Jerks

Michael Brenner explains why he will abstain from any further writing on the subjects of Ukraine and U.S. relations with Russia, China or the Solomon Islands. 

(White House, Adam Schultz)

By Michael Brenner

There will be no more from me on the subject of Ukraine; nor on our relations with Russia, China or the Solomon Islands.  

There are a number of reasons for this abstention.

First, I’ve said just about everything I have to say about the macro issues and I see no reason either for repetition or examining day-to-day events which others do extremely well. (Moon of Alabama; Alexander Mercouris at YouTube). 

Second, it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. Instead, we experience fantasy, fabrication, fatuousness and fulmination.  At a more personal level, this impression is reinforced by messages from persons whom I’ve known and respected telling me that I’m in the pay of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “mad,” “too clever by half,” “a Furtwaengler fan” (Netrebko=Furtwaengler=Hitler), a “closet Bolshevik,” a conspiracy monger, “never met a payroll” (? don’t ask me), and/or “crossed a line” — red, amber, green or any other damn color. 

Third, it is self-evident that our national leaders, elected or appointed, are equally incapable of sober deliberation, of intellectual honesty (with themselves as well as us), of elementary logic, even of acknowledging factual realities. Consequently, the resulting behavior defies rational analysis. The capstone to these shambles came with U.S. President Joe Biden’s off-the-wall speech on Warsaw and ensuing botched attempt at cleaning up the mess.

Frankly, a president of the United States has to be pretty dim to talk about eliminating the leader of a strong, willful, enemy government. President John F. Kennedy went down that dark tunnel and paid with his life – and Castro didn’t possess 3,800 nuclear warheads (he later had to borrow them from Soviet premier Nikita  Khrushchev). Regime change in Moscow, of course, has been the administration’s goal since Day No. 1; the wet dream of juveniles visualizing cutting the Gordian knot with one magical stroke? But only a reckless and feckless leader broadcasts his intention while visiting his target’s hostile neighbor. So, it was left to our NATO ambassador, then U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, then the State Department’s public relations flack to “walk it back.”  

[Related: Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War]

Habitual use of that moronic term itself is an indicator of our conceit and arrogance. It is not an apology, nor an admission of error. What it really means is: “Look. I slipped up in saying what I really think – maybe jetlag; but now this one is causing me heartburn. So, let’s lighten up and just erase it from memory.” 

Strolling It Back

Yet, you can’t simply erase things like that. People beyond the cowed press corps have heard it — like the guy to whom you passed the black spot. To add to the insult, Biden the next day told us (and “killer/war criminal” Putin) that he didn’t really “walk” it back; rather it was a sort of “stroll back.” 

In the course of his stroll, he made a number of pit-stops to emit accusations that the Putin gang in Ukraine were the same Russians who suppressed the Hungarians in 1976, the Czechs in 1968 and the Afghans in the 1980s. It was in their DNA, thereby seconding James Clapper and Wendy Sherman, among others.

Of course, if this impeccable logic were applied to us, he would have to link his government to the Americans who ethnically cleansed the 10 million indigenous peoples from its territory, conquered Mexico and stole half of its territory, caused the death of 400,00 Filipinos who rebelled against the Yankee imperial yoke, fire-bombed Hamburg/ Dresden/Tokyo, nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wreaked death and destruction in Vietnam, financed and supplied “death squads” across Central America, illegally invaded Iraq with the heavy consequences we are still enduring, was an active accomplice in the mass killing of Houthis, committed atrocities at Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca, Guantanamo and “black sites.”

And, just a few months ago, Biden personally stole outright $ 8billion belonging to the starving Afghans whose country we occupied on the specious grounds that we were escorting them into the land of milk & honey. 

[Related: Biden’s Punishment of Desperate Afghanistan]

This is a record that should counsel caution before throwing around demands for a war crimes trial. Then again, being anointed by heaven as mankind’s savior nation, you need not say “sorry” – or even walk it back.  

(pxphere)

Anyway, back from his stroll Biden was asked whether he had found closure on the “get rid of Putin” affair.  What are you talking about? was his reply. There is nothing to stroll back or correct at any gait.  I stand by what I said in Warsaw:  “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!”  

To depict accurately this kind of vaudeville, we have to revert to colloquial street vocabulary. To be frank, Biden simply was discovering his inner “jerk.”

