Discover more from Radical Media - by Maajid Nawaz
Russia, Ukraine, Nato, the EU - and a Few Good Men
You Can't Handle the Truth!
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Russia, Ukraine, Nato, the EU - and a Few Good Men
You Can't Handle the Truth!
1) Can we manage two thoughts in our heads at the same time?
I should not have to repeat the following, but we are where we are in history and so I find myself having to: I have long been a critic of Putin. I have probably opposed Putin before a wider audience than most of my critics. My animas against Putin is visible online for all to see. It started because I stood firmly with the Syrian Arab uprising against the dictator Assad in Syria, who Putin supported. I stood with the Syrian people then as I stand with all of the people in Ukraine today.
Our opposition to Putin in Syria by no means meant that any of us supported ISIS in Syria either. My opposition to ISIS-style extremism is too well documented even to need hyperlinked references. Most of us were able to oppose both Assad and his ally Putin, as well as oppose ISIS. This is because most of us were able to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. This is just like in history, where most of us can see that the Soviet Union and the Third Reich were two sides of the same totalitarian coin.
So why has it become so hard for most of us to condemn both Putin’s attack on Ukraine while also condemning our and our ally Ukraine’s state-funding, training and arming of the armed Nazi battalion Azov in Ukraine?
Again, to be clear, this is not to deny Ukraine’s right to defend itself. This is also not to ignore Putin’s authoritarianism. This is a critique of the Ukrainian state’s decision to do so by raising and formally incorporating specifically neo-Nazi armed battalions into its armed forces. And the focus is on Ukraine here because they are our ally, we are sending them arms, and so we are culpable.
Formal, insignia raising Neo-Nazi battalions in the Ukrainian armed forces and police, surely not? Read on. The truth is far worse than that I’m afraid.
2) Question: when are Nazi battalions not Nazis?
Ukraine has been tolerating armed Nazi battalions since as far back as 2014, long before the current crisis with Russia.
The Guardian reports in 2014:
Legacy media references to the neo-Nazi nature of the Azov Battalion in Ukraine are so numerous as to render the exercise of citing them almost superfluous. Alas, the current state of deliberately whipped up jingoism appears to have addled the brain, and so we must continue.
In fact, that Ukraine has long suffered from the general rise of Nazism and far-right extremism in their country is no secret among those who study extremism. The below video is apparently from 2019. Its author purports to be the “Director General of Ukrainian Jewish Committee”. Reports indicate that the shopping mall system was hacked, and the result was a large projection of a Swastika on the mall staircase. Considering the context above, even if this was a hacking, there does appear to be a major problem with Nazism in Ukraine.
3) When our own funding, training and arming of state-linked Nazi battalions is not racist
It would be bad enough that the Azov Brigade exists, is armed, and is formally part of the Ukrainian armed forces. But as I said, it gets worse. Not only does this problem exist, and pose a real threat to the social contract in Eastern Europe, but we - who consider ourselves liberal Western democracies - appear to have been arming and training these neo-Nazis.
The "14" in C14 refers to 14 words coined by American neo-Nazi David Lane "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Sadly, it continues. The Ottawa Citizen reports:
“The review follows concerns raised by Jewish groups of the alleged involvement of Canadian troops in training neo-Nazis in Ukraine as well as warnings by soldiers last year that some Iraqis who have received instruction from Canada were involved in torture and rape.”
“Top foreign policymaker Sen. Bob Menendez couldn’t say whether his bill would monitor where U.S.-funded arms end up.”
And Ha’aretz reports:
Despicably, the US and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a Russian proposed UN resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism and Neo-Nazism. Shamefully, the EU and Canada also abstained. Is everything Putin says to be condemned, even if he proposes a motion against Nazism?
This is not Russian propaganda. As you may see, this is all information that is sourced in western legacy media. It is simply what has happened. And the jingoism of war, coupled with the weaponisation of social media by the state for propaganda purposes, renders what had been widely known as true only a couple of years ago, as becoming so far beyond the pale that speaking it is labelled as treasonous today. But only those who professionally peddle lies have the audacity to label the truth as treason.
