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Spare us the media warmongering

Victims of a “false flag” operation? Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty

The “war scare” around Ukraine is getting out of hand, says Andrew Bacevich in The Boston Globe. Vladimir Putin has certainly massed enough troops to capture Kiev, but it’s nowhere near enough to “occupy and pacify” the entire country. In all likelihood, he’s engaged in “hard-nosed negotiating” to get a guarantee that Ukraine won’t join Nato. And given that almost nobody in Nato wants to let Ukraine join any time soon, a non-violent resolution to current tensions is “eminently plausible”.

But you wouldn’t know it from the “incessant warmongering” of the US media. Nothing beats a “real live shooting war” for news value – “when it bleeds, it leads”. It was “media cheerleading” that helped land us pointlessly and destructively in Iraq 20 years ago. Last week the Washington Post and New York Times both reported that the Russians were cooking up a fake pretext for invasion. Yet they had zero evidence from their anonymous intelligence sources – who presumably think that publicising these “false flag” claims will make it harder for the Russians to actually invade. Putin is “unquestionably a liar” who thrives on deception and disinformation. But those working in the Biden administration are hardly innocent “truth-tellers”. Newspapers shouldn’t serve as a “compliant messenger service” for the machinations of unnamed intelligence sources.

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