Defend Truth


Russia’s war on Ukraine and the treason of intellectuals


Ismail Lagardien is a writer, columnist and political economist with extensive exposure and experience in global political economic affairs. He was educated at the London School of Economics, and holds a PhD in International Political Economy.

In the third decade of the millennium, there is an increasing and solid presence of institutions and organisations, ideas and bodies of knowledge that push and pull the country back towards the alignment with the West that so guided Cold War foreign policy and orthodoxy.

Watching, listening and reading South African reportage, opinions, descriptions and what passes for analyses of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has, so far, been a deeply insightful experience. It has been a proper lesson in the way intellectuals, those organically tied to a particular (transnational) social class, and whose power, influence and overall standing have been inherited from the preceding political order, have retained and reproduced “common sense” from the earlier order.

They have done so largely unchallenged, and have been benefitting from propaganda windfalls provided by Russia’s violence against the Ukrainian people. 

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is a necessary target for criticism, but his war on the Ukrainian people has been a gift for the intellectuals tied to dominant beliefs produced and spread along the Wall Street-Washington Axis. These beliefs were carried over, almost seamlessly, from the Cold War era in which the apartheid state was situated, to the democratic era.

It is part of that belief that a particular set of ideas, beliefs and values, as they constitute an ideology, with an attendant programme of action, is correct and eternally valid. Intellectuals, in general, are used, they make themselves available, or simply slip into place to “sustain, modify and alter modes of thinking and behaviour of the masses [and] are purveyors of consciousness”.

Once established, these intellectuals peddle “common sense” established as it usually is under conditions of authority, dominance and control (I’m trying to avoid using the word ‘hegemony’ because anti-intellectualism is so pervasive and concealed within serious ideological concrete). Once the ideas and opinions have slipped into common sense, they effectively determine what may or may not be thought, known or said.

This common sense presents itself as neutral, which makes for frustrating reading. And so, we wake up, every day, to read how South Africa has “lost the West” (without answering questions ex-ante) and that this is fatal. Is it? Have we forgotten, so soon, Kipling’s “savage wars of peace” fought by the European world against those who failed to succumb to civilising missions?

Through reading the texts on the war, we get to the way that something is presented as true, while the truth is much more complex, nuanced, sophisticated and less imagined or socially constructed.

Theories rise and fall

What is presented as true, is made up by intellectuals with vested interests who rely on a set of empirical observations and theories presented as the way to see the world. This is singular “a” and “the”. This ignores the understanding enjoyed by a relatively small group of us who were trained in a particular tradition of global political economy, that theory is always for someone and for a purpose, and that theories rise and fall with the rise and fall of powers. 

Identifying these intellectuals would be career-ending. As a former colleague wrote, a few years after the end of the Cold War, “Those who swim outside these safe waters risk more than simply the judgement that their theories are wrong; their entire ethical or moral stance may be ridiculed or seen as dangerous [and] unrealistic.”

It could result in marginalisation and possibly be career-ending. In acts of self-censorship, and because I have to put food on the table, I shall refrain from referring to them by name or institution. (Let that sink in, dear reader.) Anyway, since this is an opinion piece, I can get away with speculation, rumination — and allusion.

Since their specific positions, roles and views are sacred and sealed off from criticism and direct engagement, we can look at some historical parallels. A general appreciation of the way that dominant ideas are forced through, from one era to another, without intellectual challenges, may be found in the way that elites made the transition from the ancien régime past the French Revolution and into the new order. The same can be said about interwar Italian fascists who, after World War 2, simply adopted the Christian Democrat identity. 

Considering South Africa in the third decade of the millennium, there is an increasing and solid presence of institutions and organisations, ideas and bodies of knowledge that push and pull the country back towards the alignment with the West that so guided Cold War foreign policy and orthodoxy. 

We should not ignore the role that intellectuals play in presenting the ideas of, say, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) or the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (often promoted by the Centre for Development and Enterprise), with attendant conservative political economy, in South Africa. 

