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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  • JohnA

    The Swedish social democrat party leadership are acting in exactly the same way as Starmer is to the Labour party. The previous social democrat party congress voted against Nato membership but that has been totally ignored by the leadership. Incidentally or not, the Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson has studied at Harvard. I am going to a hopefully huge Nej till Nato demonstration in Stockholm on Saturday. 200 years of neutrality thrown away to please their US masters.

      • Tom Welsh

        Look for the reasons over 300 years ago.

        What was a Swedish army doing in what is now Eastern Ukraine? You tell me. Perhaps they still resent the crushing defeat they met with.

        For extra credit, please give details of the last time a Russian army invaded Sweden.

        Just as Britain and the USA have repeatedly invaded China, Russia, and Iran – among dozens of other nations – killing thousands of their citizens, destroying their cultural heritage, overthrowing – if they could – their governments, and hauling off all the loot they could carry.

        For extra credit, please list all the times that China, Russia, and Iran have invaded Britain or the USA.

        • Jack

          Yes some analysts have been talking about a Poltava Syndrome (google it) in Sweden, that is that the swedes have still not forgotten this particular defeat by the russians and how that defeat put an end to the swedish conquest efforts in the eastern Europe/Russia.

    • Goose

      Only recently has the number of Swedes supporting joining NATO outstripped those opposing it for the first time. In Finland, support is around 62% after skyrocketing recently. These aren’t emphatic numbers by any means and both countries’ politicians are arguing against holding public referendums. Stranger still is the fact that after the Russian invasion, in early March, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties for the country to join NATO, arguing it would further destabilize Europe. What changed?

      The change in position and anti-referendum stance is presumably because they didn’t want the pros and cons aired publicly, running the risk of people changing their minds when presented with the downsides. It’s most un-Scandinavian like, bouncing this through on the back of what is possibly ephemeral support.

  • M

    A very simplistic reading of the “militarisation” of the eastern Greek islands, a verbatim repeat of the Turkish claims and completely one-sided as such.Not very surprising for a British ex diplomat whose country was and still is chest deep in both the shaping of the status of the Aegean islands and the Cyprus disaster. But very disappointing coming from Mr. Murray.

    Mr Murray uncritically repeats the absurd Turkish claim that the “militarisation” of the Greek islands is a “threat”, when anyone remotely familiar with the area would have informed him, that the purely defensive measures on these islands were taken after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the formation of the Turkish “Aegean Army” whose sole purpose is amphibian assault on these very islands.The nature of its training, exercises and location is not secret.There is nothing in the Greek islands that could remotely threat the Anatolian coast and the claim of “thousands of troops and aircraft” is pure fantasy and I am surprised that Mr. Murray uncritically repeats it here.

    The Turkish illegal occupation of half of Cyprus for 48 years, despite numerous U.N. resolutions for the end of it and international condemnation, the constant violation of Greek territorial waters and air space and the open threats of Turkish officials against “NATO ally” Greece is good enough reason to take purely defensive measures.The megalomania of the current Turkish regime is gone to such bizarre lengths as to claim that all the Eastern Aegean islands should belong to Turkey and even half of Crete!! Turkey is an established international aggressor bullying E.U. member states Greece and Cyprus, not to mention the attacks on Kurds and Syria.

    Why Mr Murray decided to defend the policies of such a country is a mystery.

    • Laguerre

      So you’re denying there is a Greek military occupation of the Dodecanese? Such a military occupation would be illegal, as the texts clearly show, and Craig is right. And yes, it’s obvious that such a military occupation is intended to threaten Turkey.

      • M

        Are you for real???
        Dodecanese islands IS Greece in case you haven’t heard! So, what “Greek military occupation” you are blabbering about?

          • Jimmeh

            Perhaps you are not familiar with the meaning of the expression “military occupation”.

      • Marios Le

        The Kurds are threat to Turkey, the Cypriots are threat to Turkey, the Greeks are threat to Turkey, the Syrians are threat to Turkey, the Iraqis are threat to Turkey, the non-Sunni Turks are threat to Turkey, the Sunni Gulenists are threat to Turkey, the Yazedis are threat to Turkey, the Shi-ite Iranians are threat to Turkey… poor Turks, all their neighbors are ganging on them…

        • Laguerre

          You exaggerate. I agree that Erdogan (and his electorate) are excessively obsessed by the Kurds, who form a substantial proportion of the country’s population. But don’t forget that Greece, with British encouragement, actually invaded Turkey in 1921, and nearly took Ankara. An outright unprovoked invasion, of the kind we now condemn for Putin. It so enraged the Turks under Ataturk that they threw the Greeks out, with disastrous consequences for the Greek population of Anatolia.

          Others of your citations are just fake, e.g. Yezidis are Kurds, not a separate people. The Turks don’t have trouble with Iran.

  • john

    “I understand NATO was set up for the purpose of “keeping Germany down, Russia out and US in”.

    It’s actions over the years are totally consistent with that purpose, including the coup in Ukraine.
    Now their ambitions extend to East Asia, where the globalists have made fortunes, but have failed to gain control of the polity.
    They lost control of the Russian polity due to the actions of Putin et al, which is why they are intent on replacing the current administration.
    And realising they are failing in Ukraine, they have decided to open a second front in Finland/Sweden.
    NATO cannot lose Turkey, because it controls the Black Sea, but Erdogan is a loose cannon, so they tried to replace him a few years ago with the CIAs man Fethullah Gullen. The Russians apparently considered that prospect to be against their interests and thwarted the attempted coup.
    So now NATO is using the Greek military to pressure Erdogan into compliance.

    • John Kinsella

      So many “inaccuracies” there:

      “And realising they are failing in Ukraine,”

      The “globalists” are failing in Ukraine? In fact the second biggest army (in Ukraine) is failing in Ukraine. Do you believe otherwise?

      “they have decided to open a second front in Finland/Sweden.”

      How exactly will the “globalists” open a second front in Finland? Do you expect Finland to attack Russia?

      “So now NATO is using the Greek military to pressure Erdogan into compliance.”

      How is the Greek military “pressuring” Turkey?

      • john

        In my view the globalists own the US administration, (have done since JFK was assassinated), who in turn control NATO on their behalf; NATO is effectively the globalists’ army. The m.o. of the globalists is to provoke instability in the economic/political/military spheres of countries that they wish to exploit, then step in and pick up the pieces. There are many examples during my lifetime, of which the blatant insurrection engineered by the US State Department against the elected government of Ukraine in 2014 is a recent example. Other recent examples include the military putsch in Libya in 2011, the economic putsch in Mexico in 1994/5.

        They are however failing in Ukraine, where the armed forces, are armed, trained and under the control of NATO (I guess you heard that the hard core Ukrainian forces in Mariupol’s Azovstal factory are surrendering?), therefore they are attempting to open up a second front of instability on the Scandinavian border of Russia. (Noteworthy that the prime minister of Finland is an alumnus of the globalist organization, World Economic Forum). These countries have co-existed peacefully with Russia for 3 generations, and Russia poses them no threat whatsoever. Putin has pointed out that accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO diminishes international security in the Baltic.

        As to the Greek military pressuring Erdogan, I suggest you re-read Craig’s article if you missed that point.

    • Tom Welsh

      Very true; but since 1991 NATO’s main purpose has become “keeping Russia out of Russia”. In the sense of weakening the Russian government, demoralising the Russian people, and doing everything possible to break Russia into small, weak, defenceless fragments.

  • petergrfstrm
    Why do Finns and Swedes need a NATO cage by Timofey Bordachev
    Program Director of the Valdai Club, May 12, 2022

    “…But even the most obsessive demands and direct pressure from the United States would not have played a decisive role in the issue of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, if there were no objective internal reasons for this. Both countries are not at all free from the consequences of the general crisis of the world economic system, which everyone, including Russia, is facing. There are no universal or even sustainable solutions to overcome its consequences yet. Therefore, Swedish and Finnish politicians are completely unaware of how to resolve the problems of rising inequality, a general decline in living standards, or the erosion of the middle class. Moreover, they know with full certainty that the lives of their fellow citizens will not get better in the coming years.”

    • Wikikettle

      Turkey is between east and west. The west only wants it to use against Russia. Turkey tried for decades to join EU, but the EU didn’t want a Muslim country. The US has the whole “old guard” secular Turkish Military and Judicary waiting to come back to power. The Sultan turns here and then turns there. Ford Transit vans are made in Turkey ! Its tied into the Western fiat economy. Russia warned the Sultan of the US backed coup attempt, and he repayed them with jihadists in Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Not a reliable partner for Russia and not the right religion for EU. He will keep playing one of against the other only because he has the Bosphorus.

      • Wikikettle

        US not only tears up its own Constitution and International Treaties, it will remove veto rights for individual NATO countries as is the EU Council in process of doing the same. So Turkey veto on Finland will just be ignored. Nato countries no doubt already in Finland as they were in Ukraine.

      • Jimmeh

        > Turkey tried for decades to join EU, but the EU didn’t want a Muslim country.

        Actually, what the EU doesn’t want is another member state with a record as long as your arm of human rights violations. Wikipedia says: “Between 1959 and 2011 the European Court of Human Rights made more than 2400 judgements against Turkey”. You can’t have member states constantly being dragged into court for bombing their own civilians and burning villages.

        • Wikikettle

          Jimmeh. Is that why EU didn’t take in Ukraine, because it was shelling its own civilians for years, or was it because it could not afford it financially ? The EU and Nato are synonymous, so Turkey is ok in Nato because it can bomb civilians and burn villages? Rank Hypocrisy

          • Ian Stevenson

            As Craig says

            ‘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.”

