The War in Ukraine Will Not Take Place: The New Cold War as Simulacra

“Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal…. It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real”

Jean Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra”

Hit the fucking deck! Putin has been on the brink of invading Ukraine for 8 years now and the shit could hit the fan at any second. Everyone from the granola-brained yuppies at MSNBC to the fist-pumping cop worshippers at Fox News is slamming the fucking panic button and they’re slamming it with their own heavily Botoxed faces while screaming, “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” Those pervert Russians have been coming for about twenty goddamn years now, since right around the time the Kremlin swapped out the Fourth Estate’s vodka swilling teddy bear, Boris Yeltsin, for a decidedly less compliant plutocrat named Vladimir Putin, but this time they really are coming. We totally mean it, you guys. Stinky pinky swear.

A force of somewhere between 100,000 and 100 billion goosestepping Ivan soldiers are menacingly occupying pre-existing bases within their own borders. The State Department has ordered their diplomats to pack their bags and released an urgent travel advisory telling every Yankee coed to reconsider taking that trip to sunny Chernobyl for spring break. 3,000 American troops are being shifted from one end of Europe to the other while thousands more have been put on high alert for potential deployment to NATO’s Eastern Flank.

The western media is teeming with tales of secret Kremlin coups and elaborate false flag attacks, all furnished to them by those trusty anonymous sources in the so-called intelligence community. Some people say the invasion is coming next week, some people say next year, but you better bet your bottom ruble that it’s coming and anyone who tells you otherwise is a dangerous peddler of Russian misinformation who should be forcibly gagged with their own mouse and permanently purged from the ranks of every social media platform known to mankind, from Twitter to JDate. So, for the love of White Jesus, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and all that our indispensable nation holds dear stay glued to your TV sets!

Now, this is how an empire throws a war in the breathless era of the 24/7 news circus. You don’t need guns, you don’t need bombs, hell, you don’t even need a willing adversary, all you really need is lights, cameras, action! Repeat. Get enough yacking heads to repeat the same damn lie over and over and over again, and even seemingly intelligent people start to buy the bullshit by the truckload. Putin is not going to invade Ukraine. Anyone who takes the time to turn off the TV and look at the facts rationally can tell you that. There is quite simply nothing to gain that would be worth the fallout. Ukraine is a rusted-out economic basket case and Russia, a nation the size of a small planet with an economy the size of Italy’s, isn’t doing much better.

If Russia was going to march on Kiev, they would have done it back in 2014 when a US-backed coup overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, and replaced him with a gaggle of neoliberal gangsters and crypto-fascist babushka bashers. Instead, Putin just calmly excepted the already constitutionally autonomous region of Crimea’s popular decision to return back to Mother Russia, thus securing Moscow’s single warm-water naval base in Sevastopol and left it to the hyperventilating jackals in the western press to make up the rest. Putin hasn’t even lifted a finger to recognize the sovereignty of his supposed comrades in the Donbass, not because he’s some kind of fucking pacifist but because he’s some kind of fucking capitalist and there are just simply no rubles to be made therein post-Soviet rustbelt country.

What we’re witnessing now with the relatively marginal increase of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border is the desired result of imperial gaslighting, one of Uncle Sam’s favorite dirty tricks. First, you launch a massive campaign of wargames on the target nation’s borders, which essentially amounts to a well-armed dress rehearsal for a hypothetical US invasion. Then you wait until said target nation responds with their own show of military force, the western media covers the latter while pretending like the prior never happened, and when the target tries to tell the world that they were the ones who were provoked, we act like they’re the fucking crazy ones.

We’ve done this to China in the Strait of Taiwan, we’ve done this to Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, shit, we do this to North Korea pretty much every other year, you can practically set your watch to it. And the US spent the better part of 2021 doing this to Russia. American warships spent 182 days in the Black Sea last year off Russia’s shores. Can you imagine the American response if China did the same thing in the Gulf of Mexico? Biden would build Trump’s stupid fucking wall faster than you can say buyer’s remorse. If anything, Russia has shown tremendous restraint in the face of such uncurdled American hysteria.

