Fresh from banning opposition parties and outlawing the Russian language, the hero of the ‘free world’ Zelensky urges the ‘Collective West’ to go to war with China over Taiwan.
I’ll admit that there are times when I feel sorry for Zelensky. Overall, he is a tragic figure in this production, tasked with impersonating the global good. He is an actor, so maybe such role-playing isn’t the hardest part for him, but still he knows that everything going on around him is overwhelming him. He also knows that he’s just a puppet with no power other than to carry out the orders of his handlers with whatever command he still has over the loyal institutions and military personnel in Kiev. I’m also willing to bet that he fully understands that he was essentially carved out of wood by Igor Kolomoiski, one of the country’s most powerful oligarchs, and that he and his chief propagandist Lyoshenka Arestovich are only capable of no more than reinforcing an obvious defeat. By the way, the defeat is on all fronts. Militarily, by sending weapons to failing military units, by sending soldiers to certain death or forbidding them from retreating in hopeless situations; and politically, by implying that Ukraine’s victory is imminent and by refusing to negotiate.
Thus, this actor-turned-politician has become the ideal useful idiot for Washington’s foreign policy priorities, having trapped himself in a situation in which the only way out is a full-fledged war of the ‘Collective West’ against the emerging Eastern bloc. There’s nothing else for Zelensky to do now that he’s come to terms with the fact that the end is, if not imminent, at least certain. The same can be said for his backers. Even with the war’s conclusion still ahead of us, it appears that Washington recognized that they had fallen for their own propaganda, believing that they could win a major proxy war with Russia on Ukrainian territory. Facing one’s own pack of lies and deception must be a depressing experience, especially when it means sacrificing tens of thousands of lives to help the ‘Collective West’ stick it to the Russians. But, hey, you can always call for more war and destruction and convince yourself that the only way forward for the forces of good is to destroy the ‘evil’ — even if that means wiping out civilization and the human race and thus getting rid of any moral complexities. Of course, this is just a speculative take on the psychology of it all. But there’s also the possibility that some of Zelensky’s American handlers are enthusiastic about the idea and are simply using him to find powerful co-thinkers around the world. In other words, he’s being used to assemble a group of politically and morally bankrupt individuals willing to coerce some Western elites into a hot, potentially nuclear war with Russia.
That’s where my sympathy and pity for Zelensky ends. Last Saturday, the media darling declared that the “international community” must help Taiwan resist Chinese “aggression” now, before Beijing attacks the poor little (heavily-armed, by the way) island. If this idea had come from the leader of any other kleptocracy in eastern Europe, it might have been written off as one of many grandiose words, like, for example, those the Polish politicians like to use. But this is not the case with Zelensky. He has the ‘free world’s’ ears, and what he says is taken as gospel by the Western media’s narrative managers.
His ostensible call for preemptive action against China was picked up by the Washington Post, which acknowledged that the remarks could “upset Ukraine’s delicate balancing act with China.” Despite this, Zelensky insisted that “aggressors must be confronted wherever they emerge.” Never mind that the United States, the main supporter of the Ukrainian military effort, has long been the world’s biggest and boldest aggressor. I assume Zelensky’s supporters do not take such comments personally.
The past three-and-a-half months have been a whirlwind of adoring media appearances of Zelensky, perplexing awards-show cameos, and ethically and aesthetically disturbing unrelenting ego-stroking. On top of that, on issues he clearly doesn’t understand, such as Taiwan, his views have been hailed as transcendent!
Zelensky’s acting skills have come in handy over the last few months. He certainly helped convince most EU states and their public opinion, for example, to open their hearts and wallets for the war effort to the point of adopting ruinous, self-sabotaging sanctions they can ill afford, dressed in man-of-the-people olive drab. However, there is a distinction to be made between duping other European countries into depriving themselves of gas and oil for the coming winter and threatening China’s territorial ambitions. Beijing has made it clear that it will not tolerate US interference in the Taiwan issue, let alone from people like Zelensky.
His incompetence as a leader was so well-known prior to the war that even the rabidly anti-Russian Atlantic Council wrote about it, describing how he owed his election to the shamelessly corrupt Kolomoisky and relied completely on his chief of staff to get things done, a strategy that predictably failed when he fired the same chief of staff. While that think tank may have gone silent on Zelensky’s shortcomings now that it needs him to make money for its military-industrial complex donors, his weaknesses remain well-known. Zelensky has never been too popular with the Nazi guys like Azov, but these days he’s surely hated by them, having all but left them for dead in Mariupol after promising for weeks that they’d fight on indefinitely.
Zelensky is left singing not just for his supper but for his life. “No one benefits from [war], apart from certain political leaders who are not content with the present level of their ambitions,” he told the Post, apparently not talking about himself. While paying brief lip-service to the need for a “diplomatic solution,” he demanded the “international community” get involved preemptively in the Taiwan situation, insisting China was on the brink of invading the island it considers its rightful territory.
Actually, when one comes to think about it carefully, there are rather many parallels to be drawn between Ukraine and Taiwan, although not the ones Zelensky wants the ‘international community’ to notice. As Moscow has repeatedly pointed out, Western countries flooding Ukraine with weapons are not inspiring peaceful thoughts among that nation’s decision-makers. And while Beijing is said to be “studying” the conflict in Ukraine, the lessons it is drawing – such as “the US has emptied its weapons stockpiles into Kiev and now has nothing left to arm Taipei” — are probably not lessons he wants America’s rivals picking up on.
It’s no coincidence that the Ukrainian leader is sounding more and more like his American counterpart Joe Biden every day; neither man can be said to have any real role in his country’s governance, nor understanding of how to function in such a role, should he somehow be thrust into one. So it’s only natural that both would be trying to pick a fight between the West and China, angling to trigger the sort of avalanche that would hide their rank incompetence beneath a greater catastrophe.
After all, no matter who wins, the victor will be expected to serve up both sides on a silver platter for foreign investors to gorge themselves. A recently-published paper by the RAND Corporation titled Rebuilding Ukraine describes how “state enterprises (…) are a chokehold on the economy,” reducing “public confidence in government and deter[ring] private investors.” The document is a love letter to rampant privatization of the same strain that sank the Russian economy post-USSR and which international financial cartels are eager to unleash everywhere, especially in China.
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