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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Dr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year's clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: integraldeeplistening.com and his YouTube channel.
Why We are Losing the War with Russia
… it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. Instead, we experience fantasy, fabrication, fatuousness and fulmination. — Michael J. Brenner
Russia is winning the military, economic, and even the informational wars waged against it by the West. I'll explain how and why this is happening, how the West is creating massive blowback on itself, and why a multi-perspectival and interdependent approach is essential to understanding how so many intelligent and compassionate people could so misunderstand a major historical event that is recreating our world.
Is the West at war with Russia?
Regarding Russia, the failure of integralists to take Russia's perspective seriously is a failure of multi-perspectivalism.
Yes. Biden has announced the goal of “regime change” in Russia. The West is waging an informational, economic, and kinetic war with and on Russia, with Ukrainians and various mercenary “soldiers of fortune” serving as its proxy fighters. All three components of full spectrum warfare have been going on since at least the Obama administration, when in 2014 Ukraine began discriminating against the hardly small or insignificant 40% of its population that speaks Russian. Ukrainian neo-Nazis burnt to death some 40 citizens in Odessa and the military began relentlessly and indiscriminately shelling and killing Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass. These were not the only reasons that Russia announced its military intervention under article 51 of the UN Convention. Zelensky outlawed all opposition parties, announced that Ukraine would never negotiate with the governments of the Donbass or honor the Minsk II accords, and that Ukraine would seek nuclear weapons, while the Ukrainian military, with the full support and direction of NATO, prepared a large invasion of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass. It is public knowledge that the US and NATO have been training, arming, and paying the salaries of the Ukrainian military for at least eight years.
The reasons for this war are clear, because they have been clearly enunciated by Brzezinski and Paul Wolfowitz. That is, to never allow a peer competitor to emerge that might threaten US hegemony and ideally, to carve up Russia into four or five regions, each of which could then be controlled and plundered.
Is the West at war with Russia? Yes; there is no doubt about it.
Is the West losing this war?
Absolutely, and, as we shall see, in all three domains.
Frank Visser has recently posted another essay regarding the war in Ukraine, “Subjugation or sovereignty? That's the question for Ukraine.” Clearly, Visser is very concerned that innocent lives are being unnecessarily lost in this war, and he is correct to be concerned about it. He also sees Ukraine as the victim and Russia as the aggressor in this conflict, and certainly from the perspective of the Ukrainian government, military, and the majority of the Ukrainian and Western populations, that assessment is correct. Visser supports his position in his essay by citing the arguments of some US academics of Ukrainian heritage, who challenge the “realist” position taken by Noam Chomsky. What many don't stop to recognize is that Visser's question for Ukraine is also the question for Russia. Does it bend to the demands of Washington and face subjugation, or does it demand its sovereignty be respected? The US and Western nations demand their sovereignty be respected. Why would anyone expect Russia would accept that its own sovereignty not be respected? Isn't that denial of national equivalence under international treaty a clear sign of endemic US/NATO exceptionalism? When in January, 2022 Russia asked the countries of the EU to explain their position on the sovereignty of Russia, something they agreed to under treaty in the Helsinki Accords of 1975, it received a non-answer from Brussels. The West doesn't think it has to recognize the sovereignty of Russia, thereby setting up a two-tiered system of rights: sovereignty for me, subjugation for you.
Speaking out against Western groupthink on Ukraine can get you attacked and ostracized
Professor Michael J. Brenner is a lifelong academic, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins, as well as former Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas. In an interview with Robert Sheer, Brenner described what happened to him when he went against the consensus worldview regarding Ukraine:
… I had expressed highly skeptical views about what I believe is the fictional storyline and account of what has been happening in Ukraine, back over the past year and most pointedly in regard to the acute crisis that has arisen with the Russian invasion and attack on Ukraine. I received not only an unusually large number of critical replies, but it was the nature of them that was deeply dismaying.
One, many—most of them came from people whom I did know, whom I knew as level-headed, sober minds, engaged and well informed on foreign policy issues and international matters generally. Second, they were highly personalized, and I had rarely been the object of that sort of criticism or attack—sort of ad hominem remarks questioning my patriotism; had I been paid by, you know, by Putin; my motivations, my sanity, et cetera, et cetera.
Third was the extremity of the content of these hostile messages. And the last characteristic, which really stunned me, was that these people bought into—hook, line and sinker—every aspect of the sort of fictional story that has been propagated by the administration, accepted and swallowed whole by the media and our political-intellectual class, which includes many academics and the entire galaxy of Washington think tanks.
… the discourse as it has crystalized is not only uniform in a way, but it is in so many respects senseless, lacking any kind of inner logic, whether you agree with the premises and the formally stated objectives or not.
In effect, this was an intellectual and political nihilism. And one cannot make any contribution to endeavor to correct that simply by conventional means. So I felt for the first time that I was no part of this world, and of course this is also a reflection of trends and attitudes that have become rather pervasive in the country at large, sort of over time. And so beyond simply sort of disagreeing with what the consensus is, I had become totally alienated [unclear] and decided there was no point to it, to going on distributing these things…”
Brenner caved before a tsunami of irrationality and personal attacks from his intellectual peers. Despite his considerable professional expertise in the subject, he stopped expressing his perspective. This is totally understandable, but wrong, because doing so reinforces tactics that are fundamental to repression, which at its worst, as a political force, is fascism. Similar to encountering the school bully or a rabid dog, reason isn't going to work against majoritarian groupthink; if one is not willing to apply a choke chain it is interpreted as weakness and you are attacked. Putin and Lavrov understand this, from experience. WILPs (Western, Integral, Progressive, Liberals) as a rule, do not.
Taking a pragmatic approach
It is quite clear by this point in the conflict that positions have polarized and minds are largely made up, with each side believing it represents a closer approximation to the truth. That is true for the Ukrainian academics, for Chomsky, for Visser, and myself. It is also quite clear that arguing based on facts and reasoning isn't changing minds and is unlikely to do so. For example, I have presented in previous essays evidence that I believe supports the realist position, including the fact that Mearsheimer's position in particular has been more successful at predicting the genesis and progress of this conflict than have other perspectives. One would think that accuracy of prediction would count for something, but if one did, they would be wrong. It is not only a waste of time to argue against military support for Ukraine and the sanctioning of Russia by the West because to do so is a misdirection away from the underlying reality, that these “disciplinary measures” are their own best argument against them, since they have failed, are failing, and therefore, if patterns repeat, are highly likely to continue to fail.
To get to clarity on the war the West is waging agains Russia and why it is losing it, one has to step back from appealing to facts and reason, in the sense of attempting to counter the other side's argument, and instead attempt to take a pragmatic approach, which is what I want to do here. We need to ask, “What's working?” “What's not working?”
A pragmatic approach is not necessarily a realist approach, because geopolitical realism is an ideological position held by people like Chomsky and Mearsheimer. A pragmatic approach attempts to evaluate the relative effectiveness of actions and behaviors in terms of their real world outcomes. In the case of Ukraine, pragmatism asks, “What's winning the war?” “What's losing it?” Or, if we don't like thinking in terms of win/lose binaries that present a forced outcome, we can ask those questions in a softer form: “What's succeeding?” “What's not succeeding?”
The advantage of a pragmatic approach is that it avoids various logical fallacies, such as ad hominem personal attributions and attacks, including psychologizing Putin or Biden or Zelensky and their motives. It also avoids debates regarding good and evil - who has God, justice, democracy, freedom, and human rights on their side and who doesn't. It's not that those are irrelevant concerns; rather, they have relatively little to do with answering the questions above, that pragmatism poses.