That’s a uniquely emotive term with unmatched connotations and imagery. Its synonyms are not “stupid, ignoramus, dimwit, bumbler, fool, tone-deaf.” You can be any or all of those things as well as a jerk — OR not necessarily be a jerk. Moreover, you can be intelligent, informed, well=spoken and either non=jerk or jerk. Examples: the ubiquitous Michael McFaul, Obama’s man in Moscow, is quintessentially of the type — a model by which to measure all others. U.S. Sen. ed Cruz, now auditioning for the position of America’s court jester, is an alternative model for those who prefer to relish their jerks Harvard-educated.

By contrast, Victoria Nuland is a ruthless, mean-spirited, dogmatic, shamelessly impolite ideologue cum provocateur. But she is not a jerk. On the other hand, let’s consider Tony Blinken.  He has great potential and has taken remarkable strides in that direction in the past few months, but perhaps needs a bit more seasoning to establish fully his credentials. Or, make a selection from among the parade of luminaries, wannabes and used-to-be “experts” — in particular, the military/Intelligence ones whose astonishing divorce from reality sheds light on our serial failures in the coercive use of force over the years — who clutter the airways. 

(The species jerk is not restricted to the U.S. The spreading of its congenial habitat abroad has seen prime specimens appearing in a number of locations: e.g., U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson along with his sidekicks Foreign Minister Liz Truss and Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace).

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting a hospital on April 6. (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)

Jerks tend to be erratic in behavior, disjointed in their thinking, highly tolerant of inconsistency, unable to sustain a project and accident prone. They thrive in nihilistic and narcissistic societies like ours where embarrassment doesn’t exist. The jerk has a natural preference for a fluid decision process and ambiguous policy. For that spares him the need to discipline his own thoughts, to systematically weigh choices, and to make commitments to pursue a definite line of action.

Those circumstances, of course, also play to the advantage of those participants who know their mind, have a fixed objective, and are prepared to promote them outside formal deliberations. In a government where the two types predominate like Biden’s, therefore, there is no internal pressure for an already weak president to get a grip and straighten things out. 

Example: the day after Biden initiates a cordial telephone conversation with China’s President Xi  Jinping where he expresses the desire to avoid serious conflict and reaffirms U.S. continued commitment to the principle of “One China,” State Department officials meet their Taiwanese counterparts in Vienna to work out new arms sales and the promotion of Taiwan’s membership in specialized U.N. agencies.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in March 2019. (Kremlin.ru)

That dissipated whatever trust remained between Beijing and Washington. Yet, senior officials could not see the obvious. A few months later, Blinken and Nuland were asking Foreign Minister Wang Yi to A) cut back on imports of LNG so that more would be available for Germany which had just shut down NORDSTROM II, and B) join the sanctions campaign against its close ally and partner Russia because otherwise the U.S. would get angry.

This after a year of denunciation, sanctions and threats -— including moves encouraging Taiwan independence. Yi, predictably, didn’t mince words in rejecting the American proposals out of hand and took the occasions to treat both to stern lectures about American misdeeds. The general point to make is that the template for defining a jerk includes a disregard for past events and the tenor of past relationships — (s)he experiences life as a series of discrete episodes unencumbered by ‘history.’

This absurd behavior can be understood as a manifestation, at the highest level of American government, of the “I Need, I Want: The World is There to Accommodate Me” attitude that pervades our narcissistic culture. Immature, yet fertile in its production and encouragement of jerks.

The antics of jerks would be entertaining to observe, for those with a sardonic sense of humor anyway, were the circumstances not so perilous. So, trying to analyze the kaleidoscopic conditions they produce is deeply frustrating and dispiriting. I give up. That won’t make any difference one way or the other.  It would allow for a leisured visit to Montevideo to listen to Russian soprano Anna Netrebko sing  Un bel dì, vedremo (One fine day we’ll see.)

[Related: War, Conflict & Enemies of Truth]

Finally, after distributing the above remarks, the question of continuing commentaries may well be moot as the audience melts away like factual reporting in the fevered editorial offices of CNN and The New York Times. 

Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. mbren@pitt.edu

 The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

58 comments for “Jerks

  1. doris
    April 12, 2022 at 10:40

    Thanks SO MUCH for your work Mr. Brenner! I understand the feeling of futility in the face of such overwhelming odds our insane leaders have been allowed to create. It’s crazy what We the People have been convinced to believe and do by their trillions of orchestrating dollars. When I get overwhelmed, which is just about hourly in these insane times, I remember the little cartoon with the mouse flipping off the eagle as he carries it away in its talons, and know I have to keep fighting the good fight, even in the face of certain death. If we quit, they win.
    One of the things I do to counteract my grief and depression is work toward the sanity I’d like to see in the world. My two main solutions for the world are permaculture and hemp infrastructure that could go far to save our planetary home. I have to balance the negative reporting with positive solutions or I’ll go right off the deep end of despair. I hope you can find some balance so you can continue your vital work in reporting the truth to those of us eager to hear what you have to say.
    Thank you too, CN for being a beacon of truth in a world of growing darkness. “This little light of mine, I HAVE to let it shine,” if only for our own connective sanity.

