Death Wish 2023 261

There can be few safer indicators of the views of the globalist “liberal” Establishment than reports of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, which prefers to be known as Chatham House.

Chatham House’s principal funding comes from the UK, US, Canadian, German, Swiss, Japanese, Swedish and Norwegian governments, the World Bank and the EU, and from corporate “philanthropists” including IKEA, Bill Gates, George Soros, Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation, BP, Chevron, Shell, and ExxonMobil. I could go on.

In other words, Chatham House is absolutely rolling in the dosh controlled by states and the super wealthy. It is headquartered in the palatial residence of the imperial expansionist Prime Minister William Pitt, and has expanded out over time into two great adjoining mansions.

(In 2022 it also, despite all the petroleum bungs, received its largest grant from the MAVA Foundation, a Swiss environmental charity, which was that year closing down and disbursing all its funds).

So Chatham House is a pretty infallible guide as to what those who control western “democracies” are thinking. And when it comes to Ukraine, what they are thinking is terrifying.

Chatham House has released a report which “makes the case for dramatically increased Western military assistance to Ukraine, and argues against concessions to Russia”.

The report is organised as a list of nine “fallacies” which the authors are concerned that Russian propagandists have successfully insinuated into Western thinking, and sets out to refute each of them.

This is rather a high risk approach as, taken together, the nine “fallacies” on the face of it make a cogent and convincing argument against the escalation of the war.

But, convinced of the protection of their amulets of invincible self-righteousness, the authors plunge right in to their refutations.

I do not intend to go through them all. I merely seek to illustrate the intellectual paucity of this lavishly funded enterprise.

The task of debunking the first “fallacy”, that all wars end in negotiation, is given to James Sherr OBE, an American careerist Russophobe who is currently Head of Vilification at the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (I definitely got the Institute right but I may have mistranslated his title a bit).

Estonia has of course much in common with Ukraine. It gained its national freedom on the collapse of the Soviet Union and it has subsequently put state resources into honouring Nazi Holocaust participants.

Two of the three Estonian Waffen SS officers in this photo have had official plaques to them unveiled in modern Estonia, reported with approval and no sense of controversy in the state media.

I thought I might mention this in case anyone thinks it unfair that Ukrainian Nazis were spotlighted by another Waffen SS member being given a standing ovation by the Canadian parliament. It is only fair to point out that a lot of Ukraine’s closest supporters are riddled with Nazi sympathy also.

Anyway, what does Estonian state employee and US citizen Dr James Sherr, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, former Fellow of the UK Defence Academy, have to tell us about the “fallacy” that all wars end in negotiation?

The first problem is that they don’t. It is true that the majority of wars do not end in absolute victory. Ceasefire, armistice and stalemate terminate most conflicts, even if the ‘peace’ is infirm or short-lived. But where the stakes are absolute, as they were in the Napoleonic wars, the US Civil War and the Second World War, armed conflict usually ends in the victory of one side and the defeat of the other. Negotiation, compromise and reconciliation are undertaken with new regimes only after old regimes are defeated and removed. The Franco-German reconciliation invoked by Emmanuel Macron would have been inconceivable had the Nazis remained in power.

Sherr goes on to argue that the stakes in this war are absolute. It is an existential war for Ukraine because Russia seeks to destroy it entirely, and it is an existential war for Russia because, he argues, Putin believes that Kiev is the cradle of the Russian soul.

Having defined it as an existential war, he says that it follows that it must be escalated up to total war and total victory.

It is very plainly an argument to escalate the war to achieve regime change in Russia:

Negotiation, compromise and reconciliation are undertaken with new regimes only after old regimes are defeated and removed.

Sherr is perfectly happy to contemplate millions of deaths. Look at his comparisons; the Napoleonic Wars entailed 3 million combat deaths, the US civil war about 700,000 combat deaths and the Second World War about 15 million. In each case you can probably more than double that for total civilian deaths caused by those wars.

Let me be absolutely plain: Sherr is saying this is the kind of total war he wants against Russia, rather than a more limited one.

Strangely enough Sherr does not reference those more recent great western wars for regime change, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, which also resulted in the deaths of millions. Possibly even he realises the end results have not been entirely desirable.

But is this war really existential for either Ukraine or Russia? The truth is that ever since Ukraine became independent in 1991 it has been unstable, deeply divided over whether to look west to the EU or look east to Russia. The political and linguistic division broadly at the Dnieper runs deep into history.

Truce of Andrusovo 1667.PNG

Modern Ukraine is a failed state that collapsed into civil war in 2014 after twenty years of political tension between openly pro-Western and pro-Russian political forces which were remarkably evenly balanced.

Up to and including 2014, both the Western powers and Russia engaged in all forms of political interference, espionage and chicanery to try to win Ukraine. Back in 1996 when I was First Secretary in the British Embassy in Warsaw, I helped author a paper for the Cabinet Office which said that Poland was now secured to the West, but the hinge of history would be the Ukraine. I discussed it with George Soros in person (he bought me a pizza).

I cannot share the outrage of many on the left at the “colour revolution” of 2014. Both Russia and the West had been playing a dirty game. Yanukovych was more or less kidnapped by Moscow to disavow the EU Association agreement. The ensuing 2014 coup was just the US being more adept at winning the dirty game, of which I as a former player well know the rules, or lack of them.

The subsequent annexation of Crimea and reinforcement of the Donbass was the Russian counter-move. That ended the hope that a united Ukraine would ever be pro-Russian. The civil war rumbled on ever since until the larger Russian invasion. The extreme discriminatory measures against the Russian speaking population post-2014 ended the hope that a united Ukraine would ever be possible.

Chatham House itself illustrates that Ukraine was nothing but this East/West conflict playground. In 2023 the “Chatham House Prize” for international relations was awarded to Ukrainian President Zelensky. In 2005 the inaugural “Chatham House Prize” had been awarded to President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, openly for turning Ukraine from a pro-Russian to a pro-EU foreign policy.

A country where it is a prize-winning achievement to win a narrow majority for pro-western policies, against the wishes of the other half of the country which wants a pro-Russian foreign policy, is not a viable long term political entity.

At no stage in this post-Soviet story did Ukraine ever become a viable state. It was a poor, undeveloped and undeveloping, east-west power game venue.  Both sides were rigging elections and the oligarchs and their pet politicians oversaw massive corruption, on a mind boggling scale.

Which corruption has no way lessened, and has battened on vast flows of “assistance” from the west.

There has never been a Ukraine under the rule of law and proper democratic government, to which to now return. What does Sherr think will be the attitude of the Russian speaking half of the Ukrainian population if his massive, blood-drenched, total war does bring about the total defeat of Russia?

Ukraine has now banned Russian as an official language, banned all Russian speaking newspapers, banned the pro-Russian political parties, banned teaching in Russian in schools, banned Russian books in libraries and banned the Russian Orthodox Church. Yet Russian is the first language of about 40% of the population.

Is the plan that the total war will result in such genocide that Russian speakers in Ukraine will be no more? Will they all be ethnically cleansed? Or after so much death and destruction, will they just quietly live as second class citizens, and abandon resistance? Is that the plan?

In truth, the best opportunity for a functioning and more efficient Ukrainian state is, now we are in this hot war, for it to lose the Russia-leaning areas and become a more homogeneous and unified entity, with a much greater chance of being at peace with itself and of sorting out its colossal governance problems.

A smaller, better, Ukraine that quickly finds its way into the EU would benefit the great majority of pro-Ukrainians and provide a more stable future for Eastern Europe. In time, it would come to be seen as a blessing.

A negotiated land-for-peace deal, with genuinely free referenda conducted under UN supervision to determine borders, has always been possible and is now essential.

That is what diplomacy is. Yes, mankind can conduct its affairs through total war, inflicting death, maiming, rape, hunger, disease and long term poverty on a massive scale. Or compromise can be reached. That there are those who argue for the former over Eastern Ukraine is sickening to me.

The other problem with a total war is of course that it might be your side which loses. If Sherr wants total war and no negotiation, he is of course accepting the possibility that Russia will conquer all of Ukraine – and would have no right at all to complain of that outcome.

In which case what would become of the Ukrainians? One thing is for certain, a massive wave of refugees would be launched right across Europe.

The practical problem with Sherr’s call for total war is that Ukraine really does not have the population numbers to sustain to victory a total war against Russia. It is just going to run out of people, as indeed the much trumpeted counteroffensive appears to have done.

The extreme escalation of western weaponry which Chatham House proposes, might indeed get round the population problem and tip the balance by inflicting simply massive casualties on Russia, but it is an incredible gamble to believe that so much hurt could be inflicted on Russia without risking nuclear annihilation.

It is improbable that China will permit these lunatic western warhawks to risk the entire future of humankind. Sherr is not of course alone – each section of the report has a different author, and some of them are even more unhinged. Please feel free to discuss further in the comments.

A diplomatic settlement to the Ukraine war terrifies western power structures because it will underline the decline of western hegemony and the increasing influence of BRICS and other non-western voices.

The actual destruction of Russia as an independent power has become essential to the apostles of empire, as a means of maintaining a psychological ascendancy for a few more years. They really do not care how many die for that. Do we really want to follow Dr Sherrangelove and his fellow Chatham House ideologues down this path?

Remember that list above of who pays for Chatham House and who wants all this death. I can see how it benefits them. But, dear reader, how does it benefit you?

