Caitlin Johnstone: Pushing Nuclear War on a Fiction

An entire globe-spanning empire rests on our closed eyelids. It depends on keeping us in a propaganda-induced coma.

Protesting the war in Ukraine, “Three Tyrants Stalin Putin Hitler.” (Amaury Laporte, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

We’re being driven toward nuclear war on the completely fictional claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a Hitler-like megalomaniac who’s just invading countries completely unprovoked, solely because he is evil and hates freedom and won’t stop invading and conquering until he’s stopped by force.

The news media aren’t telling people about the Western aggressions which led to this war. They’re not telling people the U.S. is keeping this war going with the stated goal of weakening Russia and is rejecting peace talks and refusing to push for peace

All people are being told is that Putin is another Hitler who won’t listen to reason and only understands violence. The world’s two nuclear superpowers are being pushed closer and closer to direct military confrontation based on a complete fiction which omits mountains of facts.

To participate in this madness is indefensible. It is indefensibly immoral to foist a fictional version of events upon a trusting populace in order to manufacture consent for more and more aggressive acts of brinkmanship with a nuclear superpower. These people are depraved.


“No no you don’t understand, if we weren’t being told constantly by the media that this proxy war needs our full support and censoring the voices who dispute this and using giant troll armies to swarm and silence anyone who questions this, we might fall victim to propaganda.”


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“You’re not anti-war, you’re just anti-AMERICAN wars,” said the person who is loudly cheerleading America’s proxy war in Ukraine.


Warmongers don’t like being called warmongers when they support a U.S. proxy war that was deliberately provoked by the U.S. and is being sustained by the funding and facilitation of the U.S. with the explicit goal of weakening a longtime geopolitical rival of the U.S. They get very upset when you point out that they are doing this, and when people’s opposition to their warmongering is described as “anti-war”:

They very much prefer to pretend that this time the U.S. is on the good and righteous side of a war, because in that imaginary world they’re the cool anti-fascists standing up to an evil tyrant and those who oppose their warmongering are the real warmongers.

The closer we get to nuclear war the less patience I have for sectarian spats between people who are supposed to be opposing war and militarism. Grow up and get over yourselves. This is more important than you and your ego.

Don’t let anyone tell you your criticisms of U.S. warmongering make no difference; if they didn’t, the empire wouldn’t work so hard to dissuade you from making them. They work so hard to manufacture public consent for their agendas because they absolutely require that consent.

(mohamed_hassan, Pixabay)

An entire globe-spanning empire rests on our closed eyelids. Depends on keeping us in a propaganda-induced coma. Circulating ideas and information which discredit and dispute that propaganda poses a direct threat to that empire. That’s what all the censorship of dissent is about.

Is your one tweet, video or public demonstration going to bring the empire crashing down? Of course not. But it will spread awareness by that much. And all positive changes in human behavior are always preceded by an expansion of awareness. You’re nudging us all toward awakening to whatever extent you help expand awareness of truth and reality.

We can’t be the Hollywood hero who single-handedly decapitates the machine, but we can all collectively throw sand in its gears, making it harder and harder for it to function. That’s what disrupting the imperial propaganda machine accomplishes, because that machine depends on propaganda.

The weakest part of an empire that’s held together by lies and manipulation is its lies and manipulations; that’s why it’s such an aggressively protected aspect of its power. And it happens to be the one part that anyone with a voice can attack, and attack effectively.

The nightmare scenario for our rulers is the same as the nightmare scenario for every ruler throughout history: that the masses will get sick of their rule and use the power of their numbers to get rid of them. That’s exactly what the propaganda matrix is designed to prevent.

One aspect of this struggle that is a bit like a Hollywood movie is that it kind of is a struggle between light and darkness, because the empire depends on keeping its activities obfuscated and unseen while we’re all working to make its machinery visible and transparent. 

That’s why Julian Assange is in prison.

It’s also why internet censorship keeps ramping up, why propaganda is getting more and more blatant, and why online discussion is swarmed by astroturf trolling ops. Those in power are working against the people to keep things dark and unseen.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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

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24 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Pushing Nuclear War on a Fiction

  1. mgr
    October 16, 2022 at 08:53

    Spot on as always. Rational people do not launch wars. The public has to first be made insane in order to support any war but in this case will certainly lead to their own destruction. The people leading this in Washington do not give a shit about America, its future, the future of the world, and they certainly do not give a shit about all the people that have and will pay for this. Their one and only overarching need is to be right. It is nothing more noble or profound than this. Pure egoism. They don’t fear killing everyone. They only fear being shown up for the hopeless little people that they are. The current group of neodems in Washington only need to show that they are the better, that is, more effective, neocons and they will kill everyone in the world in order to do it.

    • Common Sense
      October 16, 2022 at 18:40

      “They only fear being shown up for the hopeless little people that they are. The current group of neodems in Washington only need to show that they are the better, that is, more effective, neocons and they will kill everyone in the world in order to do it.”

      This just is hitting it.

      Thank you.

