to prepare for the potential fallout (hopefully not the literal, nuclear kind) and economic impacts that a new cold war and/or a series of protracted proxy wars may bring. That last I will cover in a later article.

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