An independent Ukraine, shorn of the Eastern provinces that have never wished to look westward, is in the long term much more feasible and viable than some kind of military Valhalla created by an epic war of conquest.

A negotiated and equitable end to this conflict is perfectly viable. It always has been so. The people of Europe have to reject the military industrial complex, the war profiteers and the blazing-eyed ideologues – and look for a fair peace.


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261 thoughts on “Death Wish 2023

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  • Michael Droy

    “I cannot share the outrage of many on the left at the “colour revolution” of 2014. Both Russia and the West had been playing a dirty game. Yanukovych was more or less kidnapped by Moscow to disavow the EU Association agreement. The ensuing 2014 coup was just the US being more adept at winning the dirty game, of which I as a former player well know the rules, or lack of them.”
    You are disagreeing with much of the right as well.
    Essentially you are disagreeing with those who do not trust the media to tell the truth and have made the effort to work it out for themselves.
    Btw what happened to the EU association agreement? Is it still on the table or was it always a trap. Even in 2021 Ukraine was still mostly trading with Russia not EU.

    Craig (great though most of his pieces are, and with heroic support of Assange) has never really believed what commenters on here have been telling him about the state of Ukraines stupid attempt at Suicide by Supercop. Perhaps he will start to get it soon.

    That Nato/US/Kiev are wholly evil and entirely responsible for the deaths of half a million Ukrainian conscripts that doesn’t matter much now.
    Likewise the daft ideas of Dr Sheerangelove (like it) are just irrelevant to reality.

    Ukraine’s forces have been wholly defeated already.
    They have drafted a million me at different stages and are down to last 30-50k which are now dieing as some 300-400 a day (a half aor a third of recent rates). At no point have they had a credible naval force, air force or air defence (The 2 Patriot systems were taken out very quickly by Russian hypersonics – they targeted the sytem itself which should have been the easiest thing to defend).
    They have always had a 3:1 disadvantage in shelling, similar in drones, and yet they have spent most of their time attacking well prepared Russian defences.
    The one advantage they did have was numbers (but not organisation, training or motivation and it appears poor tactics). That has completely reversed with Russia having lost 1 tenth of the dead (though probably 1 third of the wounded, Russia does its best to keep its wounded alive) and having called up 300k reservists plus maybe 200k volunteers who are in their 20s or 30s and getting 6 mohts + training (as opposed to Ukraines 5 weeks for men up to 70)

    So any talk of future battle plans are simply naive. Russia has won totally.

    The withdrawal of all bravure for Ukraine by politicians is not the result of them getting honest appraisals from their military now, honest appraisals would have been available in each of March, April, May and June of 2022.
    It is about knowing negotiations are near, and not wanting to bear any responsibility for someone Nato’s disaster.

    Russia will get everything all the way to Odesa and further along the coast to the Danube and much more including Kharkov oblast. Short of a full scale attack by Nato there is nothing to stop them.
    Or rather all the pro-russian oblasts will get to join Russia.
    The past 9 years are more than enough evidence for anyone outside Aukus/EU to see that their lives are at risk if Ukraine remains in control there.

    No one wants to be part of that negotiation, and indeed no one in the west has the credibility to make guarantees after Minsk 1&2 were admitted deceits.
    Nor does anyone want to financially support Rump Ukraine afterwards. So likely rump Ukraine will be unable to assure Russia it will not simply shell Russian speakers across the Dnieper taking everything back to 2021. Not will it be able to reassure Ukrainian emigres that they can return without their sons being dragged off to war again for some mad Nazi suicide by SuperPower again. So no one will come back to drive the tractors for BlackRock.

    In the meantime we have discovered:
    Nato was never prepared for a war in Poland or Ukraine against Russis, not even close.
    Nato + US are no where near being able to conduct a full scale conventional war against a peer (Russia or China).
    Only a small fraction of Russian power has been seen – an existential war would see Russia use 3-5 times as many forces and it appears they genuinely do have the shells to back this up (West clearly doesn’t)

    MIC wise the west have pretty shoddy equipment in tiny quantities with no manufacturing means to produce more quickly. Recall how Russia was supposed to run out of shells in April 2022 and has fired 3 to 10 times as many as Nato could provide ever since. The US MIC has been shown to be completely naked (great news for shareholders as it implies huge new US spending on the same old failures).

    Hypersonics kill Patriots and therefore Air Craft carriers are no longer a tool usable against Russia or China (or perhaps Iran)
    (Ergo US supporting Taiwan is fiction)
    The only decent drones on Ukraine’s side turned out to be not much good within a few months and Turkish at that. Russia’s drone system is terrifying (I know, you have read about the nerds making drones in Kiev and how great they are – meanwhile there were 450k Ukrainians killed at the front not being reported about).

    • Stevie Boy

      All previous USA/NATO ‘victories’ have been against inferior forces. This conflict has demonstrated that the emperor truly has no clothes.

      • Pnyx

        I agree one hundert percent. Nothing to add – except to point out the possibility the supercop not accepting reality and going to extremes.

    • craig Post author

      Michael you have been writing your nonsensical military analysis again and again here. We understand your view that the only reason the mighty Russian army has not rolled over all of Ukraine in a week is that it does not wish to. Your thesis that whatever happens on the ground is always precisely what the all seeing Putin wished to happen is a matter of faith and therefore not open to rational discussion.

      • dean

        can you expand on Yukanovitch essentially being kidnapped. by Moscow? I am not that familliar with the period but from my reading, he was playing both sides agaist one another. I would have thought therefore that Russia offering twice as much for the oil in the Donbass and a 30% discount on gas than western multinationals would have been the nail in the coffin of the EU deal. Youkonavitch appeared to be a more pragmatic crook than an idealog.

        • Tom Welsh

          While I cannot pretend to have diplomatic sources, the story I heard was that Mr Yanukovych prudently sent his family to Russia for safety and stayed in Kiev to do his best by legal means. When it became obvious that legal means were off the table and it was a matter of pure violence, he tried to escape but would have been caught and killed had not Russian helicopters sent by Mr Putin scooped him up in the nick of time.

          Evidently a 180-degree difference in interpretation; much like the thousands of Ukrainian children allegedly “kidnapped” by the Russians – who say that they took the children to Russia for their safety.

          In both cases I know which story I believe. In my experience the Russians usually tell the truth; if they don’t want to admit something they generally say nothing about it. Whereas the Kiev people (very much, I am sorry to say, like their role models in Washington and London) seem to lie all the time – even sometimes when the truth would be more useful to them.

          • Lysias

            When, less than a week before Russia invaded, Zelensky indicated, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference with Kamala Harris and other American officials in attendance, that he intended to reacquire nuclear weapons, Putin had no alternative besides immediately invading.

            Interestingly, two of the sites in Ukraine that Russia immediately occupied were Chernobyl and Zaporozhe, obvious sources of the radioactive materials needed to make dirty bombs.

      • Pnyx

        I appreciate your expertise very much, but with regard to Russia’s military clout, you rely too much on the state of 30 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Philip Karber, who lectures at West Point, is a witness to that. Many Russian weapons systems are superior to Western ones and that Western industry is having a hard time trying to convert to a war economy in order to produce the gigantic amount of resupply needed for is also a fact.

        It is not necessary to conclude from what the previous commentator says that he thinks everything is going according to Putin’s plan. Rather, the opposite is the case. Putin obviously hoped that after the initial campaign, which was carried out with very limited means, he would be able to solve the problem through negotiations. Boris has thwarted this. A rethink was needed quickly, and a completely different kind of warfare had to be prepared. That took time. But even today he behaves like the proverbial Swabian housewife and always uses only the minimum. Internally, this sometimes leads to bad blood.

        I think the attack was a fatal mistake, but I can retrace it – some keywords being Minsk, Merkel, Hollande. Predicting the course of a war is usually extremely difficult. In this case, however, it is clear that the Ukrainians are playing the role of the sacrificial lamb and that two behemoths are lashing out against each other, both of whom may be ruthless enough to take it to the extreme in order not to stand alone as the loser. This said I more than agree with you that negotiations are urgently needed.

        • Ian Stevenson

          it is not just weapon systems but strategy and morale. Vietnam shows that superior weapons don’t always bring victory.
          The Colonel McGregor who is often quoted thought the war would be over in days and many other commentators thought the same. I read Scott Ritter on Consortium News only a few days before the “SMO” say that 1) Russia would not attack 2) the Eu and NATO would not provide any effective response and be shown up 3) in any conflict Russian armed forces would prove superior to those of NATO. Well, they did attack as Biden said. (They had information that fresh blood supplies were being delivered ) The EU did step up, even reducing gas imports and the Russian forces were shown to have serious operational deficiencies. RUSI did a professional analysis last year. They are not uncritical of western govts.
          The column from Belarus , up to 60Km long did not guard their flanks and the anti-tank missiles took out the forward tanks leaving them trapped. The ran out of fuel and food. The troops included internal security units-not for front line combat but, I presume, to quell dissent and hunt down Nazis. From accounts from prisoners and captured documents, they did not expect much resistance.
          The airborne assault on an airfield near Kyiv was not supported by other units and was repulsed. I imagine Putin was only interested in a negotiated surrender but others may have different ideas. The findings at Bucha strengthened the Ukrainian resolve. Some like Scott Ritter say it’s all propaganda but the world’s press have had access whereas they don’t to the Russian controlled areas.

