THOUGHTS ABOUT THE UKRAINE CRISIS

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An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joseph DillardDr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year's clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: integraldeeplistening.com and his YouTube channel.

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Escalation and Collapse” By Edgar Morin, June 6, 2022
Source: footnotes2plato.com, Translation: Sean Kelly

Integral and
the “Halo Effect”

Edgar Morin's Critique of the War in Ukraine

Joseph Dillard

The “Halo Effect” is a cognitive bias by which we automatically assume credibility for those we respect, outside their areas of demonstrated competence, and give the leaders we admire the “benefit of the doubt” instead of holding them accountable. I will attempt to buck that tendency by showing how respected integral thinker Edgar Morin is, to put it nicely, speaking outside his area of expertise.

In a previous essay I have examined geopolitical limitations in the integral worldview of a prominent integral voice, Robb Smith.[1] In what follows, I want to parse a recent essay, “Escalation and Collapse,” reflecting the geopolitical perspective of another major integral voice, Edgar Morin. According to Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, there are at least two other meta-theories with a different focus but a similar level of complexity as Wilber's, Bhaskar's Critical Realism and Morin's Complexity Theory. Morin is a contemporary French philosopher and sociologist and his Complexity Theory is spelled out in a 5-volume work titled “The Method.” Esbjörn-Hargens views Wilber's Integral Theory as focusing on the interior of the individual (psychology and spirituality - upper-left quadrant), Bhaskar's on intersubjectivity and culture (lower-left quadrant), and Morin's on systems and processes (lower-right quadrant).

What follows is the entirety of Morin's essay, in quotes, accompanied by my critique, with fuller explanations to be found in accompanying footnotes. It is by no means intended to discount, denegrate, or detract from Morin's significant and important contributions in the fields of philosophy, sociociology, and complexity theory. However, it is meant to be a cautionary tale regarding a fundamental and pernicious cognitive bias, called the “Halo Effect,” in which respect for brilliance in one or more field generates the suspension of critical judgment regarding competencies in other fields, promoting the provision of the “benefit of the doubt” to those who we admire or hold in high esteem. Examples include assuming Einstein has an important and informed opinion about ballet or human relations because he is a brilliant physicist, or that Wilber is an informed voice on evolutionary science because he is brilliant in his analysis of all quadrant, line, level, state, and type multi-perspectivalism. In what follows, I am calling out our human tendency to suspend critical assessment and provide esteemed integral or political figures the benefit of the doubt in subject areas (in this instance, geopolitics) where they neither deserve it nor have earned it.

Morin:

Outside the actual war zones, we live in a warlike peace, our bodies settled in peace, our minds among bombs and rubble. We attack an enemy with words, who threatens us in return, but we sleep in our own beds, not in a shelter.
And yet we are participating in the real war without having entered it by bringing in weapons and ammunition.
Edgar Morin
Edgar Morin

40+ billion in unaccountable military aid to Ukraine was voted for by the “Squad” and Bernie Sanders - the “progressive” voices in US government, while US citizens lack infant formula and are experiencing five dollar a gallon gasoline.[2] Yes, we Westerners, integralists, liberals, and progressives (WILPs) are participating in a real war AND we are bringing in weapons and ammunition. How can anyone rationally state otherwise? Can we credibly avoid personal responsibility for this war?[3]

The war in Ukraine has been progressively internationalized. Humanitarian aid and then food aid to the Ukrainian people, victims of Russian aggression, has been followed by military aid in the form of weapons, first defensive and then counter-offensive, the quality and quantity of which are increasing mainly due to the massive contribution of the United States, accompanied by those of most European Union countries.

The Ukrainians are definitely victims of Russian aggression. Russians are also victims of Ukrainian and Western aggression. Let us count some of the ways:

  1. Eight years of bombing of Russian speaking Ukrainian citizens, with some 14,000 dead, with nary a hint of moral outrage from virtue-signaling WILPs;[4]
  2. Zelensky declaring the intention of Ukraine to become a nuclear-armed state on Russia's borders;[5]
  3. US Department of Defense bioweapons labs - over 30 of them - in the Ukraine with documented evidence of experiments on how to turn insects and birds into carriers of viruses targeted for ethnic Russians;[6]
  4. Proof of an immanent invasion of Donbass set for March, 2022, previewed by a 40x increase in shelling in an initial “softening” in the days before the Russian invasion;[7]
  5. Proof that the US and NATO trained, armed, and paid the salaries of the Ukrainian military, including neo-Nazi battalions, for eight years and continue to do so;[8]
  6. Proof that ethnic Russians in Mariupol and various Ukrainian towns were and continue to be used as human shields by Ukrainian military arms placements in civilian residential buildings;[9]
  7. Proof that claims made by the Ukrainian human rights ombudsman, Liudmila Denisova, of Russian soldiers raping babies and children were unsubstantiated, ie., lies;[10]
  8. The blocking and final repudiation of the Minsk II accord by the US, EU, and Ukraine, diplomacy supported by Russia for eight years, which would have provided the Ukraine a way to avoid the war and its victim status;[11]
  9. The staging of easily debunked false flags by Ukraine to portray themselves as victims and, by falsely accusing Russia, turning it into a victim of lies;[12]
  10. The refusal by the west to recognize Russian sovereignty by extending NATO five times to the east, despite Western promises not to move NATO eastward “one inch;”[13]
  11. The refusal of the US and EU to abide by its treaty obligations under the Helsinki accords to recognize and respect the sovereignty of Russia.[14]

The question becomes, “Why does Morin ignore the victimization of Russia by Ukraine and WILPs?”

The strategy of the Russian army is relentless. It is the daughter of Zhukov's strategy during the Second World War, which gave the leading role to formidable artillery bombardments, not only against the enemy army, but also against the cities to be taken, with the last one being the total crushing by heavy artillery of the capital of the Reich, Berlin. Like any victorious army, but more terribly with the Soviet advance in Germany, killings and rapes multiplied. We knew it then, but we were careful not to denounce them, explaining them as revenge for the enormous suffering and death inflicted by Nazi Germany on the Soviet population.

Again, nothing is mentioned of the outdoor prisoner of war camps set up by the allies, in which some million German soldiers were interred, without blankets or coats, through the German winter of 1945-46.[15] Nothing is mentioned of how many were starved to death or purposefully left to die of exposure. Nothing is said of the totally unnecessary war crimes of the fire bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, and multiple Japanese cities by the US and UK, or the leveling of Mosul or Raqqa by NATO. Why not?

In the case of Ukraine, whose people are brothers or at least close cousins of the Russians, one wonders if the killings and rapes are due to the disorder of some troops, to the fury of failure, or to a will to terrorize.

It's war, so of course there are killings on both sides. But Morin is implying the intentional murder of Ukrainian civilians by Russia troops. Does he have proof? Morin states “rapes” by Russian troops as if it were a known fact without providing any links or proof. How come? Why? If such allegations were made against you or your country without proof, would that not amount to, at the very least, character assassination? If not, why not?

We still don't know if the first intention of Putin's aggression was to make the whole of Ukraine fall like a low-hanging fruit by decapitating it with the first assaults. It seems that the current ambition, under pressure from Ukrainian resistance, is to permanently conquer the predominantly Russian-speaking regions of the Donbass and the Azov Sea coast. At the time of writing, the struggle is fierce and uncertain: the Russian offensive is very powerful, but the Ukrainian army, in the course of its war since 2014 against the Russian-speaking separatists, has established entrenched and staggered fortifications, which so far have considerably slowed down the Russian advances, themselves still not very decisive.

Morin may not know, or he may not understand, or he may both know and understand and feign not knowing and understanding. In any case, here's some clarity: the initial moves to Kiev and Kharkov were a military strategy well known and often used in WWII by Russia called a “feint.” Its purpose was, as Scott Ritter explains, to tie down Ukrainian forces to keep them from reinforcing its sizeable army of some 100,000, shelling the Donbass and preparing to invade it. Russia needed to do this because it was attacking with a force approximately one-third the size of that of the defenders. Normal military strategic thinking states that attackers require a 3:1 advantage over defenders. This proportion was reversed in the Donbass region.[16]

Barring a coup d'état in the Kremlin or a fatal military coup or a diplomatic feat (ceasefire, peace compromise), it now seems that the war is likely to last and intensify with the increasingly abundant supply of Western weapons and Russia's increasingly extensive retaliation. The international character of the war in Ukraine is growing. It is true that the Western camp led by the United States declares that it is not at war with Russia. But its military intervention in Ukraine is an indirect war, to which is added an economic war increased by the imposition of sanctions.