            Putin has taken steps to bring it about. If it is more than a decade, it pre-dates the Maidan uprising.
            One keeps reading the phrase ‘shelling its own civilians”, as though it was only one way. OSCE reports shows it happens on both sides.

          • Tom Welsh

            Ian, your comment is very silly. For a start, the OSCE has been wholly on the side of Kiev (and Washington) ever since 2014. It has passed on sensitive intelligence to enable them to strike civilian targets, and on at least one occasion OSCE personnel were photographed in Donetsk fraternising with Ukrainian tank crews who had brought their tanks to the front line even though the current cease-fire required them to be in storage 50 km away.

            As for “shelling its own civilians”, that could be done by Kiev only. Because until February the inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk were, according to Kiev and the “international community”, Ukrainian citizens and thus Kiev’s own civilians. It could not happen the other way around, because Donetsk and Lugansk were not established states. Moreover, they did not systematically shell civilians; they only returned fire against Ukrainian artillery that was attacking civilian targets.

            Perhaps you would have expected them to remain passive under continual artillery fire for eight years, without ever doing anything to make it stop?

            The wording “to reintegrate Russian populated areas of the former Soviet Union into the Russian Federation” is so misleading as to be malicious. What if the inhabitants of those regions wish to be reintegrated into Russia? Mr Putin and the Russian government have no reason to conquer more territory or to acquire by force citizens who hate Russia.

            Russia today is completely self-sufficient and depends on the outside world for hardly anything. It is the largest country in the world – twice the area of the USA, China, or Canada – and has immense amounts of all natural resources that it needs.

            That, of course, is exactly why Washington is determined to destroy Russia’s government and open it up to invasion and looting in the traditional US way.

          • Jimmeh

            > Is that why EU didn’t take in Ukraine

            Wikikettle, it seems that, whatever the topic, the only argument you can muster is a fallacious whataboutism.

            > The EU and Nato are synonymous

            Hardly! The membership differs, and the obligations are completely different. The largest NATO member is not a member of the EU.

            > so Turkey is ok in Nato because it can bomb civilians and burn villages? Rank Hypocrisy

            Did I say Turkey was OK in NATO? As it happens, my opinions are the opposite of that; but I don’t think I’ve mentioned those opinions here. So you *do* have arguments that aren’t whataboutism fallacies; in accusing me of hypocrisy, you are going for the man, not the ball (i.e. ad hominem fallacy). I think by saying I’m a hypocrite, you mean that I’m applying a double-standard. Evidence?

    • Goose

      Being the US’s close friend is certainly a double-edged sword. For any notional military protection NATO membership brings comes at a price to sovereignty and democracy. I say ‘notional’ because being under NATO’s nuclear umbrella means a non-nuclear armed member opens itself up to being a legitimate target for nuclear strikes were a catastrophic war to occur. Why invite that?

      We all know Russia’s well documented democratic failings, but the US isn’t the ethical player it likes to present itself as either. The US props up brutal dictatorships around the world where democracy and human rights advocates are knowingly imprisoned and tortured: Saudi, Egypt, Qatar and other Gulf monarchies. The US turns a blind eye to Israel’s ongoing atrocious behaviour and supported Saudi’s brutal war on dirt poor Yemen. Their extraterritorial jurisdiction claims are also outrageous, as the Assange case attests.

      They’ve manipulated every international body of which they are leading members, as they seemingly believe is their god-given right; UN – spying on countries and leadership(as Katharine Gun revealed); OPCW – threats against the head of that organisation’s family (José Bustani) and more recently they’ve similarly terrified OPCW whistleblowers into silence. Made direct threats to intervene in UK politics (Pompeo regarding Jeremy Corbyn) have huge sway over closely aligned tech and media corporations, who’ll willingly manipulate political coverage to create perceived favourable outcomes. It’s like inviting the devil into your home.

      • Reza

        There is a conspicuous lack of outrage about the US invasion of Somalia this week. Biden says it is to get rid of extremists…..Is the comfort with this invasion because western liberals think invading African countries is fine, because the people in Somalia are Black, or because they just prefer Nazis in Ukraine?

        • Goose

          Selective media reporting is a bigger threat to informed public debate than disinformation imho.

          The MSM coverage of this war, in general, is appalling. The same news media wouldn’t dream of presenting emotional personal stories from recent conflicts the west has been involved with, or from Gaza or the West Bank.
          This is obvious to the discerning, yet many don’t seem to understand they are being emotionally manipulated into backing a dangerous proxy war with a nuclear-armed country. Everyone involved in this propaganda effort is doing their country a huge disservice , in that the coverage could result in public calls for dangerous escalation.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Sergey Lavrov: You know, there was one interesting message I saw on Telegram, from the Middle-East by the way:

          “If you cannot sleep because of Russia-Ukrainian conflict, here are some advices to calm you down:

            • First, imagine this is happening in Africa.
            • Imagine this is happening in the Middle-East.
            • Imagine Ukraine is Palestine.
            • Imagine Russia is the United States.”

          • Tom Welsh

            Absolutely brilliant, and typical Lavrov. He has an amazing knack for being appallingly rude without abandoning the most perfect courtesy. As in this case, irony does the job.

            There was a time when British people appreciated irony.

        • Tom Welsh

          What earthly business is it of Mr Biden’s – or anyone in the USA except perhaps for a few Somalis – if there are “extremists” in Somalia? Such an invasion is wholly illegal – unlike the Russian SMO in Ukraine.

          And by the way, what is an “extremist”? My dictionary says it’s “a person who holds extreme religious or political views”, which merely begs the question of what are “extreme views”? To most Westerners today, Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson would be “extremists”; and Jesus Christ would be (as he apparently was to the Romans) an unacceptable fanatic.

          If an “extremist” is someone who resorts easily to wholesale violence, shouldn’t Mr Biden be ashamed of being one? Although admittedly he does have almost every previous US president for company in that respect.

          • Ian Stevenson

            Tom if you think quoting OSCE is silly, ( your reply above)can I offer Human rights Watch.
            I can remember Northern Ireland where abuses of human rights occurred on both sides. Civil wars attract ideologues who put causes above humanity and psychopaths who don’t care. The document shows abuses on both sides.
            The Russians have a record of mass bombardment. Have you ever seen pictures of Grozny, which is part of the Russian Federation? They did the same in Aleppo, which is, of course, not Russian.
            This is one quote to support my point although one can find abuses committed by the Ukraine govt. Russia has occupied Crimea since 2014 and continues to perpetrate grave human rights violations against people there for expressing pro-Ukrainian views.

          • Tom Welsh

            Two points, Ian.

            First, terrorists (including the forces of the USA and NATO) have discovered and refined the tactics of human shields. They set up their military positions and weapons in the very centre of civilian areas – ideally in actual schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings – and then attack their enemies from there.

            The enemies (usually regular armed forces with rules of engagement that prohibit, or at least strongly discourage, unnecessary harm to civilians) are then in a bind – exactly as the terrorists intend. To get rid of the terrorists they must use heavy weapons such as bombs and rockets. But that would kill lots of civilians too. The Americans suffered a lot from terrorists who used those tactics on them; so, always ready to learn, they started telling their own proxy terrorists, such as ISIS and the Ukrainian Nazis, to do likewise.

            Such “human shield” tactics are extremely hard to deal with; indeed, in Idlib they have preserved the terrorists to this day. In Mariupol the Russians faced the hard fact that they had to win or give up. At the cost of some hard fighting in the city, they quickly drove the terrorists back into Azovstal and then just waited them out. About as good a result as any armed forces could possibly hope for.

            Grozny was the Russians’ “learning experience”. An integral and indeed strategically important part of their country was seriously threatened by terrorists. The Russians decided to root them out at all costs, and there was a great loss of life and property. They have learned from that, and now proceed much more carefully. It’s worth noting that Chechen soldiers are in the vanguard of the Russian forces in Donbass.

            As for Aleppo, you have been deceived by Western propaganda. Almost all the death and destruction was caused by the Americans’ terrorist proxies, with a deliberate view to blaming it on the Syrians and Russians. One can point to dozens of similar massive atrocities by the Americans, going back to the fire-bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo, and many other Japanese cities, as well of course as the nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – basically just because they could.

          • Bayard

            “Russia has occupied Crimea since 2014 and continues to perpetrate grave human rights violations against people there for expressing pro-Ukrainian views.”

            Do you have any evidence for that, apart from your own or others’ unsupported assertions?

          • Ian Stevenson

            I do wonder where you get your information about the restrained behaviour of the Russian forces.
            The Ukrainian forces lacked much long range artillery and the January and February supplies from NAYO were close range anti-aircraft missiles or anti-tank missiles. They have a range of a few thousand metres. The cities – Kharkiv, Kyiv, Donetsk – were being fired at from outside from 10, 15, 20 km away. All the news channels show widespread devastation of residential areas. If one argues that they could identify where the defenders were positioned, then they could identify where they were not. Those latter areas have also been severely shelled.
            Terrorism is a more fitting term for what Russia is doing.

        • Tom Welsh

          I confidently look forward to the organisers of the French Open and Wimbledon announcing that no US players will be allowed to take part in those tournaments.

          • Beware the Leopard

            The bare hypocrisy of these russophobic bans and sanctions, in seemingly every domain that Western elites control, it left me speechless for weeks. There is something very ominous about this, their willingness to light the credibility of every classical liberal Western value on fire merely to enact such flagrantly false, skin-deep choreography.

