Monday, 16 February 2015

Geopolitics - The Elephant In The Room

It’s a mystery to some why so many Western MSM journalists, who one imagines once saw their job as challenging power, have now reduced themselves to meekly serving it.

When we look at the conflicts in the world today that affect Western interests we see them routinely reported on without much, if any, objectivity. Doesn’t it strike you as a coincidence that every state opposing our interests is referred to as a fairytale-like ‘baddie’? “The Russians are coming”, The Iranians are coming”, “The Libyans are coming”, “The Venezuelans are coming”, “The Syrians are coming”, “The Chinese are coming”, “The Serbians are coming”. Really? Simple geography and recent history show that we are coming to them, not the other way around, unless I’ve misread my maps and Ukraine is on the US’s border rather than Russia’s, for example. 

“Saddam has got WMD”, “Assad has used Chemical Weapons”, “Iran wants a nuclear arsenal”. Really? Haven’t we got WMD (when Saddam had not). Haven’t we used Chemical Weapons (when there’s evidence that Assad did not). Haven’t we got a nuclear arsenal? These are contradictions that in a really healthy democracy would be rapidly exposed by a functioning Fourth Estate.

“Putin, the new Hitler” “Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler” “Miloscovic, the new Hitler” “Assad, the new Hitler” and so on. Really? What have these leaders done what we have not done? Putin is no angel. His murderous campaign in Chechnya alone should have him in from of the ICC. But we peace-loving, morally pure humanitarians turned a blind eye to his slaughter in Chechnya as we wanted to, at that time, be his friend in order to induce Russia into our sphere of influence, imaging that we could control what might otherwise develop into a rival power. Geopolitics, you see. Not that you ever hear much about geopolitics in the West’s MSM. That would be to explain, to put in context, to rationalise, to educate. While mere news-consumers like you and me may wish to have daily events explained and contextualised, those we entrust with this mission, reporters, seem either unwilling or unable to carry out this most basic function of democracy.

Geopolitics is not a bizarre conspiracy theory. It is an obvious historical fact. The most powerful nations throughout history have always built empires. It would be irrational almost if they did not use their status as most powerful people on earth to protect, enhance and indeed develop that position. By their own terms of reference it would be irresponsible not to. The Romans right through to the Americans believed with all their hearts that they had been expedited by fate, or by the gods, to the front of an evolutionary queue. While their accumulation of earth’s resources was the primary propellant of their actions, by happy coincidence they spread “civilisation” in the process, allowing them to self-justify, paradoxically, brutal actions.

What great nation has ever voluntarily given up its control of its empire? If you think the British empire was given up voluntarily then you’re underestimating the power of the new empire at that time, the US, as it gently showed the UK where it’s future interest lay in the new world. And if its not giving up its power, what do you imagine it’s doing? Sitting in neutral? That’d be to invite decline. No. It moves forward, instinctively, automatically.

Consider the current US empire (yes, it’s actually OK to call the most powerful nation on earth, and the satellite states it has accumulated around it, an ‘empire’). There’s no point in calling it evil, or uniquely carnivorous. Seeking to control the resources of the planet is just what all empires have done throughout history. It’s the essence of geopolitics.

Western reporters are not blind to geopolitics, only to the West’s active and aggressive participation in them. Western reporters do not seem at all impeded in applying geopolitical motivations to their analysis of, for example, Russia, often suggesting that Putin has nefarious geopolitical designs in Ukraine or Georgia. Russian action is presented as aggressive, expansionist. This is pathetically alarmist. It is certainly not objective, as a whole serious of contrary facts could be discussed but are ignored because they confound a seemingly prepared and unchallenged narrative.

People, we are being taken for children not only by the powers that be (we expect that) but by the pompous poodles who have wasted their education, their training and their position to investigate.

So, what is it that retards the Fourth Estate’s will to “hold power to account”? Is it fear? Fear of upsetting people in power who have a direct line to their editors? Fear of losing their jobs? Fear of losing position in the career rat race? Fear for their lives? Fear of being ostracised by colleagues? Fear of being silenced by being tarred with the “conspiracy nut” brush? Fear of upsetting official sources on whom they may have become dependent on for stories, quotes?

There are elements of all that. But fear cannot be the sole answer. After all, look at the crusading and downright daring work done by The Daily Telegraph journalists in the MP’s expenses scandal. That was something of a revolutionary act by an unlikely revolutionary agent in the way the scandal threatened so many MPs, and indeed the whole parliamentary class. There may or may not have been an agenda to the Expenses Investigation but regardless of that, it required courage and real investigative journalism to break that story. No, it seems any fear of confronting power can be overcome when it suits someone.

Is it lack of knowledge then? Lack of familiarity of history? Lack of awareness of the elephant in the room - geopolitics? Unlikely, when one considers the education of the majority of MSM senior reporters, an education one imagines that helps them connect the dots, to test historical templates against modern events. 

Talking of their education, perhaps we’ve struck something here...

If you look at the education of many UK MSM senior reporters there’s a similarity with the education of many senior UK political people, across all parties. Could it be then that the reason senior UK MSM reporters appear to be nothing more than conduits for UK power (especially in foreign policy) is because they actually see the world the same way? They don’t need to be fearful or ignorant. They are simply naturally inclined to believe “Power” rather than being naturally inclined to challenge its view.

There’s also the great notion that it’s okay to criticise Power domestically, but it’s something approaching treachery to challenge Power’s position in foreign policy. It’s almost as if Power is perpetually on something of a “war footing” and to challenge your leaders during war is “not done”. Of course there are many courageous exceptions - but they are the exceptions.

Many Scottish people were genuinely shocked by the BBC’s and other UK media’s obvious lack of objectivity during the Indy Referendum. Worse than that, there were glaring examples of supposedly neutral UK MSM manipulating news events to sync into the UK government’s anti-Scottish Independence position. Who can forget the notorious example provided by the BBC’s Nick Robinson. “Salmond wouldn’t answer my question,” said Robinson in a now infamous news broadcast before Youtubers provided footage of Salmond giving him one of the most comprehensive answers given in that election. 

Robinson is an interesting example. One could never contend he was “under pressure” to toe a government line. He didn’t need to be because due his an upbringing and formative education in close proximity to those in power he’d formed, perhaps, much the same views on “Big UK” issues, such as the potential break-up of the UK, as those in power. And even if he did try to reign in what may well have been a subconscious prejudice he could not contain his natural affinity with Power’s position or stop it seeping through into his reporting on something that was akin in importance to UK foreign policy.

I’m not a journalist. I admire however the true journalistic ethos of “holding power to account”. I admire and am inspired by welcome exceptions in MSM who clearly answer to no one. These exceptions hold up a standard that we should expect from all but the laziest, most self-serving frauds who pretend to aspire to objectivity, investigation, truth.

I have no idea what the truth behind geopolitical events is. But I want to find out. I am not beholden to any world view despite my inclination to the liberal left.  I’m just searching for truth. Therefore I am dependent on journalism, on reporting, to tell me what’s going on. But if a pretty uninformed news consumer of average intelligence like me can see that we are being effectively lied to daily,  then surely journalists much smarter than me can get their shit together and start reporting daringly, insightfully, objectively. Tell us more about geopolitics - the elephant in the room. We can all see it. And if you can’t? You’re in the wrong job, pal.

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