Media Windbags

It would be remiss of me, given my stated support for the invaded Ukrainians, not to call attention to certain inconvenient facts that neocons and the mainstream media have glossed over. The removal of Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian president in February 2014 was largely engineered by the Obama administration. Although Yanukovych had served longer than any of his predecessors and was (by admittedly loose Ukrainian standards) democratically elected, he was pro-Russian and therefore pushed out of office, with the help of the American state department. Russian demands to return Yanukovych to the presidency evoked hysterical cries from our political establishment, but his removal started an escalation of tensions that finally spilled over into violence when Putin invaded Ukraine.

Moreover, as Pat Buchanan, Pedro Gonzalez, Srdja Trifkovic, Wayne Allensworth, Sean McMeekin, and many others have observed, the Russian government has been perfectly justified in complaining about NATO’s being used to surround Russia with a hostile alliance. This ploy undoubtedly intensified Putin’s concern over what the American state department was planning on his doorstep. And critics of Ukrainian rule in the Donbas have been perfectly correct that Ukrainian toughs were wreaking havoc on Russian inhabitants in that region long before Putin intervened.

In any case, the emotional outbursts and misleading rhetoric from our political class and TV opinionators can be truly maddening. Both The Washington Post (Mar. 18) and President Biden speak of the new and “important political axis” of democracy vs. autocracy, which the war in Ukraine has supposedly made evident. The problem with that imagined polarity, as Dinesh D’Souza has observed, is that the world’s largest parliamentary democracy, India, is eagerly buying up Russian fuel and other Russian products as the war proceeds.

On the Mar. 8 episode of “The Five,” Geraldo Rivera previewed a now-familiar talking point when he told us that Putin had invaded Ukraine because it was democratic and because Putin, as an “antidemocrat,” just couldn’t deal with that fact. So according to Rivera, Putin attacked Ukraine specifically to destroy its functioning, state-of-the-art democracy. A similar interpretation appears in The Spectator (Mar. 19)when Francis Fukuyama thanks “brave Ukrainians” for “resuming the slow, hard work of fortifying democracy.” Fukuyama speaks as a self-appointed expert, describing himself as having trained leaders in building and defending democracies, especially in transitioning countries. Perhaps Fukuyama’s skills (if he has any) would be better employed rescuing American democracy from its administrative class, woke media, and ideologically engaged secret service.

Of all the reasons one can imagine that Putin went to war against Ukraine, his alleged hatred of democracy would seem to matter least. It could be that the Russian leader sees Ukraine as a Western puppet or that he is simply trying to grab some land, but it is hard to believe that Ukraine’s claim to being a democracy would be uppermost in his mind. Why would he even care?

Was Putin also reacting against democracy when he fought with Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili in 2008? Is that why the Russian president rushed to defend Georgia’s breakaway, ethnically Russian province of South Ossetia—because he was seething over Georgia’s “democracy”? I would think that regaining lost territory for a reconstructed Russian empire would have counted more for Putin than making war on whatever political form the Georgian state exhibited at the time of the clash.

Let’s remember too that, given the problem of widespread corruption that has afflicted Ukraine, praising it as a model polity is not particularly convincing. One may admire President Zelensky’s courage in the face of a brutal attack, but let’s not exaggerate the rectitude of his regime or his toleration of opposition. As for my own proclivities, I have never defended the Ukrainian side in the present conflict for showcasing any particular form of government. I have simply argued that the Russian military unjustly invaded a neighboring country, which is fighting to survive as a nation.

But while we are on the topic of imperfect models of democracy, consider the utter decadence in the West. Most of these “democracies” now treat recognition of gender differences as a grave offense that may result in loss of public employment, or worse. In the U.S., our armed forces are belabored night and day with antiwhite racism as a state-enforced public philosophy. One of the reasons Putin is so hated in the post-Christian West is that he dares to challenge our sacrosant moral causes: homosexual marriage, the obliteration of gender differences, and the right to be transgendered.