If you don’t want to believe an evil transgender anarcho-Putinist like me, just take the west’s beloved Ukrainian baby lambs’ word for it. After begging Biden for weapons and NATO membership back in September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is clearly having buyer’s remorse of his own. According to none other than those flaming Russophobes at CNN, Zelensky recently spent the better part of a phone call with Biden begging him to calm the fuck down and stop ruining his nation’s tinpot economy with his hysteria. Ukraine’s own foreign ministry has even come forward and admitted that they have seen no radical changes in the security situation on their borders since their regime took power in 2014. Zelensky and pals are learning the hard way that becoming a part of the Euro-NATO orbit essentially just means being Washington’s dog. Yanukovych could have told them that if Victoria Nuland’s skinhead army had given him more than fifteen minutes to pack his shit and fuck off.

Biden or rather that idle-brained neoliberal scarecrow’s handlers wanted this manufactured crisis to distract the public from Joe’s plummeting poll numbers and the fact that they have been every bit as inept in handling the pandemic as that orange Nazi rodeo clown he was elected to replace. But the main drivers of this potentially catastrophic game of Cold War chicken have been the media itself. A big part of the reason that Biden’s numbers are in the toilet is that his once-loyal fan club in the so-called liberal media gave him a savage swirly just for finally pulling out of that bottomless hellhole in Afghanistan. It was probably the first remotely decent thing that demented old white supremacist has ever done with his life and the media gleefully joined the Republicans in tarring him as a pussy for doing it.

Ukraine is Biden’s big opportunity to prove what a big dick swinging badass he is and every time he goes off script and even hints that maybe he won’t drop atom bombs on Moscow over the junkyards of Luhansk, the screaming banshees at CNN threaten to cut that dick clean off. It’s the Fourth Estate that’s been polluting the zeitgeist for months with the totally self-fabricated notion of an imminent Russian invasion. It was the Fourth Estate that cooked up that Russiagate hoax over Donald Trump’s fleeting man-crush on Putin. It was the Fourth Estate that pressured that same impressionable egomaniac into becoming the most anti-Russian president in history just to prove his defunct manhood. Now they’re at it again with another thin-skinned imbecile. Ukraine has become a virtual battlefield of Cold War simulacra because our media has been invaded by the military-industrial complex.

The American press has never exactly been the model of democratic checks and balances that glad-handing Hollywood dullards like George Clooney have painted them as but at least they used to chase the wars instead of make the wars. Even if they didn’t connect the dots all the way back to General Westmorland, at least they covered the My Lai Massacre and the Pentagon Papers and even risked prison time doing so. That all changed with the first Persian Gulf War. At the advent of cable news, CNN made a Faustian bargain with the US Military to trade objectivity for access.

The Pentagon would give the fledgling Chicken Noodle News-hole exclusive interviews with all the top brass and footage of all their latest high-tech gadgets and gizmos and rockets and fighter jets provided that CNN agreed not to cover the horrors they resulted in on the ground. And thus, we had what the brilliant French post-modernist Jean Baudrillard controversially but accurately described as a war that did not take place, except on cable television. While the American TV audience was dazzled by a technicolor fireworks show in the sky, a totally defenseless Iraq was treated to 177 million pounds of depleted uranium munitions on the ground, wiping a modern industrial nation from the map in a totally one-sided massacre without us even having to get our nails dirty. This was the catalyst that set the course for the media-driven lies that brought us back to that wretched radiated desert in 2003 and gave us their simulated cold war in Ukraine in 2022.

In the decades that followed their little desert holocaust, the relationship between the media and the war machine became increasingly intimate until the line between the two disappeared altogether. The foreign policy desks at every major news network and paper are now run by former generals and admirals who remain wealthy beneficiaries of the arms industry. To military-industrial scumfucks like NBC’s Carlyle Group admiral, James Stavridis, and CNN’s McNeil Technologies general, James “Spider” Marks, it really doesn’t matter if the war in Ukraine doesn’t exist or if it ends in a nuclear apocalypse. Either way, they’ve already sold the bombs.

As we speak, the Democrats are putting the finishing touches on a bill that will send Ukraine $500 million in military funding in 2022, making our newly unwilling accomplices in Kiev the third-largest recipients of American boom-boom after those fine vampires in Israel and Egypt respectively and you better fucking believe that those war whores at CNN and NBC are gonna get their cut. The mainstream media loves to play the card of the tireless crusaders against the evils of misinformation, but what about their misinformation? Last time I checked, Alex Jones never triggered a third world war with his hysterics. If these ghastly gangsters really are the first line of defense in America’s war to preserve our precious democracy, then maybe American democracy doesn’t exist either.

Ain’t simulacra grand, dearest motherfuckers?

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.