USA and Ukraine

This is the third article on Ukraine published on Grouse Beater. As a private citizen who has studied aspects of Scottish, European and US history for screenplay projects, it behoves me to advise readers to look for guidance from specialists in the field if sceptical of what I have to say on the subject. So, I’ve taken the opportunity to seek out expert advice recently published.

The political scientist John Mearsheimer has been one of the most famous critics of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. No one should dismiss him because they don’t like his opinion. It’s based on the historical record. I republish him here because I agree with much of what he has to say, and what he has to say cuts through the miasma of black propaganda being thrown up by the West over Ukraine. I particularly agree with his analysis that Russia will not annexe Ukraine. Russia does not have US levels of wealth to squander on satellite states. Like England with Scotland, the longer England holds onto a rebellious Scotland the more it costs England in time, energy and costs. England walked out of India only because it was costing too much to govern that continent.

Mearsheimer is a proponent of great-power politics—a school of realist international relations that assumes that, in a self-interested attempt to preserve national security, states will pre-emptively act in anticipation of adversaries.

For years, Mearsheimer has argued that the U.S., in pushing to expand NATO eastward and establishing friendly relations with Ukraine, has increased the likelihood of war between nuclear-armed powers and laid the groundwork for Vladimir Putin’s aggressive position toward Ukraine. Indeed, in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea, Mearsheimer wrote that “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for this crisis.” Mearsheimer maintains his position that the U.S. is at fault for provoking him.

The interview below is slightly edited for clarity. (Articles 1 and 2 are linked in the footnotes.)

WE ARE THE PROBLEM

An interview with Professor John Mearsheimer

Looking at the situation now with Russia and Ukraine, how do you think the world got here?

I think all the trouble in this case really started in April, 2008, at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, where afterward NATO issued a statement that said Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO. The Russians made it unequivocally clear at the time that they viewed this as an existential threat, and they drew a line in the sand. Nevertheless, what has happened with the passage of time is that we have moved forward to include Ukraine in the West to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. Of course, this includes more than just NATO expansion. NATO expansion is the heart of the strategy, but it includes E.U. expansion as well, and it includes turning Ukraine into a pro-American liberal democracy, and, from a Russian perspective, this is an existential threat.

You said that it’s about “turning Ukraine into a pro-American liberal democracy.” I don’t put much trust or much faith in America “turning” places into liberal democracies. What if Ukraine, the people of Ukraine, want to live in a pro-American liberal democracy?

If Ukraine becomes a pro-American liberal democracy, and a member of NATO, and a member of the E.U., the Russians will consider that categorically unacceptable. If there were no NATO expansion and no E.U. expansion, and Ukraine just became a liberal democracy and was friendly with the United States and the West more generally, it could probably get away with that. You want to understand that there is a three-prong strategy at play here: E.U. expansion, NATO expansion, and turning Ukraine into a pro-American liberal democracy.

You talk of “turning Ukraine into a liberal democracy”. Is that not an issue for the Ukrainians to decide? NATO can decide whom it admits, but we saw in 2014 that it appeared as if many Ukrainians wanted to be considered part of Europe. Is it imperialism to tell them that they can’t be a liberal democracy?

It’s not imperialism; this is great-power politics. When you’re a country like Ukraine and you live next door to a great power like Russia, you have to pay careful attention to what the Russians think, because if you take a stick and you poke them in the eye, they’re going to retaliate. States in the Western hemisphere understand this full well with regard to the United States.

The Monroe Doctrine, essentially.

Of course. There’s no country in the Western hemisphere that we will allow to invite a distant, great power to bring military forces into that country.

Right, but saying that America will not allow countries in the Western hemisphere, most of them democracies, to decide what kind of foreign policy they have—you can say that’s good or bad, but that is imperialism, right? We’re essentially saying that we have some sort of say over how democratic countries run their business.

We do have that say. In fact, we overthrew democratically elected leaders in the Western hemisphere during the Cold War because we were unhappy with their policies. This is the way great powers behave.

I’m wondering if we should be behaving that way. When we’re thinking about foreign policies, should we be thinking about trying to create a world where neither the U.S. nor Russia is behaving that way?

That’s not the way the world works. When you try to create a world that looks like that, you end up with the disastrous policies that the United States pursued during the unipolar moment. We went around the world trying to create liberal democracies. Our main focus, of course, was in the greater Middle East, and you know how well that worked out. Not very well.