    • Tom Welsh

      Thanks for saving me the time and trouble of writing a detailed rebuttal, Michael! I wouldn’t disagree with a single word you have written.

      Mr Murray, accustomed as he is to dodging round or overlooking military practicalities, has over-complicated the issue. There are two possible outcomes:

      1. The utter defeat of the Kiev regime and its Western backers. The Kiev people would either run away or agree a total unconditional surrender. (See Andre Martyanov, passim, for details). Russia would then settle everything as it wishes, asking permission of no man.

      2. Global thermonuclear war that would exterminate the human species (and many others).

      I must admit, though, that I am uncertain which of these options the Washington (and London) creatures would prefer.

      Let’s hope and pray. (Incidentally, the Russians are the only ones whose leaders pray nowadays.)

    • Kaiama

      +1 , and CM, true to form has immediately waded in and proved his bias by using the word “nonsensical” which seems to me dangerously like an ad hominem…

      • Tom Welsh

        Particularly since Michael’s analysis sounds far more accurate (fact-based) to me than that of our good host. I speak as one who, though having no military qualifications, routinely reads/watches Military Summary, Big Sergei, Andrei Martyanov, Dmitry Orlov, Moon of Alabama, Douglas Macgregor, Larry Johnson, Scott Ritter, Jeffrey Sachs, Ray McGovern, and others.

        I cut my teeth (militarily speaking) at the age of 9 on Captain McIntyre’s “Jutland”, Mitsuo Fuchida’s “Midway”, and Fletcher Pratt’s “A Short History of the American Civil War”. I may have been the only boy in my school who knew what a Gefechtskehrtwendung was, how Admiral Jellicoe could have lost WW1 in an afternoon, why General Grant was the first Union leader to defeat General Lee, or what strategic mistakes by Admiral Yamamoto and his staff led to the decisive defeat of Midway with the loss of Japan’s four best aircraft carriers. Since then I have kept up with strategy, tactics, and military technology. Above all, I make a point of learning from current experts rather than hanging on the beliefs of the past.

        • Coldish

          Thanks, Tom Welsh. Without agreeing with everything you (or Michael) have written, I would add Brian Berletic of The New Atlas to your list of militarily informed commentators on this war. Many thanks also to Craig for drawing attention to the belligerent Chatham House report and to James Sherr’s contribution. We have reason to be worried.

    • Mr T J Putnam

      Thankyou for writing this, Michael. It encapsulates almost two years of my reading Moon of Alabama on this SMO. It is frustrating that so many I know – some no longer friends as a result – refuse to accept what seems so clear. Self-proclaimed pacificists argue for the killing to continue! The latest images of the 50+ Ukrainians slaughtered all over the media last night, even on the lovely Sophie, won’t be able to explain why an Iskander can leave fences and trees standing in a café garden whilst bodies lie all around. Nothing to do with the EU meeting and Z all desperately looking for money. Seems more like a theatrical media scene to me – as we’ve seen before.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        An Iskander can leave fences and trees standing in a café garden whilst bodies lie all around, Mr Putnam, for similar reasons to those which explain the fact that the not-particularly-sizable sycamore tree that Marc Bolan’s girlfriend* drove into in 1977 is still with us, whereas, sadly, Marc isn’t. Don’t drink & drive, kids (and grown-ups).

        * a.k.a. The Queen of Northern Soul, Gloria Jones

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Tom. I’m not sure what the point of your anecdote is though – we’re not talking about freak occurrences. Nine times out of ten, if you drove Marc Bolan at 60mph in a 1970’s Mini directly into a modestly-sized sycamore tree, he would be dead – and ten times out of ten, the sycamore tree would still be alive*.

            Enjoy the weekend.

            * as is the one at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, to be fair – it just looks a bit different now

        • Bayard

          “An Iskander can leave fences and trees standing in a café garden whilst bodies lie all around, Mr Putnam, for similar reasons to those which explain the fact that the not-particularly-sizable sycamore tree that Marc Bolan’s girlfriend* drove into in 1977 is still with us, whereas, sadly, Marc isn’t.”
          If he had driven into a fence, though, the fence would no longer be with us.

  • Stevie Boy

    Re. “A negotiated land for peace deal, with genuinely free referenda conducted under UN supervision to determine borders, has always been possible and is now essential.”
    Two points, Russia is happy to continue grinding down the Ukrainians under her own terms, Ukraine will only get peace when they admit total defeat and all the nazis have fled, are dead or are imprisoned. Ukraine then may have to negotiate for what’s left of the country with Poland. Secondly, IMO, the UN is corrupt and in the pocket of the West, I wouldn’t trust them to supervise a school crossing. Russia and Poland will determine the new borders of the Ukraine.

      • D

        I don’t understand (respectfully) how you see the one side (Russia), which is worried about their direct neighbour/border (militarily) to the other side (the U.S.) with its current global imperialistic successes and desires, as unfair to wish a Russian win; both sides (U.S. vs Russia ) are fighting for 2 different things … you cannot think both sides are fighting for the same goals – surely?

          • Tom Welsh

            Because the alternative – of giving in to evil – is even worse. That is one of the ineluctable facts of human existence that every one of us must learn in order to become a functioning adult.

            The Russians have been the soul of civilised, diplomatic reasonableness. They have accepted many agreements and commitments, only to find out the hard way – not once, but over and over and over – that the West is utterly cynical and dishonest and will never stop pushing until it gets everything it wants. Which includes the dissolution of the Russian state – like the USSR, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and many others – so that its corporations can push in with their private mercenaries and suck out all the wealth and natural resources.

            It is now several years since Mr Putin first declared publicly that the West (basically the US) is “not agreement-capable”. That is, it makes any agreements it likes, and always feels free to break them without hesitation if it sees advantage in that. In simple terms, they have no ethics, no honesty, no decency, no compassion.

            Why would anyone negotiate solemn agreements with pathological liars?

          • Bayard

            “Because the alternative – of giving in to evil – is even worse. ”
            Which is why the first job of the government in any war is to persuade the populace that the enemy is total evil, when, in nearly every war in history, they have not been.

      • Stevie Boy

        Agreed, and i’m certainly not arguing for total war. That argument is coming from Washington, Westminster and Brussels. There would be peace tomorrow if the West wanted it but they have this fantasy of defeating Russia using Ukraine, in the end they are defeating themselves and carrying out the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

      • Tom Welsh

        Sorry to use such a hackneyed parallel, but does that mean you would have supported Hitler’s proposals of peace with Britain in 1941 and subsequently?

        You feel that negotiation is always better than war, even with an enemy who lies every time they speak or write, and whose bona fides are non-existent?

        Or do you feel that “total war and total victory” were right for Britain and the USA, but not for the evil Russkies?

        • Bayard

          “Sorry to use such a hackneyed parallel, but does that mean you would have supported Hitler’s proposals of peace with Britain in 1941 and subsequently?”

          Why not? Britain has supported regimes as bad as Hitler’s; we didn’t fight Germany in WWII because they were fascists. In the final analysis, WWII was a disaster for Britain, even if we did win. Was it really worth all those deaths to bring that about?

  • fredi

    “To be an enemy of the US is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”
    — H Kissinger

    The (West-) Ukrainians are learning this the hard way, as is Europe in a milder manner.

    According to mad neo-con Crystal this war is the best thing ever. Longer term, nobody will forget America’s role starting it and the consequences of it.

    Caitlin Johnstone: Bill Kristol’s Refreshingly Honest Ukraine War Ad (25 Sep 2023) – YouTube, 6m 56s
    [ transcript available at Caitlin Johnstone’s website ]

  • glenn_nl

    Simply to achieve the least bad outcome (for the short term, anyway), I am starting to hope that Trump – detestable and thoroughly corrupt though he is – returns to office after next year’s elections. For all the wrong reasons, he is likely to do the right thing with regard to Ukraine. Polls seem to indicate he has a fair chance too, and this may be a restraining factor in any rush to escalation.

    Whatever the global elite might want, they will immediately form whatever opinion the US decides for them. Crack the whip and the dog jumps, as the old saying goes.

    • Tom Welsh

      Exactly the way I feel. It’s a great shame there are virtually no honest, decent US politicians. But that being so, Mr Trump is at least an honest cheat, chiseller, and swindler. He isn’t as slimy as the Democrats – and most Republicans, come to think of it.

  • DiggerUK

    The ‘Nine Fallacies’ in the Chatham House report, have been the broken record for those who want to fight to the last Ukrainian for a long time now. Please read.
    It is the last hurrah for the cheer leaders of the NATO led carpet baggers, who have had a damn good run for their money since the Warsaw Pact allies collapsed. Let us pray that NATO does not send forces in to this conflict.
    A cease fire, followed by peace negotiations, is desperately needed for all our sakes…_

  • Jon

    The Russian vs. Ukrainian issue is only one of the two major problems here. The other one, which surprisingly you do not mention and which may be the major one, is NATO’s threatening encroachment of Russia for the last 30 years. Basically, the West cannot stand a powerful country like Russia under Putin that does not follow the imperial designs and bend the knee in front of the master of the universe.

    • Tom Welsh

      Exactly so, Jon. To the people in Washington and London (the rest don’t count), any “powerful country like Russia under Putin that does not follow the imperial designs and bend the knee in front of the master of the universe” is “an existential threat”.

      To them, there are only two kinds of people and nations: slaves and deadly enemies.

