Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, a lot of ink has been spilled on this topic in the Western media. Following a harsh ideological line, Western journalists unanimously predicted a swift and terrible end for Russia, competing in the destructiveness of metaphors.
According to the Western media, Russia was supposed to immediately suffocate in the smoke of sanctions, all the oligarchs in one day were supposed to turn against the Russian president, and the result of the special operation in Ukraine should already have been a complete Vietnam… Well, that is, Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. The world does not see the slender ranks of the oligarch-militia yet, and the anti-Russian sanctions have still not gained the necessary suffocating concentration. All this, of course, is possible in the future, but so far it has not happened – and the special operation is underway.
So, the groggy expectation of an early Ukrainian “victory” in the West is being replaced by the headache of “treason“, since Russia’s response turned out to be more noticeable for the West than it was initially thought.
The fact is that gas supply problems for European countries in general, and the UK in particular, are not trivial at all. In the UK, for example, there is no such well-known concept as “central heating“. Everyone heats its own household, and not everyone can afford it.
Say, only wealthy citizens can afford to heat 24 hours a day in winter, while ordinary Europeans (and the British are no exception) are often forced to go to bed “in complete outfit“. And this is not the only consequence of what is happening in Ukraine for the European population.
British journalist and writer, defense and security columnist for The Daily Telegraph and, of course, “expert on Russia” Con Coughlin has been following events throughout Russia’s special operation in Ukraine. And, of course, gave assessments and forecasts. It is interesting to trace how the rhetoric of this information fighter against Russia has changed.
Act 1: Russian regime will “come to an end soon”
Already by the evening of February 24, right after the start of the SMO (Special Military Operation), Coughlin predicted the quick end of the Vladimir Putin’s “bloody rule“, drawing parallels with the military operation of the USSR in Afghanistan (1979-1989).
“He [Vladimir Putin] need only look at the Kremlin’s disastrous involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s to see how even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong.” the columnist said. According to him, Russia’s strategic victory in Ukraine is out of the question.
User Oliver Dykes in the comments called Coughlin a neoliberal for whom “USA and Britain always good, other countries may be just about ok at times (eg France, Germany), or always bad (eg Russia, China).“. He expressed puzzlement about the references to “bloody rule“.
“Even allowing for current events, Putin’s rule is no more ‘bloody’ than that of [US President] George W. Bush or [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair, if anything probably less so though that remains to be seen.” Dykes added. And it’s hard to disagree with him.
He also did not forget to mention that it was the UK that had big military problems in Afghanistan. For example, in the first attempt, of the 15,000 British soldiers who invaded Afghanistan from India in 1839, only one … soldier was able to return to India in 1842 safe and sound.
Act 2: Propaganda is more important than a bullet
On April 3, when the Ukrainian Nazis in Mariupol had already been almost pushed out into Azovstal territory, and the Russian Defense Ministry announced the end of the first stage of the special operation, the Telegraph columnist thought that there would be no “victory” on the battlefield. But that’s okay – there is propaganda! And here the West is doing just fine: Britain fully “controls the narrative” of the Ukrainian situation so that no Russian mouse can slip through!
“It has been so heartening to see our intelligence and military chiefs, normally so reticent about hogging the limelight, making sure that it is the West, and not Russia, that is dominating the narrative on the war in Ukraine.” Coughlin noted.
In this statement, we see not just an informational spin on the story, but also a trace of philosophical conclusions about how the Western view of events relates to reality.
It correlates, apparently, not always successfully for the author. Since among the readers there were doubters even here. A user nicknamed Just Huffenhope noted that you can’t stop a tank through Twitter or a diplomatic note of protest.
“One of the somewhat obvious features of the situation that the chattering class is going to have to relearn is that an 80 ton battle tank trumps a cleverly worded tweet and even a strongly worded note from Brussels. ” he wrote.
Act 3. Almost a “victory”
On April 21, Coughlin writes that “Russia’s military disaster” at the first stage is so terrible that… incomprehensibly turned into – “to colonise large tracts of Ukrainian territory ” at the second stage. According to the author, they should turn out for Russia into even more “terrible” consequences, and NATO needs to show firmness.
“There is little evidence to suggest his next effort [by Russia and Putin] to colonise large tracts of Ukrainian territory will fare much better,” the columnist writes. Without explaining what the “disaster” thesis is based on, and how it relates to subsequent colonization. Obviously, this is the quality of the “ the narrative on the war in Ukraine“.
In turn, Telegraph readers blamed in already obvious failures in Ukraine the European NATO allies who are trying to avoid even a limited nuclear conflict at all costs.
“NATO is divided, China is looking to gain advantage, the UN (I don’t know where they are) and America seems rudderless. Hell I’ve depressed myself.” lamented Malcolm Hockham.
Act 4: “Humiliated Russia faces an epoch-defining defeat“
On May 5, Coughlin writes that the failure of the USSR in Afghanistan will pale in comparison to the imminent collapse of the Ukrainian special operation. In doing so he simply lists all of Russia’s “failures”, not shying away from exaggerating them or interpreting them in clear favor of whom.
