Why South Africa thinks its part of the Donbass War
Vacuous winter stare
Worn out version of yourself
To tough to fall
But not strong enough to turn
This is not
What you wanted
Not what you had in mind
In the recent hysteria over Ukraine, there is not much original to say. So let me start with an extended and edited quote from Zbigniew Brzezinsky’s 1997 book The Grand Chessboard.
Brzezinsky was in the very core of Atlantic strategic thinking. Total global domination is considered paramount. What the end of the Cold War meant, was that the Americans could see Russia as theirs for a brief moment, as Yeltsin let them loot the country bare. It seems unlikely that losing that privilege could have been taken with grace. And so, the expansion, and the dream of regime change proceeded, in disregard of the known risks. Because the world belongs to 1989. It cannot be allowed to enter another era.
The behaviour of the West for the past 30 years has had predictable outcomes, which could have been mitigated at dozens of junctures, but wasn’t. Russia was decided as a permanent enemy:
“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine [would then be] more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians, […] However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, […] Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, […] transforming Poland into the geopolitical pivot on the eastern frontier of a united Europe.
A policy for a united Europe will also have to address […how] far eastward should the European Union extend? And should the eastern limits of the EU be synonymous with the eastern front line of NATO? The former is more a matter for a European decision, but a European decision on that issue will have direct implications for a NATO decision. The latter, however, engages the United States, and the U.S. voice in NATO is still decisive. […] the practical meaning of this question focuses attention on the future status of the Baltic republics and perhaps also that of Ukraine.
[…] It is easy to respond to the question regarding Russia's future by professing a preference for a democratic Russia, closely linked to Europe. Presumably, a democratic Russia would be more sympathetic to the values shared by America and Europe and hence also more likely to become a junior partner in shaping a more stable and cooperative Eurasia. But Russia's ambitions may go beyond the attainment of recognition and respect as a democracy.
[…] Can Russia be both powerful and a democracy at the same time? If it becomes powerful again, will it not seek to regain its lost imperial domain, and can it then be both an empire and a democracy? U.S. policy toward the vital geopolitical pivots of Ukraine and Azerbaijan cannot skirt that issue, and America thus faces a difficult dilemma regarding tactical balance and strategic purpose. Internal Russian recovery is essential to Russia's democratization and eventual Europeanization.
But any recovery of its imperial potential would be inimical to both of these objectives. Moreover, it is over this issue that differences could develop between America and some European states, especially as the EU and NATO expand. Should Russia be considered a candidate for eventual membership in either structure? And what then about Ukraine? The costs of the exclusion of Russia could be high -- creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in the Russian mindset -- but the results of dilution of either the EU or NATO could also be quite destabilizing.
[…] Most troubling of all [to Russia] was the loss of Ukraine. […] The repudiation of more than three hundred years of Russian imperial history meant the loss of a potentially rich industrial and agricultural economy and of 52 million people ethnically and religiously sufficiently close to the Russians to make Russia into a truly large and confident imperial state […] Russia's vital gateway to trade with the Mediterranean and the world beyond. The loss of Ukraine was geopolitically pivotal, for it drastically limited Russia's geostrategic options. […] Moreover, given Russia's declining birthrate and the explosive birthrate among the Central Asians, any new Eurasian entity based purely on Russian power, without Ukraine, would inevitably become less European and more Asiatic with each passing year.
The loss of Ukraine was not only geopolitically pivotal but also geopolitically catalytic. It was Ukrainian actions […] that prevented the CIS from becoming merely a new name for a more confederal USSR. Ukraine's political self-determination stunned Moscow and set an example that the other Soviet republics, though initially more timidly, then followed. Russia's loss of its dominant position on the Baltic Sea was replicated on the Black Sea not only because of Ukraine's independence but also because the newly independent Caucasian states -- Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan -- enhanced the opportunities for Turkey to reestablish its once-lost influence in the region.