    • echelon

      Yes, I agree.

      The size of the remaining rump state is less important than the nature of its politics. If the rump continues to welcome in NATO forces (and missile systems) then the same problem will simply arise again in 5-10 years. The US war machine will never disengage (with the possible exception of a Trump 2.0).

      Russia must complete the task which is to push back NATO to at least the pre-2014 geographical lines. It needs a buffer state on its western flank. A completely disfunctional rump state is not ideal, but it will suit Russia’s purposes better than some of the alternatives.

      • Ian Stevenson

        NATO’s boundaries are the same as in 2014. Russia has a border with NATO members Norway, Estonia and Latvia. Now it has Finland joining NATO. The two Baltic states and Finland have about 10 million people. Russia over 140 million. The Kaliningrad enclave borders Lithuania and Poland. Russia has a buffer state in Belarus.
        NATO units have been deployed to the Baltic states since 2014 but they are made up a number of nations. We are dealing with about 3.000 soldiers. it is a political gesture.

        • echelon

          Ukraine has been a de facto if not de jure member of NATO since 2014. With the support of the west it had built up the second largest army in Europe. Yes, there is supposed to be a formal accession process to NATO, but with the general lack of respect for due process the US has been doing whatever it pleases. Just what was Russia expected to do as this army set its sights first on Russian-speakers in the Donbass and subsequently on Russian ships in Crimea?

          I abhor the violence but I am pleased that somebody is standing up to the American War Machine.

    • pretzelattack

      exactly. Mr. Murray even highlights the threat the very influential people who back Chatham House pose to Russia, then goes back to paint both parties as equally evil and aggressive.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    America = hammer

    Ukraine = nail

    As the war progresses – it is the hammer dictating the rate of contact with the nail and ” The actual destruction of Russia as an independent power has become essential to the apostles of empire, as a means of maintaining a psychological ascendancy for a few more years.”

    So – quite literally – the West hammers on.

  • Laughingsong

    Apologies for the long comment. First, thanks for a thought-provoking article. I value your perspectives greatly, even though we certainly diverge in opinion on many things.

    One place you and I diverge pretty notably is here:

    “I cannot share the outrage of many on the left at the “colour revolution” of 2014. Both Russia and the West had been playing a dirty game. . . . I as a former player well know the rules, or lack of them.”

    Our differences here are experience-based; as stated you’re a former player and spent many years “inside”. I’ve not known anyone personally who is/was a player, but I imagine it takes some effort to inure oneself to machinations like “colour revolutions”, and still retain so much generous compassion, as I believe you have.

    I personally abhor any and all colour revolutions, which term I use when it’s fomented by outsider “Great Gamers.” Sure, these usually leverage existing domestic strife, but I can’t help but wonder if it would have naturally gotten so bad in Ukraine but for it having become the rugby pitch between the west and Russia? I get that it might have, but the interference by its very nature stoked the hatreds badly. We are talking about a very scary NNazi philosophy here, stoked and let loose by the west.

    Thoughts like that are increasingly numbered among a lengthening list titled, “Why I Drink”.

    I am appalled and disgusted by all such nasty geopolitics. I think any population that is exhibits social and cultural cohesiveness should be able to determine how they want to live (Scotland too!). I like to think that, without the extreme pressures from Russia and the west, Ukraine’s could have been solved in less destructive ways. Then again, looking at the Baltic states…… hm.

    you also said: “In truth, the best opportunity for a functioning and more efficient Ukrainian state is, now we are in this hot war, for it to lose the Russia-leaning areas and become a more homogenous and unified energy, with a much greater charge of being at peace with itself and of sorting out its colossal governance problems.”

    Agreed, and to my own “wut coulda been” musings above, I must add why, when the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent, it didn’t take a page from Czechoslovakia’s book and just become two separate countries at that point? I must read about it more.

    Finally: “A negotiated land-for-peace deal, with genuinely free referenda conducted under UN supervision to determine borders, has always been possible and is now essential.
    That is what diplomacy is.”

    That’s what our current crop of leaders couldn’t be the least bit concerned with, and haven’t been, apparently, since the U.S.S.R. pancaked. Had they been, you may have even now still been “inside”. Forgive me if I selfishly state that, for me, I benefited in that I now know a bit of the Craig Murray behind the diplomat, and I get to read your blog!

    Now off to read as much of that report as I can stomach. Likely not much.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…I can’t help but wonder if it would have naturally gotten so bad in Ukraine but for it having become the rugby pitch between the west and Russia?”

      To my mind, a better sportin’ analogy is a game of American football – in which NATO is permanently on “offense” and Russia on “defense”.

      Unfair, I hear you cry? Indeed it is. The American attitudes are very similar to those of the rich, powerful men who ruled the Roman Republic. To them, all foreign countries were merely sources of revenue; and foreign people of no more value or significance than insects.

      • Laughingsong

        Being American, I’m thoroughly aware of my country’s greedy, martial approach to, well, everything. We “fight for” everything, we have a “war on” everything; and as far as I can tell, to them “diplomacy” is maybe a lung disease. They have so little regard for us “little people” that they don’t even bother to dress up their lies anymore.

        What I can’t speak to is what Russia is actually like. I’ve heard about “evil Rooskies” all my life, and I of course now know that’s my country’s caricature, but although I don’t buy that anymore I have only a few facts to replace it. And as also stated, everything I have learned about Ukraine is a decade old.

        I don’t agree with Mr Murray about the realpolitik behind the Russia-Europe history, but he was FCO and one must expect that to colour one’s outlook. Until I know more about the history I feel unqualified to take him entirely to task.

  • AG

    again reminding of the German peace proposal from August:

    “Ending the War with a Negotiated Peace: A Proposal from Detente Now
    September 12, 2023

    Berlin-based peace advocacy group Detente Now has released a negotiation proposal authored by Professor Dr. Peter Brandt, Professor Dr. Hajo Funke, General (ret.) Harald Kujat and Professor Dr. h. c. Horst Teltschik.

    Legitimate self-defence and the quest for a just and lasting peace are not contradictory”

    Typically this document which has been called the most profound attempt so far was barely noted in the Geman media.

    of course its longer but a little excerpt:

    b) Russia

    – withdraws its armed forces on the territory of Ukraine to the status of 23 February 2022,

    – withdraws its armed forces on its territory from zone of 50 km to the Ukrainian border, which have been deployed to this zone since 24 February 2022.

    c) Ukraine

    – withdraws its armed forces from a zone 50 km wide to the Russian border, including the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson,

    – declares permanent its status as a neutral state and does not join any military alliance, including the North Atlantic Alliance. Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and state independence are guaranteed by corresponding pledges of guarantor powers. The guarantee commitments do not apply to Crimea and Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson within the former administrative borders,

    – renounces the development, possession and deployment of nuclear weapons on its territory,

    – will not allow the permanent or temporary deployment of the armed forces of a foreign power or its military infrastructure on its territory,

    – will not permit exercises and manoeuvres by foreign armed forces on its territory,

    – will implement the agreed ceilings for Ukrainian armed forces within two years.

    d) The problems related to Crimea and Sevastopol will be negotiated bilaterally through diplomatic channels within 15 years and resolved by renouncing military force.


    1) In the long run only a de-nuclearisation of Europe as already suggested by some in the 1950s can guarantee a serious civilisational outlook

    2) above peace plan can only materialize if there is international serious dedication which would guarantee the RUs that the US will not be able to break any treaty and start re-arming UKR

    3) Any political analysis must take into account that as early as the late1940s the US administration had set a goal for the destruction of the USSR by installing the NSC and enshrining its axioms of military strategy in the infamous NSC-68 planning document as drafted mainly by Paul Nitze and his team. This outline of good vs. evil has formed the foundation of US foreign policy ever since. Therefore any Russian claim that the US is deliberatly ignoring Russian national security interests cannot just be discarded as paranoia. The goal of US policy planners can be read in black and white. The only thing that changed over time was the exact method of how to achieve this and ovecome Russian resistance to US global dominance. And here lies the core of the dangers and impediments to any peaceful resolution. None of the elites of the likes of the Chatham Mandarins will ever make concessions voluntarily or admit the validity of such criticism. Or to quote the sinister Carl Schmitt: Force is the supreme power. We have this war because the Russians are aware of this. Just look at what happened to Nordstream.

  • Christoph

    Well, as an EU citizen, I have to say, that I absolutely do NOT wish for any part of Ukraine to join the EU. A large Ukraine would put a border conflict with Russia into the union and war spending on steroids for years to come. A small, possibly landlocked Ukraine, that produces nothing but Nazis and refugees (btw that wave you mentioned is already here, no idea why you put that into the future) and is insanely corrupt, will not be a boon either.
    From my perspective a neutral or completely conquered Ukraine is the only desirable outcome.
    On another point, to paraphrase Caitlin Johnstone: The last time a military threat was built on the borders of a superpower, the world almost ended.
    NATO on the Russian border is no viable option.

    • Laguerre

      Hear! Hear! it would be very foolish of the EU to admit Ukraine. It would be prohibitively expensive, paying for the reconstruction of Ukraine, and bringing their declining low-level economy up to the European norm. Fortunately there are signs that Europeans are resisting, even if not among the vassals of the USA in power in Germany and Brussels. I expect the resistance to grow if the prospect of Ukrainian entry becomes real rather than hypothetical.

