Latin American Leaders Speak Out Against NATO Role in Russia-Ukraine War

Two of Latin America’s most respected dignitaries say the unspeakable about the conflict in Ukraine, setting blood to boil in Western corridors of power. 

TIME magazine’s interview of the former, and quite possibly future, President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will have no doubt raised hackles in Washington, Brussels, London and Kiev. In it, Lula spreads the blame widely for the current war in Ukraine. He also insisted that both Russia and Ukraine should do a little more jaw-jawing rather than war-waring and that peace could be easily achieved if only the US, EU and NATO would make a few basic assurances.

Putin shouldn’t have invaded Ukraine. But it’s not just Putin who is guilty. The U.S. and the E.U. are also guilty. What was the reason for the Ukraine invasion? NATO? Then the U.S. and Europe should have said: “Ukraine won’t join NATO.” That would have solved the problem.

The other issue was Ukraine joining the E.U. The Europeans could have said: “No, now is not the moment for Ukraine to join the E.U., we’ll wait.” They didn’t have to encourage the confrontation.

Asked what he would do if he had been president in the lead-up to the conflict, Lula inferred, once again, that a peaceful solution could be found if there was an actual desire for peace. He also said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was equally to blame for the war as Putin.

If I was President, I would have phoned [Joe] Biden, and Putin, and Germany, and [Emmanuel] Macron. Because war is not the solution. I think the problem is that if you don’t try, you don’t fix things. And you have to try.

I sometimes get worried. I was very concerned when the U.S. and the E.U. adopted [Juan] Guaidó [then leader of Venezuela’s parliament] as President of the country [in 2019]. You don’t play with democracy. For Guaidó to be President, he would have to be elected. Bureaucracy can’t substitute politics. In politics, it’s two heads of state who are governing, both elected by their people, who have to sit down at the negotiating table and look each other in the eye and talk.

And now, sometimes I sit and watch the President of Ukraine speaking on television, being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the [European] parliamentarians. This guy is as responsible as Putin for the war. Because in the war, there’s not just one person guilty.

Lula even accused Zelensky of looking for war and, once it began, of using it for his own political ends, none of which, of course, is news to NC readers. But the comments will have no doubt raised the blood pressure even higher in many Western capitals:

He did want war. If he didn’t want war, he would have negotiated a little more. That’s it. I criticized Putin when I was in Mexico City [in March], saying that it was a mistake to invade. But I don’t think anyone is trying to help create peace. People are stimulating hate against Putin. That won’t solve things! We need to reach an agreement. But people are encouraging [the war]. You are encouraging this guy [Zelensky], and then he thinks he is the cherry on your cake. We should be having a serious conversation: “OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.” And we should say to Putin: “You have a lot of weapons, but you don’t need to use them on Ukraine. Let’s talk!”

As a former, albeit potentially future, head of state Lula has more latitude than serving Latin American presidents to speak out against the so-called West’s role in the war in Ukraine. Indeed, his comments have already elicited a stiff rebuke from the Ukrainian government. Ukraine’s senior presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, on Thursday described them as “Russian attempts to distort the truth.”

BRICS United in Opposition

During his two terms in office Lula was an important mover and shaker on the international stage, increasing Brazil’s diplomatic clout, particularly across the so-called “Global South”. Together with Dimitry Medvedev, Manmohan Singh, and Hu Jintao, he attended the first ever BRICs summit (South Africa had still not joined the grouping), in 2009. As Wikipedia notes, the summit’s focus was on improving the global economic situation and reforming financial institutions.

Interestingly, in the wake of the summit the BRIC nations announced the need for a new global reserve currency, which would have to be “diverse, stable and predictable” — something that could now be in the process of happening, thanks partly to Washington’s repeated cack-handed attempts to use the world’s current reserve currency, the dollar, as a financial weapon against any country that does not toe the line.

