Foreign Policy

Europe Is Trapping Itself Through Monetary Manipulation

There’s a lot of news flying around about the changes happening in global currency trading.

From “Gas for Rubles” to “What the Hell is Going on With the Yen?” there are a lot of questions and very few answers as to what it all means and whose on which side of the divide.

The Fed just hiked 50 basis points for the first time since 2000 and will be running off its balance sheet forcing the Treasury to stop issuing new debt at stupid rates. The European Union unveiled a sixth sanctions package against Russia which calls for a complete embargo of all Russian oil.

Further to this the EU is now aping what the Trump Administration tried to do to Iran in 2018, sanctioning all services, including insurance, to all shippers of oil from doing any business with Russia and sanctioned Russian banks.

The bloc is proposing to ban European vessels and companies from providing services — including insurance — linked to the transportation of Russian oil and products globally as part of its new sanctions package, according to officials and a draft document seen by Bloomberg.

While member states are still wrangling over the terms, it’s a potentially powerful tool because 95% of the world’s tanker liability cover is arranged through a London-based insurance organization called the International Group of P&I Clubs that has to heed European law.

These sanctions, effectively politicizing every aspect of international business and trade, are ultimately nothing more than short-term annoyances for Russia or anyone else.

It betrays a mindset that cares nothing for the downstream effects of these actions and, if anything, betray the desperation felt in Brussels today about its position in the global market.

I’ve spilled hundreds of column inches trying to explain to the world that it is the EU’s totalitarian mindset based on their psychological imbalance and ideological need to be seen as the champions of humanity, that drives all of their decisions.

The U.S. is not so driven. We’re far easier to understand. We like power but only so long as it nets us a profit.

This sanctions package is prima facie evidence of their insanity and what happens when, like a cornered animal, they are faced with an existential choice. The EU is built on a foundation of insulating its leadership from the vicissitudes of public opinion.

Populism is a four-letter word in the Eurocrat’s vocabulary.

The consequences of this policy which was conceived of by the fart-sniffing buffoons at the World Economic Forum, The Davos Crowd, are irrelevant to them in the short-term. Yes, Europeans will suffer tremendously high inflation because, if successful at taking a majority of Russian oil off the global markets, will only ensure that prices go ballistic.

Do you think the same people who have a stated depopulation agenda who mandated a 12% effective Pfizer vaccine and wasn’t tested at all on pregnant women lest they be barred from partaking of European society care one whit about the people they govern?

Of course not.

I guess this is what they mean when they invoke “European values.”

So, keep that firmly in mind when you play through the following scenarios and what is really at stake for them and for us going forward. These are people who are only in power because they control the political process handed to them via a corrupt monetary system which institutionalizes the Cantillion effect of money printing to grant them unearned advantages in the market place.

As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, one of the strongest weapons Russia has in their arsenal is the world’s need for the commodities they produce and their ability now, with the global financial system teetering on the brink of collapse, to set the terms of payment for them.

Ronan Manly at Bullion Star recently wrote a great article which is, I believe, the foundational one for what’s going on in Russia. In it Manly goes over the steps being taken by the Russians to move away from a purely debt-based currency regime to a commodity-based one. This idea is promulgated by Sergei Glazyev, who is heading up the creation of a kind-of SDR for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

These moves are staunchly opposed by the Bank of Russia. I was asked by a Patron to elaborate on this dichotomy.

It looks to me like Glazyev’s plan for the new EAEU currency isn’t to make the ruble exchangeable for gold, like the old gold-backed USD, but to value it against the price of gold and 19 or so other commodities, plus the member countries’ currencies. The basket, including gold, will be a measure of value, a yardstick by which to compare the value of member currencies. The basket won’t be traded, its global value will just be tracked.

Bank of Russia head Elvira Nabiullina is a dutiful IMF-trained midwit. She heads an organization that is not explicitly under Kremlin control, much like the Fed here. That said, Putin has more authority over the central bank because of the power of the Russian President and the reality that the Russian State is strong enough to dictate terms to its oligarchs, rather than the reverse here in the West.

But the Bank of Russia is still operationally run with IMF thinking.

My reply:

Yes, Nabiullina is a good IMF lackey.  At the same time [Nikolai] Patruchev is saying the opposite.  The Security Council is more powerful than the Bank of Russia.  So, listen to Nabiullina the same way I listen to {US Treasury Sec. Janet] Yellen, as a mouthpiece for foreign powers.

Meamwhile [Jerome] Powell and the members of the Russian Sec. Council are telling you what’s going to happen…. A two-tiered ruble is coming in Russia and The Fed is pushing for fiscal discipline on Capitol Hill.  The Bank of Russia is being set up to fail and be nationalized.

The EAEU will setup a commodity-backed SDR and Russia’s domestic ruble will be convertible to gold, while the international RUB, say RBO (Ruble offshore) will circulate to allow people to pay for imports.

My point in this reply is that backing the ruble in gold for domestic purposes and the EAEU’s commodity backed SDR are two separate issues. One is Russian domestic policy, the other is a feature of a new pan-Asian trade and foreign policy.

Conflating these issues I think is a mistake. An easy mistake to make, mind you, but a mistake nonetheless.

Do You Think You’re Being Treated Unfairly?

So, with that in mind we can now look at the current goals of Russia as it pertains to its current situation: How to break EU support for the war in Ukraine. That is, categorically, the most important issue for Russia going forward.

By setting up Gazprombank as a kind of Russian Ex-Im Bank for dealing with assholes, Russia now has a vehicle to ensure that they get whatever they want for their exports.

The 1st order effect is that the FX volatility cost is pushed onto the buyer of the export. They now have to plan for how to get rubles and at whatever price is available to them. Without much of an international market for the ruble to date, that means Gazprombank going onto the Moscow exchange and buying rubles to sell to a German gas importer, for example.

This is, right now, the main reason why the ruble is strengthening dramatically versus all ‘unfriendly’ currencies. The scheme to date has been so successful, in the face of a nascent U.S. dollar bull market, only it and the Brazilian Real have risen versus the dollar in the past year:

Given the international need for the ruble which is now critical to a functional global trade in base commodities, all of a sudden the prospect of a Russian ruble forward curve that isn’t a complete joke looks pretty good.

