America And Russia: Twins To The End
The Russian invasion of Ukraine along with America’s predictably self-serving response marks the bitter end of the postwar order,
History didn’t end. It just kept on keeping on.
Ukrainians are being forced to die or flee their homes because the silly dream of deterrence failed. Diplomacy failed. Joe Biden failed. The whole misbegotten nightmare of the Western World has failed.
Here’s Ukrainian President Zelensky giving it to the world straight:
“We are humans, and it’s your humanitarian duty to protect us, protect civilians, and you can do it,” Zelensky told the world.
“If you don’t do it, if you at least don’t give us airplanes so that we could defend ourselves, that the only conclusion remains — you also want us to be very slowly killed.”
Truth, people. Truth.
But Ukrainians aren’t white enough to get protection. America only fights dictators in Arab countries who lack nukes. Russia could probably bomb California and get away with it.
Ukraine is far from a stellar example of a healthy democracy and does, for the record, harbor its share of neo-Nazis (as does Russia). Yet its people do not deserve to be caught in the middle of another pointless war between Great Powers.
They must be defended against Russia, as America’s victims deserved to be defended from its drone strikes.
On Ukrainian whiteness — notice how the tropes have shifted in the past two weeks? Go back just a few years in American media and the only Ukrainian you see is a mail order bride. Now, Ukrainians are all heroes, expected to die nobly as they run out of jets, missiles, and food.
If you’re friendly with Washington and London, you get to be “West” or at least an ally, whatever that is worth. If not, then you’re part of the scary mysterious East.
Blood is on Putin’s hands — but it also stains Joe Biden’s. And really, it drenches the rest of Americans too, because it’s our taxes that pay the Pentagon’s bills yet we never do things like national strikes that could actually make our government behave.
The natural, inevitable end result? This miserable conflict and all those that it is fated to spawn.
There will be more blood to come, because as horrible as it is to risk a nuclear conflict, the chances of that happening will only increase until Russia feels it has parity with America. Putin has no rational incentive to hold back now on any front — and yes, he is rational, as much as any leader with incredible power can be.
The world is now entering a period of total political, economic, and social collapse. Stuff is getting out of control everywhere all at once, and this process will self-accelerate for a few years.
Expect more inflation, more war, and more general discord. Oh, and probably a future Covid variant that escapes vaccines too, since the rich countries refuse to vaccinate the poorer ones and there are too many selfish anti-vaxx plague-lovers in the oh-so-advanced “West.”
At some point America and Russia will probably wind up in a nuclear standoff. This is the awful lesson of the hard logic of power repeated through nuclear crises again and again in the Cold War. It won’t end as long as the powerful remain so. Sooner or later they will make a mistake and destroy the global economy in their eternal effort to one-up each other — that is the true threat in a nuclear exchange where cities are bargaining chips, not primary targets.
The best hope for the world now is that America and Russia end each other quickly, allowing the rest of the planet to work together to keep China honest and fix the climate. Capital has to flow from the colonial powers back to the rest in the form of massive green infrastructure investments owned by communities, not corrupt governments.
If this doesn’t happen, say goodbye to any hope of real climate action for a generation. Or space exploration, for that matter, because militarized space will eventually be so garbage-filled orbital capsules can’t get through.
The competition between rich, powerful oligarchs will destroy our best hope for a decent future, whether it is the bigoted idea of the nation-state that does it or battles between transnational corporate combines. The monsters in power will tear down the whole world because the Boomer generation that runs America and Russia both can’t imagine a world without themselves in charge. Boomers in America were subjected to a lifetime of propaganda delivered by politicians and ads and even school teachers that blinded too many to the complex ways the world really works.
That’s why Biden, Pelosi, Trump, Clinton, and all the other disgraced geriatrics like former governor Andrew Cuomo won’t finally retire and go away. As has happened time and again over the past five centuries of history, old white cowards will burn it all down to avoid having to share with the rest of us.
On the plus side, that means the future belongs to us, and they will be forgotten, their legacies demolished. A fitting revenge.
But the process is going to suck. And a lot of people will get hurt. Which is why places that can serve as refuges need to start getting their act together — places like the West Coast are going to attract millions of people in the coming years.
The hard truth is that the two victors of the Second World War did this to themselves. The USSR and USA repeated the same dumb mistakes made by every victorious military coalition in all of European history.
They tried to carve up the world into spheres of influence, bombard their people with propaganda meant to promote a purely evil us against them philosophy, and built enough nuclear weapons to wipe out humanity several times over.
All the the while their craven leaders lived in luxury, exploiting their people in the name of ideology. Capitalism, Socialism — the two are just mirror images of each other, spin-offs of European Christianity that hold white supremacy as their core ideology.
Both are products of the misbegotten thing today called “The West” or “Western Civilization,” ideas steeped in bigotry and fated to produce endless global war between powerful elites. Conflicts that drain humanity’s resources and pump carbon into the air, destabilizing the climate for the entire world, literally strangling the future.
The nightmare scenario unfolding in Ukraine right now is not a story of good against evil, or autocracy against democracy. America is not truly on Ukraine’s side, a fact made clearer every day it and NATO allow Putin’s nuclear threats to deter the kind of help Ukraine requires to beat Russia’s invasion.
