How Big Is Your Army?

By   /   February 26, 2019  /   31 Comments

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POLICE NUMBERS just topped 13,000. Forty years ago there were fewer than half that number – considerably fewer. Astonishingly, we now have almost as many cops as we do soldiers. At last count the New Zealand Defence Force numbered 14,921. Put those numbers together and the state’s coercive potential turns out to be not far shy of 30,000 highly-trained and fearsomely-equipped men and women. Those who allow expressions like “revolution” and “class war” to trip so merrily off their tongues should be required to explain where their 30,000 highly-trained and fearsomely-equipped men and women are currently hiding – just waiting for the word.

POLICE NUMBERS just topped 13,000. Forty years ago there were fewer than half that number – considerably fewer. Astonishingly, we now have almost as many cops as we do soldiers. At last count the New Zealand Defence Force numbered 14,921. Put those numbers together and the state’s coercive potential turns out to be not far shy of 30,000 highly-trained and fearsomely-equipped men and women. Those who allow expressions like “revolution” and “class war” to trip so merrily off their tongues should be required to explain where their 30,000 highly-trained and fearsomely-equipped men and women are currently hiding – just waiting for the word.

Proclaiming class war without a large force of armed citizens at your back is a very dangerous thing to do. Just ask Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s CIA-trained “Interim President”, how much luck he’s having overthrowing his country’s democratically-elected president without the support of either the Police or the Armed Forces.

Guaido can call the Venezuelan middle-class on to the streets and encourage his far-right student supporters to throw stones at the riot cops, but so long as President Maduro’s police officers and soldiers remain loyal, Guaido’s coup d’état will remain a busted flush. In the aftermath of this past weekend’s concerted campaign to force open Venezuela’s borders with Columbia and Brazil, Guaido’s only real hope of success lies in the USA and its reactionary allies lending him some armed men and women of their own.

Holding back all that stock-piled US “aid” and preventing all those Venezuelan emigres from flooding into the country is, therefore, crucial to the survival of Maduro’s Chavista regime. If the borders are forced open, then the way will be clear for the US equivalent of Russia’s “little green men” to slip across and start doing to Venezuela what Vladimir Putin’s soldiers-in-mufti (fighting alongside local rebel groups) did in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. If you’ve been wondering why Maduro is going to such lengths to prevent the breaching of his country’s borders, then wonder no more.

Not that you’ll hear the scores of journalists dispatched to cover the “liberation” of Venezuela from its socialist “dictator” talk about any of this. There has, to date, been almost no coverage of the fact that neither the Red Cross nor the United Nations’ relief agencies will have a bar of Guaido’s “humanitarian” effort. Again and again these organisations have attempted to alert the Western media to the fact that by so thoroughly politicising the delivery of humanitarian aid, the US and its allies have betrayed their real (and far from humanitarian) agenda.

Had these journalists been sent to cover the Trojan War, they’d have loudly insisted that the citizens of Troy were morally obliged to haul the departing Greeks’ giant wooden horse inside the city walls. Twenty-four hours later, as Troy’s temples burned, and its inhabitants were put to the sword, these same journalists would invite the watching world to join them in celebrating the “restoration of Trojan democracy”.

Beware of Americans bearing gifts.

The story is very similar with France’s Gillets Jaune. In spite of weeks of at times violent confrontations with the French authorities, and thousands of arrests, the “Yellow Vests” are no closer to their goal of evicting President Emmanuel Macron from the Élysée Palace. Notwithstanding their profound distaste for the job they’ve been given, the French Police continue to obey the brutal orders of their political masters.

A revolution without arms does not remain a revolution for very long. Just ask the unfortunate Chileans who fell under the killer blows of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. They may have elected Salvador Allende, a self-described Marxist, as their President. Their Popular Unity Coalition may have won election after election. But, as a democratic government, they were obliged to persuade the unconvinced half of the Chilean electorate that the revolutionary changes the Left was seeking were worthy of their support. Not to simply impose them, regardless. This they did not do.

