We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

There can be no more questions from Western partner nations about the long-term prospects for Ukrainian victory on the battlefield, which should help guarantee continued large-scale support throughout what promises to be a very economically and politically difficult winter. The Ukrainian government will now be highly resilient against Russian-sponsored narratives that aim to undermine domestic faith in the Zelenskyy government. The Russian leadership faces very awkward questions about its decision to invade and the way in which it has conducted the war, and has also lost any semblance of a bargaining position to try and compel Ukraine to negotiate a settlement that might lock in some Russian gains. Finally, in the all-important area of morale, Ukrainian troops will be going into a muddy, cold and dangerous winter period with confidence in their victory, while Russian troops must come to terms with a major defeat, heavy losses, the obvious lies of their leaders, and fear of what the Spring will bring.

Justin Bronk

52 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    If Mr Putin does not win the war this winter, he is out – and “out” means dead.

    This means that he will pull out the stops – cut off all energy supplies to the Ukraine, by shutting off imports and destroying domestic Ukrainian energy production.

    No gas, no coal, no electricity for Ukraine – that will be his aim.

  • Paul Marks

    Come to think of it – Mr Putin’s aim for Ukraine (no gas, no coal, no oil) is oddly similar to the policy of former Prime Minister Johnson in relation to the United Kingdom.

    If Mr Putin had a competent propaganda machine (he does not) he might be able to package his war on the Ukrainian people as a “A Net Zero incentive to combat Climate Change”.

    However, there is a difference – at least in theory former Prime Minister Johnson was pro nuclear power, whereas Mr Putin will seek to cut off all nuclear power to the Ukraine.

    I doubt that Mr Putin will target solar cells and wind turbines – as he knows they are not very important (other than as expert earners for his ally the People’s Republic of China – which makes them). Making electric batteries is terrible for the environment – but that would get us off topic.

  • Mr Ed

    If Mr Putin had a competent propaganda machine (he does not) he might be able to package his war on the Ukrainian people as a “A Net Zero incentive to combat Climate Change”.

    says the man who has fretted for years about Russia Today’s influence: 🙂 The times, they are a’changing! (and that is a brilliant observation, perhaps his finest).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What strikes me as very clear is that Russia has no real equivalent of a West Point or Sandhurst. There appears to be little in the way of intelligent military doctrine, of encouragement of initiative. All the basics of good combat are poor or missing: management of supply lines, co-ordination of armour, artillery and infantry; use of reconnaissance; integration of air power, decent rations and rapid medical care, etc. It’s been a shit-show of Biblical proportions.

    Without nukes, Russia has little to worry the West with. And it also shows that a strong reservist force, well led and motivated, can achieve a lot.

    I am going to be bemused when all the Putin apologists (“It was NATO’s fault”; “At least he is not woke”, or “Ukraine has also been corrupt”) try and spin this clusterfuck.

  • john in cheshire

    What is the benefit to the UK, the USA, NATO and the EU in having a war with Russia?
    What is the point of emasculating and impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine?

  • …well led and motivated

    That is an important factor. If you invade someone else’s country they are highly motivated to kick you out with a bloody nose. The invading troops will never have the same level of motivation.

  • A lowly, lowly cook

    Perhaps if the Russians studied the Western Front as well as the Eastern Front of WW2 they wouldn’t have been left with no reserves to intervein in case of a breakthrough. Then again, leaving vulnerable supply lines to be defended by ill equipped and motivated allies would is not something recommended by a reading of the war on the Eastern Front.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    John in Cheshire: “What is the point of emasculating and impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine?”

    Depends on short-term costs versus long-term benefits, is my guess. Short term, sanctions hurt the West, if not as much as they hurt Russia (don’t be fooled by the propaganda – Russia’s economy is in dire straits), but the benefit of resisting a thug who targets neighbouring countries, and showing that such thuggery can be resisted, is valuable for the wider, hopefully rules-based order that the UK and other countries benefit from. Had Putin got away with decapitating the leadership of Kviv and installed some puppet, then the Baltics would be next; then Moldova, and maybe he’d start screwing around with Poland, and so forth. And China would have taken that as a sign that invading Taiwan was a credible adventure. Now, it seems, not so much.

