Friday 30 December 2022

2022: Annus Horribilis.

Trauma: The catastrophic conclusion to the anti-vaccination mandate protest in Parliament Grounds on 2 March 2022 is seared in the minds of New Zealanders. Those dramatic scenes were, however, easily eclipsed by the planetary violence of Climate Change, the biological violence of Covid-19, the political violence of Three Waters, and the deadly military violence of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

AS THIS TERRIBLE YEAR, this annus horribilis, draws to a close, we must all hope that 2023 brings us happier days.

As we watch the Chinese Government transition from its old, hardline, Covid-19 elimination strategy, characterised by long and uncompromising lockdowns, to a new, laissez-faire, wide open borders (and bugger the health system) strategy, uncannily like our own, we have confirmation that not even the totalitarian regime of Xi Jinping’s Communist Party can operate indefinitely without a social licence.

Not that our own government is returning the compliment by acknowledging the lack of genuine social licences for its own flagship policies – and changing them. There is more than a whiff of totalitarian indifference to public opinion in the Labour Caucus’s blunt refusal to change course on Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters project.

When the results of the local government elections made it painfully clear that whatever limited social licence central government might have claimed for Three Waters had been withdrawn, the Labour Government refused to flinch. The former National Party Cabinet Minister Nick Smith, now Nelson’s Mayor, implored the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, to back away from the project. Failure to do so, he suggested, would indicate that her government had a “death wish”.

Undeterred, Labour doubled-down. Constitutional conventions became confetti. The co-governance provisions of Three Waters became stronger and their likely impact on Māori-Pakeha relations even more divisive.

And this situation looks set to be made ten-times worse the moment the public cottons-on to the fact that the cost of borrowing the billions required to “fix” their drinking-, storm- and waste-water systems is to be extracted from the pockets of the poor schmucks who “own” – but do not control – the four vast “entities” at the heart of the Three Waters project. A bitter realisation, that will hit home about the time they open their new-fangled water bills.

The Labour Government’s intransigence on Three Waters was not, however, matched by its response to the ever-increasing clamour for decisive state action on global warming. Far from becoming this government of Gen-Xers’ “nuclear-free moment”, the Labour-Green tag-team on Climate Change has impressed New Zealanders only by its prodigious ability to dilly, dally and delay. If the New Zealand football team possessed this government’s talent for kicking the can down the road, they could have won the World Cup!

Maybe, if Labour possessed an environmental faction as strong as its Māori faction more progress might have been made on Climate Change. But, if the Government refuses to be guided by public opinion on the deeply unpopular policy of co-governance, it is acutely sensitive to the social and economic realities that continue to keep SUVs at the top of the list of motor-vehicles purchased in New Zealand. When pushbikes replace four-by-fours in Kiwi affections, it is then – and only then – that our carbon emissions will plummet.

Covid, Co-Governance and Climate-Change may have helped to shape the domestic politics of New Zealand in 2022, but they have done so in the shadow of something much larger and more terrible than anything we Kiwis could conjure-up.


Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine has dealt what looks like being the final death-blow to the “international rules-based order” overseen by the United Nations. What we deplored, then ignored, in Syria, has come home to the cursèd bloodlands of Eastern Europe.

The global economic system, already rendered dangerously fragile by the financial measures required to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, has received a vicious kick in the gonads from Russia’s combat boots. Rising inflation has ignited multiple cost-of-living crises – even in the world’s wealthiest countries – precipitating social and political conflicts not seen for nearly half-a-century.

But Vladimir Putin’s aggression has done something else. It has stimulated martial feelings long thought dead and buried in the materially abundant (but spiritually impoverished) societies of the West.

The Russo-Ukraine War has not produced a global peace movement – even under Putin’s constant threats of nuclear escalation. On the contrary, it has generated a “war movement”. Prior to 24 February 2022, Volodymyr Zelensky would not have struck most people as the man to revive the Latin verse: Dulce et decorum est pro Patria mori – Sweet it is and fitting to die for one’s country.

