Corrupt Media Suddenly Care About Russell Brand’s Behavior

Corrupt Media Suddenly Care About Russell Brand’s Behavior. By John Nolte.

The Brett Kavanaugh/Russia Collusion Media say five women have accused Russell Brand of rape and sexual assault between 2006 and 2013. Four of those women have chosen to remain anonymous. One woman claims she was 16 during their relationship, although 16 is the age of consent in England. …

Where do I stand on this?

Hell, I don’t know.

I have no idea.

The only people who know are the alleged victims and Brand. What I do know is that my opinion on this stuff has been and will always be the same: innocent until proven guilty. Our current climate, with its openly fascistic “Believe All Women” mantra, appalls and sickens me. …

Why should we believe the corporate media this time?

Why should we believe these people this time…?

I have no emotional investment in Russell Brand. I don’t know the guy personally. I know that he was a loathsome lout for most of his public life. I also know that in recent years, he’s sought to repent for his past. He appears to have wised up and matured. He says he’s now a dedicated husband and father.

Politically, while he’s no Donald Trump, he does see the Matrix. Using his wildly popular YouTube channel, he questions narratives cherished by the corporate media. He lashes out at the establishment’s obscene lies and desire to divide us and subjugate normal people as racist Nazis.

I also know that the moment any former member of the left takes even one step off the Leftist Plantation, the corporate media targets them for destruction.

So, yeah, I have questions…

The first question is, why now…? These allegations of wrongdoing are said to have occurred between 2006 and 2013. Why now? …

And let’s not forget this…

We all saw just how far the corporate media were willing to go to destroy Brett Kavananaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Christine Blasey Ford, an obvious liar who couldn’t even remember where and when her alleged assault happened, was treated like Rosa Parks. The media then pummeled us with one phony Kavanaugh claim after another, including rape gangs!

I simply cannot trust that this same media would not do whatever it takes to destroy an apostate like Russell Brand, a guy with 6.5 million YouTube subscribers. …

I don’t know if Brand is guilty or not…

What I do know is that over and over and over again, the corporate media have been caught red-handed manufacturing evidence to further the left-wing political agenda.

What I do know is that over and over and over again, women have been caught red-handed manufacturing allegations that proved to be lies. Still, if their lies are aimed at a media-approved target, that woman becomes Rosa Parks. Ahh, but if the media do not approve of the target, they are Tara Reade and Juanita Broaddrick.

They locked up Julian Assange on dubious sex charges too.

John Hinderaker on how Brand’s cancellation is really all about politics:

The British press has stirred up a wave of hate against him, and YouTube, where he had a vast number of followers, has demonetized him. So Brand has moved to Rumble. The London Times takes this as more evidence of Brand’s guilt: not of being a rapist, which may be secondary at this point, but of not being fully on board with woke ideology …:

A major shareholder in one of the world’s biggest “alt-right” video sites has embraced Russell Brand after the BBC, Channel 4 and YouTube distanced themselves from him.”

So Rumble is “alt-right.” No one knows what that recently-invented word means, but it is surely bad. The “major shareholder” is Dan Bongino.

Dan Bongino, a former Fox News presenter, is among the largest financial backers of Rumble, a Florida-based video-sharing platform that has styled itself as being “immune from cancel culture”.

A former Fox News presenter! A Florida-based platform! “Immune from cancel culture!” These are all cues to the Times’s liberal audience. …

The London Times obviously disapproves of the content of Brand’s videos, now that he has become a sort-of conservative:

After he passed one million subscribers in March, Brand hinted at its value and the way in which Rumble provided him with a platform to share his conspiracy theory-laced rants about Covid lockdowns, vaccines, central bank’s digital currencies and the West’s role in the Ukraine war.

Conspiracy theory-laced “rants” about Covid lockdowns and vaccines! Note, first, that liberals never “rant,” and second, that “conspiracy theories” about covid responses and vaccines have often proved to be true. (I have no idea what Brand’s specific take might be.) Nor do I know what Brand has to say about central banks’ digital currencies or the Ukraine war, but apparently these are verboten topics. …

I am not impressed by stories told by anonymous women about something that supposedly happened ten or fifteen years ago. Brand may or may not have anything useful to say, but in any event, he has the right to say it.

The media and political establishment had no problem with Brand’s well-known bad behavior when he was a left winger. But now he must be silenced from speaking his mind on politics.

