It’s real, as discussed starting in the following sub-thread. Short version is that shifting the blame to NATO has become the fallback position for politicians and pundits who spent years making excuses for Putin until the invasion made them laughable.
It comes easier for brocialists and “Dirtbag Leftists” and pseudo-progressives like Greenwald because they can integrate this BS narrative into a somewhat reality-based history of American imperialism. It also works for fascist “American First” isolationists since it’s consistent with their opposition to U.S. involvedment in NATO, the UN, etc.
It’s such a fantastic idea to have a catch-all topic for common discussion problems, especially a topical one based on current events and repeated anti-patterns in those discussions. Kudos @gracchus … you can see it “in action” through the automatic backlinks at the bottom of the first post:
I’m wondering if there’s any way to even partially automate this process, to make it easier for all future discussions?
Thanks. Honestly I’m thankful that we haven’t had to use this or the topic for Vlad’s Alternate History topic to the extent I thought we might. For whatever reason, Putin’s 10-Ruble Army from the IRA and the Useful Idiots have stayed away or were inactive or banned long ago.
I’m not sure if this can be automated on the BB instance, let alone for your other customers. The anti-patterns are identified by community members and the topics set up by trusted TL3+ members. A lot of the existing features already make them easy to set up and manage and categorise. All I can think of are cosmetics and labels to make such topics stand out from the others and perhaps an official moderator’s “seal of approval”. Maybe some back-end analytics tools for the mods that will help them identify the anti-patterns and the users who indulge in them? I’ll bet the Discourse team can come up with other ideas.
I think about whataboutism on a sort of meta level recently. Well, I hope it’s meta. The thing about it is that using it may win a reprieve in the short run, but it hurts longer term goals. It’s kind of like poisoning the well on yourself, as nearly all cases of whataboutism are facetious and only destroy your own credibility.
And yet it is still used because short term goals are tangible. It buys the user a few minutes more, hopefully enough time to escape, run out the clock, or otherwise end the game and walk away. Declare the slate clean and hope enough rubes are still in the next game.
None of this is scientific, or even more than my personal musing. I don’t even know if this is even a valuable contribution, but I did want to contribute. Because I hope to learn more, and how can I do this without stating what I have already assumed?
That’s exactly how people who use the fallacy (and others) look at discussions: not as an exchange of ideas but as a zero-sum game. It’s a shoddy HS debate club trick, which is why American right-wing dweebs from Gingrich to Putin-fanboi Carlson have always been fond of it.
You are right on with this, plus there are couple of other possible goals. Derailing the conversation - maybe you can move the.conversatiom to being about your “whatabout”. Creating a false equivalence - you bring up something less terrible as your “what about” in an attempt to change perception of the offense you are arguing against. Simply shutting down the conversation - either by shutting down the conversation with your what about,bor by continually having another if one gets shot down - this achieved the same goal as derailing,bdinge the conversation becomes all about arguing against you bad faith whatabouts
A friend of mine on Facebook is upset that Russia is getting kicked out of a bunch of sporting events, saying that it’s not fair to the athletes and that this never happens when other countries are the invaders and politics have nothing to do with sports.
I straight up told him, “Man, ain’t nobody wants to play a friendly game of football with the Russian national team right now.”
For the record, I do not believe that he is pro-Russian at all. He’s just very pro-sports.
let’s then add anyone in the West and NATO who set Ukraine up, let it run up against the bear, then hung it out to dry. Against its will; Zelensky was elected, with 3/4 of the vote, to make peace with the Russian population in Ukraine, but -someone- didn’t let him do it and ran him into a military confrontation with them (Ukraine was bombing its separatist regions long before the Russian invasion; not that that justifies an invasion, but it did happen.) Then add everyone who’s setting them up now for an eternal guerilla fight, with just enough weapons to hold them off, but not win, which will turn their country into the next Iraq, which may or may not bleed out Russia. That is the visible interest of the US, currently, as it plays out.
And then let’s add the media clamoring for nuclear war.
I don’t remember who said it: A tankie used to mean “a Western supporter of communist countries”; now it just means “someone who understands global power structures beyond naive media stories”. And empty symbolism.
I mean the calls for no-fly-zones and the reporting on how the US is trying to pressure Poland into giving jets to Ukraine, which Poland does not want to do, because they very well know that will start WW3. Much reporting conveniently forgets to mention this, though not all. A Washington Post article made clear what a “no-fly zone” means: NATO shooting down Russian jets. But it still didn’t mention that that is the route to nuclear escalation.
Also, as someone whos’ neither American, nor Russian, nor Ukrainian: Stop throwing around “Russian propaganda!” like this. It doesn’t help you.
There’s a notable difference between US propaganda and that of the non-Western world: non-Western propaganda tends to be deep, calm, referencing actual fact, but with questionable interpretation (Putin does this. China does too.). US propaganda consists of accusing others of propaganda, and then laughing, “y’all crazy! we would never! we’re the free world! how outrageous!” Which is cheap and insulting. Try watching Indian TV sometime (I’m not Indian). They invite Anglo voices, and that’s all those people then ever do: laugh, go “aw, shucks, US?”, look indignant at the suggestion that this is not just a one-sided easy thing. Based on the sheer assumption that people will assume “US good.” This works in US media, and then they’re surprised it doesn’t in other places, because there, people don’t trust the US, for long and good reason. Always funny to watch.
That would be Putin, who supported the pro-Russian fascist militias in Donbas as part of his larger expansionist aims.
Citation needed. Putin and his cronies have been doing a fine job of bleeding Russia dry without any help from the U.S. or NATO, both of which were perfectly happy to let that regime relegate their petro-state to a kleptocratic second-class power all on their own.
Calls for no-fly zones are not predicated on the idea that nuclear war is something desirable.
In the years since the USSR collapsed the term has evolved to describe those so blinded by their rage at (very real) Western imperialism and neoliberal globalism that they’ll make excuses for the criminal and authoritarian activities of any regime that claims to oppose them. See also “Useful Idiots” (i.e. the type of person who naively spreads the talking points of regimes like Putin’s).
Yes, shrill demands that the world not call the invasion of Ukraine a war but rather a “special military operation” is the height of depth, calm, and factual accuracy. /s
“Understands” is a bit generous to describe someone (generic) who uncritically accepts and cites the news as spun out by outlet like the Eurasian Times (which seems to be mainly concerned with pushing a Hindu nationalist/pro-Modi line) or Glen Greenwald.
An assumption that’s never been the default on this site.
Which some would take as those countries accepting the only responsible decision after everyone (including Poland) tried every workaround they could to get the jets to Ukraine without risking a major escalation.