    For years, the standard narrative, heard as much on the Right as on parts of the Left, is that the West (a term not strictly geographical, since it includes places such as Australia, Singapore and Japan) was finished, and that all the cool cats were betting on China and Russia. And Putin was liked because he was this white Caucasian macho bloke riding a horse, mean to the whole supposed “woke” agenda, cozied up to the Orthodox Church, and so on. He was “old school”. The Pat Buchanans, Tucker Carlsons and others loved what he was selling, even if his goons poisoned folk in English cathedral towns and bumped off journalists.

    It is good when regimes such as this get resisted. That is emphatically not an excuse for the failures and missteps of the West; it is not an excuse for the near-criminal reliance by Germany, in particular, on Russian energy, and Berlin’s corrupt relations with Gazprom and all the rest of it. But as the writer Stephen Kotkin has pointed out, those writing off the liberal democratic nations of the West are not the hard-bitten “realists” they think they are. That’s a good result from what is happening right now.

    Long live Ukraine!

  • What is the point of emasculating … ourselves for Ukraine? (john in cheshire, September 11, 2022 at 7:04 pm)

    I don’t think that word means what you think it does. 🙂

  • john in cheshire

    Neil Kilmartin – I think it does.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What is the point of emasculating and impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine?

    I like Johnathan’s answer to this (with a few qualifications).
    But there are at least 3 other possible answers:

    * We aren’t impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine: the “Biden” admin is impoverishing us for Russia.
    And you have to be a fantasist to think that resisting aggression means “emasculating” oneself.

    * Just because you don’t see the point of supporting Ukraine, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.
    Why do you think that the Scholz govt is repudiating bipartisan German policies on energy and defense, switching to policies that Trump recommended?

    * Just look at a physical map of Europe.

  • Chester Draws

    So now actively opposing tyranny is emasculation?

    So did Churchill emasculate Britain by not surrendering to the Nazis? Because that does seem to be your logic. He spent all that money and wasted all those lives for little gain for Britain — indeed they left the war weaker than they entered it.

    Sometimes we do good things despite the pain.

  • What is the point of emasculating and impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine?

    Emasculating ourselves requires acquiescing to Russia moving its borders westwards. And we are not opposing Russia “for Ukraine”, it is a confluence of interests. We are doing so to because preventing Russian imperial expansion is very much in our interests even if you are incapable of see that.

  • Steven R

    What is the benefit to the UK, the USA, NATO and the EU in having a war with Russia?
    What is the point of emasculating and impoverishing ourselves for Ukraine?

    If nothing else, it’s the ultimate live-fire test of the arms and equipment the military-industrial complex has been developing since the end of the Gulf War.

    So if you have shares of General Dynamics or BAE Systems or Raytheon it’s all good.

  • John

    Paul you mentioned, winter. Given what we know about Russian army’s skills re logistics
    I would not want to be a Russian grunt stuck somewhere in a bombed out waste with crap food facing winter in a ‘ discount tent’

  • bobby b

    “And Putin was liked because he was this white Caucasian macho bloke riding a horse, mean to the whole supposed “woke” agenda, cozied up to the Orthodox Church, and so on. He was “old school”. The Pat Buchanans, Tucker Carlsons and others loved what he was selling, even if his goons poisoned folk in English cathedral towns and bumped off journalists.”

    Wow. We are racist “Putin lovers.” There’s some deep analysis. Nuanced. Insightful. Woke, even.

  • Bobby, I think Tucker Carlson is not a bad cultural critic (I have quoted him many times), but to say he was naïve about the likes of Putin & Orban is masterly understatement. Frankly I would say the same about Nigel Farage.

  • bobby b

    “I think Tucker Carlson is not a bad cultural critic (I have quoted him many times), but to say he was naïve about the likes of Putin & Orban is masterly understatement.”

    Oh, I agree completely with what you just said.

  • Paul Marks

    I missed out one important target (which is stupid of me as I have been thinking about it for a long time) – that I am sure that Mr Ed and Perry (and others) are well aware of.

    The hydroelectric dam some miles above Kiev.

    The Russian forces took control of the pumping stations in the early stages of the war – but the Ukrainian forces recaptured the area.

    I remember as a young person (even I was young once) being astonished that the Americans never blew up the dams in North Vietnam – USAF attacks were on the pumping stations (a much more difficult target) not the dams themselves – which could have been easily destroyed.

    The same is true in the case of Ukraine – the dams on the river (creating the great lake) some miles up from Kiev could be easily destroyed – cutting off electrical power and causing flooding. How much flooding is contested – but it would be considerable, hitting Kiev hard.

    But Mr Putin, in over six months of war, does not seem to have thought of this – or some other obvious tactics.

