Lest TDB readers believe the propaganda which “TDB’s Military analyst”, Ben Morgan, is a conduit for, that would have us believe one of the world’s most formidable military powers is losing to a military minnow, TDB readers should consider Mike Whitney’s more likely description of the situation in the proxy war the US is waging against Russia in Ukraine.

Mike Whitney writes;

“What has happened in the months since February 24 is rather remarkable. The existential war for the Russian nation has been incarnated and made real for Russian citizens. Sanctions and anti-Russian propaganda – demonizing the entire nation as “orcs” – has rallied even initially sceptical Russians behind the war.” 

“A core western assumption, that Russians would turn on the government, has reversed. Videos showing the torture of Russian POWs by frothing Ukrainians, of Ukrainian soldiers calling Russian mothers to mockingly tell them their sons are dead, of Russian children killed by shelling in Donetsk, have served to validate Putin’s implicit claim that Ukraine is a state possessed of demons that must be exorcised with high explosives…”

And with President Putin’s personal approval rating at an “eye-watering 77%”, the poor people of Ukraine are now likely to face a tragedy beyond our imagination, but not beyond our craven gullibility to support, so that we might sell another pound of butter.

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  1. Hear, hear Malcolm. And kudos and thanks to MB for publishing wide-ranging views on this blog.
    The esteemed (not) president of the said victim country started this war by aiding his puppet-masters/warmongers when he said he wanted to join Nato. He is a traitor to his country.
    Putin has been begging to join Nato for the last 20 years but that would have spoiled the cold war somewhat. It was on hold until the time was right for a hot war.

    • This won’t get by the mods. Just worry about the ‘civil war’ that has the potential to happen here if Pakeha keep this charade that maori are privileged and keep pushing them to the margins of society.

      • I’d never drawn the analogy of Maori being economically similar to the redneck whites of flyover USA as well as US Blacks. Same class of super wealthy and their enablers doing the marginalisation in both countries.

    • Yes. It’s absolutely disgusting that foreigners, whether Joe Biden or Zelensky, are getting Ukrainian boys killed in this war.

  2. Ben’s articles are based on evidence, In war no side is angels & the worst parts of human nature get displayed, I agree that the USA is not a benign superpower & should not be trusted they are a better alternative to Russia under Putin.

  3. Two wrongs so do not make a single right.

    No; they never do, American imperialism is a bad as Russian imperialism.

    Both empires (or perceived empires) are on the verge of collapse. Collapse in that the current status quo is not sustainable. What they resemble afterwards is debatable.

    Yes; in an autocratic state, with tight controls on what information gets propagated to the proletariat, the autocratic leader will always have a high favourability rating. What new there? Putin is the saviour (akin the Ardern during the pandemic when the only information came from the podium of truth).

    As for war atrocities, both sides are guilty. One side offers “Videos showing the torture of Russian POWs by frothing Ukrainians” the other offers “Videos of torture of Ukrainians POW by frothing Russians” (remember the video of the penis amputation?) .

    Please condemn both sides and ask for Russia and Ukraine to return to their pre 2014 state boundaries so each can rebuild.

    Instigate a UN peacekeeping force (NZL included) to maintain the border security. Anything else and you are just a proponent for the Russians. Much like some consider Ben Morgan a proponent for Ukraine.

    • “Please condemn both sides and ask for Russia and Ukraine to return to their pre 2014 state boundaries so each can rebuild.”

      That’s all very well -IF- NATO also agrees to return to pre-2000 boundaries, something that you, for whatever reason, seem to overlook.
      I’m reasonably confident Russia would then comply.

  4. So Putin’s approval ratings are at 77 percent?

    For Chrissake Robert Mugabe, Kim Il Jong and Xi Jinping all manage approval ratings over 90 percent.

    Vlad ranks low in the Tyrant-approval-at-gunpoint contest.

    • 100% stevie

      I suspect that high approval rating might be among Russians too old to get conscripted and who rely on state pensions. Who view the days of the Soviet Union as ‘the good old days’ when Russia was a real power.

      • Actually Andrew, it is because the Russian populace is so afraid of the FSB having something on them, that they vote for Putin. Secretly they would support Navalny.

