Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

National strike: French defend their social security



Unions and left-wing political parties are calling for the immediate withdrawal of President Macron's pension reforms, which would raise France's retirement age from 62 to 64. 

Ukraine - RAND study sees risks in prolonged war



 Moon of Alabama

RAND Corp is a government and industry financed large research institute. Founded shortly after the end of the second world war it mostly works for the Pentagon by developing policies and strategies.

In April 2019 RAND published a report about Extending Russia (pdf).

The report summary explained its purpose: 

As the 2018 National Defense Strategy recognized, the United States is currently locked in a great-power competition with Russia. This report seeks to define areas where the United States can compete to its own advantage. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from Western and Russian sources, this report examines Russia's economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties. It then analyzes potential policy options to exploit them — ideologically, economically, geopolitically, and militarily (including air and space, maritime, land, and multidomain options).

RAND developed policy options in those four fields. It then evaluated their benefit, cost and risks as well as their likelihood of success.

Here is their summary table for economic measures:



The first three measures were implemented when the war in Ukraine was launched.

The geopolitical measures included an option of providing lethal aid to Ukraine. This would create the risk that Russia would respond militarily and eventually take more of Ukraine than the two Donbas republics:

Taking more of Ukraine might only increase the burden [for Russia], albeit at the expense of the Ukrainian people. However, such a move might also come at a significant cost to Ukraine and to U.S. prestige and credibility. This could produce disproportionately large Ukrainian casualties, territorial losses, and refugee flows. It might even lead Ukraine into a disadvantageous peace.

While they at times underestimate Russia's capabilities RAND people are not dumb. They knew of the likely outcome of a war.

Other geopolitical measure RAND evaluated included more support for 'Syrian rebels', regime change per color revolution in Belarus, to exploit tensions in the southern Caucasus and to reduce Russian influence in Central Asia.

RAND's summary for geopolitical measures:



The Trump and Biden administrations both implemented the measures that seemed to have high benefits as well as high risks.

The use of ideological measures against Russia was seen as having rather low benefits.



There follow more options, mostly in military categories, that the RAND report developed and evaluated. They emphasize industry pork.

The Trump administration took some of the measures RAND provided but seemed not too enthusiastic about them. Its regime change attempt in Belarus failed. The Biden administration changed tact. He endorsed Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the color revolution candidate that had failed the elections in Belarus. Biden also allowed for the delivery of more offensive weapons to Ukraine. The regime in Kiev was encouraged to retake the rebellions Donbas republics. The green light for that was given in early 2022 even as the White House knew that Russia would respond militarily. The consequences for Ukraine that RAND had predicted in 2019 ensued.

The U.S. aim for the war is, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in April 2022, to 'weaken Russia':

A National Security Council spokesperson said that Austin’s comments were consistent with what the US’ goals have been for months – namely, “to make this invasion a strategic failure for Russia.”

“We want Ukraine to win,” the spokesperson added. “One of our goals has been to limit Russia’s ability to do something like this again, as Secretary Austin said. That’s why we are arming the Ukrainians with weapons and equipment to defend themselves from Russian attacks, and it’s why we are using sanctions and export controls that are directly targeted at Russia’s defense industry to undercut Russia’s economic and military power to threaten and attack its neighbors.”

That, however, will take a very long time.

Letting the conflict extend longer, concludes a newly released RAND report, is itself a danger. The U.S. must avoid a long war:

The authors argue that, in addition to minimizing the risks of major escalation, U.S. interests would be best served by avoiding a protracted conflict. The costs and risks of a long war in Ukraine are significant and outweigh the possible benefits of such a trajectory for the United States. Although Washington cannot by itself determine the war's duration, it can take steps that make an eventual negotiated end to the conflict more likely.

The study (pdf) argues that Ukraine's retaking of territory Russia controls should not be relevant for U.S. plans. It has little benefits but high costs. Prolonging the war, while having some benefits for the U.S., has even more risk and costs attached to it.



Especially important to RAND seems to be that the war in Ukraine diverts the U.S. from starting a war with China:

Beyond the potential for Russian gains and the economic consequences for Ukraine, Europe, and the world, a long war would also have on sequences for U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. ability to focus on its other global priorities —particularly, competition with China— will remain constrained as long as the war is absorbing senior policymakers’ time and U.S. military resources.

And although Russia will be more dependent on China regardless of when the war ends, Washington does have a long-term interest in ensuring that Moscow does not become completely subordinated to Beijing. A longer war that increases Russia’s dependence could provide China advantages in its competition with the United States.

The U.S., says RAND, can take measures that make a quick end of the war possible. It can press Ukraine to start negotiations and to accept a bad outcome by threatening to stop financing the war. It can encourage Russia to enter into negotiations by offering substantial sanctions relief.

The reports final policy advice concludes:

A dramatic, overnight shift in U.S. policy is politically impossible—both domestically and with allies—and would be unwise in any case. But developing these instruments now and socializing them with Ukraine and with U.S. allies might help catalyze the eventual start of a process that could bring this war to a negotiated end in a time frame that would serve U.S. interests. The alternative is a long war that poses major challenges for the United States, Ukraine, and the rest of the world.

Start working on this now, says Rand.

It is likely not by chance that the previous call for an immediate start of negotiations to end the war came from the U.S. Chief of Staff Mark Milley. That he did so publicly was a sign that he had lost the internal White House debate on that issue. He probably asked for the RAND study to bolster his argument.

But the neocons, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, State Secretary Anthony Blinken and his deputy Victoria Nuland, who together wage their war against Russia, have Joe Biden's ears and can control the information he gets. Milley and other realist will have a difficult stand.

Steady Russian progress in its campaign will be the best argument for them to win the internal war in Washington DC.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Sadness and Solidarity


I am gripped by sadness,
of sea smoke
clinging to me,
waiting for the sun
to return,
life again.
It's a sadness
I've long known.
First becoming 
at a young age
when I read about
Washington's army
slaughtering the Lakota
at Wounded Knee.

Today the sadness
descends on me
as I see Washington's
illuminate the sky
via HIMARS rockets,
battle tanks being queued up
to be delivered to the front,
sent to South Dakota
in 1890.

