We’ve heard, over and over, how threatened the Kremlin feels by the American deployment to Zagan, Poland, but those who recall the cold war’s first incarnation will of course find Russia’s rhetoric only too familiar.
Like back in the day one party will inevitably claim that it’s fallen victim to the other party’s actions, paving the way for the offender’s concessions or the victim’s right to do likewise – in this instance; deploying Russian troops to regions deemed sensitive to the west.
A little past four o’ clock in the morning on 1 January 2017, and the only visitors the blog has had thus far, in a year set to be marked by America and Russia, possibly in ways we never even dared consider, have been (you guessed it) American and Russian.
Want to destabilise a country, a region or an entire planet? No biggie. Inspire terrorism, distribute vast amounts of false news and wreak general havoc.
Living in times of great uncertainty, as we do, most find it hard to decide what and who to believe anymore, as fake news and general disinformation fills our social media feeds, in part spread by trolls, but also by the traditional media themselves, often staffed by journalists lacking not only the ability to write properly, but the ability to tell truth from lies – possibly due to the financial situation, forcing media corporations to maximise production at a minimum of costs, inevitably resulting in a quantity surpassing quality by tenfolds. Online, that is.
Eager to cut costs, online newspapers have spent huge resources on user involvement, included third-party independent groups and individuals, regardless of their funding and/or motivations, such as these fine gentlemen:
Both of whom in the receiving end of much journalistic praise, as the media had a field day, nay, field days and years, basking in the glory of their “findings”, “leaks” and “revelations”,
Personally I never really bought into it, as posts thusly tagged will show (please feel free to go back in time):
Currently hailing from the news and commentary website The Intercept, Greenwald is launching an attack on his former employer, whence he once spread the gospel according to Snowden and Assange, wildly throwing accusations at The Guardian, for reasons unknown to you and me, just as we were kept in the dark with regards to his motivations for distributing their disclosures, be they lies, facts – or mere instruments in the grand scheme of things.
With the destabilisation of the west among Vladimir Putin’s more or less expressed intentions, it should come as no surprise that the Kremlin is responsible for at least the better half of all known fake news operations, as well as innumerable hacker attacks and, possibly, leading an unprecedented number of refugees to Europe, which we all know has brought about political discord, including the outset of the European Union’s dissolution, starting with a Brexit motivated, among other things, by fear of the refugee influx.
All while we witness NATO lying in shambles, as a new “Warsaw pact” emerges.
Most of it, of course, orchestrated by the Kremlin, where, by the way, Putin’s and western media’s golden boy, Edward Snowden, resides. Must be the climate and the pretty girls, huh?
You may of course ask yourself how it is that WikiLeaks and Snowden focus on what they present as US violations, whereas Russia, according to them, is perfectly immaculate.
Because Russia is immaculate, perhaps …
Despite my disgust for Mr. Putin’s intentions, there’s no denying that he’s been carrying out what he set out to do with great success, masterfully, with the west sidelined as helpless bystanders, probably out of fear for escalating a conflict Vladimir Putin tries his best to … well, escalate.
But I can tell you this much. As a journalist, mostly a former journalist, I’m deeply ashamed by my one-time colleagues’ conduct – and active part in introducing fake news as the basis of our collective “knowledge”, and the fear we all harbour.
Which all bodes well for the age of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
We can only hope that, since the objective has been an attack on “the establishment”, the media one day wakes up to the realisation that the two afore-mentioned gentlemen in fact are the establishment.
With the invaluable help of our eminent press.
As Donald J. Trump utters his compulsory “So help me God” on Friday 20 January, I’ll whisper a quiet addition to myself:
As someone who’s been trying to draw his readers’ attention to the fact that the cold war has been raging for years (or in fact never really ended), this blogger isn’t the least bit suprised by the latest development in Russo-American relations, except one would perhaps not expect the kind of childishness currently unfolding.
With the exception of a certain bare-torsoed leader and his minions, maybe:
President Obama expels 35 🇷🇺 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl 🇺🇸 people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
I’m sure we can agree that it’s been a terrible year, what with the countless terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, the innumerable refugees and their suffering, the immense growth of fake news, Russia’s continued intervention in Ukraine, Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, won by Vladimir Putin’s very own Donald Trump.
And then, of course, there’s the incredible demise of uncountable artists throughout the entertainment industry, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise in times sporting more celebrities than ever before, among whom a considerable share in the geriatric segment. But you cannot help wonder how some regard that the worst aspect of the year now approaching its ultimate finale. Text continued below painting.
While I wouldn’t even dream of making fun of the fans’ undoubtedly sincere grief (I’ve been mourning some of them, too, in my own small way), perhaps pointing out that we do have bigger fish to fry – or much bigger problems – is in order?
Terrible as 2016 was, I fear it didn’t even come close to what the upcoming year has in store.
