QED

Have We Ever seen a War Like This One?

AP News flash, April 27, 2036: The longstanding president of the Independent Republic of Western Australia (IRWA), Mark McGowan, has announced his government’s intention to sign a security pact with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Western Australia (WA) became an independent nation in 2026 after a plebiscite of Western Australians in 2025 overwhelmingly favoured separation.

Aging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, now in his sixth term in alliance with green independents, has strongly condemned the announcement and signalled his intention to move all 4,672 of the Australian Defence Force’s combat troops to the border, preparatory to an invasion.

McGowan has described Albanese as a thug and bullyboy and has urgently requested arms and help from NATO countries. “If he’s allowed to take WA,” McGowan said (pictured above in military fatigues), “will Madagascar be next?”

OK, an unlikely scenario. But you can imagine similar situations arising in other parts of the world. Hello, there is one happening now in Eastern Europe. This is not to compare Saint Zelensky with McGowan or Putin the Terrible with Albanese. Nor Ukraine with WA. The objective is simply to plead for less hypocrisy and just an ounce of objectivity.

Support Ukraine all you like, fly its flag from your window; that’s all fine. But, at the same time, keep your wits. I saw Andrew Bolt the other night again interviewing Jack Keane, his favourite retired US four-star general. Both madly agreed Russia has to be pummelled into ignominious defeat. According to Keane so that Russia will be incapable of foreign military adventures for some years to come. Choose your retired military man.

Saw Tucker Carlson interviewing retired US colonel Doug Macgregor a few days ago. A quite different take. Russia was inevitably on its way to winning territory in the east and south and the supply of weapons to Ukrainian forces would only extend the conflict and cost lives.

Not for the first time in my life, I don’t know exactly where I stand. However, I do think that wars need an end game. Those in charge of sending armies into battle or supplying armies with weapons need to explain the end game and how it will be sustainable. The end game in WWII was the utter defeat and unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. Achieved. And the end game in Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, any claim that it was to produce peaceful pluralistic democratic societies, would surely have been laughed out of court. Best to keep mum. Fight for years on end, lose life and treasure, without purpose.

Those, like most commentators and, say, the gung-ho British foreign secretary Liz Truss, who see the end game as Russia being utterly defeated, should explain what that would look like and how it would bring any lasting peace. One hundred and forty-six million Russians is some chicken neck to wring.

At question, to complicate the situation, is whether the situation in Ukraine is unparalleled. The outcome of an unparalleled situation, is perforce extremely difficult to predict. What we have is a regular army (plus militia), fighting on its own territory with an inexhaustible supply of high-tech weapons and ammunitions. Supplied across a long land border by NATO countries.

Joe Biden on April 21 announced a further delivery of US$800 million worth of weapons, bringing the total from the US to $3.4 billion. Among other items, he mentioned heavy artillery, armoured personnel carriers, dozens of howitzers with 134,000 rounds of ammunition, tank-killer Javelin missiles and tactical drones. He mentioned the facilitation of supplies of anti-aircraft weapons from other NATO countries. Reportedly, fighter planes have been delivered. And so on it goes, seemingly with no end in sight.

Zelensky donned his green military T-shirt and went public the other day with a long and specifically-detailed list of high-tech weapons he wants. I reckon little old wine drinker me could hold out indefinitely against a gang of street toughs armed with a few of these. Churchill nailed it in The River War (1899).

Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science … the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Science, in the case of war, is sophisticated armaments. They can make up for numbers and fearfulness.

As a further complication. Ukraine isn’t Japan in August 1945 and Putin isn’t Truman. To save the lives of tens of thousands of American troops, Truman was prepared to kill many tens of thousands of Japanese civilians, men, women and children. So far as we know (given the lies and fog of war) the last remaining Ukrainian troops in Mariupol are bunkered down in the Azovstal steel plant together with, according to reports, tens of thousands of civilians.

Reportedly, reliably or not, Russia intends to encircle the plant and wait out those within, rather than go in and undoubtedly lose lots of Russian lives. Why with so many civilian lives at stake don’t the Ukrainian troops surrender? Maybe, they doubt the reach of the Geneva convention. Another complication.

There is clearly a brutal third option open to the Russians of saturation bombing of the steel plant. Yes, I know, Russian troops have been accused of barbarism; but is Putin nonetheless constrained in undertaking such a visible and large-scale barbaric action? I don’t know. If he is, it is yet another factor which will prolong the war. How many more years would it have taken for America to secure victory over Japan?

To conclude. I’m no war historian. So, to repeat the question, has there ever been a war like this? A war waged by proxy by so many rich nations, with stores full of high-tech weaponry. Ukrainians, like gladiators in the Colosseum, facing an endless stream of wild animals. Spectators above, safe as houses, throwing them down a constant supply of fresh weapons; while willing them on to the last man standing.

Where will it end up? More pointedly, as weapons’ suppliers, where do Biden, Johnson, Macron, Morrison, et al, envisage it ending? Russia defeated and repentant? Seems as unlikely as a democratic Afghanistan. A negotiated compromise might be possible over coming months. But what if the war, fuelled by weaponry without limit, goes on and on for years? What then?

63 comments
  • alandungey

    Why do you suggest that the suppliers of weapons to Ukraine should envisage how the conflict will end? Isn’t it for Ukraine, its government and its people, to determine how long and to what extent they are able to continue to resist their neighbour’s aggression? It seems to me that it’s entirely in Australia’s interests to uphold the international order by supplying Ukraine with such weapons as may assist them.

  • Peter OBrien

    The aim is not to defeat Russia, but to defeat Putin.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    I agree with Peter O’Brien – Putin is the target, not the wider Russian populace. The situation on the ground results from numerically superior 20th century Russian forces facing well equipped 21st century Ukrainian forces. Asymmetric warfare of this kind does not usually end quickly.
    .
    For clarity the end of WWII was not about a few tens of thousands of casualties. Around 200,000 were killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. To put this in context, this is roughly equivalent in numbers to the Rape of Nanking perpetrated by the Japanese in China in 1936/37. Chinese casualties for all of WWII were around 3 million military deaths and over 7 million civilian deaths.
    .
    In 1945, following the occupation of Okinawa, the initial American plan to invade southern Kyushu (Operation Olympic) included casualty estimates of around 200,000 US troops, however when it was discovered that the Japanese had moved four veteran divisions from the Kwantung Army in Manchuria back to Japan in March 1945 and 45 new divisions were activated between February and May 1945, US Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson commissioned an updated analysis. This estimated between 1.7 and 4 million US casualties, of whom between 400,000 and 800,000 would be dead, while Japanese fatalities would have been around 5 to 10 million. The Vice Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi, predicted up to 20 million Japanese deaths. Given the US estimates it was inevitable that Truman would choose the Bomb and in doing so saved large numbers of US and Japanese lives.

  • 1735099

    “So, to repeat the question, has there ever been a war like this? A war waged by proxy by so many rich nations, with stores full of high-tech weaponry.”

    Yes.

    The war that the Vietnamese called “The American War” fits your definition as a war waged by proxy (as was often the case during the Cold War) by a number of nations (a few of them rich like the USA and Australia) in which high-tech weaponry was in use against, in the early stages at least, armed guerrillas fighting on their own soil.
    Its duration, the outcome, and perhaps, unfortunately the suffering, is likely to be similar.

