Nato Expansion and Turkey 336

I am in Turkey because, if there is to be movement in ending the war in Ukraine, it will happen here. President Erdogan’s firm stance on a potential veto of Swedish and Finnish NATO membership is framed in public only in relation to perceived support by those countries for Kurdish resistance groups. But of course it goes much deeper.

Erdogan understands that the spectacular advance by NATO eastward that Finnish enlargement in particular would represent, is a slap in the face for Putin that will make a peace deal in Ukraine far more difficult. Any such deal would have to be based upon Russia giving up some of the Ukrainian territory it holds today. Dramatic NATO expansion is the very opposite of an attempt to create the conditions for that. In fact, that NATO is so actively pursuing this expansion is sufficient evidence that NATO is looking for a long proxy war to bleed Russia, rather than trying to restore peace and stability to Europe.

That the European public are gripped by a wave of emotion over Ukraine was amply demonstrated by the popular vote of tens of millions in the Eurovision song contest. Once the spasm dies down, opinion in Finland and Sweden may revert. It has been obvious for over a decade that Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation. That agenda is currently causing a ruinous war, but is no military threat to Finland or Sweden.

Turkey retains the prestige of chosen venue and perhaps broker for continuing diplomatic contact between Russia and Ukraine. Erdogan’s robust stance on Finland and Sweden is necessary to maintain Russian trust. Turkey of course has its own lengthy and extremely complex historical and current relationship with Russia, which is much more important than Turkey’s role as a key NATO member might suggest. It is also worth bearing in mind that Turkey is a far more serious military power than Finland and Sweden combined.

There is another, specifically Turkish interest in play here, which is very much a factor in Erdogan’s willingness to stand up to Biden over Swedish and Finnish NATO entry. This of course relates to the permanent tension between NATO members Turkey and Greece.

Turkey is furious over the militarisation of the Eastern Aegean Greek Islands very close to its shores, and the lack of support and understanding it has received from other NATO members over the perceived threat.

The status of Greece’s most Eastern (Dodecanese) islands is not in doubt. It was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1947, to which all the permanent members of the UN security council, and many other states, are parties.

The demilitarisation of the islands is unequivocal, and no treaty since has negated it.

Other Greeks islands including Limnos and Lesbos slightly further West are similarly constrained by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Greece claims this status was modified subsequently by the 1936 Straits Convention. I don’t think that is right but that is a more complex argument than we need to develop just now. The 1947 Treaty is not modified.

Yet Greece had proceeded and is still proceeding with the militarisation of the Dodecanese islands on a large scale, involving tens of thousands of troops in total, military aircraft, and in particular long range surface to surface missiles. Turkey and Russia both regard these as a threat. The Turkish government are privately convinced that this militarisation is being carried out with active United States cooperation, participation and perhaps instigation.

In February, President Erdogan stated that as the Treaties specifying demilitarisation are the very Treaties which give sovereignty over the islands to Greece, then if Greece was repudiating the treaties it brought sovereignty into question. Erdogan was immediately slapped down by the Biden administration.

So Turkish resentment at US behaviour in the Aegean, seen as encouraging a direct military threat, is another reason why Erdogan is not anxious to defer quickly to the US agenda in the Baltic. Turkish exasperation is further fueled by the fact that this really is bad faith by the USA, in refusing to abide by an international treaty to which it is a party (a position complicated by the fact Turkey itself is not a party to the Treaty of Paris 1947).

I have found this last 17 years of blogging that it only takes a little background knowledge, a little research, and a few affable conversations, to find a picture far more complicated and realistic than that carried in the mainstream media. Sadly there are few left in the mould of Robert Fisk.

Speaking of which the most important piece of UK journalism this year is being totally ignored by the mainstream media. Please do read it; you will learn more about how the UK really works than you ever will from the BBC.


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336 thoughts on “Nato Expansion and Turkey

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  • Carl

    Other than encircling and constantly threatening the Bear, enriching bombmakers and invading and destroying countries nowhere near the north Atlantic what is the purpose of this sacred organisation that nobody in British public life is allowed to question? What is its inherent nobility that “all decent people” agree upon?

      • Rob Brown

        It was under Salmond’s leadership that the SNP swung towards NATO back in 2012. Furthermore, a motion aimed at extricating Scotland from this nuclear-armed pact post-independence was studiously kept off the agenda at his new party’s inaugural conference last autumn. Not that anything about Alba matters much now.

          • Rob Brown

            Alba isn’t responsible for anything because it has quickly become an utter irrelevance (as I predicted would happen if Alex Salmond remained its leader).
            You’re the one who chose to have a go at Sturgeon for her pro-NATO stance, omitting to mention that she’s merely upholding a position adopted by her predecessor.
            Some of us aren’t prepared to have Salmond’s record in office airbrushed out of the Scottish contemporary history books by his cult-like followers.

  • JeremyT

    keep at it, Craig.
    I’m afraid militarization is on a roll, because global resources are constrained at the limits of our expectations.
    Shiny new killing technologies are all the rage, uniforms keep the hungry youth from raiding the streets.
    And the chink of teacup on saucer in the finest salons of the clever elites breaks the silence of the email ‘arrangements’, while the froth of public debate churns the bullshit of the glittering newsround.
    Sing us a song for peace, Craig, I’ve already voted for you!

    • Tom Welsh

      Quite so! Before embarking on the study of almost any current political or military issue, one must understand clearly that influential people are firmly in the habit of lying systematically about everything that matters. Why wouldn’t they, when they wish to influence outcomes, and they have absolutely no concern for truth or other people?

  • Laguerre

    “It has been obvious for over a decade that Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation.”

    Why that supposition when Putin has said precisely the reverse? He said it would be nice but not realistic. So why impose on Putin ideas he has denied? I can see no other evidence that this supposition is actually the case. Crimea was a case of Russia’s strategic interests, not Russian population. Donbass doesn’t seem to be the objective of Russian desire, but rather defending the relatives’ interests. I quite agree that the problem here is that large numbers of Russian colonists did settle in what are now independent republics, and Russia is concerned with how to protect them – but it is much like British settlers in Rhodesia or Kenya, in the end they will leak away, or integrate. There’s no other solution, and I don’t see Putin is looking at it otherwise.

    • Tom Welsh

      What would be truer is that Russian-speaking people, many of whom consider themselves “ethnically” Russian (vague as that term is) often wish to be reintegrated into Russia. Mr Putin and other Russian leaders often see fit to do what is practicable to accommodate their wishes – as in Crimea. (Russia had vital strategic and military interests in Crimea too, which happened to coincide with the desires of the people there – but that is logically a separate issue).

      As for trying to re-expand Russia, Mr Putin and others have often made it crystal clear that they have no wish to inflate another unsustainable and unstable “empire”. Russia is the biggest country in the world as it stands – twice the area of the USA, Canada, or China – and almost wholly self-sustaining. It has no need or wish for more territory, least of all if populated by angry, resentful (and often poor) people who hate Russia.

      British, American and other people far too often permit themselves psychological projection when talking about Russia. It is Britain that lost a huge empire and now dreams wistfully of regaining some world-wide power, and the USA that cleverly replaced the need for actual occupation of colonies with neo-imperialism as described by Michael Hudson and others.

      Has it struck anyone that, in today’s world, the only rapidly expanding “empire” is that of NATO? It’s well worth thinking about.