The U.S. targets have changed over time.
Ukrainian 'allies' just hit 
a civilian hospital
in Novoaydar
(using Pentagon supplied targeting coordinates) 
HIMARS was long-range weapon of choice
killing 14 people and injuring 24.
Nonstop Nazi attacks in the Donbass
since 2014.
All on behalf of the 'defensive' NATO alliance.
No anguished cries  
are heard from western media,
nor from those who denounce Putin
for defending
the long-suffering victims
of US client state
Nazi terror along Russia's border.

What comes next 
to the war zone?
F-16's and nukes?

Out of my deep sadness
seeps energy for
which I learned to sing about
in my farm worker union days.
In current times
I am moved to rail against
Raytheon, Lockheed Martin,
General Dynamics, Boeing
and the rest of the warmongers
(and their puppets in Congress)
making massive profits
by killing the so-called enemies
of the uni-polar pirates.
I've lost friends over this solidarity,
as one said to me,
'some people who you thought
were your friends 
never actually were'.
Hard to swallow that one.
On I trudge
through the deep layers
of sorrow.
My heart beating
so I know I am still alive.
As long as I breathe
I'll embrace the sadness
and keep showing
it's all I've ever known.

Suspension of diplomatic relations with Ukraine demanded in Budapest


Hungarian Community for Peace

A demonstration took place in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Budapest on Saturday with the participation of right and left political parties and civil organizations. Regardless of their party affiliation, the demonstrators jointly demanded that the Orbán government take action to protect the Transcarpathian Hungarians and condemned the regime in Kyiv, which disregards the lives of Hungarians.

The president of the Hungarian Community for Peace, Endre Simó said the following in his speech:

I greet you with respect, because you are standing up for the lives of our Hungarian compatriots against the Kiev Nazis!

We have come here, in front of Zelenskyi's Ukrainian representation in Hungary, so that they can hear what we have to say.

Your system must perish because you cannot live in peace not only with Russia, but also with your own peoples. Blood sticks to your hands! The life of 13 thousand Donbas Russians. The lives of at least a hundred thousand Ukrainian soldiers, including many hundreds of Hungarians. They were sent to the meat grinder to protect yourselves and your disgraceful regime. You ooze hatred for anyone who refuses to submit to you and Ukrainians with a superiority complex. It is not enough that a few years ago you classified your peoples into indigenous and non-indigenous categories, declared the Transcarpathian Hungarians a foreign nation, and denied them the opportunity to live as Hungarians, now you are even  exterminating them! The men are rounded up in the street, and bayonets are pointed at them, and they are driven to the front slaughterhouse like animals. The genocidal Kiev regime is trying to save its skin at the cost of Hungarian lives, while trying to convince the world that it is protecting the free world and Christian civilization.


We did not come here to demand that those who are waiting for the sinkhole of history to come to their senses and improve. We are not dealing with scoundrels who have sold their souls to the devil to savage their own people and rule over others. They must bear the consequences of their actions! That they became NATO's battering ram to tear apart the country that Hitler failed to bring to its knees. Nothing is dear to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, least of all the lives of Hungarians! They want NATO to send an army to Ukraine. They would benefit if Hungary intervened in the defense of Transcarpathia. In the eyes of America's puppet, the end justifies the means, the preservation of the Nazi system with the help of NATO.

We came here to demand action from the Hungarian government against the Ukrainian leadership. Enough of the words, the cursing! Actions are needed! We demand that Hungary suspend its diplomatic relations with Kiev! The Hungarian government should stop funding the Kyiv regime immediately! Don't give money to the anti-Hungarian Ukrainian leadership! Hungary should not provide financial or armed support to Ukraine until Kyiv stops its aggressiveness against the Transcarpathian Hungarians! (Not even a week ago, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, announced that even though the transfer of arms is against Hungary's interests, the government will not stand in the way of the EU giving Kyiv an additional 500 million euros in arms support.) In short, our government openly admits that it is acting against our national interests! Does he really expect us to applaud him? We will not! Rather, we demand that the restoration of Hungarian-Ukrainian diplomatic relations, which is proposed to be severed, requires the recognition of Transcarpathia's self-determination! In the meantime, let Viktor Orbán make an agreement with Moscow on the provision of asylum for those Hungarian soldiers in the Transcarpathians who are not willing to fight against the Russians, but surrender to them!


Don't justify your inaction with the government's commitments to NATO and the EU! No one was authorized by the Hungarian people to give weapons and finance a system that threatens the lives of Hungarians! "The Ukrainian authorities have the right to enlist the Transcarpathians, as Ukrainian laws apply to them," the Orbáns defend themselves. So shall we let their right triumph over our most sacred national interest, our existence, our survival, our lives?

We came here today because for us the lives of the Hungarians come before the rights of the Kiev Nazis!

Kyiv's attack on Transcarpathia is an attack on all Hungarians. With its silence and inaction, the Hungarian government may become an accomplice of the Ukrainian regime, which sooner or later must answer for its war crimes!

Our place is on the Transcarpathian side, not on Kiev!

Long live Transcarpathia and its suffering people! Long live those who fight to free Transcarpathia from the neo-Nazi yoke and to be able to freely decide who they want to live with in the future! Long live the Hungarian people, who want to be in peace and in good relations with both the East and the West, making their historical dream come true: a Hungary outside the bloc, independent and free from foreign interference. 


The situation in Transcarpathia is for Hungarians similar to the situation for Russians in Donbass. Despite being within the Ukrainian territory, the region is marked by very different characteristics from the rest of the country, with a Hungarian ethnic and cultural predominance. For Kiev, this apparently sounds like a threat, as Hungary refuses to support the neo-Nazi regime against Russia and could encourage Transcarpathia’s residents to do the same. Therefore, the Zelensky government is planning a “final solution” for Transcarpathia, in order to avoid Hungarian separatism or annexation. By systematically sending recently mobilized and militarily untrained ethnic Hungarians to the front, Kiev is provoking a true genocide, as virtually all Transcarpathians are dying during the combats.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Croatian President on Baerbock’s ‘Madness’



Commenting on German Foreign Minister Baerbock’s statements regarding “being at war with Russia,” Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Jan. 26 that this was news to him, and sarcastically wished Berlin better luck than in World War II, reported RT. Croatia “should in no way help” Ukraine militarily, Milanovic said. “Do you want us to enter the war?”

Milanovic reminded journalists that he had been criticized for characterizing the Ukraine war as a proxy war between NATO and Russia.

