Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

THE GOOD WAR?

leave a comment »

Well, another thing I would have hoped to avoid seeing in my lifetime: A popular war. More exactly, a wildly popular war. The last time this really took off on a national scale was during World War Two. At least from my understanding of history, that was before my time. So it’s not surprising that the current war is being compared to that one. Saw a guy online ranting that Putin was now the equivalent of Hitler and had destroyed Russia’s world standing for generations. Words can’t describe how ridiculous that is. And the mainstream media is almost pure war porn and war mongering now. With Zellensky and Biden stridently calling for endless war.

Aside from the mind numbing hypocrisy of the US accusing Russia of aggression, possibly the greatest case of the pot calling the kettle black in history, Zellensky refuses to even talk to Russia, and he’s even claiming they will get “all” of Ukraine back including Crimea. As I have pointed out before (one will never see this mentioned in the western news) Crimea was only part of Ukraine through historical accident, it was administratively added to Ukraine in the 1950s when both were part of the Soviet Union, but the people there are Russian and never wanted to be a part of an independent Ukraine. Basically Zellensky is claiming he’s justified in conquering a land full of Russians that doesn’t want to be part of Ukraine.

Yet Americans are convinced Zellensky and Ukraine are fighting for their freedom from Russia, and it’s a noble cause that must be pursued at all cost. And the cost is western gas and food prices going through the roof, and the Dems getting hammered in the fall elections. No, there’s nothing noble, the Russo-Ukrainian War is just another American manufactured war. it’s the war the Deep State (or the Blob or the Atlantic Empire, or whatever you want to call the nexus of power in the western world, Washington, the New Rome) wants and worked hard to get.

The big picture. World War Two was enormously profitable, historically profitable, for the American fossil fuel industry, arms industry, and the Pentagon. I mean these  guys usually profit in modern war, but this time it was all profit, the American homeland was unbothered by World War Two. So after the war, they and Washington were already in bed together, so the cozy arrangement continued. Endless war, the Cold War, endless profits. The military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. And now, I guess it’s a habit? A strategy like what bees and ants do? America chooses its enemies, and works hard to keep them enemies.

Russia tried to join the west, the USA wouldn’t let them. Global Reform and How the US Hurts Itself. Most Americans though have bought the complete twaddle that certain regimes are “evil”
and that treating them with anything but complete hostility is appeasement; can’t have that, it will unleash a new Hitler upon the world. Neither Saddam nor Putin had a whole lot in common with Hitler, and the Russo-Ukrainian War isn’t Hitler invading Poland. In fact as far as I can tell under the blizzard of propaganda is that both sides are being relatively restrained and trying to only hit military targets.

Neither side gains anything by trying to destroy key infrastructure or cause mass casualty attacks. Russia’s goals are limited and not served by deliberately targeting infrastructure or civilians. Neither are Ukraine’s, destroying the Russian bridge to Crimea or otherwise causing mass harm to Russia runs the very real risk the Russians would escalate in kind. Russia has lots of nuclear weapons, an escalation Ukraine can’t match.

Another huge personal conundrum … there’s really no way to know what’s actually going on in this war. This article for example: Day 150 of the Russo-Ukrainian War. If it’s even half true, the war has gone very badly for Ukraine. Yet the west is mostly claiming that the plucky Ukrainians are inflicting terrible casualties on Russia. Then there’s this: The War ‘Diplomat’: How Borrell and the West Lost the ‘Global Battle of Narratives’ Yes, only America’s allies have bought into the NATO crusade against Russia. Claiming this is “losing the global battle of narratives” strikes me as odd at best, deluded at worst. The point here is that if Russia is actually winning the war, and it’s not an unreasonable conjecture, while NATO and Ukraine think they’re winning … this war could last a long time.

And since we’re talking about a proxy war between the US and one of its two great global designated enemies, serious business. Another such war is still going on after 72 years. That would be the Korean War, still technically just a cease fire. The US has never agreed to negotiate the end of the war, so the war still sits stalemated with both sides armed to the teeth staring at each other across the DMZ. Forever war, forever arms sales, forever Pentagon spending. The only losers are everyone else.

Sometimes I wish I was as sure of my world view as almost everyone else is. It quickly passes. I am sure that war is a bad thing all around. There’s no such thing as a good war.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Self explanatory, attribution in image, found on Facebook. Believed to be legal use under US copyright law, claimed as Fair Use in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

July 27, 2022 at 8:59 pm

“SOMETIMES IT SEEMS WE’RE LIVING IN THE TIME WHEN OUR CHAIR HAS BEEN YANKED OUT BUT OUR BUTTS AIN’T HIT THE GROUND YET”

leave a comment »

Another week, Biden’s proxy war against Russia continues at fabulous expense… while the GOP strips Americans of their rights and … Biden issues toothless  executive orders: Biden’s executive order on abortion is better than nothing. But not much better. And honestly, it isn’t better than nothing, since aside from doing nothing, it encourages more division and paralysis in the Dem base. “He’s not Trump!” got Biden elected, barely, but it’s of no use as the SCOTUS dismantles the Constitution in favor of theocracy.