      • Laguerre

        Of course there’s a lot of irredentism among colonial populations, but that doesn’t mean that it’s practical to put it into action (and I’m sure Putin understands that). UDI in Rhodesia was a British case. There’s a tendency to think the Russian empire was not the same as the British, because the Russian colonies were contiguous with the homeland, and the British far away overseas. But they were the same. With the exception of Ukraine and Belarus. Why they were made independent when Russia decolonialised in 1991, I’ve never understood.

    • Jack


      Also, if the coup in 2014 would not have happend, Crimea and other self-declared states inside Ukraine would still be part of the ukrainian statehood today and no one would talk about Russia wanting to integrate those people/states to Russia.
      As much as I am against the russian invasion, the Maidan rulers brought this development upon themselves by excluding the eastern regions in their “revolution” that now seek more independence, which in turn is not a new phenomenon invented by Putin:
      30 years ago there was a referendum in Crimea that clearly proved that the people there wanted to detach themselves from Ukraine.

      ” Voters were asked whether they wanted to re-establish the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which had been abolished in 1945. The proposal was approved by 94% of voters. “

    • Conall Boyle

      Here here! I’m fed up with pundits telling me what Putin is thinking. “You cannot look into men’s minds” as the wise Queen Elizabeth (the first of England) said.
      Otherwise an excellent, informative article Craig, with new insights on ‘de-militarisation’. Seems quite a reasonable request from Putin that Ukraine should limit itself to self-defence (with maybe a quid pro quo from Russia)

    • Neil

      Laguerre, “Why that supposition when Putin has said precisely the reverse?”

      The second part of your sentence answers the first.

    • St Pogo

      Quite agree.
      Putin asked the two cubs not to hold their referendums in 2014 and then has been the only one pushing for
      fulfilment of the Minsk agreements which would have kept them as part of the Ukraine.
      If his true motives were to gain these regions he would have done it in 2014 not advocate the opposite.

    • straydog

      “It has been obvious for over a decade that Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation.”

      I agree Laguerre, this is just typical main stream propaganda for the sheep. Anyone who believes that should have their opinions turned into suppositories and inserted accordingly
      The real truth is Putin was pro west, however NATO cannot exist without an enemy, hence this line of bullshit started to be spun.. NATO is the most corrupt and hopeless organisation there is in Europe baring the EU in Brussels.. A friend who has worked with Stoltenterd, said he could not get laid in a brothel if he was naked and covered in money.. that is his ineptitude.. but he does go as the wind blows

  • Jack

    As much as I am glad that Turkey put the brakes on Sweden and Finland I am sure Erdogan is just trying to get concessions and will eventually change his mind. One can imagine the great pressure diplomatically Turkey now endures. They will back down.
    Nato has obviously became too big for its own good: they now have 30 members and every member have to agree to every new member!

    Regardless, I cannot understand the logic of pushing on with Nato expansion right during this war, a war that was in part initiated becase of Nato expansion!

    • Allan Howard

      It’s all down to Separate Realities Jack, and the majority of people live in the reality ‘created’ by the PTBs propaganda machine, the MSM and, as such, think and believe that the reason Finland and Sweden want to join Nato is precisely because of Russia’s aggression, and Putin’s expansionist ambitions, when in reality it’s the very opposite, and what is happening in Ukraine is happening because of the WEST’s ambitions to create a unipolar world, dominated by the US of course.

      • Neil

        A question of two realities? I’d call it not seeing the wood for the trees. This is an unprovoked aggression in which hundreds of thousands of blameless people (including Russians) have lost/will lose their lives in horrific ways while millions will be physically or psychologically scarred for the rest off their lives. Going on about nazis and iraq and msm lies etc etc is just a way of avoiding facing that reality, a desperate attempt to excuse it. If Jack, Stevie Boy, Goose, Bayard, Giyane, and all the other Putin cheerleaders could post links to comments they wrote before February 22 calling for an invasion, I’ll stand corrected, but I’m guessing they didn’t, on the contrary ridiculed the idea. Now they’re caught by their hatred of the West (don’t have a problem with that myself) into justifying the unjustifiable. Any condemnation of the war is deflected by “but what about vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, etc. etc.?” I’ll tell you what about it. If unprovoked war of aggressions by the West are wrong, they’re wrong by Russia, that’s what. Stop making excuses for warmongering assholes.

        • Beware the Leopard

          “This is an unprovoked aggression in which hundreds of thousands of blameless people (including Russians) have lost/will lose their lives in horrific ways while millions will be physically or psychologicially scarred for the rest off their lives.”

          First of all, let us spare a thought for the 14,000 killed in the Donbass over the preceding 8 years. Regardless of how you or I feel about the matter, Neil, I expect plenty of people of the Donbass felt then that the aggression launched by Victoria Nuland’s pre-approved Ukrainian government (its so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation) was unprovoked.

          Second, many authorities with notable foreign affairs expertise contradict your claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked. Specifically, the threat NATO poses to Russia has provoked it. That is what they say.

          What I say is that NATO should have dissolved long ago. (I think Jack Matlock, at least, agrees with me, but maybe I’m mistaken about that.) Its existence, ever since the dissolution of the USSR, is a cancerous tissue of the American empire, itself a disease which has in my own view already gone to great lengths to subvert every worthy Western value, each such value by now corrupted into some malignant parody as exemplified by contemporary American culture.

          I never hated my country (the US), I never hated the West. I mourn their death to cancer, and now I hate that cancer. NATO’s purpose is the destruction of Russia (probably in the interests of Anglo-American finance or some such vampiric cabal). I consider that an illegitimate end.

          Now I wonder what you think, Neil, of this interview with Oleksiy Arestovych, presently a Ukrainian presidential adviser:

          Arestovych: Full war with Russia coming soon, 18 March 2019 (14 mins)

          I think he makes an interesting argument, concluding that Ukraine faces a dilemma: whether to ally with Russia or with NATO. On the way to that conclusion, he argues in particular that neutrality is too expensive for Ukraine to afford. I don’t think I’ve encountered that claim before. I thought that part was very interesting.

          If true, it means that these hundreds of thousands of blameless people must perish because

          1. NATO exists, and
          2. no interested power will pay the cost of Ukrainian neutrality.

          or, put another way, “NATO exists and therefore hundreds of thousands of innocents will pay with their lives the cost of Ukrainian non-neutrality”.

          And, since you seem interested in the internal workings of the minds of others, I will tell you that whenever Arestovych says things like…

          “[Putin’s] main goal is to restore the Soviet Union and win the Cold War”,

          …I mentally replace that fantastic piece of misdirection with…

          “Russian leadership’s main goal is to prevent NATO, and the American empire more generally, from killing Russian independence so that the masters of empire can feast on its bones”,

          …which I find more plausible.

          • Neil

            Yeah, sure, Putin is just some noble guy trying to protect innocents. That’s why Russia will be invading China next week to protect the Uyghurs.

          • glenn_nl

            N: That’s why Russia will be invading China next week to protect the Uyghurs.

            And we – the West – just love peace, justice, freedom and democracy so much. That’s the only reason we’re all in with the Ukrainians right now. Just ask the Palestinians among many, many others.

          • Bayard

            “That’s why Russia will be invading China next week to protect the Uyghurs.”

            Why on earth should they be doing that? What’s wrong with the Uyghurs”

          • Beware the Leopard

            “Yeah, sure, Putin is just some noble guy trying to protect innocents”

            Neil, where have I said any such thing?

            The phrase “killing Russian independence” near the end of my last comment means “ending the sovereignty of the Russian Federation”.

