By Caitlin Johnstone
January 31, 2023
If you say you oppose Russia because you're an anti-imperialist but you don't oppose the US empire for its role in starting and perpetuating this war, then you're a liar. You don't oppose Russia because you're an anti-imperialist, you oppose Russia because you're an imperialist.
The only people who say "Putin can end this war at any time by withdrawing" are those who deny the US empire's aggressions which led to this conflict, which is just a nonsense garbage position based on lies. They don't actually want peace, they just want victory for the empire. The real unbiased position which supports peace is wanting both Russia and the western empire to begin engaging in diplomacy, de-escalation and detente to end this war. But empire simps will call you treasonously biased if you support anything other than total Russian defeat.
This dopey propaganda-addled notion that the west did nothing wrong and Putin attacked Ukraine solely because he is evil and hates freedom actually prevents peace from happening. If one side only acknowledges the reality of the aggressions of the other side, peace is impossible. If you don't understand how a war was started and perpetuated, then you can't understand how peace can be started and perpetuated. The empire deliberately works to prevent the public from obtaining this understanding, because the empire wants war.
It's not okay for grown adults to act like Putin is just running around invading countries willy nilly because he's a crazed madman. You've got a whole internet of information at your fingertips. Use it.
It's impossible to overstate how much our society is shaped by the fact that those who are given the most influence and the largest platforms will experience our status quo systems as working very nicely and have a vested interest in preserving those systems which benefit them. The media-owning, culture-manufacturing class of the super-wealthy elevates people to wealth and celebrity who look like they will be good protectors of their class interests. Those people will necessarily speak fondly of the status quo political systems which let them be rich.
These are the people who put on all the shows, movies and music almost everyone consumes, thereby engineering mainstream culture to the benefit of the super wealthy. It shapes the way the people think, speak, act and vote. What they feel entitled to. What they think is possible.
A rich celebrity who makes millions of dollars a year in a fun, easy and egoically gratifying job is not going to be spotlighting all the lives who are being destroyed by the status quo systems which elevated them. They're not going to favor the revolutionary changes that are needed. They're not going to be calling for a massive, sweeping overhaul of the systems which are crushing ordinary people to death and creating widespread misery; at most they're going to be telling you to vote Democrat or Republican and quibbling about minor disagreements on tax rates. But these are the people with the loudest voices in our society - not just the loudest, but many orders of magnitude more amplified and influential than the voices of the ordinary people who are suffering under existing systems. These loudly-amplified rich celebrities shape and direct mainstream culture.
This dynamic plays such a massive role in hiding from mainstream attention the ways our status quo systems are exploiting, oppressing and abusing people while killing our biosphere and pushing us toward nuclear annihilation, that it's hard to wrap your mind around how far it goes. The way everyone's thinking about the world is so pervasively informed by perspectives that are favorable to the status quo prevents them from even noticing how bad things are for everyone else. It's widely assumed that if you're struggling in this mess, it's because of your own failures. If any media you turn on depicts people who are doing basically fine and are content with the way things are while you're barely able to keep your head above water, the take-home message is that the problem is with you, not with our systems. That you are what needs to change.
The failings of the status quo are hidden in mainstream culture, and people aren't permitted to consider the possibility that there might be a better way for things to be. People don't know, and they don't know that they don't know. They're kept in the dark about what's possible.
People are like, "Oh yeah right Caitlin, it's ALWAYS America's fault. You're always blaming the US for every conflict, just because it runs a globe-spanning empire which dominates the planet with violence and coercion and works continuously to keep all the other countries subjugated to it."
They're like, "Right, right, blame EVERYTHING on the violent unipolar planetary hegemon."
It's a lot like saying, "Okay sure we're trapped in a room with a tiger, and sure we keep getting eaten, and yes your leg is missing and you've got a large bite out of your torso, but you can't blame ALL of that on the tiger. It's not fair. Some of it might be Steve's fault. Steve's kind of a jerk."
People whose opinions are grounded in facts and logic don't need to resort to accusing those who disagree with them of being secret agents working for foreign governments.
"Senator Cruz, like you, I am, and I think the administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea."
Most people on this planet couldn't give a shit who governs Crimea, but one small group insists we risk every life in existence on earth - every bee, every frog, every tree, every child - for their current t-shirt-of-the-week issue. It's so arrogant.
It's one thing to draw a line and say "The world must never let anyone cross this point, even if it means risking nuclear armageddon." It's quite another to make that line something as trivial as the question of who governs Crimea. It's not legitimate to risk all life over that. This is especially true because the US empire provoked this war and because even the Crimeans themselves prefer to be Russian. But even if none of that was the case, it still wouldn't be legitimate for the US empire to risk the lives of people in Africa or South America by backing an offensive on Crimea.
The correct response to anyone who supports this is "Who the fuck do you think you are? Who the fuck are you to risk the life of every human and non-human life on this planet over an issue only a tiny fraction of the world cares one whit about?"
All these armchair warriors saying "We need to be brave and take a stand!" are willing to gamble billions of lives who do not consent to being gambled over a war they're not even fighting in. All while refusing to deeply contemplate what nuclear war would entail. They're the worst kind of cowards.
I just want the rapidly rising threat of nuclear war to be treated, reported on, and discussed like the supremely important issue that it is. It's the single most important matter in the world and it just gets casually mentioned here and there like it's just another issue.
It's actually a huge problem that nobody wants to talk about the single most important issue in the world and everyone acts like you're a crazy hysterical idiot for pointing out the very real ways we're moving closer to that very real possibility. I've been writing about the growing risk of nuclear war for years and people have been calling me a delusional lunatic and a Putin puppet the entire time, meanwhile we've demonstrably and indisputably been seeing massive steps toward that outcome and it's still being dismissed.
Even if you believe that all this nuclear brinkmanship is justified and good, you still need to fully acknowledge the reality of the risk and the unfathomable horrors that it would unleash upon our world. And you need to do it with all the respect and solemnity the subject deserves.
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