“Now the German foreign minister says we must be united, because I quote, we are at war with Russia. I didn’t know that,” Milanovic said. “Maybe Germany is at war with Russia, but then, good luck, maybe this time it turns out better than 70-odd years ago.”

Milanovic pointed to the irony that there were effectively two governments ruling in Berlin: “If we are at war with Russia, then let’s see what we need to do. But we won’t ask Germany for its opinion. Let them figure out who is the actual chancellor over there. I’ve been in politics for a long time, and our country has been through a lot, but I’ve never seen this kind of madness before,” he remarked.

When it comes to tanks, “Russian or American, they burn just the same,” Milanovic said, warning that weapons deliveries to Ukraine will only prolong the war.

Germans speak out: Peace, Freedom, Self-Determination



Sunday song


Need some more of this spirit now - more than ever.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Ukraine hits Donbass hospital w/ HIMARS missile gifted by Pentagon

What is NAT-O?


I was on the street again last Thursday in downtown Brunswick, Maine during the noon hour rush.

Because of the big snows we had this past week my usual protest cat-bird spot was not available as the city had piled up snow there since they had run out of places to push it.

So I found a spot on one corner at a busy intersection but had to clear snow with my boots in order to make a safe place to stand.

While standing there with my sign 'NATO is Offensive' a woman stopped her car at the traffic light, rolled down her window, and shouted to me over the traffic noise, 'What is NAT-O'?  

I yelled back 'NATO' and she said 'Oh, I thought it was a good thing'.

Having now been on the street with 'No war with Russia' signs twice a week since mid-February I can say with confidence that most Americans have no clue.

A couple weeks ago one working class Mainer was waiting at the light next to where I was standing and said he agreed with us. I asked him what he thought the general public was saying about Ukraine and he said, 'They don't read. They don't know what is going on.' His words were right on.

Some of the Fazebook posts I see are from people who make really uninformed statements about Russia, Putin, Ukraine and US-NATO policies. Generally you can tell who is following the story closely and has some perspective since the 2014 US directed coup in Kiev. Those that don't know these details just spout out talking points that come straight from the mainstream media which faithfully spreads the lies they get from the CIA.

I am very worried these days. Months ago the US-NATO said they would not give battle tanks to Ukraine. Now that has changed. Currently they are saying they won't give war planes to Zelensky's collapsing army but I've learned not to trust anything Washington-London-Brussels- Berlin-Paris ever say. 

All the real news from the battle front in eastern Ukraine (near the Russia border) is that Kiev's army is backpedaling and losing huge amounts of US-NATO military hardware and thousands of their troops. Recent stories have revealed that Poland has sent thousands of troops into the fight and they are being killed in big numbers. Zelensky has ordered the rounding up of anyone on the streets of Ukraine between the ages of 16-65 to be sent to the front lines without real military training.

Poland is now saying they've been asked by Kiev to send male refugees who fled into Poland back to Ukraine so they can be used as more cannon fodder. Surely Washington is issuing these marching orders.

I got a message this week from a Hungarian peace organization. They wrote:

Our Hungarian brothers living in Transcarpathia are used as cannon fodder by the Kiev regime. They are sent by the thousands to sure death. They want to protect the anti-Hungarian Ukrainian neo-Nazi power with them. What is happening in Transcarpathia is an attack against Transcarpathia and the entire Hungarian nation. We will not let them wipe out our blood! We invite all Hungarian patriots to a demonstration in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Budapest on Saturday, January 28 at 11 a.m.
These desperate measures to grab citizens from Ukraine's neighboring nations and send them into this war is not going to do Kiev any good long term. It's a bad public relations strategy.

The German public did not want to send their battle thanks to Ukraine but the political elite ignored them. So much for democracy! 

Estonia is considering including 155 mm cluster artillery among its military aid to Ukraine, the country’s Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told the national TV and radio broadcaster ERR on January 26. Cluster bombs are illegal under international law.

The US-NATO want to keep this war hot because the MIC is making big $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Washington wants Russia to bleed badly since the goal is to destroy as much of Ukraine as possible knowing they will create a failed state on Russia's border. Just like in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Yemen.

US-NATO created this mess and they are losing. They are getting desperate and shoveling any thing and everything toward Kiev's failing military operation.

The big question for all of us is at what point will the US-NATO use nukes in a vain attempt to rescue their failed war project?

It surely is time for the public to get educated about what is actually going on. Our lives depend on it.

Maybe its also time for the government gatekeepers inside the 'peace movement' to be exposed as the water-carriers they truly are. Don't think for a moment that Mr. Big has not placed agents inside all of the social movements. Far too much is at stake to leave things to the great unwashed to deal with on their own. (Remember COINTELPRO during the 1960s.)

We know there are Pentagon warehouses full of GI's sitting at computers acting as trolls to spread the warmongers hate and lies. That is the country we live in these days.


Always learn things from Brian Berletic



The New Atlas 

Update for January 25, 2023: West pledges main battle tanks to Ukraine  + Myanmar’s upcoming elections targeted by US-backed terrorism.

- Western media reports resignation of several high-level Ukrainian officials;

- The US and Germany have pledged the M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 main battle tanks;

- Western military experts explain that Western main battle tanks require large logistical support, years of training for a foreign army to adopt them, and have intense maintenance requirements;

- ATACMS exist in much small numbers;

- Ukraine admits Russia has adapted to HIMARS GMLRS rockets, making it  likely that Russia will adapt to ATACMS;

- Conversely, Russia has effectively forced Ukraine’s rear areas into neighboring countries with its missile forces;

- The US has announced increase artillery shell production to 90k shells/month in 2 years a month, roughly half of what Ukraine uses in 15 days;

- As the US wages proxy war in Ukraine against Russia, it does so in Myanmar against China;

- US-backed opposition is using terrorism to impede elections in Myanmar;


Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

BBC - Top Ukrainian officials quit in anti-corruption drive:
The Duran - Isolating Zelensky. Collective West builds intervention force for west Ukraine:
BBC - US and Germany ready to send tanks to Ukraine - reports:
Lt. General Mark Hertling (ret.) - thread regarding M1 Abrams being sent to Ukraine:
1945 - Ukraine Won’t Get Leopard 2 Or M1 Abrams Tanks: Does It Matter?:
Alexander Mercouris - Russia Begins New Vuhledar Offensive, Advances in Bakhmut, Zaporozhye; Big Purge Strikes Kiev:

~ Brian Berletic was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps based in Okinawa, Japan, and saw Japanese people protesting against their base's existence, he and his fellow marines couldn't be more confused: “Don't they know we are here to protect them?”

