Wolfgang Streeck on the pro-Ukraine war hysteria

Vladimiro Giacche'

Streeck s book 
  • Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. Verso Books, London 2014, 
is one of the best books published in the last decade. Fullstop. 

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Il giorno 15 nov 2022, alle ore 16:48, Andrew Coates <pabs47@...> ha scritto:

Many of us find it hard to take seriously Streeck. Full stop.

Andrew Coates

Many of us find it hard to take seriously Streeck. Full stop.

Wolfgang Streeck was a supporter of the Full Brexit front which brought together the ex-RCP/Spiked people, including
Dr James Heartfield, supporters of the far right Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage, 'Blue Labour' British nationalists, Paul Embery and Lord Glasman, left sovereigntists ,and the Communist Party of Britain who believed, " Brexit offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape Britain for the better." https://www.thefullbrexit.com/about

Streeck was involved with the 'left populist' Aufstehen: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/pop-up-populism-the-failure-of-left-wing-nationalism-in-germany

This is how the launcher of Aufstehen, the anti-immigration, Die Linke MP Sahra Wagenknecht, has been reacting to the war on Ukraine:

Germany’s hard left at breaking point as Ukraine stance divides Die Linke party

Controversial MP’s call for Germany to end economic sanctions and ‘negotiate with Russia’ receives mixed reactions


Andrew Coates

Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...>

Streeck noted , without giving a hyperlink, this RAND Corporation report, 
A report, I rather doubt, other writers and activists who have cited it, ranging from Joe Lombardo of UNAC or 
Joe Lauria of Consortium News, have read beyond the summary, and as noted by Rand , in an Editors Note ,” Russian entities and individuals sympathetic to Putin's decision to invade Ukraine have mischaracterized this research in recent weeks ,” after which they recommend reading one of their other reports on Dezinformatsia. 
https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE198.html . (In a follow up post, I will reproduce, with links, to the original source material, Lombardo’s dissemination of pro-Russian disinformation, which radically inflated civilian casualty figures in Luhansk, giving figures even higher than related in the pro-LPR and DPR Donbass Insider and the Morning Star of the CP in GB.) 

The full report : 
https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3063.html . From another summary, below, I do not understand , from a realist perspective, what alarms these writers and activists, as all Empires, seek to leverage their ability to maneuver their primary adversary to take actions which undermine its power projection. 

The RAND Corporation’s Six-Point Plan to “Over-Extend” Russia , 

“In 2019, the RAND Corporation, which is a major component of the U.S. military-industrial complex, published a report titled Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground, which offers a sort of updated gameplan on how to destabilize and weaken Russia. The website Moon of Alabama devoted an article to the report on Jan. 6 in the context of the riots ongoing in Kazakhstan (https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/01/the-us-directed-rebellion-in-kazakhstan-may-well-strengthen-russia.html).

The RAND document states openly in its summary: “Recognizing that some level of competition with Russia is inevitable, this report seeks to define areas where the United States can do so to its advantage. We examine a range of nonviolent measures that could exploit Russia’s actual vulnerabilities and anxieties as a way of stressing Russia’s military and economy and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad…. [T] hese steps are conceived of as elements in a campaign designed to unbalance the adversary, leading Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, and causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence.” Chapter 4 lists six “geopolitical measures” the United States should take:

Provide lethal aid to Ukraine 2. Increase support to Syrian rebels 3. Promote regime change in Belarus 4. Exploit tensions in the South Caucasus [in particular Armenia and Azerbaijan] 5. Reduce Russian influence in Central Asia 6. Challenge Russian presence in Moldova As we know, all of these measures have been implemented to one degree or another. On the fifth point, the most important country in Central Asia is Kazakhstan, where an attempted coup, supported by the “usual suspects” from the West, was just thwarted (cf. below).