We have public statements by both the UK and US governments that there is no intention to negotiate with Russia, meaning the war is intended to be drawn out as long as possible to “bleed” Russia, hopefully locking it in a Vietnam or Afghanistan-type quagmire.[17]

We are in the middle of an escalation, maintained by new bombings, new mutual accusations, new waves of reciprocal criminalization; the indirect war included in the war in Ukraine can at any moment be widened by bombings, accidental or not, in Russian or European territory.
On top of that, Putin has resumed his announcement of a “lightning fast” retaliation if a certain unspecified threshold of hostility or interference threatens Russia, mentioning a decisive weapon, unknown to any other country and which Russia alone might possess.
Based on a seemingly rational argument, well known since the Cold War, this threat is not taken seriously by the United States and its allies. If Russia wants to annihilate us, an immediate retaliation would in turn annihilate Russia. This rational argument, however, does not take into account a possible mishap and a possible irrationality. The possible mishap would be the unintentional launch of a nuclear device at the potential enemy, which would trigger an immediate nuclear response. The possible irrationality is that of a dictator in a rage or delirium.

Since Russia, not the US or EU, is presumed to harbor “dictators,” Morin is assuming that it would be the deranged action of Putin that would cause a nuclear holocaust. Why does Morin not consider the possibility that the US, intentionally or non-intentionally, could set off a nuclear holocaust, particularly if it recognized it was losing not only the war but its global hegemony?

In any case, it is currently probable (knowing also that the improbable can happen) that from one slip to another the war will spread to European territories, and will be amplified by intercontinental missiles on Russian and American territories without sparing Europe. A third world war, of a new type, using tactical nuclear weapons with limited range, drones, and cyberwarfare to destroy the communication systems that sustain the life of societies would be the logical outcome of the amplification of the current internationalized war.

One would think that this recognition would result in a demand by Morin and other WILPs that the West institute immediate negotiations with Russia resulting in the end of the war. But instead what we see is a doubling down: more infusions of more deadly weapons, more Western tax-payer money poured down the rat hole of Ukrainian oligarchic corruption, and the announcement that any NATO country is free to station nuclear arms on its territory.[18] And what is the response of WILPs to these aggressive actions? If not silence, then the blaming of Russia and Putin. That's the best they seem to have to offer.

Let's add an important observation: in countries in conflict, war introduces controls, surveillance, the elimination of any opinion deviating from the official line, and the unleashing of propaganda for the permanent justification of its acts and the ontological criminalization of the enemy.

This is certainly the case, as we can see by Ukraine's 1) outlawing of any but ultra-rightist, ultra-nationalist political party and media;[19] 2) the imprisonment and torture of dissenting political and media figures;[20] and 3) the abduction and disappearance of citizens believed to be possible Russian partisans.[21]

Putin's Russia was already an authoritarian state under the orders of a dictator.

Here again Morin makes allegations without proof. Russia holds internationally supervised national and regional elections regularly. Authoritarian states do not. Putin subjects himself yearly to some four hours of questioning by the Russian public, taking and skillfully handling all varieties of questions and concerns, something that no Western leader does, mostly because they lack the skill and competence to be so accountable to the public. It is easy to call Putin a dictator, but he enjoys over an 80% public approval rating.[22] What Western leader has public approval ratings that are anywhere close? Biden's are currently half of Putin's. By that measure, who is more the dictator?

The war has intensified control and repression, hitting those who not only opposed the aggression, but also those who questioned its rationale. In Ukraine, the hunt for spies and terrorists has given rise to a control of the population. The excesses committed by some of its troops or by bandits are hidden, and while denouncing real abuses, propaganda is unleashed against a totally criminalized enemy.

Morin is correct about this and deserves credit for saying so.

In France, although not belligerent and still enjoying the ultimate comforts of peace, we only have access to the most misleading assertions of Putin's Russia and to the images of the destruction it causes. And Russian artists and athletes are banned in a hysteria that confuses a great culture, a great people, and its current leader.

Again, Morin is correct in pointing to the virulent hatred and censoring of all things Russian by the West. Russian athletes, artists, novelists, musicians and even cats are censored while both public and private property is openly stolen by the West.[23]

We are caught in an escalation of inhumanity and a collapse of humanity, an escalation of simplistic thinking and a collapse of complexity. But above all, the escalation towards globalized war signals the tumbling of humanity towards the abyss.
Can we escape from this infernal logic?
The only alternative would be a compromise peace that would establish and guarantee the neutrality of Ukraine. The status of the Russian-speaking regions of Donbass could be dealt with by referendum. The status of Crimea, a Tatar region partly Russianized, would deserve a special status. In short, the conditions for a compromise, however difficult it may be to establish, are clear.

