4 min read

Just Because One Side Is Lying Doesn’t Mean the Other is Telling the Truth

The Nato/Russia tug of war over Ukraine illustrates this important fact.
Two fancy houses. Old illustration.
No Matter which house we belong to, we enter through the service entrance, not the front door. Don't expect the owners to tell you the truth. Credit: Umberto Brunelleschi

Here we are, on the brink of war between NATO and Russia.

Remember, when there's conflict, BOTH SIDES ARE LYING.

It's so easy to trust your own camp, and villify the other. But it is almost never that way. Certainly this is so with the situation in Ukraine.

I am by no means an expert on any of this but I did some digging recently, and wrote a few articles about the situation in Ukraine.


Recent articles on Ukraine:

Stealing Putin’s Girl
Are we sure we’re getting this right?
This is Tula
Wars of Economy
How Coal Kills Democracy
Can we ever escape our love of cheap energy? What’s happening in Ukraine indicates that we’ll burn it all.

What IS Happening in Ukraine?

I'm by no means an expert on this topic. Take all this for checking, not for fact. Here's what I see happening that corporate media is not covering enough.

Russia is trying to...

  1. Stop the expansion of NATO, American, and EU influence on Russia's borders, and push back against US hegemony.
  2. Reclaim the Russian port city of Sepastopol and the farmlands of Crimea (which were ceded to Ukraine in the 1950s when Ukraine and Russia were under common government).
  3. Solidify control of the 8th largest coal reserves in the world, right under the Donbas region.
  4. Maintain a low-level conflict that spends bullets and makes profits for Russian arms manufacturers.

NATO is trying to...

  1. Add Ukraine to the west's list of client states, giving predatory western banking institutions better access to Ukraine's extensive productive capabilities and natural resources.
  2. Deprive Russia of Ukraine's natural resources, slightly restricting Russian power on the global stage.
  3. Funnel money to arms manufacturers in the west through low-level, on-going conflict in Donbas.
  4. Play the victim, shifting public opinion in the west towards more aggressive action against Russia, since Russia is a bogeyman in the west (and sometimes rightly so).

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In the coverage I've seen, there has been virtually no mention of the coal under Donbas, nor of the money being made by defense contractors on both sides of the war that has claimed 14,000 lives since 2014.

Here's an article by NBC about environmental irresponsibility of coal production in the separatist areas, with no mention of how coal might relate to this conflict.

Why aren't we talking about the resources in play? Hasn't that historically been what conflict is all about?

Few are saying the obvious, which is that this scenario is Bay of Pigs in reverse. Russia shares a long border with Ukraine. This is like Canada or Mexico suddenly favoring China over the US. We'd be freaking out.

But even corporate apologist Thomas Friedman is acknowledging that The United States started this fight.

Having learned nothing from their embarassing push for war in Iraq, The New York Times is once again acting as a mouthpiece for corporate interests, rattling the sabres of war. But so is every other media channel. This is a wag the dog situation, with bad information and lies flying on all sides, in an attempt to harden our hearts against our manufactured enemies.

Meanwhile, the people of Ukraine continue to struggle, as more and more Americans and Russians do each day.

Putin has his own popularity problems, amongst his keyholders and the proletariat.

Here in the US we see the same thing. Is this a distraction from inflation? Is it an effort to shore up Biden's rightly sagging poll numbers?

Aside: Biden will get no support from me until he decriminalizes marijuana, indicts Trump, and writes off significant student loan debt as he promised to do (I have zero student loan debt, it's just the right thing to do). This shouldn't be a high bar for the so-called 'most powerful man on earth'.

Anyway, you and I only see the carefully stage-managed parts of the show. All the important stuff happens in backrooms, and we're certainly not allowed in.

So when one side starts yelling about another side, remember that they too are lying. It's a common flaw to assume that just because you've identified the lies of one side, that the other is somehow telling the truth.

Ain't that way. Not when it's hegemons like NATO and Russia, not when it's your manipulative parents, and not when you're being triangulated by two warring friends.

Both sides are lying. Follow the money. Find the resources at play, and you find a good chunk of the truth.