I mean, I voted for Biden hoping he would undo at least some of the major damage Trump did. The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) for example, the humiliating agreement Iran signed to get their nuclear program carefully monitored so that it remained peaceful in nature. Trump canceled the  JCPOA agreement with Iran for no good reason, Biden should have reinstated it. Nope. Biden Eschews Diplomacy, Chooses Path to War with Iran.

Sigh. I’m really depressed as hell by the ongoing war. I have all sorts of links, but I realize they are wasted on most readers. The American public seems to have largely fallen for the propaganda about the Russo-Ukraine War like they have for so many previous US wars. The problem is that those previous wars involved countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, etc. Russia is a nuclear power, and it’s entirely possible they will use nuclear weapons if it looks like they will lose the war. A loss being NATO gets to deploy first strike weapons in Ukraine, or Crimea might be reconquered by Ukraine. And if risking a nuclear war with Russia isn’t bad enough, NATO has China in its sights: NATO: The most dangerous military alliance on Earth.

On the plus side, unbeknownst to most Americans, the rest of the world is not lining up behind NATO and its war on Russia: Many G20 members have not followed the US-led sanctions campaign against Russia, including Indonesia, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. The meeting opened with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi calling for the G20 nations to work together to end the war. Look at that, the rest of the world wants to pursue peace. Something the Dems at least used to pretend to want, even as they fomented war.

And in fact they are spending vast sums of taxpayer money on the current war. There’s so so many problems in America that would benefit from this kind of spending … Instead it’s going to fight a war that is not only irrelevant to US security, it’s wreaking havoc on the American and world economy: The Unending Farce of US Sanctions against Russia. How did this happen?

Also, guessing most Americans do not understand how effing clever Putin is? Putin outfoxed both Bush and Obama in crises Georgia (2008) and the US (2014) created. The first ended with South Ossetia and Abkhazia effectively part of Russia. (Which the people living there wanted anyhow.) And the second with Crimea returning to Russia, just as the people of Crimea wanted. And this crisis Putin had eight years to plan, instead of him having to react to a massive provocation. Though granted there was plenty of provocation in this case too, it was just spread out over years (decades really) instead of overnight.

Another thing Americans mostly don’t understand is that “Putin started a terrible war” and “NATO went out of their way to provoke him” are both true. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Unless one lives in a black and white tribal world, a world view all too many ascribe to. I have no idea how this war is going to turn out, no one does, but Washington still doesn’t understand that so far Putin has already won: Biden Says Russia’s War in Ukraine ‘Must Be a Strategic Failure’.

Almost feel sorry for Biden. His whole world is turning to sheet and Putin “winning” a war would end him politically. Turns out that just beating Trump wasn’t anywhere near enough, he needed to accomplish something as well. Runaway inflation and $5 a gallon gas are Biden’s only legacy now, possibly losing a war to Putin (like Obama and Bush did) must keep him up at night, if not actually giving him nightmares.

It might be June 1914 any day now, who knows. Certainly seems like the scariest time of my life, Russia has actual WMDs unlike Saddam or Kaddafi. World War Three could start tomorrow. Boy, think of the blogging opportunities! And well, since I might not be blogging long, might as well repost this now: THE DOUG’S DARKWORLD GUIDE TO NOT SURVIVING A NUCLEAR ATTACK. Consider it a public service. And for other depressing predictions, try this out: Wake Up, America, This Is Collapse.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A quote found on Facebook. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Quotes are legal to share as long as one doesn’t put them on a T-shirt or coffee cup etc for sale.)

Written by unitedcats

July 16, 2022 at 7:29 am

“AS FOR SELF-DECEIT, MOST PEOPLE FIND IT AS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL AS AIR.”

leave a comment »

My computer blew up recently. That’s not really why I haven’t posted though. Long story short, over the past year there’s been a sea change in how I view the world. The title above (from “Forever Odd” by Dean Koontz) sums it up. I think this change of perspective is a good thing, something I already knew on many levels. In some ways it’s something that has perplexed me all my life. For good or for ill, my parents instilled in me a strong aversion to lying from an early age. I mean, the logic seemed impeccable to me, in order to get along with each other shouldn’t the truth be the foundation? So I innocently went through my childhood believing what was told to me. And in retrospect some kids (and grown ups) told me some real whoppers.

And of course it was not unusual for me to be accused of lying when in fact I was telling the truth. Still, I felt these were the exceptions, not the rule. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I really understood that many adults lied routinely. And even then, the scope of the problem eluded me for decades. I knew people lied, I knew self deception was real, but I still routinely expected most people to tell the truth most of the time. I had a reasonably good opinion of humanity.

This is no longer the case. I now think most people’s lives are a snake’s nest of lies, and most people aren’t even really cognizant of them. It all started to fall apart when I moved to Iowa in 2016. I quickly discovered that my old friend of 40 years was a liar, cheater, and thief. As I said to her brother at the time, “she must use a spreadsheet to keep track of all her lies.” And upon review I’ve realized that a lot of people I’ve known for a long time are, shall we say, remarkably dishonest. What does this all mean? It means I need to be ever more careful to be honest with myself, and to pick my friends more carefully. Easier said than done, but I’m trying.