Prior to 1991, the Black Sea was the point of departure for the projection of Russian naval power into the Mediterranean. By the mid-1990s, Russia was left with a small coastal strip on the Black Sea and with an unresolved debate with Ukraine over basing rights in Crimea for the remnants of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, while observing, with evident irritation, joint NATO-Ukrainian naval and shore-landing maneuvers and a growing Turkish role in the Black Sea region.
[…] The time has come for the United States to formulate and prosecute an integrated, comprehensive, and long-term geostrategy for all of Eurasia. […] America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe's central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and to America's historical legacy. American global primacy is unique in its scope and character. […] America is now Eurasia's arbiter, with no major Eurasian issue soluble without America's participation or contrary to America's interests.
[…] In Europe, the key players will continue to be France and Germany, and America's central goal should be to consolidate and expand the existing democratic bridgehead on Eurasia's western periphery. In Eurasia's Far East, China is likely to be increasingly central, and America will not have a political foothold on the Asian mainland unless an American-Chinese geostrategic consensus is successfully nurtured.
[…] It is important to stress here both the fact of that indispensability and the actuality of the potential for global anarchy. The disruptive consequences of population explosion, poverty-driven migration, radicalizing urbanization, ethnic and religious hostilities, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction would become unmanageable if the existing and underlying nation-state-based framework of even rudimentary geopolitical stability were itself to fragment. Without sustained and directed American involvement, before long the forces of global disorder could come to dominate the world scene.
[…] The resulting risks to global stability are likely to be further increased by the prospect of a more general degradation of the human condition. […] the demographic explosion [of young, poor, unemployed, frustrated urban populations] Modern communications intensify their rupture with traditional authority, while making them increasingly conscious-- and resentful-- of global inequality and thus more susceptible to extremist mobilization.
On the one hand, the rising phenomenon of global migrations, already reaching into the tens of millions, may act as a temporary safety valve, but on the other hand, it is also likely to serve as a vehicle for the transcontinental conveyance of ethnic and social conflicts. The global stewardship that America has inherited is hence likely to be buffeted by turbulence, tension, and at least sporadic violence.
[…] The point of departure for the needed policy has to be hard-nosed recognition of the three unprecedented conditions that currently define the geopolitical state of world affairs:
1. a single state is a truly global power,
2. a non-Eurasian state is globally the preeminent state, and
3. the globe's central arena, Eurasia, is dominated by a non-Eurasian power.
[…] In brief, the U.S. policy goal must be unapologetically twofold: to perpetuate America's own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer still; and to create a geopolitical framework that can absorb the inevitable shocks and strains of social-political change while evolving into the geopolitical core of shared responsibility for peaceful global management. A prolonged phase of gradually expanding cooperation with key Eurasian partners, both stimulated and arbitrated by America, can also help to foster the preconditions for an eventual upgrading of the existing and increasingly antiquated UN structures.
A new distribution of responsibilities and privileges can then take into account the changed realities of global power, so drastically different from those of 1945. These efforts will have the added historical advantage of benefiting from the new web of global linkages that is growing exponentially outside the more traditional nation-state system. That web-- woven by multinational corporations, NGOs (nongovernmental organizations, with many of them transnational in character) and scientific communities and reinforced by the Internet-- already creates an informal global system that is inherently congenial to more institutionalized and inclusive global cooperation.
In the course of the next several decades, a functioning structure of global cooperation, based on geopolitical realities, could thus emerge and gradually assume the mantle of the world's current "regent," which has for the time being assumed the burden of responsibility for world stability and peace. Geostrategic success in that cause would represent a fitting legacy of America's role as the first, only, and last truly global superpower.
In the present, Russia has decided to end an eight-year conflict between Ukraine and the Russian ethnic separatists by invading and seizing Ukrainian territory. How Putin will end this is anybody’s guess, but his progress has been rapid - nearly 1/4 of Ukraine is already in Russian hands, only 9 days into the invasion.
I have mixed feelings about this situation. Ukrainians are right to resist with all they can muster. But war is grim, and Western efforts to extend the conflict just to bleed Russia are repugnant. I find the leaders of both Ukraine and Russia objectionable, and the US government’s past behaviour - the 2014 coup, the Bidens’ graft through Burisma, the goading of Ukrainian actions against Russians in the east, the refusal to negotiate with Russia on the Donbass - makes any argument about this war based purely on sovereignty rather fraught.