            I mean, I guess from the perspective of TPTB they might as well have a bonfire, since the credibility of so many liberal commitments (free speech, free press, free trade, freedom of assembly, association, contract, the list continues) was already so paper-thin as to be pointless. Useless for us plebes to rely on, pointless for institutions to pretend they respect. Almost as if burning them in the name of russophobia was a convenient excuse to dispose of the pretense that they continue to be worth anything at all. Like burning a worthless high-nominal-value banknote once it takes a barrow full of them to buy a loaf of bread or something.

            In fact, the paper-thin metaphor is suggestive of a fire hazard, come to think of it. A controlled burn to eliminate the hazardous conditions.

            Anyway, it really has been the creepiest scapegoat performance I ever expect to witness, and I can’t escape the feeling that if I continue to remain in the West I must be either

            1. a fool,
            2. unable to leave,
            3. a nihilist,

            …keeping in mind that the three are not mutually exclusive, of course.

          • Bruce_H

            Reply to Ian Stevenson;
            The Ukrainian army that has been fighting the Donbas since 2014 have artillery and mortars and have been using them to bombard civilian areas during this period. This has been recorded and by an international body, the OSCE, and has been filmed by many reporters and documentary film makers. The total number of deaths is given as 14 000 according to the “UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING MISSION IN UKRAINE” dated 12 January 2022. This includes civilian and military deaths:

            “Total conflict-related casualties in Ukraine in 2014-2021
            OHCHR estimates the total number of conflict-related casualties in Ukraine from 14 April 2014 to 31 December 2021 to be 51,000–54,000: 14,200-14,400 killed (at least 3,404 civilians, estimated 4,400 Ukrainian forces, and estimated 6,500 members of armed groups), and 37-39,000 injured (7,000–9,000 civilians, 13,800–14,200
            Ukrainian forces and 15,800-16,200 members of armed groups).”

  • Peter

    “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.”

    Glad you got there eventually – better late than never I guess.

    Not “… is looking for a long proxy war …”, but ‘has a long proxy war’.

    This proxy war has been long in the making, probably at least since the US orchestrated illegal coup of 2014 which enabled them to choose an anti-Russian government more to their liking – as Victoria Nuland famously discussed in the leaked phone call dismissing the EU’s position with a kurt “f**k the EU”. See (quote at 3:00):

    And let’s be clear what we mean by “a proxy war”:

    It means the US is using the people, lives, society, country and land of Ukraine to fight a war against Russia for the greater good of the US and to seek to maintain its position as the number one global superpower.

    And don’t even get me started on how the UK and EU have been corralled into this diabolical nonsense, complete with a lying BBC and the promotion of hysterical anti-Russian racism.

    • Goose

      It’d be completely wrong to say the US forced Russia to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine – that’d be absurd as Craig has said – it was Russia’s decision to embark on this foolish destructive course of action into hostile territory with all the negatives flowing from that for Russia eg. sanctions etc. They should have limited their ambitions to defending ethnic Russians in the East from any Ukrainian offensive.

      But it is fair to say that since 2013, the US has gone into overdrive pursuing a policy of ‘maximum antagonisation’ of Russia. Their was a brief pause in this during Trump’s tenure, but it’s resumed with gusto under the Biden administration. With Obama-era personnel picking up where they left off at the State Department, esp V.Nuland.

      It stems from frustration with Russia over the US plan in 2013 for Syrian regime change and it being thwarted by Russian intervention. And this ongoing US – Russia proxy war, is putting all European nations and citizens at risk.

      • Peter


        “It’d be completely wrong to say the US forced Russia to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine … “

        Would it? I’m not so sure. Innumerable former statesmen, politicians and academics – not least among them Henry Kissinger of all people – warned against Nato extension into Ukraine and what would result, ie what did result. Further, even though Zelensky had been told by the US that he would not get Nato membership he was required to maintain the pretence that he would in order to maintain the provocation. The US knew exactly what they were doing.

        It’s clear that the provocation was designed and carried a clear threat to Russia.

        What I believe it is right to say is that America intended this, wanted it and is relishing it.

        • Goose

          Even if that is the case, Russia’s leadership should’ve been smart enough not to take the bait.

          I don’t see a way out of this now for Russia , they’re in too deep and it’ll become existential if they don’t have a plan B. As the aim, stated by the United States secretary of defence no less, is to drain their resources & fighting machine in a long war of attrition.

          • Laguerre

            I should think the Ukraine invasion will end in a stalemate, and no-one will lose (except the Ukrainian people).

          • Jimmeh

            > it’ll become existential if they don’t have a plan B

            The existence of Russia isn’t in question. What do you mean? Do you mean it’ll become existential *for Mr. Putin*? Who cares?

          • pretzelattack

            the existence of a regime supported by Russians, instead of yet another US puppet, is in question. Russians care. perhaps the existence of Russia itself, (as well as that of the US), if the US continues this amoral assault to preserve its fading status as the hyperpower.

      • Lysias

        Defending just Russian-inhabited areas would have been no sufficient answer to Zelensky’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons announced at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19 in the presence of Kamala Harris.

        • Goose


          Well, that’s an example of the ‘maximum provocation and antagonising’ strategy the US has urged. Zelensky seems to have become a willing participant in it too. It doesn’t excuse Russia’s idiotic behaviour, but it partly explains the logic behind it.

          Western leaders are now even stating what terms are acceptable TO THEM to end this war. As if Zelensky has been ordered to sit in the corner and keep quiet. If that isn’t the definition of a proxy war, then don’t know what is.

        • Tom Welsh

          Exactly! What many commentators fail to understand is that, while war may be the continuation of politics by other means, there is a great gulf fixed between their methods.

          Once politicians decide on war, they have to trust their military experts to choose the most effective means. The politicians might want to appear mild and reasonable, but once you resort to war it is vital to act first and as decisively as possible. Perhaps there are some people here who haven’t yet seen this near-perfect parable. It’s instructive and fun to tease out all the parallels.

      • Tom Welsh

        Your comment demonstrates beyond all doubt that you have not been paying attention, or that you are hopelessly prejudiced.

      • Tom Welsh

        If Mr Putin were not President, Russia would very probably have moved into Ukraine in 2014. His restraint has been astonishing.

    • D

      There’s what happened , there’s what’s happening and there’s what may happen : people choose where to devote their time and attention !

    • Bayard

      Funny how everything that comes out of Russia is “Russian propaganda” until you agree with it, then it’s the gospel truth. In any case, how do you know the invasion is failing, because Ukraine-supporting media tell you it is?

  • Goose

    Erdoğan has been trying to straddle both sides for awhile. He knows Turkey’s strategic importance and leverages it to the max.

    When heat grows from the west over human rights or his authoritarian, autocratic style of govt he cosies up to Russia, to remind everyone he has other options. He’s been totally unsuccessful in his demands for the US to hand over US based Fethullah Gülen, a man who he holds personally responsible for the attempted coup which came close to toppling him from power. Erdoğan’s plane was literally in the crosshairs of the coup plotters, had they not hesitated Turkish history would’ve been quite different. The crackdown that followed those events saw thousands of alleged plotters and subversives, many of whom were highly qualified professionals, jailed and worse, often on the flimsiest of basis.

      • John Kinsella

        Your reality?
        Erdoğan a decent man who only wants the best for Turkey?
        A man forced by circumstances to imprison thousands of journalists, opposition politicians and intellectuals?
        Aye right…

  • Neil

    Re Finland and Sweden, rather than being a cunning plan all along to establish US world domination, is it possible that these two countries now seek NATO membership simply for protection against a trigger-happy nut job neighbor? Or does everything have to be an anti-US conspiracy theory?

    • Bayard

      “a trigger-happy nut job “

      Well, to answer your question, that is a much better description of the US than Russia, if you look at their respective records in invading other countries. It’s not for nothing that the expression “shoot first and ask questions afterwards” comes from the Wild West.

      • mark cutts

        Agreed – but usually for the US it is – ‘Bomb from a ship ( or the air – but not in Iran) of course as long as the country you are bombing is already disarmed.

        The US has a morbid fear of soldier casulaties for the folks back home so evrything is done with no danger or cost.

        it does not play well on CNN etc.

        Don’t worry though – if the Ukranians fail to beat back Russia in the Donbass the Europeans will take up the cudgels.

        It’s an awful game is war and note carefully that the biggest mouths are not and will not be involved i the ‘libertion of Ukraine ‘and all Johnson and Biden are is go between arms dealers.

        All on Lease Lend to the plucky Ukrainians.

        There is never any free ‘Aid’never ever – ever -someone has to pay the price and that will be the Ukarinian people and normally the poorer people of the world in general.

        Perhaps Cheney et al ( or the Clintons) will come up with a nice price for the rebuilding of Ukraine as they have done in the past?

        Remember – as far as capitalism is concerned there is no such thing as a free lunch.

        With the exception of Thatcher ( who never did irony) when she said that at The Guildhall in London at a ‘Free Lunch.

        • Tom Welsh

          “Don’t worry though – if the Ukranians fail to beat back Russia in the Donbass the Europeans will take up the cudgels”.

          The Ukrainian armed forces as of January could have taken on the rest of NATO (except for the USA and Turkey) and beaten it with one arm behind its back.

          Nuclear weapons apart, of course, as once they are used we will probably all be dead before we know it’s happening.

      • Neil

        Bayard, if your only answer is “whatabout America”, maybe you should take a break and let someone else have a go.

