The Universal Boosting of Putin 1818

Back in the days when I was one of the British state’s more efficient functionaries, I spoke with British officers who had been in Russia during the Yeltsin period, when they had been able to get up close and effectively inventory the Russian armed forces. (For those who don’t know, I was First Secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw, I was British Ambassador in Tashkent, and I was taught to be fluent in both Polish and Russian, which included living in St Petersburg as a language student while Ambassador designate).

What we (as I was then a cog in this machine) found was that the strength of the Soviet Union’s Red Army had been massively exaggerated in all our intelligence estimates, on which defence strategy had been based for decades. We had over-estimated the numbers, the mobility and above all the capability of Soviet weapons systems. Much of it was barely functional; the problems with both quality and maintenance were not just the product of the disintegration of the Soviet system, they evidently went back decades.

One interesting thing – and I recall discussing this with a British Brigadier General at the Polish exercise area in Drawsko – was that years of military planning had involved scenarios which revolved around successive defensive lines in Western Europe and eschewed any kind of counter-attacking strategy. That conversation had started because, when the British Army first started exercising on the former Warsaw pact training area at Drawsko, we had to strengthen bridges in Eastern Germany and Western Poland in order to get our tanks there.

We were musing that this had never been considered a problem in cold war strategy, because it was presumed our tanks would never go forward. We now knew they could have, which was interesting the analysts.

The truth, of course, was that it had always been in the interest of MI6, the Defence Intelligence Service, the British armed forces, of their American counterparts, and of all their NATO counterparts, massively to exaggerate the strength of the Red Army. Because the greater the perceived enemy, the more we needed to throw money at MI6, the Defence Intelligence Service, the British armed forces, their American counterparts, and at all their NATO counterparts.

Nothing has changed. Exaggerating the strength of the nominated enemy is still very much in their interest.

It is also, of course, massively in the interest of the arms industry. This is the classic operation of the military industrial complex, which does not just need an enemy, it needs a massive, terrifying, ultra-powerful enemy. Or why would you and I keep feeding the military industrial complex huge sums of money?

We see this operating today. The war profiteers have already made billions from the war in Ukraine. Look at this surge in defence stocks.

The German chancellor has already announced $200 billion of extra defence spending. The market expects to see similar boosts, totalling trillions of dollars across NATO, of money into the arms manufacturers and dealers, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yet this is an irrational response. What the Russian invasion of Ukraine has actually revealed is the limitations of Russian power. Those limitations consist both of the capacity of its armed forces, and the desire of its people to be a part of European civilisation, not to destroy European civilisation.

You can pretty well stand inside Russia and throw stones into Kharkiv, where Russian is an everyday language (and locals call the place Kharkov), yet Russia has not yet managed to subdue it. Yet we are supposed to be terrified that the mighty Russian army could roll across Western Europe and its tanks could fight their way through Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London? It is plainly an utter nonsense (I address nuclear war later, a quite different proposition).

It says something very interesting about mass psychology that our political and media classes are able to convince the population, both that Russia is an incredible threat to us in our homes, and that the gallant Ukrainians can hold the Russians off. The western political and media class, almost universally, are managing both to crow that Russia is militarily weak, and to claim that we need to throw yet more money at the military industrial complex. As nicely observed by Moon of Alabama.

There are however, even in “respectable” media, a few voices pointing out that what is happening in Ukraine shows NATO defence spending to be already disproportionate. I was very surprised to read this eminently sensible article in Newsweek:

In the longer term, the recognition of Russian military weakness represents a fundamental challenge to U.S. strategy, spending priorities and even its firm hold on the world. It questions Washington’s obsession with a supposed “peer” adversary and the U.S. emphasis on a larger military and ever-increasing defense spending to deal with Russia. Changing the narrative on the Russian military also fundamentally challenges NATO and its European members. Though there might be heightened awareness and even fear of Moscow’s willingness to resort to extreme and even reckless behavior, the reality is that there doesn’t need to be increased defense spending or a renewal of European ground forces….

For Washington, this display of Russian military weakness should be comforting in terms of Moscow’s true military threat to Europe. At the same time though, it exposes the need for a different national security strategy, one that doesn’t imagine Russia as a military equal, and one that doesn’t push Vladimir Putin’s back against a wall.

This war in Ukraine should represent such a moment of epiphany in western political thought.

According to the Russians themselves, Russian military spending is just 5% of NATO military spending. That is about right.

Total NATO spending is over 1 trillion dollars a year. Russian defence spending in 2019 was $65.1 billion a year, just higher than the UK. So nominally Russian spending is a little over 6% of NATO spending a year. Of course, purchasing power in the defence industry makes nominal calculations not entirely helpful. Here is a short link from an excellent discussion from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute of the factors that might make Russian real resources put into defence greater than the nominal total:

Nonetheless, there are strong indications that military goods and services cost less in Russia than in the USA or most of Europe and, therefore, that Russian military spending has a higher purchasing power. For example, unlike the USA and other large European states, Russia still relies on conscription. In addition, Russian career soldiers have lower salaries: for example, in 2019 a Russian lieutenant colonel received approximately $1330 per month, whereas a (lower-ranked) captain in the British Army received more than $4000 monthly. Adequate data to make a similar comparison of the cost of acquiring military equipment is not available.

Converting Russian military expenditure using GDP-based PPP rates (based on data from the International Monetary Fund) gives spending of $166 billion in 2019 (instead of $65.1 billion using market exchange rates). This is still less than one-quarter of US spending of $732 billion. A similar calculation gives Chinese military spending of over $500 billion (instead of $261 billion using market exchange rates).

I would argue that while paying and feeding troops may be indeed be much cheaper in Russia, military hardware costs are much dependent on metals, processors and other internationally traded commodities and an overall comparison to the simple relative cost of living PPP index for Russia is not appropriate. But even using the general IMF PPP calculator, Russian defence spending is, at the very most, 12% of NATO spending.

The idea that NATO has to spend more to match the threat to NATO of Russia is plainly a nonsense.

So those of us who have always opposed NATO’s militarism, NATO’s involvement in illegal wars and NATO’s massive propaganda operation aimed at boosting the funds fed in to the arms manufacturers, the security services and the military, should welcome the opportunity for growing understanding that a large portion of this defence expenditure is not necessary.

The Russian economy is about the size of the Spanish economy. Russian defence spending is, at the highest, 12% of NATO defence spending. Russia is not the great threat to Western Europe. The limit of Russian power has been shown up in its inability quickly to defeat Ukraine, a militarily third rate European power.

But a large section of the western left – including many regular readers of this blog – is not shouting this out. A section of the western left chooses to boost the propaganda of western arms manufacturers by talking up Russian power, claiming the Russian military is massively capable, putting a good gloss on the performance of the Russian military in Ukraine, and insisting that Putin is a strategic genius.

That “left” narrative is music to the ears of NATO and the military industrial complex. So how has the left been manoeuvred into the position of being the amplifiers of the argument of their natural enemies?

The answer, strangely enough, is not intellectual but emotional.

It is rather lonely being a dissident voice in the West, arguing against the consensus of the media and political elite. Even where that political elite completely screws up, as in the invasion of Iraq, where they launched an illegal war, caused the deaths of millions of people, destroyed the infrastructure of a country, yet still lost the war, there are no deleterious consequences for the political elite.

The International Criminal Court is investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine. It has done nothing effective about western crimes in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of civilians died.

This level of injustice is hard to stomach. There is a natural yearning for an alternative, for a good power in the world to match the bad power in the world, and to give at least some hope of justice or balance. Thus many on the left have come to idolise Vladimir Putin as the balance to outweigh and thwart the corrupt, warmongering, neo-imperialist Western states.

Syria gave some comfort to this viewpoint. In the war for hegemony that the West has waged all over the Middle East, the contradictions of allying with a country as anathematical to supposed Western values as Saudi Arabia reached their apotheosis. The American-led West was providing arms, finance and logistical and air support to ISIS and closely allied jihadist groups in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. The western sponsored civil war had already caused devastation and huge refugee flows. Had the western backed jihadists succeeded, the results would have been unthinkable.

Putin saved the world from that, by a small but timely Russian military intervention, and I for one am glad he did. I say that as absolutely no fan of the Assad regime.

So I can sympathise with those who see Putin as the answer to their desire for the West to be counterbalanced. The problem is it is unrealistic. Russia is just not that strong. It has an economy the size of Spain or another second tier Western European state. Any military intervention by Russia that seriously crosses the West is ultimately dependent on nuclear brinkmanship.

The more fundamental point is that Putin is no more a “good guy” than Western leaders. Russia is a massively kleptocratic state where the gap between the extremely wealthy and the exploited general populace is every bit as big as the gap in the West, and until recently was inarguably much bigger. The human rights situation in Russia is poor. In fact in both those respects, the West is moving increasingly to looking like Russia, which is a very bad thing.

Putin’s Russia is no kind of socialist model.

Putin’s image as the strong man of Eurasia is boosted out of all proportion by those on the right who benefit from portraying a powerful enemy: and by those on the left who yearn for a powerful friend. This is the universal boosting of Putin. But in real life he is a much smaller figure, controlling a waning power of very limited resources. He has just made his largest miscalculation. In the last hour the UN General Assembly has condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. The UN General Assembly is a forum where the US and its allies can normally muster between 2 and 12 votes. They had 141. Russia mustered 5, the kind of position the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands frequently find themselves in. That is the extent of Putin’s diplomatic blunder.