Add to that the sight of our military turned into a laughingstock with the teaching of Critical Race Theory as well as feminist and LGBT propaganda and it appears as though we are practically inviting a test of American resolve. Armies exist to defend their countries, not to carry out zany social experiments that render a people ridiculous in the eyes of their adversaries.

If Putin’s behavior in Ukraine (and before that in Chechnya and Syria) has been indiscriminately savage, many of his more famous critics in the U.S. are sickeningly obtuse. They deny any relationship between the degenerate post-Western society that they inhabit and the nastiness it encourages in would-be adversaries. I was particularly unsettled listening to Jennifer Griffin, who seems to be NPR’s gift to Fox News (her husband is the foreign relations expert on NPR), alternating between attacks on Putin’s brutality and praise for Biden’s handling of the Ukrainian war effort. Neither man elicits my admiration.

It seems to me in any case that the American government can afford to take only limited steps against Russian aggression in Ukraine. Despite the hysterical advice of our more unhinged neocons, it would not be a good idea to set up a no-fly zone over Ukrainian skies. We should avoid a direct conflict with Russia, which could have apocalyptic results. And we shouldn’t start applauding as woke credit companies close the accounts of Russian cardholders and as our banks freeze the holdings of ethnic Russians. Like such prior ventures in muscle-flexing as the Patriot Act and the electronic media censoring of “false” information, these latest maneuvers may come back to bite us.

The likely winners of Putin’s invasion will be the usual suspects: globalists in both political parties and state-department warmongers. They will not let this occasion go to waste in expanding their power and reach, no matter which side prevails in Eastern Europe. China, as well, stands to gain from a discredited Russia on the world stage. Our foreign affairs editor, Srdja Trifkovic, underlines this likely turn of events in his Chronicles Online article, “Putin’s Miscalculation,” in which he views Putin’s disastrous move into Ukraine as (using Talleyrand’s famous phrase) “something worse than a crime, a blunder.”

No matter what transpires in the Ukraine, certain developments in this country will go unchecked. Illegals, including drug-cartels and career criminals, will continue to pour across our southern border in a cynical attempt by the present administration to fill the country with future Democratic voters and welfare-recipients. Events in Ukraine have understandably diverted attention from this domestic invasion, which is not something that interests Republican politicians as much as the opportunity to grandstand about “democracy” and “human rights” abroad. Since the GOP is in any case beholden to economic interests that benefit from cheap labor, I wouldn’t expect their politicians to change the conversation any time soon.

What is happening to us on the moral front defies description. In our country now, “conservatives” are people who, like Douglas Murray, wish to make atheism and homosexuality part of the conservative norm. This advocacy seems to be working well, since a few weeks ago I turned on the Sean Hannity carnival hour and beheld a panel of transgendered and gays who were introduced as “conservatives.” Sean was asking Caitlyn Jenner, who looked like a face-lifted hermaphrodite, to tell the audience why he/she, as a proud Republican transgendered, does not want to see men identifying as women compete in female sports events. At that point, I was too horrified by the irony to watch or listen further. Because Republican governors are falling all over themselves upholding the very thing that Jenner opposes.

It is a weak, faltering conservative response to a woke left that continues to move leftward. Establishment conservatives long ago decided not to push back very hard against the cultural left. Instead, they take milder or more subdued versions of the other side’s positions, like championing the Republican transgendered against the Democratic ones while calling for tax breaks and more wars. Sam Francis explained, back in 1991, the outcome of this staged retreat: “Virtually every cause to which conservatives have attached themselves for the past three generations has been lost and the tide of political and cultural battle is not likely to turn anytime soon.”

In the meantime, what is happening in Ukraine is a bloody, unhappy diversion from a struggle for the soul of this country and other Western societies in which the left is winning against the legitimate right. Sooner or later, the struggle in Ukraine will come to an end, but our fight will not even have begun.

—Paul Gottfried

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.