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We are already at war with Russia Never-ending escalation will result in catastrophe

Are they looking where he's going? (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Are they looking where he's going? (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


February 8, 2023   6 mins

Now and then, even the most seasoned politician happens to slip up and accidently speak the truth. This is what occurred during a recent debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, when the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock openly stated that “we are fighting a war against Russia”. The German government was quick to say her words had been “misinterpreted”, but the truth is that she did nothing more than say it how it is.

Almost a year into the conflict, the narrative of Western intervention in Ukraine — that “Nato is not at war with Russia” and that “the equipment we’re providing is purely defensive” — is being revealed for what it always was: a fiction. Last month, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, another kernel of truth slipped through the cracks at a briefing by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. Austin and Miller stated in no uncertain terms that the US was committed to going “on the offensive to liberate Russian-occupied Ukraine” — which, according to the United States, includes both the entire Donbas and Crimea.

The admission that the weapons being provided by the US and Nato are of an offensive, not defensive, character marks a significant U-turn for the Biden administration. In March last year, Biden promised the public that the US would not send “offensive equipment” and “planes and tanks” to Ukraine, because this would trigger “World War III”. Indeed, just a few months ago, the provision of tanks to Ukraine was still deemed unthinkable.

Yet in the coming months, the US is planning to deliver 31 Abrams tanks, and even Germany, after weeks of reluctance, has caved in to the immense pressure coming from Washington and other allies. The German government has agreed to send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and has also given the go-ahead to a number of other European countries which want to send their own German-made Leopard 2 tanks. Meanwhile, the UK has committed 14 of its own tanks. In total, Ukraine is set to receive around 100 tanks, but the number is likely to go up (Zelensky has asked for 300-500).

This is simply the latest in a long list of red lines that the US and Nato have crossed since the start of the conflict. At the start of the war, the New York Times cautioned that the overt supply of even small arms and light weaponry — initial provisions were limited to rocket launchers and anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles — “risks encouraging a wider war and possible retaliation” from Russia, while US officials ruled out more advanced weaponry as too escalatory. Just two months later, the Biden administration backtracked and announced that it would in fact be sending Mi-17 helicopters, 155-mm Howitzer cannons and Switchblade “kamikaze” drones.

At that point, a new red line was drawn: despite Kyiv’s requests, the US said it would not provide Ukraine with long-range rocket systems capable of striking inside Russian territory (the M270 MLRS and the M142 HIMARS) due to concerns in Washington that this “could be seen as an escalation by the Kremlin”. It took the administration just two weeks to change its mind, on the condition that Ukraine would not use them against targets on Russian territory — until, in December, that line was crossed as well, when Ukraine hit airfields hundreds of kilometres into Russia (with the US’s approval). The about-face over the shipment of battle tanks was just as quick, as we’ve seen.

In this apparently never-ending escalation, the only question is: what’s next? Ukraine is now pushing for Western fourth-generation fighter jets, such as the US F-16s. Biden and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have ruled this out, but there’s no reason to believe they won’t backpedal on the F-16s as well, just as they’ve done on every other self-imposed red line. The Ukrainians, for their part, seem pretty confident. As the Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, recently stated: “When I was in DC in November [2021], before the invasion, and asked for Stingers, they told me it was impossible. Now it’s possible. When I asked for 155-millimeter guns, the answer was no. HIMARS, no. HARM [missiles], no. Now all of that is a yes. Therefore, I’m certain that tomorrow there will be…F-16s.”

We can, therefore, expect fighter jets to be on the agenda at the Nato meeting next week. Several European countries, including France, have already signalled their openness to sending fighter jets to Ukraine and, according to Politico, Ukrainian pilots could soon start training on the F-16s in the United States. In the meantime, Lockheed Martin — one of the many US defence companies making a killing thanks to the conflict — has announced that it is going to ramp up production to meet the extra demand.

Jet fighters aside, however, we need to acknowledge that we are already at war with Russia, as the German Foreign Minister inadvertently admitted. The fact that there has been no formal declaration of war is beside the point: the United States has not officially declared war since the Second World War, but this has not stopped it from intervening militarily in dozens of countries. The presence of actual American or Nato soldiers on the ground (though there have been reports of the presence of US special operations forces in Ukraine) is also, ultimately, of secondary importance. By providing increasingly powerful military equipment as well as financial, technical, logistical and training support to one of the warring factions, including for offensive operations (even within Russian territory), the West is engaged in a de facto military confrontation with Russia, regardless of what our leaders may claim.

Western citizens deserve to be told what is going on in Ukraine — and what the stakes are. Perhaps the wildest claim being made is that “if we deliver all the weapons Ukraine needs, they can win”, as former Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently asserted. For Rasmussen, and other Western hawks, this includes retaking Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 and which it considers of the utmost strategic importance. Many Western allies still consider this an uncrossable red line. But for how long? Just last month, the New York Times reported that the Biden administration is warming up to the idea of backing a Ukrainian offensive on Crimea.

This strategy is based on the assumption that Russia will accept a military defeat and the loss of the territories it controls without resorting to the unthinkable — the use of nuclear weapons. But this is a massive assumption on which to gamble the future of humanity, especially coming from the very Western strategists who disastrously botched every major military forecast over the past 20 years, from Iraq to Afghanistan. The truth is that, from Russia’s perspective, it is fighting against what it perceives to be an existential threat in Ukraine, and there is no reason to believe that, with its back against the wall, it won’t go to extreme measures to guarantee its survival. As Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, put it: “The loss of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear war. Nuclear powers do not lose major conflicts on which their fate depends.”

During the Cold War, this was widely understood by Western leaders. But today, by constantly escalating their support for Ukraine’s military, the United States and Nato appear to have forgotten it, and are instead inching closer to a catastrophic scenario. As Douglas Macgregor, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, has written: “Neither we nor our allies are prepared to fight all-out war with Russia, regionally or globally. The point is, if war breaks out between Russia and the United States, Americans should not be surprised. The Biden administration and its bipartisan supporters in Washington are doing all they possibly can to make it happen.” According to a number of experts, a Ukrainian offensive on Crimea is one of the most likely ways this conflict could lead to nuclear warfare. Excluding a such extreme outcome, and barring a peaceful resolution to the conflict, the most likely scenario is the “Afghanistanisation” of Ukraine: a protracted conflict that could potentially last years, given that it is just as unlikely that Nato will allow Ukraine to be militarily defeated — whatever that would entail.

The simple truth, then, is that no one can “win” this war. Meanwhile, a protracted war only increases the likelihood of a direct conflict between Russia and Nato. This is now even acknowledged by the RAND corporation, the very influential and ultra-hawkish US military think tank. In a new report titled Avoiding a Long War, the authors warn against the risk of a “protracted conflict”, saying that this would lead to “a prolonged elevated risk of Russian nuclear use and a Nato-Russia war” that would seriously jeopardise US interests. “Avoiding these two forms of escalation”, they argue, is therefore “the paramount US priority” — also higher than “weakening Russia” or “facilitating significantly more Ukrainian territorial control”. This means that US interests would be best served by focusing on reaching “a political settlement” that might deliver a “durable peace”, for example by “condition[ing] future military aid on a Ukrainian commitment to negotiations”.

Ultimately, catastrophic scenarios aside, this is the most likely way in which the war will end — with a deal in which neither side loses or wins. Delaying this inevitable outcome simply means imposing more unnecessary death and destruction on Ukraine — and more economic suffering on a continent that is fast reaching breaking point.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

The author writes in a vacuum – as if all escalation has come from the West. In reality since the start of the “special military operation”, Russia has commenced a mass mobilisation to greatly increase the number of troops it can commit, as well as unleashing mercenaries and released prisoners onto the front line. Given its larger size, this makes ultimate Russian victory inevitable, unless military assistance to Ukraine is stepped up. In that scenario, the flood of migrants west could be in the tens of millions, and the conflict could move to whatever neighbour Russia next declared to be an “existential threat”. There was no meaningful threat to Russia’s position in Crimea and the other occupied territories until Putin started this war last year. It is facile to depict allowing Russia to overrun Ukraine as being risk free for the West.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Walsh
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I don’t entirely agree with the part where Russia faced no threat from Western expansion – it is true to an extent that the West did not honestly adhere to its commitments made to Russia after the fall of Communism.

In no sense however does this mean that Putin’s actions represent a genuine casus belli – the aggression is all on the Russian side and the manner in which the war has been prosecuted on the Russian side is a disgrace.

Where I do agree with you is that no outcome can be tolerated in which Russia gains from its actions after February of 2022. If this happens, the potential for conflict contagion is obvious.

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I would agree however the concern is that the US has changed the agenda from “understanding” the Russian claim to and strategic importance of Crimea to wanting to clear them out
This shift along with repeated comments from Austin on destroying Russias conventional ability are very dangerous and its about time we had a full debate in parliament about the end game.
Whilst Russia is the physical aggressor the west is not blame free particularly not in the sugar coated way the BBC Doc on Putin portrays.