  • marcel

    None of this really matters.
    Russia wants peace & security at its borders, and set out its requirements back in December 2021. Those were just discarded by NATO and US.
    Whatever we may propose for Ukraine, total peace, total war, total split-up, it doesn’t matter. Any proposal that allows Americans to think that having Ukrainians die is a good thing because it hampers Russia at no cost to the US, is unacceptable to Russia.
    We must keep in mind that Ukraine is a battleground, and the battle is between Russia and its opponent (you may want to call the opponent the US, the Hegemon, NATO, whatever).
    And whatever you want to call it, I don’t see anyone or anything willing to make peace with Russia. So countless more will die.
    Ukraine is running out of Ukrainians, but are still lots of Polish, British, whatever, people that can be sent to die in this war against peace.

  • David Sketchley

    “Yanukovych was more or less kidnapped by Moscow to disavow the EU Association agreement.”

    This is completely untrue. This is the British Establishment narrative. EU association came with all sorts of conditions, as you well know. You should have a conversation with Prof Sachs.
    If you call Moscow offering billions in aid a ‘kidnapping’ then that shows how far you’re still lost in that British Establishment narrative.

    I haven’t read any further because that first fundamental error conditions the rest of your article and argument.

    Thank you.

      • Tatyana

        I thought the word “kidnapping” means being taken against one’s will.
        But as far as I know, after Yanukovych signed an agreement with the protesting opposition (which, by the way, was signed by the leaders of European countries as witnesses and guarantors), the protesting opposition suddenly changed their mind about going home, and instead began an armed assault on government quarters at night. Isn’t that why Yanukovych had to flee?

        • Tatyana

          In 2015 Andrey Kondrashov presented his film “Crimea. The road to Motherland”. I understand there must be some er… artistic tricks in it, like brave special forces, agents, espionage etc. Nontheless it shows the chronology of the events around Yanukovich and big pieces of interview with Putin.
          I found it in Russian on YouTube

          And looks like Vimeo has English version

          Would be nice to know what of this is true and what is not.

          • svea

            Tatyana, Domke-Schulz´s documentary: “Remember Odessa” won several awards in Russia. Not in German cinemas though.

  • Sam

    You can always tell when someone is utterly clueless about the situation in Ukraine when they start thinking that ONLY Russians and Ukrainians live in Ukraine. Uh, no.

    The post-2014 Ukraine hasn’t just been engaged in a civil war against Russian speakers but against ALL people who aren’t ethnically Ukrainian, including Moldovans, Bulgarians, Armenians, Hungarians, Gypsies/Roma, and even Ruthenians (who are kinda sorta Ukrainians, but not “pure enough” for the nationalists). ALL of those languages and cultures have been ruthlessly suppressed since 2014, not just Russian.

    It must be nice to have that old British imperial arrogance, where you think you can sit in a palace and look at a couple of maps and divide up the globe. Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way anymore, and arbitrarily deciding that the Dnieper River is some kind of natural boundary between peoples (and their politics, sympathies, and needs) is Victorian-era horse shit.

    The people running Ukraine today are cancer – racist, misogynist, corrupt, stupid, hateful, and evil.

    • craig Post author


      It is cerainly true there are many other minorities who need protecting in Ukraine, I have blogged about it in some detail in the past.
      It is also simply true there is a linguistic division which roughly corresponds with the Dnieper. Do you think that is not true?

      • Kaiama

        Odessa is west of the Dneiper. It was founded by Russians. The division into linguistic zones does not run along the river.

  • Anthony

    Thanks Craig. This is worrying because the Chatham House mob get presented to the public as the most sober, judicious analysts around. Final word in respectable commonsense. This report shows they (and their paymasters) are actually as extreme as it gets: baying for WW3 over a place the public knows and cares nothing about. Rabid, frightening dogs.

    • Tom Welsh

      “This is worrying because the Chatham House mob get presented to the public as the most sober, judicious analysts around”.

      In the UK, they may be – frighteningly. It may also be true that Lucifer is more merciful than Beelzebub, but I don’t want to find out personally.

  • MFB

    While I share the reservations of some of the commentators about some of your observations, Mr. Murray, it seems to me that this is largely a sensible piece. It would be better for everybody in the region if the war were to be negotiated to an end, and under current conditions the only way to end it is for Ukraine to surrender a great deal of territory, perhaps in exchange for some Russian concessions.

    It is, however, quite clear, as you say, that the NATO establishment is implacably opposed to permitting Ukraine to do anything of the sort. What you don’t really say, but what seems clear to me, is that the Russian government would be happy to settle for some such deal. In other words, although you don’t quite say so, perhaps because of residual Russophobia (anyone who has been a Central Asian ambassador, able and honest as you were, must be distrustful of Russian motives), the real problem is with the West’s desire for a war with Russia, which as you say is quite catastrophic.

    It seems to me (feel free to disagree) that you are slowly moving towards recognition of the greater legitimacy of the Russian case than of the NATO case. Unfortunately for Ukraine, it also seems to me that it is inescapably wedded to NATO (and incidentally would probably be completely out of place in the EU). Ukraine may have had greater justification than Russia for its conduct (I feel that both sides have made mistakes, though you and I would disagree over their gravity) but over time it seems to me that the Russian government is looking increasingly realistic (in retrospect) in its behaviour; the claims that NATO’s support for Ukrainian behaviour had some grounds of moral substance have fallen away one by one, and now the NATO case, like the one you set out with excellent disdain, is simply ranting psychopathic lunacy.

  • Johnny Conspiranoid

    “The people of Europe have to reject the military industrial complex, ”
    To do this they have to reject the Royal Institute of International Affairs and its associates, and to do that they first have to be aware of its existence and what it does. Most of them are not aware, even though Chatham House etc. exist in plain sight. This may be by design.

    • Stevie Boy

      Cannot speak for the people of Europe, but in the UK unless you have been involved to some extent with the Military, through work or service, then you will have no idea who these organisations are and what they represent. The population will be told by the likes of the BBC and other MSM scum that Chatham House/RIIA, RUSI, etc. are independent, good guys that analyse events and tell the truth – the opposite is actually true.
      The same is true for the CIA and MI6. The majority of the public take the blue pills and are happy.

  • Kaiama

    A negotiated agreement was tried by Russia in 2021/2022 . The US/UK/NATO told them to take a hike. The Russian actions are direct result of the West’s failure to negotiate. I think you need also to listen to Putin’s Valdai speech and incorporate it into this article. Setting out your interpretation of the differences in the positions of both sides would allow for a better understanding.

  • alexey

    While its entirely sensible that conditions are agreed to a priori for holding a referendum on which state you want to be part of, who can guarantee that the parties will abide by the results? The Minsk process, which were apparently taken very seriously by Russia, were nothing but buying time to fully arm Ukraine by its Western guarantors. Let’s say Ukraine is bisected and right-hand Ukraine becomes Russia and left-hand Ukraine becomes the US vassal state it clearly wants to be. The problem remains the bad-faith negotiators in Left-Hand Ukraine who now are free to join NATO and the EU and build up again, promote their ideology of Russia being the non-human orcs and their own descent from pure Vikings, even if they promise they won’t. Equally I don’t think the prospect of Russian occupation of left-hand Ukraine is appealing to the Russians. Who would want to govern over a resentful population of ethno-nationalists? It would be become Afghanistan take 3.

  • terence callachan

    WAR, even in “other” countries, takes the eye off what is happening at home; governments like that because they can blame everything for which their failures are responsible, on WAR.
    The EU and UK would not be at war with Russia if it were not for the USA; and let’s be clear here that NATO would not exist if it were not for USA.
    NATO is a protection for USA, a trick by USA to get EU and other countries to fight, sacrifice and trade on behalf of the USA. That’s what their sanctions are all about, that’s what AUKUS is all about. Meanwhile no wars are fought in or near the USA.
    When will other governments wise up and team up and say NO? I thought the EU had taken that step, and was shocked when they agreed to take part in the USA war in Ukraine. I firmly believe a big part of Brexit was that the USA saw Brexit as an integral part of its intention to pick a fight with Russia by inviting Ukraine to join NATO, which in itself was a clear threat to Russia. NATO would put weapons on the border of Ukraine/Russia with missiles, facing Moscow just 400 miles away, akin to Russia putting missiles on Cuba.
    The EU, initially, would not have agreed to join the war on Russia if Brexit had not happened. Such a move would have put a spanner in the works of the so-called UK/USA special relationship. As it turned out Brexit went ahead, and USA are now free to use and cajole UK into spearheading the USA war against Russia in Ukraine.
    Russia will continue to demolish western Ukraine until the EU, USA and UK resume talks. Russia will not attack anywhere outside Ukraine – it has no designs on expansion. Russia being so big is already difficult enough. They don’t want more land – unless it feels Russia is losing, in which case it may become tactically an option, as a last gasp, to escalate and attack big cities outside Ukraine. It’s not wise to push Russia to that point, because we will no longer be fighting this war at arm’s length.
    Such an escalation will become the most devastating war and destruction ever.
    USA won’t mind; they will just offer a rebuilding-of-Europe programme, as they did before, which will cost us dear for generations but pay USA handsomely.
    It’s essential that Europe, the EU, tell USA that they will not upscale this war.

