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Terry Needham
Terry Needham
9 months ago

“…in a world of hard power, it is only those capable of imposing order that get to write the rules.”
What other world can there be but the world of hard power? We must be the first generation in all of recorded history that has persuaded itself that it could ever be otherwise. Putin has the gold and he has the guns, and so he will do as he pleases, and Europe will suffer what it must.

Last edited 9 months ago by Terry Needham
Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Not the first generation. But as deluded as all the earlier ones.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt M
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
9 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Jeez let’s just rollover and submit. He can’t even use his gold because his central bank has been cut off from it. Russia is well and truly screwed.
Just waiting for someone to deal with Putin now.

Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

As long as the West still purchases his oil and gas, he is most certainly not screwed.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Gold is gold and guns is guns and gas is gas.

Last edited 9 months ago by Terry Needham
Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
9 months ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Agree. The last sentence reminded me of the quote by F E Smith (Lord Birkenhead) speaking in 1923: “The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords; it is therefore extremely improbable that the experience of future ages will differ in any material respect from that which has happened since the twilight of the human race … it is for us who, in our history have proved ourselves a martial … people … to maintain in our own hands the adequate means for our own protection.”

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
9 months ago

Good to see even the Germans are beginging to relearn the eternal truth Si vis pacem, para bellum.   ( ‘If you want peace, perpare for war’).

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago

Sane and totally realistic.
And the rhetoric now emerging out of Russia re nukes is chilling and nihilistic. Notwithstanding that Ukraine is geographically huge and difficult to cover on multiple fronts, if the Russians wanted to they could quickly flatten Kiev with carpet bombing from the air. But they haven’t done that, probably because they are attempting to keep the brutality to a minimum in the first instance because they are aware the optics of that would be awful. There is not much point claiming that Ukraine is Russia if you raze it to the ground at the first resistance – you would be razing Russia. However, if push comes to shove, there is no question that Putin will not care much about all that, and will turn very brutal very quickly.

A couple more points. The sheer fecklessness of the peacenik narratives that have grown in Europe over seven odd decades are now laid bare – the European and UK left especially carping moralistic nonsense from the sidelines all the while silently relying on the Americans to guarantee their security without forking out anywhere near what was needed for their own security, so they could get on with funding very expensive social models – Germany of course, but pretty much the entirety of Europe. The second point is about China. Xi is not Putin and China is a very different beast to Russia, but no one should be under any illusions any longer than China will not walk into other nations’ territories if allowed – Taiwan first of course, but it won’t stop there.

Last edited 9 months ago by Prashant Kotak
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Yes, Germany. But Germany was deliberately kept down by NATO – “ keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.

If Germany becomes a regional military power then there will be cries of Nazzism from certain quarters, including from within Germany.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

You would also level some of the oldest and most cherished Orthodox monuments: The Lavra, St Sofia and St Michael'[s Monastery (already leveled once by Stalin). As well as 13 Andriivsky uzviz–Bulgakov’s home.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

I saw Ivan Vasilievich staged in ’84 (might have been ’85), clearly a masterpiece, but it was very typically Russian – oblique, a bit random, and for me at least quite difficult to get into.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago

Watching the stories of the AK-47 and grenades being passed out to untrained and unordered civilians has been very concerning to me.

The first thing is how the rules of war regard those ‘partisans’, who are basically “Illegal Combatants” (unless wearing some kind of uniform markings openly, carrying arms openly, and have an officer structure.)

It was in the Balkans in WWII that the German military were infamous for taking civilian hostages and executing them if Partisans attacked. (several officers were found guilty of this in the Nuremberg trials, although it has always been done) They also have a lot of unintended consequences.

The biggest worry is the street fighting will destroy the cities. Soldiers will not tolerate ‘civilians’ sniping at them.

All the Western hawks on TV and in governments – the ones saying how we need to be sending Stinger Missiles, anti-tank weapons, and so on – to give them means to keep fighting – Well, ‘you go first then’. Load a bunch of Stingers in a truck and head to Kiev, if that’s what you think. You want to keep this going, well ‘Get Some’ yourself too.

Maybe the brave fighting will work in the end – but I cannot believe it will. I would guess it means Ukraine will just be more wrecked, and the disaster much worse. I had hoped the war would have ended fast. 40 years in Afghanistan, 20 years in Iraq/Syria, 70 years in Palestine –

But it is not our war really, so I do hope we are not making everything worse, but I suspect We are.

Claire D
Claire D
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

According to Reuters negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are due to start at 9am GMT on the border today. A glimmer of hope.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I pray to God the come to some kind of agreement.
Also, to Galeti – this is what I have been saying for some time. No one seems able to hear it, with the bloodlust rushing to their heads. Of course, bloodlust is an easy rush to enjoy when the battle happens on a TV screen, thousands of miles away.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

You mean surrender now. Then the Russians will go away and we can go on pretending all is well?

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I wish you the best of luck out there, Peter. Remember to aim the RPG a little high when you shoot at the tank. Then duck for cover, quick, before the Russians shoot back!
Let us know when you make it back from Kiev safely.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I can’t see Ukraine acceding to any of Russia’s demands. It’s still politically impossible.

Stuart Sutherland
Stuart Sutherland
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Palestine is not a war! It’s a containment by it’s powerful neighbour.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

There is nothing illegal about a citizen defending their homeland and families from violent and illegal attack by Russia. It is what brave and patriotic people do.

As for Russia the economic consequences are of Herr Putin’s making. He is the fascist and as for drugs one look at his bloated face gives a clear indication of his over use of steroids.

As to the mighty Russian army, their logistics are a shambles. As any sensible commander will know the limitation of any plan is the ability to support it.

Long live Ukraine.

Last edited 9 months ago by Nicholas Rynn
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

There’s a lot of new found expertise on military all over the internet.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
9 months ago

Yep 37 years in the Army, Infantry with Command of a Battalion under my belt, and, unusually, for an infantry officer 2 tours as a logistics planner at a Brigade.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

Then it is very worrying that you are not familiar with the rules of war.

Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

It is brave and patriotic only if they are allowed to have guns. So much for the gun control lobby in the U.S.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

‘There is nothing illegal about a citizen defending their homeland and families from violent and illegal attack’ by the US either. The citizens of Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan died in their millions to do just that – defend their homeland against aggression by a ‘democratic’ superpower. And amazingly they prevailed.

