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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
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY JOSEPH DILLARD
You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it. — Morpheus, The Matrix
So Which Empire Is Dying?
A Reply to Ray Harris
My current biases regarding Russia/Ukraine developed out of a worldview very much like Ray's.
I want to thank Ray Harris for taking the time to read my series of essays on Russia-Ukraine and writing his rebuttal. It is only through the questioning and challenging of our worldviews and the assumptions that underlie them that we can recognize and wake up out of our collective sleep, dreaming, and sleepwalking.
There is much about Russia and Ukraine which Ray and I are in agreement. Russia has a history that includes colonialism, imperialism, absolutism, exploitation, and the censoring of freedom of speech. It is also true that a multiplicity of perspectives co-exist in Russia, from ultra-nationalism to pro-Ukrainian to integral. I also agree with Ray that German, Italian, and Spanish fascism were in part a reaction against communism, that Stalin was an authoritarian and imperialist, and that the lend-lease loans made by the US to Russia helped it win the war on the Eastern front. I also agree that the colonization of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union after WWII generated “a long-standing mistrust of Russian motives and even hatred.” I also agree that Ukraine's desire to join the EU and NATO were long standing and public knowledge, that Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's independence and sovereignty in exchange for it surrendering its nuclear weapons in 1994, and that Russia broke that agreement when it invaded Ukraine in February, 2022. I also agree with Ray when he says, “There is good reason to mistrust American foreign policy.” Indeed. Ray goes on to list some of the multiple egregious violations of human rights, colonialism, imperialism, assassinations of national leaders, and global terrorism committed by the US with the support of its NATO allies since World War II.
I can also agree with Ray that I have biases. Of course everyone has biases and everyone has blind spots involving our ability and willingness to recognize them, sort through them, and decide which are reality based and which are not. Many biases are functional and constructive, such as a bias toward people who help us think through our assumptions, making time for exercise that keeps us healthy, and foods that keep us that way, regardless of what others may offer us or what we may like.
My current biases regarding Russia/Ukraine developed out of a worldview very much like Ray's. I grew up in the middle of the United States and took for granted “Russia BAD!” As a student of history I thought I had a well-informed and factual-based understanding of Russia, its history, and its relationship with the West. I did not wake up out of such assumptions easily; it took intensive reading outside mainstream narratives over a period of decades to recognize some of the ways I was clouded by groupthink. I slowly recognized that my trust in my government, news media, and history books had been misplaced in critical ways and that I had been taught a highly nationalistic worldview that rationalized, as the exporting of democracy and freedom, a very long history of chronic colonialism, militarism, and imperialism. In order to sort out which narratives I was being taught were true, I started with the assumption that I was biased toward the mainstream Western worldview due to my familial and socio-cultural scripting and that like many others, I was subjectively trapped within that worldview, lacking the objectivity to step outside of it and view it first from this and then another worldview.
For me, this is fundamental to what an integral worldview is about: the ability not simply to identify the major developmental stages at play with this individual or nation but to ask questions and seek experiences that allow us to actually look, think, and feel out of another worldview. The problem is, that when we do so and do what we can to speak from the perspective of some alternative worldview, that easily gives rise to accusations that we are biased toward that worldview or not sufficiently acknowledging its limitations. This goes with the territory, and I am not surprised when my advocacy for another perspective, in this case Russia, raises the ire of well-meaning, intelligent interlocutors.
Unfortunately, Ray's essay comes across as a vitriolic, emotionally-driven, personal attack piece, accusing me not simply of bias, which, as I have explained, is true enough, but of hatred and projection. Integralists challenge ideas, not the character or intent of others. I do not write for those who want or need to defend their worldview, but for those readers who are motivated, for one reason or another, to lay their worldview aside for a bit and consider what the world looks like from another perspective, in this case, that of Russia. Of course, I am not Russian and cannot claim to accurately represent a Russian perspective, not only because, as Ray rightly points out, there are multiple Russian perspectives. Even Russians who have grown up in that worldview will disagree about its elements just as do Westerners regarding their own worldview. However, the attempt to lay aside the biases of our own worldview in order to understand and communicate basic assumptions of another is very much worth the time and effort because that effort, that intent, builds bridges that defuse tensions and conflicts between very different worldviews. It is a movement toward peace and mutual respect and away from war.
For me, this is fundamental to what an integral worldview is about: the ability not simply to identify the major developmental stages at play with this individual or nation but to ask questions and seek experiences that allow us to actually look, think, and feel out of another worldview.
Why I don't dwell on the various evils of Russia and Putin
There are two reasons. Integralists consider themselves multi-perspectival. After all, if there is one fundamental tenet of Integral that differentiates it from other maps and theories, it is its claim to being more multi-perspectival than other approaches. The claim to multi-perspectivalism is fundamental to a post-personal, vision-logic, integral-aperspectival worldview. How then, are we to understand very serious and important misrepresentations of the Russian worldview by noted Integralists? For example, a current, chronic claim by these people, in harmony with the prevailing worldview, is that Russia is “authoritarian.” While Russia indeed has a history of authoritarianism, it is a democracy and has been one for some thirty-three years now. How long does it have to hold open and free elections in which people are elected by majorities in the fifty to sixty percent range, instead of the ninety-five percent range of dictators, before people are willing to recognize the reality that Russia is a democracy that allows a wide variety of political parties and political viewpoints? One only needs to check out a number of Telegram channels to find out that this is the reality of Russia today. What does it say about integralists that they are either unaware of or prefer to ignore this reality?
Both the prevailing Western media and many otherwise well informed and unbiased Integralists insist on conflating Russia since 1990 with the Russia of the Czars and Soviet Union. They probably do so because it confirms assumptions basic to their worldview. But that is not an integral or multi-perspectival approach to understanding Russia, because it does not begin by viewing Russia as Russia sees itself and its interests today. Russia does not see itself in either of those terms today; its a projection by outsiders with other worldviews to defend or promote onto Russia.
My writing on Russia-Ukraine represents an attempt to take Russia's perspective because being able to understand and respect Russia's worldview is essential to preventing World War III and/or a nuclear holocaust. Attempting to do so is a far more integral approach toward multi-perspectivalism than to simply parrot the mainstream groupthink regarding Russia that we grew up on in the West and that I know full well, having lived and breathed it for well over fifty years. That leads me to the second reason why I focus on the strengths, rather than the faults of Russia.
Having grown up and lived all my life saturated with a world view of first fearing the Soviet Union, being wary of communism, and then both fearing and feeling disdain Russia and Putin, I don't presume that my readers are not fully aware of the sins and evils of Russia both historically and today. I don't feel a need to virtue signal my readers by reciting the well-known litany of the presumed or real crimes of historical or present day Russia or its leaders. If people want to be reassured by the echo chamber of Western groupthink regarding Russia or Putin BAD, they need only turn on their TV, radio, or internet and be lulled into a reassuring state of simi-comatose validation. My readers expect something better of me, such as arguments that either add to or challenge their assumptions and worldview. I do so not out of any conviction that I am right or represent some higher moral ground, but simply because as an integralist I take multi-perspectivalism in all four quadrants seriously. That means I don't believe in ignoring, remaining silent, or ducking dangerous and unpopular issues, such as Russian motivations or Israeli apartheid. It is sad, unfortunate, and embarrassing that many well-known and widely respected integralists choose to do so.
Rather than being pro-Putin or Russia, I am pro multi-perspectivalism, which means that I am pro the US, the West, the Global South, Moslems, Indians, China, and Russia, when I see this or that worldview supporting principles that advance the development of humanity as a whole. Similarly, I am “anti” any or all of these when I see them supporting principles that enhance their own well-being at the expense of the development of humanity. At this point in time, understanding the world from Russia's perspective is essential to stopping the move toward war and the ongoing collapse of the West.
How do we know what the truth is regarding Russia and Ukraine?