    I am, again, baffled – perhaps Perry can explain the thinking (if the word “thinking” can even be applied) of Mr Putin.

    War is not a game – but Mr Putin seems to still be thinking like a state security official, murdering some person in a back street, or torturing some individual in a cellar, rather than a large-scale commander engaged in the destruction of an enemy population. Mr Putin claims to be a student of World War II – but he does not even seem to be aware that the Royal Air Force destroyed large scale dams in Germany – causing great damage to German industry (the military rests on the economy – lesson number one).

    Of course, from a moral point of view, the whole of Mr Putin’s war is evil – but he does not seem to have a serious plan to win the war (by cutting off all energy supplies and destroying the Ukrainian state by massive floods and so on) – so he is not only evil, Mr Putin is also stupid.

    Even the Mongols in the 13th century could have worked this out – they would have destroyed the dams above Kiev (and many other obvious targets) long ago. Yet Mr Putin, in the 21st century, seems to be blind to obvious targets.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Bobby, keep your hair on. It was pretty clear to me (and to anyone not being willfully dishonest) that there is a strain on the Right that gives a pass to Putin, excusing his actions because he was seen as sticking it to various causes they disliked (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not). You might as well deny that as deny that today is Monday.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Chester Draws: So did Churchill emasculate Britain by not surrendering to the Nazis? Because that does seem to be your logic. He spent all that money and wasted all those lives for little gain for Britain — indeed they left the war weaker than they entered it.

    Peter Hitchens – who has opposed the West’s support for Ukraine – and a few others I know on the far right and even less nuttier bits of it – have argued that the UK should not have gone to war in 1939 to defend Poland or at least not at that point, and should have played for time. And I have seen him and others argue that the UK’s loss of the its empire, hastened by WW2 (the Empire was on its way out anyway) was an argument against war and for neutrality. This argument of course makes the mistake of assuming certain counterfactuals; it ignores that a Eurasia dominated by Hitler/Stalin set-up would have taken far longer to collapse or degrade, that it would have been morally shameful of Britain not to draw some sort of line.

    My view on Ukraine is that it is the right thing for the UK to do to give what support it can to Ukraine, and it looks as if much of that support has been effectively used.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Also Bobby, you said “we are `Putin lovers'”. What makes you think my comment was aimed specifically at you?

  • Johnathan Pearce (London) (September 12, 2022 at 8:40 am) I prefer Perry’s response to bobby b (Perry de Havilland (London), September 12, 2022 at 1:15 am).

    Let me first present an example in another area, and then draw the analogy.

    Example: consider the King.

    – As Charles, Prince of Wales in the 1980s and after, he worked to oppose the fashionable concrete-brutalism-cum-hate-the-past architectural woke of his day, and had a real impact (I’ve read his book, which is well written). The architectural establishment fought back with a TV series on ‘Nazi’ architecture, followed by direct accusations the prince was advocating “Nazi/fascist architecture”, etc..

    – More recently, the prince has warned of the dangers of ‘Global Warming’ (his particular warning timed out in January of last year).

    This is an example of a general rule:

    Everyone is right-wing about what they know.

    The prince’s tastes are artistic, not scientific, and his upbringing included an excellent education in classical architecture and art generally. This builds on his natural talent in that area. By contrast, he has no scientific background and so is believing and repeating what he is told. (To use a most appropriate formulation, he is badly advised. 🙂 )

    Drawing the analogy: bobby b was perfectly frank with us back in February to the effect that he – and many he knew or listened to – knew very little about the Ukraine before the war started. They knew it was a place Biden used for money laundering, but not much else. I wrote long comments back then that this was true of westerners generally. Accidents of history means that many did not have a deep understanding of the Ukraine as a separate state the way they knew Poland was a separate state although Poland too spent centuries being parts of other states. In the case of Tucker et al, this very widespread ignorance of the Ukraine could not help but coexist with widespread knowledge of Biden’s self-serving, phoney and equivocal response to the crisis. (In the UK, many were helped by the Ukraine being one of Boris’ more sincere and unequivocal acts; I think the opposite was just as obvious in the U.S.)

    Which is why I prefer Perry’s summary, praising Tucker in his area of knowledge, and understand bobby b reaction to Jonathan’s. Everyone is right wing (or at least, unwoke) about what they know.

