Yesterday we wondered whether the non-lunatic parts of the western intelligentsia would be up to the task of resisting the new neocon push for war that obviously lies behind the Turkish shoot-down of the Russian SU-24. Signs continue to suggest the answer to that is “probably not.” In fact there’s every indication of an absolute lack of direction in the media outlets, suggesting they have not had their playbooks updated following this near-disaster and are having to improvise – a thing they are not trained to do.
In the current confusion some media comment is showing signs of dawning awareness of humanity’s peril, but it’s largely the panicked bewilderment of the cult-member who begins to realise there’s cyanide in the Kool-Aid. There’s little impression that anyone yet has marshalled the insight or intelligence to actually break step with the old official narrative which is currently marching us all toward the cliff.
Today’s Telegraph is typical of many such. It’s awake enough to at least pay lip service to the obvious fact that “it is important this incident does not escalate into a confrontation between Russia and Nato,” but that’s as far as its ability to think outside its longstanding programming goes. Most of the rest of its copy is just a re-statement of the usual institutionalised russophobia, which of course is the very thing that made the Turkish shoot-down conceivable for the madmen involved. There’s no realisation here that when you continually demonise, mock and minimise a nuclear powered nation, a “confrontation” is exactly what you are inviting. And that simply saying “let’s not fight” at this stage is not even close to enough.
Likewise the Daily Mirror. Its headline is a panicky plea – “Don’t rush us into war as shot down Russian warplane shows how unpredictable Syria really is” – but it offers no awareness of the forces that brought us to this unimaginable point, or any insight that reckless western demonising of Russia and Putin played any part in it, or needs to be abated. Like the Telegraph it offers no condemnation of the insane Turkish provocation, only gutless hand-wringing about both sides “showing restraint,” and anxiety about Britain’s possible role in Syria – as if that is even a major issue when a NATO/Russian stand-off is now a live and ongoing possibility. Does the Mirror think Britain would survive that maelstrom if it had no troops in Syria? What messed up, parochial non-thinking is this?
The NYT goes a little further than the generally lamentable effort by the UK media, and may well be speaking for the saner elements in Washington when it reminds its readers that “NATO countries have been concerned about Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies for some time.”
Is this a hopeful sign that Recep is about to be sent to the naughty corner, or at least heavily censured behind the scenes and told firmly not to do it again? Maybe, but let’s not get our hopes up. The NYT piece still falls well short of any kind of recognition of the real situation the world is currently facing. Its level of denial is plain in the way it airily claims “while few expect a military escalation, with neither Russia nor NATO wanting to go to war…”, as if it has no idea what Turkey did was already an act of war and that military escalation has only been avoided by Russia showing a massive restraint that will not continue should the same thing happen again.
The Guardian is as befuddled as all the other British papers. Its editorial is another of the Telegraph variety, anxiously warning about the need for “calm” while offering up the same shop-worn neocon lies and distortions designed to incite hatred of the country Turkey just attacked. It pretends Russia is not bombing ISIS, despite proof that it is. It pretends Russia is instead bombing those elusive “rebels”, when it’s been clear for weeks now these “rebels” are militant jihadists such as al Qaeda and al Nusra. It makes no effort to condemn the actions of Turkey.
In short the bewildered writer is calling for “calm” while reflexively stoking the fires of war, simply because he hasn’t had any orders to desist.
Elsewhere in the Graun, Yavuz Baydar commences with the unpromising words “no matter which side is responsible…”, and only goes downhill from there. This pathetic apology for journalism tries, without citing anything but that convenient Graun standby unsourced “suspicion”, to suggest Russia was responsible for downing the Turkish jet in Latakia in 2012, thereby muddying the waters enough to salvage some portion of the failing official narrative. Not content with that Yavuz goes on to whitewash Turkey’s blatant support for ISIS, claiming “Turkey’s Syria strategy has been looking increasingly vague and reactive recently,”, and even has the brazen nerve to claim its shooting down of a Russian jet has given Turkey “a stronger arguments to call for a no-fly zone along its entire border area.” Which, alone, demonstrates this writer’s grasp on geopolitical realities, right there.
Meanwhile, in another part of the Guardian forest, Roy Greenslade does a lighthearted overview of the media-reaction and quips happily about Putin “rattling his sabres.”
Cue knowing smiles in Graun HQ, before they all nip down to the pub for a long and liquid lunch. Putin – what a wanker with his sabre-rattling. Good job we know better. Mine’s a double.
Sadly for Roy, and Roy’s retirement plans, and all his media chums, and for the rest of us on planet earth, Putin is almost certainly not just sabre-rattling. In fact, while virtually unreported in Roy’s own paper, Russia is currently moving their S-400 missile system to their Khmeimim airbase in Syria, and sending the missile cruiser Moskva off the coast of Syria, near Latakia, “ready to take down any aerial targets threatening its airbase..with long-range surface-to-air missiles.”
It’s a fool indeed who thinks this is all for show. Russia was attacked by a NATO country, and if it happens again, Russia will take action, which may well entail shooting down a Turkish jet.
And that will possibly be a prelude to the worst and last war in human history.
This dangerous possibility should be getting discussion by politicians and coverage by the media. There should be calls for Erdogan to be publicly censured and sanctioned, and for Turkey’s NATO membership to be reviewed. This might send a strong enough message to deter further insane actions by Erdogan and his likely lunatic provocateurs in Washington. Anything less is in danger of giving the gang a free pass to go again.
Scripted russophobia, sniggers and hand-wringing is not going to cut it this time, but to a large extent it’s becoming apparent that for most of the intelligentsia – that’s all they got.