Russia, Ukraine, and Mopping Up on Trudeau
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and its significance here at home has dominated much of our writing since the invasion. Here is Michael Walsh’s weekly column on those exact topics:
And so, just like that, Covid hysteria has suddenly receded, the manifest limitations of "green energy" have revealed themselves, and "gun control" suddenly doesn't seem so urgent in light of plucky little Ukraine's citizen-soldiers. Inflation is soaring, pocketbook issues are back on the table, and the outbreak of a real shooting war in the Ukraine, in which people are fighting and dying, has suddenly yanked the word "catastrophic" back from the realm of mental illness and into reality. As the late British prime minister Harold Macmillan is supposed to have replied when asked what was his greatest challenge: "Events, dear boy, events."
Amazing what happens when reality bites. The small stuff, the transient concerns, the self-indulgence in lunacy and cultural suicide suddenly slips away, revealing bedrock truths beneath. The prolonged propaganda assault by the national media, led by the unabashedly racialist New York Times, on the traditions and institutions of this country has screeched to a halt as people stare in disbelief at supermarket receipts and gas pump prices and watch the shelling of Kiev on their televisions. Perhaps now words like "assault" and "hostile environment" won't be thrown around with such gay abandon….
Vladimir Putin's aims have been clear for decades to anyone who knew anything about Russian history. Raised in the Soviet Union, he regarded the collapse of his country as a great tragedy, but he is not trying to restore anything like the U.S.S.R. Rather, his ambition is to reanimate the Rodina of Tsar Alexander, the scourge of Napoleon who also played a large part in the formation of modern Europe at the Congress of Vienna. To that end, he has cemented an alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church—the historic soul and animating spirit of the country—which forms, along with the coterie of gangsters that emerged from the ruins of the KGB, his power base.
He's long had his eyes on Kiev, in many ways the heart of Mother Russia but unfortunately for him occupied by his Slavic cousins, the Ukrainians who, having experienced the Soviet Union, have little desire to re-unite. Like Poland, Ukraine lives in a bad neighborhood between two ugly neighbors, Germany and Russia , one in which the borders keep switching around. But the foolish American notion of pushing the moribund corpse of NATO eastward, into Albania, Bulgaria, and the Baltics has been seen by Putin and the Russians as both a humiliation and a provocation.
The facts on the ground in this crisis are moving rather fast, so some of the key details in this Clarice Feldman piece from last week are out of date. For instance, the sanctions with which western nations have hit Russia have proved more fulsome than initially predicted, spurred on, no doubt, by popular sentiment. How long they will remain in place is another question. Still, Feldman’s central contention — that “green energy” fanaticism has played a major role in empowering Russia in the lead up to this invasion — is exactly right.
The reason Biden cannot actually do much more [to restrain Russia] short of war, is because he and the leaders of western Europe—bamboozled by the prospect of "climate change"—have made themselves poorer and weaker by eviscerating conventional fuel production. While they without ample reason were discarding a very good hand, Russian president Putin was improving his by exploiting and selling to us and Europe his nations’ fossil fuels. In 2020 the U.S. was a net exporter of petroleum. In 2021 we imported between 12 million and 26 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum from Russia every month. In November 2021, the most recent figures on record, the Energy Information Agency reports that the U.S. took 17.8 million barrels.
It’s hard to keep from laughing at the leaders who created this mess to curry favor, votes and money from the Greens. Take, for example, German chancellor Olaf Scholz whose contribution to the fight was halting the certification of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic gas pipeline. I’d put my money on the halt being temporary. Germany already gets half its gas from Russia. Germans are facing record energy prices and the government is tapping its treasury to ease consumer pressure….
Were I a friend of Chancellor Scholz I’d whisper in his ear a suggestion from Andrew A. Michta, that the best way to show Putin you mean business is not to make an unlikely threat but rather to halt the plan to shut down its three remaining nuclear reactors in Emsland, Isar and Neckarwestheim that the post-Merkel Germans have foolishly scheduled to shut down this year. Much of the same advice should be given to the Biden administration—undo the restrictions you are forcing on conventional energy production if you want to show you are serious.
Joan Sammon wrote about Russia’s increasing closeness with our chief geo-political rival, China, and specifically the historic accord the two countries signed in the lead up to the invasion of Ukraine.
After examining the newly signed Sino-Russian agreements, one begins to understand how central energy policy is to the broader stability of Western Europe and United States. It reveals how the energy policy of the Biden administration has fundamentally weakened the U.S. and emboldened our enemies. The consequence of their weakness, however, doesn’t stop at the gas pump. The economic, military and political implications this collaboration portends, ultimately has more to do with the desire of both Putin and Xi to gain territorial dominance in their respective regions of influence than it does with the price of a barrel of crude.