Is Australia trying to follow the US on race?

Is Australia trying to follow the US on race? Steve Sailer describes the arc of race relations in the US for the last 60 years. The parallels with Australia (and the Voice) are obvious.

I think a lot of 1970s Americans who backed racial quotas had similar hopes: Sure, blacks are behind today, but many grew up with their parents picking cotton in the Jim Crow South. If we show them that the bourgeois world welcomes them, they’ll become more bourgeois.

And to some extent that indeed happened. There are more bourgeois blacks in Georgia today than in 1970.

But, my impression is, the trend toward competence convergence appear to have petered out in the later 20th Century, and today, nobody really expects convergence anymore.

The last time anybody seemed to take seriously the idea that with just one more generation of affirmative action, blacks should be able to catch up was Justice Sandra Day O’Connor putting a 25 year time limit on race quotas in her 2003 Grutter decision. …

But nobody believes blacks will have caught up to whites by 2028 anymore. (And the ongoing Asian tidal wave has put blacks even further behind in competing on merit for the good colleges and jobs than in 2003.) Or any other date they’d specify (absent genetic engineering).

Crushed hopes of equality led to calls for reparations forever:

Instead, we see the rise of Ibram X. Kendi’s demands for discrimination against whites to subsidize blacks for, roughly, ever.

E.g., the SF reparations commission called for 250 years of massive income subsidies for blacks in San Francisco.

Thus, contemporary mainstream discourse on race has become ever more antiquarian to cover up the last 54 years of affirmative action. Instead of thinking about the last 54 years, which is pretty much a blur in the NYT, we are told to obsess over FDR’s redlining, Tulsa, Emmett Till, slavery, etc. Follow The Science: Redlining in 1938 is why blacks don’t score high on the SAT in 2023!

So, respectable opinion on race is focused more and more on subsidizing backs forever: when reparations fail to Close the Gap, that will be seen as proof that Systemic Racism is so insidious we need more reparations. Reparations Now, Reparations Tomorrow, Reparations Forever!

But, whites participating in respectable discourse aren’t supposed to notice this huge shift in the premises behind affirmative action since 1970. Whites’ model of the world is supposed to still be the one that seemed fairly plausible in 1970: we will have race quotas to help blacks catch up for some limited time.

You don’t think some of these differences are the product of 70,000 years of separate evolution, do you? That’s racist!

We are supposed to testify we believe that the reason blacks remain behind whites in 2023 (and don’t mention the Asians) is purely environmental … Thus, those who are skeptical of the conventional wisdom’s 100% environmental explanation for why blacks are behind must be driven out of respectable discourse because their data and logic subvert the case for expanded and eternal quotas/DEI/reparations.

After all, we are talking about Real Money here.

Australian Aboriginals who have assimilated seem to be doing pretty well. Keeping a small minority living unassimilated in remote and poor conidtions seems to suit the goals of activists and service providers, but otherwise isn’t doing anyone any favors.

What if we realized that race is a distraction from class? Look at this video from the US, where the elite’s worst nightmare is Black Lives Matter activists and Trump Supporters finding common ground.

What does “far-right” even mean anymore?

What does “far-right” even mean anymore? By Mark Jeftovic.

Anybody taking the legacy, corporate media at face value these days is likely under the impression that the entire world is being overrun with “far-right” extremists.

After all, anything orthogonal to the current WEF-inspired world order seems to be, by definition, far right.

The term has now been so misplaced and over-used that it becomes impossible to differentiate between fast rising maverick politicians from skinheads with swastika tattoos. Make no mistake, this is deliberate. …

The standard playbook is to cast anything gaining momentum as “populist” — which is always implicated as being wrong-headed and retrograde, even though a literal definition of the word simply connotes that large swaths of the population are feeling strongly about something (usually some manner of getting screwed by the elites). …

Negative branding:

I refer the reader to Brandon Smith’s characterization of “negative branding”:

One of the most favored propaganda tactics of [the establishment] is to relabel or redefine an opponent before they can solidly define themselves. In other words, [they] will seek to “brand” you (just as corporations use branding) in the minds of the masses so that they can take away your ability to define yourself as anything else…. Through the art of negative branding, your enemy has stolen your most precious asset — the ability to present yourself to the public as you really are.

Negative branding is a form of psychological inoculation. It is designed to close people’s minds to particular ideas before they actually hear those ideas presented by a true proponent of the ideas.