Also interesting is the fact that not a single member of the BRICS grouping, which represents just over 40% of both global population and global GDP, has agreed to impose sanctions on  their fellow BRICS member Russia, despite concerted pressure to do so from both the US and the EU. Three of the four — India, China and South Africa — abstained in the UN General Assembly resolution of March 2 condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Although Lula is not Brazil’s president, he is hotly tipped to win the presidential elections in October, assuming he is allowed to. Fears are rising that his main opponent (and current incumbent), Jair Bolsonaro, could stage a military coup if Lula wins. The fact that US coup specialist Victoria Nuland just visited Brazil on a “diplomatic mission” to bring Brazil closer to US foreign policy does not auger well. Nor does Bolsonaro’s constant bigging up of his Defense Minister, Paulo Nogueira de Oliveira, who, Bolsonaro says, has “the troops in his hands” and would, if necessary, be responsible for bringing the country back to “normality, progress and peace.”

Lula Not an Outlier

Lula is not the only Latin American dignitary who has spoken out this week against the West’s oft-ignored role in facilitating and fomenting the war in Ukraine. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis, an Argentinean of Italian immigrant parents, averred that NATO’s “barking” at Russia’s door may have “facilitated” Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The pontiff also said he has offered to meet the Russian president in Moscow.

Latin America, as a whole, has tried to strike a neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Only four out of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries — Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Bolivia — abstained in the vote to condemn Russia’s invasion during the emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. On the other side of the divide, only a small number of governments have publicly endorsed the West’s economic sanctions against Russia. They include Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Guatemala.

Most governments in the region have stayed firmly on the fence. They include the two heavyweight economies of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, which together account for roughly 60% of the region’s GDP. While both countries voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the March 2 emergency meeting of the United Nations, they have expressed opposition to the US-NATO-led push to isolate Russia from the global economy.

As previously reported on NC, Brazil is massively dependent on imports of fertilizers from Russia and Belarus for its vital agricultural sector. According to a 2020 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Brazil’s agricultural exports account for 37% of its total exports. Brazil is the world’s largest global exporter of soybeans, poultry meat, beef, coffee, sugar, and orange juice, and is the world’s third largest exporter of agricultural products behind the European Union (EU) and the United States.

Special Relationship

Under Bolsonaro, Brazil, one of three so-called non-NATO US allies in Latin America, has been forging a special relationship with Russia. Before the war began Putin referred to Brazil as Russia’s most important partner in Latin America, as the two countries discussed plans to deepen collaboration on defense, agriculture, oil, and gas. Thanks in part to Brazil’s close association with Russia as well as the Brazilian government’s neutral stance on the war, shipments of fertilizer have continued to arrive from Russia, though for how much longer that will continue is far from clear.

Mexico’s position of neutrality is in large part a product of its long, albeit interrupted, history of neutrality dating all the way back to the early 1930s. Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (aka AMLO) reiterated that position on Wednesday:

The policy stays the same, we do not want to get directly involved in sanctioning any country. We want to have a position of neutrality, we have been expressing that in the United Nations so that dialogue can be sought in this way. If we lean in favor of one position or another, we lose authority and therefore could not, if requested, participate in the possibility of reaching an agreement, of conciliation.” 

Argentina, another non-NATO US ally (the other being Colombia) has also refused to endorse sanctions against Russia. Its delegates at the recent G20 meeting, like those of Brazil and Mexico, refused to join a US-UK-EU-Canada walk out of the meeting when the Russian delegates began to speak. The US, UK and EU are trying to get Russia barred from the next G-20 meeting but neither the host nation, Indonesia, China, India, South Africa or the three Latin American members are on board.

“Argentina does not support Russia’s separation from the G20 because we believe in multilateralism and multilateralism is only achieved with countries sitting at the table,” said Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Santiago Cafiero, adding that the G20 is “a strictly economic forum.”

It’s worth noting that in the weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Argentina also met with Putin as well as China’s Xi Jinping with a view to arranging a loan from the two BRICS countries, thereby reducing Argentina’s almost total dependence on IMF — and indirectly US — funding, as Buenos Aires Times reported:

“Argentina has experienced a very special situation as a result of its indebtedness and the economic situation that I inherited,” the president [of Argentina, Alberto Fernández] told Putin. “From the 1990s onwards, Argentina has looked to the United States, and the Argentine economy depends a great deal on the IMF debt and the US influence in the Fund.”