I agree with Morin on this as well. However, while the requirements for peace may be clear, they are unacceptable to Ukraine and the West. These include:

  1. the recognition of the Donbass and Crimea as independent and separate from Ukraine in the case of Donbass, and the Crimea as a part of Russia;
  2. the internationally recognized and enforced neutral status of Ukraine;
  3. the removal of all Western trainers, arms, and financial support for the Ukrainian military and government; and
  4. the re-writing of the Ukrainian constitution so as to outlaw neo-Nazism; that is, to guarantee the protection of minority rights.

The Ukraine and West thinks that somehow they will avoid these requirements for peace. They will not, and if such terms are not accepted, future terms will be harder, likely including the recognition of the independence of Odessa, the cutting off of Ukrainian access to the Black Sea, and the loss of at least a third of Ukraine, up to the Dneiper and including Kharkov.

But the radicalization and the amplification of the war has set back the possibilities in an undefined way. The geo-political position of Ukraine and its economic wealth in wheat, steel, coal, and rare metals make it a prey for the two great predator superpowers.

On the contrary, Russia was content to allow Ukraine to remain an independent state, including its control over regions historically of majority Russian ethnicity, including Crimea and the major Russian naval base at Sevastapol. It was only the Western instigated and paid for Maidan coup in 2014 that deprived Ukraine of the Crimea and caused the civil war in the Donbass. The causes for these losses fall squarely on the shoulders of neoconservatives and neoliberal WILPs in Washington and NATO, not on Russia. The proof lies in 1) Victoria Nuland stating that the US “invested” 5 billion to generate the Maidan color revolution (essentially bribes)[24]; 2) a Rand think tank 2018 plan for the undermining of Russian sovereignty:[25]

The tilting of Ukraine towards the West after Maidan has aroused Russian aggression and the Russian aggression has aroused not only the support of a nation victimized by invasion, but also the will to integrate it into the West, which corresponds moreover to the wish of a majority of Ukrainians.

Let's rewrite this to reflect what we know about the factual history: “The tilting of Ukraine towards the West after Maiden was caused by the installation of an ultra-right pro-Western non-elected regime in Kiev, hand-picked by Washington neocons. This led to legislation that outlawed the teaching and use of the Russian language, spoken and commonly used by some 40% of the Ukrainian population. This aggression by the West and Ukraine led to rebellion by the victimized portion of the Ukrainian population, leading to the burning alive of almost 50 Ukrainians in Odessa, attacks on Crimeans, and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians in the Donbass.”

Ukraine is a martyr not only of Russia but of the worsening of the conflictual relations between the United States and Russia, including of course the enlargement of NATO, itself inseparable from the concerns raised by the Russian war in Chechnya and its military intervention in Georgia.

While the citizens of Ukraine are indeed victims of the West, the Ukrainian government, various oligarchs, its military, and the small but hugely influential neo-Nazi segment of the population, as well as Russia, they are victims in the same sense that we Westerners are victims of our governments. Like ourselves, Ukrainians are victims of our own failure to take responsibility for the actions of the governments we vote for and tolerate.

Regarding Morin's description of the “Russian war in Chechnya and its military intervention in Georgia,” it is interesting that he leaves out that were responses to terrorists or color revolutions (Georgia “Rose Revolution, 2003 and Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution, 2005), instigated by the West. Why does he leave out that critical historical fact?

The salvation of Ukraine would be not only to free itself from the Russian invasion, but also to free itself from the antagonism between Russia and the United States. This double liberation would also allow the nations of the European Union to free themselves from this conflict and to seek to link security and autonomy.

This would be wonderful, and it would also be wonderful if unicorns could fly. The West has no intention of allowing Ukraine freedom; it is using it as a proxy war fought “to the last Ukrainian” with Russia, with the aim of the overthrow of its government and its dismemberment.[26]

One cannot know up to what point the sanctions against Russia, while hitting hard not only the Putin regime, but also the Russian people, will also hit the sanctioners by turning partially back on them: it is not only the latter's supply of energy and food that is threatened; with increased inflation and the restrictions to come, their entire economies and social life will undoubtedly be hard hit. An economic crisis always in itself generates authoritarian regressions and the durable installation of societies of submission.

