Ukraine War, July 12, 2022: “Cognitive occlusion”–Mental defenses against hard truths; Genocide in progress

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.


1) Borja Lasheras, “La guerra de Ucrania durará; El que Putin no pudiera tomar Kiev al inicio de la invasión no ha mitigado su obsesión por el territorio. Rusia quiere la destrucción del país. El conflicto puede prolongarse al menos uno o dos años más,” El País, el 10 de julio 2022 (23:00 EDT);

2) Borja Lasheras, “The war in Ukraine will last; The fact that Putin could not take Kiev at the beginning of the invasion has not mitigated his obsession with the territory. Russia wants the destruction of the country. The conflict can last at least one or two more years, (Google translation on website), El Paîs, July 10, 2022 (23:00 EDT);


Lasheras describes how the mind defends itself from hard truths:

It is difficult for us to accept truths that involve extreme evils. Let’s call it cognitive occlusion: the mind is blocked like a camera, and the light does not pass, because it is a terrible light. It is easy to see horrible truths from the past (Holocaust), but not so much when similar events can happen today.

U.S. and British intelligence clearly predicted the Russian invasion. But in Kyiv and elsewhere, people did not want to believe it was possible.

After the initial shock and indignation, this cognitive problem (cognitive occlusion) conditions the debate about the end of this war. To this is added another attitude: in the face of Dantesque images like Kremenchuk at the end of June, with burned people alive in a shopping center destroyed by Russian missiles, we want the horror to end. Or we’ll disconnect.

But it’s not a territorial war. The Russian leadership yearns for the destruction of Ukraine…

“Cognitive occlusion”. A wonderful term to describe the inability of people to see what is right before them, the hard realities they do not want to see. The hard realities that are too terrifying to look at.

What if we are, in fact, engaged in a war with the Russians like the struggle against Adolf Hitler and Germany in World War II?

That would have massive implications for our personal lives. That would throw into question all of our plans for the rest of our lives.

At a deep subconscious level, we don’t want to think about it. Perhaps “cognitive occlusion” is the mind’s way of protecting us from thinking about it.

Nonetheless, government and other leaders must deal with reality. They must look at these hard truths.

They must lead us in taking action, collectively, that will deal with these hard truths and protect us from the worst outcomes that are likely if no resolute action is taken in the face if these hard truths.

Lasheras paints a convincing picture of Russia’s genocidal intent toward Ukraine, and the actions it is carrying out that fit squarely within the definitions of the 1948 Convention on Genocide.

The case is already before the International Court of Justice (World Court) which has issued an interim order mandating that Russia cease its military operations in Ukraine.

Now it is up to the leaders of the world to overcome the “cognitive occlusion” that prevents their citizens from seeing the hard truths about the war in Ukraine, and to both explain what is at stake and to take effective action in response to these hard realities.

Lasheras concludes with a harsh truth:

Wars like this end with the total or partial defeat of the aggressor; total or partial destruction of the assaulted, or a mixture of both scenarios. That is why we are talking about at least one, perhaps two years of war. It will probably continue, in one way or another, as long as Putin and his circle remain in power.

The Trenchant Observer