He stressed that during the terms of former presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, those leaders sought to “break out of the straitjacket” that Argentina had with Washington, which had made it possible to draw up a strategic agreement with Russia.

“In 2015 we had a government that once again turned its gaze to the United States and generated the tremendous debt we have,” Fernández continued, taking aim at his predecessor as president Mauricio Macri.

“I am determined that Argentina has to stop being dependent on the Fund and the United States, and here I believe that Russia has an important place,” he concluded.

US-EU sanctions have put those plans on ice, and a deal to restructure Argentina’s $44.5-billion debt with the IMF still remains elusive.

Shifting Sands

As I reported in August 2021, the sands are shifting in Latin America, politically, economically and geopolitically — and not in Washington’s favor. China’s trade with the region grew 26-fold between 2000 and 2020, from $12 billion to $315 billion, and is expected to more than double by 2035, to more than $700 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, “China will approach—and could even surpass—the US as LAC’s top trading partner.

As I wrote in that piece, both China and Russia have also reaped the dividends of vaccine diplomacy:

While China was flooding Latin America with vaccines, Pfizer, one of three US vaccine makers whose product has been granted emergency use authorisation, was essentially shaking down countries in the region, demanding that they put up sovereign assets, such as federal bank reserves, embassy buildings and military bases, as insurance against the cost of any future legal cases involving Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine… Since then, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been made available through the GAVI Alliance’s COVAX scheme. Some countries in the region are planning to use the doses as booster shots.

Since that article went out, Chile has voted for a left-of-center coalition that is promising to reform many of the neoliberal economic policies that have prevailed in the country since the Pinochet dictatorship, including some of the rules governing mining concessions. Even in Colombia, the US’ most important South American client state, a former left-wing guerilla is favorite to win this month’s presidential elections, though ominously Victoria Nuland also recently visited Colombia where she met with all major candidates except for Pietro. In the meantime, former President Alvaro Uribe, a long-time favorite of Washington, faces trial for bribing witnesses and procedural fraud.

If he were to win the elections in October, Lula, a strong supporter of multipolarism, would probably further deepen Brazil’s relationship with fellow BRICS nations Russia and China, far and away its largest trade partner, while putting yet more distance between Brazil and the US. Of course, he has reason to want to do that given the well documented role Washington played in his recent imprisonment.

An exposé last year by The Intercept revealed the extent to which the US Department of Justice orchestrated the now-disgraced Operation Car Wash in Brazil, which led to the downfall of Dilma Rousseff’s government, the imprisonment of Lula just as he was preparing to run for office again, and the eventual election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

The US government had plenty of reasons for wanting to unseat Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT). As Glenn Greenwald writes in his latest book, Securing Democracy: My Fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the PT governments’ forging of a “foreign policy in a way that diverged from US dictates was intolerable.” Lula himself believes the US was ultimately driven by economic incentives, tweeting out in July 2020:

The goal was Petrobras [Brazil’s state-owned oil giant]. It was the Pre-Salt [Brazilian offshore oil]. And the Brazilian companies that were winning bids from US companies in the Middle East.

The parallels with Mexico’s AMLO are striking. Like Lula, AMLO is trying to steer a more independent course for his country, both in the realms of economic and foreign policy, and is facing ever increasing interference from Washington as a result. Like Lula, AMLO is trying to protect the country’s state-owned energy companies, much to the consternation of US energy interests.

If Lula wins in October and does not fall victim to a military coup, both of the two mega-economies of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, representing over 60% of the region’s GDP, will, for the first time in decades, be governed by left-of-center governments that are not fully aligned with US economic or foreign policy interests. And that must be causing all manner of angst and consternation in Washington and Langley.

 

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41 comments

  1. KD

    Victoria Nuland just paid a trip to Brazil, so its certain whatever comes in October, the “forces of democracy” are going to triumph. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen much coverage on AMLO, but you have to assume his name is pretty high on that list in DC. What kind of dirty tricks will be rolled out?

    Reply
    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      That is definitely not good. In fact, it’s so important that I’ve decided to include a mention of it in the article. Thanks for the heads up, KD.

