zaterdag 22 maart 2014

Noam Chomsky 95

Best of TomDispatch: Noam Chomsky, "The Most Dangerous Moment"
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: As you know, I’m just finishing up a week of vacation.  The next new TD post will appear this Tuesday. In the meantime, given that this site has been covering the possibility of future catastrophe, ranging from the apocalyptic to the merelyworld destroying, I thought this Noam Chomsky classic from the site might be the perfect essay to reread (or, if you missed it the first time, read) in my absence.  He wrote it back in 2012, catching unforgettably the time when, more than half a century ago, we all almost bit the dust.  Of course, as you’ll see from my introduction, even without his piece I remember well that moment in 1962 when the 18-year-old Tom Engelhardt thought he was toast.  With that, I’ll leave you to it. See you soon. Tom]
Here was the oddest thing: within weeks of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on a second Japanese city on August 9, 1945, and so obliterating it, Americans were already immersed in new scenarios of nuclear destruction.  As the late Paul Boyer so vividly described in his classic book By the Bomb’s Early Light, it took no time at all -- at a moment when no other nation had such potentially Earth-destroying weaponry -- for an America triumphant to begin to imagine itself in ruins, and for its newspapers and magazines to start drawing concentric circles of death and destruction around American cities while consigning their future country to the stewardship of the roaches. 
As early as October 1945, the military editor of Reader’s Digest would declare the first atomic bomb “dated,” and write, “It is now in the power of the atom-smashers to blot out New York with a single bomb... Such a bomb can burn up in an instant every creature, can fuse the steel buildings and smash the concrete into flying shrapnel.”  By 1947, in “Mist of Death Over New York,” that staid magazine would have a description in “realistic detail” of an atomic explosion in New York harbor.  (“Within six weeks, 389,101 New Yorkers were dead or missing.”) In November 1945, in the “36-Hour War,” Life would feature a mushroom cloud rising over Washington in a surprise attack slaughtering 10 million Americans.  That December, the Wall Street Journal would run a feature article imagining “an attack by planes and missiles that could wipe out 98% of the population of the United States.”
Radio quickly followed with its own nightmarish nuclear scenarios of all-American disaster as, within years, would TV, while post-nuclear landscapes of horror were a dime a dozen in the world of pulp fiction.  In the movies, mutant and irradiated creatures of every sort -- from previously somnolent giant reptiles to monstrous ants -- ran wild on screen.  Everything, in a sense, became radioactive.  There were even, as Boyer wrote, “fashion tips for the apocalypse,” as in a government-sponsored pamphlet with an illustration of a man in a fedora, its brim tipped down, captioned, “If you are caught outdoors in a sudden attack, a hat will give you at least some protection from the ‘heat flash.’” This was the “duck and cover” world I grew up in (“you and I don't have shells to crawl into, like Bert the Turtle, so we have to cover up in our own way...”), one in which, though few spoke of it, everyone sensed that some “red line” had been crossed in the New Mexican desert and then at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It was a world in which, for the first time, not God but human beings could create their own end times. 
We still haven’t taken it all in, but 50 years ago, there was a moment when it looked like all the futuristic fiction might indeed turn into reality, when (at least if you lived on the East Coast of the U.S.) it seemed as if events were drawing a concentric circle around you.  That was, of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and anybody my age undoubtedly remembers with particular specificity the night of October 22, 1962, when President John F. Kennedy went on TV and the radio to tell us that we were all potentially toast.  "We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth," he said grimly, "but neither will we shrink from the risk at any time it must be faced." At 18, with most of my life still theoretically ahead of me, I believed him.
Fifty years later, in his new TomDispatch post, Noam Chomsky reminds us of just how close we truly got to a self-induced apocalypse and why it came to that.  It’s a chilling tale about the imperial urge to control the world, one that still couldn’t be more relevant. Tom
The Week the World Stood Still 
The Cuban Missile Crisis and Ownership of the World 
By Noam Chomsky
The world stood still 50 years ago during the last week of October, from the moment when it learned that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba until the crisis was officially ended -- though unknown to the public, only officially.
The image of the world standing still is the turn of phrase of Sheldon Stern, former historian at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, who published the authoritative version of the tapes of the ExComm meetings where Kennedy and a close circle of advisers debated how to respond to the crisis.  Those meetings were secretly recorded by the president, which might bear on the fact that his stand throughout the recorded sessions is relatively temperate compared to other participants, who were unaware that they were speaking to history.