When the heroism and sacrifice of war seem preferable, and more honourable, than an enervated peace, it is, truly, a terrible year.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 30 December 2022.


nicholastwig said...

Just sitting here Chris thinking of how to say, 'thank you'. Looking up Shakespeare - you with you little candle in a naughty world. You are truly such a wise and valuable commentator. Stay well and have a happy new year.

Chris Trotter said...

Thank you, Nicholas. Receiving such kind words fills this often cold and thankless calling with warmth and light. May I wish you, too, the very best of years.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"There is more than a whiff of totalitarian indifference to public opinion in the Labour Caucus’s blunt refusal to change course on Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters project."

Perhaps we could reserve judgement on that until they actually start being authoritarian – suing or putting in jail independent journalists, killing people who criticise them, shutting down opposition newspapers – there are any number of countries Chris where you would either be in jail or 'accidentally' fall out a window (unlike the sausage magnate you need not fear the wurst) – not this one so far.

Anonymous said...

Watching in horror while the political party I supported for fifty years was destroyed by the ignorance and greed of a faction of its parliamentarians . Was alleviated somewhat by Bowalleys dogged fight for transparency by the light of its “ little candle”

It may have been a shit year Chris but you had a blinder

Elizabeth said...

May I second nicholastwig's comment. I make sure I read all your comments (and send them on to friends and family) because they demonstrate an analysis that understands the multiple dimensions of human thought and experience. Thank you Chris. Elizabeth.

John Hurley said...

Co-governace isn't about partnership:

This development raised fundamental and radical questions, not the least of which is whether sovereignty within a territory can be divided, and what can be shared without undermining the integrity and cohesion of a society. Can there be a granting of sovereignty in order to acknowledge the rights of indigenous peoples while still pre-serving some basis for national identity and integration? The question is complicated by the appearance of retrogressive and exclusive nationalisms in places such as Bosnia, or by the issues that need to be resolved as South Africa negotiates a post-apartheid settlement. We argue strongly that Maori have unextinguished rights to self-determination. While Maori have been disempowered and dispossessed, they still have collective entitlements which were recognised and guaranteed in the Treaty of Waitangi. These rights entail:

• the right to autonomy and the control of their own social, cultural, and 'political systems

• identity rights, notably to exist as a distinct people with a distinct language and culture

• rights to resources especially land rights, but also the right of ownership of customery resources.

These rights have been forcibly and convincingly articulated, and if exercised, they provide the opportunity to develop a new relationship. What remains to be pursued is the process of negotiating a shared form of sovereignty that reflects a bi-national partnership of co-equals, Maori and Pakeha.

The question of what is an appropriate form of sovereignty if indigenous rights are to he restored runs parallel to the question of what constitutes citizenship. The argument here, as with the issue of sovereignty, is that Maori have access to a status that derives from the fact that they are the indigenous inhabitants of Aotearoa. The Treaty of Waitangi extends to them the rights of individual subjects, but it also specifies their inherent rights as members of iwi and hapu (Ammunsen 1996). While the exercise of common law and state policies did not recognise this dual citizenship from the 1840s through to the 1980s, this denial has not extinguished the rights of Maori citizenship. The question now is how to address those rights in a contemporary setting. In recognition of such citizenship rights, authors such as Kymlicka (1995) recast citizenship rights to incorporate distinctions between indigenous and ethnic groups. Bi-national societies are those that contain indigenous peoples whose territory has been colonised and where, in realising their rights, the focus is on the issues of self-determination and governance. In the case of ethnically diverse societies that are the result of immigration, the rights do not extend to self-government but rather focus on the recognition of cultural practices and social needs. Both are issues that New Zealand will need to debate and decide upon. However, the sovereignty and citizenship rights of Maori are preeminent because of the negative effects of colonialism, the existence of historically derived rights, and the need to re-establish the principle of tino rangatiratanga as a basis for entitlement and engagement.

"Maori will have a role is welcoming migrants" Spoonley
"Raise the drawbridge" Walker

It's all some sort of Frankenstein version of society as an elite creation. A totally dysfunctional step-family - the father is screwing the step daughter.

