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Flowers of the Mind the real world today

Flowers of the Mind 20

Descent into post-democratic crisis. John Ionnadis on saving democracy from the pandemic. Canada leaves the democratic nations – an Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia. Security crisis in Ukraine and the end of the Cold War – who really wants to invade Europe? The Russian Anxiety and our responsibility to refuse it

It has been difficult to focus on the beauty, wisdom and the infinite conversation during these last weeks while the world spirals into a crisis. It has been a crisis prefigured in this blog and on The Burning Archive podcast over recent years. The descent into a post-democratic society. Imperial rivalry and the dangerous lashing out of the crumbling American empire, unable to accept a multipolar world. Social fragmentation. Political disorder. Cultural confusion. The tyranny of Public Health Rulez, OK? We are in dangerous times and I am outcast from the powerful institutions of my society and convinced my country is pursuing a dangerous and destructive loyalty to the aggressive American empire.

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It may not be too late, and it can be difficult to know how deep this crisis will go. There are strong voices who see the extent of the breakdown of what we have long assumed about the functioning of our societies and polities. They urge constructive action in the service of hope; but how can such action be housed in institutions when so many institutions have been corrupted.

One such voice of both insight and modest service is Professor John Ionnadis, who has exposed the failures of science, public health and policy during the pandemic. He has written an important article in Tablet magazine on “Saving Democracy from the Pandemic”.

Many governments have demonstrated in the past three years that they can summarily impose decisions on free people without their consent, and can even whitewash their actions if they backfire. A balancing force is needed in a well-informed democracy to promote thoughtful discussion and the adoption of cautious and moderate policies, rather than conflicted agendas based on the proclamations of manipulated mobs. Intolerance and humiliation may seem like expedients, but tolerance and scientific humility may achieve even more.

As the pandemic ebbs, the years ahead will help determine whether we as democratic citizens and free people are still capable of making our own decisions, pursuing happiness, and refraining from harm, without falling prey to the authoritarian temptations that have felled democracies in the past.

John Ionnadis, Saving Democracy from the Pandemic

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Canada has not just fallen prey to those authoritarian temptations. It has been fully transformed by the werewolf curse. It is horrifying, especially for people who have been exposed to the abuses of democratic conventions and the rule of law in Victoria. This morning I wrote to the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, on this matter. Here I suppose I am making it an open letter.

Dear Prime Minister

I wish to express dismay at the abuse of powers and democratic conventions by the Canadian Government.

Abuses include an unjustified declaration of war emergency powers, seizure of funds, vilification of its own citizens, collaboration with state-owned media to spread propaganda, and unlimited detention of protestors and political opponents.

Canada has left the community of democratic nations, and in so doing has undermined Australia’s foreign policy posture to stand with so-called “democracies” against so-called “autocracies”.

I note that the Constitutional Association of Canada has launched legal action against the recent wartime emergency powers declaration claiming it to be illegal and unconstitutional. I note also that a former Premier of the Canadian Province, the only surviving drafter of the Canadian bill of rights, has also commenced legal action against the draconian restrictions on Canadians’ freedoms as breaching the constitution and legal principles.

I would ask that there be a statement from the Australian Government condemning the actions of the Trudeau regime in Canada as inconsistent with reasonable understandings of democracy and law, and urging the Canadian Government to abandon this course for the sake of peace and democracy around the world.

Ideally this statement would be supported by other major political parties.

In addition, many citizens, especially in Victoria, would like assurance before the forthcoming federal and state elections, that such actions will never occur again (noting some similar actions have occurred in Victoria) in Australia.

Thank you for considering this matter.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jeff Rich

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And then there is the security crisis in Europe, centred on Ukraine.

It appears this morning to be spiraling into a NATO-induced conflict.

During the week, there has been the disgraceful farce of the legacy media doing the bidding of the imperial war faction and setting dates for the Russian invasion. And it still has not happened.

It has been dismaying and a major focus of my attention over the last week, trying to discern how events might develop, and whether they will spiral out of control. After all, the American diplomatic and military elites are both incompetent and ideologically possessed. It is hard to image they can control events.

This morning there are reports of NATO/Ukrainian offensive actions in East Ukraine – more lures to draw Russia in, but what will Russia do?

But perhaps the question we should really ask is who is really planning to invade Europe?

There are some truly scary statements coming from ex-military associated senior people in the US in recent days. We are entering some dangerous waters with a professional elite stripped of purpose and prestige on the brink of the collapse of their life’s work; deluding themselves about their continued dominance but with wounded pride and a desire to lash out when they realise they have been outplayed and outsmarted.

For example, this tweet thread from former head of US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, urges American military action against Russia.

And in this interview Chris Miller, former Acting Defence Secretary at the end of Trump’s administration, and a former green beret – urges America to send three army divisions to Eastern Europe to restore American military pride. Operation Barbarella?

This morning’s events is starting to look like all the hysteria about invasions and false flags, including Anthony Blinken’s disgraceful reprise of Colin Powell at the UN Security Council, was a smokescreen to cloak a NATO-Ukrainian offensive to be blamed on Russia. But I doubt it will work since it does not deal with the substantial issues – which is really negotiating an enduring peace treaty to end the 100 year Cold War. America has spent 33 years parading its victory in the Cold War, but forgot to negotiate the peace with true respect for the other great powers of the world.

On my podcast – on episodes 34. Summer edition – the emergence of the Multipolar World and 33. 2021 in Review – I have set out this interpretation that we are watching the slow negotiation of that Concert of the World. This morning I read a article by Alexander Baunov from the Carnegie Moscow Center – “As Ukraine Escalation Peaks, What’s the Logic on Both Sides?” He appears to be a liberal Russian-American journalist but he essentially makes the same assessment that I have made:

In its negotiations with mobilized Russia, the West isn’t just fighting for Ukraine’s security, but for the status of absolute victor in the Cold War: a status that Russia is now challenging using force.

Alexander Baumov

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The hostility, fantasies and ignorant projections about Russia among the Atlanticist and Anglo-American elites are really a danger to the world. It will be interesting to see how historians interpret this phenomenon in 20 years time after the Anglo-American order has fallen.

Serendipitously during the week I discovered an excellent antidote to this poison – Mark B Smith, The Russia Anxiety – and how history can resolve it. Smith writes in the opening pages of this excellent book that I am still working my way through:

“More than a simple undifferentiated Russophobia, the Russia Anxiety, as I see it, is an historic syndrome that alternates between three sets of symptoms: fear of Russia, disregard of Russia and contempt for Russia. Western European countries and the United States have spells of the Anxiety, although it comes and goes, the symptoms switch about, and sometimes they disappear altogether. But the worst outbreaks of the Russia Anxiety exacerbate international disorder and risk war.”

Mark B. Smith

Regrettably, the spell of the Anxiety today has broken into a psychotic episode. Ultimately it is the responsibility of all reasonable citizens to stop this derangement. That means abandoning ideas of “the West”, and embracing a true, generous infinite conversation among all the strands of a multipolar and multicultural world order.

Image credit: Burning gas pipeline near city in Lugansk, RT

By Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich writes poetry and many forms of prose - this blog, history, essays, fiction, briefings, even kind questioning tweets. His podcast - The Burning Archive - talks about all things history and culture from the unusual perspective of a very minor government official. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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