It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone tuned in to the New World Media that the winner of Time magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year, revealed this week, was the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The article that accompanies the announcement is glowing with praise for this champion who represents the Spirit of his country. He is depicted as a brave, fearless hero, living in the trenches and away from his family. He is courageously leading his troops, by example, and fighting for the freedom and liberation of Ukraine.
If you follow the story that the mainstream media have been feeding the gullible public, this past year, you will think that Zelensky is deserving of the honour of being selected “Person of the Year”. But if you have been seeking the facts behind the war, you won’t be a part of those applauding the choice. Especially if you remember that this title has been awarded by Time magazine, in years gone by, to Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979).
It is coming up to 10 months since the start of the war in Ukraine. Who is responsible for this war? And who is winning it? The answers depend on who is telling the story. Here are some assessments from experts who do not bow to the mainstream rendition.
John Pilger, a few months ago, in this political analysis, Silencing the lambs — how propaganda works, explains the background to the war and the hype around it.
The United States dominates the Western world’s media. All but one of the top ten media companies are based in North America. The internet and social media – Google, Twitter, Facebook – are mostly American-owned and controlled.
In my lifetime, the United States has overthrown or attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, mostly democracies. It has interfered in democratic elections in 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of 30 countries, most of them poor and defenceless. It has attempted to murder the leaders of 50 countries. It has fought to suppress liberation movements in 20 countries.
The extent and scale of this carnage is largely unreported and unrecognised; those responsible continue to dominate Anglo-American political life.
Pilger shares excerpts from two speeches by the playwright Harold Pinter:
▹ U.S. foreign policy could be best defined as follows: kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in. It is as simple and as crude as that.
▹ What is interesting about it is that it’s so incredibly successful. It possesses the structures of disinformation, use of rhetoric, distortion of language, which are very persuasive, but are actually a pack of lies. It is very successful propaganda. They have the money, they have the technology, they have all the means to get away with it, and they do.
On the question of whether the “hypnosis” he referred to was the “submissive void” described by Leni Riefenstahl, Pinter said:
It’s the same. It means the brainwashing is so thorough we are programmed to swallow a pack of lies. If we don’t recognise propaganda, we may accept it as normal and believe it. That’s the submissive void.
How does war fit into our democratic systems? Pilger explains:
In our systems of corporate democracy, war is an economic necessity, the perfect marriage of public subsidy and private profit: socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. The day after 9/11, the stock prices of the war industry soared. More bloodshed was coming, which is great for business.
Today, the most profitable wars have their own brand. They are called “forever wars”: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and now Ukraine. All are based on a pack of lies…
In February, Russia invaded Ukraine as a response to almost eight years of killing and criminal destruction in the Russian-speaking region of Donbas on their border.
Foreign Policy columnist and Harvard University professor, Stephen M Walt presents his views and evaluation of the war in this piece, The Perpetually Irrational Ukraine Debate.
You might think that this situation would encourage observers to approach the whole issue with a certain humility and give alternative perspectives a fair hearing even when they disagree with one’s own. Instead, debates about responsibility for the war and the proper course of action to follow have been unusually nasty and intolerant, even by modern standards of social media vituperation. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is the case.
This is clearly the view of those who make the case that Ukraine is the victim in this war and Russia is the aggressor.
What I find especially striking is how liberal interventionists, unrepentant neoconservatives, and a handful of progressives who are all-in for Ukraine seem to have no doubts whatsoever about the origins of the conflict or the proper course of action to follow today. For them, Russian President Vladimir Putin is solely and totally responsible for the war, and the only mistakes others may have made in the past was to be too nice to Russia and too willing to buy its oil and gas. The only outcome they are willing to entertain is a complete Ukrainian victory, ideally accompanied by regime change in Moscow, the imposition of reparations to finance Ukrainian reconstruction, and war crimes trials for Putin and his associates. Convinced that anything less than this happy result will reward aggression, undermine deterrence, and place the current world order in jeopardy, their mantra is: “Whatever it takes for as long as it takes.”…
Holding Russia completely accountable for the war means that no Western powers need to take responsibility for their part.
Debates on Ukraine have also been distorted by a desire to deflect responsibility. The United States’ foreign-policy establishment doesn’t like admitting it’s made mistakes, and pinning all the blame for the war on Putin is a “get out of jail free” card that absolves proponents of NATO enlargement of any role in this tragic turn of events. Putin clearly bears enormous personal responsibility for this illegal and destructive war, but if prior Western actions made his decision more likely, then Western policymakers are not blameless….
Here’s the rub: What if the war does end in a messy and disappointing compromise instead of the happy Hollywood ending most of the world would like to see?
There will be choices that will have to be made. Walt concludes with this advice:
If the world is forced to choose the lesser evil from a set of bad choices, a more civil and less accusatory discourse would make it easier for policymakers to consider a wider range of alternatives as well as make it more likely that Ukraine and the coalition that is presently supporting it make the right call.
In a podcast this month, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi said that Zelensky was looking for ways to get the US and NATO directly involved in the conflict. He pointed to the drone attack on two airfields inside Russia [December 5] as an example of such tactics. Giraldi believes that Ukraine is trying to drag US into war.
“This was a clear attempt by Zelensky, in my mind, to escalate the war,” Giraldi told Judge Andrew Napolitano on Monday evening’s episode of the ‘Judging Freedom’ podcast. “He tried to do that with the missile that was misdirected, possibly, and wound up in Poland and killed two people. He even pushed it and said NATO has to intervene now. This could be another attempt to, shall we say, promote an escalation on the part of the Russians that could possibly be construed as a danger to Poland, danger to troops in Poland, that sort of thing. This is the game that’s being played.”
NATO, which is controlled by the United States, is of the opinion that its expansion is a something to be celebrated.
NATO’s enlargement has been an historic success in bringing us closer to our vision of a Europe whole and free. NATO’s door will remain open to all European democracies which share the values of our Alliance, which are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and whose inclusion can contribute to common security and stability.
The response from John Pilger:
A measure of this “historic success” is the war in Ukraine, news of which is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion and omission. I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.
He asks the questions that need to be asked.
When will real journalists stand up?…
And when will writers stand up, as they did against the rise of fascism in the 1930s? When will filmmakers stand up, as they did against the Cold War in the 1940s? When will satirists stand up, as they did a generation ago?
Who will stand up against the relentless brainwashing that is being carried out by the Western world media? Who is prepared to resist the urge to airbrush the truth and present just the facts to the public?