I think it would be difficult to say that America’s policy in the Middle East in the past seventy-five years since the end of the Second World War, or in the past thirty years since the end of the Cold War, has been to create liberal democracies in the Middle East.

I think that’s what the Bush Doctrine was about during the unipolar moment.

In Iraq. But not in the Palestinian territories, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or anywhere else, right?

No—well, not in Saudi Arabia and not in Egypt. To start with, the Bush Doctrine basically said that if we could create a liberal democracy in Iraq, it would have a domino effect, and countries such as Syria, Iran, and eventually Saudi Arabia and Egypt would turn into democracies. That was the basic philosophy behind the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine was not just designed to turn Iraq into a democracy. We had a much grander scheme in mind.

There was not a lot of actual enthusiasm about turning Saudi Arabia into a democracy.

Well, I think focussing on Saudi Arabia is taking the easy case from your perspective. That was the most difficult case from America’s perspective, because Saudi Arabia has so much leverage over us because of oil, and it’s certainly not a democracy. But the Bush Doctrine, if you go look at what we said at the time, was predicated on the belief that we could democratize the greater Middle East. It might not happen overnight, but it would eventually happen.

Was the United States really trying and insure liberal democracies around the world?

There’s a big difference between how the United States behaved during the unipolar moment and how it’s behaved in the course of its history. I agree with you when you talk about American foreign policy in the course of its broader history, but the unipolar moment was a very special time. I believe that during the unipolar moment, we were deeply committed to spreading democracy.

With Ukraine, it’s very important to understand that, up until 2014, we did not envision NATO expansion and E.U. expansion as a policy that was aimed at containing Russia. Nobody seriously thought that Russia was a threat before February 22, 2014. NATO expansion, E.U. expansion, and turning Ukraine and Georgia and other countries into liberal democracies were all about creating a giant zone of peace that spread all over Europe and included Eastern Europe and Western Europe. It was not aimed at containing Russia. What happened is that this major crisis broke out, and we had to assign blame, and of course we were never going to blame ourselves. We were going to blame the Russians. So we invented this story that Russia was bent on aggression in Eastern Europe. Putin is interested in creating a greater Russia, or maybe even re-creating the Soviet Union.

Let’s turn to that time and the annexation of Crimea. I was reading an old article where you wrote, “According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine Crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian president Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a longstanding desire to resuscitate the Soviet Empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine as well as other countries in Eastern Europe.” And then you say, “But this account is wrong.” Does anything that’s happened in the last couple weeks make you think that account was closer to the truth than you might have thought?

Oh, I think I was right. I think the evidence is clear that we did not think he was an aggressor before February 22, 2014. This is a story that we invented so that we could blame him. My argument is that the West, especially the United States, is principally responsible for this disaster. But no American policymaker, and hardly anywhere in the American foreign-policy establishment, is going to want to acknowledge that line of argument, and they will say that the Russians are responsible.

You say the idea that Putin may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in Eastern Europe, is wrong. Given that he seems to be going after the rest of Ukraine now, do you think in hindsight that that argument is perhaps more true, even if we didn’t know it at the time?

It’s hard to say whether he’s going to go after the rest of Ukraine because—I don’t mean to nitpick here but—that implies that he wants to conquer all of Ukraine, and then he will turn to the Baltic states, and his aim is to create a greater Russia or the reincarnation of the Soviet Union. I don’t see evidence at this point that that is true. It’s difficult to tell, looking at the maps of the ongoing conflict, exactly what he’s up to. It seems quite clear to me that he is going to take the Donbass and that the Donbass is going to be either two independent states or one big independent state, but beyond that it’s not clear what he’s going to do. I mean, it does seem apparent that he’s not touching western Ukraine.

His bombs are touching it, right?

But that’s not the key issue. The key issue is: What territory do you conquer, and what territory do you hold onto? I was talking to somebody the other day about what’s going to happen with these forces that are coming out of Crimea, and the person told me that he thought they would turn west and take Odessa. I was talking to somebody else more recently who said that that’s not going to happen. Do I know what’s going to happen? No, none of us know what’s going to happen.

You don’t think he has designs on Kyiv?

No, I don’t think he has designs on Kyiv. I think he’s interested in taking at least the Donbass, and maybe some more territory and eastern Ukraine, and, number two, he wants to install in Kyiv a pro-Russian government, a government that is attuned to Moscow’s interests.