Yet after four years in the military witnessing the horrible attitude many marines had shown to the locals, including committing atrocious crimes towards them, Berletic gradually understood the resentment they had towards U.S. soldiers, and started to doubt the reasonable causes of the U.S. military bases in other parts of the world.

Berletic is now a geopolitical analyst who for years wrote articles under the pen name Tony Cartalucci, exposing U.S.-backed opposition movements in Southeast Asia.

Friday, January 27, 2023

U.S. war in Ukraine is 'a catastrophic mistake'



Andrew Napolitano continues to speak out against the US-NATO war in Ukraine.

He is articulate, emotional and thoughtful.

I like him and not just because he is an Italian-American - just like my mother was.

Napolitano is a self-described Libertarian. Most Libertarians oppose US warmongering. I stand with them on that. Currently many Libertarians across the US are publicly organizing against US policy in Ukraine.

I don't agree with Libertarians on many of their domestic policies but I can find common ground with people that I feel are principled like Napolitano.

In this video he takes on Republicans and Democrats alike.

I am glad he is speaking out so strongly. I respect him very much.


Our recent snows




We had three good size snow falls during recent days here in Brunswick, Maine. 

It's quite lovely outside these days.

Click on the photos for a better view.


Japan reenlists as Washington’s spear-carrier


Patrick Lawrence reflects on Prime Minister Kishida’s radical turn toward the militarism his country’s pacifist constitution forbids.

By Patrick Lawrence

It is always the same when Japanese premiers travel to Washington to summit at the White House. Nothing seems to happen and nobody pays much attention even when important things happen, when we should all pay attention, and, when we do pay passing attention, we usually get it wrong. In January 1960, when Premier Nobusuke Kishi visited Washington, President Dwight Eisenhower blessed a war criminal and signed a security treaty the Japanese public vigorously opposed. That week Newsweek marked Kishi down as “that friendly, savvy Japanese salesman.”

Kishi proved a salesman, all right. Three years later he used armed police to clear the Diet of opposition legislators and force ratification of the Anpo treaty, as the Japanese call it, with members of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) the only ones present to vote on it. “A 134–pound body packed with pride, power and passion — a perfect embodiment of his country’s amazing resurgence,” TIME wrote of the man who ought to have been hanged a decade earlier.

Now we have Premier Fumio Kishida, who summited with our asleep-at-the-wheel president in the Oval Office a week ago. I do not know how much Kishida weighs or how proud of himself or his nation he is, but, in an uncanny echo of the Kishi–Eisenhower summit, Joe Biden blessed his radical turn toward the militarism Japan’s pacifist constitution forbids.

There is a long history here. American New Dealers wrote Japan’s pacifist constitution shortly after the August 1945 surrender. But since the Truman administration set the Cold War in motion in 1947, Washington has incessantly, diabolically pressed the Japanese to breach it. “Do more” was the common exhortation during my years in Tokyo. Now Kishida obliges. If he is the perfect embodiment of anything, it is the obsequious pandering with which Japan’s conservative and nationalist political cliques have conducted relations with the U.S. since the August 1945 defeat.

I read in the hours Kishida spent at the White House the further polarization of the planet as the U.S. insists on compelling it and the capitulation of yet another nation previously capable of a mediating role between East and West, between Global South and Global North, between the U.S. imperium and its designated enemies, China and Russia chief among them. Sweden, Finland and Germany have already abandoned this admirable place in the global order in the name of supporting the regime in Ukraine. Japan now follows suit.  

There is a simple chronology leading to the Kishida–Biden summit, and it is useful to follow it. Biden traveled to Tokyo last May to meet with the recently elected Kishida, and the two made a great show of committing to “continually modernize the alliance, evolve bilateral roles and missions, and strengthen joint capabilities, including by aligning strategies and prioritizing goals together.”

A month ago, the Kishida government announced that it would raise the 2023 defense budget by $7.3 billion, the biggest increase in postwar Japanese history, and that it would double defense expenditure, to 2 percent of gross domestic product, over the next five years. Tokyo has for decades held defense spending to 1 percent of GDP.

Prior to his arrival in Washington last week, Kishida made a grand tour through Europe, stopping in every Group of 7 capital except Berlin. In each the topic was the same: Tokyo will now count itself a fully committed member of the Western alliance, signing on to all that animates it. In London, Kishida concluded a mutual-access defense accord permitting each to station troops on the other’s soil. This followed by a few months a Tokyo–London–Rome agreement jointly to develop a new fighter jet.  


And now the Oval Office summit, during which the two leaders pledged, as the government-supervised New York Times put it, “to work together to transform Japan into a potent military power to help counterbalance China and to bolster the alliance between the two nations so that it becomes the linchpin for their security interests in Asia.” The artless Biden, who seems to delight in putting his foot in his mouth, had to add to his official statement, “The more difficult job is trying to figure out how and where we disagree.” Indeed, Joe, a 78-year-old truth, bitter as they come.  

This is a very big deal, and, yes, I mean to equate its significance to the Kishi–Eisenhower doings at the height of Cold War I. The ruling LDP, which has tried and failed severally to alter the pacifist constitution to release the Self-Defense Forces from the “no war” Article 9, has periodically “reinterpreted” it — stretched it like a rubber band — for many years. Shinzo Abe, the nationalist premier who was assassinated last year after leaving office two years earlier, forced legislation through the Diet allowing the SDF to engage in overseas combat missions.

That was in 2015. Kishida has now gone further, and in a more highly charged context. He has turned what had been by and large a domestic question concerning the constitution into a global commitment. He has also set Japan on course to become the world’s third-largest military power after the U.S. and China and ahead of France. A lot of the new military spending will go to missile systems and warships that will project Japanese power far beyond the home islands and maritime zones over which Tokyo claims jurisdiction. The missiles, which are to include U.S.–made Tomahawks, will be capable of hitting targets on the Chinese mainland.

