The Causes of War

In an intriguing article in the latest edition of the UK online publication The Article, Raymond Keene tries to explain Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as the product of a national trait that runs deep within the Russian psyche: an excess of paranoia. This echoes one of the common assumptions in the media today: Putin must have gone mad.

Keene defines paranoia as a suspicion of a non-existent threat and goes on to argue that Putin has succumbed to such an unwarranted ailment: “I doubt that Russia had ever been less threatened than at the start of 2022, with a complacent, underfunded NATO, secure borders and a stranglehold economic grip on European energy supplies.”

As much as I enjoy reading Keene’s columns, I think he is wrong about the connection between Putin’s psychological state and his resort to warfare. A more credible case can be deduced from one of the great works by the Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War (1973). Although originally written almost fifty years ago, its third, updated edition remains in print today. It is still recommended reading in US military training academies.

The most recent edition, expanded to include discussion about the potential use of nuclear weapons in warfare, was published in 2014, soon after Putin launched his now longstanding war against Ukraine by annexing its entire province of Crimea and seizing control of the eastern Donbas region. At the time, I wrote about Blainey’s take on the origins of the present crisis. His explanation is even more relevant today.

Blainey’s book covers every international war since 1700. It overturns much of the conventional wisdom on the subject, especially the notion that an international balance of power is the best way to prevent war. On the contrary, he argues, the historical record shows that an imbalance—or “a clear preponderance of power” within a distinct hierarchy—is more likely to keep the peace.

The critical factor is one nation’s perception of its power relative to others. The actual distribution of power is less important than how the nations’ leaders perceive it is distributed. “Wars usually begin,” Blainey argues, “when two nations disagree on their relative strength.” Moreover, wars usually come to an end when both sides learn from experience what each other’s true strengths are.

To determine its power relative to a rival, Blainey says, each nation weighs up seven factors: military strength and its deployment; the behaviour of other interested nations; the internal unity of the opponent; memories of previous war; strength of ideology; ability to pay for war; the character of each nation’s decision-makers.

Blainey’s argument not only fits the historical record, but is also a plausible explanation for the dramatic aggression of Putin today. In his case, the perception of power that has mattered most, and which has coincided with the expansion of his actions, was not those of his immediate opponents in Eastern Europe but of the United States during the presidencies of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Putin’s aggression has corresponded to widely held perceptions among the Western intelligentsia of America’s reluctance to act as protector of last resort. His actions appear predicated on the belief that not only have the Obama and Biden administrations been reluctant to get involved because of those Presidents’ characters and ideological predilections, but that the United States is unwilling to do so because of its decline, both economically and militarily.

This is a set of assumptions that appear to have also influenced Xi Jinping’s recent pronouncements about Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and his determination to bring it within the realm of his power. Since the embarrassing disaster of Joe Biden’s desertion of Afghanistan there has been a direct line of increasing Chinese propaganda on this topic.

One of the principal reasons for this Russo-Chinese perception is that, ever since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, leading Western intellectuals, from both the left and right of the political spectrum, have kept talking about the decline of the United States. At the time, the leftist philosopher at the London School of Economics John Gray declared: “The era of American global leadership is over.” Yale historian Paul Kennedy reprised his earlier best-seller, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, where he argued that America was suffering from “imperial overstretch”. He predicted military spending and the consequent increase in federal debt would soon bankrupt the country. The Pax Americana of the post-Soviet era would be economically unsustainable.

Most of these pundits argued that America would lose its position as the world’s richest and most powerful nation to the unstoppable rise of China. Economists at Goldman Sachs predicted that by 2041, when the Chinese economy reached $26 trillion, its economic power would surpass the US. The Nobel economics laureate Robert Fogel of the University of Chicago said this actually underestimated how fast the Chinese economy was growing. By 2040, Fogel said, it would be worth $123 trillion, putting China far ahead as world number one economic and political power.

The conservative Harvard-Stanford economic historian Niall Ferguson was the most pessimistic of all. In 2010, in a lecture in Sydney for the Centre of Independent Studies titled “Empires on the Edge of Chaos: The Nasty Fiscal Arithmetic of Imperial Decline”, Ferguson said America’s fate would be sealed very quickly. Like other great powers of history, it would not decline gradually but would suddenly “fall over a cliff”. The tipping point would come when the costs of servicing government debt exceeded the defence budget, which, Ferguson said, would occur some time within the next five years, that is, by 2015.

Well, 2015 came and went without the US falling off any cliff. Instead, in the following year Americans elected Donald Trump, who succeeded in turning around the economy far more dramatically than his many media and academic detractors had imagined possible. By 2020, the US economy was still well clear of the Chinese. According to World Bank data, in 2020 American nominal GDP was $20.89 trillion, compared to China’s nominal GDP of $14.72 trillion.

Moreover, leftist economists like Fogel had based their predictions on accelerating rates of double-digit Chinese growth. However, this has slowed as the Chinese economy matured from an agricultural base to an industrial one. In the period 1970 to 2019 Chinese GDP growth was consistently above 10 per cent per year. But by early 2022, Premier Li Keqiang quoted official statistics predicting a growth rate of 5.5 per cent, a wishful objective itself.

Supporting the sceptical case is an analysis of Chinese manufacturing by Michael Beckley of Tufts University in Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower (2018). Instead of an emerging technology superpower, Beckley writes, China has a dependent economy. Some 90 per cent of its exports are produced for foreign firms using components outsourced by their designers and marketers in America and Europe. Moreover, productivity in the US itself is more than seven times greater than that of China, indicating that Chinese economic growth is not being matched by a commensurate growth in high-tech expertise.

In defence spending, China itself acknowledges its budget is relatively low compared to the United States. Its official position is that it spends around 2 per cent of GDP on defence, compared to more than 3 per cent of the more sizable GDP of the US. The biggest single expenditure in Chinese defence is for the land-based troops of the People’s Liberation Army. According to Beckley, at least 35 per cent of China’s military budget is spent on homeland security operations.

In any military conflict over Taiwan, sea and air power would be decisive. In the past ten years, China has launched two combat-ready aircraft carriers, with a third under construction. The US has twelve nuclear-powered carriers, with two more on order. American carriers and submarines traverse the Seven Seas. China has no military bases outside China, while America’s 115 bases circle the globe.

But doesn’t this support at least one of the propositions of America’s declinists, the theory of imperial overstretch? No, it doesn’t. By historical standards US defence spending is now very low: down from 40 per cent of GDP in the Second World War, to 9 per cent of GDP during the 1960s Vietnam War, to 3.4 per cent today. There is plenty of room for renewed growth.

Hence, if the military adventurers of Russia and China are predicating their exploits on some perception of American decline, they are badly mistaken. The only thing they have got right is their view of the lack of resolve of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who have been, so far, the most timid American presidents since Jimmy Carter.

Someone should remind them, and the Western intellectuals whose leftist thinking influences them, that Jimmy Carter was succeeded by Ronald Reagan. The American democratic system was not principally designed for warfare, but weak presidents usually beget strong ones, and sooner rather than later. 

