August 1914 ? By Walrus.

It is instructive to re-read the opening chapters of Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” if we are not to repeat the same failures of imagination that destroyed the Edwardian world. It is worth focusing on the motivations of the actors in this drama as Tuchman so masterfully summarized them in her prelude to Chapter 6. It is important to understand, I think, that Donbass is just a convenient pawn in a much greater game in exactly the same way that Serbia was. Furthermore, none of this is about technology.

Tuchman talks of the “Bellicose frivolity of senile empires” in relation to the insane behaviour of the Austrians in their rush to confrontation with Serbia after Sarajevo.

The parallel with the NATO allies is overwhelming; we have a powerless United Kingdom still dreaming of her lost empire, envious of everybody and hoping to be relevant again; then there is America having to face the possibility that it is no longer exceptional and facing a difficult confrontation with itself. Then there is France and Germany trying to resist assuming their traditional roles; the Baltic Statelets – traumatised by Soviet occupation after WWII; Poland with its tradition of hostility to Russia. Then there is the self-perpetuating institution of NATO – desperate to justify its existence.

Then we have the think tanks – those Grima Wormtongues chock full of grand children of middle European aristocratic refugees who dream of revenge fantasies including return to the family castle, ancestral titles and estates destroyed by the Soviets. Then there are the financiers who see war as an opportunity to make a buck.

Bellicose senile frivolity? Yes!

Both Russia and China equally have emotions. Both have lifted themselves out of third world serfdom in a tumultuous and bloody hundred years. Both countries have been raped and pillaged by the West at one time or another, derided, ignored, abused and lectured. They have scores to settle.

Then there is Ukraine – a corrupt, poor and artificial construct that has forced together two antipathetic religions and historical traditions that finally blew apart eight years ago.

Now add the realization of NATO and the West that time is not on its side in the face of Russia and China’s decision to cooperate in developing Eurasia into a society that will outgrow and potentially outshine the West – that is if the West cannot sabotage it first.

There are very powerful emotions at work here.

I think the question now is how Ukraine will respond to Russias recognition of the Donbass and their determination to protect it. The critical, absolutely central question is what aid and comfort Ukraine thinks NATO and the West are going to give it? That thinking, as in 1914, will shape Ukraines response. I would pray that Blinken and company choose their words very, very carefully and avoid giving Ukraine a blank check. We know what happened the last time one of those was written.

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28 Responses to August 1914 ? By Walrus.

  1. Sam says:

    America and the west in general especially the Anglosphere is in a war within itself. There is a “fringe” minority today that wants to restore the fundamental intellectual underpinning of a free society governed with rule of law and a majority who want to silence and even criminalize dissent under the rubric of a false groupthink orthodoxy.

    The best that America can do for the world is to resolve this internal conflict between the laptop class and the working class. The urban vs rural. If we want to restore our standing in the world we must do it by example. Not by lecturing or bullying. And definitely not by being hypocritical when that is so easy see.

    The Solidarity movement in Poland and the those seeking freedom in other parts of Eastern Europe saw and experienced first hand what totalitarian Soviet regimes did to their societies and their daily lives. They looked up to America because of their perception of what it stood for. Liberty. The idea that one was free to speak their mind and pursue their dreams.

    We’ve veered far from that. Under proclaimed “emergency” after another the essence of essential liberty has been stripped. The recent covidian emergency has laid bare the authoritarian impulse and how entrenched it has become.

    Unless and until the American people reach back to E Pluribus Unum and the sacrosanctness of liberty and restore the basis of our founding as a nation united to preserve and protect the rights endowed by our Creator we will have lost what has made the USA unique in world history.

    We cannot be strong and the leader of the free world if our own nation is not free.

    • FWH says:

      Nicely stated!

    • Tom Novak says:

      Yeah, the Europe of a century ago is the Europe of today. The Europe of even a half-century ago is not the Europe of today. The number one a newborn baby name in the city where both NATO and the EU are headquartered is Mohamed (followed by its variations, Mohammed, et al.). The same for Berlin. The same for large sections of London and Paris. In Warsaw ads are as multicultural as in LA at at the Uniwersytet Warszawski in 2020 we saw BLM rallies.