As Ariel Dorfman, a leading left-wing intellectual of the tumultuous Allende years, later recalled in his bitter-sweet autobiography, Heading South, Looking North:

“It was difficult, it would take years to understand that what was so exhilarating to us was menacing to those who felt excluded from our vision of paradise. We evaporated them from meaning, we imagined them away in the future, we offered them no alternative but to join us in our pilgrimage or disappear forever, and that vision fuelled, I believe, the primal fear of the men and women who opposed us … [T]he people we called momios, mummies, because they were so conservative, prehistoric, bygone, passé … [W]e ended up including in that definition millions of Chileans who … should have been with us on our journey to the new land and who, instead, came to fear for their safety and their future.”

Our own progressive coalition government could benefit hugely from reading Dorfman’s memoir. Proposing measures that cause a large number of voters “to fear for their safety and their future” is never a wise course of political action. And those who urge the government to simply ignore and/or roll over the top of the “greedy fucks” who raise objections to its policies should be required to answer the question which veteran left-wing organiser, Matt McCarten, always asks of those demanding revolution and class war:

“How big is your army?”

To be followed immediately by: “And will it defend your revolutionary cause with the ferocity of 13,000 police officers and 14,921 members of the New Zealand Defence Force  fighting to protect the status-quo?

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31 Comments

  1. Sam Sam says:

    Yup, pretty convincing argument for the domesticated human cut off from the real world. Alone on the Savannah stands a naked man with no claws and no teeth, vulnerable against every other animal. But give that single man a stick and ability to work together they can kill everything on the planet. Take that cooperation away and they’re just a weak and feeble as they were to begin with.

  2. Matthew says:

    What is wrong with left? Why can’t you accept that Maduro is a genocidal dictator, hellbent on survival at any cost, and the socialism in any form dies with Hugo Chavez? This is not a rightwing, middle class or US coup. This is a revolt by the Venezuelan people, at least 90% of them, and the other 10% only with held by the shear terror of what Maduro’s militia will do to them and their families if they stand up for a free country. I am a socialist through and through, but it pains me to see so much blind socialism around the world. Macri, Bolsanaro, Duque, and Pinero are all terrible people, but Maduro is worse. And at the moment we are on the path toward an extreme right versus perceived left pan american war. If the US, Colombia, Argentina, Brasil and Chile send in a joint force, surely Cuba and Bolivia will join Maduro. It is the beginning of World War 12. All because Maduro refuses to step down. He alone will bring this to be, he will bring the end times. Only a few years early perhaps as climate change will get us all soon anyway. To support Maduro is to cheer on the apocalypse. It is not socialism.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Oh man, nothing like a bit of ideological possesion to bring all the nut bars out. What on earth posses you to say such things about Venezuela. Claims have been made about the economic collapse of Venezuela for the last 20 years due to left wing policy, and well. Still waiting.

      Brazilian president Balsonaro is the closes Latin America has to a genocidal dictator by virtue of his maiden speech including prais if genocidal Chilean dictator Pinochet.

      The reason why America has to take the bitch route around direct regime change is because after decades of banana republic policies South America won’t let any forign military base into South America.

      • Matthew says:

        Just reality. Don’t get me started on Bolsonaro, every time he goes to hospital I hope for the worst. But it isn’t socialist policy that has destroyed Venezuela, it is corrupt government. No you don’t want the US meddling in your business, but you can’t say fluff off. Aotearoa can’t be too rude to China can in it? It is a political reality of the super power dominated world (and UN). The worry now in Venezuela is the collapse of the medical system (which was excellent and based on the excellent Cuban system to an extent), and that malaria has resurfaced after 50 years of dormancy. It is the diseases that could spell the end as quickly as the mortars. The economy of Venezuela has collapsed, inflation at that level is not a good sign. I still agree with a lot of Chavez, but Maduro has never been interested in anything other than self preservation. If Allende and Che had not been CIAed, things might be very different now. The important thing is to put aside the ideological differences, and recognise the humanitarian situation. Of course the rightwing doesn’t really care about people, so the left needs to push this, but if the Venezuelan people desire free elections, then that must be the aim. And while the power over a country is dependent on the military, free elections are not possible. We correctly label the travesties of the Brasilian, Argentinian, Chilean military dictatorships as wrong, so surely the Maduro controlled military that controls Venezuela is wrong also? On an aside, I have a banana republic t shirt, I often consider putting a milk powder sticker over banana to make it more locally accurate, but then remember we are still without a constitution, so Aotearoa is simply a milk powder colony.