The China-Russian collaboration consists of a series of agreements, fifteen by some accounts. Together, the agreements deepen cooperation between the two Communist countries in the areas of sports, energy, commerce, and trade. Doped athletes aside, the reality is the agreements signify an important convergence of two geo-political adversaries both of whom seek to neutralize the U.S. as a global leader and move away from the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. The agreements include significant plans to collaborate in key areas relating to energy, but only insofar as the collaboration sets the stage for much more aggressive aims in the Asia Pacific region while protecting against the effects of international sanctions both countries anticipate.
In other news, Lawrence Meyers wrote an informative piece examining “climate resilience,” a concept which is just a cover for outrageous government spending.
The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has created a hitherto unknown category of hypothetical necessity called “climate resilience.” The law went so far as to prophylactically characterize government to spend money in order to “anticipate, prepare for, adapt to, withstand, respond to, or recover rapidly from disruptions” of weather events.
That nonsense phrase has opened the door to hundreds of billions of the $1.1 trillion bill going towards climate pork. Politicians fully owned and operated by the climate lobby also know they can bury earmarks so deep that fiscal watchdogs never figure out how much climate resilience money was wasted or to whom it was sent. Even if they did figure it out, it would be too late.
And while the war in Eastern Europe has pushed Canada out of the headlines, Tom Finnerty and David Solway wrote important pieces about Trudeau’s decision to revoke the Emergencies Act and the state of that nation, respectively.
This is good news, of course, but it is also worth noting that his justification for this move makes exactly zero sense. "Existing laws and bylaws" were always sufficient to keep people safe while handling the protestors in Ottawa just as they were sufficient to deal with the border blockades some truckers set up for a time earlier in the protest. And the protests in Ottawa had already ended when Trudeau put the Emergencies Act up for a vote in parliament which was, let me reiterate, only two days ago.
So what has changed? Well, I think it is safe to assume that there were three pressure points which made Trudeau and the Liberals crack.
First, polling. Much was made as the protestors were being cleared out this past weekend of the polling which found that two-thirds of Canadians supported Trudeau's use of the Emergencies Act. But public polling since that time has been more divided. Very likely the images coming out of Ottawa of baton-wielding cops in riot gear getting rough with peaceful protestors and mounted officers trampling them made people more conflicted….
Second, international opinion. Canadians are extremely proud of their standing in the international community. The smallest G7 country by a wide margin, Canada has long been known as a country that "punches above its weight." But the international reaction to Trudeau's handling of the protests has been brutal…. The CBC can cover for the prime minister all it wants. Sooner or later what the rest of the world is saying is going to bleed through.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly there is the upcoming Emergencies Act vote in the Canadian Senate. The senators had their first debate on the Act yesterday and many of them sounded reluctant to give the government a win.
The potential humiliation of losing this historic vote in the senate was likely enough to convince Trudeau to revoke his use of the act. Senator Denise Batters, in particular, tore him apart in a wide-ranging speech on the senate floor which deserves to be watched in full.
In innumerable articles, blogs and podcasts I’ve consulted over the last few turbulent weeks, the government has been variously described as fascist or communist. The terms are used interchangeably. An acquaintance recently asked which would be the proper designation.
As Mussolini wrote in The Doctrine of Fascism, “The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions.” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s recent directives under the Emergencies Act [including the freezing of bank accounts without a court order.] were wholly fascist in nature….
Canada has also adopted the top-down, social credit and contact tracing system practiced by Communist China, a country it is rapidly coming to resemble. Justin Trudeau made no secret of his admiration for the Chinese “basic dictatorship”: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.” Indeed, Trudeau invited the Chinese military to train in Canada. (The site chosen for cold-weather maneuvers was Petawawa, Ontario.) Fascist Venezuela and communist Cuba are also major influences and templates.
Which is it, then, fascist or communist? The answer is both, for the distinction is fundamentally irrelevant. Both are totalitarian entities, defined as systems of government that are centralized and autocratic and that demand total subservience to the state—hence “totalitarian.” Jonah Goldberg made the point eloquently in his Liberal Fascism. There is no paradox. As Paul Gottfried writes in Fascism: The Career of a Concept, “Totalitarianism is defined as a twentieth-century problem that is illustrated most dramatically by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia…Hitler and Stalin were not ideological opposites but similar dangers to human freedom.” ….
The issue of whether Canada in its current manifestation is fascist or communist is therefore immaterial. It is both, owing to the habitual governing practice of the Trudeaus. Invoking the War Measures Act to deal with national emergencies that are not national emergencies seems to run in the Trudeau family. During the 1970 “October Crisis,” Trudeau père applied the measure to disable, as Nationalist Passions puts it, “an informal group, organized in small, autonomous cells [that] had no more than thirty-five members.” In 2022, Trudeau fils invoked the successor Emergencies Act to crush a peaceful trucker convoy protest and shut down banking privileges of both protestors and those who contributed to the trucker fund, retroactively made illegal.
That’s all for this week. Make sure you read these pieces in full, and as the crisis in Europe continues and energy prices begin to skyrocket, keep an eye on The Pipeline.