        • Johnny Conspiranoid

          “possible that these two countries now seek NATO membership simply for protection against a trigger-happy nut job neighbor? “

          No this is not possible because these two countries do not have a trigger-happy nut job neighbour. They have a perfectly good deal with their neighbours which they would be fools to intefere with.
          Whataboutary teaches us that western governments hate western values so that everyone is forced to pick a side, the governments or the values. It also teaches us that western governments are trigger happy nut jobs. How could that not be relevant to understanding the situation here?
          The leaders of these two nations might be bribed, blackmailed or threatened into going against the wishes of their partys and people.

          • Tom Welsh

            “…western governments hate western values…”

            Beautifully put. It’s rare to see an essential truth expressed so concisely and accurately.

        • Bayard

          Neil, if your only response to an answer to your question “Or does everything have to be an anti-US conspiracy theory?” is “whatabout America”, maybe you should take a break and let someone else have a go.

    • Beware the Leopard


      “…is it possible that [Finland and Sweden] now seek NATO membership simply for protection against a trigger-happy nut job neighbor?”

      I don’t think “trigger-happy nut job” is a helpful description of any bureaucracy that constitutes the government of a large modern state, if your aim is to understand the considerations that drive and constrain its decisions and so predict its future behavior (as one expects that the Finnish and Swedish governments do aim). Such a phrase might be helpful metaphorical shorthand to express how that behavior personally affects one’s own emotional state, but since you are here proposing we speculate about how governments view another government. I think you’d be better off using terms fit for that purpose.

      Second, I would point out you suppose those two nations estimate that accession to NATO will improve their defensive security, and I would like to know in what ways, exactly, they should expect it to do so? For my part, I’m far more convinced that their accession could improve NATO’s offensive capacity, and I harbor the suspicion that any such offensive improvement for NATO will necessarily come at the cost of increased threat to the new members, and to the detriment of their defensive security.

      I imagine there may be financial considerations at play as well, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about them.

      • Neil


        “accession to NATO will improve their defensive security, and I would like to know in what ways, exactly, they should expect it to do so?”

        Not really sure why you’re asking this question. I presume it’s rhetorical.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Neil, it is a genuine question. Not rhetorical.

          “Not really sure why you’re asking this question”

          Because I personally doubt that joining NATO will improve the defensive security of Finland, in particular. And I am interested to hear some contrary arguments, in support of the proposition that it will. Or, if someone knows more about Sweden’s prospects than Finland’s, Sweden would be interesting too.

          If I reside in a neighborhood with two rival street gangs, my personal security might well be better served by remaining unaffiliated with either one, since joining either one would predictably render me liable to attacks/threats by members of the other.

          • Dawg

            “If I reside in a neighborhood with two rival street gangs, my personal security might well be better served by remaining unaffiliated with either one, since joining either one would predictably render me liable to attacks/threats by members of the other.”

            It’s probably better to get some police protection, if that option’s open to you.

            How many NATO countries have come under military attacks/threats from Russia?
            And, for that matter, how many times has NATO attacked or issued threats to Russia?

            These gangs don’t seem to fight each other all that much, they just run protection rackets against non-members.

          • Neil

            Beware, I’m pretty sure that both Sweden and Finland are thinking, if Ukraine had been a NATO member, the country would not have been preyed upon by Putin as it has been.

            No matter what sophisticated views you have about the pros and cons of NATO/NATO membership, I think you know why Sweden and Finland would now like to be under the NATO umbrella.

          • Beware the Leopard


            I think the two questions you ask are critical. I also think that the answers you get (and their reliability) will depend on who you ask (particularly the second question, about the degree of threat a given configuration of NATO poses to Russia).

            As for police protection (in the thought experiment with rival gangs), some will take the view that such an arrangement itself counts as a gang affiliation!

            “These gangs don’t seem to fight each other very much.”

            Insofar as that is the case, there are probably certain conditions that underlie that apparent fact. Will those conditions hold? The streets are getting pretty hot, don’t you think?

            (Recent) Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

            “They just run protection rackets against non-members”

            Bruce_H was just pointing out in the previous article’s comments that vendor lock-in on NATO-interoperable weapons systems is itself a sort of protection racket, if you squint at it the right way.

          • Beware the Leopard


            “I’m pretty sure that both Sweden and Finland are thinking, if Ukraine had been a NATO member, the country would not have been preyed upon by Putin as it has been”

            What dark secrets of geostrategy do Sweden and Finland know that Henry Kissinger doesn’t know!?

            “No matter what sophisticated views you have about the pros and cons of NATO/NATO membership, I think you know why Sweden and Finland would now like to be under the NATO umbrella”

            Sophisticated views sounds like a polite way of saying I am confused, which is probably an accurate assessment. Confusion is not so bad, so long as you keep in mind that you are confused. Otherwise it is just as bad as certain-and-wrong, which is a surprisingly common state considering how dangerous that can be.

            I have no idea about Sweden and Finland. Thoroughly confused at this point. Can you give me a hint? Is it because they are certain-and-wrong? (Please accept this advance-apology, if I do not reply again.)

          • Neil

            If I reside in a neighborhood with a bully who picks on all the kids, my personal security might well be better served by forming a gang with those other kids and telling the bully, “you pick on one of us, you deal with all of us.”

            If you do reply, Beware, I think I’m about to be hit with your sophisticated argument about why those kids are wrong or why the analogy is wrong. But your question was “why would Finland/Sweden expect to be safer?” and as I still suspect that you are not really confused about the answer to that particular question.

          • Bruce_H

            To Neil
            Collective security is one thing but in this specific case the war with Russia only happened because of the threat that Ukraine would join NATO. This had been building up ever since NATO pushed Eastwards and despite many warnings and attempts to persuade NATO, or rather the governments behind it, to respect their promises on this point and Russia’s security Russia was unable to convince them to take its point of view into seriously.

            Many experienced, well known Western politicians and diplomats have been warning of the risk for years, it’s not just my bizarre notion.

          • Neil

            Bruce, you say “the war with Russia only happened because of the threat that Ukraine would join NATO” as if Russia has no agency and Putin is some simple automaton who simply reacts to stimuli. Didn’t he make a decision to wage war?

            Also, would Ukraine have the right to dictate to Russia if Russia wanted to form a military alliance with China? No? Then what right does Russia have to dictate to Ukraine what alliances it wants to join? The answer for Russia of course is, we’re bigger and stronger and we get to tell the little guys what to do. And Ukraine? Pfah! It doesn’t even have the right to exist.

            And this begs the question, why would Ukraine seek shelter under the NATO umbrella? It didn’t do so until after 2014. Hmmm, what happened in 2014 that made Ukraine suddenly fearful of its neighbour?

            So many here are saying NATO provoked Russia. Hasn’t Russia done its share of provoking? Did Sweden and Finland’s desire to join NATO come from nowhere?

            You can argue against these points, but to pass over them in silence as if they don’t even exist? To say the West alone has decided on war …? To constantly list all the ways in which the West has sinned without mentioning Russia’s sins? That is a twisting of the truth.

          • Alyson

            As Bush said to Blair: ‘You’re either with us or you’re against us’ and so we settled in our ringside seats to watch ‘Shock and Awe’ and I have never sobbed so hard in my life. Just 3 hours earlier John Craven’s Newsround had interviewed schoolchildren in Baghdad. ‘Aren’t you a bit afraid?’ He asked. ‘Why would we be afraid?’ They answered. ‘America is our friend. Britain is our friend. I want to study in Britain. I want to work in America. Saddam Hussein is a bad man. There have been wars before. It won’t be here.’

            And the following day the helicopter filmed a gang with a battering rams breaking down the doors of the museum of the Cradle of Civilization, to steal ancient artefacts to order. Specific valuable items were targeted and the rest was left.

            The television centre was first to be attacked, then the power supply, then government buildings and homes.

            A totally unprovoked attack on civilians.
            And we sat and watched it happen live on TV, our journalists in a ringside view hotel, reporting as it unfolded before their eyes.

            Like the assassination of Kennedy it changed the world forever.

      • Ian Stevenson

        Beware the Leopard Could I respectfully try to answer your speculation about offensive and defensive positions in the Finnish/Swedish context?
        Both the countries have organised their land defence around the mobilisation of local reserves which would give them the numbers to match an invasion. Weapons are often ‘light’ which include anti tank missiles operated by teams on foot using cover and local knowledge. If one looks at a map, it is apparent that we are dealing with a country hundreds of miles long. The airforces use fighters with a range which would not take them into far into Russia from Sweden. From Finland they could reach St. Petersburg but time over target would be limited by fuel. Most of the adjacent area of Russia is sparsely populated – other than St. Petersburg.
        The Russian fleet has a base at Arkangel on the east of the White Sea. It would be at extreme range from northern Finland.
        To convert forces to an offensive structure, they would have to provide much more logistics-to carry food, fuel, ammunition. The longer the supply line, the more vehicles and crew are involved. They don’t add much to the fighting numbers. There is also more risk of air attack so anti aircraft defences need boosting. Longer range surveillance is needed which is bigger, more expensive planes or satellite reconnaissance (this would be available if a NATO member). To sustain a land invasion and have airfields and transport aircraft to sustain them, enormously increases the numbers of trained people, which a small population could not provide in any numbers.
        Basically, power diminishes with distance and logistics on a sufficient scale adds to numbers and costs without necessarily increasing combat troops. Joining Nato gives more assurance of aid and reinforcement. As constituted their forces have only a local offensive capability. To be a threat of any size, would need a large expansion which could only do done over a long preriod.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Ian Stevenson, I am going to think about (maybe for a couple days) the considerations you raise. Maybe I will come up with something further to add back to the discussion. If I do, I will.