        • Sam Sam says:

          Over 80% of Crimean’s speak fluent Russian so was extremely susceptible to being annexed by Russia. Over 80% of Venezuelans speak Venezualan, thus not susceptible to modern hybrid warfare (little green men) so if any one wants regime change in Venezuala they’re going to have to get traditional.

    • Aaron says:

      Moderators – can you ban people who deliberately spread lies?

      Mathew states Maduro is a dictator, but he has been voted into office – twice – with last year’s election verified by Jimmy Carter. He received a far larger vote than either than Trump or our Labour-led coalition did

      Mathew has essentially said that 100% of the population oppose Maduro (with 10% pretending to support him for fear of their lives). This is so stupid an assertion most people will probably see through it – but maybe not all

      Mathew also claims he is a socialist but that seems unlikely, aside from that that most people on this site don’t self describe as “I’m a socialist” he would have to be the single most ignorant socialist to ever have lived to believe the “facts” he is peddling

    • Mjolnir says:

      “What is wrong with left? Why can’t you accept that Maduro is a genocidal dictator, hellbent on survival at any cost, and the socialism in any form dies with Hugo Chavez? This is not a rightwing, middle class or US coup. This is a revolt by the Venezuelan people, at least 90% of them, and the other 10% only with held by the shear terror of what Maduro’s militia”

      And yet, he was re-elected by the people.50.61% voted for Maduro in 2013 and only 49.12% voted for opposition’s candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Juan Guaido wasn’t even a candidate. Guaido has no mandate for anything.

      As for being a “genocidal dictator”, what genocide has he been convicted of? And how do you know he’s committed genicide? Because US-owned media says so.

      I wouldn’t be rushing to judgement on those slim facts, Matthew.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Matthew: “Why can’t you accept that Maduro is a genocidal dictator, hellbent on survival at any cost, and the socialism in any form dies with Hugo Chavez?”

      Really. Flag it away: you’re wrong about this. What you’re claiming here is US propaganda.

      The US is shit-scared of any government in sth America that can claim to be socialist, let alone Marxist. Ever since the CIA was founded, it’s been sticking its nose into polities south of its border, in an attempt to keep the dastardly socialists/communists/Marxists out of power. And before the CIA existed, it was the govt., acting at the behest of various commercial enterprises. Just go read: Noam Chomsky has written extensively about this. He’s done the research, so that you don’t have to.

      Please: desist from repeating anywhere those furphies about Maduro and Venezuela. And especially here, where commenters are better-informed, and can call you out.

      I’d add that, whatever is happening in Venezuela right now, it isn’t our business. The political arrangements there are the business of its citizens, not of anyone else, anywhere. The US needs to lift the sanctions imposed by the Obama regime and since. And the Bank of England must give back to Venezuela the gold it’s illegally withholding. And the west must stay the hell out of Venezuela.

      Maduro is the legitimately-elected leader of that country: if he asks for help from another country, it is up to that country whether it decides to help.

    • Brigid says:

      “This is a revolt by the Venezuelan people, at least 90% of them”
      Good grief. What on earth have you been reading?

      Maduro will not ‘step down’ as your imperialist friends want, because the Venezuelan people have voted for him to run the country for them.

  3. Rickoshay says:

    Socialism=Censorship

  4. Dave Brown says:

    The question is not how big is your army, but rather do the masses have weapons and a program for self-defence against the state and its fascist paramilitary forces?

    Chris, you have always had a distaste for the revolutionary masses, from the time when you wrote off the Red Fed and backed the social democratic road to socialism in Aotearoa.

    And that is why your “where is your army” is the standard social democratic jibe directed at the revolutionary left mocking its ability to overturn the armed capitalist state.

    But you don’t own up to the historic role of social democracy (self-proclaimed ‘socialist’ leaders whose job is to disarm the mass and capitulate to the armed state.

    So you speak only about how ‘socialist’ Maduro has a big loyal army (that is no reason for confidence) and don’t mention that the people loyal to Maduro must be armed as the only real workers power base against a determined US sponsored coup.

    Chile is a negative case of what happens when reformists rely on a self professed ‘socialist’ leader who actively opposes the arming of the people.

    Germany 1919 is an example of armed mutineers capable of taking power being disarmed by a deal between the reformist 2nd International social democrats and the German ruling class.

    The positive example is Russia 1917 when the armed workers, soldiers and peasants soviets took power and defended and defeated an imperialist invasion in a four-year civil war.

    The history lesson is to never rely on social democratic politicians when the masses have the ability to arm and oppose the forces of both the right and treacherous social democracy.

    Social democracy will always slag off the revolutionary left as ‘unrealistic’ being incapable of revolution, justifying diverting workers onto the parliamentary road to the counter-revolution.

    The most interesting test case is what is happening in the USA. The dominant but declining power with a Bonapartist leader quite capable of moving right to an open fascist regime as the economy and climate crashes.

    That is the cue for the outbreak of an armed civil, ‘class war’, not a jerkoff by the revolutionary left, but the inevitable result of the decline and fall of US imperialism.

    Of course that regime will attempt to suppress the armed masses by embarking on more military adventures overseas and invasions into neocolonies like Venezuela, where they will come up against Russia and China.

    The outcome will depend on organised armed worker self-self defence against a fascist regime, and refusal to right foreign wars against oppressed countries or imperialist rivals. Just as the German worker soldiers and Russian workers and soldiers did 100 year ago,

    Add to that the youth mobilised against climate collapse, who by then will have learnt that non-violent direct action has to become armed self-defence, then all this will throw your pious preaching about the peaceful social democratic road to socialism in the epoch of capitalist decline and fall, into the dustbin.

    • David Stone says:

      For the masses to arm and revolt against the armed government Dave they would need to be totally desperate. They are inviting the almost certain slaughter of all the people they love. There has to be no hope to mobilise the “masses ” to do this. A less than desperate situation will draw only a few unattached adventurers into a guerrilla war. Most People in Venezuela are not in that situation.
      The issue of a socialist state surviving in he world has not since at least WW2 depended on whether it can be established within itself, but whether it can defend itself against the United States of America. And this has so far only been possible by virtue of an alliance with Russia or formerly the USSR.
      Maduro does seem to have the mass of people behind him as well as the armed forces in spite of some bad mistakes he and Chavez have made, That leaves the coup completely dependent on the US providing an army to oppose him. This regime change attempt was too public and too ill conceived to work. In order for the US to attack Venezuela openly now to support Guido they are likely to have Russia to recon with and they know it.
      I don’t actually think Trump is himself as stupid as this clumsy arrogant blunder would suggest. I think he is trapped by the establishment neocons and having selected the most belligerent and the most incompetent of them to place in the key positions is winding them up to let them display their talents. It might be the only way to get rid of them.
      D J S

      • D'Esterre says:

        David Stone: “I don’t actually think Trump is himself as stupid as this clumsy arrogant blunder would suggest. I think he is trapped by the establishment neocons and having selected the most belligerent and the most incompetent of them to place in the key positions is winding them up to let them display their talents. It might be the only way to get rid of them.”

