“There can be no retreat — either for Ukraine, or for the international order we have so painstakingly built over the seven decades, since the last time a tyrant unleashed industrial war on the European continent.”
Turkey invading Cyprus 1974, Transnistria War 1990-2, Croation War 1991-5, Bosnian War 1992-5, Kosovo War 1998-9, Chechan War 1994-5, etc. These were all bloody wars involving artillery, tanks, etc. on the European continent. The international order the author appeals to did not attempt to escalate these conflicts and in most cases sought a wholly diplomatic solution. The international order certainly didn’t intend to make any of these wars a global struggle for a point of principle.
And why can there not be a retreat from the current international order to another? That’s exactly the sort of thing the Soviets said for 40 years about Eastern Europe. For there to be peace the international order needs to be flexible – if it isn’t it becomes another empire. That way leads to many wars to preserve a status quo in an ever changing world.
The success of the international order over the last 70 years was its willingness to compromise. Indeed, when the international order didn’t seek compromise and pursued a military escalation – Vietnam, Afghanistan for example – the results were severely damaging for everyone involved and weakened the international order.
Yeah, last time compromises with revanchist European dictator worked so well… The results of Munich flexibility were not severely damaging, right?
Reducto-ad-Hitlarum is a sign of an inability to defend your case. Most dictators aren’t Hitler. And it’s already obvious that Putin lacks the military ability to be Hitler even if he wanted to.
A one party state headed by a dictator. The regular violence against and disappearing of political opponents. Constant harking back to the past (PrecWW1/Soviet Union). The use of a bogeyman to explain the nations problems (Jews/NATO). Invasion of a sovereign nation under the pretence of protecting their fellow speakers (Ukraine/Sudetenland). Whilst Putin isn’t as effective or as powerful as the Adolph, you can’t deny there are some similarities
If you look hard enough you’ll find similarities everywhere! Check out Winnie the Poo vs Joseph Stalin while you’re at it!
Enlighten me, what are the similarities between Winnie the Pooh and Stalin? If not your comment is nonsense
I just Googled Winnie the Pooh and Joseph Stalin. I couldn’t help myself.
The USSR was pretty funny as long as you didn’t have to live in it.
Child abuse causes PTSD. Hitler was an abused child. Stalin. Putin.
PTSD leaves the victim permanently angry
PTSD leaves some victims in extreme desire for power and control
PTSD destroys human empathy and trust
..but the gung ho is so much sexier isn’t it! Armchair hawks talkin’ tough! Idiots.
I really wish there was a law against making Munich/Chamberlain/appeasement analogies.
Of course you do, because they’re so apt.
Indeed, Putin’s obsession since 2014 of creating the entity of “Novorossiya” is the very essence of compromise.
The “partial mobilization”–which is anything but–is another example. As is his total crackdown on all dissent.
So was Putin’s attempt to take ALL of Ukraine on 24 Feb.
“Compromise,” “compromise,” everywhere…
Fact is, the Ukrainian Russophones elected Zelensky, so this has always been very much against the will of most Ukrainians.
But that doesn’t matter.
It didn’t put Putin in charge of Ukraine’s destiny. It didn’t enable him to create a criminalized alternative to the EU. It didn’t enable perpetual military and energy blackmail of Europe.
So how could it be a “compromise”?
“Putin’s obsession since 2014 of creating the entity of “Novorossiya””
Strange how he was perfectly fine with Ukraine for 15 years, and suddenly became “obsessed” just when a US funded and inspired “colour revolution” overthrew a democratically elected leader, increased talk of NATO in Ukraine and the start of violence against ethnic Russians in Donbass.
Highly coincidental timing, isn’t it?
“perpetual military and energy blackmail of Europe.”
You do know that the West imposed massive sanctions, armed and trained Ukraine (for several years), and provides enormous intelligence support.
In short they are at war with Russia.
What next, how dare the Germans not provide the West with V2 rockets in 1944. How mean of them.
Vova was only “perfectly fine” with Ukraine because he thought eventually he could bring it into the “Russkiy Mir.” That, obviously, has been a total failure.
He might have still had a neutral Ukraine. But instead, he created a frozen conflict, which he thought he could manipulate to Russia’s advantage. No one but an idiot does that. It simply drove Ukraine further into the arms of NATO/EU.
No European power ever engaged in “frozen conflicts.” Ravanchism yes, but not this kind of idiocy.
And now all the conflicts are all unravelling at once. Karabakh is already lost. Transnistria will be next. Then South Ossetia. Then Chechnya, then…
The greatest enemy of the Russian state has been Vova.
What/who the hell is Vova…… (jargon)?
It’s a diminutive of Vladimir.
Who knew they were that close: Vova & Martin eh?
“Strange how he was perfectly fine with Ukraine for 15 years,”
Only thing that is strange is this blatant lie. From the get go Putin has been openly ambitious to rebuild the Russian empire and contemptuous of any who try to break away or stay independent of what He regards as Russian. At least that’s what I recently heard Kasparov saying at length (backed by ample evidence) – perhaps though you are smarter, more involved and more Russian than he?
Sorry pal. What you recently heard is neither here nor there. Cite your evidence based on proper scholarly analysis, or refrain from pretending your opinions are fact.
Putin said it in his annexation speech.
Not strange at all. Until 2014 the plan was to use politics, economic pressure and undercover operations get a pro-Russian autocrat installed, like in Belorussia, and control Ukraine that way. As long as that looked promising there was no reason to go to war. After the Maidan it became clear that this was not going to work, and since the control of Ukraine was a non-negotiable demand, it was decided to do it by invasion instead.
You forgot to mention the billions having flown in supposedly for the purpose, poor Medvechuk has to explain now, after being sent to Vladimir. (the POW exchange, right).
Taken right out of the NATO playbook. Use politics, economic pressure and undercover operations to get a pro US oligarchy installed, like in most of Europe and the world, and control countries that way. As long as that looks promising there is no reason to go to war. But if they can’t be controlled that way economic violence and bombing the shit out of them is what is required. With one BIG difference. Whereas most of the countries the US controls are nowhere near the US, Ukraine and some others are right on Russia’s borders. And Russia ain’t going to tolerate their sabre rattling. What is going on in Ukraine should be a salutary message to those wishing to undermine Russia.
The War Crimes Russian soldiers are committing undermine Russia.
As to Russia not tolerating sabre-rattling? It will soon not have an Army. In that case it may have to tolerate a great many things after encouraging Ukraine to destroy the Russian Army.
If you believe the rubbish spewed out by mainstream Western media, such as this Associated Press report, then of course the Russian army are committing war crimes. But given the lack of critical reporting and general peddling of Western propaganda as part of the information war to demonise Russia, I prefer not to jump to conclusions based on tainted evidence. I am more swayed by the following evidence
Though I would not discount war crimes being committed by both sides. We now know enough about war and the effects of violence and death the protagonists endure, and perpetrate against the perceived enemy, to suggest that it is inconceivable that war crimes are not committed by both sides. The mainstream media in the West prefers to amplify and exaggerate the crimes of the Russian army and also fabricate crimes, as in this example, to suit its narrative.
My experience as an infantry conscript, of being mocked for flagging the Geneva Conventions in front of an officer, was a salutary lesson that when it comes to war the so called ‘rules of war’ are easily ignored for whatever reason by those who should know better.
His clever, underhand strategy seems yo have been to use a democratic election! How sneaky can you get!
Democracy is not just waiting till your friends get in and going with that – as Trump shows. Democracy is accepting it when your friends are kicked out and you no longer get what you want. There have been several free elections since 2014, and Putin strangely enough does not seem to accept that they are legitimate.
I watched election night. The water main break that didn’t break but emptied the counting hall. Counting hall windows being taped over. 3AM ballot deliveries. Republicans sent home, Democrats keep counting.
Not enough to swing an election I have been told.
Wasn’t Viktor Yushchenko poisoned by Putin back in 2004 because he ran against a pro Kremlin candidate? So perhaps the Russians weren’t “perfectly fine” with Ukraine before the revolution. Trying to blame the Americans for the invasion, when the Russians have been doing exactly what you accuse the West of doing in Ukraine ever since it’s independence is a bit rich is it not?
Putin was only “perfectly fine” with Russian speaking leaders that towed the line.
..a bit like the US is fine with those who speak American and toe their line? One is as bad as the other! The only difference being that Putin operates close to home while the US Empire stretches around the world! I’m so glad, we’re white-skinned, Christian and have no oil. Otherwise we’d be dead meat!
The “partial mobilization”–which is anything but–is another example. As is his total crackdown on all dissent.
Who needs evidence when baseless assertion does the job so much more efficiently?
We have clear cases of non-military people being drafted.
As well as numerous instances of suppression of anyone who even uses the term “war.”
Please cite YOUR evidence to the contrary.
So Putin hasn’t conscripted thousands of young men from the predominantly poorer areas of Russia outside the large cities? He hasn’t arrested thousands of anti war protestors, and there isn’t large queues of fighting age men now desperately trying to flee over the borders?
There’s plenty of evidence out there my friend, it certainly doesn’t appear to be a baseless accusation
Reading through your comment, which I upticked by the way, it makes me wonder why this war is different to the ones you have listed.
I’m sure there are several reasons but one of them must surely be the internet, and social media, yet again. How much would we in the West have cared if all we saw and heard were a few newspaper articles and a bit on the TV as it was pre 2000 ?
But with the internet we are flooded with news and images, often unreliable, as well as a new self consciousness and more general intolerance. We are living out the story, or even myth perhaps, before our own eyes.
For the first 30 years of my life Ukraine was part of Russia, Kiev was one of Russia’s great cities. If that’s true for me as an English woman far away what must that historical fact mean to Russians ?
If Scotland should ever become independent, how long would it be before some English leader decided they wanted it back ?
If it was a LEGAL referendum, no British leader could do that. No one would support it, and they would be gone the next day.
You also don’t see EU troops massing to get the UK back in the EU, do you? Simple as that. Ditto for Czechia and Slovakia.
Nice to see you are “English” though. Sad that you don’t know anything about Scottish history, however. Many attempts to subdue Scotland ended in failure.
Just as in Ukraine.
“If at first you don’t succeed….”, we got there in the end with the ‘blessed’ Oliver Cromwell, and later our munificence produced the Act of Union.
Scotland has everything to thank England for.
“Empires wax and wane…”
“The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”
…especially all that North Sea oil England sent up to you Scots!
I don’t understand why you are so cross, are you sure you are not reading into my comment imaginings all your own ? There is nothing sinister meant in my using “English”.
After “woman” I think of myself as “English” then “British”, where’s the harm in that ?
“Much may be made of a Scotchman, if he be caught young.”
Dr Samuel Johnson.
All 3 terms are now disallowed! Lol!
EU troops are not massing to get us back into the EU for the simple reasons that a) they are trying to do it in a different way, and b) even though our army has been emasculated, theirs are in a far, far worse condition.
Just point out a scenario where the EU would ever even dream of doing that.
No scenario, it seems.
I never knew GB was part of the European Empire? Ok.. back to the history books for me!
Assuming that there is a referendum and assuming that the Scottish people vote for seperation, you’re actually suggesting that England would invade Scotland in the 21st century. Of course I don’t know what may happen in the far future, but as things stand at the moment I am more inclined to believe that the Scots will sue to rejoin.
Oops, I misread your comment initially.
No, I have not “suggested England would invade Scotland”, but conceivably might as a possibility, in a rhetorical question, drawing a parallel with Russia/Ukraine.
I agree with the rest of your comment.
Say that again after the Trussian winter, if you’re still around and not frozen or starved to death!
If Scotland should ever become independent, how long would it be before some English leader decided they wanted it back ?
If it were to become independent, it would do so on a democratic vote allowed by the UK (not just England) as a whole. Don’t forget, just such a referendum took place, peacefully, in 2014.
Are you really suggesting that the rest of the UK would let Scotland leave by expression of democratic will, and later invade it by force of arms?
You seem to have missed the point. I used a rhetorical question to draw a hypothetical parallel; Ukraine left Russia for independence in 1991 “on a democratic vote”, 30 years later Russia has invaded to try and get at least some of it back.
None of us know what might happen in 10, 30 or 50 years time, I very much hope that England would not invade Scotland ever again, God forbid. But it is conceivable, we were at war with each other on and off for nearly 800 years.
We all want to believe that we are too civilised for that to ever happen again in the UK, but that does not mean it won’t unfortunately. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be over confident that peace will reign in the West for evermore, humility about our human fallibility and caution are wiser imo.
Long live the Union.
I presume that the one down vote in the first hour must be from the “Wee Kranky Woman” because of your last sentence.
Quite right! And Truss has nukes and says she will press the button! ..to be fair I think that was re Russia rather than Scotland?
For much longer than 30 years, Algeria was part of France. Algiers was one of France’s great cities, with a significant French population (Pieds-noirs’) around it. What do you think that historical fact meant to the French? Do you conclude that 1) it would be perfectly OK for France to reconquer Algeria? or 2) that your parallel does not hold, and it is not OK for Russia to reconquer Kyiv after all?
I’ll grant you that when empires break up, there is often a messy situation where populations are intermixed, several of the new nations can have reasonable claims to the same territories, and a stable (let alone just) solution is hard to reach. But as a minimum we should consider the interests of all parties, and not simply allow the old empire to reconquer whatever it likes.
The point is that “empires” are about 100 years out of date.
No one can resurrect them, even if they tried.
Someone ought to tell President Xi.
Your analogy is complete nonsense and bear no relevance to the situation in Ukraine. Algeria may have been part of the French empire but nobody in France ever looked upon Algeria as a part of France simply separated by the mediterranean. In the context of Russia and Ukraine, they were one country for a very long time. Further, Crimea, that everybody seems to make a bit fuss about, was in fact Russian until Khrushchev gifted it to Ukraine in 1955. As for Eastern Ukraine it is almost entirely inhabited by Russian speakers. and that includes Odessa where almost nobody even speaks Ukrainian.
Helps to know some history and a few correct facts. That doesn’t mean that I condone Putin’s action, but the fact is that this war was in part pushed along by the interference of the US and the continual eastern push of NATO. In this regard it would be worth carrying out a gedanken experiment as to the US reaction even, for example, Mexico and China were allies, and China attempted to install military bases in Mexico. I think the US’s response, in accordance with the Monroe doctrine, would be obvious. And of course we know exactly what the US response was during the Cuban missile crisis.
And finally, for the author of this article, it is completely dishonest to acll the Ukrainian government post the 2013/2014 Maidan revolution as a democratic one. It is autocratic, run by oligarchs, and Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries on earth. Don’t confuse their so-called democracy with the nature of government in the UK, for example.
“It is autocratic, run by oligarchs, and Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries on earth.”
Ukrainians take great comfort in the fact that Russia is also run by oligarchs (controlled by a single person). Indeed, it is corrupt precisely because it sits next to Russia.
Moreover, no one has disputed the outcome of post-2014 elections. They were internationally monitored, and thus democratic.
Finally, nearly every state on earth has seen interruptions in their form of govt.
So, you’re really just saying that almost all nations in the UN are illegitimate.
“no one has disputed the outcome of post-2014 elections.” except the one third of the population in the east who are ethnic Russians who refused to recognise this illegitimate government and were not included in the vote. The Party of the Regions who these disenfranchised people support was banned and the constitution of the country overthrown. All supported by the West.
“nearly every state on earth has seen interruptions in their form of govt.” But what you fail to mention is that this usually is attended by much struggle, usually of a violent nature, like a civil war, until some resolution is found. Ukraine is a perfect example. There is a violent struggle for legitimacy, a civil war. Democratic government has not really existed since the 2014 overthrow of the political system. A resolution still waits to be achieved.
That the West is using the civil war it provoked to get at Russia does not bode well for Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine were one country for a very long time, yes. So were England, Ireland, and Scotland, Serbia and Kosovo, China and Xinjiang, Austria and Hungary, Turkey and Greece, Denmark and Norway, Schleswig and Southern Sweden. Imperial possession does not give you a permanent right to keep old territories against the will of the people who live in them.
For someone who ‘does not condone Putins actions’ you sure have a lot of blame to put on everybody but the Russians. I’d grant you that it is not totally obvious which country Crimea ought to belong to, and that there are some quite legitimate questions about Russian-speakers in Eastern Ukraine (like there was once a problem of German-speakers in Denmark). If this was only about limited territorial revisions one might look just about at negotiating a settlement – provided it left Ukraine as an independent viable state at peace with its neighbours and free to chooose its own allies. But then that is exactly what Russia will not accept.
Algeria was ruled as an integral part of France from 1848. Hence the bitterness of the later conflict.
Total sense: small point: Odessa is in the SW not the East but your point holds..
That would require negotiations and Boris told Vlad the comic he’s not allowed to negotiate: and Sleepy Joe told Boris to tell him; otherwise no trade deal with the US!
Ukraine is Ukraine.Russia is Russia.I am 76 years old and Kiev was and is the capital city of UKRAINE.
Incorrect. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. Not Russia. And not by choice.
You are mistaken.
Brief history of Kiev/Ukraine:
Kiev’s origins lost in antiquity but traditionally considered founded in 482 AD..
9th century siezed by the Vikings, became Kievan Rus.
14th century under the control of Lithuania.
16th century given to Poland.
17th century East of Ukraine submitted to Moscow in Russia. Poland held on to the West.
1793 Catherine the Great of Russia took over the whole of Ukraine and it was under tsarist control until the Russian revolution, then within the USSR until 1991.
Throughout these centuries of occupation by it’s neighbours there was always a strong nationalist opposition.
And please, if you want to take issue with any of this contact the Encyclopaedia Britannica not me.
Can’t believe any English leader would want it back
In fact the only way a referendum on Scottish Independence would succeed is if you give the English a vote
The SNP tried letting schoolkids have the vote and that didn’t work
A good point actually. For me, the difference is the very clear ‘agressor’ and ‘victim’ … situation? It’s terrible that people have died in other conflicts, but often it is the forces inside a nation fighting. Or young men fleeing the fight. And for an outsider it’s hard to understand who is more ‘right’. Here it’s clear – the Ukraine is fighting for its existence. It would be absurd to imagine any outside force could lure them fight so fiercely unless they really want to. Of course they do – if it’s die or fight.
How right you are! But you’re having Scotland back! We’re gonna have a Federation of Celtic States: Irl+NI+Scotland and then Wales. Maybe Conwall too? And why not Brittany? Only kiddin’ ..
Forget all those, just during the last two decades, we have seen the Saudis hammer Yemeni civilians (with US / UK arms), Turks bomb Kurdish civilians with US weapons, and of course Iraq (non existent WMDs), Afghanistan (no involvement in 9/11, and Osama was hidden next door in a US “ally” nation,), Libya (couldn’t even be bothered to lie).
International order: we can bomb and attack any nation, and also reserve the right to squeal about “peace” whem it suits us.
And then you wonder why most Asian and African countries view the West with utter contempt for their conduct in this war
Don’t forget what’s being done to Syria
Because everybody else behaves so much better, China, Russia,Iran,Iraq, Syria etc etc etc
Nell, after your police comment and now this, you’re fast becoming my favourite commentator here. Please keep contributing. Do you have a twitter handle ?
“Unheard”? This is just the same Nato Arms Trade propaganda which can be heard everywhere that money controls. For some competent info see youtube channels of The New Atlas, Military Summary, Alexander Mercouris, Graham Phillips, Patrick Lancaster, and others. If “unHerd” wanted to live up to their name they’d be inviting them here. And not supporting sending our arms to genocidal Banderist mass murderers.
Not sure what your historical sources are, but they sure reflect the arrogance of the so called US led Western ‘rules based’ order that has long trashed international law in favour of this rules based lawlessness. The “international order we have so painstakingly built over the seven decades” conveniently omits the countless US and European illegal, criminal wars and subversion of democracy the world over that have condemned a lot of people to pain in order to maintain this sham ‘international order’. There is a long line of criminal illegality: the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran, the overthrow of Sukarno in Indonesia with the Western orchestrated slaughter of a million Indonesians, the overthrow and subversion of democracy in south and central America resulting in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, most prominent here being the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. More recently we have the Western provoked civil wars in Yugoslavia culminating in the illegal bombing of Serbia and effective Nato annexation of Kosovo, the criminal assault and occupation of Iraq, bombing and dismemberment of Libya and Syria. And finally Ukraine. The frontline against a US led Nato war against Russia.
The idea that your selective choice of wars were not provoked and escalated by Western involvement is at best fanciful, at worst disingenuous. Just like these, the conflict in Ukraine bears the label ‘made in the West’. From the EU and US supported coup that overthrew a democratically elected government in 2014, to the US encouragement (reminiscent of the Bosnian conflict) not to implement the Minsk agreements as well as its current interdiction preventing Ukraine from negotiating a peace agreement with Russia. In other words the war in Ukraine is a US led and orchestrated war against Russia. From an army armed by Nato the Russians are now up against a Nato army manned by Ukraine. That is the measure of the escalation.
Attempts to dismiss the existential threat that Russia feels under from the West’s meddling and take over of Ukraine since 2014 is to underestimate the Russian resolve. Russia cannot be defeated and will not lose this conflict. I strongly recommend the scholarly work of John Mearsheimer in this regard:
To myopically attempt to demonise the Russian position as the evil doings of a dictator that has to be stopped in his tracks is to deny the history of this conflict, and to wish to escalate it in to nuclear armageddon. This is one bridge too far that the West has chosen to take using Ukraine as its canon fodder. It can’t be taken. The West cannot win, because Russia cannot lose. It is the point of no return if it is reached where winning and losing become meaningless, because interchangeable. Either Russia gets the security guarantees it rightfully is entitled to, or we get World War 3. I don’t know about you but I prefer to live in peace with Russia.
Well said Russell, interesting perspective. Thanks
Putin’s own actions have sabotaged any chances he may have had in Ukraine.
And Kyiv in 2014 did NOT see some sort of CIA-orchestrated “coup.”
There is no proof of CIA involvement, and the half million on the streets in Kyiv were certainly not paid by the CIA.
Most important, the “coup’s” success was facilitated by Putin/Vova himself. If he had just allowed the usual political process to unfold in Ukraine, eventually a Russia-friendly govt would have won an election and returned to power.
Instead, he chose a stealth “special operation.” The first set of rebels, led by Girkin, were defeated and ran. Then Vova had to up the ante with a stealth takeover of Crimea, and intervention by the Russian Army itself in Donbas.
The tiny fault in his “cunning plan” was that then Russophones favorable to Russia became a distinct minority. They would never become a significant political force again. Indeed, Zelensky’s peace ticket was the overwhelming choice among Russophones in the East and South.
But once Vova betrayed their hopes with his invasion, he lost Ukraine forever.
Vova, and Vova alone, is the author of all his disasters.
Proof of US involvement? Here it is, handpicking the putschist government.
I am afraid your sequence of events is somewhat muddled. It is precisely because the political process was prevented from following its course by the Western supported coup that led to the Donbas rebellion. The constitutionally elected president Yanukovych, agreed to a series of compromises with the opposition that were brokered and underwritten by the EU. One of them was to bring forward elections in spite of the fact that the constitutionally designated time frame for elections was not so far off. Before the ink was even dry on the signed agreement, the president his government and the constitution were overthrown in a violent coup led by a well organised rightwing and Nazi militias. The EU, lousy hypocrites that they are, failed to honour what it had brokered and together with their war mongering US masters supported the coup and the overthrow of Ukrainian democracy.
No betrayal by Russia. Russia wants stability on its borders as all states want. And the last thing it wanted was to have to be involved in a civil war. That is why it, together with France and Germany, designed the Minsk accords. But after eight years of waiting while Ukraine was steadily being armed and trained by NATO, Russia’s patience justifiably ran out.
And thank goodness Russia took back Crimea. An injustice has finally been righted. And the bloodshed that has befallen the Donbas was averted. Unlike our liberal fair-weather humanitarians who like to invoke international law when it suits them in the interests of spilling blood in the name of humanitarian interventionism, (Yugoslavia, Libya) I support genuine humanitarian interventionism that prevents the spilling of blood, as Russia did in Crimea.
Crimea will go back to Ukraine. Get used to it.
That’s unavoidable now. Russia’s army is weakening with every day, while Ukraine’s grows stronger in numbers and western equpt. That’s why Vova, much against his will, has had to recruit people with zero real military experience. (The decree, BTW, says nothing about who can and can’t be chosen).
Since I suspect that the majority in both Donbas and Crimea favor union with Russia, that’s unfortunate.
But Ukraine didn’t start the war. The pro-Russian Russophones are simply Vova’s latest victims of Novichok.
Dream on! It’s people like you who can’t seem to get used to the fact that Crimea is an integral part of the Russian Federation. You will have World War 3 should there be any serious attempt to attack Crimea. And I am afraid the status of Crimea then becomes irrelevant because that signals the end of civilisation as we know it. And anything short of World War 3 will reduce Ukraine to rubble. Both eventualities I very much hope don’t come to pass.
Er, Crimea was “an integral part Russia” in 1854.
But it fell to military conquest.
The same will happen here.
Absolutely spot on Russel. Unfortunately the US Government is headed by a senile imbecile with no common sense.
A “senile imbecile with no common sense” who is winning this war
Spot on. And not only Mearsheimer but former US President Nixon, former Secretary of State Kissinger, George Kennan the architect of Containment in the Cold War, even Brent Scowcroft and others admitted Russia got out of control when “our guy” Yeltsin let the oligarchs loose. The hawk Brzezinsky who co-featured in an oral history with Scowcroft confirmed that Russia would be finished as a great power without Ukraine, and that was the motive for Maidan. It goes on and on with the most senior US people affirming what the Democrat and neocon hawks refuse to acknowledge. Then there’s the request by Putin and Yeltsin to join NATO, rebuffed repeatedly. Threats and bullying to shut off Nordstream. Forget any Russian interference on US Facebook, here we were actively backing Navalny who was so much worse than Yeltsin that even Amnesty quietly dropped him. Where were the Russians to go?
Here you are again with your moronic claims that Russia should had been allowed to join NATO.
Russia never met any criteria.
Nord Stream was economic Ribentrop Molotov pact.
Stupidity of Merkel Russia policy is obvious to anyone by now.
Apart from Russian stooges like you.
Navalny worse than Yeltsin? You’re totally crazy. Navalny is an idealistic anti corruption campaigner, who is brave enough to risk his life and freedom for the sake of ordinary Russians. Get real!
Putin and his Cronies are thieves and murderers in anyone’s books.
And who are you?
Compared to the death and destruction wrought by the leaders of the NATO alliance counting backwards from Afghanistan to Korea that takes in Biden, Johnson, Cameron, Trump, Obama, Blair, Brown, Bushe’s daddy and baby, Clinton, Major, Thatcher, Regan, Nixon, Johnson, ‘Putin and his Cronies’ can’t hold the candle. It is always interesting how Western arrogance projects its own crimes, numbering in millions of bloodied corpses, on to others in order to deflect attention away from them. The demons are at home pal, thieving and murdering right under your nose and all you care about is ‘Putin and his Cronies’ in far away lands. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee and put your own house in order before seeking to put other people’s houses in order. And that means taking your bloody, grubby hands out of Ukraine!
You do know that the Korea war started because North Korea invaded South Korea? They are the ones responsible for any death and destruction in the Korea war. I guess you also think the third reich was an innocent victim in WW2.
Its a lot more complicated than that. The Korean tragedy dates back to Japanese colonisation of Korea. Effectively the US prevented Korean unification after the Second World War by staging sham elections in the South, and de facto partitioning the country, much like it did in Vietnam. The US had and has no business poking its nose in the affairs of countries nowhere near its borders like Korea. The US was responsible for the death of millions of Koreans and the total destruction of North Korea.
And for all those who hypocritically protest Russia’s justifiable intervention in Ukraine to protect fellow Russians and maintain its own security, Ukraine was the third largest contributor to the US-NATO coalition of the willing illegal and criminal war of aggression and occupation of Iraq. It seems the chickens have come home to roost!
I hope you are wrong. Because your argument boils down to: Give us anything we want, or we start world war 3 and kill us all. And the same argument can be recycled eternally: Give us Lithuania, Poland, East Germany, Western Europe … or we start world war 3. And it will. Once you learn that threatening nuclear war can get you whatever you want, you will never stop.
Apologies for the comparison, but there is no other: Going to war against Hitler was not a very rational thing to do, but people did it anyway, because it was either that or live under Nazi domination forever. Offer us some stable future where countries other than Russia can live in peace and independence and we can talk about it. Otherwise it is better to take the conflict now, rather than wait till Russia has grown stronger and used to its opponents folding when threatened.
I am afraid I don’t agree with your reasoning. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest Russia is interested in conquering any of the states you suggest. I would refer you to professor Mearsheimer here. You just find it difficult to accept that Russia has perfectly reasonable security interests and is willing to secure those interests by whatever means necessary. In fact it is the West that thinks it can dictate to the rest of the world by force of arms. It is not Russia that has some 800 military bases all over the world. It is not Russia that has a military budget larger than the combined military budgets of the next ten biggest military budgets. I wonder why this is the case? So I categorically reject your argument. The comparison with Hitler’s Germany is more apposite with regard to the US and NATO than with anything Russia is doing.
Oh yeah? If even potential access of NATO troops to Ukraine is a matter of life and death to Russia, what about potential access of NATO troops to Finland, right next to St Petersburg, or to the Baltic states? If you need a land bridge to Crimea and TransDnistria, do you not also need a land bridge to Kaliningrad? Why would a future Russian government not decide that access to ice-free ports and control of the entrance ot the Baltic were vital Russian interests, as they have been seen by the Tsars for centuries?
Clearly people in the West see no reason to believe in your long-term peaceful intentions – that is why Sweden and Finland are joining NATO. And it is not going to be enough to say loudly that you have no more territorial claims in Europe. We have heard that one before.
Finland was allied to Nazi Germany during the war and ended up signing a treaty of neutrality with the Soviet Union after the war as condition for retaining its independence. It did very well under this arrangement having good neighbourly relations with its Russian neighbour. It has now effectively reneged on this treaty, denied a democratic debate among its citizens, on the grounds that it would be too polarising, (so much for democracy) and made the brain dead decision to join NATO, putting Finland at risk. So to answer your question, Russia has made it clear that should NATO infrastructure be established on Finnish soil, it would be forced to respond.
Ukraine was teeming with NATO personnel before the Russian military operation. Nothing ‘potential’ here. All very real. And Russia pleaded for it to stop. The US and NATO put two fingers up at them.
Now of course if the Finns are stupid enough to be lead by their paranoid induced fantasies about Russian imperialism, then that is their problem. False security breeds stupidity. As I have always maintained, where NATO goes blood flows. From the prosperity of Nokia to the oblivion of nuclear. That is the shadow under which the Finns will live from hereon. What an inspired choice!
All the stir about the prime minister Sanna Marin, her partying and whether she took drugs that makes her ability to make crucial judgements of state is quite amusing really. She was already ‘brain dead’. Perhaps trying some mind expanding substances would actually help deal with some of the paranoid delusions she and her government operate under.
If you actually want countries to believe in your peaceful intentions towards them, and act accordingly, you need to do something to convince them. Saying ‘I am nice and it is brain-dead to think otherwise’ is just not going to cut it. As we learned in WWII, a threat like ‘Do what I want or I will smash you’ no longer works when people believe that they will end up being smashed anyway, no mater what they do.
Oh, so in order for Russia to mollify Finland’s anxiety it must sacrifice its own security and allow NATO to take over Ukraine. No. Russia has not threatened Finland. Not one bit. If Finland chooses to trash its peaceful relationship according to the malign influence of its Western ‘friends’, then it will end up paying the price and will as a consequence be the poorer for it. If I were a Finn I would be very fearful of what joining NATO might mean for the future of Finland and therefore my future. If you play with fire, you must expect to be burned.
Well, you are asking Finland and Ukraine to sacrifice their security interests to mollify Russia’s fears. You ought to consider that Russia is not the only country that has security interests. So has Finland, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, and even Europe as a whole. It is very much against our interests that Russia be in a position to attack us, much as it is not in your interest that potential enemies can get too close to you. And we are not going to believe in ‘but we would never do that’, any more than you are. If you want to get to some kind of stable situation after this war – even if you want the west to abandon Ukraine and let you have your way there – it would be a lot easier for you if you could propose some final state that most of us did not see as a dire threat. As it is, the most obvious explanation is that Russia demands to have full military supremacy over Europe. Of course Europe is going to fight that one.
Firstly, Finland signed an agreement of neutrality with the Soviet Union because it sided with Nazi Germany in the war that it lost. Where and when has Russia interfered or threatened Finland’s security since the signing of that agreement? Finland has enjoyed peace and prosperity and followed its own developmental path.
Ukraine up until 2014, albeit the most corrupt and economically failing state in Europe, was neutral with fairly good relations with Russia. And of course unlike Finland, Ukraine has been culturally and economically bound to Russia. It was the West that more than meddled in Ukraine’s internal affairs because it recognises how important it is to tear it out of Russia’s orbit. Ukraine is a mint for US led multinational corporations.
If you wish to stir the hornets nest, don’t try and justify your provocative actions by appeals to abstract liberal notions of ‘rights’ and ‘freedom to choose’. By all means exercise your rights. But do so in full knowledge that you will be stung. That to me is what I call ‘stupid’.
You point to Russia’s neighbours’ perception of Russia’s malign imperialist intentions as a driver for seeking the protection of NATO. But the Baltics and Poland are continually stirring things and behaving provocatively towards Russia like the little boy in the gang who is used by the bully boy big brothers to start the conflict. The Baltics have sizeable Russian minorities and rather than showing some gratitude for being allowed to leave the fold of the Russian empire, they continue to play out their anti Russian sentiment, discriminating and humiliating their fellow Russian citizens.
A perfect and dangerous example is Lithuania’s outrageous and provocative behaviour regarding its attempts to impede Russia’s right by international law to interact with its Kaliningrad exclave. In one of your recent posts you raised the concern these neighbours have about Russian imperial designs. Well nothing could be more of a wish fulfilment or more a death wish than this tiny NATO member effectively interfering in sovereign Russian affairs through such behaviour. Frankly there would be nothing imperialist if Russia were to take the necessary actions of ensuring such aggression could never happen again. And if that means annexing territory to ensure this, then so be it. There was no issue here until Lithuania brazenly and recklessly decided to poke the Russian bear in the hope that the big NATO bully boys will come to its aid.
The Soviet Union, too, was allied to Nazi Germany during the war. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, remember?
Ah. So now you are trying to whitewash Finlands Nazi past. I guess that accounts for your pro Ukrainian position that is more than happy to ignore the blood curdling Nazi influence that infests its government and security apparatus.
Indeed Stalin signed a pact with Hitler. Only because the Western allies refused a pact with Stalin in the hope that the Nazis would crush the communist menace. How they miscalculated and on realising their mistake and the threat Nazism posed to all civilisation, decided to ally themselves with Russia. But not before Russia had effectively defeated the Nazis on its border with the loss of 27 million Soviet lives. Finland remained ally of the Nazis, like many of the Ukrainian nationalists, out of a deep seated identification with Nazi ideology. In other words they were fascists.
Russia has every reason to fear this fascist and Nazi threat right on its borders.
Finland wanted back the land that the USSR had recently taken from them, and allied with whoever could help them against their most dangerous enemy. Russia. As did some Ukrainian nationalists.
Anyway, I note that when Russia allies with the ‘Nazi threat to all civilization’ it is entirely excusable by the situation and really the fault of other countries who refused to help. When Finland or Ukrainian nationalists do it it, is proof of ‘deep seated identification with Nazi ideology’ and an eternal stain that must ever be atoned.
I call you on double standards.
“Their most dangerous enemy.” While the allies that included Russia were sacrificing everything to defeat the scourge of Nazism that threatened civilisation as we know it murdering Jews on an industrial scale, Finland sided with the Nazis. As did the Unkrainian Banderite Nazi nationalists renowned for their viciousness and murderous cruelty towards Jews. And all you have is the lame excuse that they sided with the Nazis because they wanted land taken from them by the USSR. Well what can one say. Finland backed the wrong horse then, and is backing the wrong one again now. Old habits die hard I guess.
At least the USSR made up for its odious blunder, if you can call it that, and contributed the lion’s share in freeing the world from the Nazi scourge at the cost of 27 million of its own people.
Re: But not before Russia had effectively defeated the Nazis on its border with the loss of 27 million Soviet lives.
Ahistorical rubbish. Churchill allied with the Soviets within days of the German invasion. And Russia didn’t defeat the Nazis “on its borders.” It did so first by repelling them before Moscow and then at Stalingrad and Kursk.
I am afraid you are confusing the historical timeline. Stalin had first sought an anti fascist pact with the West that was refused. It was only then and in order to buy time and avoid Russia being attacked by Hitler, that he signed the odious Molotov-Ribbentrop non aggression treaty.
As for the bit about where and how the Red army engaged and repelled the Nazi armies, you are splitting hairs. Yes they defeated them first inside the Soviet Union at the places you list and then repelled them and pushed them back all the way to Berlin.
Oh, and by the way, you had a long catalogue of (genuine) bad things done by the west. But talking about the ‘Western provoked civil wars in Yugoslavia‘ makes you sound ridiculous. The Yugoslavs started their own civil wars without prompting from anyone else, and the West held aloof for a long time, despite a strong popular mood to ‘do something’ and stop the carnage, mainly because it was not clear what could be done or which side (if any) deserved support. The ‘crime’ of the west was to step in towards the end, force the fighting to stop, and denying Serbia the opportunity to conquer the regions it wanted.
The Yugoslavs did not start their own civil wars. They were provoked in the first instance by Germany recognising the independence of Slovenia and Croatia and then pressuring the EU to follow. That is what is called meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. And US and NATO escalated and aggravated the situation. The tragedy of Bosnia Herzegovina lies full square with the US. They actively encouraged president Izetbegovic to renege on the agreement he initially agreed to with the Serbs, called the Vance – Owen plan. What is ridiculous is your clinging to this sham belief of Western humanitarian interventionism that ironically spills more blood than it purports to prevent, thereby belying its hypocritical claims. And if you are so exercised about what is going on in Ukraine, remember who set the precedent for violating state sovereignty by tearing apart a state in the name of ‘humanitarian interventionism’. None other than NATO with regard to Kosovo that had absolutely nothing to do with any NATO member. At least Russia has more than ample justification for what it is doing on the grounds of ‘humanitarian interventionism’ both in terms of its own security and in terms of its fellow Russians who have been subjected to the terror of Ukrainian artillery bombardment for the past eight years.
If Russia’s only war aim had been to conquer Crimea and the Donbas, the talk about ‘protecting fellow Russians’ might have got a hearing. The Ukrainians would find it unacceptable of course, and the West would refuse to accept gaining teritory by war, but at least you would have had a claim in terms of self-determination of the local population, historic claims, and producing a stable and peaceful solution to the post-USSR-breakup mess. But since the Russian demand is clearly to control the whole of Ukraine, not just to get bits of it, the only result would be to exchange oppressed Russians in the Donbas with rather larger numbers of oppressed Ukrainians under Russian dominance. There would be no stable peace out of that. It is tempting to believe that the concern for fellow Russians is no more than a pretext to cover up Imperial ambition.
Russia’s war aims are contained in the memorandums for a European security architecture it submitted to the US and NATO in December 2021. That included inter alia NATO clearing out of Ukraine, and Ukraine remaining neutral vis a vis West and East. Now you may wish to argue in abstractions about the niceties of independence and control. Fact is Ukraine as the former US ambassador to Ukraine, and now head of the CIA reported back to his superiors in Washington, and as other Cold Warriors such as Henry Kissinger, George Kennan have warned, Ukraine is the reddest of red lines for the Russians of all political persuasions. Cross it at your peril.
If you set up shop next to your neighbour with all sorts of offensive military hardware from people who are not very fond of your neighbour, aimed at your neighbour, you would have a very stupid neighbour who just waited all the while you were building up your offensive capability to him and his family. If your neighbour had half a brain, he would warn you that unless you stopped threatening him and his family, by hosting hostile personnel who are arming and training you and your family to fight him and his family, instead of trying to live as good neighbours should, then he will take action against you to stop you from your hostile activities. And if you simply put two fingers up to him and tell him you intend carrying on with your hostile activity regardless, then you should not be surprised if your neighbour decides to render you harmless by whatever means necessary.
Russia is going to render Ukraine harmless as it perceives its security interests. And unless you want World War 3 you are going to have to live with it. Of course if Russia then makes further demands and tries to use force to secure them, that is a different story. But I am more concerned with the US using force on distant lands to secure its demands – be they supporting coups to overthrow governments, using economic terrorism to blockade and sanction countries whose governments it wishes to overthrow, illegally bombing and occupying parts of other countries, training and arming those it supports to lay waste to countries. These are all real acts of criminality and barbarism. Not fantasies.
Again, if you want others to believe that Russia is *not* going to keep expanding its dominion by force over ever more countries once it has finished with Ukraine (Estonia, Finland, Poland, East Germany, Norway …) you need to give us a good reason to believe you. So far you have convinced Finland and Sweden that Russia was a major threat that required them to join NATO immediately to protect their security. Not a move in the right direction, I would say. And, again, as long as we believe that Russian aggression will continue until you are forced to stop, we will prefer having the fight now, rather than wait till later when you are stronger.
As for the horrible behaviour of the US, other countries have the option, as did Ukraine, of choosing to ditch the US and applying for the alliance and protection of Russia instead. Mostly they prefer not to. I wonder why?
Ever heard of the Cuba missile crisis, or the Monroe doctrine?
Your reasoning is much like that which prevailed over the Iraq weapons of mass destruction lie. Unless Iraq could prove its innocence, it was guilty. No, Russia is not obliged to prove anything to Western induced Russophobia that is leading the world to disaster. Quite the contrary, Russia’s neighbours and former Soviet republics who were released from the yolk of Soviet domination, need to show a little bit more gratitude and respect towards Russia. And the West needs to demonstrate in deeds that it does not harbour malign intentions towards Russia. That means abolishing NATO.
As long as Russia believes that NATO aggression will continue until it is forced to stop in Ukraine, it prefers having the fight now, rather than wait till later when Ukraine is even stronger.
I am sorry but there is no shred of evidence that majority of people of Donbass and Luhansk are willing to be part of Russia.
In 1991 Ukraine independence referendum both regions voted over 80% for being part of independent Ukraine.
Even Crimea voted 54% for it.
Russia is the last colonial power in Europe (we can claim China is the same in Asia with its control of Tibet).
Unlike UK and France it is unwilling to let go of its possessions.
Whether is is Tsarism, Communism or Putinism, it is the same genocidal Russian Imperialism.
I actually agree (and I upvoted you). The just outcome, as I see it, would clearly be that Russia went home and left Ukrainian territory to Ukraine.
But when empires break up you do tend to end up with territories claimed with some justification by both sides, ethnicities that do not match the new borders (and there are quite a few pro-Russians in the Donbas, even if they are not a majority), and perpetual conflict. A lot of those situations eventually got ‘sorted out’ by war and ethnic cleansing, where people accept that, unjust or not , things are not going to change so there is no sense in fighting. Sudeten Germans and East Prussians, Greeks and Turks in Greece and Turkey, Jews across the Arab world and Palestinians in Israel., …. Whether some manifestly unjust concessions would be worth it to get peace and independence from their overbearing neighbour would be for the Ukrainians to judge, but you could at least argue that it might be worth considering as an alternative to constant war.
The point is – and that pretty much nullifies all arguments for ‘a negotiated solution’ – that Russia will settle for nothing less than owning Ukraine – with freedom to continue their aggression elsewhere. As long as that does not change there is no room for compromise.
Ah, yes. That was 1991. Ode to those halcyon days of peace! What you fail to mention is what happened in 2014 – an anti Russian Western backed coup that overthrew a democratically elected government and constitution that provoked a civil war in which at least 14,000 Ukrainian Russian speaking citizens have been murdered over the past eight years by their own Ukrainian army because they were deemed to be terrorists for refusing to recognise the putschist government that replaced their democratically elected one.
And what you fail to mention regarding Crimea, is that already in 1995 the Ukrainian government suppressed the Crimean constitution and presidency, thereby abolishing the local democracy and relative autonomy that Crimea enjoyed. Hardly a ringing endorsement of Ukrainian tolerance and democracy!
I am afraid you will just have to learn to live with the fact that Crimea and the Donbas are now the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation because the people who live there prefer the protection, peace and tranquility Russia affords them instead of the Russophobic persecution and terror of Ukrainian artillery the Banderite Nazis and other assorted Ukrainian fascists terrorise them with.
You are nothing more then “Sovietskaya scatina”.
No different from appeasers of Hitler, which Russia was ally of.
No one in the West has any desire for nuclear war.
But allowing some third rate, megalomaniac psychopath like Putin to conquer Ukraine because he believes some moronic dreams of Russia greatness is the compromise too far.
Yes, lowlife scum like you prefer to live in peace with Russia.
At the expense of destruction of another nation.
Apologies. Comment submitted twice. So deleted the second one. Does not seem to be an actual delete function.
The wars you mentioned were all part of post-imperial sorting out – the Ottoman empire, Yugoslavia, Russia/USSR. In all cases the goal should be to reach a stable and peaceful solution for the future. This requires that to some degree you consider the interests of all parties – though there may be no good solution available. The West *did* intervene in Kosovo and Bosnia, to avoid what was seen as an unacceptable imperial conquest from Serbia. Nobody intervened in Chechnya, Cyprus or TransDnistria because it was not obvious what the right solution should be and/or because the conflict was inherently limited so nothing further was at stake.
The Ukrainians will not like my saying this, but *if* this had been a matter of Crimea, and Russian-speakling populations in Luhansk and Donetsk *and had ended there*, one could at least have have considered acquiescing in some territorial adjustments and a population exchange, like Germany and Poland after WWII, or Greece and Turkey after WWI (or Israel and Palestine, part of the Post-Ottoman sort-out). Even quite unjust concessions could be worth it, if it can avoid massacres and secure a stable long-term peace.
Unfortunately, in Ukraine nothing like a stable peace was ever on offer, and Russia never offered any reciprocal concessions, let alone a compromise. The Russian demand is for control of Ukraine. Eventually to be followed by the annihilation of Ukraine as a nation and russification of the population, and the re-creation of the Tsarist/USSR empire complete with control of East European satellite states. Once they had a bit of Ukraine, they would work on getting the next bit. Once they had control of Ukraine, the pressure would be on the Baltic states, a ‘land bridge’ to Kaliningrad, etc.
The international order can certainly change. But if we allow it to change so as to recreate the old Tsarist empire lots of people, not only in Eastern Europe, will be very unhappy with the result.
No compromise was ever available in either Vietnam or Afghanistan. The opposition demanded full, unfettered control, and was willing to keep fighting till they got it. Compromise would have meant e.g. a division in North and South Vietnam (like in Korea) and some kind of democratic (i.e. not fully Islamic) government in Afghanistan – and that was just not on the cards. The choice facing the US was either to keep fighting till they won, or to surrender to the aims of other side. Considering that ultimately the war could not be won, it would surely have been better to give up early, saving the immense cost in lives, damage and money. But calling that ‘compromise’ simply does not make sense.
It is hard to visualise a withdrawal by Russia and retaking Donesk (and certainly Crimea) is almost as hard to visualise. Unconditional surrender by either side looks unlikely in the extreme.
That leaves negotiation! The same option that was there on day one! Guarantee Russia’s security – no NATO or EU membership for Ukraine: Minsk accord applied in Donesk. Crimea is a fait accompli.
The whole bloody affair was and continues to be a complete waste of human life, property and resources of every kind. Perhaps the greatest waste of any war, ever. Nothing accomplished that couldn’t have been accomplished on day 1: with one exception: the US’s insatiable desire to weaken Russia in order to support its failing unipolar order and the not so mighty any more dollar! So a 100,000 or si lives (ni one seems bothered to count), billions in damage and Europe economically in ruins: and the US laughing all the way to the Federal Reserve!
That is not compromise, that is a Russian victory. The Minsk axccords guarantee Russi the power to control Ukrainian politics through the Russian-controlled Donbas regions. Withdrawal of NATO and EU leaves Ukraine militarily helpless, and economically with no choice but to cleave to Russia. A successful war that the West accepts leaves Russia free and eager to plan the next conquests, maybe in the Baltics.
If you think surrender is better than war you have a right to your opinion, but please stop calling it ‘negotiation’.
The Minsk accords are an agreement sanctioned by the UN Security Council that confers on them the force of international law. What you are advocating is that you don’t give a damn for international law if it does not suit you while pretending to espouse a balanced and reasonable position. The Minsk accords were a compromise and was signed by all parties concerned. If you break the law you get punished. Ukraine under the control of the US and NATO broke the law. Even worse than that, the putschist president, Poroshenko who signed the agreement has now confessed that it was signed in bad faith as a means of buying time to build a strong NATO trained and armed military force to take back the breakaway regions by force. Ukraine has now lost even more territory, has lost tens of thousands of its citizens and is in ruins. And it is going to get even worse. That’s what happens when you sacrifice your sovereignty and independence to a criminal force like NATO that leads to destruction by breaking the law.
I think the Germans, probably too late, are waking up to the fact that not only is the US fighting Russia in Ukraine, but it is also using Ukraine to fight Germany, and by extension Europe. The German economy is nose diving as are the rest of the economies of Europe, and the Germans are beginning to rebel demanding the turning on of North Stream 2. Surprise, surprise, it is blown up. No prizes for guessing who blew it up. Oh yes, obviously the cynical evil Russians. Just like they have been shelling themselves in the nuclear plant they captured in Zaporizhia, or just like they have been shelling the people of Donetsk and Lughansk the past eight years, or just like they decided to murder Daria Dugina by planting a bomb under her car.
The US has declared war on Europe by blowing up the North Stream 1 and 2 pipe lines. They said they would do it. President Biden and Victoria Nuland said so explicity and Radek Sikorski former Polish Foreign Minister and now EU MP and husband of well connected Neocon Anne Applebaum has congratulated the US on their criminal act of terrorism. So finally it is mission completed or rather recalibrated to its goal set out by its first Secretary General, Lord Ismay “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” An economically and politically independent Europe working with its European neighbour as a peer competitor to the US is just too threatening to US hegemony. Best to hobble Europe tearing it away from its natural neighbour that can provide it with the with cost effective natural resources to maintain a healthy economy that meets the needs of its citizens. And Ukraine is the perfect means to achieve this goal. Hurrah!
It is really too much to hear a Putin apologist complain about Ukraine breaking international law. “If you break the law you get punished.“, you say? OK, put Putin before a tribunal for starting the war in Ukraine, and we can discuss lesser transgressions later. Or calm down the rhetoric. You cannot both ignore and invoke the law – in the same paragraph.
As for “An economically and politically independent Europe working with its European neighbour as a peer competitor to the US“, you know just as well as I do that all that means is for Europe to get out from under the US and submit to Russia instead. We prefer the one we have, thank you very much. As Zhelensky put it: ‘Cold, hunger, darkness and Thirst – for us it is not as scary and deadly as [Russia’s] “friendship and brotherhood“‘
What was it that happened in 1989 again? Did the long-suffering populations of Western Europe rebel to free themselves from the oppression of the criminal terrorists in Washington and live in freedom with the help of their Russian friends?
If you prefer submitting to US diktat then you must take responsibility for all its crimes against humanity as well. Russia can’t hold the candle to the heinous crimes the US and its Western vassals in NATO have committed against other nations. That is why the vast majority of people all over the world stand with Russia against the racist US and Europe.
If ‘submitting’ to Russia means respecting Russia’s security concerns and getting rid of NATO, I am all for it. I would rather be dependent on Russian energy than US energy. It’s a no brainer. Russia has never used its commercial relations with Europe to try and control European countries. Unlike the US that has imposed sanctions and various other threats to try and ensure its competitive advantage, and now blows up our infrastructure to impose its writ.
Fortunately Europeans are beginning to question this self defeating, masochistic relation with the US that has declared war on Europe. More and more Europeans will be taking to the streets and demanding the end to sanctions against Russia. Let’s see how the pusillanimous, obsequious governments of Europe fall like skittles in a bowling alley. It should be quite entertaining!
So, Russia has never used commercial relations to coerce European countries? Some mightr say that refusing to sell gas would count as exactly that, but OK, Russia generally prefers to do it by direct military action. As for ‘taking responsibiliity for the heinous crimes of the US’, I am not responsible for the crimes of my friends. Still, I would rather share responsibility for Vietnam and Iraq, than for the Holodomor and the Gulag.
I do not see the ‘vast majority of peoples’ standing with Russia. For certain, Russia’s neighbours pretty uniformly seem to prefer NATO. Presumably they know you well? You are not going to argue your way out of that one.
Russia’s refusing to sell gas is because the West has imposed economic sanctions on Russia designed to crash the Russian economy. In other words the West is using financial and commercial relations with Russia to try and impose its political will on Russia. Russia is merely responding in kind. Russia did not start this economic war. And frankly would be exceedingly stupid not to use whatever economic leverage it has left to hit the US and Europe.
Your lame claim that Russia’s refusal to sell gas refutes the argument that Russia has never used its commercial relations to coerce European countries is equivalent to someone beating the hell out of someone else, and then when this someone else hits back, the person doing the beating protests “see he is using violence.” Ridiculous and laughable.
The Hlodomor and the Gulag were atrocious crimes carried out under a very different system. Nevertheless, Russia has taken responsibility for these crimes and if you have ever visited Russia you will find a number of memorials to these victims of political repression. In no way do I condone such heinous crimes. But apparently you are relaxed about the more recent crimes that NATO has committed and continues to commit. And all you can do is invoke the crimes of Stalin. Have you ever heard of the slave trade? or the Bengal famine? or the Indonesian genocide? or the Yemeni genocide? These all have the same imperialist lineage with Russia in its sites for pacification and exploitation. It ain’t gonna happen! Ukraine and Europe may be reduced to rubble. But US led imperialism with useful idiots like the Finns, the Swedes, the Poles and the Baltics, drunk on their Russophobia, are not going to conquer or weaken Russia.
The fascinating aspect of Vova’s total mobilization (and that’s what it really is), is that now Russia is in the same position as Ukraine on 24 Feb.
He is trying to defend (on a much smaller scale) whatever he can hang on to in Donbas and Kherson. Putin knows now that he can never take back anything. So, all he has is the expedient forced on Ukraine in Feb: send totally unprepared “cannon meat” to the trenches, in hopes of slowing down the Ukrainian offensive.
It is meant to resonate with Russia’s situation in 1942, when Stalin declared “только вперед, ни шагу назад” (“only forward, not a step back”).
Of course, nobody actually followed that directive, even at the risk of execution. Sane Russian officers retreated to Stalingrad, where well trained and equipped armoured units eventually surrounded and destroyed the 6th Army.
Sadly, this time no “well-trained and equipped Russian armoured units” remain. Vova has already lost them all on the battlefield (Requiescet in pace, First Guards Tank Army).
So, this is really Vova’s admission of total failure in his SMO. He’s destroyed the Russian Army and Air Force. He’s crippled the Russian economy. He’s lost his only customers for western Siberian oil and gas.
And will eventually lose from a quarter to half a million troops trying to defend Donbas with untrained, unmotivated conscripts.
What exactly does ‘Vova’ mean?
Vladimir Vladimirovich = V. V.
P.S. I just found this, if its of interest to anyone..
“Full names are used in official papers and in formal communication, while at home and among friends Russians are usually known under their diminutives. The old Russian name Vladimir is formed from two words and literally means “one who rules the world.” It has several diminutives: Volodya, Vova (which is a bit too familiar) and Vovochka (which is closely associated with a long-running series of jokes featuring a naughty schoolboy). Whereas the full name Vladimir Vladimirovich reminds many Russians of a famous early 20th century poet, Mayakovsky.”
Just say Putin then, pretentious, n’est pas?
Just easier to type.
And far less reverent…
N’est-CE pas” if you’re wanting pretentiousness.
The snide tone of Mr. Patrikarakos’ piece completely disqualifies it as an objective commentary. What we have needed, and need now more than ever, is peacemaking, not Mr. Patrikarakos’ warmongering.
For all Mr. Patrikarakos’ triumphalism about Ukraine regaining some thousands of square miles of fields, Ukraine is about to lose 20% of its territory, which generated 95% of its GDP. This is squarely the result of nihilistic Neocon obsession with defeating Russia, never mind the cost in blood and treasure. If this defeat of Russia is a template for future Russian defeats, then I query how many victories the West can afford.
I tweeted this exchange between Piers Morgan and Jordan Peterson yesterday :
PM “A victory would be the Russians retreating from Ukraine” pause……
JBP “With Ukraine in ruins.”
JBP “Well that’s a hell of a victory”.
I’m not a great fan of either of them, but if I had to choose, I’d here be closer to Peterson.
Where is the statesman telling Russia to back the f*ck up and Ukraine to knock it off with the anti-Russian Nazi cosplay sh*t?
That there is literally NO-ONE on the planet pushing for peace suggest that the US/NATO simply want Ukraine to become a Vietnam/Afghanistan quagmire for the RF.
And if it has to become a Laos/Cambodia-level bloodbath, so be it.
Why is Putin holding referenda now ?
Because he now understands in a way that he didn’t in March, that there will never be a negotiated settlement here. The consequence of this is that he has to “legally” (and we can debate this, of course) subsume the 4 oblasts into the RF, so that defending them and pushing Ukraine out of the remaining parts of them becomes an irreversible sovereignty-protecting duty of every Russian.
The reason there will never be a negotiated settlement is that Ukraine will not accept being controlled from Moscow, and Putin will not settle for less. No point in ‘pushing for peace’ as long as both sides make non-negotiable demands that the opposition cannot accept. The west is not in a position to send a couple of gunboats and force both parties to pipe down.
And Moscow will never accept a Ukraine controlled by the US, prodding and poking at Russia. So surely the way out of this situation is for Ukraine to be a neutral state between East and West. Something Russia demanded and the US and NATO mocked and derided before Russia invaded. Indeed I would say the West tried to rub Russia’s nose in it. Remember Stoltenberg mockingly boasting “Russia demands less NATO. Now its going to get more NATO.” The idea trumpeted in Western propaganda that this is an unprovoked attack on Ukraine is frankly laughable.
What would a ‘neutral’ Ukraine look like? Could it decide where to buy weapons? Whom to trade with? Which economic and political blocks to join? Which companies to allow or exclude on its territory? Which languages and which history was to be taught in its schools? How much autonomy to give to its regions? Or would Russia have a veto on all those decisions? Would a ‘neutral’ Ukraine be able to defend itself against a possible Russian invasion? Since Putin seems to think that all smaller countries are just pawns of bigger ones, does he even accept the concept of ‘neutral’, or is ‘not controlled by the US’ just code for ‘controlled by us’?
I think we actually mean the same thing, we just use different words. Russia insists on having Ukraine well and truly under its thumb, to ensure that it could never do anything that Russia found unpleasant. And Ukraine refuses to accept that position. Not much room to ‘push for peace’ until the positions of the two sides move closer to each other.
One is reminded of East Germany, which was the most neutral country in the world. It was (proverbially) so neutral that it did not even interfere in its own internal affairs 😉
Surely Finland before it lost its mind and decided to join Nato is the template? I also think you exaggerate Russia’s demand for controlling its neighbours. You may recall that the issue that led to the civil war in Ukraine was over Ukraine acquiring associate membership of the EU. Contrary to Western propaganda that paints the then, president, Yanukovych as dyed in the wool pro Russian, whatever that means beyond the desired rhetorical effect, Yanukovych was playing Russia off against the EU to try and get the best deal for his government and country. Putin recognised the attraction the EU held for Ukraine, albeit more apparent than real in reality, and wanted a tripartite agreement between the EU, Ukraine, and Russia. The EU revealing its malign intent, rejected this insisting that Ukraine would have to sever its relations with Russia and reorient its trade towards the EU and the West. Putin then offered Ukraine a better deal than that offered by the EU which in any event Yanukovych began to realise was a poison chalice of neo-liberal privatisations and austerity for Ukraine that would most likely have erupted in social and political unrest on a par with what happened when he rejected the EU association agreement in favour of the deal Russia was offering that was far more generous with none of the restrictions the EU deal entailed.
At the end of the day Russia is sick of the broken promises and the triumphalism the West exhibits towards Russia. Gorbachev naively made concessions regarding the Soviet Union’s security in effectively dismantling the cordon sanitaire of the Warsaw Pact and allowing the unification of Germany without gaining anything for Russia. Not only did Nato not disband as it should have, but the promise by the then US regime of not expanding Nato further east was broken and a country that has been invaded a number of times by hostile Western forces, the most recent at the cost of 27 million lives, cannot be expected to indefinitely put up with a hostile Western alliance setting up shop right on its borders. Anybody in the EU, the US and the other assorted allies are simply hypocrites when they argue that it is the sovereign right of any independent state to choose whatever alliances it wishes. Perhaps they have not heard of the Monroe doctrine that is far more restrictive than anything Russia is demanding with far greater justification.
In fact the US together with Australia has been trying to prevent the Solomon Islands, a sovereign state thousands of miles from the US, from entering a security agreement with China, arguing that this may be crossing one of the US’s red lines.
Just accept that Russia will lose, and Europe will be much stronger.
It’s easier to live if you accept that fact.
Some of the things you say here are sensible. I’d accept that Yanukovych was trying to navigate between the EU and Russia and get the best deal he could. It is established fact that Putin offered a deal with more cash and fewer restrictions, in return for Ukraine giving up on the EU and settling in the Russian sphere. And the Ukrainian government wanted to accept that – I cannot say how much they thought it was better for Ukraine, how much they thought that saying ‘no’ to Russia was simply too dangerous whatever their national interest, and how much there was underhand influences afoot. Anyway the Maidan established that Yanukovich did not have his country with him in this, and faced with the alternative of massacring the protesters, he chose to give up and leave. After which, as you forgot to mention, there were fully democratic elections, that did NOT choose someone who preferred to throw the country’s lot in with Russia. Anyway, this does show that military threat is NOT Russia’s real problem. The EU is not a military threat, but Ukraine membership of the EU is still unacceptable to Russia. It is about control, again. As for the ‘civil war’ in the Ukraine, I doubt there would have been any civil war if Russia had not sent in troops.
But as for the tripartite deals, EU is a closely connected club. Joining that market means following the rules, joining in external trade deals, and severing any deals that do not fit – as Britain had to do back when they joined. There is no possibility of an EU member having their separate, close economic relations with an outside country, so malign intent does not enter into it. Nor is there any possibility of outside countries getting the power to veto the behaviour of EU members in the Union. The EU is a straight choice – in or out. And Ukraine chose the EU, as a better deal than being intimately tied to Russia.
For the rest, all countries play power politics, if they have the power. We are not children here. The question is how far it is acceptable to go. You will notice that no one is about to invade the Solomon Islands, or Venezuela. Nor did anyone make any serious attempt to force Russian out of Azerbadjan or Chechnya, let alone force China out of Xinjiang. If Russia managed to convince Hungary to leave the EU and join the near abroad it would be very badly received, but I would not expect an invasion. The thing is that Russia does not seem to have much success in convincing countries that life in the Near Abroad will be happier than life in the EU. If countries keep wanting to join NATO it is because they have actually no security that Russia will refrain from invading them, otherwise.
You are right that the West has tended to treat Russia as a spent force that could pretty much be ignored – which was both unwise and short-sighted. Russian is still a country of considerable heft. But the flip side is that Russia demands to be accorded the same power as she had when she was one of the world’s dominant superpowers and owned half of Eastern Europe. And that is just not realistic. You lost the cold war, and you are now less than you used to be. That is a bitter thing to swallow, but (if you will accept a parallel from Danish history without taking it as an insult) you are better off coming to terms with reality and moving forward than bitterly yearning after more power than you can get.
BTW, I notice that you did not answer any of my questions. How about it?
To start with the very last point you make, I thought I did answer your question(s) with my response. So I am not sure I fully understand you here. With regard to your response, I disagree with a number of the points you raise.
Trying to speculate on a protagonist’s intentions as you do regarding whether Yanukovych accepted the Russian deal over the EU one because he may have been scared of Russia really gets us nowhere in deciphering how we have reached this sorry state. It is such speculation, maybe not with regard to you, but generally that is used to demonise Putin and the image Western media seeks to cultivate of Russia. The fact is the Russian deal was a better one and that is what Yanukovych decided to go with.
You suggest that “the Maidan established that Yanukovich did not have his country with him in this”, that is, rejecting the EU deal in favour of the Russian one. That I am afraid is again speculative and essentially contested. The fact that the Donbas refused to accept the ousting of the Yanukovych government attests to the fact that while the Maidan certainly represented a sizeable portion of Ukrainian public opinion, it is a bit of a stretch to say it represented ‘the will of the people’.
What you omit to mention is that Yanukovych entered in to a compromise agreement with the opposition that was brokered by the EU. It was agreed to bring elections forward, even though constitutionally they were not very far off. But before the ink had dried on the agreement, Yanukovych did not have the time to consider the option of massacring the protesters. He was violently overthrown by well organised rightwing fascist and Nazi militias with not a murmur from the EU and with great praise from the US and later the EU. The US then proceeded to take control in handpicking the putschist government.
You say I “forgot to mention, there were fully democratic elections, that did NOT choose someone who preferred to throw the country’s lot in with Russia.” I did not forget. These were not democratic elections. With a sizeable portion of the country excluded from participation in these elections, with the Party of the Regions and other pro Russian political organisations banned and the Russian population under severe duress, these elections were anything but democratic. And that continues to be the case. The whole purpose of the Minsk accords was to reintegrate the breakaway Donbas regions in to a unitary Ukrainian state and to hold proper democratic elections. It is inconceivable that Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, that by all accounts won a free, fair and democratic election relying on its electoral base among the ethnic and Russian speaking population, to provide it with the majority to govern Ukraine, is no longer a credible voice reflecting the will of many Ukrainians.
What the Maidan reflected was a divided Ukraine with Western Ukraine being strongly anti Russian (the rightwing, nationalist and Nazi Banderite influence) looking towards the West and Eastern Ukraine being more pro Russian looking towards Russia.
I would disagree that the EU is not a military threat to Russia. The EU is carefully calibrated with NATO and in the context of Ukraine, as professor Mearsheimer points out, is the first step in a process of joining the NATO alliance. All you have to observe is just how mindlessly the EU has fallen in line behind the US, to the extent that it is harming its own economy and people in this war against Russia. And Ukraine has not chosen the EU. Its putschist government may have. But there has not been a credible democratic poll to gauge the will of the Ukrainian people. And if the Ukrainian public were allowed a referendum on the issue and made aware of the privatisation and extreme austerity as condition for joining, the result might be somewhat not to your liking.
The examples you cite regarding power politics miss the point. Not one of them matches the Ukrainian situation. Ukraine is right on Russia’s border. The US would never tolerate Russia training and arming the Mexican military with the offer of joining a military alliance. The Cuban missile crisis is a far better comparator. And God knows the Mexicans have good cause to fear uncle Sam, given its record in that part of the world. As for Venezuela, the US and its EU vassals have tried all they can to overthrow Venezuelan democracy going so far as killing a lot more Venezuelans through their economic terrorism of crippling sanctions, than Ukrainians as a result of the conflict with Russia. The UN rapporteur Alfred de Zayas reported that at least 40,000 Venezuelans had died as a consequence of US sanctions.
But you also fail to mention all the countries that have been invaded, bombed and dismembered by the US, EU, NATO alliance, as if they have no relevance to Russia’s calculus of what is going on. From the dismemberment of Yugoslavia to the crimes committed against Iraq and Libya, the Russians have learned their lessons well. And since you mention Chechnya that is part of the Russian Federation, I would draw your attention to the fact that Putin has complained that the West while claiming to be friend of Russia was secretly fuelling Chenchnyan secessionism. And as he pointed out, as head of the FSB he has seen the evidence.
The problem is the West cannot get over the fact that Russia under Putin has become a force to be reckoned with on the international stage, and is not the inconsequential non entity, the West would like it to be. Contrary to your take that Russia needs to learn to punch according to its weight, the West is going to have to learn to accept that their triumphalist delusions about winning the Cold War, are just that, delusions that do not measure up to the reality.
These posts are getting too long – on both sides. It is getting time to stop. So just a few, brief comments.
First one agreement: Ukraine is certainly divided – if a lot less so now that Russia has invaded it.
For the rest we just disagree. The purpose of the Minsk accords was to give Russia (through the Donbas regions) a permanent veto in Ukrainian politics. If you wanted the Donbas regions integrated into a unitary state, that could more easily have been done by withdrawing Russian troops, stopping the separatist rebellion, and participating in elections under Ukrainian law. People in armed rebellion against central government with the assistance of a foreign power have a tendency to end up under duress. Except you did not like the result that would get you.
AFAIAC there has been no putsch in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government is perfectly capable of reprenting the Ukrainian people. It is certainly better qualified than Putin is.
If Russia sees it as a military threat if neighbouring countries as close trade or political relations with western countries, again, we are saying the same thing. Russia demands that its neighbours are aligned, dependent, and under control of Russia, and cannot tolerate any independence.
As for NATO pushing up to Russias borders, there were no western troops ther until Russia started sabre-rattling. That has only accelerated as it became clear to neighbouring countries that any country without a strong external ally would be desperately vulnerable to a take-over by a revanchist Russia. A deal should certainly have been possible: NATO stays further away,and respects Russia’s fear of potential invaders. In return Russia respects the political freedom of its neighbours, and their fear of Russian invasion. Demilitarised zones on *both* sides of the border, trust-building measures etc. Peace, stability and reduced tensions in the current international borders. But as long as Russia does not accept those borders and demand taking its neighbouring countries back into its empire by force, it cannot complain that said neighbours try to defend themselves.
Sounds like you & the Putinistas have learned a few tricks from the decadent West’s grievance industry.
Too cryptic for me. Have not a clue what you mean.
All eschew taking responsibility, in favour of playing victim cards – blame others for your failures and feelings of fear, low esteem; demand that they change to make you feel safer; and use Orwellian rhetoric to manipulate. All the while assuming, rather than earning, postures of strength and righteousness. The only people it works on are those similarly inclined, and perennial hand-wringing self-haters.
Lets stop pretending that Gorbachev and Russia agreed to anything because they realised errors of their Imperialism.
Russia collapsed economically and could no longer control Soviet Block countries.
Problem with your world view is that it doesn’t explain why countries occupied by Russia were so keen to join NATO?
For anyone else it is pretty obvious.
It provides protection against nation of looters, rapist and murderers on their borders.
What happens if you are not member of NATO is on display in Ukraine, daily.
Tell that to the Serbs, the Iraqis, the Libyans, the Cubans, the Venezuelans, the Nicaraguans, the Bolivians, the Afghanis and counting!
The idea that those former east European countries joined NATO as the expression of the democratic will of their citizens gives new meaning to the term ‘democracy’. As the now ex Swedish prime minister said when asked whether joining NATO would be put to a referendum. To paraphrase her: “Absolutely not. It is too polarising an issue.” Seems like NATO and democracy are mutually exclusive rather than the one defending the other.
Sounds like you are a little drunk on your own NATO induced hubris!
Wait til Kherson falls.
Vova won’t allow the troops to withdraw, but now its fall is inevitable.
The next best thing to Stalingrad…
Well, the alternative was for Ukraine to become a Russian vassal state, which would means losing 100% of its territory which generates 100% of its GDP. I’d say they are doing pretty well, for the target of a Russian take-over bid.
A voice if reason..
“It doesn’t matter that people can see the truth on TV.” Are you out of your vulcan mind?
I read most articles and comments on Unherd, and have come to notice a peculiar phenomenon: I recognise most of the commenters, and see that they comment on a wide range of matters, as you’d expect from an online magazine with broad interests….. except on articles critical of Putin – when there is a sudden influx of new names (never to be heard from again), and old names – mono-maniacal commenters making very similar, boorish noise in evangelical support of him. What could it mean?
Same here: it seemed pretty clear as I was reading through the comments that many of them must be spiked. Too bad there isn’t a way to click on a commentor’s name and see a list of what they’ve posted before.
If you google their name, and ‘unherd’, you’ll see all their posts.
… and put inverted commas round their name (if two words).
Yes, catch the slippery eels, fish ’em out.
..get ’em Kyiv’s ‘kill list’ right?
I’ve noticed the same, there are never any critical voices of Putin that appear only on Ukrainian articles, only full throated support absolving him of any blame for the invasion
I’ve also noted that many of their names return multiple google results – b-list American athletes, judges & others. Almost as though someone had been looking for a bland, correctly spelled Western name.
Name one single comment (in full coxt mind) that qualifies as..
“Uncritial + full throated support, absolving Putin of any blame”
I hereby criticize him for the umteenth time as a warmongering evil b¤stard: hope that’s good enough for ye?
Go: one example!
Pick any comment by Russell Caplan on this page. Or Johan Strauss (and, no,. a single ‘I do not condone Putin;s’ invasion but…‘ does not make the difference.
It means that there are many of us disgusted with the propaganda and misinformation directed against Russia and Putin. When the decadent and exhausted West falls, Russia will be left standing.
As Khrushchev said:
“We will bury you!”
A prophet for all time!
(Until he was buried)
From a railway station wall, once upon a time:
“God is Dead! Nietsche.”
“Nietsche is dead. God”
Ah yes, raging, tragic CPGB members overwhelmed by sunk cost fallacies; authoritarian misfits grabbing an opportunity to act out; IRA trolls just obeying disorders….
Uh oh! The IRA and Troll rabbits are out of the hat now! Next come the Leprechauns!
Internet Research Agency, yes?
I disagree with that point of view but I vehemently uphold your right to hold and express that point of view. I’ll go so far as to say you might even be “not entirely incorrect” in your assessment that the West is…
Decadent: I believe it is, very much so.
Exhausted: I believe it is: ask again in Mar’23
Failing: pretty obvious I’d too have thought.
So all you one-sided, simplistic and gung ho commentators out there: slow down: don’t to be too c**k sure you have a 100% monopoly on truth. It’s complicated, not simple!
Yes, democracy’s a morally decent system, but only when people express views acceptable to me and vote my way. Only the dissidents need fear us.
What I find peculiar is that in every piece in UnHerd the readers’ comments are remarkably civil – until you come to anything on Ukraine. Then you get people sounding like Stasi, as in this thread. It’s like going to your favourite civil pub, and finding it’s been turned into a drunken SA beer hall.
Now, why is that, I wonder?
Touching a nerve old boy! The classic response: invective and vitriol realeased like a couple of rabid dogs!
It means that Putin’s troll factory is hard at work.
I think it means you misread the comments you refer to.. in my reading of the same I saw a clammor for balance and nuance in the face of simplistic bias and excessive MSM swallowing.
You are saying that Johan Strauss and Russell Caplan are clamouring for balance and nuance??
On the morning of 21 September, President Vladimir Putin went on Russian State TV to face his nation and, by proxy, the world.
Actually, no – the Europe that believes in free speech has censored Russian media. In Austria, you can be fined up to €50,000 for listening to a Feindsender. So most of the world could follow the speech, but not Europe.
Trust the ‘land of Adolph’ to overreact’.
We don’t want to hear the other side! Covetting the precious things of the European shop.. No! This is a local continent for local people!
Beware of the тролль
Will Putin’s gamble pay off?
No. Even if he ‘wins’ part or all of Ukraine it will have been at tremendous cost for all concerned. Putin is almost 70 years old and even in good health is likely to be seen as a fading power to the people around him. Will his successor(s) share his view of “Novorossiya” at any cost? Almost certainly not.
That’s not what the Russians say: they fear his replacement will be worse! The growing anti-West feeling in Russia will support that, sadly.
“democratic revolution”? Isn’t that a non-sequitur?
No, think of the ‘People Power” revolution in the Philippines in 1986.
Not in 1776…
There is a bloodthirsty quality to this article, and a one-sided, i.e., propagandistic approach that revels in Russian casualties while completely ignoring the suffering of Ukrainians. I simply ask: how many Ukrainians have died? And how many more — on both sides — must die in furtherance of NATO’s vision of a neutered Russian bear? In the meantime, the bear, bloodied and embittered, feels like it’s been backed into a corner. And the bear has nukes.
And Russia has unselfishly intervened to prevent further bloodshed.
They will soon seperate the two warring parties in the conflict.
Russia prevented the slaughter of Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas who were designated terrorists and were set on by the Ukrainian military because they dared to resist the writ of the putchist government that overthrew the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. In case you don’t know, Yanukovych and his Party of the Regions had its electoral base among ethnic and Russian speaking Ukrainians. And as part of the coup that overthrew Yanukovych and his government, the Party of the Regions was banned and its elected politicians assaulted and persecuted and some assassinated. And just prior to the Donbas rebellion against the illegitimate coup government, pro Russians in Odessa were set upon and burned alive by Ukrainian Nazis and other assorted rightwing nationalists, while the police did nothing, and to this day the illegitimate coup government has done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Even with Russia’s indispensable help and support for fellow Russians, over a period of eight years these breakaway regions of the Donbas have been terrorised by Ukrainian artillery bombardments that have killed 14,000 of their own citizens.
So indeed Russia intervened in the past to prevent a bigger blood bath. And has intervened, albeit too late to try and prevent a blood bath that the Ukrainians in hoc with their NATO allies were preparing, to take back the breakaway regions by force. Something Western propaganda failed to inform us as one of the key reasons why Russia invaded when it did.
Unfortunately Russia waited eight years and in good faith for Ukraine and its Western backers to implement the Minsk accords that would have seen the breakaway regions reintegrated into an independent and sovereign Ukraine. We now know from the admission of the Putchist president, Poroshenko, who preceded the current president, that this was signed in bad faith as a means to buy time to build a strong military capable of taking back these regions by force.
The blood bath that now prevails is on the hands of the West who control Unkraine politically, economically and militarily. Nothing new here. From Vietnam, to Iraq to Afghanistan to cite just a few, where the US and NATO goes blood always flows.
Why, oh why, did Biden order the Russian army to invade??
Surely the worst decision of his presidency.
Biden and Johnson could very easily have prevented the war! ..but chose not to! The opportunity to kick Russia was just too tempting!
We don’t want to hear all that stuff! I know it’s all true but it’s not convenient and spoils the party for the one-sided gung ho lot who don’t want the situation confused with any facts.
The invsions of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc etc were totally different and the killing of 6 million by US/NATO in doing so is entirely irrelevant.. for a start they wrre all brown skinned and non-Christian so they don’t matter. Ukrainians are all lovely God fearing white Christians that we must support! Now do you understand?
..it also has oil and gas and food and much more. It has B(R)ICS as well and is not nearly as isolated as the gung ho lot like to believe..
I say let’s all kiss and make up before we freeze, starve and have to shut down the heavy energy use factories. We’re all quickly becoming blind in this mindless eye for an eye bloodbath!
So some in the EU are calling for visas to be offered to Russians wanting to leave the motherland. If this was put into place, and if Putin reciprocated with a similar offer – for nationals of EU/NATO countries to come to Russia -I wonder what the numbers would look like?
The Russian victimhood complex that Putin has is getting tiring. How does the leader of a country that had a vast empire play the victim so much. Its laughable
Make no mistake. Donbas isn’t becoming part of Russia.
Russia is becoming part of Donbas.
Vova is already using the same illegal methods of recruitment that are typical in Donbas. Criminal gangs like the ones that control Donbas will soon be running Russia.
The pact Russians made with Putin in 2000 that they would tolerate his foreign antics as long as it didn’t affect them is gone.
So wise Russians better start re-reading Bulgakov’s “The White Guard” and Tolstoy’s “The Road to Calvary.”
They will soon be living in VERY interesting times…
Sorry Martin(ovski) you’re full of sh*t
“Great and terrible was the year 2022. But even greater and more terrible was the year 2023.”
We live in interesting times!
There ye go! There’s more of it! Anything constructive, or meaningful or useful to say? …no? I thought not!
“Putin now posits his unprovoked and militarily foolish invasion of Ukraine as an existential conflict for Russians”
This phrase alone shows that whoever utters it, does not yet understand (or willingly denies and ignores) what is actually happening. It was neither unprovoked (not by Ukraine, but by NATO, Europe, and the US), nor is it foolish. Somewhat desperate perhaps, but the US would have reacted similarly if they had been in a similar situation as Russia. NATO (and anyone else that actually understands the situation) will have predicted months ago how Russia would react to NATO’s goals and actions.
On top, Putin has never been unclear about how Russia would react, yet NATO knowingly decided that their unnecessary and (in this case indeed) foolish goal to put Russia down was more important than the fate of the Ukrainian people. This war could have been prevented if the will had been there on the side of NATO, so the suffering of the Ukrainian people is as much on NATO as it is on Russia.
In short, I see lots of emotion in this article, which is only logical when countries are at war and people are being killed, but I don’t see much insight or objectiveness. Yes, Russia started this war, but that is not the whole story. It is not even half the story. This is not at all a simple they-are-bad-and-we-are-the-good-guys’, and writing about it as if it is, only makes things worse. We need all those involved to do what should have been done long before this war started, namely have them sit around the table and find diplomatic and peaceful solutions.
If Putin wouldn’t cut a deal with Zelensky, no deal was possilbe.
Indeed, the Russophones elected Zelsnky precisely to make peace.
So when Vova invaded, they all became good Ukrainians.
Did anyone even dream that Russian scholars in Odesa (!) would vote to ban Pushkin?
Ukraine is lost to Russia. Better get used to it.
“If Putin wouldn’t cut a deal with Zelensky, no deal was possible.”
A deal with Zelensky has zero meaning for Russia in this situation because the real problem Russia faces is with NATO and Europe.
The “hidden hand” of WORLD CAPITAL!
Easy to get your conspiracy theories mixed up…
Ukraine is lost to Russia. Better get used to it.
Being LIBERATED from the genocidal Banderist Nato terrorists’ oppression. Well worth getting used to.,
Couldn’t think of any more adjectives to use?
Yes, Zelensky stood on a peace ticket that promised to implement the Minsk accords. That unfortunately was not part of the US plan and what you failed to mention is that there were large protests in Kiev by rightwing Ukrainian nationalists that threatened to topple Zelensky a la Maidan if he dared implement Minsk. Indeed they threatened more than toppling him politically. They threatened to kill him and his family. Unfortunately Zelensky is both reconciled to the strong rightwing and Nazi influence in Ukrainian politics and is also hostage to it. And before anyone says that is not possible since he is Jewish, I would point to the fact that America elected a black president in spite of the fact that the US is rife with racism.
Indeed, very few people bring up Obama’s earlier ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Apply a little more intelligence in your response.
Aww, does it sting too bad?
I see lots of emotion in this article, which is only logical when countries are at war and people are being killed, but I don’t see much insight or objectiveness.
You’re being far too kind to this arrant tosh. Patrikarakos is simply a shill for the CIA/NATO axis. He writes in the way I’d expect a pro-Ukrainian AI bot to write amped up to 11.
Yes. For competent genuinely “unheard” info see youtube channels of The New Atlas, Military Summary, Alexander Mercouris (the best), Graham Phillips, Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, and others. Also Scott Ritter and Prof Mearsheimer.
And Igor Girkin, Colonel Cassad, and Older than Edda.
Don’t forget those trusted news sources…
You forgot Pravda
The Ukrainian people could have avoided all this suffering, simply by electing a president who would submit to Putins demands. Yet they chose not to. Why should NATO try to make the choice for them?
David Patriakos says many interesting things but the fact that he dates the Eurolaidan Revolution to 2013 when the decisive events took place in 2014 and that he writes that ‘Russian soldiers marched into Crimea’ and ‘Invaded Easter Ukraine’ shortly afterwards suggests carelessness in dealing with these events. There’s no dispute that Russian special forces were active in Crimea in early 2014 but at the time this was discrete, there was no question of a column of troops marching in as when Hitler annexed Austria. ‘Invasion’ may characterise the events of this year in Eastern Ukraine but hardly 2014. I may be concentrating on details but two such instances in relation to closely related events suggests some bias. I’m not in a position to judge many of the things he writes but may in future treat them with a little more scepticism.
“In November 2013, a wave of large-scale protests (known as Euromaidan) erupted in response to President Yanukovych’s sudden decision not to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.”
Or were you referring to another event, the Eurolaiden (don’t know that one?).
If that’s the best you a do.. My comment is not pro-Putin, just pro striving to be neutral.
Sadly, it seems neutral is not an option. Even balanced is not an option these days. You gotta be Woke or you get cancelled!
Those words appear in the Wikipedia article ‘Revolution of Dignity’ which dates the Maidan Revolution specifically to a five day period in February 2014. Are you aware of this?
Do you think Yanukovych was entirely alone in his desire to opt for closer ties with Russia? Maybe, like Liz Truss opting for enriching the already obscenely rich, there is some ‘prople’ support for the move. Deluded maybe but many voters are supportive of things that their fellow voters are totally opposed to. This is modern polarised politics: it’s everywhere: look at the US. Look at Italy fgs! Do pease don’t try and simplify a very complex situation in order to get upticks from the Herd.. this is UNherd!
Donbas was invaded by large numbers of Russian troops. Luke Harding sawa column crossing the border, and there are satellite photos of traces of rocketry just inside Russia’s borders, pointed directly at Ukraine.
Indeed, MH-17 was shot down because the Russian anti-aircraft team mistook it for an IL-76 resupply aircraft.
Donbas would have fallen without massive Russian support in 2014.
Invade, (of an armed force) enter (a country or region) so as to subjugate or occupy it. No question about support but ‘invade’ is too strong. Sorry there’s just too much inaccuracy and hyperbole in one short passage for me to have confidence in Patriakos. None of it was necessary.
Yes that’s probably correct: if the huge Russian speaking civilian population fought the Azov Battalion, alone without Russian support: with pea shooters and catapults most likely the heavily armed Azov battallion would have won that one. Very well observed..
You do right. This was more a rallying call to support the ‘poor unfortunate’ Ukrainians than journalism. It is so one-sided, biased and skewed it is hardly worth commenting on but I will make a couple of observations:
He was right to refer to the annexation of Austria because there is a clear similarity: 1938 Austrians and the populations of 2014 Crimea and Donesk both welcomed their annexations! And yes, of course there was local opposition most notably from Kyiv controlled army units within both regions.
My second point is that persisting in the line that the invasion of Donesk was “unprovoked” is just stupid akin to what Pravda might assert of the situation was reversed. The brutality of the N¤zi Azov division cannot be denied. Well, yes clearly it can be denied but does any intelligent person seriously think otherwise?
Has everyone forgotten the West’s similarly “unprovoked” invasions of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc etc?
A little more balance please.. actually no! A lot more balance please!
“Mass mobilisation is a symptom of Russia’s defeat”Not true according to a US military analyst who says that the mobilization is likely the preparation for a possible big offensive. By mobilizing their reserves, who then become the ‘caretakers’ of the areas that are already conquered, the Russian army can have three times as many soldiers on the frontline. He also says that until now they have hardly deployed their airforce, but this may well change soon. According to the military analyst, we have not yet seen a truly committed and deployed Russian army at work. An army that he is convinced will not be defeated.The actions the Russians and Putin take, and the choices they make, are escalating according to what Europe and the NATO do to threaten Russia’s security. It is like ping-pong; if you do this, then I do that, so this war could have been prevented if NATO and Europe had chosen a different approach towards Russia a long time ago. Russia feels that it is currently put with his back against the wall, and there are many military and political arguments to support this view. ‘Luckily’, Russia does not yet act like a cat in the corner, and restrains itself enough to make decisions that it deems proportional to the threat they perceive (even though to us civilians starting a war will obviously never feel like restraint). Still, the west, and especially the US might have reacted more dramatically if they had been in the same situation as Russia. If Russia had reacted more dramatically, we would already have had a much bigger conflict by now. Let’s hope that it does not get to that, but it will also ask for restraint, diplomacy, and responsibility from the side of NATO and Europe, and so far we have seen very little of that. Rather the opposite…
Just which “western military analyst?”
I saw the same analysis.. not sure where but it is genuine. I’m not saying it’s gospel but it is a point of view. Of course it makes perfect sense to deploy ‘low capability’ troops in a non-combative role (logistics etc) behind the lines thereby releasing much more capable troops to get to the front. Basic stuff really.
Do you seriously think that those reservists being called up by Putin will have the morale to take on highly-motivated Ukrainian armed forces (armed with top class Western military equipment)? When huge numbers of them are trying to flee their homeland to avoid being caught up in a conflict none of them want? Those that find themselves pushed towards the front will simply give up or lack any sense of the fighting spirit required to succeed.
This is perfectly obvious to every objective observer, why do you think it’ll be otherwise?
You may well be right but the point being made is that the new recruits will NOT be sent to the front line but will handle all the required logistical support behind the front line: thereby releasing the current logistics troops to go instead. Maybe they were held back, in reserve by the (now fired) General in charge? Maybe that was done to wait until enough if the poor unfortunate Ukrainians were killed, wounded and demoralised on the other side.. how much more can poor Ukraine deliver? It cannot be infinite surely? And as Ukrainian troops die surely they too must be replaced by weaker, poorly trained troops? So soon we may have more effective Russian troops fighting less effective Ukraine troops. That seems at least plausible surel
Russia is very good at the long game. Only a fool would write them off. I’m no supporter of Putin btw: he’s a brutal warmongering beast with little regard for human life.
This is how the US behaves towards countries thousands of miles away from its borders. No doubt you won’t find any righteous indignation from the NATO supporting crowd who are either right behind this bullying, or believe Western security interests cover the whole world, right up to Russia’s borders and including Russia for many of the neocon hawks who stalk the State Deparment.
“Within weeks of his arrival in Sudan, the first US ambassador in 25 years has already threatened Khartoum with “consequences” if it follows through on a deal with Moscow for a Russian naval base on the Red Sea.”
“All countries have a sovereign right to decide which other countries to partner with, but these choices have consequences, of course,” Ambassador John Godfrey told the Sudanese daily Al-Tayar on Tuesday.
“Prior to his confirmation, Godfrey was the acting State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, and was previously posted to Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria and Iraq”.
Its a pity the US did not warn Ukraine of these ‘consequences’ when they took control of the country, setting the country up as a NATO aligned military outpost on Russia’s border and leaving it to goad and provoke its Russian minority.
The word hypocrisy comes to mind.
What Dr Johnson said about comparisons being odious is true as far as ego goes but contrast clarifies.
So what is the connection between Meghan Markle, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin? They must win, no matter what the cost to others (hurt or pulled down): Trump and the storming of the Capitol, Meghan trashing the Royal family and their staff, Putin and his ever growing war of attrition in Ukraine (throwing in all his got and everything he can lay his hands on).
The Queen reigned for seventy years but none of the above will last five minutes because they are totally unstable and ruled by their egos. Putin has been compared to Hitler for his ambition and hero worship (Alexander The Great as opposed to Frederick The Great), yet Gorbachev changed the country for the better as did the allies in Afghanistan (they should have stayed there fifty years at least I believe, again for reasons of stability and to create a generation that would have grown up without memory of the Taliban perhaps or at least enough reason to strongly resist their return).
Tyrants suppress and the Taliban and Putin are trying to achieve this again but change means that the citizens of both countries have tasted freedom and are unwilling to return to the past, grasping the future in rebellion against the fear filled regimes, who are buried in past glories but present failures of leadership.
I am no great fan of hers, but I really think you are being rather mean to the Duchess of Sussex. Trump and Putin are, in their separate ways, monstrous, but what do we have on her, exactly? She seems to be somewhat self-absorbed, ambitious, intent on exploiting her looks, talent and social connections for profit, a bit impatient, and with a regrettable tendency to interpret personal reverses as caused by racism. Neither unusual nor particularly shocking in an American television actress. Of course this kind of mindset (mindset, *not* skin colour) means she has no business being anywhere near the British Royal Family, but it does not make her a bad person, just a misfit at Windsor. If there is any blame, it all attaches to Harry, Duke of Sussex. After all, it was he who chose to bring Meghan into the family, and, unlike her, he does owe the Royal Family a lot. Everythying, in fact.
Going off topic here … but even cursory reasearch on the way she treats her staff might cause you to revisit the “not a bad person” assumption.
Maybe – I do not like her either. But she is a lot less monstrous than Trump and Putin – and a lot less important too. An American TV actress being rude and unpleasant is not really worth strangers losing their rag over.
..might be 2-sided possibly?
Quite right. The last thing Britain and it’s royal family need is any outside influence on it’s nice medieval values. Look at that dreadful Spencer person did with her silly anti war views and HIV sympathies. We don’t want that. This is a local country for local people.
And now look at the dreadful impact that other outsider is likely to bring into the royal family: omg he’s King now!
You are exactly right Tony – the common thread is grandiose narcissism, an almost uncureable personality disorder. It took me 15 years or so of post-doctoral work experience (psychology) to get a workable understanding of this problem.
…were you working on yourself? It’s pretty obvious to the rest of us with just the old basic degree!
You’re right. This is indeed “The War of Putin’s Ego”.
Is it? Really? No other issues involved? Mmmm I’m not so sure it’s that simple..
You forget the very high level of civilian support these autocratic leaders enjoy. Sure, there is dissent: there is always dissent! The Taliban had (and probably still have) huge civilian support. That’s how they took over an entire country in 48 hours! Utterly impossible otherwise.
So does Putin. I dare say the Iraqis if they knew what was coming (1 million dead! their country flattened) would have supported Saddam a lot more! but still: he did have a lot of support notwithstanding.
I’m not saying they should be supported. I say the opposite but we cannot gloss over these things like they are trivial. They are not! Sometimes the lesser evil is to be careful what you wish for. Liberation by the West can be a very bloody solution. I know Madalene Albright said the death of 100,000 Iraqi children was ‘worth it’ (toppling Saddam) but 200, 000 Iraqi parents might beg to differ on that one!
A clear admission of defeat (and where this war is headed) is the recent sacking of the senior Russian general in charge of logistics. The rail-bound Russian logistics system was never designed for a long war. Now the HIMARs have pretty much obliterated it.
Moreover, the new chief, Mizintsev, oversaw the horrifically costly infantry attacks on Mariupol.
This means that from now on Russia can only launch poorly armed and supported infantry against far better trained and armed Ukrainians.
So, I’d raise my previous estimate to well above half a million Russian casualties by war’s end.
Looks like 1917 all over again.
“Areas in the Ukraine in which a majority of people wish to be part of Russia, and which have been treated mercilessly and appallingly for the last 8 years by Ukraine.”
Fixed it for you.
Such is the stupidity shown in any Patrikarakos article, at this point, I’m just assuming he’s a NED plant at Unherd.
Arris is much more nuanced and actually seems to understand some of the history behind this conflict.
What do you call a herd of unHerd editors?
So why didn’t Putin hold a genuine, internationally monitored referendum in Donbas? Then it would have been part of Russia.
End of story.
Instead, he tried to use them for EIGHT YEARS to maintain a hold over Ukraine.
And now it’s going to destroy Vova, and probably Russia as well.
It is internationally monitored – just not by monitors deemed acceptable to the West. Just as the referendum in Crimea was.
Unlike, by way of comparison, Kosovo in 2008, where there was no referendum (unless you count the one in 1991).
Er, was the UN there?
Were Blue Helmets there, to insure there was no coercion?
And please cite WHICH countries monitored this referendum–in which there is no right to a secret ballot, and you tick the ballot in front of Chechen mercenaries..
When referendums in Gibraltar have 95%+ voting our way, we like it. When a referendum in Crimea has 90%+ voting the other way, we call it sham.
Referendums in Gibraltar aren’t carried out at gunpoint, under threat of violence for voting the wrong way
The WMD Iraq heavy promotion changed everything for me. Who can we believe?
Whilst I think most people hold a healthy scepticism of things they read and hear on the news, that doesn’t mean they’re stupid enough to automatically believe everything (or indeed anything) that comes from opposing sources such as statements coming out of Russia instead.
Looks like Russia is doing to Ukraine what NATO did to Serbia under exactly the same circumstances. Except this time it is the NATO backed entity that was repressing the minority. Did Russia not say that the slicing up of Yugo
slavia sets a precedent. It’s okay if we do it!
Putin, if rational, only has to hang until winter (which will soon be here). NATO won’t be eager to arm Ukraine when it is freezing. The rational part is a problem.
I fail to see what weather conditions on the ground has to do with anyone supplying Ukraine with the weaponry it needs. Its not 1942 and the flow will continue. As it should.
Can you enlighten us? Why will NATO be unwilling to arm Ukraine just because it’s cold? I can think of many other reasons why not but that one aludes me.. please explain.
I’m astonished at how ill informed persons in the West are about the actual situation in Ukraine. Russia is winning decisively. There are sources of accurate information such as “theduran” on Locals, “the New Atlas” on Rumble, “Military Summary” on YouTube, Scott Ritter on various channels. Everything you think you know about Ukraine is based on propaganda. It’s a mass delusion from which the West will only awaken with the utter collapse of Ukraine.