History teaches us it is a huge mistake to attack Russia. The Russian people have an enormous capacity for wartime resilience when attacked. But the plain truth is NATO has never attacked Russia, and though I intensely dislike NATO’s pushing of weapons systems closer to Russia, NATO doctrine has never included plans to initiate war with Russia.

Just as I have frequently stated Russia has never had any intent to attack the UK; to persuade the population otherwise is the everyday job of the military industrial complex.

But the Russian military industrial complex is just as powerful within Russia as the western military industrial complex is here, and the Russian people are just as exploited by their elites as we are in the West. On either side, the offices of heads of government are not the right place to search for the good guys. Everybody gets lied into war.

It is of course a truism that Russian security concerns were made neuralgic by the ever tightening encroachment of NATO and its missiles. It is a valid point. But it is an equally valid point that NATO has never attacked Russia and none of those missiles has ever been fired at Russia. The point of the missiles was never to fire them at Russia. The point of the missiles was to manufacture and sell them at enormous profit margins and provide large salaries and cash funds for politicians, with endless revolving door jobs for ex-military and civilian defence personnel, who all keep the contracts flowing.

We are now in a position where only a severe Russian military setback can reduce the political momentum for more arms spending, more militarism and more censorship of dissenting opinion in the west – and yet many on the left are hoping for a Russian victory. That despite the fact that not only is Putin’s attack on Ukraine illegal, it is an aggressive war with precisely the same spurious justification as the US-led destruction of Iraq; pre-emptive disarmament to prevent possible attack.

To make matters worse, Putin’s attack is popularly seen as justification of the appalling Russophobia that has formed a fundamental part of the Establishment political narrative in recent years. Putin has appeared to justify years of lies by Russophobes.

I first became fully aware of the untruth of the mainstream Russophobic narrative when it was claimed that Wikileaks had published the Clinton material on the rigging of the primaries against Bernie Sanders, in collaboration with Russia. I knew that was definitely untrue. We then saw an expansion of this narrative, including aspects of the official Skripal story that made no sense whatsoever.

As a result of the invasion of Ukraine, popular opinion holds as validated any lunatic suggestion of evil Russian influence ever to emerge from the disorganised brain of Carole Cadwalladr. “Putin has invaded Ukraine. I told you he fixed the 2016 election” is not a proposition that holds up to a millisecond of logical analysis, but logical analysis is the first casualty of war.

Finally, a couple of thoughts on nuclear weapons. Putin has put his nuclear forces at some kind of initial alert level. In a rational world, this would lead to an increased demand for genuine attempts at nuclear disarmament negotiations, but again I fear that is not in the interest of the elites who control governments. NATO’s insistence on pushing missile systems ever closer to a nuclear-armed Russia and continually ratcheting up Russia’s fear of aggressive encirclement, will make it extremely unlikely that Russia will have any interest in disarmament. Which is so obvious, it proves NATO has absolutely no interest in disarmament either.

I have said much which is highly critical of Russia, and rightly so because Russia had started an illegal war. But that in no way reduces the very large amount of blame that attaches to NATO for its absurd militarism and territorial triumphalism, and the complete lack of interest NATO has shown towards finding a less confrontational approach to Russia.

NATO does not defend the interests of the people of Europe. It embodies the interests of the global elite, who benefit from feeding the military industrial complex. NATO is an instrument of the military and the weapons manufacturers. To exist, it needs an enemy. NATO’s role will always be to secure its own existence and its controllers’ cashflow, by creating enemies.

The only good guys in this are the common people of Ukraine, and the unfortunate conscripts in the Russian army. Let us all pray, hope or think on them tonight.


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1,818 thoughts on “The Universal Boosting of Putin

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  • SA

    Second peace meeting just finished, agreed on a third meeting. Possible establishment of ceasefire and humanitarian corridors in affected area. Deliveries of food and supplies.

  • Dan Gleeballs

    Could Mr Putin have completely blindsided the West over Ukraine? They have invaded Ukraine to secure territory from future NATO influence, right? But what if the real game plan is about the West’s economy, specifically energy prices. Was the action actually to force hasty sanctions? Is the slow progress, in the face of military pundit predictions of a rapid Ukrainian defeat, merely a means of racking up the sanctions accumulator? Of course Russia will suffer from the sanctions but will the real lasting damage actually be done to the West’s economies through the fragility of energy markets.
    Chris Martenson

      • Jimmeh

        The “western end” of the Silk Road? Do you imagine that trade between east and west still runs through the Gobi, carried on caravans of camels?

  • Republicofscotland

    Russian General, General Konashenkov tells mercenaries heading to Ukraine to fight for the Ukrainian forces, that they will not be covered by the laws of war, Ukrainian president Zelensky has said 16,000 international fighters are heading to Ukraine to fight against Russians, 70 of those fighters are from Japan.

  • Wee Jim

    About forty years ago an intelligence officer gave me his opinion of what would happen if the Warsaw Pact invaded Western Europe.
    The East Germans would go about fifty metres and then turn round and shoot at anyone who followed, the Czechoslovak, and Bulgarian armies wouldn’t move and the Poles and Hungarians would head East.

  • Pigeon English

    Couple of Issues I might disagree in CM post were already adressed by others . CM is obviously aware of of PPP(purchasing power parity)GDP and yet compares Russian economy to Spain.
    In PPP Russian economy is bigger than UK. Is this deliberate to belittle Russian economy?
    Talking about economy most people would agree that PUBLIC debt is important. Russia about 20% and UK 100%
    Than there are GOLD reserves. UK about 300 Tonnes and Russia about 2300 Tonnes.
    HOUSEHOLD Debt Russia 350 Bill. UK 1750 Bill. (yes One Thousand 750 Billion)
    It looks like Russians live within their means (Every Centre right Austerity politician dream)
    This might not be on topic but when thinking about Economic sanctions and their repercussion objective assessment is important.
    What I heard is that Russia will not be able to raise funds on global market. They do not borrow much according to some data.

    • jordan

      Even then the Russian economy itself would be too small to have a severe impact on the world economy IMHO. Still it may cause severe problems on the food and energy market. This sole Russian perspective might have been the situation in the 80s when the their economy was mainly paired with the US economy.

      What I see today is the fact that they are embedded in the SCO which wields considerable economic power. I strongly believe that they work on a parallel monetary system and might get it operational any time soon. They do not need us anymore which does not help us in any way.

  • Hilary

    This sentence encapsulates exactly how I feel — thank goodness for your voice, Craig because the world is indeed a very lonely place these days for alternative opinions. ‘There is a natural yearning for an alternative, for a good power in the world to match the bad power in the world, and to give at least some hope of justice or balance.’

    • terence callachan

      Hilary , if you read English speaking media you will think there is no alternative no good no hope , but it’s there you just can’t see or hear it , it’s kept from you , deliberately .
      Just the same way we are fed stories about mass corruption and how there is nothing we can do about it.

      Don’t believe it , keep faith , the good outnumber the bad , easily , when push comes to shove you will see it for yourself.

  • glenn_nl

    There is much with which to agree in this article. I am slightly dubious at the notion that Russia could feel at all confident that NATO would not attack it, just because it has not done so to date. Russia was not beset by any number of enemies, even within living memory (just about), until it was – and the losses it suffered then were unimaginable. NATO is in an increasingly strong position to do so, and clearly wants to encircle Russia in a way the US would never accept. The US was, by all accounts, quite prepared to start a nuclear war before allowing the missiles of a potentially hostile country to even get within 90 miles of its borders.

    The Americans would have unhesitatingly started a war many times over, had they had done to them what NATO is doing to Russia. This is surely undeniable.

    Of course Russia is vastly outspent by NATO, which makes it even less keen to have NATO creep ever closer. A decisive knock-out ‘win’ is what every aggressor wants, and NATOs behaviour looks very much like a preparation for this, to a country that has been repeatedly lied to about the ambitions of NATO. Just today, we have effectively been told that Ukraine is going to be a NATO country, and the plea that it stay out of NATO dismissed. It is hard not to see this as Washington’s plan all along – provoke, and then call the reaction warrantless aggression.

    Ukraine can be seen as a proxy for NATO already, with mercenaries and weapons making their way there.

    Good point about the relative cost effectiveness of Russia, but it probably goes further than just wages – Russia gets much more “bang for the buck” so to speak. It might be apocryphal, but NASA spent over $20M developing pens to be used in zero gravity, while Russia used pencils. We’ve heard about enormous cost overruns, with $640 toilet seats, $150M on villas in Afghanistan, and $2.7 Billion on air-balloon surveillance that didn’t work. Of course there will be corruption on the Russian side too, but it’s hard to imagine anything this massive and blatant.

    I get the playing up of a weaker opponent for increasing funding of our own forces. All the same, are we sure Russia is going at Ukraine with all guns blazing, as hard as it possibly can? We have seen how heavy-fisted Russian forces can be, even on their own people (eg while ending a siege). Surely it’s obvious they are trying to occupy the country with as little damage as they can, in order to force an agreement re. NATO, and EU membership? This isn’t going well, for sure. But it certainly isn’t the bombardment we might expect to see out of a powerful country against a hostile enemy it is trying to defeat.