    • Pears Morgaine

      ‘ pick a fight with Russia by inviting Ukraine to join NATO, which in itself was a clear threat to Russia. NATO would put weapons on the border of Ukraine/Russia, with missiles facing Moscow just 400 miles away ‘

      NATO doesn’t invite countries to join. They have to approach and ask to be admitted. There’s been no deliberate plan to expand NATO eastwards but a number of former Soviet satellite states have asked to join because they were increasingly worried about the aggressive tone of the Russian leadership. Looks like they were right.

      Even before the invasion Russia had two NATO member states, Latvia and Lithuania, on its border, and missiles based in Latvia would only be 50 miles further away. The war has caused Finland to change its mind about neutrality – realising that Putin’s promises are worthless – and join NATO. The Finnish border is about 500 miles from Moscow and less than 100 from St Petersburg; so that worked out well, then.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Re: ‘Even before the invasion Russia had two NATO member states, Latvia and Lithuania, on its border’

        You missed out Estonia, Norway & Poland*, Pears.

        * shares a border with Kaliningrad

      • Ian Stevenson

        Actually Estonia and Latvia have borders with the Russian Federation. Norway shares a short border in the far north.
        Lithuania share borders with Kaliningrad and so does Poland. The combined population of the Baltic states is less than that of London. Yet I often read that the eastward expansion of NATO is a threat to Russian security to which war was the only reasonable response.
        Countries apply to join NATO but they also have to have the approval of their electorates. Why would they? History is one possible reason. The Baltic states gained independence from the Empire after WW1 but were taken over by Stalin. Russian settlers were brought in and a few hundred thousand Baltic peoples deported to the USSR. Finland managed to defend themselves at great cost but had to cede territory in the south.
        Soviet forces were deployed in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslvakia in 1968 ( a much less violent intervention).
        Although they joined NATO to upgrade their forces and, one presumes, to feel more secure, there were no operational deployments of American, French, German or British forces-the biggest NATO forces -apart from Turkey, into the eastern states. Training missions are not the same. The baltic states were too small for an air force so NATO members contribute to protect their air space. No nuclear weapons were stockpiled in eastern Europe. In more recent times they will have seen the way Russia dealt with a region which wanted to leave the Russian Federation: Chechnya. It is instructive reading. In 2020 Lukashenko claimed 80% support in the Belarus elections. No one believes that, and we have seen the violent repression of dissent with very public support of Putin.
        Germany even made agreements to import gas suggesting that they didn’t anticipate war. A lot of liberal opinion was that Russia would learn to work with the West and become ‘more democratic’ and those who saw Russia as a threat were ‘Cold War warriors.’
        Anyone who is aware of military force levels knows that NATO forces don’t have the numbers of tanks, men and aircraft to launch an invasion. The distances are significant and there is not the logistic capacity or the ammunition stocks. This has been demonstrated by the supply problems for Ukraine. No one has any evidence of a plan to invade Russia. Until last year many commentators (e.g. Scott Ritter) thought the modern Russian army was efficient and even superior to NATO forces. I find the whole argument that the US or NATO is a military threat to Russia, to be very weak. My take is that Russia is a bit like the Britain of my youth, when many politicians and newspapers couldn’t come to terms with the country’s loss of major power status compared to the USSR and USA.
        There is a way in which the EU IS a threat. Despite all the things we rightly deploy in the west, there are standards which countries have to adhere to in terms of transparency, voting and the right to do what we see on this site – the right to dissent. It is why most of the people of Ukraine rejected Yanukovych’s repudiation of the EU agreement. They saw a better future than as part of Russia.
        It also explains why they continue to fight despite all the losses. If they were mere proxies of a foreign power, they wouldn’t continue to fight.
        Putin had made many speeches which say that Ukraine is not a real country. His aim is territorial annexation but, it seems to me, he was still thinking in terms of 1990. We know he expected a short war and mostly as he thought Russian troops would be welcomed. Nations are not just their history. Present events like a war or cause can form a national identity. The American colonies and the Palestinians are, perhaps, examples.

      • Bayard

        “NATO doesn’t invite countries to join. They have to approach and ask to be admitted. ”

        Of course, the other NATO countries would never dream of backing politicians in non-NATO countries who want that country to join NATO. Perish the thought! No, it’s definitely all grass roots and the will of the people.

    • Stevie Boy

      Re. “akin to Russia putting missiles on Cuba.”, as an aside, let’s not forget that the USA put nuclear armed Jupiter missiles in Turkey/Italy which directly/indirectly led to the Cuban Missile crisis.

      • pretzelattack

        yes that would be a fair desciption of what set the conflict off. JFK later withdrew the missiles (for a time) while that fact was not publicised at the time.

        • Tom Welsh

          In fact JFK had ordered the Pentagon to withdraw the Jupiter missiles from Turkey months before the crisis. The Department of Defense simply ignored his orders.

          JFK showed his inexperience and a certain naivete. He should have checked with the Russians that the Jupiters had actually been removed. They would have told him that had not happened.

          • pretzelattack

            JFK ran and won a campaign on warmongering. he was not naive at all; he insisted that the fact he was removing missiles from Turkey was not publicised, because he wanted to maintain his image of “strength”. he wasn’t naive when he was backing Joe McCarthy either. I don’t buy that the Department of Defense was obstructing Kennedy; he had been a reliable supporter of the defense industry.

        • pretzelattack

          the Kennedys pushed to CIA to assassinate Castro – Operation Mongoose. There is as much hagiography of JFK as there is of Reagan and Obama.

  • alexey

    Having had a little look at this report. It emphasises the role of emotions, and it has exactly the same characteristics as the prevalent propaganda: mainly that Russia is a wrong’un. The authors allegedly have “long knowledge of how Moscow operates and the nature of the threat from Russia”, its a “war of reconquest”, “Russia’s ambition does not end with the subjugation of Ukraine”, “Russia’s aggression and likely future expansionist ambitions” are all from the same theory that Russia has imperialist ambitions on the basis of some weird dominating and wholly evil ideology. Everything is based on motive. But, as Prof Mearscheimer has pointed out, there is no evidence that Putin has ever stated that subjugating Eastern Europe was desirable, possible, or was part of any form of longer plan. This means unless these experts have access to information that has hitherto been kept between themselves and the Russian state, that the threat is entirely made up of suspicions and pontifications on some sort of amorphous enemy who plots, is plain evil and dominating in intent. In short, you might as well say they are proposing total war against something they have made up in their own imaginations. The cream of western foreign policy thought.

    • iain

      It’s just projection. They invent evil bogeymen who are plotting the kind of dominance that the DC psychos, corporate oligarchs, Soros and co are ceaselessly striving to enforce on the world every day of their lives. They can rely on the media and politicians never mentioning the elephant in the room. Instead the psychos are portrayed as white-hatted cowboys fighting on behalf of humanity against the black-hatted bogeymen. It is kindergarten gaslighting that virtually everyone in western public life plays along with.

    • Tatyana

      I agree with your assessment, Alexey. An evil enemy with intentions for domination, the same trope as in the Middle Ages about the Jews.
      ‘What should we do with this outcast and damned people? First of all, their cultural and educational centers should be burned. Raze and destroy their houses. Take away all their books because it contains lies. Ban their influencers from preaching. Deprive them of their rights to travel, let them stay at home… Take away all their cash, as well as silver and gold…’
      I paraphrased Martin Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies”
      It especially clearly coincides with the recent decision of the European Commission to take away not only cars from Russians at the border, but also personal items such as clothing and hygiene products. I find this to be an extremely racist attitude and am disgusted by everything that is now called “EU politics”.

      The message of the EU is “Stand with Ukraine”. They should not hide the subsequent part: “And Ukraine stands with the Nazis” – so if you stand with Ukraine, you stand very near to Nazis as well; so don’t be surprised that your parliament may one day applaud the Nazis.
      I told you that one day all of Europe will chant that slogan from the organization of Ukrainian fascists and expel Russians from everywhere, and many will be sure that they are doing the right thing.
      I can’t wait for someone to offer special identification marks for the Russians, just like the yellow Star of David was for the Jews. I think they will mark us with a red star this time, with a hint of the USSR, communism, or whatever worst horror story is trending right now.

      • Tom Welsh

        “An evil enemy with intentions for domination, the same trope as in the Middle Ages about the Jews”.

        And the Saracens and the Turks.

      • alexey

        The misnamed Equality Act opened the door to considerable discrimination by nationality and this is playing out as we speak. While discrimination on the basis of visible difference has not been eliminated the post Imperial societies of the West had to cleave to broader national identities. Discrimination by nationality has become a legal requirement for all sorts of public functions, and you are right to point out the straight forward anti-Russian racism which as been fomented in Ukraine with Ukrainian nationalists seeing themselves as racially distinct (European) from the Russians (Asian), where as perhaps the best description of both that might not cause disagreement would be “Slavic”, and promoted the Ukrainian language as distinct from Russian and banned the latter. The USA has produced libraries of books to teach Ukrainian children this: e.g. “Ukraine The Shield of Europe”. The outpouring of a wholly created racism has not been emphasised as much but the ideology is pure poison and widespread. As for the red star, I still wear mine with pride, not because I am Russian but to remember the sacrifices of the Red Army in destroying a fascism that Europe seems to want to unleash again.

    • jrkrideau

      unless these experts have access to information that has hitherto been kept between themselves and the Russian state

      Clearly they have cleverly managed to photocopy Putin’s secret diary, the one he writes in a secret shorthand like Pepys did back in the 17th C. It reads a bit like Mein Kampf. /sarc

  • Fàidh an lèir-sgrios

    “The actual destruction of Russia as an independent power has become essential to the apostles of empire, as a means of maintaining a psychological ascendancy for a few more years”.