    HTH

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    “Drawing the analogy: bobby b was perfectly frank with us back in February to the effect that he – and many he knew or listened to – knew very little about the Ukraine before the war started. They knew it was a place Biden used for money laundering, but not much else. I wrote long comments back then that this was true of westerners generally. Accidents of history means that many did not have a deep understanding of the Ukraine as a separate state the way they knew Poland was a separate state although Poland too spent centuries being parts of other states. In the case of Tucker et al, this very widespread ignorance of the Ukraine could not help but coexist with widespread knowledge of Biden’s self-serving, phoney and equivocal response to the crisis. (In the UK, many were helped by the Ukraine being one of Boris’ more sincere and unequivocal acts; I think the opposite was just as obvious in the U.S.)”

    Ignorance is an excuse up to a point, but that also lets certain people off too lightly. (Geographic proximity plays its part, but in the age of instant communications, that is less the case now than a few decades ago.) I don’t know Ukraine as well as some here (Perry, and occasional commenters such as Michael Jennings). My main knowledge of Ukraine was from history (I am a history nut, and have read quite a bit about Ukraine and the changes post-1990), and from a mate who used to run an IT business in Kharkiv, and from a venture capitalist who is based there and now a member of the reservist forces. (I also know a few people involved in relief efforts, such as Tom Palmer of the CATO Institute, and others who prefer not to be named). I am a middle-aged chap who is a bit of a history nerd, likes to travel and is interested in what goes on. So I think it might even be a bit condescending to some people to say they argue from ignorance. Maybe initial reactions can be silly, and it is true that in my experience, some Americans see everything, and I mean EVERTHING, from the perspective of whether it shows Trump or Biden are evil or whatever. In the UK, and other parts of the world, this sort of bias can be an issue. Some people see everything via the perspective of Brexit, and whether that was a wise thing for the UK or not.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London) (September 12, 2022 at 10:37 am), while there are many subjects where prior ignorance is an excuse, and wilful ignorance is not, in this particular case my point is less about ignorance as an excuse than about ignorance as an alternative explanation.

    Putin was liked because he was this white Caucasian macho …

    Ex-KGB guys have a very marked tendency to be white caucasians, but back in the days when KGB guys were not yet ‘ex’, neither the left’s willingness to take money from them nor the right’s dislike of them seemed affected by their lack of racial diversity. Little knowledge of the Ukraine and all too sufficient knowledge of Biden’s corruption were a sufficient alternative explanation for me. That was my point.

    BTW, while I disclaim any Trump/Biden or Leave/Remain motive to this discussion, I’ll plead guilty to finding yet another accusation of old-fashioned racism not just supererogatory (and not just almost certainly wrong as regards anyone that matters, even given that) but also tedious. It would be fair enough to say that that feeling also made a bond of sympathy with bobby b.

    You clearly have a degree of knowledge of the Ukraine that counts as considerable by western standards. We are lucky to have several such on this blog.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I like Johnathan’s comment @8:40am because it raises the question: exactly who did bobby have in mind when he wrote “we”? (In: We are racist “Putin lovers.” @12:41am.)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Little knowledge of the Ukraine and all too sufficient knowledge of Biden’s corruption were a sufficient alternative explanation for me

    Well maybe. I suspect that for a lot of commentators in the US, their only knowledge of Ukraine was the Hunter Biden episode. Oh, and that attractive blonde woman with the stylish hairdo and the Orange Revolution thing. To be fair, in the UK we are little better on this and other subjects.

    But back to my point and my swipe at some who have tended to give Putin a pass, I do sense a sort of “well at least he’s not a woke wanker” sort of appeal, at least in some parts.

  • Snorri Godhi (September 12, 2022 at 1:33 pm), bobby b can answer for himself but FWIW I understood the ‘we’ to be sarcastic. Johnathan’s sentence is in the passive voice

    Putin was liked because he was this white Caucasian macho

    That implies a ‘they’ who were liking Putin for that reason and because he was unwoke (i.e presented himself as being unwoke – as I indicated above, back in the days when he was KGB, not ex-KGB, he was likely one of those funding the woke of back then).

    I read bobby b as mocking this interpretation, and understandably treating himself (by the word ‘we’) as one of those traduced by it, not because he ever praised Putin here (my memory from March and after is of bobby b noting his limited knowledge of Ukraine and asking questions – to which I and others happily wrote prolix answers 🙂 ) but because he (and others he knew) were the real group who were thus caricatured as easy marks for any white caucasian macho.

