The lamentable state of intellectual discourse about the Russia-Ukraine War


Anatol Lieven

Fri, Nov 11 at 7:02 PM

Dear Dr Doctorow,

It has come to my notice that someone posted a comment in my name making an insulting attack on something that you had written. I want to assure you that I did NOT write this. If you know my views and record (and indeed personal style) you will realise how very unlikely it is that I would have done so.

I have posted the following on twitter:

Anatol Lieven




It has come to my notice that someone posted a derogatory comment in my name on a piece by Gilbert Doctorow. I did NOT write this, and in fact have never commented online about Gilbert Doctorow’s work. This was the action of an imposter.


I have now modified my essay of today to remove discussion of Dr Lieven other than to quote the insulting comment which arrived on my website in his name. The overriding issue remains unchanged: we are living in a world where such scandalous messages being sent can appear almost normal. We are living in a world where rational discourse becomes hard, even impossible to practice.

The second half of this essay I leave intact because it has lost none of its relevance. My tablemates’ superficial thoughts about the Russia-Ukraine war came ‘from the horses’ mouth.’ No imposters there. While I attributed these remarks to brainwashing from our mainstream media, they may also be attributed to simple selfishness: the Russian war on Ukraine deprives my peers of their creature comforts and so Mr Putin is to blame up and down the line.

————————— ——————————————————————————————————————–

In recent days, I have been in email dialogue with several friends and associates in the Alternative Narratives camp on the issues of the Russia-Ukraine War. The question I posed relates to the value or futility of public debate with standard bearers of the Washington Narrative.

During the course of the last nine months of intensive propaganda barrage from official Washington and its minions in the major media across Europe if not the world over the Russia-Ukraine War, righteous belief in the ‘good versus evil’ framing of the conflict in otherwise enlightened and well educated people has hardened so as to be nearly impenetrable to new facts or points of view. Meanwhile, the whole level of discourse has descended into the gutter. Name calling and vicious ad hominem attacks are now the rule. 

A case in point arrived on my desk late last night Belgian time when I opened the “Comments” section of my website and found the newest addition.


Anatol Lieven

More on Electromagnetic Pulse warfare

I’m convinced you have Down syndrome.

If the Russians had this Harry Potter weapon, why would they blow their load and fire off nearly every Iskander in their inventory? Why would they buy ballistic missiles from Iran?

Who needs magical weapons when you have useful idiots speaking to audiences reaching dozens of people?


My disappointment at finding the foul-smelling bouquet on my website over Anatol Lieven’s name was heightened by impressions earlier in the evening over dinner at my social club, which I have previously described in my reports on their gala dinners on the occasion of Russian New Year’s going back to the pre-Covid days. The membership of this 175-year-old club, which bears the designation ‘royal’ and is a nest of Brussels’ Francophone aristocracy and intellectual elite, had impressed me as especially sympathetic to Russian culture and open to hearing nonconformist views of Mr. Putin’s Russia.  After all, three years ago I was invited to speak about Putin & Co. by the chairman of what was their Geopolitics Group, himself a ranking employee of the European Commission.

The Geopolitics Group within our Cercle, which, in principle, is now more needed than ever, has been disbanded.  But my tablemates at the long dinner table set for members of the Cinema Group which I also frequent remembered my speech back then and asked what I make of the current situation. And then we were off to the races, as they say.

It was utterly shocking for me to hear their remarks on how horrible it is that borders may be changed by military force, that one country can invade and destroy another, etc.  My mention of the illegal invasions and violence perpetrated by the United States and its NATO allies in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, in Afghanistan over the past couple of decades was rejected out of hand as ‘whataboutism’ which has no relevance to the ongoing crimes against Ukraine.  My remark that my interlocutors know nothing whatever about Ukraine, not its geography, not its history, not its ethnic composition other than what they read in their Libre belgique or Le Soir fell on deaf ears. They know all that they want to know, and therein is the tragedy.