The Israeli PM Bennett came out with a very interesting interview this week painting the Uk and the USA as anti any peace and settlement other than a full withdrawal by Russia when Zelensky he suggested would have settled for less

William Braden
William Braden
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

I don’t recall any recent time when Zelensky suggested settling for less. And he wouldn’t have popular support within Ukraine for doing so.
Ukraine already tried making peace with Russia — the Minsk Protocols 2014, 2015. Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons in 1994, in exchange for Russian promises to respect their independence and sovereignty.
It’s hard to make peace when words mean nothing.

Jay Bee
Jay Bee
1 year ago
Reply to  William Braden

The Minsk Protocols were a sick joke. As acknowledged now by both Merkel and Holland, the protocols were only instituted to give Ukraine time to build up militarily. Russian signed onto the agreements in good faith, Germany and France did not.
‘It’s hard to make peace when words mean nothing’.
Indeed…

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jay Bee

The covert attack by Russia on Ukraine was far more a “sick joke” than Minsk ever was.
After the armistice, Putin could have asked for blue helmets to separate the two sides and hold a genuine referendum, a la Bosnia.
Instead he chose to make Donbas a frozen conflict, like his many others.
Putin doesn’t want peace with his neighbours.
He wants to permanently intimidate them, and insurte they never have normal relations with any other nation.

Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Putin would like to not have nuclear missiles capable of striking the heart of Russia in under 10 minutes. The situation that the USA/NATO has placed us in will result in nuclear response system being on a hair trigger.
The chances of a mistake are unacceptably high.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Schmeisser

the idea that NATO would EVER attack Russia is a particularly stupid one !!

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Schmeisser

the idea that NATO would EVER attack Russia is a particularly stupid one !!

Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Putin would like to not have nuclear missiles capable of striking the heart of Russia in under 10 minutes. The situation that the USA/NATO has placed us in will result in nuclear response system being on a hair trigger.
The chances of a mistake are unacceptably high.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jay Bee

The covert attack by Russia on Ukraine was far more a “sick joke” than Minsk ever was.
After the armistice, Putin could have asked for blue helmets to separate the two sides and hold a genuine referendum, a la Bosnia.
Instead he chose to make Donbas a frozen conflict, like his many others.
Putin doesn’t want peace with his neighbours.
He wants to permanently intimidate them, and insurte they never have normal relations with any other nation.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  William Braden

No Ukraine did not try making peace with Russia, yes they signed the Minsk protocols and then made no attempt to enforce tehm and were not pressed to do so by the cosignees to that deal,
Merkel has already stated that the Germans had no interest in making it happen. Interestingly the US was not part of this deal does make me wonder how much they were pushing Ukraine to not comply.

Jay Bee
Jay Bee
1 year ago
Reply to  William Braden

The Minsk Protocols were a sick joke. As acknowledged now by both Merkel and Holland, the protocols were only instituted to give Ukraine time to build up militarily. Russian signed onto the agreements in good faith, Germany and France did not.
‘It’s hard to make peace when words mean nothing’.
Indeed…

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  William Braden

No Ukraine did not try making peace with Russia, yes they signed the Minsk protocols and then made no attempt to enforce tehm and were not pressed to do so by the cosignees to that deal,
Merkel has already stated that the Germans had no interest in making it happen. Interestingly the US was not part of this deal does make me wonder how much they were pushing Ukraine to not comply.

William Braden
William Braden
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Keats

I don’t recall any recent time when Zelensky suggested settling for less. And he wouldn’t have popular support within Ukraine for doing so.
Ukraine already tried making peace with Russia — the Minsk Protocols 2014, 2015. Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons in 1994, in exchange for Russian promises to respect their independence and sovereignty.
It’s hard to make peace when words mean nothing.

Jonathan Keats
Jonathan Keats
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I would agree however the concern is that the US has changed the agenda from “understanding” the Russian claim to and strategic importance of Crimea to wanting to clear them out
This shift along with repeated comments from Austin on destroying Russias conventional ability are very dangerous and its about time we had a full debate in parliament about the end game.
Whilst Russia is the physical aggressor the west is not blame free particularly not in the sugar coated way the BBC Doc on Putin portrays.

The Israeli PM Bennett came out with a very interesting interview this week painting the Uk and the USA as anti any peace and settlement other than a full withdrawal by Russia when Zelensky he suggested would have settled for less

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Yup, if the west had done nothing to resist Russia I think the Eastern European states would have formed their own ‘defensive’ military alliance, separate from NATO, and called upon USA and U.K. support, which we would have provided. The template is so clearly Hitlerian, with expansion based on mythical existential threats to justify it.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Everything is hitler…tiresome. Imo a more accurate comparison is WWI and we’ve obviously learned nothing from it.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Everything is hitler…tiresome. Imo a more accurate comparison is WWI and we’ve obviously learned nothing from it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

“There was no meaningful threat to Russia’s position in Crimea and the other occupied territories until Putin started this war last year”
Sorry, that’s simply not true. The fighting has been going on without a break since the breaching of the Minsk accords (by both sides, probably) in 2014. Putin didn’t start the war in 2022, he escalated it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

So Putin started it when he sent his troops into Crimea or the eastern regions then?

Ian Dale
Ian Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually yes. It is just that the other side, the Ukrainians and their current allies didn’t show up to fight They just said, “Fine, Mr Putin; have it your own way. We don’t want any casualties. We don’t want to spend any money to impede your ambitions.”. So now the war continues until the Donbas is taken, and then the rest of the Ukraine, and indeed the rest of Eastern Europe. Mr Putin has never made any secret of his goal to return Europe to the status of 1988. And yes, that does include reincorporating the Baltic states into Russia proper and reinstating Russian hegemony over the other Eastern European countries, including of course the Eastern parts of Germany.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Dale

I hear you Ian. You echo the sentiments of John Sullivan, former US ambassador to Russia under Trump and then Biden: ‘On Russia extending war into other countries – they would if they could, but hands full in Donbas. Would like a relationship with the other former Soviet Republics like the one they have with Belarus. What they want in Kyiv, Moldova etc. Hands full in Ukraine now, but may be his longer vision for Putin and his followers/successors’. (It was a recent Kennan Institute webinar, from Feb this year). While I’m at it, I believe my good friend Lewis Baston wrote your chapter on Callaghan! Greetings! He has a book deal currently for a book on borders – you should touch base.

Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Dale

Actually, the CIA/State Department coup (“…f**k the EU) got the ball rolling, imo. That, and placing launch tubes in Romania that could house offensive missiles (Tomohawks)…

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Dale

I hear you Ian. You echo the sentiments of John Sullivan, former US ambassador to Russia under Trump and then Biden: ‘On Russia extending war into other countries – they would if they could, but hands full in Donbas. Would like a relationship with the other former Soviet Republics like the one they have with Belarus. What they want in Kyiv, Moldova etc. Hands full in Ukraine now, but may be his longer vision for Putin and his followers/successors’. (It was a recent Kennan Institute webinar, from Feb this year). While I’m at it, I believe my good friend Lewis Baston wrote your chapter on Callaghan! Greetings! He has a book deal currently for a book on borders – you should touch base.

Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Dale

Actually, the CIA/State Department coup (“…f**k the EU) got the ball rolling, imo. That, and placing launch tubes in Romania that could house offensive missiles (Tomohawks)…

Ian Dale
Ian Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually yes. It is just that the other side, the Ukrainians and their current allies didn’t show up to fight They just said, “Fine, Mr Putin; have it your own way. We don’t want any casualties. We don’t want to spend any money to impede your ambitions.”. So now the war continues until the Donbas is taken, and then the rest of the Ukraine, and indeed the rest of Eastern Europe. Mr Putin has never made any secret of his goal to return Europe to the status of 1988. And yes, that does include reincorporating the Baltic states into Russia proper and reinstating Russian hegemony over the other Eastern European countries, including of course the Eastern parts of Germany.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

No. There’s been a separatist movement in those regions since the 1990s.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

So Putin started it when he sent his troops into Crimea or the eastern regions then?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

No. There’s been a separatist movement in those regions since the 1990s.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Today on Daily Mail – but read the comments – the BTL is almost 100% Against this war – against giving weapons and money! Fantastic, the people are realizing how evil this war is . Peace Now.

Disgusting looking at the three faces of Evil on the header of the article above!

‘We’ll send you pilots who’ve already done 2.5 years’: Zelensky swipes at Rishi Sunak’s claim it takes three years to train to fly UK fighter jets at joint press conference – while Russia threatens ‘response’ if Britain heeds Ukraine’s plea for planes
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11728209/Rishi-Sunak-warns-time-train-Ukraine-pilots-fly-fighter-jets.html

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

A lot of people wondering what Boris is playing at too, myself included. He seems to be leading the charge for escalation….