Informational, military, and economic war
By “war,” I am not referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, or that between Russia and the West, or even between humanity and the environment. I am also not referring to a conflict between value systems, say between democracy and autocracy or between globalism and nationalism. The war the West is waging on Russia, in all three arenas, is being fought on three different battlefields: military, economic, and informational. By “war,” I am here referring to success and failure of conflict in each of these domains, regardless of how narrow or large we want to draw the context.
While Russia has largely lost the informational war in the West, it is winning the larger informational war, a battle of the 12 percent of the The West against the 88 percent of The Rest, which refuses to blame Russia for the conflict. As we shall see, Russia has won and is continuing to win the military war on the ground in Ukraine and the economic war of sanctions being waged against it by the West. While the informational war creates public perception and opinion, the military and economic wars determine “facts on the ground.” We can have information we are sure is accurate and still be wrong. When there are serious disputes, which can include conflict and war, over what constitutes fairness, other factors that are more fundamental to species relational exchanges take priority. The informational war tells you which way the wind is blowing while the military and economic wars tell you what's actually happening where the rubber meets the road. While physical power boils down to who is strongest, economic power reduces to the question, “Who has the most resources?” By both of these measures Russia is winning the war. It is physically defeating Ukraine and it is economically defeating the West.
Who's winning the informational war?
Superficially, the answer is clear: the West has won the hearts and minds of the vast majority of Westerners, who have concluded, like Visser, that Ukraine is a victim of Russian aggression and that the West is in the role of well-intentioned rescuer, whose motive is defense and therefore is not the aggressor. However, this overwhelming victory only applies to the echo chamber of the larger “West,” the self-proclaimed “international community,” which includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. As soon as we step outside of that self-licking ice cream cone we find hard evidence that the West not only has not won the informational war but is losing it. Non-WILPs know what they are reading in the media is clearly propaganda when articles don't even attempt to present a Russian viewpoint. That viewpoint is as follows:
The eight-year war waged by the Ukrainian army, with unquestioning US/NATO support, against the Russian civilian population in the Donbass, has produced a very specific understanding throughout Russia's population: that the West wants to exterminate it. When the Ukrainians then declared that they want to build nuclear bombs, and when it was discovered that Pentagons bioweapons labs in the Ukraine were working on creating pathogens specifically targeting Russians, and when, finally, it became clear that it was not just the Ukrainians but all of NATO was behind it, that the Ukrainians-plus-NATO were poised to launch an all-out attack, Russia pre-empted it by launching its own Special Operation. Cynical as this may seem, the previous eight-year shelling of buildings full of old people, women and children, shown live on Russia's nightly news but steadfastly ignored in the West, was instrumental in producing approval ratings for the Special Operation that has reached 76%, with even higher ratings for Putin, his government and even many of the regional governments.
Clearly, the informational war waged by the West has been lost in Russia and for Russians. The West had hoped the combination of incessant pro-Ukraine, anti-Putin propaganda and sanctions would cause a popular uprising against Putin. Instead, it has produced the exact opposite. Those Russians who do not support the war and the government, like Anatoly Chubais, have either lost powerful political positions, lost their traditional standing and national constituencies, or have simply left the country. Outside of Russia, a total of 165 of the 195 nations, including India and China, with 85% of the world's population, have refused to join the sanctions against Russia, leaving the US, not Russia, relatively isolated in the world. We know this due to two facts. Not only have these countries not supported Western sponsored UN resolutions to condemn the Russian invasion, many of them are trading with Russia in other currencies than the dollar, thereby undermining the economic power of the West, despite its demands and threats. The conclusion to be drawn is that while the West is winning the informational war within its own echo chamber, it is losing the informational war in the vast majority of the world that lies outside of it.
Who's winning the military war?
The Ukraine is losing up to 15,000 men per month to the war. The total Ukrainian casualties, dead and wounded, are likely already at 50,000. The best soldiers are gone, and won't be replaced. Azov neo-Nazis, the 24th Brigade, the 36th Brigade, various Air Assault brigades all suffered losses of 60+ percent or have been completely demolished. The Ukrainian Navy no longer exists and its air force has been almost completely destroyed. The weapons the U.S. and others provide are not sufficient to sustain the war. Ukraine is running out of its reserves of diesel and gasoline. Major elements of its forces are immobile, lack logistical support, and are surrounded by Russian forces. Military experts assess that Russia has fielded about a third of the manpower of Ukraine. Normal military guidelines state that aggressors need to possess a 3:1 advantage over defenders to win a military confrontation. However, Russia has still won on the battlefield to this date and continues to win, based on 1) complete dominance of the airspace of Ukraine; 2) SIGINT, signals intelligence, that is at least as good as that of NATO; and 3) overwhelming and relentless use of stand-off artillery shelling and drone targeting. In most instances, Ukrainian soldiers never see the attackers that are killing them. While Russia has attempted to avoid urban warfare, where it has, it has demonstrated a high degree of effectiveness, a strength that it has long possessed. In WWII Russia cleared over 1000 towns of Nazis. These competencies defeated the most hard-core nationalist fighters in Mariupol and is in the process of accomplishing the same in the Donbass. Even at this early date, only three months into the invasion, even The New York Times, inveterate cheerleader for all things progressive and liberal as well as a major mouthpiece for both neoconservatives and neoliberals in the Deep State, is recognizing the West is losing.
Much has been made of the West pouring 50 billion+ in weapons, training, and salaries into Ukraine, as if money could replace the highly trained and motivated military lost in the war. The belief that it will do so is a comforting mythology. Western weaponry, advisors, and mercenaries are getting smashed when they enter the war theater. Just yesterday, (Tuesday, May 24th), Russia destroyed a Ukrainian military base in the Donbass in a missile attack holding just-arrived mercenaries from Poland. Training takes time; motivation comes from winning, not from losing. If Azov in Mariupol has given up, what message does that give to the rest of the Ukrainian military? What does that say about the will to fight of Ukrainians? Because Russia has complete air dominance over the entirety of Ukraine, the largest country in Europe, it is destroying many of the armaments that the West is shipping to it, most of them before they are ever deployed. Countries in the EU are already stating they have no more arms to send to Ukraine; a few are mentioning the obvious fact that by doing so they are reducing their own military preparedness and national security.
Like it or not, fair or not, Russia is winning the ground war with Ukraine. But is the West winning its proxy war with Russia? The US and NATO had eight years (since the coup in 2014) to train and arm the Ukrainian military to its standards. With its advisors continuously on the ground in Ukraine, it has done so. How has the “Best of the West” fared in combat with Russia? Where and when has the Ukrainian military won any major engagement with Russian forces? There are many complaints in social media from Ukrainian soldiers about the unreliability or difficulty of use and therefore impracticality of some Western weapons systems, such as the Javelin, Stinger, Howitzer, and anti-tank munitions. The world is taking note, and what it is discovering is that in a fight with a military peer, like Russia, the US military and NATO get beat. This is not the kind of publicity that the Western arms industry wants or needs, and while it is currently experiencing a bonanza, in terms of Western purchases of weaponry for NATO members' own use or to send to Ukraine, this is at the cost of long term global arms sales. Russian arms are being shown to be effective, cheap, and efficient. The US military industrial complex recognizes this reality and is worried, although it does not talk about it.
While replaying World War II to understand this current conflict between Russia and Ukraine may be "a bad movie" (Visser), it is important for those of us in the West to realize that this conclusion has been forced on Russians as a consequence of Western actions. World War II metaphors will die out when the US, NATO, and the EU stop training, arming, and paying the salaries of neo-Nazis and their supporters. Until that happens, the West will be conjuring up the demons of World War II and then expecting Russia, which lost some 27 million people, almost five times as many as Jews that died in the Holocaust, to accept it. Russia won't and it shouldn't, on the grounds both of justice and national sovereignty, a principle that, as I pointed out above, the US and EU recognize under treaty, but refuse to recognize regarding Russia.