In a world of false flags, massive bombardments by propaganda, fake videos, and front-line reports that depict events according to the accounts their editors and publishers require, how do we know who is lying and who is telling the truth? My answer is that it is important to look for and attempt to understand patterns of behavior over years and among groups, because patterns tend to be predictive. Integral AQAL is largely built on analysis of patterns in multiple fields of human development. So, for example, when Angela Merkel of Germany, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, and Francois Hollande of France agree on some historical interpretation, we have reason to believe it is probably true. In another instance, when forensic experts examine bomb fragments at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and determine that they came from multiple Ukrainian artillery and missiles, we have reason to believe who was responsible. We also need to factor in our tendency toward confirmation bias, the seizing on information that validates our worldview and ignoring or minimizing that which contradicts it.
How do Russia's actions regarding Ukraine advance the development of humanity as a whole?
1) Russia is clearly and obviously fighting fascism and apartheid in Ukraine. It does not simply claim to do so, as do most Western governments and mainstream media, while in reality ignoring or supporting fascism and apartheid in Ukraine financially, militarily, and economically as well as in the global informational war. One would think that any human that considers themselves civilized would support fighting fascism and apartheid and recognize that doing so very much supports the development of humanity as a whole. But of course, this is the fundamental point at which I and a host of integralists disagree: they either don't think Russia is fighting fascism and apartheid in Ukraine, although it exists there, or that while it does exist there, it is minimal and justified, because after all, there are fascists in Russia (Harris' position). A third position is to outright deny the existence of fascism and apartheid in Ukraine. In the first two cases, they argue that fascism and apartheid aren't really important, that the crime of aggression on one state by another is a much more grievous, outrageous, and unacceptable international crime.
By fighting apartheid and fascism, Russia is also defending the interests of Westerners, as no one wants to live under a fascist government or be the object of apartheid discrimination and oppression. The Global South, representing both the majority of the world's population and its industrial/economic capacity, largely agrees with this assessment of Russia's actions. The prevailing Western and majority integral/metamodern viewpoint on Russia's motives is not only in the minority globally but losing proponents every day. We know this by the growing number of countries no longer trading only in dollars, by the number of abstentions from condemnatory resolutions in the UN, by the growth of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and growing alternatives to both the World Bank and IMF. People all over the world are currently withdrawing their savings and investments from US and EU banks after considering the implications of the illegal freezing of some 300 billion dollars of the Central Bank of Russia. Both the majority of the world's population and economic power either supports Russia or refuses to side with the West's narrative on the causes and nature of this war.
Russia has excellent reasons to fear and hate fascism, as anyone familiar with the history of the Second World War knows. The US supported fascism before, during, and after WW II. Before the war, the US financially supported Hitler. During the war, the US government ignored major US corporations supporting the Nazi war effort. After the war, the US imported Nazis via Operation Paperclip, paid Nazis to undermine socialist and communist movements in Italy and other European countries, while the CIA funded Nazi collaborators in Ukraine.
2) Russia is fighting a proxy war with NATO, including the US, the EU, and various other US allies, such as Australia, South Korea, and Japan. That proxy war was provoked by the West. Russia invaded Ukraine not only because of its fascist and apartheid government and military, but because the West sabotaged seven years of diplomacy, using it as a subterfuge to buy time to arm Ukraine. NATO countries refused to abide by international law in the form of Minsk II. As noted above, German, Ukrainian, and French leaders admitted they never intended to do so. The West was unwilling to do good faith negotiations with Russia then and the West refuses to do so to this day in April, 2023. The West wonders why Russia uses aggression when the West itself refuses to negotiate in good faith. What options does an aggrieved party have when communication and law not only refuses to support, but actively blocks a peaceful resolution?
3) NATO was turning Ukraine into a de facto member, equipping, arming, and financing it. Russia had already announced in 2008 that Ukraine in NATO was a “red line” that could not be crossed because Russia viewed NATO in Ukraine as an existential threat. The West was fully aware of the strength of Russia's opposition to this Western plan but went ahead anyway, believing that they could eventually force Russia to relent. They were wrong. Many Westerners and Ukrainians disagree with that perception of course, but we all know what the reaction of the US was to Russian military presence in Cuba and we know what it would be if Russia or China formed a military alliance with say, Mexico. Why the double standard? What is so difficult about understanding that Russia takes similar offense?
4) Ukraine, with the full support of NATO, was not only suppressing the Russian language but shelling and killing its own ethnic Russian citizens for some seven years prior to Russia's invasion. It is easy to write that “The claim that the citizens of the Donbas were 'shelled and murdered for over eight years' is Russian propaganda plain and simple.“ But there is a reason why Western reporters don't go to Russian Donbass but only issue reports from the Ukrainian side of the war or base their reports on Ukrainian partisans. Sources that want to discover the truth report on both sides of any issue. The Western press doesn't, and it is obvious that it does not because it does not want conflicting information to interfere with the narrative that it is presenting to its audience.
The Western news media and some Integralists would have us believe that either Ukraine has not been bombing its own citizens for the past five years or that these have been negligible and mostly Russian propaganda. Clearly, if these were Westerners or Jews who were being killed we would hear the press and WILPS (Western, Integral, Liberal, Progressives) screaming and rending their clothes. But because ethnic Russians are “other,” intelligent and well-meaning Westerners easily rationalize away their silent concurrence or defense of war crimes.
No one should recoil in horror that Russia uses propaganda, since all states construct narratives to advance their own interests and worldviews, just like you and I do. There are two basic questions to consider here: “How many of its own civilians in the Donbass did Ukraine wound or kill in the past eight years since the war started in 2014?” “Is that killing of civilians still occurring as of the time of this writing?” A third question is, “If that is true, what has been the West's overall reaction to those deaths?” We might also add a fourth, tangential question: “Who has been bombing the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and why has the UN refused to assign blame for it?”
Harris wants to dismiss these deaths of women and children by Ukraine as Russian propaganda. To do so requires the dismissal and ignoring of a massive amount of on-site data: funerals of children, bombed out schools and hospitals, the maimed lying in hospitals. How much longer was Russia supposed to put up with ethnic apartheid? One should be very careful about dismissing such reports as propaganda because it opens them to charges as accomplices in apartheid. There is also considerable evidence that Russia acted to preempt an imminent Ukrainian invasion of Donbass and to force Ukraine into negotiations. While the invasion was prevented, negotiations failed. If the West had not blocked the negotiations the war would have ended and many Ukrainian lives would have been saved.
That the West itself refuses to negotiate in good faith with Russia, but instead ignores or breaks treaties, and is unwilling to commit itself to them over successive, different administrations, leaves Russia with few alternatives. If your landlord or local police force refuse to obey the law and your complaints have no effect, you take your complaints to a court of law. That's why there are laws. But the reality in the world today is that the West declares it obeys a vague, ambiguous “rules-based order” and refuses to conform to international law (or even national law in the case of requiring a vote of Congress to wage war) unless it serves its own purposes. It has extended the same exceptions to its allies, including Europe, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt. All the while it demands its opponents uphold international law. Under those circumstances, Russia is attacked but is not allowed to defend itself before the law, because there exists no international court to appeal whose judgments the West will recognize if those judgments are not in its interests.
The West refuses to recognize or respect the Russian perspective
Russia says it is being seriously and persistently attacked by the West. It has a great deal of history and testimony from Western sources that the intent of the West is “regime change” in Moscow and the dismemberment of Russia itself. But the West refuses to recognize that it is an aggressor and consistently makes excuses and rationalizations or simply shoves reality down the memory hole and moves on. The West has also gotten used to getting its way if it doubles down. For example, it has gotten away with NATO advancing eastward, assimilating successive collections of Warsaw Pact countries, despite multiple Russian protests. NATO countries have succeeded in this gradual reduction of the buffer zone between the West and Russia because during most NATO expansion, in the 1990's, Russia was a much weaker country. Now the West is shocked and angered that Russia has drawn a line and is willing to take on the whole of the West rather than allow it to progress further East. In addition, the West is confused and bewildered by the failure of its sanctions to bring Russia to its knees.