I’m confident that, like me, you never expected to live to see Donald J. Trump elected president of the USA, which, I’m sure, adds up to nothing, compared to experiencing him executing his job while in office. Text continued below photo.
Seeing as I accidentally happened to pick a photograph of him and fellow nationalist Nigel Farage, there’s no avoiding next year’s consequences of Britain’s 2016 decision; the implementation of the EU’s article 50, which once and for all is going to sever the United Kingdom from the European Union, with all its implications (covered in this blog throughout the first half of the year). Unless Westminster finds a way to declare the outcome of last June’s referendum null and void.
Worst of all, however, is the fact (?) that we no longer seem able to distinct facts from fiction, as the number of fake news outlets grows every day, a matter I touched on in a blog post the other day, and make no mistake about it: It’s all Vladimir Putin’s doing, in an attempt at destabilising the west, which he successfully achieved in Britain last summer and in America this autumn. However, I fear we’ve only seen the beginning. Text continued below photo.
We should, I’m afraid, brace ourselves for global tension the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, possibly not since the early 1960s, for those of us who recall the Cuban Missile Crisis.
But please … Pretty, pretty please stop this talk about the possibility of a cold war. It’s been around for years, even if you didn’t notice.
Having established that, I find that the Russian national anthem, performed by Russia’s Red Army Choir, whose members died in a Christmas airplane crash last week, rest their souls, en route to Russia’s latest occupation, Syria, is in perfect order:
Judging by current goings on, people around the globe may as well start rehearsing its lyrics, the sooner the better.
And of course, as indicated by the top illustration, the Middle East will continue to play a vital part in next year’s news. Predominantly, I’m afraid, as a Russo-Turkish conquest. Also, as indicated in the illustration, the ripple effects will be significant.
Come New Years Eve I shall party just as hard as the next guy. Not because there’s any cause for celebration, considering the hopeless situation in which we find ourselves, but because, after all, it is what people expect, my own family not excepted. I will, of course, comply, without a trace of the concerns boiling inside.
There’s been much talk of the cold war revival, of a World War III already in progress – allegations I wouldn’t even dream of contradicting, as I’ve been trying to raise awareness of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive approach for about a decade already, albeit to little avail – as one should expect, considering the blog’s obscurity.
However, we would be ill-advised to expect WWIII to be a blueprint of its two predecessors, considering that the war has been going on for quite some time, sans traditional or conventional confrontations, save the extensivity of Russian false news, aiming at destabilising western Europe and the U.S. – and successfully so, given Putin’s 2016 triumphs in the United Kingdom and the United States, both early examples of the Russian propaganda machinery’s unsurpassable efficiency.
While the entire west desperately endeavours to figure out how to prevent further distribution of fake news, and, as a consequence thereof; even more western states falling into the hands of politicians under Russian influence, Mr. Putin keeps busy forging alliances with leaders disliked by the west, currently Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, while a civil war in Yemen, a former Soviet outpost in the Middle East, still rages, what ever prospects it may hold.
There is a distinct possibility, you know, that Putin’s foothold in the Middle East may well be even firmer, now that Russia in fact controls Syria and the Crimean peninsula, whence the Black Sea Fleet hails, lacking only free passage through the Bosphorous, controlled by Putin’s soon-to-be ally (?) and fellow strongman Erdoğan, leaving more or less the entire Middle East under Russian control, in spite of the protests we may voice through the UN security council.
After all, since when did Vladimir Putin bother listening to the UN? On the contrary, the following countries (most of which siding with Russia), voted against protecting Syrian civilians, suffering from a war which has now outlasted WWII: Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, N. Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, S. Sudan, Syria (i.e. the Assad regime), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
So yes, a World War III most certainly is in progress, even if we may find that it’s being fought on the Internet and on battle fields far from home, with victims we only see on the news. We should, however, also accept that Britain’s Brexit and America’s Trump victory are defeats good as any, both battles won by Putin’s virtual soldiers, because that’s the kind of war this is – a war in which I try to involve myself, however uninvited, and inconsequential my feeble efforts, considering the west’s shortcomings pertaining to propaganda measures on equal terms.
I simply refuse to side with those advocating reservation and self-muzzling, based on the eventuality, however small, that Vladimir Putin is in fact a pretty good guy, so let me reiterate my decade-long message, as some (but sadly all-too few) also did in the 1930s: He is not, so I long since decided to be this guy:
Also, living in a country sharing borders with Russia, as I do, I can, to a certain extent, understand some people’s reluctance to raise their voices against a potential invader … Or maybe not.
Which, hopefully, explains my reluctance – to yell “Happy New Year” at the top of my lungs, but hey, here’s hoping.
P.S. I used the same headline on a post earlier this autumn (simply forgot), and we all know how that turned out.