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

They love him in Ukraine.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

He’s probably working for Blackrock who, given the win win position they seem to be in may well be the main escalator of this war.
For those that don’t know Blackrock has substantial investment in major US arms manufacturers has three of its alumni in the Biden administration and also has a deal with the current Ukraine leadership as regards rebuilding the country when the dust settles, assuming they win of course.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Day

Thanks, I’m going right off boris 🙂 Multicorps ahead of the game again, apparently the us military industrial complex is having an aggressive growth and revamp drive at the moment.

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

Thanks, I’m going right off boris 🙂 Multicorps ahead of the game again, apparently the us military industrial complex is having an aggressive growth and revamp drive at the moment.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

On Times radio the other day one young male presenter said to the other presenter something like “what is it with Boris Johnson going around the world making deals like he is the Prime Minister”. And that remark tripped a switch in my head. Of course all those months when us simpletons were being distracted by the tv reality show style voting what was Boris doing. He was making secret deals. I’m sure of it. Rishi Sunak is his stand in,his Avatar.
I feel sure I’m right. Somehow,some way Boris is still REALLY our Prime Minister,or someone’s PM.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Boris thinks he’s Churchill and Putin is Hitler. I’s really that simple.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Well I did think it was possible he may have thought Britain leading the way at the start might have kept the Americans under control. Now potentially it just looks like he’s been cut free to cut dodgy deals on weapons. I don’t know what is happening. But none of it is looking good at this point.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Everyone the left or neocons don’t like is hitler.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Well I did think it was possible he may have thought Britain leading the way at the start might have kept the Americans under control. Now potentially it just looks like he’s been cut free to cut dodgy deals on weapons. I don’t know what is happening. But none of it is looking good at this point.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

Everyone the left or neocons don’t like is hitler.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

They love him in Ukraine.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

He’s probably working for Blackrock who, given the win win position they seem to be in may well be the main escalator of this war.
For those that don’t know Blackrock has substantial investment in major US arms manufacturers has three of its alumni in the Biden administration and also has a deal with the current Ukraine leadership as regards rebuilding the country when the dust settles, assuming they win of course.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

On Times radio the other day one young male presenter said to the other presenter something like “what is it with Boris Johnson going around the world making deals like he is the Prime Minister”. And that remark tripped a switch in my head. Of course all those months when us simpletons were being distracted by the tv reality show style voting what was Boris doing. He was making secret deals. I’m sure of it. Rishi Sunak is his stand in,his Avatar.
I feel sure I’m right. Somehow,some way Boris is still REALLY our Prime Minister,or someone’s PM.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Boris thinks he’s Churchill and Putin is Hitler. I’s really that simple.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Who are the BTL? Forgive my ignorance.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

The comments feed under the linked article.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Ah, ‘Below the Line’! Ha ha! So simple in the end. Thank you!

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Ah, ‘Below the Line’! Ha ha! So simple in the end. Thank you!

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

The comments feed under the linked article.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Daily Mail? Apologies. I am grateful for the link. Sometimes, oddly, tabloids (on both sides of the political spectrum), get it right. Sometimes.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

I wouldn’t put too much trust in the Daily Mail. On the horseshoe of stupidity, you’ve got the Guardian on the left and Mail on the right. Most of society exists a long way between the two thankfully

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought you were from New Zealand? Both those news papers do actually publish news you know, a bad understanding of msm.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I’m English, I now live in NZ. Both of those rage are absolute tripe, they’re a parody of newspapers the pair of them. The Guardian is Twitter personified, whereas The Mail is satire of old people yelling about how things were better in their day

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Still. Misunderstand. Yes every paper has its own bias. Yes the news is packaged and presented to draw attention to certain issues and detract from others. But fundamentally, there is some news and some fact in all the msm. It’s not quite gone full 1984 yet. There is nothing wrong with sharing articles from msm.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

There’s news in them both, but it’s written in such a heavily opinionated matter that the original story gets lost in the nonsense.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you are saying…… Its all just opinions? OK. So the msm orchestrate a conspiracy of the same written opinions? We are still not having a sensible conversation I feel.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you are saying…… Its all just opinions? OK. So the msm orchestrate a conspiracy of the same written opinions? We are still not having a sensible conversation I feel.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

There’s news in them both, but it’s written in such a heavily opinionated matter that the original story gets lost in the nonsense.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I read everything, whether I agree with it or not! Can’t make a sound argument otherwise

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Still. Misunderstand. Yes every paper has its own bias. Yes the news is packaged and presented to draw attention to certain issues and detract from others. But fundamentally, there is some news and some fact in all the msm. It’s not quite gone full 1984 yet. There is nothing wrong with sharing articles from msm.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I read everything, whether I agree with it or not! Can’t make a sound argument otherwise

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I’m English, I now live in NZ. Both of those rage are absolute tripe, they’re a parody of newspapers the pair of them. The Guardian is Twitter personified, whereas The Mail is satire of old people yelling about how things were better in their day

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I thought you were from New Zealand? Both those news papers do actually publish news you know, a bad understanding of msm.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

I wouldn’t put too much trust in the Daily Mail. On the horseshoe of stupidity, you’ve got the Guardian on the left and Mail on the right. Most of society exists a long way between the two thankfully

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

A lot of people wondering what Boris is playing at too, myself included. He seems to be leading the charge for escalation….

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Who are the BTL? Forgive my ignorance.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Daily Mail? Apologies. I am grateful for the link. Sometimes, oddly, tabloids (on both sides of the political spectrum), get it right. Sometimes.

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

It doesn’t matter which side the escalation comes from. The longer the war lasts and the more escalation there is, the greater the chance of a disastrous miscalculation.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

A NATO that includes authoritarian countries like Turkey had little sense and has no moral authority. NATO did not respect their commitments and expanded toward Russia. Ukraine surrendered their nuclear ammo to Russia in exchange of its territorial integrity. Neither Russia nor the NATO cared to respect that.
Instead of engaging Russia during the Yeltsin era, the EU and the US were more interested in plundering their resources and letting the oligarchs get rich on what was formerly people’s property. So, the Russians felt that freedom was limited to former members of the apparatchik to get rich and voted for a former KGB agent that promised a sort of return to some of the Soviet dreams with the assistance of Pope Kirill, who is both an oligarch and a religious leader that incarnates the old Russian Empire.
The NATO allowed the invasion of Ukraine, denying any deployment of military defence systems along their borders after the annexation of Ukraine 8 years ago. Now it is playing a long proxy war against Russia while China is not touching its arm stocks.
External debt for the largest NATO members is over 100% (roughly 130% for the US). The economy is stagnated and the inflation is high, as shown for instance in the last monthly Bundesband report. Guess that some bureaucrats thought that military Keynesianism could be a good idea to get out of the crises.
As per the supposition that Russia would win because of its larger size, this makes no sense. Japan defeated Russia in 1905, Vietnam defeated the US during the Johnson-Nixon era and Afghanistan defeated the Soviets in the 1980s. The swampy Ukrainian soil would be tricky, to say the least, for the Russian tanks. Russian communication systems are not the state of the art, to say the least, and its financial muscle is weaker than that of any major NATO member.
Russia can count on their energy and mineral resources and domestic technology, but its strategy has been only successful with long resistance and counter-attack, not in attack and occupation campaigns.
So, if NATO + Ukraine wins, the likely winners would be China and Turkey. Therefore, it would sound like a weakening of the UK, the EU and the US.
If efforts were put in peace and reconstruction agreements, we might be able to focus on how to manage debt and inflation.

shaun campbell
shaun campbell
1 year ago

Stop with the rewriting of history. There was never any guarantee of no further NATO expansion when the USSR collapsed. That myth needs to be put to bed once and for all

Last edited 1 year ago by shaun campbell
John Bonaccorsi
John Bonaccorsi
1 year ago
Reply to  shaun campbell

It doesn’t matter whether there was a guarantee. If the United States had a sense of honor, there would have been no expansion of NATO after the dissolution of the USSR. The United States means nothing to me anymore.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  shaun campbell

There are 13 USA funded bio-labs in the Ukraine. Mr Putin put 9 out of action. I don’t know if they are operational now. The USA located them provacatively near the border. Would you like it if your neighbour put a poison store and with flammable items right up against your garden fence. Mr Biden in one of those unguarded moments told a journalist that they put the bio labs in the Ukraine because none of the USA electorate would tolerate having such a place in their location. Also this is why USA has to fight this war by proxy. The Afghan/Iraq conflicts showed the power of American Mom’s camping on the White House lawn.

John Bonaccorsi
John Bonaccorsi
1 year ago
Reply to  shaun campbell

It doesn’t matter whether there was a guarantee. If the United States had a sense of honor, there would have been no expansion of NATO after the dissolution of the USSR. The United States means nothing to me anymore.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  shaun campbell

There are 13 USA funded bio-labs in the Ukraine. Mr Putin put 9 out of action. I don’t know if they are operational now. The USA located them provacatively near the border. Would you like it if your neighbour put a poison store and with flammable items right up against your garden fence. Mr Biden in one of those unguarded moments told a journalist that they put the bio labs in the Ukraine because none of the USA electorate would tolerate having such a place in their location. Also this is why USA has to fight this war by proxy. The Afghan/Iraq conflicts showed the power of American Mom’s camping on the White House lawn.