It’s not just dark horse, anti-establishment challengers who get the “far right” treatment, in this era of increasingly collectivist sympathies, it can be anything that reduces dependency on the state or faith in the system. …

There is nothing political, let alone “far right” around embracing fitness or valuing freedom. However anything that confers greater autonomy on the individual, or instills the idea that one can improve their own lives without state intervention, is anathema. …

It’s no problem if the target has no tenable relationship to right-wing politics: personal responsibility, physical fitness, or non-state, decentralized digital hard currency . Just call it a “dog whistle”. …

If it’s an unambiguous rejection of an establishment core premise, call it “denialism”. I once saw a guy stomp off of a live podcast because, as he huffed at the host before he disconnected, “I can see that you’re a Russian Collusion Denialist!”, and then he was gone. …

When people or voices push back on WEF-inspired theology, they get branded as “right-wing” and even the term “conservative” carries baggage. It’s practically a slur.

Only works one way, because of the media:


People put that it in their Twitter bios and walk around with Che Guevara shirts. I’m surprised there isn’t a hammer-and-sickle emoji yet. …

The left employs dog whistles too, only they aren’t recognized as such under the prevailing zeitgeist.

The burgeoning “#degrowth” movement is a dog whistle for communism. “Equity” is one for wealth redistribution, while “inclusivity” forays into racism more often than many care to admit.

If an entrenched elite goes so far off the rails that the citizenry rebels and chooses the unthinkable (Brexit, Trump, Bitcoin, “conservatism”), it is never because the establishment let down or even betrayed the public — it’s because, for some unfathomable and inscrutable reason, the peasants went “far-right”.

Left vs right is now meaningless:

The defining tension of our age is centralization, collectivism, statism, censorship, authoritarianism vs decentralization, individuality, autonomy, free speech, personal responsibility and self-reliance.

There are basically those who believe they have the ecclesiastical authority to tell everybody else what to do, how to live, and what is permissible to think and say. Then there is everybody who wants to be left alone to live their own lives in peace.

The narrative people use “far-right” to mean people who oppose the narrative. Being called on the “right” merely means you are in the official opposition but in the uniparty — they approve, sort of. But if you oppose the narrative effectively — like really damage it — then you graduate to “extreme right” or “white supremacist.”.

Lefties behaving badly on the Voice

Lefties behaving badly on the Voice. By Rosie Lewis.

Leading No campaigner Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has accused “tolerant Yes people” of “abusing and denigrating” attendees of Fair Australia’s South Australian No campaign launch on Monday night.

“The tolerant Yes people were busy abusing and denigrating attendees of our event in Adelaide last night,” Senator Price said on Facebook after protesters yelled “racist dog” and “racist pig”.

“Clearly if you don’t toe their ideological line you’re a racist dog amongst other things. Didn’t appear to be a single Aboriginal person amongst them — oh the irony.”



John Ray comments:

Leftist feel all warm and righteous at advocating a special voice in Federal parliament for Aborigines. Aborigines as a group are in a hell of a mess in many ways so “doing something” for them has great appeal. It shows how much heart you have for their problems and may lead to better treatment of them by future governments.

But conservatives know their history and are quite appalled by the prospect of racial privileges for one particular group. If the 20th century taught us anything, it taught us the evils of racial favoritism. There can be no doubt that racial preferences are simply evil and provoke disharmony.

So conservatives are against the Voice on that and other grounds. And that makes them the enemies of the Leftist feelgood policy. So what do the Left do when threatened with the loss of their feelgood policy? Do they simply concede the point and desist from advocating something that could be very harmful? No way. They like their feelgood policy too much to abandon it.

So what do they do? In good Leftist style they resort to abuse and lies. They go “ad hominem”. They cannot answer the conservative arguments so they impugn the motives of conservatives who oppose the policy. In the oldest bit of Leftist abuse in the book, they accuse conservatives of racism. They say that it is racism that lies behind opposition to the “voice”. That they are are the one who are advocating something racist seems quite lost on them.

So they pretend that it is white supremacists who are their opposition while they are the good and noble guys. It’s a sad commentary on the ego needs that drive such irrationality but it is a classic bit of Leftist argumentation. …

One of the many things that the Left are sedulously ignoring is that it is not only white conservatives in opposition but many Aborigines too. Around half of Aborigines seem to be opposed to the Voice and say so. How come they oppose something that is supposed to help them?

