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Posts Tagged ‘John Mearsheimer’

Who Is Most Responsible for the Ongoing War in Ukraine?

Posted by M. C. on August 16, 2022

The Ukrainian war’s long roots stretch back to the pre-1914 protectionist era. Protectionism led to the First World War, the Second World War, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, countless wars in the Middle East, and the Ukrainian war. In effect, protectionism before 1914 caused a hundred years’ war. At least 150 million lives have been lost in this tragic hundred years’ war.

The only way to prevent war is to remove its root cause. If the twentieth century can teach us anything, it is that protectionism and socialism cause war. Eliminating government intervention in the economy is the key to preventing war. As Ludwig von Mises advises, “there is but one system that makes for durable peace: a free market economy.”

Edward W. Fuller

John Mearsheimer recently gave an important lecture on the Ukrainian war. He warns that “the United States is now effectively at war with Russia.” Mearsheimer argues, “The United States is principally responsible.” Alexander Stubb contends in a reply to Mearsheimer, “The only place to blame is the Kremlin, Putin, and Russia.”

Commentators who play the blame game over Ukraine do not understand the cause of war in the modern world. The Ukrainian war is the latest chapter in an ongoing hundred years’ war that began in 1914. Those who fail to realize this cannot understand the cause of the war nor how to end it and prevent future wars.

All of the governments entangled in the Ukrainian war share responsibility. Government intervention in the free market economy is the fundamental cause of all modern wars, including the Ukrainian war. All of the governments involved have systematically intervened with the free market economy for decades. Thus they are all to blame for this war.

Protectionism, Imperialism, and War

To fully understand the Ukrainian war, it is necessary to understand what caused the First World War.1 Many historians agree that a “fresh wave of territorial imperialism” after 1880 resulted in the First World War.2 But most historians cannot explain what caused the frenzy of imperialism from 1880 to 1914. The answer is protectionism.

In July 1879, Otto von Bismarck introduced a new tariff in Germany.3 As economists stress, a tariff benefits domestic producers at the expense of two groups: 1) domestic consumers and 2) foreign producers. A tariff impairs business in foreign nations, and foreigners naturally resent this.4

Bismarck’s tariff was a great mistake. However, as Ludwig von Mises emphasizes, “even if all other nations cling to protection, a nation best serves its own welfare by free trade.”5 Rather than embracing free trade, Germany’s neighbors foolishly raised their tariffs. As the table below illustrates, “all the large countries (except the United Kingdom) had very protective trade policies in 1913.”6

What does protectionism have to do with imperialism? A nation cannot profit from an empire in a world of free trade. By contrast, a protectionist nation can benefit from an empire.7 Consequently, protectionist governments are impelled to violent territorial expansion. The return of protectionism after 1880 started a new wave of territorial imperialism that culminated in the First World War.

Consequences of the First World War

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Jordan Peterson’s Russia-Ukraine Do-Over

Posted by M. C. on July 19, 2022

bionic mosquito

Early on in Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine, Jordan Peterson decided to get educated, and chose as his teacher the perpetual warmonger Frederick Kagan.  The video of their discussion is here, and I wrote a short post covering the video here.

To summarize my thoughts on the video…

I made it through about 15 minutes of this garbage.  I could have heard the same thing in about two minutes on CNN.

A sampling of the many of the comments Peterson received as a result of his choice in teachers…

·         This interview was garbage from beginning to end.

·         NATO is not only a defensive alliance, it bombed Yugoslavia with no attacks from it on NATO members

·         I miss Prof Cohen.  And listening to this guy, who seems to be a typical Putin-hater, reminded me

·         Kagan is way off base. No mention of the Nazi brigades, no mention of bloated militarization of Ukraine, the illegal Maidan coup, etc. Everything is Putin, Putin, Putin. Donbas is mostly Russian speaking and they are a cancelled abused people. Kagan should take his academic ego and crawl back under his know-it-all rock. Bad choice JP! You can do better!