            It is not a misspelled attempt to write “killing Russian independents”, which one might construe to mean what you pretend I said, if one squints the right way and ignores the bit that follows specifying the purpose for that killing. Did you seriously imagine I would claim that the masters of empire intend to “feast on” the slain bodies of a few Donbass Anti-Maidanists or something?

          • Neil

            Beware, please forgive my simple-mindedness, but Ukraine did not attack Russia, the US did not attack Russia, NATO did not attack Russia. Russia is not defending itself from a military attack, although it might think it’s defending itself from political manoeuvres to gain influence on the world stage, of which it does plenty itself One country’s army has crossed an international border to attack another country. The one doing the crossing is the aggressor. Can’t believe I’m having to spell that out. Saying America does bad things is not an excuse for Russia doing bad things. Two months ago, no commenters here were advocating an invasion of Ukraine. On the contrary, there was widespread ridicule for such a preposterous notion. Now those ridiculers are scrabbling about to excuse it. What about Iraq, whatabout Vietnam, whatabout Afghanistan, etc. does not excuse it, in the same way whatabout Jack the Ripper does not excuse Dennis Nilsen.

          • Beware the Leopard

            Neil, simplicity is a virtue, there is no fault to forgive. And I see now that you were replying to the first two paragraphs of my overly long contribution, in which parts I addressed felicitous use of the term unprovoked aggression.

            You write,

            “Ukraine did not attack Russia, the US did not attack Russia, NATO did not attack Russia.”

            A threat is not an attack. Very true.

            But a substantive threat is undeniably provocative.

          • Neil


            “But a substantive threat is undeniably provocative.”

            Agreed, but reacting to such a provocation by blowing the limbs off tens of thousands of human bodies is unforgivable. With today’s news of a Russian soldier pleading guilty to the murder of an unarmed civilian, begging the victim’s widow for forgiveness and saying he was “simply following orders”, we have the tiniest glimpse into the tiniest portion of the unimaginable physical, psychological and spiritual agony of blameless people caught up in this senseless war. The commenters on this site cheering on Putin’s invasion would no doubt see the interruption of their internet connection as the very definition of agony. The poverty of imagination to understand what Putin has unleashed is incredible. Putin had his concerns. Each of the corpses he has created had their own concerns and simply wanted to be left alone to achieve whatever plans they had for their lives. Putin’s esoteric obsessions about Russian nationalism didn’t give him the right to trump a single Ukrainian’s interests, never mind those of millions who are now dead, crippled or homeless.

            Yes, it’s an emotional way of looking at it, but if such a spectacle can’t be responded to with emotion, then something is wrong with the framing of the discussion.

          • Beware the Leopard


            The effect of emotions is to anchor your attention to something. This can bring benefits, under the right conditions.

            However, the derangement of rationality is a common side-effect, or (for those who aim to manipulate others) an off-label use. Beware!

            Have you had a chance to look at the twitter thread listing the many warnings, issued by experts in foreign affairs, which I linked to above, that NATO expansion was dangerous because it would provoke Russia?

            Here is a link to the same thread, but via a proxy that I prefer to use. I find it less distracting than Twitter’s web pages. Easier to focus on the requested information:


            Maybe you will find it helpful, too. Either way, have a good rest of the week.

          • Neil

            Beware, thanks for the link. Here is Chomsky in 2015:

            “the idea that Ukraine might join a Western military alliance would be quite unacceptable to any Russian leader”

            OK. But might the idea that Russia can waltz across the border and annex bits of Ukraine, as they did a year before Chomsky said this, be unacceptable to any Ukrainian leader? Does Russia have a monopoly on what it considers unacceptable? Does it have a monopoly on being provoked? Might Ukraine claim it was provoked into wanting to join NATO?

            Russia, being bigger, thinks its interests trumps Ukraine’s, its being provoked trumps Ukraine’s being provoked, its security demands trumps Ukraine’s security demands. This is the psychology of a bully. Ukraine has not once crossed Russia’s borders and annexed parts of Russia. It has not threatened to do so. It has not claimed the right to do so. It has not made even the slightest suggestion that it would ever do so. Russia, on the other hand, has repeatedly done all four. What to do in such a situation? Always simply give in to the demands of the bully?

            I understand that there are two sides. Russia has its perspective which must be acknowledged, shouldn’t be ignored. But the picture painted on these boards, Russia=wronged innocent, Ukraine/West=evil provoker of war, is a load of old bollocks.

  • Overlordnat

    You’re quite right in opposing NATO expansion in Sweden and Finland and indeed in Ukraine itself, Craig. You’ve been a curate’s egg recently, rightly opposing NATO expansion but wrongly placing too much blame on Russia for the current situation in Ukraine. As has been said on Twitter though, Sweden’s support of the PKK has to be taken into account as a factor influencing Turkey to oppose NATO expansion.

  • Allan Howard

    I doubt that the Grayzone article/exposé that Craig linked to will be getting much traction in the MSM. But you never know!

    • Stevie Boy

      If you people here are interested in traction and dissemination of truth, I suggest everyone spreads the link to the story widely. A chink of light in the darkness !

      • Allan Howard

        I’m sure it goes without saying Steve that most people who visit or comment on Craig’s blog – apart from the shills and trolls of course – are into disseminating the truth, and getting insights and new information from each-other, as well as from Craig himself of course

      • Franc

        Another topic that should be shared, of which, i only caught the last part, was a Hardtalk programme with Stephen Sackur grilling?? Stella Moris, wife of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Available on BBC iPlayer, which surprised me, considering the little amount of Oxygen that the BBC has given to the topic.

    • Jim Sinclare

      Still no mention of Grayzone, and no reply from Jo Maugham or Best for Britain.
      What were Sir Richard Dearlove’s motives?
      He must have known Brexit would be a disaster.
      To stop Corbyn? To protect Five Eyes surveillance?
      To promote the American arms industry?

  • Bayard

    “Speaking of which the most important piece of UK journalism this year is being totally ignored by the mainstream media. Please do read it; you will learn more about how the UK really works than you ever will from the BBC.”

    For decades, I have suspected this to be true; it’s good to have some confirmation of the “men in grey suits”.

  • Stevie Boy

    It’s possible that the Greek military expansion is similar to that happening in the Baltic. “The Baltic Sea becomes a Nato sea,” said Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia’s foreign minister.
    If the USA can make the Mediterranean, or just the Aegean a “NATO Sea” then it effectively bottles up Russia in terms of the Black Sea and the Baltic.
    As Craig says:

    “it only takes a little background knowledge, a little research, and a few affable conversations, to find a picture far more complicated and realistic than that carried in the mainstream media.”

    So what I find personally interesting in terms of the history of Turkey and Cyprus was the involvement of the USA with the Greek Generals and the UK interactions that ultimately led to the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, see [1]. There are definite similarities with the Ukrainian situation.
    Look at Cyprus now. A major support facility for the West’s military operations in the ME (and Ukraine) and, a ‘new’ potential source of fossil fuels for the West to exploit.


      • Roger Caulfield

        Perhaps I misread Goodwin’s humorous irony, but that comment sounded more than a little contemptuous [of the authenticity of the linked grayzone article]. I agree that Klarenberg’s piece beggars belief, to put it mildly.

        Assuming I do not misread him – and all snide wisecracks aside – where exactly is Klarenberg either misrepresenting the truth or outright lying? This is an open enquiry and not particularly aimed at Goodwin.