Straight out of the copybook of US power and influence, these institutions and intellectuals within their “bloc” play a considerable part in “educating” South Africans. 

This is almost perfectly an adaptation of the way organisations like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and the CFR “shaped” Americans after World War 2. 

Carnegie and the CFR would become important components of the US foreign policy establishment, even though they played no significant role in the actual making of policy itself. Intellectuals in the US, including journalists and opinion writers (it’s difficult to think of Thomas Friedman as a journalist), played important roles as part of “the political and cultural establishment” that dominated the US and whose influence radiated abroad. 

Influencing hearts and minds

With respect to the “peace” in its name, the Carnegie Endowment was directed, almost exclusively, at influencing the hearts and minds of Americans, and would establish offices in several countries abroad to carry out this type of civilising mission. This “mission” goes back to the objectives expressed by the former US secretary of war between 1899 and 1904, Elihu Root, who said, in 1915, that it was necessary for “peace advocates” to “inform the minds and educate the attitude of this great new sovereign that is taking charge of foreign affairs”.

Inderjeet Parmar, scholar and columnist, reminded us, “Root’s attitude to public opinion was not at all dissimilar to that of Walter Lippmann’s as expressed in his 1922 essay Public Opinion, in which he defended the need for a specialised democratic elite to ‘manufacture the consent of the governed’.” 

Back home, in South Africa, there is a democratic elite, or a cadre of elite intellectuals, who specialise in manufacturing consent. Russia’s war in Ukraine, horrendous as it is, has inspired these intellectuals to drive for Ukrainian victory, and not a peaceful settlement.

South Africa is held as a hostage of the intellectuals, with “the West” as the benevolent and necessarily peaceful arbiter in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This is neither to say that South African politics is not lost in a hurricane, nor is this an even vague suggestion that Putin is not responsible for a horrendous war (when is war not horrendous?). No. It is simply to say that consent is manufactured by intellectuals (part of a transnational block anchored in the CFR, CEIP, CDE, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and any number of entities on the right) that whatever South Africa does has to be consistent with what Washington expects, and any deviation makes the deviant complicit in all Putin’s war crimes.

Sure, this is a leftist critique (inspired by Gramscian thought), but when you have (even) the right-wing Cato Institute agreeing that “Yes, the Press Helps Start Wars” and that US journalists “sold America the story of heroic Britain in 1940”, and you look at the blinkered reportage (intellectual single-sourcing) about South Africa having “lost the West”, it is cause for concern about intellectuals who have influential platforms. 

War is never black and white. Particular wars may present clear dichotomies, but a sophisticated understanding, not shrouded in fake conceptions about “neutrality” reproducing “common sense” without understanding how it comes about, may be a bit too much to ask of intellectuals beholden to the consent manufactured in Washington or Whitehall.

The only consistency is that the same intellectuals peddling this commonsensical view of “the West” held the same views three decades ago. I could show you examples, dear reader, but I may get into trouble.

It may have been Susan Sontag who wrote that notwithstanding the great achievements of the West, its wars have placed notably the US in the ruins of thought. It’s saddening that there are important and influential intellectuals who represent a “definitive image of a traumatised age in despair of itself”.

On the positive side, it is a wonderful teaching moment for scholars and professors, researchers and columnists who, as Steve Smith, former vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, wrote all those years ago, dared to swim outside safe waters and risk more than simply the judgement that their theories are wrong, but also that their entire ethical or moral stance is ridiculed, dangerous and unrealistic.

In a more irascible moment, I would say that they live, without fail or self-doubt, in the imagination of the European world where the rest of the world is intellectually meaningless and without a history. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rudd van Deventer says:

    Wow, and….

  • Max Ozinsky says:

    Excellent article. I hope our local “Nato advisors” have read it. Oh I forgot, it, they are the ones trying to shore up the collapsing neo-liberal consensus.

  • Richard Bryant says:

    I’m sorry. I won’t apologise for being an intellectual just because I exercise my right of free speech and support of human rights where it impacts people.