      Reply
    2. Michael Ismoe

      Nuland went to Brazil to visit Lula’s grave. She just got the dates wrong.

      Don’t mess with The Empire.

      Reply
    3. Susan the other

      Why can’t we simply get rid of icky Vicky? She’s a walking disaster. All this State Department strong-arming of the rest of the world (with few results and much resentment) reveals why we are so desperately in need of keeping the EU as a full partner in the last days of neoliberalism. I don’t think we will go to war for Latin America if our cute little false-flag insurrections come to nothing – then so be it. Ukraine, on the other hand, will be entrenched for 20 years. But I do think we will do everything we can to siphon off Venezuela’s oil fields by drilling sideways from Guyana. But whatever. We can’t just say “I quit.”

      Reply
  2. Judith

    Lula has also recently proposed a Latin American currency, which probably does not please the powers that be.

    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Brazil-Lula-Proposes-to-Create-a-Latin-American-Currency-20220502-0011.html

    On Saturday, Brazilian presidential candidate Lula da Silva proposed expanding Latin American economic integration through the creation of a common regional currency.

    “We don’t have to depend on the dollar,” said the Workers’ Party (PT) leader during a speech at the congress of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), a nationwide organization that supports Lula in the October elections, in which President Jair Bolsonaro will seek re-election.

    “We are going to restore our relationship with Latin America. God willing, we will create a Latin American currency”, the PT leader told thousands of citizens.

    In Brazil, the idea of ​​a Latin American currency has also been defended by the former Mayor of Sao Paulo Fernando Haddad and former President of Banco Fator Gabriel Galipolo, who collaborated in the elaboration of Lula’s government plan.

    Reply
    1. JohnM_inMN

      I’m very sketchy on the details, but I recall that Lula stood face to face with Obama and said he wanted an alternative to the petro dollar for Brazil’s oil (gold maybe?) Not saying there is a direct relationship, but I believe that Operation Carwash followed sometime after.

      Reply
  3. LAS

    Long before the existance of NATO, Russia and then the Soviets under Stalin, brutalized and murdered millions upon millions of Ukrainians, as well as people in Poland and Belarus. I rather wonder why so few people speak about this sorry pre-NATO history. Lots of the blame attributed to relatively short-lived and recently weakened NATO, I suspect to have its origins in Russian propaganda; Putin always creates a scapegoat; he’s a big liar as well as appearing to be a coward, afraid to sit near his own advisors. It seems that people accept Putin’s lies due to their own hatred of western exploitative capitalism. Russia’s Kremlin is no better friend to humanity than western capitalism.

    NATO seems to positively shrink from accidentally getting into war with Putin’s Russia and Russia is fully exploiting that sentiment. Suppose that Finland does ask to be in NATO … I wonder how they will be received. Will NATO really want to extend itself to a smallish nation that has been invaded and in war with Russian so many dozens of times?

    Reply
    1. liam

      As horrible as this is to say, it’s not really about Ukraine. On one level it is, obviously, with the Donbass and Nazi’s and treatment of Russian speakers since the coup of 2014. But on a whole other level, it’s about geopolitics and control, and about the right of Russia to feel secure in the space they live. With Ukraine in NATO, they would not feel, nor be, safe.

      A friend of mine countered that with me by saying, but Russia has all these nukes, so how can anyone threaten them? My response is, besides the abrogation by the US of various arms control treaties, the most important being the INF treaty, it’s the very notion that with Ukraine in NATO, any conflict would see an automatic escalation to nuclear weapons. Ukraine is on Russia’s border, and Moscow is really not that far away from that point. Should Russia suffer a setback or indeed an attack for which it was unprepared, a conventional army would be at the gates of Moscow. How likely any of that is to happen? is the conventional response. Hey, we’re the good guys right? What about in 20 years or 40 years time? What about if the next whack-job US president decides he really likes all this imperial power. It’s not like American presidents don’t have form. Nor that they’ve been signally enmity to Russia for so long now that the Russian’s have grown sick of it.