    • Lysias

      The Russian word for “pencil,” karandash, derives from Turkic, “black stone”. I guess the Russians had to use pencils in their dealings with Tatars and the Golden Horde.

    • dearieme

      “the common people of Ukraine, and the unfortunate conscripts in the Russian army”

      How embarrassing: I agree with you.

    • dearieme

      “NATO would not attack it, just because it has not done so to date.”

      Quite: Japan hadn’t attacked the USA until it did. NATO hadn’t attacked Serbia until it did.

      • Tom Welsh

        More to the point, Charles XII, Napoleon, the British and French and Turks in Crimea, and Hitler hadn’t attacked Russia until they did.

        The levels of ignorance, stupidity, hypocrisy and malice in the West are so high that it’s really hard to distinguish one from the others. Luckily that’s not necessary.

    • D. Brand

      “I am slightly dubious at the notion that Russia could feel at all confident that NATO would not attack it”

      The US/Nato only attacks weak and impoverished nations like Afghanistan or Iraq that have been bled by years of warfare or sanctions and preferable disarmed. No, that is not the threat. The threat to Putin/Russia is regime change followed by civil war and a dissolution of the Russian Federation. The US/UK will use any opportunity to destabilize Russia or its allied countries.

      The US’s war in the greater MENA show that Washington’s policy makers are totally reckless. They are very imaginative when it comes to starting a conflict by setting one group against another, but they spend no thought whatsoever on how to end a conflict or how to solve a conflict peacefully.

      Thus, Washington recklessly promotes regime change (getting rid of Putin) while giving no consideration whatsoever to what will happen to over 6,000 nuclear warheads after the Russian Federation sinks into chaos and civil war.

    • james

      your quote – “NATO is in an increasingly strong position to do so, and clearly wants to encircle Russia in a way the US would never accept. ” us is nato and is the driver of nato… there is something solely lacking in your interpretation of things here..

      nato is a tool of the usas to keep russia and germany separate… so far it has worked.. i hope germany has invested in sheep farms.. they are going to need the wool to stay warm..

  • Joe Mellon

    IMHO the Realpolitik of the matter is:

    • this was never about the Ukraine it is about US hegemony
    • old school US foreign policy experts like Mearsheimer and George Kennan have been warning about the dangers of the NATO Russian strategy for decades
    • the real US strategic aim has been the removal of Russia as a rival, mostly by diplomatic and economic means, but also in this case using the Ukraine as a military proxy to weaken Russia
    • the US will not and never intended to allow the Ukraine into NATO nor will the EU give it membership: because it was never, and is not, about the Ukraine
    • the Ukraine was fooled by half-promises and was set up to be a stick to beat the Russians with
    • the classic military tactic was: attack something the enemy *has* to defend, but which is strategically disadvantageous for them
    • the Russia invasion was ill advised and a crime and will cause immense damage to Russia (and the EU) but that is exactly what is desired
    • the damage and death in the Ukraine is “worth it” in the view of the US ‘strategists’ (as Madeleine Albright put it wrt. 500,000 dead children in Iraq: that did not end well for US interests)
    • Russia will almost certainly eventually control most of Ukraine
    • more arms for Ukraine will only prolong the agony and death and destruction: which suits the US just fine: as Macron put it “The worst is yet to come”
    • US interventions: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, (the most recent) …Chile, Vietnam etc. etc ALWAYS end as a complete mess and catastrophe where everyone loses including the US. They just aren’t very good at geopolitics.
    • Joe Mellon

      …because US geopolitical strategists dont need to be good at geopolitics: for them the real battles are in the newscycles, careers, lobby money, and think tanks in Washington. They need to be good at that.
      500,000 dead children in Iraq, Afghanistan destroyed, the Middle of Europe at war? Just background noise not as loud as the elevator music at the think tank meeting in an hotel.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Joe – you might like to consider the ugly possibility that the USA are VERY good at geopolitics, it’s just that their geopolitical objectives appear totally abhorrent to you and me.

      It is in my opinion pretty clear that the USA’s aim in most of its invasions is either looting mineral rights or creating hellholes with civil war. The first benefits the oil/gas/mining community; the second benefits the war industry.

      The more wars the USA can create, the richer the US MIC becomes.

      I think they are absolutely brilliant at creating wars that never seem to ever end. As soon as one apparently ends, they have the next one flare up.

      • Blissex

        «the ugly possibility that the USA are VERY good at geopolitics, it’s just that their geopolitical objectives appear totally abhorrent to you and me.»

        It is called “realpolitik” and it is not pretty…

        «the USA’s aim in most of its invasions is either looting mineral rights or creating hellholes with civil war»

        Jonah Goldberg, “Baghdad Delenda Est, Part II: Get On With It,” National Review, April 23, 2002.

        “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

        It quite very effective too, see the effects on Gaddafi etc. of the hellholing of Iraq and Saddam.

      • Tom Welsh

        Maybe it would be more exact to say that US politicians and military commanders have never needed to worry about national defence. “The United States was blessed among nations. On the north, she had a weak neighbour; on the south, another weak neighbour; on the east, fish; and on the west, fish”. – Jules Jusserand, French Ambassador to the US, 1910.

        That left their hands entirely free to bully and loot the rest of the world. In the past few years, that situation has changed radically. Now the apparently tranquil oceans that used to cut off access by any enemy have become hostile; they may conceal any number of potentially enemy submarines with missiles capable of reaching most of the USA with little or no warning.

        Russia has tried and tried and tried the civilised way, with diplomacy. Now it has given up and moved on to “military-technical means”. To begin with I thought that meant reinforcing the republics, but Russia operated on a broader strategic scale. It is taking Ukraine right out of the game as an enemy base.

        Having started using military-technical means, who knows how much larger the scope may become? Kicking the USA right out of Asia altogether? Maybe Latin America? Africa? Pulling out some of the fragile struts that support the entire US economy, with its tens of trillions of debt?

        • Squeeth

          I think that Ian Kershaw’s concept of cumulative radicalisation might help. He used it as a paradigm to explain nazi rule in Germany. Now that the US empire has exhausted China as a source of cheap profits, the Russian land mass is all that’s left to plunder. If the Seppoes stop then their Leninist economy for the rich will implode, if they retreat their Leninist economy for the rich will implode. The only thing they can do is keep going like an illiterate juggernaut, until their Leninist economy for the rich implodes.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Mr. Rhys Jagger,

        May I for a moment suggest that we are involved in this problem which we all face on the single planet which we share as homo sapiens.

        Let me be open and brutally frank about how I see the challenges and share here a Jamaica colleague I just replied to – and i here share:-

        ” Muggy,

        On a personal level I could share a lot more.

        A couple of distinguished Jamaican friends of mine were in the first and second batch of Jamaican students who studied in the then Soviet Union. To this day we remain in contact. They had to travel through London and then I was versed and ensconced – so I chaperoned and guided them as a good host of my fellow Jamaicans heading forward in their studies.

        I have travelled extensively around the world – and in December 1992 I visited a devastated and diminished Russia. I saw poverty, desperation and want all around me. I was a rich man then – for with about US$ 6,000 cash in my pocket with an exchange rate of 400 rubles to 1US$ – well I was visiting peasants at the time.

        So, my brief reply is that – no less a person than Gorbochov make comment that without Putin Russia would have been splintered. He accepted that both he and Yeltsin were either duped and/or failures.

        Oh hell – why did the White man ever permit Black man to read White people’s book.”

      • Jo Dominich

        Rhys, you are right about the USA creating wars that never end. Martin Catterell Smith (Senior in British Army) gave a speech a few years ago about how the UK was supporting the ‘forever war’ strategy as stated by Dubya. This is what people haven’t woken up to yet. Covid was an exercise in total civilian compliance ( a war against the people if you will) in order to gauge what is necessary to achieve the WEF objectives of a Global Technocracy running the world. Putin said at the DAVOs conference that through this type of Lockdown intervention in the West the rich had become richer by $1.3trn and the poor had become poorer by around 1.3trn. Who benefits? Now we have this, probably part of the USA forever war strategy. When this is settled which it will be soon as Russian have their key objectives and will then withdraw, lo and behold, there will be another USA instigated war – I’m not sure if I’m correct or not but I understand the USA bombed Sudan a few days ago, almost at the start of this. What I think for what it’s worth, is that such as extreme irrational hubris and arrogance on the part of the EU, USA and NATO will cause their demise and collapse they’ve over-reached heavily now. Really over-reached. It’s interesting that, 2 years ago, at one of President Putin’s lengthy conferences with the Russian people, he was asked by a member of the public about whether there would be a nuclear war looming. Putin’s reply was that the world, under Trump, had become a very dangerous place and was teetering on the brink of becoming dangerous in the extreme. However, he also said that the Leaders of the USA and the West if you like, were so full of their own self-interests and power it was unlikely a nuclear war would happen because of their own self-protectionist interests (something like that anyway). This was from a summary in the Saker at the time.

  • Blissex

    «NATO is an instrument of the military and the weapons manufacturers. To exist, it needs an enemy. NATO’s role will always be to secure its own existence and its controllers’ cashflow, by creating enemies.»