      Globalism is the culture of Western Europe and increasingly in its Eastern European client states.

    • cobo says:

      Well said. Forced globalism is the culture of Technocracy. Antony Sutton clearly detailed how the financial elites in the West supported the rise of both National Socialism in the West and Communism in the East, both Technocratic regimes. Vladimir Putin is a grduate of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders academy. The game being played is multi-dimensional. The goal will be to subject the entire world to detailed technocratic control. Everything happening would then seem more like a well choregraphed process to destroy the culture of the West, won by the Greek defeat of the Persians, and assure the end of Western culture.

      • Mel says:

        I don’t see Putin in the web page. Andrey A. Guryev I see.

        • cobo says:

          Klaus Schwab himself mentioned Putin as one of his YGLs, “even Vladimir Putin.”
          -at 6 seconds:

          • steelyman says:

            This is easily debunked. The WEF Global Young Leaders program was created in 2004. At the time Putin was already president of the Russian Federation so when exactly was he recruited?

            And no, a 60 second clip from a Youtube taken out of context and mid-sentence doesn’t constitute proof. After all, Klaus mentions Angela Merkel along with VVP’s and neither one fits the age requirements of YGL and neither one shows up on the list of alumnus on the YGL web site.

  2. Babeltuap says:

    Declaring “emergency” results in a sucking chest wound to freedom. It’s not a death sentence but the bleeding must be stopped immediately. Everyone on this flight in the west is worried about this plane crashing because of the engines failing but either can’t or won’t do anything to fix it. Try to do basic function checks and they shove you out the way.

    Only thing that can be done at this point is brace for impact. Maybe we have one of those incredible landings in a river or a shore line if….we can maneuver away from the mountain top first so forget about the landing part right now. Got a bigger problem.

  3. zmajcek says:

    Looks like Russia is ready to dismantle Ukraine if all else fails. From their point of view, better a smaller war now than a big one later. A tragedy either way.

  4. Boindub says:

    “Gone with the wind” moment
    Clark Gable Putin to Vivian Leigh Biden –“Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”

  5. joe90 says:

    It dose not matter what the Ukraine does. The Ukraine is no longer relevant as a matter of history. My definition of a functioning state is a state that can control taxation within its territory and Kiev can´t do that. As for blank checks, the USA & NATO don´t have any to provide as shown in Kabul.

    Stalin would have asked “How many divisions can NATO (the USA really) move to Eastern Ukraine?”. Here is a link to a lecture given at West Point in 2018 about the Russian Way of War in the Ukraine.

    • Mal says:

      How many divisions? Sick or healthy?
      Insider info has high rates of autoimmune diseases within the US ranks. The US military fudges, ala CDC, the numbers. Insiders say it is that bad. Just started being hidden post Mandate.
      Not sure what happens when a tank driver has an ‘episode’ can just imagine a fighter pilot.

      Cheers Mal

    • English Outsider says:

      A complex mixture of bullshit and hard information. Doesn’t seem to have any grasp of what went on in the Donbas in the early days. The place was a madhouse.

      Caricatures galore. I liked the “sinister and all-knowing Russians” meme. Truth is they were floundering around in the Donbas just like everyone else. Why is there no assertion in the video there that Putin set the Maidan up in order to grab Crimea? It all fell out so conveniently for Russia, getting the Crimea, that in 2014 I did wonder about that. For about two seconds. This is a specialist in post hoc propter hoc so I’m a little surprised he missed that trick.

      If that’s the level of advice NATO’s getting these days no wonder they screwed up so badly in the Ukraine. I go with TTG’s acerbic summary of what really happened and with that video try to pick out the hard information from the bullshit where I can.