    Perry’s “naïve about the likes of Putin” was given the OK by bobby. As one of the founding fathers said,

    “What is right in Pittsburg may be wrong in Paris and absurd in St Petersburg.”

    A rule of thumb that starts from a knowledge of how corrupt Biden is may lead to sense in understanding a US event (this one, for example) yet lead you astray in the Ukraine.

    Bobby b will of course please to correct me if my interpretation was not his.

    In closing, I should note that maybe Johnathan’s reference to ‘white caucasian macho’ may have been something of a throwaway line which has now been put under a microscope. As I said, I am apt to growl when accusations of racism appear, having seen too much too cynical exploitation of same elsewhere.

  • Snorri Godhi

    bobby b can answer for himself but FWIW I understood the ‘we’ to be sarcastic.

    Of course bobby’s reply was sarcastic: as little as i know of bobby, i cannot imagine that it was meant literally. I still don’t know what “we” means: does it include all opponents of supporting Ukraine?

    I shouldn’t think that all such opponents have the same motivation. A plausible motivation that has not been mentioned is the instinctive, ‘knee-jerk’ “anti”-war stance of many American libertarians.

  • bobby b

    First, thanks to Niall K. I think you’ve analyzed my thinking better than I could have myself, as usual. Now I’ll see if I can bollix it all up even worse.

    There are two ways I could see to interpreting what JP said. One, he was speaking of the Buchanan/Carlson cohort in the main, but named them late in his comment, or, two, he was speaking of all those who have tried to include within the conversation concepts such as the clumsy NATO breaking of promises, the past few decades of Ukraine dealings with the West – all of the warts of Ukraine – and then just named those two incidentally, as examples.

    I read it as the latter. I think that is consistent with the way this conversation has gone over months. I read it as, you’re either opposed to Putin or you support and admire him. (I think PdH was reading it with the first interpretation. It was a defensible statement if read that way, which is why I couldn’t disagree with PdH’s reply.)

    And, in my interpretation of what JP said, if you fail to lay every bit of blame exclusively on Putin’s shoulders, you do so because you are a white Christian supremacist, a racist religious bigot. (And you really like big white horses, which I’m not quite sure how to interpret.)

    I lack any personal connection to this mess, and much historical context. I bow to the better historical knowledge of many here – to most here. Certainly to JP’s knowledge.

    But I think one can be convinced of the evil ambition of a Putin, and still want to understand how the bear got poked this time. There seems to have been plenty of bear-poking preceding this open conflict, and while it may not have been driven by the same pure badness of a Putin, it still seems to have been stupid and venal and ambitious in its own right. And I think we do well to try to understand it.

    I’m tired of any questioning of someone’s cant being shot down as driven by racism and sexism and homophobia and any other insecurities one might name. It’s a cheap and dishonest way to stop discussion.

    Yes, Putin aims to take over the world. Yes, he is a bad man. Yes, I hope he loses this fight, big time. (Sad in a way that I even feel the need to point these things out, but that’s the way this conversation has flowed.) But that ought not preclude a discussion of how we’ve blown our own reactions to him. And we have blown things, badly, in this regard. I think we could have kept Putin within his own borders with different, more honorable, actions over the past decade.

    But supposedly, I think this because I’m a white racist, a Christian crusader, a bigot.

    It’s cancel culture, in a libertarian blog. It’s jingoism. It’s aimed at anyone who says “yes, but . . . ” in reaction to pure cheerleading.

    I try to take into account that personal connections to this tragedy can excuse a lot of intemperance. Not everything can be discussed dispassionately. We’re human. But that includes me. If you call me a prick, do I not bleed? (Wait, did I get that quote wrong . . . ?) 😉

  • bobby b

    “I still don’t know what “we” means: does it include all opponents of supporting Ukraine?”

    Part of my problem is that I don’t know what “we” meant. Perhaps I merely misread his target.

    But even if I did, I doubt T Carlson would have been motivated to Putin-love by racism.

  • But even if I did, I doubt T Carlson would have been motivated to Putin-love by racism.

    Agreed, very much doubt that. My guess is a binary world view that has difficulty internalising “the enemy of my enemy is sometimes also my enemy”, leading him to want, even need, to see Putin (and Orban) as allies against the Woke tides drowning western civilisation.

  • bobby b

    “In closing, I should note that maybe Johnathan’s reference to ‘white caucasian macho’ may have been something of a throwaway line which has now been put under a microscope”

    Another statement with which I cannot disagree. It perturbed me partially because it (or my interpretation of it) seemed out of character for the writer. Maybe I should have given him more of the benefit of the doubt there?