In addition to my personal life, does this have any global lessons? Or global perspectives? I think it does. While engaging in my world view revision, I came across this: In-Group Cognitive Bias – NeuroLogica Blog. In a nutshell, people are very tribal by nature, and very prone to believing nonsense about people who aren’t in the tribe. And since self-deception is so innate in humans, it makes it much easier for “leaders” to get their tribal members to swallow nonsense. So in essence this new world view has made it clearer to me why so many people are easily propagandized by religion or politics. My today’s theory at least. I find this incredibly depressing.

And this is why my blog has limited appeal. I’m consciously trying to avoid any in-group bias, so my appeal is limited to say the least. Almost everyone belongs to an in-group of some sort, and most are quite fervent in their beliefs. Oddly enough, a huge part of these beliefs is believing the other groups are deluded. True enough, that’s the best sort of lie, a lie that’s true … but leaves something big out. The fact that they too are deluded. In different ways and different formds, and some delusions are obviously far more dangerous than others. But the difference is in intensity, not in kind. And even that distinction can be meaningless if the result is horror.

For example: Democrats Love Saying That AR-15s Should Only Be Used On Foreigners. The title pretty much sums it up, Dems love to decry the horrors inflicted on America by assault rifle wielding Americans, but think it’s perfectly reasonable that they be used in other countries. George Takei (whose opinion I formerly respected) sums up this craziness exactly: “Crazy thought, but those 20 million AR-15s now in this country could sure arm a lot of Ukrainians.” Mr Takei, what’s going on in Ukraine is a nightmare, adding more weapons is going to just make it worse. American AR-15 owners need have no worries, the US is sending plenty of other weapons to Ukraine and doing its best to avoid even the possibility of a diplomatic solution.

So what’s to do? I will continue to post articles that I think are interesting or illuminating. This is a favorite recent one, the Chilean Navy UFO. (image above.) This picture was taken by an infrared camera on a Chilean Navy helicopter in 2014. Ten minutes of seemingly inexplicable footage was taken. They turned it over to the Chilean government’s CEFAA Committee (Committee for Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena,) yes, Chile too has a government bureau charged with investigating UFO reports. The CEFAA studied the video for two years, and concluded they had no idea what it was. Then they released it to the public with this statement:

“The great majority of committee members agreed to call the subject in question a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) due to the number of highly researched reasons that it was unanimously agreed could not explain it.”

So that settles it, right, a rock solid film of an inexplicable flying object! UFOs are real! Wait, wouldn’t this then be world news? Wouldn’t everyone have heard of it? Not quite. Literally within days of releasing the video it had been positively identified by internet sleuths … as an airliner. In fact exactly what airliner and airline flight it was was determined. Read the whole story here: The Chilean Navy UFO.

Kinda sums up the whole UFO mythology. People that believe in such simply can’t or won’t look for actual solutions and convince themselves there is a mystery where there is none. Governments might as well set up agencies to investigate fairy sightings. UFOs are just a modern version of ghosts or fairies. As I have said before “The Middle Ages never ended, we just have cooler stuff.”

Oh well, more links in the next post. Which will hopefully be in days instead of weeks. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright unknown, probably Credit: CEFAA. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Arguably an historically important image, and there is no other such image available to illustrate this sighting.)

Written by unitedcats

July 8, 2022 at 7:36 pm

MEMORIAL DAY

leave a comment »

Another Memorial Day. I guess a BBQ is the tradition.  Mexican food here, I live in a pretty secular household. Just another day on the farm. Memorial Day is an American holiday, it started after the Civil War. The only American War where the homeland suffered. The death toll was also horrific, by most measures the first or second worse mass death event in US history. I know I was taught in high school that the period after the Civil War was one of the most peaceful in US history. Ostensibly because the country was tired of war. I’m older now, and I suspect a lot of natives would question that assessment. Much of the west was being constantly warred on after the Civil War, some of the worst massacres of natives occured after the Civil War. And, well, primarily in the Southern US, terrorist wars were launched and conducted against African Americans. Hardly a nation at peace. The figures I looked up say the US has been at war over 91% of its existence.

And a lot of Americans died in those wars, this is the day we remember them. Soldiers who lost their lives fighting in America’s wars. Well, skol, here’s to them. Most of them were good people fighting for their country. Even the ones that weren’t, well, being killed in a war is a hell of a price to pay for whatever their situation might have been. I’ve spent my whole life studying war, such exquisite madness. I have nothing but respect for those who served, I served myself. And the ones who died, in battle or of their wounds later, I hope their families and loved ones keep their memory alive, this day and all days.

That’s acknowledging their sacrifice with words, but I’d like to go a bit further. What was their sacrifice for? I would guess many would say to protect America and its freedoms. Certainly those in my lifetimes. And here’s my first divergence with the standard narrative, no matter how noble their sacrifice, that doesn’t mean the wars America’s soldiers died in were noble. In my opinion none of America’s wars in my lifetime have been just wars, they have all been foreign wars of choice. And I think it’s a damned shame Americans died in those wars, and the best way I can honor their sacrifice is to be a voice for peace, so no more Americans die in stupid foreign wars.

