Russian “infowar” & the U. S. elections

13 12 2016

As the story of the Russian state’s influence on the recent U.S. elections continues to unfold, here are some web sites that document various dimensions of it, and of Russian media strategies more generally. These are mostly critical analyses, which may carry their own biases. Those seeking defenses of Russian state media, or critiques of U. S. media, of the CIA, and so on, should look elsewhere, as that’s not what this page is about. This list will grow, so check back periodically if you’d like to stay up to date.

Read the rest of this entry »





Rise of the global alt-right

16 11 2016

With Donald Trump in power, this web site just might get a new lease on life — reincarnated as a place for examining the rise of what has been called the “global alt-right,” with its network of connections between Putinists (like Alexander Dugin, Konstantin Rykov, and Igor Panarin), Trumpists (like Steve Bannon, Richard Spencer, and Alex Jones, among others), and those filling a similar niche around the world.

The Trump campaign’s connections with Russia, of course, go well beyond such hazy connections as these. Ukrainian fears of these connections are legion. As Natalia Humeniuk puts it,

Read the rest of this entry »





Western leftist conspiracy narratives: or, the devil in the details

23 06 2014

An article is circulating in the western left that alleges that Ukraine’s new president Poroshenko has been a “mole” for the U.S. State Department since 2006. The article is just one example of the kind of narrative I’ve seen circulating widely in the western anti-American left that overstates the U.S.’s role in Ukrainian affairs. Notably, the writers of these narratives tend to eagerly swallow up the “information” being spread by an authoritarian, right-wing state — Russia — in order to prop up their theories.

Here are some comments in response.

(For the record, plenty of articles circulate that have propaganda value but little factual value. I have previously shared, on this blog, some of those produced by Russian propaganda sources. One that seems to be produced by Ukrainian propaganda sources, or at least that seems to be spreading among anti-Russian bloggers, claims that the recent UN human rights report alleges that Russian security services, or Russian special forces, were behind the Odessa deaths of June 2. The UN report says no such thing.)

Read the rest of this entry »





PBS vs. Vice

28 05 2014

How is it that PBS’s respected public affairs show Frontline could produce a sensationalistic portrayal of Ukraine as a divided, bloody, chaotic mess — airing two days after an election that produced the clearest majority ever in a Ukrainian presidential election — while the internet-based Vice News could produce this comparatively sensible portrait of a country that showed courage and a very clear consensus in its belief that the political process is far preferable to warfare?

It is good to know that there are extremists on both sides, and PBS is right to show that. But we’ve been seeing that for months now.

 

 





Nation vs. New Republic

6 05 2014

While it’s not the first time that The Nation and The New Republic — two of the most influential left liberal newsmagazines in the U.S. — have disagreed on matters of foreign policy, their divergence on the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been interesting to watch. (See note 1.)

In “Cold War Against Russia — Without Debate,” The Nation‘s Russia specialist Stephen F. Cohen and his wife, the magazine’s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, have penned the latest in a series of critiques of the Obama administration’s — and mainstream media’s — move toward portraying Putin’s Russia as irrational, dangerous, and requiring a critical U.S. response.

Writing in The New Republic — which has featured a series of substantial pieces on Ukraine and Russia in recent months — Julia Ioffe’s “Putin’s American Toady at The Nation Gets Even Toadier” responds to Cohen’s and vanden Heuvel’s argument. (See note 2.)

Read the rest of this entry »





Žižek: What Europe should learn from Ukraine

2 04 2014

In “What Europe Should Learn from Ukraine,” leftist cultural theorist and philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the “Europe” Ukraine’s Euromaidan activists were aiming for was not an illusion, so much as it was a Europe that (EU member) Europeans themselves should be aiming to create.

Žižek writes:

“Predictably, many Leftists reacted to the news about the massive protests with their usual racist patronizing of the poor Ukrainians: how deluded they are, still idealizing Europe, not being able to see that Europe is in decline, and that joining European Union will just made Ukraine an economic colony of Western Europe sooner or later pushed into the position of Greece… What these Leftists ignore is that Ukrainians were far from blind about the reality of the European Union: they were fully aware of its troubles and disparities, their message was simply that their own situation is much worse. [. . .]

Read the rest of this entry »





PolitiFact: Did U.S. spend $5 billion on Ukraine?

1 04 2014

One of the memes circulating in the information war over Ukraine and Crimea is the claim that the U.S. has spent $5 billion on regime change in Ukraine.

In a report published today, the nonprofit-owned Tampa Bay Times‘ Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact.com, a fact-checking site with a long record of nonpartisan evaluation of claims from all sides of the political spectrum, gave this claim its worst judgment, “Pants on Fire.”

Their report can be read here.





Snyder vs. McGovern

18 03 2014

While it does not contain much new information, this debate on Democracy Now stages two very contrary views on the Ukraine crisis prevalent among observers in the western (especially U.S.) left.

On one side is historian Timothy Snyder, whose detailed articles have been mentioned several times on this blog. On the other side is former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who presents the left-wing critique of U.S. “meddling” in other countries. The stark contrast between the two makes for an easy opportunity to judge and evaluate the two sets of views. Read the rest of this entry »








Skip to toolbar