The Russia Ukraine Conflict: Shifting Media Narratives
The times ahead will be radically different from those we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, though similar to many times before. How do I know that? Because they have always been. ~ Ray Dalio, Principles For Dealing with the Changing World Order.
Looking at the struggle between the liberal west and the nations of Russia and China, it is easy to get swept up into the hype of the “good vs. evil” narrative. As Christians, we need to see God’s providence in all of it in advancing the kingdom. A big part of this will be clearing the legacy media smokescreens.
How can we discern reality from false narratives?
Western liberal globalism will fail and civilization states will emerge in its place in a multipolar world within the next few years. It is happening more quickly than first imagined. On May 8, 2023, lasting peace was achieved in the Middle East. This is something we haven’t seen in centuries. The liberals must applaud this while simultaneously and hypocritically condemning the “bad actors” we were at war with just a few days ago. But how can we resist? The US neocons and neoliberals can’t afford to wage war against the direction of the whole world.
Soon we will see a big shift in the Liberal narrative concerning the Ukraine conflict.
Critique of the Telegraph video: Ukraine’s Counter-offensive has begun. But where is it?
I don’t think that you can find a western news service that is more pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian than the London Daily Telegraph
I found the title intriguing. I listened to the whole thing all the way through waiting for the punchline.
Right in the middle of the video, there is a small column of a few Ukrainian tanks going through a village and an elderly woman is giving apples to Kyiv’s soldiers. When you look at it carefully the are no apples. It looks like she has a basket full of confetti! A soldier goes to grab just one of the apples and it’s obvious that he just pulls a few pieces of confetti out of the basket! So this is obviously staged propaganda, which would be funny if it were not so tragic given the reality of their circumstances.
The entire video speaks about how Ukraine is not ready for a counteroffensive despite being given (maybe?) enough equipment. This is due to lack of training and logistics. Further, a nation at war doesn’t talk openly about when they are going to launch a counteroffensive anyway. So instead the counter-offensive (that is not) is presented as a type of a psychological operation.
Then the narrator says that if a counteroffensive is launched now and it does not achieve its total goal of driving the Russians out of Ukraine, then nations like Brazil and China who are already calling for a negotiated settlement will gain a lot more support from most of the non-western nations in the world. Egads! Calls for peace could be a disaster for the western necon “endless wars” project.
Finally, the narrator says that the counteroffensive has already begun and he says it’s psychological because it might be “causing the Russians to worry.”
Four Stages of the Shifting Media Narrative
I said from the end of last summer that the narrative shift would have four stages.
- Ukraine is winning and Russia is losing badly.
- The conflict is frozen and Ukraine just needs more arms to win, but this might go on for years.
- It looks like things are going badly for Ukraine.
- What the $%^&!” How did that happen!
We are now between #3 and #4. Though some are clinging desperately to #2. And less occasionally you will still find a clown narrative saying Russia is losing badly.
This is my point. Military intelligence psychological operations (PSYOPs) work. You can convince people with enough propaganda to believe the narrative. Over time, the narrative collapses when enough evidence mounts up creating cognitive dissonance in the minds of the hearers. They will suddenly have a “What the $%^&! We were lied to!” moment. Here is the problem for the propagandists.
How do you keep the PSYOP going in the face of sheer reality that contradicts everything?
The answer: You have to create a contingency clause within the foundation of the false narrative.
In the beginning, the Russian narrative was that there had been a western-backed violent coup in Kyiv in 2014 through ultra-nationalist militias and a resulting war in Donbass for eight years also funded by the West. After a year of this, the Kyiv government promised on every occasion to implement the Minsk I and II agreements. By January 2022, NATO countries had stoked 80,000 troops in Donbass and promised that Ukraine would join NATO. There were public calls and discussions in favor of Ukraine getting nuclear weapons. Russia had no choice to invade to protect its existence and future as a superpower. The goal was to demilitarize the Donbass region and de-Nazify Ukraine (that is, eliminate the neo-Nazi militias and the racist anti-Russian element in the Kyiv government) — secure non-NATO neutral military status toward Russia — gain autonomous status within Ukraine for Lugansk and Donetsk republics — open talks for a new security infrastructure between Russia and Europe including a new strategic nuclear weapons non proliferation treaty. This is the narrative Putin has stuck to.