A mission I think is even more important today than ever before in my life. The US is deeply involved in a pointless foreign war, the Russo-Ukrainian War, that America played a huge role in instigating. A terrible war, though all wars are terrible. This is the big lie that has been foisted on the American people, the idea that war is noble. That there is such a thing as a good war. And so so many Americans are convinced that this war is it, this is the good war, a war that brings back memories of ‘The Greatest Generation.’ That would be the World War Two generation, arguably America’s last just war. Putin is the next Hitler, destroying him is our only best choice, he is a monster who can’t be trusted. Snort. That’s a “does not follow” false argument for readers who stay up on such things.

While the Russo-Ukrainian War is terrible, it’s not the epic stand of freedom and democracy against tyranny. And ruthless though Putin may be in the defense of Russia, he’s not Hitler hell bent on recreating the Soviet empire. Or to put it in perspective, Hitler was in charge of the world’s second most powerful nation, modern Russia is barely in the top twenty. US military aid to Ukraine is already more than Russia’s annual budget for God’s sake. This is a war America should be trying to end, not promoting. People are dying, the sooner the war stops the better, then people can sit down and work out a solution. Diplomacy, it’s worked before.

I hope all had a good Memorial Day, and celebrated it as they thought appropriate. I drink to peace and those who pursue it.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain colorized World War One photograph. “29 May 1918 The Third Battle of the Aisne. French infantry coming back through Passy-sur-Marne, pass a British regimental band resting by the roadside.” When I first saw this picture I wrote: ‘They’re all dead now, some didn’t live out the war, some may not have lived out the week. All real people with lives, hopes, dreams. Even the people who remember them as grandparents and the like are getting long in the tooth.’ Kinda how I feel this Memorial Day, all those who died in war were real people with loves and lives. Tragically cut short. We can do better.)

Written by unitedcats

May 30, 2022 at 8:55 pm

WHAT WILL AND WILL NOT HAPPEN IF ROE VS WADE IS OVERTURNED

with one comment

It looks like the SCOTUS (Supreme Court) is going to overturn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion a right. So many things are absurd about this, for starters the idea that abortion was banned by the Bible is only a few decades old: The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal. It gets worse,  the logic in the leaked SCOTUS draft is ridiculous. I guess when one doesn’t have logical reasons for stripping women of bodily autonomy, one has to get creative: The Supreme Court’s Leaked Draft Is Full Of Mystifying Arguments Against Abortion Rights. Or this: ‘Intellectually bankrupt’: Alito’s Roe v Wade opinion trashed by constitutional scholar.

If it comes to pass, and Roe vs Wade is struck down, what happens? I speculate:

Millions will celebrate that their fellow citizens are being deprived of their rights and bodily autonomy. The Evangelical Right especially will celebrate, being “pro-life” has been a huge part of their identity for decades. Sticking it to the Libs is a major motivator for them now. Anyway they can, including forcing gays back into the closet and women back into the kitchen. There will be demonstrations for sure, though not sure what that is supposed to accomplish. Pro-choice and anti-choice people will be hitting the streets. Plus stupid stunts such as this: ‘Pro-life Spiderman’: anti-abortion activist climbs San Francisco’s tallest building.

“Dems will send out fundraising emails.” And that’s about it. Since the Dems had nearly fifty years to pass a federal law mandating abortion rights, but somehow never got around to it, I don’t think they will suddenly do something now. Biden just said he won’t eliminate the filibuster to make such happen, so the Dems basically have already surrendered on the issue.

Other rights will get taken away. Normally slippery slope arguments are false arguments, but in this case, not so much. Contraception banned: Contraception could come under fire next if Roe v Wade is overturned. The Evangelical Right has stacked the Supreme Court in their favor, and they’d love to cancel marriage equality for starters. Laws against interracial marriage could become constitutional again. “No exception laws” are already being introduced: No-exception laws, once too harsh even for anti-abortion Republicans, gain traction across US

Lives ruined. Sure, the well off will still be able to get abortions, the poor and minors’ options will be severely reduced. Poor women will be killed and maimed by back alley abortions again. 13 year old rape victims will be forced to bear their rapist’s children. State border checkpoints, women’s’ bodies no longer their own. Some states are already talking about making it illegal for a woman to travel to get an abortion: US states could ban people from traveling for abortions, experts warn. An underground abortion railway will arise.

The thing that absolutely will not happen:

Fewer abortions being performed. Roe vs Wade didn’t increase the abortion rate, abortion prohibition is about as effective as alcohol prohibition was or the war on drugs is. A complete failure to to effect the stated cause of the prohibition, plus the creation of all sorts of other problems associated with the prohibition. That’s what happens when a social/medical issue is criminalized.

If people actually wanted to reduce the abortion rate, it’s quite doable. Comprehensive sex education starting in middle school, birth control and family planning on demand. Voila, very low abortion rates. It would be nice if the only abortions were for medical necessity or rape. One of the many horrible things the Evangelical Right believes, they think liberals celebrate abortion. Um, no, liberals would agree the fewer abortions the better.