    This is not a binary thing as you say Ukrainian victory as opposed to a peaceful settlement. As things stand, the Ukrainians can never win. Their country has been devastated and people scattered and scared. The long term psychological damage not only on the young men, but on children who spend nights in bomb shelters with explosions all around.

    Exactly what does a peaceful settlement look like? That Ukraine gives up territory, and allows Russia to rearm and wait a few years before trying again to wipe out the Ukrainian people.

    The horror that putin has unleashed on civilians is a war crime. He exercises acts of terrorism every day because he is struggling on the battle front. One cannot negotiate with terrorists. The truth is, the war would end tomorrow if russia pulled its army out of all Ukrainian territory.

    I don’t subscribe to this West is good thing. The West may have an agenda but exactly what options did Zelensky have? The Ukrainians overwhelmingly voted for democracy and an alignment with Europe. They were sick and tired of living under a regime of big men and fear. putin is stuck in a 20th century system of oil, wars and control. He is a monster in the 21st century.
    The Ukrainians have my full support.

    • Cheryl Siewierski says:

      Fully agree with you.

    • Oliver Laubenheimer says:

      well put richard. agree 100%. no need to overanalyse intellectual rethoric to detract from the basics that yes, war is not black and white, but war frankly is always wrong. it is a pity we are not human enough to have learnt this by now (or is that an oxymoron ?) what is utterly perplexing to me is how many rationalisations i hear and read referencing other wars, as if that is in any way redeeming. i was always taught that 2 wrongs dont make a right, and by implication, many wrongs certainly dont make a right either. it can also not be taken for granted that just because something is West (or indeed East), or MSM or whatever, it is also always automatically wrong. Maybe the West does sometimes have a point.

    • David Forbes says:

      Richard Bryant, you call yourself an intellectual, but you confuse yourself. Your “right of free speech and support of human rights” was won for you at great cost by those who fought to liberate this country. Those who died or were tortured, detained etc to do that are/were not responsible for the counter-revolution that occurred in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

      You clearly have not read enough history. If you had, you would have seen immediately that this is a proxy war by the USA, NATO and “the West” against Russia, which is against a unilateral hegemony of capitalism and obscene neoliberal accumulation.

      Do you know what happened in Ukraine in 2014? The US supported an illegal coup that began a civil war as the fascists in Kiev sought to destroy Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass. This is a matter of public record, even in the USA!

      So in fact, it is the US and their allies who have unleashed Putin’s SMO (not a war, actually, because otherwise Russia would have taken Kiev long ago). Russia’s warnings about NATO encroachment, broken promises, and increasing aggression were all ignored by the arrogant West. Now they are paying the price, because Putin just planned how to deal with it for more than a decade.

      Not all Ukrainians voted for what you call democracy (like locking up Assange rather than the US war criminals), and those that didn’t agree had civil war unleashed on them by neo-nazis. In war, both sides commit war crimes, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. You’re naive.

  • André Pelser says:

    Interesting piece of intellectualise (similar to legalese), an oblique analysis of the new world order dynamic. Think tanks and public advocacy institutions and agents have been around for a very long time, and they are not confined to the West. The competition between socialism and capitalism, democracy vs authoritarianism, conservatisme vs liberalism for hearts and minds is timeless.
    The communication revolution brought about by the internet, now AI as well, has undermined attempts to manipulate public opinion and voters. The disconnect between the public and political establishments is not a West vs the rest issue, it is a global problem. Ideologies are an important source of mobilisation but, ultimately peace and bread and butter on the table are more important – people want a dispensation that offers fair opportunity for advancement and basic welfare – a never ending pursuit.

  • Robert de Rooy says:

    True that we need to be vigilant against groupthink, but let’s not slip into another conspiracy theory.