Hard realities that aren't going to change
There are, alas, multiple points about which those committed to the Western worldview and I will never agree. Those seduced by the Western mainstream media have completely internalized the CIA and MI6-manufactured narratives that Navalny and Litvinenko and Skipal were poisoned by Russia. It is common to use those narratives to conclude that there exists widespread repression and censoring of journalists by Russia, while at the same time noting that Russia does not possess a monolithic worldview but that there are many dissenting voices, as can be accessed via YouTube, Telegram, Russian TV and print media. No amount of cheering on Western values is going to change some hard realities:
- The sanctions against Russia have failed. Not only have they failed; the economy of Russia is much stronger with inflation falling in Russia while inflation - the cost of living for everyone - is increasing throughout the West.
- The war in Ukraine has exposed the reality that the West is literally out of bullets. By exporting its industry to foreign markets it now lacks the industrial capacity to manufacture the arms required by both Ukraine and itself to fight Russia.
- Russia has neutralized whatever armaments the West has sent to Ukraine. This has demonstrated to the world that the US/Western military industrial complex produces over-priced and under-performing weaponry.
- Russia is fighting a successful war of attrition in Ukraine, slowly depleting Ukrainian and Western resources and will to fight it. Even Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, is worried about the consequences to NATO if Ukraine does not win the war.
- Mounting economic problems in the West are likely to soon take the focus off Ukraine. Already, the Ukrainian flags and cute Facebook flag icons have largely disappeared. In polls, Westerners are expressing less interest in arming Ukraine or in welcoming in endless streams of Ukrainian immigrants. As it becomes clearer that the West has lost the war in Ukraine and there is nothing that can be done about it, the most likely outcome is that all the principled, moral voices in the West will simply forget about it and leave Ukraine to work out its relationship with Russia on its own. That's because the alternative would be either to escalate to a deployment of NATO forces in Ukraine, with an increasing likelihood of a nuclear confrontation, or to negotiate peace with Russia, which would mean agreeing to the neutrality, demilitarization, and de-nazification of Ukraine, as well as the lifting of sanctions on Russia. There have so far been no signals from any Western capitals of any intention to do so.
False equivalencies to hide war crimes
I agree with Harris when he says “… that Ukraine has its share of far-right extremists, ultra-nationalists and fascists.” He goes on to say, “Just like every other European country. And just like Russia.” This is a false equivalency. Fascists and ultra-nationalists are not in charge of Russia as they are in Ukraine. An equivalency of the fascism in Ukraine with that in Russia or the EU doesn't exist. Here is reality: fascists don't control the governments of Russia or of any other European country. The leaders and troops of Russia and other European countries don't wear Nazi insignia and turn Third Reich collaborators into national heroes with national holidays in their honor, statues to them, and streets named after them. Ukrainians do. Fascists do not control the Russian military, as they do the Ukrainian military. The argument that because Russia has fascists that fascism in Ukraine is no big deal is similar to claiming that because everyone lies and cheats at one time or another that government corruption and corporate offshoring should be overlooked. Really?
Ukrainian citizens do indeed understand Russia and are capable of thinking and acting on their own. For example, they elected Vladimir Zelensky, precisely because he ran on a platform promising peaceful co-existence with Russia. Harris writes, “Zelensky's centrist, pro-European Servant of the People party won an overwhelming majority of 254 seats.” That's correct. Once Zelensky was elected he betrayed the electorate by repressing all political opposition, refusing to uphold the Minsk II Accords, and continuing the shelling and killing of Ukrainian civilians. In his spare time, Zelensky has persecuted and shut down Russian Orthodox religion in Ukraine. He has selectively forced Ukrainians of Russian ethnicity to the front lines to be slaughtered, thereby supporting the “cleansing” of Ukraine of its ethnic Russian minority, reminiscent of what the Third Reich did toward Jews and Gypsies and what Israel has been doing toward its ethnic minority population, with the broad support of the West, since after World War I. Any one of these behaviors is enough to make the claim that Ukraine is a “democratic” state a laughable farce.
Lies my government tells me
- Is the government of Ukraine democratic? About as democratic as that of Saudi Arabia. Harris writes, “Zelensky's centrist, pro-European Servant of the People party won an overwhelming majority of 254 seats.” “As a new democracy, Ukraine has a bewildering 349 political parties.” Really? Outlawing a diversity of political opinion is a sign of autocracy, not democracy. How can one claim autocracy for Russia without also applying the same rationale to Ukraine? If one won't or can't, how is that not hypocrisy in the service of ideology and groupthink? Harris argues that Russian and Donbass alleged suppression of minority languages somehow makes the suppression of Russian by the Government of Ukraine acceptable. While it is indeed understandable from the perspective of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism and fascism, it is a form of apartheid under international law, whether instigated by Russia, Donbass, Ukraine, or any other country.
- The Ukrainian government doesn't support neo-Nazism, that is, fascism. Yes, indeed it does. While it is correct that far-right parties have not enjoyed electoral success in Ukraine, they don't have to. That's because they control the Ukrainian government, military, and security forces and simply assassinate, silence, or disappear dissenters.
- The US government has never acknowledged or supported neo-Nazism and fascism in Ukraine. Yes, it has. “A little-noticed provision in the 2,232-page government spending bill passed last week bans U.S. arms from going to a controversial ultranationalist militia in Ukraine that has openly accepted neo-Nazis into its ranks. House-passed spending bills for the past three years have included a ban on U.S. aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion, but the provision was stripped out before final passage each year.This year, though, the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law last week stipulates that “none of the funds made available by this act may be used to provide arms, training or other assistance to the Azov Battalion.”
- The 2014 Ukrainian “Maidan Revolution” wasn't a US funded and led coup against a democratically elected government. Yes, it was. George Friedman, head of Stratfor, closely aligned with US intelligence, has called the US led coup in Ukraine “the most blatant coup in history.” However it is only one in an ongoing succession of attempted or successful color revolutions carried out by the US and its allies. These follow a well-known formula, and each of these steps are in evidence in the 2014 Ukrainian coup.
- Russia's colonial/imperial incorporation of Siberia is comparable to 500 years of Western colonialism and imperialism. Not by a long shot. Portraying equivalence is simply a transparent ruse that is meant to deflect from the vast difference in empire building between the US (and the West in general) and that of Russia. To take only one example, the brutal exploitation by Australia of its aboriginal peoples, driving them to the brink of extinction, makes Russian Siberian colonialism pale in significance.
- Russia is an aggressor while NATO countries are victims. Was Russia a colonialistic power? Was it an empire? Of course. Has it been autocratic? Of course. Has it persecuted its own citizens? Absolutely. Once having established these facts, what can we conclude? That Russia is as bad as the West? Wrong. While Russia has been an aggressor, NATO states have been far worse aggressors on multiple occasions. To believe otherwise we have to ignore or erase that part about Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler in 1941. Almost 290,000 Russians died in Napoleon's march on Moscow in 1812. Almost 30 million Russians that died as the result of the Fuhrer's war.
- NATO didn't lie to Russia about expanding eastward. Wrong. There is a vast amount of historical documentation from major players that the West lied and deceived Russia regarding the well-documented commitments made by the US and NATO to Gorbachev and Russia not to include any Warsaw Pact countries in NATO in exchange for Russia allowing the reunification of Germany within NATO. But more important is the larger issue of a chronic intent to depict Russia as an enemy to be defeated.
- Ukraine is winning the war. Wrong. The Ukrainian Air Force and Navy were destroyed in the first weeks of the war. While figures vary on losses of manpower, there is no doubt that Russia has a vast storehouse of potential recruits due to its much larger population. The grinding war of attrition continues. As of this writing, Russia has taken the central administrative buildings of Bakhmut, some 85% of Bakhmut in total. Zelensky himself is attempting to downplay the imminent loss of this critical city as “unimportant.” Russia is winning the war and the West can no longer hide that reality from its citizens.