Glyn R
Glyn R
1 year ago

Didn’t Zelensky recently state that Blackrock, Goldman Sachs etc had already signed reconstruction agreements?

shaun campbell
shaun campbell
1 year ago

Stop with the rewriting of history. There was never any guarantee of no further NATO expansion when the USSR collapsed. That myth needs to be put to bed once and for all

Last edited 1 year ago by shaun campbell
Glyn R
Glyn R
1 year ago

Didn’t Zelensky recently state that Blackrock, Goldman Sachs etc had already signed reconstruction agreements?

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

To say that there was no meaningful threat in Crimea and other occupied territories I assume you mean the Donbas which was not occupied by Russia prior to march of 2022 is either disingenuous or the author is ignorant of the facts. The Donbas and Lughansk had always been very pro Russia were never happy with the US backed illegal coupe in 2014. Since that time Kiev had carried our a campaign of what can only be called ethnic cleansing in these regions.
Had the west negotiated in good faith with Russia and ensured the Minsk agreements were put in place and enforced then likely we would not be in this position today. Russia has only ever wanted to avoid having NATO on its border a not unreasonable position given the actions of NATO over the last decade.
NATO was created as a defensive organisation and should have been disbanded in the early ’90’s

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I don’t entirely agree with the part where Russia faced no threat from Western expansion – it is true to an extent that the West did not honestly adhere to its commitments made to Russia after the fall of Communism.

In no sense however does this mean that Putin’s actions represent a genuine casus belli – the aggression is all on the Russian side and the manner in which the war has been prosecuted on the Russian side is a disgrace.

Where I do agree with you is that no outcome can be tolerated in which Russia gains from its actions after February of 2022. If this happens, the potential for conflict contagion is obvious.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Yup, if the west had done nothing to resist Russia I think the Eastern European states would have formed their own ‘defensive’ military alliance, separate from NATO, and called upon USA and U.K. support, which we would have provided. The template is so clearly Hitlerian, with expansion based on mythical existential threats to justify it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

“There was no meaningful threat to Russia’s position in Crimea and the other occupied territories until Putin started this war last year”
Sorry, that’s simply not true. The fighting has been going on without a break since the breaching of the Minsk accords (by both sides, probably) in 2014. Putin didn’t start the war in 2022, he escalated it.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Today on Daily Mail – but read the comments – the BTL is almost 100% Against this war – against giving weapons and money! Fantastic, the people are realizing how evil this war is . Peace Now.

Disgusting looking at the three faces of Evil on the header of the article above!

‘We’ll send you pilots who’ve already done 2.5 years’: Zelensky swipes at Rishi Sunak’s claim it takes three years to train to fly UK fighter jets at joint press conference – while Russia threatens ‘response’ if Britain heeds Ukraine’s plea for planes
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11728209/Rishi-Sunak-warns-time-train-Ukraine-pilots-fly-fighter-jets.html

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

It doesn’t matter which side the escalation comes from. The longer the war lasts and the more escalation there is, the greater the chance of a disastrous miscalculation.

Greta Hirschman
Greta Hirschman
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

A NATO that includes authoritarian countries like Turkey had little sense and has no moral authority. NATO did not respect their commitments and expanded toward Russia. Ukraine surrendered their nuclear ammo to Russia in exchange of its territorial integrity. Neither Russia nor the NATO cared to respect that.
Instead of engaging Russia during the Yeltsin era, the EU and the US were more interested in plundering their resources and letting the oligarchs get rich on what was formerly people’s property. So, the Russians felt that freedom was limited to former members of the apparatchik to get rich and voted for a former KGB agent that promised a sort of return to some of the Soviet dreams with the assistance of Pope Kirill, who is both an oligarch and a religious leader that incarnates the old Russian Empire.
The NATO allowed the invasion of Ukraine, denying any deployment of military defence systems along their borders after the annexation of Ukraine 8 years ago. Now it is playing a long proxy war against Russia while China is not touching its arm stocks.
External debt for the largest NATO members is over 100% (roughly 130% for the US). The economy is stagnated and the inflation is high, as shown for instance in the last monthly Bundesband report. Guess that some bureaucrats thought that military Keynesianism could be a good idea to get out of the crises.
As per the supposition that Russia would win because of its larger size, this makes no sense. Japan defeated Russia in 1905, Vietnam defeated the US during the Johnson-Nixon era and Afghanistan defeated the Soviets in the 1980s. The swampy Ukrainian soil would be tricky, to say the least, for the Russian tanks. Russian communication systems are not the state of the art, to say the least, and its financial muscle is weaker than that of any major NATO member.
Russia can count on their energy and mineral resources and domestic technology, but its strategy has been only successful with long resistance and counter-attack, not in attack and occupation campaigns.
So, if NATO + Ukraine wins, the likely winners would be China and Turkey. Therefore, it would sound like a weakening of the UK, the EU and the US.
If efforts were put in peace and reconstruction agreements, we might be able to focus on how to manage debt and inflation.

Tony Day
Tony Day
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

To say that there was no meaningful threat in Crimea and other occupied territories I assume you mean the Donbas which was not occupied by Russia prior to march of 2022 is either disingenuous or the author is ignorant of the facts. The Donbas and Lughansk had always been very pro Russia were never happy with the US backed illegal coupe in 2014. Since that time Kiev had carried our a campaign of what can only be called ethnic cleansing in these regions.
Had the west negotiated in good faith with Russia and ensured the Minsk agreements were put in place and enforced then likely we would not be in this position today. Russia has only ever wanted to avoid having NATO on its border a not unreasonable position given the actions of NATO over the last decade.
NATO was created as a defensive organisation and should have been disbanded in the early ’90’s

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

The author writes in a vacuum – as if all escalation has come from the West. In reality since the start of the “special military operation”, Russia has commenced a mass mobilisation to greatly increase the number of troops it can commit, as well as unleashing mercenaries and released prisoners onto the front line. Given its larger size, this makes ultimate Russian victory inevitable, unless military assistance to Ukraine is stepped up. In that scenario, the flood of migrants west could be in the tens of millions, and the conflict could move to whatever neighbour Russia next declared to be an “existential threat”. There was no meaningful threat to Russia’s position in Crimea and the other occupied territories until Putin started this war last year. It is facile to depict allowing Russia to overrun Ukraine as being risk free for the West.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Walsh
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

The Author seems to forget this is already a catastrophe for the 40m people of Ukraine as one would expect when your country is invaded by a murderous regime.
Putin will continue to sabre rattle the nuclear escalation threat. Each time he does he shows his weakness. His only hope is opinion formers in the West buy into it, as this Article to a degree does.
There is no tactical battlefield benefit to using these weapons. Amongst a number of reasons for that anyone looked at which way the prevailing winds blow in Ukraine? Anyone pondered if the Russian forces actually have sufficient bio-nuc-chemical warfare kit? No they’ll have flogged it on the black market like they did with half the rest of their kit.
It’s difficult to determine how close Putin might be to a Palace coup. Probably not that close yet, but he knows a move in this direction could change that. His mafia regime doesn’t want to destroy everything they have left. They also know what non western support they have would evaporate. Thus Putin knows he likely signs his own death warrant if he uses nuclear weapons. He’s rationale, just a murderous type.
One suspects though that the FSB closely monitors the degree of resolution in the West and probably has ways of picking up how many similar articles begin to populate western media. They’ll watch the trend to see if the more they threaten the more we cower. That doesn’t mean we should suppress different views at all, but does mean we should be aware of the game being played.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well said. Russia has repeatedly threatened at every stage. Remember how Sweden and Finland couldn’t join NATO. Each time, the moment passed and the threats never materialised.
Putin has turned his country into one giant Potemkin village.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I thought Sweden didn’t want to join nato preferring to maintain its neutral status as it had done for a long time including during the Second World War. Was that not the case?

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Yes that indeed was true but the public attitude to NATO changed with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Though one benefit of Sweden and Finland not being in NATO is that they can be more aggressive with their own defence against Russia, and Russia can’t then pretend it’s a NATO threat.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

They don’t have nuclear weapons. If I was a country at risk of Russian annexation/invasion, the nuclear umbrella would be very attractive to me…

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

They don’t have nuclear weapons. If I was a country at risk of Russian annexation/invasion, the nuclear umbrella would be very attractive to me…

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

As a swede I would say that neutrality is a beautiful dream and reality a great wake-up call.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Exactly.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Exactly.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

They didn’t. Then came 24/2…

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Yes that indeed was true but the public attitude to NATO changed with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Though one benefit of Sweden and Finland not being in NATO is that they can be more aggressive with their own defence against Russia, and Russia can’t then pretend it’s a NATO threat.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

As a swede I would say that neutrality is a beautiful dream and reality a great wake-up call.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

They didn’t. Then came 24/2…

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thank you for this ‘Potemkin village’ reference. It spiralled me down a research hole for which now I can happily say I am greatly enlightened! Thank you.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I thought Sweden didn’t want to join nato preferring to maintain its neutral status as it had done for a long time including during the Second World War. Was that not the case?