And yes, Ukraine ought to survive. Whatever ideology a person may choose to adopt, none can justify this onslaught. Europe must step up, give it weapons, and defeat Putin’s attack, forcing him to negotiate.
Nothing can ever justify forcing civilians and their pets to flee their homes — I condemn this when America does it and so I’ve got to condemn Russia for it too. These battles could be waged far from civilian infrastructure, cities bypassed and left alone, but Russia’s direct attacks on built up areas has made a cleaner fight impossible.
In this war, Russia is wrong and Ukraine is right, even if America and Europe have their share of blood on their hands. Yes, Zelensky should have done more to distance himself from a NATO that was always using Ukraine and needed to offer total autonomy for Donbas. But Russia could have launched a more focused military attack limited to Donbas, not a regime change operation.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is basically the same as Red America invading the West Coast. If some day as I expect we are forced to uphold and defend the Constitution ourselves according to the democratic will of people living here, and Trump or Desantis is in power in Washington D.C. and attacks, we’ll fight like this too.
People everywhere have a basic human right to live and be. They do have a responsibility to move if the laws of a place defy their conscience, but no one can be allowed to take away the basic rights of Home, Health, Livelihood, Security, and Association from anyone unless they try to take others’ away.
So long as anyone anywhere lacks what they need to live a decent life, we are all under threat.
America pretends to defend freedom, but a simple accounting of history shows that its leaders use freedom as an excuse to take others’ away. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan —the crimes never end, and the perpetrators are never held to account. Kissinger didn’t go to jail after orchestrating a war of aggression against Cambodia that led to the rise of the psychotic Khmer Rouge just like Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney were never held accountable for the invasion of Iraq that led to the rise of ISIS.
To the elites who dominate big settler-colonies like America and Russia, their people are resources and tools. Rights don’t matter, and States respect them only when they have to. Pundits and thought leaders create national myths all are supposed to believe in using a distorted, self-serving, ultimately bigoted view of history and the nation.
Russia, America — they’re the same. And yes, both America and Russia are both settler-colonies. Manifest Destiny and indigenous genocide gave the USA control over the West and Pacific. Russian imperialism brought Moscow’s forces to the Pacific.
Conquest does not give a country the right to claim a place. America and Russia as they now stand were both made through theft and murder. Neither can ever escape their vicious heritage.
What is happening right now in Ukraine is the same old story — despite all their pro-Ukraine talk, America and its NATO allies are letting Ukraine die. They are accepting the destruction of a free country exactly as America, Britain, and France let Poland fall in 1939.
While insisting they are standing up for freedom, in fact they’re just repeating what was called in 1939 and 1940 a sitzkrieg — sitting or phony war. While Poland was fighting heroically over six weeks against Hitler’s legions — and the Soviet Union, towards the end — similarly inflicting serious losses and throwing the campaign into disarray at the beginning, the world’s best army of the time— so it was said — France, parked its superior forces on the almost undefended German border and did nothing.
Why? Fear of a wider war, perhaps one featuring mass bombings of cities and the use of chemical weapons. Even after Britain and France had declared war on Germany, their leaders continued to believe the conflict could be contained.
They assumed that Germany would never be able to turn around and beat them months after a costly, difficult campaign against Poland that was not the cakewalk historians in Western Europe and America later insisted.
The calculating leaders of the West assumed Germany could be economically strangled and forced to its knees, Hitler falling in a coup. The next year, France and Britain were defeated in the Battle of France, forced to evacuate what soldiers they could save from Dunkirk.
That term Blitzkrieg that gets thrown whenever a country launches an attack on another with tanks? Pure myth. The term was made up by an American journalist to describe the swift defeat of France and Britain in 1940, and historians after the war latched onto it to explain the shock of Paris falling.
In fact, most of what Americans think they know about the early years of World War 2 is bunk. During after the war the leaders of America deliberately cultivated a set of myths that, predictably, made America out to be the savior of the world.
But what really happened was that America profited from the war while keeping out of it for years. Only Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor at the tail end of 1941 brought America directly into the fight and the first American boots didn’t land on European soil to oppose Germany until 1943.
Soviet and Chinese soldiers and civilians took the brunt of the fascist onslaught. They broke Germany and Japan, tying down massive forces while the Anglo-American alliance got its forces together sufficient to open second fronts in the Europe and Pacific.
There’s a reason the UN Security Council’s permanent members are who they are. China and the Soviet Union were the Allies — then after the war the West didn’t need them, and American bigots turned them into the new “East” forever at war with the West.
Orwell wrote 1984 the way he did for a reason. Totalitarian impulses were present on the Allied and Axis side both. FDR, hero of so many Americans on the left, allowed American citizens of Japanese descent to be forced into concentration camps, their property seized by local whites who had long tried to pass laws preventing Asians from owning property and immigrating to America.
Few today want to admit today, of course, that Britain and France were themselves almost as evil as Nazi Germany or Japan. Each maintained massive colonial empires the Axis Powers were deliberately attempting to emulate in Eastern Europe, North Africa, and China. They starved, abused, and killed millions of people, something most American history turns a blind eye to, needing to sanitize America’s allies to support its comic book hero narrative of its own involvement.