61 thoughts on “The Causes of War

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    An interesting thesis. Taking Blainey’s factors in turn:
    1. Military strength and its deployment. Here the strength advantage is clearly with Russia, however the Ukrainians have been very successful in deploying asymmetric tactics, particularly anti-tank measures. This factor remains in the balance.
    2. The behaviour of other interested nations. Here the Biden factor comes into play, and as discussed above is likely to have been the main consideration in Putin’s planning, however we are seeing a resurgence of Nato which is encouraging. On the Russian side, the only ally of consequence is China, whose actions so far remain opaque (clearly by design) but is likely to support Russia as covertly as possible. Again, perhaps in the balance.
    3. The internal unity of the opponent. Here the advantage is clearly with the Ukrainians. Intelligence from within the Russian military probably saved Ukraine in the first days of the war. Moreover, there is no Ukrainian equivalent of the videos of Russian soldiers saying they weren’t told they were going to fight a war. Therefore Putin is putting effort into propaganda rallies and suppressing demonstrations against the war. The Ukrainians already know what they are fighting for.
    4. Memories of previous war. As Ukraine was part of the USSR, this should be the same for both sides. Presumably Putin thought that as Ukraine is not being a backward hellhole like Afghanistan, this invasion would be different.
    5. Strength of ideology. Holy Mother Russia vs Liberty. Again, in the balance.
    6. Ability to pay for war. Initially an advantage for Russia, using energy receipts from the EU to fund its military, however now in the balance due to stronger than anticipated sanctions from the West.
    7. The character of each nation’s decision-makers. An immoral opportunist vs “I need ammunition, not a ride”. That the war is going better for Ukraine than nearly anyone anticipated speaks for itself.

  • Claude James says:

    Best to look at the numbers/factors that actually matter.
    Just three examples:
    One USN supercarrier fleet can project as much conventional force over long distances than ALL the rest of the world’s navies COMBINED. And The USN has 11 such fleets.
    Then add in the nukes.
    China cannot feed itself, not by a long shot. It is the world’s largest food importer. The USA can feed itself -and could feed one-third of the rest of the world, if it organized itself to do so. Great farm land.
    China must import huge quantities of the basics in energy and metals -the USA could be self-sufficient if it choose to be.
    The biggest threat to the USA is the marxist-inspired left in the Dems, in the media, in big tech, in the education systems -just as Australia is under threat from within by the left. But here we are more naive than the USA. We are permitting agents of China and agents of Islamism to infiltrate all of our institutions/organizations.
    One other point: The USA is not in decline, not militarily, not in economic terms. But China and Russia are teetering on several edges. Look at the realities of the geographies and associated natural resources and populations of these two benighted countries., and check the details of their financial/banking systems.
    Note: GDP does not measure actual economic prodcitive strength.

  • robtmann7 says:

    A superb essay. Only one quibble:
    “China has no military bases outside China”
    The islands in the S. China Sea are exceptions, perhaps not trivial. More potentially important are enclaves ceded by Hanoi to China (functionally, if not legally) which worry my Vietnamese friends. Anything happening at Camh Ran Bay (my V.N. spelling was always bad)?

  • lbloveday says:

    If China is intent on world dominance beyond integrating Taiwan, now would seem to be a good time to wage war on Russia.

  • ianl says:

    >”The critical factor is one nation’s perception of its power relative to others.” [Geoffrey Blainey, as quoted above by Keith Windshuttle]

    While Geoffrey Blainey is one whose books, and especially those on Australian mining history, I have almost unqualified praise for and immense pleasure in reading, this quote defines the timing behind a decision of when to go to war, but not the reason for wishing to do so, in my view.

    For many centuries Russian authorities have regarded bordering countries with pointed ambivalence based on the ever-present fear of invasion (whether real or not at any given time), itself informed by many actual events over historical time. Similarly, China shows this psychological trait, even to the early extent of the many construction periods of the Great Wall, with the edge of Mongolia now labelled Inner Mongolia.

    Putin decided that the Biden Presidency offered the best opportunity of a power imbalance suitable to himself for brutally scratching a long-standing Russian itch, in that the US would be frozen in indecision. He badly miscalculated the power balance in today’s world – internet phone comms, internet banking controls, short-term energy sources other than Russia, globally widespread horror and revulsion at the carnage, the stubborness of the Ukranian population in resisting his bloody mindedness …

    He has the power imbalance wrong, the method criminally wrong, and has underestimated the far wider dangers he’s caused. But that very old Russian ambivalence to its’ bordering countries remains the motive.

  • Rockon says:

    Wars are caused by unprotected wealth.
    Douglas MacArthur

  • Adam J says:

    Putin has badly underestimated the cultural and economic links of Russia to the outside world. It is clear that he expected it to be a rerun of Georgia and Crimea. We can deduce that the failure of Western countries to oppose that in preference of a blind eye only served to embolden him. 1930s all over again.

    However the USA is finished. Power is useless without the will or determination to use it. The Ukrainians have a 6 billion dollar army. That’s chicken feed to the USA and NATO yet the assistance being offered is too little and too late.

    But it is the social collapse of the USA that Conservatives should be looking at. What about the unconstitutional mass surveillance carried out by the NSA and CIA? Not a word from Conservatives. Why do so many Americans support mass illegal immigration to their country? Because they think it is not their country.
    All this means that America is no longer a nation except in name only. Its people believe don’t believe in themselves and the only thing keeping them inline is a police state.
    And Australia is not far behind.
    The contrast with Russia and Ukraine could not be more stark.

  • rosross says:

    We understand nothing if we do not have perspective and context and that requires a knowledge of the history leading up to the war.

    It is clear, as noted political analysts like John Mearsheimer have been saying for decades, that US/Nato aggression and military creep to the Russian border would lead to a nasty outcome. All of that has been ignored.

    Only the village idiot would not begin to plan for defence against aggression after a CIA-backed coup removed the democratically elected President of Ukraine from power in 2014. Putin is no village idiot. The deposed President was sensibly not antagonistic toward Russia but his days were numbered when he made it clear that Ukraine would not be joining Nato. The US and suitable local lackeys, oligarchs, then did find a village idiot to become President of Ukraine and Zelensky has merrily led his nation and his people to their doom.

    While the theories mooted above are interesting, very often life is much simpler than theories would allow us to believe. The most logical conclusion on Putin’s psychological State is that it is the same as the psychological state of any American President would be, who had a modicum of intelligence, if Canada or Mexico were looking to do with China what the Ukrainians were looking to do with US/Nato.

    We know that when the Russians long ago were set on a military base in Cuba that the Americans became hysterical and threatened nuclear war so what would they do if the same thing was likely to happen on their border as was being planned for the Russian border, less than 100k. from Moscow. My guess is they would do exactly what Putin has done.

    In this idealistic age we spend too much time cooking up theories instead of carefully looking at historical facts and actually listening to what people are telling us. Putin has done only what he said he would do, time and time again, if the Americans kept doing what they were doing.

    Washington needs to find some ‘listening ears’ as the unipolar world collapses around them.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    I remember the Cuban crisis very well, rosross. I listened, as an adult, to President Kennedy’s speech at the time. While I agree that there are superficial similarities between the two situations, there was absolutely no sign of hysteria in the American response, and the only threat of nuclear war was in the Russian initiative. Your anti-Americanism like your anti-semitism distorts your perspective.

