The not-so-coincidental parallels between two extraordinary Psy-Ops
It was quite easy, as it turned out, to guess what line people would take on the Ukraine business. Those who most vehemently said ‘I stand with Ukraine’ in February 2022 (when Russia invaded), and who festooned their social media pages with the Ukrainian flag, were almost invariably those who also blared ‘stay home, mask up, get the jab’ throughout 2020-2023.
On the other hand, the unbelievers in the Covid Narrative were also disinclined to believe the ‘Ukraine’ recital put out by the media and NATO, that it was NATO that had launched a proxy war against Russia via Ukraine, and that the West’s funding and arming of Ukraine was only going to make everything much worse.
Just as the interests of Big Pharma and pandemicist bureaucrats had informed the outlook of the Covid camp, it is the interests of the western capitalist states and their military-industrial complexes that inform the blinkered view of the ‘Slava Ukraina!’ (‘Glory to Ukraine!’) zealots. The Covid and Ukraine sceptics, on the other hand, retained their critical thinking, independence of mind and profound distrust of the media and government.
So, when Covid began winding down as the hysteria de jour and the latest moral vanity project, the Covid hysterics were primed to latch onto Ukraine for their next fix of moral self-aggrandising, all dolled up in flashy liberal outrage and derision for the new political virus of Putin, the archetypal villain from central casting. By and large, however, the Covid dissidents smelt a giant rodent when the gleaming new must-have Ukraine ‘crisis’ rolled off the Narrative production line.
Disgracefully, much of the contemporary ‘New Normal’ Left, the uber-woke, lockdown-loving, vaccine-venerating ‘Left’, have either got it wrong on Ukraine, just as they did on Covid, or have been adrift ideologically in how to respond to NATO’s proxy war. It could have been easily predicted that this modern ‘Left’, with its distaste for working class politics (especially its more populist manifestations), with its inability to go for 24 hours without shouting ‘racist’ at anything or anyone they don’t agree with, would be as equally belligerent and emotionally incontinent about Putin and as full of religious fervour for Ukraine as they were for ‘pandemic’ restrictions and ‘vaccines’.
What follows, in Part 1 of a two-parter on NATO’s proxy war, are some of the more substantive parallels between the two manufactured crises of Covid and Ukraine with an analysis of the political dynamic common to both of these monumental frauds.
Covid and Ukraine – Big Lies don’t come any bigger
Both the Covid and Ukraine Narratives (certified by Experts!) are fairy-tales. Every word we were told about the Covid ‘pandemic’ was a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’ (to borrow the wicked phrase from the wonderful Dorothy Parker in her literary/political feud with co-leftwing author, Lillian Hellman).
The foundational lie was that there was a big, scary virus which demanded a drastic policy response. This was nonsense from the off – there never was a pandemic as such things used to be defined. Indeed, there may never have been a ‘novel’ coronavirus at all and the ‘pandemic’ may simply have been the common cold or flu, rebadged for maximum melodrama and panic (the symptoms of Covid are indistinguishable from either the cold or the flu whilst the fraudulent PCR test, which claims to identify the upstart virus, can get positive results from paw-paws, quails and goats).
The risk profile for a severe Covid outcome was only ever real for the very old and very frail who were already sick, immuno-compromised, usually in a nursing home and vulnerable prey for any passing virus. For everyone else, ‘Covid’ was just a boring respiratory infection posing no mortal threat at all. The lockdown lunacy, the social distancing theatre, the mask charade and the holy ‘vaccines’ were all unnecessary, ineffective and damaging.
The broader issue is that no virus, even a virus with a much higher fatality rate than the piddling effort of SARS-Co-V2, warrants the authoritarian imposition of measures like lockdown, mask mandates and compulsory ‘vaccination’, even if such measures ‘worked’ – this would still be a morally unacceptable assault on basic human freedoms such as bodily autonomy, the right to work, free speech, freedom of assembly and democratic rights for the citizenry.
The Big Lie of Ukraine is that there was an unprovoked/illegal invasion by Russia in February 2022, ordered by Putin as a result of his revanchist lust for the Russian empire of old (whether Tsarist or Stalinist), an invasion which has demanded a stern response by the morally impeccable West to defend the plucky, innocent victim of Ukraine.
Just as the ‘Covid’ diagnosticians, with their gee-whiz new PCR toy, went looking for only Covid, rather than the common cold or the flu, and finding Covid and only Covid, so, too, the foreign policy and NATO elite with their ‘Must get Putin’ and weaken Russia strategic template went looking for only ‘Russian aggression’ and, sure enough, found it.
