Jan Oberg: NATO/Russia conflict in Ukraine: The West’s spinal cord reaction will prove extremely self-destructive

Jan Oberg: NATO/Russia conflict in Ukraine: The West’s spinal cord reaction will prove extremely self-destructive

Jan Oberg

March 22, 2022

A Danish version of this on Oberg’s blog

Self-righteous spinal hatred, the inner Russophobic swine dog as well as lawlessness in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will harm the Western world itself and hasten its decline and fall

The term “inner swine dog” means, according to the English dictionary, “Malicious, hateful drive, which hides behind a person’s apparently friendly and tolerant exterior”.

This dog, which can belong to both elites and the masses, has been let loose in recent weeks among both high and low along the political spectrum. There no longer seems to be any limit to what can be said about Russians and Russia – even without a comparative perspective – and what can be done to isolate the country and its people economically, culturally, socially, financially and in the media. All with reference to Russia’s – foolishly over-reacting – invasion of Ukraine. The word ‘Putin’ explains everything as if by magic.

The contempt and hatred must have been latent deep in the collective unconscious for a very long time. It is probably largely a consequence of the so-called free media’s systematic, one-sided “threat assessments” over decades – again without comparative analysis with NATO’s behaviour and military overspending – and the omission of any perspective on what is Russia’s history, security needs or its perception of us.

To explain something has been distorted – by whom? – to be identical with defending. The conversation is dumbing down. The case – the ball – disappears and all that remains is the persona, categorization and positioning: “Putin Versteher,” “pro-Russian,” “anti-NATO,” “Putinist,” or “paid by the Kremlin.”

The role of the media in the hateful reaction

The media have played a very important part in setting the tone for the boundless hatred that is now spreading from the lowest instincts to concrete actions and reactive measures at the highest level of political decision-making.

Western mainstream media have simply announced – as a fact that did require documentation – that Russia was the enemy, a threat, and they’ve concealed the military-economic imbalance, downplayed or left completely untold the reprehensibility of US and other NATO countries’ wars, occupations, mass deaths, refugee creation, regime change – and failed attempts at it as in Syria – a collaboration with terrorists, the terrible human consequences of these wars and, for example, the ‘war on terror.’ The same goes for the suffocating sanctions against Iran’s innocent population of 85 million. And Israel’s bombings and nuclear weapons have long since ceased to be reported.

I, who follow these issues daily through a wide range of media, have been horrified every day for at least the past 20 years by the obvious way in which it is all being organised in the clear favour of the US and NATO countries. Western sources and news agencies have been used exclusively, experts paid by NATO governments have been brought in by state research institutes, and hardly any material has been published to shed light on Russia’s interests, ways of thinking or perceptions of what we in the NATO circle were doing.

A media glare has run for decades. Today, ordinary people react so violently and have little idea how much they have been seduced by constant, factually ignorant good/bad world images. By FOSI – Fake + Omission + Source Ignorance.

The unbearable folly of irreversible, hasty decisions

Thus, government, politicians, scientists and the media – with the classic reservation of a few exceptions – are today completely at the mercy of emotion. Laws can be broken, special laws imposed, money taken from the world’s poor for Ukrainian refugees; the business world has suddenly become PR-politically correct with Ukraine flags and blue/yellow lights and immediate cessation of all activities in Russia.

The EU overnight has no resource problems with 2-3 million refugees from Ukraine, while in 2015 it could not cope with 1.5 million – mostly Muslims, and this is important – from the war zones the US and other NATO countries have ravaged for decades and many times worse than Russia has done at least until today in Ukraine. Germany decides – again without analysis – to immediately rearm up to US$ 112 billion per year. Russia’s is US$ 66 billion!

Countries and their political parties are throwing overboard their basic positions on militarism, bases, nuclear weapons and NATO.

In the frenzy of the dog pack, no one will risk appearing cautious, moderate or understanding when it comes to the underlying Russia-NATO conflicts. They denounce the violence – Russia’s but not that of others to nearly the same extent – and completely overlook the underlying conflicts, which are Russia and NATO and certainly not Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is only the unfortunate war theatre of war.