  • ROY CLARKE says:

    Intellectuals will always intellectualise as this article has done intellectually.
    It’s actually so simple.
    A country with a democratically elected leadership ie governed by the will of its people is attacked by an oligarchy elected by nobody with a leader who is a dictator. This on the basis that that piece of land was part of Russia in the past. A collection of countries with democratically elected leaders decided to assist the attacked country with the approval of the majority of their people.
    I know who I support. Intellectual arguments going back in history rapidly become a quagmire which they have done
    For example, would it be OK for the UK to attack India or the US to regain the land because they were once part of the British empire. That seems to be the argument supporting Russia

    • Andre ZAAIMAN says:

      This is an important piece that must be read widely – LAGARDIEN not only highlights the Eurocentric eco-chamber that masquerades as the “free press” in South Africa, but also illuminates the deeper ideological faultline between those that seek to transform this Eurocentric “common sense” and those that try to defend – even resurrect – the core assumptions of the old apartheid order under the guise of “democracy”. The only sensible position on the Ukraine war – a war provoked by the US and NATO and warned against by all key American experts on Russia – KENNAN, COHEN, FRIEDMAN, BURNS, MEARSHEIMER – is a non-aligned, pro-peace, pro-dialogue and non-zero sum posture. Instead of belittling this and enthusiastically supporting the warmongering of the West, the media and intellectuals should maintain both a critical stance and support sanity. The world must build a new order not based on US unipolarity – or an anti-Western stance – but on non-bloc dynamic, non zero-sum, mutual respect and democratic multilateralism. This will address the root causes of the US invasions of Afghanistan (the Afghanistan Papers of the Washington Post revealed the same propaganda effort by the West right to the end); of Iraq (based on fabrications, lies and more propaganda) and now, the Ukraine provocation starting in 2014 – which the US STRATFOR analyst George FRIEDMAN called “the most transparent coup in history” – including the Minsk Agreement deception admitted to by MERKEL. Meanwhile, the extreme right wing and Nazi sympathisers in Ukraine are growing in strength through Western weapons supplies and support for the Ukraine regime – just read the articles in the Jewish Forward and the Washington Post and New York Times highlighting this since 2012 onwards. The intellectuals and journalists need to take their craft and role in a democracy as serious as LAGARDIEN seems to be doing.

      • Peter Oosthuizen says:

        The best way to get rid of Eurocentricity is to abandon Johnny Walker Blue, BMWs and Mercedes in exchange for Ladas and Gaz. Let’s start with our governement.

      • Ivan van Heerden says:

        “non-aligned, pro-peace, pro-dialogue and non-zero sum posture” Exactly what Howard Macmillan achieved in 1939 with “Peace in our time” look how well that worked out. Putins stated goal has been the re-unification of the Soviet Bloc. A dyed in the wool Apparatchik who headed the KGB is not the white dove of peace. I think your loathing of the West is perhaps blinded you to this fact. Do you for one minute think that the Poles, Romanians and anyone else who suffered under communist Soviet brutality is going to sit back and allow the Russians to waltz up to their borders. If Russia is not forced back to its borders the threat that the entire of Europe and hence the world will be engulfed in a global war is very real, that should be your concern.

  • david.cooper says:

    this is a wonderful, thoughtful and much-needed intervention into the articles published on Ukraine throughout this year 2023 by the Daily Maverick (the vast majority though not all) which have shocked me in the ‘the West is right’ ideology. THANK YOU Ismail Legardien for your insights.

  • Stephen Paul says:

    What the hell is he going on about with his snide allusions and conspiracy theories.. Whataboutisms is rife in this article. Only a peaceful settlement, however much he obfuscates how all wars are horrendous, logically means a priori that the Russian brutal invasion, deaths and destruction, is not to be condemned as a crime against humanity. Are the Ukrainian people supposed to understand they should not be so upset about the war unleashed on them because leftist intellectuals, well intellectualize, there is a Western consent about the primacy of “European” values?

  • Tim Price says:

    I think I’d far rather live in Washington or London than Moscow or Beijing, or South Africa for that matter. Countries/cities where the right to free speech and the rule of law are actually upheld.

