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3 Aug, 2022 14:15

'Ukraine worst conflict since WW2' narrative allows the West to forget this horrific war which shook Europe

AP erased the Yugoslav conflict so it could blame Russia for disrupting Europe’s alleged post-WWII peace
'Ukraine worst conflict since WW2' narrative allows the West to forget this horrific war which shook Europe

Europe had “77 years of almost uninterrupted peace” until Russia chose to end it by “invading” Ukraine, according to a peculiar “analysis” published by the Associated Press (AP) over the weekend. Having thus erased Yugoslavia’s bloody destruction in the 1990s, the author contradicts himself just two paragraphs later. 

In a surreal opener, AP’s John Leicester argues that the conflict in Ukraine is the kind of world-changing event on the same level as the first nuclear bomb test in 1945 or the 1969 moon landing. Except the moon landing didn’t really change the world – the Apollo program arguably was NASA’s high water mark – so it’s puzzling why it would even get a mention. Perhaps to emotionally prime the reader for the following whopper, which is that on February 24 this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin “chews up the world order and 77 years of almost uninterrupted peace in Europe by invading Ukraine.”

Come again? Leicester, who writes from Paris and has covered Europe for AP since 2002, clearly missed out on the Balkans Wars of the 1990s. People who did not, and live with the consequences to this day, were predictably upset. 

The war in Bosnia (1992-1995) certainly did not qualify as “uninterrupted peace” – unless this was considered Europe only on the maps. Nor did the 1999 “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo, which had consequences that were on display on Sunday. The entire article basically hinges on that one word, “almost.” 

It might be possible Leicester – and his AP editors – had forgotten all about these episodes. There is a curious lack of interest in the West in questioning the official narratives of the Yugoslav wars, after all. Except just two paragraphs later, Leicester cites an emotionally charged issue straight out of the Bosnian War – Srebrenica – to compare the Russians to Nazis. 

Taking into consideration that his “analysis” is just dripping with emotionally charged language, this suggests that either Leicester and AP don’t consider the Balkans properly “Europe,” or chose to gloss over the conflicts there in order to bend reality to their preferred narrative – that of Russia upsetting Europe’s peaceful slumber.

Just look at this verbiage: “generations of Europeans who had grown up knowing only peace have been brutally awakened to both its value and its fragility.” Or this: “the need to take sides — for self-preservation and to stand for right against wrong.”

Or lamenting that the world was making such “progress, with speedy vaccines against the Covid-19 global pandemic and deals on climate change, before Russia’s all-powerful Putin made it his historical mission to force independent, Western-looking Ukraine at gunpoint back into the Kremlin’s orbit, as it had been during Soviet times, when he served as an intelligence officer for the feared KGB.” Just one trope after another, strung together for maximum emotional impact.

At this point it is tempting, as one online researcher did, to wonderhow quickly the once venerable AP descended into an all-out dumpster fire.” Not just when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, either – the agency’s almost comical “don’t say recession” coverage of the US economy under President Joe Biden has prompted one pollster to describe them as “disgustingly dishonest” people who have been “shilling” for the Democrats for years. 

Another example of this is on display in AP’s coverage of the House January 6 Committee, an unusual collection of Democrats “enriched” by two rabidly anti-Trump GOP representatives. In addition to the emotional undertones, the agency insists on calling the Capitol riot an “insurrection,” a loaded term preferred by the Democrats, in order to invoke the 14th Amendment and disenfranchise the opposition.

Compare that to AP bending over backwards not to describe the 2020 riots as “riots,” but literally anything else. Their explanation? The word “riot” would “stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice, going back to the urban uprisings of the 1960s.”

Instead, the AP’s Stylebook – used by most English-speaking journalists around the world – advises using different euphemisms, depending on who the violence is directed at. In other words, the What matters less than Who is doing it to Whom. 

If once is coincidence, twice is happenstance, and three times is enemy action, then this is a veritable onslaught on the very meaning of words, perpetrated by one of the world’s largest “news” agencies. This is about more than Ukraine, or the Balkans wars, or the Biden recession, or the “fiery but mostly peaceful” riots – it’s about reality itself and the people who try to twist it, whatever their reasons. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.