  • Sindri says:

    I would suggest that here are not even superficial similarities between the Cuban missile crisis and the current situation in Ukraine. There are no nuclear weapons in any NATO country bordering Russia, and there had been none in any NATO country bordering the USSR since they were removed from Turkey in the early 60s. It it beyond ludicrous to think that, if Ukraine joined NATO, its border would suddenly bristle with nukes, but that is the usual ignorant (and often mendacious) premise for the comparison.
    Putin has no fear of NATO. It suits him to pretend that he has, and he’s taken a curious horseshoe assortment of useful idiots with him: nostalgic lefties who hate America; credulous, punch-drunk conservatives who laughably think that Putin may be a bit of a thug, but by golly he has a moral backbone; and grotesque, conspiracy-theorising anti-semites.

  • Brian Boru says:

    I suppose I must be a simple person, I see that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is killing innocent people, not to mention the destruction of their homes and cities.
    I don’t care about causes, the simple fact is that Putin has brought this about and I have difficulty controlling my rage against this monster.
    It’s all about perception isn’t it. Putin believed he could get away with it. No Polish fighter planes because Biden is not prepared to take the risk he perceives.
    What’s next? The Baltics, one at a time? We need to be aware of the perceptions of our potential aggressors and be ready. I can only see one option and it starts with an “N”.

  • Louis Cook says:

    What about the ‘war behind the war’?
    Both sides are financed by the same international financial interests!
    The same interests who control the international armaments industries.
    A Pope once said “nobody dares breathe against ‘their’ will.
    If ‘they’ want a world war then it will happen even if we decline to be involved in the event, we will be sucked in. Take care!

  • rod.stuart says:

    In comparing this event with the cuban missle crisis, I suggest it would be more apt to compare it to the invasion of Iraq on the basis of fake “weapons of mass destruction”.
    What we have learned recently is that the CIA and the Deep State have been busy on biowarfare research, including some that required the procurement of the DNA of slavic caucasians, specifically from Russia. The preponderance of these so-called “research facilities” on Russia’s border is in and of itself a plausible rationale for Putin’s “special operation”. Note that the bulk of the air strikes have been precisely on these thirty or more biological weapons labs.
    It seems to me that analysis in the West ignores the fact that the real enemy of Western Civ is the WEF and the Davos crowd. With “graduates” of the program firmly implanted in governments of the “five eyes” as well as such diverse communities as Argentina, and indeed Russia and Ukraine, the Kabuiki theatre of the ficitious “climate change”, the “plandemic”, and the “police action” in Ukraine is not coincidental.

  • andrew2 says:

    One further cause of war not mentioned is the role that discovery of new natural resources plays on a nation’s desire for war. The 2011-2012 discovery of natural gas fields within Ukraine’s territory may be considered an existential threat to the Russian economy. The tariffs paid to Ukraine for using the pipeline that runs through this country led Russia to construct the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. If a NATO protected Ukraine were able to supply Western Europe’s gas needs it would be catastrophic for the Russian economy. Russia needs Western Europe to be reliant on its oil and gas just as much or more than Western Europe needs to be free of this reliance.

  • Brian Boru says:

    I think you may have been watching too much TV.
    My take on Iraq is of a country under Saddam that attacked two neighbouring countries and was driven back home. They were allowed to do this under a regime of weapons inspections which they frustrated whilst letting the world believe they had weapons of mass destruction.
    It was only because of U.S. and the restraint of the free world that they were able to carry on as they did. In the ultimate it was irrelevant if they had WMDs or not.

  • rosross says:

    @Doubting Thomas,

    When people resort to name-calling they are admitting they cannot mount a coherent response. We have that clear.

    I suggest you refresh yourself with the reality of the American response at the time. It was a total over-reaction compared to what Russia faces from the US/Nato. And I hate to break it to you, but if my comments amount to anti-Americanism then a noted political analyst, and an American, John Mearsheimer must also be so labelled. Is that what you are saying.

    And please, post any comment I have ever made which clearly represents a hatred of Judaism and its followers for anti-semitism is hatred of Judaism, a religion, and its followers. I await with interest because I know I have never expressed hatred of any religion, let alone Judaism.

  • rosross says:


    The Cuban missile crisis is only relevant as a comparison of how the Americans reacted to a potential threat far, far away from its borders and how the Russians are reacting to a potential threat, literally on its borders and barely 100k. from Moscow.

    And I agree, the invasion of Iraq, even further from American borders, sourced in the lies of WMD’s makes it very clear that the Russians have a justification the Americans never had. Ditto for the US invasion of Afghanistan and Libya, as well as its meddling in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America, in the name of security which compared to the realities faced by the Russians is indefensible.

    Anyone who thinks a CIA-backed coup to take out the Ukrainian President, who sensibly, like Canadians and Mexicans, ‘respected’ the views of his powerful neighbour, was not going to get a response from the Russians was either:

    a. naive and delusional and incredibly stupid
    b. was looking to push the Russians into war as part of a plan to weaken them and maybe test a few of those techo-toy military weapons the Americans had.

    At the end of the day there is no doubt this war has a MADE IN THE USA sticker right on its arse.

    But hypocrisy is the name of the game.

  • rosross says:

    @Brian Boru,

    Your take on Iraq is inadequate. It is worth doing some forensic reading on the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, at the time its leader Saddam Hussein was pretty much an American stooge. You will find that he floated his plans to ‘take back’ Kuwait with the American ambassador and when she did not say No, he took it as a Yes. Ooops.

    It is also worth remembering that when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on the Kurds, it was conveniently overlooked by the Americans because at the time he was a useful if tyrannical, stooge. Not that the US has ever minded propping up tyrants to serve its ends.

    Hussein signed his death warrant when he began making plans to replace the US petrodollar with the Euro. The rest as they say is history.

    Which is why knowing the backstory is so important. We can only hope the rise of China returns us to a bipolar world where the Americans will have to think twice, instead of stomping around the planet in their hegemonic military boots.

    If only they can destroy Russia first so China does not have the Russians as backup. Now, there’s a plan someone should put in place. Oh, they have. Of course, it is already underway.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Saddam was allowed back to his hole on the basis of (was it international) weapons inspection. He frustrated that, thereby sealing his own fate.

  • Adam J says:

    You previously stated: “And with Jewish family, who fortunately for me dropped the religion, from shared Jewish ancestors…”
    Why would it be fortunate that Jews stop being religious and how having done so do they yet remain able to be identified by you as Jewish?
    Antisemites always ask for proof of their antisemitism yet always ignore it even when it’s obvious.

  • rod.stuart says:

    This is just for you. The complete idiot’s guide to biological research facilities.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Rosross, I’m not calling you names, I’m describing your frequently demonstrated attitudes.
    If you believe that, at the height of the very dangerous Cold War, the USSR placing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in Cuba, a mere 90 nautical miles from the US, was a negligible threat compared to the alleged US/NATO threat to the Russia, you are seriously deluded and/or just spouting some radical leftist anti-American text.
    Kennedy’s perfectly rational reaction was to demand the removal of the missiles, and to threaten to attack any vessels delivering more. Hysterical? Despite the notorious Bay of Pigs fiasco, the missiles were not there as a rational defensive response to any genuine American threat. They were put there by the USSR as a forward base to attack the US should the Cold War heat up. It was deliberately gratuitous provocation.
    The US/NATO do not need bases in Ukraine to threaten Russia. If push comes to shove they could reduce Russia to an uninhabitable smoking desert from the other side of the world, but they know full well that Russia would return the favour. Thus, the reality of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) continues to secure the peace between the superpowers that has reigned pretty much since World War II, give or take a few proxy squabbles.
    In this instance, neither NATO nor the US itself poses any realistic threat to Russia, least of all through the Ukraine. Conversely, Ukraine’s posture vis-à-vis NATO is in response to Putin’s overt territorial ambitions and threats.
    You’re living in an entirely different universe.