·         Kagan’s failure to mention Ukraine’s state sponsored neonazi forces shows his hand. I don’t trust or believe him.

·         Frederick Kagan is schilling for the Neocons.

There were several suggestions that Peterson speak to John Mearsheimer.  One of which was mine.

Well, Peterson has taken a do-over.  But, first, an update on Peterson news.  He has recently joined the Daily Wire.  To me, something like this was inevitable – assuming Peterson’s health held out such that he could continue in his task of bucking (for the most part) the leftist turn of his liberalism.

So, with that, on to the subject video, entitled Russia Vs. Ukraine Or Civil War In The West?  The title suggests that Peterson is aware of something deeper going on than merely “Putin is the next Hitler.”

I won’t go through a blow by blow.  But here are the main themes (and I am not directly quoting Peterson, but offering a flavor):

·         I was pilloried for choosing Kagan as a teacher

·         I watched Mearsheimer

·         It turns out the situation is much more complicated than I was led to believe

·         Putin is concerned that the West wants to turn Russia into the same morally depraved hell-hole that they have forced onto Western society

·         The fight in Ukraine is a mirror of the civil war consuming the West

·         Whatever one might have as a complaint about Putin, he is a far better person than anyone who has led that country in over a hundred years.

Now, Peterson made a few mistakes – he kept messing up on the geography (“…the Russian speakers in the northeast of Ukraine,” etc.).  He didn’t touch very much on the history of Western antagonisms in Ukraine.  He also decided to get into the economic prediction game (“$300 oil”), which is an easy way for others to attack him if he is wrong on any of it.

But he did point out the extreme risks of this war and of the West’s continued actions.  He made a strong statement that there must be work toward a settlement now – and he recognizes this will have to be on terms acceptable to Putin.

He also threw a strong punch at the covid lockdowns, and he took several shots at his disaster of a prime minister, Justin Trudeau.


As I have noted about Peterson before, the arrow doesn’t fly straight, but at least it occasionally comes with a self-correcting function.  Considering the very strong left-liberal upbringing and his university experience as well as his filed of expertise, one has to say he really has come a long way.

But he still has a long way to go.


Maybe not quite as long as I thought.  A short (23-minute) interview of Peterson by Snorri Másson in Iceland.  Peterson makes some very strong points and doesn’t back down when pushed.  He gets most forceful and emotional on the topic of physically mutilating minors who are confused about gender.  His is an example many Christians could learn from.

He likes the idea of abortion in America being decided at the state level – on such a difficult topic, many experiments are needed.  He notes that there are signs of a rational left emerging from the destruction of the crazies (I anticipated this years ago).  Bill Maher and Russell Brand are noted.

He makes a very interesting observation on Trump, that Trump – whose entire persona is “I am a winner” – shouldn’t have got caught up in “the election was stolen.”  That’s the talk of losers, not winners.

Peterson’s stumble: he says it has been demonstrated in many court cases that the election wasn’t stolen.  So he still has a ways to go.

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John Mearsheimer on why the West is principally responsible for the Ukrainian crisis

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2022

The political scientist believes the reckless expansion of NATO provoked Russia

THE WAR in Ukraine is the most dangerous international conflict since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Understanding its root causes is essential if we are to prevent it from getting worse and, instead, to find a way to bring it to a close.

There is no question that Vladimir Putin started the war and is responsible for how it is being waged. But why he did so is another matter. The mainstream view in the West is that he is an irrational, out-of-touch aggressor bent on creating a greater Russia in the mould of the former Soviet Union. Thus, he alone bears full responsibility for the Ukraine crisis.

But that story is wrong. The West, and especially America, is principally responsible for the crisis which began in February 2014. It has now turned into a war that not only threatens to destroy Ukraine, but also has the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between Russia and NATO.