Stern has just published an accessible and accurate review of this critically important documentary record, finally declassified in the late 1990s.  I will keep to that here. “Never before or since,” he concludes, “has the survival of human civilization been at stake in a few short weeks of dangerous deliberations,” culminating in “the week the world stood still.”
There was good reason for the global concern.  A nuclear war was all too imminent, a war that might “destroy the Northern Hemisphere,” President Dwight Eisenhower had warned.  Kennedy’s own judgment was that the probability of war might have been as high as 50%. Estimates became higher as the confrontation reached its peak and the “secret doomsday plan to ensure the survival of the government was put into effect” in Washington, as described by journalist Michael Dobbs in his well-researched bestseller on the crisis (though he doesn’t explain why there would be much point in doing so, given the likely nature of nuclear war). 
Dobbs quotes Dino Brugioni, “a key member of the CIA team monitoring the Soviet missile buildup,” who saw no way out except “war and complete destruction” as the clock moved to “one minute to midnight,” the title of his book.  Kennedy’s close associate, historian Arthur Schlesinger, described the events as “the most dangerous moment in human history.” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara wondered aloud whether he “would live to see another Saturday night,” and later recognized that “we lucked out” -- barely.
“The Most Dangerous Moment”
A closer look at what took place adds grim overtones to these judgments, with reverberations to the present moment.
There are several candidates for “the most dangerous moment.” One is October 27th, when U.S. destroyers enforcing a quarantine around Cuba were dropping depth charges on Soviet submarines.  According to Soviet accounts, reported by the National Security Archive, submarine commanders were “rattled enough to talk about firing nuclear torpedoes, whose 15 kiloton explosive yields approximated the bomb that devastated Hiroshima in August 1945.”
In one case, a reported decision to assemble a nuclear torpedo for battle readiness was aborted at the last minute by Second Captain Vasili Arkhipov, who may have saved the world from nuclear disaster.  There is little doubt what the U.S. reaction would have been had the torpedo been fired, or how the Russians would have responded as their country was going up in smoke. 
Kennedy had already declared the highest nuclear alert short of launch (DEFCON 2), which authorized “NATO aircraft with Turkish pilots ... [or others] ... to take off, fly to Moscow, and drop a bomb,” according to the well-informed Harvard University strategic analyst Graham Allison, writing in the major establishment journal Foreign Affairs.
Another candidate is October 26th.  That day has been selected as “the most dangerous moment” by B-52 pilot Major Don Clawson, who piloted one of those NATO aircraft and provides a hair-raising description of details of the Chrome Dome (CD) missions during the crisis -- “B-52s on airborne alert” with nuclear weapons “on board and ready to use.”
October 26th was the day when “the nation was closest to nuclear war,” he writes in his “irreverent anecdotes of an Air Force pilot,” Is That Something the Crew Should Know? On that day, Clawson himself was in a good position to set off a likely terminal cataclysm.   He concludes, “We were damned lucky we didn’t blow up the world -- and no thanks to the political or military leadership of this country.”
The errors, confusions, near-accidents, and miscomprehension of the leadership that Clawson reports are startling enough, but nothing like the operative command-and-control rules -- or lack of them.  As Clawson recounts his experiences during the 15 24-hour CD missions he flew, the maximum possible, the official commanders “did not possess the capability to prevent a rogue-crew or crew-member from arming and releasing their thermonuclear weapons,” or even from broadcasting a mission that would have sent off “the entire Airborne Alert force without possibility of recall.” Once the crew was airborne carrying thermonuclear weapons, he writes, “it would have been possible to arm and drop them all with no further input from the ground.  There was no inhibitor on any of the systems.”
About one-third of the total force was in the air, according to General David Burchinal, director of plans on the Air Staff at Air Force Headquarters.  The Strategic Air Command (SAC), technically in charge, appears to have had little control.  And according to Clawson’s account, the civilian National Command Authority was kept in the dark by SAC, which means that the ExComm “deciders” pondering the fate of the world knew even less.  General Burchinal’s oral history is no less hair-raising, and reveals even greater contempt for the civilian command.  According to him, Russian capitulation was never in doubt.  The CD operations were designed to make it crystal clear to the Russians that they were hardly even competing in the military confrontation, and could quickly have been destroyed.
From the ExComm records, Stern concludes that, on October 26th, President Kennedy was “leaning towards military action to eliminate the missiles” in Cuba, to be followed by invasion, according to Pentagon plans.  It was evident then that the act might have led to terminal war, a conclusion fortified by much later revelations that tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed and that Russian forces were far greater than U.S. intelligence had reported.
As the ExComm meetings were drawing to a close at 6 p.m. on the 26th, a letter arrived from Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, sent directly to President Kennedy.  His “message seemed clear,” Stern writes: “the missiles would be removed if the U.S. promised not to invade Cuba.”
The next day, at 10 am, the president again turned on the secret tape.  He read aloud a wire service report that had just been handed to him: “Premier Khrushchev told President Kennedy in a message today he would withdraw offensive weapons from Cuba if the United States withdrew its rockets from Turkey” -- Jupiter missiles with nuclear warheads.  The report was soon authenticated. 
Though received by the committee as an unexpected bolt from the blue, it had actually been anticipated: “we’ve known this might be coming for a week,” Kennedy informed them.  To refuse public acquiescence would be difficult, he realized.  These were obsolete missiles, already slated for withdrawal, soon to be replaced by far more lethal and effectively invulnerable Polaris submarines.  Kennedy recognized that he would be in an “insupportableposition if this becomes [Khrushchev’s] proposal,” both because the Turkish missiles were useless and were being withdrawn anyway, and because “it’s gonna -- to any man at the United Nations or any other rational man, it will look like a very fair trade.”
Keeping U.S. Power Unrestrained
Further Reading:

De Mainstream Pers 172

Zowel in West-Europa als in Amerika zijn bij een zeer groot deel van het publiek de vaderlandslievende eerzucht en de strijdlust verloren gegaan. 
Henk Hofland. Mondiale krachtmeting. 12 maart 2014

Tegenover het kleingeestige machismo van een polder-columnist staat de kosmopolitische visie van bijvoorbeeld de Britse feministische schrijfster Marina Warner, die in Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time - The 1994 Reith Lectures op het volgende wees:

Montaigne, who had reminded his readers that they were as savage as their victims, lamented the plundering of the New World in a great threnody (treurdicht. svh):
so many goodly cities ransacked and razed; so many nations destroyed and made desolate; so (many) infinite millions (sic) of harmless peoples of all sexes, stages and ages, massacred, ravaged and put to the sword; and the richest, the fairest and the best part of the world topsiturvied, ruined and defaced for the traffic in Pearls and Pepper. Oh mechanical victories, oh base conquest
Montaigne's passionate defense of the Indians seems to have influenced Shakespeare's attitude in The Tempest.
He could of course have added sugar, but at that stage the sugar trade had not yet been established. He was writing about a hundred years before the first British settlements took root in the Caribbean and began the history of the British Empire, which in that part of the world is really the history of profit in sugar. 
The power of the Empire is gone, of course, but it remains present in our imaginary, in a very important and urgent sense because history goes on living in the present and taking its toll on the present. The exiles that began with the dislocation of lives there in the Caribbean, the diaspora which scattered English men and women overseas to the four points as well, which brought many people from those countries to Britain and to other parts of Europe, has become a common contemporary predicament and very much a symbol of our times: the 'imaginary homeland' in Salman Rushdie's phrase, the permanent internal exile. History does not happen in the past, contrary to what people think, it goes on getting made in the present. Actions only contribute to part of its making: words, story-telling, images also play a part in that history. As The Tempest says, 'The past is prologue.'
Memory is two-faced and we write about some memories backwards: they can help, they can case the story of the past, they can shape it comfortingly, they can reweave it so that it feels better. But they also can reveal something and match experience with the tale more closely and more uncomfortably. In the long run the disturbing myth, or story, may actually be more help than the pacifying one. 
Hier staan twee mens en wereldbeelden loodrecht tegenover elkaar. Enerzijds de ideologie van een westerse journalist die met een kille vanzelfsprekendheid zijn leven lang ervan overtuigd was dat de wereldbevolking desnoods moest worden gedwongen de belangen van de rijke blanke hegemonie te dienen en die tegen het einde van zijn leven tot de ontdekking komt dat de daarvoor noodzakelijke motieven van degenen die dit geweld moeten legitimeren én uitvoeren, namelijk 'de vaderlandse eerzucht en de strijdlust,' zijn 'verloren gegaan.' Voor de mainstream-opiniemaker H.J.A. Hofland is de wereld een schaakbord waarop de twee spelers hun pionnen, paarden, lopers, en indien nodig zelfs de koningin inzetten om de Koning te laten winnen. De machtige bestaat bij de gratie van alle machtelozen die als willoze schaakstukken over het bord worden geschoven. In zijn fascinerende studie Massa & Macht stelde Nobelprijswinnaar Elias Canetti het als volgt:

Het bedrog is volkomen. Het is het bedrog van alle leiders. Zij doen het zo voorkomen alsof zij hun mensen in de dood voorgaan. In werkelijkheid echter sturen ze hen vooruit de dood in, om zelf langer in leven te blijven. De list is altijd dezelfde. De leider wil overleven; daaruit put hij zijn kracht. Als hij vijanden heeft om te overleven is het goed; zo niet, dan heeft hij eigen mensen. In elk geval gebruikt hij beiden, afwisselend of tegelijkertijd. De vijanden gebruikt hij openlijk, daar zijn ze immers vijanden voor. Zijn eigen mensen kan hij slechts verkapt gebruiken.

De rol van Hofland is die van de propagandist, de rol van de dorpsomroeper die de boodschap van de machtige verspreidt en rechtvaardigt. Deze rol wordt vooral duidelijk op het moment dat zijn propaganda niet meer werkt en hij nu met een mengeling van schrik, woede en frustratie moet toegeven dat de

‘nieuwe media’ met de mening van de bloggers voor een groot deel van de publieke opinie toonaangevend [zijn] geworden.

Als een kind die, na zich gestoten te hebben, de tafelpoot de schuld geeft van zijn pijn, beweert Hofland dat 'internet het machtsgevoel van de ontevredenen vergroot.' Het is het aloude reflex dat uiteindelijk leidt tot 'shooting the messenger' of het criminaliseren van de de brenger van het slechte nieuws. In wezen verergert het alleen maar het door Hofland zelf geconstateerde feit dat de 'politieke en strategische verbeeldingskracht' van de westerse economische en politieke elite niet langer meer 'toereikend is' om de hegemonie van de elite tegenover de eigen bevolking te rechtvaardigen. De mainstream spreekbuizen zijn in paniek, de oude vertrouwde 'orde' breekt voor hun ogen af. Nieuwe machten komen op, de westerse alleenheerschappij is niet meer vanzelfsprekend, het blanke overwicht verdwijnt als sneeuw voor de zon, hoeveel geweld Washington en zijn NAVO ook inzet, de westerse macht is niet meer in staat een oorlog te winnen, laat staan hun 'orde' te handhaven. Overal, van Libië tot Irak laat het Westen chaos achter. Het volk wil niet meer sterven voor het kapitalistisch imperium. Hoe nu verder? Hofland mag zijn column in De Groene Amsterdammer dan wel beginnen met de tendentieuze bewering dat tijdens 'demonstraties op de Krim het portret van Poetin [verschijnt] met een snorretje en een haarlok,' maar zelfs het Hitler-schrikbeeld blijkt vandaag de dag onvoldoende te zijn om de massa te mobiliseren, vooral ook omdat de westerse consumenten maar al te goed weten hoe ze het afgelopen decennium door de commerciële massamedia zijn belogen en bedrogen, én dat Poetin in niets wezenlijks verschilt van hun eigen machthebbers. Dit laatste verzwijgen de westerse opiniemakers, van wie de geloofwaardigheid net zo minimaal is als die van de politici die claimen de belangen van de bevolking te behartigen. Illustrerend voor hun autistisch gedrag is het feit dat de mainstream politici en journalisten pas nu beginnen te beseffen dat ze als propagandisten van het neoliberalisme uitgespeeld zijn. Een simpel maar kenmerkend voorbeeld gaf de locale krant Het Parool op woensdag 19 maart 2014 door over de hele voorpagina te melden: 'Kiezers lokken is een eitje,' met een foto van PVDA 'Burgemeester Eberhard van der Laan' die 'een eitje [flambeert]' voor een klein gezelschap yuppen dat behoort tot 'zo'n twintig BN'ers met ruim één miljoen volgers' die om niet nader toegelichte redenen '[op]roepen: ga vooral stemmen! Als dank krijgen ze een gebakken eitje van de burgemeester.' 

Maar dit soort onnozele en pathetische media-manifestaties heeft geen effect meer, het is zelfs contraproductief, het benadrukt alleen maar dat de oude propagandatechnieken zijn uitgewerkt, hoeveel eitjes zwakke burgervaders ook mogen flamberen voor bekende Nederlanders. De PVDA beleefde een 'historische nederlaag,' het einde van 65 jaar lang de grootste partij van de hoofdstad te zijn geweest. 'Een eitje.' Het weekblad Elsevier berichtte:

De opkomst in Amsterdam was 42,1 procent en lag daarmee ruim onder het verwachte landelijk gemiddelde van 53 procent en ook 10 procentpunten lager dan bij de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen in 2010.
Van iedere tien kiesgerechtigde Amsterdammers, vonden zes het niet de moeite waard om te stemmen, in de overtuiging dat in de neoliberale democratie de bevolking zelfs geen eens greep heeft op de eigen directe omgeving. 'Kiezers lokken is een eitje.' Ook landelijk gezien bleek 'de opkomst historisch laag.' Hoewel Hofland het angstvallig verzwijgt is  duidelijk waarom de zogeheten 'vaderlandslievende eerzucht en de strijdlust verloren' zijn gegaan. Hoe diep moet een ideologische opiniemaker wel niet gehersenspoeld zijn om te menen dat door een gebrek aan 'eerzucht' en 'strijdlust' de westerse bevolkingen niet bereid zijn te sterven voor een 'democratie' in Oekraïne die ze zelf niet kennen in hun eigen landen? Een betere illustratie van het feit dat Hofland evenals zijn collega's geen journalisten zijn maar ideologen is nauwelijks denkbaar. Ze weigeren te accepteren dat de meeste mensen zich steeds meer realiseren dat ze in een falende klassenmaatschappij leven, waarop ze geen enkele serieuze invloed kan uitoefenen.   Wat stelt Hoflands 'vaderlandslievende eerzucht' nu eigenlijk voor wanneer bijvoorbeeld: 

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions.

Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show.

Wat stelt Hoflands 'strijdlust' voor wanneer een handjevol mensen de macht in handen heeft, een feit dat mogelijk is gemaakt door gekozen politici, die de kloof tussen rijk en arm, macht en onmacht bewust groter laten worden? Waarom laat Hofland zich gebruiken voor de meest platte en stupide propaganda? Woensdag 8 april 2009 schreef hij als een opiniemaker van de polder-intelligentsia in zijn krant, de NRC, dat als potentiële kandidaat voor westers geweld:

Hoog op de lijst blijft Iran. Werkt het aan een kernwapen of niet? Israël blijft ervan overtuigd dat dat zo is. Daarom moet in toenemende mate rekening worden gehouden met een preventief ingrijpen, dat wil zeggen een bombardement zoals dat van 1981 op de kerninstallaties van Saddam Hoessein.

'Deep in their interiors, on deck 2 and 3, the submarines contain a secret that even in Israel is only known to a few insiders: nuclear warheads.'

Maar wat zegt dit wanneer Hofland tegelijkertijd verzwijgt dat Israel als kernwapen-staat streeft naar de hegemonie in het Midden-Oosten en daarom onderzeeërs met kernwapens voor de kust van Iran laat patrouilleren, en tegelijkertijd bereid is elke regel van het internationaal recht, waaronder de mensenrechten, te schenden, zoals onlangs weer eens bekend werd gemaakt? 

Last September (2013. svh), Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

'The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,' Oren said in the interview. 'We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.'

Oren said that was Israel’s view even if the other 'bad guys' were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Oren, who was Israel’s point man in dealing with Official Washington’s neocons, is considered very close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reflects his views. For decades, U.S. neocons have supported Netanyahu and his hardline Likud Party, including as strategists on his 1996 campaign for prime minister when neocons such as Richard Perle and Douglas Feith developed the original 'regime change' strategy. [For details, see’s 'The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.'

In other words, Israel and its U.S. neocon supporters have been willing to collaborate with extreme right-wing and even anti-Semitic forces if that advances their key geopolitical goals, such as maneuvering the U.S. government into military confrontations with Syria and Iran.

So, while it may be fair to assume that neocons like Nuland and McCain would have preferred that the Ukraine coup had been spearheaded by militants who weren’t neo-nazis – or, for that matter, that the Syrian rebels were not so dominated by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists – the neocons (and their Israeli allies) see these tactical collaborations as sometimes necessary to achieve overarching strategic priorities.

And, since their current strategic necessity is to scuttle the fragile negotiations over Syria and Iran, which otherwise might negate the possibility of U.S. military strikes against those two countries, the Putin-Obama collaboration had to go.

By spurring on the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, the neocons helped touch off a cascade of events – now including Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its annexation by Russia – that have raised tensions and provoked Western retaliation against Russia. The crisis also has made the continued Obama-Putin teamwork on Syria and Iran extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Like other neocon-engineered schemes, there will surely be much collateral damage in this latest one. For instance, if the tit-for-tat economic retaliations escalate – and Russian gas supplies are disrupted – Europe’s fragile recovery could be tipped back into recession, with harmful consequences for the U.S. economy, too.

Beloning voor een heel leven in dienst van de gevestigde orde. 'Who so hath his minde on taking, hath it no more on what he hath taken.' Montaigne, III.VI

Waarom blijft de in Nederland zo gerespecteerde 'nestor' van de polderjournalistiek, Henk Hofland, de noodzakelijke context verzwijgen die de New York Times-columnist Roger Cohen op 8 april 2009 aldus beschreef:

ISTANBUL — 'Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is in my view more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option.' Benjamin Netanyahu 2009? Try again. These words were in fact uttered by another Israeli prime minister (and now Israeli president), Shimon Peres, in 1996. Four years earlier, in 1992, he’d predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. You can’t accuse the Israelis of not crying wolf. Ehud Barak, now defense minister, said in 1996 that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004. Now here comes Netanyahu, in an interview with his faithful stenographer Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, spinning the latest iteration of Israel’s attempt to frame Iran as some Nazi-like incarnation of evil: 'You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.' […]

Every scrap of evidence suggests that, on the contrary, self-interest and survival drive the mullahs. Yet Netanyahu insists (too much) that Iran is 'a country that glorifies blood and death, including its own self-immolation.' Huh? On that ocular theme again, Netanyahu says Iran’s 'composite leadership' has 'elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist in any other would-be nuclear power in the world.' No, they exist in an actual nuclear power, Pakistan. Israel’s nuclear warheads, whose function is presumably deterrence of precisely powers like Iran, go unmentioned, of course.

Waarom probeert een hoogbejaarde man, die zichzelf ziet als onderdeel van de 'Politiek-literaire elite,' waar volgens hem geen enkele 'natie niet zonder [kan],' de geesten rijp te maken voor oorlog? In april 2010 schreef Hofland, opnieuw in De Groene Amsterdammer dat in Nederland doorgaat voor een kwaliteitstijdschrift, over 'de volgende oorlog,' waarin hij stelde dat het Amerikaanse en Israelische dreigen met geweld tegen Iran een 'vernietigende stok achter de deur' is. 'Door dit in bedwang houden van een roekeloos bewind in Teheran wordt het ertoe gedwongen beter over de consequenties na te denken en -- hopen we -- het gezond verstand te gebruiken.'

