Ukrainian Government Publishes List of American Individuals Who are Allegedly “Russian Propagandists” 

The government of Ukraine recently published a list of individuals who it believes are “promoting Russian propaganda.” As Finn McRedmond of UnHerd noted, this list includes “a number of prominent Western intellectuals.” 

On July 14, 2022, the “Center for Countering Disinformation”, published a list on its website of academics, activists, and politicians who are “promoting Russian propaganda.” These included notable intellectuals and politicians such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, geopolitical analyst Edward Luttwak, international relations scholar John Mearsheimer, and independent leftist journalist Glenn Greenwald. 

The list does not provide any specific consequences for the people who are mentioned on it.

This institution was set up in 2021 under the watch of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and was headed by former lawyer Polina Lysenko. The CCD is under the purview of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

The CCD’s goal is to find and combat “propaganda” and “destructive disinformation” and to stop the “manipulation of public opinion.”

McRedmond observed that the “exact criteria for inclusion are also unclear, although next to each name the report lists the ‘pro Russian’ opinions the individual promotes.” In the case of Edward Luttwak, he earned the Ukrainian state’s ire by suggesting that “referendums should be held in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”, referring to the breakaway republics that declared their independence following the Maidan Revolution of 2014.  Mearsheimer is an outspoken critic of American involvement in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. His remarks that “NATO has been in Ukraine since 2014” and that “NATO provoked Putin” were what prompted the Ukrainian government to label him as a “pro-Russian propagandist.” 

Edward Luttwak has stressed that he is not a pro-Putin advocate. “From 24th February, day one of the war” he said to UnHerd when the British outlet reached out to him. Luttwak stressed that he has “relentlessly argued that not just the US, UK, Norway and others should send weapons to Ukraine, but also the reluctant trio of France, Germany and Italy.” 

“I have personally lobbied defence ministers of NATO countries” to send more weapons as part of the war effort, “I am not exactly Putin’s most faithful agent,” Luttwak continued.

“What happened is this. I said that there is a victory party and the victory party is not realistic… Their idea is if Russia can be squarely defeated then Putin will fall. But this is also the moment when nuclear escalation becomes a feasibility. It is a fantasy to believe Russia can be squarely defeated. In Kyiv they have interpreted this stance as meaning I am pro-Russia.” 

In correspondence with UnHerd, John Mearsheimer expressed his disappointment with the “pro-Russia” label:

When I was a young boy, my mother taught me that when others can’t beat your arguments with facts and logic, they smear you. That is what is going on here.

“I argue that it is clear from the available evidence that Russia invaded Ukraine because the United States and its European allies were determined to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border, which Moscow saw as an existential threat. Ukrainians of all persuasions reject my argument and instead blame Vladimir Putin, who is said to have been bent on conquering Ukraine and making it part of a greater Russia,” Mearsheimer added.

“But there is no evidence in the public record to support that claim, which creates real problems for both Kyiv and the West. So how do they deal with me? The answer of course is to label me a Russian propagandist, which I am not,” Mearsheimer expanded. 

Glenn Greenwald described the label slapped on him for being a pro-Russian propagandist as “standard McCarthyite idiocy.”

“War proponents in the West and other functionaries of Western security state agencies have used the same tactics for decades to demonize anyone questioning the foreign policy of the US and NATO. Chief among them, going back to the start of the Cold War, is accusing any dissidents of spreading ‘Russian propaganda’ or otherwise serving the Kremlin. That’s all this is from the Ukrainians: just standard McCarthyite idiocy,” declared Greenwald. 

“The Ukrainians have the absolute right to pursue whatever war policies they want. But when they start demanding that my country and my government use its resources to fuel their war effort, then I, along with all other Americans, have the absolute right to question that policy or to point out its dangers and risks. I don’t care at all about Ukraine’s attempts to shut down debate in our country by smearing journalists and politicians who are questioning US/NATO policy as being Russian propagandists. That tactic is as inconsequential as it is cheap, tawdry, and discredited,” Greenwald stated.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian government’s reasoning has been adopted whole-cloth by Western elites, who all believe that any critique of the Collective West’s economic and military aid policies constitutes pro-Russian propaganda. This just goes to show how degraded and anti-intellectual foreign policy discussions have become. 

When foreign policy discussions stoop to such lows, people should become frightened. Because when dealing with nuclear powers such as China and Russia such assumptions could lead to gross miscalculations that increase the chances of a disastrous thermonuclear exchange. 
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