Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra has resigned a day after admitting he lied about overhearing remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006. In 2016, Halbe Zijlstra alleged that he spoke with Putin about the latter’s plans to create a so-called “Greater Russia”. According to the disgraced Dutch politician, the fictional Putin said he planned to re-incorporate territories into a re-constructed state which would see Putin ruling, “Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic States”. According to Zijlstra’s lie, the fictional Putin also said, “And oh yes, Kazakhstan was ‘nice to have”.
Yesterday, Zijlstra admitted that this was a lie, but far from a lie based on a combination of stupidity and malice, it represnts a typical western calculated technique to disseminate lies, see the lies influence policy, before coming out with an ‘honest confession’ thereby absolving themselves of all responsibility.
This can be seen over and over again. The most famous example was when the US and UK governments lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. This lie led to an invasion of Iraq and only after over a million had been killed did George W. Bush and Anthony Blair admit that they had lied about Iraq in 2003.
Going back to 1999, Blair and Bill Clinton lied about “ethnic cleansing” being committed by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević. This resulted in the illegal bombing of Serbia and Montenegro, followed by the humiliation of seeing Milošević dragged before a criminal tribunal in the Hague where he died under mysterious circumstances. It was only after his death that his western persecutors admitted that he was innocent.
This devious cycle contains five steps:
1. Tell the lie
2. Act upon the lie
3. Wait for enough time to pass so that multiple and irreversible actions are taken based on the lie
4. Come clean about the lie and exonerate one’s self of responsibility
5. Reinvent one’s self after the gullible western public forgives the initial lie.
This can be seen in George W. Bush’s reinvention from hated war criminal and liar to anti-Trump defender of American centrism, just as it can be seen in Anthony Blair who has emerged from his post-Iraq malaise to become a champion of European integration and cooperation.
Halbe Zijlstra is currently in stage four of a carefully crafted information war. The damage his previous lie about Putin is largely irreversible for the time being, as European and American relations with Russia remain incredibly poor. It is likely only a matter of time before the former Dutch Foreign Minister reinvents himself in a new political, corporate or media position and begins laughing about what he will doubtlessly call his “Putin lie”.
There is nothing new under the sun and Ziklstra’s too little – too late mea culpa is merely symptomatic of a broader tendency among western leaders to plan their confessions at the same time that they plan their lies.