To Russians it appears that many Westerners, including the Western political left, a broad proportion of global Judaism, most Germans, and most intellectuals are supporting fascism, at least where arming and supporting Ukraine in the war is concerned. Westerners vehemently reject that conclusion, but how else will Russians view supporting the training, arming, and paying the salaries of neo-Nazis and ultra nationalists who are willing to kill in order to eliminate “untermensch” from their society? How is that not an accurate and fair assessment? Russians view the Ukrainian conflict as a proxy war against them by NATO. From that perspective, the source of fascism for Russia is the West, since the maintenance of terrorism by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists is only sustained by the support of NATO.
Who's winning the economic war?
The West is losing its war with Russia most conclusively and devastatingly in the economic arena. Russia has handled the economic war waged against it unexpectedly well compared with dire predictions from the West. Sanctions on Russia, in contrast to multiple predictions by the best and brightest in the West, have not brought the economy of Russia to its knees, but instead have strengthened it and turned Russia into the most self-sufficient autarky on the planet. Russia is expecting a bumper harvest, and the world is eager for its wheat and fertilizer, oil, gas, and precious minerals, all of which provide substantial revenue.
The attempt to crush the Russian economy by destroying the ruble has backfired in magnificent fashion and in short order. The ruble, in contrast to the pronouncements of Biden, has not turned to rubble. Western sanctions were accompanied by speculative attacks on the ruble which drove its value down from 30 to the dollar to 60, making Russian products much more competitive internationally and stimulating foreign trade. The ruble has not only returned to its pre-February levels but is valued at a two-year high, now at 59 rubles to the dollar compared with 150 in March. It is not simply that the ruble is stronger against the Euro and Dollar than it has been in years; it is that this policy has weakened the purchasing power of both the Euro and Dollar and undercut their viability in world money markets.
The West gave Russia no choice but to trade in Rubles because it confiscated, and reserved the right to confiscate, Russian economic transactions in Euros or Dollars. The European Union, despite its repeated loud declarations of energy autonomy from Russia, has largely succumbed to Russia's demand to be paid for gas in rubles. It has, after all, allowed its member states to keep purchasing Russian gas without breaching the sanctions they themselves imposed on Moscow—by using rubles for payment. On May 19, 2022, Moscow stated that about half of the 54 clients of the Russian gas company Gazprom have opened accounts at the Gazprombank; analysts have attributed the ruble rally to this fact.
The theft and confiscation of some 300+ billion in Russian foreign exchange has also backfired on the West, with multiple countries now in the process of drawing down their foreign exchange accounts held in dollars in Western banks. Western sanctions on Russia have forced countries like China, Iran, and India into closer alliance with Russia, trading with it in their own currencies instead of the dollar, thereby weakening the dollar. How much stronger economically will the West make Russia before it wakes up? How much closer together will it drive China, India, and the rest of the global south, and Russia?
The West's ongoing sociocide
What is most astounding is that many of the West's economic losses are entirely self-inflicted in terms of blowback, or unintended consequences, of its endless tranches of sanctions on Russia. This violence to Western economies is not being inflicted by Russia but by the West on itself. As Dimitry Orlov notes, “It is generally a good idea to avoid ascribing nefarious intent to actions explained by mere stupidity.” The “doubling down” of the West, both before and after Russia's invasion, are reminiscent of the behavior of a cutter, who keeps slicing his or her wrists, because that is what they have learned to do, or of a drug or gambling addict, who keeps going back to the same poison because of the temporary high it provides. In Western sanctions against Russia, we have a combination of both stupidity and nefarious intent, cloaked in self-righteous sanctimony.
If the US, NATO, and the EU had been plotting all along to hand Russia a victory and ensure their defeat, so as to hasten the rise of a multipolar world, they couldn't have come up with a better strategy than the one they have deployed. As these cold economic realities set in, is there an awakening to reality occurring in the West? Well, not so much yet in the US government. Biden, his foreign policy team, and Democratic politicians all show steadfast refusal to face reality. US Senator Joe Manchin said at the World Economic Forum that he opposes any kind of peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia. To get a sense of just how far off the rails Western groupthink has gone, consider the 40 Billion “aid” package that Biden has just signed, with the support of all Democratic Representatives and Senators and Bernie Sanders. No progressive Democrat nor did Sanders support Senator Rand Paul's amendment to appoint an Inspector General to oversee and provide accountability for where and how this massive financial bonanza for the MIC and Ukrainian oligarchs is spent. The only member of “the Squad” to explain her YES vote in support of the $40 billion was Rep. Cori Bush:
Additionally, at $40 billion, this is an extraordinary amount of military assistance, a large percentage of which will go directly to private defense contractors. In the last year alone, the United States will have provided Ukraine with more military aid than any country in the last two decades, and twice as much military assistance as the yearly cost of war in Afghanistan, even when American troops were on the ground. The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique. I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.
Amazingly, it remained not for progressive Democrats, ostensibly committed to social welfare and the reduction of military spending, but to 57 House and 11 Senate Republicans to raise doubts and questions about the pouring this incredible, unaccountable pork barrel down a rat hole. It makes one's head spin, like Linda Blair's in The Exorcist, to find oneself agreeing with so many Republicans.
… voting to enrich the military industrial complex and escalate a dangerous proxy war with Russia, Sanders and his progressive colleagues can no longer claim to champion spending on social programs instead of war.
The multiple costs of this blowback, already high, are only just beginning to be felt. These include a major economic, socio-cultural backfire that is already creating political revolutions in Europe. The EU is in the process of committing the suicide of its societies, by boycotting Russian oil and gas and diverting public revenues to defense instead of using them to address rising inflation at home.
Germany's inflation rate rose in April at its fastest pace since before the country's reunification in 1981. This is fueled by the rising energy prices, which in turn have been exacerbated by the current Russo-Ukrainian crisis. Similarly, with energy bills soaring, the UK inflation rate is rising at its fastest rate for 40 years.
Jorge Vilches has laid out in detail why and how this “plan” to punish Russia by the EU refusing to purchase its gas and oil is already backfiring. Not only are alternatives to Russian petrochemicals much more expensive, they are impractical and unrealistic. Vilches shows how it is logistically impossible for Russian gas and oil to be replaced in the six months dictated by the EU. Even if could be done in six years, it will be at a much higher cost than gas and oil from Russia, therefore not only raising the costs of transportation and food but making European industry and products non-competitive on the global market.
In the US, inflation, which was already high before the Ukraine crisis, has been driven even higher and reached over 8%, with the Federal Reserve now attempting to control it by raising interest rates. The stock market has come close to bear territory. Ben Bernanke, former Fed chairman, and others are predicting stagflation, a period of high unemployment, high inflation and low growth. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin is warning that an embargo of Russian oil will further damage the economies of the West. The US and EU have thereby undercut their own economies by attempting to destroy the purchasing power of the Ruble. Countries are not only already agreeing to pay for Russian gas in Rubles; there are already at least two countries in the EU, Hungary and Croatia, that refuse to stop using Russian gas. This division within the EU over basic and vital energy supplies is a backfire that threatens the continued existence of the EU.
But perhaps the most ominous of all backfires has been the “freezing,” that is the stealing, of over 300 billion in Russian foreign reserves by the West. Why is this so ominous? Didn't the freezing of the foreign assets of Iran, Venezuela, and Afghanistan occur without any significant blowback? Why should the freezing of those of Russia be any different?