        It seems odd the emails did not remain private, it isn’t that difficult to achieve.
        Strange indeed, given the resources and expertise of those involved, as well as the incendiary nature of the contents, that far greater care was not taken to prevent their rediffusion.

        Perhaps I am mistaken about the extent of that “expertise”. To give one example, I was surprised that Gwyn Prins needed to be told about the relatively better security of WhatsApp [VoIP] over regular calls. This is extremely widely known and has been for years – especially among those with something to hide. Prins certainly falls into that category, it would seem!

        What do you think?

        • Kit Klarenberg

          I’m glad you spotted the WhatsApp comment. This was a bunch of old, technologically illiterate and really quite stupid people who thought they could say literally anything via encrypted email and it would never be read or intercepted. Gwythian Prins constantly stresses that Proton is “unbreakable” and mentions MI6 uses it. I’ve previously identified spies based on their Facebook/LinkedIn postings alone, and had people threaten me with criminal charges for hacking into their emails/social media accounts/computers, when all I’ve done is publicise information anyone can find via a rudimentary Google search. The internet remains not well-understood by an enormous number of people, intelligence operatives among them.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Hope you’re not currently based in a Five Eyes country, Kit, or one with which they have extradition treaties, in case you find yourself becoming another Assange. Big day for him tomorrow, as Priti Patel has to decide whether or not to certify the US’s extradition request – I’ll light a candle for him for what it’s worth. Big day for Rangers tomorrow too, so c’mon you huns – by which I mean Frankfurt, of course.

          • wall of controversy

            At the end of the article you say you contacted Evelyn Farr (an individual who appears to have almost no profile anywhere on the internet) and asked her about her role in this scandal and she replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t know who you are, or why you’ve got this number, and I haven’t gotten a clue what you’re talking about,” an audibly startled [Evelyn] Farr proclaimed.

            Well, the word that stands out in your transcript is “gotten”. That’s an Americanism and almost never said in England. So perhaps you mistranscribed, unless this was a different Evelyn Farr perhaps?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Correction to previous comment: Priti Patel has until 31st May to certify the US’s extradition request, not 18th May as originally stated. I got that misinformation from the Amnesty International site, who you’d expect to be right about these things. Apologies for any confusion caused. Anyway, congratulations to Eintracht Frankfurt on winning the Europa League last night. Come on the Jambos in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

          • Jane

            Kit, your article is quite haunting. It sent me through a range of responses, from outrage to pity.
            A few thoughts ..

            • I suspect these people see themselves as patriotic Englishmen and women.
            • However, the England (and possibly Britain, when it suits) they support no longer exists. These people almost certainly went to Eton and then Oxford and were educated in a certain set of values, which brought assumed privileges and entitlements.
            • It is telling that they were oblivious to how easily accessible their communications were. They are living in another epoch.
            • Ultimately, I find their pretensions to be laughable. If someone invented a character called Gwythian Prins it would sound far-fetched.

            There was a ‘Star Trek’ episode in which the universe as perceived by the ship’s computer was getting smaller and smaller, until in the end it just comprised the main deck. That feels to me like the world these people inhabit. Yes, I live in a post-Brexit world which they were instrumental in bringing about. However, the important thing to me is that there are wider horizons than these, over which they have no control and seem to be unaware of. For that, I am glad.
            Thank you very much for researching and writing it.

  • Ewan Maclean

    It is some consolation that people like Messrs Murray, Corbyn, Varoufakis are trying to persuade the West peace is a realistic option. One question about the notion that Russia has sought to integrate Russians from neighbouring states: what was Minsk about? Crimea is about Russia’s security. Donbas was about the safety of the population, not annexation. Right up until late February, Russia was trying to persuade Ukraine not to attack. Russia had better things to do with its resources than wage war and pay for the rebuilding of Donbas, and, if Mr Murray is correct, suffer prolonged and costly military stalemate.

    • Jimmeh

      > Donbas was about the safety of the population, not annexation.

      Sorry, but they’ve staged bogus independence referendums in Donbas. You can’t hold a fair referendum in a place that’s under foreign military occupation. But that’s exactly what they did in Crimea, which they promptly annexed. A blind man can see that Russia intends to annexe Donbas.

      • Ewan Maclean

        It might be you’re getting your chronology wrong. In 2014-15, Russia helped the two “republics” fend off the “anti-terrorist” operation. Thereafter, it promoted a peaceful resolution, Minsk and Minsk 2, that would keep Ukraine intact. Ukraine continued to attack and, last spring and again this, deployed its forces to escalate to a full-scale assault (which NATO has been training it for these last several years), to take the republics before Russia could respond. Russia deterred it last year by its swift mobilisation. This year, Russia preempted a full-scale attack, after the US refused to compromise and Ukraine began its preliminary artillery barrage. Now that Russia has expended blood and treasure protecting Donbas, it is highly unlikely to return the territory to Ukraine. (By the way, what do you mean when you say the referendums by Donetsk and Lugansk were “bogus” and carried out “under foreign military occupation”?)

        • Ian Stevenson

          Ewan, you say NATO has been training Ukrainian forces to escalate to a full scale assault. Also Ukraine began an artillery barrage. You don’t cite a source . If you have one, it would be good to see it.
          If so, NATO seems to have neglected to equip them with the necessary weapons in sufficient numbers. The Ukrainian army is basically equipped for a defensive war and the early 2022 supply of weapons -NLAW , Javelin , Milan ATGW etc, are designed more for that sort of role. Unless they had decided they could manage with their limited numbers of tanks and AFV. I find this unlikely with 150-190,000 Russian troops massed on their borders.
          The OSCE reports tends to neutral and counts explosions. I don’t know whether the names of places mentioned are in Kyiv or Separatist areas but it seems that the shelling was two way.
          You may be right in your analysis but I think there may be reasons to question it.

          • Ewan Maclean

            As for NATO, I’m not going to cite sources. Both NATO and the Pentagon and the various other members who have been involved have made no secret of it, nor of the purely defensive exercises including Ukrainian forces. As a small, current illustration, I have read in the media that Ukrainian success around Kharkiv in recent days has been in part down to the deployment of howitzers – which require serious training to use. A larger question, of course, is how a small, demoralised force defeated by irregulars in Dobnas in 2015 became by last year an impressive force of a couple of hundred thousand plus a hundred thousand paramilitaries (Azov etc) plus reserves of another several hundred thousand – in the poorest country in Europe. And to what purpose. As for Ukraine’s forces at the Line of Contact being purely defensive, ask yourself why the best forces were deployed there in the southeast, where Kyiv had said it would retake Donbas and Crimea by force, and not deployed where they would be if in a defence posture against a Russian invasion of 150k. As for weaponry, had Ukraine been as feebly supplied as you suggest, they would not have been able to put up such stiff resistance. The OSCE marks artillery fire on both sides of the line in the maps it provides. Artillery fire by Ukraine rose very sharply in the days before Russia recognised the two republics.

          • Ewan Maclean

            “I’m not going to cite sources” is a bit obnoxious. But this question about NATO training is very similar to the sudden paucity of evidence of neo-nazis. The mainstream media, Washington think-tank land, human rights groups all pondered the problem of neo-nazis in Ukraine – until last year. Suddenly, it was “rightwing nationalists”, and where’s the evidence of nazism (this is Galicia we’re talking about for Chrissakes!). The long history of CIA support for Galician nazis was suddenly forgotten. The nazis themselves explaining their role in Maidan and why 2% in the polls was irrelevant, Yarosh becoming the army chief-of-staff’s “adviser”, nazi threats to kill the president if he implemented Minsk etc etc all vanished. After all, Zelensky and Kolomoisky (who funded Azov) are… Jewish! Similarly, NATO cooperation with Ukrainian forces, previously quite the thing, is suddenly not a thing. The yarn we are spun relies on our lack of attention (who has had the time before now) and/or forgetfulness.