  2. yesxorno
    April 10, 2022 at 08:43

    A fine article.

  3. Jana
    April 9, 2022 at 11:56

    Professor Brenner,
    Thank you for helping me keep my sanity. I completely understand your situation and would not want you to suffer any more personal attacks. It’s not worth it. People are relentless and will destroy everything.

  4. April 9, 2022 at 11:50

    Dear Sir, I understand your silence. I made the same decision on 03/01/2022 in a text in French (hxxps://mundoencuestion.wordpress.com/2022/03/01/lettre-ouverte-sur-lukraine/) and Spanish(hxxps://desdecoyoacan.wordpress.com/2022/03/02/carta-abierta-sobre-ucrania/), but not in English – sorry.
    Meanwhile, China is consolidating its relations with all countries in Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa… and will be the first world power before 2049!

  5. Cynic
    April 9, 2022 at 01:42

    In a world of lies, he who speaks the truth is the enemy. In a world of evil, he who dares to be good is put down.
    It is apparent that evil and deceit rules the world we now live in, and Truth speaks in a lone, quiet voice in the field that we only hear if we quiet down to find it, while we are surrounded by angry shouts and loud howls of the main stream media. Prof Brenner, you are part of that lone, quiet voice. Please continue, not only for your own sake, but for the greater good of the world that needs you..

    We know that it is very hard. Reading all these comments, it seems that most of us here are experiencing the same dispiriting societal attacks from everyone around us. Those of us who bothered to listen to both sides of the arguments and voice doubts about any single part of the Western narrative are ostracised and cast as “Putin apologist”, “Xi bot”, “Iranian stooge” or something similar. But there is us who hears your voice, us who will leave the loud brash mob and wander into the field seeking the voice of truth, and helping to spread the word. We must encourage each other, those of us who see that the actions and words of the Western narrative clash with each other, for to surrender to cognitive dissonance will be to invite madness to enter our minds.

    • spiny flower
      April 9, 2022 at 22:19

      Right on, Cynic!

      Namaste.

  6. delia ruhe
    April 8, 2022 at 23:58

    Well, that was cathartic. All my most unfavourite Americans chewed-up and spit out in one tidy piece of writing.

    But, Michael, you have to put it all in context. The US has been on this decline-and-fall trajectory since the day the Supreme Court appointed Bush the Lesser to the presidency. Very few Americans with the proper credentials and experience to serve in government are willing. Take a close look at today’s Kangaroo Kourt and Keystone Kongress, and you can hardly blame them. So your doomed to putting up with the McFowls and the No-lands until the State hits bottom, and you can invent it all over again.

  7. vinnieoh
    April 8, 2022 at 17:27

    Professor Brenner it would be a sad loss to all of us, not to hear/read your thoughts on this subject. During the last month or so there has been no other editorialist that has touched me/my thoughts as you have. Since this awful war began (for clarity, the current phase approx. 6wks ago) I have not talked to my siblings. Knowing them as I do I know they have strong feelings about the day-to-day; I know they are almost certainly opposite of my own. Perhaps that personal situation is for the better; things said can never be un-said, and they are, after all, family.

    Will the truth of what is going on ever to be known? Or more accurately, will it be told? I’m not confident.

    Thanks again Prof. B. and thanks CN for fighting the good fight.

  8. Nathan Mulcahy
    April 8, 2022 at 15:14

    My own journey started with Obama’s first presidential election. I saw through the deception and did not vote for him, resulting in losing many “friends”. That “loss” continued with losing additional “friends” as I continued to point out the war crimes Obama was committing.

    My open revulsion for Killary made me lose even more “friends”. Then came Covid. Being a scientist by profession, I couldn’t remain silent that almost the entire official narrative (and the measures) were not supported by “the” science. BTW, in an emerging scientific field (as Covid was) there is never “the” science. Instead, there are hypotheses snd counter hypotheses that either pan out or are rejected based on sound scientific data snd open scientific discourse and debate. Long story short, my loss of “friends” continued.

    No wonder, the trend continues with Ukraine.

    I suppose that’s the price we have to pay for the luxury of being endowed with critical thinking abilities, which the vast majority does not possess. This is a stark statement about my species, and it gives me no pleasure to have to come to this conclusion.

    I do hope that the esteemed professor rethinks his conclusion. Some of us are blessed with special abilities and it is our lot to carry the cross.