That, in and of itself, is a massive change to the global financial system. But,wait…there’s moar!

If these ‘Unfriendly’ countries are not run by complete retards—a bad assumption I know—then they will begin setting up an offshore ruble futures market… eurorubles?…to deal with their future Russian commodity needs.

Now you can understand why EU Commission President Cruella der Leyen is so adamant about trying to embargo Russian commodities. Davos needs to maintain control over the terms of trade.

They need to exert what power they still have in an environment where they are becoming increasingly irrelevant to global trade. Europe is run by people who do not believe in growth. They are the poster children for Climate Change and the anti-unlimited growth movement.

Davos has gaslit two entire generations of westerners in the Malthusian talking point that you can’t have infinite growth in a finite world. All of their economic dogma is predicated on this.

It doesn’t matter that this talking point is predicated on an inane premise, truth is, after all treason, at this point in the economic and cultural cycle. But, to try and explain quickly for the slow-witted. GDP growth is not necessarily real growth. It’s just spending. It says nothing for the quality of the spending or whether, in real terms, the people spending the money are materially better off than they were at a previous point in time.

What isn’t measured by GDP is value. Value is what we crave, the ability to plan further into the future, using our ingenuity to find better mousetraps to build and more efficient, and yes sustainable, ways of deploying scarce capital and time.

When you have a monetary system and regulatory regime designed to thwart that to stop growth then you have the world we live in today. That infinite growth is a subjective, not objective, measure…not in GDP terms but in the ‘alleviation of human misery’ terms.

Davos absolutely doesn’t want this because a world where everyone gets maximal value for their time is a world without our need for them.

Got it? Good. Now you know why the EU sucks the sweat off a dead man’s balls and whose ideas should be rejected wholly and in every conceivable way.

Monopsony Money

As I’ve talked about in multiple previous articles, Davos and the EU engage in ever more Quixotic attempts to assert monopsony power over Russia’s exports.

Gazprombank will now sit on a pile of euros, dollars, yen, etc. which it has no intention of hedging the risk of.  It has no need to hedge that risk because it can’t really use those euros, dollars, yen, etc. for anything because those banks are barred from doing business with it.

So, Gazprombank will sell them to whoever wants them.

When I look around the world, now that the Fed is draining the world of U.S. dollars, who needs these ‘unfriendly’ currencies?

Those countries who took out trillions in loans denominated in those currencies, including Russia herself. So, Gazprombank can make loan payments to or even call in their outstanding loans in these currencies and take them off the books.

The other option is to turn them into currencies Russia still needs for settling trade. The most obvious one here is Turkey. Recently Zerohedge published an article about the latest twist to Erdonomics (the brainchild of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan), which the Tyler writing the article pooh-poohed as moronic.

Zerohedge reported:

Bloomberg reports that Turkey is working on a plan to attract inflows of hard currency by offering lira funding, free of interest and with a “guaranteed” 4% return in dollars, to foreign investors willing to park their money for at least two years. Needless to say, but any time Turkey “guarantees” anything, run.

Under the plan, the central bank would provide lira liquidity to foreigners for investment in local bonds with a maturity of at least two years, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations. Besides extending zero-yield swaps, the monetary authority would also guarantee a 4% return in dollar terms when the securities mature, the person said.

Translation: please give us your dollars and we promise to take good care of them and even give you a much higher yield than you can earn (for now) in the US.

No.  Actually the real translation is this:

Gazprombank can launder euros and dollars into Turkey and get lira at 4% to help Turkey unwind its exposure to the USD and pay down its foreign capital deficits.

Here’s my tweet thread about it.  

It also creates a vehicle to adjust that payout rate based on changes in the market. Where else can you get 2-year dollars paying 4% right now? Certainly not in the blue-chip corporate debt or U.S. treasury markets.

And this way, Gazprombank makes sure Turkey stays solvent by parking some of its trade surplus offshore in a strategically important energy partner, who also happens to transport the gas to Europe which will help break the EU politically over paying for gas with rubles in the first place, i.e. Germany, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria…!

It’s kinda beautiful when you think of it that way.

Again, this is why Cruella der Leyen is so furious and why the EU is trying to stop this from happening.

An SDR by Another Motherland

The EAEU SDR that Sergei Glazyev is proposing is then the regional currency to tie everyone together and build a new trading bloc.

Remember, the EAEU is what the EU was supposed to be, a simple union with fair trading rules between members. Unlike the euro which overlaid Germany’s credit rating onto the whole continent creating a kind of internal mercantilism to Germany’s benefit, Glazyev proposes using a basket of commodities as the exchange rate for the common currency.

This is far fairer and will allow commodity producers to get paid properly for their exports and value-added economies to pay their true costs of production.

Germany has had it in for the PIIGS countries and Greece in particular for years, strip mining the country as payment for its ‘needed’ debt restructuring. Does anyone think with an apologist for the German Wehrmacht under Rommel in charge of the EU Commission put there by another German of dubious heritage (Her Schwab) is going to materially change that policy now?

I invite you to look up the word naïve in the dictionary and then hold it up next to your face in the mirror.

No wonder Bloomberg ‘buried the lede‘ in their article about the new sanctions I linked to above, citing Greek and Cypriot opposition to this scheme to bankrupt shippers, where all of them operate out of:

Greece, Cyprus and Malta raised questions about the ban and whether it would help Europe achieve its aims without harming European businesses, according to two diplomats familiar with the matter. Greece and Cyprus have large shipping industries while Malta is a so-called flag state, where companies can register their vessels for ownership purposes.

It’s also why Slovakia and the Czech Republic joined Hungary and Bulgaria (who get gas from Turkstream 2) in opposing the ban on Russian oil. The Druzhba pipeline is the only way for them to import oil, as landlocked countries.

It’s also why the EU is pressuring Serbia so hard on going along with the Russian war propaganda because the rail line that serves those countries from the Greek port at Thessaloniki runs through Belgrade.

The EU is beyond committed to this plan of action, knowing full well what the potential effects are. When you put it all together they almost have no choice if they want to ‘win.’