    I’m guessing that this racism hysteria is more advanced here in the US than in other places, but it pervades everything, and needs to be taken into consideration in every discussion. A few days ago, I disagreed with a weatherman’s prediction for the next day. A younger person threw out the comment that I might have believed him if he had been white. ?! Earlier, I had been called a racist because I was wearing a cowboy hat. Again, ?! There’s just no escaping it over here.

    So perhaps I should apologize to JP for taking a throwaway comment so much to heart?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Since Perry mentioned Orban (twice), let me point out that here in Estonia there are people who do not think of him as a Putinist, who claim

    A. that Orban is opposed to sanctions only wrt energy (which is moot, since it is Putin who is cutting the supply) and otherwise “clearly in line with NATO allies”

    and

    B. that Orban is a jolly good chap who believes that a solution can only be found by negotiations between Russia and the US of A (which i would find an outrageous notion even if the US had a President capable of negotiating).

    Here is my source. You have to go to the last section of the article to read about Orban.

    Note that opinion A was provided by Eva-Maria Liimets (Center Party), while opinion B was provided by Mart Helme (EKRE). I’ll add what little info i can give about those parties on request.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I’m guessing that this racism hysteria is more advanced here in the US than in other places, but it pervades everything, and needs to be taken into consideration in every discussion.

    I have a lot of sympathy for bobby here; not because i have been called a racist (as far as i remember), but because i felt gaslighted, in different ways, for most of my life.

    Earlier, I had been called a racist because I was wearing a cowboy hat.

    I myself like to wear an all-leather cowboy hat, when it is not too hot for it, or not cold enough to need something warmer (covering my ears).

  • bobby b (September 12, 2022 at 8:36 pm and September 12, 2022 at 9:43 pm), I have a huge collection of *IsRacist links, some of which I list at the end of the third-last paragraph in The soft bigotry of low expectations is getting harder. However DoubtingTheWeatherForecastIsRacist and WearingCowboyHatIsRacist are new to me. 🙂

    But I think one can be convinced of the evil ambition of a Putin, and still want to understand how the bear got poked this time.

    The bear was not poked but provoked – by western weakness. Obama gets caught on mic saying he can be more flexible after the election – Putin invades the Crimea. Biden flees Afghanistan and urges Putin to pretty-please just take a bit of the the Ukraine, not all – Putin invades the Ukraine. In the years between, Trump looks dangerous – so Putin looks less so.

    Putin and Biden have a common lie to support:

    Putin that he invaded because the US looked active, not because it looked pathetically weak; Biden that he caused Putin concern, not contempt

    (The above is a minimal edit of a line in “If he were killing a mouse, he would know how to make it seem like a dragon”.)

    Tucker et al assume Biden is lying to them over the Ukraine – and they are quite right, he is, just not quite in the way a verb like ‘poked’ implies. It’s not merely that

    the enemy of my enemy is sometimes also my enemy (Perry de Havilland (London), September 12, 2022 at 8:55 pm)

    The enemy of my enemy sometimes, for his own reasons, tells me the same lies as my enemy.

    Ever since he felt his power was sufficiently consolidated, Putin has wanted to do this. The west’s merely deterrent role far eclipses any acts of ‘poking’. Obama’s role, and Biden’s far more, was to invite contempt for western power – to provoke, not to poke. But of course, no more than Biden and Obama does Putin want to explain it like that.

  • John

    Dear expert wankers ‘🙃

    Putin and his crew are dead men walking.
    The Russians have literally no succession plans at all.
    .
    Where does it go from here…

  • Gerryireland

    This is quite an interesting discussion thread. I hope it isn’t too late to comment?

    The way I read this, Jonathan Pearce is attempting to caricature a particular strand of US opinion. In my opinion he maybe doesn’t do this very well, but I think I understand what that particular viewpoint is, having interacted with a lot of people who represent it online.

    I would call it the conspiracy theorist viewpoint of world history and political events. It is represented perfectly by people like Vox Day who will support the enemies of the west to the nth degree because they assume that the west is irretrievably corrupt and evil. It is a strange way to view the world. But is surprisingly common online.

    I think that it certainly does serve the interests of the enemies of the west, and is a dangerous propaganda weapon against freedom and in favour of authoritarian control.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Putin has failed – he must go.

    As for what happens then – not being an “expert wanker”, I do not know.

