Watch Freddy Sayers of Unherd and Konstantin Kisin, a well-known Russian-British comedian, podcaster, writer and social commentator, break down the coverage in the Western media, both mainstream and alternate, and
offer some soundbites of their own. Kisin outlines Putin’s imperial aims as set out in his signal claim that large swathes of Ukraine are, historically and ethnically speaking, Russian territories. He goes on to criticize the Western
media’s failure to understand what was being announced.. He discounts the theory that it is NATO’s sustained expansionism (ala Mearsheimer whose analysis is left unreferenced) that has provoked the Russian aggression and calls for an assertion of Western power in the face of a new Cold War II. This is of course very much a NATO perspective (There is nothing cold about the invasion from a Ukrainian perspective). Kisin does acknowledge the West’s broken promise to the former Soviet Union (Russia) not to expand NATO, and points to a reciprocal promise to protect Ukraine from Russian aggression, made in return for giving up nuclear weapons.
I must say that, while I am generally enamoured of Freddy’s objectivity and interlocutive rigour, and while there is much food for thought in this discussion, it is at this point that the conversation reveals a striking lack of depth. I feel that Freddy might have pushed Kisin to elaborate on the dialectic of NATO expansionism and Putinesque imperialism, and or on the symetry of Western duplicity. Indeed, what follows their heavyweight opening is much less substantial. Kisin’s declares that his wife is Ukrainian and displays some a domestic repurcussions of the geopolitical crisis. He touches on the potential refugee crisis and its consequences for Britain, not very generously at that., one might He then deigns to speculate on the decline of Western leadership and declares that Freddie and he are ‘metropolitian liberals’ … Hear Hear!!
Ultimately, this conversation is a striking example of a new genre of podcast intertainment (yes I think I have just coined that one!) – a kind of hyperbolic (despite Freddie’s signature restraint) intellectual soundbite … comedy? The irony of our times is that comedians are becoming better sources of facts, analysis and objectivity than the mainstream talking heads … it seems the make better natioinal leaders too!