The conflict in Ukraine

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By BINOY KAMPMARK*

The script for the invasion appears to have already been written, and not necessarily in the Russian leader's pen.

The President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, never had much time for peace, as his attention to it was always considerably less than that he devoted to war. Despite his love of military conflict and its supposed benefits, he was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in mediating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. But to old Teddy, pacifists were nothing more than sissies, degenerates and even sexually dubious.

The intoxicating thing about war is that it tends to drive its promoters mad, no matter how level-headed they claim to be. On February 21, ABC, the Australian public broadcaster, seemed to embrace a subliminal message in its programming, especially with regard to the war. The default references? The outbreak of World War II; September 1939; poor Poland; and the ignorant Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain.

The Blind, the Idiot and the Viewer reality shows may have lost the thread of programming, but others have not. Russian forces are positioned on Ukraine's borders. In newspapers in Australia, Europe and the United States, there is more talk of war than diplomacy. The prospect of many deaths and many body bags is suggested. Instead of showing documentaries, statements or messages about how war can be avoided, giving the floor to diplomacy, the message in favor of conflict became inexorably clear.

This is perhaps the most visibly disgusting feature of this wave. It is a reminder that war has a seductive power, acts as a paralyzing agent and dulls sensitivity while awakening other senses. The opposite is never as inspiring because it's always constructively dull: negotiations, peace, avoiding death and cracking skulls. It is better to encourage the powers that be to destroy a few people, slaughter the villagers of a village or two, and sing of the enemy's evils. Add some political embellishments: they died in the name of democracy; they were killed because they needed to be redeemed by the “rule-based order”.

The message of war was promoted with unwavering consistency when it came to the demonstrably criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003 by US-led forces. It was entirely consonant with the “rules-based order” as advocated by President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian John Howard. The war would happen, whatever the evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons capability.

Having decided that invading Iraq would make a good headline, the Murdoch media empire went to work taming minds, adding viagra to warlike adventurism. Of the newspaper corral run by Rupert Murdoch, only one of 175 - the Hobart Mercury - did not support the war. This move certainly yielded dividends when it came to moving opinion. The results of a search Gallup International surveys released on February 4, 2003 revealed that 68% of Australians would support military action against Iraq. Of Australians surveyed, 89% expected war to be imminent. This was, purely and simply, an incitement to conflict, the hardening of a previous deliberation.

Even if it is not NATO or the United States that are considering a invasion of ukraine, a country entangled with Russian history and influence, the language of predictability, the inevitability of war, has arrived to decidedly obscure the workings of diplomacy. In London, Washington and Canberra, the willingness that war is inevitable is already visible.

Speaking to CBS, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was convinced that “we have seen that, with provocations created by Russian forces or separatists over the weekend, with false flag operations”, already suggested an advanced state of preparation for the invasion.

In his speech at the Munich Security Conference, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recognized not knowing exactly “what President [Vladimir] Putin intends, but the omens are dark and that is why we must stand strong together”. If Russia invades – promised Johnson – Russian individuals will be sanctioned, along with “companies of strategic importance to the Russian state”. raise capital in City from London would be practically impossible “and we will open the dolls matryoshka of Russian-owned companies and other entities, until the final beneficiaries are found”.

Western media are also cooperating, making extensive use of footage of tanks and moving personnel provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense itself. Even the mocking opinions expressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the “invasion date” were endorsed as tangible evidence of an imminent war.

Como registered o New Lines Magazine, “the West is doing an absolutely eloquent job of conveying the reality of Russian military power”, in favor of the Putin government. In a conversation with one of the magazine's authors, the editor of a British "mid-sized tabloid" suggested that "this hacking thing is probably rubbish." But it does not matter. "Boris needs this to move around."

The headlines and headlines of several newspapers are very sadly reminiscent of 2003. “We may be just hours away from war in Europe”, roared Mark Almond on February 15th at Daily Mail. Many hours have passed since then, but there is no sign that the journalist was held responsible for this brazen hysterical outpouring.

O Scottish Sun was even more confident, bloodthirsty, in its February 13 issue, bragging that we would have “48 hours to war”. The "Moscow bombing blitz could happen on Tuesday after the US president speaks out on the stalemate." That same day, the Sunday Telegraph insisted that Russia was planning an imminent "false flag attack to provoke war".

In short, the script for the invasion appears to have already been written, and not necessarily by the Russian leader's pen. The pieces are all in place: the assumption of invasion, the promised implementation of sanctions and limits on obtaining funding, as well as a strong condemnation. A fever has taken over, and promises to take a lot of life and sensitivity.

*Binoy Kampmark is a professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

Translation: Ricardo Cavalcanti-Schiel.

Originally published on International policy digest.

 

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