As always, Germany leads its northern European partners in policy designed to bankrupt the smaller Warsaw Pact countries while further trying to isolate Greece, who is now a key import destination to those same countries.

Meet the new Reich, same as the old one, especially when you really dig into those Pfizer docs. Only this time it’s fueled by the U.S. war machine rather than opposed by it.

The EU leadership and Davos understand that its hold on those countries is tenuous, in the end. The people in many of them are the ones directly affected by their desired divorce from Russia. This is a policy and a plan designed to force them into submission and keep them down, thereby justifying to the core countries that they are just leachers and moochers off the glory of strongest countries.

This embargo against Russian energy is not just to punish Russia for having the temerity to defend its interests and sovereignty but also to destroy any potential escape routes through economic progress and cheap Russian energy for those countries they swore to Yeltsin they would never move one inch towards thirty years ago.

This article was originally featured at Tom Luongo’s blog Gold, Goats n’ Guns and is republished with permission.

Adam Kinzinger Executes Neocon Vision for Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine approaches its tenth week, the steady flow of ominous headlines has grown to a floodwater deluge. Dissenting observers are made to watch, seemingly helpless, as the broader levy of sanity threatens to break, unleashing a torrent of death and destruction across Eastern Europe, and likely, the globe.

Leading the bad news cycle, on Sunday, May 1, Congressman Adam Kinzinger proposed a new Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, if passed, would allow President Joe Biden to deploy American forces to restore “the territorial integrity of Ukraine” in the event that Russia uses chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. When Kinzinger announced the legislation on Meet the Press, he stated that he “doesn’t think we need to be using force in Ukraine right now.” However, as Antiwar.com opinion editor Kyle Anzalone ominously noted, in 2002, then-Senator Joe Biden similarly downplayed the danger of war before voting for the 2002 AUMF—under which President George W. Bush later prosecuted the invasion of Iraq.

If bad Ukraine policy amounts to a downpour, Rep. Adam Kinzinger has been performing a rain dance for years now.

Kinzinger was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. In March 2014, while sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kinzinger pledged that the House would back the Obama administration’s efforts in Ukraine. Further, he stated the House would consider legislation calling for increased aid to Ukraine, up to and including adding Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Kinzinger’s pledge came soon after the conclusion of the 2014 Euromaidan Coup, where the US State Department played an instrumental role in ousting then-president Viktor Yanukovych. By April, 2014, Ukraine would launch a civil war against pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. In 2016 Kinzinger co-authored H.R. 5094, the Stability and Democracy for Ukraine Act (the STAND for Ukraine Act). On September 21, 2016, the STAND for Ukraine Act passed the U.S. House unanimously by voice vote. It was engineered to “contain, reverse, and deter Russian aggression in Ukraine, to support the sovereignty of Crimea against Russia’s illegal annexation, and to ultimately assist Ukraine’s democratic transition.” The STAND for Ukraine Act cemented sanctions as a permanent fixture of American policy by making it “effectively…impossible to remove certain anti-Russian sanctions unless Crimea is returned to Ukraine.”

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Kinzinger has repeatedly pushed to escalate a situation that his policy helped to create. On March 3, 2022, he publicly called for a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine to “prevent Russian air attacks.” If enforced, a no-fly zone in Ukraine would see U.S. forces shooting down Russian planes and even attacking targets in Russia.

img 0825Kinzinger’s corresponding press release cited his experience piloting an intelligence aircraft in Iraq as being some sort of qualification for such a daft and dangerous proposition:

Representative Kinzinger understands what being a hero means…Maybe Congress and President Joe Biden should listen to him. Kinzinger thinks that war with Russia might be inevitable. We would have the advantage now when few people would die. It looks as if we will find out.

Kinzinger likely wouldn’t state his true credentials for pushing such maniacal Ukrainian policy.

Indeed, through his years advocating—near universally—for an aggressive U.S. foreign policy, Kinzinger has been immersed in the neoconservative think-tank circuit.

On March 24, 2014, Kinzinger joined the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for a panel discussion involving arch-neoconservative Fredrick Kagan. During the panel, Kinzinger “underlined the…potential dangers associated with leaving [Afghanistan]” in the wake of the Karzai government.

For all the seven years of U.S. support for the Kabul government between Kinzinger’s 2014 panel appearance at AEI and his April 15, 2021 reprisal, the withdrawal had the same predictable result. In a matter of weeks, the Afghan National Army washed away like water breaking upon stone. The Kabul government disintegrated with it.

In 2022, nearly nine months after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the “potential dangers” Kinzinger foretold have failed to materialize—at least for the American public. Instead, Afghanistan has vanished from the U.S. news cycle. The AEI, who so loudly virtue-signaled for the rights of Afghanistan women, is now silent about the consequences of the twenty-year U.S. war there—except to the extent that it could be used to justify even further intervention. Beyond AEI, on May 26, 2016, Kinzinger attended an event hosted by the ultra-neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative and The Hudson Institute. He stated:

Our involvement in NATO is not because we just want to defend Europe out of the goodness of our heart, but because without NATO we never would have been able to drop the Iron Curtain and bring freedom to millions of people and make us safer…Are there challenges? Of course. But that needs to be done in the context of “how do we get NATO reengaged” versus “let’s just get out of the rest of the world. That’s a narcissistic foreign policy.”

The Foreign Policy Initiative was founded in 2009 by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and Brooking’s Institute Fellow Robert Kagan. In the 1990s, Kristol and Kagan founded the now-infamous Project for a New American Century are largely credited as being architects of the Global War on Terrorism.

Robert Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, served as assistant secretary of state during the 2014 Euromaidan Coup in Ukraine. In a leaked phone call with the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland lamented the European Union’s decision to limit its involvement. She then stated “Yats is the guy, he’s got the economic experience,” referring to opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The first prime minister of the post-Madian interim government was none other than Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The Hudson Institute is:

part of a closely-knit group of neoconservative institutes that champion aggressive, Israel-centric U.S. foreign policies. Founded in 1961 by several dyed-in-the-wool Cold Warriors, including Herman Kahn–a one-time RAND nuclear war theorist notorious for his efforts to develop “winnable” nuclear war strategies [emphasis added]. Kinzinger has also spoken at the Atlantic Council, a think tank that has long pushed increasing confrontation between the US and Russia over Ukraine. It is funded, to the tune of millions, by weapons manufacturers, the UAE, the Rockefeller Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Facebook, JP Morgan–Chase, and Palantir.