More weapons and more rearmament – whatever the cost to our society in the slightly longer term, which no one is analysing – is the only answer needed. It has to be that fast. And we must stand together now – and we are standing together.

Perhaps not so well if what we can finally stand together on – in an otherwise thoroughly divided Western world without clear-eyed leadership – turns out the day after tomorrow to be a fundamentally wrong and self-destructive attitude.

God knows how such an intellectually low-brow move as raising military spending to 2% of GDP can be adopted by people we would like to think of as responsible politicians.

It is intellectual nonsense that military spending should increase if a country’s economy is doing well and decrease if it is not. A country’s military spending level should be decided in the light of a serious threat analysis – what possible threats have such a low probability and impact that we do not need to prepare for them? Which threats are so great that we cannot afford or are unable to guard against them? And which threats remain that we can both address and afford to build adequate defences against? And then you look in the treasury and prioritise between all the expenditures of a state.

The gods must therefore be the only ones who know how, for instance, the Danish government has calculated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be met on 2% of GDP and not on 1.8% or 4.4%. In fact, this sort of thing is nothing more than extremely expensive signalling politics of the lowest order, paid for by the taxpayers, who never protest against the madness because they are objects of ”fearology:” Putin, the bastard, will come and take you if you don’t pay up.

What such reasoning will cost societies on a 10-20 year horizon is guaranteed to not have been analysed before the decision was adopted.

And further:

Cultural events involving Russians are shut down in a row – exhibitions and concerts. The grotesque thing is that these measures also affect Russian artists who have explicitly denounced Russia’s invasion. In other words, they are being punished because they are Russian.

Ministers are urging scientists to stop ongoing research collaborations and certainly not to start new ones. Russian goods are removed from shops. Peace and other demonstrations go only to the Russian embassy, not to those of the NATO countries, which – extremely provocatively – have just expanded NATO and let all the wise warnings go to waste. And, as mentioned, waged wars on a scale that dwarfs Russia in comparison.

Facebook sees fit to allow hate speech against Russians – and only them, of course – as long as it’s within the context of the war in Ukraine.

I wonder how far Russians and the rest of us will be forced to suffer under this modern-day parallel to anti-Semitism: Russophobia?

I wonder where this collective psychosis, this mass hysteria with a single focus, will land us all in generations from now?

And I wonder if anyone in the Christian West will one day think of Luke: “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but do not notice the beam in your own eye? Hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye; then you will see clearly enough to take out the mote that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42).

The slippery slope of lawlessness

There now seems to be an orgiastic heat of self-righteousness. The entire response – every single action in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine – has been decided in such a short time that there has been no time for any kind of impact assessment even 6 months ahead, let alone on a 6 year or 30-year horizon. Not within a national, European or global framework.

The G7 countries are freezing Russia’s US$ 400 billion debt. It’s pure theft. They are closing airspaces so that, for example, the Russian foreign minister cannot fly to meetings at the UN in Geneva. The EU/NATO world cuts off oil and gas imports from Russia and imposes countless sanctions on anything and anyone that can move in Russia: “We are coming to get you!” – President Biden said in his State of the Union address.

That’s not how you behave if you feel inferior or fearful of your opponent – the way you argue when you need to raise military spending.

And that’s documented very well by the former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who says this about the prospect of war in Europe to Danish TV2 that – “Putin will be beaten to a pulp by NATO. Once NATO moves, it will be with enormous force. You have to remember that the investments we make in defence are ten times as big as Putin’s.”

And now the heavily over-armed must over-arm even more?

Thousands of Western companies operating in Russia are now facing possible nationalisation. Will Western governments and/or insurance companies compensate them after they have left? Just think of the cost to German business of this on a 10-20 year horizon – that is, at best, the time it will take until we can hope for a rapprochement with Russia after this.

The boomerangs will come back to us. Be sure of that. And when it happens so badly, the only response from any decision-maker will be: Well, it was and is all Putin’s fault!

But that doesn’t hold water by the West’s own standards.