Color me shocked. Just shocked.

The Nipah Virus and Long Covid

The Nipah Virus and Long Covid. By David Archibald.

A friend has written:

The sniffle is just not cutting it anymore. We need the Wuhan Lab to create a real pandemic this time, to frighten the suckers into destroying their immune systems.

That is why they have rolled out the Nipah virus, with an outbreak in India.


Kerala, two days ago


I predicted it would be a Nipah virus outbreak in this article on 25th January this year, which has this sentence:

I am told that the new disease in train will be based on the Nipah virus.

The person who told me used to work in HIV vaccine research in the 1990s, so she knows the science inside-out, top to bottom, and in great detail. She was present when history was being made. …

Why Nipah, why now?

In hindsight, the medical protocols advised to deal with covid were designed to maximise infection, and in particular prolonged infection, which would give the virus the opportunity to find a home in immunoprotected tissue. That is why people infected with covid were advised to wait at home until they became really sick, and only then go to hospital. No antivirals were recommended. Once they got to hospital, they weren’t given antivirals then either. If they deteriorated they were sent to ICU and put on a ventilator, which was a death sentence.

That is why the CDC was so much against ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. The covid virus requires exhaustion of the immune system to get past the immune system into immunoprotected tissue. The FDA in the US even tried to ban the completely innocuous molecule N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) because it had shown some efficacy in stopping covid infection. Amazon removed NAC from sale.

Also in hindsight, the lockdowns were enforced in order to herd people towards vaccination. Once they were vaccinated, they were able to go back to normal. The unvaccinated were deemed pariahs to aid this process.

Why vaccination?

The covid cabal knew of the potential for antibody-driven enhancement, which means that a vaccine might train the immune system to fight a particular variant of the virus. But the virus mutates so that the immune system makes the wrong-shaped antibody for the new variant and there is a higher infection rate than if people had remained unvaccinated. The IgG class-switching to IgG4, which treats covid if it was just an allergy, may have been a bonus for the covid cabal.

The vaccines were a big moneymaker for Bill Gates and others. He got into BioNTech stock only a month before the covid outbreak. But it wasn’t just about money. The vaccinated are now three times more likely to be infected by covid than the unvaccinated and therefore three times as likely to develop long covid, which is the point of the whole exercise. But the number of people getting covid boosters has dropped away, as it has become quite evident that the vaccine is worse than useless.

So what is next then?

To explain that, let’s go back to 2003 and the release of the original SARS virus. It had a case fatality rate of 30%, which meant that it was easy to track down and eliminate. The SPARS wargaming exercise conducted by the John Hopkins Center for Health Security in 2017 predicted that the next viral pandemic would be based on the SARS virus, but with a case fatality rate of 0.6% instead of 30%. This is a case fatality rate no worse than influenza, so the public can be told that they can live with it.

But the public can’t live with it, because covid has bits of the HIV genome sewn into it. HIV is the disease that bioweapons researchers admire the most because it doesn’t kill people straight away, but weakens their immune system so that other viruses, bacteria, funghi, and cancers end up knocking them off. For HIV, death averaged 12 years after the initial infection. That is in the past tense because HIV patients are now kept alive, with functioning immune systems, by antivirals that stop replication of the virus in immunoprotected tissue, even though they don’t kill the virus.

Which brings us back to the Nipah virus. Twelve years is a long time to wait and the covid cabal is in a hurry. Now that a big chunk of the population has had their immune systems weakened by covid vaccination, a traditional deadly virus will be harder to fight off. The Nipah virus has a case fatality rate of 70%.

What if Nipah is a bit far-fetched and all we have to worry about is long covid? How bad is long covid going to get? This study at George Washington University in the US found that, in their staff and students, 36% of those ever infected now have long covid. On top of that, some amongst the other 64% have viral persistence but are yet to develop symptoms of long covid. The implication of viral persistence of a disease that depletes CD4 cells is that these people will die. It is an unknown number beyond those who currently show long covid symptoms.

The Voice is Australia’s Brexit, or Trump 2016 Moment

The Voice is Australia’s Brexit, or Trump 2016 Moment. By Paul Kelly.

Australian democracy is about to be shaken up. It has been a nasty week on the campaign trail and in parliament, where the voice is in trouble.