David George said...

Thank you Chris, for this and for all your insights and reflections over the course of this strange year.

I'm also concerned and dismayed with the direction we've been lead. A stranger way to build and hold together a nation is difficult to imagine. As Melanie Philips said yesterday:

"Far from creating a liberal, tolerant society, progressive ideologies are profoundly illiberal and coercive. Far from producing the brotherhood of mankind, left-wing universalism sets group against group in a battle for power over each other......
[decidedly not] prepared to conserve and defend the classical liberal settlement underpinning freedom, tolerance and democracy."

All the best to you and everyone for 2023.

PS. I wouldn't get too worried about the climate - most of what we are being told to believe is complete nonsense.

John Hurley said...

Note how John Key got behind Ngai tahu. Maori = corporate and corporate Maori do property development (like John Key). On the other hand, Maori are being handed the ethnic symbols. Will it make a difference that the suburb is called Remuera?

Sir John Key knows how to play the game?

Anonymous said...

Thank you from me too Chris.

I find your columns enormously valuable and they provide a lot of light and insight.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year.

And please keep writing

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Chris for a great year of analysis and objective insights re the Politics and politicians of our country.
I have learned so much from you and the great comments Mike

Gary Peters said...

Not the "Year's" fault Chris, just the idiots driving it.,

Anonymous said...

"It has stimulated martial feelings long thought dead"

Im not sure you are right. Martial feelings mean a tendancy to military action.. almost always such tendancy has its source in culture or racial details.
Afterall the ukraine situation is all about being 'Russian' or not.
Anyone who thinks Cultural feelings are dead or going in that direction are being somewhat blind.
Despite various governments efforts to promote 'multiculturalism' in the vain belief that 'Culture' or 'Race' can be elliminated are making the situation worse.
I think cultural pride and interest is greater than ever and getting stronger.

Ricardo said...

I suggest we owe Vlad the Defenestrator a vote of thanks. With one act he has

[1] strengthened and united NATO as never before
[2] created a motivated, equipped and powerful enemy, with hated of Russia now sown in its DNA, right next door to constrain Russian attention
[3] shown that Russia's non-nuclear military capability is slightly ahead of Costa Rica
[4] The West has better weapons
[5] steadily impoverished his country with sanctions
[6] further plunged the populace back into a place with echoes of Russia's bleak history
[7] shown US values in a far better light now that Russian state brutality and murder is on full display
[8] shown other autocrats that naked and illegal aggression is far less attractive and needs to be carefully considered.

Thanks Vlad.

Thomas More said...

This post seems to be referring to the current orthodoxy, viz. that Māori did not surrender their political independence when they signed the Treaty. According to this view, what the Treaty was intended to set up was a binational state, in which Māori could make laws for themselves and sovereignty over other matters was shared 50:50 between Māori and Pākehā.

The problem is that this is merely one view of what the Treaty means.

It is certainly not the view held by most Māori leaders throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sir Āpirana Ngata, for example, assumed that the chiefs had transferred their own authority “for making laws … to the Queen of England forever”. He understood their continued “rangatiratanga” not as political authority, but as the right of ownership, associated with land and property.

On this view, Māori might have a degree of self-governance. But it would be under the authority of the Crown, which makes laws for Māori and Pākehā alike.

Which interpretation of the Treaty is correct? Today’s orthodoxy, or the
traditional interpretation?

I find the traditional interpretation more historically plausible. But we may never know for sure what the original intent of the Treaty signers was. Indeed it is quite possible they did not have one view.

So let’s not be originalists. The question we should be asking is not, “What did the Treaty originally mean?” It is, “What sort of country do we want to live in?"

Do we really want to divide the country politically along ethnic lines? Do we want to give different rights to different citizens based on their "race"?

I don't. Do you?


A terrible year... was it?

In 2022 there was much to celebrate.

One year closer to kicking out the most incompetent government in living memory.

A huge wake up message to the AB's knowing that if Ireland and the Argies can beat them then the Cup is no "gimme".