    Oh BTW, there is actually a very simple solution to the problem at large. The first, and a very effective, step would be to stop consuming all mainstream media products. Try telling that to the masses, and you will lose more “friends”. ?

  9. Barbara Mullin
    April 8, 2022 at 10:15

    Last night I listened to Tucker Carlson of Fox News TV and he was actually saying how all this “hate Putin” garbage was just a repeat of what we all heard in the lead up to “hate Gaddafi”, “hate Assad”, etc., etc. The nonsense that good and evil are on different sides and “exceptional” America is always working for the good. Didn’t anybody learn anything about the past and the workings of the US all over the world? Surely this is mental illness. Important for us to listen to all the voices out there. I used to be a Democrat until 2016 and then converted to Green.

  10. anon y'mouse
    April 8, 2022 at 09:36

    one should consider the possibility that these people are playing inconsistent, lacking-reality jerks and imbeciles because their true purpose for the measures they take are not as they are telling the public, because if they told the public the truth about their goals and intentions, we would not agree.

    it’s a very convenient way to hide a calculating, grasping mind behind a bumbling flag of assholery.

  11. CNfan
    April 7, 2022 at 21:04

    “It is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. … It is self-evident that our national leaders, elected or appointed, are equally incapable of sober deliberation, of intellectual honesty (with themselves as well as us), of elementary logic, even of acknowledging factual realities.”

    Thank you for this spot-on description of our psychological situation. I’d like to suggest an additional, powerful factor to explain this pattern, beyond high levels of personal “jerkness”.

    This additional factor is an ultra-wealthy oligarchy who WANTS war. They want war because they profit from weapons sales, and from the plundering of resources from subdued countries. Through overwhelming campaign “donations” / investments they control who gets into Congress and various Parliaments. Through overwhelming stock ownership (now coordinated through giant financial companies like Blackrock) they control the mainstream media and its content. Politicians and reporters within their realms of control are quickly ejected / marginalized if they contradict the oligarchy’s fantasy narrative. This pattern goes back to the early days of the British East India Company.

    The underlying fantasy is that we are living in a democracy, and fighting abroad for democracy. The reality is that we are living under an oligarchy (as Jimmy Carter has told us) and fighting abroad for the oligarchy’s pirate projects.

    The average person’s “jerkness” stems from their trust in the mainstream media. If they check two or three outlets and find them in agreement, they assume they are getting the facts. The possibility that all these mainstream outlets are coordinated tools of a criminal gang is so unbelievable as to require extremely compelling evidence, and time to absorb it.

    Most of the oligarchy’s worker bees in government and the media probably see by now they are self-censoring. They also probably see they are self-censoring to such an extent that they are becoming complicit in war crimes. These people’s “jerkness” is due to various mixtures of greed and cowardice.

    The oligarchy rulers, who decide to start the next war, are without any doubt extreme sociopaths, willing to slaughter vast numbers of people. They justify their actions by one or another twisted fantasies, often including classifying their mass victims as “sub-human”. These people need to be removed from society permanently and have all their assets confiscated.

    Perhaps you could turn your reporting and analysis skills to rooting out this oligarchy, the criminals coordinating this synchronized insanity?

  12. Miss Mumble
    April 7, 2022 at 17:10

    Please don’t leave us, Mr. Brenner. It is so important in the game of life to always respawn.

  13. Newbie
    April 7, 2022 at 13:31

    Hahahahaahahaha!!!!! Mr. Brenner SIR, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a more concise depiction of our current nonsensical masochistic state of affairs. Yes, it appears we’re enslaved by endless armies of jerks. I look forward to your future renditions of salty common sense. With as steely a pen as you scribe with, I can’t envision you standing on the sidelines for long. All the best!

    P.S. will definitely forward your piece to others

  14. jack flanigan
    April 7, 2022 at 12:54

    I am a 75yo Australian and can only say “As it is in the US so it goes in Australia”. It is soul destroying. A person is unable to hold a discussion about certain subjects for to do so is likely to ruin a relationship or a friendship.
    The propaganda machine is going full throttle over here. It is embarrassing.
    Over the years we have been fed propaganda BS on many occasions but have never experienced anything like what is currently taking place before.