Wie is hier 'roekeloos'? Wie praat hier terrorisme goed? Als vanzelfsprekend ging Hofland als woordvoerder van het agressieve westerse establishment ervan uit dat de VS en zijn waakhond Israel het recht hebben om te dreigen met massaal geweld. Gewel tegen de burgerbevolking, want daar komt het in de praktijk op neer, is in Hofland's wereldorde een instrument om de eigen geopolitieke belangen, grondstoffen en markten, veilig te stellen. Deze Mafiose 'logica' berust op het adagium van een andere blanke man die met zijn viriliteit worstelde, namelijk president Theodore Roosevelt, een credo daterend uit de tijd toen de VS zijn overzees imperium begon: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick,' oftewel 

the idea of negotiating peacefully, simultaneously threatening with the 'big stick,' or the military, ties in heavily with the idea of Realpolitik, which implies an amoral pursuit of political power that resembles Machiavellian ideals.

In het midden 'Teddy' Roosevelt, als kolonel bij de Amerikaanse 'Rough Riders,' die Cuba veroverden.

Het enige verschil met Hofland is dat Teddy Roosevelt er met de 'Rough Riders' werkelijk erop uittrok en aan oorlogshandelingen deelnam, terwijl Hofland vanuit zijn leunstoel anderen de dood in wil sturen. Kennelijk kan testosteron bij een 86-jarige nog flink opspelen. 

In propaganda is misschien nog wel belangrijker niet wat gezegd wordt, maar waarover gezwegen wordt, feiten dus die niet bekend mogen worden omdat ze de officiële versie van de werkelijkheid weerspreken. En ook de context waarin die feiten verzwegen worden en andere feiten prominent gegeven worden mag nooit de gesanctioneerde 'waarheid' weerleggen. Hoe wankeler het systeem des te hermetischer de toegang tot de mainstream  media afgesloten wordt. Een totalitair functionerend systeem vreest elke dissidente afwijking, omdat, zoals de Franse socioloog Jacques Ellul in zijn studie Propaganda. The Formation Of Men's Attitudes (1965) benadrukte:

the democratic State will want to present itself as the carrier of its entire public opinion, and the democratic nation will want to present itself as a coherent whole. But that creates some difficulty because such desire does not correspond to a true and exact picture of democracy.

En juist op dit punt raakt een totalitair systeem ,dat alleen nog in naam een 'democratie' is, in ernstige legitimiteits-problemen, die in een dictatuur niet bestaan omdat een dictator veel minder propaganda nodig heeft dan een democratie; de dictator gebruikt geweld zodra      delen van de bevolking ongehoorzaam worden, terwijl de democratie dit niet kan omdat  dan te duidelijk wordt dat de democratie een wassen neus is. Ellul: 

Democracies have been fed on the notion that truth may be hidden for a while but will triumph in the end, that truth in itself carries an explosive force, a power of fermentation that will necessarily lead to the end of lies and the shining apparition of the true. This truth was the implicit core of the democratic doctrine. 

Maar nu een toenemend aantal burgers door de praktijk ervaart dat de democratie is uitgehold en niet functioneert begint ook de rechtvaardiging van haar neoliberale economische orde te verzwakken. De westerling beseft in toenemende mate dat de geschiedenis aantoont 'that truth can be so thoroughly snuffed out that it disappears, and that in certain periods the lie is all-powerful.' 

Zodoende is er een volstrekt andere situatie ontstaan die meer de kenmerken van het totalitarisme vertoont dan met die van een democratie. Op dat moment wordt de conclusie onontkoombaar dat de klassenmaatschappij, zoals wij die kennen, al die tijd heeft bestaan dankzij propaganda. Ellul:

Ultimately, even if one tries to maintain confidence and communion between the government and the governed, all propaganda ends up as a means by which the prevailing powers manipulate the masses. 

Godzijdank is alles eindig, dus ook de werking van  propaganda voor een bepaald systeem. De mythe die door de propaganda wordt verspreidt, blijkt ineens niet meer effectief te zijn en wordt de elite geconfronteerd met het essentiële probleem dat, zoals Jaques Ellul toelicht:

myth (an image evoking belief) can stand no dilution, no half-measures, no contradictions. One believes it or does not. The democratic myth must display this same form, incisive and coherent; it is of the same nature as other myths. In order for the myth to be effective abroad, it must not be contradicted at home. No other voice must arise at home…

Vandaar dat in een kapitalistische 'democratie' dissidente stemmen zeker in die fase gemarginaliseerd dienen te worden. De belangrijkste waarheid van de Verlichting, de eeuwige materiële vooruitgang, mag namelijk niet ter discussie staan, anders verliest de mythe onherroepelijk haar geloofwaardigheid. Tegelijkertijd geldt dat

Once democracy becomes the object of propaganda, it also becomes as totalitarian, authoritarian, ends exclusive as dictatorship,

waardoor de propaganda steeds contraproductiever wordt, en daarvan zijn we vandaag de dag getuige. Dat wil zeggen: in het Westen! Net als de Russen sinds de jaren zeventig begonnen te beseffen dat het Sovjet-systeem begon te stagneren, realiseert zich nu ook de Amerikaanse middenklasse dat de Amerikaanse Droom een op niets concreets gebaseerde mythe meer is. En ook in het Europa van Geert Mak's 'Geen Jorwerd zonder Brussel' blijft het vertrouwen in de eigen politici almaar dalen. 

Het grote gevaar is het feit dat in tegenstelling tot de Russische communistische elite, de Amerikaanse neoconservatieve elite in de regering Obama bereid is oorlog te voeren om haar imperium in stand te houden en het Europa daarin dreigt mee te trekken. Maar dit kan niet open en vrij publiekelijk besproken worden in de mainstream-media. Dat is hun taak niet. Het is de voornaamste reden waarom de zelfcensuur van de  'vrije pers' in Nederland op dit moment zo groot is dat ze niet serieus kan ingaan op de toespraak van president Poetin. De Nederlandse bevolking mag wel weten wat president Obama te melden heeft, maar Poetin's woorden zijn volstrekt taboe. Zo totalitair kan een democratie werken. Er is gelukkig internet om die censuur te doorbreken. Van de website:


Let's turn to Putin's speech and parse some of its most important segments (the full speech is available here and here and I urge everybody who has not done so yet to read it in its entirety or, better, watch the video here).