And finally, Te Reo grows in National conversations. North and South Islands sound much more mellifluous as Te Ika a Maui and Te Wai Pounamu ... Aotearoa a'int bad either.

Unknown said...

the opposition and chris luxon have been incompetent as well. its better for New Zealand to stick with the devil that you know. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,

Unknown said...

the three waters reforms is necessary for New Zealand. its needed because its will help maintain,upgrade and take care of our national water infrastructure which is in dire need of an upgrade and maintenance. but the local district councils are against it because they want to kick it down the road for another day to fix. that means the local district councils are not even gonna bother with it and so the Poor will have to pay for the cost of the local district councils wasteful neglectful attitude of their water infrastructure system. and thats not misinformation or fake news if bloggers post otherwise. if pro national bloggers post that this is misinformation or offensive comments, they they are committing a criminal offence themselves by making a false complaint.

sumsuch said...

Rather weak. The main thing is climate change that will exterminate our squermish espece in most of our lifetimes. Not Chris's.

Enjoying my night off.

sumsuch said...

Reality is the Left thing but you're reluctant to turn to it rather than the next three years.

A misery really, your concentration on electoral cycles rather than ... truth. In the last years of the species. Un-understandable.

D'Esterre said...

Ricardo: it's clear that you don't know what's been going on in the Ukraine - especially in the Donbass - since the 2014 US -sponsored putsch in Kiev. We have extended family connections to that area: we have a better handle on it than you obviously do.

The citizens (most especially the children) of the Donbass have never done anything to NZ. Yet our government gives aid to the regime that's been persecuting them since 2014. You couldn't make up this stuff.

"...naked and illegal aggression..."

Nope. Sorry to spoil your illusions, but the operation in the Donbass is legal under the terms of the UN charter. The aggression would be that shown to the citizens of the Donbass by the Kiev regime. But when it comes to naked and illegal aggression, it'd be difficult to beat any of the US adventures in the ME, the Caribbean and South America over many years. And of course the NATO bombing of Serbia in the 1990s. And Libya more recently.

Putin isn't an autocrat: he's been re-elected over and over. There's plenty of political opposition, but the citizens prefer him, evidently.

The leaders of the US and NATO countries aren't autocrats either. Not that it stops them behaving illegally, as we've seen.

D'Esterre said...

"the three waters reforms is necessary for New Zealand."

The 3 Waters proposal constitutes theft by government. There's no other way to characterise it.

D'Esterre said...

Many thanks, Chris, for all of your columns this past year. They're always worth a read.

"AS THIS TERRIBLE YEAR, this annus horribilis..."

This year hasn't seemed to me to be so very much worse than any other year in my longish life. Although to be sure, we've watched the arrival of fascism in our own country: a thing I never thought ever to see. And that's a very disturbing development.

"The co-governance provisions of Three Waters became stronger and their likely impact on Māori-Pakeha relations even more divisive."

It's clear that the current government is being held to ransom by its Maori caucus. And the problem as I see it now is that expectations regarding co-governance have been raised to the extent that if the government backs away, there'll be trouble from that part of Maori society which is demanding it. And possibly other parts as well. But if it goes ahead, there'll be trouble from the rest of society, which either sees it for the fascism that it is, or will be hostile at the inability of the new entities to provide them with the services they've come to expect from Councils, along with the realisation that they're paying a lot of money for the privilege of having completely lost local control over a vital commodity. Either way, the future doesn't look good.

"Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine has dealt what looks like being the final death-blow to the “international rules-based order” overseen by the United Nations."

No. The military operation is legitimate under the terms of the UN charter. And it came after 8 years of violence and bloodshed visited upon the unfortunate Russophone citizens of the Donbass by the Nazi regime in Kiev.

This is Russia we're talking about: of course it would have all of its legal ducks in a row before it embarked upon such an operation!

The polities with Form for the flagrant disregard of the international rules-based order are Western. Most particularly - but not exclusively - the US. Along with its deputy sheriff, the UK. And the polities which make up NATO.