  • Botswana O’Hooligan

    The USA is having a de facto war with Russia by either supplying munitions and equipment to the Ukraine or having other countries doing that as we have done with Bushmasters and probably other stuff we peasants don’t know about. Now, if many countries are supplying arms and munitions to the Ukraine for use against Russian forces, blokes down at the pub would opine that it is a World War and they wouldn’t be far wrong. President Putin is no fool and he said that he would retaliate and he will just as he said repeatedly in the years leading up to this disaster “don’t poke the Russian Bear.” Remember that nice President Biden blaming Russia for inflation and rising costs brought about by the Democrat form of government in the USA, remember too Europe blaming Russia because of their energy shortage brought about by their very own green madness. Russia probably won’t lose this disaster, they are rarely beaten in war if ever, but the loss of life and infrastructure in the Ukraine plus the loss of military personnel on both sides is a disaster. The USA of course will remain unscathed as always. Black hats/ White hats, situation normal. The real deal would be to supply humanitarian aid, not munitions.

  • 27hugo27

    Why must it be our fight? Europe and Germany in particular, NATO slackers who allowed this to build up in their own back yard becoming dependent on Russian oil/gas and who loath the US should get to work. Can anyone tell the difference between a Russian and a Ukrainian? I couldn’t but know they both have brutal mafias there and in the west, drink a litre of vodka per day, and are prone to brooding. We have enough problems in the west to fix and the worst collection of leaders in history, each one a Chamberlain. Biden needs the war to distract from his complete incompetence and malfeasance and Putin is the scorpion to Europe’s frog – they knew in advance his intentions yet still had head in sand.

  • Peter Smith

    A few comment again indicate that this war has robbed people of their wits.
    It’s a war against Putin, OBrien and Mackenzie aver. Tell that to the Russian and Ukrainian troops. Yes, I suppose, it was a war against Hitler, Tojo, Ho Chi Minh etc,, etc. If Putin were dead or deposed the Russian hierachy would be compliant is the theory, so far as I can grasp it. Make no mistake this war involves Ukraine and Russia and NATO by proxy.
    1735099 suggests that there have been wars by proxy like this by citing the Veitnam war. America lost 50,000 troops in Vietnam – some proxy effort.
    Alandungey suggests it’s only for Ukraine to envisage how the conflict will end. Really? Supplying and supplying billions of dollar’s worth of high tech weapons, training Ukrainian troops, massively sanctioning Russia doesn’t make you a player? What planet is this?

  • Claude James

    The incomprehension among Australians that Australian prosperity and economic security are heavily dependent on the well-functioning of Europe and ignorance about the factors that underpin European well-functioning are, erm, two of the reasons that Australia is rightly known all over the world as The Dummy Country.

  • Claude James

    Note to idealists:
    Please consider that the defeat of Putin requires the defeat of Russia/the Russians.
    Wanting to be nice is not a winning strategy when dealing with certain kinds of threats and dangers.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Peter Smith, if you’re looking for analogies then it is perhaps useful to consider the two types of proxy wars we’ve seen since the end of WWII, when nuclear weapons changed the calculus of war. The first is a conflict in which the opposing sides are supported and supplied by the two (then) superpowers, but US and Russian forces do not take any active military role. There have been many of these in the last 75 years (French Indochina, Malaya, Arab-Israeli, Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Yugoslavia etc.).
    The second is a conflict in which the armed forces of one of the superpowers take part, while the other superpower supports and supplies their opponents but does not take an active military role. Ukraine is such a conflict, and 1735099 is correct to cite Vietnam as another. Korea and Afghanistan I and II, the Gulf War, Iraq and Crimea are the other obvious examples. In all of these conflicts there has been a concern that Russian and US forces should not engage each other due to the possibility of escalation towards nuclear war. President Biden is following in the footsteps of Stalin, Brezhnev, Reagan, Putin (Afghan II) and Obama in declining to go beyond support and supply. The only time I’m aware that US and Russian forces did engage was during the Korean War, when Russian pilots secretly flew combat missions, but only over North Korean held territory to prevent the capture of downed aircrew and thereby keep the secret.
    If you are looking for an analogy of the likely endgame in Ukraine, then the outcome of the Korean War is probably closest – a divided country with ongoing hostility across the ceasefire line. The only real questions are where the line will be drawn, and how soon.

  • Sindri

    First, the scenario that opens this piece is, forgive me, absurd. If ever WA seeks to secede, it will be the result of a free choice by the people of that state after properly conducted plebiscites. It is inconceivable that there would be any kind of civil war over the issue, and ludicrous to think that the people of WA would sign a security pact with China. To suggest that there is “hypocrisy” or a lack of “objectivity” in the western position on Ukraine by postulating a ridiculously improbable scenario – “what if WA signed a security pact with China” – is meaningless. There is, in addition, no moral or strategic parallel between Peter’s scenario and what is presently happening in Ukraine
    Secondly, that some western countries are supplying Ukraine with arms in consequence of Russia’s invasion does not mean that those countries are fighting a “proxy war”. A bit of precision in terminolgy would be helpful. “Proxy war” implies that the dispute has been engineered by those countries for the purpose of making war on Russia. Some regulars on this site subscribe to that theory; but you only have to state the proposition to appreciate how ridiculous it is.
    Thirdly, what is it that Peter thinks ought to happen? Ukraine has made it quite clear that it is prepared to negotiate on the basis of a concession of neutrality; understandably, it wants proper security guarantees. Putin has no interest in that. What he wants is Ukraine to be under Russia’s control. He is not prepared to negotiate on the basis of Ukrainian neutrality; that’s never been his aim. The idea that the invasion is driven by a fear of NATO is transparently false. Read Putin’s rambling 5000 word essay on the subject for a start (probably written by Alexandr Dugin or some other nationalist, quasi-spiritual crackpot). Putin has no fear of NATO; he wouldn’t have invaded if he did.
    Fourthly, implicit in Peter’s comments is this lingering notion that Putin is not such a bad chap who has a legitimate grievance, and that Zelensky is some kind of charlatan. “Saint Zelensky”, “Putin the terrible”. I don’t know where “Saint Zelensky” comes from; it’s not a description I’ve ever seen applied by any thoughtful commentator. Zelensky happened to be the incumbent President of Ukraine at a time when it became the object of an unjustified and particularly brutal attack. He’s doing a pretty good job of it. Unlike Peter, who sleeps safe and sound, Zelensky is a target for assassination. As for Putin, he’s a murderer and a kleptocrat who has turned Russia into a mafia state. He has launched a brutal war on his neighbour, destroying cities, towns, infrastructure and economic life, killing tens of thousands and immiserating millions.
    In what respect does stating those unarguable facts involve “hypocrisy” or a “lack of objectivity”?

  • pgang

    You may be right Peter, and quite perceptive. This is perhaps unique to the meaningless existence of the Enlightened west. This whole new way of ‘doing war’, by providing weapons rather than boots with feet in them, is really quite evil when you think about. You go and kill each other and we’ll hope for the outcome that suits us best. Everything about this conflict has brought shame on the west, including the pathetic propaganda that exists only to cover our shame.

  • john.singer

    I felt much like Winston Smith watching the war on the big screen, afraid to flinch and thinking of the chocolate ration.