      Come on, this isn’t rocket science. Even the pope can see that Russia has a point here. And the fact that US was unwilling to entertain talking about this before hand tells you everything you need to know about their intentions. I genuinely do feel sorry for Ukrainians btw. Not Zelensky, Arestovich, or the followers of Bandera, but the ordinary Ukrainians who’ve never gotten a break.

      Reply
    2. Kouros

      Poland? Are you sure.

      As for the Bolshevik reign, the civil war, the treatment of peasants that didn’t want to put their land in state run cooperatives or had their products confiscated to feed the factory workers, or have the bourgeoisie sent to Siberia if not eliminated, that was done at local levels, by other Ukrainian or Belarussians or what the area was. It was an ideological struggle and less a nationalistic struggle. After all, Stalin was Georgian, and some of the top of the security apparatus were also not Russians.

      And the original Soviets (councils) that were formed across the Russian Empire, they all wanted Socialism, overwhelmingly. But the Bolsheviks took power via more or less a coup and imposed their vision of communism (the ongoing war didn’t help).

      Check your history before jumping to make all kinds of sweeping statements.

      Reply
      1. LAS

        Well, to start, there is “Bloodlands – Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” by Timothy Snyder.

        Reply
      2. LAS

        There is also this book: “A People’s Tragedy – The Russian Revolution 1891-1924” by Orlando Figes.

        Regarding Russia’s many invasions of Finland, I go that from this book: “Of Finnish Ways” by Aini Rajanen.

        I’m sure there are more resources if you really investigate the history.

        Look … I understand the outrage at how the west has sometimes behaved in its economic dominations and imperialism. That’s why I too read Naked Capitalism. But let’s not sugarcoat Russia and let’s see their self-serving propagand for what it is.

        Reply
        1. poortiredandhopeless

          Got news for you neolib, the Ukrainians murdered 1.4 million Jews, including half of my father’s family during WW2 to the point the German Nazis had to tell them to slow it down. Funny how you left that little nugget out of your diatribe. The Ukrainians don’t get any sympathy from me.

          Reply
    3. Jacob Hatch

      NATO has not brutalized millions of people? as to Stalin, not a nice man, but we should be very careful about using Nazi propaganda republished by the CIA/DOD after WW2. Professor Grover Furr, after fall of USSR, did an exhaustive archive dives, has written well footnoted reports which shows that the claims on Ukraine were greatly exaggerated. There were famines in Ukraine, but they were far less deadly that the ones under the Czar, and there were concerted efforts to mitigate them (and hence the reduced death rates).

      Reply
    4. redleg

      A NATO war with Russia is a nuclear war.
      Russia keeps reminding everyone of this inconvenient fact, as do VIPS, Pope Francis, et al., but nobody seems to be listening.

      Reply
    5. lance ringquist

      did stalin kill as many or more ukrainians than the british killed indians in india?

      Reply
    6. Khanz

      If you want to use some points in history to support your intended argument, please consider the whole history or it is just your biased opinion, not fact. For example, you should consider also the history in and before WW1, British empire, French and Spain colonial empire, etc. I also wonder “so many dozens of times?” wars between Russia and “small” Finland, could you please list exactly that “dozens of times” to enrich my knowledge, if you is not considering the fact that Finland was a part of Sweden more than 200 years ago? Please!

      Reply
  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Noting:

    –The fact that US coup specialist Victoria Nuland just visited Brazil on a “diplomatic mission” to bring Brazil closer to US foreign policy does not auger well. Nor does Bolsonaro’s constant bigging up of his Defense Minister, Paulo Nogueira de Oliveira, who, Bolsonaro says, has “the troops in his hands” and would, if necessary, be responsible for bringing the country back to “normality, progress and peace.”

    This is a developing story–and I have to admit that I don’t understand the preoccupation in the U.S. elites with Brazil. On the other hand, their behaviors around Putin indicate panic, avarice, and delusion at play.

    I find nothing to disagree with in recent statements by Lula or the Pope. Here in Italy, people are marveling a bit at these combinations and alignment of interests–the Pope, the unions, the antiwar movement–and now Lula.