Conclusion:

Reversing Roe vs Wade is wrong on so many levels. Women can’t have their organs harvested when they’re dead without their permission, but a living woman will be forced by the state to continue a pregnancy that might kill her? And yes it will happen under fetal heartbeat laws: Death of Savita Halappanavar. Which is another false  argument the evangelical right uses, their ‘fetal heartbeat’ is just electrical activity: ‘Heartbeat’ Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong. And on top of that, a heartbeat doesn’t mean someone is alive, plenty of brain dead people had a heartbeat. And the Bible says, very clearly, life begins when the first breath is drawn.

When it comes right down to it, the party that bills itself as the party of freedom, has now declared it will decide how women use their bodies. It has nothing to do with “saving babies,” it’s to force people to only have sex in married relationships for the purposes of procreation. If you’re not ready to have a baby, don’t have sex. Problem solved. People that think like that have no problem with outlawing abortion and birth control because by the way they think, anyone who is behaving ‘properly’ has no need for either.

The problem, and it’s a huge problem, is that the idea that only people who want to have children should have sex is a religious belief. Period. And religious beliefs are what a person uses to guide their own behavior, to make them the law of the land is tyranny. Sadly some faiths, fundamental Christianity and Islam in particular, feel it’s part of their faith to convert everyone else to their faith by any means necessary. It’s not about religion, it’s about making their religion the law of the land. This really has nothing to do with abortion, it’s about making America into a right wing evangelical theocracy. They are quite clear on that: Dominion Theology.

Postscript:

It’s been a few days since I wrote the above. Those who think, “phew, at least my state won’t ban abortion,” think again: Mitch McConnell floats federal abortion ban if right-wing Supreme Court overturns Roe. There’s been at least one unhinged reaction to the Supreme Court leak. “100000000 times more serious than the Capitol riot.” Hyperbole much? See: “An Actual Insurrection”: Conservatives Equate Supreme Court Roe v. Wade Leak to Literal Violence. Oh, and this, killing public education: Greg Abbott Reveals the GOP’s Plan After Killing Roe v. Wade: Killing Public Education.

Last but not least: The Long Hand of Slave Breeding, Redux. It’s a long read filled with history, but makes a good case that connects the people that want to overturn Roe vs Wade with people who bred slaves in the 19th century. There’s just a whole class of American men that want to control everything, including the bodies of women and blacks. And honestly I think  they’re about as powerful today as they ever were. Maybe more so.

I fear for my nation’s future.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Barricades were put up around the SCOTUS building after the Roe vs. Wade draft was leaked. Credit, unknown, found on twitter? That was the attribution where I found it. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2022 at 8:04 am

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

leave a comment »

This map helps to understand Ukraine and the divisions that have wracked it since the nation was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What became Ukraine was created administratively by the Soviet Union, so its borders didn’t really matter while the Soviet Union existed. Once the Soviet Union collapsed problems began almost immediately: Russia-Ukraine Tensions Flared Early in the Post-Soviet Era | The National Interest.

And now the latest and worse problem, the Russo-Ukraine War, continues, exactly as Washington wants it to: The War Party’s Dictates on the Ukraine War Weapons continue to pour into Ukraine. Where they go then, who knows.  The US Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian Military Aid Is Going. Ukraine was already a horribly corrupt country before the war, there’s zero reason to think it’s any less corrupt now. In Hollywood fantasy movies people band together in the face of adversity. In reality the grifters and war profiteers go nuts in hard times. The Russo-Ukrainian War is basically a US proxy war against Russia now:  The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over

So that’s the plan and news in the west, the world is united against Russian aggression, and with western help the Ukrainians will win the war. NATO expands, Russia is weakened and vanquished, NATO expands, democracy and freedom all around. There are endless problems with this narrative. Despite the “news” in the west, the world is most definitely not siding with the US. Only 30 of the world’s 195 countries have agreed to the US sanctions against Russia. Most of the world more or less thinks “NATO made this mess, it’s not our problem.” On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US.

I’m really starting to think US foreign policy is basically on auto-pilot. Cold War forever, the response to the Russian invasion seems entirely predictable. NATO is going to conquer the world in the name of good, no need for planning or nuance, just keep moving forward, like this: Nine reasons why NATO should close the door to Sweden and Finland. Excellent reasons not to, but NATO may indeed. Our foreign policy seems determined to meet the desires of the Pentagon and arms industry, playing lip service to democracy and freedom.

The problem is it’s not 1970 anymore, the US is no longer the undisputed economic and military leader of the planet. Hell, even then there were limits to our military as Vietnam showed. Granted to this day we clearly refuse to understand that: “Nothing is Impossible” Finds It Impossible to Tell the Truth About Vietnam. IE, Washington is living in a fantasy world it has sold to its people and itself. Pretty sure if one’s game strategy is completely predictable and at odds with reality, the advantage is to the other team. Works that way in both football and war.