  • Sindri says:

    Weird to see this site infested with infantile conspiracy theories and paranoid jew-baiting (“Lewis Cook”). Some of these posts are straight out of Veterans Today or Stormfront!

  • Brian Boru says:

    Hi Rod, an interesting video, I enjoyed the music at the start. What I found most interesting of all was the narration starting at about 1.54 which was something like; “according to the Russians, Putin ordered his military to seek and destroy any US funded biolabs and the original air strikes do match up consistently with the supposed locations of those bio research facilities”. There were maps purporting to show the coincidental locations of the air strikes and the labs.
    So, it seems that it is alleged that the US funded Ukrainian laboratories had deadly pathogens and the Russians set out to bomb them. Wouldn’t that spread the pathogens? That seems like a pretty stupid idea to me considering that Ukraine borders Russia and Senkivka which your video shows as having been bombed is only about 500 kilometres from Moscow.
    Here is a paper for you to look at. Whilst I only speed read it, it appears that the Russians have a history of spreading disinformation about supposed US bio weapons.
    Now, I do not have the temerity to say I know one way or the other about the truth of these labs. However, I do know that Putin’s Russia is killing Ukrainians (little children included) and wrecking their country. There can be no justification for that and we have to do all we can to stop it.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Lots of analogies for previous conflicts, but still the one that resonates most with the combatants is WW2, the last conflict which saw invaders on the soil of both what is now Ukraine and Russia. Consequently each has called the other Nazis. So is it 1941 or 1944? Are the Nazis travelling east or west?
    In this analogy, from a western point of view, if it is 1938 at Munich, who is Chamberlain, who is Mussolini, and who is Hitler? The current consensus is that Biden, as non-combatant appeaser, is Chamberlain, but perhaps that isn’t quite right. When Ukraine gave up it’s nuclear weapons in the early 1990s and joined the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, the USA and Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s borders, just as Britain and France did for Poland. So in the 1938 analogy, Czechoslovakia is the Crimea in 2014, complete with ethnic minorities as an excuse, and Ukraine is Poland in September 1939. Therefore, in the 1938 analogy, Obama is Chamberlain, Xi is Mussolini, Merkel is Daladier and, as everyone agrees who isn’t a Russian, Putin is Hitler. In 1940, perhaps Biden is the appeaser Lord Halifax, but where is Churchill? The big question is, if the western powers had declined to go to war in September 1939 to defend Poland, as Biden has declined to defend Ukraine in 2022, what would Hitler/Putin have done next?
    As a side note, it would perhaps be wise of those Russians in the Donbas to recall what happened to the Sudatenland Germans that Munich was all about. From welcoming Hitler’s troops in 1938 to becoming refugees in 1946……
    If we don’t learn from history…..

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Correction, that would be Non-Proliferation Treaty, but the way things are going…,..

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Having imbibed perhaps more than I should have on a weekday evening, I am inspired to go slightly off-topic and provide Quadrant readers with the solution to a pressing problem arising from the invasion of Ukraine by Vlad the Underpants Poisoner (Alexei Navalny’s insult, not mine). The dilemma is the trauma caused by the possibility that long-deceased Russians may bear some culpability in Dobby the House Elf’s crimes in Ukraine. Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, has been cancelled by the American Space Foundation. The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra has cancelled Tchaikovsky. Netflix has cancelled Tolstoy. If we are to lose the only 19th century literary tradition which rivals that of the French and English, and the greatest 20th century classical music tradition, “what is to be done”?
    Fortunately, there is a solution. If you blame Puskin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Chekov for war crimes in Ukraine more than a century after their deaths, try Gogol (born in central Ukraine) or a more modern Bulgakov (born in Kyiv). Dead Souls is very funny. The Master and Margarita should be on your bucket list anyway. If you are triggered by Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Scriabin and Shostakovich, try Prokofiev (born eastern Ukraine). He’s my favourite 20th century composer, and the current circumstances only confirm my good taste.
    If however you are able to separate the achievements of Russian culture from the current zeitgeist, I commend your wisdom and am glad that, just as Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert weren’t blamed for Hitler, you are able to enjoy the glories of Dostoevsky and Chekov without guilt.

  • Sindri says:

    Ian MacKenzie, there are indeed some striking parallels with the situation in 1938, which is not so surprising. Politicians who go bad follow paths that are depressingly predictable. To answer your question, there is no Churchill here. No-one to say to the appeasers what Churchill said to Chamberlain, and what is blindingly obvious: “You had a choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you shall have war.”

  • Sindri says:

    That youtube site you described as “the complete idiot’s guide to biological research facilities”.

    An absolutely true statement, although perhaps not in the sense you intended.

  • rod.stuart says:

    Venturing a littel further down the rabbit hole………..

  • rosross says:

    @Brian Boru,

    That does not explain why he was supported by the Americans for so long, despite the many atrocities he committed, including gassing the Kurds. Why did they turn against him? As to the Weapons inspection, as I am sure you recall, there were no WMD’s.

  • rosross says:

    @Doubting Thomas,

    you said: If you believe that, at the height of the very dangerous Cold War, the USSR placing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in Cuba, a mere 90 nautical miles from the US, was a negligible threat compared to the alleged US/NATO threat to the Russia, you are seriously deluded and/or just spouting some radical leftist anti-American text.

    I never said that. The Americans get hysterical about anything which happens in South America and they meddle so of course they would be hysterical about Cuba. And we are saying the same thing. They saw the Russians in Cuba as a threat and reacted, so that makes the Russian response to an even greater threat, logical, sensible and on exactly the same page as the Americans. That was and is my point. Thank you for reinforcing it.

    As you said: It was deliberately gratuitous provocation.

    Which is precisely how the Russians saw the US/Nato creep toward their borders so they were even closer than the Russians would have been in Cuba.

    The name-calling reflects on you, not me.

    You said: The US/NATO do not need bases in Ukraine to threaten Russia.

    So why push for them when the Russians have made it clear, time and time and time again, and most noted political analysts have said that the constant creep of Nato would end in disaster…..why keep pushing for Ukraine to join Nato? If they don’t need bases on the Russian border then what was the plan when they knew it would end in war?

    As to your views on mutually assured destruction, the Americans have plenty of nutjobs pulling the strings. I recall an American general stating in an address to the Senate I think it was, a couple of years ago, that the US military believed they could win a nuclear war. Sorry, I am no longer a child believing in childish things like goodies and baddies.

    You said: In this instance, neither NATO nor the US itself poses any realistic threat to Russia, least of all through the Ukraine.

    Says who? Not how the Russians saw it. So, if you are correct and Ukraine was not necessary why keep pushing it? Particularly against powerful Russian protests. Why keep up the creep? Actions speak louder than words. The Americans have a track record of starting wars to destroy countries. Why on earth would the Russians believe a word they say?

    Quote: At the Malta Summit in 1989, George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, persuaded a reluctant Gorbachev to support a unified Germany.. In return, and in very explicit terms, it was agreed upon that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward”.
    At the time NATO numbered 13 member nations (today there are 30) Fast forward to 1996, when, during the closing months of Bill Clinton’s Presidency, he expressed support for Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join NATO. The US first expressed interest in Ukraine as a possible NATO candidate in 2008.
    At the time Sergei Lavrov made it clear in no uncertain terms that Russia would never allow that.

