One undeniable benefit afforded us by the internet is the opportunity to access international news media.
Foreign press and agencies often cover events our national outlets do not, and frequently offer different perspectives on the ones they do.
Subtly propagandised as almost all such ‘content’ invariably is, of course, just informed by a different set of known strategic biases.
Helps triangulate thinking, if you will. To more precisely identify a more specific grey area within which ‘truth’ could be said to abide.
Privatisation is a good recent, ongoing example. Virtual blanket endorsement of the ‘private good, public bad’ ideology has long been the norm in UK newsrooms (don’t confuse hyped-up ‘controversy’ over the terms of any given sell-off (British Rail, historically, Royal Mail this year) with disavowal of dogma.
The argument is over. Private hands are the way. The only way.
No place in this milieu, clearly, for news that worldwide, in nations as Westernised as Germany and the US, this tide has apparently turned (in Germany alone more than 100 energy concessions have come back into public ownership since 2007).
So no surprise in these parts, then, that news of arguably the most significant geopolitical event of 2014 – I would argue the century – thus far reached me not via The Mail or The Times but a column in a small South Asian business paper.
In February, three months prior to it actually happening, a column offering guidance in light of the coming gas deal between Russia and China. One worth up to $500bn but which would bypass the dollar, comfortably the largest single deal yet to bypass the world’s reserve currency. No ifs or buts. When.
Not one such definitive word to be found in the UK press until Putin was in China crossing i’s, dotting t’s.
By when, of course, we were told how the US and EU sanctions over Ukraine had forced the Russians to go cap in hand to Beijing and accept diminished terms. And no mention of how this deal laid to rest a 60 year enmity between the two nations, nor how this was most likely just the beginning of an inevitable turn East for Russia – and their immense carbon fuel reserves.
A narrative tooled for domestic consumption. One in which, as per, we successfully project our power, influence outcomes.
Triangulated thinking or not, however, the truth remains elusive. But is hard to escape the conclusion Ukraine was timely, if nothing else.