I’m not the only one thinking on these lines. What if Russia Wins Its War Against Ukraine. The one thing that is 100% predictable about wars: they rarely come to predictable ends. And the bigger the players, the less predictable such wars become. Russia is still a big player. And Putin is the smartest leader to hit the world’s stage in a long time, he ran circles around both Bush and Obama. And despite western fantasies, his popularity is rising. Maybe the war is going exactly as Putin planned? It’s possible, people who can’t see that are like the people who don’t understand Trump’s appeal. People are like they are, not as how we want them to be.

So, a couple of other links on US autopilot hypocrisy: Iran Talks Stall: Does America Even Believe in Diplomacy Anymore? Trump canceled a perfectly good agreement, just resign it. Or this: “After spending months lecturing the world on the rights of states to set their own foreign policy course and to decide on their own alliances, the US is once again reminding small states that it assumes that their freedom to make those decisions is contingent on Washington’s approval.” Breaking the Habit of Bullying Small States. Hypocrisy especially illustrated: When the US does it, it’s sanctions. Russia does it, it’s gas blackmail. If you wanted an example of how the mainstream media is just an American propaganda outlet, this is it: Russia begins ‘gas blackmail’ halting supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, governments told.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is not good vs evil, the Manichean heresy, it’s just a stupid border war between major industrialized states, one nuclear armed. With some outside world powers doing their best to prolong the conflict. Lots of evil to go around, very little good. We’re through the looking glass here folks, the most terrible major power war since the US invasion of Iraq. And it turned out far differently, and far worse, than almost any of the pundits predicted. Granted the US invasion of Iraq was based on fantasy while Putin’s attack was much more reality based.

Still, this war is another great example of, like almost all wars, “It takes two fools to have a fight.”

PS: Next post: Soft liars vs hard liars.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Etho-linguistic Map of Ukraine. Credit: User:Yerevantsi/Maps, published legally under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

May 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

IS UKRAINE RUSSIAN FOR DIEN BIEN PHU?

with one comment

Links and at least an attempt to deconstruct what’s going on in Ukraine today. The above is the current situation as of 23 April 2022. Note that Russia has withdrawn from its incursions in the north, but has consolidated its control of the south and east. They now control a land link to Crimea. And unofficially at least they may seek to control all of Southern Ukraine, linking them to Russian separatists in Transnistria, the gray area in the lower mid left off the map: Russian General Suggests Moscow Could Seize Ukraine’s Entire Coast, Create Link to Transnistria.

It’s been clear since the beginning that overt conquest of Ukraine wasn’t Russia’s aim, the modest scale of the invasion force, and the subsequent withdrawal from the north, pretty much confirms that. There’s still some Ukrainian troops holding out in Mariupol, but otherwise Russia has control of the whole south eastern Ukraine region apparently. Note that Crimea is connected to Russia by a bridge at the lower right, built since Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. That Ukraine hasn’t attempted to knock this bridge out is another indication that the war is limited on both sides. In the western hysterical press, it’s Hitler invading Poland. In reality, it’s a stupid border war between two sovereign states. Let’s hope it stays that way.

It’s kind of fascinating watching the US narrative. Americans have been convinced that Putin is a monster and the entire world is lining up to oppose him. That’s the beauty of being the most propagandized people on Earth: Where’s the Truth? How the CIA Shapes the Minds of Americans. The rest of the world though, meh, NATO made this problem, it’s not our problem. You won’t hear much like this in the western press: Turkey Says Some NATO Members Want Longer Ukraine War to Hurt Russia. Or this of course: To Fight Russia, Europe’s Regimes Risk Impoverishment and Recession for Europe. And of course one will never hear this in the west:  Minsk II: Two Words You’ll Never Hear on Mainstream News

A few other links with perspective one won’t find on CNN: Against World War III This one is about comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the historical situation that is most comparable to the current situation in Ukraine. Then: If we don’t want nuclear war, why are we pushing for one? Good question. Well, it is terrible times, Covid, Global Warming, why not add some nuclear weapons in the mix. The Pentagon, not to mention many Americans, would love an excuse to use nuclear weapons. Myself, I think war with Russia is best to avoid: First Priority – Avoid US War With Russia. Then: Shades of Gray in the Russia-Ukraine War

Many Americans have internalized American exceptionalism, we’re the good guys so we can use force. And of course we always use war responsibly to minimize civilian casualties. As if killing fewer babies, but not deliberately targeting them, was a good thing. How does one argue with people who are horrified by the Russian war on Ukraine, but are indifferent at worst to America’s wars on Iraq, Syria, Serbia, and Libya, just for starters? Blogging is all I got for now. War as an instrument of national policy is the problem, not Putin.

Someone said it decades ago, paraphrasing: “If you’re going to be the world’s policeman, you’re gonna find out how many street corners the world has.” The ugly truth is that Ukraine is about as insignificant to US security as it could get. As is the South Pacific:  The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence The truth is that even the Monroe Doctrine was imperial overstretch, Ukraine is not the hill our empire should die on. We’re so conditioned to thinking the USA is invincible and has it all under control, that anything other than a humiliating defeat for Putin is unimaginable. Ukraine could be the biggest miscalculation in American history.