    You said:Conversely, Ukraine’s posture vis-à-vis NATO is in response to Putin’s overt territorial ambitions and threats.

    I suggest you read some history. Start with John Mearsheimer, noted American political analyst. Putin responded to US/Nato aggression not because of territorial ambitions and the historical facts make that patently clear.

    You said: You’re living in an entirely different universe.

    Perhaps I am but it is a universe which values facts, historical record, sensible political analysis and common sense. You might try it.

  • rosross says:


    You said: Why would it be fortunate that Jews stop being religious and how having done so do they yet remain able to be identified by you as Jewish?

    One of the problems of cutting and pasting out of context is that I do not know where you took that from nor what else I said. Your selective editing is misrepresentation. But, let me clarify although I would appreciate you posting the full comment and citing a source. Should I be honoured that you follow what I say so closely? Probably not.

    Okay, I have often said I am fortunate that all of my ancestors dropped their many religions which did include Judaism but also Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Hugeunot, Protestant, Baptist, Anglican and no doubt many more.

    Why do I say that? I say it because I was not subjected to religious rules and systems growing up and I consider that to be of benefit. As an adult, having studied many religions, including Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, I can appreciate the value of religion for some but I can also appreciate the value of no religion or no serious religion.

    It is no more fortunate for Jews to drop their religion than it is for Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc. I was talking about myself. I believe I am fortunate that all of my ancestors dropped their religions and I was not raised within a religious prison, which was often the case, particularly for females. And more so in more fundamental forms of religion in previous centuries where women were seriously subjugated. That applies to all religions.

    As to identifying ancestors as Jewish, that was as easy as identifying my German Lutherans and Baptists; my Scottish Protestants; my Greek Greek Orthodox; etc. etc. etc. My British Jewish ancestors were easily tracked through religious records, in the same way I tracked my other ancestors; the Greeks excepted because of too many earthquakes and inferior Greek filing systems.

    If you have not done ancestry research then the first step one takes is through Church/Mosque/Synagogue etc., records for Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    How on earth does any of that demonstrate a hatred of Jews or Judaism which is what anti-semitism is? I find it tedious and actually a betrayal of the best of Judaism, when people constantly toss around a meaningless label of anti-semitic because they don’t like what someone else is saying.

    I value my Jewish ancestors, but no more than any of the other religions. Why would I? For what it is worth, out of the dozen siblings, my great-grandfather married out as did ALL of his brothers, after the family migrated to Australia from London in the 1840’s. The sisters all married in because females were controlled in Judaism, and in orthodox Judaism they still are as indeed they are in orthodox Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

    So, if I believe I am fortunate that my ancestors dropped all of their religions it is because as a female, I was raised in greater freedom.

    My qualifier would be that I am not opposed to religions and believe for many people they are of much benefit, but as a female, I am grateful to have avoided the misogyny they all contain.

    You said: Antisemites always ask for proof of their antisemitism yet always ignore it even when it’s obvious.

    Since you have provided no such proof I accept your apology in advance.

  • rosross says:


    Good post. Fear not the great minds and artists of Russia will endure. And no doubt will bring forth more real literature than we see emerging from the Woke West.

  • Adam J says:

    You know very well where you said it.

    You believe a person can’t be Jewish unless they follow the religion of Judaism. You stated that fortunately for you, the Jewish members of your family abandoned their religion.
    You are clearly talking about your current family, not some vague ancestry.
    Please explain why they remain “Jewish members of your family” if they abandoned Judaism and please say why it is fortunate that members of your family should not be Jewish. (i.e. following Judaism).

  • Adam J says:

    “As to identifying ancestors as Jewish, that was as easy as identifying my German Lutherans and Baptists; my Scottish Protestants; my Greek Greek Orthodox; etc. etc. etc. My British Jewish ancestors were easily tracked through religious records, in the same way I tracked my other ancestors”
    But German, Scottish and Greek are ethnicities, whereas British is not (it’s a nationality) and according to you neither is Jewish.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Let’s assume (which I don’t) that all that the anti-US slander here is true.
    Putin’s war is still killing innocent people and their little children. It is still driving millions from their homes. It is still destroying a country.
    It is, despite all the arguments to the contrary here put by Putin’s apologists, to be condemned. Let’s do that and get on with the job of destroying him before he starts on the Baltics or some other hapless country.

  • rosross says:


    The reference to being grateful my ancestors dropped their religions has been made by me many times so no, I do not specifically recall the situation where I said what you read. That is why I asked you to post the comment in context and its entirety.

    You said: You believe a person can’t be Jewish unless they follow the religion of Judaism.

    That is simple logic. Someone who does not believe in the God of a religion is not a follower of that religion. An atheist cannot be a Christian, Jew or Muslim. It is probably a bit fuzzier with Buddhism and Hinduism. You can be a lapsed or non-practising Christian or Jew but you simply cannot be an atheist/secular Christian or Jew as any priestly or rabbinical advice would make clear.

    So, an atheist/secular Jew is as impossible as an atheist/secular Christian.

    You said: You stated that fortunately for you, the Jewish members of your family abandoned their religion.

    I stated I was fortunate that my ancestors dropped their religions. That included Judaism which was simply one religion among many.

    You said: You are clearly talking about your current family, not some vague ancestry.

    I am talking about my ancestors going back to 1700 which is as far as I have taken it on most counts. Some of that is very distant ancestry but, as I explained, one can access religious records for Births, Deaths and Marriages and discover a great deal.

    You said: Please explain why they remain “Jewish members of your family” if they abandoned Judaism –

    Again, I did not say that. You are inventing things. Those ancestors who dropped Judaism did not remain Jewish in the same way those who dropped Greek Orthodox did not remain Greek Orthodox or those who dropped Christianity did not remain Christians. The same principle applies to all religions and all ancestors.

    You said: and please say why it is fortunate that members of your family should not be Jewish. (i.e. following Judaism).

    I never said that. You misquote, yet again.

    I said I believed I was fortunate that my ancestors dropped their many religions. I DID NOT SAY they were fortunate. However, I would presume, if any of them regretted dropping their religion they would have returned to it and that seems not to have happened.

    I don’t quite know where you think you are going with this. Nitpicking comes to mind. Unless you are intensely frustrated that you cannot make a case for your claim of anti-semitism against me and desperately hope that something will be said which keeps your ‘boat afloat’ so to speak.

  • rosross says:


    You said: Addendum: But German, Scottish and Greek are ethnicities, whereas British is not (it’s a nationality) and according to you neither is Jewish.

    German, Scottish and Greek are nationalities. What on earth are you talking about. British is a nationality.

    Jewish is a religion. Christianity comes in many forms as a source religion.

    I talked about Scottish Protestants; German Lutherans and Baptists; British Jews and Greek Greek Orthodox. Scottish, German, British, Greek are nationalities. Protestants, Lutherans, Baptists, Jews, Greek Orthodox are all religions. Surely you know the difference?

    You might need to go back and take a few deep breaths and calmly reread what I said. There seem to be high levels of confusion in your processing of the words.

  • rosross says:

    @Brian Boru,

    And were you as intent on destroying the American President when they killed men, women and children in Iraq? Just wondering if principles are applied equally. In that totally unnecessary war based on lies, the US and its allies killed a million Iraqis, injured and maimed 10 million and sent millions more out as refugees.