A brief history of Western hostility to Russia
The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked; it was not the result of one Kremlin President’s deranged quest for empire. The Ukraine cheer squad might believe that history started five minutes ago (when the Russian artillery shells started flying towards Ukraine) but the invasion is the predictable consequence of decades of NATO military aggression and political meddling in Ukraine in the broader context of over a century of Western hostility to Russia.
The hostility was particularly visceral from the earliest days of Soviet Union. The West feared the example of a successful socialist revolution in 1917 and resorted to trade sanctions and military invasion to isolate and weaken the new workers’ state. A dozen capitalist countries (including Australia) sent 250,000 troops to ‘strangle Bolshevism in its cradle’ (as Churchill winsomely put it). The damage this (failed) assault caused helped to bring to power a privileged bureaucratic caste under Stalin that flourished in an environment of aggravated material scarcity.
The West then used the grossly deformed Stalinist Soviet Union as a whipping boy for their own class warfare against its domestic workers (see, this is what happens when you unionise or go socialist – you get Gulag!) to preserve the political and economic power of the West’s capitalist ruling class.
The West’s hostility to Russia continued during the Cold War and for three decades after the Soviet bloc shut up shop in 1991. NATO was at the forefront of this with its graduated encroachment on Russia’s traditional geographic sphere of influence. Created in 1949, NATO is essentially the European branch of the US military and now boasts 32 member-countries, up from its twelve founding members, despite its proclaimed enemy, a Moscow-led Warsaw Pact of eastern European neo-Stalinist satellite states, having dissolved some time ago.
Russia remains the sole reason for NATO’s existence. Russia is the core of a rival, non-Western alliance (the BRIC countries) which is a barrier to the fully-global expansion of US economic empire. A 2019 report by the Rand Corporation (the Pentagon’s Think Tank of choice) advised a receptive US Government on how to entice Russia into attacking Ukraine and getting bogged down in a ground war in order to weaken Russia militarily and economically. A still-extant Cold War mindset, plus some Putin demonisation (he worked for the KGB, don’t you know!) helps to sell this strategy to punters in the West.
Contemporary Western hostility to Russia – the 2014 coup in Ukraine
With Ukraine, Western hostility to Russia has gone up a gear or three. A US-orchestrated coup in 2014 ousted, with the activation of Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias, the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovych, who was willing to live in prosperous amity with Russia. Liberal parliamentary democracy in post-Soviet Ukraine had delivered the ‘wrong’ result with Yanukovych and thus could not be allowed to stand. When Yanukovych proved reluctant to sign up to a disadvantageous trade deal with the EU, his goose was truly cooked with neo-Nazi sauce. The post-coup puppet government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Ukraine was dutifully pro-Western and anti-Russian, and set to work to install a US-recommended neo-liberal economic plan (letting the ‘free market’ rip, cutting pensions and social welfare programmes, etc.).
The coup deed was done against the background of a ‘colour revolution’ “the Revolution of Dignity”) which most Western liberals and intelligentsia fell for. ‘Colour revolutions’ are US-funded regime-change operations coordinated through the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA offshoot, which exploits legitimate civilian grievances against the reigning government (such as opposition to mandatory head-scarf laws in Iran) thus making a US-favoured palace coup appear like a popular social revolution and so lending political legitimacy to the new, post-coup, Western-aligned government.
The NED funds around 1,600 Western-aligned NGOs in target countries and hundreds of these have been funded in Ukraine in what it termed the “Ukraine experiment”. NED President, the neo-con Carl Gershman, said in 2013 that “Ukraine is the biggest prize” in Europe and a vital interim step toward toppling Putin, who “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself”. In 2013, Victoria Nuland, who was then the US State Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs under Obama (and a former advisor to Republican neo-con Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney) gave a public talk to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in Washington in which she boasted that the US had given $5 billion for ‘democracy promotion’ in Ukraine from 1991 to 2013.
Her idea of democracy was the neo-Nazi/CIA coup the following year, when the anti-Yanukovych forces, led by neo-Nazi militias, overran government buildings on 22 February, forcing Yanukovych and many of his top officials to flee for their lives. She advised on who the post-coup Prime Minister should be (Yatsenyuk) and she had no trouble with the presence of two fascist parties (Svoboda and Right Sector) making up a third of the post-coup cabinet (the two parties house the social base for the Azov fascist militia which became, post-coup, an official branch of the Ukraine Army numbering tens of thousands). For some people with an official Narrative to defend, any old fascist will do as a ‘freedom fighter’, particularly against a ‘pro-Russian’ government which deserves all it gets.
Russia didn’t start the Ukraine war in 2022; the US did, many years earlier.