I thought you said that he was not interested in taking Kyiv.

No, he’s interested in taking Kyiv for the purpose of regime change, as opposed to permanently conquering Kyiv.

It would be a Russian-friendly government that he would presumably have some say over, right?

Yes, exactly. But it’s important to understand that it is fundamentally different from conquering and holding onto Kyiv. Do you understand what I’m saying?

We could all think of imperial possessions whereby a sort of figurehead was put on the throne, even if the homeland was actually controlling what was going on there, right? We’d still say that those places had been conquered, right?

I have problems with your use of the word “imperial.” I don’t know anybody who talks about this whole problem in terms of imperialism. This is great-power politics, and what the Russians want is a regime in Kyiv that is attuned to Russian interests. It may be ultimately that the Russians would be willing to live with a neutral Ukraine, and that it won’t be necessary for Moscow to have any meaningful control over the government in Kyiv. It may be that they just want a regime that is neutral and not pro-American.

When you said that no one’s talking about this as imperialism, in Putin’s speeches he specifically refers to the “territory of the former Russian Empire,” which he laments losing. So it seems like he’s talking about it.

I think that’s wrong, because I think you’re quoting the first half of the sentence, as most people in the West do. He said, “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart.” And then he said, “Whoever wants it back has no brain.”

He’s also saying that Ukraine is essentially a made-up nation, while he seems to be invading it, no?

O.K., but put those two things together and tell me what that means. I’m just not too sure. He does believe it’s a made-up nation. I would note to him, all nations are made up. Any student of nationalism can tell you that. We invent these concepts of national identity. They’re filled with all sorts of myths. So he’s correct about Ukraine, just like he’s correct about the United States or Germany. The much more important point is: he understands that he cannot conquer Ukraine and integrate it into a greater Russia or into a reincarnation of the former Soviet Union. He can’t do that. What he’s doing in Ukraine is fundamentally different. He is obviously lopping off some territory. He’s going to take some territory away from Ukraine, in addition to what happened with Crimea, in 2014. Furthermore, he is definitely interested in regime change. Beyond that, it’s hard to say exactly what this will all lead to, except for the fact that he is not going to conquer all of Ukraine. It would be a blunder of colossal proportions to try to do that.

If he were to try to do that, that would change your analysis of what we’ve witnessed.

Absolutely. My argument is that he’s not going to re-create the Soviet Union or try to build a greater Russia, that he’s not interested in conquering and integrating Ukraine into Russia. It’s very important to understand that we invented this story that Putin is highly aggressive and he’s principally responsible for this crisis in Ukraine. The argument that the foreign-policy establishment in the United States, and in the West more generally, has invented revolves around the claim that he is interested in creating a greater Russia or a reincarnation of the former Soviet Union. There are people who believe that when he is finished conquering Ukraine, he will turn to the Baltic states. He’s not going to turn to the Baltic states. First of all, the Baltic states are members of NATO and—

Is that a good thing?

No.

You’re saying that he’s not going to invade them in part because they’re part of NATO, but they shouldn’t be part of NATO.

Yes, but those are two very different issues. I’m not sure why you’re connecting them. Whether I think they should be part of NATO is independent of whether they are part of NATO. They are part of NATO. They have an Article 5 guarantee—that’s all that matters. Furthermore, he’s never shown any evidence that he’s interested in conquering the Baltic states. Indeed, he’s never shown any evidence that he’s interested in conquering Ukraine.

Putin said it in his big essay that he wrote last year, and he said in a recent speech that he essentially blames Soviet policies for allowing a degree of autonomy for Soviet Republics, such as Ukraine.

But he also said, as I read to you before, “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart.” That’s somewhat at odds with what you just said. I mean, he’s in effect saying that he misses the Soviet Union, right? That’s what he’s saying. What we’re talking about here is his foreign policy. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you think that this is a country that has the capability to do that. You realize that this is a country that has a G.N.P. that’s smaller than Texas.

America couldn’t do what it wanted during Vietnam, reason not to fight these various wars—and I would agree—but that doesn’t mean that we were correct or rational about our capabilities.

I’m talking about the raw-power potential of Russia—the amount of economic might it has. Military might is built on economic might. You need an economic foundation to build a really powerful military. To go out and conquer countries like Ukraine and the Baltic states and to re-create the former Soviet Union or re-create the former Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe would require a massive army, and that would require an economic foundation that contemporary Russia does not come close to having. There is no reason to fear that Russia is going to be a regional hegemony in Europe. Russia is not a serious threat to the United States. We do face a serious threat in the international system. We face a peer competitor. And that’s China. Our policy in Eastern Europe is undermining our ability to deal with the most dangerous threat that we face today.