Note that the RAND Corporation is one of the oldest think tanks in the United States, founded in 1948. Two thirds of its funding comes directly from government agencies, notably including the Pentagon and the National Security Agency. On the private side, one finds the defense giants, the corporate cartels, etc.“


Marv Gandall

I believe that not only Marxists but well-meaning people on both sides of the debate are concerned about the effects of the war on the workers and soldiers of both countries, with by far the greater share of the suffering borne by the Ukrainians whose territory is the battleground. But this shouldn’t blind us to the decisive role played by the US in this conflict between the rival capitalist camps - what Streeck refers to as the war's “decontextualization” by Western propagandists. 

Mark Baugher

On Nov 14, 2022, at 9:04 AM, Marv Gandall <marvgand2@...> wrote:

Marxist sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, writing in the latest New Left Review newsletter, looks with dismay on the effect of orchestrated pro-Ukraine propaganda on German society where "the corridor of the sayable is rapidly, and frighteningly, narrowing”. The same may be said of all the NATO countries.
Can't you find writers who have your viewpoint and also give a shit about the forty-million people in Ukraine? We've both heard it all before, all sides. But a comprehensive approach won't disappear an entire population who happen to be the victims of an invasion.


Marv Gandall

Marxist sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, writing in the latest New Left Review newsletter, looks with dismay on the effect of orchestrated pro-Ukraine propaganda on German society where "the corridor of the sayable is rapidly, and frighteningly, narrowing”. The same may be said of all the NATO countries.

"The strongest taboos”, says Streeck, "relate to the role of the United States, both in the history of the conflict and in the present. In admissible public speech, the Ukrainian war – which is expected to be termed ‘Putin’s war of aggression’ by all loyal citizens – becomes entirely de-contextualized: it has no history outside of the ‘narrative’ of a decade-long brooding of a mad dictator in the Kremlin over how to best wipe out the Ukrainian people... among what is not to be mentioned in polite German society are the American rejection of Gorbachev’s ‘Common European Home’, the subversion within the United States of Clinton’s project of a ‘Partnership for Peace’, and the rebuff as late as 2010 of Putin’s proposal of a European free trade zone ‘from Lisbon to Vladivostok’.

"Equally unmentionable is the fact that by the mid-1990s at the latest, the United States had decided that the border of post-communist Europe should be identical to the western border of post-communist Russia, which would also be the eastern border of NATO, to the west of which there were to be no restrictions whatsoever on the stationing of troops and weapons systems. The same holds for the extensive American strategic debates on ‘extending Russia’, as documented in publicly accessible working papers of the RAND Corporation.

"More examples of the publicly unsayable include the historically unprecedented arms build-up on the part of the United States during the ‘war on terror’, accompanied by the unilateral termination of all remaining arms control agreements with the Soviet Union of old; the unrelenting American pressure on Germany to replace Russian natural gas with American liquid natural gas after the invention of fracking, culminating in the American decision long before the war to close down Nord stream 2, one way or other; the peace negotiations that preceded the war, including the Minsk agreements between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, negotiated by among others the then German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which fell apart under pressure from the Obama administration and its special envoy for US-Ukrainian relations, the then Vice President Joe Biden, coinciding with a radicalization of Ukrainian nationalism ...and not least the connection between Biden’s European and South East Asian strategies, especially the American preparations for war with China.

"What is nothing short of astonishing is how many hawks have come out of their nests in recent months in Germany. Some figure as ‘experts’ on Eastern Europe, international politics and the military...others are ordinary citizens who suddenly enjoy following tank battles on the internet and rooting for ‘our’ side. Some of the most warlike used to belong to the left, widely defined.

"Of course, in order to make ordinary people rally to the cause, effective ‘narratives’ must be devised to convince them that pacifism is either treason or a mental illness.People must also be made to believe that unlike what the defeatists say in order to undermine Western morale, nuclear war is not a threat: either the Russian madman will turn out to be not mad enough to follow up on his delusions, or if he doesn’t the damage will remain local, limited to a country whose people, as their president reassures us on television every night, are not afraid of dying for both their fatherland and, as von der Leyen puts it, for ‘the European family’ – which, when the time is ripe, will invite them in, all expenses paid.”

See: https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/getting-closer