We are in the course of answering Morin's question. We can and indeed will know the effect of Western sanctions on Russia, as well as the effect of those sanctions on the West. To date we have these facts:

  1. the Ruble is not rubble, as Biden declared; instead it is the most appreciated currency in the world so far in 2022;[27]
  2. Russian income from exports has more than covered the costs of the sabotaged NS2 gas pipeline and its special military operation in Ukraine;[28]
  3. some 80% of the countries of the world refuse to agree to Western sanctions and are currently trading with Russia in Rubles or their own currencies;[29]
  4. Europe is facing an energy crisis due to its sanctioning of Russian energy;[30]
  5. sanctions limiting the export of Russian/Belorussian fertilizer threatens a massive famine potentially sending waves of immigrants into Europe;[31]
  6. the EU is already showing signs of disunity and fracturing with Hungary and Serbia refusing to support EU sanctions on Russia;[32]
  7. NATO is already showing signs of disunity and fracturing with Turkey refusing to authorize the admission of Finland and Sweden;[33]
  8. censoring of alternative perspectives to the mainstream narratives promoted by Washington and London are on the rise, a mark of authoritarian regression and fascism.[34]
Putin's Russia is an abominable authoritarian regime. But it is not comparable to Hitler's Germany; its pan-Slavic hegemonism is not, as was Hitler's, the will to colonize Europe and to enslave racially inferior peoples. Any Hitlerization of Putin is unwarranted.

We can agree with Morin that Putin's Russia is an abominable authoritarian regime, but that does not and will not change the reality that Russia is winning the military, economic, and informational wars instigated against it by the West.[35] It does not change the reality that the actions of the West have turned Russia into a self-sufficient autarky, indeed, the most self-sufficient country in the world. It does not change the reality that Western actions continue to push Russia and China closer together into the most formidable alliance the world has ever seen. It does not change the reality that 80% of the world, the entire global south, do not support Western sanctions on Russia and instead do business with it. It does not change the reality that inflation, largely caused by the backfiring of Western sanctions, is quickly turning Europe into a net importing, rather than a net exporting, region. It does not change the reality that both economic insecurity and social unrest are increasing in Europe and the West while Russia has become both more secure economically and more united behind the policies of its government.

We are in a world dominated by antagonisms between superpowers and given over to ethnic, nationalist, racist, and religious delusions.
However repugnant the superpowers may be in various ways, the appeasement of their conflicts is a sine qua non to avoid generalized disasters. So we must aspire to a compromise. Humanity would not be saved for all that; but it would gain a reprieve, and perhaps also a hope.

We can only wonder at how such intelligent and well-meaning WILPs can be so mistaken and indeed delusional, and why their mistaken ideas are so prevalent and respected by the integral community. Citing luminaries such as Morin in support of geopolitical arguments is a logical fallacy in that it is an appeal to authority rather than facts and an example of the cognitive bias of the Halo Effect. We can give Morin the benefit of the doubt by saying he is ignorant of the facts I have presented, but doesn't leadership status confer upon itself a higher degree of responsibility and accountability? Is Morin more or less responsible and accountable because he is held in high esteem by Integralists? Certainly he is more responsible and more accountable, not less. What has happened to vaunted Integral multi-perspectivalism? Does it exist at all? I believe it does, but limited to higher relational exchanges, like arguing whether the developmental level of this or that individual or nation is “red” or “blue” or “orange” or “green,” or expounding on the wonders of enlightenment and spirituality while metaphorically, all around us, Rome is burning.