The freezing and confiscation of Russian foreign assets has forced China to seriously consider the possibility that one day the US/West may attempt to do the same with the yuan that it has attempted with the ruble. While China is economically interdependent with the US to a degree that far surpasses that of Russia, Western sanctions on Russia have made clear to China not only its own vulnerability but has forced it to take steps to reduce its dependency on exports to the US.
Think for a moment what would happen if China decided to no longer export to the US. Of course it would damage the Chinese economy, but what about that of the US? Some two-thirds of goods in Wal-Mart, Target, and other Big Box stores are sourced in China. Think about what would happen if those goods were no longer available. Wouldn't that be the Mother of All economic Blow-Backs? And how is it that the actions of Washington are not increasing, rather than decreasing, the likelihood of that catastrophic possibility?
If social unrest due to a massive increase in the cost of living can be considered a threat to political stability, and if that threat is in part due to sanctions on Russia, then social and political upheaval in the EU, UK, and the US would also be unplanned blowback from failed “disciplinary” actions on Russia.
But that is not all. leaders and think tanks are warning of a coming massive wave of famine-based immigration into Europe as a result of global inflation, in part produced by the embargo on Russian energy. At what point does the global narrative change from “Russia BAD!” to “Famine-fueled inundation of the West”?
However, there is beginning to be some slight signs of movement away from groupthink among citizens of the EU and US. The ruling party in Germany, the SPD, of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has recently lost an election in North Rhine-Westfalia, the most populous state in Germany. As mentioned above, Hungary and Croatia are in open rebellion against the sanctions policies of the EU. Turkey has announced it will block the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. Talks of a cease-fire are being echoed by the main European leaders and by the US itself, even though the very same players had signaled their intention to a full-spectrum confrontation quite recently.
While inflation began in the West before Russia's invasion, largely due to logistical issues secondary to the pandemic, Biden and the West have attempted to blame higher costs of fuel and food on Russia and Putin. This strategy appears to not be working. Domestically, there are signs of deterioration in support of the war. Americans are becoming less supportive of punishing Russia for launching its invasion of Ukraine if it comes at the expense of the U.S. economy, a sign of rising anxiety over inflation and other challenges, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In another poll from Morning Consult and Politico, when asked if Russia's war in Ukraine was very responsible for high inflation, just 25 percent of Americans agreed that it was. People aren't buying Russia as a convenient redirection of public awareness away from American political incompetence, collusion, and corruption.
Those who are in financial distress are likely to act out their anger at the polls, which spells trouble and perhaps disaster for ruling elites in the US and Europe. While US public opinion remains in favor of US involvement in Ukraine, there are signs of slippage. For example, Pew reports that those feeling the US is not doing enough declined from March to May. As more stagflation takes hold with gasoline and food prices growing and voices like those of Tucker Carlson and Rand Paul pointing out the connection between the inflation and the war, discontent is certain to grow.
As the war becomes less popular, an electoral disaster looms ahead in 2022 and 2024 for Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Typically, Western elections are popularity contests between Pepsi and Coke - which brand of sugared toxin do you prefer? The real underlying and largely unrecognized fear is that voters will at some point either stay home or refuse to vote for any major party, thereby undercutting the forced choice for sheep to vote for Mr. Lion or Mr. Fox.
Ethically, the war on Russia has also backfired. We are presented with the ghastly, astounding, and unholy site of Germany, as well as US Democrat “progressives” training, arming, and funding neo-Nazis. For those who claim neo-Nazis exist in all countries, including Russia, the response is to point out that they do not control government policy in other countries. They don't hold government-sponsored youth education to teach children to hate Russians, Jews, blacks, and non-Aryans. For those who claim neo-Nazis are only one small component in the Ukrainian military, the response is to point out that military regiments and companies in Ukraine have, according to the testimony of multiple Ukrainian soldiers, neo-Nazis assigned to them to shoot any Ukrainian soldiers that attempt to avoid battle, retreat, or surrender. The military forces under siege in Azovstal in Mariupol were under orders from Kiev not to surrender. It was only after their water supply was cut off and they had to surrender or die of starvation that they surrendered, despite orders from Kiev.
One doesn't have to like Russia to understand the self-destructive nature of the WILP response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which is due to two main factors. The first is chronic short-term thinking: quarterly earnings, buy-outs, offshoring the economy, perpetual deficit spending, and the next election. The second is a multiple century history of the West's success at getting its way via bullying and doubling down. Russians didn't make a fuss about previous absorptions of Eastern Block countries into NATO; why should we take their current protestations seriously?
Brenner believes that
…there is growing and now totally persuasive evidence that when the Biden people came to office, they made a decision to create a crisis over Donbass to provoke a Russian military reaction, and to use that as the basis for consolidating the West, unifying the West, in a program whose centerpiece was massive economic sanctions, with the aim of tanking the Russian economy and possibly and hopefully leading to a rebellion by the oligarchs that would topple Putin.
Why? Here's Brenner's thesis:
And that question (why Western intellectuals support Russophobia) is the one that should preoccupy us. Because it really cuts deepest into…contemporary America. It's what contemporary America is. And I think the intellectual tools to be used in trying to interpret it must come from anthropology and psychology at least as much, if not more, than political science or sociology or economics. I truly believe that we are talking about collective psychopathology. And of course, collective psychopathology is what you get in a nihilistic society in which all sort of standard, conventional sort of reference points cease to serve as markers and guideposts on how individuals behave.
WILPs are blind to how Western governments and NATO are callously manipulating both the Ukrainian people and Western sympathy for Ukrainians in order to manufacture consent for a proxy war against Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” The Ukrainian government, oligarchs, and military support the war because they are being bribed, mostly at the expense of US taxpayers and the economy of the entirety of the EU.
Ukraine is the Holy Grail of international corruption. That $40 billion can be a game-changer for only two classes of people: First, the US military-industrial complex, and second, a bunch of Ukrainian oligarchs and neo-connish NGOs, that will corner the black market for weapons and humanitarian aid, and then launder the profits in the Cayman Islands.
Westerners support the war not only because of genuine compassion for Ukrainians, who are Caucasian European, making it very easy to identify with them and their plight, but also because of years of Russophobia groupthink. Russians, on the other hand, are seen more as Slavs, more barbarian than European.
Robert Sheer views the source of mass Western derangement as a degree of Western exceptionalism reminiscent of the Roman Empire:
Because that's really what we're talking about here, is a notion of equating U.S. hegemony with enlightenment, civilization, democracy, freedom, and anyone else who challenges it—which clearly China is doing, and Russia, certainly—that becomes the enemy of civilization. That is the frightening message here. It's kind of the Roman empire gone nuts.
You don't have to be a Biblical prophet to see the handwriting on the wall regarding how this is going to turn out for Russia. It is in ascendency, largely thanks to the unremitting hatred of the West. The only real question is how much of Ukraine will get devoured by Russia before the West stops underwriting corruption and defeat in Ukraine and Kiev is forced to throw in the towel. At present, it looks like everything east of the Dnieper and on the Black Sea coast, including Odessa, and all the way to Transnistria, is going to be Novorussia, with the possible exception of the Kharkiv area and to the west of it. We already know on what terms Russia will allow any Ukrainian rump state to continue to exist: demilitarization, that is, an internationally recognized and supervised neutral status, and its de-Nazification.
The West has already lost its informational, military, and economic war with Russia. In terms of the Five Stages of Grief, it has only just begun to move out of denial. We still have anger, bargaining, and depression to work through before we can consider the possibility of the West acclimating to a new world order.
