Noam Chomsky and Jeremy Scahill on the Russia-Ukraine War, the Media, Propaganda, and Accountability
2022 04 14
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now surpassed 50 days of sustained mass death and destruction. Despite several rounds of negotiations over the past seven weeks, the war continues to intensify. Russian President Vladimir Putin remains defiant and has indicated that the brutal military campaign will continue unabated. On Tuesday, Putin said negotiations had hit a “dead end” and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia will not pause its military operations during future peace talks. U.S. President Joe Biden announced this week yet another allocation of $800 million dollars in “more sophisticated and heavier-duty weaponry” than previous transfers to the Ukrainian side. Meanwhile, NATO appears set to expand further, with both Finland and Sweden indicating they are actively considering joining the alliance. Germany and other European countries are publicly committing to buying and selling more weapons and spending more on defense. NATO is raising the prospect of expanding its permanent military presence in Europe, and Washington is reasserting its political dominance over Europe on security matters.
On Sunday, in an interview on NBC, national security adviser Jake Sullivan cast the war not just as a defense of Ukraine but also an opportunity to deliver significant blows to the stability of the Russian state. “At the end of the day, what we want to see is a free and independent Ukraine, a weakened and isolated Russia, and a stronger, more unified, more determined West,” he said. “We believe that all three of those objectives are in sight, can be accomplished.”
As Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russian forces of heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity, including massacres of large numbers of civilians, Putin’s government and media apparatus is waging an all-out campaign to denounce the allegations as lies and fake news.
Biden has officially accused Putin of war crimes and suggested he should face a “war crime trial.” Russia, like the U.S., has steadfastly refused to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, so it is unclear how or where the administration believes such a trial would take place.
This week, renowned dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky joined me for a wide-ranging discussion on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, holding the powerful accountable, the role of media and propaganda in war, and what Chomsky believes is necessary to end the bloodshed in Ukraine.
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