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Thank you for this ‘Potemkin village’ reference. It spiralled me down a research hole for which now I can happily say I am greatly enlightened! Thank you.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Problem is: if Putin is overthrown it will most likely be done by people who think he’s not being brutal enough.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Possibly HB, but the Russian experts I’ve heard discuss this on various media predict more an internal bloodbath of sorts rather than Nuclear projection at the West immediately. You don’t want to grab power, start to enjoy what goes with that – the Dachas, the patronage levers etc, and then chuck it away. Power corrupts as they say. I was also fascinated in listening to experts like Stephen Kotkin that the fall of Putin could set off a cascade of imperial disintegration in what is still a Russian empire. We tend to forget Russia is an imperial construct and has many fault-lines that could open up. That of course generates other potential risk, but possibly less that it immediately goes into a nuclear conflagration with the West.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I read that they are planning for a potential explosion of Russia, just in case… May not happen, but everything has to be on the table just in case. Part of Russia’s problem at the start of the war. They expected it to be quick and easy – government overthrow in a matter of days. Too arrogant. When it didn’t work out, back to the drawing board.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I read that they are planning for a potential explosion of Russia, just in case… May not happen, but everything has to be on the table just in case. Part of Russia’s problem at the start of the war. They expected it to be quick and easy – government overthrow in a matter of days. Too arrogant. When it didn’t work out, back to the drawing board.

Chris Dale
Chris Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Russia needs another Mikhail Gorbachev

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

He would have fallen out of a window by now.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

ha ha!

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

ha ha!

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

If only … He was great!

Vinnie Talks Sh*t Wright
Vinnie Talks Sh*t Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

From a Russian viewpoint that’s like saying Britain needs another Neville Chamberlain

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

He would have fallen out of a window by now.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

If only … He was great!

Vinnie Talks Sh*t Wright
Vinnie Talks Sh*t Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Dale

From a Russian viewpoint that’s like saying Britain needs another Neville Chamberlain

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yes. There is no good end to this.

Mechan Barclay
Mechan Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Very true. We know what Putin is as a leader. He has shown his true colours over a long period of his dictatorship. We can surmise what he plans on doing. I can’t say the same thing to another brutal praetorian rebel leader.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

This indeed is a possibility. An additional consideration that has to be in the planning network is the disintegration of Russia… Not saying it’s happening. Just saying it has to be considered as one of the possibilities in the plans.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Possibly HB, but the Russian experts I’ve heard discuss this on various media predict more an internal bloodbath of sorts rather than Nuclear projection at the West immediately. You don’t want to grab power, start to enjoy what goes with that – the Dachas, the patronage levers etc, and then chuck it away. Power corrupts as they say. I was also fascinated in listening to experts like Stephen Kotkin that the fall of Putin could set off a cascade of imperial disintegration in what is still a Russian empire. We tend to forget Russia is an imperial construct and has many fault-lines that could open up. That of course generates other potential risk, but possibly less that it immediately goes into a nuclear conflagration with the West.

Chris Dale
Chris Dale
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Russia needs another Mikhail Gorbachev

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Yes. There is no good end to this.

Mechan Barclay
Mechan Barclay
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Very true. We know what Putin is as a leader. He has shown his true colours over a long period of his dictatorship. We can surmise what he plans on doing. I can’t say the same thing to another brutal praetorian rebel leader.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

This indeed is a possibility. An additional consideration that has to be in the planning network is the disintegration of Russia… Not saying it’s happening. Just saying it has to be considered as one of the possibilities in the plans.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

“There is no tactical battlefield benefit to using these weapons.” –
I’ve heard this claim often but it’s dubious.
How exactly do the Ukraine forces retake Crimea which is connected to the rest of Ukraine with two narrow peninsulas? With their non-existent amphibian landing craft or non-existent paratroops? No. They will need concentrated assaults on one or both roads to Crimea. Tactical nukes can be dialed into whatever yield and radius the Russians desire.
It doesn’t matter which way the wind blows! Tactical nukes exploded high in the atmosphere create orders of magnitude less fallout than regular nukes and the radioactive remains of the bomb disperses over a very wide area with minimal harm outside the target area.
This is not to say we shouldn’t help Ukraine. It’s just that Putin, if Crimea were ever threatened with invasion with Putin still in power, has nothing left to lose in going nuclear.
https://open.substack.com/pub/everythingelse/p/nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-thinking?r=p3jgh&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Thank you Michael for your clarification on the radius of Tactical Nukes. I read your link on substack and see that you have an Ms and PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell. It was interesting to hear and you clarified something I didn’t know previously in a way that was easy to understand. Much appreciated.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Thank you for reading the article and kind words.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Thank you for reading the article and kind words.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Ukraine doesn’t necessarily need to invade Crimea to control it. The whole peninsula would be within range of long range weapons, most importantly the Kerch bridge.
Most pro-Russian Crimeans would already have left, so it would become a siege. Then negotiation.
The situation as it was before–a Crimea with considerable autonomy (or even neutrality)–would be the probable outcome.
By then both sides will be tired of war.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Interesting MC. Re: Tactical benefit – thus far I put more stock in the v senior ex-military commentators I’ve listened to. All been of similar mind. If opposing forces are in contact a high atmosphere detonation would impact on Russian forces too. Plus if you want to retain some loyalty from some Crimean locals you don’t drop a nuclear warhead on your own land do you? I’ve also heard commentators suggest Russian leaders not entirely sure their nuclear capability as functional as they’d hope. The chronic problems they’ve experienced with so much they thought was resilient and well functioning means they may be cautious about any demonstration that went wrong. Sabre rattling capability implodes if you demonstrate things don’t work.
As regards how Ukraine retakes Crimea – clearly the strategy won’t be fully shared but remarkable they re-took back so much territory already without heavy armour. It’ll be about cutting off the two supplies routes, degrading the forces in Crimea and creating a scenario where they potentially withdraw before being encircled as was the case with Kherson. I agree though – it’s complicated on many levels. But Ukraine knows to leave Crimea alone means they’ll never be secure.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am hesitant to give the experts the benefit of the doubt these days (not just regarding Ukraine). It would be instructive to go back 1 years time and do a duckduckgo search for comments by one of the commentators who says that nukes have no use case and see their predictions for the duration of the “special operation” by Russia. I recall many ex military predicting it would take 3 days to be over!
Regarding some of our counter claims:
There won’t be many Russian regular forces under the death zone (maybe zero) which could be as small as a mile. Look at the highway near Stavky in Kherson Oblast. It’s flat farm land – no close contact there! That territory will eventually be going back to Ukraine – Putin has demonstrated zero regard for the lives of Ukrainians so he’ll have no hesitation to bomb territory he realizes he can’t have.
Sure the nuke might not work – that is why you don’t do a “demonstration” as you refer to! Russians could fire a TN via artillery over a convoy near Stavky and if it is a dud and becomes a dirty bomb (leaving evidence) Putin might be even better off! He can deny being the source and simultaneouswly scare the crap out of any further advances into Crimea.
Again, I really hope there is peace, however shaky, before this point.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am hesitant to give the experts the benefit of the doubt these days (not just regarding Ukraine). It would be instructive to go back 1 years time and do a duckduckgo search for comments by one of the commentators who says that nukes have no use case and see their predictions for the duration of the “special operation” by Russia. I recall many ex military predicting it would take 3 days to be over!
Regarding some of our counter claims:
There won’t be many Russian regular forces under the death zone (maybe zero) which could be as small as a mile. Look at the highway near Stavky in Kherson Oblast. It’s flat farm land – no close contact there! That territory will eventually be going back to Ukraine – Putin has demonstrated zero regard for the lives of Ukrainians so he’ll have no hesitation to bomb territory he realizes he can’t have.
Sure the nuke might not work – that is why you don’t do a “demonstration” as you refer to! Russians could fire a TN via artillery over a convoy near Stavky and if it is a dud and becomes a dirty bomb (leaving evidence) Putin might be even better off! He can deny being the source and simultaneouswly scare the crap out of any further advances into Crimea.
Again, I really hope there is peace, however shaky, before this point.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Thank you Michael for your clarification on the radius of Tactical Nukes. I read your link on substack and see that you have an Ms and PhD in Applied Physics from Cornell. It was interesting to hear and you clarified something I didn’t know previously in a way that was easy to understand. Much appreciated.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Ukraine doesn’t necessarily need to invade Crimea to control it. The whole peninsula would be within range of long range weapons, most importantly the Kerch bridge.
Most pro-Russian Crimeans would already have left, so it would become a siege. Then negotiation.
The situation as it was before–a Crimea with considerable autonomy (or even neutrality)–would be the probable outcome.
By then both sides will be tired of war.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Interesting MC. Re: Tactical benefit – thus far I put more stock in the v senior ex-military commentators I’ve listened to. All been of similar mind. If opposing forces are in contact a high atmosphere detonation would impact on Russian forces too. Plus if you want to retain some loyalty from some Crimean locals you don’t drop a nuclear warhead on your own land do you? I’ve also heard commentators suggest Russian leaders not entirely sure their nuclear capability as functional as they’d hope. The chronic problems they’ve experienced with so much they thought was resilient and well functioning means they may be cautious about any demonstration that went wrong. Sabre rattling capability implodes if you demonstrate things don’t work.
As regards how Ukraine retakes Crimea – clearly the strategy won’t be fully shared but remarkable they re-took back so much territory already without heavy armour. It’ll be about cutting off the two supplies routes, degrading the forces in Crimea and creating a scenario where they potentially withdraw before being encircled as was the case with Kherson. I agree though – it’s complicated on many levels. But Ukraine knows to leave Crimea alone means they’ll never be secure.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Maybe Mr Putin is the sane one here. I’m not saying nice,I’m saying sane. Have we in U K all become 3 year olds that we need pantomime villains to boo and hiss at. If anyone is megalomaniac with a Hitler complex it’s looks more like Zelensky to me. And what sort of dreadful people elect as their leader a known liar and money embezzling amoral performer with known links to corruption. Oops,we do (as well). Birds of a Feather as they say.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well said. Russia has repeatedly threatened at every stage. Remember how Sweden and Finland couldn’t join NATO. Each time, the moment passed and the threats never materialised.
Putin has turned his country into one giant Potemkin village.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Problem is: if Putin is overthrown it will most likely be done by people who think he’s not being brutal enough.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