Provocation upon provocation
The coup was not the only provocation against Russia. There was, for example,
- The ethnic cleansing of the majority ethnic Russian population in the eastern region of Ukraine (the Lhansk and Donetsk republics), with the fascist militias (and Ukrainian ultra-nationalists) who wanted a pure-blood Ukraine, without ethnic Russians, again stepping up to the mark in a civil war with seven years of shelling of civilian areas which killed 14,000 people (according to UN-verified estimates).
- The de-Russifying of Ukrainian identity such as banning the speaking of Russian, affecting the one in every five Ukrainians who are ethnic Russians).
- The broken accords – NATO sabotaged the UN-endorsed Minsk Accord which had negotiated an end to the civil war with the eastern regions (including the granting of semi-autonomy to the two rebel provinces) by getting the Ukraine government to demand that the ethnic Russian rebels first surrender (a former post-coup President, Petro Poroshenko, has admitted that the Minsk treaty was just a ruse for buying time until another full-scale offensive on the Ukrainian east could be launched with a rebuilt military).
- The broken promises on NATO expansion – NATO officials had verbally assured the then-and-last Soviet leader (Gorbachev) that NATO would never expand into Eastern Europe and then promptly proceeded to expand right up to the borders of the Russian Federation.
- The US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic and the intermediate-range nuclear missile treaties with Russia and the deployment of nuclear-capable missile launch systems in Romania, aimed at Russia.
- A vast increase in military aid to Kiev by the Biden administration through 2021.
- The NATO live-fire rocket exercises in Estonia to practice striking targets within Russia.
- The NATO military training exercises, and a significant increase in reconnaissance flights, near the Russian border.
- The deployment of ‘special forces’ NATO troops to Ukraine, in addition to CIA personnel and military trainers.
- The deployment of 20,000 troops from the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Brigades to the Ukraine/Poland border.
Throughout 2021, Putin had repeatedly sought talks to (a) end the bombardment of the ethnic Russian population in Ukraine, (b) reach a guarantee of Ukrainian neutrality and (c) dismantle the US’ offensive weapons systems in eastern Europe. These approaches were flatly rejected by the US/NATO. Russia’s trust in the West was finally exhausted, including any trust in Zelensky.
Zelensky had won the presidential election in 2019 with 73% of the vote largely because his election platform was based on establishing good relations with Russia and a promise to honour the Minsk agreement . The newly-installed Zelensky immediately betrayed his election platform, either because Ukrainian neo-Nazis had got to him with threats of assassination unless he changed policy on Russia or because the US/CIA knew the true character of their ex-comedian and lewd performer President. When Zelensky deployed 150,000 Ukrainian soldiers to the eastern provinces and accelerated the artillery bombing to over 2,000 shells per day, Putin had had enough and this escalation precipitated the Russian invasion.
There had thus been provocation aplenty, putting to bed the myth about an ‘unprovoked’ invasion whilst its ‘illegal’ nature is also more assertion than fact. Putin, quite reasonably, referred to Russia’s ‘special military operation’ as legal under ‘Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter’ (“anticipatory self-defence”) to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine”. This may have had an element of self-serving rationale, of course, but the short-term and long-term historical context lends it’s legality substantive credibility.
Western outrage over Russia’s invasion is utterly hypocritical. Just imagine what the US would do if Russia (or China) had ethnically cleansed Americans living in Mexico in the border states, deposed the elected, pro-US President of Mexico, installed a pro-Russian puppet regime, mobilised far-right Mexican extremists, deployed long-range attack drones in Mexico and all the rest of the US’s Ukraine playbook of provocation. Would any US President sit on their hands and simply cop it?
‘Covid’ and ‘Ukraine’ – Two peas in a psy-ops pod
The Covid and Ukraine policy architects and narrative authors have been so invested in their cause that the political costs of renouncing those extremist policies are so high that they can not afford to admit error. Instead, it is all about doubling down. The Covid ‘mission’, for example, was first launched with a short lockdown which was initially sold to us as ‘just two weeks to flatten the curve and save our hospitals’, which escalated to three years of the ludicrous quest for ‘Zero Covid’ including lengthy lockdowns, mask mandates, health apartheid and compulsory jabbing. The Ukraine project has similarly expanded from sanctions to massive funding, the provision of defensive weapons, then offensive weapons (US F-16 fighters are now on the cards) and real-time battlefield intelligence, etc.
Such policy escalation is self-reinforcing. It was the mere fact of lockdown itself, the eerie, empty streets, the drastic suspension of normal human social and economic activity, that convinced many that the virus threat had to be frighteningly real. So, too, sanctions, military supplies and the opening of the cultural/sporting front against Russia (bans on tennis players, classical composers, opera singers, conductors and painters) become evidence that Putin must be a threat necessitating extreme measures, whatever the cost.