Kishida, like Kishi 60–odd years ago, must now get his new “defense strategy” through the Diet. I cannot predict his political chances but stand with those many Japanese who hope he either fails or faces a vigorous fight that shakes the Japanese and the rest of us awake to what Tokyo’s ruling cliques are attempting. Japan is not, by law and national sentiment, supposed to be “a potent military power,” as the Times approvingly put it. Japan has sought, with difficulty, a new purpose for itself since the Cold War’s end and its achievement of economic equality with the West. Reenlisting as Washington’s principal spear-carrier in the western Pacific is nothing more than weak-minded recidivism.

It could not be clearer that Tokyo has just elected to stand with Washington in the latter’s campaign of hostility and provocation against the Chinese People’s Republic. It is equally the case that the five Chinese missiles that landed in Japan’s territorial waters following Nancy Pelosi’s grandiose visit to Taiwan last summer weighed on Kishida’s course of action — if only by way of giving him a political opportunity.

But Tokyo would have handled this matter differently in years past. There would have been a diplomatic contretemps, and maybe some temporary sanctions against Chinese-made products the Japanese can do well enough without. But Japan would have maintained its delicate balancing act between the U.S. and the mainland. Of this I am certain. Neither would a premier visiting Washington sound off about the conflict in Ukraine, as Kishida has taken to doing. 

I fail to see any way Japan’s new declaration of allegiance makes Japan more secure, and let us not speak of the rest of East Asia. Washington desires above all to raise tensions in the Pacific. Kishida has inadvisedly — with plenty of precedent — cooperated in this cultivation of anti-Chinese belligerence.  

There is a history here, too. The Japanese have nursed a pronounced ambivalence as to their place in the world since they began making themselves modern in the 1870s. Yukichi Fukuzawa, a prominent Meiji-era intellectual, published an essay in 1885 called “Datsu–A ron,” “On Departure from Asia.” In our time there have been numerous refinements on the thought. We have datsu–A, nu–O, leaving Asia, joining the West, and datsu–A, nu–Bei, leaving Asia, joining America. More recently: nu–A, datsu–O, joining Asia, departing from the West; nu–A, nu–O, joining Asia and the West both, and nu–A, shin–O, joining Asia and being merely friendly with the West.

I find zai–A, shin–O, which translates as being Asian, being merely friendly with the West, the most curious of these variations: Being Asian, or “existing in Asia” (another translation), is a considerable leap after more than a century of confusion as to the national identity. Kishida has just tossed out this notion in favor of the old “leaving Asia,” impossible as this may be.

It is well enough, you could argue, to transcend an enduring confusion. But the Kishida government has done so in the worst kind of way. Japan’s proper place resembles Germany’s: Its destiny is to stand between West and East, and there need be no confusion about this.

All gone now. I have no idea how Japan will fit in the Western security alliance, but I am pretty certain it will be other than an equal partner. Since Theodore Roosevelt’s day the U.S. has never looked straight across the Pacific at eye level. Subtly or otherwise, it knows only how to look down.

If Shinzo Abe was an out-of-the-closet militarist and nationalist — Nobusuke Kishi was his grandfather — Fumio Kishida’s background makes him a less-than-obvious read for the direction he now takes. He has long been a senior figure in the LDP’s Kochikai faction, among the party’s oldest and, by tradition, comprised of foreign policy doves who favor diplomatic engagement and who defend Article 9 of the constitution. On the other hand, he served as Abe’s foreign minister from 2012 until the latter left office eight years later. When he was elected premier last year, Kishida immediately came out against China’s supposed aggressions, as Washington incessantly cites them, and I wish someone would at last give us a list of these, as I cannot think of any.

There is a tradition among Japanese conservatives, and certainly its mainstream nationalists, that we cannot leave out. It is subtle, a paradox, and I used to find it difficult to explain to my foreign editors. However vigorous the nationalism of Japanese nationalists, they always turn out to be putty in Washington’s hands. Nobusuke Kishi was an excellent example of the phenomenon. I think this reflects some respect for the victor long lodged in the consciousness of precisely those most inclined to defend Japan and “Japanness” against the crude intrusions of “round eyes.”  

As Washington loved Kishi for his abuses of Japan’s citizenry, Washington loved Abe for his effort to revise outright the constitution American wrote and the Japanese treasure. Even if he failed, Abe gave the question a new legitimacy. Now Washington loves Fumio Kishida, who knows enough to leave the constitution alone and oblige Washington with another of the LDP’s reinterpretations. It is a loss for Japan, for Asia, for the rest of us.

~ Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. 

This article is from ScheerPost

Thursday, January 26, 2023

German Green Party hypocrisy


German Green Party leaders in the national coalition government Annalena Baerbock (Foreign Minister) and Robert Habeck (Vice Chancellor) work overtime to ensure that US foreign policy stays dominate in Berlin. They have betrayed and severely undermined the international Green Party movement which already had many internal contradictions.


By Michael Tracey

German Green Party manifesto in the 2021 election called for banning "export of arms and military equipment" into war zones. They won 118 seats on this pledge, entered the ruling coalition, and are now the government's most hardcore proponents of exporting arms into war zones. [Aimed at Russia.]

U.S. Peace Council statement on Ukraine


Ukraine War: Those who fail to call for negotiations, fail to understand the dangerous predicament that faces the planet!


U.S. Peace Council
January 25, 2023

At no time since the Cuban missile crisis has our world has been so close to disaster. As the war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary, it is being increasingly transformed by the Biden administration and the “collective west” into a war between NATO and Russia. The danger of turning into a nuclear confrontation is imminent.

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a wake-up call in the midst of Cold War, warning just how close a nuclear World War III could be. Unlike today, both sides sought accommodation. They understood that a retreat from war was in their mutual interest. The Anti-Ballistic Missile and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties, now scrapped, were negotiated.

Back then, an international peace movement with a robust US contingent amplified the demand for a peaceful world. Such voices are much diminished now. Unlike in the past, not a single Democrat in Congress spoke out for peace, leaving the ideological terrain for war virtually uncontested. Particularly unfortunate are the voices, including some in the U.S. “left,” who continue to beat the drums of war by calling for the continuation of war until the victory of Ukraine. That would only mean the victory of NATO in an all-out war with Russia.


Negotiated peace agreements are not based so much on trust as on the mutual understanding that the alternative is in neither side’s interest. Arguing as some on the “left” do that “Putin’s Russia cannot be trusted,” disregards the fact that no negotiation between warring parties has ever been based on trust.