Alas, none of this is a secret. It is all out in the open. If you find reading the above triggering, distressing and difficult to digest, good. All that means is that you are innocent of such despicable behaviour and cannot fathom why your state would wish to support it. You are in disbelief. That probably means that you value trying to do good. Unfortunately, those we put into office had other aims.
4) Don’t promote white men at work because it’s racist...but raising Nazi battalions is okay
This isn’t even a debate. And yet here we are. Among the excuses being peddled to justify the above is necessity. But Hamas in Gaza also argue necessity. As do ISIS in Syria. Pick your extremist. They all argue self-defence to justify atrocities. Once the necessity argument fails, a common refrain is retorting that all countries have problems with extremism. This is true. And Ukraine is no exception in this regard. What Ukraine has done with the Azov Brigade though, is unique.
We, and they, have formally trained, armed and incorporated Azov into their armed forces. This is like the KKK being granted a formal battalion, replete with insignia and regalia, in the US armed forces. It’s like the British army having a formal National Front battalion. It is absurd, it is dangerous and it is shocking. Not least because the official verified account of the Ukrainian National Guard appears to be boasting of the fact that the Azov Brigade is serving with them by posting a video of an Azov fighter dipping bullets in pig lard and specifying that such bullets are for the Chechen Muslims serving with Putin as part of the Russian Federation. The Nazi fighter singles out “Muslims” as the recipients of his his pig lard bullets. This, from an official Ukrainian state account.
Chechen battalions in Ukraine serve under the President of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, who defeated the wahhabi-jihadists in Chechnya’s civil war by allying with Putin. They came to Ukraine as part of the Russian Federation army. Obviously Russian Federation fighters, including Chechens, should not be in a foreign country. Obviously they are there for war and will fight and be fought. My concern is not about the Ukrainian right to fight foreign troops. My concern is that they have raised neo-Nazi battalions to do so, and have been doing so long before this current war.
What happens to these Nazis serving as organised battalions for Ukraine in victory? Do they continue to spread and recruit like a cancer across Europe’s armed forces as they have already been doing?
"Within the global network of far-right extremists, he served as a point of contact to the Azov movement, the Ukrainian militant group that has trained and inspired white supremacists from around the world, and which Fuller had come to join."
Has anyone considered the strategic implications of this? How does this not fuel civil war tension among Europe’s minorities and their state, if the state is allying with swastika bearing neo-Nazi soldiers who post videos of dipping bullets in pig’s lard to target Muslims?
It is true that the current Ukrainian leader, Zelenskiy, is Jewish. If history teaches us anything, at the very least one can argue that being Jewish is no guarantee that the Nazis won’t make progress.
The LA Times reports:
Ultimately, there is no excuse that our countries and Ukraine have supported, promoted, armed and shown deference to the Nazi Azov Brigade. It is inexcusable. The broader political consequences across Europe are unpredictable. Anyone justifying working with armed Nazi Brigades for any reason, even in self-defence, while arguing that jihadi brigades mustn’t exist in the Middle East (even for self-defence) should consider the hypocrisy. It is never a good idea to arm Nazi brigades just like it is never a good idea to arm ISIS brigades. This beast cannot be, and has never been, controlled.
5) Is destroying what we have the entire point?
Tensions across Europe are already high. War is present and communities are already divided. There is a real danger that this nonchalance in our arming Nazi brigades will not go unnoticed among Europe’s minorities, just as the genocide in Bosnia did not go unnoticed. Already, the discrimination in treatment of refugees is being picked up by pundits.
The commentator above is clearly expressing outrage. Such outrage has already reverberated online everywhere outside of the Oceana matrix. Those inside Oceana may not be aware of the extent of the upset brewing, but that’s because they are - by definition - in a media matrix.
Ukraine must and can be defended without arming Nazis. Anything less neglects the longer term consequences of Eastern European soldiers normalising Nazism in their ranks while Europe’s population has never been more diverse, and in particular has never been more Muslim. Just ponder about the danger of what could happen between state of society if the disease of Nazism were allowed to spread.
Then again, how else would we be expected to Build Back Better after a Great Reset, if we couldn’t destroy all that we have first? One is left to wonder if that is not the entire point here.