          Either way, I want to thank you now for taking the time to set out the elements and distinctions that you have so clearly explained here.

        • Beware the Leopard

          Ian Stevenson,

          Again, thank you for your summary of Finland and Sweden’s national military capacity, and how joining NATO might contribute to their security.

          My concern that their accesion to NATO might turn them into a target, and constitute a sacrifice of their defensive security in order to augment the offensive threat posed collectively by NATO to Russia, is prompted by considerations summarised well in the excerpt below from Putin’s 21 February address on the recognition of the Donbass republics. I wonder what might be the consequences of installing equipment like ABM launchers and electronic warfare equipment like reconnaisance radar on Finnish (or Swedish) territory under NATO auspices. Short of actual installation, I imagine that just the weakening/elimination of national barriers to such installations would be significant as well.

          I wonder how many of Putin’s remarks below about the threat posed to Russia by Ukraine (and other countries in expanded-NATO that accept non-national military capacity on their territory), might be not said almost as well about Finland. [Any italics are mine.]

          As a result [of NATO expansion], the Alliance, its military infrastructure has reached Russia’s borders. This is one of the key causes of Europe’s security crisis; it has had the most negative impact on the entire system of international relations and led to loss of mutual trust.

          The situation continues to deteriorate, including in the strategic area. Thus, positioning areas for interceptor missiles are being established in Romania and Poland as part of the US project to create a global missile defence system. It is common knowledge that the launchers deployed there can be used for Tomahawk cruise missiles — offensive strike systems.

          In addition, the United States is developing its all-puropose Standard Missile-6, which can provide air and missile defense, as well as strike ground and surface targets. In other words, the allegedly defensive US missile defence system is developing and expanding its new offensive capabilities.

          The information we have gives us good reason to believe that Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the subsequent deployment of NATO facilities has already been decided and is only a matter of time. We clearly understand that given this scenario, the level of threats to Russia will increase dramatically, several times over. And I would like to emphasise at this point that the risk of a sudden strike at our country will multiply.

          I will explain that American strategic planning documents confirm the possibility of a so-called preemptive strike at enemy missile systems. We also know the main adversary of the US and NATO. It is Russia. NATO documents officially declare our country to be the main threat to Euro-Atlantic security. Ukraine will serve as an advanced bridgehead for such a strike. If our ancestors heard about this, they would probably simply not believe this. We do not want to believe this today, but it is what it is. I would like people in Russia and Ukraine to understand this.

          Many Ukrainian airfields are located not far from our borders. NATO’s tactical aviation deployed there, including precision weapon carriers, will be capable of striking at our territory to the depth of the Volgograd-Kazan-Samara-Astrakhan line. The deployment of reconnaissance radars on Ukrainian territory will allow NATO to tightly control Russia’s airspace up to the Urals.

          Finally, after the US destroyed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, the Pentagon has been openly developing many land-based attack weapons, including ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 5,500 km. If deployed in Ukraine, such systems will be able to hit targets in Russia’s entire European part. The flying time of Tomahawk cruise missiles to Moscow will be less than 35 minutes; ballistic missiles from Kharkov will take seven to eight minutes; and hypersonic assault weaons, four to five minutes. It is like a knife to the throat. I have no doubt that they hope to carry out these plans, as they did many times in the past, expanding NATO eastward, moving their infrastructure to Russian borders and fully ignoring our concerns, protests and warnings.

  • Highlander

    With the greatest respect, Turkey is sitting on fences. In one camp Russia, and another Israel, also the American camp. Oops and I forgot European camp, with Borrel the Zionist American banker. Leyen runt of the Zionist litter. Unelected demanding a war.
    No Turkey isn’t a mover and shaker, certainly not in the eyes of the Russians.

  • Andrew H

    I’m not sure NATO is as much of a democracy as Turkey might believe. All the bots keep saying every NATO country is a puppet of the USA – I don’t agree, but in this case I suspect USA is just going to make it clear to Turkey that it needs to fall into line. At this stage it is perhaps useful to US interests to delay the process until Ukraine war is over anyhow – there is no advantage in antagonizing Russia more than necessary.

    From Finland’s perspective joining NATO is the right choice – it allows them to get rid of military conscription (most of Europe no longer has), and really its an anachronism. For the same reasons it is not inconceivable that Switzerland will also join – a small professional army makes more sense in todays world.

    • Goose

      It’s been revealing watching those quick to lecture NATO’s critics on NATO’s fabled ‘unanimity’ decision making process. Now furiously jumping up and down berating Turkey, for having the temerity to say ‘no we don’t think Sweden and especially Finland(with its long land border with Russia) joining, is in the alliance’s best security interests, since further expansion now would be deliberately provocative.

      Nothing attests to the failure of Europe than having to rely on the US for its defence. The US would find the reverse situation, with Europe and US European bases, providing their defence wholly humiliating and unacceptable, would they not?

    • Tom Welsh

      “…[A] small professional army makes more sense in todays world”.

      Only if you plan to use it to attack others. For self-defence the Swiss arrangement is very hard to equal.

      • Andrew H

        No its not. Not everyone wants to spend two years of their life in military service. No state has the right to demand this of its people – and in the modern world it is becoming increasingly unacceptable. (we are no longer religious or patriotic). Also no amount of this type of training in the use of small arms, is a match for artillery and air bombardment. Partisan attacks in WW2 by Polish, Czech and French forces did very little to oust the German army – but rather created conditions where whole villages were burnt to the ground in retribution. It is, however, true that the Swiss, Finns, Scots have good geography that favours ambush attacks, but for most other parts of Europe this is not true – and why the borders of Europe were redrawn numerous times before WW2. Given that some Russians (even many) consider Finland to be a part of greater Russia – Helsinki is not exactly safe from todays Russian imperial visions (a single city is not so easy to defend with militias)

        • Bayard

          “No state has the right to demand this of its people”

          Why not?
          Otherwise you appear to be arguing that for self-defence the Swiss arrangement is somehow inadequate because it doesn’t work outside Switzerland.

  • Yuri K

    Craig, I bet Erdogan will eventually settle for F-35 or some other goodies they locked away from him at the moment. Putin will take a notice and send some goodies to Kurdish fighters or to Khalifa Haftar in Libya or Assad will start another offensive to Idlib. Business as usual.

    • T

      Timothy Snyder promoted every debunked Russiagate conspiracy oif the past half decade. No surprise to see he is still being given the stage. They all are.

    • D

      Well worth a read if all you like is an anti Russian echo chamber – put a magnifying glass on any culture / government / religion and there’s flaws

    • Neil

      Thanks for the link.

      Not sure the article doesn’t exaggerate in places, but very powerful in explaining Russia’s absurd accusations of Ukraine being overrun by Nazis …

      “A time traveler from the 1930s would have no difficulty identifying the Putin regime as fascist. The symbol Z, the rallies, the propaganda, the war as a cleansing act of violence and the death pits around Ukrainian towns make it all very plain. The war against Ukraine is not only a return to the traditional fascist battleground, but also a return to traditional fascist language and practice. Other people are there to be colonized. Russia is innocent because of its ancient past. The existence of Ukraine is an international conspiracy. War is the answer.

      Because Mr. Putin speaks of fascists as the enemy, we might find it hard to grasp that he could in fact be fascist. But in Russia’s war on Ukraine, “Nazi” just means “subhuman enemy”— someone Russians can kill. Hate speech directed at Ukrainians makes it easier to murder them, as we see in Bucha, Mariupol and every part of Ukraine that has been under Russian occupation.”

      • Bayard

        “The symbol Z, “

        The symbol Z was painted on some of the Russian tanks because they were taking part in military exercises just before the invasion and the two “sides” had to be identified. One side was “Z” and the other was “V”.

      • Neil

        Yuri, that’s right, I don’t. That’s kind of the point of the article.

        But could it be something like “highly centralised, dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and the economy alongside ultra-nationalist sentiment and a belief that liberal democracy is obsolete.”

        Remind you of anybody?

        • Yuri K

          Did you just quote from Wikipedia? 😉 First, their definition (and any definition, but I’ll get to this later) is questionable. They refer to Merriam-Webster online, but they misquote M-W’s definition, that states

          “[Fascism is] a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

          This definition is empirical, but, unfortunately (from purely scientific perspective), we do not have enough examples to define Fascism precisely. We can’t even tell which features mentioned in this definition are inconceivable and which are permanent.

          Even more, if the above definition is based on Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, it misses, in my opinion, one very important feature, that is, that political violence came not only from above, but also from below. Therefore, the presence of armed wings of the Fascist parties was an inevitable feature of these Fascist states, or Fascist movements in these states even before Fascism there came to power. These were the SA (“Brownshirts”) in Nazi Germany, Squadre d’Azione (“Blackshirts”) in Italy, the Arrow Cross paramilitaries in Hungary, the Falangists in Spain, etc.

          So, what about others states claimed to be Fascist? If you only knew Jane Mansfield and Kate Upton, you’ll define “movie actress” as “a blonde with big tits”, so if I show you a photo of, say, Sandra Bullock, you’d say “No way, she’s not an actress” but you’ll agree at once that Dolly Parton is. So, for example, what about Franco’s Spain? Was it a Fascist state, as some claim? But the economy of Spain under Franco was not regimented, Franco was almost an economic libertarian. Greek Junta 1967-74, as some claim? But neither their economy nor society were regimented. What about Portugal under Antonio Salazar, as some claim? No way, he was a good guy cause he hated Hitler! Was Vichy France a Fascist state? Many people ask this question but you won’t find a definite answer. Some historians even believe that Napoleon III was a proto-Fascist but this is likely to be an exaggeration. Etc, etc.