Putin's message to the world 

Predictably, Putin's speech began by discussing the recent events in Crimea including the results of the referendum. He spoke about what Crimea and Sevastopol meant for the Russian history, culture and nation, and he recalled the horrors suffered by the Tatar people during the Soviet era. He then outlined the circumstances in which Nikita Khrushchev single-handedly (and illegally) transferred Crimea from the Russian Federation to the Ukraine and how, after the fall of the Soviet Union the Ukraine suffered under the rule of corrupt leaders. And then he explained how the legitimate protests of the Ukrainian people were literally hijacked by very different and violent people: 

'I understand those who came out on Maidan with peaceful slogans against corruption, inefficient state management and poverty. The right to peaceful protest, democratic procedures and elections exist for the sole purpose of replacing the authorities that do not satisfy the people. However, those who stood behind the latest events in Ukraine had a different agenda: they were preparing yet another government takeover; they wanted to seize power and would stop short of nothing. They resorted to terror, murder and riots. Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed this coup. They continue to set the tone in Ukraine to this day (...) we can all clearly see the intentions of these ideological heirs of Bandera, Hitler’s accomplice during World War II.'

This reference to WWII is not just a politician's rhetorical exaggeration aimed at eliciting a knee-jerk reaction from the audience, it is something much more important – an unambiguous statement that today, just as during WWII, the very existence of Russia as a country, a culture and a nation was at stake. Of course, the threat to Russia does not come from a few baseball bat wielding nationalist thugs in Kiev or from the new regime in power, if only because this new regime is a complete fiction anyway: 

'It is also obvious that there is no legitimate executive authority in Ukraine now, nobody to talk to. Many government agencies have been taken over by the impostors, but they do not have any control in the country, while they themselves – and I would like to stress this – are often controlled by radicals. In some cases, you need a special permit from the militants on Maidan to meet with certain ministers of the current government. This is not a joke – this is reality. Those who opposed the coup were immediately threatened with repression.'

So where does the real danger come from and who is the real aggressor threatening Russia at least as much has Hitler did in WWII? Before answering that question, I would like to note that Putin made a rather candid admission about the so-called “polite armed men in green”. He said:

'The President of the Russian Federation received permission from the Upper House of Parliament to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine. However, strictly speaking, nobody has acted on this permission yet. Russia’s Armed Forces never entered Crimea; they were there already in line with an international agreement. True, we did enhance our forces there; however – this is something I would like everyone to hear and know – we did not exceed the personnel limit of our Armed Forces in Crimea, which is set at 25,000, because there was no need to do so.' 

So the mystery of the “polite armed men in green” is now solved: “strictly speaking” they were an “enhancement” to the Russian forces in Crimea which did not exceed the maximal total number of troops allowed by the treaty with the Ukraine. In other words, the number of Spetsnaz GRU troops sent to Crimea was within the terms of the treaty and the other forces seen were, indeed, local self-defense units and not part of the Russian military. Elegant formulation, for sure. 

Putin then quoted the position of the UN International Court and the United States on the issue of the secession of Kosovo: “General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence” (UNIC) and “ Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law” (USA) and added: 

'For some reason, things that Kosovo Albanians (and we have full respect for them) were permitted to do, Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea are not allowed. Again, one wonders why.'

Here we are getting at the core of his argument: the Empire has no other use for International Law then to use it as a fig leaf for its project of world hegemony and when that is not possible, then the Empire simply ignores it and uses brute force:

'This is not even double standards; this is amazing, primitive, blunt cynicism. One should not try so crudely to make everything suit their interests, calling the same thing white today and black tomorrow (…) After the dissolution of bipolarity on the planet, we no longer have stability. Key international institutions are not getting any stronger; on the contrary, in many cases, they are sadly degrading. Our western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you are against us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they force the necessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UN Security Council and the UN overall. (…) We understand what is happening; we understand that these actions were aimed against Ukraine and Russia and against Eurasian integration (…) we have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today. They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy. But there is a limit to everything. And with Ukraine, our western partners have crossed the line, playing the bear and acting irresponsibly and unprofessionally.'

Amazing words coming from the President of a nuclear-armed superpower: not only does he denounce the complete and total hypocrisy of the AngloZionist Empire, he even places it in the direct continuation of three centuries of anti-Russian policies by Western European powers! Not only does he denounce the Empire's double-standards, he even openly ridicules the incompetence of its leaders: 

'After all, they were fully aware that there are millions of Russians living in Ukraine and in Crimea. They must have really lacked political instinct and common sense not to foresee all the consequences of their actions. Russia found itself in a position it could not retreat from. If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this.'

Indeed, one can only wonder what in the world they were thinking in the “imperial high command” when they decided to use Nazis in the Ukraine just like they used al-Qaeda in Afghanistan: did they really think that Russia would yield yet again? Did it even have such an option? Not according to Putin:

'It is at historic turning points such as these that a nation demonstrates its maturity and strength of spirit. The Russian people showed this maturity and strength through their united support for their compatriots. Russia’s foreign policy position on this matter drew its firmness from the will of millions of our people, our national unity and the support of our country’s main political and public forces. (…) Obviously, we will encounter external opposition, but this is a decision that we need to make for ourselves. Are we ready to consistently defend our national interests, or will we forever give in, retreat to who knows where? (…) Russia will also have to make a difficult decision now, taking into account the various domestic and external considerations. What do people here in Russia think? Here, like in any democratic country, people have different points of view, but I want to make the point that the absolute majority of our people clearly do support what is happening.'

Let's sum up. Putin has now openly stated that:

1) There is no limit to the hypocrisy, lies, evil, stupidity and aggressive nature of the AngloZionist Empire.
2) That this Empire represents by its very nature an existential threat to Russia.
3) That the Russian people are united in their determination to resist this Empire.

