Oliver Stone is well-known for taking contrarian stands both onscreen and off.
Stone went to Russia and interviewed its president for a documentary called The Putin Interviews, which aired on Showtime in 2017. Now, with Putin and Russia driving the 24-hour news cycle, the director has been offering his perspective on his Facebook page and in interviews.
Early last month, Stone told KCRW’s Robert Scheer: “The United States and its allies in NATO have been provoking Russia for, since two years now — actually three years – over the Ukraine…”
In the same interview, the director decried “bloodthirsty” media coverage saying, “they have no proof that Russia intends to invade Ukraine; I doubt that they would. I think Russia is concerned only with the Donbass region.”
After the invasion, Stone — who had also criticized the media for using the term “invasion” to characterize Russia’s plans — came around.
“Although the United States has many wars of aggression on its conscience, it doesn’t justify Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. A dozen wrongs don’t make a right. Russia was wrong to invade.”
Stone, who served in the Vietnam War, has long made films critical of U.S. politicians (W., JFK and Nixon) the media (Natural Born Killers, Talk Radio) and American intervention abroad (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July). He’s also made a string of documentaries featuring controversial world leaders such as Putin, Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva.
Taking a plot point from one of his more popular films, Stone contended, “Now is the time, as JFK and Khrushchev faced down the perilous situation in Cuba in October 1962, for the two nuclear powers to walk this back from the abyss.”
Here is the full text of Stone’s most recent Facebook post:
Although the United States has many wars of aggression on its conscience, it doesn’t justify Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. A dozen wrongs don’t make a right. Russia was wrong to invade. It has made too many mistakes — 1) underestimating Ukrainian resistance, 2) overestimating the military’s ability to achieve its objective, 3) underestimating Europe’s reaction, especially Germany upping its military contribution to NATO, which they’ve resisted for some 20 years; even Switzerland has joined the cause. Russia will be more isolated than ever from the West. 4) underestimating the enhanced power of NATO, which will now put more pressure on Russia’s borders, 5) probably putting Ukraine into NATO, 6) underestimating the damage to its own economy and certainly creating more internal resistance in Russia, 7) creating a major readjustment of power in its oligarch class, 8 ) putting cluster and vacuum bombs into play, 9) and underestimating the power of social media worldwide.
But we must wonder, how could Putin have saved the Russian-speaking people of Donetsk and Luhansk? No doubt his Government could’ve done a better job of showing the world the eight years of suffering of those people and their refugees — as well as highlighting the Ukrainian buildup of 110,000 soldiers on the Donetsk-Luhansk borders, which was occurring essentially before the Russian buildup. But the West has far stronger public relations than the Russians.
Or perhaps Putin should’ve surrendered the two holdout provinces and offered 1-3 million people help to relocate in Russia. The world might’ve understood better the aggression of the Ukrainian Government. But then again, I’m not sure.
But now, it’s too late. Putin has allowed himself to be baited and fallen into the trap set by the U.S. and has committed his military, empowering the worst conclusions the West can make. He probably, I think, has given up on the West, and this brings us closer than ever to a Final Confrontation. There seems to be no road back. The only ones happy about this are Russian nationalists and the legion of Russian haters, who finally got what they’ve been dreaming of for years, i.e. Biden, Pentagon, CIA, EU, NATO, mainstream media — and don’t overlook Nuland and her sinister neocon gang in D.C. This will significantly vindicate the uber hawks in public eyes. Pointing out the toxicity of their policies (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, NATO expansion, breaking nuclear treaties, censoring and omitting crucial facts from the news, etc.) will be next to impossible. Pointing out Western double standards, including Kyiv and Zelenskyy’s bad behavior, will likewise fall on deaf ears as we again draw the wrong conclusions.
It’s easier now to smear those of us who tried to understand the Russian position through these last two decades. We tried. But now is the time, as JFK and Khrushchev faced down the perilous situation in Cuba in October 1962, for the two nuclear powers to walk this back from the abyss. Both sides need to save face.
This isn’t a moment for the U.S. to gloat. As a Vietnam War veteran and as a man who’s witnessed the endless antagonism of the Cold War, demonizing and humiliating foreign leaders is not a policy that can succeed. It only makes the situation worse. Back-channel negotiations are necessary, because whatever happens in the next few days or weeks, the specter of a final war must be realistically accepted and brokered. Who can do that? Are there real statesmen among us? Perhaps, I pray, Macron. Bring us the likes of Metternich, Talleyrand, Averell Harriman, George Shultz, James Baker, and Mikhail Gorbachev.
The great unseen tragedy at the heart of this history of our times is the loss of a true peaceful partnership between Russia and the U.S. — with, yes, potentially China, no reason why not except America’s desire for dominance. The idiots who kept provoking Russia after the Cold War ended in 1991 have committed a terrible crime against humanity and the future. Together, our countries could’ve been natural allies in the biggest battle of all against climate change. In its technical achievements alone, in large scale science, in its rocketry, heavy industries, and its most modern, clean nuclear energy reactors, Russia has been a great friend to man. Alas, in our century so far, man has failed to see or reach for the stars.
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