  • John Michelmore

    Maybe this article is independent than most. A good read.
    https://www.thepostil.com/the-military-situation-in-the-ukraine/

  • Occidental

    “Have we ever seen a war like this one” Atleast since what is described as the American War of Independence, every war has the elements of war by proxy. The US supplied the USSR with vast amounts (690 billion in todays money) of practically free hardware for months before war existed between it and Germany. Vietnam and Afghanistan are just two recent examples.
    WWII never had an endgame in Europe, as the war (atleast from the german perspective) was as much about the the soviet threat, as it was about Axis aggression. The nuclear bombing of Japan also was as much about shoreing up Europes defence against the Soviets as it was about ending the war in the Pacific theatre.
    But really Peter, the question has already been asked, what would you have Ukraine do? Roll over, submit to its dismemberement, as a sort of fait acompli, to two hundred years of Russification (mostly by force) of its country. And if it chooses to fight, as it has, what do you expect its immediate neighbours (Poland, Moldova, Romania) to do. They have all felt the deprivations and cruelty of Russian invasions in the past. Once Poland decides to help what is Western Europe to do? As we have all said, war must be avoided between Russia and Europe. But at the same time if the west does not support the victim (and any other description of Ukraine is risible), how long before numerous small states acquire nuclear weapons. Think about it, South Africa with a functional population of about 4 million whites developed its own nuclear weapons. What prevents South Korea, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Burma,- the list goes on, from acquiring nuclear weapons. The answer is an implicit guarantee that the world (really the west) will protect them from invasion. If the west allows Russia to succeed, every small and medium size country on earth which has any security concerns will take note, and take steps to acquire nuclear arms. That is a disastrous outcome. The world needs to find a way to stop large countries (including the US) invading smaller countries. If the west can, without fighting, thoroughly defeat Russia’s aggression through assistance with weapons, and economic decouplement, then that is a wonderful outcome. It shows other potential aggressors like China what the west is capable of.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    Peter Smith, if you’re looking for analogies then it is perhaps useful to consider the two types of proxy wars we’ve seen since the end of WWII, when nuclear weapons changed the calculus of war. The first is a conflict in which the opposing sides are supported and supplied by the two (then) superpowers, but US and Russian forces do not take any active military role. There have been many of these in the last 75 years (French Indochina, Malaya, Arab-Israeli, Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Yugoslavia etc.).
    The second is a conflict in which the armed forces of one of the superpowers take part, while the other superpower supports and supplies their opponents but does not take an active military role. Ukraine is such a conflict, and 1735099 is correct to cite Vietnam as another. Korea and Afghanistan I and II, the Gulf War, Iraq and Crimea are other obvious examples. In all of these conflicts there has been a concern that Russian and US forces should not engage each other due to the possibility of escalation towards nuclear war. President Biden is following in the footsteps of Stalin, Brezhnev, Reagan, Putin (Afghan II) and Obama in declining to go beyond support and supply. The only time I’m aware that US and Russian forces did engage was during the Korean War, when Russian pilots secretly flew combat missions, but only over North Korean held territory to prevent the capture of downed aircrew and thereby keep the secret.
    If you are looking for an analogy of the likely endgame in Ukraine, then the outcome of the Korean War is probably closest – a divided country with ongoing hostility across the ceasefire line. The only real questions are where the line will be drawn, and how soon.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    Occidental
    ‘But really Peter, the question has already been asked, what would you have Ukraine do? Roll over, submit to its dismemberment’
    A colleague from Transylvania when the border briefly opened despite Russian control, came to Australia.
    I asked him ‘Why Australia’/
    His answer was that he looked at a globe of the Earth and found the place as far away from the Russians he could find.
    He was not prepared to run anymore.
    But for Ukraine, there is no soft option, fight and be possibly annihilated, surrender and end up in the Gulag with subjugation.
    Ukraine as an entity cannot run.

  • Brian Boru

    Occidental says, “If the west can, without fighting, thoroughly defeat Russia’s aggression through assistance with weapons, and economic decouplement, then that is a wonderful outcome. It shows other potential aggressors like China what the west is capable of.”
    .
    I agree. The alternative to that is to meekly accept Russian and Chinese hegemony which will result in a modern form of slavery.
    .
    Peter’s article whilst seemingly absurdly far fetched has drawn out that ultimate question.

  • rosross

    One thing is certain, no-one really knows what is going on. Everyone always lies in war and we live in an age of Lies as Covid has demonstrated.

    If the political analysts, the world’s best, including American, are correct and Putin is smart, patient, tactical and strategic, then, we can assume, whatever plan he has is one which is workable. Common sense would say that the Russians would avoid Kiev, they do not need it, and would seek to take Eastern Ukraine, which is ethnically Russian anyway, to push the Ukrainian border further to the West, where, what remains is less of an issue if it does join Nato. Landlocking Ukraine would also be in the plan.

    There is little doubt that Russia, which is more than Putin – Sergei Lavrov is exceptional for instance – has been planning this carefully since the CIA-backed coup in 2014 which toppled the pro-Russian democratically elected President. At that point, the writing was clearly on the wall and no doubt Putin realised that Russia was going to have to do what it had been saying for decades it would do, if the US/Nato creep toward its border with Ukraine continued.

    Sure, the Russians may get it wrong, for, as some general said, ‘the plan goes out the window when the first shot is fired,’ but, given what is at stake, it would be sensible to assume that the Russians have thought this through as much as is humanly possible. It is difficult to believe, they are not aware of the risks they run, nor perhaps, of what gains can be made in global power dynamics.

    If it is true that all of it has been an American ploy to drag Russia into an unwinnable and destructive war in order to weaken Russia and preferably topple Putin, then it will be a test of who is smarter (and luckier) – the Russians or the Americans. Since the latter have not demonstrated great intelligence in recent decades, there is a good chance Russia will win this game, as we see possibly indicated through the recent ‘dance of the Rouble.’

    As to the question, has there ever been a war like this? The answer is yes, of course, all wars are like this. Big powers play games with the lives of those who are weaker. It has ever been thus. Usually wars are years in the making, as has been this one, with opportunities not taken to avoid war.

    One could argue in the modern technological age it is easier to disseminate propaganda, but, it is also easier to counter propaganda as we quickly see with some of the sillier stories to come out of Ukraine.

    What do we know? Ukraine is totally corrupt, undemocratic and highly fascist. Zelensky is a ‘tool’ of some Ukrainian oligarch who is no doubt a ‘tool’ of someone else. The Ukrainians, or their ‘minders’ desperately want the West to step into the fray and set off World War Three.

    The Russians are doing nothing the Americans would not do if the Mexicans or Canadians entered into a military alliance with China, and indeed have demonstrated they would do with Bay of Pigs. The Russians know their security and their nation is at stake. That makes them highly motivated.

    The Americans are playing yet more of their ‘rule the world’ mind games which generally end in disaster for millions of other humans but might, this time, also end in disaster for Americans.

    The Chinese are watching it all and making careful notes of the efficacy, or lack thereof, of Western military machinery.

    Just like any other war really, sourced in arrogance, ignorance, incompetence, greed, opportunism, power, profit and game-playing on the part of all involved. It is really a matter of which ‘side’ has better weighed up the risks. And what the Fates have in play. Ever thus.

  • rosross

    @ Lewis P Buckingham

    You said: the question has already been asked, what would you have Ukraine do? Roll over, submit to its dismemberment’

    At this point yes. But the real question for Ukraine was: Why not listen to Russian concerns, valid concerns of your more powerful neighbour, and desist from ‘walking down the garden path’ with US/Nato, who will ‘fight to the last Ukrainian?’

    If Ukraine had abided by the Minsk agreement and taken the same approach Canada and Mexico take to their more powerful neighbour, with whom they share a border, then this war would not have happened.