But something else is emerging — an assertion that rejecting the voice is the gateway to a better destiny for Indigenous peoples. If the voice is rejected on October 14 much can be attributed to indigenous senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who is turning into a new and powerful figure on our landscape — among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples — and whose vision is a systemic rejection of the orthodoxy surrounding the voice and Indigenous political power. …

Price says the essence of her campaign is “a fight against those who want to divide our nation”. But her targets are both establishments, the non-Indigenous and the Indigenous power structures. This is a unique position; we haven’t seen it before. This is what makes the referendum so potentially significant in its consequences. …

Price says “it is only an elite few” who want the voice. She says its Aboriginal proponents “have had years at the table”. She thinks the voice seeks to perpetuate an unrepresentative Indigenous industry. Price wants no treaty, and an end to the constant debate about racism, rejecting the remarks this week from high-profile Indigenous academic and leader Marcia Langton that the No campaign is based in racism or stupidity. …

Price dismissed as a lie that Aboriginal people did not have a voice, saying they had 11 voices in parliament. She branded as another lie the insistence by Anthony Albanese that the voice was an act of courtesy by Indigenous Australia. …

The comeuppance of our ruling class:

Price, unsurprisingly, will interpret any defeat of the voice as having far wider implications for Australia.

This is not what the Prime Minister envisaged when he launched this referendum, backed by an alliance of elite, corporate, celebrity, institutional, professional and sporting bodies on a scale unprecedented since World War II.

Australia’s elites are in the process of being administered a huge shock.

For Price, there’s a danger: beware the mad populist right claiming any referendum win and claiming Price. She will need astute political advice. Her worst mistake would be to allow herself to be manipulated and exploited by the extreme right and inept conservatives in this country. They are political poison. These people will be a menace after any referendum loss and would represent the sure path to diminishing her remarkable brand. …

They didn’t see it coming:

Australia’s mainstream and corporate elites have been taken by surprise in this campaign. They never saw this coming; they never did proper due diligence on the referendum….

A referendum defeat will repudiate their judgment and their conception of their own country. It will show they misread Australian values, knew nothing of Indigenous politics, ventured into territory they didn’t understand and demonstrated that they cannot be trusted on the strategic decisions about the nation’s future identity. …

It is doubtful if there has ever been an insiders-outsiders contest on this scale in our history. The strategy of the Yes camp was to build an alliance of institutional and community support. Albanese still invokes this alliance.

The Voice will lose for the obvious reasons: it is racist and therefore immoral, and it gives some Australians more rights than others.

After the Voice is trounced at the ballot box, and the ruling class gets over its fit of calling us names, our ruling “elite” will correctly feel that we spurned them, that we failed to recognize how superior they are.

One by one over the next few years, they will come to their senses. Quietly, some will admit to themselves that what they wanted to foist on Australia was racist and immoral. But they will probably never admit it in public.

Their racism, not ours

Their racism, not ours. By Greg Sheridan.

In which the Australian people to vote against the ruling class.

They want racism:

On any objective measure, Australia is one of the world’s most racially inclusive, least racist, societies.

However, if the referendum to install a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to parliament and the executive is successful, our politics and society will become increasingly racialised, with greater racial polarisation and hostility.

The voice would inject race into the Constitution in a way that it’s not there now, with likely awful results. It will imprison Aboriginal Australians in a stereotyped racial identity and, for the first time since 1967, formally enshrine the division of Australian citizens into unequal races. This would be a tragedy of epic proportion, and threaten much of the astonishing success of modern Australia. …

They are virtue signaling to each other:

If you place race at the centre of institutional and constitutional life, race will assume much greater salience in politics and society. If you subsidise grievance, you’ll get a lot more grievance. That’s the crazy spiral of identity politics. …

The Yes campaign has been structurally offensive because at no point does it accept any arguments for the No case as legitimate. It’s not necessary to agree with your opponents’ arguments but you can surely acknowledge that some are legitimate. Burney herself labelled the case that the voice contradicts the democratic principle of equal citizenship an example of Donald Trump-style, dangerous dishonesty. Yet the voice plainly does exactly that. …

The Australian constitution:

Australia’s Constitution is a work of genius. You can’t altogether stop judges from interfering in politics, but our Constitution is so tightly, technically, dryly written, it limits that a good deal. It’s a mechanical document – how many senators, when to have elections, the role of the courts, and so on. Marvellously, it doesn’t distinguish one Australian from another on grounds of race. It did before 1967, it doesn’t now. …


The 1967 Aboriginal referendum is spectacularly misrepresented. … This referendum won more than 90 per cent of the vote. It had the effect of removing the only two references to Aboriginal Australians from the Constitution.