    Indeed having a public enemy is wonderful for business, as written by George Kennan in “At a Century’s Ending: Reflections 1982-1995” “Part II: Cold War in Full Bloom” in 1997:

    Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

    Having military keynesianism is better (for most of the USA/NATO) than no keynesianism, but it is the worst form of keynesianism because in order to validate the spending the weapons have to be periodically used, however many nobodies get killed the great american middle classes don’t care about.

  • Blissex

    «The International Criminal Court is investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine. It has done nothing effective about western crimes in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of civilians died.»

    But it has done nothing either, and no sanctions were made, when Putin waged wars of aggression against Cyprus and Yugoslavia to split them, or against Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya to reduce them to rubble and do regime change. Enough is enough :-).

    • Jams O'Donnell

      “when Putin waged wars of aggression against Cyprus and Yugoslavia . . .”

      Do you actually mean that? If you do you are completely mad. However, I believe you must made a mistake. Or is it some kind of sarcasm?

        • Tom Welsh

          Thanks, Squeeth. I read a lot of humour and satire, and I like to think that my irony detectors are fairly sensitive. But some of the comments in this stream are so completely ignorant that I find myself mistaking irony for stupidity.

          Apologies, Blissex.

          • Jimmeh

            I’m also seeing a lot of crazy shit in the comments in this blog, starting at the beginning of the invasion. I’m sure some of it is straightforward trolling; but I’m scared that some of it may be a streak of nasty, stalinist nativism that may be infecting Scottish nationalism.

            Is it possible that there’s a seam in Scottish nationalism that stands in opposition to Sturgeon’s ultra-wokeism, and that embraces anyone who is anti-woke? Putin, of course, is very strongly anti-woke.

            I don’t want any part in a Scottish nationalism that is nativist.

    • Dan Gleeballs

      I notice today the Daily Mail headlined with a story of how a railway station, in which many Ukrainian civilians were sheltering, had been ‘rocked’ by a nearby explosion. How ironic that it was almost exactly 31 years since a US fighter jet incinerated 408 Iraqi’s, most of them women and children, when it bombed a civilian air raid shelter in the Amiriyah district of Bagdad, 13 February 1991.

      • Blissex

        «how a railway station, in which many Ukrainian civilians were sheltering, had been ‘rocked’ by a nearby explosion. How ironic that it was almost exactly 31 years since a US fighter jet incinerated 408 Iraqi’s»

        The usual fake news: it was Putin’s disguised russian jets that did that or anyhow those were “terrorists”, not “freedom fighters”. 🙂

    • Jo Dominich

      Blissex I believe that Trump (the USA) refused entry to the USA of the Head of the ICC who was there to investigate USA War Crime on the basis that he was a Terrorist. Also, the USA does not recognise the ICC I guess that means nobody else has to.

  • Lysias

    On Feb.19, at the Munich Security Conference, Zelensky in a speech asked for there to be discussions about modifying or abrogating the Budapest Memorandum, under which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons. At that conference, Zelensky met Kamala Harris. So what he said was presumably cleared with the U.S.

    Since Ukraine was indicating an intent to become a nuclear power, Putin had to respond. Within a week of Zelensky’s speech, Russia invaded Ukraine and occupied Chernobyl, an obvious source of nuclear materials.

    • Blissex

      «the Budapest Memorandum, under which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons»

      Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine had no nuclear weapons: those were the nuclear weapons of the USSR, and its successor entity is the Russian Federation; when they separated from and declared independence from the USSR, the belarussian, kazakhistani, ukranian governments, that had neither the missile launch codes nor the warhead activation codes, nor the means to target either, simply agreed to return the warheads (or scrap them like the missiles) to the Russian Federation, and declared themselves “nuclear free” in exchange for a non binding promise that as long as they remained nuclear free they would be left alone. The ukrainian government broke that promise quite explicitly 10 days ago; the russian government could hardly tolerate the massacre of the Donbas, but breaking the “nuclear free” promise was violating a core interest of the russian state, not a mere atrocity.

      Similarly currently all the nuclear submarines and missiles and most UK nuclear warheads are in Scotland, if Scotland declared independence it would not become a nuclear power and the UK would stop being one, Scotland would have to return them to the UK of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

      • Blissex

        «declared themselves “nuclear free” in exchange for a non binding promise that as long as they remained nuclear free they would be left alone. The ukrainian government broke that promise quite explicitly 10 days ago»

        Oops, poorly worded: “the ukrainian government [retracted that declaration]”. Now because the milk (and too much blood…) has already been spilt the belarussian (and soon the kazakhistani) government has also retracted that declaration as it is clear to even a dummy like Lukashenko that staying nuclear-free will not prevent certain foreign interests from interfering in Belarus, as they did in Ukraine in 2014.

    • D. Brand

      “the Budapest Memorandum”

      As the name states, the Budapest Memorandum is a memorandum and not a treaty. It’s just a peace of paper without the legal power of an international treaty. The reason is that the US had no intention of abiding by its terms and defend Ukraine’s sovereignty against Russia. Senate would never have ratified it. That hasn’t changed today. The US isn’t going to fight for Ukraine, no matter what Ukrainians want to believe. The US is using Ukraine as a proxy to fight Russia. A proxy that will be dropped like a hot potato like the Kurds when it suits the US.

      As to Ukraine acquiring nuclear weapons, that would be the fastest way to get the US to ally with Russia against Ukraine. The US may be mad, but not that mad.

      The Russians acted responsibly by taking control of Chernobyl because Ukraine is full of private militias with very dubious characters who are ready to make use of any radioactive material they can get their hands on.

  • Svetlana Pavlova

    It is hard not to think, from their passionate support of President Putin’s actions in Ukraine, that some posters here are actually Russian despite using British names. So to even up the balance I have decided to use name Svetlana Pavlova for my posts.

    • Peter

      @ Svetlana (or whomever),

      “It is hard not to think … ”

      Well at least you’re trying, try this:

      It is not so much posters here’s passionate support for Putin as much as their passionate anti-war opposition to America’s care-free instigation of war (as elsewhere) on mainland Europe with all the appalling, disgusting horrors that that entails that motivates their (and my) comments.

    • Akos Horvath

      And I think some people are here to report commenters to MI6 and create blacklists, Stasi style. After 911, more than a million people were put on no-fly lists in the US. Europe is going down the same path with this government-hyped uncontrolled hatred of anything and anybody Russian.

    • terence callachan

      Svetlana Popova , you mistake honest opinion for passionate support I hope it’s a mistake anyway.
      BBC do the same thing but not by mistake they do it on purpose

    • Jimmeh

      I think there is some heavy pro-Russian trolling going on. There are some fairly new commenters that are very prolific, and very stridently pro-Putin.

      This is a place where I thought I was among like-minded people, but some of the opinions and attitudes being expressed recently are pretty scary. The numbers of comments per blog-post are huge; pre-jail, there were rarely more than 200 comments per post. This one already has nearly 700 comments.

      Craig is naturally opposed to censorship; but I wonder if a bit of heavy-handed moderation might be in order.

  • Republicofscotland

    Update on second round of talks.

    “During the second round of talks in Belarus on Thursday, Moscow and Kiev agreed on mechanisms to establish routes via which to evacuate civilians from combat zones in Ukraine.

    “The parties have reached an understanding on the joint establishment of humanitarian corridors with a temporary ceasefire. Russia and Ukraine will soon create channels of communication and cooperation to organize these corridors,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhail Podolyak said.”

  • Mike Weston

    Good piece, Craig. 🙂

    One question though :

    “and yet many on the left are hoping for a Russian victory. ”

    Who is doing that ? In the UK?
    I haven’t seen that . (Most of my contacts/interactions are American,Canadian, & Australian , with a smattering all over. )
    I’ve seen lots of accusations of that though, usually directed at anyone reiterating how we got here, &/or making suggestions to dial-back the bombast.

    • Jams O'Donnell

      Well, I for one am hoping for a Russian victory, as opposed to a US/nato one. Why would you want the latter?

    • D. Brand

      “and yet many on the left are hoping for a Russian victory. ”

      I’m hoping for peace, which in my view can only be achieved by

      • a neutral and prosperous Ukraine that has close relations with Russia and with the EU
      • a federal and united Ukraine that fulfills the aspirations of all its citizens both in the West and in the East of the country

      If Russia can deliver this, fine, if Nato can deliver this, also fine.

  • Blissex

    For being a foreign affairs expert our blogger is not mentioning some very important relatively recent context:

    • The war of aggression and attempted ethnic cleansing by Georgia against the ethnic alans of south Ossetia in 2008.
    • The war of aggression and attempted ethnic cleaning by Ukraine against the ethnic russians of the Donbas in 2014.
    • The war of aggression and attempted ethnic cleaning by Azerbaijan against the ethnic armenians of Artsakh in 2021.

    Also that one of the objectives, and probably the main one, of the russian “humanitarian” special operation in east Ukraine is to bring to a war crimes tribunal the fanatically vicious criminals of the war of aggression against the Donbas, and when the trials happen and the copious evidence is shown to the world, a lot of the countries that today condemn the “humanitarian” special operation will change opinion.