The only saving grace, and I call it out with all due gratitude, is that there was no name-calling at the table, no show of disrespect. In this regard my club remains what it always was – an oasis of tolerance in an age of vicious partisanship. But my tablemates cannot and will not be won over by intellectual persuasion.  As the Russian folk wisdom tells us, the hunchback straightens out only in the grave.

All of this brings me to very personal questions:  Why write? Why participate in news analysis shows on Iranian, Indian, Algerian, Belarus, Turkish or Russian television, which are among the few to invite on air spokesmen for the Alternative Narratives?  It is an issue to which I have given due attention and am satisfied with this answer:  to give comfort to those many intellectually curious and still open-minded people in Europe, in the United States and around the globe who otherwise find themselves surrounded by the smug bearers of the mainstream narrative. Each day my website readers are from 50 or more countries. Positive feedback from these readers regularly assures me that the effort is worth making.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

54 thoughts on “The lamentable state of intellectual discourse about the Russia-Ukraine War

  1. Dear Sir,
    thank you for your work.
    The personal attacks against you only confirm the increasing importance and reach of your work.
    Best regards from Poland,
    Jędrzej (Andrew), PhD

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I check your site daily. I ran for congress in 1982 against Phil Gramm. Directed energy beam weapons was one of the planks in my platform. A professor from a University in Colorado informed me then that the physical principles involved were being discussed in Russian physics magazines and then suddenly disappeared. Under Putin and company I’d bet those technologies have been revived and advanced.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Gilbert,

    AL must have been having one of those terrible days that comes once or twice a month… He is after all a part of that “pseudo-dissent” club, the one that argues the Russian invasion “failed” because of poor Soviet weaponry, so of course he doesn’t believe in Harry Potter weapons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many articles that AL have written over the years have been scholarly and very valuable. Hopefully, on reflection, he will regret making such an inappropriate comment and will apologise to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear Mr Doctorow,
    do not be disheartened by fools, because the supply of fools will be endless. I hope you reach millions, but even it should only be a dozen, that still would be worthwhile in the greater scheme of things.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thank you for your decision to continue speaking out. My husband and I are grateful for your perspective and your voice, and find your analysis very illuminating. We share your valuable essays with many friends. Don’t be disheartened.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The small readership is a positive signal for me. In every field or endeavour, true specialist expertise is rare. The majority opinion is necessarily shallow and surface-level, because most people don’t have the time to delve into a subject. Even the majority of experts are often wrong in every field from health to technology, until a pioneer overturns the received wisdom in a monumental shift. The Galileos and the Copernicus’ are always considered crazy and heretical in their time.

    I think we won’t have to wait long before all the naysayers will be proven wrong by underestimating Russia. All those Sarmats weren’t built for nothing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Le escribo en español, mi idioma, y el país desde el que leo sus artículos y escucho sus entrevistas. Muchas gracias señor Doctorow, por tener la cabeza lúcida cuando todos a su lado la han perdido. Gracias, porque sus palabras, sus artículos y su exquisita educación permiten que nosotros, sus lectores, también sepamos que no estamos solos.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Dear Mr Doctorow,

    I find all your articles to be very helpful as I try to piece together the fog of propaganda.

    Majority “elite” opinion is usually wrong on most issues. Such people are easily swayed by fashion and what is needed for career success. Right now, that requires hatred of Russia so they have pretty much fallen into line and convinced themselves of a false reality. Elites always want to think that their actions are deeply moral rather than motivated by such base perversions as money. The same thing happened during the whole Covid lockdown era. We should also remember who Time Man of the Year was in 1938. Things do not change so much.

    Anatol Lieven ought to know better. I read his brothers book Russia Against Napoleon avidly. One of the only accounts sympathetic to Russia that I have come across. It even mentions Alexander I visiting wounded and sick French / Napoleonic coalition soldiers (as well as Russian ones) in Minsk. Not the type of humanitarianism usually associated with a Tsar in western narratives.

    A personal anecdote: I studied the Soviet Union back in the late 80s at Oxford. Our professor was one of the “known” western Soviet experts even back then when he was quite young. I always thought of him as sensible. Anyway, I came across a recent video he had made with a UK think tank. It was unhinged in terms of Russophobia. I then checked that he is now Director for a Baltic States quasi governmental think tank. QED.