NATO has provoked Russia with its expansion for 30 years and ignored dozens of warnings about where it was going. When solid, highly experienced American statesmen and intellectuals of a very different calibre than those in the West today – like George F. Kennan, Henry Kissinger, John Mearsheimer, Jack Matlock and William Perry – warned against NATO expansion and attempts to bring Ukraine into NATO, they were simply ignored.

It has broken the promises not to expand NATO an inch, made to Gorbachev in 1989-90. It has set up The Ballistic Missile Defence that deliberately undermines Russia’s ability to respond to a nuclear attack. It has waged war in Yugoslavia, treating both Russia and the UN and international law as almost inferior.

I am not the only one who predicted years ago that there would be a reaction. Nobody listened. Now Russia has reacted – over-reacted. I agree it is an overreaction and I have argued that Putin had other options than this invasion.

Proportionality, collective punishment and violation of freedom of expression

Here we are faced with a classic dilemma and responsibility: It is possible that A provokes B, but it is still B who chooses his way of reacting and must be held responsible for it.

It is precisely this reasoning about the responsibility of the provoked side for its reaction that must also apply to the reaction of the NATO/EU countries to Russia’s invasion.

And here there are two principles which normally apply in proper politics: a) the reaction must be proportionate to the attack or provocation, and: b) there must be no collective punishment of a people for an offence for which only one or a few are de facto and de jure responsible. This is an integral element in the Geneva Conventions. About collective punishment here.

It is undeniable that the suffering we see the innocent civilian population of Ukraine undergoing right now arouses great compassion and a desire to help. The question remains, however: Why have we not seen similar reactions of similar intense depth and breadth in some of the many and far worse wars since Vietnam? Why have we not seen any, even remotely, similar condemnation, similar sanctions, similar isolation of those who violate international law, including everything in the UN Declaration?

At the time of writing, the reaction against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is particular, disproportionate and open-ended. A criminal is put in prison and serves a time commensurate with the crime. What has now been adopted in response to the invasion is open-ended.

If Russia were to agree to a ceasefire tomorrow and pull out of Ukraine, none of the many measures would be lifted.

Because this is not Realpolitik or proportionate logical sanctions policy: when you have done X, Y and Z, then we shall lift all our measures. They are disproportionate but also non-conditioned measures.

Now to the second illegality.

Doctors Without Borders defines collective punishment thus: ‘International law posits that no person may be punished for acts that he or she did not commit. It ensures that the collective punishment of a group of persons for a crime committed by an individual is forbidden…This is one of the fundamental guarantees established by the Geneva Conventions and their protocols. This guarantee is applicable not only to protected persons but to all individuals, no matter what their status, or to what category of persons they belong…”

A group/people may never, whatever the circumstances, be punished for an act committed by one or a few. Morally, collective punishment is absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable.

It is all the more so when those who carry it out believe that they are facing a dictator. In a democracy, it might be argued that the people share responsibility for the actions of leaders because they have become leaders through free elections. The situation is quite different in what the same people call dictatorships, where the people cannot be held jointly responsible (I am not saying that Russia is a dictatorship; I am challenging the reasoning of those who think it is).

George Washington

And then there’s the third illegality.

The shutdown of Russian media outlets like RT and Sputnik, social media accounts and whichever ones will now be affected in the future.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 enshrines in Article 19 that:

  1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
  2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

It must be clear that excluding Russian media and other information from expression in the media spaces accessible from the West violates paragraph 1. The same is true when you actively seek to prevent people in the West from freely seeking information about how Russian media treat Ukraine and other world issues.

Further, Article 20 of the Treaty states that:

  1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
  2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Although it is difficult to judge when such things actually happen and should be condemned, the whole public discussion tends to violate at least the spirit of these international law provisions. And it cannot and should not be swept off the table by reference to Russia or others doing the same. We are responsible for our actions.

The West itself tramples on international human rights 24/7 at the moment.

Such fairly obvious ethical-legal dimensions are, of course, completely sidelined.

The inner swine dog froth at its mouth and in all its lying self-righteousness can’t get enough. Regardless of decency, the spirit and the letter of international law.