    The truly interesting question is: Why did Ukraine choose to walk down a path to its own doom, as part of US/Nato aggression toward Russia?

    As it was, the Russians gave Ukraine every chance to change tactics before they invaded. What, who, or why was at work to take Ukraine into a war which was not necessary?

  • rosross

    @John Michelmore,

    The Postil article is interesting but so inconvenient to those who just want to hate Putin, hate Russia and who remain unaware that the Soviet Union fell in 1991 and Russia is not Communist. Neither is China really, which, while a tyranny, is more capitalistic than most.

    There is some very interesting material on ‘alternative’ media, of which Postil is a part, from diplomats, global analysts, military experts etc., which explains the Russia/Ukraine situation in ways most media does not. Mises Institute is another good source of informed and sensible material.

    But, when it comes to war and ‘firing’ up the public – fodder – facts are just so untidy and should never be allowed to get in the way of propaganda.

    It is just so hard to hate people when you gain an understanding of why they are doing what they are doing.

  • Peter Smith

    A couple of comments. My WA tongue-in- cheek hypothetical is absurd, Sindri is right about that. But when Khrushchev gave away Crimea (part of Russia since 1783) to Ukraine (the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) in 1954 he might have thought it absurd to think that Ukraine would ever want to form a pact with NATO. And Sindri, playing with words is beside the point I think, this is most definitely a proxy war, even if it didn’t start that way. And “Saint Zelensky,” well, among other adulations, he’s been referred to as today’s Churchill. My goodness.

    On the general comment about what then is Ukraine to do. Ukraine should make up its own mind about that. Right now it’s fighting bravely and enlisting as much support as possible, even at the risk of widening the war. Perfectly rationale to try to draw the NATO countries into the fight. My point was not at all to do with what Ukraine should do but to do with NATO countries being clear eyed about the result they wanted to bring about in supporting Ukraine. One view I read was that Russia should be vanquished from all of Ukraine including Crimea. Is that feasible? I doubt it. What is doable that will bring lasting peace?We can’t afford to let Putin win anything, I’ve heard from armchair warriors. At any cost? Finally, no I don’t think Putin is a good guy. But we must face facts. Putin or no Putin, Russia is not going away and it has legitimate security concerns about the encroachment of NATO.

  • rosross

    @Peter Smith,

    Of course Putin is not the ‘good guy’ because there are no good guys. However, The Russians have good reason after decades of protesting, warning, pleading for the US/Nato creep to NOT include Ukraine, to act as they have done.

    Who has the right to say, let alone ever achieve, ‘we can’t afford to let Putin win anything?’ It is not about winning or losing but about Russia defending its borders and taking actions which, hopefully, are not greatly destructive to Russia.

    To personalise this war as Putinesque is a distraction from the real causes of this war, and without understanding those, there is no chance of preventing or limiting wars in the future.

    The Russians have done what the Americans have done and the Americans have set the precedent. If the US can invade countries far from its borders, in the name of security, then Russia has every right to defend its security by seeking to cripple Ukraine. If Israel, a State which has never defined its borders, and, as it stands, could only defend in a court of law, the UN Mandated borders, can occupy all of Palestine, a slab of Syria – the Golan Heights – and bits of Lebanon, in the name of security then Russia in fact has every right to take and hold all of Ukraine. And the Ukrainians, if the same principles were applied, would be deemed terrorists for resisting, as are the Palestinians. We betray principles at our peril.

    The problem with rejecting basic principles as the US has done consistently, and aiding, arming, backing and abetting others to do it as well, as the US has done consistently, is that there is no reason then why others would not or should not do the same thing.

    Russia’s concerns are legitimate and have been for decades. Noted political analysts, including John Mearsheimer have attested to that for more than a decade. In fact, the Russians/Putin have been extremely patient and accepting of the neverending US/Nato creep in other countries on its border. Ukraine they have always said, would simply never be allowed to join Nato. At least in its current State.

    It is horrifyingly easy to drag people into war with the invention of a demon, Putin, and the exploitation of total political and historical ignorance in regard to Russia, Ukraine and US/Nato aggression.

    The first casualty of war is not truth but reason because wars never happen without years, if not decades of lies laid deep as a foundation for war. Then stupidity can walk very easily across that platform of death and destruction.

  • rosross

    @ Sindri,

    You said: Ukraine has made it quite clear that it is prepared to negotiate on the basis of a concession of neutrality.

    And the proof for that claim is where? The corruption in Ukraine has been long known, and it is patently clear that no-one tells the truth in war and certainly not Ukraine.

    There is evidence that the Russians requested neutrality as a condition for not invading and Ukraine rejected it. And they have made the offer since, and again been rejected.

    Someone is making a lot of money out of this war and that would include Zelensky, his minders and their minders etc.

    If Ukraine had not gotten into bed with US/Nato aggression, but had instead remained neutral and independent, this war would not have happened. As more than one noted political analyst has suggested.

    You make a lot of claims about Putin which do not fit with what experts in the fields attest. There are many claims about what Putin wants, plans etc., and zero evidence.

    We do know, because it is a matter of historical record, what Putin thought and said about the US/Nato creep and Ukraine’s collusion in that process. We also know what he said would happen if that creep did not stop. And that is what has happened.

    The rest is mere conjecture. If Putin is as smart as many political analysts believe, the logical thing is to move the Ukraine border toward the West by taking Eastern, ethnically Russian Ukraine, and maintaining them as independent but neutral States. There is no need to take Kiev, but securing Crimea is important and if possible, teaching the Ukrainians a lesson by land-locking them. However, that is also conjecture on my part as your claims are on yours.

    We simply do not know and demonising Putin is a waste of time, effort and intelligence. Like it or not, while one may condemn anyone who wages war (but we don’t of course as the Americans know, we are agreeably selective on the issue) the historical facts make it very clear that in terms of national security, Putin has both justice and reason on his side. As unpalatable as that fact may be for those who paint in broad Putinesque strokes, it is a reality which must be accepted.

    Putin is a popular figure in Russia and the Russians like strong leaders, totally mistrust the West, and have heard for nearly a decade about the carnage the Ukrainians have been inflicting on Russian-speakers. And if Russia has played the Rouble game as carefully as it seems to have done, it will be Europe and the West which loses the most economically and not Russia.

  • pgang

    All very weird. The simple fact is that we have no stomach for this war that we could have easily prevented. And why would we, given that we have much larger problems of our own making to deal with.
    Providing weapons to extend the conflict is just a means of buying time, with that bought time hopefully exonerating us from any failure-guilt, genuine action or decision making. We have no strategy, and no concept of any outcome. Getting rid of Putin is the strategy? Whatever.
    The provision of weapons as the last word is a diplomatic joke, both strategically and morally. If we were serious about Ukraine (and we’re not, we only care about saving face in the midst of our cultural destitution), we would possibly aid Ukraine militarily AND bring the protagonists to the table AND force and enforce a cease fire. But we’ve done none of that, so we are a joke.
    The message to our enemies Occidental – to China, Iran, N Korea, Russia is that we are morally feeble and we don’t mean anything we say.

  • rosross

    @pgang,

    Well said and the reality is the Americans created and are driving this war with the hope that it will destroy Russia and thereby remove a potential Chinese ally. It never occurred to them that, bringing Russia into the European fold, as some mooted after the fall of the Soviet Union, would be a vastly more sensible approach.