NOTES

  1. Dillard, J. “Is Russia Red and the West Green?", www.integralworld.net
  2. “Every Democrat in Congress voted in favor of the $40 billion war package to supply aid to Ukraine. Every member of the so-called “Squad” and other progressive Democrats voted for the gargantuan payout to Ukraine despite condemning military spending in the past.” "'Squad' members and progressive Democrats all vote for $40 billion war package for Ukraine despite condemning military spending in the past", ussanews.com
  3. While we are not pulling any triggers, we vote for politicians who authorize the funds that support those who are. We vote for and thereby support politicians who maintain illegal wars, sanctions, and who can at any moment create nuclear winter without our consent.
  4. “Since 2014, about 9,000 civilians have been killed in the Donbass. Such data were presented at the press conference “Scorched memory of Donbass: war crimes of the Ukrainian army and new data on the massacres of the civilian population.” According to the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) Anna Soroka, more than 2,000 civilians, including 35 children, were killed during the conflict in the republic, 3,365 people were injured, including 88 minors.The Commissioner for Human Rights in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Daria Morozova, said that more than 5,000 people, including 91 minor children, became victims among the population of the DPR. About 8 thousand more people were injured of varying severity during this period.” "How many lives has the Donbas taken?", www.thecitizen.co.tz
  5. “President Zelensky Suggests Ukraine May Pursue Nuclear Weapons To Counter Russia, Putin Responds.” Putin's response: ““Ukraine has the nuclear technologies created back in the Soviet times and delivery vehicles for such weapons, including aircraft, as well as the Soviet-designed Tochka-U precision tactical missiles with a range of over 100 kilometers. But they can do more; it is only a matter of time. They have had the groundwork for this since the Soviet era,” Putin said. “In other words, acquiring tactical nuclear weapons will be much easier for Ukraine than for some other states I am not going to mention here, which are conducting such research, especially if Kiev receives foreign technological support. We cannot rule this out either.” If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia…” We cannot but react to this real danger, all the more so since, let me repeat, Ukraine's Western patrons may help it acquire these weapons to create yet another threat to our country.” "President Zelensky Suggests Ukraine May Pursue Nuclear Weapons To Counter Russia, Putin Responds", www.dailywire.com
  6. “Bio warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program— Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.” “Information obtained from the US federal contracts registry clarifies some of the military activities at The Lugar Center — among them research on bio- agents (anthrax, tularemia) and viral diseases (e.g. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever), and the collection of biological samples for future experiments.” "US bioweapons labs in Ukraine: What will Russia find in the labs?", www.nutritruth.org “Francis Boyle, JD, professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, and the leading expert on biological weapons emphatically states that the labs found in Ukraine by Russian troops are funded and run by the USA. The thousands of scientists working in these labs all over the world…” "Bioweapons Labs in Ukraine", seemorerocks.is
  7. “The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday denounced a Ukrainian plan to launch during this March a military operation in the Donbass region, where the self-proclaimed autonomous republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are located. “In the course of a special military operation, Russian military personnel took possession of secret documents of the Ukrainian National Guard command,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov detailed. “These documents confirm the covert preparation by the Kiev regime for an offensive operation in Donbass in March 2022” , the spokesman said at a briefing. Konashenkov commented that it is a secret order of the commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, Colonel General Mykola Balan, dated January 22, 2022. The spokesman specified that the operation would be carried out under the command of a battalion tactical group of the 4th operational brigade to perform special combat tasks in the Joint Forces Operation as part of a brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.” "Russia Reveals Ukrainian Plan to Attack Donbass Region", www.telesurenglish.net
  8. “US troops in Poland have been providing Ukrainians with some instruction on how to use the weapons the West has been shipping into Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. President Joe Biden said on Monday that US troops stationed in Poland have been "helping train the Ukrainian troops" in that country.” https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/29/politics/us-troops-poland-ukraine/index.html “Following urgent requests for arms from the Ukrainian government, at least 32 countries have announced their intention to ship billions of dollars in weapons into Ukraine for use against Russian forces in Ukraine. Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries — units which have already received training and arms the US and its NATO allies. Underscoring the careless nature of the unprecedented arms shipments, the formerly neutral country of Norway has warned that its government cannot “guarantee that the weapons [it is sending to Ukraine] will not fall into the wrong hands.” “Canada's Department of National Defense noted this January 26 that the Canadian Armed Forces have trained “nearly 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel in a range of tactical and advanced military skills.” “Canada is playing a leading role in our response,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defense on March 9, “including with training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops — many of whom are on the front lines today.” The United Kingdom, via Operation Orbital, has trained 22,000 Ukrainian fighters and sent more trainers to the country in early March.” "US and NATO allies arm neo-Nazi units in Ukraine as foreign policy elites yearn for Afghan-style insurgency", thegrayzone.com
