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The Ukraine war is not complicated Sometimes good and evil do exist

From the start, Ukraine has felt different (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

From the start, Ukraine has felt different (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)


February 21, 2023   5 mins

A year ago, as Vladimir Putin launched his so-called “special military operation” to seize the Ukrainian capital, kill Volodymyr Zelenskyy and wipe much of the latter’s country from the map of Europe, who’d have imagined that the third week of February 2023 would begin with Joe Biden strolling around the streets of Kyiv in sunglasses? For that matter, who would have predicted that Mr Zelenskyy, only recently returned from his own trip to London, would be at his side — still the president of a free country, and still very much alive?

Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. Like many, probably most Western observers, I held out little hope for Ukraine once the drums of war began to beat in earnest. A couple of days after Mr Putin’s brutal invasion began, I wrote a bullish essay looking back at Ukraine’s history of suffering and resilience. But even as I was agonising over my prose, the bleak news continued to pour in. “Now, while I have been writing, Russian tanks are rolling into the suburbs,” I wrote at one stage. Did I think they would be driven back? I didn’t. “Kyiv will rise again,” I wrote at the end. Stirring words, or so I hoped. But the person I was really trying to persuade was myself, and I didn’t succeed.

In truth, I underestimated the Ukrainian people’s resilience, their courage, their love of country. And I was wrong, too, about the Western alliance. After more than a decade of drift and inaction, from the shameful failure to respond to the seizure of Crimea to the near-criminal indifference to the suffering in Syria, I doubted whether any major Western leader would make more than a token protest about the first full-scale European invasion since the Forties. I never expected to see Finland and Sweden jump off the fence and apply for Nato membership. Nor did I imagine that Joe Biden would be so unswerving in his commitment, or so generous with US military aid. Above all, I never anticipated that Kyiv would hold out, that Kharkiv would stand or that Kherson would be retaken. As I say, it’s nice to be wrong.

It’s often said that the war in Ukraine feels like a throwback, returning us to an age when nationalistic strongmen nursed atavistic dreams of conquest, sending thousands of men to die so that they might scratch new frontiers into the soil of Europe. For all the drones and social media gimmicks, the fighting certainly feels old-fashioned: reading David Patrikarakos’s harrowing dispatch from the front line in Bakhmut, it’s impossible not to think of Passchendaele or Verdun. But for a child of the Seventies, perhaps the most old-fashioned thing of all is the spectacle of a genuinely clear-cut conflict, an unambiguous clash of right and wrong, that feels closer in spirit to the struggle against Hitler’s Germany than to most of the wars in my lifetime.

After all, just go through the list. Vietnam? A confused, dirty, morally squalid mess, a conflict defined in the public mind by My Lai, Agent Orange and that infamous picture of a little Vietnamese girl running naked in the road after a napalm attack. Yugoslavia? A horrendous internecine bloodbath, in which neighbour turned on neighbour while the Western powers stood by and wrung their hands. Iraq? A war based, at best, on a colossal exaggeration, in which an incontestably brutal dictator was toppled with little serious thought about what was to follow, unleashing a firestorm of chaos across the Middle East.

From the start, however, Ukraine has felt different — and some of that, at least, is down to Zelenskyy himself. He set the tone even before the first shots were fired, delivering an astonishing televised appeal in his own native tongue — not Ukrainian, but Russian — to the Russian people, imploring them to stand up against the invasion. Ever since, his defiant social media videos have been as cleverly judged as any Churchillian set-piece oration. More cynical readers might point out that he’s a practised performer with a clever scriptwriter, and of course they’d be right. But that’s true of any politician. And he didn’t have to choose that particular role. He could have run, and played the part of the president-in-exile, as so many leaders did in the Second World War. But he chose to stay, and history will reward him for it.

We should always be careful, of course, about reducing complicated international conflicts to simple morality tales. It’s undoubtedly true that the roots of the war lie in Russia’s sense of victimhood and resentment at the end of the Cold War. But that’s an explanation, not an excuse. Other European powers have lost colonial empires and tumbled down the diplomatic power rankings, from Britain to Belgium; would they all have been justified in lashing out?

Similarly, it’s clear Vladimir Putin feels genuinely aggrieved that so many Eastern European countries elected to join Nato in the Nineties and 2000s, contravening the verbal assurances that Western leaders gave to Mikhail Gorbachev. But nobody forced them; they made their own choices; and if he wants to know why, he could try looking in the mirror. Put it this way: if you were running a country in Eastern Europe, and had seen the way the Russians behaved in Chechnya and Georgia, wouldn’t you have wanted to join Nato, too? Would you rather be in Estonia’s shoes today? Or Ukraine’s?

As for Ukraine itself — yes, it’s complicated. History always is. It’s true that ever since independence, the country’s politics have been horrendously corrupt, as evidenced by Zelenskyy’s recent crackdown on venal ministers and officials. It’s also true, by the way, that its politics have long had an unpleasantly nationalistic, indeed openly neo-Nazi fringe. But I don’t think this is the devastating trump card that professional contrarians and Putin apologists think it is. If we were to withdraw our sympathy from every European country with unpleasant far-Right political elements, then we wouldn’t have any friends left. On that basis, would we still have supported Poland in 1939? Would we intervene to help Italy today, or France, or even the United States? Presumably not.

The really striking thing about the war in Ukraine, it seems to me, is that at a fundamental level it actually isn’t complicated. And for all the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism, the right conclusion is the obvious conclusion. Ukraine didn’t attack Russia; Russia attacked Ukraine. Zelenskyy isn’t perfect and Putin isn’t Hitler; but one really is on the side of the angels, and the other will surely rank alongside the villains of history. One appeals to European solidarity and common humanity; the other to xenophobia and national chauvinism. One defends his own territory; the other seeks to seize somebody else’s. One is right, the other is wrong.

How, then, does it end? If you agree with, say, the late Jeremy Corbyn, then the answer is obvious. Peace is better than war, so all that matters is to make it stop. Go cap in hand to Moscow, and keep offering them territory until Vladimir Putin raises a hand and says: “Enough!” If you want to feel good about yourself, you can dress it up as offering the Russian president an “off-ramp”. Or, if you’d prefer to be honest, you can just call it appeasement.

The alternative is at once emotionally unsatisfying and boringly straightforward. And sadly it involves lots of people dying, because that’s the nature of war. It is simply to keep giving the Ukrainians the aid, weapons and emotional and political support they need, until they have driven every last occupier from their land — or until they’ve had enough and are prepared to cut a deal. But that should be their decision, not ours. After 12 months of war and more than 100,000 casualties, they’ve earned the right to make it. After all, we would want the same, if we were in their shoes. And like them, we’d want our friends to do the right thing.

Good versus evil; right versus wrong. In a complicated world, sometimes it really is that simple.


Dominic Sandbrook is an author, historian and UnHerd columnist. His latest book is: Who Dares Wins: Britain, 1979-1982

dcsandbrook

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

This time, Sandbrook has nailed it. I’d always had great regard for his writing but he’s now able to see clearly how his equivocation at the outset of the conflict in Ukraine set him on an initial path he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to take. That led to some doubts about him in articles he’s written for Unherd, as his voice became clouded. The clouds have now been parted.
His use of the phrase “the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism” sums up a good deal of what we’ve been reading, not just in articles by other writers but also in the Comments section. Of course, those who disagree will label this as unfair labelling, but one thing that stands out amongst the contrarians is the vehemence with which they often try to convince others; the type of vehemence which i always think suggests they’re not really that sure themselves but just enjoy taking the contrarian approach.
This, in contrast to the usually quiet but steady refusal to see the conflict for anything but what it actually is: and Sandbrook’s epiphany has it right. Good v Evil. Not evil in the nefarious sense of a hidden force in operation, but the outright evil of actions in plain sight which we’ve witnessed from the Russian forces since the outset, instigated by a mindset removed from human values in search of authoritarian conquest.
Welcome back, Mr Sandbrook, we’ve missed you.
Addendum: by the ‘late’ Jeremy Corbyn, i assume he’s referring to his political career!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The contrarian narrative always relies on the idea that the US provoked Russia who was forced to respond. Is it seriously suggested that even if the Ukraine did in fact eventually join NATO that Ukraine and its new allies intended to sweep into Russia to seize Stalingrad and move on to seize the oilfields of Russia as Germany sought to do in WW2. The idea is patently absurd to any but the most conspiracy minded anti-US loon.

Putin’s move was analogous to the pre-WW2 invasion of Czechoslovakia to “protect” the Sudetenland Germans, Germany’s final demand. Our appeasement cost us dear in that case. Why would Putin not wish to make other revanchist recoveries of former Soviet territory given his views had Ukraine not been aided.

Peace can always be bought temporarily at the expense of concessions and servitude and that is Ukraine’s call not ours although I suspect the West will not be inclined to aid the fight for the recovery of the Crimea.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Your are perfectly correct, Russia is “guilty as charged “.

However the US does have a rather murky record of fabricated provocation, eg: The USS Maine, Pearl Harbour and Saddam ‘Insane’’ to name just three.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Don’t think trying to halt a Japanese take over of SE Asia was. a “fabrication.”

Unwise, perhaps, but not fabricated.

Where do you get this stuff?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The US had coveted China since the Boxer Rebellion if not before.

They had forced the ‘pesky’ British to abrogate the 1904 Anglo-Japanese Naval Treaty, whilst simultaneously negotiating the Washington Disarmament Treaty of 1922, which further emasculated the bankrupt Brits.

Then the wretched Japanese had the temerity to strike first and invade China. From there on war between Japan and the US was inevitable.

Sadly the Japanese master mind behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Isoroku Yamamoto new full well that Japan could never defeat the US, but his “was not to reason why”. But surely you know all this stuff?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Mr logan only knows how to speak propaganda.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I’m sure he means well!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Yes or something. He loves his cause I’ll give him that.
He’s given me a lot of stick. I thought I’d return the favour.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Yes or something. He loves his cause I’ll give him that.
He’s given me a lot of stick. I thought I’d return the favour.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I’m sure he means well!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Mr logan only knows how to speak propaganda.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

The US had coveted China since the Boxer Rebellion if not before.

They had forced the ‘pesky’ British to abrogate the 1904 Anglo-Japanese Naval Treaty, whilst simultaneously negotiating the Washington Disarmament Treaty of 1922, which further emasculated the bankrupt Brits.

Then the wretched Japanese had the temerity to strike first and invade China. From there on war between Japan and the US was inevitable.

Sadly the Japanese master mind behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Isoroku Yamamoto new full well that Japan could never defeat the US, but his “was not to reason why”. But surely you know all this stuff?

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

I can accept the theory that the US might have allowed the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor in order to join the war as a responder rather than an initiator, even though I would say it is less than a 50/50 shot given the damage the fleet sustained, but fabricated? Really?

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  David Shipley

Fabricated? well lets say engineered. The American populace were not minded to go to war so something had to be done to change their mindset. Roosevelt knew several days before the attack on Pearl Harbour that it was going to happen, Japanese signals traffic had been intercepted and codes broken. He was prepared to accept the damage as being the only way of getting the American people on the side of WAR.
In terms of the hardware of all the ships based in Pearl at that time the only ones which were strategically important and irreplaceable in a short timescale were the carriers and by coincidence they were not in the harbour during the attack.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Well in order that we don’t get bogged down with semantics I’ll agree with “engineered”.

Given the fact that US was rather annoyed that the Japanese had invaded China,
it had used the League of Nations to deploy a plethora sanctions, culminating with oil to coerce the Japs (sic). Additionally it arranged that the US Fleet be kept at Pearl Harbour much to the annoyance of its Commander!

As you rightly say the “Day of Infamy “ attack was hardly a surprise, at least to FDR & Co.
It was also remarkably convenient that none of Carriers were in port, as Taranto a year earlier had proved their worth whilst also underlining the obsolescence of Battleships.

Coincidentally the ‘butchers bill’ for all this was just over 2,400 uncannily similar to 9/11 sixty years later.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago

As early as April 1940 Royal Navy Skua dive bombers sank the German cruiser Königsberg, the first major warship sunk in war by air attack and by dive-bombers. 

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

Thank you, I had sadly forgotten that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

Thank you, I had sadly forgotten that.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago

As early as April 1940 Royal Navy Skua dive bombers sank the German cruiser Königsberg, the first major warship sunk in war by air attack and by dive-bombers. 

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Well in order that we don’t get bogged down with semantics I’ll agree with “engineered”.

Given the fact that US was rather annoyed that the Japanese had invaded China,
it had used the League of Nations to deploy a plethora sanctions, culminating with oil to coerce the Japs (sic). Additionally it arranged that the US Fleet be kept at Pearl Harbour much to the annoyance of its Commander!

As you rightly say the “Day of Infamy “ attack was hardly a surprise, at least to FDR & Co.
It was also remarkably convenient that none of Carriers were in port, as Taranto a year earlier had proved their worth whilst also underlining the obsolescence of Battleships.

Coincidentally the ‘butchers bill’ for all this was just over 2,400 uncannily similar to 9/11 sixty years later.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  David Shipley

Fabricated? well lets say engineered. The American populace were not minded to go to war so something had to be done to change their mindset. Roosevelt knew several days before the attack on Pearl Harbour that it was going to happen, Japanese signals traffic had been intercepted and codes broken. He was prepared to accept the damage as being the only way of getting the American people on the side of WAR.
In terms of the hardware of all the ships based in Pearl at that time the only ones which were strategically important and irreplaceable in a short timescale were the carriers and by coincidence they were not in the harbour during the attack.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago

You really think Pearl Habour was fabricated? We’re those not Japanese fighters?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

He might be asserting that the US knew about the attack and let it happen anyway. There is little actual evidence for this theory other than the British had broken the Japanese code and might have told the Americans, and that America’s carriers, which proved decisive in the war, were out on maneuvers at the time, a suspicious coincidence but not really evidence. The importance of the carriers is hindsight anyway. They weren’t viewed as the centerpieces of the American Navy until after they had proved themselves in the war. The British might have known and looked the other way, though the evidence even for that is pretty thin. He could also be referring to the fact that the US oil embargo prompted the Japanese response, which is true, but to respond to economic warfare with violence is hardly justified. The US was aware that they could and likely would be attacked by Japan somewhere in the Pacific at some point in time, but they did not know the time and place, nor expect a surprise attack. Either way, Pearl Harbor does not belong in the same universe with the Iraq fiasco or even the Maine.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I am sorry but your attempt to portray the USA as SNOW WHITE just won’t do.

Firstly to say that: “to respond to economic warfare with violence is hardly justified” is just naive. It happens all the time as you people say. Economic warfare is just another weapon and the US used it assiduously against the Japanese to further their own national interest. Nothing odd in that, just don’t deny it!

Secondly one of FDR’s closest aides (whose name escapes me) was heavily implicated in provoking the war with Japan and even later forced to account for his actions, but as I recall rather conveniently died before the matter was resolved.

Then this odd remark: “The importance of the carriers is hindsight anyway. They weren’t viewed as the centerpieces of the American Navy until after they had proved themselves in the war.” So the US Navy was blissfully unaware that the year previously Carrier aircraft from the Royal Navy had sunk three Italian Battleships, including their latest the Littorio, in Taranto Harbour! Frankly I find that impossible to believe as I am certain any member of the US Navy would. Off course the Japanese took very careful note of it, as one might expect.

Off course besides, the Maine, Pear Harbour, and Saddam there is also the War of 1812 and perhaps even 9/11 but that is for another day.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Not saying the US is snow white. I’m just saying you should use better examples. The Iraq War is a great example of bad behavior by the US government. There are others, but the two you named are two of the more justified conflicts in America’s history. The Mexican War, on the other hand, was pretty much a straightforward war of conquest with far less justification than the Spanish American war or WWII. There’s also the annexation of Florida, which was largely a result of an unauthorized invasion by then general and later president Andrew Jackson. And then there’s the treatment of Native Americans which includes so many misdeeds that volumes could be and have been written on it. Or that time the US sent an army into Mexico to catch one criminal. For that matter, the US entered WWI over the sinking of a boat that it has been conclusively determined was, in fact, secretly carrying munitions to the allies to avoid German u-boat attacks. Instead you picked WWII, defending a country that sided with the Nazis, and the Spanish American war, which was one of the few historical examples of any country aiding a rebellion against a colonial European power. If you’re going to fire criticisms at America, at least pick some decent ammunition. There’s plenty of it.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Not saying the US is snow white. I’m just saying you should use better examples. The Iraq War is a great example of bad behavior by the US government. There are others, but the two you named are two of the more justified conflicts in America’s history. The Mexican War, on the other hand, was pretty much a straightforward war of conquest with far less justification than the Spanish American war or WWII. There’s also the annexation of Florida, which was largely a result of an unauthorized invasion by then general and later president Andrew Jackson. And then there’s the treatment of Native Americans which includes so many misdeeds that volumes could be and have been written on it. Or that time the US sent an army into Mexico to catch one criminal. For that matter, the US entered WWI over the sinking of a boat that it has been conclusively determined was, in fact, secretly carrying munitions to the allies to avoid German u-boat attacks. Instead you picked WWII, defending a country that sided with the Nazis, and the Spanish American war, which was one of the few historical examples of any country aiding a rebellion against a colonial European power. If you’re going to fire criticisms at America, at least pick some decent ammunition. There’s plenty of it.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I am sorry but your attempt to portray the USA as SNOW WHITE just won’t do.

Firstly to say that: “to respond to economic warfare with violence is hardly justified” is just naive. It happens all the time as you people say. Economic warfare is just another weapon and the US used it assiduously against the Japanese to further their own national interest. Nothing odd in that, just don’t deny it!

Secondly one of FDR’s closest aides (whose name escapes me) was heavily implicated in provoking the war with Japan and even later forced to account for his actions, but as I recall rather conveniently died before the matter was resolved.

Then this odd remark: “The importance of the carriers is hindsight anyway. They weren’t viewed as the centerpieces of the American Navy until after they had proved themselves in the war.” So the US Navy was blissfully unaware that the year previously Carrier aircraft from the Royal Navy had sunk three Italian Battleships, including their latest the Littorio, in Taranto Harbour! Frankly I find that impossible to believe as I am certain any member of the US Navy would. Off course the Japanese took very careful note of it, as one might expect.

Off course besides, the Maine, Pear Harbour, and Saddam there is also the War of 1812 and perhaps even 9/11 but that is for another day.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Torpedo bombers technically.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

He might be asserting that the US knew about the attack and let it happen anyway. There is little actual evidence for this theory other than the British had broken the Japanese code and might have told the Americans, and that America’s carriers, which proved decisive in the war, were out on maneuvers at the time, a suspicious coincidence but not really evidence. The importance of the carriers is hindsight anyway. They weren’t viewed as the centerpieces of the American Navy until after they had proved themselves in the war. The British might have known and looked the other way, though the evidence even for that is pretty thin. He could also be referring to the fact that the US oil embargo prompted the Japanese response, which is true, but to respond to economic warfare with violence is hardly justified. The US was aware that they could and likely would be attacked by Japan somewhere in the Pacific at some point in time, but they did not know the time and place, nor expect a surprise attack. Either way, Pearl Harbor does not belong in the same universe with the Iraq fiasco or even the Maine.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Torpedo bombers technically.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago

Serbia and Libya to name another two.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

The cause of the sinking of the Maine has never been conclusively proven one way or the other, accident or mine. Whether that was the real cause for the Spanish American War is a question as well. There was already a faction in the US government that wanted to intervene on behalf of Cuba against Spain. That’s long enough ago to qualify as ancient history anyway. I’m not sure why you include Pearl Harbor. It was a surprise attack not preceded by a declaration of war. I grant the US’s economic warfare was an important instigating factor, but there was going to be a struggle of some type for control of the Pacific regardless. Let the record show that the Japanese were the first to resort to outright warfare. Iraq, of course, was a blunder pretty much everybody agrees on. I consider Bush the second worst President in America’s history, Woodrow Wilson being the worst.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I like the memorial to the Maine in Grand Central Park and am delighted to find an American who still thinks the Spanish could seriously be MAD enough to sink her. Bravo!

Incidentally I presume your third worst President would be James Madison?
A ‘slaver’ who led you to defeat in the War of 1812, and allowed ‘us’ to burn or torch as you say) the White House and all the Public Buildings in Washington DC to the ground?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

I don’t think the Spanish intentionally sunk the Maine. They weren’t stupid enough to think they could win a war with the US. They were, however, doing some pretty nasty things in an attempt to hold onto their remaining colonial possessions. The Maine either struck a mine or it was an accidental munitions explosion. Nobody knows which. It has still not been proven one way or the other, Besides, it was the news media, particularly the papers owned by William Randolph Hearst, not the US government, that used the Maine as their excuse to push a pro-war agenda, though there was already a pro-war faction in the government anyway. The War of 1812 was a mess precipitated by bad behavior on the part of both sides. Both sides contributed to instigating that conflict.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Well whatever happened to the Maine it was a jolly convenient excuse for the start of the Pax Americana* rampage! An Empire in all but name!

As for your contention that : “They (the Spanish)were, however, doing some pretty nasty things in an attempt to hold onto their remaining colonial possessions”
.
Really, that sounds like Snow White again!
Whatever the Spanish were or were not doing they pale into insignificance compared to the myriad of genocidal ‘smash & grab’ raids against the indigenous population that the US perpetrated between the 1783 and circa 1900, do they not?

As for 1812 you know as well as I that it was a blatant attempt to grab Canada. Even that hypocritical old slaver Thomas Jefferson** said as much, “it’s only a matter of marching “.

This off course is NOT to say that the US is the Great Satan, far from it . As world Hegemonies go it has been remarkably generous, but it is disingenuous to try an exculpate it from the odd outrage.

(* Some might say this started with the ‘acquisition’ of Hawaii, somewhat earlier.)

(** Founding Father indeed, more like Founding Pervert from what I heard at Monticello years ago.)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Well whatever happened to the Maine it was a jolly convenient excuse for the start of the Pax Americana* rampage! An Empire in all but name!

As for your contention that : “They (the Spanish)were, however, doing some pretty nasty things in an attempt to hold onto their remaining colonial possessions”
.
Really, that sounds like Snow White again!
Whatever the Spanish were or were not doing they pale into insignificance compared to the myriad of genocidal ‘smash & grab’ raids against the indigenous population that the US perpetrated between the 1783 and circa 1900, do they not?

As for 1812 you know as well as I that it was a blatant attempt to grab Canada. Even that hypocritical old slaver Thomas Jefferson** said as much, “it’s only a matter of marching “.

This off course is NOT to say that the US is the Great Satan, far from it . As world Hegemonies go it has been remarkably generous, but it is disingenuous to try an exculpate it from the odd outrage.

(* Some might say this started with the ‘acquisition’ of Hawaii, somewhat earlier.)

(** Founding Father indeed, more like Founding Pervert from what I heard at Monticello years ago.)

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

I don’t think the Spanish intentionally sunk the Maine. They weren’t stupid enough to think they could win a war with the US. They were, however, doing some pretty nasty things in an attempt to hold onto their remaining colonial possessions. The Maine either struck a mine or it was an accidental munitions explosion. Nobody knows which. It has still not been proven one way or the other, Besides, it was the news media, particularly the papers owned by William Randolph Hearst, not the US government, that used the Maine as their excuse to push a pro-war agenda, though there was already a pro-war faction in the government anyway. The War of 1812 was a mess precipitated by bad behavior on the part of both sides. Both sides contributed to instigating that conflict.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I like the memorial to the Maine in Grand Central Park and am delighted to find an American who still thinks the Spanish could seriously be MAD enough to sink her. Bravo!

Incidentally I presume your third worst President would be James Madison?
A ‘slaver’ who led you to defeat in the War of 1812, and allowed ‘us’ to burn or torch as you say) the White House and all the Public Buildings in Washington DC to the ground?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Don’t think trying to halt a Japanese take over of SE Asia was. a “fabrication.”

Unwise, perhaps, but not fabricated.

Where do you get this stuff?

David Shipley
David Shipley
1 year ago

I can accept the theory that the US might have allowed the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor in order to join the war as a responder rather than an initiator, even though I would say it is less than a 50/50 shot given the damage the fleet sustained, but fabricated? Really?

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago

You really think Pearl Habour was fabricated? We’re those not Japanese fighters?

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago

Serbia and Libya to name another two.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

The cause of the sinking of the Maine has never been conclusively proven one way or the other, accident or mine. Whether that was the real cause for the Spanish American War is a question as well. There was already a faction in the US government that wanted to intervene on behalf of Cuba against Spain. That’s long enough ago to qualify as ancient history anyway. I’m not sure why you include Pearl Harbor. It was a surprise attack not preceded by a declaration of war. I grant the US’s economic warfare was an important instigating factor, but there was going to be a struggle of some type for control of the Pacific regardless. Let the record show that the Japanese were the first to resort to outright warfare. Iraq, of course, was a blunder pretty much everybody agrees on. I consider Bush the second worst President in America’s history, Woodrow Wilson being the worst.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Your are perfectly correct, Russia is “guilty as charged “.

However the US does have a rather murky record of fabricated provocation, eg: The USS Maine, Pearl Harbour and Saddam ‘Insane’’ to name just three.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“Be careful what you wish for



..”*

(*Aesop.)

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Fabulous!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Fabulous!

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Frankly another article supporting the group think Russia bad Putin Evil etc. These are things that UnHerd claims to challenge.
However I do not propose to go on at length about this I would just ask you to read or watch the following links :-
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2023/february/08/setting-the-record-straight-stuff-you-should-know-about-ukraine/.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/nato-chief-belatedly-admits-war-didnt-start-february-last-year-war-started-2014/
Actually it started before 2014, see the first five minutes of this :-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnut-E_eEM0
Think on the fact that Blackrock and others of the tribe has a win win bet on this war going on, they make a fortune with their investments in the MIC, If Ukrain should win then they will make a fortune out of the rebuilding of Ukraine, if Russia wins then Blackrock (and others) have a very serious problem. That is the real driver for this war.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Day
Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Thank you! You’re not gonna get much support for that position in this comment thread, but some of us appreciate it. Here’s another podcast that summarizes the situation succinctly and accurately:
https://politicalorphanage.libsyn.com/the-cost-of-ukraine
And if you REALLY want a deep dive, this guy put out a fantastic historical analysis on 3/13/22:
https://martyrmade.com/
Some of that Ron Paul stuff in your link made me rethink even the venerable George Kennan just now, but I’m already jaundiced from reading about the diabolical machinations of the Dulles brothers…

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

The Devil’s Chessboard is a great book about Dulles.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

Thank you but someone has to tell it like it is however unpopular the truth is. Russia under Putin has been vilified without stop and unjustifiably and this is simply because he put a stop to the carpet bagging of Russian resources post 2000.

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

The Devil’s Chessboard is a great book about Dulles.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Shale Lewis

Thank you but someone has to tell it like it is however unpopular the truth is. Russia under Putin has been vilified without stop and unjustifiably and this is simply because he put a stop to the carpet bagging of Russian resources post 2000.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

The Hidden Hand of Blackrock!!

Obviously, US foreign policy isn’t governed by a complex process of decision making, which sometimes goes wrong.

It’s just a few corrupt Players constantly bamboozling 100s of thousands in the Defense and State Depts.

Even a child can see it.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Bamboozling? No, buying with a touch of blackmail much more probable.
Go do a bit of research on the BIS, its structures and the banking Mafia behind it.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Bamboozling? No, buying with a touch of blackmail much more probable.
Go do a bit of research on the BIS, its structures and the banking Mafia behind it.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

It’s all the fault of some shadowy private security firm is it? Save that script for the next Bourne movie

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Who said that? I didn’t. Listen carefully to what Macgregor says about money in the first five minutes of the referenced clip.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Who said that? I didn’t. Listen carefully to what Macgregor says about money in the first five minutes of the referenced clip.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Much of those references deny history of the Donbas region. While quite true that money spurs conflict and recovery it’s Putin’s choices that dominate. He alone can end the war. Meanwhile lives will be lost. In the end the Ukrainians are not going to stop in their efforts to refuse Russia. The glory days of the USSR and subjugation of populations can’t be repeated.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

There are two sides or in this case three to this conflict, NATO needs to buttout it is not an issue that they and the US / Britain had any business involving themselves in.
That leaves two sides, back in April Zelensky showed that he was prepared to negotiate a settlement with Russia, then Johnson arrives in KIEV and talks him out of it. Even now Zelensky could do the right thing by his people and surrender. I see absolutely no desire by Russia to subjugate anybody.
In the end those Ukrainians left will have to watch as the eastern part of the Ukraine, Donbass as far south as Odessa go of and live as part of a country / Regime that they want to live in, while the rest of the Ukraine will have to live in penury as their country is being reconstructed under the western banking mafia.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

There are two sides or in this case three to this conflict, NATO needs to buttout it is not an issue that they and the US / Britain had any business involving themselves in.
That leaves two sides, back in April Zelensky showed that he was prepared to negotiate a settlement with Russia, then Johnson arrives in KIEV and talks him out of it. Even now Zelensky could do the right thing by his people and surrender. I see absolutely no desire by Russia to subjugate anybody.
In the end those Ukrainians left will have to watch as the eastern part of the Ukraine, Donbass as far south as Odessa go of and live as part of a country / Regime that they want to live in, while the rest of the Ukraine will have to live in penury as their country is being reconstructed under the western banking mafia.

Shale Lewis
Shale Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Thank you! You’re not gonna get much support for that position in this comment thread, but some of us appreciate it. Here’s another podcast that summarizes the situation succinctly and accurately:
https://politicalorphanage.libsyn.com/the-cost-of-ukraine
And if you REALLY want a deep dive, this guy put out a fantastic historical analysis on 3/13/22:
https://martyrmade.com/
Some of that Ron Paul stuff in your link made me rethink even the venerable George Kennan just now, but I’m already jaundiced from reading about the diabolical machinations of the Dulles brothers…

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

The Hidden Hand of Blackrock!!

Obviously, US foreign policy isn’t governed by a complex process of decision making, which sometimes goes wrong.

It’s just a few corrupt Players constantly bamboozling 100s of thousands in the Defense and State Depts.

Even a child can see it.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

It’s all the fault of some shadowy private security firm is it? Save that script for the next Bourne movie

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Much of those references deny history of the Donbas region. While quite true that money spurs conflict and recovery it’s Putin’s choices that dominate. He alone can end the war. Meanwhile lives will be lost. In the end the Ukrainians are not going to stop in their efforts to refuse Russia. The glory days of the USSR and subjugation of populations can’t be repeated.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Nice words shallow thoughts..!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“His use of the phrase “the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism” sums up a good deal of what we’ve been reading, not just in articles by other writers but also in the Comments section.”
100%.

M VC14
M VC14
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“A year ago, as Vladimir Putin launched his so-called “special military operation” to seize the Ukrainian capital, kill Volodymyr Zelenskyy and wipe much of the latter’s country from the map of Europe”
The author is suggesting that Putin invaded Ukraine with less than 200,000 troops despite obviously being aware that Ukraine had an army of 780,000 well trained and supplied by the USA?
That would suggest as well as being evil and mad, Putin was also an idiot. No one who can survive at the top of the Russian hierarchy for 20 plus years is an idiot.
I recommend reading the Ukrainian cease fire monitor reports for the last few years.

Last edited 1 year ago by M VC14
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The contrarian narrative always relies on the idea that the US provoked Russia who was forced to respond. Is it seriously suggested that even if the Ukraine did in fact eventually join NATO that Ukraine and its new allies intended to sweep into Russia to seize Stalingrad and move on to seize the oilfields of Russia as Germany sought to do in WW2. The idea is patently absurd to any but the most conspiracy minded anti-US loon.

Putin’s move was analogous to the pre-WW2 invasion of Czechoslovakia to “protect” the Sudetenland Germans, Germany’s final demand. Our appeasement cost us dear in that case. Why would Putin not wish to make other revanchist recoveries of former Soviet territory given his views had Ukraine not been aided.

Peace can always be bought temporarily at the expense of concessions and servitude and that is Ukraine’s call not ours although I suspect the West will not be inclined to aid the fight for the recovery of the Crimea.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“Be careful what you wish for



..”*

(*Aesop.)

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Frankly another article supporting the group think Russia bad Putin Evil etc. These are things that UnHerd claims to challenge.
However I do not propose to go on at length about this I would just ask you to read or watch the following links :-
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2023/february/08/setting-the-record-straight-stuff-you-should-know-about-ukraine/.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/nato-chief-belatedly-admits-war-didnt-start-february-last-year-war-started-2014/
Actually it started before 2014, see the first five minutes of this :-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnut-E_eEM0
Think on the fact that Blackrock and others of the tribe has a win win bet on this war going on, they make a fortune with their investments in the MIC, If Ukrain should win then they will make a fortune out of the rebuilding of Ukraine, if Russia wins then Blackrock (and others) have a very serious problem. That is the real driver for this war.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Day
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Nice words shallow thoughts..!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“His use of the phrase “the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism” sums up a good deal of what we’ve been reading, not just in articles by other writers but also in the Comments section.”
100%.

M VC14
M VC14
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“A year ago, as Vladimir Putin launched his so-called “special military operation” to seize the Ukrainian capital, kill Volodymyr Zelenskyy and wipe much of the latter’s country from the map of Europe”
The author is suggesting that Putin invaded Ukraine with less than 200,000 troops despite obviously being aware that Ukraine had an army of 780,000 well trained and supplied by the USA?
That would suggest as well as being evil and mad, Putin was also an idiot. No one who can survive at the top of the Russian hierarchy for 20 plus years is an idiot.
I recommend reading the Ukrainian cease fire monitor reports for the last few years.

Last edited 1 year ago by M VC14
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

This time, Sandbrook has nailed it. I’d always had great regard for his writing but he’s now able to see clearly how his equivocation at the outset of the conflict in Ukraine set him on an initial path he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to take. That led to some doubts about him in articles he’s written for Unherd, as his voice became clouded. The clouds have now been parted.
His use of the phrase “the cheap and tawdry attractions of contrarianism” sums up a good deal of what we’ve been reading, not just in articles by other writers but also in the Comments section. Of course, those who disagree will label this as unfair labelling, but one thing that stands out amongst the contrarians is the vehemence with which they often try to convince others; the type of vehemence which i always think suggests they’re not really that sure themselves but just enjoy taking the contrarian approach.
This, in contrast to the usually quiet but steady refusal to see the conflict for anything but what it actually is: and Sandbrook’s epiphany has it right. Good v Evil. Not evil in the nefarious sense of a hidden force in operation, but the outright evil of actions in plain sight which we’ve witnessed from the Russian forces since the outset, instigated by a mindset removed from human values in search of authoritarian conquest.
Welcome back, Mr Sandbrook, we’ve missed you.
Addendum: by the ‘late’ Jeremy Corbyn, i assume he’s referring to his political career!

Alexander Dryburgh
Alexander Dryburgh
1 year ago

I’ve become quite a fan of Dominic Sandbrook along with his partner Tom Holland on their Rest is History Club and podcast. Really just a terrific project that has me addicted to the point of annoying my wife as I roam the house with ear pods in oblivious to any conversation she might attempt to offer. The great downside is that I’m not reading books nearly as much and that’s not a good thing.
With regard to this piece however I have some significant reservations. As a Canadian I’m fully aware of our neighbour’s tendency to exceptionalism to the point of bullying at times. We also live under the umbrella of the Monroe Doctrine that is still in full effect in this hemisphere so I have some hesitation about American interference around the globe and how that can be perceived at times. Americans would never tolerate even ‘defensive alliances’ with major foreign powers near its borders and have demonstrated that from time to time.
Another reservation has to do with run up to the war where it struck me that the Americans were intent on provoking the Russians. In Aug. of 21 Zelensky was in the Oval Office
heady stuff for a comedic actor. In Nov. 21 the U.S./Ukraine Strategic Partnership that many observers saw as a final green light for NATO membership was signed in Washington. (Robert Service at Oxford University called it the biggest blunder in post Soviet relations with Russia.) In Dec. 21 Russia wrote the Biden administration asking that NATO membership for Ukraine be ruled out. In December 22 Blinken replied “absolutely not”. We all know what followed in February.
I think more could have been done in those critical months to head off this war but none of the parties seemed interested.
And now we have a conflict where there will be no real winners but just a great deal of human suffering that will scar this region for a generation.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago

oh please. the only “provocations” come from Putin. NATO “expansionism” is a ridiculous way to describe the justifiable desires of the peoples of the countries formerly dominated and controlled by the SU for protection from revived Russian expansionism.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

And what exactly was the point of Ukraine joining NATO in the first place? Avoiding war or something?

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

They never did. The Baltic states are the only countries which had been part of the Soviet Union to join NATO. Had Ukraine been a member of NATO, Putin would not have dared to attack, as Article 5 would have meant in doing so, he would need to fight all of NATO, not just NATO’s war production and Ukrainian soliders as is happening, but the armed might of all members of NATO.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Obviously they never did. You might be aware that for many years there were discussions between NATO and Ukraine regarding membership. Thus my semi-rhetorical question.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mo Brown
Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

Obviously they never did. You might be aware that for many years there were discussions between NATO and Ukraine regarding membership. Thus my semi-rhetorical question.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mo Brown
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

The events of the last year would give a good indication of why Ukraine (along with almost every other nation in Eastern Europe) wanted to join NATO

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes of course, but why would we/NATO want them to join exactly?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Of course Ukraine wanted to join. What was the purpose from NATO’s point of view?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yes of course, but why would we/NATO want them to join exactly?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Of course Ukraine wanted to join. What was the purpose from NATO’s point of view?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Yes. And had it actually joined, there wouldn’t have been a war. But it didn’t. So Putin invaded, using NATO expansion as a pretext.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

So one might assert that the Ukraine -> NATO strategy didn’t work out so well if the goal was to actually, you know, prevent war, given what we’ve long known about Putin. I’m sure he was happy to be handed that pretext on a nice shiny silver platter.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

So one might assert that the Ukraine -> NATO strategy didn’t work out so well if the goal was to actually, you know, prevent war, given what we’ve long known about Putin. I’m sure he was happy to be handed that pretext on a nice shiny silver platter.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

They never did. The Baltic states are the only countries which had been part of the Soviet Union to join NATO. Had Ukraine been a member of NATO, Putin would not have dared to attack, as Article 5 would have meant in doing so, he would need to fight all of NATO, not just NATO’s war production and Ukrainian soliders as is happening, but the armed might of all members of NATO.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

The events of the last year would give a good indication of why Ukraine (along with almost every other nation in Eastern Europe) wanted to join NATO

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Yes. And had it actually joined, there wouldn’t have been a war. But it didn’t. So Putin invaded, using NATO expansion as a pretext.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Not really, NATO trampled on Russian interests in the Balkans in the 1990s by deciding that the Serbs, Russia’s coreligionists and traditional allies, were the only villains in a fratricidal war in which all sides committed atrocities and war crimes. Wesley Clark nearly started WW III by ordering an attack on Russians flown in to join the peace-keeping effort, and it was only a British officer refusing to carry out the order that prevented it. There were also all the CIA-sponsored “color revolutions” to overthrow pro-Russian governments in Russia’s “near abroad”.
The trouble is, to hold NATO responsible for what is going on, one has to take the position that the Treaty of Versailles justified Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland, since the circumstances are entirely analogous.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

You can’t have it both ways.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Depends on how farback in history you want to go.
If the treaty had been different then likely Hitler would have had far less excuse, Who benefitted from the Treaty as written?

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Depends on how farback in history you want to go.
If the treaty had been different then likely Hitler would have had far less excuse, Who benefitted from the Treaty as written?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  David Yetter

You can’t have it both ways.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

And what exactly was the point of Ukraine joining NATO in the first place? Avoiding war or something?

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Not really, NATO trampled on Russian interests in the Balkans in the 1990s by deciding that the Serbs, Russia’s coreligionists and traditional allies, were the only villains in a fratricidal war in which all sides committed atrocities and war crimes. Wesley Clark nearly started WW III by ordering an attack on Russians flown in to join the peace-keeping effort, and it was only a British officer refusing to carry out the order that prevented it. There were also all the CIA-sponsored “color revolutions” to overthrow pro-Russian governments in Russia’s “near abroad”.
The trouble is, to hold NATO responsible for what is going on, one has to take the position that the Treaty of Versailles justified Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland, since the circumstances are entirely analogous.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

History is full no doubt of errors and missteps. However Russia – from a strong position actually, already occupying large parts of Ukraine mounted a full scale invasion against its neighbour. I consider the idea that the Biden administration – the one that chaotically left Afghanistan – intentionally provoked Russia to be obviously absurd.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I have to disagree with your last sentence. The Biden administration has repeatedly demonstrated its ineptness when it comes to foreign policy. Robert Gates noted in his book that “
Biden has been on the wrong side of American foreign policy every time”. Even President Obama commented that “Joe f**ks up everything”. Biden is being controlled by the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of back in the last century. This same complex needs a new war to earn billions replacing arms etc thrown away in Afghanistan.
I have been against this “war” since the beginning as I fail to see what the US interests are in essentially a European conflict. Nobody has answered this satisfactorily for me. The only answer I get is “because Russia is our enemy”. China and the WEF are far greater enemies.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

The way I read that, he implied that the Biden administration’s amply proven ineptness made it unlikely that it had the guile to deliberately goad Russia into attacking. Sounds reasonable to me.

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

War is for money. Period. Big Pharma wanted in on the cash cow, so now we have pandemics.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

War is for power. Sometimes that power takes the form of money. But sometimes it doesn’t. Just outright, thuggish, control. Ego. Dreams of grandeur, recreating some idealized past. Wanting to go down in the history books as some ultimate praiseworthy leader of his nation or even the world.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Wow, what a simplistic understanding of geopolitics.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Diane M sounds as if she has read Putin’s ‘works’. Others here might not have.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Diane M sounds as if she has read Putin’s ‘works’. Others here might not have.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Wow, what a simplistic understanding of geopolitics.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

No, war is for freedom and self determination, for having the right to choose your own government and to protect the lives of your people. Big pharma didn’t cause the pandemic, Chinese wet markets enabled viruses to jump from one species to the next. Conspiracy theories might make you feel better because it makes it seem that chaotic events are all part of an evil plan.

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Paul, Remember that great scene in the movie “The Godfather between Al Pacino and Diane Keaton?
ï»ż”Michael: My father’s no different than any other powerful man, [Kay laughs] any man who’s responsible for other people. Like a senator or a president.
Kay: You know how naive you sound?
Michael: Why?
Kay: Senators and presidents don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh, who’s being naive, Kay?

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul J

Paul, Remember that great scene in the movie “The Godfather between Al Pacino and Diane Keaton?
ï»ż”Michael: My father’s no different than any other powerful man, [Kay laughs] any man who’s responsible for other people. Like a senator or a president.
Kay: You know how naive you sound?
Michael: Why?
Kay: Senators and presidents don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh, who’s being naive, Kay?

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

War is for power. Sometimes that power takes the form of money. But sometimes it doesn’t. Just outright, thuggish, control. Ego. Dreams of grandeur, recreating some idealized past. Wanting to go down in the history books as some ultimate praiseworthy leader of his nation or even the world.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Angela Paris

No, war is for freedom and self determination, for having the right to choose your own government and to protect the lives of your people. Big pharma didn’t cause the pandemic, Chinese wet markets enabled viruses to jump from one species to the next. Conspiracy theories might make you feel better because it makes it seem that chaotic events are all part of an evil plan.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

The US interest is in keeping a democratic country free from an Authoritarian neighbour’s unjustified invasion, Putin’s Russia. It really is the democracies against the autocratic states. Plus you get to wear down Russia’s military machine at no cost in US soldiers. Oh and there is the ‘small matter’ of protecting innocent civilians from rockets and drones (!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul J
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

Oh come on. There are plenty of satisfactory answers, but the easiest one is that Putin has put the security of all of eastern Europe at risk, and should he be victorious, which now thankfully seems unlikely in part because of U.S. help, could potentially destabilize international relations between states. The idea that in this ever shrinking world of ours people like you can be Chamberlain-esque and think we can sit back and avoid “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” is really quite absurd.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

The way I read that, he implied that the Biden administration’s amply proven ineptness made it unlikely that it had the guile to deliberately goad Russia into attacking. Sounds reasonable to me.

Angela Paris
Angela Paris
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

War is for money. Period. Big Pharma wanted in on the cash cow, so now we have pandemics.

Paul J
Paul J
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

The US interest is in keeping a democratic country free from an Authoritarian neighbour’s unjustified invasion, Putin’s Russia. It really is the democracies against the autocratic states. Plus you get to wear down Russia’s military machine at no cost in US soldiers. Oh and there is the ‘small matter’ of protecting innocent civilians from rockets and drones (!)

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul J
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

Oh come on. There are plenty of satisfactory answers, but the easiest one is that Putin has put the security of all of eastern Europe at risk, and should he be victorious, which now thankfully seems unlikely in part because of U.S. help, could potentially destabilize international relations between states. The idea that in this ever shrinking world of ours people like you can be Chamberlain-esque and think we can sit back and avoid “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” is really quite absurd.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The provocations have not come solely from Biden, but from every US administration since the neocons took control of US foreign policy under Clinton.
Pointing out that fact, by the way, does not justify the invasion, nor does it make me a ‘Putin apologist’. It simply sets the record straight as regards how we got here, as Sandbrook himself does in a grudging sort of way in this article.

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Clinton, Biden, Blinken, Neuland are not neocons. Certainly, there many on the political right who vigorously support current U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine. The political left is in charge of foreign policy. And they are the ones who chose not to seek a diplomatic resolution in 2021. I don’t know how this war will end; but a convincing win by either side seems unlikely. If Robert Gates is right, this war will end in tears by both sides.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

except that there really was no “provocation,” as NATO has never threatened Russia and frankly never would, even when it invaded another sovereign country and behaved barbarously. The only power doing any threatening is Putin’s Russia. Just ask any country formerly controlled or dominated by Russia/SU. Or just ask the Finnish or Swedish prime ministers. They used to be neutral for decades, until now.

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Clinton, Biden, Blinken, Neuland are not neocons. Certainly, there many on the political right who vigorously support current U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine. The political left is in charge of foreign policy. And they are the ones who chose not to seek a diplomatic resolution in 2021. I don’t know how this war will end; but a convincing win by either side seems unlikely. If Robert Gates is right, this war will end in tears by both sides.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

except that there really was no “provocation,” as NATO has never threatened Russia and frankly never would, even when it invaded another sovereign country and behaved barbarously. The only power doing any threatening is Putin’s Russia. Just ask any country formerly controlled or dominated by Russia/SU. Or just ask the Finnish or Swedish prime ministers. They used to be neutral for decades, until now.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Biden is but a Puppet ask yourself who whispers in his ear? who prepares the position papers?.
Came across this a while back “Pyle would be the third former BlackRock official to join the administration. Brian Deese, who was global head of sustainable investing at the firm, has been named as Biden’s national economic director. And Wally Adeyemo, former chief of staff to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, is the nominee for deputy Treasury secretary. Neither Deese nor Pyle would require confirmation by the Senate.
If anything, Pyle has a deeper relationship to BlackRock than his colleagues. He’s been there longer, since at least 2014. And his role as chief investment strategist is more central to BlackRock’s operations; he frequently comments on behalf of the firm in the media.”
So three people who are closely linked to a company with major financial exposure to the Ukrain situation are close enought to affect the thinking of a weak brained President. Just saying.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I have to disagree with your last sentence. The Biden administration has repeatedly demonstrated its ineptness when it comes to foreign policy. Robert Gates noted in his book that “
Biden has been on the wrong side of American foreign policy every time”. Even President Obama commented that “Joe f**ks up everything”. Biden is being controlled by the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of back in the last century. This same complex needs a new war to earn billions replacing arms etc thrown away in Afghanistan.
I have been against this “war” since the beginning as I fail to see what the US interests are in essentially a European conflict. Nobody has answered this satisfactorily for me. The only answer I get is “because Russia is our enemy”. China and the WEF are far greater enemies.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The provocations have not come solely from Biden, but from every US administration since the neocons took control of US foreign policy under Clinton.
Pointing out that fact, by the way, does not justify the invasion, nor does it make me a ‘Putin apologist’. It simply sets the record straight as regards how we got here, as Sandbrook himself does in a grudging sort of way in this article.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Biden is but a Puppet ask yourself who whispers in his ear? who prepares the position papers?.
Came across this a while back “Pyle would be the third former BlackRock official to join the administration. Brian Deese, who was global head of sustainable investing at the firm, has been named as Biden’s national economic director. And Wally Adeyemo, former chief of staff to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, is the nominee for deputy Treasury secretary. Neither Deese nor Pyle would require confirmation by the Senate.
If anything, Pyle has a deeper relationship to BlackRock than his colleagues. He’s been there longer, since at least 2014. And his role as chief investment strategist is more central to BlackRock’s operations; he frequently comments on behalf of the firm in the media.”
So three people who are closely linked to a company with major financial exposure to the Ukrain situation are close enought to affect the thinking of a weak brained President. Just saying.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

You do make a good point. The US-led West has made a series of strategic mistakes since the fall of Communism where Russia is concerned. However these mistakes do need to be placed in the wider context of what sort of world we actually want to live in. When it comes down to the choice of being a NATO country or a part of the Russian Federation, the former eastern bloc nations are unanimous in wanting the former, and for reasons that are pretty obvious and inarguable even to the majority of us who aren’t acquianted first-hand with the difference.

That’s not to say that the West is faultless or that we can all sit back and rest upon the untested assumption that we’re the good guys and it’ll all turn out alright in the end – far from it. It’s just that had the West taken a more circumspect view in the 1990s and restrained NATO expansion, we would by now have had a series of geostrategic scandals on our doorstep as parts of Eastern Europe became gradually forced into the Russian orbit, with all this entails.

I guess what I’m saying here is that we’re stuck into this Ukraine War now whether we like it or not, and it may come with considerable new costs as well as what’s already been spent. However, the West is on the right side for the simple reason that the West cares what Ukranians themselves want while the invading Russian force does not, and we haven’t been able to be this confident in such a moral assertion for some time.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes!

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Very nicely put.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes!

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Very nicely put.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I agree

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago

You’re reading of the situation is 100% correct. And I say that as an American.

Last edited 1 year ago by Johann Strauss
tug ordie
tug ordie
1 year ago

Don’t forget, zelensky announced his intent to make Ukraine a nuclear power, which Putin has for years said would be a red line. I feel for the Ukrainians but also fear that the slow but steady escalation could lead to true disaster

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

When the USSR broke up Ukraine was already the third largest nuclear power. They agreed to disarm in return for guarantees of border security from three guarantors; USA, UK and Russia.
Nobody thought that the threat could come from one of the guarantor nations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

Last edited 1 year ago by D Glover
Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

Russia announced this, not Volodymyr Zelenskyy!

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

I was a bit confused by Russian propaganda. There has been a lot of that.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Stoll

I was a bit confused by Russian propaganda. There has been a lot of that.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

NATO wouldn’t let Ukraine join NATO. Understandable since one of the criterion is to have no ongoing border disputes. This is how Russia has kept Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova out of eligibility for NATO.
The US, the UK, and Russia all promised to respect and defend Ukraine’s borders in exchange for Ukraine giving Russia the 1,000 or so nuclear weapons that had been left in Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR.
Pretty obvious that those agreements and promises were not held. Is it surprising then that they should wish they had never given up those weapons and would like to have them again? Russia would never have invaded Ukraine if they had.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

When the USSR broke up Ukraine was already the third largest nuclear power. They agreed to disarm in return for guarantees of border security from three guarantors; USA, UK and Russia.
Nobody thought that the threat could come from one of the guarantor nations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

Last edited 1 year ago by D Glover
Andrew Stoll
Andrew Stoll
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

Russia announced this, not Volodymyr Zelenskyy!

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  tug ordie

NATO wouldn’t let Ukraine join NATO. Understandable since one of the criterion is to have no ongoing border disputes. This is how Russia has kept Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova out of eligibility for NATO.
The US, the UK, and Russia all promised to respect and defend Ukraine’s borders in exchange for Ukraine giving Russia the 1,000 or so nuclear weapons that had been left in Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR.
Pretty obvious that those agreements and promises were not held. Is it surprising then that they should wish they had never given up those weapons and would like to have them again? Russia would never have invaded Ukraine if they had.

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
1 year ago

The timeline and conclusion is spot on: “more could have been done in those critical months”

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Fine words.

But Putin expressed the Russian position best:

“Without Ukraine, there is no Russia.”

Putin never could accept an independent Ukraine anywhere near its present size.

Whether or not it was in NATO, it would eventually join the EU. And given Russia’s decade long stagnation, would be an unacceptable contrast with Russia.

That Putin has also alienated the other 13 Ex Soviet republics means he also knows his two a decades in power have resulted in less than nothing.

We just finally have to reluctantly agree with Putin:

Russia IS a corpse.

Without Ukraine.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago

The final decisions were, and will be, made in Moscow and Kyiv, not Washington D.C.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

In my experience, many Americans, regardless of their positions on Ukraine or anything else, have trouble accepting the idea that it’s not all about the U.S.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

In my experience, many Americans, regardless of their positions on Ukraine or anything else, have trouble accepting the idea that it’s not all about the U.S.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago

oh please. the only “provocations” come from Putin. NATO “expansionism” is a ridiculous way to describe the justifiable desires of the peoples of the countries formerly dominated and controlled by the SU for protection from revived Russian expansionism.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

History is full no doubt of errors and missteps. However Russia – from a strong position actually, already occupying large parts of Ukraine mounted a full scale invasion against its neighbour. I consider the idea that the Biden administration – the one that chaotically left Afghanistan – intentionally provoked Russia to be obviously absurd.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

You do make a good point. The US-led West has made a series of strategic mistakes since the fall of Communism where Russia is concerned. However these mistakes do need to be placed in the wider context of what sort of world we actually want to live in. When it comes down to the choice of being a NATO country or a part of the Russian Federation, the former eastern bloc nations are unanimous in wanting the former, and for reasons that are pretty obvious and inarguable even to the majority of us who aren’t acquianted first-hand with the difference.

That’s not to say that the West is faultless or that we can all sit back and rest upon the untested assumption that we’re the good guys and it’ll all turn out alright in the end – far from it. It’s just that had the West taken a more circumspect view in the 1990s and restrained NATO expansion, we would by now have had a series of geostrategic scandals on our doorstep as parts of Eastern Europe became gradually forced into the Russian orbit, with all this entails.

I guess what I’m saying here is that we’re stuck into this Ukraine War now whether we like it or not, and it may come with considerable new costs as well as what’s already been spent. However, the West is on the right side for the simple reason that the West cares what Ukranians themselves want while the invading Russian force does not, and we haven’t been able to be this confident in such a moral assertion for some time.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

I agree

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago

You’re reading of the situation is 100% correct. And I say that as an American.

Last edited 1 year ago by Johann Strauss
tug ordie
tug ordie
1 year ago

Don’t forget, zelensky announced his intent to make Ukraine a nuclear power, which Putin has for years said would be a red line. I feel for the Ukrainians but also fear that the slow but steady escalation could lead to true disaster

Greg La Cock
Greg La Cock
1 year ago

The timeline and conclusion is spot on: “more could have been done in those critical months”

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Fine words.

But Putin expressed the Russian position best:

“Without Ukraine, there is no Russia.”

Putin never could accept an independent Ukraine anywhere near its present size.

Whether or not it was in NATO, it would eventually join the EU. And given Russia’s decade long stagnation, would be an unacceptable contrast with Russia.

That Putin has also alienated the other 13 Ex Soviet republics means he also knows his two a decades in power have resulted in less than nothing.

We just finally have to reluctantly agree with Putin:

Russia IS a corpse.

Without Ukraine.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago

The final decisions were, and will be, made in Moscow and Kyiv, not Washington D.C.

Alexander Dryburgh
Alexander Dryburgh
1 year ago

I’ve become quite a fan of Dominic Sandbrook along with his partner Tom Holland on their Rest is History Club and podcast. Really just a terrific project that has me addicted to the point of annoying my wife as I roam the house with ear pods in oblivious to any conversation she might attempt to offer. The great downside is that I’m not reading books nearly as much and that’s not a good thing.
With regard to this piece however I have some significant reservations. As a Canadian I’m fully aware of our neighbour’s tendency to exceptionalism to the point of bullying at times. We also live under the umbrella of the Monroe Doctrine that is still in full effect in this hemisphere so I have some hesitation about American interference around the globe and how that can be perceived at times. Americans would never tolerate even ‘defensive alliances’ with major foreign powers near its borders and have demonstrated that from time to time.
Another reservation has to do with run up to the war where it struck me that the Americans were intent on provoking the Russians. In Aug. of 21 Zelensky was in the Oval Office
heady stuff for a comedic actor. In Nov. 21 the U.S./Ukraine Strategic Partnership that many observers saw as a final green light for NATO membership was signed in Washington. (Robert Service at Oxford University called it the biggest blunder in post Soviet relations with Russia.) In Dec. 21 Russia wrote the Biden administration asking that NATO membership for Ukraine be ruled out. In December 22 Blinken replied “absolutely not”. We all know what followed in February.
I think more could have been done in those critical months to head off this war but none of the parties seemed interested.
And now we have a conflict where there will be no real winners but just a great deal of human suffering that will scar this region for a generation.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

I have mixed emotions about the war in Ukraine. I support the people and their right to defend themselves. I agree with the author – we should do whatever it takes to support them.

But the author alludes to my concerns himself. “It is simply to keep giving the Ukrainians the aid, weapons and emotional and political support they need, until they have driven every last occupier from their land — or until they’ve had enough and are prepared to cut a deal. But that should be their decision, not ours.”

We have two different credible reports that the US and Britain quashed a potential peace agreement in June. Are we fighting a proxy war, or are we genuinely following the lead of the Ukraine?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Ukrainians and Russian soldiers are pawns and Ukraine is the chess board – and this is merely a Proxy War spawned in evil, fought in Evil, and has Evil Fruits.

PEACE NOW!

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

BS: And any “peace now” deal that allows Putin to keep his gains simply means a delay until he tries again,either with more of Ukraine or the Baltics or Kazakhstan. But you’re right. The war was spawned and fought in evil — by Putin. Any peace deal that leaves parts of Ukraine in his hands is just a Munich deal by another name.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

precisely the counter-argument to a peace settlement. he will simply rearm and reinvade, once taking over other neighbours

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Crimea will never go back to the Ukraine. Even if Putin‘s regime falls, no successor will ever agree to that. This always was Russia‘s big sore after the end of the Cold War. The main population of Crimea is Russian and its Black Sea navy has its harbour there for centuries. Could you imagine an important US harbour in the Pacific falling into the political sphere of China? I also guess that a chunk of the Donbas region with its mainly Russian population would want to belong to Russia.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Territory could be compromised. Much as people hate it, this kind of situation is not uncommon after empires break up, and an unjust solution is better than eternal war. What cannot be compromised is Russia’s claim to own and control Ukraine. How do you see Russia giving up that claim – and convincing the otehr side that it will keep its promise?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago

Territory could be compromised. Much as people hate it, this kind of situation is not uncommon after empires break up, and an unjust solution is better than eternal war. What cannot be compromised is Russia’s claim to own and control Ukraine. How do you see Russia giving up that claim – and convincing the otehr side that it will keep its promise?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

precisely the counter-argument to a peace settlement. he will simply rearm and reinvade, once taking over other neighbours

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Crimea will never go back to the Ukraine. Even if Putin‘s regime falls, no successor will ever agree to that. This always was Russia‘s big sore after the end of the Cold War. The main population of Crimea is Russian and its Black Sea navy has its harbour there for centuries. Could you imagine an important US harbour in the Pacific falling into the political sphere of China? I also guess that a chunk of the Donbas region with its mainly Russian population would want to belong to Russia.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Surrender is not peace. Putin has penetrated to the very heart of the British establishment and sanctions have not fully rooted him out. Our own PM was at best, his useful idiot. His agents have murdered on British soil. His planes invade our airspace and submarines enter our waters. He is the godfather heading up a gangster state. He’s a threat to us and to peace in Europe and he must be utterly defeated. No mercy.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

Agree with all of this but, at the same time, seriously wonder how a nuclear-armed power could be “utterly defeated”. What exactly would that defeat look like?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

Retreat to the borders of 1991.

Pretty simple, really.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Then obviously not utter defeat — merely a return to the status quo, a period of “licking wounds”, then another military build-up to start another war.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Then obviously not utter defeat — merely a return to the status quo, a period of “licking wounds”, then another military build-up to start another war.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

A massive first strike against the UK … and France and the US and probably the rest of Europe with Canada thrown in for good measure. It would result in Russia being turned into a parking lot as well, but for some people that doesn’t really matter if they can’t get what they want.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

How much of the Russian nuclear arsenal will Putin use? His advisors would surely be looking over their shoulders considering the size of the Chinese arsenal (Nuke and Conventional.)

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

How much of the Russian nuclear arsenal will Putin use? His advisors would surely be looking over their shoulders considering the size of the Chinese arsenal (Nuke and Conventional.)

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

Retreat to the borders of 1991.

Pretty simple, really.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

A massive first strike against the UK … and France and the US and probably the rest of Europe with Canada thrown in for good measure. It would result in Russia being turned into a parking lot as well, but for some people that doesn’t really matter if they can’t get what they want.

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

Agree with all of this but, at the same time, seriously wonder how a nuclear-armed power could be “utterly defeated”. What exactly would that defeat look like?

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

All of the lessons of history have not taught people the meaning of ‘propaganda’.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

BS: And any “peace now” deal that allows Putin to keep his gains simply means a delay until he tries again,either with more of Ukraine or the Baltics or Kazakhstan. But you’re right. The war was spawned and fought in evil — by Putin. Any peace deal that leaves parts of Ukraine in his hands is just a Munich deal by another name.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Surrender is not peace. Putin has penetrated to the very heart of the British establishment and sanctions have not fully rooted him out. Our own PM was at best, his useful idiot. His agents have murdered on British soil. His planes invade our airspace and submarines enter our waters. He is the godfather heading up a gangster state. He’s a threat to us and to peace in Europe and he must be utterly defeated. No mercy.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

All of the lessons of history have not taught people the meaning of ‘propaganda’.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I have never seen any such credible reports. Could you point to them?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Of course he can’t!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Here you go.

Quote:

Russia and Ukraine may have agreed on a tentative deal to end the war in April, according to a recent piece in Foreign Affairs.

“Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

The news highlights the impact of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to stop negotiations, as journalist Branko Marcetic noted on Twitter. The decision to scuttle the deal coincided with Johnson’s April visit to Kyiv, during which he reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to break off talks with Russia for two key reasons: Putin cannot be negotiated with, and the West isn’t ready for the war to end

The apparent revelation raises some key questions: Why did Western leaders want to stop Kyiv from signing a seemingly good deal with Moscow? Do they consider the conflict a proxy war with Russia? And, most importantly, what would it take to get back to a deal?

Source:

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/09/02/diplomacy-watch-why-did-the-west-stop-a-peace-deal-in-ukraine/

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Thanks. That link gave another to the Hill and Stent article. And your quote is indeed correct. But did you read the actual article? It is very convincing, and it describes Russian policy as wholly oriented to rebuilding the old Tsarist empire – as indeed Putin says in his speeches – starting with reabsorbing the ‘non-existing and really Russian’ Ukraine. It seems inconceivable that Putin should have offered a permanent arrangement that would guarantee the actual independence of Ukraine – when all his other policies show that he refuses to tolerate that independence. And it seems even more inconceivable that Ukraine should have refused such an arrangement – particularly since Zhelensky is on record as offering neutrality in return for peace. So, assuming that some kind of deal was indeed being negotiated, it begs the question what Russia was actually offering and what it was demanding in return. And, indeed, what leverage either the US or the UK could have had to force Ukraine to refuse a beneficial deal and opt instead for a long war with Russia. On what we have so far this story does not make sense.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Fiona Hill now has an article in Unherd that doesn’t support your claim at all. In fact she says it’s Russian disinformation. Here’s her answer to Freddie Sayers:
FS: There was a moment earlier in the war when Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, was talking about some kind of peace settlement. It felt like there was some interest in the Ukrainian administration about engaging with him — and that it was actually Western powers, like the UK, who suggested Ukraine shouldn’t go down that road and that we need to have victory first.
FH: Freddie, that’s actually not true. That’s all Russian trolling and basically a disinformation campaign.
Ooops.

Last edited 1 year ago by harry storm
Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

References please, I find FH a little disingenuous.
“Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Day
Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

References please, I find FH a little disingenuous.
“Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Day
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Thanks. That link gave another to the Hill and Stent article. And your quote is indeed correct. But did you read the actual article? It is very convincing, and it describes Russian policy as wholly oriented to rebuilding the old Tsarist empire – as indeed Putin says in his speeches – starting with reabsorbing the ‘non-existing and really Russian’ Ukraine. It seems inconceivable that Putin should have offered a permanent arrangement that would guarantee the actual independence of Ukraine – when all his other policies show that he refuses to tolerate that independence. And it seems even more inconceivable that Ukraine should have refused such an arrangement – particularly since Zhelensky is on record as offering neutrality in return for peace. So, assuming that some kind of deal was indeed being negotiated, it begs the question what Russia was actually offering and what it was demanding in return. And, indeed, what leverage either the US or the UK could have had to force Ukraine to refuse a beneficial deal and opt instead for a long war with Russia. On what we have so far this story does not make sense.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Fiona Hill now has an article in Unherd that doesn’t support your claim at all. In fact she says it’s Russian disinformation. Here’s her answer to Freddie Sayers:
FS: There was a moment earlier in the war when Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, was talking about some kind of peace settlement. It felt like there was some interest in the Ukrainian administration about engaging with him — and that it was actually Western powers, like the UK, who suggested Ukraine shouldn’t go down that road and that we need to have victory first.
FH: Freddie, that’s actually not true. That’s all Russian trolling and basically a disinformation campaign.
Ooops.

Last edited 1 year ago by harry storm
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Here you go.

Quote:

Russia and Ukraine may have agreed on a tentative deal to end the war in April, according to a recent piece in Foreign Affairs.

“Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

The news highlights the impact of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to stop negotiations, as journalist Branko Marcetic noted on Twitter. The decision to scuttle the deal coincided with Johnson’s April visit to Kyiv, during which he reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to break off talks with Russia for two key reasons: Putin cannot be negotiated with, and the West isn’t ready for the war to end

The apparent revelation raises some key questions: Why did Western leaders want to stop Kyiv from signing a seemingly good deal with Moscow? Do they consider the conflict a proxy war with Russia? And, most importantly, what would it take to get back to a deal?

Source:

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/09/02/diplomacy-watch-why-did-the-west-stop-a-peace-deal-in-ukraine/

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Maybe you need to read a little bit beyond UK and US Government propaganda. As for pointing to them, why don’t you just use Google and do a search yourself, instead of always hiding behind claims that appropriate links have not been provided.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Any source that hasn’t reported the catalogue of Russian military failures in the last year is essentially worthless.

Even the “”Voenkors” (pro war bloggers in Russia) give the same picture of Russian military incompetence. Read strelkov.

There isn’t some “secret knowledge out there that is superior to the MSM Fog of War reporting in every conflict.

Get used to it.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I did use Google and can find nothing other than things Sergey Lavrov has said happened and I do not consider him to be a credible source.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Perhaps check out what Bennet, the ex premier of Israel recently said about it. and he was in the thick of things.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Or perhaps you could read the Fiona Hill interview posted yesterday in Unherd and then cut the crap.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Or perhaps you could read the Fiona Hill interview posted yesterday in Unherd and then cut the crap.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

Perhaps check out what Bennet, the ex premier of Israel recently said about it. and he was in the thick of things.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

And maybe you should read current Unherd articles to find out that everything in that article you posted has been gainsaid by Fiona Hill (see above).

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Any source that hasn’t reported the catalogue of Russian military failures in the last year is essentially worthless.

Even the “”Voenkors” (pro war bloggers in Russia) give the same picture of Russian military incompetence. Read strelkov.

There isn’t some “secret knowledge out there that is superior to the MSM Fog of War reporting in every conflict.

Get used to it.

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I did use Google and can find nothing other than things Sergey Lavrov has said happened and I do not consider him to be a credible source.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

And maybe you should read current Unherd articles to find out that everything in that article you posted has been gainsaid by Fiona Hill (see above).

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Of course he can’t!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Maybe you need to read a little bit beyond UK and US Government propaganda. As for pointing to them, why don’t you just use Google and do a search yourself, instead of always hiding behind claims that appropriate links have not been provided.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

As several others have asked, please can you provide more details of this “potential peace agreement” from June last year. What were the terms ? Would it have ensured a lasting, stable peace ?
You must have this information. So please do share it.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It doesn’t exist. Russian disinfo.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It doesn’t exist. Russian disinfo.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Can you explain what reason the West’s strategists would have for fighting a proxy war with Russia if there was a viable peace option on the table? It is not clear to me why such a choice would make sense. The idea that the West is simply trying to prevent the destruction of Ukraine as an independent nation and the inevitable brutalisation of Ukranians should Russia prevail, is, on the other hand, plausible.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Regime change, feeding the military-industrial complex, selling LNG to Europe at three times the price they were buying it from Russia………. Do you need any more?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Nice to see that the vast majority of US entrepreneurs are so easily bamboozled by The Merchants of Death.

Then you don’t have open things like books about history and foreign policy.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Yes, I do need more. The costs of war plus the colossal costs of rebuilding Ukraine will be borne by the West and mostly the USA. The financial upsides you mention don;t come even close to covering it. We heard the same claptrap about the 2003 invasion of Iraq being about getting the oil: The USA spent a billion dollars a week for several years which was an order of magnitude higher than any economic benefits resulting from oil price control.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

So the West now only consists of the United States and of only a very small number of people in the US? Are they the Rothschilds by any chance? Oh wait .. that’s not the US’s conspiracy theory. That’s a European one. Umm … The Koch’s? No. They’re anti-war. I know. It’s got to be Blackrock, right? Don’t they really control the world? But I read (ok – didn’t bother reading, just saw the headline) something the other day saying that The Netherlands controlled China, so maybe they’re behind it all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Diane Merriam
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

It is a fact the us military industrial complex is under going massive growth and making big money:

Quote:

According to State Department numbers, sales rose to $205.6 billion in the 2022 fiscal year

https://news.antiwar.com/2023/01/25/us-arms-sales-soared-in-2022-due-to-ukraine-war/

Biggest growth and revamp in forty years:

https://news.antiwar.com/2023/01/24/pentagon-to-increase-artillery-ammunition-production-by-500-for-ukraine/

It is also a fact LNG is much more expensive than pipeline gas. Its just a fact. It was actually FOUR times the price. Macron complained:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.republicworld.com/amp/world-news/europe/emmanuel-macron-slams-us-for-selling-gas-at-higher-prices-calls-it-double-standard-articleshow.html

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Merriam

It is a fact the us military industrial complex is under going massive growth and making big money:

Quote:

According to State Department numbers, sales rose to $205.6 billion in the 2022 fiscal year

https://news.antiwar.com/2023/01/25/us-arms-sales-soared-in-2022-due-to-ukraine-war/

Biggest growth and revamp in forty years:

https://news.antiwar.com/2023/01/24/pentagon-to-increase-artillery-ammunition-production-by-500-for-ukraine/

It is also a fact LNG is much more expensive than pipeline gas. Its just a fact. It was actually FOUR times the price. Macron complained:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.republicworld.com/amp/world-news/europe/emmanuel-macron-slams-us-for-selling-gas-at-higher-prices-calls-it-double-standard-articleshow.html

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Nice to see that the vast majority of US entrepreneurs are so easily bamboozled by The Merchants of Death.

Then you don’t have open things like books about history and foreign policy.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Yes, I do need more. The costs of war plus the colossal costs of rebuilding Ukraine will be borne by the West and mostly the USA. The fi