          So, since this definition is just an empirical approximation based on, applying it to various modern states becomes complicated. Russia? But though Russia’s economy is heavily controlled by state at least in some sectors, her society is not regimented at all, and suppression of political opponents is way more brutal in Erdogan’s Turkey or Saudi Arabia; yet nobody calls these countries Fascist. Is Putin a dictator? Not really, even Fiona Hill disagreed with that. The amendments in Russian Constitution that gave the president drastically more power, making him almost a Tsar, were introduced under Boris Yeltsin in 1993, and nobody called Yeltsin a dictator because he was a good Tsar-president. The West liked Boris but disliked Vlad from the start, so Vlad became a “dictator” while using the same powers. Putin cancelled elections of some regional governors during the 2nd Chechen war and appointed them instead, but later this returned to normal and all governors are elected now. Some of them openly oppose the war and, OMG, nobody jailed them. Unlike Mussolini’s Italy, where ALL salaries were state-dictated, Russia has only a minimal wage set. The ruling party, The United Russia, has no paramilitary wing like ones I described above. So claiming that Russia is a Fascist state is not even an exaggeration, it is a lie.

          And here we come to Tim Snyder. There always was a small niche for Russophobe writers, occupied by Richard Pipes in the 90s and Anne Applebaum in the early 00’s. She did not have to be brilliant or consistent, she only had to be a Russophobe. Gradually, the niche became larger and larger, and Anne Applebaum could not satisfy the growing demand. And so demand created supply. In came Tim Snyder, Andreas Umland, and a bunch of disgruntled emigrants like Alina Polyakova, Kara-Murza Jr., and Alexander Motyl. Supply and demand.

      • Neil


        “Tim Snyder? Give me a break, he does not know what fascism is. And neither do you.”

        “we do not have enough examples to define Fascism precisely.”

        Sorry, thought the first comment was implying me and Snyder didn’t know but you did.

        Presumably from the second comment you’re agreeing that it’s hard to define.

        Which was kind of the point of the article you immediately rejected as “a piece if crap” without reading it.

        (So if the article was a piece of crap, and you agree with it, which you seem to, what does that make your comment?)

        As for Snyder being a Russophobe, I know nothing about him. I just read the article and found it interesting. Prefer to judge the argument than the person.

        And out of interest, re ‘it was Yeltsin what did it’, why did you neglect to mention that Putin should be stepping down in 2024, but last year passed a law allowing him to stay in office until 2036? I mean, don’t you think that had some relevance to your argument? The omission in your comment is rather glaring.

        But anyway, back to the argument. Yes, it’s hard to define precisely fascism, but Putin’s Russia sure ticks a lot of the boxes. Certainly far more so than the country allegedly overrun by Nazis which Putin has chosen to invade for a bewildering variety of pretexts, including that Ukraine has no right to exist, that many of its people have Russian blood and belong in the bosom of the fatherland … well, you see where I’m going with this.

        • Yuri K

          This was for Russian Duma to decide and they voted 380:44 to reset Putin’s presidential terms to zero. So there was nothing unlawful in extending his presidency this way.

          So you have a “Fascist” country w/o a dictator? This is just propaganda. On the other pole, as I recall, Hosni Mubarak was “not a dictator”, according to Joe Biden, and in an article in The Atlantic Egypt was even called “a single-party democracy”. Do not kink your brain trying to figure out how a single-party democracy works, this only meant “We are pretending Egypt’s ruler is better than he really is.” So in Putin’s case they are pretending he’s worse than he really is.

    • Ian Stevenson

      The invasion of Iraq was really the decision of Cheney and Rumsfeld, and they manipulated the intelligence to con Bush -and Blair believed that the vast American intelligence network must be right.
      Robert Draper has documented this very convincingly in his book “To start a war”.

      • Tom Welsh

        Doesn’t speak very well for all the elaborate US constitutional safeguards, separation of powers, “checks and balances”, etc., does it?

        The truth is that in certain types of culture money is the universal solvent, and no laws or institutions can ever resist it. The only way the USA could ever become honest and decent would be if money ceased to be its highest value – and I cannot see that happening. Luckily a society cannot survive for very long with such values, so the USA will not be able to harm decent people for very much longer.

        • Bayard

          ” so the USA will not be able to harm decent people for very much longer.”

          I see you are thinking in the same timescales as the Chinese.

        • IanStevenson

          I agree. It doesn’t speak well of the US but it can be discussed and even opposed in public, unlike Russia.

          • Bayard

            “It doesn’t speak well of the US but it can be discussed and even opposed in public, unlike Russia.”


      • Jimmeh

        Blair knew the dodgy dossier was dodgy long before the invasion. The thing had been widely debunked; everyone knew it was bogus. Blair was not conned.

    • Neil

      It’s a pity so many commenters here have been excusing Putin’s doing the same in Ukraine as Bush did in Iraq. If only they’d condemned Putin for Ukraine, they could also condemn Bush for Iraq.

      • T

        Our elites and their media say with one voice that Putin is a war criminal. He probably is. At the same time they revere Dubya Bush and Sir Tony Blair and are at ease with what the west is currently committing in Afghanistan and Yemen.

        It is these amoral frauds who run our society and control public information not Vladimir Putin or anyone commenting on this blog. There is little sign that you understand this.

          • T

            Yet you refuse condemn the frauds running your own country, or their masters in Washington DC. People who you know are right now directly responsible for far greater death in Afghanistan and Yemen.

            How credible do you think that makes you appear as a scolder of people who won’t condemn Putin?

        • Neil


          “Yet you refuse condemn the frauds running your own country, or their masters in Washington DC.”

          I don’t expect you to have read all my past comments, but feel free to do so if you don’t believe that I have repeatedly condemned both sides, unlike Putin’s cheerleaders on these boards who can only bleat about the crimes of the West to distract from their refusal to do anything but praise Putin.

          • Bayard

            “unlike Putin’s cheerleaders”

            So anyone who doesn’t follow the “Putin is a monster” line is a cheerleader? You claim to condemn the US is for its long history of aggression against other countries, but I have never seen you refer to anyone who doesn’t as a “Bush cheerleader”.
            Although you don’t seem to accept it, there is still in this world the concept of neutrality where you are neither with us nor against us. It is a perfectly coherent position to take that Vladimir Putin is not a monster, not personally responsible for the invasion of Ukraine, not mad, not a megalomaniac, not wanting to reestablish the USSR, etc etc, yet still condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Refusing to believe the parrots of propaganda is not praise.

          • Neil

            Myself: “unlike Putin’s cheerleaders on these boards…”

            And right on cue. …

          • andyoldlabour

            You seem to have the same mindset as Bush – “You are either with us or against us” – no light or shade, just black and white, the very argument which allowed the war crimes committed by the West to be covered up, nobody punished. The fact that the same people who committed those war crimes, are demanding that Putin be held accountable for war crimes is pure hypocrisy. I am saying that as someone who wa horrified when Russia invaded Ukraine.

    • DunGroanin

      Does he realise his culpability and have a guilty conscious? Unless he was talking about his Dad’s Iraq 1 or his dads proxy Cheney & co in Iraq 2?

      Dubbya , also known for his coke and booze habit since a youngster skull and bones – the Bullingdon equivalent – who almost croaked it in the WH because of ‘pretzels’.
      Maybe he is channeling traditional Greek tragedy.
      Golly maybe he wonders if Texas deep bunkers are immune to Mr F Kinzhell’s visit?

    • Tom Welsh

      The really horrible part is that he laughed it off, and the audience laughed in turn. The death of a few million mainly Muslim Asians is, after all, not a serious matter to Americans.

  • intp1

    The above important piece link IS important. Thank you Craig.
    The UK deep state exposed, named and shamed.
    There is a serious, super well funded extreme right 5th column in our midst.
    Not unrelated to be sure:
    1st they get the public nodding their empty heads re. applauding full blown Nazis in Kiev; how long till we are being force fed such people and their antics right here in the UK?

  • MFB

    Mr Murray, your ideals are laudable but impractical. Turkey cannot act against the United States, which does not want peace in Ukraine and instead wants a war with Russia as a stepping-stone towards its long-term goal of overthrowing the Chinese government. Turkey and Greece have been enemies since the beginning of the last millennium and the idea that their enmity will suddenly cause Turkey to become a nice country, caring and sharing and seeking peace all around, violates every lesson of the region’s history.

    I don’t believe that the war in Ukraine can be ended unless either NATO withdraws its support for Ukraine, which is not going to happen unless the U.S. is given a reason for so doing (and such a reason would have to be an even bigger threat somewhere else) or Russia wins the war (which I don’t believe Russia is capable of doing in its present political and military condition). Since Russia can’t afford to lose the war, and probably the Russian government can’t afford to make the concessions which you suggest, and since the Ukrainian government is not free to make the concessions which you suggest and could not be trusted to stick to any deal which it signed — the war will go on more or less indefinitely.

    Perhaps this is one reason why Russia is husbanding its military resources in the war; after the failure of the initial invasion to make the Zhelensky government surrender, there is probably no point in throwing massive forces in. Although I suspect that the whole affair was ridiculously mismanaged by the Russian military and intelligence.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Mr Murray, your ideals are laudable but impractical”.

      Thanks for putting that so clearly, if brutally. The point is the same one that I occasionally make by referring to the Melian Dialogue. The strong do what they wish, and the weak do what they must; questions of “right” arising only between equals in [perceived military] power.