  9. “Dozens of disturbing video testimonials have emerged over the past few days alleging that Ukrainian soldiers, including the Neo-Nazi group Azov Battalion, have been setting up offensive military positions within civilian areas to launch attacks on Russian troops — using the citizens, including women and children, as “human shields” by guaranteeing return fire will hit civilian areas.” "Ukrainian Military Using Women and Children as 'Human Shields'", newspunch.com
  10. “The Ukrainian parliament voted to dismiss the country's human rights ombudsman, Liudmila Denisova, saying she failed in her main roles. The parliament overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence in Denisova, with 234 in favor and 9 against, plus 28 abstentions.” "Ukrainian parliament dismisses human rights ombudsman", edition.cnn.com “Rape Allegations Against Russian Troops In Ukraine Were Fake.”, www.moonofalabama.org
  11. “The Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, announced today that the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, who rules out direct talks with the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. “Local elections and a political settlement are issues that cannot be resolved without coordination with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk,” TASS news agency quoted Volodin as saying on his Telegram page. Earlier, Zelensky announced that he would not hold talks with the "unilaterally declared" republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Speaker of the Russian State Duma pointed out that Zelensky, with his words, actually refuses to implement the Minsk agreements.” "Russian Duma: Zelensky refuses to implement the Minsk agreements", newsrnd.com
  12. “The Bucha 'Russian' atrocities propaganda onslaught may have worked well in the 'west' but it lacks evidence that Russia had anything to do with it.The former Indian ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar calls it an outright fake: An indignant Moscow has angrily demanded a United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday over the allegations of atrocities by Russian troops in areas around Kiev through the past month. Prima facie, this allegation is fake news but it can mould misperceptions by the time it gets exposed as disinformation. A Tass report says: “The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Russian Armed Forces had left Bucha, located in the Kiev region, on March 30, while “the evidence of crimes” emerged only four days later, after Ukrainian Security Service officers had arrived in the town. The ministry stressed that on March 31, the town's Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk had confirmed in a video address that there were no Russian troops in Bucha. However, he did not say a word about civilians shot dead on the street with their hands tied behind their backs.” Even more surprising is that within minutes of the “breaking news”, western leaders—heads of state, foreign ministers, former politicians—popped up with statements duly kept ready and only based on the videos, seconds-long videos and a clutch of photos, ready to pour accusations. No expert opinion was sought, no forensic work was done, no opportunity given to the accused to be heard.” “The Bucha Provocation,” Moon of Alabama
  13. As early as in January 1990, in his speech on German reunification, the West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher made clear that “the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.'” In a crucial meeting on February 10, 1990 between West German leader Helmut Kohl and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, it was agreed that Soviet would assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east. Then US secretary of state James Baker made his famous “Not one inch eastward” assurance regarding NATO's expansion in his meeting with Gorbachev on February 9, 1990. “Neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” Baker said. “Not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction,” he said. Experts noted that if it were not for the subsequent expansion of NATO all the way to the east, the current crisis in Ukraine would likely not be. But unfortunately, the “brazen trick” of “Not one inch to the East” knocked down the first piece of the domino.” "US-led NATO reneges on 'Not one inch eastward' promise to compress Russia's space to the extreme", leftreviewonline.com
  14. The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference. Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations." "sovereignty", legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com
  15. “at the end of the war by Allied forces, who took in millions of German prisoners in the summer of 1945 and deliberately starved as many as one in four of them to death, according to the highest estimates. The story of the Rheinwiesenlager, or “Rhine Camps,” was then covered up and obfuscated by professional historians for decades after the war while the survivors grew old and the prisoner records were destroyed.” “The Dark Secret of America's WWII German Death Camps” allthatsinteresting.com
  16. Scott Ritter gives a military analysis of Russia's moves in Ukraine.” tapnewswire.com
  17. America and Its Allies Wants to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn't.”, www.nytimes.com
  18. ”Nuclear sharing became a core component of NATO's strategy. Of the three nuclear powers in NATO (France, the United Kingdom and the United States), only the United States has nuclear arms in other member states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Once there have been also US nuclear arms in Canada (1950-1984), Greece (until 2001) and the UK (until 1992). Currently, the US has about 150 tactical B61 gravity bombs deployed in Europe.” "Nuclear arms central to NATO's identity", vrede.be