The boomerangs of hate – the self-destruction of the West

We, our children and grandchildren will pay dearly for this – the self-isolation and accelerated decline and final fall of the West. And perhaps nuclear war – deliberate or by technical and/or human error.
And it is, they want us to remember forever, all one person’s fault, Vladimir Putin. And him “we” need neither understand nor take into account. The amateur psychologists and editors are now queuing up in our media to have him diagnosed as insane. He suddenly went insane on 23 February 2022.

That way this hellishly complex conflict over decades with at least 50 parties can be reduced to issues of one person’s mental health. And it also follows that “we” bear no responsibility whatsoever for the fact that the world is now in the most existentially threatening situation since 1945. We are up against a Russian Hitler – ”Putler” – and now no trick is too small, no lie too big.

So where could this re-action to Russia’s invasion take us? Here a few heuristically chosen possible scenarios, which Western decision-makers have hardly given a thought:

• The longer the war lasts in Ukraine – and it lasts longer than it otherwise would because huge amounts of arms and ammunition being pumped in from the West – the greater the humanitarian disaster and then the reconstruction of a country that was already the poorest in Europe and heavily marked by corruption. Internal hatred in Ukraine is also likely to be many times more intense than before the invasion.

• The probably extensive infiltration of neo-Nazism into Ukraine’s politics and military security sector – arguably the largest anywhere – will not diminish once the war is over. These circles will demand a special status in future Ukraine because of their efforts in the resistance struggle. What role might they seek to play internationally – in, say, US-like movements and in European countries with, so far, less far-right extremism? Over the years, Nazism could spread precisely because its supporters are seen as heroes in the fight against Russia.

• Russia’s people, in the long run, will suffer so much because of our sanctions that the world may face a gigantic humanitarian disaster that it cannot bear on top of all the other problems of poverty, refugees and climate change, etc.. And someone will begin to realize and say: These poor, innocent people are victims of Western sanctions that were imposed without a time limit.

• While many are talking about which countries Putin will now try to conquer, I think this is a reasonably likely scenario. In the US view, there is now an excellent chance to tie Russia to the war in Ukraine and make it as long as possible by pumping weapons and everything else into Ukraine – but not participating in it directly. At the same time, the focus is now 100% on strangling the Russian economy and effectively collapsing the country like the old Soviet Union. I know too little about the Russian economy to say whether this is a possibility – but in Washington’s perspective, this is where the stakes are: drain Russia’s military strength in Ukraine and undermine its economic base at home. By contrast, I’m pretty sure China and others won’t let that happen. Regardless, the US can then calculate that millions of Russians will have to flee – including to Europe. And there the Atlantic consensus will end: the EU will blame the US for demanding that the EU impose these suffocating sanctions whose human consequences will only affect Europe, not the US.

• Far more nationalistic and militaristic people in the Kremlin depose Putin and re-arm, like Germany, to the double and bomb the NATO installations NATO will not discuss as provocative. In that case, there is a far greater than 50% risk of a nuclear war in Central Europe.

• This conflict will legitimise any increase in the US presence with heavy equipment as close to Russia’s border as possible. This is already being planned in US military circles. In practice, the US will impose itself militarily and politically on Europe to a perhaps unprecedented extent. Until that day, the United States will have militarised itself to death by seeking to wage two cold wars simultaneously – against Russia and China – with major elements of rearmament and militaristic policy. It is called over-extension and the economy, as in the old Soviet Union, will collapse under this burden. Why are the Americans betting so much on Europe? Because NATO’s main purpose – when you peel back all the rhetoric – is to ensure that a war with Russia is fought on European soil, not US soil.

• With the weapons and ammunition that NATO and EU countries are now pumping into and around Ukraine, there is already a de facto war between NATO/EU and Russia. Moreover, with the borders open to all manner of mercenaries and adventurers from around the world, one can safely expect more suffering than would otherwise be necessary. Terrorist groups of various kinds will also no doubt feel drawn; I imagine that the terrorist groups that Russia has helped to defeat in Syria will see Ukraine as a golden territory for revenge against Russians.