  6. Steve Birchmore says:

    “we have a powerless United Kingdom still dreaming of her lost empire, envious of everybody and hoping to be relevant again”

    I am English and live in the UK and although I continually read foreigners write this sort of stuff it really doesn’t match what I see and experience.

    According to Alexander Mercouris, the UK Government is simply trying to demonstrate to the Biden admin that the UK is uncle Sam’s best buddy in order to get the free the free trade deal Trump promised.

    Seems like a good take to me.

    • walrus says:

      Steve, does the BBC still screen those black and white WWII movies starring John Mills every Sunday afternoon?

      I had 23 years of being talked down to by the British as an Australian “Colonial” in both business and private life. The Oxbridge creeps who rule England still dream of the days when half the map of the world was colored pink. They continue to meddle to convince themselves they are relevant.

      • Steve Birchmore says:

        Well I have to admit I don’t mix with Oxbridge creeps and its likely the stuff you experienced and write about is way up the food chain from me. I am a little surprised, but if that’s your experience that’s your experience. I seem to vaguely remember Field Marshal Montgomery said that Lieutenant General Monash was the greatest general in WWI.

        Boris Johnson recently rehired, or attempted to rehire Lynton Crosby, ‘the Wizard of Oz’ so I’m not sure Bojo has a low opinion of Australians.

        I’m not sure if its still a Sunday afternoon WWII movies staring John Mills thing, but I do like ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ and Sylvia Syms in that film has made my heart flutter ever since I first saw it as a boy.

        Nevertheless, I am constantly surprised by foreigners who appear to think the UK is some sort of significant player. Maybe our deep state and SF still is, but I be very surprised if it was anything more than a auxiliary to the USA’s deep state and SF.

      • joe90 says:

        Walrus, they stopped doing B&W WW2 by the 70s. The last non-film B&W I can remember being a regular thing in the 80s was Harold Lloyd on BBC 2 around 17.30 in 1984. Everyone had colour TVs by then.

        I agree with Steve´s take.

        I am English and live in Spain and although I continually read foreigners write this sort of stuff it really doesn’t match what I have seen and experienced.

  7. Fred says:

    China has a score to settle? I for one can’t wait to see what they do to the communists who butchered millions of Chinese.

  8. tedrichard says:

    the same trajectory that applied in 1914 applies today. the real economy is the only economy that matters. the information economy of the googles, the facebooks, the twitters the apples are and will be proven irrelevant to what real power is, who has it and who does not.

    the world lives in an air breathing 3 d world where hunger, cold, sickness and access to affordable energy determines who lives, who grows and who does not.

    like it or not manufacturing power and undisputed military power backed by full cycle manufacturing determine where global power and prestige will be located down the road just as they did 100 years ago.

    when you look around neither manufacturing dominance or military dominance (non nuclear) exists any longer anywhere in the west. irrespective of short term fluctuations
    the trend is clear real power, wealth, innovation and the prestige that comes with it are rapidly migrating to eurasia and will for the foreseeable future.

    the west lacks the tools to alter this reality. spin and narrative control (aka propaganda) make no difference in the long run even when they confuse people in the day to day and it appears these are the only tools of ever declining impact the west has left to use.

    any war that begins between the west and the rising russia/china configuration is doomed to fail leaving the west even more desperate. whether the west can find elites and leaders who can accept reality will be the determining factor of how bad things get

  9. ISL says:

    If we must depend on careful, thoughtful words from Biden and Blinken, then things are likely to continue to spiral downwards.

    And more to the point, its not about Ukraine. Russia and China are not yet settling scores – they want respect (i.e., sphere’s of influence) as a stabilizing phenomena. One way or another, I suspect they will get them – the ghost of MacKinder reminds.

  10. Mal says:

    tedrichard, Kluss Schwab has an entire trunk of dummies ready to be elite leaders.
    Like M n Ms, different on the outside, just wait till they get inside.