Is the military special operation dragging on? All the better for the West, Coughlin believes, because Russia’s costs are increasing.
“The fact that a company like BP has been prepared to write off billions of dollars to extricate itself from its involvement with the Russian oil giant Rosneft illustrates the lengths major Western multinationals have been willing to go to terminate their dealings with Moscow. And, so long as Mr Putin remains in power, there is little prospect of any of them reopening operations in Russia.” the author says.
“Russia has been reduced to the status of a pariah state, with international war crimes investigators looking to press charges” Coughlin continues to pile on.
And so on. According to the author, any event for Russia is a shame and humiliation, which brings the Afghan scenario from the time of the withdrawal of Soviet troops closer. He even remembered the “failure” of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who reminded the international community that Adolf Hitler had some “Jewish blood“.
However, the readers of the newspaper remembered that Russia is accustomed to prolonged conflicts and patience. The experience of World War II has not yet been forgotten in Britain, despite all the efforts.
Besides, many wished to throw another stone in the garden of France and Germany, who “haven’t left Russia yet“. And in general, “Unfortunately for every BP that leaves there will be a queue of chancers waiting to take their place“.
Act 5: Change of Scenery
May 12. Just one week later, Coughlin discovered Putin’s new cunning plan. If a week earlier the long-term conflict had been to the West’s advantage, now the situation has changed fundamentally for some reason. It turns out that if one wants to win, Britain must also invest heavily. For the conviction that it is right, one has to pay not only with the lives of Ukrainians somewhere out there, but also out of one’s own pocket.
“Putin has good reason to believe that, the longer the fighting continues, the more likely Western politicians are to come under pressure to concentrate their energies on domestic concerns.” the author states.
At the same time, pragmatic readers immediately grasped the main message: we will have to tighten our belts, which we do not want to tighten for the sake of the Ukrainians.
“We be as we relearn the reality that bullets, shells, bomb,s missiles fired by people operating long lead time and expensive kit [of western manufacturing] is actually killing the population of Ukraine ” Trevor Hirst writes. The key word here, of course, is “expensive.”
“Yeah, let’s just spend more money on war. People don’t matter. Just war. Profit is more important than humanity. ” Stanley Webber sets a more sublime anti-war tone.
“The British people, the homeless, the poverty stricken, pensioners scared to switch on the gas, suffering under huge inflation must come first.” Jorge Ramos continues, preferring to operate in more “life-like” categories. Moreover, as we already understand, “scared to switch on the gas” is not a figure of speech, but a very real reality.
“We are a long way from Russia and China, and live on an island. Finland shares a massive border with Russia. To invade us, either of those countries has to go through a lot of other countries first,” writes David Birchall, trying in his own way to dispel the myth of Britain’s threat from Russia or China.
Besides, a number of readers had “small-hearted” doubts in the background of the same reasoning. “I wonder what would/could be disadvantageous if Russia takes back its corrupt ancient lands fast.” John Travis asks.
Act 6. Putin can win
May 26. Two more weeks passed, and the Azov battalion (organization banned in Russia), entrenched at the Mariupol metallurgical plant, valiantly laid down its arms and surrendered to Russian, DPR and LPR soldiers, and in Donbass the armies achieved a sustained initiative that cannot be ignored any longer. And now it turns out that “A Russian defeat, though, is by no means guaranteed.“
“A Russian defeat, though, is by no means guaranteed. The early successes Russian forces have achieved in the Donbas, together with Mr Putin’ s determination to maintain his offensive at all costs, means the possibility of a Russian victory… must be taken seriously.” Con Coughlin reasoned.
And he doesn’t hold back from frightening readers with some Russian perspectives and emphasizing the need for increased military aid to Ukraine.
“If Mr Putin succeeds in his long-held ambition of “liberating” that part of Ukraine, what is to prevent him from regrouping his forces and launching a fresh offensive to capture the rest of the country?” asks the author rhetorically.
But the Telegraph’s readers were not easily confused at all. After all, two weeks ago they firmly grasped the main idea: belt-tightening (especially on beloved themselves) – an unpleasant procedure. It is desirable to avoid it, for example, by shifting it to someone else. Say, the United States.
“The only people that can supply the weapons are the USA. Unfortunately Biden and his Government are being far too timid. They are measuring out weapons in penny packets. This is a time for decisive ‘action this day’ as Churchill would say. Wake up President Biden you have the means!” exclaimed Jonathan Steel.
As the curtain falls
So far, it has become clear that even the liberally-minded readers of the Telegraph are for the most part unwilling to sacrifice their own comfort for the sake of pressure on Russia. And no appeal to the “Russian threat” can shake the British in their confidence that more military spending inevitably means less consumption. And if so, “Russia does not threaten Britain“. Is there a “treason” out there? Well, do we really care?
Summer has begun and there is no need to heat the households. But summer heat tends to come to an end. October will come and it will bring cold weather and new bills for heating. How many more times before that can the rhetoric of Mr. Coughlin and many other columnists change?
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency