Saturday, 5 February 2022 — Caitlin Johnson
Listen to a reading of this article:
Back in November The Military Times published a Ukrainian intelligence claim, which was picked up and repeated by numerous other mainstream publications, alleging that Russia was going to invade Ukraine by the end of January.
Then in late January when the calendar debunked the Military Times incendiary headline “Russia preparing to attack Ukraine by late January”, that same outlet ran a much less viral story with the headline “Russia not yet ready for full-scale attack says Ukraine“.
Now here in early February, the Murdoch press has put out a spin piece of a sort we’re likely to see more of in coming days claiming that Russia has not invaded because the US and its allies have “ruined” Moscow’s plans by telling everyone the invasion is coming. In an article titled “Ukraine-Russia tensions: Moscow’s plans ‘ruined’ after US and Britain call out possible invasion“, Ukraine’s defense minister Hanna Maliar tells Sky News that Putin has not yet invaded because his murderous plot was thwarted by a plucky band of imperial states who would not be prevented from speaking their truth.
NEW: Revelations by the UK & US about the threat of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine are “ruining” Moscow’s plans, deputy defence minister tells @SkyNews
It came as accused ok a fake video attack plot to frame forces & forge an excuse to invade https://t.co/0jWQJRVbJF
— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) February 4, 2022
“It’s important to understand that when we or our western partners name the date of the possible invasion, we are ruining their plans,” Maliar told Sky News. “And the dates that were already told in public – it’s ruined plans, nothing will happen in these days. But the danger still exists.”
In the same piece Ukraine’s information minister Oleksandr Tkachenko was asked if he believed Russia would already have invaded if not for all the western talk of an imminent attack, to which he replied, “As a typical robber, if he does not see defence or at least does not see talking, he will act.”
At no time in the article is any consideration given to the possibility of a far simpler explanation for the missing Russian invasion: that Russia never intended to invade. That possibility is just skimmed right over in favor of the seemingly far less likely scenario that the Russian government thought it could orchestrate a massive invasion without anybody saying anything about it and was forced to abandon its plans in disappointment when that nonsensical gamble failed to pay off.
And now we’ve already got western media publishing other Ukrainian military claims that the real invasion will be coming on February 20th.
“February 20 is noted as a potential start date for the invasion: that is when the Winter Olympics ends in Beijing, and President Putin, 69, eager to woo the Chinese, may not wish to tarnish the event,” The Times wrote in late January.
As February 20th comes and goes without an invasion and predictions of false flag operations and Kremlin-backed coups fail to pan out, we will likely be seeing more such spin jobs from the western media claiming that those things did not happen because of measures that were taken by the US and its allies to prevent it. It may be used to score political points by claiming Biden “prevented” a Ukraine invasion with his willingness to stand up to Putin by pouring weapons into Ukraine and sending troops to Eastern Europe.
These claims will be built entirely on specious reasoning.
The fallacious nature of the narrative that western powers are thwarting diabolical plots from the Kremlin with their cold war aggressions is best illustrated in this short clip from The Simpsons in which Homer believes that bears are being kept out of a generally bear-free neighborhood by the newly invented “bear patrol”.
“Ah, not a bear in sight! The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm,” says Homer.
“That’s specious reasoning, Dad,” Lisa replies, picking up a stone from the ground. “By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.”
“Oh, how does it work?” asks her father.
“It doesn’t work,” says Lisa. “It’s just a stupid rock. But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?”
At which point Homer offers to buy Lisa’s rock from her, because he’s a fuckin’ idiot.
The logical fallacy that has afflicted both Homer Simpson and those who claim the US power alliance is preventing a Russian invasion of Ukraine is known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (“with this, therefore because of this”), which is the fallacy that correlation implies causation. It’s when someone puts forward the claim that because two things happened concurrently (or failed to happen as in the examples we’re looking at here), one must have caused the other. Homer’s bear patrol kept the bears away. Lisa’s anti-tiger rock kept the tigers away. The west’s shrieking about an imminent Russian invasion kept the Russian invaders away.
Alternatively, it’s possible that there were no bears or tigers threatening the streets of Springfield, and that there was no Russian invasion threatening Ukraine. That this was all a narrative used to ramp up cold war escalations, move some expensive military inventory, manufacture the global consensus that Putin is a Hitler-like menace who must be aggressively checked at all times by all nations, or potentially heaven forbid to lay the groundwork for aggressions from US/Ukraine/NATO powers.
However this thing unfolds, it’s a safe bet that the rhetoric won’t be getting any more logically sound any time soon. So keep that Simpson’s clip handy.