    But the Americans are bent on their hegemonic control of the planet and will destroy anyone and anything if they think they can achieve it.

  • Occidental

    Peter, no one with any sense is talking about dismembering Russia, or seriously trying to take back crimea. It simply can not be done. To be fair the people of Crimea appeared overwhelmingly in favour of Russia’s annexation of that territory, and it’s history would seem to support it being part of Russia. The Donbas apparently is more like Kosovo, where centuries of migration, sometimes forced, has been used by Russia to russify that part of Ukraine. Apparently books were written on the subject more than two hundred years ago. But the reality of the populations present resistance to the invasion shows that ethnically Russian or not, they dont want Moscow to rule them. Their resistance is the best argument against Russian actions. The problem with your reading of this war is that you are lumping it in with every other war in the past. It is almost unique. Pricipally because it is an invasion of a democratic country where the leadership and their policies have the support of the majority of the population. That is a big distinction to just about every other war in history, save Germanys invasion of western Europe in WWII. Russia is not attacking a junta or the rulers of say Afghanistan, but a nation of people. The US could get away with its actions in Iraq, and Afghanistan to some extent, by claiming regime change and democratising those places, but Russia can not get away with that argument. I will further suggest that this war will be disproportianately significant to world order, no matter the outcome. Even if Russia retreats with its tail between its legs like the US in Vietnam, the outcome will be much more significant than Vietnam. This war even more than WWII is a battle of culture and ideals. The general view is that from the moment of the maidan uprising, the Ukraine people turned to the west and its culture, not just out of fear but also out of hope. The west can not turn away now, even from a hot war, – if Putins gamble succeeds all bets are off on world order. My real hope is that the people of Russia, do what the people of Ukraine did, and reject the kleptocrats and generals and kgb apparatchiks, and begin down the road of real democracy and the rule of law, if only because the whole world will benefit.

  • Occidental

    Peter, there was one comment you made which I forgot to deal with- “it has legitimate security concerns about the encroachment of NATO”
    Really? On what basis? That US troops in Ukraine will launch a war against Russia in Crimea? Lets be serious here, Russia has no legitimate security concerns. No country with a nuclear arsenal of any size, let alone that possesed by Russia, has legitimate security concerns. It may have political concerns, about its failing or shrinking hegemony, but not security concerns.

  • Peter Smith

    Occidental, on the matter of “security concerns about the encroachment of NATO,” I think you’re looking at it too much from a western viewpoint. We are the good guys and Russians must know that. I don’t think they do. For instance, their takeover of Crimea has not been recognised. Suppose Ukraine were to join NATO. What position would NATO take if Ukraine demanded the return of Crimea; moved troops in position to retake territory, and were repulsed by Russian troops. Article 5?

  • Sindri

    Occidental, thanks for your penetrating and clearly-expressed observations above.
    There’s one matter, however, that I’m not convinced about:
    “To be fair the people of Crimea appeared overwhelmingly in favour of Russia’s annexation of that territory, and it’s history would seem to support it being part of Russia”
    This was the result of a plebiscite conducted by Putin’s occupying regime. Enough said. You may be right, but Russian backed parties, even in the east of Ukraine, have never commanded majority support in elections that have been ticked as fair by international observers. And as to its history, the fact is unalterable that Crimea was invaded and is being occupied, after Russia agreed to respect its borders. So I will suspend judgment on the idea that the majority people of Crimea want to be part of Putin’s Russia, rather than have the prospect of a more prosperous western European future.
    PS I see that someone has trotted out the Postil article by Mr Jacques Baud again, the man who variously makes the grotesque claims that 40% of Ukraine’s army was made up of foreign mercenaries (and whose hyperlink to that claim says no such thing); who says that the Skripals may well have suffered from food poisoning, and in any event there’s no real evidence that Russia was involved; who attempts to justify the hijacking of the Ryanair flight by Belarus; and who says that Roman Protasevich is perfectly OK because you can speak to him on Twitter. And we’re supposed to swallow whole his assertions about the causes of this war.

  • Occidental

    Peter, that is my point, there is article 5, a lovely group of words on a page, and there is 6000 nuclear warheads in Russian silos. I seriously don’t think the Russians could give a hoot about NATO and why would they. If Russia invaded Poland tomorrow, you watch NATO find a reason not to invoke article 5, or if they did, they would never go onto Russian territory. Russia knows its borders are inviolate, as are the borders of every nuclear armed state.

  • Sindri

    Peter, we’ll have to agree to differ on the issue of Putin’s supposed “legitimate security concerns”. I would be grateful to see any credible, objective evidence that he has any. He thinks NATO and the west are a bunch of pantywaists, something that encouraged him, in his vanity and folly, to invade in the first place. Putin, of all people, doesn’t believe that NATO wants to invade Russia, but he’s made it crystal clear over the years that he is contemptuous of the notion that Ukraine has any right to exist as an independent state.

  • Jack Brown

    In 2019 the RAND Corporation published a strategy doctrine of “Extending Russia” on the internet and with interviews on YouTube to answer a question from the US military as to how to impose costs on Russia. The strategy is to stoke the fears and anxieties of the leadership so as to provoke a reaction by them to overreach and thereby expose their vulnerability to informational (propaganda) and economic (sanctions) measures to degrade Russia’s international reputation and choke off its foreign revenue. The report denoted a number of theatres which were not vital to the US but where to Russia yet where the US had a comparative operational advantage over Russia and the very first theatre so identified was Ukraine. The war is between the US and Russia being conducted in several spaces but as to the geographical it is Ukraine being used by the US a bait to tempt the bear (by poking and prodding its fears and anxieties) but it is just a sacrificial pawn.

    Over recent week the Australian government has joined in sanctions and the imposition of ‘the highest costs’ on Russia and Russians citing its aberrant behaviours in Ukraine whereby it seeks to unilaterally rearrange borders in The Borderlands. This is not a logical statement seeing as the desire to impose costs on Russia has been documented in 2019 and the war engineered so as to give a rationale for this action. ScoMo et al should be honest and say the government is imposing costs on Russia because Secretary Blinken ordered them to do so when he visited Australia a week before, according to Joe Biden, the conflict was set to materialise as war.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    A number of contributors here seem to think that there is an equivalence between Putin and Zelenskyy or that NATO is responsible for the war for encouraging Ukraine to join. The fact is that Putin is waging aggressive war in violation of international law. Zelenskyy is defending his homeland. Under NATO’s charter, countries with border disputes cannot be admitted. Ukraine is in dispute with the Russian Federation over Crimea and does therefore not qualify for membership of NATO.
    Many have commented on the similarities of the current situation with Czechoslovakia in 1938. The similarities are striking – an ethnic minority in a smaller country being used to justify aggression by a larger neighbour. However, the differences are also telling. In 1938 Hitler didn’t invade Czechoslovakia. Unlike Putin, he called a conference. If Putin genuinely believed that those in the Donbas were being mistreated, he also had the option of mediation. Instead, he chose war.
    Also different, in 1938 at the conference in Munich the western allies sold out the Czechs and gifted Hitler the Sudetenland. In the case of Ukraine the western allies have not recognised any Russian gains, have imposed some of the strongest sanctions ever, and have provided Ukraine with every available assistance short of troops. Hitler got everything he wanted. Putin has not, and that’s the most important difference, as Hitler was encouraged to double down and invade Poland. Putin has just received an object lesson in what would happen if he did the same.

