Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Failures of Patrick Cockburn


If you search for the name "Jeffrey St. Clair" at this blog you'll probably find a few posts where I criticize him for his puerile sneering at anyone who doesn't think exactly the way he does. "CounterPunch" is an institution and it has long been a source of vital analyses for myself and tens of thousands of other left-wingers.  But it is also a deeply flawed site with a deeply flawed editor and many deeply flawed, if not absolutely useless, contributers.

As of late, writer Patrick Cockburn (a British-born journalist) has been grinding my gears with his constant ignorant, deluded refrain that Vladimir Putin's goal with the invasion of the Ukraine is to recreate the Russian Empire.  In spewing such garbage he has a great deal of company.  My faith in the collective intelligence of humanity took another serious blow when I saw so many otherwise intelligent people babbling about how Putin was a "thug" and a "madman" but he could simultaneously be provoked, his stated concerns for Russia's security ignored with impunity.  This despite the fact that Russia has one of the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world.  Enough weapons to obliterate human civilization.  Supposedly we can provoke the "madman" with the nuclear weapons and rely on his self-control to not do anything rash.

As if that isn't insane enough, I still recall Owen at "Northern Reflections" linking approvingly to some imbecile who said that if enough Ukrainian children were killed in Putin's war on Ukraine that we should have to consider using nuclear weapons ourselves.  Yes.  That's right.  Putin is the insane actor who we're pretty confident won't use nuclear weapons, whereas we can openly consider their use because of "THE CHILDREN!!!!!"

Of course, as I've repeatedly pointed out, none of these bleeding hearts for the lives of Ukrainian children appear to be equally moved at the tens of thousands of Yemeni children being slaughtered by the autocratic, misogynist, corrupt regime of the House of Saud (with vital US assistance).  Just as the sufferings and deaths of MILLIONS of innocent Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans and Palestinians never got any of these stalwart humanitarians to ponder whether the guilty US presidential administrations should have been overthrown, or whether Russia and China should threaten nuclear war if the USA didn't stop with its illegal invasions and coups.

Is the discrepancy between their response to Putin's invasion of the Ukraine and the USA's attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc., etc., based on racism?  I honestly don't think so.  I just think they're brainwashed and incapable of escaping the narrative served to them by the mainstream media.  Which is sad because that narrative is so stupid and insane.

Anyhow, in this article, "Will Ukraine Become Another Ceaseless War?" Patrick Cockburn writes the following:

I have reported on at least a dozen wars in the Middle East and North Africa in the last 30 or more years and they have several features in common. First of all, modern day wars seldom terminate and consequently people in these war-ravaged countries, who see no end to the conflict, choose to leave the country and become refugees, most of them heading for central and western Europe.

Refugees who are at first warmly accepted as victims of tyranny may outstay their welcome and become resented and even hated. This is what happened to the five million Syrians who fled to Turkey and one million to Lebanon after 2011. The wars in Somalia and Yemen are not only endless, but are escalating.

Did you catch that?  Cockburn has failed to identify the source for all these "forever wars." (A term that had been used for the multi-decade conflicts that actualy involved US troops but applies just as well to proxy wars that the USA instigates and props-up.)

The holocaust in Yemen continues because the USA allows it to continue.  Not only are there no sanctions on Saudi Arabia; Not only is there no flood of US weaponry to help the Yemenis fight-off the unprovoked, unjustified Saudi invasion; ("Unprovoked and "unjustified" was something the malignant turd, Joseph "Senile" Biden said about Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The same Biden, you'll remember, who thought the USA was justified to invade Iraq over imaginary "Weapons of Mass Destruction.") but the USA continues to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and assists in the Saudi airforce's terrorism.

But what's going on in Somalia?  Well, it's been the site of, first, Cold War proxy wars.  And then, with the end of the Cold War, initial collapse and chaos, followed by violence of the USA's "Great Bullshit War on Terror."

During the Cold War Somalia was ruled by a Russia-friendly, semi-socialist dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.  The USA instigated a war between its own puppets in Ethiopia and Somalia by instigating an Ethiopian invasion.  When Marxist Ethiopian military officers staged a coup of their own, the USA turned on a dime and gave all their support to Siad Barre.  Indifferent to Barre's increasing violence and corruption the USA supported him until the end of the Cold War, whereupon all financial assistance to the country was ended and Barre's regime collapsed.

A period of chaos ensued as various clan groups and other actors struggled for power.  A coalition called The Islamic Courts (ICU) eventually managed to get the country under control.  Unfortunately for Somalia, by that point the USA's Military-Industrial-Complex had found a new justification for hogwild military spending: The "Clash of Civilizations" of "The West" versus "Islamicism." "Islamic Courts" sounded scary (or convenient) to the shit-head Congress-people and Senators in the US federal government and so they attacked it.  This radicalized the ICU and they formed the more militant al-Shabab.

Here's three articles (two from CounterPunch!) that lay it all out.


In short: Russia's invasion of Ukraine is the USA's fault.  The war in Yemen is the USA's fault.  The wars in Somalia are the USA's fault.  Patrick Cockburns failure to see this is an indictment of his abilities as a reporter and an analyst.

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