The Western narrative was that this was all Russian disinformation and that Russia had invaded a sovereign democracy to steal land and resources from Ukraine. The goal was to take over the whole country in three days. When that failed, Russia committed thousands of war crimes including rapes and tortures. Putin is a dictator and a war criminal while Zelensky is a hero of democracy. Ukraine took back some territory and Russia has been losing ever since. Russia is almost out of missiles, ammunition and troops. Putin is dying of cancer. Putin is about to be overthrown by his inner circle. People are leaving Russia to escape “conscription.” We just need to stick with Ukraine and supply them with hundreds of billions of dollars and suffer with them economically for as long as it takes. The war — as is the coming war with China — is framed as a battle between democracy vs. totalitarianism. Still the Biden administration sticks to this narrative, but internally there is dissent on how much longer the lies can be trotted out.
I looked at all Putin’s speeches leading up to the war. Never once was there a time period claimed for the duration of the special military operation. He always said, “We do not plan to occupy Ukraine.” The “Three Days to Conquer All of Ukraine” narrative is a western fiction. In reality, what the Russians banked on was immediate talks, which began to happen in Belarus and Turkey until they were scuttled by the West. Even so, they stocked enough supplies for a three year war to last until 2025. In case it escalated, plans were made to ramp up their military industry that was still partially intact from Soviet times. Russia could have taken Donbass in 2014, but waited eight years to prepare in cooperation with the BRICS+ countries for sanctions and a western funded counter offensive. These countries believe that the US/ NATO alliance is threatening Russian security economically and militarily because the US/NATO has also been threatening China, Turkey, India, Brazil, the African Union and the Arab league as well.
In these cases, it does not really matter whose narrative is “true.” It matters what the perception is. There is the situation we need to deal with rationally and realistically. The truth is on neither side, but the question is: “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
That being said, the Russian narrative can actually be corroborated in western news sources leading up to the war. The Minsk agreements failed due to disagreements on its implementation. (From a rational viewpoint, there were faults on all sides — US/NATO, the Kyiv regime, the Donbass separatists, Moscow — although the overriding western tendency is to blame it all on Moscow.) Ukraine had a big Nazi problem among their independent militias and government officials. The US/NATO was training 10,000 troops per year for a big counter-offensive “to kill Russians” (the neocons George W. Bush, John McCain and Lindsey Graham said this openly.) There was also an obvious need for a new nuclear arms agreement that would satisfy both sides. This was all normal factual reality in news reports up until February 2022. Then the “Russian propaganda” rhetoric set in when any of these realities were mentioned.
The sticking point in my debates with neocons and liberals used as an excuse on their side of the argument has been that Ukraine could not implement the Minsk agreements because Russian troops refused to withdraw troops from Donbass. It should be considered on the other side of the argument that Moscow could not withdraw support while ethnic Russian people were being shelled on a weekly basis. (Civilians are still being killed on a weekly basis even today. So simply withdrawing Russian troops from former Ukrainian regions that have since acceded to Russia is not an option until a settlement is reached.) In April of 2022, such a ceasefire agreement was almost reached that had most of the original points of Minsk plus security agreements involving foreign peacekeepers to actually implement the peace plan. Then Joe Biden and Boris Johnson stepped in and squashed the talks.