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    Telling us that the “West” provoked the Russian attack on Ukraine is like telling someone who was raped that they “asked for it”. You’re inhumane, sir, and blinded by your pathological hatred of western values sufficient to allow your myopic fundamentalist views to obfuscate the line between right and wrong. Whatever the “West” has done or not, does not give Putin the right to invade Ukraine.

    • David Forbes says:

      That’s right Rod! Demonise Ismail Lagardien, a man more schooled and with more intellectual heft than you will ever have. You call him someone with “pathological hatred”, but you are guilty of the same! LOL! What is myopic and fundamentalist about having studied the situation, and making a nuanced analysis of it and the DM’s pathetic attempts to shore up America’s neoliberal capitalist empire (which, by the way, is in steep decline!); of course you can’t answer this. I don’t hold a candle for Putin, he’s an oligarch with ill-gotten gains, but then what was Hunter Biden and his family doing in Ukraine before this whole mess blew up? What was NATO doing moving aggressively to arm the nations on Russia’s borders? Why did Merkel & Co use the Minsk Agreements to allow Ukraine to rearm? Why did Zelensky renege on his campaign promises? Why did Victoria Nuland support an illegal coup in Ukraine to ensure a US-compliant regime there? Putin hadn’t invaded. This was Western aggression left unchecked, and now Europe is paying the price. And the US is laughing because Europe has to buy their oil and gas, and everyone is buying their armaments. Why is Assange in jail for revealing war crimes committed by American forces? For the American Empire, this is just another lovely war!

      TS Eliot wrote a poem called The Hollow Men. Do you know how it ends?
      “This is the way the world ends
      This is the way the world ends
      This is the way the world ends
      Not with a bang but a whimper.”

      • Marius van der Merwe says:

        David, I suggest you reread the final sentence of Rod’s comment. The Whataboutisms (both from Ismael and some commenters) that have to do all the heavy lifting in place of coherent argument are tiresome.

  • Ian McClure says:

    Wagner is already here it seems judging by some of the comments below . They hand out laptops, no longer AKs . The Russian propaganda machine is in full swing . For goodness sake, what about free speech, free press, freedom itself ? The West is not perfect, but clearly the better option . Even before attacking Ukraine ( barbarism ) Russian society and Putin (interms of most civilized values ) were very sick puppies

  • Miles Japhet says:

    Democracy is the worst system we know — except for all the others. The highest standard of living and civil liberty is enjoyed in Western Democracies. No need to intellectualize around that fact.

    • Theresa Avenant says:

      Ooooh! Miles! “The highest of living and civil liberty is enjoyed in Western Democracies.” ( The term one percenters springs to mind) I assume you not a very well travelled fellow. Take a look at the pavements next time you go to LA or San Francisco. Take a look at the old mining towns in England – where poverty, filth and the level of violence lived among the common people who are said to have rights. What rights?? Inequality is the worst evil all over the world, but at the moment, South Africa shamefully leads the way in this department. We need something new – where everyone has food, shelter, education, medical attendion – where people who enjoy vast and unnecessary excesses of wealth learn to share. This is not Pie in the Sky, it is achievable! We just need to throw most of the politicians out.

      • David Forbes says:

        Well said Theresa! Thank you! There are many ostriches that are here on DM! Democracy! Free speech! Civil liberties! And so they cry on. But in reality, Julian Assange sits in Belmarsh jail for having had the temerity to leak information about WAR CRIMES (the horror, the horror, the horror!) committed by US forces. And their top general lied to the United Nations, like Tony Blair and the others. They don’t seem to see that fascism is creeping up on Europe, in Germany, Italy, France, the UK. And here, at home, we are seeing increasing moves to autocracy. It’s time people opened their eyes, and your post here is speaking truth to power. Wish that the DM would stop their political nonsense in support of the West and focus on corruption investigations, where their true skills lie. What is approaching is a revolution. When more than half our population go to bed hungry, and 50% of job-seekers are without work, this is a recipe for blood in the gutters. And you know what? You can’t eat democracy, civil liberties or free speech.

