In 2017 an office worker developed a sore head and dizziness. Then a few colleagues developed similar symptoms. It was a high-stress workplace so the explanation for this should have been straightforward. In very few circumstances would the explanation have involved sci-fi invisible ray guns.
But this workplace was a particularly paranoid part of The Blob and The Blob itself is permanently paranoid and so this daft conspiracy theory (invisible ray guns) became the primary focus of investigation. That investigation continued for five years and concluded that it was probably stress.
If none of this makes any sense to you that is probably because you don’t know what The Blob is. It is a term for the giant, sprawling body of government agencies, security services, military leaders, diplomats, think tanks, corporations and journalists who adhere to the religion of ‘Western Foreign Policy’.
It’s called The Blob (by everyone including those in The Blob) because it is hard to define where it starts and where it ends, what legitimacy it has, what it does and who it works for. But while it is oddly shapeless, it is nevertheless absolutely coherent. It very seldom disagrees with itself in public no matter how nuts the public position.
So even when The Blob knows that what The Blob is saying is total bollocks (most notably over WMD in Iraq), generally The Blob sticks together anyway. That is how the totally daft idea of ‘Havana Syndrome’ (the workplace mentioned above was the US Embassy in Havana) was able to take root.
Despite the fact that everyone knew the ray gun didn’t exist (because if it is military hardware that can be used for malice, the US has already tried to build it), the media, politicians, CIA and State Department took it Very Seriously Indeed.
That’s the thing about The Blob – it is never not Incredibly Serious even when it is clearly laugh-out-loud funny. Even when diplomatic staff in dozens of other countries started reporting the same symptoms and the new theory was that the US was being hunted around the world by whomever had this ray gun that didn’t exist, still it was Incredibly Serious.
So when they tell you that Putin is basically Hitler and is trying to take over Europe this too you must take very seriously indeed. And this time they don’t need to fabricate Weapons of Mass Destruction.
My partner is Latina American so please don’t talk to me about a benevolent West
Let me be clear, Putin isn’t a good guy, but he’s not Hitler. He has no ambitions to create a global empire based on ethnic purity, he’s just a slightly sad authoritarian presiding over a declining economy in a country routinely humiliated by the West who needs to stamp his feet to be taken seriously again.
To imagine that, overall, Russia is the aggressor you need to know next to nothing about recent history. It is certainly worth reading this piece (by a paid-up member of The Blob) to get a sense of what it must be like to be Russian.
After the fall of the Soviet Union Russia begged the West not to humiliate it precisely to avoid what is happening now. The West showed total disregard and humiliated Russia anyway. It has aggressively expanded Nato into Russia’s near neighbours and built up hostile military capacity all round the country.
Russia was given the assurance that if it cooperated with German reunification there would be no attempt to expand Nato. Instead what Nato did was the equivalent of Russia recruiting Canada and Mexico as allies and establishing military bases on the US border.
The West threw money at a coup to overturn a democratically elected Russian-orientated leader in the Ukraine. I spent a fortnight in Kiev and Odessa within a couple of months of the Orange Revolution and even people in Kiev were clear this was a coup of the affluent west of the country against the much poorer (and largely Russian-speaking) east of the country.
One fairly corrupt pro-Russian leader was replaced with a bunch of significantly more corrupt pro-western leaders. Little more than a decade later the western-backed administration removed Russian as an official national language, a clear provocation to that largely Russian-speaking east.
Putin either believed Russia must protect this oppressed Russian minority or saw a brilliant pretext for a show of strength to shore up crumbling domestic support, depending on which way you look at it. (I tend to the latter, but don’t dismiss that there was an element of the former.)
Right now there is credible evidence that the US is funding the training of Ukrainian neo-nazis in case Russia does invade because it has learned absolutely nothing from its interventions in the Middle East and its dalliance with the Mujahadeen.
And we’re up to high doh about Russian Facebook posts?
Yet again, I don’t want Scottish independence so we too can start pulling out our penises and waving them around so perhaps maybe, just maybe, The Blob will notice us and wrap us up in its warm embrace. We already have British Foreign Policy for that purpose
Which brings us to Scotland. Wherever there is a powerful gang there will always be the scrawny kid hiding at the back, feeding off its power. Imagine that kid. Now imagine that kid’s pet dog. Now imagine that dog’s chew toy. That should give you some perspective on the significance of the SNP’s foreign policy team.
They posture and pose as statesmen (they’re all men) and seem to get high on their own supply every time they do. They have little support in their own party or the independence movement and my strong guess is that Scottish public sentiment on escalating tensions with Russia do not tend towards the ‘yes, let’s do that’ end of the spectrum.
And yet, like every good sycophant, they parrot the same lines as those they aspire to be. We (the West) are all about rules-based order. Except Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel (you know the length of this list).
We are bringing stability, like we did to the Middle East. We are keeping the world safe for capitalism (that bit is true) and democracy (when it suits us). We apply sanctions, our opponents ‘weaponise trade’.
The Blob is ramping up a cold war with Russia as a wee practice for a full-on cold war against China because China has the temerity to do a fraction of what the West has done over the last 50 years.
I am no fan of authoritarian Russia nor of outright totalitarian China. Their list of their crimes against humanity is long. But nothing like as long as the West’s. My partner is Latina American so please don’t talk to me about a benevolent West. Neither Russia nor China has a look-in on the evil stakes if you lived through what the US did in South America over the 1970s and 1980s.
Wishing not to be up to my neck in this violence, cynicism, hypocrisy and horror is not a unique position in the independence movement, in Scotland, in the world. After Iraq and Afghanistan it is a position which is held by more people globally than those who yearn for The Blob to invent a new conspiracy theory as a basis for another murderous military intervention.
Yet again, I don’t want Scottish independence so we too can start pulling out our penises and waving them around so perhaps maybe, just maybe, The Blob will notice us and wrap us up in its warm embrace. We already have British Foreign Policy for that purpose.
So yes, I do want a Scottish foreign policy, but that is so incredibly different from supporting the SNP’s hangers on, the little Blobettes.
Mine starts simply; do not harm, put your fists away – and don’t assume invisible ray guns.