    My reflection: One of the eye openers of this conflict for me has been how many career opportunities exist for such people that are funded by so called ordinary people through taxes either directly; or indirectly through defence companies that ultimately are taxpayer funded. These so called “intellectuals” are really common mercenaries who create the case for war to order and sell weapons. If they want to fight Russia and think that we should do so then there are trenches in Ukraine and the opportunity to sit in one is open to them. They should go first. Otherwise, they need to figure out how to create peace not how to justify yet more war following on from all the other disastrous western misadventures that have killed millions of people in the past few decades. It is so easy to tell other people they need to make sacrifices. These people are really in the same role as the professor in “All Quiet on the Western Front”. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and be hanging their heads in shame, however “elite” they think they are.

    Apologies for the rant but evil must be called out, even when uttered with a posh accent by phd educated “scholars”.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hopefully some of these people read your blog and authentic comments such as mine. It will not change their minds but they need to know that not everyone is fooled by them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In fairness Gilbert also adds to this discourse by pussy-footing around the nature of the neocons, their agenda and their motivations. The US on it’s own would never have done the things it’s done since the end of the cold war without their influence, it’s insufficient to speak of the US or even the MSM media in the West. No mention of Syria means one can’t make sense of what is happening in Ukraine and no mention of Israel means no sense can be made out of what the neocons are trying to pull of in Syria.

    By not properly naming and explaining their agenda, the neocons are able to just blank out vast amounts of reality and leave just a confusing series of events which can only be explained by the child-like propaganda absorbed by the commentator above who is just a ball of rage not understanding how anyone could think differently because he is too stupid to have learned anything from Iraq, which is fairly shocking but there are many such cases.

    Generally everything that has happened since Trump and Brexit has fried the minds of the upper middle classes in the West, the intense class bubble they’ve lived in has blinded them to the pillow over the face they have presented to the Western working classes. That mass migration to no end might present a very real taking away of peoples communities and ownership of their own countries and be existential ethnic displacement isn’t even something they can comprehend.

    To them everything which has happened can only be explained by everyone they dislike suddenly becoming evil or insane. that they are constantly taken by surprise by events (A sure sign ones ideology and worldview is broken) doesn’t make them pause and wonder if they have an incomplete picture of the world. All they have is sheer rage and reassurance by the system that they are the enlightened ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi. I personally find your writings to be a most refreshing whiff of fresh air in the morass of imperial narrative that surrounds us. I hope you will keep writing, but if you have to stop, I will totally understand why.


  12. Dear Mr. Doktorow,

    I am one of the many lurkers who come to your site everyday.

    I, we, come for an informed and honest perspective on this Ukrainian “thing”, and incipient WWIII.

    Never disappointed.

    As for the Anatol Lieven of this world: “les chiens aboient, la caravane passe.”

    (dogs barks, but the caravan goes on; from Turkish).

    God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, please continue to write your articles. They provide a much needed antidote to our infantile, knee-jerk and profoundly dangerous approach to this war.
      As to the insult you received from Anatol Lieven it is another example of “when you can’t win the argument attack the messenger”.
      Finally, there people in the West who would give you a platform to share your insights. Have you heard of The Duran?
      Best wishes and thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Gilbert – I appreciate your views and blogging

    Anatol Lieven’s personal attack is frankly outrageous – particularly regarding using down’s syndrome as a form of abuse – this is truly vile
    We can disagree with each other and someone’s views may be flatly factually wrong – but we need to remain civil

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Mr Doktorow
    I check on your website every day for a new article. The reasons are very well explained by the comments of other readers in this section.
    Especially valuable I find your insight and commentary on internal Russian discussions and opinions from various sources there since this is hardly available from any news channel or
    blogger in the west.
    Thank you for your work and effort!