    Cheers Mal

  11. Barbara Ann says:


    I see no reason why NATO and the West (for which read the dominant Russia hawk lobby in Washington & London) will not continue to provide aid and comfort to What is Left of Ukraine (WiLoU). Aid and comfort will take the form of yet more weapons and consoling phrases like “we’ve got your back”. WiLoU will then be encouraged to complete the mission the Russia hawks have set it; to kindly commit suicide by cop Russia. I’d expect this to continue as WiLoU shrinks ever further until it finally disappears altogether. Russian sanctions will be in place, the wayward NATO children will be corralled and Freedom Gas will be flowing to Germany. All in all it will be considered a tremendous foreign policy success.

    • English Outsider says:

      Yup. We’re going to sanction the hell out of them! In return the Russians will kindly honour their long-term low-cost gas supply contract via NS1 and keep us all in oil in the style to which we are accustomed. It’s all worked out. Got it from Ursula.

      The Euros had their chance to get Minsk 2 working and they blew it. I’m so disillusioned with Scholz. Now was the time, I thought, for him to come out of the shadows and insist on a bit of sanity. Fat chance. As soon expect blancmange to make up its mind which way it wobbles.

      21/2/2022 was not only the day when the people of the Donbas could look forward to a cessation of the ATO, and all that went with it. It’s the day when the relationship between Europe and Russia changed irrevocably. Given that their previous relationship involved looking the other way from the mayhem in the Donbas I did not go to bed crying.

  12. Christian J. Chuba says:

    There is epic caterwauling by the wannabe Churchills in DC.

    The only difference between the Russian occupation of Donbas and our military occupation in NW Syria is that ours is malicious. It is specifically designed to prevent Syria from being made whole again and it is epic theft in scope. Oh … the Russians have taken 15% of (mostly worthless) Ukrainian territory (that the never deserved). We gave the richest 30% to our statelet and even if they wanted to re-join Damascus under any arrangement, the SDF would immediately feel the full weight of U.S. sanctions.

    Ukraine – squandered every effort to get LPR / DPR back
    Syria – We are using sanctions to keep Syria divided and we used helicopter gunships to kill Syrian soldiers who were just manning their guard posts.

    I really cannot stand those self-righteous psychopaths in DC. They do nothing but cause trouble.

  13. Deap says:

    Walrus writes: ………..” then there is America having to face the possibility that it is no longer exceptional…………..”

    Respectfully, you err in your misuse of the term “American exceptionalism”. When founded the American form of governance, constitutional republic, was and remains exceptional.

    A governance structure “of the people, by the people, for the people”, had never been tried before. We left the world of monarchy which for time immemorial had been the prevailing form of governance. America for the first time in western history created an exceptional new form of express governance without a “king” (tribal leader) and hereditary royalty (dynastic ruling class).

    The devolution of the short-lived Cromwell England and Jacobian French Revolution into reigns of terror not withstanding. The Biden “covid strangulation” tyranny is shaping up as a test for our exceptional Republic. The “fraying” you see is actually our inherent resilience.

    We as messy, as anyone who has lived through the ups and downs of our Republic over the past many decades. The social revolutions of the 1960’s immediately come to my own mind.

    How much further we plunge into a deep state takeover is what you need to watch, as this is a novel governance intervention of recent origins, not protected under our US Constitution; yet deep state control is common in other forms of governance.

    Disruption remains a sign of health; not imminent dissolution. Disruption is anathema to state control forms of government. The malaise of indifference, cynicism and civic laziness are the far more sinister forces.

    I do join you in not knowing which way America will chose to go. We just read the road map differencing. Dissent is a sign of health; not a sign of dissolution.

  14. Lysias says:

    In 1914, there were other blank checks handed out before the one given to Austria by Germany. There was the one secretly given by Russia (secretly backed by France and the interventionists in the British cabinet) to Serbia. And there was a blank check given by the interventionists in the British cabinet to France and Russia.

    The best book on August 1914 is “Hidden History” by Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor.

  15. Richard Graham says:

    NATO’s ultimate goal is to remove Russia as an adversary: ‘Keep Soviets out of Europe, US in, and Germany down.’ NATO wants to replace independent Russian government with collaborators like Yeltsin so that the world’s ‘nobility’ can plunder Russian resources with gleeful impunity.

    Thomas Mann (1875 – 1955): “War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

    The following are quotes from a recent Simon Tisdall Guardian article, ‘Instability grips a weakened Europe as global predators smell blood.’ It’s also a reply to Andrew Roth’s article, ‘Putin’s Ukraine rhetoric driven by distorted view of neighbour.’

    “…Europeans will not stand up for western democratic values in a world overrun by Donald Trump clones and copycats….”  — This is the problem isn’t it. Europe and the West generally have NEVER stood up for democracy. So Russia and China see and fear sanctimonious bigotries, having suffered from them through the last two centuries. These savage lies are used as domestic political props, excuses for increased defence spending, and cover for brutally stupid foreign policies. As an example, US trained West African military forces and officers have participated in 8 military coups. We can expect these traitors to begin trafficking drugs like the US trained, Mexican Zetas narco gang. US attention, the School of the Americas, the ‘Salvador solution’ of pitiless torture and murder has delayed and destroyed decades of Latin American potential. Instead of promoting democracy, US and Nato foreign policy embraces the worst human rights abusers and corrupt collaborators.

    “…Russian president Vladimir Putin’s ongoing intimidation of Ukraine risks widening conflagration….Putin’s importunities stem directly from [NATO’s] de facto acquiescence in his illegal 2014 annexation of Crimea.” Describing Putin’s actions as an illegal annoyance are contemptible. Get the facts correct: Catherine the Great added Crimea, and everything else north and east, to the Russian Empire in 1784. By 988 Kiev was the founding source of Russian Orthodox Christianity, and a seminal root of Russian identity. The Crimean peninsula is a critical, strategic military asset of the Russian nation. As we are going back to 1784, let’s see America give everything west of the Appalachians back to the First Nations, and pay reparations for slavery. The UK won’t return looted Parthenon marbles and made noble fortunes from piracy and slavery, so let’s not have any pious weeping for poor Ukraine.

     After the Warsaw Pact collapse, Russia and NATO negotiated the Budapest Memorandum to remove nuclear weapons within the newly independent Ukraine. The later Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership, Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet, and Kharkiv Pact, secured uninterrupted Russian access and control of Sevastopol, and the ancient Russian language and cultural rights of the large Russian majority in the eastern provinces. The Minsk II treaty would have been a great start to peaceful coexistence if Ukraine had ever intended to implement them. Successive Ukraine governments fear Banderite Nazis more. Accession to NATO will never happen as France and Germany have already issued firm vetos. All of this information is available on Wikipedia, but that would require superficially honest research. All of these treaties were violated by Ukrainians, with US and NATO encouragement.

      All of these eminently sensible treaties were swept aside so Clinton could look tough for her TV election campaign. Many people were stupid enough to cheer when this happened as if directly threatening Russian interests would have no consequences. Roth continues this ignorant appraisal claiming Putin began this conflict when it was Clinton and Obama (Wall Street’s favourite lawn jockey).

    The Maidan foreign policy adventure was profoundly stupid and deliberately provoked war. The very first acts were to deny Russian language and cultural rights, attack ethnic Russians returning home from Kiev, form Nazi militias from genocidal Banderite Nazi WWII roots, and to ally with NATO and the EU. The notion that Russia would abandon Russian people, allow NATO to threaten Russia from forward bases on Ukrainian soil, and surrender Sevastopol to NATO, could have resulted in the first large war between nuclear armed NATO and RUSSIA. We can all thank Putin and Russia for the measured and restrained response that kept the war limited to its present small size. That Putin has now massed troops on the border should be taken as his increasing lack of patience with a Ukraine unwilling to honour treaties or negotiate peaceful coexistence. Even if war doesn’t break out tomorrow as every Western ‘pundit’ claims, current deployments will serve as practice for the real thing.

    Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956): “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    Thomas Paine: ”To argue with a person who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

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