And the cost has been exorbitant. Covid economic idiocy has resulted in surges in government debt, inflation and interest rates. The economic cost of the proxy war policy suite has exacerbated all these. Economic sanctions have boomeranged on the West, for example – according to the UN’s IMF, Russia’s economy has actually strengthened. More Russian oil, for example, is sold to India, Morocco and other countries which then on-sell the surplus, including to the sanctioning EU, at inflated prices, a further assault on working class living standards in the West. Meanwhile, Russia’s geo-political reach and alliances have expanded whilst NATO’s proxy war has only made Russia more desperately convinced that it is in a fight for its very existence.
To get away with all this damage, the establishment media have been essential. So, the Western diet on Ukraine is full of junk food. The corporate and state media reflexively regard Putin as the anti-Christ and Zelensky as a demi-god. No Guardian article on Ukraine is complete without the obligatory reference to ‘Russian aggression’. The stream of propaganda includes alleged atrocities by the war criminal Putin (hence his bogus ICC warrant, ludicrously asserting Russia’s “abduction of Ukrainian children”), how Russia is in military disarray and facing humiliating retreat, rebellion, mutiny and more amongst Russian soldiers, whilst Ukraine, with Zelensky’s much-awaited Glorious Spring Counter-Offensive, is ever on the verge of winning. Any. Day. Now.
The full-spectrum propaganda offensive by the West on Ukraine has been as incessant as that on Covid was and has resulted in a similar outcome in public opinion i.e. unthinking support for the government’s position. In Australia, for example, nine out every ten of us support ‘keeping strict sanctions on Russia’ and eight out of ten support Australia ‘providing military aid to Ukraine’. Russophobia and Putin Derangement Syndrome are rife with only 6% of Australians expressing confidence in Putin ‘to act responsibly in the world’. In the US in February 2023, ‘half of all Americans said the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to win the war against Russia’. Only 4% wanted the US out of the war and wanted it now.
It is truly wonderful what a little demonisation can do – and Putin is a regular butt for both ‘progressive’ and rightwing satirists, foreign policy ‘experts’ and politicians. One former small-c conservative Liberal Party Australian PM, Tony Abbott, once threatened to “shirtfront” Putin if he came within range at some international conference or other (to ‘shirtfront’ someone is an Australianism meaning to charge into an opponent’s chest to knock them to the ground in a game of Australian Rules football).
Signs of softening in public support for permanent war, however, is starting to show in the same way that ‘Covid’ lost its lustre. In the US, fully one-third of Americans now say the war should be ended quickly even if Russia retains territory such as Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine. Pew also finds that 26% of Americans now say that the US is ‘providing too much support to Ukraine’. The partisan divide, similar to that over Covid, is also starting to manifest itself with ‘liberals’ (Democrat-aligned ‘progressives’) remaining the most committed to the West’s proxy war as they were to the war on Covid.
Another Covid/Ukraine connection is also demonstrated by Covid dissidents being far more likely to be sceptical on the Ukraine Narrative as well. An article in Nature, which surveyed attitudes of the ‘vaccine hesitant’ in Italy, found that
“unvaccinated respondents were 43% less likely to support government aid to Ukraine than were vaccinated respondents”.
As the wise and witty Australian Substacker, Robyn Chuter, puts it, it is reasonable to conclude that
“it’s perfectly logical that people who don’t trust a government that acted as a sales and marketing agent for criminal pharmaceutical corporations might also mistrust official messaging around an openly-acknowledged NATO proxy war intended to bleed Russia to death by fighting it to the last Ukrainian”.
After the ‘Covid’ psy-ops, a good rule of thumb for those who haven’t stopped thinking for themselves seems to be ‘what else have they lied to us about?’
She adds that those who were cheerleading for compulsory jabs, masks and lockdowns, and who are now bullish for arms-to-Ukraine, see themselves as worthy people acting for the collective good, unlike the Covid and proxy war dissidents whom they paint as selfish, anti-social outcasts who need to be punished and derided –
“if you are resistant to the bellicose braying of a corrupt puppet president whose previous claims to fame included dancing in stilettos, playing ‘Hava Nagila’ on the piano with his penis, and playing the president of Ukraine in a comedy series that satirised the intractable corruption of this strife-ridden country – then you’re an immoral violator of the social contract”.
End of Part 1. In a critique from the Left, Part 2 will look at the modern ‘progressive’, woke Left’s massive fail on both Covid and Ukraine.