While it is unclear exactly how much influence the above-named think tanks have had on Kinzinger’s policy positions, it is clear that Kinzinger has played a starring role in escalating diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine.

Just as in the Global War on Terror, this time with Kinzinger as their thrall, the same ghouls slither forth from their crypts for another orgy of death.

Is our best hope another twenty-year, society-eating slog? Or will the NeoConservatives’ Ukrainian denouement detonate a flash ending?

NYT Claims U.S. Intelligence Has Helped Assassinate Russian Generals

According to a report from The New York Times citing unnamed senior U.S. officials, intelligence provided by the U.S. on Russian military units has helped Ukraine target and kill Russian generals.

Ukraine has claimed to have killed 12 Russian generals, but the number is not confirmed, and Kyiv has an interest in exaggerating its success on the battlefield, and the officials wouldn’t specify how many Russian officers were killed as a result of the assistance. But either way, the claim by U.S. officials that they are helping kill Russian generals is a major provocation toward Moscow.

Like other U.S. assistance to Ukraine, the claim raises questions about at what point Russia will consider the U.S. to be a co-belligerent in the war. The officials said that the targeting of Russian generals is part of a Biden administration effort to share real-time targeting intelligence with Ukraine.

The officials said that the U.S. is focusing on sharing intelligence on the location of Russia’s mobile military headquarters. They said the U.S. assistance combined with Ukraine’s own intelligence allows Ukrainian forces to target Russian officers.

The U.S. has expanded intelligence sharing with Ukraine since Russia invaded, but there are still limitations. The officials said that the U.S. is prohibited from sharing intelligence on the most senior Russian leaders.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, reportedly visited the frontlines of Russia’s war in Ukraine this week. The officials said that the U.S. didn’t share information with Ukraine to aid in a strike that hit the area of eastern Ukraine Gerasimov reportedly visited.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US was still refraining from providing Ukraine from launching strikes inside Russian territory, although Western officials have been publicly encouraging Kyiv to launch such attacks. Britain’s armed forces minister said it was “completely legitimate” for Ukraine to attack Russian territory, adding that it was “not necessarily a problem” if the attacks were carried out using weapons London provided to Kyiv.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Smart War Disinformation and the U.S. Military State

Drone killing has long been billed by the military as a cleaner, smarter way to conduct war. The standard marketing line has been that with drones it is possible to neutralize even elusive enemies such as factional terrorists while sparing the lives of innocent persons, and without sacrificing any soldiers at all. The most effective propagandist throughout the period when drone assassination was redefined as “targeted killing” and normalized as a standard operating procedure was John Brennan, who served as Barack Obama’s drone killing czar before being promoted to the position of CIA director in 2013. During the eight years of the Obama presidency, many politicians were persuaded (along with the president) to support the use of lethal drones by Brennan’s duplicitous depiction of the practice of remote-control killing. Even some who claim to oppose capital punishment, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, have sung the praises of lethal drones.

That drones are more precise and discriminate implements of war, which can be used “surgically” to eliminate the “cancerous” enemy, has been the reflexive response by pundits, politicians, and the pro-military populace alike to anyone who dares to suggest that the hunting down and killing of individual human beings without indictment or trial violates the most basic principles of a democratic republic. In garnering support for remote-control killing, lethal drone advocates have capitalized on a confusing equivocation in their characterization of the targets. The victims are said posthumously to have been combatants, when in fact during the intelligence collection leading up to the strikes, they were suspects said to be potentially complicit in future possible crimes.

The stark disparity between rhetoric and reality was placed in graphic relief on August 29, 2021 by the drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed an aid worker, Zemari Ahmadi, and nine other persons, including seven children. Immediately after the strike, the U.S. military vaunted their usual “important victory” against radical Islamist terrorists, gloating that they had protected all of those involved in the departures underway at the Kabul airport. Not only did the military insist that they had killed terrorists, when in fact 100% of the victims were nonthreatening civilians, they furthermore claimed that a secondary explosion at the site proved that the target and his entourage were planning a terrorist attack. With the aid of bomb specialists, locals on the ground were able later to determine by examining the damage created by the missile launched from the drone that there was no such secondary explosion. The military simply made up a palatable story to persuade the populace to believe that they had killed evil terrorists rather than innocent people. This was a classic case of government-composed and disseminated disinformation, which should come as no surprise to serious scholars of the Global War on Terror but was perhaps a bit disconcerting to the editors of the New York Times who promoted the Brennan smart war line for many years and thereby helped to normalize assassination.

Once the military’s initial coverage of the strike had been completely debunked, officials were forced to rewrite the secondary explosion story, eventually explaining that what had been reported as a blast from explosives in the trunk of the victim’s car was probably caused by a propane or gas tank in the vicinity. The fabrication of pleasing propaganda to propel the killing machine forward on the same old tried-and-true marketing line—that civilians are nearly never harmed by drone strikes—went on throughout the twenty-year Global War on Terror but was rarely contested loudly or effectively enough to garner any attention from the U.S. taxpayers who funded all of the carnage. How many other of the thousands of strikes claimed to be “victories” in the Global War on Terror also killed 100% civilians, as on August 29, 2021? We’ll never know, because the U.S. military exerted nearly total control over the post-strike narratives disseminated to people in the West, and dismissed alternative versions of the stories as terrorist propaganda, in some cases adding new names to their hit lists in response.

Thousands of human beings regarded as “suspicious” by their killers have been summarily executed by missiles launched from drones against targets located outside areas of active hostilities, i.e., not in war zones. In most cases, the victims were unarmed and were not apprised of the fact that they were about to be annihilated. This made it impossible for them to defend themselves against the allegation that they deserved to die for crimes which they may or may not have been going to commit at some unknown future time. The notion of pre-crime conviction of potential future criminals may evoke memories of the fictional film Minority Report, but the drone program is all too real.

