Presenting a no-holds-barred debate on the current status of the Ukraine war

As I have observed on various occasions over more than a decade, with few exceptions such as during presidential elections, “debates” have been banned from major media because they are deemed to be divisive of public opinion and have the potential of wounding sacred cows.  Instead, at best, media present one side to contentious issues in the form of interviews with a selected talking head or ‘round table discussions’. In such cases, the side presented is, of course, the officially approved side.

Against this background, it was highly refreshing to participate last evening in a real debate with a competent and well-known representative of the other side to the Ukrainian question, Andrij Dobriansky, Chair of UN Affairs, Ukrainian World Congress in New York. Our host was the ‘Spotlight’ program of Press TV, Iran.

Unlike my last appearance on Press TV, this show was released on youtube and is readily accessible from anywhere globally.

I call attention to the highly professional moderator who brought to the debate pointed questions and who did not hesitate to pursue them past initial vague answers from either side to pin down the speaker.

Translations below into German (Andreas Mylaeus), French (Youri) and Brazilian Portuguese (Evandro Menezes)

Unverblümte Debatte über den aktuellen Stand des Ukraine-Krieges

Wie ich seit mehr als einem Jahrzehnt bei verschiedenen Gelegenheiten beobachtet habe, wurden “Debatten” mit wenigen Ausnahmen, wie z. B. bei Präsidentschaftswahlen, aus den großen Medien verbannt, weil sie die öffentliche Meinung spalten und das Potenzial haben, heilige Kühe zu verletzen.  Stattdessen präsentieren die Medien bestenfalls eine Seite zu strittigen Themen in Form von Interviews mit einem ausgewählten Talkmaster oder “Diskussionen am runden Tisch”. In solchen Fällen ist die präsentierte Version natürlich die offiziell anerkannte Version.

Vor diesem Hintergrund war es sehr erfrischend, gestern Abend an einer echten Debatte mit einem kompetenten und bekannten Vertreter der anderen Seite der ukrainischen Frage teilzunehmen, Andrij Dobriansky, Vorsitzender für UN-Angelegenheiten, Ukrainischer Weltkongress in New York. Unser Gastgeber war das Programm “Spotlight” von Press TV, Iran.

Im Gegensatz zu meinem letzten Auftritt bei Press TV wurde diese Sendung auf youtube veröffentlicht und ist von überall auf der Welt leicht zugänglich.

Ich möchte die Aufmerksamkeit auf den hochprofessionellen Moderator lenken, der gezielte Fragen in die Debatte einbrachte und nicht zögerte, sie über die anfänglichen vagen Antworten beider Seiten hinaus weiterzuverfolgen, um den Redner festzunageln.

Présentation d’un débat sans tabou sur l’état actuel de la guerre en Ukraine.

Comme je l’ai observé à diverses occasions depuis plus d’une décennie, à quelques exceptions près, comme lors des élections présidentielles, les « débats » ont été bannis des grands médias parce qu’ils sont jugés susceptibles de diviser l’opinion publique et de blesser les vaches sacrées. Au mieux, les médias présentent un aspect des questions litigieuses sous la forme d’interviews avec un présentateur choisi ou de « discussions en table ronde ». Dans ces cas-là, le point de vue présenté est, bien entendu, le point de vue officiellement approuvé.

Dans ce contexte, il était très rafraîchissant de participer hier soir à un véritable débat avec un représentant compétent et bien connu de l’autre côté de la question ukrainienne, Andrij Dobriansky, président des affaires de l’ONU au Congrès mondial ukrainien à New York. Notre hôte était le programme « Spotlight » de Press TV, Iran.

Contrairement à ma dernière apparition sur Press TV, cette émission a été diffusée sur YouTube et est facilement accessible partout dans le monde.

J’attire l’attention sur le modérateur très professionnel qui a posé des questions pointues et qui n’a pas hésité à les pousser au-delà des réponses vagues initiales de l’une ou l’autre partie afin de piquer au vif l’orateur.