• Another scenario might be that Russia does reasonably well economically with a prolonged military presence in Ukraine, converts to a kind of war economy and expands cooperation with Iran, China and perhaps India. Others outside the West will see the same writing on the wall: it is futile to try to have a reasonably trusting relationship with the US, NATO and the EU after this. If they can do that to the Russians, what can they do to us? The US-led system with allies who have lost the ability to think and act independently of the US/NATO will become a periphery of the future world order as the years go by.
The Western world’s response to Russia’s invasion has shown that the only thing that can unite it is confrontation and hate – it has not been able to unite around the financial crisis, NATO’s future and burden-sharing, the 2015 refugees or the Corona, all of which could have brought us closer together and working together for our own good and the good of humanity. More hatred brings satisfaction, inward solidarity and strengthen the sense of shared values. And so who will be the next object of hate?

• Very simply: China – even more so than hitherto. We have just seen the beginning of the US-led and -funded Cold War against China so far. The West will accuse China of not siding closely enough with the West against Russia (and China won’t, though it is certainly very unhappy with Russia over the invasion). So the future ice-cold war in the world could be between the declining Occident and the rising Orient, to simplify. The West’s gigantic rearmament in “response” to Russia’s invasion will of course drain its civilian economy – all militarisation is harmful to everyone but the arms industries – and cause the West’s economic strength to be eroded over time even more and faster by the rearmament’s mad waste of resources.

• Humanity, as we know, desperately needs constructive cooperation if we shall succeed in solving the problems of inequality, climate and the environment here in the 11th hour, create technological progress and new infrastructure for the good of all, create a new green global economy, reduce militarism and abolish nuclear weapons…etc. All this – all this – will be made impossible by the West’s destructive energy, cold war philosophy, conversion to a kind of war economy, and total lack of positive Realpolitik vision in even a 20-year horizon.

The intellectual laziness, the contempt for ‘the others’ as a kind of Untermenschen, the spine-hatred and the cocktail of self-righteousness are bound to harm the Russian people. But the longer this ‘policy’ is pursued, the more damaging it will become for the West itself. China and the others need not lift a finger, one by one the fruits of history will fall into its basket and the US system will crumble.
But I know that such reasoning has not one chance in a thousand of being heard in these – fateful – hours and days. Unbearable as it is, I have felt that it should be said as I have done here.

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8 Responses to "Jan Oberg: NATO/Russia conflict in Ukraine: The West’s spinal cord reaction will prove extremely self-destructive"

  1. Pingback: Jan Oberg: The West’s ”Sanctionitis,” Militarism and Other Self-destructive Impulses - The Transnational

  2. Stefan Hultberg   April 13, 2022 at 8:34 am

    Jan, you are such an incredible hypocrite. You bring nothing to the table except arrogance, excentric emotion, and your viewpoints. It has nothing to do with research, and your snobbery and condescending attitude is the antithesis of good debate culture. Waste of time.

    • JO   April 13, 2022 at 8:41 am

      Thanks. Given that this comes from you, it’s a kind of honour. However, this will be the last comment from you here. And yu won’t waste more of your precious time.

  3. Stefan Hultberg   April 11, 2022 at 6:50 am

    A valid viewpoint I suppose. There are many viewpoints – this one is one amongst them. Blocked by Jan Øberg – he does not appreciate alternative viewpoints 😂😂😂

    • JO   April 11, 2022 at 9:13 pm

      Stefan Hultberg – Correct. I have blocked you on Facebook. I am always willing to discuss any alternative or critical views, but I do not accept insults at my person and neither commenting without any constructive intentions. I’m the editor of my FB page, like yu are of yours. Simple as that.
      If you’d known how to practise decent debate culture, I would not have blocked you. I have many thousands of people I interact with on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, WeChat and Telegram who for 15 have never been blocked, also not for having critical views of what I say and write.

  4. Pingback: NATO/Rusland-konflikten i Ukraine: Vestens rygmarvsreaktion vil vise sig ekstremt selvdestruktiv – 🗝 Jan Oberg

  5. richardkanepa   March 29, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    Can you talk directly with fellow Swedes.

    Any quick links to spread this article around

  6. finegenfeldt   March 28, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Sure; people are listening! Keep talking!


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