I vividly recall marching on parliament to implore the Clark administration not to get involved in G W Bush's insane adventure in Iraq (speaking of illegality...). Along with millions of others, we'd realised that we couldn't stop the Coalition of the Willing. But at least we in NZ had a shot at keeping our own government out of it. So we tried....

Pretty much ever since I can remember, we've been witness to the US and the UK violating other polities' sovereignty, going all the way back to the Korean war. Glass houses and all that....

"....Putin’s constant threats of nuclear escalation."

He hasn't done that, you know. What he has done is to reiterate the doctrine on nuclear conflict. Only the crazies in the basements of Washington DC could possibly think that a nuclear war would be winnable. Putin knows full well that it wouldn't be.

"...Volodymyr Zelensky...

Oh dear. It's very difficult to take him seriously, when one has seen him playing the piano with his penis, as I have. That video was circulating last year. Hilarious to see a comedian doing it, but not the president.

He was elected to bring peace with Russia and in the Donbass. But once elected, he was comprehensively hornswoggled by the Nazis. The rest - qu'on dit - is history. He isn't worth anybody's respect.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well, I have really seen so much misinformation in one post albeit it is quite long.

1. You realise that when Zelinsky was playing the piano – AFAIK with his balls rather than his penis not that it makes a huge difference I suppose – he was actually a comedian right? As far as I know he hasn't done it while he was president at least yet. Perhaps reserving it for when the Russians are thrown out?
2. "Bloodshed visited on unfortunate Russophone citizens" who just happened to declare independence and formed an army to enforce it?
3. NATO has committed what aggressive acts? Apart from perhaps admitting certain Eastern European states which with good reason are scared of Russian intervention.
4. I'll bet the people of South Korea are pretty happy with the fact that the US "violated this sovereignty" rather than allowing them to be taken over by a dictatorship run by someone who we have to admit surely is crazy as a bed bug.
5. The fact that the country has Nazis in it – albeit it elected a Jew as a president – is no excuse for invading it – necessarily.
6."it would have all of its legal ducks in a row before it embarked upon such an operation!" No comment except to say for Christ's sake is this satire – please tell me it's satire. Because judging by the number of "inconvenient" people that have died having said something nasty about Putin's regime, I don't think you really appreciates legality at all. Having said that, I think I'd better go and clean my doorknobs.
7. I'm sorry but calling co-governance fascism is – let's say a bit of a stretch. Particularly from someone who doesn't seem to recognise the fascism present in Putin's Russia.

sumsuch said...

I 'am' a remora at the gills of the big talkers. That most miserable species of person, a letter-writer to papers -- which has multiplied into a stupid idea of the world.

I find it most despicable, the remoras who 'follow' the talker rather than the cause of the people and reality.

I want you to put 'T'Cause' first. I mean it's reality, not the next election year.

Truth (free speech) helps us, as you say, except Martyn is going off into Right 'culture' dead ends.

Your integrity, at the least, relies on you not doing a Jim Anderton. I remember seeing him coming out of an airport gate -- I looked at him, looked away, he was fidgetty as well.

sumsuch said...

You're a strange pair, you and Martyn. Read his rape blog (3 by now of my comments nipped out)? Read your blogs? And the commenters? 'Cul-de-sac' is the word that springs to mind.

Rather than demo-cracy and a way through to a future.

Ricardo said...

For D'Esterre.

Quite agree. Putin is a firm believer in the democratic principle of one man one vote, and he is that one man. People who disagree tend to fall out of high-rise buildings, die from strange poisons or have sudden heart attacks.

And yes, sending rockets to kill civilians and freeze populations and butchering civilians in Bucha are all actions of civilised men.

John Hurley said...

What are your thoughts on Signal Hill Chris?
The Ambiguous Past versus the Unknown Future

That's version one

Ricardo said...

To D'Esterre. Do you think we should whisper to the Ukrainian Nazis that Zelensky is...jewish?

Phil Saxby said...