  • Jack Brown

    Congress has passed a bill authorizing the President to supply military equipment to one of the belligerents Ukraine. Seeing as the President requested the bill to be prepared for his signature it is almost certain that he will sign it. At that point the US will in effect be in a state of war with Russia by virtue of Congress being vested with the powers to declare war. At this stage it will be equivalent to the Phony War period but chances are it will not remain so and a Lusitania situation will arise.

  • Jack Brown

    For ease of access to the Extending Russia material here are the links.

    The RAND Corporation Youtube channel has a brief summary at https://youtu.be/XbAJwyIThMs wherein a RAND spokesman opens with the statement that “The Defense Department asked us to look at how can we impose costs on Russia” in areas where it would cost Russia more than any costs incurred by the US. Another says they looked at Russia’s vulnerabilities (its heavy dependence on oil and gas exports subject to sanctions) and anxieties (regime change, color revolutions etc)

    The lead author provides more detail in a video https://youtu.be/nJdbAUJIcGY on the Defense & Aerospace Report channel wherein at the 5min mark he explicitly refers to Ukraine as a field wherein the US has a comparative advantage over Russia combined with the US not seeing Ukraine as important to itself whereas Russia does and mentions supply of weapons to Ukraine as being something that will stress the Russian leadership.

    A synopsis of the report is published at https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/AD1086696 wherein is a direct link https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1086696.pdf to the strategy paper noting these links point to a Department of Defense site.

  • pgang

    Ian Mackenzie you over simplify the position that is contrary to your own. I doubt that many people would suggest that Russia (as a nation, if you please) is not at fault in this invasion, or that Putin is not a nasty and disruptive oligarch. But that does not diminish the failings of NATO or the USA over the past couple of decades. If anything those failures are magnified because the problems should have been blindingly obvious. This far-too-late response-without-strategy reeks of that failure, and is a reflection of the navel gazing narcissism that has come to symbolise our western culture. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and this war is the pointy end of the minds of nations.
    As for Zelensky, he doesn’t get a free kick either. To not understand Russia’s likely reaction to his politics, nor the inevitable non-response from NATO, was thoroughly inept. And let’s be honest. He is probably an oligarch too, with his own interests superseding those of Ukraine.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    pgang, it really is that simple. Putin is a war criminal. Zelenskyy is not.
    NATO has done nothing contrary to international law. It has accepted applicant nations in accordance with its charter, as it is entitled to do. The wisdom of that is debatable, but it has done nothing illegal. Russia has.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    For those who may be unaware, the crime of aggression—plotting and waging aggressive war, has been recognised as a war crime since the Nuremberg trials in 1946. The crime of aggression was developed and proposed by Russian jurist Aron Trainin during WWII. Russian judges sat on the panel which convicted Nazis of this crime.

  • Sindri

    Pgang: “And let’s be honest. He is probably an oligarch too, with his own interests superseding those of Ukraine”
    Your evidence please?

  • rosross

    @Ian MacKenzie,

    If Russia is a war criminal then so is the US and so is Israel, to name just two of many who have invaded and occupied. I suspect the legal case is not as black and white as you might choose to believe.

    Quote: The legality of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine
    According to Christopher Black, international criminal and human rights lawyer who is Chair of the Legal Committee for the International Committee for the Defence of Slobodan Milosevic and vice-chair of the overall committee, and was Lead Defence Counsel, at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal in the case of General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff, Rwanda Gendarmerie and won his acquittal on all charges in 2014 – Russia was operating within international law:

    In my opinion Russia acted in accordance with international law under Article 51 of the UN Charter for the following reasons;

    First, the Kiev regime was mounting a major offensive with NATO’s help against the Donbass Republics with the intent of destroying them. Intensive shelling had already begun days before Russia acted, the shelling of civilian buildings and infrastructure, which resulted in scores of thousands of civilians fleeing into Russia. During that period the Kiev regime also attempted to assassinate a leader of the Republics with a car bomb. Russia had no choice but to protect the Donbass peoples and since the Security Council could do nothing, and the EU and NATO were supporting the Kiev offensive against the Donbass, Russia was the only nation that could act.

    Black points out the hypocrisy of NATO accusations that Russia was acting aggressively and without provocation detailing the lawlessness of US-dominated “rules based international order” that is beholden to US allied rules rather than to any true justice-based central jurisdiction that the UN ceased to provide long ago. Black argues:

    Have any of the other American wars been legal? None of them All of them are in violation of Article 2(4). The list is long. When I first drafted this I set out all the invasions of nations the Americans conducted since then but to list them here would turn this into a thick book of American crimes, from Korea to Vietnam, from Cuba to Congo, from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Latin America, to Yugoslavia, Syria, Lebanon. But one crime must be added to all their war crimes and aggressions, the crime of hypocrisy. For all of their aggressions were conducted for reasons of domination and exploitation of resources and peoples, for profit. There was never any legal justification ever offered, as there were none. None of them were conducted in self-defence, whereas Russia’s action clearly is.

    Black goes on to say that the Russian operation was justified under the auspices of the Caroline Doctrine established in 1837 by the US and UK to allow the right of a sovereign nation to self defence if the following two conditions were met:

    1. The use of force must be necessary because the threat is imminent and thus pursuing peaceful alternatives is not an option, and,2. The response must be proportionate to the threat.

    In this case the threat was more than imminent. It was on-going and increasing. The only effective and proportional defensive response was to destroy the offensive forces being deployed. These forces include not only Kiev regime government forces but also the nationalist, Nazi brigades supporting and spearheading the Kiev offensive and all the NATO equipment being supplied to them to conduct the Kiev offensive.

    Dmitry Orlov, Russian-American engineer and geopolitical analyst was equally convinced of Russia’s right to self-defence:

    Russia had the full legal right to invade the Ukraine from several perspectives: to defend its allies in Donetsk and Lugansk; to defend itself against Ukrainian WMDs, which the Ukrainian president threatened to start producing at the Munich Security Conference; and to stop NATO from continuing its advance toward Russian borders in violation of its previous commitment of “not an inch to the east.” Russia exercised its right of self-defense under article 51 of part 7 of the UN Charter. The Ukraine had forfeited its right to territorial integrity under the 1970 UN Declaration by refusing to honor the rights of its Russian-speaking population. It also refused to renew its Friendship Treaty with Russia and therefore no longer had a defined border with Russia that Russia was obligated to honor.

    Source: Vanessa Beeley, Substack.

  • rosross

    @Ian MacKenzie,

    As a hypothetical, what do you think the Americans would do if Canada or Mexico were on a path to join a military alliance with China where Chinese missile launchers would be on the US border?

    Do you think the Americans were correct in their response to Bay of Pigs? If so, why were the Americans justified taking a stand against missile launchers far from their border and the Russians are not justified taking a stand against missile launchers literally on their border?

    If the Russians are wrong to invade Ukraine on the basis of security fears then can we take it you also condemn American invasions of Iraq and Libya, to name just two?

    And if not, just which principles are you applying which let the Americans off the hook but hold the Russians accountable?

  • rosross

    @Ian MacKenzie,

    You said: For those who may be unaware, the crime of aggression—plotting and waging aggressive war, has been recognised as a war crime since the Nuremberg trials in 1946.

    Which means the Americans are definitely war criminals and so are their Allies, including Australia. Yes, I think many people are aware of crimes of aggression which is why the betrayal of such principles by the Americans and their craven allies has made the world a far more dangerous place.

    Do as I say, not Do as I do, never works.