    Those fanatically vicious criminals have been working for the usual suspects to goad the russians into counterattacking, to the point that they have been continuing to bomb the Donbas even as they are being surrounded by the russian army:

    2021-03-01 “Buildings were on fire and cars were destroyed after shelling in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk”

    • Blissex

      «one of the objectives, and probably the main one, of the russian “humanitarian” special operation in east Ukraine is to bring to a war crimes tribunal the fanatically vicious criminals of the war of aggression against the Donbas»

      In at least one respect the “humanitarian” special operation is doing well: minimizing casualties both among the ukrainians and the russians, and that is clearly a key objective of the russians (while the ukrainians seem fond of committing the war crime of putting their forces next to civilian places like schools to goad the russians), because:

      • In large part it is a “hearts and minds” special operation, both as to the russian troops taking part in it, and most of the ukrainian civilians, a large number (and probably a majority in the east and south) of which are pro-russian to start with, something that is very, very important to the final outcome.
      • Bad behaviour by the “humanitarian” special operations troops would taint the war crimes trials against the vicious criminals of the war of aggression against the Donbas.

      Note: how do we know that the russian troops are on best behaviour? That so far despite many provocations and the hyperactive search, probably by hundreds of (likely well paid) operatives and dozens of thousands of fanatical volunteers, for “proof” of atrocities only allegations and (fairly small) accidents have appeared on the “Washington Consensus” propaganda media.

  • Bob (not OG)

    Just another example of the MSM’s blatant hypocrisy – a few years ago Freddy Kanoute was fined for showing the word ‘Palestine’ on his vest, after scoring a goal against Deportivo La Coruña. Compare and contrast to now.

    Then: “Sevilla’s Kanouté Fined For Palestine Message”

    Now: “Premier League referees told not to caution players for displaying support to Ukraine”
    — The Metro

    “SHOW OF SUPPORT Premier League to support Ukraine amid Russia invasion this weekend with moment’s reflection and blue & yellow armbands”
    — The Sun

    “Premier League announce ‘show of solidarity’ for Ukraine ahead of Man City vs Manchester United”
    — Manchester Evening News

    It goes on, but you get the idea – it’s great to support Ukraine but not at all ok to support Palestine. The nauseating double standards can be seen again when observing the total non-coverage of heinous war crimes being committed in Yemen. Not a dickie bird from the MSM lying fucks.
    From BBC’s Newsround (aimed at kids):

    “There has been conflict in Yemen for a long time and a civil war since the end of 2014. A civil war is when people from the same country fight each other.”

    Seriously, George Orwell couldn’t have imagined this. No mention of bombing civilians, it’s simply “people from the same country fight each other”.

    The indoctrination, the obedience… it’s conditioned into us, from primary school onwards. To get promoted one must display obedience (to put it politely) to one’s ‘superiors’. The whole hierarchical shitshow is a disaster for people & planet. The end result is now – dickheads in charge who have no fucking clue about anything. How TF did we get here?

    • Blissex

      «it’s great to support Ukraine but not at all ok to support Palestine. The nauseating double standards»

      No double standards: the palestinians are “terrorists”, the ukrainians are “freedom fighters”, as simple as that :-).

    • Jams O'Donnell

      Yeah. Makes me want to boke. All this sickening jingoism shows up the fact that most people are of only average intelligence – that’s the only excuse I can find.

      • IanGB

        As George Carlin said, ‘Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.’

          • Jimmeh

            Negative, Spock.

            Most people are of lower or higher intelligence than the average. Taking IQ as a proxy for intelligence, the average IQ is 100. Most people do not have an IQ of 100. And most people don’t have average intelligence, whatever your definition of “average” or “intelligence” is.

      • Tom Welsh

        Actually, it’s even worse than that.

        “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”
        — George Carlin

      • Blissex

        «All this sickening jingoism»

        … is nothing new, here is a famous song that sometimes is still taught in english schools:

        The dogs of war are loose, and the ragged Russian Bear,
        Full bent on blood and robbery, has crawl’d out of his lair;
        It seems a thrashing now and then, will never help to tame
        That brute, and so he’s out upon the “same old game.”
        The Lion did his best to find him some excuse
        To crawl back to his den again, all efforts were no use;
        He hunger’d for his victim, he’s pleased when blood is shed,
        But let us hope his crimes may all recoil on his own head.
        We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do,
        We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too!
        We’ve fought the Bear before and while we’re Britons true
        The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

        Note the amazing similarity across the centuries:

    • Henry Smith

      Maybe, instead of ‘taking the knee’ they will show support to Ukraine by raising their arm straight out at 45 degrees ?

  • Blissex

    «* The war of aggression and attempted ethnic cleaning by Ukraine against the ethnic russians of the Donbas in 2014.»

    To understand that this article is quite interesting:

    «The post-Maidan government was now a war government. It banned the Communist Party from parliament for its alleged support of the rebels. It set up a gmail account for people in liberated towns in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to write anonymous reports on fellow citizens who might have aided the rebels. And it was doing its best to scare people. A professor at Kharkiv University showed me an order from the Ministry of Education demanding that all senior university officials take part in mobilising staff for the ATO. Those who ‘sabotaged’ the process would be found guilty of ‘separatist tendencies’. ‘This language,’ he said. ‘It’s straight out of the 1930s.’ […]

    In mid-March representatives of the post-Maidan Ministry of the Interior visited Donetsk. They met with civic leaders but most of all they met with the football ultras, and demanded that they arm themselves and prepare for battle against the pro-Russian forces in the city. Menendez was furious. The government was coming to his city and trying to get football hooligans to beat up protesters. ‘Resolving conflicts – that’s what government is for. If you’re incapable of that, you’re not a government, you’re a profanation. Either from ignorance of the situation, or from understanding it full well, they were igniting a civil war.’ […] Menendez knew several of the leaders of the pro-Russian movement in Donetsk. ‘This didn’t start yesterday,’ he told me. ‘If you look at photos of protests in Donetsk from 2003, you see the same Russian flags. The call for Donetsk to join Russia goes back a long way.’ […]

    ‘The protests in March and April were the most massive grassroots protests I have ever seen in Donetsk,’ Yuri Dergunov, who is also from Makeevka and teaches political science, told me. ‘In my memory people here had never been so active and so involved in their own fate.’ He pointed out the very specific social composition of the protests in Donetsk. The pro-Maidan protests, when they took place, were middle class and nationalistic; anti-Maidan was lower class and anti-oligarchic (and Russian nationalist). ‘I would see the people at Maidan and think: “What nice people, so well dressed, so educated.” Then they would open their mouths.’ The things that came out of their mouths included slogans taken from interwar Ukrainian fascism. They also expressed what Dergunov calls barely concealed ‘social racism’ towards the members of anti-Maidan.»

    “3,393 civilians killed (349 in 2016–2021)
    13,100–13,300 killed; 29,500–33,500 wounded overall
    414,798 Ukrainians internally displaced; 925,500 fled abroad”

  • Blissex

    «From BBC’s Newsround (aimed at kids): “There has been conflict in Yemen for a long time and a civil war since the end of 2014. A civil war is when people from the same country fight each other.” Seriously, George Orwell couldn’t have imagined this. No mention of bombing civilians, it’s simply “people from the same country fight each other”.»

    Oh he did, and wrote about it:

    “Looking Back on the Spanish War”, 1943:

    “Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie.
    I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.
    I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.”

    “As I please”, 1945:

    “The Daily Worker disapproves of dictatorship in Athens, the Catholic Herald disapproves of dictatorship in Belgrade. There is no one who is able to say – at least, no one who has the chance to say in a newspaper of big circulation – that this whole dirty game of spheres of influence, quislings, purges, deportation, one-party elections and hundred per cent plebiscites is morally the same whether it is done by ourselves, the Russians or the Nazis. Even in the case of such frank returns to barbarism as the use of hostages, disapproval is only felt when it happens to be the enemy and not ourselves who is doing it.”

    “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, 1949:

    “It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours?”

    • terence callachan

      Blissed…newshound John craven , political programme for Brit kids love the farmers whilst they poison you with fertilizer

  • D. Brand

    It has always been obvious to me that the CIA exaggerated Soviet military capabilities during the cold war to boost US military spending. I also think that it is very irritating that all the people who call for increased defense spending in Nato (at least 2% of GDP) seem to have a sudden loss of hearing when one asks why Nato needs to spend 10 or 20 times more than Russia. But this isn’t just about Russia; it’s about global US hegemony. I think there was some thinking in the US after WWII that the US military needs to be at least 2 times as strong as all other countries combined to guarantee the pax Americana. But since such an enormous defense budget risks bankrupting the economy, the burden of maintaining the empire has to be put on allied countries.

    It’s puzzling to me why the US is still treating Russia as an enemy. I never understood either why Americans were so obsessed about communism, but communism is gone. Ukraine is not essential to US security interests. Putin has been most cooperative in Afghanistan and other places. So why bring the world to the brink of the abyss and drive Russia into an alliance with China?