    There just seems to be hypocrisy and double standards at work in regard to the Russians. And no, I do not support wars of any kind but some can be understood in terms of ‘need’ and others cannot.

    Yes, Ukraine is being destroyed and I am sure the Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans and many others can understand how that feels.

    If we are to prevent these wars we need to understand why they happen and demonising Putin is not going to allow that to happen.

  • Adam J says:

    I will start from scratch.
    On this article you stated (https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/luvvieland/2022/01/jews-are-dancing-flee-luvvies-flee/):

    “Having worked with and for Israelis and spent time in the Israeli State with some very good friends still living there, although I think their children have left, I find it easy to make a distinction between Israel and Judaism. And with Jewish family, who fortunately for me dropped the religion, from shared Jewish ancestors, , I can assure you, not everyone wishes to be associated with the Israeli State because they are Jews.”
    You stated you have Jewish family who fortunately for you dropped the religion. How can it be fortunate for you for Jewish members of your family to stop being Jewish and how can they still be Jewish afterwards? You are not talking about ancestry but about your Jewish family members.

    British is a nationality. Scottish, German and Greek are ethnicities cum nationalities. Since British is a nationality but not ethnicity, and since Jewish is purely a religious identity in your view, then please tell me what the ethnicity of your British Jewish ancestors was.

  • rosross says:


    Thank you for providing the source of the comment which has offended you. However, to be read in context you need to read the preceding comments. But I will run with the source of your angst.

    To clarify the comment above, I did not mention the fact that I considered myself fortunate that all of my ancestors dropped their religions because it was not relevant to the discussion thread.

    However, please take that as a given. On such discussion threads it is impossible to include all variables or it just gets too long. The comment also referred to working with and for Israelis but you seem to have overlooked that.

    I cannot see however, even in its original form why it upsets you so much. Neither can I see what on earth is anti-semitic about it. I have explained why I am grateful, as a woman, that I was not raised in highly religious families.

    You said: You are not talking about ancestry but about your Jewish family members.

    As I explained earlier, the men married out but the women married in. I have extended Jewish family. Those who dropped the religion were no longer Jews. Those who did not drop the religion remained Jews.

    You said: British is a nationality. Scottish, German and Greek are ethnicities cum nationalities.

    The ethnicity obsession is misleading. Scottish, German and Greek are nationalities. Within those nationalities there would be many cultural ‘ethnicities.’

    You said: and since Jewish is purely a religious identity in your view, then please tell me what the ethnicity of your British Jewish ancestors was.

    My ancestors were British Jews. I also have British Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans. Their nationality was British until their nationality became Australian. Ethnicity is a modern invention with no relevance to the 19th century. The concept of ethnicity is sourced in the modern disaster of multiculturalism which seeks to divide people up into groups, to discourage assimilation, and to encourage people to cling to the past instead of assimilating into the culture and nationality of their new home.

    I am fully aware that the Zionists invented the concept of Jews being more than a religion. They were atheists so needs must. They exploited Judaism to achieve their goal of setting up their own Zionist State in Palestine. They still exploit Judaism and its followers.

    However, logic and reality decree that Jew is a name given to a follower of Judaism and that if Judaism had never been invented, no Jew would ever exist. Ditto for any religion. And to be a member of the Jewish religion one MUST believe in the Jewish God, even if one is non-practising. That is why it is impossible to be an atheist/secular Jew except in the realms of Zionist fantasy/delusion.

  • Adam J says:

    The Jews did exist before Judaism – as the tribe of Judah, which was literally the original meaning of ethnicity (Greek: ethnos, εθνος): a tribe, typically centred on a city.
    We are getting off-topic so I will spare everyone else this topic.
    This concept is however relevant to Russia and Ukraine, as Ukraine was only ever a territory inhabited by the Ukrainian people (ethnicity), in the Russian national empire.
    It’s worth noting that Russia is officially multicultural with autonomous provinces and many unassimilated ethnicities. Should Ukrainians assimilate into their new home?

  • rosross says:

    @AdamJ, I am well aware that the religion of Judaism took its name from the tribe of Judah. But that was just one tribe of many. The use of the term Jew, may well have come from the tribe of Judah and co-opted as the religious description, relating to followers of Judaism, then applied to many who were not members of the tribe of Judah.

    The tribal kingdoms set up by Hebrew groups which had migrated into Palestine had originated in what is now Iraq, but was then called Mesopotamia. It has been thousands of years since anyone thought a Jew was someone who belonged to a tribe called Judah. In fact the ancient Egyptians inscribed a note that a tribe called Judea had arrived in Palestine and set up camp. They had by then been writing about Palestine and the Palestinians for 2,000 years. What a gift the Rosetta Stone was to archaeology and history. And yes, I agree this is off-topic.

    As to the Ukrainians, miraculously being preserved in ethnic aspect throughout thousands of years, it just doesn’t happen like that. The peoples/nations who came to be called Russia, Ukraine, Poland etc. etc. had the same origins. Indeed, all humans have the same origins and every human alive today is descended from the same group of ancestors in the distant past.

    Patently Ukraine was NOT a land only occupied by ‘Ukrainians.’ How could it be given the mixing and moving and waves of war along with levels of rape which led to even more intermixing.

    Yes, Russia does have many autonomous provinces for a variety of reasons. But, no doubt, just as the Hawaiians consider themselves to be Americans, well, many do, no doubt many of those living in autonomous provinces consider themselves to be Russian. This is the way of the world.

    As to Ukrainians in the future. If, as some believe, Russia takes Eastern Ukraine as a buffer to hold, it is not really an issue because in this region most people are more Russian than anything else – ethnically Russian as you would describe it – and Russian-speaking.

    There is no need for Western Ukrainians to assimilate into Russia since that part of the country would remain independent.

  • rosross says:

    Ethnic aspic not ethnic aspect.

  • Adam J says:

    What a load of nonsense! Palestinians 2,000 years before Judea? Rosetta stone? Hebrews from Iraq? Where are you getting this whacko stuff?
    And Ukrainians have lived in Ukraine continuously since their ethnic birth ~500 years ago. Their ethnic identity was preserved in the face of enormous Russian nationalist pressure which included banning the Ukrainian language. They were never independent until recently and evidently Russia can’t handle that. That is the crux of the issue. This is no longer about some border provinces.

  • Sindri says:

    Rosross – doubtless you would agree, then, that the people of Eastern Ukraine, and in particular those in the “people’s republics” should be entitled to an internationally-supervised free and fair vote on the issue of separation form Ukraine (and not one run by Russia)?

  • rosross says:

    I read a lot of history and archaeology, and, according to Egyptologists, hieroglyphs have been translated mentioning Palestine and the Palestinians, a people who invaded Egypt more than once and whom the Egyptians invaded in their turn. The first mention of the Palestinians came about 5,000 years ago. Some 2,000 years later the Egyptians also carved in stone a record that a tribe called Judea had set up camp in Palestine. No doubt the name Palestine is also tribal because another name for the region is Canaan. Pales was the God of Palestine/Canaan hence the origin of the name.

    The Rosetta Stone has enabled ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to be translated. It marked a turning point for Egyptology. The Stone was found during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt in the late 18th century. It has been invaluable. Because the same message was carved in hieroglyphs, Demotic and Greek, it meant the previously unfathomable hieroglyphs could be understood.