But everyone keeps expecting the past to repeat itself, not partially, as in a rhyming couplet, but exactly, as if in an endless rehearsal for a play that never gets the deserved applause of its numinous audience - we will never feel the applause of nations on V-day. We will never feel the warm thrill of Beethoven’s 9th performed in the dawn lights of the final victory of the Enlightenment over humanity.
But we must keep rehearsing, because some day we will be “authorised by the spirit of the moment” to change the songsheets of great poets once more, and wring from the pages of history one perfect final flourish.
Fukuyama was dead right. We have reached the end of history. Headlines and front pages talk about the “return of history”, but it doesn’t seem to be moving forward, so much as treading water. Nobody, not even the most creative reactionaries or radical communists can imagine anything that isn’t a return to the 20th century or some other dead past. And the futurists of totalitarian transhuman liberalism are merely regurgitating the future promised by UNESCO founder Julian Huxley when the New World Order was established after WWII. The WEF is just regurgitating 19th century Fabian Socialism, except this is simply to consolidate post-historical control - change for the sake of staying the same.
The stories are the same, only nobody believes them anymore. And the less we believe them, the more hysterically we must compensate for their morbidity. References to Baudrillard about fake wars and media replacing living experience are apposite once more. Only now instead of grabbing the popcorn, we scream and cheer like deranged New Yorkers in the aftermath of Bin Laden’s assassination- wrestling fans embracing the Kayfabe.
While the West is largely impotent against Russia, it has demonstrated remarkable solidarity. But this solidarity is not based in any moral principle. Far more deadly, cruel and unusual warfare has occurred over the past several decades, to muted objections, largely because the United States has been the power endorsing the violence. The difference in reaction is a function of propaganda dominance and conditioned institutional conformity. As Trump faded, BLM was discarded. Covid took over, until it was getting tired. Now Ukraine saturates every media channel. And the machinery of digital consent (the Enduring Security Framework, the oligarch-controlled fact-checking network, the Trusted News Initiative) are in overdrive.
In condemning this crime against an ally of the Atlantic establishment, the entire Western-dominated global order has united in an orgy of excesses, with New Zealanders vandalising Russian shopfronts, Italian universities banning Russian literature, and the global Western financial system locking the Russians out of the international electronic payment protocols.
Open lies were endorsed by fact-checkers.
Every single paper in the world ran the same story - Putin is Hitler. In return, Putin made a mockery of them by metonymically extending the Nazism of the Azov Battalion to the entire Ukrainian state. He calls this a war for denazification. Anti-establishment voices on the left and right have backed either Ukraine or Russia because it sees either one or the other as Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, or wartime America.
Everything is 1939, forever. Russia is both the USSR and the Third Reich. Ukraine is Vietnam, it is Afghanistan, it is Vichy France. But these are not just tricks for the crowd, they are believed by the most sophisticated and senior statesmen in the West.
The American coup in 2014 to replace a neutral (or pro-Russian, if you insist) Ukrainian government was followed by a limited Russian reprisal in Crimea and the Donbas. Following this, the State Department spent the next few years crying Hitler, as Lindsay Graham, JohnMcCain toured the country trying to goad the Ukrainians into an escalation with Russia.
Not that they weren’t warned - CFR, the most powerful IR thinktank in the world, published John Mearsheimer’s famous argument about the 2014 coup and its consequences to widespread critical reception. The establishment dreamt of drawing Russia into a new Afghanistanesque quagmire (whether in Ukraine or in Syria), and so they had to give the Ukrainians confidence that they could enter NATO and become as rich as Europe, and never have to fear Russia again. Russia wasnt having it.
This was just Brzezinsky’s chessboard, playing out as if not a day had passed from his writing.
And at home here in South Africa, we are once more a microcosm of the world’s shenanigans. We have returned to the loyalties of the ancien regime, with the white establishment siding with the West, and the black establishment siding with the East.