Let’s see if the Ukrainians prevail. But if they do and If Putin is, indeed, like Adolf H then the chances of Western Europe being turned into a nuclear wasteland are very far from trivial.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas Rynn

Superb points. Body builders have been known to have “Roid Rage”. There are comments that he may have had cancer, perhaps of the spine. If he had taken steroids for body building purposes and combined then with drugs for cancer combined with isolation because of fear of Covid ( hence the long tables he sits at ) plus paranoia because of his life in the KGB, he could be emotionally and mentally unstable. Two years of semi- isolation surrounded by flunkeys could have induced all sorts of fantasies. If his mind had been addled it would not be capable of understanding logistics which is mathematical and hence under estimated the problems.
Putin’ People by Belton suggest he wants to recreate a Russian Empire and like many Tsars may be going mad. There is a saying ” Scratch a Russian and find a Tatar “. The Tsars often displayed oriental despotism and this may be the case for Putin.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

How do you know that they are untrained? I have been out of the military since 1982 but I can still quickly familiarise myself with a rifle and many “Old” men have had military training in their youth. When you form an irreegular unit the trained and previously trained each take one or more “civilians” under their wing. Once in action the civilians quickly learn how to kill and how to keep out of trouble. People fighting for their country, city, village or street are liable to (perhaps foolishly) not retreat or surrender.

Last edited 9 months ago by Doug Pingel
Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Ukraine has about 400,000 trained reservists, many of whom have served in combat in the East.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Is the headline ironic? Now that there is a real, shooting war in Europe, Europe must prepare for war? Really?
Seems a bit late to me, mate!

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Not at all. At the moment the war is in Ukraine. Our armed forces have been totally hollowed out. We (European NATO) need to rebuild them asap or we may be next. I am gratified by Scholz’s Damascene conversion to a viable defence capability. Too long has Germany been NATO’s most egregious defence freeloader.

Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Yeah, why don’t you guys put that on the calendar as something to do next week, just in case.

Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

LOL. I thought the same. Perhaps the screaming useful idiots will blame Trump for that too.

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

They are not illegal. In IHL a ‘levee en masse’, consists of civilians spontaneously taking up arms at the approach of an enemy invading force. Such civilians are afforded combatant status.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“It is not our war”. Will it be if and when Putin rolls in the Baltics to “prevent the genocide” of the Russian minorities there?
Putin claims the Ukrainians and Russians are one people. Yet the longer Ukrainian civilan and military resistance continues, the more absurd that bogus narrative is shown to be. Putin is having to kill and coerce Ukrainians into welcoming their “Russian liberators”. Putin’s justification for the war is already in tatters.
Britain, and other Western powers should render all possible military and other assistamce, short of committing combat forces, to enable Ukraine to exercise its sovereign right of self-defence as an independent country and UN member.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
9 months ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

All that will achieve is oceans of Ukrainian blood.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

The left is very generous. Domestically, they give away other people’s money. Internationally, they give away other people’s countries.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Brilliant.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
9 months ago

The American left is all in on this war, since Putin is the fascist of the day. Starmer is kicking the anti war types out of the Labour Party, most of the west is United.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

the death rate seems very low compared eg to Iraq – so the Russians are holding back because they actually dont want to wreck the country or completely alienate its people – Putin has psychotically misread the situation – and even the russians in Ukraine dont want his “support’ in this manner. He has fully destroyed any respect for Russia and the main question now is – when will the RUSSIANS REMOVE HIM-MAYBE THE MILITARY WILL DO IT BEFORE the situation bogs down into something the Russians can never win – just as they could not win the Cold war. They cant be that stupid – the people in the streets of Russia plus the Army may restore some Russian credibility I hope !

John Cole
John Cole
9 months ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Hopefully you are correct, no need for caps though-;

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Why 7 downticks, Peter states an undeniable truth.

John Cole
John Cole
9 months ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Peter is advocating ‘peace in our time’ and other left wing euphemisms basically surrender your liberties and you can starve and suffer ‘in peace’
No thank you.

John Cole
John Cole
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Good evening Vlad, of course in your playbook, obviously the oceans of Russian blood don’t count?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Since when has it been illegal to defend your home and people against invaders? They may not be well trained, but on the other hand they are probably doing a better job than if they stayed in bed

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I’m glad Zelensky is in charge and not you. And that you have not been given a weapon. The first thing you would suggest is to shoot your commander for daring to ask you to fight for your own country. This forum if full of keyboard idiots today. “Come in Mr Putin and do what you want to our country as we’re scared that people might get hurt whilst defending it”.

Art Johnston
Art Johnston
9 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You seem to have missed the point that Ukrainians are tying to defend themselves and their families from a murderous invader. Yes war is horrible, but subjugating people should not be a pretext for hoping that they will just hunker down in a corner and hope no one sees them. Maybe Ukraine will be wrecked, but you seem to be blaming this on the Ukraine’s honorable fight for their freedoms and against tyranny. If Ukraine is destroyed, it is not because they are passing out “AK-47 and grenades” to defend themselves, but only because of Russia invading them.
Let’s have a little less moral relativism here, and put the blame where it belongs: an invading army.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
9 months ago

Putin the genius, as promoted by many on this site – doesn’t look like much of a genius now.
He’s a cornered rat – either he destroys Ukraine or he negotiates a face saving retreat. Either way his country has been cut out of the international community for years.
He’s shot his leg off by galvanising the west, and maybe caused a little pause for China over Taiwan.

Peter B
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Quite. Tactically smart. But strategically incompetent.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

This is the most ill-prepared army Russia has ever fielded.

David Owsley
David Owsley
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

cornered rat LOL, you need to rethink and ask yourself what he is trying to do…

Peter LR
Peter LR
9 months ago

“Clint Eastwood taught us this: if there is a gun nearby, it is best if we are holding it.” David Starkey gives a historical analysis of this in the Putin context in this talk:
https://youtu.be/he25Rl0fE1c

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter LR
Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Recommended! His new channel is very good.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Yes, I’ve watched that.
Dr Starkey makes the point that Russia has accumulated a sovereign wealth fund of half a trillion dollars. Some is in convertible currency but a lot is gold.
Compare that to the huge debt of most western countries and you see the problem. We have little gold (thanks, Gordon Brown) and $2.4 trillion debt.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

And now he can’t use that wealth due to sanctions.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Well, I hope you’re right, Ian.
I’d be convinced if I saw Germany refuse to take Russian gas.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

For a heavy lump of metal, gold can be surprisingly soluble when offered in exchange for bullets

Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

It would be grossly naive to think that gold can’t be sold globally during the feckless “sanctions”. But perhaps some are truly thinking that Putin woke up yesterday saying “doh!, we forgot about those sanctions!”

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

China can supply everything he needs and they very happy to accept gold rather than crappy dollars.

John Cole
John Cole
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Watched the news lately?
China, for some reason isn’t the ‘ally’ Putin thought they would be.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

An interesting if very depressing link, thanks.

He is certainly correct if his “we” is Britain. If “we” is the west, then pretty clearly we haven’t thrown away our power but U.K. “we” has virtually no say over how it is wielded.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

In general, I love all this talk of “we.” “We” must do this, we must do that, we must pay for this program, we must send Stingers to Ukraine.
Who is “we?”

