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Tarot Card Diplomacy

Where foreign relations make no sense and the rules of cause and effect do not apply.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine, and suddenly whatever was received wisdom last week is cancelled, and we are playing with a whole new set of rules. The endless shuffling of hypocrisies and non sequiturs in the West, the nonsensical sloganeering that changes from one moment to the next, is best compared to drawing at random from a deck of tarot cards. Each frame of the geopolitical saga as it unfolds on cable news is completely unrelated to anything that came before or will come next.

Tarot card after tarot card, pundits and mic’d-up professors on the TV augur the meanings of the current crop of images and sound bites. Deeper and deeper we are all led into tarot card diplomacy, where foreign relations make no sense and the rules of cause and effect do not apply. The only ones who can interpret the tarot cards are the ones who pull them out and arrange them on the table. What do the goings-on in the world mean? No one really knows. Only the cards can help us divine the import of all the wild stuff that happens in each news cycle. Tarot card diplomacy—the weird geopolitical science practiced by the woke West.

This week I watched people wearing shoes and clothes made by Uyghur slaves taking videos on slave-made phones of themselves dumping Russian vodka into storm sewers across America. They then struck a further blow for freedom by posting their videos onto the most censored platform since Pravda. They uploaded their staged rage to websites using software made by companies for whom “free speech” and “hate speech” are synonyms. All of this was coordinated by search engine companies that make special programs to help Chinese thought police to control 1.4 billion people.


Across the pond, the European Union—which the United Kingdom couldn’t get out of fast enough so it could finally be free—is now clamoring to welcome Ukraine as a new member. Because freedom. “Come, let us regulate you,” say the Sirens on the Rocks of Brussels. “Let us make you free.”

I don’t understand. I need help. I flip on the television for answers. Some robotic swami on CNN closes his eyes and draws from a tarot deck. It’s a psychedelic portrait of Henry Kissinger, winking. “The ‘Knowing Rasputin’ card,” our swami intones. “All is not as it seems!”

You don’t say.

There’s much more. The American president, whose son is perhaps the most prolific single source of kompromat in American history and whose family is neck-deep in corruption in Ukraine, is taking a cautious approach to the Russian invasion of his kid’s erstwhile briber. This is the “Know Which Side Your Bread Is Buttered On” card, with a picture of Harry and Meaghan on it. This makes a little more sense, I suppose. Tarot card diplomacy isn’t all bad.

And a week before Putin shelled Kiev, we learned that Hillary Clinton had, indeed, ginned up five years of anti-Russia hysteria to cover up her many crimes. Just as Tucker Carlson said—for which he was called a Kremlin stooge and, of course, a fascist. But now that the bombs are falling on Ukraine—for which I blame no one but the Clinton State Department, which, just after her departure, staged the 2014 Victoria Nuland coup to install a rabidly anti-Russian puppet as Ukrainian president—we are not talking about Clinton or the 2014 unpleasantness anymore. The “You Are Getting Sleepy, Very Sleepy” card. (We draw that one a lot.)

But now here’s a strange tarot card. I break out my own tarot deck and take out the one on top, which shows a picture of Howard Zinn at his desk, writing “history” with a horsefeather quill dipped in disappearing ink. I’m no tarot reader, but maybe this is connected to the United Nations, the globalist cabal of victors in World War II, being asked to kick out the Russian Federation on the grounds that the Russian Federation was not one of the victors in World War II, and also on the grounds of “war crimes” in Ukraine? (Did Zinn on the card just look up from his labors and smile at me?) Josef Stalin, who was one of the victors in World War II, committed genocide by forced starvation in Ukraine. (The New York Times blanketed the United States with fake news about that, for which the author of the fake news received a Pulitzer Prize.) Stalin’s Soviet Union, we are now told, was much more qualified to hold a seat on the Security Council than is Vladimir Putin’s Russia. 

The Zinn card is sending out thought waves at me, interference patterns that make history shimmer away into a mirage. This all reminds me that tarot card diplomacy goes way back. I shove the Zinn card back in the deck and try to remember what really happened. Right, yes, it’s all coming back to me now. Not even ten years after the Russian mass murder of Ukrainians, Americans drew the “Alliance with Bolsheviks” tarot card, and off we went to bail out the fiend who starved all the Ukrainians to death.

I decide to stop playing tarot card diplomacy at home. I’m starting to not feel so good. Back to the TV to see if there’s anything good going on.

But now we’re over at Fox News, and another soothsayer (with much better hair and makeup, I have to admit, than her counterpart at CNN) is drawing tarot cards, too. She’s got glowing purple crystal earrings and is squinting as if in a séance, saying something about Washington, D.C. “Beware the polis that hatched and carried out plots to invade many, many more countries than have declared independence from the former Soviet Union,” the Fox lady moans. “Washington is virtue-signaling on all wavelengths that Russian aggression will not be tolerated,” our oracle murmurs, half in a trance.