      Paying attention to it, one can even observe similar phenomenons on smaller scales in ones direct day to day social environment. People suffering from inferiority complex (and who really does not at all? Advertising doing everything to support it)) virtually do “whatever it takes” to keep up with their often destructive illusions.

  2. Mary Caldwell
    October 16, 2022 at 08:13

    And if by the grace of God, a nuclear war is averted, some peaceful resolution is formed, what shall we do ?

    When the next elections come are we to vote for the very people in powerful positions , those who did not protest the danger, those who did not speak up.

    I do not think so, and firmly believe by their actions they have showed their total incompetence.

    Beginning with the President downward, the legacy press that keeps a daily score of lies that it shares with the public., all of them should be removed from their positions of power.

    To encourage this war is a crime against humanity.

    • Common Sense
      October 16, 2022 at 18:31

      “Beginning with the President downward, the legacy press that keeps a daily score of lies that it shares with the public., all of them should be removed from their positions of power.”

      Perfectly right ^^

      The question here is, who and where are the huge number of people needed for constructive development, to replace them, and how to choose them on a democratic basis?

      The task is to replace some kind of very powerful mafia like monster.

      Hard task, looking at what they call ‘the deep state’.

      Yet- I am optimist; looking at CN publications, and the comments ^^

  3. Tom Partridge
    October 16, 2022 at 04:38

    There is a faithful irony, the human brain’s existence, capable of extraordinary creativity, creates the very instrument which can bring about its own extinction.

  4. Henry Smith
    October 16, 2022 at 04:33

    “PR Induced coma”, brilliant description.
    Though things haven’t really changed from the days of the Cuban Missiles Crisis, where we were all told it was evil Russia but in fact it was US missiles in Turkey that started it all. Why oh why are western governments infested with corrupt, psychotic, murderers ?

    • Lois Gagnon
      October 16, 2022 at 18:20

      It was infested with them from the start.

  5. Paine
    October 16, 2022 at 00:36

    One problem that Putin faces is that although he senses he is facing irrational foes in the west, he doesn’t know the extent that the Deep State will go to create a false flag operation against Russia to mobilize western opinion and insure that the Ukraine war will be escalated.

    The second unknown is that both Putin and the American public are ignorant as to whether some in the Deep State actually and truly believe they can win a nuclear war. If so, we are all imperiled.

  6. Scared Person
    October 15, 2022 at 20:49

    “They work so hard to manufacture public consent for their agendas because they absolutely require that consent.”

    Um, maybe not true. It is just that manufactured consent is cheaper and more efficient than having men with guns on every street corner, arresting people for thought crimes.

    If/when manufactured consent fails, control by force will replace it. The ruling class have killed millions for profit, repeatedly, so I don’t think they will have any problem doing so domestically. It was not so long ago they killed MLK, Malcolm X, and more because they became a threat to the “Power Elite” (as they’re described by C. Wright Mills, 1956).

    I’m thinking of the Battle of Blair Mountain (1921).
    Internment camps have been a thing already in most Western nations.
    The ruling class don’t have moral or ethical limits they will not cross to keep what they have taken.
    They will become more violent if we cease to comply with their agenda.
    It will be portrayed as a fight against domestic “T-word”, if the people stop falling for the expansionist narratives of the powerful.

  7. Robyn
    October 15, 2022 at 19:55

    On opening this page the first thing I saw was the photo of Putin between Hitler and Stalin. My first (startled) thought was that the article equated them when, in fact, the article says nothing of the sort. The photo does seem ill-matched to the content.

    One consolation is that CN readers would not be among those who get their ‘news and views’ by scanning headlines.

  8. Ramon
    October 15, 2022 at 16:51

    Advice everybody to read 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”. He was a big shot in US foreign policy.
    The book came out in 1997 but the strategy he described was created right when USSR broke apart in 1991.
    In the book he clearly and openly describes how US must destroy Russia by using Ukraine…….

  9. Johnny
    October 15, 2022 at 16:30

    Right on the ball Caitlin. And as their propaganda is getting more blatant it is also getting sillier and sillier. And to go on believing it the believers must be able to support greater headaches arising from the cognitive dissonance they generate in themselves. I mean how can anyone go on sustaining genuinely that the sun rises at midnight on the equator, just because Biden and gang determine that it be so? Heads must be really busting in Europe even now – and it’s still only autumn up there.

  10. October 15, 2022 at 15:41

    Hello Caitlin: what a great correct article, and I think that the anti-Putin left like the people of Counterpunch are even worse than the media, because from my own scientific historical perspective, even though Putin is not marxist and Russia doesn’t have a workers marxist government, he is a nationalist anti-imperialist capitalist. I consider Putin like a sort of Hannibal, who fought against the Roman Empire. A Renegade, like the song “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine. From my realist world view, the left of all countries of the should support Putin and his anti-imperialism objectives, because he is the only one right now who is defying the oligarchic plutocracy of the world

    • J Anthony
      October 16, 2022 at 04:57

      I agree, yet Putin does have an oligarchy of his own there in Russia.

      • John G
        October 17, 2022 at 23:51

        One of Putin’s sins, in the eyes of the West, was to rein in the oligarchs and put a stop to the wholesale looting of Russian assets.