- Joe Biden: “The Ruble will be rubble.” Oops. The ruble was in fact the best performing currency in the world in 2022. Far from turning into rubble, the Ruble is so strong the Russian government is taking steps to decrease its value.
“Russia is running out of ammunition.” Wrong. It is widely admitted in the West that this is largely an artillery war and that Russia has far more artillery and ammunition for it than does Ukraine. The ability of the West to supply Ukraine with artillery and ammunition has been largely depleted. The war has demonstrated to the entire world that the US and the West are literally out of ammunition with which to fight Russia, and every month that reality is becoming more obvious to the Global South. The consequences are new trading arrangements with Russia and China and a greater willingness of countries in Africa, Latin America, and West Asia to ignore or defy the will of Washington.
- Russia is demanding that it be treated as a special case regarding its security interests. Nope. This argument ignores the standing policy of the US since 1823, two hundred years ago this year, called the Monroe Doctrine. Here's what it says:
"The occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers."
The US was declaring that it had the right, based on its security interests, to prevent foreign powers from advancing their interests not simply in one country, but in an entire hemisphere. The US and West being taken aback by Russia having similar security interests, particularly when its own ethnic minority is being subjected to apartheid, is simple hypocrisy.
Groupthink leads to catastrophic errors in judgment
A large part of the power of the Western groupthink regarding Russia/Ukraine is repetition. The confirmation cognitive bias is based on the knowledge that if something is repeated enough times people will take it to be true. Many intelligent and Western voices, including many Integralists, are heavily invested in a worldview that has demonstrably badly underestimated Russia, badly overestimated its own popularity in the world, and has badly overestimated Western resources and capabilities. It has also vastly overestimated the acceptability of its narratives of democracy and freedom for other countries. Those realities indicate that regarding Ukraine and Russia, many Westerners like myself, have been betrayed by a false and hopelessly broken worldview.
Why some integralists so badly misjudge Russia
Russia does indeed contain multiple perspectives, from Russian ultra-nationalism to integral, as do the US, Germany, Israel, Iran, China, and Australia. In each of those cases, there are distinctive national socio-cultural and geographic contexts that generate a unique worldview. So yes; it is quite reasonable and realistic to outline such characteristics. However, doing so is not an exercise in multi-perspectivalism at any depth. You don't have to be integral anything to be able to do so.
Integralists tend to think that assigning this or that aspect of Russia to a level of development is an integral analysis. It's not. As I pointed out at the beginning of this essay, an integral analysis is multi-perspectival. That means one has to identify with the perspective or worldview of the other, in this case, Russia. Integral theory is a map; multi-perspectivalism involves walking the territory. Victims of Western groupthink or ideologues who are married to a particular worldview refuse to do so, because it would call into question basic suppositions that undermine their worldview and their core identity. We can't have that.
It is a basic concept within the Integral AQAL framework that both individuals and nations can demonstrate an overall level of development. Wilber calls this depiction an “Integral Psychograph,” and it claims to show that one can find an overall level of development by averaging various developmental lines. For reasons I have explained elsewhere, I am not much of a fan of cute color jargon to describe developmental levels. I use Wilber's original and much clearer representation of developmental stages, as early, mid, and late prepersonal, personal, and transpersonal, adding in vision-logic and at the top, the non-dual. Integralists generally conclude that Russia (and actually any competitive country or worldview) is lower in total than an integral worldview, because by definition an integral worldview includes and transcends all developmental stages. This assumption raises difficult and embarrassing questions. How do nations that align themselves with Nazis, blow up the energy pipelines of allies, occupy other countries after waging undeclared and devastating war on them, ignore apartheid, and generally refuse to be accountable before international law merit any overall level of development above prepersonal? On what grounds do integralists who support such policies and behaviors believe their overall development is beyond the prepersonal? No amount of advancement in this or that particular line compensates for a history of actions that enhance one's own interests at the expense of the overall advancement of humanity. AQAL and Spiral Dynamics color jargon is far too often used to judge non-Western states and worldviews as at a lower level of development. How is this not elitist, exceptionalistic, untrue, and even foolish, in that it not only discounts the strengths of other worldviews, from which one could learn, but worse, leaves one unprepared to recognize the true strengths of other worldviews?
Harris closes his essay with this pearl:
In one of his articles Dillard had the temerity to quote Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. Dillard's delusion is to think Tutu would see Russia as the victim and not as an imperialist oppressor.”
Unfortunately, Tutu is not alive to state his position, but we do have some historical and current facts that throw light on reality. First, we know that Desmond Tutu was an ardent opponent of apartheid, for obvious reasons. Secondly, we know that the current government of South Africa refuses to support the government of Ukraine, citing its association with apartheid. Third, South Africa recently completed joint military operations with Russia and China. Put those data points together and draw your own conclusions.
Why the views on Russia/Ukraine of so many intelligent, kind people closely align with the prevailing Western narrative
There is nothing integral about an ideological attachment to any worldview, even if its source is mystical or spiritual. Based on the historical record, the immoralities that religious and spiritual people can condone are unlimited. That variety of “spiritual” has nothing to do with integral anything. While it is unfortunate when one's worldview leads them to unpleasant ends, it is much worse and unacceptable when our worldview leads others into misery, servitude, blindness, or death. I hate that Russia invaded Ukraine, but Western powers, when presented with similar circumstances, have time and time again, done the same. Yes, there are times and situations when violence and aggression are justified, and Wilber agrees.
Perhaps the reason why so many intelligent and kind people hold views that closely align with current Western groupthink is due to simple coincidence, similar to finding a brand new pair of sneakers, just your size, on the pavement before you, on your morning walk. Or perhaps it is due to the remarkable transpersonal development of people like Joe Biden, Victoria Nuland, Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and William Burns, the current head of the CIA. Or perhaps it is because good and intelligent people are sleepwalking in ideological groupthink, conditioned through a lifetime of unquestioned narratives supported by baked-in cognitive biases, like the confirmation bias and the bandwagon effect. Of those three possibilities, which do you think is more likely?
Neither the arguments I present nor those of integral advocates of the current Western worldview will change the trajectory of both Integral and history itself. However, life is full of patterns, from which we can predict both individual and national behaviors. Those who misread these, for whatever reasons, do so at their own peril. When groups of people misread others and the motives of other nations, then entire nations or even collections of nation-states can move toward collapse. That is the course the West is presently on, and I very much regret that, as I am a child of the West and the Western worldview. I have a great deal to be thankful for as a recipient of a great wealth from that society, culture, and tradition.
Integral is inherently multi-perspectival, and there is nothing ideologically dogmatic about a genuinely multi-perspectival worldview. There is also nothing integral about deflecting responsibility for crimes done in our names onto others, something that boils down to finger-pointing worthy of third graders. That is what the West is currently doing: attempting to shift blame for the Ukrainian war away from itself and its proxies and onto Russia. This is a simple deflection mechanism, an attempt to avoid responsibility. We all have faults, myself and Russia included. The place to begin is by recognizing and owning them. Until and unless we do so, on what grounds should we expect others to respect us and take our opinions seriously, regardless of how well they are documented?
Those who subscribe to current Western groupthink refuse to ask, “How have we, as citizens of Western nations, aided and abetted the useless and needless deaths of hundreds of thousands?” Those of us who do not take any responsibility for our acquiescence to criminality committed in our names have no ground on which our arguments of blaming others should be taken seriously. Merely enumerating previous crimes by the West, for which they have not been held accountable, does not amount to taking personal responsibility for our collective guilt.
Debating these issues with ideologues, integral or otherwise, is a futile waste of energy and breath. I write for those who have not yet committed themselves to a premature intellectual death by closing out perspectives that dare to disagree with their own.
When future historians look back at our times, what sorts of questions will they puzzle over? Certainly at least one of them will be, “How did so many intelligent and well-meaning people, who consider themselves moral actors, spiritual, and possessing a map of consciousness that is a cut above, end up supporting and defending fascism and apartheid?”