At that point, the Russian “war crimes” stories went into overdrive. Russia intentionally bombs civilians. Russia rapes thousands of women and children. Russia killed hundreds of civilians in Bucha. Russia created mass graves to hide civilian casualties in Mariupol and northern Ukraine. Russia bombed a railway station in Kramatorsk. Russia shelled a nuclear power plant on land it occupies. Russia bombed Poland. Russia blew up the Nord Stream I and II pipelines. Russia assassinated its own pro-Russian journalists. Russia bombed the Kremlin. Russia has lost as many as 200,000 troops while Ukraine has lost less than 15,000. A bizarro story a week appears that is so clownish that it makes me fear for the sanity of our culture. Yet most swallow it because it supports the narrative.
The biggest piece of dissonance is how inept and incompetent the Russian army is against an inferior force. Yet these same people argue there can be no settlement because if appeased, the Russian army will march all the way to Berlin.
It finally came out that Minsk I and II was a ruse by the West to buy time for another big Kyiv military campaign to take back Donbass and Crimea. This was recently admitted by Poroshenko and officials in France and Germany including Angela Merkel.
There was never any intent to protect the sovereignty of the Donbass regions, implement free federal elections, protect citizens from harassment, crack down on the murders and war crimes by rogue militias, etc. according to the agreements. So the regions seceded and made a military security agreement with Russia. This gave Moscow the legal justification to invade to defend its allies. Russia’s justification for the special military operation is a carbon copy of NATO’s justification for its military operation invading Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Both might have been right or wrong, but it is hypocritical to say only the US/NATO wars are right while Russia’s same justification is wrong. American exceptionalism is a convenient lie in this case. Now the tangled web of lies is unraveling.
Locked into the western narrative is the provision for a Russian “failure in victory.” Even if Russia gets exactly what it has asked for the past 20 years and more, it will be framed as a victory for Ukraine and the West. Even if Ukraine surrenders and Russia dictates the terms of settlement, the western neocons can still go on about how eventually Russia is destined to fail. They are forever a pariah nation. Putin is isolated. He is forever a war criminal facing arrest and a war tribunal in the Hague. The stupid Russians destroyed the territories they conquered and will never be able to afford to rebuild them because their economy is in ruins. The territories seized have no economic or strategic value. It cost them a pyrrhic victory. The pro-Russians in these territories are moral defectives anyway and can’t be educated into a free society so they deserve Putin. Democracy has triumphed because freedom has prevailed in whatever is left of Ukraine.
You will hear all of this rationalization, coping and more. Most Americans will accept it because we will be onto our next foreign policy disaster with China and/or the Arab League.The coming neocon project, a failed hybrid war with China, will be the ground on which Liberal world order finally collapses.
In all of this, God’s kingdom forcefully advances and multitudes are entering the kingdom of God. More Muslims are converted to Christ everyday than were saved in many centuries of Islam. More people come to Christ everyday in Russia, China and all over the world, than were saved in the entire New Testament period. The times we live in are truly like no other times, different not from an economic or political viewpoint, but in terms of a spiritual reality. We can see more clearly than ever before that Christ is the victor and rules over nations.
What event are you referring to when you mentioned lasting peace in the middle east on May 8, 2023?
Syria was admitted into the Arab League on May 8th, which is also the day the Nazis were defeated in Europe and lasting peace was achieved. Although the United States still occupies a partitioned northwestern Syria and supports the ISIS/Al Qaeda terrorist insurgency, the war has quelled. There will be no invitations by Saudi Arabia and the other Arab League countries for NATO to launch new wars against its neighbors.
The US, and before that the British Empire, has used hybrid economic, political and military warfare to gain control of the resource rich Middle East. We back coups and revolutions to put out Middle East strong men we deem as “bad actors” and “pariahs." We then support that insurgent group to destabilize a more powerful nation until the nation we support grows too powerful. Then we switch sides and our former ally becomes the new pariah. The US supported Iran against Iraq, then Iraq against Iran, then Kuwait and the Saudis against Iraq, then ISIS/Al Qaeda against Syria. All this was just in my lifetime.
To the east there were recent puppet regimes of the US put in place in Pakistan and Thailand. Unfortunately, these are likely to become theaters of new wars meant to destabilize the emergence of China and India.