    “Taking a step without knowing where it will lead is very dangerous” – so it is, but sometimes one must take that step anyway.

    I repeat – Mr Putin must go.

  • bobby b

    Gerryireland
    September 13, 2022 at 11:08 am

    “It is represented perfectly by people like Vox Day who will support the enemies of the west to the nth degree because they assume that the west is irretrievably corrupt and evil. It is a strange way to view the world. But is surprisingly common online.”

    I read VD, too, partially because he’s interesting and partially because it’s good to know what such people are thinking, out of caution. (It was a shame when he hid away his commenters. Such fun.)

    But I know plenty of people who one would expect to be his main audience, and I’ve run into none that seem to share his views.

    So I always wonder – is his viewpoint common, or just loud?

  • Gerryireland

    His particular viewpoint? I guess it is limited to his particular fans and followers. I don’t read his blog regularly but do check it from time to time.

    But that general approach to how the world works is exceedingly common on Twitter, telegram, matrix, gab, and so on.

    I don’t know where it has come from and I don’t think VD originated it, just that he is a perfect example of it.

    I think it is related to the general tide of ethno nationalism amongst the young that started in the 2010s in Europe and particularly the US. I don’t know where the conspiracy theory stuff fits in but it is certainly a huge strand of that belief system.

  • It is represented perfectly by people like Vox Day who will support the enemies of the west to the nth degree because they assume that the west is irretrievably corrupt and evil. It is a strange way to view the world. But is surprisingly common online.

    That is the Red-Brown convergence that once again makes a mockery of the Left-Right paradigm: an intersection of Rothbardian ‘libertarians’, ‘Free thinker’ contrarians (like the vastly overrated Peter Hitchens), assorted impeccably non-woke tankies, paleo-racists, and actual non-figurative fascist nationalists, all united by what they hate the most. They like Putin because he is impeccably non-woke, it really is that banal.

    And another thing they share is a radial lack of nuance making them incapable of forming moral theories that do not end up somewhere monstrous. There are indeed moral absolutes, but that doesn’t mean every moral choice is an absolute one.

    The Ukrainian army is breaking their hearts at the time of writing and that makes me inordinately happy.

  • Snorri Godhi

    That is the Red-Brown convergence that once again makes a mockery of the Left-Right paradigm: an intersection of Rothbardian ‘libertarians’, ‘Free thinker’ contrarians (like the vastly overrated Peter Hitchens), assorted impeccably non-woke tankies, paleo-racists, and actual non-figurative fascist nationalists, all united by what they hate the most.

    Why don’t you tell us what you really think, Perry 🙂
    I think that you forgot the neo-monarchists.
    (And btw what is a ‘tankie’?)

    The Ukrainian army is breaking their hearts at the time of writing and that makes me inordinately happy.

    🙂
    One thing that makes me happy right now is that Giorgia Meloni stands with Ukraine. At least in words. Hopefully she’ll be true to her words.

  • bobby b

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    September 13, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    That is the Red-Brown convergence that once again makes a mockery of the Left-Right paradigm: an intersection of Rothbardian ‘libertarians’, ‘Free thinker’ contrarians (like the vastly overrated Peter Hitchens), assorted impeccably non-woke tankies, paleo-racists, and actual non-figurative fascist nationalists, all united by what they hate the most.

    I have much respect for what you write, generally, but I have no fucking clue what you just said. 😉

    I spend a lot of time trying to convince people who could not understand this blog at all why libertarianism is the way they already think. (It is!) If you could translate this into english, it would help.

    Not making fun. I’m a fanboi. But I feel like a translator sometimes, and I can’t do this one.

  • Gerryireland

    That is the Red-Brown convergence that once again makes a mockery of the Left-Right paradigm: an intersection of Rothbardian ‘libertarians’, ‘Free thinker’ contrarians (like the vastly overrated Peter Hitchens), assorted impeccably non-woke tankies, paleo-racists, and actual non-figurative fascist nationalists, all united by what they hate the most. They like Putin because he is impeccably non-woke, it really is that banal.

    Haha 😂

    So you’ve met them before then? What a refreshing opinion. The internet seems to be infested with such people lately, and by that I mean over the last 5-7 years.

    So you think it is as simple as a mutual rejection of wokeness and a deep contrarianism? That’s all that brings these different strands together? Pretty tawdry if true, given some of their beliefs.