  15. “During the course of the last nine months of intensive propaganda barrage from official Washington and its minions in the major media across Europe if not the world over the Russia-Ukraine War, righteous belief in the ‘good versus evil’ framing of the conflict in otherwise enlightened and well educated people has hardened so as to be nearly impenetrable to new facts or points of view. Meanwhile, the whole level of discourse has descended into the gutter. Name calling and vicious ad hominem attacks are now the rule.”

    Eloquently and exactly put. Correct. If this creature AL has a purpose, it is to get you off the air. Don’t let him.

    The so-called neocons are the tail wagging the dog. After all, how many Americans can point to Ukraine on a map? But the neocons are an especially puissant tail. Sufficiently puissant to produce the situation described in your post. Sufficiently puissant to make Paul Krugman, who came to prominence opposing Bush II’s adventure in Iraq, a willing proselyte of the notion that inflation in the US has nothing to do with the economic theft and sanctions the West has imposed on Russia.

    So, we are in a situation where the neocons must change their minds or the war will continue to a nuclear exchange between Russia, China, and North Korea and the US and its allies. There is wavering, certainly in the periphery of the neocon camp viz. Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., but that will probably not be enough. Where I am convinced that there is no wavering is in Russia.

    Is that statement correct. Do you believe Russia is wavering? I don’t. But I really have nothing but an hypothesis.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve been reading Anatol Lieven for yrs for his alternative sensible writings on US foreign policy. When reports of a Russian incursion into Ukraine started increasing last December, Lieven was one of the writers I searched for for alternative reporting. I was shocked to see that his take was little different from the mainstream kneejerk anti-Russia narrative. I too have been struck by how otherwise sensible people have completely bought into the mainstream narrative that paints Russia & Putin as incompetent, weak, evil — as well as their abject hypocrisy about US invasions. For me, the latter point is key because it has shown their profound racism. Nothing has exposed western moral bankruptcy & profound racism than its selective outrage toward Russia’s invasion as opposed to its total acquiescence toward decades of US invasions against nonwhite peoples in Asia and Africa. It’s true there’s no comparison between the US & Russia because what the US has done is so much worse, so much more criminal than what Russia has done. Lieven’s gullibility in believing in the nonsense narrative about Russia using nearly all of its Iskandr missiles is shocking. So many lazy western talking points about Russia’s military capabilities & arsenal are easily debunked, it’s incredible that someone like Lieven believes them unquestioningly. Anyway, your website is invaluable to anyone desperate for a clear, independent understanding of this conflict. Please keep writing for those of us who appreciate it.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Are you sure that was actually Anatol Lieven? Somebody posing as Prof. Nicolai Petro was also leaving nasty comments on this blog earlier. Prof. Petro clarified in a post on LinkedIn that the comments were by an impostor.

    At the very least, I wouldn’t expect a British scholar to use a vulgar Americanism like “blow their load.”


  18. Sou um pequeno empresário no Brasil, e apesar de uma formação acadêmica medíocre, me esforço demais para tentar entender a humanidade.
    Esses conflitos a exemplo da guerra da Ucrânia, mesmo que reprováveis, são muito uteis a reflexões.
    Infelizmente meu país e parte significativa do nosso povo, portam-se como colonos domesticados do que há de pior entre os norte-americanos.
    Acompanho suas publicações sobre o conflito atual e as acho de impecável lucidez e compromisso com a verdade factual.
    Espero que nunca desista.


  19. Indeed, it is very comforting to those of us supporting Russia to read your articles when so many people even there are full of hatred. Thank you and please keep writing!


  20. Krugman:

    “And while big spending in 2021 probably did contribute to inflation, a large part of recent inflation — especially the surge in politically salient gasoline and food prices — reflected events outside any president’s control (unless that president is named Vladimir Putin).”