  5. The history books are usually written by the victory so the horrors they committed are not recorded to the same extent .The Ukraine people are entitled to treat their enemy in the same way they have been treated the evidence of which is being uncovered as they take back lands held by Russia.

  6. The Ukraine has lost about half if not two thirds of their energy providers and whole towns are without electricity. Without electricity in towns you don’t have water, you don’t flush your toilets, you don’t cook, you don’t heat. It is October and by November the temps will be in hte -10+. Europe pretty much is fucked and for a long time if they don’t pull their heads out of their asses.
    In the meantime:
    ” The idea was to punish Russia for the invasion by collapsing its economy. President Biden told the public the goal was to “reduce the ruble to rubble.”

    Eight months later, it is clear that this has not worked. The ruble is not “rubble” — in fact, it is stronger than it was before the war in February, having risen around 23% against the dollar. Why have the sanctions failed so badly?

    Simply put: The war and the sanctions themselves have drastically increased energy costs. Since Russia’s main export is energy products, this means Russia is raking it in. In September 2021, Russia’s current account surplus — the amount of money Russia is earning from its trading partners — was around $75 billion. Today it is around $198 billion. The sanctions policies have created a bizarre situation in which the United States and its allies are paying more at the pump, and the Russians are sitting on a growing pile of cash.”

    Surely, any day now Russia will finally start losing that thing that people have said they would lose since Feb. Sometimes in order to win you just don’t have to lose.

    • Does anyone else wonder about the madness of our current collective state of manic enemy-building? First covid and that nonsensical mess in which people were suddenly ‘on a side’. Questioning the majority was heresy, could not be heard. Scientists, doctors and their families getting death threats, losing jobs ostracised. When we needed information desperately.

      And without any resolution, suddenly we are frantically involved in another ‘enemy’ and anyone even suggesting anything outside of a tight script is suddenly on this ‘instant enemy’s’ ”side”, even just by suggesting a peaceful solution. Against ‘us’ apparently, against our very survival. In the face of nuclear war ffs.

      Has there ever been a time in our own modern history where just disagreeing is such heresy. Where any questioning of the news media’s version and conclusion on anything is so rabidly enforced?

      • Im pretty vocal on this blog criticising the nonsense I hear. For this I’m given heretic status by those who automatically see what I say as pro Putin or whatever. Seems you cannot be cynical, nuanced, etc, the normal way now is Manichean, black versus white.

        When I was young a long time ago we got copies of Pravda, and some North Korean propaganda….it mangled the brain that the authors thought that we would take it seriously. I read Solzhenitsyn at the same time, the reality was in stark contrast. Compare that today to the Western media who are running a propaganda campaign on steroids, Pravdas entire staff must have decamped to a Pentagon unit feeding CNN, NYT, WAPO, BBC.

        So before you call me pro anything, check what you really know, can establish as fact, as opposed to have been told. Both sides will tell you porkies.

        • I remember Pravda and used the same comparison with the people around me early on.

          It is so robotic and childishly simplistic. As if some ‘party line’ is the unquestionable and complete truth. ”Big brother” feeding us our lines for the day. Don’t ever think or worry about those dangerous facty things. And that party-line comes complete with mindless smears against anyone not in rigid lockstep. My favourite was the ubiquitous ‘Nazi’ smear because it was so ridiculous in appearing as the monstrous demon behind every ‘thought-crime’ no matter how distant from the subject matter, context, or basic common-sense. It became the ubiquitous catch-slur for all non-parrot behaviour on every topic and situation.

          ‘Nazi’ seems to be somewhat in abeyance now, so maybe even in this, there is such a thing as going too far. I guess we will see.

          Questions, nuance, context, complexity and god-forbid, any disagreement of the most holy will not be tolerated. Is proof of being ‘The Enemy’ it seems.

          But what chills me to the bone is the number of people going along and actively joining into the reactivity of this hyped, pseudo-tribalised simplistic, propagandised sloganising that has replaced reporting.

          What the hell has happened to us? This can’t just be the result of the death of journalism.

          • Remember the Upton Sinclair quote
            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” That is the journalists today.