    The Rosetta Stone is a stele composed of granodiorite inscribed with three versions of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. The decree has only minor differences between the three versions, making the Rosetta Stone key to deciphering the Egyptian scripts.

    The Hebrews came out of what was Mesopotamia and is now Iraq. Yes, that is historical fact. They migrated into Palestine, along with many other tribes over the centuries and set up camp for a time.

    What you call whacko stuff is archaeology and history. Perhaps time for some research for you.

    The Ukrainians share the same ancestors as the Russians. None of which is surprising. Vikings/Norseman settled these lands and from those earliest arrivals arose the peoples and countries we know today as Russians and Ukranians, as well as many others.

    As you no doubt know, Ukraine means ‘borderlands.’ So the name has originated from that reality. It was called The Ukraine originally, The Borderlands, but The has been dropped.

    And no people have lived anyway for 500 years in ancient times without being invaded, colonised, and being subject to high levels of rape and intermixing, with or without marriage. Humans are very mixed, particularly in the earliest areas settled by Homo Sapiens when they came out of Africa.

    Ukraine has a brief experience of being independent in 1918-1920 but has been pretty much under the rule of others for most of its existence – Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Russia. Like many bits of Europe, Belgium being another, it has been criss-crossed, fought over, occupied and colonised by many different groups.

  • rosross says:


    In the best of worlds the sort of vote you suggest would be a good idea. However, it is probably too late for that.

    The Ukrainians could have remained independent if they had remained neutral. They hopped onto the US/Nato train and it inexorably carried them to their destruction. Or rather, their leaders put them on the US/Nato train. We are all of us, often failed terribly by those who lead us and no doubt even more when our leaders are the result of a CIA-backed coup.

    In the best of worlds nations would be free to make their own decisions. But we do not live in the best of worlds. As a US ally no-one is free and one presumes that applies to the allies of other powerful nations like China and Russia. We can wish it were not that way, but it is.

    John Mearsheimer, noted American political analyst, who foresaw the current Ukraine mess, gave an address in Australia where he said in essence, that Australians had no choice but to do what the US told them in regard to China or they would be punished. Bullying is the name of the game by great powers and that has not changed in thousands of years.

    So, while we may dream of a free world it does not exist. It is simply a matter of decided which bully we are going to support.

  • Adam J says:


    There is no record of ‘Palestinians’ being mentioned by Ancient Egyptians, including in the Rosetta Stone. No serious historical book would ever say that. Pales was a Roman god. This is junk history.

    The Ukrainians have lived in Ukraine for 500 years. It is their homeland. And for large amounts of their history they were persecuted in their homeland because of their ethnicity, including prohibitions on their language, which according to you is a modern multicultural concept designed to discourage assimilation into their nation.
    I’m at a loss as to why you are trying to defend the forced assimilation of Ukrainians into a nation they don’t want to be part of.
    I will engage with you no further.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Adam J, nor will I. It’s pointless.

  • Sindri says:

    Rosross, I presume you are an Australian and accordingly enjoy the advantages conferred by that remarkable privilege, even though you seem to be too busy gazing at your navel to perceive them. Those advantages include, at a fundamental level, a full stomach, a warm bed, and a high degree of personal safety and security. These things come from a rule of law and not of men, which in turn comes from: democratic institutions, however imperfect they are; the separation of powers, where each of the three tiers of government act as a brake, no doubt imperfectly, on the others; the ability to turf out governments; and an independent judiciary.
    None of this is to say that Australian society and institutions are without many faults, but that is true of every society on earth. But these things are more abundant in the liberal democracies than anywhere else. What does that tell you?
    Enjoying all those privileges, whether you realise it or not, you sit there and rage against the system that showers you with them, and you engage in a stupid game of moral equivalence. So I’ll ask you: assuming your preposterous moral equivalence is correct, and that we are being ‘bullied’ by the US, which ‘bully’ would you prefer to live under?
    This, I suspect, is 10 minutes of my life I won’t get back. Nevertheless, before I join doubting Thomas and Adam J, I do have a kind of morbid curiosity to hear your response.

  • rosross says:


    I am happy to not engage. I was merely being polite and replying to your posts.

    Just to correct your errors before I conclude.

    You said: There is no record of ‘Palestinians’ being mentioned by Ancient Egyptians,

    Yes there is. I refer you to The Story of Egypt, by Egyptologist, JoAnn Fletcher. The place to start.

    You said: including in the Rosetta Stone.

    I never said it was. You misread, misquote, mis-everything. I said the Rosetta Stone enabled ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to be finally translated. And that is true. I also posted what was found on the Rosetta Stone and never inferred, claimed, or said there was any reference to Palestine on the Rosetta Stone.

    You said: No serious historical book would ever say that. Pales was a Roman god. This is junk history.

    Yes, the Romans picked up Pales but they picked up many Gods. Pales was an ancient God, much older than the Romans, from the Canaan region of which Palestine was a part. Those historians who disagree with you, and those whom I quote say: `Palestine’ means `Land of Pales’.

    Since you no longer wish to converse I see no point in listing the books by historians and archaeologists that I have read and presume you have no wish to list the historical books you have read which support your ‘claim.’

    You said: The Ukrainians have lived in Ukraine for 500 years.

    People who have lived in Ukraine have been there more than 500 years and while no doubt, like everyone else, they went by tribal names for the most of it, Ukraine as a country is historically recent.

    As to it being their homeland, given the fact all Homo Sapiens came out of Africa and have set up camp in many places, the belief in ancient homelands does not hold. Ukraine is the homeland of those who live there today. Absolutely.

    The prohibitions on language have been with Russian-speaking Ukrainians. There is no ethnicity in a tribal sense. Their nationality is Ukrainian, of which, as we know, there are a variety of ethnic groups including Russian.

    You said: I’m at a loss as to why you are trying to defend the forced assimilation of Ukrainians into a nation they don’t want to be part of.

    I am at a loss as to how you made that leap into fantasy. I have never said that. What on earth are you talking about? You seem to misinterpret so much. I am not and never have sought to defend forced assimilation of Ukrainians into Russia. I have no idea how or where that fantasy came up but, by all means, prove me wrong by posting anything I have said which is a defence of the forced assimilation of Ukrainians into Russia.

    To clarify in conclusion – in the best of worlds Ukraine would have remained independent and neutral. Now, with the war, all we can hope is that if Russia keeps Eastern Ukraine, which is more Russian than anything else, it will either be as an independent State aligned with Russia, or as a part of Russia, something which the people might vote to do as they did in Crimea.

    Western Ukraine could then choose to remain independent and neutral or it could ask to join Nato again.

    It is conversations like this which remind me of the validity of the phrase – divided by a common language.

  • rosross says:


    Yes, I am Australian but I grew up poor and most definitely without privilege and not always with a full stomach or a very warm bed. And personal safety and security do not exist in troubled families. But yes, in general I grew up in a safe society.

    And because I have lived for decades in places like India and four African countries, including war zones and one of the world’s murder capitals, Johannesburg, I truly appreciate the benefits which come from democratic institutions as you cite them. I have also learned that while all humans are equal in value as humans, all cultures are not equal.

    I have lived in societies which are totally corrupt, highly misogynistic and seen, particularly in India, more inhumanity to man that I had believed could exist.