    Got it? Putin raised gasoline prices. In fact he did a magnificent job or M. Biden would not have had to deplete the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to lower them. So, in fact, Putin has benefited from sanctions, higher gasoline prices, and the US has been harmed. But that is not the way Krugman frames it. Instead he says it didn’t matter much and it was Putin’s fault anyway. Not a hint that perhaps the US policy toward Russia is fatally flawed. No, it’s “outside the President’s control”

    A boot licking sycophant… like AL.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bravo Mr Doctorow. I think one needs to cultivate a thick skin when entering a public discourse, just in case one encounters respondents unimpressed with the value of courtesy.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Keep writing Dr. Doctorow,

    In addition to the content (substance), there is also the issue of “form”. You write very well. Like another of my favourites, the inimitable Lewis Lapham.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dear Mr Doktorow
    I check on your website every day for a new article. Please continue posting and expressing your thoughts. Also, please don’t get overwhelmed by your millieu. It just denotes strong conformism and entitlement and many other things.—

    As for Mr Lieven, the first sensation that I feel over my entire body when I think about him is that of sliminess with whiff of sycophancy. He is obviously not an intellectual with an ethical streak and very likely he would have been one of the jurors to condemn Socrates to drink the cup with hemlock.


  24. I find it hard to believe that Anatol Lieven, a serious person, would leave such a comment. Are you sure it was him?


  25. I agree with the other commenters here: your blog is much appreciated and quite needed in these times. Please continue to write!

    Interestingly enough, your comment about dismissing the actions of the U.S. throughout the world as “whataboutism” happened to me as well on another blog! (I feel honored to be in such good company, sir). Of course, it is not “whataboutism” but the geopolitical and military movements of our world–which take place over decades and more, as opposed to just months and years. Many people are simply too small minded to see the bigger picture. Ah well….


  26. One other motivation to keep writing: Society is what the mathematicians call a “chaotic” system. The weather and turbulence are two others. One hallmark of such systems is that small changes to initial conditions can lead to enormous changes in outcomes. This is the “butterfly effect.”

    I can assure you, I’m flapping my wings as hard as I can, and your columns offer encouragement! 😉


  27. Dear Sir,

    This text was wrote before the clouds were dissipated, but I had problem with WordPress accepting. This’ next try. The text does not touch the aauthor of that confusion.

    I know, as many of Your readers, that social spheres of Internet are full of all sort of commenters, “intellectually” hubris imbibed, too. I dodge the places where they have the whole time and space to produce all possible platitudes and gutters’ level language. That’s why I’m here – to know more, as I’m trying to be open to many views. The more so Russian issues are multi faceted issues. That said let me point why I’m not setting myself outright against such offending types of comments.

    I do mentaly remove offending items comprising such unpleasent words and think for a moment, a little, what told might carry any value. What struck me right away were the two important questions about “Iskander inventory” and “misslies from Iran”. Why it strucked me? Because Russian social media are full of these types of questions – why Putin did not that and when he should do and why Putin did that whilst he shouldn’t. They try to understand Putin (Putin’s Russia) on the only official premise that Putin’s brilliantly preplanned his moves and that Putin cannot be wrong.

    But when someone makes blunders and errors, like Putin, nearly all the time, why not assume that he is _not_ that brilliant, or even more than brilliant, who might have hidden his true agenda of his deeds? Agenda far from what is being printed and being broadcasted daily in every Russian official media (unofficial, too, when they see in Putin “goods” only).

    That’s why I am trying to ferret out a pinch of Russian reality from Internet sources, but much more closer to the stinking trenches of the protracted Verdun-esque US-RF war.

    Back to my question, why you said nothing about the two issues which pointed to the burning issues which proving breadcrumbs are emerging here and there from time to time. E.g. Medvedev replied to the Western “analyses” that Russia is going short of certain types of weapons, he said that “Wait! You’ll see whether it is correct” (sort of), but Wait! was pricking my eyes instantly – he unintentionally, or not, confirmed the veracity of the Western estimates.

    Your reply is perfect, but you skirted the mentioned comment’s nitty-gritty.

    Thank you.
    Przemysław Pawełczyk
    Kraków, Poland


  28. Many things may be under the table (some are hypothesising that a deal was reached by Sullivan and his Russian peer) that we don’t know.
    What seems likely is: Russia has faced not Ukraine, but, to quote someone who put it in an effective fashion, NATO equipment manned by Ukrainians. The Ukrainians have been astutely propagandised to prefer death rather than not giving their life to harming Russia and Russians. The “equipment” is unlimited, like no other country’s can be.