        • Jimmeh

          > what do you mean when you say the referendums by Donetsk and Lugansk were “bogus” and carried out “under foreign military occupation”?

          A poll carried out in a warzone full of “little green men”, in the midst of shelling and bombing, when civilians are being deported, isn’t a legitimate poll.

          • Ewan Maclean

            The referendums that took place eight years ago, or referendums that may be held soon? Who is being deported by whom? (“Wee green men” refers to Crimea. There was no shelling and bombing, and no deportations. It was not a warzone.)

        • Ian Stevenson

          The Ukrainians have some artillery positioned in the east to counter the artillery in the Separatist areas. But not enough for a sustained attack – and certainly not enough to attack Russia. It was never a threat to the Russian Federation.
          I don’t know how reliable the report is of using artillery north of Kyiv. They certainly used the man-portable anti-tank weapons.
          The answer to the question of how an army that underperformed in 2014, did so well this time, is that eight years is a long time for re-organisation and retraining. They had western help in re-training which they are able to ask for as a sovereign state and some new weapons.
          Better tactics and strong motivation can do a lot to redress quantitative inequalities. Rigid tactics, poor morale and terrain can reduce the effectiveness of large forces.

          • Ewan Maclean

            I didn’t make clear what I meant. Ukraine was about to attack, not Russia, but Donetsk & Lugansk. It certainly did have the necessary equipment. It was certainly not merely “countering” the republics’ artillery. The idea that the force defeated by irregulars in 2014-15 could take the amount of punishment it is now suffering just by reorganising & better tactics is not credible. The help from NATO (which of course they are allowed to ask for, and NATO does not have to provide) rendered its elite forces “interoperable” (I think that’s the jargon) with NATO forces i.e de facto NATO. An impoverished & corrupt country does not increase its army from 130k to 250k, organise 100k elite paramilitary, & train I don’t know how many 100k reservists with only a little help from its friends. Ukraine is also getting help with C&C & with US satellite intel etc etc. It has been called NATO’s strongest force in Europe (there isn’t much competition). The reason for panic is that it is still being dismantled by a force a third its size.

  • DunGroanin

    Just some connections thrown up by the only passage in the Guardian article that was of new interest to me:

    ‘In 1964, the Conservative prime minister, Alec Douglas-Home, told the IRD to target Ghana over fear that its mercurial president, Kwame Nkrumah, was tilting towards Moscow. Months later, the new Labour foreign secretary, Patrick Gordon Walker, encouraged the Foreign Office to maintain a “black propaganda potential and from time to time produce black material”. Walker was particularly interested in fomenting racial tensions between Africans and the Chinese.’

    There you have it – Anti Russia, China, Iran, Africa …etc

    There is nothing new under the sun that once never set on the imperial dream – which now lies shattered like azovstal and there is nowt to do except watch the dreamers who are responsible for so many nightmares climb out of their fortress dungeons as the Morlocks of HG Wells instead of the Elohim they imagine themselves to be.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Dumb Nazis.

    There has always been a cross Atlantic cabal linked by the Zionist cause. Tory or Labour, it’s ended up being overtly ‘Israel first’ in recent decades. Alongside this is the deep rooted racism born of Imperialism which brought Malcolm X to Smethwick a week before he was shot dead!

    A interesting history of English neo-nazism and the cabals within the Labour Party of Morrison, grandfather of Mandleson – architects of post war and post Thatcher Labour PR electioneering, to preserve the bs of a two party system working for the single deepstate and its globalist imperialist mandate for decades and even centuries. Willing and able sociopaths readily recruited into its ‘business’ as the CEO’s and COO’s in a long list somehow connected to each other all the way back to the EIC – East India Company.

    The Canadian Nazi-festing too is finally being belatedly admitted through various limited hangout channels and this by Thierry Meyssan and Vanessa Beeley:

    Heck even the Times of Israel was getting nervous in 2018 along with some US lawmakers.

    The absolutely pathetic crass lying and rewording attempt at the surrender in Azovstal being a “withdrawal” and a “mission completion” throughout the western media shows how its narratives are controlled – this is certainly going to blowback instantly as the ordinary folk even deprived of ‘Russian’ channels will instantly see that the narrative of Ukraine winning, Russia losing being suddenly turned into ‘mission complete’ and an ‘evacuation’ is an impossibility to be believed before breakfast this morning!

    You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    Yes of course the arc of history is connected but in our piecemeal attention span slicer lives – 3 min pop songs, 15 mins of fame, an hour of escapist tv nonsense and a couple of superhero exceptionalist fantasy movies and computer games has led us to a dubious western mind that believes our cultural heroes are natural, not made as they have been.

    You can fool most of them most of the time.

    Sorry it’s got long, got a full day so won’t be able to respond to trolls or discussions so wanted to get it all on the table now. I’ll leave it with that arc of history, to wit:

    Let’s get JA released and home – there may be some traction in an exchange for some senior natzo commander!

    Free at last, MLK, Malcolm X and the slaves and oppressed masses of history finally FREE AT LAST.

  • Politically Homeless

    Surely Finland’s subjugation within the Russian Empire during the entire 19th century, then being invaded in 1940 and having Karelia stolen from it, then ethnically cleansed in the classic Stalinist style, for the crime of having a border near Leningrad, probably informs Finnish anxieties more than “hysteria” about Ukraine.

    Erdoğan’s poker game with Greece and the US in the Aegian, over Syria, and over the legitimacy of his own regime is the entire (and not partial) reason for his driving a hard bargain on Finnish/Swedish accession.

    I doubt anyone in NATO governments seriously think in terms of this tankie framing of “dragging the war out.” What they actually believe in is getting Putin to withdraw from a sovereign country he’s invaded, just as the US was eventually compelled to withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. That that happens to serve US Realpolitik is not NATO’s fault. It’s Putin’s fault for stupidly starting an unwinnable war of aggression.

    • Carl

      Your commitment to NATO is shared by every political party and every political commentator. In what sense are you politically homeless?

    • Beware the Leopard

      “I doubt anyone in NATO governments seriously think in terms of this tankie framing of «dragging the war out»”

      Surely you jest. You have heard of the revolving door between government agencies and the private sector?

      If not, allow me to introduce the US Secretary of Defense, whose career history conforms utterly to type:

      Immediately after retiring as CENTCOM commander, Austin joined Raytheon Technologies, a military contractor, in April 2016. As of October 2020, his Raytheon stock holdings were worth roughly $500,000 and his compensation, including stock, totaled $2.7 million

    • Bayard

      “It’s Putin’s fault for stupidly starting an unwinnable war of aggression.”

      The idea that wars start when the troops first cross the border is up there with the idea that one day leaders wake up and decide to invade another country in naive stupidity and mental laziness.

    • Wikikettle

      Politically Homeless. US is still occupying in Iraq and Syria. In my view also in Germany UK and Japan etc… The French said No.

    • John Kinsella

      @Politically Homeless:
      Well said.
      Your comments on Finland are ignored by posters who prefer ad hominem attacks.
      Finland has no reason to trust Putin.