WILPs who live inside the Russophobic groupthink echo chamber may have difficulty recognizing or appreciating such facts, but that doesn't change pragmatic truths. A refusal to recognize reality is commonly known as “delusion,” and involves a form of sleepwalking or life in a Matrix. Westerners need to wake up, if not for the sake of Ukrainians or humanity, although that is important enough, but for reasons of the welfare of their own families.
What's Integral got to do with this?
It in no way takes away from the many strengths and positives of the West to call out its hypocrisy and chronic exceptionalism.
Why should any of this concern Integral, which is mostly focused on self-development, the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, and the evolution of consciousness? While integralists have been busy meditating and thinking spiritual thoughts, their political, economic, media, and spiritual gurus have been ransacking the house and stealing everything, including the plumbing and copper wiring in the walls. Not being content to strip the global south and Ukraine bare, they are now hollowing out the EU and the US itself, like a junkie selling his own house piece by piece to support his habit. Integralists have been scammed and should be mad as hell. Michael Brenner:
I do believe it's fair to say that we have been betrayed by our political elites… The susceptibility to propaganda, the susceptibility to allowing the popular mindset to be set the way it's going on now, in giving in to hysterical impulse, means that yeah, there's something wrong with society and culture as a whole. But even saying that is up to your political leaders and elites to protect you from that, to protect the populace from that, and to protect themselves from falling prey to similar fantasies and irrationalities, and instead we see just the opposite.
Instead, like Ukrainian, European, and US politicians, oligarchs, and elites, WILPs have been bought off by the indulgences of a comfortable life contemplating the higher relational exchanges. WILPs busy themselves justifying and defending Russophobia, including the West's proxy war on Russia, making excuses for massive betrayal by the “progressive” and “liberal” politicians they voted for, and studiously ignoring, for decades, Israeli apartheid. Now, instead of taking responsibility, they are blaming Russia and all things “red” and “blue,” not only for the war in Ukraine and the suffering of Ukrainians, but for the ongoing sensational and momentous collapse of five hundred years of Western ascendency and “enlightenment.” As Chomsky has said regarding the sincere convictions of those lost in groupthink: “I'm sure you believe everything you're saying. But what I'm saying is that if you believe(d) something different, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting.”
Integralists are likely to either hate or dismiss issues of Russian sovereignty because they don't want to argue from a pragmatic position. They are much more comfortable pontificating from some higher relational exchange, like fairness, justice, the superiority of “pluralistic democracy,” deontological ethics, or spirituality. While we can do that, we will lose the debate with the majority of the world's population. That is because the global south, some 85% of the world, is operating from lower, fundamental relational exchanges of security, safety, and physical survival. When you wonder if your family is going to have enough to eat you don't have the time or energy to debate fairness or justice. This is where idealisms of all varieties break down; they do a very poor job of coping with the realities of people who don't have access to the resources required to think deep thoughts.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of using an Integral lens to analyze this conflict? Two key components of integral theory, multi-perspectivalism and interdependence, are particularly relevant. A willingness and ability to use these two yardsticks is a much better way to assess who is integral and who is not than by “level of development” and claims to authority or “spirituality” based on same. Any multi-perspectivalism worth the name is going to make a priority of supporting access to the foundational relational exchanges of safety (sovereignty) and security (food, housing, health care, education) for everyone. The West believes it does this, or at least does a better job than anyone else. But it is communist China, not the West, that has pulled over 800 million people out of profound poverty in only fifty years. That is unprecedented in human history. The West, including WILPs and idealists of all stripes, find it more convenient and comfortable to ignore or discount the West's ongoing history of exploitation, abuse, governmental overthrows, terrorism, and war, because that history contradicts its narrative of upholder of high relational exchanges as the “rules-based order,” the “international community,” of “pluralistic democracies,” and “spirituality.” This is exceptionalism and elitism based on hubris. It has very little to do with multi-perspectivalism, and it is incapable of explaining how China is surpassing the West by almost every metric. Regarding Russia, the failure of integralists to take Russia's perspective seriously is a failure of multi-perspectivalism.
Economic sanctions, as a form of illegal warfare, are not conducive to interdependence, the other fundamental integral principle I've mentioned. In fact, sanctions on Russia are a statement of “might makes right,” and the “Golden Rule:” “Those who have the gold make the rules.” WILP arguments in support of Ukraine and against Russia are basically arguments against interdependence as well as multi-perspectivalism. There is very little that is integral about them except in the cloud-based matrix world of WILP groupthink. Visser writes,
Joseph Dillard, to my taste, has completely identified with Putin's perspective, to the extent that not only does he see Ukraine as a Nazism-infected country, but that we, as Europeans who support Ukraine, share the same label and should also be denazified (opinions he ventilates on Facebook). This ties in with his overall conviction that we, as Westerners, support dubious dictatorial regimes, including that of the US, and therefore our level moral development cannot be other than substandard.
My assessment of the relative merits of the Western vs. the Russian position is based on decades of watching my country, in collusion with its NATO allies, arm terrorists, justify aggression by staging false flag operations, running “black site” torture chambers, and legitimizing extra-legal drone assassinations. These are not mere instances, to be excused as transitory excesses, but ongoing military actions based on stated governmental policies consistent across both Democrat and Republican administrations. It is the US which has refused to negotiate the reduction of nuclear arms, not Russia; it is the US which has killed some 20 million people in over 30 countries in illegal wars and military interventions since WWII, not Russia. Those who point to the crimes of Russia tend to conflate the Soviet Union with Russia since 2000. While it may be a bad movie to replay the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe to understand the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this is what Ukraine, Poland, the Baltics and quite a few Western commentators chronically do: they imagine current day Russia is the Soviet Union and Putin is Stalin or Hitler. Michael Brenner asks,
“… what is so compelling about the maintenance and the defense of a conception of the United States of America's providential birth admission in the world that compels us to view people like Putin as being diabolical, and as constituting as grave a threat to America as Stalin and Hitler…?
To point out that there is no equivalency between the crimes of the West and those of Russia does not excuse crimes and corruption committed by Russia, China, or any other country but, as I have pointed out elsewhere, changing the subject from taking responsibility for our own crimes to that of others is not a mark of a higher level of personal or socio-cultural development. There's nothing integral about it.
Visser says that the question for Ukraine is subjugation or sovereignty. This frames the issue of survival in terms of win/lose, yes/no, good/bad, rather than in terms of multi-perspectivalism. It implies a bipolar reality rather than a multi-polar one. It implies either a top dog or under dog status, rather than one of interdependence.
It is easy enough to apply integral to higher relational exchanges, such as spirituality, theories of self-development, fields of human endeavor in each of the four quadrants. Are we willing to apply integral principles of multi-perspectivalism and interdependence consistently across the board? Integral has a strong tendency to go silent regarding issues of morals, ethics, and social justice. It either retreats into absolutisms, as Wilber does in his defense of war and murder in the Baghavad Gita, or refuses to engage the very real support of terrorism by the US, NATO, EU, liberals, and progressives. People like Timothy Snyder make excuses for Ukraine. There is a studious avoidance or discounting of the grip neo-Nazism has on Ukrainian governance and warfare. The blatant hypocrisy is obvious to everyone except those caught within the bubble of WILP groupthink. They want to overlook, rationalize, and excuse the history of endemic corruption and Nazism because otherwise Westerners might have to look at their role as enablers of fascism and Nazism. Understanding the reasons for dysfunctional behavior does not excuse it. At some point it begins to sound like an apology for Nazism, an attempt to turn Nazis into victims. Visser writes,
But generalizing from several paramilitary battalions to all of the Ukrainian government, to all of Ukrainians as "passive Nazis", and ultimately to all Europeans as "Nazi supporters"—that's is painting the picture of history with too broad a brush, and an ugly one at that.