    We reach the same time everytime, when the USA are involved. That is, they are the single country in the world allowed to issue an unlimited amount of their currency. Which means being the only country with no limits as to the ability to bribe anyone in the world, to have unlimited equipment/weaponry of any sort, to found and fund and spread “NGO”s and think thanks and organizations for this and associations for that everywhere in the world, as well as other propaganda (read, information by media, and culture-formation by Hollywood and suchlike).

    So long as the dollar thing isn’t put an end to, it will not be possible for anyone to defeat them in a confrontation, if we mean a serious defeat in serious confrontation and not what we mean when for instance we speak of their “defeat” in Afghanistan.

    So… what comes next?


  29. It has become a common practice to hate and insult anything outside of the “official version”. I assume with lack of arguments or ability to converse hatred and violence is what is left.


  30. Whoever spoofed AL is a venal coward, nothing more.

    We all make mistakes anybody who has ever sailed a boat in rough seas knows that any helmsman holding a “steady course” is a person who is ALWAYS correcting the last error. And so it goes, it’s the average that matters to the master of the vessel, not the momentary divergences from perfection. We, the good people of this world, are being blown against a lee shore, we have only our wits and our will to save our vessel from the foaming maelstrom.

    The other day I politely questioned Mr. Doctorow’s take on something, to my supreme satisfaction, he immediately adjusted his course displaying, in my view, excellent seamanship.

    As for that anonymous coward cowering below decks, don’t blubber below, come out on deck and let us see the man who needs to use another man’s name to mask his lack of achievement and status; with any luck, you’ll be washed over the side never to be heard of again!


  31. I think we all know the feeling: “why bother?” The motivator for me seems to be good old righteous indignation. Check out the recent videos of professor of E European history Timothy Snyder – Yale – who discusses Russia’s genocide/war crimes etc and argues that Ukraine is winning; he recently MET with Zelenski. Or Stephen Kotkin- Princeton – who refers to Russia’s “crime” of invading Ukraine.


  32. Dear sir, I want to add my appreciation for your insightful and interesting analysis and observations. These are very dark times, and I have lost a great deal of my previous respect for many of my intelligent acquaintances and friends for their recent complete inability to rationally discuss almost any issues. I hope that you remain in good spirits and wish you health and happiness. Thanks for continuing to provide a glimmer of light amidst the gloom.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I would like to add my voice to those who greatly appreciate the honesty and effort you dedicate to a very important and confused (on purpose) theme in international relations. That we are at war worldwide, is no excuse for non-combatants to posture as if they were. It is a great relief and even a blessing to hear a rational voice in these increasingly difficult times. Thank you again,

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Dear Sir:
    I have found your voice to be invaluable in this quite unprecedented era of gross journalistic and academic malpractice. I, like all the foregoing commentators, shall hope that you don’t lose heart. I think I can say that your followers are far more numerous than you imagine and we all read your analyses with great satisfaction and appreciation. To be sure, I have also met, even within my own family, so many purportedly highly-educated people that are certain that “Putin” wants to recreate the Soviet Union. But having successfully completed my doctoral work at Columbia in close cooperation with giants the likes of Professors Marc Raeff and Leopold H. Haimson, both now deceased, it is truly difficult to stomach the elevation of personalities like Michael McFaul, Victoria Nuland and, yes, Anatole Lieven, to the status of the country’s “premier Russian specialists.” This is a testimony not only to a process of negative selection in the media and governmental bureaucracies, but the collapse of Russian studies as a discipline after 1991, as a look at the curriculum of my old alma mater will bear witness. Russophobia, which long tainted the great anti-Communist crusade from the days of my youth, is now quite openly the lingua franca of the current discourse. As such I can only admire your efforts to arrive at a different view and your courage in publishing it.