If the Geneva Conventions have any meaning whatsoever, then the so-called smart warriors have been committing war crimes throughout the twenty-first century. For according even to the military itself, soldiers on the ground are not permitted to summarily execute unarmed persons who are not directly threatening anyone with death. Yet that is the essence of the vocation of a drone operator: he lays in wait far from the scene of carnage which he will unleash through the push of a button the moment his commander has decided that someone somewhere must die.

As awful as the remote-control killing of suspects is—exemplifying as it does the essence of tyranny, with the killers serving as detective, judge, jury, executioner and historians of what they themselves have done—drone enthusiasts nonetheless persist in brandishing false dichotomies to promote the practice. (Pace Tucker Carlson, false dichotomy is a fallacious form of reasoning in which two alternatives are represented as both exhaustive and exclusive.) “Carpet bombing or remote-control killing? Obviously, drones are better—more precise and less collateral damage!” This disjunction is first and foremost a piece of sophistry because in many of the places where drone strikes have been used to kill suspects, there are no soldiers on the ground to serve as the pretext for any sort of bombing whatsoever.

In countries where the U.S. government never waged war but killed thousands of people anyway, there is no conceivable scenario in which carpet bombing would have been used in the place of drones to wipe out communities where individual suspicious persons were said to hide. That would just be mass murder, tout court. In truth, the sum of all of the extrajudicial executions carried out against suspects located outside war zones, too, constitutes state-inflicted mass murder. What’s more, the people living in those areas were simultaneously terrorized by the arbitrary threat of death each time a lethal drone hovered above their heads.

We know from cases such as that of Zemari Ahmadi that civilians are not spared death but are endangered by the use of lethal drones, for the killers are human beings on the lookout for threatening persons to neutralize—that is the essence of their job. They therefore operate with a confirmation bias, interpreting as suspicious the activities of individuals already flagged as suspicious. (See Collateral Murder for a visual illustration of how such confirmation bias works.)

Disenchanted drone operators have been speaking out about the unsavory features of their profession for more than a decade now. Part of the moral rehabilitation of those who refuse to participate further in government contract killing has consisted in attempting to warn others not to make the same mistakes which they made in believing recruiters who depicted the vocation as a form of smart war, thereby flattering potential recruits while simultaneously conning them into believing that they were being offered a good deal. The profession is portrayed, first and foremost, as making it possible for soldiers to win war without getting killed or suffering injury.

Rhetoric and reality diverge here, too, because not only are innocent civilians both terrorized and killed by lethal drones, but operators themselves have suffered grave, in some cases permanent and even deadly, psychological damage through serving as government contract killers. Case in point: Air Force Captain Kevin Larson, who took his own life in a state of anguish on January 19, 2020, after having participated in 650 combat missions using the MQ-9 Reaper drone.

Despite never having themselves faced any risk of death whatsoever, remote-control killers have suffered symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) at higher rates than regular combat soldiers. This is plausibly because drone killers cannot conceive of their execution of fellow human beings as literal acts of self-defense, which combatants on the ground faced with a threatening enemy are often able to do. When the choice is “kill or be killed,” even soldiers who would prefer not to kill may do so, if that is the only way to save their own life. The drone operators who have renounced their positions know, in their heart of hearts, that they were never killing in literal self-defense, and some have found that they cannot continue to act in ways which weigh so heavily on their conscience. They did not consciously sign up to serve as “government contract killers” for “the customer,” whoever that ended up being. Yet that is what the apostates eventually discovered that they had become.

Kevin Larson is no longer around to tell his story, but based on what his family and friends have disclosed, it is clear that he was plagued by the very same concerns aired by several other former drone operators and analysts over the past decade, all of whom lamented the stark disparity between the mythical depiction of remote-control killing as smart war and the reality of what it means to kill on command even in situations where it is unclear that the targets, much less other people who happen to be near them at the time, deserve to die. Among other grisly examples, Larson was ordered to kill a target and then follow and kill everyone who attended his funeral. Smart war was always too good to be true, but gullible new recruits such as Larson bought the line—until they could not anymore.

The tragic toll of ill-begotten wars on the soldiers who fight them is nothing new in history, but drone warfare is, and the claim that its perpetrators could kill without suffering negative repercussions has been exposed as a lie. Unfortunately, potential enlistees such as Kevin Larson did not hear the alarms sounded by the first group of drone program whistleblowers: Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland, Daniel Hale, and others, who have done their best to attempt to warn persons like them not to be seduced by the standard marketing lines used to lure gullible young people into perpetrating crimes which they will later regret. Together these whistleblowers have revealed how the drone program administrators have redefined terms and stipulated rules of engagement which speciously portray the practice as surgically precise when it is nothing of the kind.

Daniel Hale, who currently resides in a federal penitentiary, stole and shared classified documents which confirmed, as other operators and analysts had already reported, that the exceptionally “low” rate of mistakes acknowledged publicly by the Obama administration was a result of the fact that the military-age males destroyed were defined as Enemy Killed in Action (EKIA). Any target eliminated was simply assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. This slick schema maximized the tally of “dead terrorists” reported to the populace while minimizing the possibility of any significant debate in the public sphere about the practice of so-called smart war. By inverting the burden of proof, the killers effectively (and absurdly) denied the very possibility of erroneously identifying as a terrorist any suspect in the specified age and gender cohort, most of whom, it is worth pointing out, have been persons of color. In “crowd killing” and signature strikes of entire groups of persons of unknown identity based on an assumed guilt by association, the targets executed were arguably victims of racial profiling.

Surely if more citizens understood the inherent evil being perpetrated with their tax dollars, there would be more pushback against the summary execution of suspects using lethal drones. But government-produced and mainstream media-promulgated disinformation have effectively squelched debate on the practice of remote-control killing and muted the voices of whistleblowers. Throughout the Global War on Terror, the major Western media outlets served as the functional equivalent of a Ministry of Propaganda in the tentacular military-industrial-congressional-media-academic-pharmaceutical-logistics banking complex. It should come as little surprise, then, that the drone program whistleblowers have been, at best, ignored and, at worst, discredited and criminalized.