      This implies that power is the only important factor in international relations, except in the unusual situation where two powerful nations see their strength as being so equal that they are reluctant to risk the outcome of war. Then they negotiate and become engrossed in legalities, until one of them thinks it has the upper hand, at which point it attacks.

      Mr Murray, like so many others, concerns himself mainly with the intricacies of laws, treaties, and negotiations – failing to notice that these are merely diversions with which the powers seek to distract and confuse their enemies until they can attain an advantage in power. But under the surface, the decisive factor is always sheer strength.

      The Americans have long believed themselves supreme in military power, which is no longer the case. At “best”, they have the nuclear option of a draw in which the human species is exterminated. Otherwise, in a conventional war they are likely to lose.

      They also put much faith in their economic, financial, and “soft” power. But those, too, are ebbing away. They tried this year to crush Russia with sanctions, only to find their enemy actually strengthened and themselves weakened.

    • Jimmeh

      > Turkey and Greece have been enemies since the beginning of the last millennium

      Trojan War, anyone?

      Turkey (as a region) is the most important bridge between the steppe, traditionally populated by nomads, and Europe and the Mediterranean, which is fertile, settled farmland. Armies have been marching through that part of the world ever since there have been armies. It’s geography, not borders, that makes Turkey strategically important.

  • Ian Stevenson

    Erdogan might resent American influence but they have also been of service to him.
    Trump dumped the Kurds and within a day or so, the Turks could resume military operations. Ethnic minorities are not allowed to ask for any recognition.
    But it is not clear cut . Note Trump’s statement towards the end. It also undoes any trust. Where Biden stands, I have not yet found out.

    “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” he tweeted Monday.

  • Harry Law

    What is so nauseating about my above link is how funny the audience thought it all was, a country destroyed and a million lives lost all based on lies, how hilarious. Condoleezza Rice [another war criminal] said something similar about how wrong it was in this century for a country to invade another as Russia has done. You could not make this stuff up.

    • Goose

      Reminds me of ex-CIA chief Pompeo boasting of his time at the CIA : We lied, we cheated, we stole… we had entire training courses… Which was met by rapturous laughter from the audience.

      And these are the same people who wish now to decide what is and what isn’t disinformation online. It’s like asking Luke Harding to write the official version of key events.

      Is there any wonder western political and intelligence officials overreach and feel completely untouchable when that is the response to an direct admission of deeply unethical conduct by a public official?

  • Goose

    Russia-Ukraine latest news: Putin desperate for Nazi ‘Wunderwaffe’ to turn war around – Telegraph

    Deeply offensive and lazy, this constant comparison of Russia to the Nazis and Putin to Hitler in British and US media. When did broadsheets become the sensationalist tabloids?

    Despise this invasion by all means, but such comparisons are offensive and absurd given the history and sacrifice. According to historians the Red Army inflicted around 93% of all Nazi casualties. This despite the US constantly trying to rewrite history in films and TV, presenting themselves as the sole reason Hitler lost WW2.

    • Bayard

      The British public imagination is still stuck in WWII, just as the US one is still stuck in the days of the Wild West.

          • John Kinsella

            77 million Russians?

            I don’t think so.

            How many of the Russians and Ukrainians killed in ww2 died as a result of Stalin’s paranoia, in particular his murder of many of the senior Soviet officer corps?

        • Bayard

          “And the Russian public imagination is stuck in the Great Patriotic War”

          I think you are confusing public memory with public imagination. Do the Russians still make films set in WWII at the same rate as we have WWII dramas on our screens, two or three a year, after more than 75 years? The very existence of Godwin’s Law shows how obsessed we are with that era. Is there a Russian equivalent?

    • John Kinsella

      Ok for Putin regime to use the Nazi slur against Ukraine but not for it to be used against Putin and his gang?

      Sauce goose sauce gander..

      As for “Red Army inflicted around 93% of all Nazi casualties”, that wasn’t only Russia but also Ukraine.

      • D

        The Nazi slur perhaps equals the azov battalion , interesting logo they have , the Ukraine minus bandera as he was busy with the Polish

        • John Kinsella

          @D. The Nazi slur is applied by the Putin regime to all Ukrainians with the exception of collaborators with the invaders.

          • Bayard

            “The Nazi slur is applied by the Putin regime to all Ukrainians with the exception of collaborators with the invaders.”

            In your imagination perhaps. In reality, the Russians have said that there are Nazis in Ukraine, which is pretty indisputable and that there are Nazis influencing the government, which is more arguable, but that every Ukrainian is a Nazi? I’ll believe that when I see some evidence.

  • Harry Law

    Professor Norman Finkelstein being truthful, as always….

    “Number one, the Russians were promised that there would be no NATO expansion to the East, that was the quid pro quo for the reunification of Germany after the decomposition of the Soviet Union. The Russians were promised that but the West went ahead. We’re talking about the 1990s: the promises were given, but the West then went ahead and started to expand NATO once, as John Mearsheimer likes to put it there was the first tranche, then the second tranche of expansion… Then NATO starts expanding in Georgia and in the Ukraine. The Soviet Union says it’s a red line.
    To stop this, the Soviet Union offers a perfectly reasonable resolution: just neutralize Ukraine like we neutralized Austria after World War II, neither aligned with an Eastern bloc nor aligned with a Western bloc. That seemed to me perfectly reasonable. And the people I mentioned, Mearsheimer, Cohen passed away since but Professor Chomsky and a number of others, they’ll all agree on the reasonableness of Putin’s demands”.

      • Wikikettle

        Professor Norman Finkelstein, brave American Jew who lost his job and home for speaking out against Israel and standing up for Palestinians. His books document the abuse and memory of the Holocaust/ Shoah. One of the many Cancelled. Hated by the ” Lobby “.

    • Pears Morgaine

      I’ve read some Grade A bollocks on the Saker but that reaches new heights.

      There’s a world of difference between a country like Austria agreeing to be neutral and signing a treaty to that effect and forcing, or trying to force, Ukraine into neutrality at bayonet point. Comparing the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Egypt’s Sadat taking back land occupied by Israel through military conquest is just farcical. I get the impression Putin’s supporters are getting desperate.

  • D

    I see the term ‘invaded an independent nation’ as relevant as invaded a country with grass fields ..
    After the fall of yanucovych the Ukrainian finance minister was ex u.s embassy , ex state department .. so it’s hard for me to see Ukraine as independent financially

  • DunGroanin

    Is Erdo capable of being an honest broker?
    (Stop guffawing)

    Ok let’s get some of his recent actions stated.

    Well there was the kerfuffle he caused over the entrapment , brutal murder and chopping up of Kashoggi in the Saudi Embassy by the Saudis with full knowledge of the activities and phone calls from these head choppers embassy.
    What’s happened about that?

    More recently, – whilst Mr Murray was illegally and extrajudicially incarcerated without a jury trial for reporting on a jury trial – last August , was the elbowing into Afghanistan to oversee the US/nato withdrawal debacle (and try smuggle in the isis head choppers?).
    Have requested a couple of times to read CM’s view on that endgame, I’m sure he’ll get to it sometime.

    Erdo as the Syrian oil stealing , Fortress Europe guarding and nato frontliner in much of the last 20 years attacks on the ME – whilst still being targetted by its own nato ‘allies’ – has always played a duplicitous games and indeed killed Russians in Syria. He needs to atone for that or expect a just reward for such actions.

    • Laguerre

      Erdogan didn’t steal Syrian oil, that’s the Yanks. All the Turks did was to allow it to cross their territory, something that lots of countries do.

      What the Turks did or didn’t do in Afghanistan was the equivalent of an intermediate, potentially acceptable to both sides, also quite a common activity.

      Did the Turks organise the murder of Kashoggi, or were in on it? Answer, no. So what’s the beef?

      • DunGroanin

        Wasn’t Erdos son and family involved in the money made from Syrian oil?
        They were not welcome in Afghanistan but may have brought in some of the isis head choppers. Who was manning the guard towers at the airport when hundreds were shot after the bomb went off?
        Why did Erdo openly publish the recordings from inside the SA embassy? Then searched addresses for the chopped up remains? Then named all involved and brought charges? To what end now? Who is tried and convicted?
        Who enabled the running of the whole north Syrian invasion through its porus borders, having a direct link into Idlib and all these northern redoubts of isis and ‘free Syria’ satraps? Who allowed the head choppers White Helmet chemical attack film makers and their commanders Nr & Mrs Le Mesurier of the British Army to operate from there? Built all these ‘observation’ posts? And have generally persuaded Russia and Syria and the Resistance from bulldozing all these millions into Turkey – many who miraculously happen to have Turkish passports though they don’t speak a single word and look anything but Middle Eastern – more asiatic.

        Erdo may well be his own man but for sure if he stood up against the State Department and its cfr masters he would wuickly have met a fate as much as the disappeared Imran Khan has or as many of the leaders of nations partaking in the great BRI building of transportation and energy links are which will forever change the ‘hunting grounds’ of the Money Men and Women.

        • Laguerre

          “Wasn’t Erdos son and family involved in the money made from Syrian oil?”

          So it’s the Turks who are responsable, although it’s the Yanks who did it?

          “They were not welcome in Afghanistan but may have brought in some of the isis head choppers. “

          It was the Americans who organised the potential arrival of the Turks, to get them out of a hole. Your second part is speculative slander.

          “Why did Erdo openly publish the recordings from inside the SA embassy?”

          Ex post facto is the description of Turkish actions. does not demonstrate prior involvement. It did happen in their country.