What do you think our policy should be in Ukraine right now, and what do you worry that we’re doing that’s going to undermine our China policy?

We should be pivoting out of Europe to deal with China in a laser-like fashion, number one. And, number two, we should be working overtime to create friendly relations with the Russians. The Russians are part of our balancing coalition against China. If you live in a world where there are three great powers—China, Russia, and the United States—and one of those great powers, China, is a peer competitor, what you want to do if you’re the United States is have Russia on your side of the ledger. Instead, what we have done with our foolish policies in Eastern Europe is drive the Russians into the arms of the Chinese. This is a violation of Balance of Power Politics 101.

I went back and I reread your article about the Israel lobby in the London Review of Books, from 2006. You were talking about the Palestinian issue, and you said something that I very much agree with, which is: “There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the lobby of the United States it has become the de facto enabler of Israeli occupation in the occupied territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians.” I was cheered to read that because I know you think of yourself as a tough, crusty old guy who doesn’t talk about morality, but it seemed to me you were suggesting that there was a moral dimension here. I’m curious what you think, if any, of the moral dimension to what’s going on in Ukraine right now.

I think there is a strategic and a moral dimension involved with almost every issue in international politics. I think that sometimes those moral and strategic dimensions line up with each other. In other words, if you’re fighting against Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945, you know the rest of the story. There are other occasions where those arrows point in opposite directions, where doing what is strategically right is morally wrong. I think if you join an alliance with the Soviet Union to fight against Nazi Germany, it is a strategically wise policy, but it is a morally wrong policy. But you do it because you have no choice for strategic reasons. In other words, what I’m saying to you, Isaac, is that when push comes to shove, strategic considerations overwhelm moral considerations. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if the Ukrainians were free to choose their own political system and to choose their own foreign policy.

But in the real world, that is not feasible. The Ukrainians have a vested interest in paying serious attention to what the Russians want from them. They run a grave risk if they alienate the Russians in a fundamental way. If Russia thinks that Ukraine presents an existential threat to Russia because it is aligning with the United States and its West European allies, this is going to cause an enormous amount of damage to Ukraine. That of course is exactly what’s happening now. So my argument is: the strategically wise strategy for Ukraine is to break off its close relations with the West.

specially with the United States, and try to accommodate the Russians. If there had been no decision to move nato eastward to include Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbass would be part of Ukraine today, and there would be no war in Ukraine.

That advice seems a bit implausible now. Is there still time, despite what we’re seeing from the ground, for Ukraine to appease Russia somehow?

I think there’s a serious possibility that the Ukrainians can work out some sort of modus vivendi with the Russians. And the reason is that the Russians are now discovering that occupying Ukraine and trying to run Ukraine’s politics is asking for big trouble.

So you are saying occupying Ukraine is going to be a tough slog?

Absolutely, and that’s why I said to you that I did not think the Russians would occupy Ukraine in the long term. But, just to be very clear, I did say they’re going to take at least the Donbass, and hopefully not more of the easternmost part of Ukraine. I think the Russians are too smart to get involved in an occupation of Ukraine.

NOTES:

Professor Mearsheimer was interviewed by Isaac Chotiner for the ‘New Yorker’ magazine. Ukraine Article 1: ‘The Right To Tell Lies – https://wp.me/p4fd9j-riD. Ukraine Article 2: Video lecture by Professor Mearsheimer – ‘Worse To Come’ https://wp.me/p4fd9j-rm4. The Professor’s best known book, co-written with Stephen Walt,The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” should be standard reading in universities.

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17 Responses to USA and Ukraine

  1. Excellent piece, Gareth. It chimes with what I’ve been what I’ve observed and told people over the last eight years.
    If we actually had a grown-up MSM we would be having these vital conversations in the open rather than the nauseating and frankly disturbing ‘two minutes hate’ knock-offs that pass for Western Media at the moment.

    For actual grown-up reportage and commentary on this and other issues, my current daily go-to is Alexander Mercouris on The Duran via Locals.
    I thoroughly recommend his content and analysis.
    Calm, considered and insightful.