Ominously, the Biden administration has announced the creation of a Disinformation Governance Board, to be headed up by Nina Jankowicz, a former adviser to the Ukrainian government and supporter of the current proxy war in Ukraine against Russia. Should this initiative succeed—it looks to be a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution—we can look forward to even more suppression of dissent from pro-military narratives, which has always been depicted as conspiratorial misinformation or disinformation. This move will propel the killing machine forward as the perspectives of people on the ground and whistleblowers who attempt to reveal to taxpayers the truth and to warn future recruits about what they are being hoodwinked into doing are systematically erased. With the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, the most effective transmitter of antiwar narratives in the first part of the twenty-first century, we are moving closer and closer to the point where what once was a democratic republic will be no more and no less than a dictatorial military state.

Critics on the right have identified the Biden administration’s formal erection of the functional equivalent of a Ministry of Truth as politically motivated, intended to provide the current office holders with the power to silence opposition to any and all official narratives. Given the reality of the war party duopoly, however, the gravest danger posed by a Disinformation Governance Board (or Ministry of Truth), to people the world over, will be its facilitation and support of the U.S. government’s hegemonic military interventions whenever and wherever the administrators please, and whoever they happen to be.

Should the elimination of citizens’ right to free speech by the government proceed, backed up by the threat of punishment, then no dissenter anywhere will be able to challenge official narratives without risking the fate suffered by U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. A formerly moderate Muslim cleric who spoke out publicly against the crimes of September 11, 2001, al-Awlaki was executed in 2011 without indictment or trial, having been put on the drone killers’ hit list when he began speaking out against the U.S. government’s own war crimes.

Press Censorship in Wartime Ep. 214

With the risk of kinetic war between the US and Russia becoming more and more likely each day, the United States is already marshalling its forces to silence domestic and international dissent to the conflict. In this episode, I examine this weekend’s cancellation of Consortium News, Mintpress News, and Geopolitics and Empire from PayPal and place them in the historical context of wartime censorship in the United States.

Episode 214 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:

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Show Notes:

PayPal Cancels CN Account; May Seize Balance – Consortium News

About – Consortium News

MintPress News on Twitter: “ICYMI: MintPress & @BTHeadline Founder & Executive Director @MnarMuh’s statement on our removal from PayPal. https://t.co/AxEmRx0qm0” / Twitter

MintPress News

About Mint Press News / Mnar Muhawesh Founder

Let’s Go Behind The Headlines | Indiegogo

Liberty Conservative News on Twitter: “Popular Anti-War Channel Geopolitics and Empire Gets Banned from Paypal https://t.co/XiI6aKphcB” / Twitter

Avoiding Bloodshed? US Journalists and Censorship in Wartime (tandfonline.com)

Popular Anti-War Channel Geopolitics and Empire Gets Banned from Paypal – Liberty Conservative News

Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 on Twitter: “Cat’s out of the bag: here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here. Honored to be serving in the Biden Administration @DHSgov and helping shape our counter-disinformation efforts. https://t.co/uN20vl7qqV https://t.co/JEn4FqLdck” / Twitter

Geopolitics & Empire (geopoliticsandempire.com)

Who Is A “Terrorist” In Biden’s America? (unlimitedhangout.com)

WikiLeaks acted in public interest, ‘Pentagon Papers’ leaker tells Assange hearing | Reuters

WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act of 1917 – The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (rcfp.org)

Review of WikiLeaks docs sees no smoking gun (nbcnews.com)

Bradley Manning leak did not result in deaths by enemy forces, court hears | Chelsea Manning | The Guardian

WikiLeaks – Protesters against WikiLeaks banking blockade, the “PayPal 14”, largely victorious

House Republican Introduces Bill To Give Biden Sweeping Authorities To Wage War in Ukraine – News From Antiwar.com

The FBI vs. Antiwar.com – Antiwar.com Original

 

For 12 Years and Tens of Thousands of Dollars, Is Schooling Worth It? (Weekly Round Up) – YouTube

The Long, Lucrative, and Bloody Road to World War III

Well, this war in Ukraine will last “months and years.” At least, that is what the leaders of the D.C. foreign policy blob, the media, President Joe Biden’s men, Pentagon and NATO leadership have decided. Their plan is to pour oil on the flames and keep the fire raging. Also, Americans are going to have to cough up the dough for another massive aid package, with $20 billion worth of weapons to keep the blood flowing. In total, this next package will cost the taxpayer $33 billion. With Biden’s proposed $813 billion “defense” budget for 2023, the U.S. is spending more on the military and war now than ever before in the country’s history.

Now that we have our very own Ministry of Truth, it would appear any national debate over these polices, indeed if such a debate is ever allowed to take place, will likely have to be moderated by cockroaches and Keith Richards.

NATO is set to expand again, bringing in Finland and Sweden. This will extend the alliance’s border with Russia by greater than 800 miles and further stoke nuclear tensions, bringing the current brinksmanship to a whole new level. Moscow plans to respond including by increasing air and naval forces in the Baltic Sea and reinforcing its Kaliningrad exclave, which lies between NATO members Poland and Lithuania, with additional nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles. Until 2004, it was unthinkable that NATO would ever expand to Russia’s borders until that actually happened. Like most of our issues with Russia, this is all Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s fault.

Even as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other leaders in Moscow repeatedly warn of nuclear conflict and World War III, even directly comparing the current situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis, senior Pentagon officials say they are not concerned.

Nor do our all-knowing rulers appear concerned with the fact that they have “almost zero” ability to keep track of the myriad sophisticated weapons systems they are sending to Ukraine. CNN quoted briefed sources saying intelligence shows American arms are falling into a “big black hole.” They say it’s worth it.

Nor do they seem to be concerned with the Russians’ warnings regarding how the West’s weapons flood in Ukraine threatens to expand the war into NATO territory and destabilize Europe.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss demands the West must “double down” on arms shipments, insisting particularly on “heavy weapons, tanks, airplanes—digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.”

Our top diplomat Antony Blinken says the plan is regime change in Moscow, much like his boss did in March with his Polish “gaffe.” Ironically, the $47 billion in weapons and other U.S. aid pledged to Ukraine these last two months will soon surpass the State Department’s entire budget. Eat your heart out, Netanyahu!