    The “actual destruction of Russia” has been Anglo-American policy for well over 100 years. It was most clearly enunciated by Halford MacKinder in his infamous “Pivot” paper in 1904 – the prize was/is control of the entire Eurasian landmass – from Portugal to Vladivostok, the Middle East and Africa – the so-called “World Island”.

    “The conception of Euro-Asia to which we thus attain is that of a continuous land, ice-girt in the north, water-girt elsewhere, measuring twenty-one million square miles, or more than three times the area of North America, whose centre and north, measuring some nine million square miles, or more than twice the area of Europe, have no available water-ways to theocean, but on the other hand, except in the subarctic forest, are very generally favorable to the mobility of horsemen and camelmen. To east, south, and west of this heart-land are marginal regions, ranged in a vast crescent, accessible to shipmen. According to physical conformation, these regions are four in number, and it is not a little remarkable that in a general way they respectively coincide with the spheres of the four great religions – Buddhism, Brahaminism, Mahometanism, and Christianity… Britain, Canada, the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Japan, are now a ring of outer and insular bases for sea-power and commerce, inaccessible to the land-power of Europe…The spaces within the Russian empire and Mongolia are so vast, and their potentialities in population, wheat, cotton, fuel, and metals so incalculably great, that it is inevitable that a vast economic world, more or less apart, will develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce…In the world at large [Russia] occupies the central strategical position held by Germany in Europe. She can strike on all sides, save the north. The full development of her modern railway mobility is merely a matter of time…The oversetting of the balance of power in favor of the pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia, would permit of the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would then be in sight. This might happen if Germany were to ally herself with Russia. The threat of such an event should, therefore, throw France into alliance with the over-sea powers, and France, Italy, Egypt, India and Korea would become so many bridgeheads where the outside navies would support armies to compel the pivot allies to deploy land forces and prevent them from concentrating their whole strength on fleets.” See Andreas Dorpalen, The World of General Haushofer. Geopolitics in Action (New York: Farrar & Rinehart Inc., 1942), p. 52.
    15; pp. 194, 196, 198, 200)

    The whole of subsequent world history has been to control all of this. The key to control was the destruction of Russian and its cantonisation.

    That this is still Anglo-American imperial policy was very clearly and unequivocally expressed by by Council on Foreign Relations (of which Chatham House is the British arm) insider Zbigniew Brzezinski in his revealing book:

    “Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives”

    The Anglo-American proxy war in Ukraine is but the latest stage in this Grand Plan.

  • Athanasius

    That report is not actually that unreasonable in terms of realpolitik, for those who read it, anyway. Ukraine is a sh*tshow, but the key to peace lies in estimating what Russia really wants. Problem is, even Russia doesn’t know that. At the end of any given conflict, Russia always reveals that its war aims were precisely whatever it came away with. That’s because the problem isn’t Putin, or the “lack of democracy in Russia”, or the Russian electoral system or anything else. The problem is that Russia is an inherently and irredeemably unstable, volatile, violent and perpetually adolescent nation which sees enemies everywhere and which thinks everyone is out to get them. We hear much about NATO encroaching up to the borders of Russia, but it really doesn’t matter what NATO does. The encroachment is seen as a threat, but if NATO HADN’T encroached, Russians would have seen that as weakness and expanded back into Poland, Hungary and the rest of their lost empire once they’d gotten their horses back together after the collapse of the USSR (an entity which was really just Russia by another name).
    This is a broadly left-wing blog, and left wingers will die in the last ditch denying that there are people like the Joker in Batman in this world, people who aren’t after anything logical, like money, and who can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. The problem is Russia, and it isn’t going away, which means the west guards it’s frontiers manfully and with relentless determination, or it goes under. This is a very difficult concept for left-wingers to get their heads around, because their foundational assumption is that history has a direction and an endpoint, and at that endpoint you can stop trying. But you can’t. Life’s a b*tch and then you die. Sorry, but that’s just how it is.

    • iain

      Virtually all the left-wingers you can name, from Ash Sarkar to Bernie Sanders to George Soros, adhere to your child-like worldview of a Good NATO (USA) manfully guarding against a Joker-like archvillain. They are just as opposed to peace as Bolton, Tugenhat, Kelvin McKenzie and any other right-wing “realist” you align with.

      • Tom Welsh

        It’s risky to place much reliance on what citizens say about their own governments’ actions and policies. There is no upside to criticizing the government, but there can be a very serious downside.

    • Tatyana

      Are you saying that Russia doesn’t know what it wants? I can answer what I definitely don’t want – NATO on my borders.
      Do you think that this is “unstable, volatile, violent, adolescent, seeing enemies everywhere, thinking everyone is out to get me”?
      Then perhaps you can confirm your words, for example, cite the lines from the NATO doctrine that NATO is Russia’s best friend and wants to move closer to my border so that it can deliver balloons and ice cream to me faster?
      Or, will you give an example of at least one country on this planet that NATO declared its enemy and did not completely destroy?
      Or, do you want to say that if I don’t like the idea of being tied up and having a gun pointed at my head, then this speaks of my instability, adolescence and paranoia?

      • Athanasius

        According to my count, the word “Nazi” appears 17 times on this page. By Godwin’s Law, therefore, I win. I’ll be the bigger man and not remind all the deep thinkers of the left on this board who think they have some special insight into the Russian mind denied to the US troglodytes on the right — and I know that privately, Tatyana, you find their presumption as hilarious as I do — that Russia was a Nazi ally for two years. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the Poles.

        • Tatyana

          No need to count, you just press Ctrl+F and computer makes accurate count for you.
          Currently it’s 19 for Nazi vs 41 for NATO.
          It proves that discussion hasn’t even started as someone mentioned NATO, and I must say Hitler has died long ago, as well as the USSR.
          So, NATO is modern Hitler, and is at least twice as evil as Hitler.
          I give you my consent to register it as Tatyana’s law.

        • Frank Hovis

          Oh dear, invoking Godwin’s “Law” as if it was a real empirical law like Boyle’s Law or Newton’s Laws or the Inverse Square Law – always the last act of a desperate poster. In reality it’s only Godwin’s Opinion and therefore has no more or less validity than anyone else’s opinion.

        • iain

          Yeah a real presumptive leap to appreciate how Russians must view those repeat invasions from the west. I know you reject the legitimacy of their fears and suspicions, subscribing to the “realist” understanding of Russians as perpetual adolescents who see enemies everywhere and think everyone is out to get them. Aka the deep-thinking, Kelvin McKenzie insight into the Russian mind.

    • Tom Welsh

      What an astonishing, biased, emotional, fact-free rant!

      “Problem is, even Russia doesn’t know that”.

      Evidence? You don’t even define what you mean by Russia. The Russian government? The Russian people? And how could you possibly know what any of them want?

      “The problem is that Russia is an inherently and irredeemably unstable, volatile, violent and perpetually adolescent nation which sees enemies everywhere and which thinks everyone is out to get them”.

      Projection much? That sounds much more like Britain, France, Germany, Poland, the Baltics, and especially the USA. Oh, and Canada. “Unstable”, “volatile” and “adolescent” are all highly abstract adjectives whose meaning (if any) in relation to Russia you do not explain. As for “violent”, which nation has been at war for 92% of its existence? Not Russia. When did Russia attack and invade Britain, France, and the USA, causing vast destruction and killing thousands? Oh that’s right – never. Whereas Britain, France and the USA have all invaded Russia – never for any good reason – causing vast destruction and killing thousands. One of many reasons why it’s absurd for Westerners to claim that Crimea is part of Ukraine, not Russia, is that Britain, France and Turkey attacked Russia without the slightest provocation in 1853-6, killing 450,000 of its defenders. And in what part of Russia did they invade? Crimea!

      As for “seeing enemies everywhere and thinking everyone is out to get them”, that’s easy for a British or American person to say – protected as both are by the ocean and their navies. Russia has by far the longest land borders in the world, and has been invaded and occupied by Mongols, Turks, Crim Tartars, Poles and Lithuanians, Swedes, French, and German Nazis followed by most of Europe. Last time, in 1941-5, it cost 27 million Soviet lives to expel the invaders and save the Soviet people from the planned extermination. And now Russia is threatened by NATO, which is essentially a disguise for the USA to pretend that it represents dozens of nations.

      “The encroachment is seen as a threat, but if NATO HADN’T encroached, Russians would have seen that as weakness and expanded back into Poland, Hungary and the rest of their lost empire…”

      Have you any evidence for that? Anything at all? A single shred or scrap of hard evidence? Or is it purely a figment of your imagination? After very nearly being exterminated in WW2, the Soviet leadership very prudently decided to keep control of the countries they had reconquered from the Nazis, for a limited period, to give them more warning and a wider buffer against the next invasion. Unfortunately they weakened and gave all those countries back their independence, and then allowed their enemies (in the thin diguise of NATO) to get almost as close to Moscow as the Wehrmacht had done in 1941.

      “…left wingers will die in the last ditch denying that there are people like the Joker in Batman in this world, people who aren’t after anything logical, like money, and who can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with”.

      Nearly right for once – except that those “Jokers” live and work in Washington and London, not Moscow. Incidentally, the fact that you describe money as a “logical” thing to seek gives a broad hint as to your assumptions. Did you forget to mention “power” as well?