The trouble over Ukraine actually started at NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008, when George W. Bush’s administration pushed the alliance to announce that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members”. Russian leaders responded immediately with outrage, characterising this decision as an existential threat to Russia and vowing to thwart it. According to a respected Russian journalist, Mr Putin “flew into a rage” and warned that “if Ukraine joins NATO, it will do so without Crimea and the eastern regions. It will simply fall apart.” America ignored Moscow’s red line, however, and pushed forward to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. That strategy included two other elements: bringing Ukraine closer to the EU and making it a pro-American democracy.

These efforts eventually sparked hostilities in February 2014, after an uprising (which was supported by America) caused Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to flee the country. In response, Russia took Crimea from Ukraine and helped fuel a civil war that broke out in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

The next major confrontation came in December 2021 and led directly to the current war. The main cause was that Ukraine was becoming a de facto member of NATO. The process started in December 2017, when the Trump administration decided to sell Kyiv “defensive weapons”. What counts as “defensive” is hardly clear-cut, however, and these weapons certainly looked offensive to Moscow and its allies in the Donbas region. Other NATO countries got in on the act, shipping weapons to Ukraine, training its armed forces and allowing it to participate in joint air and naval exercises. In July 2021, Ukraine and America co-hosted a major naval exercise in the Black Sea region involving navies from 32 countries. Operation Sea Breeze almost provoked Russia to fire at a British naval destroyer that deliberately entered what Russia considers its territorial waters.

The links between Ukraine and America continued growing under the Biden administration.

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Gazing into the Fog of War Surrounding Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on March 5, 2022

It is my view that the risk of America getting dragged into this war is low but not negligible. There are those who openly call for the US to attack Russia, like NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engle, who tweeted that the West should attack the main Russian column advancing on Kyiv, while others use barely concealed euphemisms such as “no-fly zone,” which is code for “shoot down Russian planes and attack Russian air defenses within Russia.” Either of these risks a nuclear escalation.

Zachary Yost

The Russian regime’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked and horrified the world, in no small part because it is the first war of this scale in Europe since the end of the Second World War and also because it is the first large-scale war to be fought with contemporary and high-tech armaments. The situation is changing rapidly, but the amount of devastation, death, and suffering this war has inflicted is already immense and will only grow larger as the war continues.

It goes without saying that the people who make up the Russian regime are agents with free will who bear moral responsibility for instigating this unjust and evil war. However, we live in a fallen world, where people do many evil things. Morality requires that our actions comport not with how we wish the world were but with how it actually is. For years, realist thinkers such as John Mearsheimer have been sounding the alarm that Western efforts to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the borders of Russia will cause an immense amount of trouble.

Background to the War

In brief, in 2008, NATO announced that it welcomed Ukraine and Georgia eventually joining NATO. Vladimir Putin hit the roof and declared that Russia (in this article meaning the Russian regime) would find such a move unacceptable. However, the West did not really pay attention. As a result of this action, Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 to secure two breakaway provinces (because NATO will not accept any members with territorial disputes). Later, in 2014, as a result of a pro-Western coup in Ukraine, Putin swiftly moved to take over Crimea (to secure the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol and prevent NATO naval vessels from securing a port so close to Russia) and supported two breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine, thus ensuring that Ukraine would also be mired in territorial disputes and be unable to join NATO.

The Western reaction to these events has largely been driven by moral condemnation and proclamations that as a sovereign state, Ukraine has the right to decide its future for itself. Unfortunately, when it comes to international relations, might makes right. In the words of Thucydides’s Melian Dialogue, “The strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must.” To acknowledge this fact about reality is not to condone it, but recognizing it to be true allows one to better prepare to reduce the amount of conflict and suffering that takes place. The failure to acknowledge this has contributed a great deal to the current crisis.