  19. Zelensky Signs Law to Ban Ukraine's Opposition Parties.” www.independentsentinel.com
  20. ”The graphic images of a Ukrainian opposition leader, who says he was abducted and tortured for more than a week, have raised fears that extrajudicial squads are being deployed to intimidate protesters. Dmytro Bulatov, 35, who re-emerged on Friday after being missing for a week, said unidentified kidnappers beat him, sliced off part of his ear and nailed him to a door during his time in captivity. “There isn't a spot on my body that hasn't been beaten. My face has been cut. They promised to poke my eye out. They cut off my ear,” Bulatov said on Friday from a hospital in Kiev. “They crucified me by nailing me to a door with something and beat me strongly all the while.” "Tension grips Ukraine over torture claims", www.aljazeera.com
  21. Impunity reigns for abductions and ill-treatment by pro-Kyiv vigilantes in eastern Ukraine.&rdquo www.amnesty.org
  22. “In May 2022, over 80 percent of Russians approved of activities of the Russian president Vladimir Putin. The popularity level saw an increase during the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started at the end of February 2022.” "Do you approve of the activities of Vladimir Putin as the president (prime minister) of Russia?", www.statista.com
  23. “Seizing Russia's foreign-exchange reserves would be nothing short of “theft,”Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. Such an idea was recently floated by the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell. “It seems fair to say that this is a theft they [the Western nations] do not even try to conceal,” the Russian foreign minister told journalists at a press conference during his visit to Algeria. In a recent interview with FT, Borrell suggested seizing Russia's frozen reserves and using them to cover the costs of rebuilding Ukraine once the conflict is over. Such actions “become a sort of a habit for the West,” he added, pointing to the fact that the US had frozen funds “belonging to Afghanistan, the Afghan Central Bank.” Washington has no plans to spend them on the needs of the Afghan people “that have suffered the consequences of the 20-year-long NATO presence” on their soil, Lavrov said.” “'Theft' of foreign assets becoming 'habit' for West — Lavrov. Russia's foreign minister has slammed the EU top diplomat's idea of seizing Russian government reserves” www.thevigilantenews.com.au
  24. Victoria Nuland Admits USA Spent 5 BILLION To Subvert Ukraine,” www.investmentwatchblog.com
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  25. Rand Corporation, "Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground"
  26. ”Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was the most important strategist of all of this and had been Jimmy Carter's national security advisor said in his 1997 Grand Chessboard that Ukraine was the “geopolitical pivot,” particularly in the West, which if it were brought into NATO and under Western control, would weaken Russia so much that it could be tethered, if not dismembered. This has been the goal all along and U.S. strategic planners and Washington officials, along with the NATO allies, have stated over and over that they wanted to bring the Ukraine into NATO. NATO made this goal official in 2008.” From a presentation by John Bellamy Foster given on March 31, 2022 to the advisory board of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. "The U.S. proxy war in Ukraine", mronline.org
  27. The ruble is being the best currency against the dollar this year and this is the explanation,” tekdeeps.com
  28. “Russia has found itself with a record current account balance after rising oil and gas prices and restricting imports. The current account balance surplus widened to $58.2 billion in the first quarter of 2022 from $22.2 billion in the same period last year, the largest current account surplus since available records began in 1994. Exports have grown by 55% and imports by only 14%.” “The ruble is being the best currency against the dollar this year and this is the explanation,” tekdeeps.com
  29. "Which countries have decided not to sanction Russia?" www.washingtonexaminer.com
  30. “…from 2023 Europe will pay very dearly for its energy, thus having much higher non-competitive costs all around. This will affect the internal cost of living and most probably will ruin its export-based business model. “The current energy crisis could be one of the worst and longest in history and European countries could be hit particularly hard”, said the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, in a public statement. But it could be even worse.” Vilches, J., “For Europe from Russia with love.” thesaker.is
  31. “Sky-high fertilizer prices have farmers worldwide scaling back its use and reducing the amount of land they're planting, fallout from the Ukraine-Russia conflict that has some agricultural industry veterans warning of food shortages. Western sanctions on Russia, a major exporter of potash, ammonia, urea and other soil nutrients, have disrupted shipments of those key inputs around the globe. Fertilizer is key to keeping corn, soy, rice and wheat yields high. Growers are scrambling to adjust.” "As sanctions bite Russia, fertilizer shortage imperils world food supply", www.reuters.com
  32. “Hungary's government has firmly opposed EU plans to include Russian energy exports in its sanctions against Moscow, arguing that 85% of Hungary's gas and more than 60% of its oil comes from Russia.” "Hungary: no more sanctions on Russia, as top leaders defend their own corrupt interests", lansinginstitute.org
  33. Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden Nato bids,” www.bbc.co.uk
  34. “If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive. On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union—citing “disinformation” and “public order and security”—officially banned the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law. Glenn Greenwald: “The Censorship Campaign Against Western Criticism of NATO's Ukraine Policy Is Extreme.” scheerpost.com
  35. Dillard, J. “Why we are losing the war with Russia,” www.integralworld.net






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