It is indeed an ugly picture, and one that it is high time that WILPs took a long, hard look at. It in no way takes away from the many strengths and positives of the West to call out its hypocrisy and chronic exceptionalism. Just because the Ukrainian people do not vote for Nazis in their government does not mean that Nazis do not control policy in Ukraine. There is ample evidence that they do. It also does not mean that Ukrainians are “passive Nazis” or Nazi sympathizers. Most Ukrainians are not; many who support the government do so out of fear of imprisonment, torture, or death if they challenge it.
People can argue against the influence of neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian government and military, and they may be right, although I don't think they are. Visser thinks it is overblown:
The whole "denazification" narrative crafted by Putin is, in my opinion, just a thinly disguised excuse to hide his agenda to restore Russia's greatness. And in his imperialist mind, a "Sacred Greater Russia" cannot be restored without Ukraine, Russia's historic land of origin. While I can "follow" this historical reasoning, it simply is no longer part of the 21st century to live in terms of past empires, given the problems our own century poses (global warming being at the top of the list, with Russian weak economy largely thriving on fossil fuels). Putin is as obsessed with Nazism as Neo-Nazis are obsessed with Russia. It is time to let these World War II metaphors die out.
What WILPs like Visser and myself think about Nazis in Ukraine is, in the final analysis, entirely beside the point. For Russia and Putin, the neo-Nazi presence is real, strong, and a growing menace that must be stopped now before it grows even larger, and it is their opinion that matters, not ours, because for them it is an existential issue, while for us, not so much. Here's the perspective of Dmitry Trenin, member of Russia's Foreign and Defense Policy Council:
…the US and its allies have set much more radical goals than the relatively conservative containment and deterrence strategies used toward the Soviet Union. They are in fact striving to exclude Russia from world politics as an independent factor, and to completely destroy the Russian economy.
This war could easily have been prevented with a little diplomacy and reasonable compromise. As the University of Ottawa's Ivan Katchanovski recently explained, “an agreement in which Ukraine promised to remain a neutral country and the fulfillment of the Minsk accords could have stopped Putin's invasion.” But that's not the West wanted. How many Gibbons and Toynbees are going to be analyzing the multiple reasons for the Fall of the West in centuries to come? How many Freuds and Jungs are going to be examining the roots of the hubris of the best and the brightest in the world?
 “While the UN Charter prohibits unilateral acts of war, it also provides, in Article 51, that “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense… ” And this right of self-defense has been interpreted to permit countries to respond, not only to actual armed attacks, but also to the threat of imminent attack.
In light of the above, it is my assessment.. that Russia had a right to act in its own self-defense by intervening in Ukraine, which had become a proxy of the US and NATO for an assault—not only on Russian ethnics within Ukraine—but also upon Russia itself. A contrary conclusion would simply ignore the dire realities facing Russia.”
Baud, J., “ Why Russia's intervention in Ukraine is legal under international law” https://www.rt.com/russia/554166-international-law-military-operation-ukraine/
 The Helsinki Final Act included the Helsinki Decalogue, ten principles that the States participating in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) undertake to respect and put into practice in their mutual relations .
We can analyze the taxonomy of the Ukraine fiasco by recounting the violations of the Helsinki Decalogue.
First came the US/UK/NATO violation of Russian sovereignty by extending NATO up to Russia's borders, number I, an action long recognized by many non-Russians to be a threat to European security. Then came the US intervention of the US in Ukraine internal affairs, number VI, involving regime change involving neo-Nazis, the defeat of whom had been celebrated in Helsinki. . . Then one can go through the other Helsinki Decalogue violations ending with the US/NATO failures in number X, the fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law which include obligations beyond just allowing every nation to do whatever it wants, including joining an aggressive NATO war machine.
 In the realm of human behavior, fairness is vitally important, and is fundamental to human relationships, morality, and law. How many times in our lives have we been right and still failed? Determining right and wrong, which is what the informational war attempts to do regarding the war on Russia, represents an argument from and about fairness. But life isn't fair; none of us popped out of our mothers with notices stamped on our butts that the world had to treat us fairly. While we want and expect other humans to treat us fairly - and laws exist to see that they do - fairness is a human standard; it isn't hard-wired into evolutionary adaptation as a dominant priority, although it certainly is present in expressions of altruism and reciprocity, which exist across multiple species. Fairness is only one factor, and generally not the determining factor, in explaining behavior, human or otherwise. Law, however, is all about fairness, which we call “justice.” Do the same rights to sovereignty exist for Russia as for the West? This is a question of law, justice, and fairness.
 Robert Scheer, former Los Angeles Times columnist and editor of ScheerPost, interviews Prof. Michael Brenner on Scheer's podcast Scheer Intelligence. (With full transcript). From ScheerPost, https://scheerpost.com/2022/04/15/michael-brenner-american-dissent-on-ukraine-is-dying-in-darkness/
 In 2014 Mearsheimer predicted that the Maiden coup, instigated by the US, would lead to a war with Russia. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/ ukraine-mearsheimer-told-us-so-in-2014/
 Jeff Meyerhoff, in his essay, “A Context for Survival: The US, Russia and Ukraine,” has made a useful distinction between pragmatism as a particular philosophical school and pragmatism in a more general sense. “Pragmatism is a holistic and progressive philosophical approach that focuses on solving practical problems relevant to living. “Relevant to living” distinguishes Pragmatism's chosen problems from the common abstract problems that conventional philosophy tries to answer.
Pragmatism with a capital “P” needs to be distinguished from small “p” “pragmatism.” Small “p” “pragmatism” or “pragmatic” usually means not interested in theory and focused narrowly on solving the problem at hand. Capital “P” Pragmatism refers to the ideas of American Pragmatist thinkers like John Dewey and William James. It differs from small “p” pragmatism in that it is concerned with large-scale, holistic, and progressive perspectives not the narrowly defined problems we try to solve when being “pragmatic”. Being philosophically minded, Pragmatism includes in its analyses and actions the largest relevant contexts of the problems to be solved.”
 Dmitry Orlov, “The Secret American Plan to Make Russia Great Again” https://thesaker.is/the-secret-american-plan-to-make-russia-great-again/, “Putin approval rating Russia.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/896181/putin-approval-rating-russia/
 “On Ukraine world majority sides with Russia.” https://asiatimes.com/2022/05/on-ukraine-world-majority-sides-with-russia-over-us/
 “The dangers have prompted the New York Times' editorial board, normally a reliable supporter of US militarism, to get cold feet about the Ukraine proxy war that it has heretofore cheered. To avoid "a costly, drawn-out war," the Times editors argue, the Biden administration should make clear to Kiev that "there is a limit to how far the United States and NATO will go to confront Russia, and limits to the arms, money and political support they can muster.” Aaron Maté, “Funding the Ukraine proxy war, Bernie Sanders and the Squad abandon progressives and peace.” https://mate.substack.com/p/funding-the-ukraine-proxy-war-bernie?s=r
 ”Russia announced, on Friday, that it killed up to 30 Polish mercenaries fighting for Ukrainian forces in the war-torn country's northeastern region of Kharkiv. The Russian defense ministry said its strategic rocket forces “eliminated up to 30 Polish mercenaries” in a strike on the village of Izyumskoe, not far from the city of Kharkiv.”“Russia killed 30 Polish mercenaries in Ukraine.” https://see.news/russia-killed-30-polish-mercenaries-in-ukraine/
 Here is Brenner on the West's plan to conquer the Donbass: “…an assault on the Donbass was planned. And that it was in November that the final decision was taken to go ahead with it, and the time set for February. And that is why Joe Biden and other members of the administration could begin to say, with complete confidence, in January that the Russians would be invading Ukraine. Because they knew and committed themselves to a major, a major military attack on the Donbass, and they knew that the Russians would respond. They didn't know how large a response, how aggressive a response it would be, but they knew there would be a response.