        Indeed. I share that view, as does another very well-informed member of this household.

        I also think that this has the look of a negotiating tactic on Trump’s part. He’s done this elsewhere: threats and sabre-rattling, followed by further negotiation and compromise. I’d add that said well-informed household member doesn’t entirely agree with me about this.

        Unfortunately, where Venezuela is concerned, he may have underestimated the extent to which CIA interference in sth America has changed the political landscape there. We’ll see, I guess. But I hear that there’s mounting unease among US citizens about the possibility of an invasion by the US. Though why this latest one would cause them to come out in protest, god knows. Maybe just a step too far?

        • David Stone says:

          I think it’s a step too far D’esterre, The CIA works under the radar . Secrecy is their essential enabler , this stunt in Venezuela is all too obvious.
          D J S

          • D'Esterre says:

            David Stone: “this stunt in Venezuela is all too obvious.”

            True. And in fairness to US citizens, I seem to recall protests there, prior to GW Bush’s insane adventure in Iraq. Not that it stopped him…

            The political instability in Brazil, prior to Bolsonaro’s election, was straight out of the CIA playbook. And Bolsonaro himself Is a CIA stooge, just as is Guaido. No reported protests in the US over Brazil, though. But then there was no need for the threat of an invasion of Brazil to enforce the CIA plan. And I doubt even the most rabid of US war hawks would be so loony as to propose a military invasion there.

  5. Johnnybg says:

    Once again I’ve seen glimpses of a resilient & sustainable Aotearoan Confederacy unfolding before me; yes in the imaginative highlands of my mind I see the makings of a radically localised, post-globalisation world taking shape & the amazing thing is; it’s beginning right here in little old NZ.

    In the not to distant future when our country finally comes into its own our nation will also be seen by all the wretched Venezuela’s out there, as the trail blazing beacon of hope that we’re destined to become.

    The choice is simple, embrace & get behind the views & ideas of your life affirming visionaries & lateral thinkers or continue to follow our short sighted business as usual establishment into the deathly jaws of unending chaos.

    The Prophet of Zealandia

  6. Het Mes says:

    For a different take on Venezuela, following a transcript (from Dutch) by a Dutch/Venezuelan journalist who lives there since 2006 with his Venezuelan wife. He is a regular contributor to the left leaning paper De Volkskrant.

    Even the most loyal supporters of the regime had their eyes opened this weekend. The socialist-military dictatorship prefers to starve its population rather than accepting relief goods. At the border with Colombia, regime soldiers set fire to trucks with food and medicine, those at the border with Brazil killed members of the paramilitary national guard indigenas (‘Indians’ in the old jargon) who tried to clear up the blockades that the Maduro regime overthrew to prevent aid – and with it hope – from entering the country. In Santa Elena de Uairén this last weekend even led to a massacre with at least four killed civilians, but there are also talk of twenty-five fatally wounded civilians. It is time to intervene, militarily. The moral and legal basis is more than sufficient now that the Nicolás Maduro regime is using hunger as a weapon against the rebellious population. According to the Geneva Conventions, this is a war crime in times of war, in peacetime it is nothing less than a crime against humanity. A dictator who prefers to let his people die rather than accept loss of face, must disappear. Let us not forget that the exodus from Venezuela of nearly 3.5 million citizens is currently the largest refugee crisis on earth. Some of them try to reach Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao by boat, where the local rulers violate human rights with the agreement of the government in The Hague by sending them back to hell where they come from, without trial. Just about that hell: Venezuela should be the richest country in Latin America, because it has the largest estimated oil reserves on earth. Nevertheless, the population suffers from hunger and diagnoses such as cancer or HIV are a death sentence due to painful medicine shortages. Mortality among infants has exploded in recent years, just like those among their mothers. Inflation is more than a million per cent after 20 years of economic mismanagement. Since the autocratic Hugo Chávez came to power in a democratic way in 1999, Venezuela has gone from a democracy to a complete dictatorship, by route of an autocratic pretence democracy. Opposition leaders were excluded from the presidential election in 2016 and the elected parliament was replaced by a Maduro trustees’ unelected meeting by the Supreme Court completely appointed by Maduro. The dictator is still ruling with the help of the army, the paramilitary National ‘Bolivarian’ guard and criminal gangs. Political prisoners are tortured, disappear or ‘jump’ from prison windows on high floors. The colectivos, motorbikes armed by the regime, behave more and more like classic death squads as we know them from Chile or El Salvador in the eighties. Add to that 25 thousand murders a year, and it is defensible that Venezuela has been in a civil war for years. If we do not want to escalate this to Syrian proportions, rapid intervention is required. It is allowed because of Maduro’s crimes, it has to defuse the greatest refugee crisis on earth, and it is possible. Venezuela is not Iraq, no Afghanistan, no Vietnam. Unlike President Assad in Syria for example, Nicolás Maduro does not have an ethnic or religious group that will fight for its leader. Ideologically, the dictator hardly has any support, the army leadership has at best financial loyalty. Maduro has by giving the army command a share in the oil trade and drug smuggling, the generals economically tied. But the so amassed riches and wealth parked abroad, will be of little use if they decide to oppose the US Army, to name the most obvious intervention force. The opponents of intervention are mainly those who bath in the nest scent of revolutionary rhetoric and enemies of President Donald Trump, who seems to consider a military intervention. This creates the ironic situation that they are on the same side as Vladimir Putin – the world’s foremost anti-interventionist.