  • Ian McClure says:

    The article seems to be a very long way in which the author is making clear he is wrestling with his ambivalence between Communism (which SHOULD ideally ” sort out a lot of the world’s more basic problems”) but there is clear evidence of massive genocides, lack of personal freedoms etc etc, and Capitalism with all its warts . Capitalism needs a lot of ” work” ( read ” The price of Inequality”- Stiglitz) but (to be quite blunt), capitalism is a bit like taking a poo – not pretty, but certainly keeps things ( including freedom ) moving.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    You have interlectualised the matter to death, if whataboutery is now an intellectual’s tool. Keep it simple and it is simple. Let’s accept the West hasn’t always had altruistic motives, but what has that to do with the price of eggs. A totalitarian state has invaded and practically destroyed a neighboring state (for the usual colonial reason of grabbing resources), abducted children, and tortured and murdered civilians. Even if there was any truth in the unsustainable charge that it was provoked, there was still no justification for it nor to act on the (imaginary) provocation. It may well be that practicality will determine a less than satisfactory conclusion but if that means Russia retains any Ukrainian territory it would be a win for Russian aggression. Similarly if Russia is forced out it would not be a win for Ukraine but a return to the status quo.

    • Cheryl Siewierski says:

      Brilliantly put.

    • Max Ozinsky says:

      The problem Mr Kaye is that you have never opposed any US/Nato or Israeli invasion in the past. This is not whataboutism, it is to show that your opposition to invading other countries is based on who does the invasion, not the principle of opposing invasions.

      • adrian_hipgeek says:

        >The problem Mr Kaye is that you have never opposed any US/Nato or Israeli invasion in the past.

        This is, ironically, exactly “whataboutism”. Other invasions, and Mr Kaye’s assumed lack of support for them should have no bearing on this discussion.

        So your comment boils down to an implied ad-hominem attack against Mr. Kaye.

  • Johann Olivier says:

    But Britain was ‘heroic’ in 1940. Ukraine certainly is heroic right now. We can have intellectual discussions about worldviews, but there can be no question that both Hitler & Putin are brutes who care not a whit about intellectualism. Their like understands naked force. One of the great ironies for folks like Mr. Lagardien, is their permitted comfortable ramblings on anything & everything, as it should be. But, of course, most of those in the ‘celebrated’ alt-weltanschauung hold no truck with ‘ramblings’ & intellectualism. I don’t really care much about political theory. I do, however, enjoy living in a society that grants most individuals most freedoms. As, obviously, does Mr. Lagardien.

    • David Forbes says:

      You enjoy freedoms that were won for you by people who laid their lives down, or were tortured so that you can spout nonsense here. I bet you didn’t know that Dresden (a civilian city with no military worth) was carpet-bombed on Winston Churchill’s orders? Churchill, revered as a UK hero by many for his “fighting spirit”, was actually an extremely violent, racist child of Britain’s ruling class. He fought for Empire in Sudan, India and South Africa, helped the Spanish to suppress Cuba’s freedom fighters, supported Mussolini during his rise to power and saw communism as only slightly better than Nazism. He hated the “international Jews” (blamed for revolution), and supported Zionism. Churchill opposed vociferously Home Rule (Irish independence), Suffragism (the vote for women), and sent troops in to quell strikes by Welsh miners, and allowed armed Latvian anarchists to be burnt alive in a standoff in Stepney, where he assumed personal command of the police. That is just one “heroic” British politician. Should I continue with the Americans? The French in Algeria and West Africa? The German genocide in Namibia? Everyone, yourself included, understand “naked force”, which is the reason why we still have politicians sending boys to war so that they can satisfy their lust for power. Go back to your armchair.

  • Andre Parker says:

    For once I disagree with the author. This is not an issue for intellectuals. It’s a simple case of right vs wrong for us non-intellectuals. A sovereign country is being invaded by an agressor who targets civilians. That’s just wrong, finish & klaar!