The best answer the ancient Greeks could come up to explain a dogmatic insistence on self-sabotage was hubris, or pride, something I have written about as a underlying theme toxifying the integral movement via elitism, exceptionalism, amorality, and a profound indifference toward justice. When smart, good people double down on stupid the most likely explanation is that they feel their core identity is under attack. Cognitive dissonance is setting in and it's got to be stamped out to avoid a genuine existential crisis. The easiest way to do so is simple denial. The second is to change the subject. If that fails, attack the messenger with ad hominems. When those fail, we can always take the next step, censoring. Ostracism, livelihood destruction, or prison generally will work when the previous steps fail. The final step is, of course, when all else fails, or as a good pre-emotive example to others, is the moral justification of murder.
Integral has taken all of these steps, and so have I, in looking at the justifications for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The error is to justify evil by saying “everybody does it,” as if similar behaviors cannot be done out of completely different motives and for completely different purposes, leading to completely different ends. Certainly most WILPs (Western Integral Liberal Progressives) would defend war, and therefore killing, in the name of national defense or even “democracy,” just as they would defend lethal violence to protect their children.
But hubris, exceptionalism, and elitism are moral, characterological issues that people are very likely to take offense with when theirs is pointed out to them. Even if they do not, like say good Catholics or Jews when confronted with their inherent sinfulness, the result is typically toxic shame and guilt rather than anything positive. The self-critical nature of shame and guilt rarely leads to better behavior but instead increases the likelihood of endless relapses followed by endless “repentance.” So moral analyses rarely create real change. People are more likely to dig in their heels and harden their position. What does produce a more just world is genuine accountability that creates a confident knowledge of likely consequences with a low likelihood of avoidance. I know that if I don't pay my taxes I am likely to be caught and the consequences could be severe. That's not a moral issue but one of legal accountability and consequences. This is what laws and judicial systems are supposed to provide but rarely do: reliable, just consequences without moral judgment. This is why future historians will view the refusal of hegemonic powers to obey international law to be one of the major causes of the ongoing collapse of the West.
We have seen that multiple perspectives exist within Russia. An integral analysis of Russia doesn't amount to integral multi-perspectivalism because it doesn't represent the worldview of Russia, but rather the worldview of Integralists who echo the Western view of Russia. Because those Western worldview advocates are subjectively enmeshed in their worldview they lack the objectivity to recognize that they are projecting their assumptions onto Russia. Instead, they remain confident that their analysis not only is an integral one, but accurately reflects the Russian worldview. But one need only ask, “If that is the case, why is Russia winning in Ukraine? Why have sanctions on Russia so spectacularly backfired? Why are Western societies descending into financial, cultural, and governing disarray while Russian society and economy grow stronger every month? Why is Putin so popular among not only Russians but throughout the Global South, with Africans waving Russian flags? If the mainstream Western narrative on Russia is correct, why is the dollar being rejected in trade by an increasing number of countries while more countries like India and Saudi Arabia are increasingly trading in Rubles? Why is the dollar getting weaker while the ruble is getting stronger? Why is the US drowning in trillions in debt while Russia is almost completely out of debt? And why do intelligent and well-meaning integralists insist that they are right regarding Russia and Ukraine when unfolding events keep on proving them tragically and profoundly wrong?
- Cultivating greater objectivity toward my own worldview was one reason why I have written a series of essays on Western, African/Global South, Indian, Chinese, Russian, Artificial Intelligence, and Intrasocial worldviews.
- In response to Russia's war with the Ukraine, the US froze the dollar reserves of Russia's central bank. To be clear, these were not American assets, but were dollars owned by the Russian central bank and the Russian people. The seizure was intended to cause bank runs and collapse Russia's credit system. It didn't work.
- “Some high-profile leaders of corporate America…such as Henry Ford liked and admired the Fuhrer at an early stage. (4) Other precocious Hitler-admirers were press lord Randolph Hearst and Irenee Du Pont, head of the Du Pont trust, who according to Charles Higham, had already "keenly followed the career of the future Fuhrer in the 1920s" and supported him financially. (5) Eventually, most American captains of industry learned to love the Fuhrer.”
“In the 1920s many big American corporations enjoyed sizeable investments in Germany. IBM established a German subsidiary, Dehomag, before World War I; in the 1920s General Motors took over Germany's largest car manufacturer, Adam Opel AG; and Ford founded a branch plant, later known as the Ford-Werke, in Cologne. Other US firms contracted strategic partnerships with German companies. Standard Oil of New Jersey - today's Exxon - developed intimate links with the German trust IG Farben. By the early 1930s, an elite of about twenty of the largest American corporations had a German connection including Du Pont, Union Carbide, Westinghouse, General Electric, Gilette, Goodrich, Singer, Eastman Kodak, Coca-Cola, IBM, and ITT. Finally, many American law firms, investment companies, and banks were deeply involved in America's investment offensive in Germany, among them the renowned Wall Street law firm Sullivan & Cromwell and the banks J.P. Morgan and Dillon, Read and Company, as well as the Union Bank of New York, ow ned by Brown Brothers & Harriman. The Union Bank was intimately linked with the financial and industrial empire of German steel magnate Thyssen, whose financial support enabled Hitler to come to power. This bank was managed by Prescott Bush, grandfather of George W. Bush. Prescott Bush was allegedly also an eager supporter of Hitler, funnelled money to him via Thyssen, and in return made considerable profits by doing business with Nazi Germany; with the profits he launched his son, the later president, in the oil business.” "Profits uber Alles! American Corporations and Hitler.” www.thefreelibrary.com
- “When Americans landed in Normandy in June 1, 1944 and captured their first German trucks, they discovered that these vehicles were powered by engines produced by American firms such as Ford and General Motors. (1) Corporate America, it turned out, had also been serving as the arsenal of Nazism.” Profits uber Alles! American Corporations and Hitler.” www.thefreelibrary.com
- “Operation Red Sox, as it was known, was one of the first covert missions of the still new Cold War. The American-trained commandos would feed intelligence back to their handlers using new radio and communications equipment, stoking nascent nationalist movements in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and the Baltics. The goal was to provide the U.S. unprecedented insight into Moscow's designs in Eastern Europe—and, if possible, to help crack apart the Soviet empire itself. Over half a decade, dozens of operatives took part in these flights, becoming one of the U.S.'s “biggest covert operations” in post-War Europe. Ukraine's bloody insurgency was the operation's centerpiece. And it was in Ukraine that, as one scholar wrote, the CIA saw one of its “most pronounced failures of the Cold War.”
Michel, C., “The Covert Operation for Ukrainian Independence that Haunts the CIA.” www.politico.com
- Minsk II was authorized by the US and its Western allies in the UN Security Council on February 15, 2015. It had the agreement of the Ukrainian government in addition to the US, France, and the UK and had the force of international law. Not fulfilling Minsk II was a violation of international law. Therefore, when Poroshenko, Merkel, and Hollande state that they had no intention of fulfilling it they were confessing to Western collusion with Ukraine to violate international law that they had agreed to.
Poroshenko on Minsk II: “Our goal was to, first, stop the threat, or at least to delay the war—to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces.”
Merkel on Minsk II (Die Zeit): “The 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give Ukraine time,” Merkel told the weekly Die Zeit. “It also used this time to become stronger, as you can see today.”
Hollande on Minsk II: “Yes, Angela Merkel is right on this point," he told the Kiev Independent media outlet, while commenting on Merkel's remark that the Minsk agreements allowed Kiev to gain time, but by no means prevented further hostilities in the Donbass. "Since 2014, Ukraine has strengthened its military posture. Indeed, the Ukrainian army was completely different from that of 2014. It was better trained and equipped. It is the merit of the Minsk agreements to have given the Ukrainian army this opportunity."