  • Sindri

    Rosross, yes, there has been a war going on in Donbas. It started because Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. Your tendentious stuff about “the Kiev regime” “mounting a major offensive with NATO’s help against the Donbass Republics with the intent of destroying them” is facile. The “Donbas republics” are not sovereign states; they are the territory of Ukraine occupied illegally and under the control of Russian-backed warlords. And spare us this stuff about Ukraine building WMDs. That is fantasy peddled by conspiracy websites.
    “American crimes” — you can argue about the legitimacy or otherwise of US involvement in various wars and military operations, but you give the game away when you talk “US crimes” in Korea or Lebanon or Libya. Korea, for one, was an intervention authorised by the Security Council. Where do you get this stuff?
    And when you say, as you do repeatedly, that if one condemns Russia, then one must also condemn the USA/Israel and “many who have invaded or occupied”, it doesn’t seem to occur to you that you are admitting the charge against Russia. “Look what someone else is doing” is not a justification for bad behaviour.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    rosross, bear in mind that under international law countries are allowed to respond to an attack (eg 9/11), assist a country under attack if invited to do so (eg Vietnam, South Korea), or participate in military action sanctioned by the UN (eg South Korea, Iraq, East Timor). None of these counts as planning or waging aggressive war, and none of these exemptions apply to Ukraine.

  • rosross

    @Sindri,

    Where am I getting this from? People who know more than you or I, it is called research. Try John Mearsheimer, noted American political analyst. He clearly documents this ‘garden path to war down which Ukraine chose to walk.’ He also talks about the Ukrainian aggression toward Russian-speakers in Donbas and elsewhere – a war by the way the Ukrainians have been waging for nearly a decade. And he talks about the CIA-backed coup in 2014.

    You said: And when you say, as you do repeatedly, that if one condemns Russia, then one must also condemn the USA/Israel and “many who have invaded or occupied”, it doesn’t seem to occur to you that you are admitting the charge against Russia.

    I am not admitting the charges against Russia, I am saying apply the same principles equally. By all means condemn Russia’s act of war but condemn American, Israeli and other acts of war according to the same principles. Can I take it you agree with that? Also weigh up the validity of the Russian response compared to say, American invasion of Iraq and Israeli occupation of Palestine.

    It is called perspective and applying principles equally in order to avoid being an arch hypocrite and ensuring no-one will listen to what you say because you apply principles selectively and unfairly.

    You said: “Look what someone else is doing” is not a justification for bad behaviour.

    I never said it was. I said, you cannot condemn Russia for doing what it is doing without condemning all other nations which have done similar things, and with less justification for their actions than Russia.

    I said, apply principles equally and by all means condemn Russia but also condemn all others who have done or are doing similar things. Demand Russia leaves Ukraine absolutely, but also demand that Israel leaves Palestine, Golan Heights and the bits of Lebanon it occupies. If not, why not?

    You see, this is the problem the US has created for the world when it rampages around doing worse than the Russians are doing and backing other countries in doing worse than the Russians are doing and then wonders why so many people are so revolted by its hypocrisy they ignore what it is saying.

    Should Russia have invaded Ukraine as it has done? Not by modern views of how the world should work, but most certainly by the precedents established by other great powers like the US and absolutely by the dynamics of national and global power.

    If the US can threaten nuclear war if the Russians set up a military base in Cuba, far from the US border, then yes, certainly, the Russians can act to remove the threat of US/Nato bases on its literal border.

    If the Ukrainians were not smart enough to work that out then they must be held also accountable for their fate. If the Ukrainians had been sensible and ‘respectful’ of their powerful neighbour, like the Canadians and Mexicans, for the moment anyway, this war would never have happened.

    Is that the sort of world we want? No, it is not, but it is the sort of world we have and it is foolish indeed to deny or dismiss that reality.

    It really is very simple, if the Americans can invade Iraq and Libya, to name just two of many in the name of what they call security, and if Israel can occupy all of Palestine, a slab of Syria and bits of Lebanon in the name of what it calls security, then Russia has ever right and justification to return Ukraine to the Russian fold and to defend its borders in the name of literal security.

    The problem with setting precedents is that you can be assured, others will follow them and the US, despite being obsessed with its own power and greatness, does not have the power to stop them.

    I wish this war had not happened but I wish a lot of wars had not happened. However, that does not stop me from recognising the realities of this world and human nature.

  • rosross

    @Ian MacKenzie,

    Under international law the Russians also have the right to respond to aggression.

    As more than one analyst has said, albeit not making it to the general media, US/Nato have been militarily active in Ukraine for a long time. And then we have the biolabs.

    I do not think there is any clear picture yet of what has been going on but there are strong indications that US meddling has been at work for decades and the historical facts attest to that in regard to Russian protests.

    Would the US act if China was involved in a series of biolabs near the shared border with Canada? You bet they would.

    Would the US act if neo-Nazi elements took hold in Mexico and English speakers were being killed and driven out? You bet they would.

    Would the US act if Canada or Mexico were set on entering into a military alliance with China or Russia where enemy missile launchers would be rolled up to the US border? You bet they would.

    The US diplomat George Kennan, an astute observer of Soviet Russia under Stalin, offered his observations later in life on the question of NATO expansion. He was ignored.

    “Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era,” George Kennan said.

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    ‘July 5th 1941
    Throughout the month of July these negotiations continued in a frigid atmosphere. The Russians were obstinate in their refusal to make any precise commitment in conformity with Polish wishes. Russia regarded the question of her Western frontiers as not open to discussion. Could she be trusted to behave fairly in this matter in this matter in the possibly distant future when hostilities would come to an end in Europe?
    Winston Spencer Churchill.
    The Grand Alliance
    Our Soviet Ally

    So the Soviets’ buffer states existed because of the refusal by Russia to free them.
    The Ukrainians spat the dummy and by plebiscite chose democratically to go West.
    As Biden pointed out today, you can tell jokes about him and not be put in jail.
    He could have added you can lead an opposition party and not be visited by the angel of death via polonium or Novichok.
    Paradoxically a Jewish actor who played the part of the President, was democratically elected and appears not to suffer from imposter syndrome.
    He’s leading the resistance.
    Watch him daily on SBS.
    Putin’s over reaction to the sleights he perceives has strengthened the resolve of Finland and Sweden ,on his border, to join NATO while they can.
    No disputed territory.
    In the meanwhile he has played into the hands of the technocrats at RAND.
    As the old saying goes
    ‘You can take Putin out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of Putin.’
    He may be smart and ruthless.
    Wisdom has escaped him.

    …………….The issue of the territorial future of Poland must be postponed until easier times.’

  • Sindri

    Apart from being jewish, Zelensky is a native Russian speaker who was elected with 73% of the vote.
    The idea that Putin is “smart” “tactical” “strategic”. Vain, deluded fool would be more accurate. He has utterly botched the first stages of his war by completely by-passing military advice and listening to his security goons and people like Sergei Shogiu, none of whom, especially Shogiu, have any military experience. He didn’t even put in place a unified chain of command!. The result is a horrendous and avoidable loss of men and materiel, an ignominious retreat from Kyiv, with the only worthwhile gain so far being the taking a bit more of the black sea coast – after reducing Mariupol into rubble and committing atrocious war crimes. Stalin did exactly the same thing until he grudgingly started listening to his generals (or the one that were left). Putin may still win by sheer force of numbers, brutality and western loss of nerve, but please – he’s neither smart nor strategic. His conduct to date as commander-in-chief has been risible.