    One possible aim could be to drive a wedge between Europe and Russia. The Washington establishment was rattled by the axis Moscow-Berlin-Paris opposing the Iraq war. The French have a long tradition of cooperating with Russia going back to before WWI, which is fondly remembered by many in the political and military establishments. In Germany, both Social Democrats and industry have always looked to improved relations with Russia. Thus, Washington feared a rapprochement between Europe and Russia that could reduce US influence in Europe. That would also explain US obsession about NordStream 2 which has been promoted by former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who fell out of favor in Washington when he opposed the Iraq war and who has been a loyal friend of Putin for many years. Despite the war, even as we are speaking, Russian gas is still flowing to Europe through pipelines in Ukraine, Poland and Turkey. But NS2 has been killed off.

    The US made the decision to bring Ukraine into Nato before 2008, thus not very long after the Iraq invasion. It came to fruition when the crisis finally erupted with the Maidan coup in 2014, effectively throwing a spanner in EU/Russia cooperation and Putin’s vision of an economic zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

    Needless to say, the current invasion of Ukraine has driven a wedge between Russia and Europe that’s unlikely to be bridged in our lifetime. The US succeeded in dividing Europe a 2nd time in less than a century. The Europe I once loved is no more. I ought to feel compassion for the victims of war in Ukraine, yet I feel nothing but anger for that country that is dragging us into a war that is destroying the Europe I can identify with.

    • fredi

      after WWII that the US military needs to be at least 2 times as strong as all other countries combined to guarantee the pax Americana.

      Yet in the longer term they get beaten by tiny countries, like Vietnam and Afghanistan.

    • Blissex

      «It’s puzzling to me why the US is still treating Russia as an enemy.»

      Not all puzzling really, the standard answer was given long ago by George Kennan in “At a Century’s Ending: Reflections 1982-1995” “Part II: Cold War in Full Bloom” in 1997:

      Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.

      But I think there is a longer and deeper reason:

      • The USA in particular, even more so than the UK, is a multinational federation with strong centrifugal forces. It already split in the 1860s with bloody results; but it is still in the interests of most factions of the USA business elites that it should stay together.
      • Without one of more external enemies, no matter how abstract, uninterested in being enemies, or too distant to be enemies (“terrorism”, Russia, China), the USA probably would have split already, like most other empires (and not along the usually mentioned “white supremacist deplorable” midwest vs. the “right thinking liberal” costs, but along economic elite lines).

      Note: part of the reason why the British Archipelago Empire has been dissolving since 1917 is that one of the interests that was common the elites of all constituent nations, getting a cut of of the profits of the English Empire, evaporated like those profits; the Cold War was just a temporary, even decades-long, reprieve.

      Note: the USA elites are not only working to keep their huge shared domestic empire together, they are also working hard to increase the centrifugal forces in rival empires like the Russian Federation (after the USSR success) and China, and eventually will do the same to India, and probably to Brazil and Indonesia if necessary later on.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        I said 20 years ago that the US MIC had to be weaned off weapons through using the huge patent estate to commercialise non-military applications of the vast technology base there.

        Sadly, that’s too humane for the US psychopaths in charge of murdering worldwide.

    • Jo Dominich

      I wonder, is the USA overstating the size of its own MIC to create fear of them and close down dissent from those that oppose wars.

  • ET

    One of the greatest ever mobilisations of Nato forces now under way in Europe:

    I’ve not seen detail of said buildup of NATO troops and assets elsewhere. Also the tone of the article is so pro-NATO buildup it makes me feel very concerned that this conflict will escalate.

    Two Irish MEPs publ;ished a piece in the Irish Times which was front page this morning but is now behind a paywall. You can read their piece here:

    I don’t agree with everything they have said but this quote I do agree with:

    “Our vote was not against condemning Russian aggression. It was against flooding Ukraine with weapons. It was against a retaliatory spiral of military escalation, endangering all of Europe. It was against cynically exploiting an invasion of Ukraine to advance the interests of the fossil fuel industry during a climate crisis, endangering the whole planet.”

    “In the European Parliament we have consistently opposed the militarisation of the EU, the expansion of NATO, and the erosion of Ireland’s neutrality within EU common defence structures. We have always viewed these processes as part of a global military build-up, at risk of igniting into a general conflict. Ukraine is a flashpoint in that build-up. Although Russia alone invaded Ukraine, both Russia and the West bear responsibility for creating conditions of instability and confrontation in Ukraine, in pursuit of their strategic and economic interests.”

      • Jen

        I do not think the eleven US biolabs (depending on who or what you read; I have seen one site quote a figure of 14 or 15) are doing much now except emit smoke and ash after being targeted and bombed by Russian forces.

        Now of course the “fact checkers” are busy denying that US-funded biolabs ever existed in Ukraine.

    • Wikikettle

      I think Clare Daly puts to shame all her fellow politicians. Fire and brimstone Clare says it without fear or favour.

    • Blissex

      «It was against flooding Ukraine with weapons»

      That is quite deliberate: I guess that it was done because the suppliers of those weapons expect the Russian Federation to win in Ukraine, and want to create the worst possible conditions for the post-victory situation, with many criminal as well as political factions fighting each other while the Russian Federation try to keep order. I would think the hope is that an occupied Ukraine will be a failed state like Somalia or Lebanon.

      There is a side note about that: that the ukrainian government is doing irresponsibly insane things like distributing weapons to randoms like released criminals, old ladies, fashion victims, etc. a kind of comically tragic version of the 1945 “volksturm”, shows how little faith they have in the loyalty and survival of the ukrainian armed forces. if the ukrainian government reckoned that these were able to resist the “humanitarian” special operation, it would not be destroying even more of its authority by arming a disorganized populace with old rifles or molotov bottles. Even despite the dire situation of the ukrainian war of aggression against the Donbas, the mini government of that region did not arm their civilians, but relied on training and organizing a militia of mostly fighting age men and soviet war veterans.

    • Giyane


      This was Biden’s best buddies in Ireland condemning him? With a Trumpian twist of “bad behaviour on both sides”. The neo-nazi enthusiasts of the US understand that their over-consumption of resources is going to have to end very soon. So they want everywhere else to suffer while they do cold turkey from climate change enduced binge drinking of oil.

      With allies like this, who needs enemies?

      Tough love from Uncle Sam.

      • ET

        Clare Daly and Mick Wallace wouldn’t be Biden’s friends I think. They are taking a good deal of flack from the Irish media and some of the public for highlighting that the situation is more nuanced than just Russia bad. However, I am shocked at how conjoined in the war porn the Irish Press is with the rest of the junk. I am surprised that the Irish Times even published their piece. Ireland used to take pride in its neutrality.

        However, my point wasn’t to emphasise the Irish neutrality element but to point to the adding fuel to the fire that is this insane sending of arms to Ukraine and the NATO/EU/UK/USA rhetoric. Cooler heads must prevail.

  • Ethan McCool Hays

    “The only good guys in this are the common people of Ukraine, and the unfortunate conscripts in the Russian army. Let us all pray, hope or think on them tonight.”

    Exactly this.

    One of the oldest tricks in the book (right before, “Let’s you and him fight,” which might sum up this entire, sad situation) is to sell the notion that the enemy of your enemy is your friend.

    NATO has become a destabilizing force in the world, but that does not make Putin a stabilizing force.

    Ah, and there’s another trick you and I have both fallen for: It wasn’t evil Germany against the noble Allied Powers, it was Hitler and Mussolini; it’s not Russia vs NATO, it’s Putin. We deny them the respect due a legitimate government, and then feign offense at their indignance.

    The arrogance of power…

    • Wikikettle

      Ethan McCoys Hays. How do you account for whistle blowers and those who wouldn’t ” just following orders to gas people “

        • Wikikettle

          There are mid term elections due in America. The electorate are exhausted and care little about another war being sold to them.
          Trump is the favorite with his America First. To that extent It was interesting to hear Nigel Farage not join the band wagon and mention Nato Expansion and Poking the Bear….

  • Gerald

    Russian conscripts do not fight in the front line! A whorey old myth propagated ad infinitum in the MSM. If you ever see it in print believe the entire article to be bunkum. Mandatory Russian military service lasts 12 months and always takes place in the rear and often administrative areas. It isn’t the Soviet Union anymore!