The undeniable reality facing us should make us all aware of the urgency for negotiations and a diplomatic solution to this war.

The war in and around Ukraine must end. There should be no dispute about that. All wars end either with negotiations or with the victory of one side or the other. Given that this war is not merely between Russia and Ukraine but is between Russia and a Western-backed Ukraine, the first option — for victory — is impossible. Neither Russia (a major nuclear power) nor the Western powers (many of them being major nuclear powers) will tolerate anything near a defeat.

If a military victory is not possible, then the only way forward is for negotiations. War is not an answer. Escalating this war should not be promoted by those who believe in international cooperation and genuine peace. Those who fail to call for negotiations in the midst of this contentious period — with the war ongoing and its impact intensifying a cost-of-living crisis around the world — fail to understand the dangerous predicament that faces the planet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

'A war against Russia'


German Foreign Minister: Germany ‘at war’ with Russia

Annalena Baerbock made the admission in a debate with EU colleagues, pushing for the delivery of tanks to Kiev


Arguing in favor of sending tanks to Kiev, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock [Green Party] said EU countries were fighting a war against Russia. US and EU officials have previously gone out of their way to claim they were not a party to the conflict in Ukraine.

“And therefore I’ve said already in the last days – yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

While Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted that Germany ought to support Ukraine but avoid direct confrontation with Russia, his coalition partner Baerbock has taken a more hawkish position. According to German media, her Green Party has been in favor of sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, and eventually managed to pressure Scholz into agreeing. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who was reluctant to send tanks to Ukraine, was pushed to resign.

This is not the first time Baerbock has made waves with her position on the conflict. She told an EU gathering in Prague last August that she intends to deliver on her promises to Ukraine “no matter what my German voters think.”

Quoting Baerbock’s words on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the West just keeps admitting that they had been planning the current conflict for years.

“If we add this to Merkel’s revelations that they were strengthening Ukraine and did not count on the Minsk agreements, then we are talking about a war against Russia that was planned in advance. Don’t say later that we didn’t warn you,” Zakharova said.

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel told German media in early December that the 2014 ceasefire brokered by Berlin and Paris was actually a ploy to “give Ukraine valuable time” for a military build-up. Former French president Francois Hollande has confirmed this, while Ukraine’s leader at that time, Pyotr Poroshenko, openly admitted it as well.

Russia’s operation in Ukraine was a “forced and last-resort response to preparations for aggression by the US and its satellites,” former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.

Washington preparing for WW 3 with Russia?



US military arriving in Europe in the port of Aarhus, Denmark for the US ARMY - ATLANTIC RESOLVE 2023 war games. 

Each time the Pentagon holds these war games in Europe they ship massive amounts of weapons and leave them at depots in Norway and Poland.

See below:

US weapons get stored in Norway after war games

Pentagon weapons depot in Poland   


The Atlantic Resolve program began in April 2014 and provides for the presence of military contingents from the U.S. in Europe and Africa. There are approximately 6,000 regionally allocated soldiers participating in nine-month Atlantic Resolve rotations at any given time. There are four types of U.S. Army Atlantic Resolve rotations – armored, aviation, sustainment task force and division forward headquarters. 

Rotational units conduct bilateral, joint and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries, including: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. 

In reality, the current deployment of forces does not appear to be a routine operation. The movement of troops was announced in September by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. 

“We are significantly enhancing our presence in the east of the alliance, putting hundreds of thousands of troops on high readiness, supported with significant air and naval forces,” Stoltenberg told reporters then. 

The US build-up in eastern Europe has exponentially increased in the past year as western countries claim they are strengthening their deterrence posture facing Russia’s military.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

WikiLeaks cables reveal NATO intended to cross all Russian red lines



    Ukraine effectively became a giant military springboard aimed against Moscow. NATO regularly conducted exercises, maintained an extensive presence and even planned to make it permanent with at least several land and naval bases under construction in the country at the time when Russia launched its counteroffensive.

By Drago Bosnic (Independent geopolitical and military analyst) 

For nearly a year, the massive Western propaganda machine has been manipulating its audience into believing the “Russia’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine” narrative. The “reporting” can be crudely boiled down to the following: “On February 24, bloodthirsty Kremlin dictator Putin got up on the wrong side of the bed and decided to attack the nascent beacon of freedom and democracy in Kiev.” This is mandatory in virtually all Western mainstream media and any attempt to even think of questioning it results in immediate “cancellation”. Propagandists posing as “pundits” flooded political talk shows with the task of presenting decades of unrelenting NATO expansion as irrelevant to Russia’s reaction.

However, WikiLeaks, an organization the United States has been trying to shut down for well over a decade, including through the horrendous treatment of its founder Julian Assange, published secret cables showing this narrative couldn’t possibly be further from reality. Data indicates that American officials weren’t only aware of the frustration NATO expansion caused in Moscow, but were even directly told it would result in Russia’s response. And while the US often insists that the current crisis is a result of Vladimir Putin’s alleged desire to “rebuild the Russian Empire”, WikiLeaks reveals that even his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, infamous for his suicidal subservience to Washington DC, warned against NATO expansion.

For approximately three decades, consecutive US administrations were explicitly warned that Ukraine’s NATO membership would be the last straw for Moscow. Numerous Russian officials kept cautioning this would destabilize the deeply divided post-Soviet country. These warnings were made both in public and private, and were reiterated by other NATO members, geopolitical experts, Russian opposition leaders and even some American diplomats, including a US ambassador in Moscow. Yeltsin once told former president Bill Clinton that NATO expansion was “nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed”. Clinton, infamous for his aggression on Yugoslavia, ignored the warning and by 1999, less than a decade after the “not an inch to the east” promise was made, most of Eastern Europe was in NATO.

Despite this encroachment, Vladimir Putin still tried to establish closer ties with the political West, ratified START II and even offered to join NATO. America responded with unilateral withdrawal from key arms control treaties and color revolutions in Moscow’s geopolitical backyard. By the mid-2000s, Russia was flanked by two hostile US-backed regimes on its southern and western borders (Georgia and Ukraine). Major NATO members, such as Germany and France, warned this would lead to an inevitable response from Moscow. A WikiLeaks cable dated September 2005 reads:

    “[French presidential advisor Maurice] Gourdault-Montagne warned that the question of Ukrainian accession to NATO remained extremely sensitive for Moscow, and concluded that if there remained one potential cause for war in Europe, it was Ukraine. Some in the Russian administration felt we were doing too much in their core zone of interest, and one could wonder whether the Russians might launch a move similar to Prague in 1968, to see what the West would do.”

