Quentin is a Graduate of Clemson Universities Political Science Department, graduating in 2021 with a minor in Sociology.
Ukraine Media Coverage
With the recent events in Ukraine taking place, the world and its media is in an uproar over the perceived repeat of a Hitler style WW2 invasion by Putin. The absurd plan of placing NATO troops progressively closer to Russia’s border for years and then blaming Russia upon any provocation has finally fallen apart. Regardless of whether Putin is a good or bad leader is irrelevant to this situation. Russia is a declining power that has a right to not have a hostile enemy on its border backed by the west. Forcing Russia to respond to hostility and then accusing the Russians of being hostile is the NATO/ Western playbook.
As an American, it is well known what happened when the threat of force was ninety miles away in Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Nations do not like weapons or military organization on their borders. If Russia formed an alliance with Mexico or Canada and was openly hostile and sanctioning the American economy, war could easily break out. Look what happens when Israel receives any threat from the BDS movement. The Israel Lobby sent its lackies to quell the economic boycott instantaneously. The BDS movement pales in comparison to the effect sanctions have on an economy. The difference being one is organized by random citizens and the other is a coordinated government attack on a hostile power. The pathology of this is evil. Movements started by US citizens are immediately attacked but crippling sanctions that only hurt the citizenry are totally fine.
Yemen News Coverage
After inundating myself with hours of corporate news post Russian “invasion”, I have seen countless prayers and well wishes to Ukrainians. Footage of Americans living abroad in Ukraine, bracing for impact is what particularly stood out to me. CBS was interviewing an Ex-pat living in Ukraine, and the interview was normal until the interviewer asked if he knew anyone serving in the army. He then asked if he thought about the possibility that the ex-pat’s friends might not return home from serving. The man answered yes, I have thought about that, then broke down into tears. As someone who is privy to this propaganda, I even found myself affected. The media is going full force to tug at the heart strings of the American people. Where is this compassion for the people of Yemen or Syria, who have been involved in bloody civil wars? Saudi blockades of Yemen have led to outbreaks in cholera and other diseases. The constant shelling of the country leaves kids at risk of death, even while on a field trip. This PBS article details a tragedy within the country, “A Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 26 children and wounded at least 19 more in or near a school bus in the busy market of Dhahyan, in northern Yemen, on August 9, 2018, is an apparent war crime, Human Rights Watch said today.” (Yemen: Coalition Bus Bombing Apparent War Crime). This has been the norm in the country since fighting began in 2014. What makes this war so evil is that it can be stopped by the United States in a day. All it entails is the halt of weapons repair and supply to Saudi Arabia. Without this support the War would be over. This makes the US complicit in these war crimes, because they provide the weaponry. It is not reported on the mainstream news at all basically
At the same time the tactic Michael Parenti spoke of in detail is at play demonization of the leader. Putin is responding to a policy of continuous aggression on his border, but he gets smeared as a “strong man thug”. When Russia is a declining world power, who has no power in global politics compared to the US. Elevating Putin to this status is instrumental in how the media makes the case for war. If he is just a tough leader of a declining power, there is no threat. They have to manufacture something about Putin that is just not true. Critiques of Putin never seem to be grounded in reality but always in an exaggerated sense of Putin as a much bigger force than he is. This hides the truth of the situation, which is that the hegemon of the world has been sanctioning a peaceful declining power. It is important to have an accurate and historical understanding of Putin. He came to power right after the chaos and turmoil of the 1990’s. He stabilized the country and made Russians trust his leadership. When he leaves power there is great fear amongst Russians over who would grab power next. These are nefarious actors lying in the wings, that Putin has kept in check with his control. The answer of what happens after, is not clear. Putin upon election tried to make deals with the west. Post 9/11 he reached out to Bush and offered aid in Afghanistan. Putin was not rewarded for his efforts. By 2004 the Bucharest Declaration stated Ukraine and Georgia were going to become NATO states on its border. This action led to Georgia invading and losing to Russia. Putin attempted to play ball but was not allowed into the club. Putin spoke of restoring Russia to its former glory, and this was against the wishes of the Bush administration. Since this time Putin has been under sanctions from many western countries. So, Putin attempted to establish relations and was politely told to kick rocks.
EMBOLDENMENT OF RADICAL ELEMENTS
Since the west has explicitly backed Ukraine and its attempt to join the EU and NATO, it has emboldened radical elements within the country. In particular the Azov battalion is famous for dawning the swastika on their uniforms, “ Azov Regiment is a right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi Ukrainian National Guard unit.” (Azov Battalion) Two parts of the battalion exist, one officially in the Ukrainian Army and the second as a militia group focused on fighting Russian invasion. Since the 2014 Crimean Annexation, these forces have been particularly emboldened due to western response. Media wise the coverage was all negative against Putin. Obama lambasted Putin in the press for this seizure of Crimea. The Netflix documentary Winter on Fire chronicled the preceding events of Crimea when Yanukovych fled the country as the result of a protest and coup. This documentary was very well received in the west and became the standard for how the west viewed Ukrainian protesters. It made people not see the radical neo-Nazi elements amongst the Ukranian ranks. In turn this allowed these forces to act as peaceful Ukrainians when in fact they were the most radical elements of the entire conflict. In the end, Russia has a far superior military so fighting them will eventually lead to major losses. This echoes the 2008 Georgian conflict which Russia dominated and won. By increasing the confidence of these radical elements, the west is playing a dangerous game. This could lead to a devastating defeat because these forces feel they have full military backing of NATO and the west.
If you analyze the Ukraine situation objectively, it is clear who is at fault. Putin has been reactionary while the west has been offensive. Have Putin and Russia’s reactions always been perfect? No, but Russia is in a position where reaction is necessary. When a reaction happens (IE annexation of Crimea) it is viewed as Russian aggression when that is the opposite of truth. The media coverage seems to be entirely one sided and not have any counter points. Another thing is the media's uniformity and messaging across channels is very high. The same nonstop banging of the war drum is on CNN,MSNBC, and FOX NEWS renders it nearly impossible to differentiate between which channel is begging for war. The current coverage of the Ukraine invasion is completely one sided. It is not providing any context for Russian actions. Instead it continuously paints Russia as hostile and dangerous. The United States or the West has no right to sanction Russia for its military actions, due to its history of invading countries for political motives like in Grenada and Panama. The precedent of a foreign army taking over territory has been set by American and western foreign policy makers not Russia. The death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan pales in comparison to the deaths so far and to come. Also, Ukraine at least has vital strategic significance to Russia, in a way it does not to America. In fact, Russia has only involved itself in strategically significant conflicts while the United States is the world policeman. In conclusion, the media coverage of the Ukraine invasion underscores a lack of compassion to the suffering of Middle Easterners since the war on terror began. Simultaneously the encroachment along Russia's border by NATO, has led to disastrous consequences for world politics. Ultimately, hopefully peace can be achieved, and war can be avoided further.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Quentin Miles