We could go for it in Ukraine … and suffer a defeat that makes Dien Bien Phu look minor. Can’t happen of course. Snort. History is full of things that people thought “couldn’t happen.” That’s what makes history fun. And terrifying.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Situation in Ukraine around 23 April 2022. Credit: Viewsridge. Reproduced legally: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2022 at 8:05 pm

IF BEING FOR PEACE AND DIPLOMACY MAKES ME “OFF BASE,” I AM PROUDLY OFF BASE

leave a comment »

The flagship of the Russian Back Sea fleet has been sunk by Ukrainian missiles. Largest warship to be sunk since World War Two. A symbolic and morale victory for Ukraine. Another major event in the war of our times. Symbolic because it’s not going to change the course of the war anyhow, it’s a land war, not a sea war. Also one day closer to the day when all large warships are obsolete. The latter is just my opinion though.

So the terrible war continues. Want a blog where Putin is the devil, Zelensky a hero, and the war is a struggle between good and evil? Move right along, the western mainstream media has it covered. As a Russian visitor to the US once said: “In the Soviet Union we had to shoot reporters to get them to repeat government propaganda. In America, they do it voluntarily!” And hey, for the sake of argument I’m happy to grant that Putin is a monster whose attack on Ukraine was unjust and unprovoked. That doesn’t change the fact that both Zelensky and the USA are doing what they can to prolong the war, not end it. Even if the Russo-Ukraine wasn’t a US proxy war to start with, it most certainly is one now.

Like this: Blinken Tells European Allies He Believes Ukraine War Will Last Through 2022. Or this: Zelensky pushes for more weapons to fight Russia. I mean, yeah, sure, you’re at war and need weapons? But if you don’t get more weapons there will be a bloodbath? More war and weapons is how one creates bloodbaths, not prevents them. Why not try to end the war through diplomacy? Oh right, Putin is a madman so war is the only option. Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy. That appears to be where most pro-war people I talk to are coming from, they’ve really bought the endless demonization of Putin and Russia they’ve been steeped in for decades. War, what is it good for? Profits: New Reporting Details Corporate Media’s War Industry Pundits.

Aside from the just plain horror of it all, there are peoples all over the world fighting for their independence, sometimes for decades, often against regimes far more brutal than Putin’s Russia. Where is their endless news coverage, billions of dollars of aid and weapons, and crippling sanctions against their oppressors? If America was so about freedom and self-determination, Ukraine would be just one of many causes Biden was championing. Instead, the vast majority of Americans remain utterly in the dark. Palestine, Kurdistan, Tibet, Rohingya, and numerous others. But yeah, Ukraine is where the US has chosen to fight for freedom. Snort.

The more I understand how the world works, the more I understand why putative aliens would fly right by, locking their doors as they pass. A planet with over five thousand ethnic groups, ruled by fewer than 200 armed gangs. Poverty, injustice,  and wealth inequality are rampant. Armaments and fossil fuels are the planet’s top two industries. Humans are killing each other by the millions every year, and fossil fuels are literally destroying the planet’s climate and killing millions more by way of air pollution. Yeah, even Kirk and Spock would leave this one alone.

And I guess I’m gonna keep blogging about the war. The Russo-Ukrainian War is the Vietnam War of my time, except this time our designated enemy has nuclear weapons. No genocide yet. And I’m hoping this might eventually revive the peace movement in the US. Granted I think corporate control of the media and government propaganda make that unlikely, but a man can dream. I was accused by a reader of being “off base” for suggesting that peace and diplomacy are laudable paths. That makes me proudly off base. There’s people risking death and jail fighting for peace in Ukraine and Russia. I guess I can risk losing friends by blogging for peace in America.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The recently sunk Russian cruiser Moskva. Credit: Mil.ru. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.)

Written by unitedcats

April 18, 2022 at 1:32 pm

UNPOPULAR OPINION: THE WAR IS OVER, PUTIN WON

leave a comment »

I try to stay moored in reality. IE what is, is, reality doesn’t care about anyone’s opinions. It’s going to do whatever happens no matter how that meshes with anyone’s opinion of how the world works. And when huge numbers of people think their opinion is reality, problems arise. And in contemporary America, we have problems along these lines. On both left and right.

This limits my reading audience considerably these days. I digress. Back on point, I think the Russo-Ukrainian War is effectively over. Putin won, nothing next but a lot of whining in the American west. And maybe destroying the world economy. Wait, what? It’s fairly simple. Putin accomplished his goals: The Ukrainian military has been decimated, Russia is free to annex Donbas, NATO and Biden proved spineless, Ukraine won’t be joining NATO anytime soon. Russia is essentially sanction proof. In fact, Biden’s efforts to sanction Russia will hurt the west worse than Russia. Yeah, preventing Russian athletes from running in the Boston Marathon will really hurt Putin.

Nuclear war avoided, nothing left but endless op ed twaddle trying to frame the war as an American victory. Nope. The high water mark off the American Empire, the Russian Red Line held, we’re reduced to threatening China with the same sanctions that failed to achieve victory in Ukraine. No idea what happens now, but expect it’s going to be weird. The horrifying contradictions of the American Century will become increasingly unhinged. Good times.