    • Yuri K

      “Finland’s subjugation within the Russian Empire during the entire 19th century” was so horrible that they built a monument to emperor Alexander II in Helsinki in 1896 to commemorate the horrors. They must be into BDSM, those Finns. Or maybe they still remember that they owe to Russia their statehood. They could still be part of Sweden otherwise, who knows.

      I’m always impressed how selective human memory is. Take Lithuania, for example. How many Lithuanians were there in Vilnius when Stalin made this city their capital? The city’s inhabitants in 1939 were mostly Poles (66%), Jews (29%), and Russians (3.6%) while Lithuanians accounted for only tiny 0.7%. And now this is their capital with 65% Lithuanians. And why there is no monument to Stalin in Vilnius?

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    With regard to the Grayzone article that our excellent host linked to: According to Lord Barwell of Croydon, rather than shadowy conspirators with links to the security services, the person most responsible – if inadvertently* – for our (relatively) hard Brexit was none other than Sir Keith Starmzy – as amusingly detailed by his biographer, Oliver Eagleton, in conversation with Aaron Bastani.

    The relevant bit starts at 58:00 if you’re short on time – but the rest of it is well worth a listen, imho.

    * assuming Starmzy’s not a security services’ plant himself, of course

    (Hat-tip to ‘David’ on a previous comments thread for the link)

  • Beware the Leopard

    CM: “I have found this last 17 years of blogging that it only takes a little background knowledge, a little research, and a few affable conversations, to find a picture far more complicated and realistic than that carried in the mainstream media.”

    To make sense of the complicated, we must find its simpler, more easily understandable elements. So I am grateful for your concise and illuminating presentation of the grounds on which Turkey objects to Greece’s militarisation of the Dodecanese, and its relation to Turkey’s stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict and NATO expansion.

    One comment from Neil Munro on your previous piece (your proposed Ukraine-Russia settlement) framed that conflict as “a fight to the death between Western political resolve and Russia’s tolerance for Vladimir Putin”, and expressed his view that Western political resolve might win the deathmatch, so to speak.

    I disagree with Munro’s conclusion, because if indeed that is the essence of the contest at hand, then “Western political resolve” would likely have many more points of failure than Putin’s mandate domestically.

    Here, it seems to me, you have clearly identified one particular such point.

  • kimpatsu

    Erdoğan is in Putin’s pocket because Putin backs Erdoğan’s destruction of civil liberties in Turkey. Why don’t you explain that?

    • Ray Raven

      How do you explain Turkey attempting regime change in Syria, with Russia coming in to support the Syrian regime ?
      It’s US/NATO who keep Turkey in their pocket. Do go back to the origins of the “Cuba crisis”.

      • Jimmeh

        > How do you explain Turkey attempting regime change in Syria

        Easy. Turkey doesn’t care much for Kurds. They’ve been persecuting their own Kurds for decades, and most of their border with Syria has Kurds on the other side. Turkey took advantage of the conflict in Syria to attack Kurds. The only places they’ve attacked were Kurdish. They’re not really participants in the Syrian conflict; they’ve just been opportunisitic shits.

    • Laguerre

      “Why don’t you explain that?”

      Probably because you’re imposing your own ideas on people who don’t themselves have them.

    • Jen

      “Erdoğan is in Putin’s pocket because Putin backs Erdogan’s destruction of civil liberties in Turkey. Why don’t you explain that?”


      Been asleep, have we, while Russia was assisting Syria in fighting ISIS and other jihadists backed by Turkey and other NATO members, and a Turkish jet shot down a Russian jet in 2015?

      President Erdoğan objects to the accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO because (as he sees it) these nations harbour terrorists in the Kurdish communities living in their territories and refuse to send them back to Turkey.

      • Jimmeh

        > a Turkish jet shot down a Russian jet in 2015?

        The Russian jet was over Turkish territory. Good advice for jet pilots: avoid overflying foreign territory in the vicinity of a warzone.

    • Yuri K

      If Erdogan was in Putin’s pocket there would be no Bayraktar TB2 drones in possession of the Ukrainian army. Putin has a certain leverage on Erdogan; however, Erdogan also has a certain leverage on Putin, so their relations are complicated but balanced. As one pundit put it, “Russia and Turkey are like a dysfunctional family who often fight but when the cops show up they tell the cops to go to Hell, cause this is none of their business”.

  • giyane

    Grayzone’s Brexit conspiracy boils down to refusing to compromise with the EU, while simultaneously doing the exact opposite by remaining united to Europe via universal submission to NATO. This is exactly the opposite of ordinary Brexiteers wanted, which was to continue to be able to enjoy friendship with Europe, while separating British foreign policy from EU megalomania. Nothing more than drinking and pissing into the same beer glass.

    How boring the life of an academic boffin must be,

    ‘ It little profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.’

    Apart from knowing the names of the conspirators there is nothing new about these revelations. They have all been obvious to all of us. Now we are to be put through the sausage machine again, purely for the amusement of some mischievous professors. I don’t believe a word of it. Jusy another silly narrative dreamed up by our criminal overlords for us plebs, to cover up their wholesale plunder of this country’s and other countries’ assets .

    Like an old pike, I’m not biting at metal hooks wrapped in dyed bird feathers. We want peace in the Ukraine, and all we get is this pulp drivel trash, fed to us like breadcrumb bait to get us all worked up.
    Good luck in Istanbul.

  • yesindyref2

    In fact, that NATO is so actively pursuing this expansion is sufficient evidence that

    Craig, that’s making an assertion, then using it to make another assertion. An assertion is not “evidence”, never was, and never will be.

  • yesindyref2

    but is no military threat to Finland or Sweden

    Google “russia finland airspace” and “russia sweden airspace” (without the quote marks) – and don’t just look at the last few weeks, when apparently one of the flights was carrying nukes, look back over the years.

    No threat? Yes, that’s why both Finland and Sweden are applying to NATO (and not the other way around). And why they are and have been, increasing their defence budgets.

    Sweden – around 1.3% of GDP in 2022, up from 0.9% in 2015, and expected to hit 2% by 2028.
    Finland – 1.35% of GDP in 2019, 1.52% 2020, 1.85% 2021, and an increase of 70% due to the invasion of Ukraine making it over 3%.

    I guess neither Finland nor Sweden feel remotely threatened by Russia.

    • glenn_nl

      The UK, Australia and America have also greatly increased their military budgets too. So has China. Do you take this as proof of these countries also feeling threatened by Russia?

    • Ray Raven

      And Assange is rotting in Belmarsh because a small Nordic country commenced a specious criminal investigation (that has been subsequently been dropped), in order to submit Assange for transferral to the US. This small Nordic country is in the pocket of the US for a while now.

    • Bayard

      “but is no military threat to Finland or Sweden“

      The subject of that sentence is not “Russia” as you appear to assume, therefore the rest of your comment is fairly meaningless.

    • yesindyref2

      So, of the 3 responses so far we have whatabootery, whatabootery and an incorrect assumption about an assumption.

      It’s looking good for Finland and Sweden, who are winning by default!

      • glenn_nl

        It’s not ‘whataboutary’ to point out that your argument is entirely specious.

        Just as a recap, your “proof” of fear of near term invasion – specifically from Russia – is that a military budget was increased in two specific countries. That military budgets pretty much everywhere also increased in the same period is of no interest to you.