    • francesca says:

      oh for godsake!
      Are you aware that Maduro has allowed humanitarian food and medicine in to Venezuela?
      http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/aid-wars-in-venezuela-russian-medicine-arrives-as-maduro-blocks-us-aid-141387
      https://www.dw.com/en/un-releases-emergency-aid-to-venezuela/a-46463279
      Regime troops did not set fire to the aid trucks
      Video of the scene shows militants on the Colombian side preparing and chucking molotov cocktails at the trucks
      https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/02/25/1955276/video-shows-venezuela-s-us-backed-opposition-throwing-molotov-cocktail-at-aid-truck
      If you have any interest in the subject you must surely have learnt by now that the Red Cross and UN aid agencies will have nothing to do with said “aid”as it has been grossly politicised
      The “aid” in fact would be better distributed to Colombia which is poorer than Venezuela and ranked lower on the UN’s Human Development Index
      And those who “bath in the nest scent” what does that even mean?
      You’re supporting “rapid intervention”and make it clear that this would be military, and there you really betray yourself. No humanitarian sees military force and its corollary, death and destruction,as anything but absolute insanity
      And you and your journo mate are faux lefties if you think teaming up with imperialist USA is a great idea.

      • D'Esterre says:

        “No humanitarian sees military force and its corollary, death and destruction,as anything but absolute insanity
        And you and your journo mate are faux lefties if you think teaming up with imperialist USA is a great idea.”

        Yay, Francesca! I agree with everything you say here.

      • Brigid says:

        Thank you Francesca.

        Het Mes’ utter balderdash just rendered me speechless.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Het Mes: “left leaning paper De Volkskrant.”

      Haha! Left-leaning like the Guardian, you mean? Or left-leaning, like I’m the Pope.

      Here’s very well-informed member of this household’s take on it:

      “Left leaning means they support American aggression but don’t like Trump because he’s uncouth and eats meat and has intercourse with women.” Nice.

      Whoever wrote this piece hasn’t been an eyewitness to the events described: this account is contradicted by video footage from reputable sources. Francesca has pointed this out, and helpfully supplied links.

      Much of this reads like the narratives peddled years ago about Syria (and Iraq. And Libya) and that we were expected to believe. It has the same smell of propaganda.

      “If we do not want to escalate this to Syrian proportions, rapid intervention is required.”