The ANC became one of the few Western-backed governments to refuse to condemn Russia. In fact, our formerly Russian-controlled ruling party spent the evening popping champaign corks with the Russian ambassador, as if they were celebrating the communist liberation of a third-world colonial state. This pissed off the Anglo-American establishment royally, and Cyril was dragged in to receive a spanking from Justin Trudeau.
In response, the DA saw a marvellous opportunity to gain international clout, and seized it with relish:
In the midst of the global hysteria, a contribution from little Cape Town seems almost laughably insignificant. Yet Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s decision to join the global propaganda campaign in solidarity with Ukraine has led to a pat on the head from the US Ambassador to the UN General Assembly. This is a loyalty test, and the importance of the US’s remarks here is hard to overstate - it means an official, public endorsement of the DA by the imperial Atlantic establishment.
Previously, The Economist, a steadfast establishment mouthpiece, endorsed Ramaphosa over and above the DA, despite him being a viciously corrupt racist and a socialist. This is because it was bought out by the Agnellis, who put a Fabian in charge, and brought them into the Bilderberg conferences. The friendliness between Ramaphosa and the Davos crowd via his decades-old ties to the country’s top oligarchs, through Martin Kingston at Rothschild Capital and his brother in law’s ties to the Ruperts and Oppenheimers.
State capture was all the rage when it was a couple of crafty Indian businessmen teaming up with an anti-Western African traditionalist, but now that the sophisticated Rothschild Capital have taken over Eskom’s finances, and their CEO Martin Kingston, a decades-long friend of the current president is party to the juiciest of the BEE contracts in the country, as well as COVID-related contracts, we seem to think this is all hunky-dory.
Ramaphosa proved to be vastly more corrupt and incompetent than anybody guessed. But they should have guessed - it took huge wodges of cash to buy out the ANC branches to win the nomination in 2017. And prosecutions cannot be allowed to succeed, because three decades of corruption doesn’t happen without the whole party joining in on it. The international community are sick of him, as this rather infamous rant by Bloomberg journalist Richard Quest illustrates:
Cyril has since failed two more major tests - mRNA vaccinations, and the Durban Riots. We have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, with over half the population refusing it. The army and police didn’t pitch up for the biggest riots in living memory. Consequently, the world wants the ANC gone, but even the densest realise they can't get the majority of to vote for the DA, because South Africans are either bigots who hate minorities, or bleak pessimists who see no hope at all.
But they can’t simply allow South Africa to fail, for multiple reasons. First, South Africa has many key minerals that have just rocketed in price due to Russia being embargoed. Second, South Africa holds the potential to be the largest transshipment hub in the southern hemisphere if it gets its act together.
Third, South Africa is the Ring of Power in the global progressive system. South Africa was the great hope of multicultural liberal democracy - a little world-state. But if SA can’t work, then multiculturalism will look very bleak. Black despotism over the white minority is a bad look. less so now that anti-white racism is institutionalised in the West, to the point that intersectionalism is a recruitment tool of the CIA. A broken SA is a huge wound to the woke narrative.
The trouble is, nobody believes in the Rainbow Nation anymore. Those who do are at least a little aware they are going through the motions - much of the DA under the leadership is actually quite okay with anti-white racism, because woke has been the dominant ideology of the Western world for a decade now. And so most people have either gotten behind a resigned pessimism, or a bitter and spiteful radicalism deemed necessary to achieve a real South Africa - decolonisation, western wokeness, black consciousness, etc. The radicals offer real change - an instant Zimbabwe.
But that means hurting capital investments. So the West has to push for a reform coalition, and that means splitting Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina faction from Zuma’s RET faction, and bonding them to the DA. This is not inconceivable, since the ANC has been declining in support, and has dipped below 50% in the recent local elections. But since putting all your eggs in one basket is poor strategy, the search for coalition partners also means co-opting the smaller, corrupt kingmakers, like Gayton McKenzie of the tiny Patriotic Alliance:
But this effort isn’t new, and the DA have been hungry for American endorsements for some time. In recent years, DA leadership has gone in hard to secure deals for core US tech companies attached to state security, seek out WEF endorsements, and push hard COVIDism, in order to secure Atlantic support (see this essay for details).