“There is no tactical battlefield benefit to using these weapons.” –
I’ve heard this claim often but it’s dubious.
How exactly do the Ukraine forces retake Crimea which is connected to the rest of Ukraine with two narrow peninsulas? With their non-existent amphibian landing craft or non-existent paratroops? No. They will need concentrated assaults on one or both roads to Crimea. Tactical nukes can be dialed into whatever yield and radius the Russians desire.
It doesn’t matter which way the wind blows! Tactical nukes exploded high in the atmosphere create orders of magnitude less fallout than regular nukes and the radioactive remains of the bomb disperses over a very wide area with minimal harm outside the target area.
This is not to say we shouldn’t help Ukraine. It’s just that Putin, if Crimea were ever threatened with invasion with Putin still in power, has nothing left to lose in going nuclear.
https://open.substack.com/pub/everythingelse/p/nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-thinking?r=p3jgh&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Maybe Mr Putin is the sane one here. I’m not saying nice,I’m saying sane. Have we in U K all become 3 year olds that we need pantomime villains to boo and hiss at. If anyone is megalomaniac with a Hitler complex it’s looks more like Zelensky to me. And what sort of dreadful people elect as their leader a known liar and money embezzling amoral performer with known links to corruption. Oops,we do (as well). Birds of a Feather as they say.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

The Author seems to forget this is already a catastrophe for the 40m people of Ukraine as one would expect when your country is invaded by a murderous regime.
Putin will continue to sabre rattle the nuclear escalation threat. Each time he does he shows his weakness. His only hope is opinion formers in the West buy into it, as this Article to a degree does.
There is no tactical battlefield benefit to using these weapons. Amongst a number of reasons for that anyone looked at which way the prevailing winds blow in Ukraine? Anyone pondered if the Russian forces actually have sufficient bio-nuc-chemical warfare kit? No they’ll have flogged it on the black market like they did with half the rest of their kit.
It’s difficult to determine how close Putin might be to a Palace coup. Probably not that close yet, but he knows a move in this direction could change that. His mafia regime doesn’t want to destroy everything they have left. They also know what non western support they have would evaporate. Thus Putin knows he likely signs his own death warrant if he uses nuclear weapons. He’s rationale, just a murderous type.
One suspects though that the FSB closely monitors the degree of resolution in the West and probably has ways of picking up how many similar articles begin to populate western media. They’ll watch the trend to see if the more they threaten the more we cower. That doesn’t mean we should suppress different views at all, but does mean we should be aware of the game being played.

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago

I am glad that this topic is increasingly talked about seriously. I can’t believe the amount of jingoism that has spread throughout the West, as if all previous disasters have been forgot overnight.

Truth is that both the US and Russia botched the Ukraine game and now, like failed gamblers, are trying to raise the stakes to get any win out of it, but this can only end in disaster. Unlike during the Cold War, where high level talks were essential to prevent escalation, this time all the red lines are violated, escalation risk be damned.

I can’t understand how people don’t realise that the great majority of wars ended in compromise. Moral purity and maximalist aims result in endless suffering (c.f. WW1). WW2 was pursued to such an end and we rightly celebrate that, but one should not neglect that it is also the most destructive war in history thus far. Not saying anyone should roll over, and I will resent any accusation of appeasement, but reality means that hard compromises must be made if peace is to have any chance. Tragically, peace and justice rarely go hand in hand. With time our weapons have made it too dangerous to pursue total defeat of our enemies. Ashes do not care for our moral righteousness.

If you want to defeat Russia, re-engage Kennan’s containment and wait until the demographic collapse crushes it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Janko M
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

When will that happen? In several decades time?. Ukraine was almost overrun and partitioned in 2022, of course if we include Crimea in 8 short years since then. Why shouldn’t all these ‘realpolitik’ arguments apply to Nazi Germany?

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

They did – the world war broke out because the Germans proved they couldn’t be trusted to adhere to a treaty they’d signed up to a few months prior by walking into Czechoslovakia, also showing that the war against Poland wasn’t just about Germans in Danzig/Gdansk (national self-determination being a principle the winners at Versailles struggled to coherently oppose), but had everything to do with the thousand-year Reich they kept banging on about, and with setting the stage for the showdown against the Soviets that had been on the cards since the Nazis came to power in 33.

So to answer your question, you can’t trust any settlement reached with a country that’s shown it won’t negotiate in good faith – and my understanding is it’s Ukraine that went most against the terms of both Minsk agreements although I’m sure there was plenty from both sides – and there’s also the straightforward fact that the Germans in 1939 didn’t have nuclear weapons. Had they been capable of wiping out London, Paris and Washington within the first few days of a war, presumably the Allies could have done the same to Berlin and the entire strategic situation would have been different. But in my view the equivalent to Ukraine in that analogy wouldn’t be Poland – it would be Austria. Would threatening nuclear war over the Anschluss have been credible? Almost certainly from Germany, almost certainly not from the Allies.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Watson
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Minsk only bought time for Ukraine to rebuild its army.

zee upītis
zee upītis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Please educate yourself about what Minsk agreements were, how both sides are on record of openly saying they won’t adhere to them in certain cases and also familiarise yourself with the number of casualties in the last few years. The Minsk agreement argument is made from the same bullshit as “Ukrainian Nazis”.

What cannot be trusted is Russia first of all, starting with Budapest memorandum, guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty for giving up nukes (alogside the US and the UK, who are actually following this up by arming Ukraine now). Furthermore, the fantasy narratives aside, Putin in his invasion speech clearly said Russia had no intention of occupying any of Ukraine — now, they’ve already annexed large parts of it with Putin boasting how Azov sea become “an internal one”. There are no agreements that Russia won’t break as soon as they have resources and half-decent support at home — they have already cut all the ties with the Western world, so they don’t care. Using nuclear tho, they will lose China and India, so there’s that.

Last edited 1 year ago by zee upītis
Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  zee upītis

You are right. Neither side was prepared to sign Minsk 1 or 2. Biden is said to have pleaded with Zelensky to sign it just prior to 24/2. The Agreement suggested recognising a degree of autonomy for the 2014 annexed borders. Zelensky refused. Not saying it’s good or bad: just putting it out there.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  zee upītis

You are right. Neither side was prepared to sign Minsk 1 or 2. Biden is said to have pleaded with Zelensky to sign it just prior to 24/2. The Agreement suggested recognising a degree of autonomy for the 2014 annexed borders. Zelensky refused. Not saying it’s good or bad: just putting it out there.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Minsk only bought time for Ukraine to rebuild its army.

zee upītis
zee upītis
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Please educate yourself about what Minsk agreements were, how both sides are on record of openly saying they won’t adhere to them in certain cases and also familiarise yourself with the number of casualties in the last few years. The Minsk agreement argument is made from the same bullshit as “Ukrainian Nazis”.

What cannot be trusted is Russia first of all, starting with Budapest memorandum, guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty for giving up nukes (alogside the US and the UK, who are actually following this up by arming Ukraine now). Furthermore, the fantasy narratives aside, Putin in his invasion speech clearly said Russia had no intention of occupying any of Ukraine — now, they’ve already annexed large parts of it with Putin boasting how Azov sea become “an internal one”. There are no agreements that Russia won’t break as soon as they have resources and half-decent support at home — they have already cut all the ties with the Western world, so they don’t care. Using nuclear tho, they will lose China and India, so there’s that.

Last edited 1 year ago by zee upītis
Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Great question. First of all, on the demographic pressure, Peter Zeihan does some great analysis on the fact that this decade Russian demography will implode. Containment would not need to last 50 years like it did during the Cold War.