      And sure enough: here we are, presented with the plea for intervention, just as we were with Syria. Left-leaning my foot! This is all about oil, just as it was with Syria (and Iraq. And Libya). Syrian proportions? Does the author have the smallest idea what’s going on – been going on – in Syria? Clearly not.

      Lastly, we have this piece of pompous nonsense:

      “This creates the ironic situation that they are on the same side as Vladimir Putin – the world’s foremost anti-interventionist.”

      What the hell is the author talking about? Putin is known for espousing a Westphalian perspective with regard to international affairs: you better be glad that he does. And if you were an unfortunate citizen of any of the multitude of polities, in sth America and elsewhere, in which the US and NATO have interfered, you’d be wishing that both entities had also taken a Westphalian approach to their dealings with the rest of the world. Many more people would doubtless still be alive, and infrastructure still in one piece, had that been the case.

      This entire piece is a puzzle, until we note that the author is Dutch. Or so we are told. And that explains so much….

  7. Andrea says:

    Revolution – what goes around comes around. Nothing changes at the hub.

    That anyone with a view back to the 20th century would advocate ‘revolution’ – suspicion would be a healthy response.

    The ‘educated’ middle class ‘thinker’ prodding the sullen resentment of people who have run out of options to cause disruption in the hope the ‘thinkers’ will end up in their proper place at the top of the pile.

    Simply a power grab with oiks paying the prices of death, imprisonment, and despair.

    Business as usual.

    BTW – America sending ‘aid’ – ‘the Devil went down to Georgia looking for a soul to steal…’
    The most inept empire wannabes in the history of the world.

  8. GreenBus says:

    Yes, this makes me think it won’t be possible to really revolt against the system. The odds are against the people who want a different life. As Pink Floyd have always said, were just another brick in the wall! Great song. Thanks Chris Trotter for another great article.

  9. Ricardo says:

    Chris in defence of the existing order you omit to mention the many thousands of armed citizens (hunters, duck shooters, rural folk, AR15 MSSA owners) who will object to any large scale attempt to control or direct what they can think, say, eat, drive, pay, own or otherwise give up.

    Massey’s cossacks have many modern descendants methinks.

  10. D'Esterre says:

    “…the US equivalent of Russia’s “little green men” to slip across and start doing to Venezuela what Vladimir Putin’s soldiers-in-mufti (fighting alongside local rebel groups) did in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. ”

    This is wrong: there is no evidence at all that this is what happened, or is happening in the Donbass.

    We have family in that part of the world. You forget that Crimea is Russian. Prior to the US-backed putsch in the Ukraine, Crimea had had two previous attempts since Ukrainian independence to decamp. When the putsch took place, Crimea wasted no time in making sure of a successful departure. Give Crimea and its citizens some credit for agency. They exercised it. No passive pawns there.

    There were Russian troops in Crimea at the time: up to 22,000 were permitted, under the terms of the Black Sea fleet Treaty. Nothing at all – apart from claims by unreliable news sources in UK, EU and US – to indicate that “little green men”, or men of any other colour, slipped across the border

    The same applies to the Donbass. The majority in that area are Russian speakers. In virtue of what should you suppose that the citizens there couldn’t manage their own uprising against the neonazi regime newly-installed in Kiev? Which they did.

    The story of moment regarding Donbass is that the government in Kiev is waging war there: against its own citizens, to boot. Illegal coup – imposed government that enlisted Nazis and convicts straight from the jails to terrorise civilians, shelled civilian infrastructure for no recognisable military purpose, builds monuments to holocaust perpetrators… the list goes on.

    That’s what you should be railing against, rather than repeating western propaganda.

  11. D'Esterre says:

    In addition to my previous comment:

    This is the same Ukraine that just banned two prospective Eurovision contestants for not having the wrong politics.

  12. SPC says:

    A baby boomer suggesting that progressive governments should fear the consequencees of challenging the privilege of capitalism, to exploit workers and have its growth in wealth free of tax.


 
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