  2. lorncal says:

    You don’t have to agree with the Professor, but many do, and academics, both here and in the US, are being gently reminded that Putin is the Devil incarnate in case they diverge from the West’s script.

    “… It’s not imperialism; this is great-power politics. When you’re a country like Ukraine and you live next door to a great power like Russia, you have to pay careful attention to what the Russians think, because if you take a stick and you poke them in the eye, they’re going to retaliate. States in the Western hemisphere understand this full well with regard to the United States… ”

    Precisely. The Ukrainian leadership’s insistence on joining NATO, and the West’s determination that it should join NATO and the EU, were so obviously out of alignment with Real Politik on the ground that those paying attention were horrified that so little attention was being paid to the reality of the Ukrainian situation. We can put it down to naïveté about both Russia and America, on Ukraine’s part and even on the part of the nearby states, especially Poland, in offering to get MiG Russian-built fighter jets to Ukraine. It is as if the repercussions and implication had just passed them by.

    If we ever seriously think about independence and start doing something tangible about it, we are going to have to take on board not just the UK reaction, but also the American reaction. I supported joining NATO when the SNP voted on it some years ago because I thought then that we could, perhaps, negotiate their removal in negotiations with the Americans – and we might have had we gone for independence then. Now, it is probably too late, and this situation will have brought the drum beaters out in force again.

    Like Zelenskyy, in Ukraine, Nicola Sturgeon has not done little to adopt a credible geopolitical stance given our geopolitical position. Populist rhetoric is fine and dandy when you are a superpower – and, even then, you have to be careful – but wee Scotland, festooned with nukes and bases for nukes and rearming facilities for nukes must be very, very circumspect. It serves no real purpose to say it now, except for, perhaps, as a lesson to be learned, but had Zelenskyy declared Ukraine’s neutrality and taken things very slowly, always with an eye on Russia, instead of insisting on NATO, his people would not be in the mess they are in presently. I hope that the Scottish leadership takes that on board and starts ruling on behalf of their people, not their own virtue signalling, populist total lack of reality across the board.

  3. lorncal says:

    Sorry, GB, should have added: really good and impartial piece. So much better than anything the Scottish MSM is willing to say.

  4. Stuart MacKay says:

    Lorna is correct, without the USA’s blessing there won’t be independence. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, only that the leadership has to take the USA’s wishes into account. There are many lessons to learn from Ukraine. Good statesmanship is one – yes, Truss and Sturgeon, we’re looking at you and shaking our heads. There’s a lot that an independent Scotland can offer Europe. With England increasingly looking and behaving like a loose canon – Scotland with strong links to the European Union would help anchor the bloc and provide the stability the Americans need at a time when they need to focus on dealing with China.

  5. More and more, what I have witnessed over the last 8 years and seeing how the Neocon/Neolib cabal operate, the more convinced I am that our democratic processes were deliberately interfered with in 2014. I instinctively feel this now, given the geopolitical spanner that a Yes vote would have put in the NWO master plan.

  6. alfbaird says:

    The Mearsheimer Nationalism-Liberalism-Realism Great Power Paradox could have been rapidly solved in favour of Scotland’s independence by invoking the Claim of Right and making the then POTUS Donald Trump the King of Scots. Instead our Colonial Covid Queen and court jester Harvie banished the most famous living Scotsman and most powerful leader on earth.

  7. sadscot says:

    I found this piece really interesting but I was troubled by this:-
    “I believe that during the unipolar moment, we were deeply committed to spreading democracy.”
    The Iraq outing was an illegal invasion of another sovereign country which was not attacking either the US or the UK. Imposing “regime change” on another country is also illegal. We must not dress it up as an attempt to spread democracy, ever. It breached international law and cost hundreds of thousands their lives.

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    I don’t think Mearsheimer meant it as anything positive, only as a matter of fact recounting of a policy.

  9. broonpot says:

    I only ‘discovered’ Mearsheimer very recently by watching a 2015 video –

    Your 3 articles have added a fresh and more up to date perspective, in contrast to the UK msm propaganda machine.

    Thank you.

  10. sadscot says:

    Broompot
    Yes, I’m very grateful to Gareth for introducing him here as I’d never heard him speak before and it was so refreshing to realise I wasn’t going mad myself. The coverage in the UK media is utterly shocking. (I know it always lacks balance but on Ukraine it is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before.) I’m sad for Ukraine because deep down I’m convinced it is being played by the west and used abominably.