  • pgang

    Sindri – 30th April 2022

    Pgang: “And let’s be honest. He is probably an oligarch too, with his own interests superseding those of Ukraine”
    Your evidence please?

    It was clearly a comment not backed by evidence so your question is trite.

    Carry on everybody, this is the discussion that the propagandists would disallow.

  • rosross

    @Lewish P. Buckingham,

    This is not 1941 and Putin is not Hitler and Zelensky’s religion is irrelevant, as is Putin’s. Russia is NOT the Soviet Union and neither are the Americans endowed with smart people as they were 80 years ago. Retrofitting modern values to the past is dangerous but it is even more dangerous to pretend the past is the present.

    However, the historical facts leading to this war make it clear that it has been the Americans and their Nato lackeys calling the shots and leading Zelensky down the garden path to Ukraine’s doom. Ukraine is so corrupt that nothing can be believed about Zelensky’s election.

    He is an actor, playing the television game, while his minders play war games. At the end of this Zelensky will be whisked out of Ukraine, probably to Israel, where his ‘pay’ awaits.

    Putin’s KGB background is as relevant as the number of Americans in power with a CIA background. From what the broader media sources are saying, the Russians have already won what they wanted to win and are just mopping up. Let us hope that is true. One presumes Putin would not be heading off for clearly elective surgery if it were other.

  • Sindri

    “At the end of this Zelensky will be whisked out of Ukraine, probably to Israel, where his ‘pay’ awaits.”
    Groan. It’s taken a while to slip out, but it generally does eventually. It’s the Jewish conspiracy pulling the strings! What rot.

  • rosross

    @Sindri,

    Where did I talk about Jews? I mentioned Israel. As it is Zelensky is only recently claiming to be Jewish.

    You misunderstand. I am not saying this is an Israeli conspiracy. I am saying Zelensky has strong links with Israel which have been demonstrated and that would be a logical place for him to go. I have read his oligarch benefactor has an Israeli connection and passport so I was simply connecting the dots.

    I think Israel is irrelevant in this conflict and so are Jews. This is not a religious war so the fact Zelensky now calls himself Jewish, having previously been Orthodox, as is most of his family and Putin is Russian Orthodox, is irrelevant.

    You have run with a ball not thrown as you are wont to do.

  • rosross

    @Sindri,

    To be fair, I should have been clearer. I forget how sensitive some are to the topic of Israel and how some immediately conflate it with Judaism. I see Israel as a Zionist State and anything I say about Israel does not apply to followers of Judaism.

    When I referred to Zelensky ending up in Israel it was only because his oligarch has connections there and I think has joint citizenship so it would be a logical place for him to go. And there are those who believe that Russia wants him to live, so negotiations can be completed, and will then whisk him away from the fascist movements in Ukraine who want to kill him. There are also strong Russian/Israel connections so that is another factor.

    I do not believe Jews or Zionist Israelis are involved in fomenting this war. I think the Americans and Nato are behind it all for reasons which may not become clear until much later, if ever.

  • Sindri

    Rosross, I think you gave the ball a good toss, and now you’re scrambling to get it back.
    What ‘pay’, from whom, and for what services? Who is his ‘oligarch benefactor’?

  • Lewis P Buckingham

    Ross
    Sometimes, even the leaders of super powers need to learn from their own history.
    The ‘buffer states’ have had enough.
    They have tasted freedom and want more.
    With anti aircraft and anti artillery weapons from Biden, they will make their point.
    Now I will fold my tent and slip quietly away from this thread.
    As I drift off into sleep I will wonder at the Czech people who are raising money to purchase tanks and APC’s for Ukraine.
    Or the Poles going to Mass and then the border, battlefield ready.

    ‘And so to bed’.

  • pgang

    If we want to be churlish and reduce the complexity of war to legalities, then how about this.
    ‘The Ukrainian artillery bombardment of the Donbass population continued, and, on 23 February (2022), the two Republics asked for military assistance from Russia. On 24 February, Vladimir Putin invoked Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which provides for mutual military assistance in the framework of a defensive alliance.

    In order to make the Russian intervention totally illegal in the eyes of the public we deliberately hid the fact that the war actually started on February 16. ‘

  • pgang

    Ian MacKenzie – 30th April 2022
    ‘None of these counts as planning or waging aggressive war, and none of these exemptions apply to Ukraine.’
    Except it seems that they do and, as usual, our own establishment has been lying to us. We should not be surprised about this by now, especially post-covid, nor allow ourselves to be so easily deceived by it as so many have. Which, if we go back to Peter Smith’s article, is partly the point he was making.
    I would like to re-iterate Mr Smith’s succint comment: ‘…this war has robbed people of their wits.’

  • rosross

    @pgang,

    ‘…this war has robbed people of their wits.’

    Yes it has although there are exceptions including you and I.

  • rosross

    @Sindri,

    The only ‘ball’ was the one you invented, but needs must.

    Given the levels of paranoia at work I thought it best to clearly articulate what I had not made clear. No scrambling involved at all. But I suggest you copy and file what I posted for future reference as to my position and to calm your nerves.

    As to Zelensky’s backer, that is easy enough to find out. But to help you along – Ihor Valeriyovych Kolomoyskyi is a Ukrainian–Israeli–Cypriot billionaire, businessman, and politician, the former Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

    Quote: Despite pitching himself as the ultimate outsider intent on breaking the power of the country’s corrupt oligarchic elite, Zelenskyy’s campaign depended heavily on the backing of Ihor Kolomoisky, arguably Ukraine’s most controversial oligarch of all. Source: Atlantic Council, by David Clark.

    One would expect Zelensky to be paid well for taking Ukraine down the garden path with US/Nato and any others, one presumes Kolomoisky, who benefit from his actions. That is generally how it works.

  • rosross

    @Lewish P Buckingham,

    It is irrelevant what ‘buffer’ states might want in a world of global power dynamics as Canada and Mexico know so well.

    No doubt a great deal of ‘encouragement’ has been provided to help ‘buffer states’ join the US/Nato path to destruction against Russia. Let us hope they are saner than the Ukrainians and do not resort to lobbing missiles at Russia. If they do then we can ‘rise from our beds’ and watch the destruction of much of the northern hemisphere at least.

    The Russians are doing what they are doing because they well remember their history. The Americans are doing what they are doing because they are a nation of war and have been since they invented themselves. They also remember what they call their history but it is really myth and fantasy with denial and dismissal of realities. There lies the danger.

    Mearsheimer says it best. In a Woke world people think everyone can just get on but the global power dynamics remain unchanged from the 19th century.

  • Sindri

    Rosross: Kolomoiski has been sanctioned by the US. Your notion that he is paying Zelensky to “go down the garden path with US/NATO”, that is, with the nation that has sanctioned him, is absurd.

  • rosross

    @Sindri,

    I did not say Kolomoiski was paying Zelensky to ‘go down the garden path’ with US/Nato. I said he was Zelensky’s backer and would pay him for services provided. Whatever they might be. For instance, walking down the garden path to war would no doubt bring many opportunities, particularly in the arms trade, and Zelensky could be useful in that quest. As he demonstrably has been with the amount of weapons now landing in Ukraine, many of which can be sold on.

    These situations are always wheels within wheels and if you think Kolomoiski would miss an opportunity to make money because he has been sanctioned by the US you don’t understand such dynamics. All sorts of games are played to ‘distract’ attention, including such sanctions which, in the greater game are meaningless.

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