- In fact, suppression of the Russian language was the very first law the newly installed ultra-nationalist, non-elected Coup government passed in March, 2014, shortly after it came to power. This was the precipitating cause of the decision by the vast majority of citizens of the Crimea to declare their independence. Shortly thereafter, in April, 2014, the Kiev regime began shelling civilians in the Donbass. “War in Donbas.” Wikipedia
- In 2019, the International Criminal Court (ICC) determined that Ukrainian forces committed possible war crimes against Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine.
Among the evidence that the West is ignoring or obfusicating, with the help of the UN and international peace organizations like Amnesty International, is that Ukraine has not only been killing its own citizens consistently for years, a war crime, but has been bombing the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The Ukrainian army shelled the centre of Donetsk on 5 July 2022, in a civilian area devoid of military, killing 10-year-old Veronica. It shelled the funeral ceremony of Commander Korsa in the centre of Donetsk, killing eight civilians, including a 12-year-old child, Katia, who wanted to become a ballerina. Amnesty International failed to condemn the Ukrainian army's shelling of the centre of Makeyevka with outlawed cluster munitions on 6 July 2022. It left three children dead and four injured that were playing outside. Amnesty International refused to note, much less condemn the Ukrainian army's massive use of rockets filled with “petal” mines against the residential areas of Donetsk, Makeyevka, Yassinovataya and Gorlovka. These have already killed more than 40 civilians, including children. Some undergo amputations after stepping on or picking up these small toy-like mines. The head doctor of the Volnovakha hospital in the Donetsk Republic stated on camera that Ukrainian soldiers shot at Russian soldiers from the hospital buildings, a war crime, unreported by Western media or “human rights” organizations, like Amnesty International. Multiple residents of Mariupol reported that Ukrainian soldiers chased them out of their apartments in order to use them to shoot at Allied forces. That is using civilian infrastructure for military purposes, in the knowledge that counter-fire would likely cause civilian deaths which could be used for Ukrainian propaganda purposes. The headquarters of Ukrainian units have been placed in schools, a war crime. Fighters of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov regiment killed two grandmothers by throwing grenades into their apartment.
Amnesty International has for eight years maintained complicit silence regarding war crimes perpetrated by Ukraine against its civilian population. That silence has given the Ukrainian authorities the illusion that their worst crimes will remain hidden and unpunished.
The following report from Amnesty International came in 2014 before it ceased reporting on Ukrainian war crimes:
“Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists are committing war crimes in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International, as evidence emerged in local media of the volunteer militias beheading their victims. Armed volunteers who refer to themselves as the Aidar battalion "have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions", Amnesty said. Amnesty's statement came before images of what appeared to be the severed heads of two civilians' started circulating on social media today, identified by Russian news channel NTV as the heads of rebel hostages. Shortly after, Kiev-based news network Pravilnoe TV reported that it had spoken with one of the mothers of the victims who confirmed her son was a rebel, captured during fighting in Donetsk. She said she had received her son's head in a wooden box in the post, blaming nationalist volunteers for her son's death.
- There is an excellent multi-part analysis of the military plans and increase in civilian bombardment of the Donbass by Ukraine in the days prior to the Russian invasion to be found here:
- The Buildup To War In Ukraine - Sunday, February 20, 2022
- The Buildup To War In Ukraine - Monday, February 21, 2022
- The Buildup To War In Ukraine - Tuesday, February 22, 2022
- The Buildup To War In Ukraine - Wednesday, February 23, 2022
- The Buildup To War In Ukraine - Closure
- But the West was not interested in saving Ukrainian lives. If others were willing to die to drain Russia, then the US and NATO could accomplish a major foreign policy goal without deaths of their own military nationals. If that strategy failed and Russia won the war, then Ukraine would be reduced to a failed state that would be a financial drain for Russia for decades to come.
- For example, the Rand Corporation, a major US funded think tank: “If regime change came to Moscow, the West might reduce security risks by engaging new leaders to foster more-open and legitimate governance, such as through free and fair elections and anti-corruption measures. This strategy helped the West in the Yeltsin and early Putin eras.”
“If Regime Change Came to Moscow.”
- ”Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major and Woerner. On the 12 December 2017 the National Security Archive at George Washington University posted online 30 declassified US, Soviet, German, British and French documents revealing a torrent of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991. Some of the documents have been publicly available for several years, others have been revealed as a result of Freedom of Information requests for the study. See the briefing here.”
“How Gorbachev was misled over NATO assurances against expansion.”, natowatch.org
- Economist Michael Hudson:
PS: Talking of currencies, Russia is currently the most sanctioned country in the world but the rouble has recovered to way before pre-war levels. To what extent do you think the sanctions imposed on Russia by western countries have negatively impacted the countries imposing them?
MH: It's certainly been very positive for Russia. The first sanctions were imposed on Russian agriculture like cheese from Lithuania. So now Russia produces its own cheese. When you sanction a country, you force that country to be more self-reliant on its own productions. President Putin has already said that now he's going to be investing in import substitution. If he can't buy imports from the United States now he'll set up factories in Russia to produce themselves. There's no reason Russia cannot do this and be its own industrial power. It doesn't need the West. But the West still needs Russia. You mentioned Europe doing without Russian oil, and instead getting US liquefied natural gas. But it doesn't have the ports to import that natural gas. It will have to spend $5 billion to build ports. It will take many years for this. What are Germany and Europe going to do for the next few years? Are they going to let their pipes freeze in their houses? So that their pipes break and flood the houses? Will the factories slow down? Already German fertiliser companies have closed down because they can't get gas and it's going to be years before they can get gas. Without fertiliser how are the Germans going to make their agricultural yields sustainable? Well, they won't be. So Europe is going to increase its food deficit. It's going to increase its energy deficit. It's basically committing suicide on behalf of the Americans. I don't know how long the political system of Europe can go along with leaders who represent America instead of their own national interests.”, unz.com
The evidence that we are in a recession is powerful. Low unemployment is almost irrelevant because labor force participation is also low. World trade is contracting. Industrial output is declining. Wholesale inventories are high, which means markdowns and lower profit margins are on the way. Interest rates are still going up and inflation is still sapping real wages.
Much of Europe and Japan are already in recession. The China “reopening” is a flop. The stock market has been volatile but the trend is not your friend. Treasury yield curves are steeply inverted, a condition last seen in 2007. The recession part of the Recession+Crisis condition is already here.
What about another global financial crisis? We know that a banking crisis has already begun. Here's the casualty list from just this month:
- Silvergate Bank—Announced its bankruptcy on March 8
- Silicon Valley Bank—Taken over by the FDIC on March 10
- Signature Bank—Taken over by the FDIC on March 12
- First Republic Bank—$30 billion liquidity rescue by 11 banks on March 16
- Credit Suisse—Swiss government shotgun wedding with UBS on March 19
That's five bank failures or rescues in eleven days including Credit Suisse, one of the largest banks in the world and the second largest in Switzerland. Combined losses of stockholders and creditors of these institutions exceed $200 billion. Market losses in the banking sector are much greater.
- 'Russia's FSB intelligence agency has been accused of poisoning opposition activist Alexei Navalny. While the allegation may prove to be true, Western media coverage has overlooked the key role of the CIA, MI6, and the state-funded outlet Bellingcat in generating it.”
Mate, Aaron., “Navalny Poisoning: CIA, MI6, 'Discredited' State-Funded Bellingcat Play Key role in Accusing Russia.” Strategic-Culture.org.
- “The statistic shows the inflation rate in Russia from 1997 to 2021, with projections up until 2027. The inflation rate is calculated using the price increase of a defined product basket. This product basket contains products and services, on which the average consumer spends money throughout the year. They include expenses for groceries, clothes, rent, power, telecommunications, recreational activities and raw materials (e.g. gas, oil), as well as federal fees and taxes. In 2021, the average inflation rate in Russia was at about 6.69 percent compared to the previous year.” statista.com
- “In the U.S. weapons industry, the normal production level for artillery rounds for the 155 millimeter howitzer—a long-range heavy artillery weapon currently used on the battlefields of Ukraine—is about 30,000 rounds per year in peacetime.