    Reply
      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        A group of dockworkers blocked shipments of arms to Ukraine. Natch, they are in trouble with the law. Yet the Pope (Flaming Red Francis) agreed with him, as did a large group at a recent event in Roma–where two members of the union were special guests.

        So far as I can tell from articles and from a couple of demonstrations that I have been to recently, the big unions, particularly at the grassroots level — the UIL, CGIL, and CISL — are not, as Lambert Strether often writes “eating the dogfood”

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Victoria Nuland is all about eastern Europe in both heritage and upbringing. She speaks French, Russian, a b-t of Chinese (once posted in Mongolia and China30 years ago) and almost certainly Ukrainian. So how well will her experiences here translate into the South American scene? She has never had a posting to this continent as far as I can tell. So much is different like the cultures, the people, the language, the customs, etc. Will she assume that it is all the same and act so? Frankly, I hope so.

      Reply
      1. Expat2Uruguay

        Yep, I was just going to link that article as well. Reporting from Reuters as of yesterday that “sources” have leaked that the US CIA director visited Bolsonaro last June to tell him not to make any funny business in the elections.
        So, this conversation took place almost a year ago, but they’re just leaking it now. Probably to counter reporting such as produced here. My cynical side thinks that this is all preparation to delegitimiz any reporting of hijinks that may or may not occur in the upcoming election in October.

        Reply
    2. berit

      Here in Norway, the propaganda is massive, even in what normally counts for leftwing political parties, being labeled “putin-friend” for citing professors Mearsheimer and Cohen or saying that US-NATO is fighting a proxy-war with Russia in Ukraina, serving war interest, the MIAC, not Ukrainians or Europe. Having former PM Jens Stoltenberg from the social democratic party and Libya-bombing “fame” as NATO general secretary does not make matters easier. We certainly could need a church leader like the Pope to insert nuance, ethics and common sense in a hotheaded, heavely biased debate.

      Thank you to the admin and commenters for valuable information and insights I gain from visiting NC.

      Reply
      1. britzklieg

        As if Stoltenberg doesn’t know that Anders Breivik is a big fan of AZOV.

        Quisling would not be displeased with J.S. ignoring the obvious.

        Norway is a beautiful country full of fine people and it’s painful to watch the former PM go down that road again. Good luck to you. Let’s hope cooler heads will emerge and that Norway can handle the problem again, with the proper correction for his supplication to the western ghoul-gods behind NATO’s malign intent.

        Reply
      2. Felix_47

        Stoltenberg was quoted by Wageknecht recently saying,”Es wäre schrecklich wenn Russland siegt, aber womöglich noch schrecklicher wenn Russland verliert.” It would be terrible if Russia wins but even worse if Russia loses. Stoltenberg commanded NATO for some time and he is no dove. And I saw an interview recently of John Bolton throwing shade on Trump. He said several times that if Trump had been elected Putin would be in Kiev right now. That alone is why Trump was the best candidate….if a president is so ignorant that he is likely to involve us in unnecessary war he is by my definition not fit to be in office. That is equivalent to a surgeon who does unnecessary surgery that can kill the patient.

        Reply
      3. Congold

        I am Norwegian as well, and completely agree with you. I don’t recognize the country I grew up in, and am considering moving to another country. I am also tired of paying the wealth tax. After that is paid my disposable income is below EU’s poverty line. The Norwegian so called socialist parties that promote this tax is also now completely neoliberal, and in some cases, like Stoltenberg, I would say neocon’s. They want to reduce inequality in Norway by taxing people that have far less purchasing power than themselves, while acting as agents for the military industrial complex, which one could say is the main culprit for global inequality. By the way, it is also the worlds largest carbon emitter.

        Reply
  5. Alan Roxdale

    The massive propaganda wave, in the MSM and I think also more influentially all over social media, has kept everyone not on message quiet, drowned out, or cancelled for the last 2.5 months. But it can’t last forever. As the information drips, drips, drips out, narratives begin to crack and people realise things are not clean and that there is a huge mess which now needs to be cleaned up.