To understand more of the background to this conflict, it would be wise to consult John Mearsheimer’s 2014 essay “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault” and his related 2015 speech on the same subject. The key takeaway is that Russia considers the alignment of Ukraine to be an issue of extreme importance. In contrast, the Western states have very little to no national interest in Ukraine. Thus, Russia is willing to go to much more effort and pain to secure these goals than the West is. That is why no Western states have declared war on Russia and come to the military assistance of Ukraine. Russia has nuclear weapons, and the costs of war would far outweigh any potential benefits.

I must admit that until recently, I was not expecting Russia to undertake this drastic of a move; however, once the troop buildup began and diplomatic efforts seemed to make clear that Western states did not seem to even comprehend Russia’s security demands, let alone be willing to compromise to find a solution, I began to fear that war was more likely.

What Does This Invasion Mean?

It is still too early to know what Russia’s specific end goal is. It may be to annex large amounts of Ukrainian territory and turn the rest into a rump buffer state. It may be something less extreme than that. And circumstances on the ground will, of course, affect the outcome as well.

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Watch “Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? Featuring John Mearsheimer” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on December 29, 2021

UnCommon Core: The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, assesses the causes of the present Ukraine crisis, the best way to end it, and its consequences for all of the main actors. A key assumption is that in order to come up with the optimum plan for ending the crisis, it is essential to know what caused the crisis. Regarding the all-important question of causes, the key issue is whether Russia or the West bears primary responsibility.

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Caitlin Johnstone: America has no allies, only hostages — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2020

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that absorbs nations and turns them into imperial client states. Once absorbed, it is rare for a country to escape and rejoin other genuinely sovereign nations.

The new president-elect of Bolivia, Luis Arce, has told the Spanish international news agency EFE that he intends to restore the nation’s relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. This reverses the policies of the US-backed coup regime which immediately began closing embassieskicking out doctors and severing relations with those nations after illegally seizing power last year.

Arce also spoke of warm relations with Russia and China.

“We are going to re-establish all relations,” he told EFE. “This government has acted very ideologically, depriving the Bolivian people of access to Cuban medicine, to Russian medicine, to advances in China. For a purely ideological issue, it has exposed the population in a way that is unnecessary and harmful.”

Arce expressed a willingness to “open the door to all countries, the only requirement is that they respect us and respect our sovereignty, nothing more. All countries, no matter the size, who want a relationship with Bolivia, the only requirement is that we respect each other as equals. If that is so, we have no problem.“

If you know anything about US imperialism and global politics, you will recognize that last bit as brazen heresy against imperial doctrine.

Bolivia will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, said President-elect Luis Arce in an interview with EFE. He will also re-establish good relations with China & Russia.Arce condems the coup govt for its ideological & pro-US approach to foreign policy.— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) October 20, 2020

The unofficial doctrine of the empire-like cluster of international allies that is loosely centralized around the United States does not recognize the sovereignty of other nations, much less respect them as equals. This empire takes it as a given that it has every right to determine what every nation in the world does, who their leaders will be, where their resources will go, and what their military posture on the world stage will be. If a government refuses to accept the empire’s right to determine these things, it is targeted, sabotaged, attacked, and eventually replaced with a puppet regime.

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that slowly works to absorb nations which have not yet been converted into imperial client states. It is rare that a nation is able to escape from that blob and rejoin the unabsorbed nations like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba in their fight for self-sovereignty, and it is encouraging that it was able to do so.

We saw the dynamics of the imperial blob explained quite vividly last year by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the eastern hemisphere, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.

The rules based human rights defending democratic order, ladies and gentlemen— RaHoWarrior Steve Bannon, 1st Boomer Division (@healingbyhenry) October 8, 2020

“The question that’s on the table is what should Australia’s foreign policy be in light of the rise of China,” Mearsheimer said. “I’ll tell you what I would suggest if I were an Australian.”

Mearsheimer said China is going to continue to grow economically and will convert that economic power into military power to dominate Asia “the way the US dominates the western hemisphere,” and explained why he think the US and its allies have every ability to prevent that from happening.