    You do not have to instruct me on the value of liberal democracies, nor the benefits, particularly as a female, in being born an Australian.

    You said: Enjoying all those privileges, whether you realise it or not, you sit there and rage against the system that showers you with them, and you engage in a stupid game of moral equivalence.

    I am not sure where you perceived rage. I don’t do rage. I think on that count you are projecting.

    As to moral equivalence, you may call it that but I would describe it as applying principles equally – principles of justice, rule of law, democracy, human rights and common human decency. None of that is moral equivalence. Just as a court of law will take into account mitigating factors in terms of guilt, so too, I believe, we need to understand why things happen if we are ever to prevent them happening again. Russia’s actions are exactly what they said they would be over decades of US/Nato/Ukraine aggression. If that had not been the case then I would have seen the situation very differently.

    Everything I have said in regard to Ukraine is simply part of understanding the historical facts surrounding the actions of those involved.

    You said: So I’ll ask you: assuming your preposterous moral equivalence is correct, and that we are being ‘bullied’ by the US, which ‘bully’ would you prefer to live under?

    Since we have no choice really, but must ‘get into bed’ with someone, logic would decree that no matter how nasty they are as a bully, we get into bed with someone who has at least some shared social and cultural systems. And that is of course the US. However, just because the Americans get to play world bully it does not mean we should not know exactly who and what they are and do what we can to drag back whatever independence of thought and action that we can.

    As John Mearsheimer, noted American analyst has said, Australia would be severely punished if we don’t do what the US tells us to do in terms of China. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Or, the Devil you know, the US, between the Devil you don’t know, China.

    So, very simply, if it all went to hell in a basket the question is: Who might have our back? It won’t be China but it might, it just might be the US and so the sensible choice is that, even if the economic cost of alienating China is massive.

    While I believe the China hatefest is unfair and childish, one is reminded why the White Australia Policy came into being – because Australians wanted to remain an Anglo-European culture and not be overwhelmed by Asian cultures. That may happen anyway, but, for the moment, our best bet is with those to whom we can relate the most.

    I would conclude by saying that this medium – communication between strangers with no personal knowledge or sensory capacity – is almost guaranteed to create misunderstandings. It is wise to impute the best motives to others and not to consider them idiots because you don’t like what they say.

  • Sindri says:

    “decades of US/Nato/Ukraine agression”
    That’s the purest fantasy.

  • rosross says:


    Yes, decades of aggression in the form of a constant military creep toward the Russian border. If the Americans thought a Russian military base in Cuba was aggression then why would the Russians not see the continued US/Nato creep around their borders as aggression? And why would they not see the Ukrainians jumping into bed with the US?nato mob and the CIA-backed coup which threw out a pro-Russian democratically elected President as aggression?

    How is any of that reality a fantasy? I suggest you read up on global power and political dynamics so you can understand why none of it is fantasy.

  • Sindri says:

    I suggest you read up on some basic facts. This tiresome comparison with Cuba is simply ahistorical. There are no nukes in any country bordering the Russian Federation, and never have been. When the Soviet Union existed, there had been no nukes in any border country since they were removed from Turkey in the early 60s, where they had been openly. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, tried to secrete nuclear missiles into Cuba. And Cuba was already in a military alliance with the USSR.
    You seem to have that widely prevalent but entirely erroneous belief that as soon as you join NATO, your border bristles with nukes. It’s nonsense, and it’s fanciful to think that if Ukraine joins NATO, its border will bristle with nukes, and yet that is the line that’s trotted out by Putin, and by his legion of useful idiots, as a justification for the war.
    I remind you that Yanukovich was a thoroughly corrupt person who was not dislodged by a “coup”, CIA backed or otherwise, but fled because of popular protest; more significantly, his pro-western successors were chosen by Ukrainians in a free and fair election.

  • rosross says:


    Nothing is ahistorical if you are trying to understand human nature and global/national power dynamics. Humans have changed little over thousands of years in terms of their nature.

    The issue is NOT nuclear weapons being set up on Russia’s borders, but a military capacity. If the Americans will not tolerate it in South America, why should the Russians tolerate it on their borders? And yet they have, until Ukraine, which they have said for decades was a US/Nato creep too far.

    You seem to have that widely prevalent but entirely erroneous habit of imputing to others things they have never said.

    I have NEVER said it was about Nukes on the border. I said, it was about military bases, missile launchers on the border. And no, that is not what Putin has said either. Perhaps you might need to do some more research.

    Well, better minds than yours and analysts who actually know what they are talking about are all conclusive that Yanukovich was dispensed with as the result of a coup, with CIA involvement, masquerading, which is how the Americans do it, as a colour revolution by the people. Given the corruption in Ukraine, nothing is free and fair.

    John J. Mearsheimer, who correctly warned in 2015 about this war, is a noted American political analyst and even he called the ousting of Yanukovich a coup. I will stick with his view not yours. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24483306

    The corruption of Yanukovich is irrelevant, particularly in Ukraine which is one of the most corrupt countries on the planet. You could argue many world leaders should be removed because of corruption including Joe Biden so that approach on your part falls in a hole. And Zelensky’s boss is a Ukrainian oligarch who is no doubt well paid by Western interests. What was that you were saying about corruption again?

  • rosross says:


    Someone else who offers insights, Scott Ritter.


  • Adam J says:

    Somehow I just keep coming back.
    You stated: “The prohibitions on language have been with Russian-speaking Ukrainians.”
    This is false. Ukrainian language has been restricted or prohibited in history.
    You stated: “I am not and never have sought to defend forced assimilation of Ukrainians into Russia.”
    You previously said: “Ethnicity is a modern invention with no relevance to the 19th century. The concept of ethnicity is sourced in the modern disaster of multiculturalism which seeks to divide people up into groups, to discourage assimilation, and to encourage people to cling to the past instead of assimilating into the culture and nationality of their new home.”
    Conclusion: It really speaks for itself. The Ukrainian ethnicity is not a ‘modern invention’ to ‘discourage assimilation’. You do not understand Ukrainian identity or history. Ukrainian was an ethnicity before there was a Ukrainian nation, and this ethnicity has existed for 400-500 years. Simply because they were ethnically distinct from others (usually in the Russian empire), they have been persecuted. This has nothing to do with multiculturalism. You sound exactly like the persecutors of Ukrainians in history.

    You stated: “In fact the ancient Egyptians inscribed a note that a tribe called Judea had arrived in Palestine and set up camp. They had by then been writing about Palestine and the Palestinians for 2,000 years. What a gift the Rosetta Stone was to archaeology and history.”
    I admit I have misinterpreted this as I understood it to suggest that the Stone mentioned Palestinians. Regardless there are no hieroglyphics of Palestinians.
    You referenced the book “The Story of Egypt by JoAnn Fletcher”. While I have only read what is available through google, I can not see any reference to Palestinians as a people/nation either in hieroglyphics or not. Rather she uses Palestine and Palestinians as general geographical terms which is the traditional English usage.
    According to Britannica, Pales was a god even during the Roman monarchy, long before the Romans had an empire to pick up gods. I can find see no evidence of a connection to Palestine. Regardless, the origin of the name Palestine is uncertain. This is a theory among theories.

    There has never been Ukrainian aggression against Russia, this is madness.

  • Sindri says:

    Rosross, that would be Scott Ritter, the repeat child sex offender and jailbird?

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