    I think the Pope’s comments this weeks will create something of a mini-dam break, at least until the next Russian escalation/mobilisation/insert-chapter-3-here. We can expect a few notables to begin to get a word in edgewise now that the propaganda storm has abated (personally I think we are only in the eye of that hurricane, but I am an optimist).

    The main weak link in the whole war drive chain remains the Europeans. They are the ones (in the west) who are going to pay most for this, in cash, security, and potentially blood if things get worse. After the Greek reaction, I see little chance of 27+ public opinions being kept to march in lockstep with Syria 2.0 raging on their doorstep, especially if it starts crossing their thresholds. The anti-war/anti-american/anti-Nato factions will begin to stir soon.

    Reply
    1. Michaelmas

      The anti-war/anti-american/anti-Nato factions will begin to stir soon.

      Thus, the rise of Ministries of Truth everywhere.

      Wolfgang Streek has just published an overview from within the belly of the (sub)beast in the NLR’s blog, Sidecar (so no paywall). Long and perceptive on the treachery and venality of Europe’s elites, and their cringing subservience to their US paymasters —

      Return of the King: The Politics of Imperial Reconstruction

      by Wolfgang Streek
      https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/return-of-the-king

      “When kings return, they initiate a purge, to rectify the anomalies that have accumulated during their absence. Old bills are presented anew and collected, lack of loyalty revealed during the King’s absence is punished, disobedient ideas and improper memories are extirpated, and the nooks and crannies of the body politic are cleansed of the political deviants that have in the meantime populated them. Symbolic action of the McCarthy type is helpful as it spreads fear among potential dissenters …

      ‘”Throughout the West, the politics of imperial reconstruction is targeting anything and anybody found to deviate, or to have deviated in the past, from the American position on Russia and the Soviet Union and on Europe as a whole. …

      “As much as the EU has become a subsidiary of NATO, its officials can be assumed to know as little as anybody else about the ultimate war aims of the United States. With the recent visit of the US secretaries of state and defense to Kyiv, it seems that the Americans have moved the goalposts forward, from defending Ukraine against the Russian invasion to permanently weakening the Russian military. To what extent the US have now taken control was forcefully demonstrated when on their trip back to the United States the two secretaries stopped over at the American airbase in Ramstein, Germany, the same that the US used for the war on terror and similar operations. There they met with the defense ministers of no less than forty countries, whom they had ordered to show up to pledge their support for Ukraine and, of course, the United States.

      “Significantly the meeting was not called at NATO headquarters in Brussels, a multinational venue at least formally, but on a military facility which the United States claims to be under its and only its sovereignty, to the muted occasional disagreement of the German government.”

      Reply
      1. ilpalazzo

        The Streeck piece is a must read IMHO, thanks for the tip. I’ve been checking out if he had a new one for some time now and now BANG. Excellent form.

        Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Has the maintenance crew checked the glass on the popemobile lately? I’m sure there are many Western leaders who would prefer the previous pope, Emperor Palpatine, who I believe is still alive and could serve again in a pinch…

        Reply
  6. Glossolalia

    That interview with Lula is really something, and this sort of measured tone must indeed be causing aneurisms in DC and Brussels. He can’t possibly be allowed to win.

    Reply
  7. tindrum

    can the US keep the whole EU onside (when energy and food prices are out of control), get rid of the pope, remove several south american governments and fight China in Taiwan all at the same time? Even for the evil empire this could be a stretch.

    Reply
  8. Chops

    Then the U.S. and Europe should have said: “Ukraine won’t join NATO.” That would have solved the problem.

    If he believes that, I’ve got a bridge to sell him.

    This guy is as responsible as Putin for the war. Because in the war, there’s not just one person guilty.

    What utter rot. Zelensky as responsible for Russia invading Ukraine as the actual President of Russia is? Zelensky spends a lot of time directing the Russian military, does he? People like to think beyond the basics, sure, but you can’t ignore them; Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine didn’t invade itself or ask Russia to do so

    Reply
  9. witters

    “Ukraine didn’t invade itself’ – well, now you mention it, I think you might have that wrong. At least since 2014.

    Reply
  10. Bob Goodwin

    It amazes me how much the far left sounds life the far right. I just can’t figure out which one I am.

    Reply

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