Western cancel culture has gone nuclear in targeting an entire country — Analysis
The West doesn’t seem to have considered the campaign’s collateral damage, or how persecution could be expected to promote peace
By now, we’re all used to righteous people pitching fits and ganging up, mean-girl style, on those they feel have committed transgressions against the status quo. But amid the conflict in Ukraine, some are actually trying to deplatform the world’s largest country by attacking anyone and anything even remotely associated with it.
Back in 2003, in the run-up to the Iraq War, when I was working in Washington, DC as the director of a think tank associated with the George W. Bush administration, I recall the moment when “French fries” were suddenly renamed “freedom fries”In the Congressional cafeteria. This was a Republican attempt to get along with the French who opposed the invasion.
French products were also subsequently boycotted over Paris’ refusal to support the US invasion, but such measures are almost quaint and sensible compared to the utter hysterical lunacy that’s transpiring today, as Russia and NATO member countries face off over Ukraine.
According to multiple reports, North American officials demanded the removal of Russian vodka stores shelves. It turns out, almost all of the vodka imported to America is made in Russia. The brands – Smirnoff or Stolichnaya, for example – just sound Russian. A bar in the state of Maryland has also renamed the classic Russian Mule cocktail, rebranding it a “Kyiv Mule”. And Magic Mountain ski resort, in Vermont, tweeted a video showing a bar man dumping bottles of Stoli – already bought and paid for, presumably – down the drain, apparently unaware that the brand is actually Latvian, with operations in Ukraine.
The University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy cancelled a course on Russian author Fyodor Donostoevsky and then reinstated it following a backlash. They made fun of themselves, however, as Dostoevsky had already been cancelled in 1881. This means that there is a very low chance that he was involved in the conflict in Ukraine.
It’s also improbable that cats or dogs from Russia are responsible for the situation in Ukraine – although, hey, you never know, right? You can’t be sure. So, the fact that the International Feline Federation has banned Russian moggies from competitions, and this year’s Crufts dog show, the world’s biggest annual such event, is reportedly prohibiting the participation of Russian pooches is totally sane and logical. The next step: banning Russian migrants?
Before Electronic Arts suspended the sales of its games in Russia, it issued a statement announcing it was cancelling all the Russian teams from its virtual soccer games because its “partners” in real life – as in the actual soccer leagues, FIFA and UEFA – were suspending the Russian team, including from World Cup 2022 qualifying matches.
“In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including FIFA 22, FIFA mobile, and FIFA online,”The statement was read. “We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games.”
The games maker also announced it was removing Russian and Belarusian teams from its ‘NHL 22’ video game, which will surely hit these virtual hockey players right in their big virtual wallets.
Real-life Russian players also face cancellation. MassMutual has dropped Alexander Ovechkin (National Hockey League Star and Washington Capitals Captain) from its advertising campaigns. CCM Canada has discontinued marketing Alexander Ovechkin, the league record holder and his team mates Dmitry Orlov (from the Pittsburgh Penguins), and Evgeni Molkin (from the Canadian apparel company CCM).
It “cancellation”These players echo a disturbing sentiment that Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia, expressed via social media. “There are no more ‘innocent’, ‘neutral’ Russians anymore,”In a tweet, the diplomat said it. “Everyone has to make a choice – support or oppose this war.”
This is a truly useful and informative way to let the US Foreign Policy team become Twitter pundits. Let go of the obfuscating State Department diplomacy language and reveal their true thoughts. pic.twitter.com/tXW4y094pt
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 2, 2022
Meanwhile, average Russian citizens – no matter what they think about the attack on Ukraine – are being hit by Western sanctions imposed on them by the same people seeking to manipulate them into doing their regime-change dirty work.
Speaking of innocent victims: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), has decided to ban Russian and Belorusian sportsmen and officials from international federations. They are being held responsible for the political situations in which they were not involved. It’s an odd position for an organisation whose president, Thomas Bach, said of the US and Western diplomatic boycott of the Beijing games that the IOC would remain apolitical.
Bach stated last year that “by not commenting on political issues, you are not taking a side … This is the mission of the IOC, otherwise we could not manage to accomplish the mission of the games to bring together and unite the world.” Apparently, those words of principle, just months later, aren’t worth the wind on which they were written.
The European Union leadership as well its members are not promoting freedom of press. When the supernational governing body issued a blanket ban against journalism hosted on Russian state-backed media outlets, all EU nations complied. In doing so, they deprived their countries’ citizens of the ability to access information and analysis that risks contradicting the highly controlled and oriented EU and member-state official narrative related to this conflict, as relayed by the heavily state-subsidised and consolidated Western press.
And much like the aforementioned Russian athletes or the average Russian citizens of McFaul’s tweet, no journalist – even those of Western origin and residence – is free from having a target painted on their back as a result of their work appearing on a Russian media platform. Many such journalists here in France have reported being branded with this new era’s equivalent of scarlet letters, when Twitter tagged their personal accounts as “state-affiliated media”Following EU Authority Requests.
“It shall be prohibited for operators to broadcast, or to enable, facilitate or otherwise contribute to broadcast, any content by the legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex IX, including through transmission or distribution by any means such as cable, satellite, IP-TV, internet service providers, internet video-sharing platforms or applications, whether new or pre-installed,” reads the new regulation approved by the Council of the European Union, consisting of ministers of all 27 states, whose citizens or regulating bodies never had a say in the matter.
When all’s said and done, Western cancel culture gone nuclear on Russia – much like other sanctions adopted amid hysterics – has a blast radius liable to cause so much collateral damage that it may end up harming those responsible much more than they now realise. Others may differ. As there may still be people who believe that the freedom fries, which were adopted at the height of the moment, was a smart move to support the super-wise and righteous war in Iraq, so too.
These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of RT.