If Russian actions are compliant with the UN Charter, isn't it odd that Russia can count on only about 4 votes at the UN? Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea?

greywarbler said...

2023 A new annus horribilis start. I'm getting a start from the way that The Daily Blog has shut down from 13 January to now with no changes. These are uncertain times and we need warning if there is a break in transmission going to happen. Is it a rest, much needed? Has illness intruded? Is there to be a cessation of hostilities for a short/long time/likely for ever? Has some deadening action been taken by police/spy/terrorist/verbal niceness agency of gummint? To whom should I address such questions?

greywarbler said...

Ricardo Hollow laugh at your approach so common amongst those who have preference of particular targets for their disgust. All others of course fight cleanly and fairly and behave with propriety when they are bayoneting, bombing or droning others or using trebouchets or whatever gas is du jour, thumbscrews etc. It is the human way, and while we aren't yet at the stage of obliterating history we could learn from it if we had the mental acumen.

It ill avails us to point the finger at particular present behaviour; let us reduce all viciousness and in the meantime consider how aggression and defensive attacks be halted and effort made to stop whatever aggravating action is fanning the flames.

Loz said...

@Guerilla Surgeon - NATO has done nothing but launch aggressive regime change interventions since the 1990's - from Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. The West has always understood Russia would view the advance of NATO to its borders as a threat to its existence and cynically, the Rand Corporation's 2019 strategy paper titled "Overextending and Unbalancing Russia" proposed using NATO membership of Ukraine to provoke a war that could destabilise Russia.

Ukraine's democratic government was overthrown in 2014 with US involvement. What was installed after has been a hideous regime that is effectively Pinochet's Chile if you choose to ignore the flaming torch marches, book burning, 1940's fascist chants and military insignia, and illegality of criticising the Ukrainian SS division. It’s no democracy when you ban opposition parties, unions, unsympathetic media and then start disappearing those who are suspected of not supporting the ideology of Stepan Bandera.

Ukraine has never been a homogeneous culture and its borders are merely derived from a Soviet administrative district, not any sense of nationalism. The four western oblasts are the only areas where Ukrainian has been the majority spoken language and their history within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth are completely different to the eastern oblasts that were founded and colonised as part of the Russian empire. The constitutional protection for the two cultures of Ukraine was removed after the violent coup of 2014. This is why the parliament of Crimea immediately called on Russia for protection after the coup & the powers in Kiev have been unrelenting in trying to erase to culture of a large percentage of the population under the guise of “decolonisation”.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine was launched under the legal entitlement of pre-emptive strike against imminent attack of Donetsk and Luhansk through a collective security agreement. It is legal and the principle was argued in the International Court in 1999 by NATO to support its attack on Yugoslavia. Russia entered into a collective security agreement with Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics and as both had been under continual shelling by Kiev forces since 2015. With 100,000 Ukrainian troops massed on their border and as Ukrainian government had publicly stated it couldn’t be expected to honour the Minsk peace agreements (which was international law by the way). Russia's pre-emptive strike in support of its allies follows the same judicial ruling as NATO's action against Yugoslavia.

There is a good argument to be made that we are already in WW3. The collective west is in economic warfare against the rest of the planet and the combined military capability of NATO+ has been thrown against Russia and has been systematically destroyed. BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation organisation is rapidly integrating the global south into a new economic order outside of the US controlled banking system, World Bank, IMF and free of the US dollar as either Reserve Currency or currency of economic exchange. On both military and economic fronts, the west is losing badly.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

For Christ's sake loz NATO as an organisation has done bugger all. The US has done a lot of regime changing mostly disastrous, but NATO – come on.

The situation in Yugoslavia was extremely complex, and they were numerous instances of massacres and ethnic cleansing. Whether you like the result or not, all NATO did was try to put a stop to that. And at least now the place is relatively stable. (I should be careful about using that word after what happened to poor old Wayne Mapp, but it's a hell of a lot better than it was)

I think just about all non-loony sources agree that the 2014 Revolution in Ukraine for all its faults, was a good thing. The previous government was corrupt, and the president was a thug. I can't see any evidence of US direct involvement, or for that matter NATO. Perhaps you'd like to provide sources for that?

There's not a lot of homogeneous culture in Europe and places East. The USSR had many minorities, and Russia still has a number. They are not given any great independence. In my opinion you simply have too adjust and live with the situation. Not arm yourselves and start a separatist movement.

The so-called pre-emptive strike law was a Bush administration thing if I remember correctly, not a NATO thing. It was an overreach of existing international law for a start. And it was widely condemned internationally. I would also like to see evidence of Ukraine building up to a military strike against Russia. At the very least it would have been stupid. (At least on the surface, now we know the sheer incompetence of the Russian Armed Forces it may well have gone quite well.)

"There is a good argument to be made that we are already in WW3."
Nonsense. If we were in world War there'd be be a lot more shit flying around. Armies and reserves would have been mobilised – even Russia hasn't done this to any great extent. And as it is, the West has been very restrained in what help it gives to Ukraine in order to avoid world War three. This is at most a proxy war, but not even that if we are going to be objective about it.

Lastly, for all its faults, Ukraine is not a fascist state. Sure there are fascists in Ukraine, just as there are in Russia. Read the Amnesty International summary of human rights in Ukraine and Crimea. It's certainly not the worst country with regard to that. A little better than Russia anyway.

D'Esterre said...

Ricardo, what has Zelensky 's Jewishness have to do with anything? Fascism and Nazism don't entail persecution of Jews, you know.

We have seen the arrival of fascism in NZ in recent times. Nothing whatsoever to do with Jewishness.

D'Esterre said...

Ricardo: "People who disagree tend to fall out of high-rise buildings, die from strange poisons or have sudden heart attacks."

We have extended family in that part of the world. What you claim here is, to put it bluntly, propaganda at best, fiction at worst. Please produce the evidence, and not from western sources.

Loz said...

@Guerilla Surgeon - with respect, I think all of your statements are mistaken.

The legality of preemptive first strike under international law comes from the Caroline Affair of 1837, not the administration of George W Bush. Because of the collective security pact, Kiev’s troops preparing for an attack on Donbas or Luhansk allowed for Russia's pre-emption. We now know that Ukraine never intended to honour the Minsk peace agreement and never stopped attacking those regions either so believing an attack was imminent was not unreasonable.

I would recommend Boris Malagurski's documentary "The Weight of Chains" (which is on youtube) if you would like a deeper understanding on the breakup of Yugoslavia.

NATO is a multinational military force under the direction of the US Supreme Commander. US command is mandated by its charter. In the actions since the 1990's where US led regime change occurred, NATO as a body (or NATO members in the case of Iraq) have supported the combat capability of US. I doubt any of the sovereign states attacked considered its contribution "buggar all".

The leaked phone conversation of Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt orchestrating the membership of a new government for Ukraine 3 weeks prior to the coup is absolute evidence of US involvement in regime change.

Your assertion that "all non-loony sources agree that the 2014 Revolution in Ukraine for all its faults, was a good thing" is undefendable. The majority of Ukrainians who voted for the government that was violently overthrown by a militant armed group didnt agree. Dismissing the majority of voters as being loony isn't a serious statement. The post Maiden regime resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians starting with the ghastly Trades Hall massacre in Odessa and the endless shelling of civilians in Donbas that's continued ever since. That's not a good thing. Right Sector, Azov, Aidar all view the Russian speaking population of Ukraine as second-class citizens at best if not sub-human Slavs.

Remember that Right Sector took their name from the football stadiums where they were identified for doing their Sieg Heil salutes. It’s now so integrated into the Ukrainian state I don’t believe any election can now get them out. If I saw the banning opposition parties, unions, unsympathetic media, book burning, execution and arrest of political opponents and paramilitary control of NZ's police and military by individuals wearing insignia of the Third Reich, I'd be 100% certain that it was fascism. I'm at a loss to understand what other boxes need to be ticked for that definition to apply in Ukraine.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Fascism and Nazism don't entail persecution of Jews, you know."