    Jack Flanigan

  15. Jon McCoy
    April 7, 2022 at 12:26

    Loved your article Mr. Brenner. I completely respect your decision of course but I did happen to think of a comment I read a few years ago in an essay on Counterpunch. The author had some connection to the UN, and was talking about the very lengthy speeches by Fidel Castro in that venue. She was reflecting that the people in attendence would listen to Fidel so attentively for what might be hours at a time because of the truth of his geopolitical, socioeconomic analysis. This isn’t to suggest Castro was a saint because he obviously wasn’t but in matters of sociopolitical and foreign policy he was essentially right on the money as they say.
    So in a sense, you are carrying on that tradition of truth telling.
    I cannot blame you for losing faith in people, however. Everything you said about our society at large is absolutely true. It’s tragically comic how so few men and women can stand on their own two feet, so to speak, when it comes to real critical thinking. It’s as if they are physically incapable of facing the truth. And the truth of history, especially our own US history, is very ugly. I’m continually amazed by what people will do to avoid the experience of shame. They will do anything in order not to have to feel shame. Now obviously, if shame is truly unwarranted, a person shouldn’t have to experience it. But when it comes to US history right up to yesterday, there is so much to account for. These things must be grieved and part of that process is a legitimate reckoning with shame. Most people cannot do it and it may well spell the end for all of us.
    As far as solutions? I can only think of the standard recommendations: reduce consumption, go vegetarian if possible, try to organize a union or participate in some sort of community mutual aid project, etc. I guess there’s letters to the editor but fewer and fewer people read them these days. One thing, if possible: consider living as close to the poverty line(i.e., the standard deduction) as possible in order to deprive the empire of lies their coveted tax dollars. But again, for that to have any tangible sort of effect it would have to be more of a mass movement.
    We need a “great reset,” but I can’t see how it happens in any sort of intelligent way. WW3 would be a great reset but we’d be worse off than we were back in the stone ages. Global warming might ultimately lead to a great reset but it could also conceivably bring on the death of the biosphere and our collective extinction.
    I don’t know what any of us can do except to continue standing at our posts, as it were, until the old world finally dies and the new world can finally be born.
    I will look forward to your future articles, whatever subjects you decide to tackle next and God bless!

  16. Donna B Bubb
    April 7, 2022 at 11:34

    Prof. Brenner:

    We are desperately in need of truthtellers. Please don’t go.

  17. Robert Emmett
    April 7, 2022 at 10:36

    Thanks, Professor, for your heart-felt remarks. Dispiritedness is serious business. A widespread malaise, as you describe, in oneself or in the country as a whole, no? That can take various forms, yes? Isn’t unquestioning surrender to the One Authoritative Source also a sign of dampening one’s own spirit, if not wholesale giving it up to the highest bidder? And, at a nation level, isn’t trying to induce it in other peoples & their countries not yet another way to diminish their spirit? A primary objective of our (simultaneous) propaganda and finance wars, right?

    So, I agree, it’s a good idea to address a sense of it in oneself on a regular basis. We need your spirit intact as much as your words.

    And I happen to share the view that artistic expression of whatever kind, even if it’s any humble means we can manage to make happen in our own lives, is a way to strengthen & reinvigorate ourselves from time to time. Otherwise how does one deal with a deluge of disinformation that seeks to pry away our grip? So, may you keep a good grip.

  18. April 7, 2022 at 10:33

    If only enough others would have the courage to go against the tide, we might have a chance to finally take a step toward world peace. If you can possibly go on, Dr. Brenner, please continue. Your article has encouraged me to continue to believe we might finally be getting there. I could be wrong, but hoping is a better way to live, isn’t it.

  19. torture this
    April 7, 2022 at 10:15

    “Jerk” might not apply to some truly awful people & is a good word for polite society. But, since I don’t live in one, I’ll continue to use, “assholes” for them all.

    I reserve the right to read whatever you have to say in case you change your mind.

  20. April 7, 2022 at 10:06

    In other words, you are giving up on some stupid people you were trying to atleast enlighten on the very perilous situation pertaining the world today. Not so good a situation for some of us who would otherwise be more interested in balanced views. However,we are grateful for what you have been doing. Thank you and GOD bless you.

    • Jean-0
      April 7, 2022 at 15:19

      If you quit, you let the jerks win. That’s what they want—to mock, accuse, smear, anything—to shut you up. I’m an old anti war radical, lesbian, feminist. And while I’m not famous or high up socially or as well spoken as you are, I have faced immense scorn for just saying what I think, let alone trying to change anything. Nice white guy like you, maybe you’ve never had to pay the rent on being outspoken about justice. But the wheel is turning and the liberal establishment is being ground under it. Stand up. Fight for what’s right. Don’t go off sulking just because your jerk “friends” hurt your feelings. Look at Glenn Greenwald—greatest, bravest journalist we have. C’mon over and join the radicals. Take the message to your middle class (comfortable and cowardly) chums. Talk truth about Ukraine and all the other b.s. Libs and neo Libs are shoving at us. Live up to the 1st amendment, don’t just go away mad. FIGHT!