  35. Anatol Lieven was in Belgium on October 11 for a seminar for students and a public lecture on the European and global security architecture, against the background of serious current challenges such as climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, the rise of new superpowers and nuclear proliferation. See my article ‘Opinionists about the Ukraine crisis and the reality about the hybrid war against Russia’,

    In preparation for the seminar, Lieven had recommended the following literature as “homework”: (1) a long essay dated August 17 by John Mearsheimer, (2) a long read by Lieven himself dated June 14, 2021 and updated on January 6, 2022, and (3) a September 4 article by George Beebe.

    For Lieven, in the event of a Ukrainian defeat, the options were not limited to a direct clash between the US and Russia, or to abandon Ukraine to its fate and lose credibility. He proposed a political solution that takes into account the wishes of the population and precedents elsewhere in the world.

    Interestingly, neither Lieven nor any of the other experts commented on the objectives of the SMO. They argue in unison that the Russians intended to conquer all of Ukraine, while the SMO only focuses on demilitarization and denazification. They interpret Russian strategy wrongly, and don’t bother to compare it with Shock-and-Awe, the American Blitzkrieg strategy to destroy immediate military and civilian infrastructure with overwhelming strike force and spectacular violence.

    In his piece, Anatol Lieven points out that “we” have had two great victories. He is of course mistaken. Russia has withdrawn for tactical reasons. It had other priorities and wanted to spare its men. We’d better take President Putin seriously: “We haven’t started yet. Do they want to beat us on the battlefield? Let them try. That will amount to fighting to the last Ukrainian, a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. We do not reject peace talks. The longer the other side declines, the harder it becomes to negotiate with us.”

    Liked by 1 person

  36. This failure to connect the international dots can hardly be a surprise to you. Did it all of a sudden deteriorate? I doubt it. It’s been going on, to my knowledge, since the 1970s and &0s when I was in Latin America.

    Robert Keith Lynchburg, VA

    Sent from my iPhone



  37. Thank you for your continued and persistent effort on behalf of facts, complexity, reality and plain truth. Please keep going. Your courage is as important as ever

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Mr. Doctorow,

    I am what one may describe as an “author in training” and write on geopolitical issues, usually framed around BRICS/SCO/EAEU and countries in the Non-Aligned Movement versus the USA/NATO western block. It would be quite the understatement that “we live in interesting times”, to quote the old Chinese curse.

    Yours is one of many international voices to which I listen. This is not because I always agree with you, but because you possess experience and knowledge that I do not in various areas. I am informed. You, along with many other commentators force me to check and re-check my biases, to look for subtlety and nuance. World events are not binary. There are always multiple factors at play when looking at a wider picture.

    This was a long way of saying: keep going, we are listening.

    I agree that all of these ad hominem attacks are debasing those employing them. However, they are successful for a large percentage of various populations which have not received an education which helps them to think critically.

    A recent interview with Eric Denécé by World Geostrategic Insights, is pertinent interest. Eric makes the observation that the use of propaganda is ancient (Caesar) and that during the current conflict we see it employed more vigorously and sadly more effectively by the “the west”. This reverses the historical case during the first Cold War. In the article Eric presents a sober assessment of the origins and situation of the Ukrainian (Russia/NATO) conflict. A reference is provided after this commentary.

    As for the impersonations of Lieven and Petro, I am hardly surprised. These would be the tactics of psy-operators from military intelligence rather than just dumb trolls. So, I assess that your community is under attack.

    In summary, please continue, and beware the military intelligence weaponized trolls.

    Are Western Media Misinforming about Ukraine? – An interview with Eric Denécé, WGI interviews Eric Denécé, World Geostrategic Insights, 2022-11-02