The Ukrainian soldiers fighting invading Russian forces go through that amount in roughly two weeks.
That's according to Dave Des Roches, an associate professor and senior military fellow at the U.S. National Defense University. And he's worried.
"I'm greatly concerned. Unless we have new production, which takes months to ramp up, we're not going to have the ability to supply the Ukrainians," Des Roches told CNBC. Europe is running low, too. "The military stocks of most [European NATO] member states have been, I wouldn't say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians," Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said earlier this month. The U.S. has essentially run out of the 155 mm howitzers to give to Ukraine; to send any more, it would have to dip into its own stocks reserved for U.S. military units that use them for training and readiness. But that's a no-go for the Pentagon, military analysts say, meaning the supplies reserved for U.S. operations are highly unlikely to be affected.”
“The U.S. and Europe are running out of weapons to send to Ukraine.” CNBC
- Anti aircraft, missile and drone systems sent by the US and its allies in Ukraine have been unsuccessful in taking out Ukrainian munitions depots, command centers, and its electric grid. It appears Russia can destroy any site, weapon, or troop concentration it desires whenever it wants. “The Ukrainian military has been shaped to fight the conflict in the Donbass and thus poses little deterrent threat to Russia; provision of U.S. weapons can do nothing to change that. If Moscow is willing to launch a major war, invading the second-largest country in Europe with a population of over 40 million, all while absorbing tremendous economic punishment from the West, then it is unlikely to be deterred by whatever U.S. military assistance can be delivered in the coming weeks. The only weapons systems that could plausibly impose costs that could change Russia's calculus, such as surface-to-air missiles and combat aircraft, are ones that the United States would be highly unlikely to provide the Ukrainians. And, regardless, they could not be procured, delivered, and be made operational—to say nothing of getting the Ukrainian operators trained up to use them—in time to have an impact on this crisis. Large, modern systems require extensive training and material support.”
Charap, S., “The West's Weapons Won't Make Any Difference to Ukraine.” Foreign Policy, www.algora.com
- “If Ukraine does not win the war, the question of NATO membership will lose its importance.” APA, www.txtreport.com
- There have in recent months been protests against Western support of the war in the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Albania, Moldova, and others. European protests surrounding the anniversary of the start of the conflict notably span the Left-Right spectrum in opposing US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) imperialism as well as the economic hardships that have befallen ordinary Europeans against the backdrop of sanctions on Russia and the funding of Ukraine.
Italian port workers aligned with the Left protested in Genoa specifically to resist the use of Italian ports to supply arms deliveries to Ukraine. Meanwhile in France, demonstrations organized by the right-wing Les Patriotes party in various locations across the country called for France's withdrawal from both NATO and the European Union.
In all cases, the people on the streets at these events identify involvement in the war as harmful to general economic well-being and have been expressing frustration with their countries' acquiescence to these intergovernmental and supranational organizations in fueling the violence while simultaneously discouraging dialogue. Feelings of skepticism toward NATO, the European Union, and the United States have become increasingly vocal in Europe due to the way that western countries are handling the war. In the minds of many Europeans, their governments are recklessly following the will of Washington, which could lead them into a serious escalation to a wider war. mises.org
- “Support for Ukraine aid softens in U.S. public, poll says.” AP
“Support among the American public for providing Ukraine weaponry and direct economic assistance has softened as the Russian invasion nears a grim one-year milestone, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Forty-eight percent say they favor the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine, with 29 percent opposed and 22 percent saying they're neither in favor nor opposed. In May 2022, less than three months into the war, 60 percent of U.S. adults said they were in favor of sending Ukraine weapons. pbs.org
- …in October of last year, the Ukraine's Security Service (SBU), which maintains close ties to the Ukrainian far-right, began to regularly carry out raids in search of “anti-Ukrainian” materials at UOC churches, impose sanctions on its bishops and supporters, and open criminal cases against dozens of its clergymen.
The Pechersk Lavra monastery located in Kiev is viewed as one of the most important historical and religious sites within Ukraine and all of Eastern Europe. Until recently, the site was administered jointly by the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve and the Moscow-aligned UOC.
In January of this year, the Ukrainian government terminated the UOC's lease of the site and intervened to allow the government-backed OCU to celebrate a Christmas service at the site's Dormition Cathedral.
The announcement Friday gave the remaining UOC monks until March 29 to fully vacate the premises. Initial media reports following the eviction notice suggest that the UOC monks are refusing to leave and will likely be forcibly removed and arrested by the SBU after the deadline passes.”
“Zelensky government steps up persecution of Russian-affiliated Orthodox Church.” www.wsws.org
- “According to news reports, the decree bans For Life, Left Opposition, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists, Union of Left Forces, Party of Shariy, Opposition Bloc, Ours, State, and Volodymyr Saldo Bloc. All are suspended for at least “the period of the martial law.” This includes the the second most popular political party in Ukraine after Zelensky's own Servant of the People party in the last election.”
Turley, J., “Zelenskyy Bans Opposition Parties in Ukraine in Blow to Free Speech.”, jonathanturley.org
- “The assassination campaign, while cheered by many Ukrainians, nonetheless raises legal and ethical questions about extrajudicial killings and potential war crimes, particularly when the targets are political actors or civilians and not combatants on the battlefield or other military personnel. And those questions cannot simply be waved away by pointing to the illegality of Russia's invasion.
The Geneva Conventions, referring to “persons taking no active part in the hostilities,” specifically prohibit “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,” as well as “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court.”, "Ukrainian hit squads target Russian occupiers and collaborators", WaPo
- “Azov—a militant ultranationalist movement with neo-Nazi roots was officially incorporated into Ukraine's National Guard in 2014. vice.com
The movement's extremist ideology has never been much of a secret. Its fighters have been photographed covered with far-right tattoos and insignia, while the regiment is identifiable by the Nazi Wolfsangel logo on their uniforms (the group has denied the symbol carries a Nazi connotation). And the movement is driven by figures with deep roots in Ukraine's extreme-right scene.
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov Batallion's first commander and later a National Corps parliamentarian, previously led the neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation “Patriot of Ukraine,” and once stated in 2010 that it was the Ukrainian nation's mission to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade… against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”
“There is no arguing about [the extremist ideology], because you can see the pictures of guys with swastikas,” Mikael Skillt, a Swedish former neo-Nazi who travelled to Ukraine in 2014 to become a foreign volunteer for the far-right regiment, told VICE World News last year.
Skillt, who has since renounced extremist politics, said that he, like many far-right radicals across the world, was drawn to Ukraine after being inspired by the prominent role that Ukrainian ultranationalists and far-right hooligans had played in the Maidan protests.
Nelson Mandela was once asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that their enemies should be our enemies.”
This stance has largely typified some African nations' response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict.
“White supremacy and neo-Nazism are unacceptable and have no place in our world,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), an outspoken critic of providing lethal aid to Ukraine, said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday. “I am very pleased that the recently passed omnibus prevents the U.S. from providing arms and training assistance to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting in Ukraine.”, "Congress bans arms to Ukraine militia linked to neo-Nazis", thehill.com
- "Head of Stratfor, 'Private CIA', Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was 'The Most Blatant Coup in History'", www.globalresearch.ca
- Wikipedia lists 33 illegal attempted or successful US directed color revolutions: "Color Revolution".
- “The killing times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront.”, theguardian.com
- "NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard", nsarchive.gwu.edu
“U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).
The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.
The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen.” The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”
President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage (“I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall”) of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests; but neither Bush nor Gorbachev at that point (or for that matter, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) expected so soon the collapse of East Germany or the speed of German unification.
The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'” The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO.
This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about “closer to the Soviet borders” is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures. The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.