    I found it quite interesting to watch the reaction of these types to Trump’s election loss. The opinion leaders kept pushing the idea that there was some kind of plan, and that all would be revealed soon. People were actually ready to act and to accept action (eg at the state level) against the result. I think it felt quite dangerous for a while?

    Of course that isn’t even slightly tenable now, but incredibly people online still seem believe that some kind of “4-D chess” is being played, and that the goodies (including Trump, various US military factions, various state admins, and of course anti woke foreign leaders like Putin and the Chinese government) will reveal how they have been very cleverly acting behind the scenes and have won the game against “the globalists” (i.e. mainstream western society and government).

    It is a bit like a religious cult waiting for the comet to take them off to alpha centauri. I read on the VD blog recently for example that Joe Biden is dead and is currently being played by an actor, all as part of the plan. It is a complete rejection of reality in other words. A very dangerous form of wishful thinking. I do worry what will happen at the next US election if anyone in a position of power starts to believe this kind of thing.

  • Gerryireland

    And another thing they share is a radical lack of nuance making them incapable of forming moral theories that do not end up somewhere monstrous. There are indeed moral absolutes, but that doesn’t mean every moral choice is an absolute one.

    I think that’s true, yes. They think, speak and would probably act only in absolutes.

    I have found a weird parallel phenomenon in the Catholic Church (of which I am a member), whereby over the last decade a seemingly large number of new converts, especially those active online, bring with them a similar anti woke agenda and seem unable to reconcile themselves with the traditional Catholic “yes, and” approach to differences in theology.

    These people portray themselves as the real traditionalists, but the utter lack of nuance in their thinking gives the lie to this. What they seek to make is a fake tradition that looks right but is just that- appearance with no depth.

    I find the situation in the CC very similar to that in right wing politics at the moment. And again I think it is quite dangerous. I suppose because it is easy to give up on nuance, and therefore very tempting.

    The Ukrainian army is breaking their hearts at the time of writing and that makes me inordinately happy.

    I hope that recent Ukrainian advances represent a real turn around in this war, but I think it is too early to comment one way or the other?

  • Gerryireland

    Another angle on why VD and Co think the way they do- an interesting video on Russian propaganda from Peter Zeihan:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TRTKUf0nWdE

  • bobby b

    Are these people the same as the Q-Anon bunch? Or do they just overlap?

  • Gerryireland

    I think one thing that unites all of these people is the desire for an alternative explanation of events focused on the idea that a sinister group of globalists, Jews, satanists, or whatever are pulling the strings and controlling world events to the detriment of people of the western nations, and that people like Putin and Xi represent an alternative nexus of power standing up to these sinister controllers.

    So yes in that sense they are aligned with Qanon.

  • bobby b

    Not sure that people need conspiracies so much for the way they give them a focus for their own insecurities so much as for the way they give them hope that someone somewhere is still fighting.

    It’s a “hang on, help is coming” promise to people who can see no such possibility IRL.

  • Surellin

    “All winter they drove us back through the Ukraine” – Al Stewart.

  • a “hang on, help is coming” promise to people who can see no such possibility (bobby b, September 15, 2022 at 5:56 pm)

    This also applies to many who hoped in sensible sources of help, nevermind any where hope exaggerated likelihood.

    For example, one of the skilled statisticians exposing the stealing of the election remarked that many imagined a huge group were working swiftly on its statistical absurdities (understandably: when an election is stolen so openly, so insolently, one naturally hopes so). In fact, I gather it was some 40 or 50 at most, working largely – and often very – part-time, somewhat isolated, on aspects (and having to work up from basics – the raw data, as I also experienced, was very poor, not just from sinister conspiracy but because when 50 states each run their own election, even the ones who fully obey the law requiring saving and providing the data do not perfectly coordinate the formats in which they do so.) Some statisticians were rationally cautious, carefully proving specific instances beyond reasonable statistical doubt – so were relatively slow. Others, aware of the electoral-process clock ticking, were eager to show quickly a country-wide proof – so were necessarily offering less rigorous demonstrations. Etc., etc.

    So while there was an understandable desire to believe in salvation by unreasonable means (I, for example, though somewhat unimpressed by the attitude of Mike Pence, never imagined that the outgoing vice-president had the constitutional power to halt the certification on his own ipse dixit alone), there was equally an understandable hope that some of the real cases would be judged on their merits, that the one that was would not be insolently reversed on technicalities the next day (a Saturday – from memory, I recall bobby b’s comment on the Pennsylvania supreme court at the time: “They clearly felt strongly about it.”), etc., etc.