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Dear Sir,
    I recently became a greedy reader of yours.
    I don’t like to speak about subjects I don’t know very well, I prefer to learn reading who knows more than I.
    Apart from his terrible rudeness, the author of the comment you cite has some reasons.
    After several retreats, I think that the most plausible explanation of events is the simplest one, according to Occam razor.
    So, in my opinion:
    * Russians have withdrawn from Kiev because they were unable to hold it. (Somebody said that Kiev encrirclement was a diversion. I think that diversion was plan B, and plan A was occupation)
    * Russians have withdrawn from the zone around Karkiv because they were unable to hold it.
    * Russians have withdrawn from Kherson because they were unable to hold it.
    * Russians don’t use Sarmat missiles because they haven’t them. At least, not yet. Any announcement about their next readiness is propaganda.
    * Russians don’t use electromagnetic pulse weapons because they haven’t them.
    The retreat from Kherson was in my opinion the most disappointing one. Because Putin started (or claimed to start) the SMO to protect Russian people. Now the not-improvised retreat leave them at the mercy of terrible retaliations.
    I think that SMO is in a catastrophic state. Not only for Putin, for the Russian elite, and for the Russian army. But, sadly, for the Russian people living in Ukraine what were abandoned by Russian army.


    1. small detail: whereas when the Russians left the Kharkov region they left behind most of the civilians who were then exposed to reprisals and murder from the incoming Ukrainian forces, this did not happen when they left Kherson. Indeed 115,000 civilians are said to have been evacuated to the east bank of the Dnieper and moved further on to Crimea and central Russia to complete safety. The only ones left behind were those who were pro-Ukrainian and it is they, the tiny minority, who greeted the incoming Ukrainian forces with open arms. what is true is that repeatedly the Russians have underestimated the capabilities of their enemies and had insufficient troops on the ground to hold their victories. However, it is also true that they are making important territorial gains around Donetsk. The complete liberation of the Donetsk airport meant a significant pushback of deeply embedded Ukrainian forces which had been using artillery to regularly bombard the city center. these shellings have now diminished considerably. in the midst of the fierce propaganda war conducted by the US and its minions, it is very difficult for an outsider to say which way the war is going.


  40. “…to give comfort to those many intellectually curious and still open-minded people…”

    I don’t get much comfort from your blog posts, because you’re essentially a public intellectual / political analyst with no power to change the things you write about that make modern life so lacking in comfort.

    What I appreciate (without the comfort) is getting the truth.

    Unfortunately, people like you never seem to run for political office. So I see no way that things are likely to change for the better in the future.


    1. Mr Kraft, things will change if the readers of these essays and the writings/videos of others who question the mainstream narrative get out of their armchairs and exercise their constitutional rights to peaceful protest. There have been such demonstrtions in Rome 10 days ago. There will be similar demonstrations in Leipzig on the 26th. But to have an effect these protest movements must be large in scale and everywhere. What are YOU waiting for?


  41. Were I currently in Europe I would eagerly participate. In sleepy, benighted America, there is no such option.

    I am skeptical about the ultimate value of peaceful protests, having seen little or no effect from them in the recent past.

    In my view, large-scale civil disobedience — a spanner in the works — is the only route to stopping governments or entities like the EU, WEF, etc. from acting as unaccountable elites that have no interest in the citizens they rule over (or their peaceful protests).

    That, however, requires leadership — organizers and networking — that I have yet to see any sign of, at least not in North America.


  42. I’ve only caught up with this article. I can’t thank you enough Gilbert Doctorow for your great work in writing your essays discussing the various aspects of the Ukraine conflict, and allowing easy to make comments. Even in my country, New Zealand, our government sadly did not do due diligence to discover the origins of the crisis. It simply unquestioningly followed the line taken by the “Five Eyes,” allies. Yet, in the past New Zealand has stood against the allies over nuclear testing in the Pacific, etc.
    But the Ukraine crisis was of course diligently created by America’s gross interference in Ukraine’s sovereignty in the orchestrated, violent coup against a democratically elected government and replaced by an anti-Russia regime, leader chosen by US diplomat Victoria Nuland, famous for her phrase “F… the EU” . The fact that none of this is acknowledged by western governments, or our mainstream media shows the low level of intelligence in western society, now politicized nonsense.
    I envy those in Europe who ate demonstrating against supporting the US-NATO/Ukraine war. I know some people clued up about it in New Zealand but not many, and they tend to be the older generation. Swimming against the tide of public opinion here over Ukraine, is unpopular. But I know there are some who show signs of opposing it, and must encourage then. Thanks again Gilbert.!


Comments are closed.