The DA will now have the leverage of the Atlantic community behind them at the negotiating table, strengthening their confidence. They may even be able to draw from American media endorsements. The local English-language papers, The Daily Maverick and Mail & Guardian, are financed by Gates and Soros respectively.
The dream here will be, in the words of libertarian billionaire Rob Hersov, “a new CODESA”. The DA’s conditions for coalition are that the ANC must see market liberalisation, the end of affirmative action and black economic empowerment, an independent anti-corruption prosecution service, and fiscal austerity.
But the DA’s principled conditions are impossible demands to make of the ANC. They cannot afford to agree to them. But the DA can’t afford to walk away, because the only alternative which has the chance of bringing real positive change is Cape independence, and the leadership is frightened of it.
And unfortunately, even if this vaunted coalition comes to pass, you can't jettison half the ANC. Their supporters will see any allegiance with the DA as a betrayal. This will immediately boost the EFF’s popularity, while increasing the clout of David Mabuza and other RET factionalists. Even ANC “moderates” will, as they have demonstrated so far, stand in the way of accountability. The president has said himself, he would rather be a bad president than a bad ANC cadre.
The brute force of the ANC’s dominance of the civil service, their informal power networks in racketeering, gangsterism and taxi cartels, ties to capital-labour cartels the necessity of guaranteeing that the DA will be sucked into the ANC's corrupt sinkhole
They have no answer to the dismal quagmire that was Nelson Mandela Bay. There, the DA were tied with the ANC, and were constantly being played and betrayed by the Patriotic Alliance and the UDM for fringe benefits, while the ANC drained public finances by tweaking the evergreen contracts from the legal department, and sabotaged public infrastructure. Then the coalition collapsed. And again. Spirits are broken. Athol Trollip and others have left for ActionSA.
The DA cannot afford to play the ANC’s dirty games, and they cannot compete with the popularity of free money, which over a third of the population is dependent on, and they can’t quit the coalition. There will certainly be improved governance for a time. Many people will get rich, many ordinary people will enjoy the coalition's fruits. , until the DA get rejected for a more radical coalition, by which time the efforts to decentralise governance will be abandoned, because the DA will need to use the power of our highly centralised national government to affect any change.
But then it will be over, and there will be no reversing the downward trend. But the DA is also losing ground in elections. They received their lowest ever result in the Western Cape last year, shrinking to 53%, and losing several municipalities to coalitions between localist parties and the ANC. Joining the ANC after the election will guarantee them losing the majority in any subsequent election (if they haven’t lost it already), and good governance in the Cape will be dead.
After a brief stint in power, at most a single electoral term, the DA-led coalition will collapse, to be replaced by a more desperate and vicious Charterist government who, having seen the potential to face accountability, will engage in ever-more desperate looting sprees, and ever-more nasty ways to protect themselves from consequences.
Just like the West at large, the forces in South Africa are tired. The old narratives of 1990 and 1945 are just as hard and clear as ever, only they seem to have lost their idealism, their charm. The differences between Western Enlightenment and Eastern despotism are the same as ever, only it is becoming harder to choose between them as the cage comes down on political dissidents in the Anglosphere.
The trouble with the DA, as with the ANC, as with the West at large, is that nobody wants to change anything. The myth of the new South Africa, with all its promises of liberty and minority rights, is unsustainable, but also apparently unkillable. We retain the external shell, and the inside rots away, a little more each day.
The Western order alike - in order to keep challenges to the Great Reset at bay, they have jettisoned all the features of Western liberal democracy that made it appealing to begin with. The confiscation of Canadian truckers’ bank accounts and threats to take their children away were chilling even to many far left state loyalists. The threat to sanction India for abstaining from the vote to condemn Russia sees the international order reveal its character - a vicious, coercive empire with no boundaries to its ambition.
The West has eight years until the 2030 goals for global CBDCs are accomplished and the entire Western world becomes a centrally-planned dictatorship-by-committee. We in SA have two years to find a peaceful solution to Zimbabwefication.
We’d better start turning.