Frankly, to me this sounds very much like a declaration of war. Not necessarily a hot war with military forces fighting each other, but something more than a Cold War in which the status quo is an acceptable option. Putin is suggesting that the next war will be a civilizational one, a cultural one and even a moral one, a war in which one side will stand for absolute rule of a cynical world hegemon and the other side for a multi-polar world in which all countries are to be subjected to the same set of rules and principles. But even more importantly than a single set of rules, the kind of international system Russia is seeking to establish is one in which each nation, culture and religion would have the actual, not just theoretical, freedom to live as it want. He clearly said so in his 2013 annual Presidential address to the Federal Assembly when he said: 

'Today, many nations are revising their moral values and ethical norms, eroding ethnic traditions and differences between peoples and cultures. Society is now required not only to recognise everyone’s right to the freedom of consciousness, political views and privacy, but also to accept without question the equality of good and evil, strange as it seems, concepts that are opposite in meaning. This destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority, which does not accept the changes occurring or the proposed revision of values. We know that there are more and more people in the world who support our position on defending traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation in every nation for thousands of years: the values of traditional families, real human life, including religious life, not just material existence but also spirituality, the values of humanism and global diversity. Of course, this is a conservative position. But speaking in the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, the point of conservatism is not that it prevents movement forward and upward, but that it prevents movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state.'

It is pretty clear that this last sentence expresses Russia's view on the level of civilizational and cultural degradation the AngloZionist Empire has imposed upon the people of Europe and the USA. Furthermore, when Putin says that “destruction of traditional values from above not only leads to negative consequences for society, but is also essentially anti-democratic, since it is carried out on the basis of abstract, speculative ideas, contrary to the will of the majority” he is clearly stating that the AngoZionist Empire is not ruled by the people which live in it, but by minorities, special interest groups, behind the scenes lobbies and cabals who impose their warped agenda upon the rest of the people. 

Again, the bottom line is this: the President of Russia has made an open declaration of war against the 1% elite which currently is in control the AngloZionist Empire. This war will be a multi-level one combining “soft power” (cultural resistance, religious resistance, informational resistance, financial and economic warfare) with “hard power” (a military ready fight the US/NATO if needed, the use of the “energy weapon” to retaliate against economic warfare). In an ironical twist of history, especially for a capitalist society which has ridiculed Marx and repudiated the concept of class warfare, this war will also profoundly be a class war in which oligarchs from different countries will support each other and in which the regular, 99%, people will work together on, for example, the “virtual battlefields” of the Internet.

The crucial battlefield: “global information operations” 

Information operations” is the term used by the US military to refer to “direct and indirect support operations for the United States Military”. Psychological operations, or PSYOPs, are seen as a subset of IO. For our purposes, however, is to extend this concept to not only military operations, but to the full spectrum of national security policies of a country and, in our case, for the “deep state” which holds the reins of power in the AngloZionist Empire. I will thus speak of Global Information Operations or GIOs the core component of which is represented the western corporate media.

For a while in my life I, like many other military analysts, made my living by, among other things, reading the Soviet press every day. Not just the Pravda or Izvestia, but also even more boring or specialized newspapers, magazines and reviews. I listen to the Soviet radio as often as I could, and I never missed a chance to watch the Soviet TV, especially the news shows. At the time I was young, very naïve and very dumb, and I sincerely believed that the Soviet Union was a mortal threat to western Europe and that the only thing which stood between them, the evil commies, and us, the free world, was the military power of the NATO alliance. Looking back at myself and the utter garbage I had in my brain then, I feel embarrassed and, frankly, ashamed of my total credulity. But at the time I was a dedicated soldier of the Cold War whose motto was “know thy enemy”. And I knew my "enemy" really, really, well. I want to explain all of the above before stating the following:

In all honesty and sincerity, I have to say here that in comparison to the modern western corporate media the Soviet press was far more pluralistic, more diverse and more trustworthy. True, the Soviet press simply did not mention certain topics, but that goes to show that, unlike the western corporate media, it did not feel that it could brazenly lie to the point where even what is obvious is categorically and totally denied. For one thing, the Soviet public was far better educated. We all, including myself, used to poke fun at the obligatory lessons in Marxism-Leninism in Soviet schools, but we overlooked that any halfway decent course in Marxism-Leninism will include topics like dialectics, historical materialism and economics: stuff that makes you think.  This is not to say that the Soviet people could not be lied to – they could and they have been – but only that the lies had to be at least halfway credible and present a plausible scenario. In contrast, for a public raised on CNN, BBC or MTV the lies need not be even capable of passing a basic common sense test (as is so vividly illustrated by the western corporate media's coverage of the 08.08.08 war or the events in the Ukraine): the Doublethink predicted by Orwell in his book 1984 is now fully upon us and black can be called white and vice-versa with no problems at all. I would even argue that, in comparison, even the Nazi Völkischer Beobachter contained more information than, say, the NYT, WSJ or the BBC whose level of brazen lying I could only compare to, maybe, the Der Stürmer.

I first noticed this absolutely unprecedented level of outright lying by the western corporate media during the US/NATO war on Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo), but I think that it has only gotten worse since. In contrast, the modern Russian press is extremely diverse and the people in Russia are regularly shown the type of coverage the current events in the Ukraine get in the western press and it leave them baffled. They simply cannot understand how this is possible in a society which externally seems to have all the characteristics of a free and pluralistic society. In the bad old days of the USSR, it was all simple: there was state censorship. But there is no state censorship in the West, no Glavlit and no Goskomizdat, and yet the western press is far more monolithic and dishonest then even the official party press in the USSR. But there is one crucial difference between the USSR and today's AngloZionist Empire: the Internet.