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, former Raytheon board member, says the goal is to see Russia “weakened” to the point where it lacks even the capability to defend itself just outside its borders. As Pat Buchanan notes, this policy, whether its intended to or not, pressures the Kremlin to more seriously consider pulling its nuclear trigger.

“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said with a clear eye toward increasing Russian casualties and the long term destruction of Moscow’s conventional power.

Perhaps, Austin wants to cripple Russia so severely that his Pentagon can fight a war with China, the “most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge for the Department,” without having to worry so much about Moscow—deemed a second tier “acute” threat, albeit one armed with roughly 6,000 nukes—getting involved.

Austin’s Raytheon pals are making a killing on this proxy war as well as the ancillary effects such as European NATO states, at long last, increasing their military spending.

As Ron Paul has written,

One group of special interests profiting massively on the war is the US military-industrial complex. Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes recently told a meeting of shareholders that, “Everything that’s being shipped into Ukraine today, of course, is coming out of stockpiles, either at DOD or from our NATO allies, and that’s all great news. Eventually we’ll have to replenish it and we will see a benefit to the business.”

He wasn’t lying. Raytheon, along with Lockheed Martin and countless other weapons manufacturers are enjoying a windfall they have not seen in years. The U.S. has committed more than three billion dollars in military aid to Ukraine. They call it aid, but it is actually corporate welfare: Washington sending billions to arms manufacturers for weapons sent overseas.

By many accounts these shipments of weapons like the Javelin anti-tank missile (jointly manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin) are getting blown up as soon as they arrive in Ukraine. This doesn’t bother Raytheon at all. The more weapons blown up by Russia in Ukraine, the more new orders come from the Pentagon.

Former Warsaw Pact countries now members of NATO are in on the scam as well. They’ve discovered how to dispose of their 30-year-old Soviet-made weapons and receive modern replacements from the U.S. and other western NATO countries.

There is scarcely a status quo to oppose. For weeks, escalations have continued apace. London has deployed SAS troops in Kiev to train Ukrainian troops on English anti-tank weapons. The U.S. is training Kiev’s troops in Germany and two other secret locations in Europe on heavy artillery, radar systems, and armored vehicles. Washington is expanding intelligence sharing with Kiev for its war with Russia in the Donbas, providing howitzers, vehicles to carry them, and an additional 144,000 artillery rounds. Poland is sending tanks to Ukraine, Slovenia has a plan to send large numbers of T-72 battle tanks as well. The Germans will be supplying anti-aircraft tanks to Kiev and the Pentagon says an unidentified European ally is providing Ukraine with warplanes.

London’s armed forces minister declared his government’s support for Kiev’s “completely legitimate” attacks inside Russia using British arms. This comes amid an uptick in reports of Ukrainian cross border drone and helicopter assaults including on Russian oil depots, residential areas, and villages. The U.S. and its European allies are implementing a long term policy that looks to exile Russia, looking toward a new world order where they no longer seek to “coexist” with Moscow.

London wants Europe to cut off all Russian energy “once and for all,” which would make war more likely, impoverish innocent people, and cause massive recessions.

The U.S., NATO, and Russian presence in the Mediterranean Sea has reached Cold War levels, as NATO builds new Eastern European battlegroups.

In March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that any “use of chemical weapons would totally change the nature of the conflict, it would be a blatant violation of international law and would have far-reaching consequences.” This weekend, legislation for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) has been introduced by Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Kinzinger’s announcement calls the would be AUMF a “clear red line,” which would authorize Biden to deploy troops to Ukraine to fight Russians if Moscow should “use chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons.”

With the almost complete bipartisan Congressional support for the renewal of Lend-Lease and other anti-Russia, pro-war legislation, it is not outside the realm of possibility that this bill and its cynical redline trap becomes law.

For nearly two decades, Washington has funded “biological research” and other laboratories inside Ukraine. According to the head of the DoD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, some of these labs may contain Soviet-era bioweapons.

As Dave DeCamp, news editor at Antiwar.com, has reported,

The Pentagon funds labs in Ukraine through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). According to a Pentagon fact sheet released last month, since 2005, the U.S. has “invested” $200 million in “supporting 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and diagnostic sites.”

Moscow has accused Ukraine of conducting an emergency clean-up of a secret Pentagon-funded biological weapons program when Russia invaded. The World Health Organization said it advised Ukraine to destroy “high-threat pathogens” around the time of the invasion.

For their part, the U.S. maintains that the program in Ukraine and other former Soviet states is meant to reduce the threat of biological weapons left over from the Soviet Union. While downplaying the threat of the labs, Pentagon officials have also warned that they could still contain Soviet-era bioweapons.

Robert Pope, the director of the DTRA’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, told the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in February that the labs might contain Soviet bioweapons and warned that the fighting in Ukraine could lead to the release of a dangerous pathogen.

Much like previous Syrian redlines, this is practically the hawks’ invitation to bad actors seeking U.S. intervention to go ahead and launch an attack that could be plausibly blamed on our Hitler du jour to manufacture their desired casus belli.

It seems there may be ample sites somebody could hit that would cross Kinzinger’s cleverly drawn line in the sand. And much like the CIA, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia’s al Qaeda allies in Syria, the Azov Battalion and other Nazi groups, who have taken a humiliating beating thus far in the war, are prime candidates to launch a false flag.

If the American people do not wake up and demand an end to our government’s intervention in Ukraine, the U.S. may be directly entering this war soon.

If Russia was doing what the U.S. and its allies are doing in Ukraine, in Mexico or Canada, in addition to the unprecedented economic war being waged, these hawks in D.C. would have pulled the aforementioned nuclear trigger months ago.

Florida Judge Uses Compelled Speech to Perpetuate Pulse Nightclub Myth

In a jaw-dropping example of government imposing woke mythology on an individual citizen, a Florida judge has ordered a man who defaced an LGBT mural to write a 25-page essay centered on a thoroughly false premise—that the 2016 massacre at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando deliberately targeted the LGBT community.

Though that baseless narrative is still embraced by opportunistic activists, pandering politicians, lazy journalists and those they’ve misled, it’s been well-established since 2018 that self-described “Islamic soldier” Omar Mateen chose the club at random and that he viewed his attack purely as retaliation for civilian casualties caused by U.S. military interventions in the Middle East.