  11. Doc John
    October 15, 2022 at 14:12

    The one thing the elites want Americans to forget is that the American people know how to stop a war. They’ve done it in my lifetime.

    Make Love! Not War!

    A great deal of effort and money goes into making everyone forget that the American people can stop a war. And even to make sure that nobody even dreams that such is possible.

    Make Love! Not War!

    Try it … you might find it is fun. ;)
    More fun than hating everybody all the time, at least that’s my outdated opinion. But in America, now both parties emphasize the Politics of Hate. Neither has anything else to say. At home or abroad. All Hate, All the Time, 24/7. And they’ll roll it right over into the next election, so don’t expect any break.

    Make Love! Not War!

    • Rebecca Turner
      October 16, 2022 at 03:16

      I doubt that the USA’s slaughter in Indochina was stopped solely by the power of middle-class protestors afraid of the draft, a group that became the majority only later in the war. You might have forgotten the role that the Viet Cong played in skilfully and sacrificially defending their homes and families against the far better equipped invaders, both French and American.

  12. Peter Loeb
    October 15, 2022 at 14:05

    Some have indeed criticized western aggression but they have been drowned out. One whom I have cited died at
    72 this past August. There are others.

    I see the crusade and Russophobia in order to manufacture of congressional (and public) support to pass more and
    and to secure more money for arms and profit for defense contractors. This was why the then CEO of Lockheed, Norman
    Augustine, went to eastern European nations for “new markets”.

    I recalled that when I was little and we were to hide under our wooden school desks already gouged out with
    hearts that said “AS & GL”. This was to protect us from the Russian bombs because…”the Russians are coming”.
    The Russians never came!

    Senator Arthur Vandenberg advised President Truman, “scare the hell out of them!? He did and passed
    appropriations over an isolationist congress.

  13. Doc John
    October 15, 2022 at 13:56

    My opinion of the modern Democratic Party


    I’ll try to come up with something equally witty for the Republican Party, but the muse is taking a break. But its not like they ain’t just as evil too. I guess two party democracy means we are free to choose between “Evil Together” and “Make America Evil Again.”

  14. Tony
    October 15, 2022 at 13:54

    I think those protestors are right to act in the way they did.

    For a long time, there has been a serious complacency about the danger of nuclear war.

    Greenpeace UK has done nothing on this subject for about the last 15 years!

    You do not seem to see Greenpeace USA do anything either.

    Their lack of concern is shameful. Global warming is a serious danger too but all of that concern will be wasted if the world is blown up by nuclear weapons.

  15. Em
    October 15, 2022 at 13:20


    Today Ukrainians are dying as proxies for US global interests!
    During WW II soldiers of the former Soviet Union gave their lives for the same reason: to save the US led (the Wests) capitalist economic system of exchange, from its own ‘exceptionalism’ foreign policy attitudinal folly, at the close of WW I against Germany’s overall best interests.

    The total combined military dead of US, UK and French forces amounted to 1.5 million souls.
    The total Soviet military, and civilian dead, sacrificed to beating Nazism came to 8.7 million military personnel, for a total population killed of 26 million-plus.
    US global operative intentions don’t appear to have changed. The boogieman narration of Soviet communism haunts the exceptional Americans to this very day, as it ever did.
    This delusional fiction has always served as the pretext for enemy.
    The threat today now comes in the same form; a unipolar mass paranoia in the minds of the hegemonic ‘West’.


    “Ultimately, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) required Germany to accept responsibility for World War I and imposed reparations. It also called for the establishment of the League of Nations, as Wilson had envisioned. The treaty failed to create a long-term environment favorable to peace. Germans resented the treaty’s provisions, and that resentment helped to fuel support for the Nazis in the 1930s and a return to war in World War II. Although people in the U.S. were happy to see an end to World War I, the United States Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. Republicans in the Senate were unhappy that Wilson had not included them in the negotiations and refused to vote in favor of the treaty. The United States never joined the League of Nations, and that organization failed to be successful in its attempts to prevent future wars.”

    Now, once again, the US has unilaterally imposed the responsibility, this time, on Russia, for its self defensive “special military operation” against the latest US coerced proxy, the ‘independent’ state of the Ukraine. They should fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian!

    Nothing to see here!
    So, what else is new???

  16. Rudy Haugeneder
    October 15, 2022 at 10:20

    Food for thought.

  17. ray Peterson
    October 15, 2022 at 10:04

    And showing how Julian Assange is both symbol and reality for
    light, Cait this piece is seriously from the depths and deserves an
    in depth supporting statement: “I have come as light into the world,
    that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).
    Mainstream corporate media puts us in the darkness, but we don’t
    have to stay there, thanks to you!
    Much thanks for this piece

  18. Anon
    October 15, 2022 at 09:37

    Tnx Caitlin, CN… Home Run!
    Geography lesson… Times2?
    Wasn:t “On The Beach” set in… Australia?
    Isn’t Obama’$ reupped Nuclear Arsenal Bankrolled (besides By US Taxpayer$) to a (I’m ashamed 2 say) fellow Californian… Corp($e)?!!!

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