    Russia has invaded a country bigger than France with a population of 40 million, it is under orders not to cause civilian casualties where possible. Slow and steady then, they have relied on encircling cities but not entering them unless chances are good to not get bogged down. Still the advance has been quicker than the US in Iraq and in Kuwait. The amount of duff military analysis in the MSM has been laughable, especially people like Patreus who simply thinks that if an army isn’t doing it the American way then whatever it is that they are doing (which he can’t figure out) must be wrong! Why would you copy the Americans when they lose all their wars? The Russians don’t. The Ukrainian air force and navy were destroyed in the 1st 12 hours of the conflict along with airfields that were deemed unimportant to Russian plans. Most of the Ukrainian forces in the East have been encircled in a cauldron.
    There have been some rookie errors by the Russians for sure but these are not Russia’s best troops, an opportunity to harden them, and not Russia’s best gear which has been kept on the borders. I see some experimentation in the concept of how to fight this kind of war. I have found the speculation about what is going on quite ridiculous.
    No one knows what is going on, apart from the Russians. Battlefields are blanketed with EW suppressing all comms, nothing gets in or out, other than in the Cities. They will suppress that if they go in. So the feverish speculation is nothing other than an attempt to fill a massive void in the information space. The Russians aren’t like the US giving endless misleading press conferences and having embedded journos kept well away from meaningful operations. It’s simply too early to come to any conclusions until the end of ops, which isn’t far off. The Ukrainians have had some tactical successes but no major battlefield wins and have been retreating since day one, or getting themselves encircled. Once their comms are gone they have been isolated and going nowhere. Scott Ritter is the only person I’ve seen who seems to have had a clue as to how things have been working out. Some good Russian sources too but I doubt the MSM would be bothered with anything so realistic and of course they don’t read Russian. I agree with Craig that the only people profiting are the various MICs, but when hasn’t that been the case?
    Russia’s main advantage is in its missile systems, supersonic and hypersonic, for which the West has little or no response, as yet. Non of these have been used in the current conflict (no real need) I think if the Russian forces look good at times it is because the US and UK always look so awful and perform so badly. This along with supremacy in certain areas gives a false impression. The West has numbers, the Russians have the tech to destroy or bring those numbers down to a manageable level, is basically where I see it at the moment vis a vis opposing military capabilities as we head into cold war 2.0

    • Wikikettle

      Gerald. Russia does not have the financial resources and quantity of the combined thirty odd countries of Nato. Nor the population. And a huge land mass to defend with many former Soviet Republics impregnated with Western NGO’s and money to destabilise. Yet what it has achieved under Putin in two decades is remarkable. When you scan the faces of its young military on the Victory Day parades, I see enthusiastic, patriotic, steeped in tradition, history not forgotten, very much still alive battles from the Great Patriotic War marched to. Their S400 surface to air missiles truly “area deny” our many squadrons of very hexpensive fragile high tech low hours jets, not stealth at all. Their anti-ship supersonic missiles counter our combined fleets for a fraction.

    • Andrew H

      So is this the same Scott Ritter that spent 2.5 years in prison for showing his penis to 15 year old girls? Nice. Like he hasn’t got an axe to grind.

      And this is the same guy that said the war was going to be done in 3 days? So he seems to have got that one wrong, yet, for some reason this convicted pedophile is the expert of all experts on modern warfare. What am I missing?

      • Wikikettle

        Just as Jullian Assange was a rapist (not) just as Samond was a rapist (not) just as our host Craig was accused of stuff on his turning whistle blower. Andrew H. Have you ever watched porn ? Well the authorities know if you have, and if you are secretly gay, and if your corrupt. But don’t worry, if you have and if you are, your path to promotion is even quicker, as long as you obey. If you waver or dare to say the truth, then they blackmail you, and get people to conspire and fit you up and send you to jail. Ask Jullian Assange. Have you ever been on the Lolita Express to fantasy Island with Epstein and Maxwell with Clinton’s and the good and the great ? Well if you have, you’ve been filmed. Do you like Lord Mount Batton?

        • Andrew H

          So not only are you a Putin apologist but also an apologist of sex offenders. He didn’t spend 2.5 years in jail for watching porn or being gay. [In this day and age there is no need to be secretly gay, so I don’t understand why you even include that word]. To my knowledge Assange was never convicted, so that is irrelevant. This guy has two convictions – so that isn’t just a set up or innuendo – he is a bone fide sex offender. (& no I have never felt a desire to expose myself on webcam to anyone – would you want someone to do that to you? and if offered an opportunity to spend a weekend on fantasy island with Hilary, I’d decline )

      • Frank Hovis

        “What am I missing?”

        Judging by your contributions on this blog so far, I would suggest a functioning brain.

          • Frank Hovis

            Last time I was in Russia it was part of the USSR and the city I visited was called Leningrad, during tne “Prague Spring”.

            Russian troll? What a veritable fountain of original thought you obviously are. I know you paid shills are expected to “tow” the line but please ask your supervisor to provide you with a greater variety of stock phrases, there’s a good chap.

      • Wang Shui

        It seems there were no 15 year old girls. It was a set up. Wouldn’t you just know it?

        Wikipedia on Scott Ritter:

        Ritter was caught twice in 2001 in April and June 2001, and arrested shortly after the second incident,[45][46] in connection with police stings in which officers posed as under-aged girls to arrange meetings of a sexual nature. He was charged with a misdemeanor crime of “attempted endangerment of the welfare of a child” after the second, but charges were dropped after he completed six months of probation,[47] and the record was sealed on condition that he avoid further trouble for a period of time.[46] After this information was made public in early 2003, Ritter said that the timing of the leak was politically motivated.[45][46][48]

        Ritter was arrested again in November 2009[49] over communications with a police decoy he met on an Internet chat site. Police said that he exposed himself, via a web camera, after the officer said she was a 15-year-old girl.[1] Ritter said in his own testimony during the trial that he believed the other party was an adult acting out her fantasy.[50] The next month, Ritter waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was released on a $25,000 unsecured bail. Charges included “unlawful contact with a minor, criminal use of a communications facility, corruption of minors, indecent exposure, possessing instruments of crime, criminal attempt and criminal solicitation”.[51] Ritter rejected a plea bargain and was found guilty of all but the criminal attempt count in a Monroe County, Pennsylvania courtroom on April 14, 2011.[1][52] In October 2011, he received a sentence of 1½ to 5½ years in prison.[53] He was sent to Laurel Highlands state prison in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in March 2012 and paroled in September 2014.[54]

        • Andrew H

          Can’t you read?

          “Police said that he exposed himself, via a web camera, after the officer said she was a 15-year-old girl.”

          It doesn’t matter that she was a police officer > 15. It is still a crime. (haven’t you watched dateline – to catch a PREDATOR?). Normal people (in this case a 50 year old male) do not expose themselves on their webcams to women (even to women that they believe to be over 18), and especially if they have a prior conviction for sexual misconduct. That is why he was convicted for the second time and did 2.5 years in jail. This is not normal. Normal people don’t get ‘set up’ like this, because they know that women are not comfortable with guys who pull their pants down in front of them.

          I’m truly astounded at the lengths some people will go to explain away the behavior of a pedophile. No wonder Saville got away with it for so many years, with people like you around.

          • Wang Shui

            Can’t you read?
            I’m not excusing it.
            I’m not saying it didn’t happen.
            I am simply reporting what Wikipedia says about the incident.
            I am saying it was a set up and that no 15 years old girl was involved according to what I read and posted.

          • Tom Welsh

            So this police officer was only 15? That helps to explain a lot about the American police.

            Your comments demonstrate that you are a believer in thoughtcrime. If a man thinks he is doing something illegal – even though he is not – he must be guilty. I suppose if a police officer persuaded someone to smoke some straw, saying it was cannabis, that too would be a ghastly crime.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Maybe what you are missing is that the Russians are trying to minimise civilian casualties and, as the Ukrainian fighters have lodged themselves in amongst civilians in several towns and cities, that takes longer to clear.

        OF course, if you would prefer ‘Operation Shock N Awe’ flattening of Mariupol etc, treating civilians and children alike as expendable pieces of toast, let us know….

    • Andrew H

      This is where NATO gets involved whether we want to not:

      Perhaps now is the time for a first strike, or at least a no fly zone (I wasn’t in favor of NATO sending in planes, but Putin is convincing me otherwise…) Time to start issuing some ultimatums to Putin – stay away from the power stations or expect Nato to put an end to this. (literally). If I were in Moscow now, I’d be looking at spending a few days in the countryside.

      • Wang Shui

        “Julian Borger in Washington”

        With a powerful telescope.

        “Fire breaks out at site of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine – video”

        Video will not run for me.
        How fortunate that someone was focussing a camera on the site at the precise moment and send it to the Guardian.

          • DunGroanin

            Is The Farce still in Ukraine ? – wouldn’t expect even that loser, coward, toss pot – to be anywhere near an actual war.
            Same as Monbiots idiotics yesterday.

      • zoot

        “Perhaps now is the time for a first strike, or at least a no fly zone”

        that would get you involved personally in this exciting story, albeit for no more than half a second.

        • Wang Shui

          I think by his time zone he is in Australia, so well out of it.
          Probably works for ASPI.
          The power plant strike is such an obvious false flag, who is going to be taken in by it? A Guardian reporter gets given a report – in Washington! – and within hours it is reported in newspapers all over the world. Quite a media operation at work.

          Here is a brilliant take down of the ASPI “report” “Uyghurs for sale”.

        • Andrew H

          Game on. If Putin wants to play poker, then its time to call his bluff – just like pearl harbor. You guys keep insisting he’s sane and calculating. If he is he’ll back down, if he is not then… I guess he wasn’t bluffing (it will at least be good for all the birds, plants and animals – life finds a way).

          “that would get you involved personally in this exciting story, albeit for no more than half a second”

          Nah, I’ll be ok for a few weeks until the pantry runs bare – in fact since summer is coming I’ll probably make it through until next winter.

          • Stevie Boy

            Please grow up. In wars innocent people die. There is no need to hype up the lunacy from the comfort of your chair.

          • DunGroanin

            Of all the heffalumps that have run into the trap you are surely the biggest bear of small brain.

            The bluff was called in December. By Russia’s reading of the riot act. It was made exceedingly plain to the Dodge City thugs also in clear English at the beginning of the Olympics by the joint declaration of support in the coming shootout.

            You can’t call a bluff against pocket rockets especially if they are revealed – the outlaws can only refuse to lose or cry cheat, turnover the table, and run with the money.

