A Correspondent on Death’s-Head Kvellers

January 30, 2023

In Letters To Finkelstein Russia and Ukraine Russia-Ukraine War

Hi Norm,

You are right in that Anatol Lieven is generally regarded as a serious and knowledgeable and objective journalist. Even Noam Chomsky quotes and cites Lieven. He is interviewed by Doug Henwood. His books are widely cited in specialist courses in university. I read his columns. His book on Pakistan is regarded a serious and balanced book.


He is a British journalist and therefore has a certain cache in US circles, who are always easily impressed by upper class Oxbridge accents. What can one say!


Lieven should recall that despite the NATO and Ukraine provocation, the Russians have (so far) refrained from using some of its most deadly and destructive weapons. But more importantly Russia’s economy is weak and its military budget is paltry compared to Western standards. According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Russia’s military budget was just $63 billion in 2021, whereas the US’s military budget is $767 billion in the same year. The US and NATO are providing hefty support for Ukraine. Hence, it is not surprising that Russia’s military performance has been so poor so far.


If any nuclear-armed Western country faced the threat Russia is facing today, the Western countries would have blown the world to bits many times over, I dare say.


I suspect Anatol Lieven, despite his knowledge, training, and experience, ultimately knows which side of the bread is buttered. It could be not just self-conscious but a trait that comes naturally to members of the ruling class as a result of their upbringing and training in elite colleges. Their view is as follows: “Russians are to be damned.” Hence, Russia’s (legitimate) fears and security concerns have no place in the minds of such men.


I see that you have been reading Rosa Luxemburg. I am not all familiar with Rosa Luxemburg at all, but I am glad to learn how you relate Luxemburg’s insights on her times to the “burning” issues of our times. I only hope that your work will help to end these and other tragedies and crimes.


Too bad that Lieven is serving as a hack rather than a truth teller. He has talents, but he should use it for the common good of humanity.

I think the Russians have a saying: “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”


You can use this email in your website but without my name.


Best regards,

An economist