To answer the second question, WW2 was the last war the world could fight to a one-sided conclusion without risking the end of humanity. We no longer have that luxury of a feel-good conclusion. The end of the Cold War was proof that such overwhelming victories now only come from raw patience and the steady accumulation of advantage, not hot headed crusades.

US had to admit temporary setbacks to sustain the long-term goal. Nobody accused Nixon of appeasement for leaving Vietnam.

Last edited 1 year ago by Janko M
Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

I must look up Peter Zeihan as a reference as I have not heard of him. Is there a link you can forward, or should I just look it up on Google Scholar? Thank you.

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Disunited Nations – Peter Zeihan, probably the most clear-eyed analysis on global demographics and the geopolitical pressures it produces.

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Disunited Nations – Peter Zeihan, probably the most clear-eyed analysis on global demographics and the geopolitical pressures it produces.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

I must look up Peter Zeihan as a reference as I have not heard of him. Is there a link you can forward, or should I just look it up on Google Scholar? Thank you.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

They did – the world war broke out because the Germans proved they couldn’t be trusted to adhere to a treaty they’d signed up to a few months prior by walking into Czechoslovakia, also showing that the war against Poland wasn’t just about Germans in Danzig/Gdansk (national self-determination being a principle the winners at Versailles struggled to coherently oppose), but had everything to do with the thousand-year Reich they kept banging on about, and with setting the stage for the showdown against the Soviets that had been on the cards since the Nazis came to power in 33.

So to answer your question, you can’t trust any settlement reached with a country that’s shown it won’t negotiate in good faith – and my understanding is it’s Ukraine that went most against the terms of both Minsk agreements although I’m sure there was plenty from both sides – and there’s also the straightforward fact that the Germans in 1939 didn’t have nuclear weapons. Had they been capable of wiping out London, Paris and Washington within the first few days of a war, presumably the Allies could have done the same to Berlin and the entire strategic situation would have been different. But in my view the equivalent to Ukraine in that analogy wouldn’t be Poland – it would be Austria. Would threatening nuclear war over the Anschluss have been credible? Almost certainly from Germany, almost certainly not from the Allies.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Watson
Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Great question. First of all, on the demographic pressure, Peter Zeihan does some great analysis on the fact that this decade Russian demography will implode. Containment would not need to last 50 years like it did during the Cold War.

To answer the second question, WW2 was the last war the world could fight to a one-sided conclusion without risking the end of humanity. We no longer have that luxury of a feel-good conclusion. The end of the Cold War was proof that such overwhelming victories now only come from raw patience and the steady accumulation of advantage, not hot headed crusades.

US had to admit temporary setbacks to sustain the long-term goal. Nobody accused Nixon of appeasement for leaving Vietnam.

Last edited 1 year ago by Janko M
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

The two world wars were wars of attrition – one side became exhausted of men and materials….how long can we wait for Russia to ‘expire’?

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

We did it for 50 years with the USSR, which is why it was a Cold War, and it worked. But it required almost limitless patience. I would recommend reading Kennan’s original work on containment and the underlying understanding that beating the USSR without resulting in end of humanity would be a unique feat of grand strategy.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Indeed.
And that’s why the growing urge to give that grand containment strategy a sudden, violent push in the Ukraine is so damned tempting.
The West doesn’t think long-term. That’s why 50 years seems like forever. The Western/American mind is the kid in the backseat, 5 miles into the Big Road Trip asking, “Are we there yet?!”
Besides, our stunted version of RealPolitik tells us that Putin is gambling that we will overestimate his nuclear will and back away from doubling-down our Ukraine support. And so, in response to that stunted perception, we rationalize our Real Politik and we call that bluff. Except — if it’s not a bluff. If a seriously ill and aging Putin equates his own end with Russia’s…and is truly willing to sear his legacy into the Ukrainian soil as a ‘last gasp’??? Is calling that ‘bluff’ really worth that risk?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  B Davis

I loved it when he said “I’m not bluffing”.
That was months ago. Anybody remember?
If you don’t call his bluff, and give in, he will just use it again and again.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Question always is: where do you draw a line?
If, indeed, it was an initial bluff (albeit a bluff about a real capability) …and if, indeed, we continue to aggressively call that bluff….does the nature of the West’s response tend to push Russia to demonstrate that the bluff is no longer a bluff?
And then all the other questions:
Is a dying Putin willing to use tactical nukes in the Ukraine? If the alternative is a humiliated Russian military….I wouldn’t put it past himIs the West (NATO / the US willing to counter with equivalent tactical nukes? Where? Inside the Ukraine against Russian troops? Zelensky going to be in favor a small series of nuclear exchanges on Ukrainian soil? Plus — I can’t see us giving control of tactical nukes to Ukrainian commanders…so this would be a direct act of aggression from the West against Russia (not simply funding & equipping proxies)Would Putin respond against the West? Or at least the portion of the West which is nearby? (Poland, Germany, et al)?
All of this has already been gamed out countless times on both sides. Contingencies have already been built. The question is: how much risk of what type are we willing to assume to ‘defend’ a nation which is not NATO..is not us? Our traditional tripwires are much further west than Kyiv…do we really want to push them that much further east into a geography which has been traditionally Soviet?

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Question always is: where do you draw a line?
If, indeed, it was an initial bluff (albeit a bluff about a real capability) …and if, indeed, we continue to aggressively call that bluff….does the nature of the West’s response tend to push Russia to demonstrate that the bluff is no longer a bluff?
And then all the other questions:
Is a dying Putin willing to use tactical nukes in the Ukraine? If the alternative is a humiliated Russian military….I wouldn’t put it past himIs the West (NATO / the US willing to counter with equivalent tactical nukes? Where? Inside the Ukraine against Russian troops? Zelensky going to be in favor a small series of nuclear exchanges on Ukrainian soil? Plus — I can’t see us giving control of tactical nukes to Ukrainian commanders…so this would be a direct act of aggression from the West against Russia (not simply funding & equipping proxies)Would Putin respond against the West? Or at least the portion of the West which is nearby? (Poland, Germany, et al)?
All of this has already been gamed out countless times on both sides. Contingencies have already been built. The question is: how much risk of what type are we willing to assume to ‘defend’ a nation which is not NATO..is not us? Our traditional tripwires are much further west than Kyiv…do we really want to push them that much further east into a geography which has been traditionally Soviet?

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  B Davis

I loved it when he said “I’m not bluffing”.
That was months ago. Anybody remember?
If you don’t call his bluff, and give in, he will just use it again and again.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Indeed.
And that’s why the growing urge to give that grand containment strategy a sudden, violent push in the Ukraine is so damned tempting.
The West doesn’t think long-term. That’s why 50 years seems like forever. The Western/American mind is the kid in the backseat, 5 miles into the Big Road Trip asking, “Are we there yet?!”
Besides, our stunted version of RealPolitik tells us that Putin is gambling that we will overestimate his nuclear will and back away from doubling-down our Ukraine support. And so, in response to that stunted perception, we rationalize our Real Politik and we call that bluff. Except — if it’s not a bluff. If a seriously ill and aging Putin equates his own end with Russia’s…and is truly willing to sear his legacy into the Ukrainian soil as a ‘last gasp’??? Is calling that ‘bluff’ really worth that risk?

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

We did it for 50 years with the USSR, which is why it was a Cold War, and it worked. But it required almost limitless patience. I would recommend reading Kennan’s original work on containment and the underlying understanding that beating the USSR without resulting in end of humanity would be a unique feat of grand strategy.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Totally agree with the first part of your argument. It’s like the lead-in to, the prosecution of, and the Versailles peace after World War I. And for most observers, a game, not real in the least. But why we would want to defeat Russia and run a repeat of the cycle right back to 1991 where this all began is something you might want to consider. What Ukraine is experiencing today is a direct result of US policies since 1991. Many US policy-makers warned of it for decades, including Kennan. But they were all well-and-truly sidelined. Out with the irresolute doddery, deluded, half-measures types from the past. In with the new no-half-measures people of the future. In with the muscular democratic empire that will last a thousand years.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 year ago

You sing the same songs that I’ve heard for 60+ years.

If anything goes south, it’s because of stupid US policies.

Much of the stupidity can be traced to the American Empire, the America that had more to do with the dismantling of the European empires than any other force. Ultimately even the Russian Empire was dismantled. As another commentator noted disparagingly, the American Empire is one of democratic, self-governing states. It is truly a new definition of Empire.

Anticipating another trope, Vietnam was a rational, though mistaken, response in the context of the USSR swallowing Eastern Europe, the demonstrated central direction of Communism from Moscow, and the Korean War.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Without a free press but for the likes of UnHerd, which publishes arguments such as Thomas’s and the opposite, there is no real self-governing democracy. And that, my friend, is our world.