          • glenn_nl

            You don’t need to read articles to be qualified to recognise a specious argument. But if you’re talking about CM’s original article, then yes – of course.

            Did it occur to you there may be other reasons for increasing a military budget, other than a rational, genuine fear of imminent Russian attack?

      • Bayard

        “and an incorrect assumption about an assumption”

        OK, so, what Craig said was

        “.. Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation. That agenda is currently causing a ruinous war, but is no military threat to Finland or Sweden.”

        Given that there are no “Russian populated areas” in Sweden and Sweden was never part of the Soviet Union, how can his agenda to “reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation” be a military threat to Sweden?
        So either you made a wrong assumption about what the “military threat” referred to, thinking it referred to the state of Russia, hence your comment is meaningless or you were wrong about Sweden, in which case it’s just plain nonsense.

    • Baalbek

      Google “russia finland airspace” and “russia sweden airspace” (without the quote marks) – and don’t just look at the last few weeks, when apparently one of the flights was carrying nukes, look back over the years.

      Apparently? Either it was or it wasn’t. You are aware that NATO and Russian military aircraft hang around each other’s airspace all the time, right?

      No threat? Yes, that’s why both Finland and Sweden are applying to NATO

      Feeling threatened isn’t the same as being threatened.

      But if Finland and Sweden are right to be paranoid even though Russia has made no moves against them or pointed missiles at them, then you must surely agree that Russia, which since 1996 has been increasingly encircled by NATO, is right to fear for its national security. Because NATO really is pointing missiles at Russia.

      • yesindyref2

        You are aware that NATO and Russian military aircraft hang around each other’s airspace all the time, right?


    • yesindyref2

      So yeah, back in this dimension, and understanding what national airspace is as opposed to international airspace, throwing in a few FIRs for good measure, but not confusing them with ADIZes, and even adding territorial waters particularly in the case of Russian submarines, and having a good grasp of centuries of European history, even including the Vikings, as I said before:

      “No threat? Yes, that’s why both Finland and Sweden are applying to NATO (and not the other way around). And why they are and have been, increasing their defence budgets.”

      To which I’d add – getting closer to NATO for nearly 3 decades. Curse those Martians!

  • Goose

    All EU member states will support Finland and Sweden in joining NATO, according to the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. He claims it’ll strengthen the bloc’s unity.

    When did NATO membership become integral or fundamental to the EU’s unity?

    And since when is he the bloc’s ‘Foreign Policy Chief ‘, Europe’s Foreign Secretary to all intents and purposes? The EU officialdom really fancies itself as a govt of Europe. Only, without the normal checks and balances of pesky things like democracy. Europe doesn’t have an intelligence apparatus, an equivalent EU version of the CIA, so we don’t know if there is outside interference in who gets these plumb EU roles and whether there’s corruption involved.

    Four Presidents’ Council, Charles Michel; Commission, Ursula von der Leyen; the ECB President, Christine Lagarde (her conviction in the fraud case involving a €405m payout to controversial French businessman Bernard Tapie when she was finance minister, no career barrier it seems) and finally Parliament, Metsola, of which, Metsola – who has the most democratic legitimacy – is the least well known and probably the least powerful, illustrating the accountability problem.

    This is what I dislike about the EU’s empire building. Ordinary Europeans are being frozen out by an overreaching bureaucratic elite – an elite, I believe are unrepresentative – they’re mysteriously completely aligned with Washington’s geopolitical aims and objectives. Who actually voted for this?

    • Bayard

      “When did NATO membership become integral or fundamental to the EU’s unity?”

      I suppose when the eurocrats realised that NATO is the EU army they’ve been wanting all along. Better than that, it’s bankrolled by the US. With the army comes an intelligence network and voila! the apparatus of state control is complete for the EU superstate.

      • Goose

        You’ve got to question the independence of any European politician or official, who thinks making NATO the central pillar of Europe’s defence going forward is wise.

        The US doesn’t provide anything for free, never has, least of all to a geopolitical rival with rival industries and potential rival replacement reserve currency. Aside from the obvious, arms sales, NATO creates a situation in which European states have to be in lockstep with US foreign policy. And woe betide politicians or parties that aren’t.

        No doubt, one of reasons Sir Richard Dearlove was so overtly hostile to Corbyn was due to Corbyn’s dovishness and hostility to the so-called ‘special relationship’ aka UK subservience. Does anyone doubt that if a leader emerged of any party in the UK, favouring NATO withdrawal, then that individual would face the full wrath of the US and UK military/security establishment.

        How is that NATO imposed limitation on democratic choice among its members, healthy for European democracy?

      • Laguerre

        Joining NATO is all about buying into US foreign policy objectives (which are not the same as the EUs).. Why would that be interesting, if they’re looking straight at their interests, which they are not. The current EU leadership are fools, allowing themselves to be panicked into action by the US. The only one who has half a head on his shoulders is Macron, but not a full one, as he too has allowed himself to be carried away to a certain extent, though less so.

        • Baalbek

          Macron should have been a diplomat. He’s actually halfway good at it. It’s a shame he instead chose to be Mr Neoliberal and throw France’s working class to the wolves.

          • Laguerre

            Oh really? I can’t see how the French poor have been thrown to the wolves. It’s only Mélenchon and his crowd of ideological left who are barracking on. For example, the rise in energy costs for ordinary people has been capped, not so in Johnson’s Britain. Isn’t that helping ordinary people?

        • Jack


          Yes Macron deserves credit, I miss Merkel, instead we have hysterical leaders like this unknown PM of Estonia…

          “Stop calling Putin! Macron appears to be scolded by the Estonian PM”

          What do Estonia want? Full blown war with Russia?
          What the heck drives these folks? Just pure hatred that is why they lost any rationality when they speak on this issue so they better shut up to be frank.

          • Feral Finster

            They want Master back in Washington to give them a pat on the head.

          • Bayard

            “What do Estonia want? Full blown war with Russia?”

            It’s the reckless courage of the non-combatant.

  • DiggerUK

    Busy day. Mariupol concedes finally.

    What is inescapable, is that the Ukraine military never demonstrated any ability to support their forces at the steelworks.
    It could be that Zelensky finally found a way to end any future power play from the Azov forces by sacrificing them in a Spartan stand (At the appropriate time in 1934, Germany ended the reign of the Brownshirts) it could be that nobody wanted the Azov forces inside the tent any more.

    When I first heard of Swedish and Finnish requests to join NATO I have to admit I was nonplussed …..what were they to gain? I’m still no clearer.

    Somebody in the US would have sussed Turkeys current play would be made, there will be prepared positions. The complication to me is how they resolve a Mexican standoff betwixt Sweden, Finland, US, UK, Turkey and Greece.
    I see this moment as a good opportunity for demands for ceasefire and peace negotiations to be put on the table. ….the chance of success at this time is in the lap of the gods of course.

    As to the GrayZone article, tell me something new from the world…_

    • jordan

      There is also the idea that the US lost interest as fighting Russia becomes cumbersome. This thought is nicely presented by the last _Gonzalo Lira_ interview on _thesaker.is_. He reasons that the US is a sea power and expects to be more successful going after China which depends more on sea-based trade routes than Russia.

    • Tom Welsh

      “When I first heard of Swedish and Finnish requests to join NATO I have to admit I was nonplussed …..what were they to gain? I’m still no clearer”.

      The Swedish and Finnish people stand to gain nothing at all, and to lose everything.