John Cole
John Cole
9 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Who is “we” good question,
Anyone who doesn’t want a free, democratic country crushed by an overpowering military dictatorship.
that help?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
9 months ago
Reply to  John Cole

When did Russia become a military dictatorshiip?

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Thanks, Peter, for the link. This is an interesting piece by Starkey. I entirely agree with his thesis that the West – especially in Europe – has ignored the importance of power as a necessary buttress to our freedoms and our belief in such things as universal human rights. However, I’m not sure that his analysis of Putin’s view of history is so accurate. He seems to support Putin’s claim that Ukraine is Russian, noting that the much-fought-over land of modern Ukraine was ultimately conquered by Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. However, conquest and subjugation do not eliminate culture and language, and the Ukrainians, who have their own language, clearly see themselves as having a distinctive culture from that of Russia. And events in the twentieth century, especially the Stalin Holocaust of Ukraine (which is mentioned by Starkey), will have strengthened that sense of national identity and hostility to Russia. Starkey may also have over-estimated the fighting capabilities and morale of the Russian army. It is difficult to assess that at present, but there is evidence that the invaders are not making the progress they expected, and will have found out in the most shocking ways that the presentation of their operation as one of liberation in Putin’s propaganda was simply a grotesque lie. Putin now faces the terrible dilemma of some form of face-losing retreat, or reducing the cities in a part of what he sees as ‘Russia’ to rubble to claim victory over the ruins. Starkey may also have over-estimated the willingness of the new Russian elites who surround Putin to put up with the pain imposed by sanctions.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
9 months ago

Great article!
I find it hard to admit that Macron is right about anything, so great is my aversion to him…but it is absolutely correct that Europe needs to stand on its own two feet and develop the military might to match its economic clout. Having the latter without the former exposes it as nothing more than a wealthy talking shop – particularly when you remove American support from the picture. Time to grow up.
I also like the balance in the tone of this article as far as Hungary is concerned. I’m not too great a fan of Orban and his mates but I dislike the tendency in other media outlets to pick their favourites and give them all glowing coverage (even when they behave badly – again, see Macron) and discount anything and everything that the designated “baddies” say. Again – narrative instead of quality journalism.
Personal observation: I was in Bratislava for the day yesterday and was pleased to see signs of solidarity with the Ukraine everywhere: candles lit outside the same church where a vigil was held for the murdered journalist Jan Kuciak some years ago, a Ukrainian flag hanging beside the Slovakian one up at the castle, people wearing blue and yellow ribbons on their coats.
Talking to our friends there, I was amazed at the change in feeling as compared to Austria, just 60km or so away. While the dominant feeling in Vienna is shock and uncertainty, over the border in Slovakia that amplifies to actual fear. Even though the Slovakians would have the support of NATO if attacked, memories of the recent past seem to have resurfaced with a vengeance and, in their heads, all bets are off. Going over the border (the river March) into Slovakia is as easy as pie today – you can see cyclists merrily speeding along the Iron Curtail cycle path in the former death zone. It has long since ceased to be a physical border – but psychologically speaking, the border still looms large.

Last edited 9 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Peter B
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s not just a “wealthy talking shop” though – it’s a “decreasingly wealthy talking shop”. This crisis has exposed the lie that the EU kept the peace in Europe, when it has been NATO all along. The EU has neither the will, nor the resources, nor the focus, nor the defence manufacturers (which are still run on national grounds like airlines) nor the Five Eyes security network to build a capable defence and security system for Europe. Nor can they respond fast enough when a crisis hits. It is a fantasy.

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
9 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Thanks Katharine for this post. You make several interesting points re Slovakia/Austria. I loved the comments re Macron.., I’m no fan either!

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
9 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

There was nothing more pathetic recently in watching the creepy Macron, trying to play the World Statesman for French votes,sitting at the far end of a long table being tolerated impatiently by Putin. Plus, I shall never forget Trump flicking dandruff off Macrons suit collar, Trump had weighed him up.
In these circumstances I don
t consider any article should be assessed “great” because it is “balanced”. Now is not a time for sitting on fences, now is the time to call out all the bogey men.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

Aris, I think you would be well advised to read Glenn Greenwald’s very wise and considered take on the current situation, and not be caught up in herd propaganda. It’s an absolutely must read for anybody commenting on the situation. The sort of talk in Aris’ article is exactly the sort of thing that leads to unintended consequences. And in this instance this could literally mean nuclear annihilation. The Europeans absolutely need to keep out of this conflict as does the US.
War Propaganda About Ukraine Becoming More Militaristic, Authoritarian, and RecklessEvery useful or pleasing claim about the war, no matter how unverified or subsequently debunked, rapidly spreads, while dissenters are vilified as traitors or Kremlin agents.comment image
Glenn Greenwald

Last edited 9 months ago by Johann Strauss
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

So you don’t believe Europe should increase its military capabilities when confronted by a powerful neighbour that is prepared to invade other sovereign nations completely unprovoked?

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Exactly Billy. And spare me the armchair generalism on this site. Most commenters are probably old gits like me comfortably not in danger of being drafted. My Finnish grandkids will be and out here in Singapore it’s normal too in case Malaysia went rogue and decided to reclaim it. China too obviously.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

For heavens sake. Just read what I wrote and then read Glen Greenwald, and perhaps then you’ll deign to become less of a warmonger and armchair general wanting to intervene in affairs that are none of our concern. As far as I know, Russia is not the Soviet Union intent on establishing communism on every country in earth. What they are interested in is establishing their own security. They have constantly said, over many years, that they regard the eastward expansion of NATO into Ukraine as being an existential threat to them. The west and the US are arrogant and just keeping marching eastward, and then surprise surprise the bear decides to wake up and put a stop to this.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Greenwald is basing his whole argument on the comments of a single MP, which have no chance of being policy as all western nations have categorically ruled out committing troops to the conflict, therefore his arguments are rather pointless.
As for your comments, they all come across as rather apologist for Putins actions. Ukraine isn’t part of NATO, and wasn’t going to be in the near future. It also gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for guarantees from Russia regarding its territorial integrity, something Russia blatantly disregarded when it annexed Crimea and the eastern regions.
Perhaps Russia should look at its own actions as a reason all those ex Soviet republics were so desperate to join the defence of NATO, something I’d wager Ukraine now wished it had done.
Finally what does any of this have to do with the article, which was about Europe taking its defence from an aggressive neighbour much more seriously?

Paul K
Paul K
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

As far as I can make out from this article, Aris is currently in Eastern Europe – or at least is talking to the key players there. I see no ‘armchair’ in any of his reporting on the ground, and he’s an experienced war reporter – unlike you or me, I would guess.
As for: ‘What they are interested in is establishing their own security.’ Well, that’s Russian propaganda, isn’t it? No better than the Western propaganda you are decrying here. Personally I know quite a lot of Eastern European people from a few different countries and not one of them buys this line. All of them are afraid of where Putin might go next if he succeeds here.
Being cautious of Western war propaganda is always a good idea, but it’s not dealt with by believing that of the other side.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

You ever hear of that Hitler chap? Might be worth a bit of background reading

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

You should stop with the Hitler comparisons. There is no comparison and it’s completely unhelpful. And that is precisely the stupid and arrogant talk that can lead to a world war. So my suggestion is for you to cool it with the rhetoric.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Your position is very obvious; thank you for issuing this clarification

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

It does not help if you do not understand what is driving Russia into taking such reckless and damaging action.
There is a very useful explanation in this article from the Tablet
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/ukraines-deadly-gamble
Nothing justifies invading another country but the US and EU cannot deny their share of responsibility for creating this situation

Fintan Power
Fintan Power
9 months ago

The editorial in The Tablet is excellent. It is eye-opening.

René Descartes
René Descartes
9 months ago

There is only one thing driving Russia into its current action: the evil megalomaniac dictator Putin.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago

For sure the Russian people do not want it ! Keep the conversation real – absolutely NOTHING justifies what Putin is doing-any rhetoric along those lines is bafflingly simple minded – europe has no interest in ‘menacing’ Russia – that is just simply the projections of a paranoid megalomaniac. Surely enough said !

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

The article in the Tablet summarizes the real state of affairs to perfection. A pity that more people, including Unherd readers who have been overcome by jingoism, don’t read it.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Putin has set his army an impossible task. He hasn’t even tried to seal the border. Now thousands of anti-armor and anti-aircraft munitions are flowing in–far more effective than the ones in Afghanistan.
Most of his armour will never return to Russia.

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

What they are interested in is establishing their own security.”
They have 7,400 nuclear warheads. Nobody is going to attack them. The invasion of Ukraine has nothing to do with Russian security.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

So are you saying, that they establish their own security by invading another country and denying that country it’s own security?

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Read the Greenwald article. Very good and spot on. I particularly liked the A. Huxley quote on “herd-poisoning”.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

BUT there is no ‘march eastward’ – there is merely a very sensible attempt at containing a large country , functioning as a dictatorship with a history of bullying its neighbours. To say that europe wants to encroach on mainland russia is ridiculous. Russia is , and has always been, a land grabbing bully – and a total liar to boot. If Putin is not removed the future of their people looks pretty bleak because he will up the ante – not backtrack into being a more ‘decent’ dictator – because dictators ALWAYS become paranoid and start murdering lots of perceived enemies. The Russians need to do what the Ukrainians are doing – it is the perfect time – NOW !

Iris C
Iris C
9 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought cyber attacks could bring a nation to its knees. Perhaps fighting with conventional weapons is a thing of the past.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

But this mess is making the Euroweenies get serious on hitting the 2% they never have, although agreeing to many years ago. What they did, the (say) 1.4% or whatever – they padded that ‘Military spending’ as part of the National Health costs (because soldiers need health too), and every kind of book-keeping trick…. so it was really only 1.1% Military in fact.

Europe will never have the Aircraft Carrier Fleets, the massed Air Force, the need – at least they can spend their 2% –

Also – about the SWIFT sanctions – If USA ever looses ‘Reserve Currency’ status, then we will not spend so much. Back before 1990 the USA would spend 6% plus (of GDP). Now 3.4%. If the $ loses Reserve, then the USA military will melt – A lot hinges on USA having the Reserve Currency – it means the entire world subsidizes our welfare state, our pork, waste, and military…. But still….. Coming up, the world will want USA to have that military….

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I know, I know. NATO is just not Russia’s cup of tea. As the bombs reign down on Kyiv and Ukraine, the people firing them, aiming at their good and dear neighbours. They, the Russian forces, might have got a cup of tea from the Ukrainians had they merely entered Ukraine by mistake and run out of fuel or something. But not now! And not for the foreseeable future.
But wait! I trivialise! And to be serious, the West should have not got so smarty-pants ahead of itself by its designs on spreading its values around like confetti and pushing for “overnight change”. But what did the Ukrainian people do? It’s the fact that for a while now, they, the Ukrainians, have not been Russia’s cup of tea that is actually Russia’s beef. And anyone within Russia’s sphere who is not Russia’s cup of tea for a fair few years is going to get it in the neck. Isn’t that right? Look at the hundreds of thousands of refugees on the move!

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
9 months ago

Values like democracy and rule of law and freedom of thought etc were found by the Ukrainians themselves to be quite attractive after their history in the East (Communism anyone?) Are you surprised? Do you think the West has ownership of these values and can sell them? No. Unfortunately they also need to be protected by might and alliances as history has taught us over and over again, no matter how imperfect these alliances and powers are. The US has made many mistakes but I’d much rather an interventionist US has the upper hand rather than an interventionist Russia and China. Wouldn’t you? We couldn’t even read this kind of article in many countries today let alone respond and debate. So I think your smarty-pants comment is very misplaced.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Thanks Johann. I came on here to post a link to GG’s article, but I see you beat me to it.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Sorry, Johann, both you and Glenn are simply Putin Romantics. This is a disaster for Vova, and we need to prepare for what happens after he falls.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

I’m far from a Putin romantic. What I am for is living in the real world as opposed to a make belief one. Further, it is probably time for a little self-reflection on the part of the US and UK where they have left virtually every place they have intervened in in the last 20 years worse off than before: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Yes the US was well-intentioned and wished to spread democracy, or so we were told by the MSM and US Government, but they sure weren’t successful, were they? As for Putin, he has been going on for 15 years that any move towards Ukraine joining NATO is a red line in the sand. Perhaps when Putin talks about red lines he actually means them, in contrast to the 44th president of the USA (recall Syria). And perhaps, just perhaps, the West and the US should have actually listened and payed attention. It would have cost them nothing, even at this late stage, to indicate that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NAO. But they didn’t. And here were are now. For what. A principle that anybody can join NATO, including many countries now that no person on the street can even place on a map.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I completely agree, even before reading, and I will read. I am flabbergasted that it has come to this point. I can’t help wondering whether there is something to hide. I don’t listen to the BBC as a rule but I did hear some commentary yesterday and I was sickened by the use of words, emphasis, inflexion used by journalists; it’s propaganda plain & simple. Is it a new fear source, now covid has ceased to be an option?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Once upon a time there was a dictator who claimed the right to protect all populations who spoke the same language he did. At first he only demanded small slices of neighboring countries containing his people. Then he built up to whole countries. Eventually, his demands led to a World War.

We’ve seen this pattern of behavior before. Hitler claimed the right to protect all German speakers. At Munich, Hitler got Czechoslovakia, to secure “Peace in our time.” It didn’t work.

Putin claims the right to protect all Russian speakers in Ukraine, even if they don’t want to be protected. If the anexation of Ukraine is allwed to stand, it creats a destabilizing precedent for the whole world. No borders will be stable anymore.

The Ukrainians are willing to fight. We should provide the tools. The Biden Administration stupidly didn’t provide enough weapons before the war started. The Germans didn’t provide any weapons. If it’s possible, we should try to correct this mistake.

There is no need for NATO troops to enter Ukraine. Only NATO weapons. With the long history of Soviet support for insurgencies that fought US troops, they can hardly object to us supporting Ukraine against them.

I think Putin is bluffing with nuclear weapons. I think if Putin gives that order, his own people will remove him from office.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

With all due respect your response is inaccurate, naive and counterproductive. First Putin is not Hitler. Second, if you recall Hitler came to power largely because of the stupidity of the treaty of Versailles following WWI. Fortunately, after WWII clearer heads prevailed. So far, following the end of the cold war we have treated Russia as we treated Germany after WWI.
Now, here’s the thing. Do the Ukrainians fight and lose a lot of lives, and if so exactly what are they fighting for given that they are not going to win this one. Or do they follow Falstaff’s advice that “discretion is the better part of wisdom”. US commentators have suggested that the Ukrainians could mount an insurgency a la Afghanistan. Way to go to lose more lives and ensure that Ukraine doesn’t develop economically. Everybody loses by doing that.
Many on here are shocked that a larger more powerful nation would bully a smaller nation. But I simply ask where have you been since the beginning of recorded history. This has happened continuously for thousands of years. The truth is that smaller countries have to act smart and sometimes being neutral is the smart thing to do, especially when the bigger power in this instance has reiterated for the last 15 years that any move towards Ukraine joining NATO or the EU would be considered a red line in the sand. (And unlike Obama, Putin obviously means what he says when it comes to red lines). And guess what, Zelenskyy continues to poke the bear as he only applied today for membership of the EU. A completely idiotic thing since his country is perhaps 50 years away from satisfying the economic requirements for membership. This is just completely reckless.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
9 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I’m a decorated Vietnam Era Veteran who spent a lifetime studying military history. I ain’t shocked that larger countries invade smaller countries. I am disappointed that Biden didn’t supply Ukraine with more weapons before the war. I’ve noticed that appeasement never works. I have also noticed that Russia left Afghanistan because they lost a guerrilla war. Russian victory in Ukraine ain’t a lock.

The key to why Putin invaded Ukraine now is Biden’s green energy policies. Up to 90% of Russian government revenues come from energy sales. Biden’s policies, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, restricting fracking, canceling federal drilling leases and canceling the Mid Med pipeline from the Cypress-Isreal Mediterranean gas fields to Greece and Italy, all drove the prices of oil and natural gas higher, giving Putin more money to finance an invasion.

Biden needs to reverse all these policies to minimize Putin’s power. In addition, European governments need to legalize fracking. Faling to do so gives Crazy Vlad more power. Everyone should be clear on this.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
9 months ago

The Russian leadership, vis-à-vis Ukraine, is behaving just like the German high-ranking officer in the 1964 Burt Lancaster movie of The Train, when he attempts to rush back to wartime Germany with “the soul of France”.
(If anyone has not watched that movie, it’s one of the very best WW2 movies, filmed very atmospherically in black and white).

A colonel in the German Army, in still-occupied Paris of 1944, takes it upon himself to hurriedly, stealthily, transport out of Paris, by rail to Germany, the best paintings by various French masters. French railways employees, tied to the resistance, set out to foil his plan, by performing various daring ruses and deeds. By this stage, the resistance was persuaded that the Germans were pilfering “the soul of France”. The wartime atmosphere, the rail yards, the grease, the clanking of metal, the danger, the action, the unfolding duel between the rail yard manager and the colonel – all amount to a terrifically made film.
The prize of the paintings, their ownership and appreciation, is what obsesses the colonel, a man of high taste and finery. Nothing else consumes the man in the slightest, except the progress of his train.
At the end, somewhere in eastern France, his practical major, aware of a fast-approaching French column, as the train has been derailed once more, says adamantly to him, looking him in the eye, “It’s useless!”

Yet he still does not let himself go. He must be near the haul of paintings, as they lie in crates by the train, by a road. He had in vain tried to halt a German column in quick retreat, but it did not stop for him.
The colonel remains alone, furious, utterly vexed, to face LaBiche, the rail yard manager now bearing down upon him ….

Where was I? Ukraine represents, to the Russian leadership, a prize, a master painting to the connoisseur. Like the colonel in the movie, it fusses over the masterpiece. The leadership affects being an organisation of connoisseurs. It knows “the soul of Russia.” No doubt, as at movie’s end, the Russian leadership, as with the colonel telling LaBiche that he does not even know or cannot appreciate the paintings of his countrymen lying around them, does not countenance the viewpoint in any shade or form of the Ukrainian people vis-à-vis its designs for them. Yes, the leadership knows “the soul of Russia” and it’s in the land, the earth, the soul. And it wants to transport that land back to Russia, back to being Russia. Are the people superfluous? Is anyone back in Moscow, like the colonel’s major, going to tell it eye to eye that “it’s useless!”?

Last edited 9 months ago by Dustshoe Richinrut
Fintan Power
Fintan Power
9 months ago

A great film. Well acted. A reasonable comparison. Burt Lancaster as Labiche and Paul Scofield as Von Waldheim. Well worth seeing.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

The basic assumptions behind Putin’s actions and the supposed threat to Europe seem to be that he is an unhinged monster who is intent on resurrecting the Warsaw pact.

In reality, attacking anywhere West of Kiev is a logistical nightmare for their current army, 1812 or Dec-41 in reverse. And he is too smart for that.

What should have also been evident is expanding NATO into Ukraine and losing access to Donbass and Crimea would have been a strategic disaster for Russia, and something the NATO countries would have realised if they weren’t headed by morons.

Putin deciding to invade was in fact far from being the whim of a megalomaniac, but something a strong leader would be bound to do if he had Russia’s long term interests in mind. Which is also why the majority of Russians are with him, in spite of sanctions.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Putin’s gameplan is to settle for eastern Ukraine, to include Kyiv and Kharkiv. The west will remain Ukraine.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I’m glad he spared the time to fill you in on the details in between directing an invasion

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Morons or not, the leaders of NATO are all subject to democratic control by 30 nations, and if it expands, it does so by accepting applications. It’s blindingly obvious that the one reason for its existence is fear of Russia.
The leader of Russia is subject to no control whatever, as far as I can make out, emphasised by the televised ‘security council meeting’. I’m only surprised Putin wasn’t on a dais.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

This is why it’s nice to study history.

Russia lost 20 million in ww2.
Russia lost millions in Ww1, and in the Napoleonic invasions a century earlier.
In between was the Crimean war fought on Russian soul by England and France.

Since NATO was driven by fear of Russia, remind me the last time France, Italy or Britain was invaded by Russia?

Which is why harping on about Putin being a dictator is a distraction.
If you understand the Russian mindset, a NATO comprised of 30 odd nations, with no purpose but hostility towards Russia, extending all the way to Ukraine would be utterly unacceptable.
And the fact that most Western leaders are too dumb to grasp this simple fact of life is the real concern.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

But there is no hostility except that engendered by fear of recent Russian history !! You dont really believe that Europe has any designs on Russian soil surely !!!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Samir, you are absolutely spot on in your analysis. It’s just a pity that so many here are so taken up by war jingoism that they can’t see the obvious staring them in the face. Probably because they are ignorant of central European history and Russian history especially.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Actually after the end of the Cold War the rational for NATO has become non-existent.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

how do you know the majority of Russians etc – that is a big statement ??

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
9 months ago

David Davis MP has pushed the idea of providing close air support for Ukrainian forces against Russian ground troops, an idea far beyond the bounds of either British capacity or rational analysis.

Isn’t David Davis just the biggest pi11ock?
This is the fool who ahead of Brexit claimed that

Post #Brexit a UK-German deal would include free access for their cars and industrial goods

having not apparently understood that there could not be “a UK-German deal” because Germany would be in the EU.
He is actually as stupid as Diane Abbott or David Lammy.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon Redman
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Calling David Davis a pi11ock is fine, but you go too far saying he’s as stupid as Diane Abbott or David Lammy, that is completely out of order! Pistols at Dawn, sir! My equerry will be in touch.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

He does seem to have his bad moments.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
9 months ago

In the end this is a culture and values war. Most on here probably think Tik Tok etc is trivial. Not when the daughter of Putin’s press guy Tik Toks against the war. Taken down quickly, but Google never forgets! Everytime Putin’s cavalcade whooshes past a McDonald’s on the way to the Kremlin from his absurd dacha ( parallels with Tsarskoye Selo?) his strange little eyes must narrow even further. No one’s trying to get into Russia, China, Myanmar, N Korea etc. We can condescend about social media and junk food all we on here like but they represent a certain kind of freedom.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
9 months ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

This all sounds like the world is flat by Tom Friedman, but… both Russia and China have immigrants. Both have fast food outlets including Mac Donald’s. And Tik Tok is Chinese.

John Riordan
John Riordan
9 months ago

“Shooting down Russian aircraft or bombing Russian tanks means war with Russia, and Nato simply will not go to war with its nuclear rival over Ukraine. These are dangerous times for Britain and for Europe as a whole, and such wild pronouncements do not instil confidence in the capacity of the British political system to manage them sensibly. ”

Good article, but this part I think misses an important point, which is that Vladimir Putin is very unlikely to permit NATO to decide where the dividing line sits between NATO involvement and non-involvement. So far, the assumption has been that as long as there aren’t NATO “boots on the ground” in Ukraine, then NATO and Russia aren’t fighting and that therefore there is no risk of nuclear conflict.

However, NATO nations are providing armaments to Ukraine, and are imposing sanctions upon Russia – the latest round of which are likely to significantly interfere with Russia’s strategy. These will go even further if Russia is not deterred. It is not beyond the bounds of reason that Putin may deem these indirect methods as being the commencement of NATO hostilities, especially if the Ukraine campaign gets bogged down into a war of attrition that denies Putin the blitzkreig victory that he wants – also looking more likely.

And then of course there is the medium term problem that in the unlikely event Putin wins and gets control of Ukraine, there isn’t a hope in hell that he’d be content to stop there. Like it or not, NATO and its constituent members need to decide what they are prepared to do to defend themselves. Right now, NATO is a paper tiger, and that has to change. Immediately.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Uh, most of his combat power is already now in Ukraine and having a hard time keeping from being destroyed.
Where are these vast forces to invade the West coming from?
Saturn?

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

most of his combat power is already now in Ukraine”
No, not even most of the troops that were massed along the border are already in Ukraine. Three-quarters of the Russian army’s combat power is nowhere near Ukraine. The Russian plan might not have gone as smoothly as expected – they never do – but it isn’t Russia that’s handing out rifles to civilians for a last-ditch defence of its capital, is it?
Right now, Russia is winning. And when they win they’ll have plenty combat power left over to threaten somewhere else with. My money is on the Baltic states.

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
9 months ago
Reply to  Fergus Mason

You realize Russia only has about 200,000 professionals in their regular army, which, itself is less than 300,000 men. Most of their numbers consist of reserves, who are going to be mostly former conscripts with outdated and ill-maintained equipment.
If the Russians had 800,000 deployable troops, as you imply, why would you attack an enemy who has 200,000 active troops, and 200,000 reserves with a force of only 125,000?

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
9 months ago
Reply to  Fergus Mason

People overestimate the Russians military size and capability, and more importantly it’s willingness to fight. Yes, they are a nuclear power, but that’s about it. Why do you think Putin made the nuclear threat, as soon as his troops got bogged down by the Ukrainians.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
9 months ago

Words fail me all across so many debates in the West as blindingly obvious truths are getting re-stated as stunning dicoveries and we’re suppossed to address them as that, or as previously contested ideas only now by the present generation of politicians, and people, being discovered.
The German energy and combined foreign policy, reliance on Russian gas and oil, coupled with closing nuclear down for a reason so stupid it is beyond belief, has not astonishingly been discovered to be flawed under pressure from unpredictable events.
It was always clearly and obviously delusional from the day it was revealed.
The idea the EU can continue to try and engineer a re run of the Brexit vote by punishing, and therefore antagonising, one of the only two even semi-significant military powers in Europe, has been shown to be a policy luxury only affordable in a Weimar republic style polity.
The idea France and Germany could play positional games against the *Anglo Saxons* has also been obviously and clearly self harming, branding the USA and UK as warmongers, and contrasting German caution and Macron’s miraculous powers of diplomacy, has been shown to be delusional and the product of a bankrupt political imagination.
The U turn by Germany is to be welcomed but it was only days ago Germany was refusing to allow weapons to be sent across it’s airspace, today they are proposing to send thousands of weapons and spend £100B on defence…whatever that U turn of all u turns is, it isn’t *cautious*.
One unexpected but welcome development in just the last 4 or 5 days has been the coming together of the West, USA,UK, EU , Germany, France and Japan et al..at last in a very unified and co-ordinated way.
This isn’t a global coming together as the recent statements and events concerning India, Pakistan, Brazil and China show, far from it.
But while the West is uniting, within Britain we still have Ever-Remainers trying to not only rewrite history, but rewrite the present reality, in which, outside the EU but firmly in Europe, the UK has taken a very strong lead in supporting Ukraine, while the EU and some big countries inside the EU have dithered, and until very recently diverged.

James Joyce
James Joyce
9 months ago

George F. Kennan, the “father of containment,” predicted this disaster decades ago, when he came out of retirement at 93 to try to stop NATO encroaching on Russia’s borders. He felt it needlessly provocative to poke the bear.
Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons in exchange for protection from the West.
Gee, how did that work out, Ukraine? A lesson for tyrants everywhere.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
9 months ago

I was shocked by Elwood’s words, does he have a death wish or is it just the ravings of an extremist?
War between East and West will surely signal the destruction of humanity a little earlier than I had expected.
We are certain to destroy ourselves, but over a small nation peopled by mad nationalists? …….tell me you’re joking Tobias?

Last edited 9 months ago by Alex Tickell
hugh bennett
hugh bennett
9 months ago

“The announcement on Sunday afternoon by Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Germany will double its defence spending is a welcome relief, and hopefully a turning point in European security policy….”
There is a saying that it’s always the crocodile you don’t see you have to worry about.Lovely jubbly, so in 25 years time we might have German Tanks rolling along the roads to Belgium again ?
If there is one lesson for any country or Alliance on foreign policy from the past 60 years, it is that military intervention can often at first seem such a straight forward decision to make but it really is an affair consisting of many different and connected parts with huge potential to go pear- shaped with unintended consequences.
But such was the crass stupidity of Nato/Germany and EU policy towards the Russian threat we are now in a situation where an unseemly rush has had to be made to execute the draconian policies required to punish and stifle Russian ambitions. Yes the rush is totally necessary. but a petri dish for the culture of unintended consequences has been created and god knows where all that will end.

Last edited 9 months ago by hugh bennett
Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
9 months ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

Thumbs up for ‘lovely jubbly’, and the rest was good too.

John Hilton
John Hilton
9 months ago

Any time in history someone has uttered the words “fighting bravely,” it has meant the war was already lost.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  John Hilton

I don’t know. It described the Russians in the 1942.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago

Sorry, the Putin Romanticism is disintegrating before our very eyes. Its demise is being hastened by Javelin and Stinger missiles, as well as Bayraktar drones.
Most of the combat power of the Russian army has already been committed–and committed to far too many objectives. We’re also seeing how poorly their equipment has been maintained after two months in the field. Their troops were already exhausted even before they crossed the border. That Putin is now forcing Lukashenka’s substandard army to intervene reveals the full extent of his desperation.
Most Russian equipment will never make it back to Russia. So our greatest task will be how to manage the collapse of Putin’s regime. Like most dictators, he has purposely left no plausible successor.
Russia is in a far worse position than in the 90s.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

I think it’s a little early for conclusions. What you say may be true, or maybe their intelligence assessments were telling them what they wanted to hear, a common problem in all organisations, but especially those with tyrannical leaders or CEOs. But they have been spending a lot of money on lethal systems, and may become desperate to achieve the main objective.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Putin is a Chekist not a soldier. The modern hand held missiles are difficult to locate and they appear to effective at destroying tanks and helicopters. It appears that it is quick to train regular soldiers how to use these missiles. When tanks are mentioned, the type is not and nor is their susceptibility to destruction by these missiles. Does the Russian Armed forces have the logistic support? How many of the troops are regulars and to what level are they trained? Are the conscripts prepared to die and what will their mothers, girlfriends and girlfriends say? Even amongst the regulars, I doubt anyone below captain and sergeant is particularly well trained. So when those at rank of captain and sergeant and above are killed, how will the units perform?
Russia was poor from 1990 to 2002 and since then a large middle class has arisen. Poor people can cope with hardship better than the affluent. However, the sanctions could reduce the middle class to poverty. social unrest tends to occur when the middle class are reduced to poverty.
The Russian Armed forces resent being inferior to The Chekists. Once tanks, especially the modern T90s, armoured vehicles and helicopters are destroyed by modern hand held missiles, then Russia may have a problem. Pictures of burnt out T90s destroyed by a hand held missile will not be good for sales. I can see the senior officers turning against Putin. Did Putin and his cronies realise the effectiveness of modern hand held portable missiles which can destroy tanks at distances of over 500m, I doubt it?

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago

Putin will win in Ukraine. Sanctions will make no difference to Russian policy. The Russian people (unlike the Americans) are used to hardship, and they are very nationalistic. They will support Putin. China + Russia takes on the US, with Europe somewhere in the middle. There’s a big rethink ahead for the West.

Peter B
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

This is a disaster for Russia. And also for Putin. These being quite separate things.
This supposed China-Russia alliance is a fantasy.

Christopher Elletson
Christopher Elletson
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Rather agree the alliance is a fantasy. They have hated each other for centuries; the suspiciousness of the motives of each has not gone away.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

That rather depends on what you mean by win. They will never hold down the whole of the Ukraine without bankrupting themselves or selling Russia to China to fund their campaign. I would totally support your final point.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

Putin is only interested in resource-rich eastern Ukraine, which expands Russia, and with Kyiv which has massive sentimental significance for the Russians. Western Ukraine will remain Ukraine, as a buffer state.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I disagree. There’s much of value in the whole of Ukraine, including the people, although he may be fooling himself about their susceptibility there. Still, he’s already shown he’s willing to oppress people, if necessary.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
9 months ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I think, and fear, you may be right. Once in control of the east, Putin could negotiate a ceasefire and peace settlement with the exhausted and battered government of Ukraine and claim the victory he needs. However, holding on to his gains – which would need massive long-term imposition of force on a largely hostile population – could still bankrupt Russia in spite of the reserves it has built up, and lead to his downfall. It’s still very difficult to see how this will end, but it has certainly exposed the fact that we in Europe have been living in a fool’s paradise, prioritising our comforts over our need for defence.

David Owsley
David Owsley
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

he doesn’t want to hold down the whole of Ukraine

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  David Owsley

That’s not what he has said.

James Chater
James Chater
9 months ago

A useful prescient analysis.

Last edited 9 months ago by James Chater
Warren T
Warren T
9 months ago

…”dangerously empty rhetoric”

Quote of the decade!!!!!!

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
9 months ago

What kind of self-fulfilling prophecy is the title of this article supposed to be?

For a news website dedicated to ‘pushing back against herd mentality’, there’s an awful lot of warmongering propaganda tripe, such as this childish article.

How about some analysis on how to return to peaceful cooperation, instead of mindless serving of elite agendas, so the real problems of the world can be tackled?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Neven Curlin

I’m sure that we all agree it would be good to return to peaceful cooperation, seeing as our armed forces are now very weak, although that’s not obvious in a continent of weak nations.
I’m sure the Germans would, too, seeing where their gas comes from.
And I’m sure Ukrainians would agree, seeing as their lives, livelihoods and country are progressively being destroyed.
Is that sufficient?