Completely free of the usual crazy conspiracist nonsense, of which most of us buy zip, zero, none, one can say that Orwell is genuinely upon us.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Andrew, you’re reading Unherd, therefore give it the respect it deserves. Publishing an Op Ed does not mean that the Editors agree with it. They’re publishing an Opinion, and that Opinion has generated a discussion where people read views that may differ to their own. Isn’t that the point?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Samantha, please give my views the respect they deserve. In my comment, I have made precisely the point you make. That UnHerd is a true free press because while Thomas’s arguments are aired, so are the opposite. It appears you take umbrage at my comment because you dislike my views, which is fine for me, I can live with it, though not you. Why else jump to the wrong conclusion and offer a dollop of patronizing advice into the bargain?

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

My apologies Andrew. I re read your post and I misinterpreted it.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Thanks kindly, Samantha. I really do value this stellar publication. Journalism that rises above journalism. But thanks, Samantha. No harm meant either way.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Thanks kindly, Samantha. I really do value this stellar publication. Journalism that rises above journalism. But thanks, Samantha. No harm meant either way.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

My apologies Andrew. I re read your post and I misinterpreted it.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Samantha, please give my views the respect they deserve. In my comment, I have made precisely the point you make. That UnHerd is a true free press because while Thomas’s arguments are aired, so are the opposite. It appears you take umbrage at my comment because you dislike my views, which is fine for me, I can live with it, though not you. Why else jump to the wrong conclusion and offer a dollop of patronizing advice into the bargain?

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Andrew, you’re reading Unherd, therefore give it the respect it deserves. Publishing an Op Ed does not mean that the Editors agree with it. They’re publishing an Opinion, and that Opinion has generated a discussion where people read views that may differ to their own. Isn’t that the point?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

PS – I used to rail against those who criticized US foreign policy, and was not only supportive of it, but very pleased to be involved. So no, my friend, my views are very, very, very far removed from some sort of leftist reactionary trope. To the contrary, they are drawn unwillingly from close experience, gradually over a long period, all of which leaves me saddened and disappointed. And I disagree now with the motives of the reactionary left. Even if some conclusions may coincide, I do not sympathize with where they’re coming from or why they are critical. My view is that political people are neuropaths and all that counts is outcomes for individuals. A politically-centric world-view is to me a sure sign of a neurotic mind.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

… which is why we need to massively de-centralise our politics.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Absolutely, Hugh, and to actively counter our statist political monomania. It’s become the core of our anti-cultural culture.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Absolutely, Hugh, and to actively counter our statist political monomania. It’s become the core of our anti-cultural culture.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

… which is why we need to massively de-centralise our politics.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

Without a free press but for the likes of UnHerd, which publishes arguments such as Thomas’s and the opposite, there is no real self-governing democracy. And that, my friend, is our world.

Completely free of the usual crazy conspiracist nonsense, of which most of us buy zip, zero, none, one can say that Orwell is genuinely upon us.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Holmes

PS – I used to rail against those who criticized US foreign policy, and was not only supportive of it, but very pleased to be involved. So no, my friend, my views are very, very, very far removed from some sort of leftist reactionary trope. To the contrary, they are drawn unwillingly from close experience, gradually over a long period, all of which leaves me saddened and disappointed. And I disagree now with the motives of the reactionary left. Even if some conclusions may coincide, I do not sympathize with where they’re coming from or why they are critical. My view is that political people are neuropaths and all that counts is outcomes for individuals. A politically-centric world-view is to me a sure sign of a neurotic mind.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 year ago

You sing the same songs that I’ve heard for 60+ years.

If anything goes south, it’s because of stupid US policies.

Much of the stupidity can be traced to the American Empire, the America that had more to do with the dismantling of the European empires than any other force. Ultimately even the Russian Empire was dismantled. As another commentator noted disparagingly, the American Empire is one of democratic, self-governing states. It is truly a new definition of Empire.

Anticipating another trope, Vietnam was a rational, though mistaken, response in the context of the USSR swallowing Eastern Europe, the demonstrated central direction of Communism from Moscow, and the Korean War.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Winston Churchill once said: ‘The further back you look, the further forward you can see’.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

While he probably can’t be blamed for Marxism, Hegel once said: ‘We learn from history that man does not learn from history.’ No good looking back if you’re looking through a kaleidoscope.
To me one of the noble things about Churchill was that he ended up being life-long friends even with people with whom he vehemently disagreed. Perhaps the more he disagreed with them at first, the closer he became later. A marker of sense and sanity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Here here Andrew.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago

Here here Andrew.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

While he probably can’t be blamed for Marxism, Hegel once said: ‘We learn from history that man does not learn from history.’ No good looking back if you’re looking through a kaleidoscope.
To me one of the noble things about Churchill was that he ended up being life-long friends even with people with whom he vehemently disagreed. Perhaps the more he disagreed with them at first, the closer he became later. A marker of sense and sanity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Boughton
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

When will that happen? In several decades time?. Ukraine was almost overrun and partitioned in 2022, of course if we include Crimea in 8 short years since then. Why shouldn’t all these ‘realpolitik’ arguments apply to Nazi Germany?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

The two world wars were wars of attrition – one side became exhausted of men and materials….how long can we wait for Russia to ‘expire’?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Totally agree with the first part of your argument. It’s like the lead-in to, the prosecution of, and the Versailles peace after World War I. And for most observers, a game, not real in the least. But why we would want to defeat Russia and run a repeat of the cycle right back to 1991 where this all began is something you might want to consider. What Ukraine is experiencing today is a direct result of US policies since 1991. Many US policy-makers warned of it for decades, including Kennan. But they were all well-and-truly sidelined. Out with the irresolute doddery, deluded, half-measures types from the past. In with the new no-half-measures people of the future. In with the muscular democratic empire that will last a thousand years.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Janko M

Winston Churchill once said: ‘The further back you look, the further forward you can see’.

Janko M
Janko M
1 year ago

I am glad that this topic is increasingly talked about seriously. I can’t believe the amount of jingoism that has spread throughout the West, as if all previous disasters have been forgot overnight.

Truth is that both the US and Russia botched the Ukraine game and now, like failed gamblers, are trying to raise the stakes to get any win out of it, but this can only end in disaster. Unlike during the Cold War, where high level talks were essential to prevent escalation, this time all the red lines are violated, escalation risk be damned.

I can’t understand how people don’t realise that the great majority of wars ended in compromise. Moral purity and maximalist aims result in endless suffering (c.f. WW1). WW2 was pursued to such an end and we rightly celebrate that, but one should not neglect that it is also the most destructive war in history thus far. Not saying anyone should roll over, and I will resent any accusation of appeasement, but reality means that hard compromises must be made if peace is to have any chance. Tragically, peace and justice rarely go hand in hand. With time our weapons have made it too dangerous to pursue total defeat of our enemies. Ashes do not care for our moral righteousness.

If you want to defeat Russia, re-engage Kennan’s containment and wait until the demographic collapse crushes it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Janko M
Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

coming from the very Western strategists who disastrously botched every major military forecast over the past 20 years, from Iraq to Afghanistan.

This is the crux of the argument for me.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Yes.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

But “Western” strategists aren’t fighting the war. Not sure the strategists “botched” everything. Anyway making sure Putin doesn’t win in Ukraine is very different from Afghanistan an Irag. The “West” cannot afford to lose..

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Ukraine is nothing like Afghanistan.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

I think that is what I said….

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Happy to read your thoughts Isabel, if you write anywhere?

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Happy to read your thoughts Isabel, if you write anywhere?

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

I think that is what I said….

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I think I disagree with all of your statements above.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Happy to read and discuss your argument Emre.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Ok, let’s start with: “The “West” cannot afford to lose..”
What makes it impossible for the West to reach an agreement here. For example, can the West really not afford to lose Crimea?

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Sharp

Ok, let’s start with: “The “West” cannot afford to lose..”
What makes it impossible for the West to reach an agreement here. For example, can the West really not afford to lose Crimea?

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Happy to read and discuss your argument Emre.

Samantha Sharp
Samantha Sharp
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Ukraine is nothing like Afghanistan.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I think I disagree with all of your statements above.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Yes.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

But “Western” strategists aren’t fighting the war. Not sure the strategists “botched” everything. Anyway making sure Putin doesn’t win in Ukraine is very different from Afghanistan an Irag. The “West” cannot afford to lose..

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

coming from the very Western strategists who disastrously botched every major military forecast over the past 20 years, from Iraq to Afghanistan.

This is the crux of the argument for me.

Snapper AG
Snapper AG
1 year ago

The title of this article is silly. If we were at war with Russia, they would have already been driven from Ukraine with their tails between their legs. The US military could destroy Russia’s in a long weekend.
But, why shouldn’t we confront Russia? They are a third rate power that has violated all international norms by invading Ukraine. The only reason they have any standing in the world is their nuclear weapons, which are useless in a war of conquest.
Any escalation hurts Russia and helps the West. If they attack a NATO country, NATO air and missile power destroys their military, with ease. If they use a tactical nuke, NATO air and missile power destroys their military, again with ease. If they use strategic nukes the world ends. Hard to see the upside for Russia in that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Snapper AG