Simply put, the Internet is the only global media not controlled by either governments or corporations (which is really the same thing). Yes, there are numerous attempts by both governments and corporations to change this, but at least for the time being, information is circulating freely throughout the Internet. This introduced amazing changes:

1) a single citizen with a minimal income now had the means to meaningfully oppose the lies of even major corporations or governments: the case of Alain Soral in France is typical of this amazing trend.
2) the resistance to the Empire is now geographically decentralized: as this blog illustrates so well with the amazing diversity of its readers.
3) information simply cannot be suppressed: the world learned of the massacres and atrocities of the Wahabi insurgents in Syria even though the corporate media tried hard to ignore them.
4) low-level classified government documents do regularly get compromised by various individuals who can then leak it without anybody being able to stop it (Assange, Snowden, Manning).
5) an increasing number of people sever their exposure to the corporate media which now mostly subsists on government grants.
6) even those who still watch TV or read the press are aware that they are being lied to.

All this means that we live in a new reality in which the global AngloZionist Empire is now actively opposed by a global resistance which knows no borders, no nationalities and no religions: people from different countries, nations and religions stand together against a common hegemon not just in theory like in “Proletarians of all countries – unite!” slogan, but in actuality and they actively collaborate with each other.

It is to this global resistance to the Empire and its GIOs that Putin addressed his words yesterday. Sure, of course, he was primarily speaking to the people of Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine, but he was also reaching beyond, to all those, probably many millions, who would make the effort to listen to him on YouTube or read a transcript of his speech. Because, of course, all this is much bigger than just a power struggle over a relatively small peninsula in the Black Sea: yesterday, for the first time, a powerful and determined leader openly told the Empire: we know you, we understand what you are trying to do, and we are not going to let you do it. In fact, we reject everything you stand for and we will never let you rule the planet. And today, we have the means to stop you! 

Dust storms reported world wide 

I think that we are entering a new era which many of us had been hoping for for a very long time. An era when a resistance which used to be only local has finally found a leader capable not of commanding it, no, but capable of representing and inspiring it. I honestly don't think that Putin wanted that. He would have much preferred to be in the shoes of Chinese President Xi Jinping who fully supports Putin, but who prefers to avoid an open confrontation with the Empire, at least until such time when China becomes truly powerful. Iran and Hezbollah have been openly resisting for many years, but they simply did not have the means to reach much further beyond the Middle-East. As for the resistance in Latin America (Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia) it has not been able to effectively deal with more lukewarm or hesitating leaders (Brazil, Chile, Argentina) or with outright US puppet states (Colombia). If anything, the recent vote at the UNSC in which only China abstained and every other member voted against Russia goes to show that on the global scale Russia is alone and that no world leader has the courage to openly stand next to Putin.

Even though I had been following Putin's career very carefully since 1999, it took me until 2008 to fully get a sense of what this man was all about. Still, I know that a lot of people remained skeptical: was he really what he appeared to be or was he simply playing a sophisticated game of “good cop – bad cop” with Medvedev, with each of them catering to their own audience? When Russia was invited to the G8 and when it acceded to the WTO a lot of careful observers wondered whether Putin was really as "anti-Empire" as he claimed to be, or whether he was just conducting a hard bargain for better conditions inside the Empire's international system. I hope that they today these skeptics see that Putin is “for real” and that he is now the de-facto leader of the global resistance against the AngoZionist Empire.

As I have mentioned above, a lot of readers of this blog, with no personal connections to Russia at all, reported yesterday that they had listened to Putin's address with tears in their eyes. This resulted in a rather moving discussion of red-eye triggering “dust storms” reported from various parts of the world (Germany, USA, Uruguay, Austria, Canada and, of course, Russia). One anonymous poster though did not want to use a cute euphemism and simply wrote : “Here it wasn't a dust, it was just a sincere pure cry for the hope of the all humanity around the world, that we can live in peace, mutual respect , abundance and prosperity for everyone around this beautiful earth. I do believe that this is the start of the new era.” In other words: Putin – we heard you!

Conclusion – a victory which belongs to every free person 

First, let me be clear about this: what happened in Crimea is definitely a victory, but only one in a much wider war which is far from over. The first rule of warfare is to never underestimate your enemy and to never do what the French call “sell the bear's skin before having killed it”. This is far from over and if this is indeed the “beginning of the end” for the Empire, this is still only the very beginning of a long and most dangerous process. Some Empires die more or less peacefully, destroyed by economic ruin and over-reach, but others need to be defeated in an orgy of violence. Though on my bad days I sometimes daydream about seeing a private of the Russian army plant a Russian flag on the Capitol as Meliton Kantaria did over the Reichstag, I don't think that this would be much of a cause for joy in the midst of a nuclear winter. So the task is to bring down the Empire without bringing down the rest of the planet with it.

Those parts of the planet which have been “liberated” (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Iran, etc.) need to resist, if needed by force, and remain free. Those parts which are still fought over (Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, etc.) need to continue their struggle, as for the rest of the world it needs to continue its non-violent, ideological and informational resistance against the Empire and it's lies. We can use the well-known image of a swarm of bees attacking a large animal – individually the bees can do little, but in a coordinated attack they can defeat and even kill the much larger animal.

In the meantime, yes, we can rejoice over our common victory this week and paraphrase the words of Hassan Nasrallah in his absolutely beautiful “Divine Victory” speech and say: “We feel that we won; Russia won; Crimea won; the Slavic nations won, and every oppressed, aggrieved person in this world also won. It is not the victory of a party or a community; rather it is a victory for true Russia, the true European people, and every free person in the world. Don’t distort this big historic victory. Do not contain it in party, sectarian, communal, or regional clans. This victory is too big to be comprehended by us”.

There is a song about war as a metaphor for any resistance to evil and brutality which is very popular in Russia called “A toast to” which has the following words: (see home-made music video here)

Let's toast to life, come on brother, until the end
Let's toast to those who were with us then

Let's toast to life, and may all wars be accursed!

We'll remember those
Who were with us then. 

A toast to them, a toast to us

And to Siberia and the Caucasus
To light of distant cities
And to friendship and to love
A toast to you, a toast for us,
To the Airborne Troops and the Spetsnaz
To combat decorations
Let's lift a toast, my old friend! 

In the same spirit, I toast to you, all my readers and friends in the resistance, and I wish you courage and steadfastness in the long struggle ahead.  But today, let us celebrate indeed!

The Saker

Meer Later. Dan vooral ook het mens- en wereldbeeld van Marina Warner.