The screwy announcer on Fox has a point. It was hardly six months ago that Washington tucked its tail and ran away from a country it invaded in 2002. Washington is still in Iraq, which it invaded in 2003 on false pretenses based on outright lies Washington told to…the United Nations. 

Better take a break from all this tarot card diplomacy. Things are getting out of hand. I flip over to ESPN. Surely no tarot card diplomacy on SportsCenter. But, wait. The National Basketball Association is standing with the people of Ukraine, the ESPN tarot reader says as the Ukrainian anthem plays softly in the background. He holds the “Pooh Bear” card to his forehead and channels the three spirits of suspended disbelief, Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot. “Before an NBA game on February 25, players from the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets ‘locked arms’ in solidarity with Kings center Alex Len, a native Ukrainian,” say Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot through the medium of the SportsCenter shaman. 

I guess I’d better stand with Ukraine, too. Tarot card diplomacy is just so hard to understand.

Still, though, my heart is troubled. As Ukraine is overrun by Russian tanks, all the TV shows and newspapers are drawing the same “Save the NWO” tarot card, but I’m just not convinced. I think we ought to be careful. Our “partners” in Europe are godless, soulless bureaucrats who have long since given up their continent to invaders from the caliphate. But now we must go defend dead Europe and its “values” from a man who doesn’t want the Cold War museum piece, NATO, to be propped up against his front door? Isn’t this really all about the Russian Orthodox Christian strongman’s disaffinity for the rainbow flag that the Europeans like to fly over their embassies and inside the churches they’ve converted to rave halls? Aren’t we really talking here about ROY G. BIV, and not about yellow and blue?

What’s even more disturbing is that joining the fight on the side of the strongman is the Chechen horde, which once waged bloody jihad against Moscow but now vows that jihad against Kiev is “the way of Allah.” Standing against the fickle Chechens is a contingent of crypto-Nazis under the old SS standard. The next card from the deck is a dragon eating its own tail. All under heaven is disturbed, the order of battle is awry. We also now learn that the authoritarian has slipped the “Nuclear Winter” tarot card into the deck. All the more reason to give up this idiotic game.

And then there’s the puzzling stuff going on at home in the good old U.S. of A. Tarot card diplomacy is mixing with American politics in a big way, and everything is getting thrown off. The Empire State Building was lit up in the colors of the Ukrainian flag recently. Great. Very pretty, actually. But just two years ago the same building was lit up Pepto-Bismol pink in support of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s jihad against unborn children in New York state. Chechen jihad, bad. SS jihad, good. Cuomo jihad, also good. Gov. Cuomo also went on Wuhan-virus jihad against old people in New York nursing homes. But save Ukraine! I feel like I want to cry.

At any rate, the more we play this tarot card diplomacy, the more I am on edge. Somehow, all of this seems like a way to distract attention from Taiwan. The “Don’t Look Now” tarot card comes up, a jack-in-the-box cranked by a sinister-looking hand with very long fingernails. On the jack-in-the-box is engraved a Qing arabesque.

Here I have a confession to make. In 2016, I and about 63 million of my fellow tarot-skeptics slipped a joker into the deck of diplomatic tarot cards. Orange guy, red necktie, pouty lips, looked like a giant jaundiced blowfish. And the joker was wild! He broke all the rules of the game. He scattered the deck to the winds and even went so far as to refuse to play tarot card diplomacy at all. He plopped down in the White House chairs and sulked. He flipped over the card table, threw the crystal balls through the Oval Office windows and the palm-reading charts into the fireplace, and replaced the whole idiotic card game with a fireworks display over Mount Rushmore.

Now that season of tarot-free America is over, and we are back to the old spiritualism again. Which is making me superstitious in a big way. Is it any coincidence, for example, that, just as we stopped wearing masks to protect ourselves from Twitter mobs shaming us over the Fauci-Wuhan coronavirus, we started wearing yellow and blue to protect ourselves from Twitter mobs shouting that we were not standing on the right side of history?

The second-to-last card comes up from the soothsayers’ decks—the “Hall of Mirrors” card. For decades Washington fought Moscow indirectly—in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Syria, in Rocky IV. But we cannot fight Moscow mano a mano, face to face. That’s against the rules. In tarot card diplomacy, proxy war is the closest you will ever get to peace. The “Hall of Mirrors” card has a picture of a smirking Goldilocks. Not too much arms dealing. Not too much carpet bombing. Just enough. Don’t fight your enemy directly. Nobody knows what would happen next.

But the crowds in the streets grow restless. “Do something!” they scream. There’s an election coming up. Our senile commander-in-chief draws the final card from the tarot deck. The “Human Rights” card, on which is printed a grim reaper. 

Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.



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