            Feel free to come play poker at my game anytime – bring plenty of rebuys as I let you call my bluffs ??

      • Akos Horvath

        Play your games in your own country. We don’t want our neighborhood turned into an Idlib province, stuffed with mercenaries, neonazis, militias, what not. Just because you are part of a suicide cult, we in Hungary want to live. Fight it out with the Russians in your own isle.

    • Jimmeh

      > the US has never relinquished its first strike policy

      First strike, as in first use of nuclear weapons. I don’t know what US policy is on first use, but it is NATO’s policy that *in the event of a conventional attack* they may retaliate with nukes. NATO doesn’t reserve any right to launch a war of aggression spearheaded with nukes!

  • Gerard Coyle

    Craig, have you read “The Threat” by Andrew Cockburn? It basically comes to the same conclusions, but was actually written in the 1980’s.

  • Tatyana

    Negotiations proceed. Very good!

    “… The main issue that was resolved today is the rescue of people, civilians, who found themselves in the zone of military clashes.”

    “…The parties discussed in detail all three blocks of issues – military, international and humanitarian, as well as “the future political settlement of the conflict.” As Medinsky pointed out, the positions of the parties are clear, written down point by point, and mutual understanding has been found on some of them.”

    The article is here, in Russian (Russian to English)
    there are 3 incerts in it, Medinsky’s short interview, Putin’s yesterday report on the operation, and opinion from Slutsky on ratification of the negotiations result.

    I get sick to see so many here speculating on how much worse it will be now to live in Russia. Folks, stay human. There’s war there. We are all in it and some of us are more involved emotionally, than you, outside observers.
    Things never get better with a war, do you think you’re alone who knows it? Or, do you think we had referendum here on if sending troops to Ukraine? Or, you think we here were dreaming of conquering Ukraine? Please, stop casting silly smearing remarks.
    Everyone would be happy if it all was possible to settle in a peaceful way.

  • Tatyana

    Also, it looks like some understanding comes not only to France, but to Germany too 🙂
    Hope we will be OK

    At the same time, US continues to insist on pressure and isolation for Russia. Kiev asks to exclude Russia of UN SC. I would like Mr.Murray to comment on this, if he is in any ability to write at the moment.

      • Wikikettle

        Rhys Jaggar. I have noticed and followed an Indian online news channel WION and Gravitas. It pumps out the same talking points as western media, increasingly anti Russian, in a country traditionally very friendly. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a Murdoch operation ? Anyone?

  • Tatyana

    This blog is infected. Had a “nice” guest visiting my Facebook page yesterday 🙂 Hi there 🙂 Brave warriors fighting ‘russian propaganda’ 🙂

    Today they try to supress me from sharing anything, so I know I’m on the right way.
    I’m standing for the freedom of speech and for truth.

    The video link shared by James, worth watching and sharing as much as possible

    • Rhys Jaggar

      It’s not infected, it’s just ‘monitored’ Tatyana.

      I had 100 times worse than you’re getting 20 years ago for what I was saying about 9/11 and the Iraq war.

      When you have intel buying a flat below yours to use the highest surveillance tech known, up to and including being able to detect your computer typing when it is completely disconnected from the internet (you test this by typing some supremely violent thoughts about some member of the Establishment and get sharp tapping below your floor (which never happened before that or after that)), when they tail your car to and from work, follow you to the mountains at the weekends, when they make nuisance phone calls and cut off your calls to your family if you ever suggest that Israel might be less than saintly, then you’re really ‘in their headlights’.

      • Tatyana

        I don’t care if they spy me, I’ve nothing to hide, really.
        Spying on me may only have a positive impact on them, as they can learn how to cook one excellent borsch, or craft jewelry 🙂 Perhaps it may turn them away from waging silly wars and just live a normal life.

  • Rhys Jaggar has the supremely human warmonger Lindsey Graham (who has never ever opposed any US military action or pentagon spending ever) calling for the assassination of Putin.

    Personally, I think the world would have been a better place had a hypersonic missile hit Capitol Hill whilst Biden was mumbling his SOTN speech.

    Just imagine all those warmongers wiped out in one trice.

    A true cause for celebration…..

  • Tatyana

    Alexander Mercouris gives his opinion

    And I find it very very wise.
    In some of his recent videos Alexander complained that his content was misused, so I’m making a disclaimer to not misuse his ideas myself. Further my words are my own opinion.
    I think that the video linked above finally explains, that the military conflict is NOT to conquer Ukraine, but rather the means to attract attention to the fact, that confrontation went too far and we need NEGOTIATIONS on how to live together without being a threat to each other.
    Horrible that it came so far, that only a man with a gun was able to shift stubborn minds revolving in their stereotyped schemes and Cold War thinking.
    Horrible that the US cuts off any means to deliver Russian position to the wider audience, instigating every country around to just go and kill us. Psaki said their goal is to isolate Russia, and I find her a servant of devil.

    • Tatyana

      if anyone is interested in my personal take of Alexander’s take of the events 🙂

      I see that he is buying that emotional picture of self-assured Putin standing against exhausted Zelenski, a guy who has no political competence and is in a very difficult situation.

      I’d like to point out, that Zelenski is not the person to decide about NATO and about Ukraine. I wish Alexander realised it, because it is true. So the picture is not that emotionally appealing.

      There are no poor little souls in this confrontation. It is Putin standing against Stoltenberg and Biden.

      The phone talks with Macron are here
      As I guess you cannot access the page, let me please copy the text

      Telephone conversation with President of France Emmanuel Macron
      Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron.

      March 3, 202215:55

      “The presidents continued their frank exchange of views on the situation regarding Ukraine.

      Vladimir Putin commented in detail on President Macron’s Address to the Nation on the Ukraine War, which he delivered yesterday, disputing many of the points. Thus, Emmanuel Macron described Russia’s statements about fighting Nazism in Ukraine as “lies.” In this connection, the President of Russia provided a well-corroborated explanation regarding the neo-Nazis’ substantial role in the state policy of Kiev. He pointed out that during the special operation to defend Donbass, Russia intends to continue its uncompromising struggle against the militants of the nationalist armed units, who are committing military crimes, including by deploying military equipment in residential areas and using civilians as human shields.

      The President of Russia noted that Emmanuel Macron had not mentioned in his address that the Ukrainian leadership had sabotaged the Minsk agreements for the past seven years, or that the Western countries, including France, had done absolutely nothing to make Kiev implement them. Moreover, they had closed their eyes to years of genocide against peaceful civilians in Donbass, which led to numerous casualties and forced hundreds of thousands of people to seek asylum in Russia.

      Vladimir Putin put forth the details of Russia’s principled approach and terms in the context of talks with the representatives of Kiev. He reaffirmed that Russia’s priority goals were demilitarisation and a neutral status for Ukraine, so that it would never pose a threat to the Russian Federation.

      It was emphasised that the goals of the special military operation would be attained in any case, and that any attempts to play for time by drawing out talks would only result in additional demands to Kiev being included in Russia’s negotiating stance.

      Another point the President of Russia emphasised was that the Russian Armed Forces involved in the special operation, which is proceeding according to plan, are doing their utmost to save civilian lives. They are using precision weapons to destroy exclusively military infrastructure. The allegations about missile and bomb attacks on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities are untrue and are elements of the anti-Russia disinformation campaign.

      Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s readiness for cooperation with its foreign partners to address acute humanitarian problems. He urged the President of France to join the efforts to ensure the safe evacuation of foreign nationals from Ukraine. He mentioned, for example, the large group of Indian students in Kharkov, whom the Ukrainian security services have taken hostage. Emmanuel Macron promised to take the issue up with the Kiev leadership.

      It was agreed to continue contacts at various levels on the issues raised during the conversation.”

      • Tatyana

        Also, re. Alexander’s video, here is the talk of Putin to Modi

        “Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi
        Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi at the latter’s initiative.

        March 2, 202220:00
        The leaders discussed the evacuation of Indian citizens that are currently in Ukraine.

        Vladimir Putin emphasised that the necessary instructions had been given and the Russian military is doing everything possible to ensure the safe evacuation of Indian citizens from the area of hostilities and their return home. Thus, Russian officials are trying to organise urgent evacuation of a group of Indian students from Kharkiv to Russia along the shortest route in the humanitarian corridor. Meanwhile, according to the latest information, these students have already been, in effect, taken hostage by the Ukrainian power agencies that are using them as a human shield and are doing everything to prevent their leaving for Russia. The Kiev authorities are fully responsible for this.

        The leaders agreed to continue close cooperation to ensure the safety of Indian citizens in Ukraine.”

    • Bayard

      “Horrible that it came so far, that only a man with a gun was able to shift stubborn minds revolving in their stereotyped schemes and Cold War thinking.”

      The US has always only respected force. Anything else is either weakness or incompetence, to them.

      “You get much further with a quiet word and a gun, than you do with a quiet word alone”

      • Wikikettle

        Bayard. In my opinion, it seems very likely that sooner rather than later, there will be direct clash between Russia and US, UK, France Nato. This would most probably be in Poland and Romania, full chapter five members of Nato. This clash, over mercenaries, arms shipments to Ukraine and or missile bases about to go “live” will lean to a nuclear exchange. I cant see either side backing down.

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