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
9 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

If you’re not going to answer my question, ie ‘how to return to peaceful cooperation’, it’s not sufficient, no.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago

A better take on the situation can be found in this article by Victor Hanson Hanson: https://amgreatness.com/2022/02/27/the-crowded-road-to-kyiv/

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
9 months ago

An all-powerful NATO is afraid of backward Russia? Wouldn’t it have been a simple matter for Sweden, Finland and Georgia to threaten immediate NATO membership if Russia invaded Ukraine? Of course they’re considering it now! Too late cowards! And/or to increase their military spending (+ all existing NATO countries as well) if the invasion occurred? They’re doing it now of course. Too late cowards!
And wouldn’t it have been simple for the UN to instruct every member country that borders Russia to mobilise on their borders eg the India, Pakistan, China etc. immediately an invasion occurred. They wound at least force Russia to split its forces and give Ukraine a fighting chance! But no! Lily-livered sanctions. Pretend sanctions even! Cowards!
Wouldn’t be simple to ‘sell’ warplanes and other high tech antiaircraft weapons to Ukraine for their pilots and military to fight the Russian MIGs? It might work better than a no-fly zone given the bravery of Ukrainians and their desire to fight? The US, UK and France are happy to sell them to despots everywhere else!
Trying to appease rabid tyrants is never going to work be they Russian dictators or mad men anywhere.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
9 months ago

What people forget is Starbucks, MacDonalds, Coca Cola and BMW. Russia was invaded by the West years ago

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
9 months ago
Reply to  Zorro Tomorrow

Somebody please invade me and give me a BMW.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
9 months ago
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
9 months ago

If a war will rid us of being taken over by woke… then bring it on!

Vyomesh Thanki
Vyomesh Thanki
9 months ago

Perspicacious – published on 18 January 2022:
‘Moscow’s Compellence Strategy’ –
https://www.fpri.org/article/2022/01/moscows-compellence-strategy/

And:
The Invasion of Ukraine, and Russian Product Exports
https://youtu.be/IMd1SLkGQJM

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
9 months ago

No armchair generalism from agreeable rooms away from current physical danger! That said, a few thoughts. Brexity types can’t complain if a European Armed Force emerges now. They’d also complain if the EU wasn’t being tough with Russia. A European Force would have to orbit within NATO to support efforts to protect Asian nations like Singapore against China. No reason why this can’t be both but complex. At least we can stop pretending.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
9 months ago

Another good article by this writer. Just two things. Ukraine has definitely forbidden men of fighting age to keave Ukraine, no doubt contributing to the extraordinary delays at the Ukraine border, and there is nothing nebulous about Ukraine’s hostility to the Hungarian and Polish population they acquired, with huge chunks of land, at the end of WW 2. Five years of bitter fighting and terrible atrocities ensued. See Jan Gross. Revolution from Abroad, 1989.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
9 months ago

Millenniard rhetoric. Russia can’t and will not attack Europe. Its GDP is slightly higher than Australia’s while its population is 6 times larger

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
9 months ago

Aside from Britain, The French, and some of the newer E European Nato/European countries, and Italian Alpine, special forces and naval divers, the European military is a sick neo woke joke….

Leslie Cook
Leslie Cook
9 months ago

This is Russia’s Cuban Missile Crisis. Ukraine is their back door. It has 12 US funded bio weapon labs Putin has complained about for decades now. NATO expansion exacerbates the problem. International intervention exacerbates the problem. It has parts of its military openly identifying as Nazis. It has corruption beyond the pale and it is fascinating that world leaders are continually making financial deals there. Think Biden, Clinton, etc. Current Ukraine government seems to think inviting Russia’s enemies in to indulge in all kinds of business, military, and criminal fuckery will not have consequences. Putin is no angel but he is not unprovoked. US is more guilty of unprovoked foreign military intervention. The media is successfully brainwashing the public into armchair war enthusiasts. Who is gaining? Politicians, arms dealers, and big pharma since it is a perfect distraction from vaccine failure fall out.

Fergus Mason
Fergus Mason
9 months ago
Reply to  Leslie Cook

It has 12 US funded bio weapon labs”
No it doesn’t.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Leslie Cook

Another apologist. Besides, several of your criticisms apply to Russia tenfold. At least Ukrainians are trying to improve and continue progress towards a normal democratic nation. We thought Russia was too, for a time, but under Putin, it’s clearly doing the exact opposite, with the declared aim of dragging Ukraine back with it.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Not an apologist but a realist and not a warmonger.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
9 months ago

Good article, agree that the Russian invasion seems at this point to be looking to limit casualties. The Ukrainians though winning the battle of public opinion seem to be playing with fire. I’m seeing a lot of social media friendly soundbites and stories and I’m seeing them arm civilians. They must know Russia can go up a gear. Russian soldiers fighting civilians seems like a recipe for dead civilians and wrecked cities. I can only conclude that that’s what Ukraine wants in order to get the Western powers more heavily involved. It’s probably the only way Ukraine can win and on that basis I don’t think I want them to.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

The Ukrainians are playing with fire? For heaven’s sake, they are the ones who find their fields full of Russian tanks and homes being rocketed. There is no moral equivalence here, Russia has attacked a sovereign state because it could not get what it wanted. You never, ever reward bad behaviour.

Fintan Power
Fintan Power
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

That sums it up very well.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
9 months ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

There’s no moral argument on my end. If an invading army is rolling into your town and you have the option of surrender and survival or fighting a losing battle and potentially losing everything. I’d suggest you are playing with fire by fighting back.
The Russians have air superiority they could turn you into dust if they wanted.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

Exactly. As Shakespeare said “Discretion is the better part of valor”

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

I am glad that your conclusions have no bearing on anything! Stupid! Ukraine and it’s citizens want their country to be free of an invading army and are willing to fight to the death no matter what! What would you do if Russia invaded us? Argue that when the reserves die that that is what the UK wanted….go and lie down and think about what you’ve said

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
9 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

Just had a quick lie down 🙂 I said they are playing with fire which in the context of war means death, you agree with me that they are fighting to the death. Unless you think Ukraine can win? I don’t see how they can without western intervention.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Dyke

The analogy is wrong because Russia and Ukraine are not exactly separate countries. Yes Ukraine has been separate since the end of the Cold War, but prior to that it was part of Russia since the time of Catherine the Great. Further, realize that many area have a majority Russian speakers who do not speak Ukrainian. Odessa for example. In other words this is not black and white, good guys vs bad guys. There is a good deal of nuance here. And the West has not been helpful by continually poking the bear by hinting at NATO expansion eastwards.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

Sacrificing their own people for the production of imagery that will get the West involved, is exactly the intention of the Ukrainian far right coalition. It’s a bit like the Douma poison attack, but on a grander scale (possibly leading to WW3).

Well-spotted.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
9 months ago
Reply to  Neven Curlin

Exactly. The Ukrainians are playing with fire, as is the West. This is a very dangerous situation that can easily spiral out of control. And in a war between Russia and NATO, nobody will come out the winner.