WikiLeaks further reveals that German officials reiterated similar concerns about Russia’s reaction to NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine, particularly the latter, with diplomat Rolf Nikel stating: “While Georgia was ‘just a bug on the skin of the bear,’ Ukraine was inseparably identified with Russia, going back to Vladimir of Kiev in 988.” Another cable dated January 2008 says that “Italy is a strong advocate” for NATO enlargement, “but is concerned about provoking Russia through hurried Georgian integration.” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere made similar remarks, an April 2008 cable indicates. Despite believing Russia shouldn’t have a saying in NATO, he said that “he understands Russia’s objections to NATO enlargement and that the alliance needs to work to normalize the relationship with Russia.” 


In the US, even some high-level government officials made nearly identical assessments. WikiLeaks reveals that these warnings were presented to Washington DC by none other than William Burns himself, former US Ambassador to Russia and the current CIA chief. According to a cable dated March 2007, Burns said: “NATO enlargement and US missile defense deployments in Europe play to the classic Russian fear of encirclement.” Months later, he stated: “Ukraine’s and Georgia’s entry represents an ‘unthinkable’ predicament for Russia and Moscow would cause enough trouble in Georgia and continued political disarray in Ukraine to halt it.” Interestingly, Burns also assessed that closer ties between Russia and China were largely the “by-product of ‘bad’ US policies” and were unsustainable “unless continued NATO enlargement pushed Russia and China even closer together.”

    In February 2008, Burns wrote: “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. Russia would then have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”

Another cable dated March 2008 stated that “opposing NATO’s enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia, was one of the few security areas where there is almost complete consensus among Russian policymakers, experts and the informed population.” One defense expert stated that “Ukraine was the line of last resort that would complete Russia’s encirclement” and that “its entry into NATO was universally viewed by the Russian political elite as an unfriendly act.” Dozens of other cables make nearly identical assessments of radical changes in Russia’s foreign policy if NATO encroachment were to continue.

However, the vast majority of US officials, regardless of the administration, simply dismissed all warnings, repeatedly describing them as “oft-heard, old, nothing new, largely predictable, familiar litany and rehashing that provided little new substance.” Astonishingly, even the aforementioned Norway’s understanding of Moscow’s objections was labeled as “parroting Russia’s line”. While many German officials warned that the east-west split within Ukraine made the idea of NATO membership “risky” and that it could “break up the country”, US officials insisted this was only temporary and that it would change over time.

And indeed, the political West invested hundreds of billions of dollars in turning Ukraine into a fervently Russophobic country, effectively becoming a giant military springboard aimed against Moscow. NATO regularly conducted exercises, maintained an extensive presence, and even planned to make it permanent with at least several land and naval bases under construction in the country at the time when Russia launched its counteroffensive. In 2019, RAND Corporation, a well-known think tank funded by the Pentagon, published a report which focused on devising strategies for overextending Russia. Part of it reads:

    “The Kremlin’s anxieties over a direct military attack on Russia were very real and could drive its leaders to make rash, self-defeating decisions… …Providing more US military equipment and advice to Ukraine could lead Moscow to respond by mounting a new offensive and seizing more Ukrainian territory.”

It’s quite hard to dismiss Moscow’s claims that the Ukrainian crisis is a segment of the comprehensive aggression against Russia when the very institutions funded by the political West itself openly admit that the current events were planned years or even decades ago. And even if the impossible happened and the Eurasian giant decided to surrender and succumb to Western pressure, where does the US-led aggression against the world stop? Or worse yet, how long before a disaster of cataclysmic proportions puts an end to it?

Monday, January 23, 2023

Ritter: 'West is at war with Russia'





Former Marine Corps officer Scott Ritter says the US-led NATO military alliance is driving the war in Ukraine with the ultimate objective of defeating Russia.

The conflict is not about defending Ukraine as the Western media would tell us, it is and always has been about defeating Russia.

NATO is already now in a direct war with Russia and Russia has every right to strike targets in NATO countries like Germany and Poland that are acting as logistical centers in the supply of munitions to Ukraine.

Washington and its NATO allies are recklessly raising the stakes of military victory or defeat, rather than trying to find a diplomatic, political solution to a long-running conflict. Ukraine is being callously exploited as a proxy for the US-led NATO war on Russia.

As Ritter points out, NATO is a suicide pill for the world. If its objective proceeds, the result will be a general all-out war with Russia that will go nuclear, meaning the destruction of the planet.

That’s why, Ritter argues, every peace-loving person regardless of nationality should be praying that Russia wins this conflict in Ukraine and defeats the NATO agenda. NATO’s war plans have been seeded years ago with the coup in Kiev in 2014 and the weaponizing of NeoNazi Ukrainian forces. The Ukrainian top commander Valery Zaluzhny is a devotee of WWII Nazi collaborator and mass murderer Stepan Bandera. This is who the Americans and Europeans are now collaborating with in prosecuting their war plans against Russia.

Fortunately, Ritter predicts, Russia is going to win the war. This is a nightmare scenario for the US-led Western powers who have invested so much in the war yet stand to incur a historic defeat.

But it should be understood widely that it is the United States and its allies who are pushing the world to the brink of disaster.

U.S. turning Europe into nuclear battlefield


Click on graphic for a clearer view


By Associazione per un Mondo senza Guerre -CNGNN (Italy)

In January, the Federation of American Scientists confirmed the news given by Grandangolo in December 2022 on the basis of a US Air Force document: the C-17A Globemaster aircraft was authorized to transport the US B61-12 nuclear bomb to Italy and other European countries. Since Biden Administration officials have announced the B61-12 envoy would be anticipated to December, we believe that the new US nuclear bombs are already arriving in Europe to be deployed against Russia.