You and listeners might recall Biden saying in February, second week of February that when the Russian invasion comes, if it is small, we're still going to go ahead with sanctions, but we might have a fight within NATO as to whether to go whole hog. If it is large, there'll be no problem, everybody will agree on killing Nord Stream II, and taking these unprecedented steps against the Russian Central Bank, et cetera. And he said that because he knew what was planned. And the Russians reached the conclusion about the same time. Well, they certainly understood what the broad game plan was.
And then they crystalized that this was going to happen soon, and the final blow came when the Ukrainians began massive artillery barrages on cities in the Donbass. Now, there had always been exchanges over the past eight years. On February 18, there was a 30-fold increase in the number of artillery shells, five from the Ukrainians into the Donbass, to which the Donbass militias did not retaliate in kind. It peaked on the 21st and continued to the 24th. And this apparently was the last confirmation that the assault would be coming soon, and forced Putin's hand to preempt by activating plans which no doubt they'd had for some time to invade. I think that has become clear.
Now, this is of course the diametrical opposite of the fictional story that pervades all public discourse. And you can say “all” and only count on the fingers of your hands and toes the number of dissenters, right, that prevails. Now, let's leave open the question of do you defend Putin's actions. I, like you, find it very hard to defend, justify, any major military action that has the consequences that this does. Except in absolute, you know, self-defense.
But you know, that's where we are. And if there had been the Ukrainian assault that was planned on the Donbass, Putin and Russia would have been in real, real trouble, if they limited themselves to resupplying the Donbass militias. Because given the way we had armed and trained the Ukrainians, they really couldn't withstand them. So that would have been the end of [unclear] subordination of the Russian population and the suppression of Russia's language, all of which are steps that the Ukrainian government has moved on and has in the work.” Sheer, R., Robert Scheer, former Los Angeles Times columnist and editor of ScheerPost, interviews Prof. Michael Brenner on Scheer's podcast Scheer Intelligence. From ScheerPost A requirement for NATO membership is the absence of civil war. Conquering the Donbass would allow Ukraine to apply for NATO membership.
 “Denazification” is not “jargon” for Putin or Russia. Russians hate and fear Nazis and fascism. Those who argue that Russia is itself fascist will only convince those who are ignorant of Russian history. Those who object to Russia's remembrances of WWII and its yearly celebrations of those who sacrificed their lives for their country in a fight to the death against Nazism and fascism, simply have no comprehension as to how seriously Russia views Nazism, neo-Nazism, and fascism.
The idea that Russia confuses neo-Nazism with Ukraine or Ukrainians as a whole is also a clear misconception. Russia views Ukrainians and brothers and sisters. Russia's original capital was Kiev before there was a Ukraine or Moscow.
 For Russians, the stated goal of their government to “denazify” Ukraine is indeed both justifiable and commendable. One would think that most Westerners would be in agreement. Are there any WILPs that want to stand up and say they support the sovereignty of Nazism? Yet the bombardment of Donbass was a consequence to rebellion against the highly discriminatory and oppressive laws passed by neo-Nazi controlled “parliament” in Ukraine after the US-sponsored overthrow of the democratically elected government in 2014 in what has been called “the most blatant coup in history.” They basically made 40% of the population of Ukraine, Russian language speaking Ukrainians “untermensch,” second-class citizens, who either had to fully embrace the ultra-rightist version of Ukrainian nationalism or be destroyed.
 “…on May 5, it was then reported that the ruble briefly reached its highest level (against the US dollar) since March 2020. It hit a high of 65.31 per dollar. Finally, on May 20, the ruble reached both its strongest level against the Euro since June 2015 (touching 59.02) and the strongest level against the US dollar since March 2018 (hitting 57.0750).” Araujo, U., “Russia To Reach Record Trade Surplus—The West's Financial War Has Failed.”
 “An as yet unrecognized shift in Eurasian geopolitics has occurred as a result of the West's sanctions on Russia. As the EU closed its borders with Western Russia, it shifted the geopolitical dynamics east. This has made the Russian double-headed Eagle, the powerful symbol of the only nation to encompass both Europe and Asia, turn both of its heads East. That one action has meant that politics and trade with Moscow is now determined more by Asian relationships than European ones. It has shifted the Asian dynamic West—with the 9,000km quoted above being the entire length of Russia.
This shift is going to have immediate and long-lasting consequences for Europe. Moscow's decision-making will now be based more on discussions it has with Ankara, Beijing, Jakarta, New Delhi, Tashkent and Tehran than it will with Brussels. In shutting the door on US$282 billion in bilateral trade, sanctioning Russia as much as it is able, and shuttering its borders, Brussels has created an economic and sanctioned wall dividing what was part of Europe from its own backyard. That part of Europe has now become far more under the influence of Asia, rendering the EU's unease with the rise of China's CEEC (China, Central & Eastern European Cooperation) programme fully operational.”Devonshire-Ellis, C., “No-One Has Noticed, But Asia Has Moved 9,000km West.” https://www.asiabriefing.com/news/2022/05/no-one-has-noticed-but-asia-has-moved-9000km-west/?
 On Monday, May 23, 2022, the ruble gained more than 6% against the euro to 58.75, reaching its strongest level since June 2015. Against the dollar, the Russian currency surged 4.6% to trade at 57.47, not far from the four-year high reached on Friday, making it the best performing global currency in 2022.
 “Veteran US statesman Henry Kissinger has urged the West to stop trying to inflict a crushing defeat on Russian forces in Ukraine, warning that it would have disastrous consequences for the long term stability of Europe. The former US secretary of state and architect of the Cold War rapprochement between the US and China told a gathering in Davos that it would be fatal for the West to get swept up in the mood of the moment and forget the proper place of Russia in the European balance of power. Dr Kissinger said the war must not be allowed to drag on for much longer, and came close to calling on the West to bully Ukraine into accepting negotiations on terms that fall very far short of its current war aims. He told the World Economic Forum that Russia had been an essential part of Europe for 400 years and had been the guarantor of the European balance of power structure at critical times. European leaders should not lose sight of the longer term relationship, and nor should they risk pushing Russia into a permanent alliance with China.”
“In terms of contemporary analysis of conflict and strategy, Henry Kissinger hasn't been one of the world's worst war hawks for decades. This is true not because he has gotten less psychopathic, but because everyone else in Washington has gotten more so.” Caitlin Johnstone
 “Manchin added that only the complete forcible ejection of Russia from all of Ukraine is acceptable, that the war should ideally be used to remove Putin from power, and that he and the strategists he talks to see this war as an "opportunity". "I am totally committed, as one person, to seeing Ukraine to the end with a win, not basically with some kind of a treaty; I don't think that is where we are and where we should be," Manchin said. "I mean basically moving Putin back to Russia and hopefully getting rid of Putin," Manchin added when asked what he meant by a win for Ukraine.” “The view from Capitol Hill.” https://www.weforum.org/event_player/ a0P68000001Kd0vEAC/sessions/the-view-from-capitol-hill
 "Bush Statement on Ukraine Supplemental Funding Vote", https://bush.house.gov/media/press-releases/bush-statement-on-ukraine-supplemental-funding-vote?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email, May 10, 2022
 Aaron Maté notes that “By voting to enrich the US arms industry and escalate a proxy war against Russia, Congressional progressives are enabling a militarist agenda that threatens their political cause, and the planet.”