  • Shauneen Procter says:

    Thank you for an edifying and thought-provoking piece. Always useful to apply a handbrake on vocal, partisan and prevailing narratives.
    (and thank you to the two grumpy old men at Stand Up! Business for sponsoring the audio)

  • Vas K says:

    The responses to Mr Lagardien’s article only re-inforce what he has to say. So many people all over the world have been brainwashed by the establishments and the individuals with agendas. Of course the US dominated West is far better at propaganda than the pathetic Russia. How else would Putin be always automatically compared to Hitler and never to Nixon, Bush, Blair and other human monsters? Does anyone actually believe that their wars were fair and justified? Or that Ukraine a couple of years ago was a happily functioning democracy and not a European outcast? Or that Ukrainians are not the pawns in a much wider conflict? Or that US is a great democracy because once every 4 years you can choose between two corrupt idiots? But the main point is that people who have an “unacceptable” opinion and don’t repeat the mantras are nowadays at risk of being cancelled or ruined, in other words silenced, by the intolerant groups. I don’t call that free speech. And it can get worse: I grew up in a country where communist thugs used the slogan “Who is not with us is against us” to cancel thousands of innocent people. Physically.

  • Ismail Lagardien says:

    Thanks for all the comments and discussion.

  • David Forbes says:

    This is a brave and great piece of writing.

    Apart from Ismail’s ability to express himself much better than I can, he is spot-on with calling out the intellectuals and elites in SA who, without thinking, support the Western narrative.

    The media, of course, is another elite, and their unspoken role is to support the current regime, although a certain amount of dissent (“free speech”) is allowed. The ANC and the State in SA have abused their privileged position, and have now endangered the entire country through their reckless and feckless feeding trough behaviour.

    The pulling back to Cold War orthodoxy and the idea that Russia must be destroyed at all costs is the knee-jerk response of, firstly, capital, and secondly the military-industrial complex which controls American politics by allowing two major parties only, both of whom basically agree.

    The reason is that socialism threatens the accumulation of wealth and property, and so it must be destroyed, as it was in the Paris Commune, the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and others in Germany, and the herculean efforts the Allies made to destroy the Russian Revolution (they failed).

    Since the end of WW II, America has sought to destabilise, create regime change or destroy any nation, party, individual or group that seeks REAL liberation, and an alternative to capitalism.

    The SA media and wealthy elites would do well to read some history, because Revolution is on our doorstep, and we are blind to it’s predations.

  • Gramsci, Sontag, Steve Smith: Dissenting speakers in the West, yet able to promote their views and contribute to the debate. Gramsci was even able to spread his ideas from prison. I wonder how many thinkers who disagree with Putin are able to make themselves heard?

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    David Forbes – you are so wayward and quite frankly pathetic, living comfortably in Western type values, freedom and democracy and pontificating in your armchair! NATO and the West didn’t create this war. All those Eastern European countries who were subjugated, repressed, terrorized, brutalized and murdered by the despicable Soviets and communism would run 1000 miles, given the chance to be free. That is what they have all done and have every right to do. They are not Russian and never were! One is dealing with neurotic, diabolical, immoral and brutal monsters in Stalin, who murdered many millions through starvation, gulags, shootings, displacement etc. and that evil Putin thug carries the same DNA. Learn your history before talking nonsense – the Ukrainians were mostly at the receiving end of this pogrom of murder, famine etc. Did the West force Finland and Sweden, who have been neutral since the end of WW2? NO, they joined because you have an idiot and a pathetic nothing-nik with a huge brittle and false ego in the Kremlin, beating the war drums, who dreams of Soviet empire (nothing but terror and murder imposed by the barrel of the gun) and who fears, freedom and democracy on his borders, lest it infects the long-suffering and highly-abused Russian population. That would spell the end of his dictatorial and murderous regime, and his criminal syndicate in stealing the country blind. I daresay that if you were Ukrainian etc, your views would be very different!!

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