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    Elements in the West demonised Putin well before he had invaded his fridge let alone a neighbour state, but we sure as hell pushed him over the edge by not listening to Russia’s concerns, and not finding common ground USA with Russia. We can’t go on this way.

  12. sadscot says:

    GB
    There is a lengthy letter in the Herald today suggesting that, since “we” took out Bin Laden, we should do the same to Putin. I really do despair. What next, will those of us who advocate dialogue that is meaningful and for all countries to abide by international law be interned as “Putin apologists”?

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    George – I has read that fascinating insight into the ‘warring West’ and wrote asking to republish the article. Hoping to give it a wider audience this weekend. Fingers crossed.

  14. fgsjr2015 says:

    Vladimir Putin’s apparent fear of NATO expansion, though especially the deployment of additional U.S. anti-nuclear-missile defense systems, further into eastern Europe is typically perceived by the West as unmerited paranoia.

    Surely he must realize that the West, including NATO, won’t initiate a nuclear-weapons exchange. … Then, again, how can he — or we, for that matter — know for sure, particularly with the U.S.?

    For example, while Ronald Reagan postulated that “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong,” who can know what may have historically come to fruition had the U.S. remained the sole possessor of atomic weaponry. There’s a presumptive, and perhaps even arrogant, concept of American governance as somehow, unless physically provoked, being morally/ethically above using nuclear weapons internationally.

    After President Harry S. Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the forces warring with North Korea — for the latter’s remarks about using many atomic bombs to promptly end the war — Americans’ approval-rating of the president dropped to 23 percent. It was still a record-breaking low, even lower than the worst approval-rating points of the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.

    Had it not been for the formidable international pressure on Truman (and perhaps his personal morality) to relieve MacArthur as commander, could/would Truman eventually have succumbed to domestic political pressure to allow MacArthur’s command to continue? After all, absolute power can corrupt absolutely.

  15. fgsjr2015 says:

    “You don’t have to agree with the Professor, but many do, and academics, both here and in the US, are being gently reminded that Putin is the Devil incarnate in case they diverge from the West’s script.”
    ________

    Every culture/nation has its own propaganda and core beliefs, true and false; though some culture/nations — usually the biggest, most powerful — are much more corrupt and brutal than the smaller, weaker ones. And western mainstream news-media are a significant part of this moral problem. Yet, the editors/journalists likely sleep well at night, nonetheless. …

    One can still hear or read praise, or conservatives’ scorn, heaped upon The New York Times for their supposed uncompromised integrity when it comes to humanitarianism and ethical journalism. Yet, did they not help create the Iraq War, through then-U.S.-VP Dick Cheney’s self-citing via the Times’ website? That would be the same Cheney who monetarily benefitted from the war via Iraqi oil fields — a war I consider to have been much more like a turkey shoot, considering the massive military might attacking the relatively weak country.

    I recall reading that The Times had essentially claimed honest-ignorance innocence on the grounds that it was its blogger’s overzealousness that was/is at fault. But is it really plausible that The Times did/does not insist upon securing the non-publishable yet accurate identity of its writers’ anonymous information sources — in this case, a devious Cheney — especially considering that Cheney himself would then use that anonymous source’s (i.e. his own) total BS about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify a declaration of war that inevitably resulted in genuine gratuitous mass suffering and slaughter, both abroad and domestically?

    I believe that The Times jumped on this atrocity-prone Iraq-invasion bandwagon also because of their close proximity to the massive 9/11 blow the city took only a few years prior. There was plenty of that particularly bitter bandwagon going around in Western circles back then.

    Quite memorable was Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman’s appearance on Charlie Rose’s show (May 29, 2003), where he ranted about the war’s justification and supposed success. “… We needed to go to that part of the world; and what they needed to see [was that] American boys and girls going house to house, from Basrah to Baghdad, [and] simply saying, ‘suck on this’.”

    It’s as though they all decided: ‘Just to be on the safe side, let’s error in favor of militarily assaulting, invading and devastating Iraq’.

    [An aside] I’d have much greater respect for Liz Cheney regarding the brutal January 6 political aftermath she’s suffered (though I’ve read that her Congressional-riding electorate have mostly remained behind her and therefore her seat essentially secure) — if only she’d come out and denounce her then-VP father’s part in fraudulently manufacturing American consent for the 2003-11 attack on Iraq. … Not surprisingly, many people (including me) would place Dick ahead of D. Trump on the Mr. Evil scale.

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