March 10, 2022
Philip C. Johnson
Two weeks ago, Russia invaded, without provocation, a neighboring country. There’s no defending that. There is no way to spin it in Russia’s favor. The impact on Ukrainian citizens is unimaginable and all decent people should acknowledge how devastating war is.
Most Americans, in my experience, process global conflict most easily in the context of black and white, good and evil. This conflict will not offer such clarity regardless as to how the media tries to present it. I fear that the sheer amount of propaganda from all sides, combined with some unpleasant truths, is going to ignite a world war, intended or unintended.
What to believe?
Russia claims that their invasion of Ukraine is warranted because of the threat of Nazis in Ukraine, the aggressive expansion of NATO and even the danger of secret biological weapons labs that the U.S. is sponsoring in Ukraine. All of this, of course, has been denounced as Russian disinformation. And I am inclined to believe that.
Except…there is indeed a large neo-Nazi combat unit, the Azov Battalion, that is integrated into Ukraine’s military…
And the U.S. (NATO) did assist Ukraine in 2014 in overthrowing their democratically elected pro-Russian president…and we have encouraged Ukraine to join NATO…
And Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the U.S., admitted under oath that there are, indeed, bio labs in Ukraine and she seems pretty concerned about those labs falling into Russian hands. The US defense department’s website verifies that a biological research lab was opened in Ukraine in 2010 that researches dangerous pathogens, including anthrax, tularemia and Q fever as well as others. How many other labs are there in Ukraine? Some experts are saying there are 20-30 such labs. And for that matter, what’s going on with all of these U.S.-funded bio research labs around the world? Wuhan? Ukraine? It’s your tax dollars… wouldn’t you like to know more about these “projects” before you’re forced to wear a mask, close your business or take additional vaccines again?
Plenty of corruption to go around
Russia is a corrupt country. According to the Corruption Perception Index, Russia scores a 30 out of 100. For comparison, New Zealand and Denmark, the two least corrupt nations on the list, each scored 88 out of 100. (The U.S. scores 67.) Where is Ukraine on this list? In spite of its current “golden image” of freedom and goodness, Ukraine scores 33 out of a 100. About the same as Russia. It doesn’t mean that Ukraine deserves to be invaded, but it does indicate that there is a lot more going on under the surface than the media is indicating. We’ve already learned that many of the “hero” stories of Ukraine were false. The soldiers on Snake Island did not curse Russian soldiers and die for their bravery. They cursed Russian soldiers and were taken prisoner; they’re all alive. There is no “Ghost of Kiev” performing miraculous acts of combat heroism. Young girls and Ukrainian supermodels are not confronting Russian soldiers. Russian soldiers are not trying to blow up Ukrainian nuclear facilities.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, who is being portrayed as a wartime hero had an approval rating in Ukraine of 30% prior to the war. Let’s say, for the sake of generosity, that Zelensky has stepped up to the challenge of leadership – that’s admirable. But he is also using his skills as a former actor to elicit sympathy as well as alarm from the West to try to manipulate us to join this war. This is concerning as I do not wish to see nuclear armed nations engaged in a global war.
Are sanctions working?
The sanctions that the West has enthusiastically imposed on Russia will hurt Russia. They will also hurt us here at home. But I imagine those sanctions will ultimately just turn the Russian people more decidedly against the West. It’s also important to remember that Europe will not stop buying Russian oil and many countries, India, Brazil and China included, have so far refused to enact sanctions on Russia. Russia will simply turn to China to sell more of its oil, gas and wheat.
I have to wonder why the U.S. has come down so hard not just on the Russian government, but on Russians citizens themselves. We’ve cancelled their banks, credit cards, video games, sports involvement, classical musicians and even Russian cats are not allowed to compete in cat shows. China meanwhile is guilty of imprisoning between one and three million Uyghurs Muslims in concentration camps, harvesting organs of political dissidents and releasing a pandemic on the world that has killed six million people, and we respond by awarding them the Olympics and by buying all of their stuff. China also remains the primary country of origin for illicit fentanyl trafficked to the U.S. Countless American lives have been lost as a result. But it seems clear that we are not nearly as concerned about the integrity of America’s borders as we are about Ukraine’s borders.
Who will win this war?
I do believe that Ukrainians are fighting harder and more bravely than Russia anticipated. It’s laudable, but it should be the default position of anyone who loves his land. The West has managed to cobble together enough unity to supply Ukraine with moral support, money and weapons. But make no mistake, Russia is gaining ground, albeit a bit more slowly than they had probably anticipated. Russia, outside of a miracle, will win this battle – the easy way or the hard way. For Russia, this engagement is personal and civilizational. Russia is not going to give up. They will simply use more and more horrific weapons against Ukraine. In the end, Russia will take (at least) the two eastern breakaway regions of Ukraine, demilitarize the country and make sure that a pro-Russian president or prime minister is installed, to keep NATO out. And it goes without saying that Crimea will be officially recognized as a part of Russia.
But the real winner of this conflict will be China. China has played it’s role in this struggle very carefully. They have offered friendship and support to Russia and yet they have been smart enough to condemn violence and state that they want peace. But in fact, China is watching carefully. They are watching how the West responds and how the West might respond when they inevitably take Taiwan – an action that will have serious consequences to Western nations. Russia and China share a hatred towards Western hegemony and a desire to see that the U.S. dollar does not remain the world’s reserve currency. Without the power of the U.S. dollar, sanctions would be impossible to impose.
China is now asking the US to explain these 26 biological laboratories that are in Ukraine. China is saying that the US must release the details of which viruses are being stored. And from a Chinese perspective, this puts them on the moral high ground. They will remember and highlight that the U.S. once invaded a sovereign nation called Iraq on the premise of weapons of mass destruction. That claim turned out to be false, but thousands of Iraqis were killed. China will connect those dots and use this for their own advantage.
The world is filled with evil, and I don’t think that it’s always possible to rank evil. But in this case, I would rank the evil of China as much worse than the evil of Russia. However, our international banking systems still includes China. The sports world crowned China with this year’s Winter Olympics. American businesses and sports franchises happily snap up China’s money and use their “cheap” (i.e. slave) labor without losing a wink of sleep.
I believe that regarding Russia and Ukraine, America’s focus should be on helping to negotiate peace, not on escalating the conflict. Russia is not going to disappear. A Russia without Vladimir Putin is no guarantee for a Russia that is better for the world. And we might, just for a change of pace, start considering what would be best for Americans. After all, the real ”winner” of this current conflict, China, spends most of their time concerned about what’s best for China. Maybe they’re on to something.