  21. April 7, 2022 at 09:47

    Un bel dì, vedremo (One fine day we’ll see.)?
    ‘One fine day’ maybe?

  22. Tedder
    April 7, 2022 at 09:45

    Perhaps I am naive, but I relentlessly contradict the war narrative in spite of so many of my ‘friends’ who adopt it. It is always disheartening to make a statement of fact, even just reporting what Putin said in his “Empire of Lives” speech, and be accused of parroting Russian talking points! It is tiring and perhaps futile, but the stakes are very high. I am convinced that if the Americans keep thrashing around with militarism and threatening Russia, WW III and likely nuclear Armageddon are very sure.

  23. Me Myself
    April 7, 2022 at 08:58

    I am sure your article reflects the views of Consortium News and definitely defines my view, Again Well Said!

    History repeats itself and so should good information. Also, that is something worth repeating. Don’t stop now!

  24. michael888
    April 7, 2022 at 08:47

    Really excellent article.
    I would add that many of “our leaders” are psychopaths (not just jerks), who only exist in the Present and are incapable of seeing historic perspectives, yet alone discerning complicated nuanced relationships.
    The mix of people in Foreign Policy under Biden is even more toxic, if possible, than the Trump administration, who clearly could not get anything accomplished, mostly because they were clowns with Resistance from our Government and our allies’ governments (who have once again become Poodles).
    The influence of Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans in our course of Foreign Policy is scary. Clearly they are passionate about their ancestral homelands, but the US has no business saving everyone. While not a strict non-interventionalist, having citizens, especially dual citizens with other countries, sacrificing American ideals and Peace for Wars for their native countries has been and will continue to be devastating to our future. Damaging Russia or China does not necessarily translate into an improved America (China’s mercantile competitive approach is clearly more productive, rewarding and constructive than the US’s kill, maim and destroy approach).

  25. Ian Stevenson
    April 7, 2022 at 06:44

    It is wrong that people with something to say and evidence to back up their opinion feel they have to be quiet because other cannot tolerate dissent -calling him a Putin apologist etc.
    Equally we need to hear from those in the country.
    hxxps://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/06/bucha-ukrainians-russian-military-donbas

  26. Vera Gottlieb
    April 7, 2022 at 05:07

    As frustrated as you might be (putting it mildly), please!!! don’t give up being a thorn on their side. You are handing them a ‘victory’ they most certainly DO NOT deserve. Be PESKY as my email address indicates. Hasta la victoria, siempre.

  27. Robert Boyce
    April 7, 2022 at 04:41

    Professor Brenner, I fully share your frustration – living in England I hear daily news about the rogues and clowns who comprise our government – but however many battles we lose we have to win the war. Otherwise, we are doomed. So keep writing, if not on Ukraine, then on other international issues.

  28. Stephanie Hiller
    April 7, 2022 at 01:30

    WILL EVERYBODY PLEASE STAND UP AND PROTEST before we all go over the cliff with the lemmings?

  29. Eddie S
    April 7, 2022 at 00:08

    Yes Prof. Brenner, like you and many of the other commenters here, I share your frustration (though at a much lower level since I don’t have a wide social-circle and am not a writer like yourself) with the jaw-droppingly simplistic ‘discourse’ (bad community-theatre melodrama might be more apt phrasing) surrounding this whole Ukraine situation. Something of literally apocalyptic potential being widely discussed as-if it’s as inconsequential as a movie or TV program. There’s no healthy skepticism, and it’s not even been 20 years since the media failed us so horribly in the 2003 Iraq War(crime), but people I know act like that’s irrelevant to this situation for some reason!? I don’t blame you for backing away from the subject… it reminds me of the admonition to never try to teach a pig to sing… you’ll just frustrate yourself and it annoys the pig.

  30. Moses
    April 7, 2022 at 00:00

    Brilliant piece! Don’t quit on us, Professor Brenner. The truth needs to be spoken for our own soul, even if no one else is there to hear it.

  31. Jim Thomas
    April 6, 2022 at 22:48

    Mr. Brenner,

    Thank you for your well written indictment of the Empire of Lies and its MSM propaganda agents. I gave up long ago on ever learning any truth on any important issue from those sources. That process was finalized for me during the torrent of lies told by the Bush, Jr. administration in connection with the invasion of Iraq and perpetuated by the reliable liars at the New York Times, Washington Post, all television networks, think tanks and the rest of the sorry servants of the 1%.