The Second World War, like the First, was a European civil war that dragged in the rest of the planet because of colonialism. Britain starved India in two world wars to sustain its fighting forces. America interned its own citizens and pushed horrific racial narratives about Japanese people — even Dr. Seuss got on board.
Ironically, the actual performance of American military forces in the war was at the start, well… it was often really freaking bad.
Fun fact of American military history virtually no popular historians or pundits acknowledge is that American military involvement was a comedy of horrific errors that got a lot of Americans killed. Basic lessons learned by France, Britain, and even Soviet Russia early on were ignored by incompetent political generals until the trials of combat forced adaptation.
In the first major battle between American and German forces in North Africa, Rommel’s outnumbered and outgunned Afrika Korps troops simply annihilated their Ami opponents. American forces advanced against a battle-hardened enemy in what amounted to a parade formation and were crushed.
Pearl Harbor was a massive military screwup too. American put most of its fleet in a base local commanders knew was vulnerable to a surprise air attack. Britain had already shown that ports could be struck by carrier aircraft. It was only a stroke of luck that kept America’s own carriers out of port on December 7th, 1941, and it took until 1943 for American military production to finally deliver enough forces to outnumber and outfight Japan.
Of course, the aircraft carriers were floating bombs and had no armored flight deck to protect them against attack, unlike modern British models. As a result, thousands of American sailors died when Japanese bombs or kamikaze strikes set off horrific fires that a British carrier would have shrugged off.
In the air, where my grandfather fought as a belly gunner on B-17 and B-24 bombers flying out of India, bombers didn’t even get fighter escorts until 1944. In theory, bombers armed with a dozen machine guns were supposed to hold off air attacks — in reality, this just didn’t work. The famous novel Catch-22 is a portrayal of the bureaucratic logic pilots were caught in, where the number of missions they had to fly in a tour kept being set at exactly the value statistical analysis predicted led to a 100% chance of dying before the end.
Later American wars have shown the same pattern of neglect. Task Force Smith in Korea was all but wiped out in 1950 at the start of the North Korean invasion. America was unprepared for Vietnam in the ground and sky, losing gobs of aircraft to missiles and North Vietnamese MiGs and tens of thousands of often poorly trained soldiers.
And I have personal experience training (but not deploying, thank the gods) in an Army unit originally intended for Cold-War style mechanized warfare but forced to adapt to counterinsurgency foot patrols in Baghdad. Their equipment? Humvees never, ever meant for front-line fighting. Friends and colleagues of mine died because American military experts believe their own myths, time and time again.
America is a myth — and so is Russia. So is every country deep down, but the myths that drive these two twin evils are a cancer killing the planet. Leaders in both adamantly refuse to recognize that the world is changing. They are determined to escalate fights with each other because they can’t accomplish anything else. In both of these oligarch-dominated lands, regular people deal with poverty, addiction, and fear alleviated by imagined military prowess abroad.
This is why America and Russia keep dancing around each other, dragging other countries into their proxy wars. Each needs the other’s hostility to survive. America’s leaders have clearly decided that the only hope of keeping the country unified is a foreign threat, as have Russia’s, and while the racist foreign policy elites are still desperate to fight China, they’re more than happy to have Russians to hate too.
It won’t work. Not this time. Americans and Russians are matches for each other in the battleground of bigotry. The rest of the world doesn’t need either.
Every day I see more evidence piling up that the adaptive cycle is playing out as I feared it would. History, like all complex systems, moves through distinct phases that alter the way people behave.
In times of rapid growth, innovation and risk taking bring rewards, leading to an explosion of newness. Growth slows down and becomes more linear as the system matures. Eventually a shock or seasonal shift in resources causes a pullback, which self-accelerates into a collapse. Once a settling point is reached the stage is set for new innovations and rapid growth as people start feeling comfortable again.
Trick is these cycles take place a many scale levels, all at the same time. So you as an individual are experiencing a local version of the cycle that is influenced but not entirely controlled by events at a higher scale level, say the community or even nation. Forces go up the chain, and they flow down — it’s dynamic, all systems falling towards a temporarily stable state before being disrupted again.
Global collapses are visible throughout the historical record, big ones coming about every 80–100 years since Europeans invaded and colonized the world. That the globe’s center of gravity is shifting back to more-populous Asia has unsettled European powers, which are now facing resource competition on a global scale.
So the stage is set for the grand collapse and reboot of our time, with America and Russia’s slow demise dragging everything down with them. Europe, China, India, and an alliance of middle powers are the future — America and Russia are both set to collapse and divide, rejoining the new global order.
And good riddance to them both. Here on the Pacific, the West Coast can work with Asian countries to build the foundation for a new global prosperity.
We can put the bigotry of the past aside and start to build something better. No more stale ideologies. No more futile wars. No more pathetic worship of partisan “leaders” who care only for themselves.
It is possible. In fact, real history shows it to be inevitable — people persist, people survive.
But systems — they do change. And sometimes abruptly.
It’s happening right now.