          Syria. Erdogan is guilty of excessive paranoia about Kurds, and it’s led him into grave policy errors. However it’s US policy that has destabilised northern Syria in their attempt to regime change Damascus, by support for a jihadist regime in Idlib, and by insisting on separatism for Syrian Kurds, when the Kurds themselves got on fine with the Asad lot (but that didn’t suit the Yanks).

          Jihadist movements are naturally chaotic, and will never lead to stability (Ibn Saud’s solution in the 1930s was simply to massacre them once their usefulness to him was finished). But there is very considerable sympathy for them among Sunni voting populations, and Saudi princes who finance them. That suits the Yanks just fine, as they think Jihadism will never touch the US directly (other than 911). And Erdogan is largely controlled by his electorate who think that way, though he may also have personal sympathy for Sunni fighters. But it’s a mistake to personalise everything to being simply the personal whims of an oriental potentate. (myself, I personalise everything in Britain to being simply the personal whims of the oriental potentate who sits in 10 Downing St, also of Turkish origin, but for some incomprehensible reason, this is thought to be absurd).

          • DunGroanin

            Thanks for that reply Laguerre, Excellent points. I do wonder whether he is fully over the attempted coup and probable murder attempt against him by his American/Nato overlords.

            Some potentates do have some actual agency. Let’s see, shouldn’t be too long now.

  • straydog

    Oh please the popular vote in Eurovision, it was clearly rigged.. as for Russia giving up anything, again Craig, please stick to Political strategy not military this is a clear weakness,.. Russia will not hand back one thing.
    AS for Finland, they will get what they deserve, the question is why was the vote not put to the people.. simple like most western governments today they are under the thumb of the US, the EU cannot even see its own destruction it is gleefully throwing itself into.

    • Jimmy Riddle

      …. well, Kissinger got the Nobel peace prize in 1973; perhaps Putin could win the Nobel peace prize in 2022.

    • DunGroanin

      I came across a abandoned copy of the Daily Mail late last night and flicked through the first dozen pages looking for their daily Ukraine lead story.

      There was NONE until pages in and even then it was weirdly about a Brit being accused of being a commie I think.

      The craftsmen and women of the Mail are trained not to lose their audience – the crowd has turned and the editorial team have run back to the front of it to retain their ‘position’ which is now amounting to ‘shush don’t mention the war’ ?

      The rancid little blue and yellow badges have disappeared from coats and posters from shop windows.
      No one is collecting for Ukrainians now.

      ‘You can’t fool all of us all of the time’

      It may have been the captured Brit mercenaries statements that started the rethink.

      There were conversations where people were talking about the banderists history; the widespread Nazi symbolism and these various torture and abuse of women strapped to lampposts videos doing the rounds.

      That and the lie of the Russian failure and Uke success; the lie of the trapped civilians, but thousands of Nazis crawl out of the bunker; the craziness of the Polish pm’s venomous words against Russia; the Cancelling of the cuddly Meerkats …

      However the turning point in my opinion was the Eurovision final vote. Brits love an underdog until it seemingly isn’t one at the last second and ends up storming past ‘our plucky little boy’!

      Turkey btw has not participated in any of the contests since 2013.
      It seems Muslims are not welcome into Club Europa other than as useful cooks and guards on the wall of Fortress Europe.

      On such fancies the Narrative is turned.

      • Bramble

        Didn’t many civilians exit the bunker in humanitarian corridors before the (ahem) “evacuation” of the troops? Of course, no official recognition that they had been forcibly held there as a human shield, but that is exactly what it looked like. Impossible to say that many have reconsidered the evidence, however, especially when my friends ask: “What can we do about Putin?” and then tune out when one suggests: “Treat the Russian government with respect as an equal (though it is a pygmy when it comes to imperial war crimes compared to the West) and negotiate”. The West’s failure to do so is itself a war crime. But the West is a hardened offender.

  • Jack

    Especially Sweden have really put itself between a rock and hard place with their big historical support for kurdish groups, amongst them YPG(PKK), even arming them (against Turkey) and kurdish groups influencing swedish politics. At the same time the ruling social-democrats now seek Nato membership. What will they eventually pick? Or is it Turkey that will eventually be bought with concessions? But if Turkey back down now after their clear defiant posture, they and Erdogan personally will lose credibility.

  • peter mcloughlin

    The clamour for war, populations “gripped by a wave of emotion”, brings nations to the conflicts they would more wisely avoid. The pattern of history, as consistent with current events, suggests another world war. Many will protest, this is not so. The vanquished were sure of victory in 1914 and 1939. Everyone was confident of victory: but someone had to lose. Everyone is confident today: but everyone will lose.

  • Brian c

    Why haven’t the airwaves been flooded with People’s Vote kingpins raging about the Grayzone’s revelation of antidemocratic subversion by pro-Leave elites?

    Quite simple. Because their movement was never really about Brexit. Its purpose was to stop the nightmare prospect of genuine democracy in Britain by fixing Jeremy Corbyn with a disastrous antidemocratic 2nd referendum policy. The scam worked like a dream and now Campbell, Starmer, Mandelson, Blair etc have all moved on, along with the Guardian, New Statesman, C4 News . Complete silence now from all these ‘Remain’ loudmouths on antidemocratic manoeuvres of a Hard Brexit cabal.

    • Goose

      Their silence is strange.

      Notice the US Ministry of Truth plans are on hold. It’s been revealed that Biden’s pick to be his new ‘Ministry of Truth’ czar, Nina Jankowicz, is a ‘Trump dossier’ promoter and ‘Hunter Biden laptop’ denier.

      Couldn’t make it up. The non-empirical ‘truth’ is often a slippery concept, relative to who wants what narrative promoting and what’s in the public domain at a particular point in time.

  • Eunice

    Wow, I always find much more nuance in political events when I read your blog.
    I thought that Sweden and Finland’s request is sure to be approved but I see there’s a lot more to it

  • Goose

    Imagine if Turkey made its backing conditional on Sweden and Finland holding public referendums to gauge whether that’s truly what their populations want. It won’t happen of course, I agree with others here, in their belief Erdoğan is angling for other concessions eg, F-35s or action against European or US -based Kurdish exiles. But it’s certainly something to ponder.

    Time and time again ‘national security’ is being cited in order to bypass electorates who have never directly endorsed FVEYs or NATO. These organisations say they have a ‘democratic mandate’. But in two party systems, where both parties support and general elections are about a myriad of other more pressing issues : NHS, economy etc, can they legitimately claim they have a democratic mandate?

    One of the big shocks from the Snowden revelations, beyond the information disclosed, was in the fact nobody ever voted for those arrangements, not even parliamentarians. Further, no discussion is allowed in parliament, outside the secretive Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) which rarely meets and is stuffed with agency ‘vetted’ establishment worthies. FVEYs and NATO, most recently AUKUS, have huge ramifications and implications for our countries, and yet the general population(s) are being entirely excluded and kept in the dark.

    • John Kinsella

      You do realise that Finland and Sweden are sovereign countries that will determine their policies independently of the Putin regime and the Erdogan regime?

      Do you really believe that the Finns have anything to fear from the Putin regime’s raggedy Army?

      What is left of it?

      • Jack

        Actually Sweden and Finland are dependent on Turkey in this case to be member of Nato so it is not really up to these states interests any longer.

        And yes of course they are free to decide their own policies, so are Russia in case of another Nato expansion.

        • John Kinsella

          You think that the Putin regime has significant resources of infantry, armour and artillery left?

          Enough to take on the Finns?

          Aye right.

          • Jack

            John Kinsella

            Allegedly Russia have lost 25k soldiers, and that is the Ukranian government saying that, so I take the very high end number now. Russia have over 1 million active soldiers and 2 million in reserve. So they have obviously plenty of force left.

            I do not even know what your point is as regard to Finland, why should Russia take on the Finns? Where did you even get that idea from?

          • Pears Morgaine

            Of that one million 280,000 are front line combat troops; the rest serve in support roles: logistics, medical, administration etc. Whatever the number of dead is it would be reasonable to assume that 2-3 times that number would be temporarily or permanently unable to fight due to injury and there would inevitably be some desertions and PoWs of course. Many are conscripts regarded even by the Russians as being of low quality with poor morale.

          • Bruce_H

            Why not suggest that Russia was about to attack Mongolia or Nepal while you’re about it?

            Russia and Finland have treaties that until this latest episode of the not so cold war both parties seemed quite happy with, despite the fact that the last war between them was when Finland sided with the Third Reich and attacked them. Do think that this proves Finland is favourable the Azovs, Right Sector etc. extremists in the Ukraine perhaps, but I haven’t seen any information that suggests this, have you?

            As for Sweden, both the USSR and Russia don’t appear to have had any ideas of launching an attack across the Baltic (or the Black sea since it’s been Trussified), which wouldn’t be an easy task. What makes you think this has changed, apart, perhaps, from an overdose of the SUN, Mail, BBC etc? If this is the case than there are many other sources of information which provide a balance, although I admit they are not to be found in the general press, alas.

  • SleepingDog

    I am currently reading Simon Webb’s book Secret Casualties of World War Two, which describes the over-reaction to a few Zeppelin bombs by the British emplacing naval artillery in and around their cities and firing upward (causing perhaps more on-ground casualties than the bombs themselves) as an example of the politician’s syllogism.
    A similar fallacy seems to apply to NATO expansion. Something causes panic. Something must be done. This is something. So this must be done.

    I find Elaine Scarry’s Thinking in an Emergency a useful counter to this type of reactive decision-making.

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