The Ukraine psyop, like happens at some point to all imperialist psyops, has reached the state where its foundational myths are getting broken down. Where the category of individuals who disbelieve it includes not only the anti-imperialist minded ones who were standing against it from the start, but also mainstream society. This happened to the Iraq psyop when it was shown that subduing Iraq would be a long-term task, then the Downing Street memo revealed the WMD story to be a lie. This happened to the Syria psyop when WikiLeaks showed there had been a coverup of the evidence proving Assad’s innocence on the “gas attack” accusations. It’s these kinds of events that force imperialism’s narrative managers to at least partially give up on a propaganda narrative.
Even though these managers are always going to try to argue against the evidence disproving the narrative (as they’ve done by attempting to discredit the WikiLeaks revelation, or by arguing Bush didn’t lie but was misled), in the long term they have no choice but to stop relying on it as a narrative asset. It’s at that point too easy for their stance to be rebutted, and they must switch to a new war narrative.
This is what’s happening with Ukraine. During this last month, appropriately the same one in which the war started a year ago, several things have happened which represent irreversible changes to the way the Ukraine conflict is thought about. First Seymour Hersh put out his findings which conclusively prove what everybody who’s been paying attention always suspected: that the USA blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. The attempts to discredit his report follow in the same pattern as the arguments that WikiLeaks didn’t disprove the Syria narrative, because they both give the benefit of the doubt to sources which have shown themselves utterly untrustworthy. Anti-imperialist commentator Peter Schwarz observes about these reactions to Hersh, and why they’re not coming from a place of honest critical rigor:
One of the main accusations against Hersh was that he relied on a single source in the US security apparatus whose identity he is keeping secret for security reasons, whereas journalistic due diligence requires at least two sources. In fact, one of Hersh’s primary sources is the president’s threat and Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who made similar comments. After the attack, she exulted that she was pleased “Nord Stream 2 is now, as they say, a pile of junk at the bottom of the ocean.” Knowledge of US responsibility for the attack was widespread, Hersh told the Berliner Zeitung. “The people in America and Europe who build pipelines know what happened… The people who own companies that build pipelines know the story.” He said he “didn’t hear it from them,” but he “quickly learned that they knew.”…That Washington planned and executed the attack is the only plausible explanation for the destruction of Nord Stream. Hersh has provided ample circumstantial evidence and facts to support this. The claim spread after the attack that Russia had destroyed the pipeline itself is so absurd that it was quickly dropped. Even Attorney General Frank has publicly confirmed that there is no evidence for this.
With there being no truly compelling argument against the evidence that Washington was behind the explosion, unless one has a preexisting motive to want it not to be true, the media has mainly decided to omit reporting on Hersh’s statements. But this hasn’t been able to prevent a rise in public awareness of the anti-imperialist arguments about Ukraine, because this week the Rage Against the War Machine rally forced the Ukraine debate back into our discourse. By gaining coverage from the big networks, it introduced the general population to anti-imperialist ideas, provoking the psyop machine into attacking America’s internal revolutionary movement. COINTELPRO rallied its traditional radical liberal agents to direct vitriol towards the rally, claiming it aided reactionary politics because it was led by the Libertarian Party.
If these critics were coming from a place of anti-imperialism, they wouldn’t have been denouncing RAWM in the first place, as they would see it’s their responsibility to build the antiwar movement’s left flank. But they don’t support the goal of ending U.S. hegemony in the first place, so they’ve been glad to amplify the smear campaign against the rally. The fact that this debate over the rally continues to be a sore point for the online left shows it did serious damage towards imperialism’s narrative control. Or else the imperialist-aligned left wouldn’t be so passionate about discrediting the rally’s legacy.
Along with this raising of anti-imperialist consciousness in the core has come an affirmation from China of RAWM’s core argument: that it was the U.S. which provoked the conflict. Ambassador Zhang Hanhui has said that “As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine.” The only reason China’s officials haven’t outright endorsed Russia’s intervention, like the DPRK’s have, is because the PRC is diplomatically invested in too much of the globe to be acting that controversially. It’s apparent to every Marxist who’s seriously studied the conflict that Russia was justified in taking action against fascist Ukraine. Kiev’s violations of ceasefires during the days leading up to Russia’s action, in which the Ukrainian shelling of the Donbass increased by 400%, alone vindicate the project to demilitarize Ukraine. Those who are committed to the pro-imperialist ideology will never take the perspectives of the PRC and the DPRK seriously, but thanks to Hersh and RAWM, the amount of minds who may be receptive to such ideas has been growing.
Which is what’s created better conditions for the proliferation of the additional anti-imperialist ideas the PRC has recently put forth. Those ideas, articulated in the Chinese report titled U.S. hegemony and its perils, are summarized by the report’s text as follows. They describe the global evils that Washington carries out:
I. Political Hegemony — Throwing Its Weight Around
II. Military Hegemony — Wanton Use of Force
III. Economic Hegemony — Looting and Exploitation
IV. Technological Hegemony — Monopoly and Suppression
V. Cultural Hegemony — Spreading False Narratives
Everyone who’s studied U.S. imperialism already knows the things the report details. The report is necessary because it’s a tool to bring such an education to those who haven’t yet gained this knowledge. The American media won’t publicize it, but in the long term, it and other anti-imperialist sources like it can succeed at changing America’s consciousness. This is because we’ve reached a stage in history’s progression where the means which the U.S. empire has historically used to control the narrative are becoming no longer effective. To sell its false narratives, America has to first sell the idea that it’s the “greatest country on earth,” the “leader of the free world,” the central promoter of “human rights” and “democracy.” The Ukraine proxy war’s failure has made the sustenance of this foundational myth untenable. The Afghanistan and Iraq invasions had already done grievous damage to the myth, then Washington’s Ukraine miscalculation made this decline truly irrecoverable.
Washington’s War of Terror discredited the USA in the view of most of the globe, making it unable to sway key countries in the geopolitical power struggle. Ukraine affirmed this shift by prompting virtually all countries, aside from the imperialist ones, to reject Washington’s call to participate in the sanctions. Washington’s investment in aiding Nazi terrorists, and a highly corrupt Ukrainian government that’s increasingly anti-democratic, has created a further narrative liability. The world overall sees that Washington is no defender of “sovereignty” or “freedom,” but a hypocritical actor whose true goal is to advance the geopolitical interests of its ruling oligarchs. The Ukraine psyop isn’t capable of intellectually countering this, not enough to convince the majority of the globe’s people to support the proxy war. The more this global anti-imperialist consciousness bleeds into the core—a process that players like China are working to help along with—the closer the core gets to revolution.
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