The “Tutzing formula” immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east. The Soviets would need much more time to work with their domestic opinion (and financial aid from the West Germans) before formally signing the deal in September 1990.
The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, “The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next.” (See Document 2)
Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev.
Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” (See Document 6)
Afterwards, Baker wrote to Helmut Kohl who would meet with the Soviet leader on the next day, with much of the very same language. Baker reported: “And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [….] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'” Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, “By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable.” (See Document 8)
Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: “We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity.” (See Document 9) After this meeting, Kohl could hardly contain his excitement at Gorbachev's agreement in principle for German unification and, as part of the Helsinki formula that states choose their own alliances, so Germany could choose NATO. Kohl described in his memoirs walking all night around Moscow—but still understanding there was a price still to pay.
All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990. At this point, the East Germans had voted overwhelmingly for the deutschmark and for rapid unification, in the March 18 elections in which Kohl had surprised almost all observers with a real victory. Kohl's analyses (first explained to Bush on December 3, 1989) that the GDR's collapse would open all possibilities, that he had to run to get to the head of the train, that he needed U.S. backing, that unification could happen faster than anyone thought possible—all turned out to be correct. Monetary union would proceed as early as July and the assurances about security kept coming. Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly “recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity.” (See Document 15)
The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: “I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure—one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.” (See Document 17)
Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his “nine points,” which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, “Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you.” (See Document 18)
The French leader Francois Mitterrand was not in a mind-meld with the Americans, quite the contrary, as evidenced by his telling Gorbachev in Moscow on May 25, 1990, that he was “personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs”; but Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must “create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole.” (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a “cher George” letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that “we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security.” (See Document 20)
At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR: “Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well.” (See Document 21)
The “Iron Lady” also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance. She said to Gorbachev: “We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured…. CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe.” (See Document 22)
The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment. Some versions of this history assert that an advance copy was provided to Shevardnadze's aides, while others describe just an alert that allowed those aides to take the wire service copy and produce a Soviet positive assessment before the military or hardliners could call it propaganda.
As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: “We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well,” referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)
In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: “So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany—an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.” (See Document 24)
The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances, and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.
But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued, a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave “the door ajar” for East European membership in NATO. (See Document 27) The view of the State Department was that NATO expansion was not on the agenda, because it was not in the interest of the U.S. to organize “an anti-Soviet coalition” that extended to the Soviet borders, not least because it might reverse the positive trends in the Soviet Union. (See Document 26) The Bush administration took the latter view. And that's what the Soviets heard.
As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, “We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO.” Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, “Nothing of the sort will happen.” (See Document 28)
When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.” According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, “Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view).” (See Document 30)
Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO. Instead, the dissolution of the USSR was brought about by Russians (Boris Yeltsin and his leading advisory Gennady Burbulis) in concert with the former party bosses of the Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, in December 1991. The Cold War was long over by then. The Americans had tried to keep the Soviet Union together (see the Bush “Chicken Kiev” speech on August 1, 1991). NATO's expansion was years in the future, when these disputes would erupt again, and more assurances would come to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.
The Archive compiled these declassified documents for a panel discussion on November 10, 2017 at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Chicago under the title “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?” The panel included:
- Mark Kramer from the Davis Center at Harvard, editor of the Journal of Cold War Studies, whose 2009 Washington Quarterly article argued that the “no-NATO-enlargement pledge” was a “myth”;
- Joshua R. Itkowitz Shifrinson from the Bush School at Texas A&M, whose 2016 International Security article argued the U.S. was playing a double game in 1990, leading Gorbachev to believe NATO would be subsumed in a new European security structure, while working to ensure hegemony in Europe and the maintenance of NATO;
- James Goldgeier from American University, who wrote the authoritative book on the Clinton decision on NATO expansion, Not Whether But When, and described the misleading U.S. assurances to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in a 2016 WarOnTheRocks article;
- Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton from the National Security Archive, whose most recent book, The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations That Ended the Cold War (CEU Press, 2016) analyzes and publishes the declassified transcripts and related documents from all of Gorbachev's summits with U.S. presidents, including dozens of assurances about protecting the USSR's security interests.
[Today's posting is the first of two on the subject. The second part will cover the Yeltsin discussions with Western leaders about NATO.]
U.S. Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.
U.S. Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829
One of the myths about the January and February 1990 discussions of German unification is that these talks occurred so early in the process, with the Warsaw Pact still very much in existence, that no one was thinking about the possibility that Central and European countries, even then members of the Warsaw Pact, could in the future become members of NATO. On the contrary, the West German foreign minister's Tutzing formula in his speech of January 31, 1990, widely reported in the media in Europe, Washington, and Moscow, explicitly addressed the possibility of NATO expansion, as well as Central and Eastern European membership in NATO—and denied that possibility, as part of his olive garland towards Moscow. This U.S. Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher's proposals—that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory.
- The head of the Russian private military company (PMC), Evgeny Prigozhin, has announced a milestone achievement in the battle for the city of Artryomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut), publishing a video allegedly taken in front of the town's administrative building on Sunday evening.
“We hoisted the Russian flag with the inscription 'Good memory to Vladlen Tatarsky' and the flag of PMC Wagner on top of the city administration of Bakhmut,” Prigozhin said in the clip.
Prigozhin's announcement comes just hours after prominent Russian military blogger Tatarsky (real name Maksim Fomin) was killed in an apparent improvised explosive device blast in a café in Saint Petersburg on Sunday afternoon.
“Legally speaking, Bakhmut is taken. The enemy is concentrated in the western districts,” the head of the PMC added. Daily Telegraph
- OPEC, and principally Saudi Arabia and in harmony with Russia, has just defied Washington by once again reducing the worldwide supply of oil.
- While I agree, Wilber averages all lines, as if they command equal weight. But this is incorrect because the core lines of self, cognition, and morality must tetra-mesh within themselves to evolve from one level to the next. If one of these lines fails to do so, it is a stopper for overall development, regardless of how far this or that other line races ahead in development. The consequence of this is developmental imbalance which leads to a fall or collapse. Psychographs therefore depict a false level of average development.
- Dillard, J., “Spiral Dynamic Colors.”, www.integralworld.net
- But he agrees for reasons that are both metaphysical and untenable. Dillard, J., “Critiquing Wilber's Defense of Krishna's Justification of Murder in the Baghavad Gita.”, /www.integralworld.net
- I made the case that Russia had already won the military, economic, and informational wars over Ukraine a year ago in this essay:
Dillard, J., “Why are Russia and Putin Winning the Economic and Military Wars?” IntegralWorld.Net
- John McCain famously described Russia as a “gas station with nukes,” with an economy the size of Italy's. Although Russia's nominal GDP is merely half that of France, its real productive economy is more than twice as large, representing nearly a five-fold shift in relative economic power. This helps explain why Russia so easily surmounted the Western sanctions that had been expected to cripple it. Ron Unz
Such ignorance lead the West to sanction Russia over ten times in over a thousand different ways. The result has been a monumental backfiring. While Biden declared the Ruble would be rubble, the Ruble was the strongest performing world currency in 2022. While inflation rates in Europe and the US are high and climbing, it is much lower than predicted in Russia. Russian markets are full; Russian exports are stronger than ever. Russia has been incentivized to develop home-grown industries to supply products previously provided by the West. Those companies have moved in to capture enormous and expanding markets that were abandoned by the West. In addition, sanctions brought Russia and China into a very close alliance which represents a sea change in geopolitical realities, something the US very much was attempting to prevent.
In general, sanctions tend to backfire for the following reasons: First, economic weapons are less effective when deployed against large states. Second, advocates of sanctions tend to believe that populations will desist from aggressive actions when their material interests are threatened. The unfortunate truth is that nations and their rulers, especially autocratic ones, sometimes have other priorities. Third, incomplete economic blockades are ineffective. In the case of Russia, it has simply replaced Western goods with home-sourced ones, building its own industrial base in the process, or used the sanctions to build its trade relations with other countries, such as China, India, and Iran.