Apresentando um debate livre sobre o estado atual da guerra na Ucrânia

Como observei em várias ocasiões ao longo de mais de uma década, com poucas exceções, como durante as eleições presidenciais, os “debates” foram banidos da grande mídia porque são considerados divisores da opinião pública e têm o potencial de ofender os dogmas estabelecidos. Em vez disto, na melhor das hipóteses, a mídia apresenta um lado de questões contenciosas na forma de entrevistas com um locutor ou “mesas redondas” escolhidos. Nestes casos, o lado apresentado é, obviamente, o lado que goza de aprovação oficial.

Neste contexto, foi muito revigorante participar ontem à noite de um debate real com um representante competente e conhecido do outro lado da questão ucraniana, Andrij Dobriansky, presidente do comitê da ONU para o Congresso Mundial Ucraniano em Nova York. Nosso anfitrião foi o programa ‘Spotlight‘ da Press TV iraniana.

Ao contrário de minha última entrevista na Press TV, este programa foi veiculado no YouTube e é facilmente acessível desde qualquer lugar do mundo.

Chamo a atenção para a moderadora, altamente profissional, que trouxe para o debate questões pontuais e que não hesitou em persegui-las além de respostas iniciais vagas de ambos os lados para obter uma resposta concreta.

8 thoughts on “Presenting a no-holds-barred debate on the current status of the Ukraine war

  1. As someone hailing from the rest of the world, no, we are not with the Ukraine or with Russia. We are pragmatic, buying fertilizer and diesel from Russia, thus making sure that we continue being one of the top food exporting countries and that our transportation network remains cost effective. When the Ukrainian spokesman talks about us, he actually means the West, not understood as the countries West of Greenwich or all of the former European colonies in the New World, but solely the European and Anglophone North American countries. It’s condescending to regard the whole world, and indeed the whole human kind, as just the “garden”, dehumanizing all the people living in the “jungle”, to use the words of the heir of colonial imperialism representing the EU before all the peoples on earth.

    The Northern Hemisphere has bequeathed the world with two world wars and numerous wars of choice at the cost of millions of innocent life, especially women’s and children’s. We in the Global South are as feasibly and as possibly checking out of yet another murderous war of choice by the imperialistic colonial powers, who have been proving to have just changed their half millennium methods, but not their ways.


  2. Excellent presentation, sir. Your PR-guy opponent appears to have no understanding of the history of this conflict, or rather, is willfully ignorant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is indeed refreshing to see both sides being rigorously challenged in their “vague answers”. Thanks to Gilbert Doctorow for bringing that debate to the readers’ attention.
    If I may add a small observation: in the build up to war nations ignore “contentious issues”; more dangerously historic facts, which are not of themselves in contention, are ignored. Those historic facts relate to the nature of alliances and why they are formed – more specifically with whom. Alliances are reached on the basis of interests – always present – and never on values (though sometimes interests and values are in sync). Additionally nations frequently find themselves in alliances with those whose values are in complete variance with their own; certainly not a simple issue of “democracy v autocracy” as one catch phrase pronounces. What is most dangerous of all, as we face into World War Three, is the failure to see it coming (among the parties partaking in the developing military struggle). There is a stark warning from history: every empire has eventually faced the conflict it is trying to avoid – its own destruction. The way events are unfolding, that seems to mean nuclear war as well. I explore this theme in my free e-book, if anyone should wish to read it.

    A free ebook


  4. Clearly I agree with your assessment over your fellow panelist, but I was very impressed by the moderator. You are correct. She would not let anyone get away with vague answers!


  5. In the debate when the focus is on Russia it is easy for the western side to create uncertainty, and doubt about what Russia is or is unable to do. One should focus on what Ukraine is doing. Or is unable to do. For example, what is Ukraine doing with all the billions being given to it? Where is all the aid going? Why should the US continue to give more aid when Ukraine has little to show for the huge amounts that have been given? Why should the US trust Ukraine when prior to the conflict it was the most corrupt nation in Europe?

    By putting the focus on Ukraine and not Russia, it makes it more difficult for the west to justify its policies which are resulting in no further progress, but more corruption, death and destruction for Ukraine. And has resulted in a group think sunk cost fallacy which thinks if the west doubles down on the aid it will have different results.


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