    I also thank you for your reference to Anna Netrebko. Although I am a lover of music of most kinds, including classical, I was not acquainted by name with this great artist. It turns out that I do in fact have some albums in my Opera collection on which she performs. I had just not paid enough attention to the details to recognize her. I know little of Opera so it not surprising that I did not know. Now I am making an effort to listen to her wonderful voice. I am also making a special effort to listen to Russian composers – Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff (always one of my favorites), Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Glinka – because, who knows, the next step in this insane anti-Russian hysteria may be to seize all things Russian from us, destroy them and ban them forever. I have no doubt that the fools who are running this insane asylum which this Country has become would do so if possible.

    Should I mention that I have also developed a compelling desire to own a Russian cat. And I don’t like cats.

    I hope that you will change your mind and continue to write. We desperately need some competent writers who do not read from the script provided them by Washington.

  32. rgl
    April 6, 2022 at 22:38

    I cannot say anything that hasn’t already been said. Don’t quit on us, sir, please.

  33. RPW
    April 6, 2022 at 22:02

    Thank you for this analysis, Prof. Brenner. It helped me understand the despair I feel in the current situation. It is not just that Biden and company are foolish and reckless, but that a large section of society has embraced an infantile, narcissistic culture that engenders and empowers such individuals.

    • Stephanie Hiller
      April 7, 2022 at 01:29

      They all seem to be in some kind of trance…

  34. Bob
    April 6, 2022 at 20:26

    How can the US sanction Russian individuals for crimes that they’ve never been charged, with no opportunity to defend themselves. Can we now steal their money soley on accusations?

    • donna
      April 7, 2022 at 00:50

      Yes. One of Jerk Biden’s favorite jerk tools, really – sanctioning is a global form of civil asset forfeiture, which Biden juiced up when he was in Congress. The police and the government can seize (and keep or sell) any assets that they claim were used in committing a crime. All that is needed is the accusation, no trial or anything like that. A deposit of more than $10,000, a car, cash in a car, a house – all fair targets, and part of some entities’ budgets now. Biden has been a jerk for all of his career.

  35. Joe B
    April 6, 2022 at 20:04

    There may be styles of commentary among deluded populations that confuse the pseudo-patriotic tribalist enforcers.
    Wave the flag vigorously and argue that patriotism requires consideration of repercussions of ignoring opposing views.
    But at last the looney tribalist war hysterics come for the dissidents, and then for their own least hysterical supporters.
    What the US circus needs is a big domestic distraction, bigger than the war needed to distract from the epidemic.
    That would have to be something really bad, that cannot be blamed on invented foreign monsters.

  36. sam
    April 6, 2022 at 19:49

    I hope you reconsider your position, because critical voices are needed in the space you occupy. Every loss is surely felt, it would be a crime to allow the neocons to silence you like this.

  37. Jon
    April 6, 2022 at 19:24

    Brilliant article! This moment/predicament we find ourselves in could not have been expressed better. Sharp in tone, but needed.

  38. Jimm
    April 6, 2022 at 18:47

    These comments are wonderful. We indeed live in very dark times. We need all the light we can get.

  39. Drew Hunkins
    April 6, 2022 at 18:23

    “…Victoria Nuland is a ruthless, mean-spirited, dogmatic, shamelessly impolite ideologue cum provocateur. But she is not a jerk. On the other hand, let’s consider Tony Blinken. He has great potential and has taken remarkable strides in that direction in the past few months, but perhaps needs a bit more seasoning…”

    They’re both warmongering Zionist militarist sociopaths who should be nowhere near any positions of influence anywhere, not in day care center, hotdog stand or porn shop. They’re both currently putting the world on the brink of nuclear war. They baited the Kremlin into having no choice but to embark on its special military operation lest Ukraine have NATO nukes on Russia’s doorstep.

    These two savages must be held to account!

    • Nofear
      April 7, 2022 at 02:02

      Don’t put down that pen, ’tis mightier than the yammering of sociopathic jerks. This audience won’t melt away…unless you stop commenting.

      • Drew Hunkins
        April 7, 2022 at 17:19

        Very nice of you to say that.

        Stay strong amidst all the lies and deceit.