I do understand the “mainstream” view: ‘The US leads the free world, rule of law, freedom, arsenal of democracy. NATO expanding meant more people joining the free world. And for the last decade at least Russia and China have become more aggressive. China is militarizing the South China Sea, expanding its influence around the globe with the New Silk Road initiative. Russia even more so with its aggression in Georgia and Crimea. And now an all out invasion of Ukraine, a horrifying humanitarian crisis, Putin must be reined in at least.’

All true. Well, some of it is true. Sort of.  A good illustration that lies of omission are the greatest lies. IE there’s no context to any of it, and what it leaves out is legion. Here’s a good article that talks about the media bias and double standards in the west. Just for starters, the utterly illegal US invasion of Iraq resulted in a million deaths, and that’s the conservative estimate: From Korea to Libya: On the Future of Ukraine and NATO’s Never-Ending Wars. And then this, Mr. Paul always offers a different perspective. CIA Admits Feeding Americans False Info About Ukraine.

I do hope it’s over soon. Kremlin Says Russia’s War in Ukraine Could End ‘In Foreseeable Future’. Though it seems clear the Biden administration is in no hurry: Is the Biden Administration Trying to Prolong the Ukraine War? The media is saying now there will be a big fight in Donbas. I wouldn’t hold my breath, I don’t think the Ukrainian army has the offensive capability to drive Russia out. And the Russians have air superiority, almost always fatal for an attacking force.

PS: Zelensky going around the world to give speeches to adoring (mostly) parliaments is kinda weird. As in, other than stroking his ego, what is the point? Weapons and money aren’t going to win the war for him, and at this point it seems clear no one is going to directly challenge a nuclear armed Russia. Shouldn’t he be trying to end the war, not prolong it? Like I said earlier, this might get increasingly weird.

Next, a blog about my cat. Maybe. Stay safe and warm everyone, we’re getting a week of unseasonable snow, rain, and hail here in Eastern Oregon.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic. They voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine, though how fair that vote was, and was it after a million or more ethnic Ukrainians fled? Still, no different than some of the horrors perpetrated in the Balkans in the nineties, that passed completely under the radar in the west. Credit: Владимир Ђорђевић “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:

I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.”)

Written by unitedcats

April 12, 2022 at 7:48 pm

“DO I NOT DESTROY MY ENEMIES WHEN I MAKE THEM MY FRIENDS?”

leave a comment »

Well, the war in Ukraine is getting worse, wars tend to do that, one of the reasons to try and avoid them … and one of the reasons to try and end them once they begin. There aren’t really any winners in wars, they represent the ultimate fail of human relations, both international and domestic. Humans deliberately killing other humans in organized violence, pretty much doesn’t get worse than that. Putin is a war criminal, and like all war criminals, it would be good if he was brought to justice someday. The chances seem remote though, fantasies of the Russian people rising up and deposing him are just that, fantasies. Hey though, the people in Washington pushing such twaddle are the same people who fantasized that Iraqis would welcome our invading armies with flowers and democracy would flow across the Middle East.

I have no problem condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What I have a problem with is how the west is portraying it. This war is  portrayed by Washington as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, good vs evil, freedom vs Hitler. Sigh. The world is not black and white, and pretending it leads nowhere good. Granted the US has been doing this a long time now, at least since World War Two, but it’s depressing that so many have completely accepted this destructive fantasy for fact. There’s literally nothing noble about this war, or any war really, the US did everything they could to encourage it, and even the government of Ukraine played a role:  Zelensky Rejected German Security Proposal Before Russian Invasion. Apparently he rejected Putin’s last not-unreasonable offer … because he didn’t trust Putin to adhere to it. The logic there escapes me, if a guy threatens war if you don’t do X, why not do X if you were going to do it anyways?

And now a day or two after I wrote the above, there are allegations of Russian atrocities in areas they withdrew from. Accepted as fact instantly in the west. I have doubts, it’s not a slam dunk. Doesn’t matter, Biden and Zellensky seem determined to push for endless war. As far as I can tell Americans think they are winning, I think it’s much more complicated than that. I think Biden is utterly determined not to let anything happen that could be spun as any sort of Russian victory, my way or the highway has been American “foreign policy” for a century. It’s a trap though, locking ourselves into a black and white worldview limits our options terribly. And I think Putin knows that.

I don’t know what’s going on. No one ever does when wars start, but that doesn’t apparently stop them from thinking they do. Maybe it was insanity and evil on Putin’s part, and he’s losing badly. Maybe Putin and China are playing Biden like a fiddle and it’s all going according to their plan. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I suspect, somewhere no one is expecting. My guess is this war will be a watershed moment, things will never be the same afterwards. Especially for those who die, are maimed, and their loved ones. In that sense, like all wars, it’s a nightmare.

I hope for peace, but alas I think 75 years of Americans being raised to think Russians are evil runs too deep. And a hundred years of America insisting on unconditional surrender. Lincoln spent the entire war trying to make peace with the South, that’s his quote in the title. Biden is about as far from Lincoln as it gets. We’re doomed.

Next up, a post about a cat. The war is too depressing.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Maybe it’s satire, if not it’s darkly ironic.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2022 at 9:16 pm