        • You can be cynical but not so much that you see conspiracy theories everywhere in the Western news media. This is buying into the Trump narrative. The news organisations are independent and not mouthpieces for their governments – unlike RT. The Times may be a cheer leader for the Tories but the BBC or the Guardian most certainly are not. You can’t expect the media to tell you what you want to hear. If you wish for that, you are brainwashed already.

          • Media east and west will always represent what their owners wish them to represent, which in my long experience is very often not true or very balanced. They will always take the party line, even when it becomes more and more absurd. Great recent examples were during the pandemic…..the vaccine will stop the spread…the vaccine will stop you catching the virus…..masks will save you. So, after being vaccinated in good faith and wearing the mask, I like pretty much everybody I know caught the virus and passed it on. You will notice that the uptake of boosters is not high, people are not as gullible or trusting as the authorities assume. Once bitten, twice shy. Did our media at any stage question the official narrative? The answer is no, so why would we take them at their word on anything without checking? Especially when we can check alternate sources in a way we never could before the net.
            No conspiracies Gadfly, only things that are so out in the open that they are obvious. Hiding in plain sight.

  7. Never fear the U.S are frantically working on…’Sino phobia’…prodding and provoking another conflict on another continent.

  8. ‘we only have to kick in the front door and the whole rotting edifice will collapse’

    sound familiar fellow history nerds?

  9. You’ve got this wrong, Malcolm. You are uncritically repeating the Kremlin’s talking points on a New Zealand blog site. So you know that the tussle in the information space matters even in this part of the world.

    The New Zealand government has done well to respond by offering training to Ukraine’s armed forces. I want to see more of this. Here’s Boris Bonderov’s piece about the journey of a regime insider to exile. Your Mike Whitney is a frother, Malcolm.

    • Forgive my cynicism but what would a war be without a “whistle blower”. I grew up in the Cold War, the technique is as old as Methuselah. There’s no doubt a lot of truth, you need that to stretch it, give it credibility. You also need a willing disgruntled type who ca be “turned” who you portray as more than he is.
      As I mentioned what he says is useful as it will contain a semblance of truth, you just need to filter strongly.

  10. Mybe they shouldn’t invade other countries. Most of all maybe they shouldn’t be dictatorships. Unworthy of u grown-up country.

    • Id hope there are young Russians leaving, it speaks to some degree of freedom to leave in a manner the Soviets would not have tolerated. I know several Americans who disappeared to Canada for the duration of Vietnam, so there’s nothing new there.
      Conversely there are reports from the non Western press of Russia having a surfeit of volunteers. More to the point is the much publicised fact that all Western nations have recruitment problems, not least NZ. Seems the young have better things to do than fight other peoples wars.

  11. You talk absolute nonsense Malcolm Evans. The 77% approval rate for Putin can be explained by one thing – fear. Russia is a fascist dictatorship with few freedoms.

    • More freedoms than China though! Russia still has a free internet. Mostly a free press. In fact Russia hasn’t banned Western news media, unlike we did for Russia (I mean where is RT on Sky lately?).

      • Mostly a free press in Russia Nitrium? Do you know how many media outlets Putin has closed down? Not to mention human rights organisations like Memorial! Get a grip for God’s sake! You have no idea!

  12. Putin’s approval rating at 77%?
    Is that like genuine 77%?
    Or is it more like we may turn up one evening if you don’t abide by the authority 77%?
    I would put odds on the later.

  13. Putin’s approval rating at 77%?
    Is that like genuine 77%?
    Or is it more like we may turn up one evening if you don’t abide by the authority 77%?
    I would put odds on the later.

  14. OH!

    Ukraines Black Market Arms Smuggling Side-Hussle Unchained!

    “Pentagon Inspector General Sean O’Donnell told Bloomberg in August that there was almost no fidelity as the Ukrainians still used paper “hand receipts” to trace supplied weapons.

    CBS News also reported that some 70% of weapons supplied to Ukraine never make it to the front lines as they have to pass through a network of “power lords, oligarchs and political players.”

    “There is really no information as to where they’re going at all,” Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis adviser with Amnesty international told the outlet, adding that it was “really worrying” that the countries supplying these weapons do not find it necessary to put in place robust oversight mechanisms.”

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