  40. Mike
    April 6, 2022 at 18:16

    Talking of ‘Jerks’ and of the fact that we are in information overload on the horrors of Ukraine, and while most go along with the headlines about Russian atrocities (there being usually no content of worth to follow), we should consider the wise words of former UK leader Tony Blair: “We are where we are, so let’s move on”.
    So, forget 40 million starving in Afghanistan, 40 million in Yemen, 40 million in Iraq, 20 million in Syria and 20 million in Libya (all figures approximations) – with an unquantifiable number to those killed or maimed or made refugees. What matters now is what Russia is doing there in Ukraine right now, in Zelensky’s words “killing, maiming, raping, pillaging etc etc”.
    The Ukrainian people do not deserve what is happening to them but their President, buoyed by his CIA minders, brought it upon them and is ensuring its continuing.
    Yes, Tony, we confessed that the Americans got a few things wrong (the Brits being perfect would have done it better – sorry Helmand but the kitchen got a bit hot), so following a good Christian confession, we are free to accuse others of violations of human rights. The Americans and British no longer need to lead in their hate campaign because the Europeans are falling over each other to be seen as even more virulent than the Anglo-Saxons.

    • zhenry
      April 7, 2022 at 03:44

      Mike – Wise words from Tony Blair? Past US war atrocities have been reliably recorded, however it is impossible to be absolutely sure of what is going on in Ukraine:
      The taint of history of a lie-ing media has corrupted some unexpected commenters on the ‘so called’ atrocities of the Russians.
      As Bremer notes, ‘Moon of Alabama’ and ‘the duran’ give you a good estimated guess.

      And I must mention my appreciation of CN’s invaluable record of putting together the transcripts of the UN discussion re those so called Russian atrocities.

  41. Marie-France Germain
    April 6, 2022 at 18:07

    I concur with Tony Fluxman. Thank you Michael Brenner!

  42. Andrew Nichols
    April 6, 2022 at 17:49

    I know exactly how you feel. I have friends I thought after so many years of having bs revealed to them to the point where they agreed “Never again” are swallowing everything all over again. A friend who is a progressive theologian at a prestigious Christian think tank spends his time lately debating Augustine’s Just War to argue its right to fight Russians and fuel the fight with weapons….no mention of peaceful ends to conflicts. As God of the OT in the 4 books of Kings and Chronicles gave up on the Israelites and gave them over to their sins, I wonder if he wont repeat it today.

  43. Paul Spencer
    April 6, 2022 at 17:45

    Well, we know how “Un bel di” worked out for Butterfly. Current situation brings to mind “We’ll meet again…” at the end of Dr. Strangelove. “Dmitri – I know you’re upset, Dmitri…”

  44. forceOfHabit
    April 6, 2022 at 16:52

    Rest assured, your commentary will be sorely missed.

  45. JKP
    April 6, 2022 at 15:37

    Prof Brenner, be kind to reconsider the surrender to jerks and ignorants. The world needs you and others similar to help open peoples eyes – some can still read and others are happy to share your observations and thoughts to help people wake up and receive comments similar to those you received.

  46. robert e williamson jr
    April 6, 2022 at 15:09

    Bravo, Mr. Brenner. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, especially on this subject of beating a dead horse.

    Damn you are good!

    Here is hoping you take a well deserved rest, be well well and recharge yourself.

    BTW I really like that photo by Adam, nice return!

    Thanks CN

  47. Pedro
    April 6, 2022 at 15:05

    I don’t blame you. The anti-Russia noise machine is cranked up so loud I hope it blows a gasket before all civil discourse is destroyed.

    Even formerly sane friends stare at me disbelieving if I question why Tsarist era writers and composers are being banned or dropped.
    Now I refuse comment. I say I read Telesur in Spanish and wish I could read Arabic.

    I hope you will write on the other serious issues that Ukraine-russia is pushing into the memory hole.

  48. JMF
    April 6, 2022 at 15:03

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    -Edmund Burke

    Michael: I sincerely hope you’ll take heed of those words and continue to speak truth to power. Though I don’t often comment when all I would be saying is, “Attaboy!”, you’ve earned a great many of those, in my mind.

    Though I (mistakenly, I now think) voted for this fool in the White House because he wasn’t Trump, I agree wholeheartedly that he IS a jerk of the worst kind, as are a great many of his minions. Nuland? Indeed, a cruel, capricious NeoCoNazi. You’ve pegged them all quite well.

    Your incisive commentary is desperately needed in this “age of universal deceit”, so I hope you will reverse this decision and remain within the fold.

    Best wishes, either way!

  49. Tony Fluxman
    April 6, 2022 at 14:11

    Wonderful writing about the utter madness to which this incredibly unjust world order has brought us. The world needs you. Please don’t put your pen away.

    • mgr
      April 6, 2022 at 15:00

      Tony, Good comment, I agree with you.

      Mr. Brenner, Your writing certainly encourages anyone who is inclined to think about things themselves, as comparative few at the moment
      as that may be. Things change. Educate those who want to learn.

    • Raza
      April 6, 2022 at 18:24

      All I could say after reading is “WOW.” I have not read such piece of analysis done in a long time. Thanks

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