They don't necessarily entail persecution of Jews, but I think think you'll find that almost all Fascism and Nazism in Europe has entailed it. I recommend you read Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism – if you don't regarded as too "Western"

Going to be difficult to give you evidence from "non-Western" sources right? What do you mean by "non-Western" anyway? Russian? I would take anything they say with slightly more than a pinch of salt. But anyone who's being paying attention would realise that they have been a suspicious number of Russian oligarchs who have died. The story about the sausage magnate who died was all over the Indian press – is that Eastern enough for you? It's also in the Polish press is that non-Western enough? Probably not – I'm not sure I believe the Poles about the Russians given their history. :) However, I think I would sooner believe them then your extended family, who probably have difficulty accessing proper news sources anyway, given the censorship Putin has imposed.
What about that? Is that non-Western enough for you?
I suspect not – I fear the wurst, that you wouldn't believe any evidence to the contrary if your beliefs no matter where it was from outside of Russia. I guess is always that propaganda arm of the Russian government RT – the Russian Newsmax. Oh God, you are a lost cause aren't you?

Anonymous said...

If the government had not imposed mandates on vaccinations when it did, there would have been countless more deaths in some settings - e.g. schools, universities, hospitals and rest homes. In some sectors that scenario may well have spawned the word 'evil' to describe the prime minister as well, because she would have been described as being a Pontius Pilate i.e. washing her hands of making a decision to assist in preventing deaths. She was damned if she did, and damned if she didn't. England and Australia acted as we did with mandates and subsidies. Nowhere have I seen these political decisions in those countries described by the Manichean word 'evil'. Are we living in a less sophisticated country?

D'Esterre said...

Thanks for your comments, Loz. I remain puzzled that anyone younger than I am believes western propaganda, as some commenters here evidently want to do. When I was a young adult, there was no internet: we were force-fed western propaganda. It wasn't until the 1990s, and the rise of the internet, that we could access dissenting opinion and revisionist history. Much of this stuff was available only in the universities. But now there's really no excuse for ignorance, or for uncritically accepting the just-so stories coming out of the west via the msm.

D'Esterre said...

"...AFAIK with his balls rather than his penis not that it makes a huge difference I suppose..."

Heh! With his penis. A bit difficult to play the piano with one's testicles.

In any event, my point stands. I know that the event in question took place before he was elected. Nonetheless, it doesn't contribute in any way to his gravitas.

D'Esterre said...

Guerilla Surgeon: "...evidence from "non-Western" sources..."

That should have read "non-Western msm sources". I doubt that Russian articles would be much use to you, if you don't have the language. Not RT, of course: that's for foreigners. Though I would say of it that it's good for world news: significant events are often reported there before our local outlets have got around to it. I read about the March 2019 shootings in ChCh on RT, before it was being reported here. But there are plenty of other voices: have a search of the internet. That's what I did.

Yeah, I used to believe all that malarkey about Russia and China, along with all that "shining city on a hill" nonsense. But I had an excuse: I grew to adulthood in the 1960s and 70s. There was no internet back then. All we got was Western propaganda, day in, day out. It wasn't until the 90s and the rise of the internet that we began to see countervailing views.

Once the first card had been pulled out, so to speak, for me, the whole edifice came tumbling down. I now believe nothing I read about Russia or China in the msm, unless I've seen supporting evidence reported on independent sites.

Here's a book you need to read:

The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government
Book by David Talbot

It's illuminating.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

D'Esterre: I read it years ago. Basically it's about corruption in the American government. Something about which I think we all knew even in the 60s and 70s – or should have anyway. In spite of the fact that there was no Internet there was plenty of information around. There was certainly a damn sight more investigative reporting then than there is now.
I'm quite happy to believe that sections of the US government are morally bankrupt. Unlike you, I'm also happy to believe that much of the government of Russia is morally bankrupt. You seem to have rose coloured glasses where they are concerned. I can't see why – because as the saying goes – governments don't have morals only interests. I'm pretty sure that applies to the Russians as well as the US.