      But that doesn’t matter, for no one has consulted them. Those decisions are made by a tiny handful of “elected” (not) or unelected politicians, who are frankly and brazenly in the pay of Washington. If (when) the balloon goes up, they will already be in California – or more likely Patagonia or New Zealand, with their vast fortunes. As for the Swedish and Finnish people… well, their leaders have the same attitude to them that Victoria Nuland expressed towards the EU.

    • Yuri K

      This is one of those stupid “news” articles that does not call the things what they are. Yes, more than 900 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered already, and Zelensky is trying hard to make it look like he organized some kind of “evacuation” for them. This has nothing to do with Zelensky and nobody negotiated with him because he has no bargaining chips in this game. The guys who were hiding underground realized their resistance had lost any military value. They do not hold any important crossroad or port and they can’t really harm Russians who simply mined every possible exit. True, it would be a tough fight to take them, but there is no need to take them. All that Russians have to do is wait till they surrender or die from thirst, hunger or sepsis.

  • bevin

    “..It has been obvious for over a decade that Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation. ..”
    It has not been obvious at all. It may be the case but there is little evidence of it being so.
    In the particular instance of Ukraine the provocation- openly advertised in the banning of the Russian language- has been enormous. We have seen the wholesale destruction of war memorials, the elevation of a cheap racketeer and mass murderer to the status of national hero and role model for the young, the importation of hundreds of emigres and foreigners to advance a nationalist re-education project and years of attacks on Russian speakers (not to mention socialists and Trade Unionists) exemplified in the Odessa massacre which was followed four days later by the appointment, by Poroshenko, of Ihor Palytsia, who had led the mob, to be acting governor of Odessa.
    And then there are the increasing signs of re-Nazification in the Baltic states, in all of which Russians are treated at best as second class citizens and at worst, as in Latvia in the past week, subject to beatings and threats at the hands of nationalist mobs, whilst the Police look away.
    Does Craig, I wonder, blame the treatment of Russian speakers on Putin’s expression of support for them? Does he see the proximate cause in Russian territorial ambitions?

  • intp1

    The Brit’s contribution:
    Ukrayinska Pravda (UP) reported
    that the provisional points of agreement after the March 29 talks in Istanbul were:

    • the refusal to join NATO, with fixation of Ukraine’s bloc-free status;
    • the renunciation of nuclear weapons;
    • an obligation to conduct troop exercises only with the consent of the guarantor states, which must include Russia.

    Then British PM Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev, “almost without warning” on April 9.

    Johnson brought “two simple messages” with him, according to UP.

    1. Russian President Vladimir] Putin was “a war criminal, who should be prosecuted and not negotiated with.”
    2. even if Ukraine was ready to sign some kind of agreement with Russia, the West was not.

    Since Zelensky relies entirely on Western money, Nazi security and mainstream PR.
    This meant he would be politically dead if he made a peace deal and shortly there after as good as properly deceased.

    No MSM has challenged British culpability for lives lost and counting since that moment. Probabably more than 10,000 Ukranian forces.

    • Feral Finster

      To be fair, like Zelenskii, Boris Johnson cannot so much as use the toilet without first getting permission from Washington.

      • Goose

        He’s probably a victim in all this too imho.

        He has a comedic background, but I think he ran for office with the best of intentions for his country. You can imagine how fed up ordinary Ukrainians must have been with their political situation to give an actual comedian and political novice the role. His lack of political nous though, has probably counted against him and made him vulnerable to manipulation by outsiders dangling the promise of future treasure (NATO and EU membership), that is, if only he and Ukraine follow the uncompromising course set for them in Washington.

        Slaps on the back from visiting western leaders and officials, urging him and the country’s fighters to stay the course, dig in and fight to their last, aren’t necessarily the compliment he thinks they are.

  • Michael Droy

    “It has been obvious for over a decade that Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation.”

    Standard propaganda.
    completely contra to the evidence.

  • Xamen

    Interesting that in the Aegean dispute you unequivocally take the side of a revisionist power that has territorial claims and has declared an active casus belli on a neighbour they are supposed to be allied with. You even linked yourself to the Turkey Head of State disputing the sovereignty of the islands in question, only to ignore the warmongering rhetoric of that claim use it as an example of a supposed bias against them.

    “a position complicated by the fact Turkey itself is not a party to the Treaty of Paris 1947”

    Also interesting that you so casually dismiss the entire argument of the Greek side, namely that Turkey cannot possibly make any demands about a treaty it is not a signatory of, especially when Turkey simultaneously claims that is not bound by treaties it is not a signatory of such as the UN Law of the Sea convention and has blatantly violated other provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne by, for example, expelling the Greeks that were specifically exempted from the population exchange established in that very treaty.

    I wonder if you will keep supporting Turkey if they decide to use military force to enforce their claims on a weaker country that has been bankrupt for more than a decade now. Will this be a justified aggression in your eyes?

  • Feral Finster

    I cannot imagine that Turkey (or Erdoğan) is so jazzed at the prospect of having to defend Finland and Sweden, two countries thousands of miles away from Turkey and in which Turkey has no strategic interest.

    • Lysias

      Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty only obliges.each NATO member to take such action as it deems necessary if another NATO member is attacked. Not much of an obligation.

  • Wee Jim

    “Putin has an aim to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation”

    Is it “Russian populated areas”, or areas of the old Russian empire that Putin wants to reintegrate? Do they have a choice about reintegration?
    There’s the fact that many of the “Russian populated areas” of Ukraine became Russian populated areas after Russians were moved in after the Holodomor. Even if the people there are quite as eager for reintegration now as Putin would like them to be, do they have any more rights than the pieds noirs to “their” territory?
    Finland was also part of the Russian empire – like the Baltic states – and I can see the Putin doctrine expanding in its application if he gets away with it in Ukraine. On the other hand, Finland has claims to parts of Karelia occupied by the USSR in 1940 and Japan has started referring to Russia’s “illegal occupation” of the Kuril Islands again, so Putin may find that revanchism isn’t one-way…

  • Mr Lee

    “That the European public are gripped by a wave of emotion over Ukraine was amply demonstrated by the popular vote of tens of millions in the Eurovision song contest.”

    I find it strange that after all the lies you have seen Craig, that you take some events at face value. There are, of course, reports already on the ‘net about vote “correction”.

    • Laguerre

      According to what I read, Ukraine would have won by a greater margin had those “corrections” not been applied.

      • Mr Lee

        Just goes to show, reading propaganda does not make one more knowledgeable. Please do not misunderstand, that equally applies to me as much as it applies to you.

    • DiggerUK

      Estimates of refugee numbers outside Ukraine go as high as 7 million. As the phone votes in Eurovision don’t allow for votes to be made for your own countries entry; from your own country, it would disallow those in Ukraine from voting for the song which won.
      However, those from Ukraine outside Ukraine would be free to vote as they wished, including for the Ukrainian entry.

      I was surprised that Craig thought the Eurovision contest worthy of inclusion in his blog posting. It is a notable, but not a noteworthy incident.

      I am a fan of the voting procedures in Eurovision, it shows by the ‘ballot box’ how the petty bigotries of the european world really sit. Just cast your minds back to the last time Greece gave Turkey a ’12 points’ …….keep thinking…_

      • Jimmeh

        > I was surprised that Craig thought the Eurovision contest worthy of inclusion in his blog posting

        Me too. People that vote in Eurovision are the people who vote on “reality” shows; ill-informed folk taking a position on a completely artificial issue.

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