Coming a day after the chilling announcement that the Department of Homeland Security has established a “Disinformation Governance Board,” the judge’s use of coerced false speech as a form of rehabilitation added a bizarre twist to an already Orwellian week in America.

Read the rest of this article at Stark Realities

Support Ukraine’s Independence? Then Support Secession Everywhere

By now, it should be abundantly clear to all that the official U.S. regime narrative on Ukraine is that one is supposed to be in favor of Ukrainian political independence. That is, we’re supposed to support the idea that Ukraine is a separate state that is politically independent from the Russian state. By extension, of course, the idea that Ukraine is a sovereign state also implies it is separate from all other states as well.

But how did Ukraine get that way? States, of course, don’t appear out of nowhere. They generally come into being through one of two ways, or a combination of both. States can be formed out of two or more smaller states through a process of conquest or voluntary union. And states can result when a part of a state secedes to form its own state.

In the case of Ukraine, it is a state that was created out of a piece of the Soviet Union thirty years ago. This occurred via secession. Indeed, Ukraine was part of a remarkable trend toward decentralization and secession that occurred in the early 1990s. These secession movements, of course, were opposed by the “legitimate” central government in place at the time.

Put another way, to “stand with Ukraine” today is to “stand with secession.” But don’t expect to hear it phrased this way on MSNBC or at the New York Times. No, the “s word” is still a no-no in political discourse in America. Also a no-no is to advocate for the process that brought about Ukrainian secession: to hold an election—against the central government’s wishes—as to whether a region will secede.

The Ukrainians did that, and today we’re supposed to cheer that and accept that election’s outcome. Many American pundits even believe it’s worth fighting a war over. But to suggest something similar for a region of the United States? Well, we’re told that’s just plain wrong.

Ukraine Formed Out of Secession

The modern Ukrainian state was necessarily born out of secession because the Ukrainian state was not always separate nor sovereign. The history of Ukraine is a long history of various territories and polities that were, over time, incorporated into the Russian Empire beginning in the seventeenth century. What we now know as Ukraine more or less only came into being in the late nineteenth century. But then it was subject to the Russian czar and (later) to the Soviet Communists. Consolidated, sovereign Ukraine came into being only in December 1991, when a referendum was held and a majority of the voters voted for independence.

Ukraine soon after enjoyed both de facto and de jure independence because the Soviet State was too weak to do anything about it. Ukraine was not alone. By late 1991, the Baltic states had already declared independence, in moves that were opposed by the Soviet state and deemed illegal. A total of fifteen new states were carved out of the Soviet Union during this time. Secessionism extended beyond even the USSR, with Slovenia declaring independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. In 1993, Czechs and Slovakians both seceded from their state, dissolving Czechoslovakia altogether.

It is instructive to note that the United States regime and American pundits generally opposed these secession movements. Washington was late to recognize and accept the independence of the Baltic states. This was in spite of the fact the U.S. had never even officially recognized the Soviet Union’s annexation of the states after the Second World War.

George H.W. Bush even scolded Ukrainian secessionists for their pursuit of independence, mere months before Ukraine finally declared the separation. At the time, Murray Rothbard, following the antisecessionist American impulses, noted that the New York Times portrayed the dissolution of Czechoslovakia as a matter worthy of “regret,” while “establishment opinion” in the United States clearly insisted Slovenian independence was an affront to the “territorial integrity” of Yugoslavia.

The American position throughout all this, perhaps predictably, was that a state’s borders—whether the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, or any other state—are somehow sacrosanct and must not be changed, abolished, or otherwise disrespected.

Yet, within a single generation, the US regime has gone from supporting the Soviet state in opposing secession to guaranteeing military defense—through NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization)—to the secessionist Baltic states.

Why Secession Is OK for Ukrainians but Not for Americans

Don’t expect any of this to convert the typical American pundit into a secessionist. American elites have long held to a double standard on secession. They support secession for Africans, for Indians, for Pakistanis and other residents of states whose secession movements are categorized as “decolonization.” Most of the world did, and this is why the number of nation states doubled after the Second World War. Secession has been widespread over the past century. Indeed, the United States regime has supported literally dozens of secession movements in the name of national liberation. Similarly, we can expect the same double standard employed in the case of Ukraine. It will sound something like this: “secession is fine for Ukraine because the USSR was not a democracy at the time. Secession isn’t allowed where people are allowed to vote.”

There is a problem with this version of events, however. The first is that the USSR was rapidly moving toward becoming what the West would categorize as a democracy. Gorbachev already pushing through reforms that would reorganize the USSR into a democratic state that would likely have met the approval of Western elites. The U.S. supported this process and it is partly for this reason that the US opposed Ukrainian independence. The U.S. wanted Ukraine—and also the Baltics—to remain within an enormous post-Soviet state that would have endured. This democratic reform did, in fact, occur in Russia which prior to the days of anti-Putin paranoia was called a democracy by the West.

(Another claim that holds no water is the claim that post-Soviet states—but not U.S. regions—are allowed to secede because they were annexed against their will to the Russian empire. Of course, if unilateral annexation is the criterion, then California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, half of Colorado, and Utah are all entitled to secede by the same standards as any region of the old Russian Empire. We might also mention countless Indian territories—and Francophone territories—that were annexed and governed against the will of the local inhabitants.)

But even if they were allowed a vote, the Ukrainians understood what antisecessionist Americans refuse to admit: cultural minority groups that are out of favor with the central government’s elites have a better chance at true self-determination through secession rather than unity and democracy. Although Ukraine was the most important non-Russian component of the USSR it was nonetheless in the minority. At the time, Ukrainian separatists believed Russian ethnics would dominate democratic politics within a post-Soviet democracy. They were probably right.

So, democracy doesn’t solve the problems that only secession and radical decentralization can solve. Ukraine is just one example of this, although we can be sure that the American regime and its pundit allies will deny any lessons about secession can be learned here.

Nonetheless, for those of us who do recognize the value of secession, the next time we encounter an American who tells us he “stands with Ukraine” we should be sure and tell him it’s always nice to meet a fellow secessionist.

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

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