It’s worth going back to the history books or archives to look at the campaign material for the Yes case in 1967. Although the actual changes were modest, the campaign was all about giving Aboriginal Australians absolute equality, making sure they suffered no official discrimination, giving them exactly the same civic status as everyone else. A popular campaign song said: “Give them rights and freedoms just like you and me”.

The Russian invasion was a rational act

The Russian invasion was a rational act. By John Mearsheimer and Sebastian Rosato.

We cannot equate rationality with success and non-rationality with failure. Rationality is not about outcomes. Rational actors often fail to achieve their goals, not because of foolish thinking but because of factors they can neither anticipate nor control.

There is also a powerful tendency to equate rationality with morality since both qualities are thought to be features of enlightened thinking. But this too is a mistake. Rational policies can violate widely accepted standards of conduct and may even be murderously unjust. …

There is solid evidence that Putin and his advisers thought in terms of straightforward balance-of-power theory, viewing the West’s efforts to make Ukraine a bulwark on Russia’s border as an existential threat that could not be allowed to stand. Russia’s president laid out this logic in a speech explaining his decision for war: “With Nato’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year… We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.” He went on to say: “It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the redline which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.”

In other words, for Putin, this was a war of self-defence aimed at preventing an adverse shift in the balance of power. He had no intention of conquering all of Ukraine and annexing it into a greater Russia. Indeed, even as he claimed in his well-known historical account of Russia-Ukraine relations that “Russians and Ukrainians were one people — a single whole”, he also declared: “We respect Ukrainians’ desire to see their country free, safe, and prosperous… And what Ukraine will be — it is up to its citizens to decide.” None of this is to deny that his aims have clearly expanded since the war began, but that is hardly unusual as wars unfold and circumstances change.

It is worth noting that Moscow sought to deal with the growing threat on its borders through aggressive diplomacy, but the United States and its allies were unwilling to accommodate Russia’s security concerns. On 17 December 2021, Russia put forward a proposal to solve the growing crisis that envisaged a neutral Ukraine and the withdrawal of Nato forces from Eastern Europe to their positions in 1997. But the United States rejected it out of hand.

This being the case, Putin opted for war, which analysts expected to result in the Russian military’s overrunning Ukraine. Describing the view of US officials just before the invasion, David Ignatius of The Washington Post wrote that Russia would “quickly win the initial, tactical phase of this war, if it comes. The vast army that Russia has arrayed along Ukraine’s borders could probably seize the capital of Kyiv in several days and control the country in little more than a week.” Indeed, the intelligence community “told the White House that Russia would win in a matter of days by quickly overwhelming the Ukrainian army”. Of course, these assessments proved wrong, but even rational policymakers sometimes miscalculate, because they operate in an uncertain world.

The Russian decision to invade was also the product of a deliberative process, not a knee-jerk reaction by a lone wolf. …

Putin’s subordinates shared his views about the nature of the threat confronting Russia, and he consulted with them before deciding on war. The consensus among Russian leaders regarding the dangers inherent in Ukraine’s relationship with the West is clearly reflected in a 2008 memorandum by then ambassador to Russia William Burns; it warned that “Ukrainian entry into Nato is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in Nato as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests… I can conceive of no grand package that would allow the Russians to swallow this pill quietly.”

Nor does Putin appear to have made the decision for war alone, as stories of him plotting in Covid-induced confinement implied. When asked whether the Russian president consulted with his key advisers, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov replied: “Every country has a decision-making mechanism. In that case, the mechanism existing in the Russian Federation was fully employed.” To be sure, it seems clear that Putin relied on only a handful of like-minded confidants to make the final decision to invade, but that is not unusual when policymakers are faced with a crisis. …

Western policymakers would be well-advised not to automatically assume that Russia or any other adversary is non-rational, as they often do. That only serves to undermine their ability to understand how other states think and craft smart policies to deal with them. Given the enormous stakes in the Ukraine war, this cannot be emphasised enough.

This video by Adam Curtis has some brilliant insights, particularly concerning Putin. Putin did not seek power, which makes him very unusual for the leader of an empire.