US and NATO are pouring huge quantities of ammunition for heavy artillery to supply Kyiv armed forces in Ukraine. The United States (according to official data) has so far sent over a million 155mm howitzer ammunition to Ukraine, plus tens of thousands of missiles. About 300,000 shells come from US military depots in Israel. The arms shipment is managed by an international network, in which Camp Darby the largest US arsenal outside its motherland is connected to the port of Livorno and the military airport of Pisa, and plays a central role - Great Britain, France, Poland, and Finland are supplying tanks to Kyiv, and Poland is buying Abrams tanks from the USA, a part of them might be destined for Ukraine.

At the same time, USA and NATO are strengthening the deployment of their forces in Europe increasingly close to Russia. In Romania, NATO has deployed AWACS aircraft, they are equipped with the most sophisticated electronic equipment, and kept constantly flying in Russian airspace. Also in Romania, the Pentagon has deployed the 101st Airborne Division, which is being deployed to Europe for the first time since World War II.

NATO and EU set up "a task force on resilience and critical infrastructure". “NATO (the European Union Council declares) remains the foundation of our collective defense. We recognize the value of a stronger European defense, which contributes to transatlantic security and is complementary and interoperable with NATO”. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Poland's growing role in Ukraine war



  • Poland is suffering from the war in Ukraine but are they a willing participant? 

Columnist Mike Krupa speaks against the narrative of Polish people as willing cannon fodder for a corrupt government and helps us understand how the proximity to Ukraine is costing the people of Poland.   

  • Inside Ukraine the beleaguered military are daily grabbing men (16-60 years) right on the streets and sending them off to fight Russia with little training. If the war is so popular why does Kiev have to hejack people in this way. See several videos of this piracy here


When Good Refugees Turn Bad

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark

When the first Russian forces began entering Ukrainian territory in February 2022, the instant reaction from Europe, the UK, Canada and Australia, was one of open commitment to Ukraine’s refugees.  The relentless human trains heading westwards were initially embraced by Poles, whose history with Ukraine is, at best, tense and sketchy.

Across Europe, walls came down in dispensation for this new type of refugee, tolerated and tolerable by the populists and the border security types, all summed up by comments from the Bulgarian Prime minister Kiril Petkov, who declared the fleeing Ukrainians “intelligent” and “educated people”.  They were certainly “Europeans” and were not like the “refugee wave we have been used to”, the sort packed with individuals with “unclear pasts [and] who could have been even terrorists.”  For a time, governments could distract attention from brutal border policies directed against swarthier irregular arrivals.

The enlarged spirit of generosity was also aided by the perpetrator of the attack: the West’s habitual bugbear, and the number of notably eastern and central European states that had anxiety aplenty about Russian territorial ambitions.  To date, estimates suggest that 7.9 million  people have fled the war, with 4.7 million registered under the European Union’s temporary-protection directive.

While such levels of generosity shown towards refugees were overflowing, clear exceptions were made towards others suffering from the conflict.  Other groups of refugees, be they of African, Indian and Middle Eastern background, found themselves facing rather different treatment at the Polish-Ukrainian border.  A number of accounts of obstructions and violence were reported, suggesting an arching attempt to aid Ukrainian refugees, and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for helping others.

    The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, through its deputy director-general for public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, expressed concern about how Africans “were actually, you know, put in different queues or lanes, if you want to call them that, but also at the back.  So, we had to intervene to ensure that our people are assisted to cross.”

The image of the exceptional Ukrainian refugee, to be welcomed rather than questioned and judged, has not been etched in stone.  For all the compassion and interest shown towards the millions who moved westwards, most in anticipation of returning, the effluxion of time has proved telling.


In anticipation of summer tourist arrivals, noble Bulgaria turned the tables on a number of Ukrainian refugees staying in out-of-season hotels.  In June last year, Minister of Tourism Hristo Prodanov, in noting that 56,000 refugees were being housed in such hotels, expressed his concern that these would have to be vacated for the tourist season.

The previous month, signs of irritation were evident in the Petkov government, with Deputy Prime Minister Kalina Konstantinova expressing the view that the hotels were a finite “luxurious experience”, and that the Ukrainians were getting increasingly demanding.  On June 2, Konstantinova apologised to all “Bulgarians and Ukrainians who felt offended by my words”.

The populists are showing growing discontent.  In some cases, such as the Polish nationalist Konfederacja (Confederation), which argues that Poland is being increasingly “de-Polonised”, they are dismissed as insignificant squeaks in the political landscape.  The narrative of privileged Ukrainian refugees thriving as patriots suffer is, however, one that is not going away.

The steep spike in the cost of living, helped by eye watering rises in energy prices, has aided the curdling of kindness.  In September, Friedrich Merz, Germany’s leader of the opposition centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), told Bild TV that Ukrainians had begun specialising in a form of “welfare tourism”.

    “What we’re seeing is welfare tourism on the part of these refugees to Germany, back to Ukraine, back to Germany, back to Ukraine.”

While not specifying a number of how many were actually engaged in such opportunistic practice, he could only conclude that it was “large”.  Germany’s thorough bureaucratic counters have tended to overlook such figures, whether by accident or design.

The concern from Merz was a traditional one about the uses of welfare and what motivates its grant.  It was “unfair and the population has a right to consider it unfair” that the homes for refugees and German welfare recipients be generously heated while working class Germans struggled with energy costs.   While Merz subsequently apologised for his remarks, the sentiment was out of the bag and running through the ranks.

In October, thousands of Czechs gathered in the capital to protest against the centre-right government, demanding an early election and discussions with Russia regarding gas supplies for the winter ahead.  Ukrainian concerns were far from the mind of event organiser Ladislav Vrabel.  “This is a new national revival and its goal is for the Czech Republic to be independent.”

These movements do not augur well for the bleeding hearts of Ukraine’s refugees.  With some alarm, an article from Social Europe reads like a dispatch from a public relations bureau.  Anything negative regarding the refugees from Ukraine must be countered.  These are all due to “Russian disinformation”.  Populist parties must also be confronted and corrected.  “European politicians,” the authors argue, “should shape the debate around Ukrainian refugees.”

The conflict shows no promise of abating in the new year, though there are murmurings about an eventual compromise that is bound to agitate all parties.  Till then, more criticism is bound to emerge from states hosting large numbers of refugees previously admired as victims of Russian aggression in need of protection.  Not all of it will be fed by Russian misinformation, and not all will be populists hugging the fringes of lunatic inspiration.

~ Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He currently lectures at RMIT University.