“Now the question is what does this all mean for Australia?” Mearsheimer said. “Well, you’re in a quandary for sure. Everybody knows what the quandary is. And by the way you’re not the only country in East Asia that’s in this quandary. You trade a lot with China, and that trade is very important for your prosperity, no question about that. Security-wise, you really want to go with us. It makes just a lot more sense, right? And you understand that security is more important than prosperity, because if you don’t survive, you’re not gonna prosper.

“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right, you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.

“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”

Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.

If you’ve ever wondered how the the US is so successful in getting other nations around the world to align with its interests, this is how. It’s not that the US is a good actor on the world stage or a kind friend to its allies, it’s that it will destroy you if you disobey it.

Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US. As a Twitter follower recently observed, the US doesn’t have allies, only hostages.

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution.” Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

The primary difference between the coup in Australia and the one in Bolivia was that the Bolivians refused to roll over and take it while we shrugged and said ‘No worries mate.’ We had every option to become a real nation and insist on our own self-sovereignty, but we, unlike the Bolivians, were too thoroughly propagandized and placid. Some hostages escape, some don’t.

The US empire got rid of Whitlam, and then when we elected in 2007 a prime minister who was considered too friendly with China they did it again; in order to facilitate the Obama administration’s “pivot” against Beijing the pro-China Kevin Rudd was replaced by the compliant Julia Gillard. World Socialist Website reports:

Secret US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in December 2010 revealed that “protected sources” of the US embassy were pivotal figures in Gillard’s elevation. For months, key coup plotters, including senators Mark Arbib and David Feeney, and Australian Workers Union (AWU) chief Paul Howes, secretly provided the US embassy with regular updates on internal government discussions and divisions within the leadership…

Rudd had proposed an Asia-Pacific Community, attempting to mediate the escalating strategic rivalry between the US and China, and opposed the formation of a quadrilateral military alliance between the US, India, Japan and Australia, aimed against China.

Gillard, who had cultivated her pro-US credentials through Australia-US and Australia-Israel leadership forums, was literally selected by the US embassy as a reliable replacement to Rudd. In her first public appearance after knifing Rudd, she demonstrated her devotion to Washington by posing for a photo op with the US ambassador, flanked by US and Australian flags. She soon had a phone call with Obama, who had previously twice postponed a planned visit to Australia under Rudd.

The centrality of Australia to the US preparations for war against China became apparent in November 2011, when Obama announced his “pivot to Asia” in the Australian parliament, rather than the White House. During the visit, Gillard and Obama signed an agreement to station American Marines in Darwin and allow greater US access to other military bases, placing the Australian population on the front line of any conflict with China.

Gillard’s government also sanctioned the expansion of the major US spying and weapons-targeting base at Pine Gap, agreed to the US military’s increased use of Australian ports and airbases, and stepped up Australia’s role in the US-led top-level “Five Eyes” global surveillance network, which monitors the communications and online activities of millions of people worldwide.

Rudd’s removal marked a turning point. US imperialism, via the Obama administration, sent a blunt message: There was no longer any room for equivocation by the Australian ruling elite. Regardless of which party was in office, it had to line up unconditionally behind the US conflict with China, no matter what the consequences for the loss of its massive export markets in China.

This is what we’re seeing all around the world now: a slow motion third world war being waged by the US power alliance against the remaining nations which have resisted being absorbed into it. As the most powerful of the unabsorbed nations by far, China is the ultimate target of this war. If the empire succeeds in its ultimate goal of stopping China, it will have attained a de facto planetary government which no population will be able to oppose or dissent from.

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

This omnicidal, ecocidal way of living that the oligarchic empire has laid out for us does not suit our species, and it will drive us to extinction along with God knows how many other species if we do not find a way to end it. Rulers historically do not cede their power willingly, so we ordinary human beings as a collective are going to have to find a way to destroy their propaganda engine, force an end to imperialism, and build a healthy world.

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