“The unwavering US effort to flood Ukraine with weaponry instead of diplomacy is additionally striking given its predictable consequences for the conflict and the planet. These include more bloodshed; more refugees; more arms trafficking; more weapons falling into the hands of neo-Nazis and other extremists; more war profiteering; more inflation; more global hunger; and more of a possibility of direct military confrontation between the US and Russia.”
“The enlistment of progressive support for a neoconservative proxy war in Ukraine is the outgrowth of the Russiagate disinformation campaign that has engulfed the US since 2016. When it comes to the US posture toward the Russian government, Russiagate has normalized militarism and evidence-free allegations; blamed it for US dysfunctions; stigmatized diplomacy; and, to ensure domestic obedience, portrayed anyone who dissents from these imperatives as a Kremlin pawn, asset, or conspirator.”
“Trump's escalation of the Ukraine proxy war coincided with his nixing of vital arms control pacts that had eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons and encouraged US-Russia cooperation. The John Bolton-led abandonment of the INF treaty in 2019, and the Open Skies Treaty the following year, played an overlooked role in triggering Russia's military build-up on Ukraine's borders last year.”
Aaron Maté, “Funding the Ukraine proxy war, Bernie Sanders and the Squad abandon progressives and peace.” https://mate.substack.com/p/funding-the-ukraine-proxy-war-bernie?s=r
 However, with the possible exception of Rand Paul, who is a libertarian, this is simply Republicans voting against Democrats, with a little virtue signaling thrown in.
 Aaron Maté, “Funding the Ukraine proxy war, Bernie Sanders and the Squad abandon progressives and peace.”
 Araujo, U., Russia To Reach Record Trade Surplus—The West's Financial War Has Failed.
 “… discontinuous and/or non-viable and/or variable-quality blends of unvetted yet far more expensive new oils are to be found as substitutes for constant, fully-proven all-around compliance of Russian Urals oil that all Europe enjoys today. Or also because of the subsequent failure of the refinement process for such yet non-existent and only theoretically viable non-Russian blends supposedly to be batch delivered (!) by still un-named third parties upon which Germany would necessarily entrust its existence. Instead, compare that to HUGE, smooth and constant,pipeline delivery of high quality Russian Urals feed 24x7x365 already processed by European refineries swiftly and reliably into excellent final products at an unbeatable un-subsidized price. Accordingly, the distillates to be possibly delivered (or not) by the Schwedt Refinery with non-Russian feedstocks may mean either World Fame or GAME OVER. Failure could also come about even assuming that vendors were able to supply enough and continuous seaborne batch quantities of reasonably viable oils. Because there might also not be enough fully dedicated handling, storage and/or logistics capacity at Baltic ports to unload and/or adequately deliver to a very far away Schwedt. Other logistical and batch-related factors could also go wrong. Made-In-Russia will be missed. For example, the Urals blend homogenous quality & quantities, the price, and the smooth 24x7x365 Druzhba feed.” Vilches, Jorge., https://thesaker.is/germans-schwedt-hard-for-russian-oil/
 Germany presently has the fourth largest economy in the world, following the US, China, and Japan, with a GDP of ___. Russia has the fifth largest economy, with a GDP of _____. As the ruble strengthens and Europe enters recession, what will be the response of WILPs when the Russian economy surpasses that of Germany while that of China supplants that of the US, becoming the strongest economy in the world? [Russia is at #11 on this list: https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-by-country/, but #6 on the PPP-GDP list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29]
 “Ben Bernanke predicts stagflation.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/16/business/ ben-bernanke-predicts-stagflation.html
 “The Institute of International Finance (IIF), which is a bankers' organization, estimates that the current-account surplus (including trade and financial flows) (of Russia) can come in at $250 billion in 2022. That is more than double the $120 billion that was recorded last year. Thus it would appear that sanctions in fact have boosted Moscow's trade surplus. Even the exports directed to the West have been holding up well. The global rise in energy prices has boosted the revenues even further.” Araujo, U., Russia To Reach Record Trade Surplus—The West's Financial War Has Failed.
 Araujo, U., “Western military strategy for Ukraine changes for conciliatory tone.” http://infobrics.org/post/35739
 “Americans concerns about the war in Ukraine - Wider conflict possible.”https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2022/05/10/ americans-concerns-about-war-in-ukraine-wider-conflict-possible-u-s-russia-clash/
 Brenner/Sheer interview. https://scheerpost.com/2022/04/15/michael-brenner-american-dissent-on-ukraine-is-dying-in-darkness/
 Araujo, U., Russia To Reach Record Trade Surplus—The West's Financial War Has Failed? https://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-reach-record-trade-surplus-west-financial-war-failed/5781255
 But it appears that the dam of denial is finally breaking: “In Stunning Shift, WaPo Admits Catastrophic-Conditions, Collapsing-Morale Of Ukraine Front-Line Forces.”
“…for the first time The Washington Post is out with a surprisingly dire and negative assessment of how US-backed and equipped Ukrainian forces are actually fairing. Gone is the rosy idealizing lens through which each and every encounter with the Russians is typically portrayed. … "Ukrainian leaders project an image of military invulnerability against Russia. But commanders offer a more realistic portrait of the war, where outgunned volunteers describe being abandoned by their military brass and facing certain death at the front."
The WaPo further includes the following devastating testimony and assessment:
“Many got shell shock. I don't know how to count them,” Lapko said.
The casualties here are largely kept secret to protect morale among troops and the general public.
“On Ukrainian TV we see that there are no losses,” Lapko said. “There's no truth.”
Many of the casualties suffered by the above referenced volunteer unit were due to lack of logistics available to transport the wounded to hospitals behind the front lines. The report emphasizes that the entirety of the catastrophic conditions of frontline forces has led to officers and enlisted increasingly refusing to follow orders from higher command.
With this fresh and unexpected Washington Post report, the mainstream seems to now belatedly be admitting what only weeks ago could get a person banned from Twitter...
Western mainstream media has, for three months now, fed its audience a never-ending clown car parade of utterly clueless "expert military analysts" who have spun fairy tales of super-hero Ukrainian "freedom fighters" and comically inept Russian conscripts.” Raghavan, S., Washington Post, https://www.zerohedge.com/military/wapo-stunning-first-admits-catastrophic-conditions-collapsing-morale-ukraine-forces-front
 Blum, W., “Overthrowing other people's governments: The Master List.” Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government), https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list
 Zelensky has outlawed opposition parties and media, arresting those who speak out against the government. Is that democracy? Do we want to excuse that based on the circumstances or history? The Ukrainian government authorized the Azov battalion and other neo-Nazi groups to set up “youth camps” in which children are taught to hate Russians and taught how to use weapons to kill them. The age of enlistment has been lowered so children can go to war in Ukraine. Right now, in Odessa, neo-Nazis are going door-to-door, asking questions. If there is an inkling of wavering of support for “Slava Ukraini,” people are being hauled off and not heard from again. Denis Kireev, a banker appointed to the initial Ukrainian negotiating team, was assassinated by the Ukrainian secret service, as a “traitor,” because he proposed compromises with Russia. This was a warning to all Ukrainians than any deviations from an ultra-nationalist stance could prove deadly. Ultra-nationalist policies of discrimination against Ukrainian minorities are fascist, not democratic, and have been supported by the Yatsenyuk, Poroshenko, and Zelensky Ukrainian governments.
 Dmitry Trenin: How Russia must reinvent itself to defeat the West's 'hybrid war, https://visionnewspapers.com/dmitry-trenin-how-russia-must-reinvent-itself-to-defeat-the-wests-hybrid-war/
 “Yes, the Ukraine war could have been prevented.” https://www.readthemaple.com/yes-the-ukraine-war-could-have-been-prevented/, May 24, 2022