      • iain

        Yes, well said Tom. NATO supporters of right and left ignore the basic facts of modern history and thus do not understand Russia at all. The USSR lost over 26 million people in just the most recent western invasion. Every Russian family experienced loss and sorrow that is incomprehensible to most westerners. There is a historical memory that burns in every Russian. And they will not be defeated in Ukraine by NATO and Nazism.

        In terms of the Russian soldiers’ morale on the ground: there is no way in hell they are going to dishonour their great-grandparents’ enormous sacrifice on the same ground 80 years ago, by failing to win the necessary battles.

        There is deep historical memory of every inch.

        • Tatyana

          With only a slight correction – it’s not a historic memory, it’s live memory. It’s not about great-grandparents, it’s my granny Tatyana, who was 12 when the War came here. It’s my granny Anna, who was deported together with all the big family of Kuban Cossacks to Kazakhstan before the War. I love them, my grannies, they treated me nice and cared of me greatly, as of the youngest granddaughter. It’s about my granddad Tikhon who taught me fishing and hunting mushrooms, and my granddad Vasily, I have vague memories of him, as I was about 3 or 4 when he died. My very close relatives, and I’m only 45. It’s my father born 1947, only 2 years after the war and who is still alive and well, and remembers quite well the stories of his parents.
          It’s the same in every family. It’s live memory.

          • iain

            Of course T, live and therefore even more real for you. I was referring to the even younger lads out in the field.

          • Tatyana

            Yes, I agree that for younger guys those events may only be a distant, non-personal memory. But think about how many of those fighting are 40 years, or older.

            I assure you with all certainty, people of my generation and older, they are there in this war.
            Moreover, on the other side of the conflict they also exist, and this thought haunts me.

            Stand under the banner of Zelensky? Zelensky? Seriously? A professional comedian who is trained to tell lies convincingly and evoke emotion?
            He recently awarded the title of hero to Simcic! Zelensky, who celebrates the day of the organization of the Nazis in Ukraine as the day of the defenders of Ukraine?
            On September 22, he applauds the real WW2 Nazi in the Canadian Parliament, and a week later he names a battalion of his army with the honorary title of Konovalets?

            Do you know that in the Ukrainian army there is a direct copy of the Wehrmacht troops? Mountain assault brigade “Edelweiss”.
            Really, none of those people of my age and a little older asked the question: “Guys, what if Russia is at war with us because we took the wrong side?”

      • Phil Espin

        Tom you suggest the Russians have not attacked France but they occupied Paris in 1814 in response to Napoleons occupation of Moscow. The Austrians and Prussians were their allies. To be fair they were provoked, as they have been this time. If it gets seriously started who knows where they will stop. I do not presume to have any idea, but looking at the state of the defences of Western Europe I think Craig is right a negotiated peace needs to be found and any agreement reached, complied with by our side.

        That is what should happen, what is more likely to happen is that Russia will prevail and dictate their terms, the country that will be formerly known as Ukraine will be even more devastated than it already is and our politicians will have to suck it up. Hopefully the voters will punish them accordingly and elect politicians who will genuinely reach an understanding on mutual security for all, from the Azores to the Urals.

        • Tom Welsh

          “Tom you suggest the Russians have not attacked France but they occupied Paris in 1814 in response to Napoleon’s occupation of Moscow. The Austrians and Prussians were their allies”.

          It’s difficult to respond correctly to those words, except to suggest that you study the history of the period – as I did in 1964-9. Are you seriously suggesting that it was wrong for the Russians to occupy Paris in response to the unprovoked aggression of Napoleon’s attack on Russia? Or would you suggest that it was wrong for the Soviets to occupy Berlin in 1945?

          The Austrians and Prussians had fought Napoleon to the best of their ability, but after being comprehensively defeated they had to join him in his invasion of Russia. As soon as Napoleon was defeated, they changed sides and fought against him again.

          “This time” the Russians would have no need to occupy Berlin, Paris, or indeed London or Washington – they could reduce them to ashes without ever leaving Russia.

          • Phil Espin

            Tom I didn’t say it was wrong I pointed out the Russians were provoked. My point is these things have happened before and no one can predict how this will end if the war, which is really between NATO and Russia, is allowed to run its course without determined efforts to seek peace. I don’t think the Russians want to destroy our capital cities. They say they want to root out Nazis and improve their security by pushing back NATO and its missiles from their borders. Plenty of room for negotiations about that.

          • Tom Welsh

            Sorry Phil; I seem to be developing a hair trigger! I thought you were classifying the Russian occupation of Paris as an aggressive act, rather than a necessary defensive one to end an aggressive war against Russia.

        • Laguerre

          The Russian occupation of Paris in 1814 was in fact the direct consequence of Napoleon’s new invasion of Germany in 1813, which led to the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig. And the Russians were not on their own, but part of a coalition with Austria and Prussia, all three of whom occupied Paris, not Russia alone, though only Russia is remembered.

      • Bayard

        ” After very nearly being exterminated in WW2, the Soviet leadership very prudently decided to keep control of the countries they had reconquered from the Nazis, for a limited period, to give them more warning and a wider buffer against the next invasion.”

        They actually offered to withdraw from their sectors of Germany and Austria in return for a promise of neutrality. Austria agreed but Germany didn’t, or wasn’t allowed to.

    • Urban Fox

      If you replaced the word Russia with USA, to start with. Well I’m just saying…

      Also your contention that U.S.S.R was Russia under a different name is the low-key discrediting thing you posted.

    • Bayard

      “The problem is that Russia is an inherently and irredeemably unstable, volatile, violent and perpetually adolescent nation which sees enemies everywhere and which thinks everyone is out to get them. ”

      What part of the history of the last 200 or more years can you advance to suggest that the Russians are mistaken in seeing enemies everywhere and thinking that everyone is out to get them? It seems a quite reasonable attitude in a world that contains states that are out to get everyone and believe that those who are not with them are against them.

  • Jimmeh

    This is a tendentious post, Craig.

    Sure, at some point in the recent past, about half of Ukrainians were Russian speakers. I mean, I don’t know that, but I can believe it. But that’s not the same as saying that half of Ukrainians favour Russian domination.

    Regarding land-for-peace: your proposals aren’t concrete, but you suggest that the area east of the Dnipro should be surrendered. The Dnipro runs through Kiev; that would mean Ukraine surrendering a huge tract of land that Russia has failed to conquer, and has shelled relentlessly. These are lands where Russian soldiers have raped and murdered civilians. It would involve giving up Kharkiv and Kherson, cities that are far from Russophile. I find it hard to believe that the (former) inhabitants of Melitopol welcome their Russian overlords.

    You haven’t mentioned any proposal concerning the fate of Crimea. Crimea serves Russia as essentially a huge military base; the naval base at Sevastopol has been until recently the heart of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which regularly launches cruise missiles at Ukrainian cities, and claims the right to veto international trade in the Black Sea. Airbases in Crimea are used to launch bombing raids on Ukrainian schools and hospitals. Ukraine is not viable if a hostile Russia continues to occupy Crimea.

    Your case in favour of land-for-peace might be arguable, if there was any evidence that Russia was interested in peace. It isn’t; it has been explicitly ruled out. Russia’s war aims are unchanged: the removal of the present government of Ukraine and the demilitarisation of the country. How is the demilitarisation of Ukraine supposed to support a peace settlement, if Russia hasn’t also demilitarised?

    I’m puzzled why an experienced diplomat like yourself would argue in favour of appeasing an expansionist and imperialist state with a long history of ignoring international borders.

    • iain

      Given the close attention you have been giving to Ukraine I have no doubt you know who scuppered the Minsk agreements and the peace talks of March 2022. I have no doubt you know virtually everyone who reads this blog is well aware who scuppered them. So why the silliness, Jimmeh?

      • Tom Welsh

        I quite agree, iain, but surely the West and the Kiev junta didn’t so much “scupper” the Minsk agreements as completely ignore them. “Agreements? What agreements?”

        • David Warriston

          If you don’t control territory is it possible to ‘cede’ it?
          Since 2014 Ukraine has never controlled the Donbas, despite the best efforts of the Azov battalion.

          Did Eire ‘cede’ what was termed Ulster?
          Did Scotland once upon a time ‘cede’ Berwick upon Tweed?

    • Tom Welsh

      “I’m puzzled why an experienced diplomat like yourself would argue in favour of appeasing an expansionist and imperialist state with a long history of ignoring international borders”.

      I can’t speak for Mr Murray, but I think you will find that in March 2022 Mr Putin stopped “appeasing an expansionist and imperialist state with a long history of ignoring international borders”.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Sure, at some point in the recent past, about half of Ukrainians were Russian speakers”.

      Possibly correct if by “Russian speakers” you mean those whose primary language was Russian. Virtually everyone in Ukraine is fluent in Russian, and I understand that the Kiev junta conducts its private meetings in Russian as it is the language they are most comfortable with. Zelezny needed coaching to speak Ukrainian, which he still does poorly and with a bad accent.

  • Conall Boyle

    “I cannot share the outrage of many on the left at the “colour revolution” of 2014. Both Russia and the West had been playing a dirty game. . . . I as a former player well know the rules, or lack of them.”

    Surely a huge qualitative difference? Us (Craig, the West) playing a silly game of Preserve US Hegemony, while Russia could see a huge neighbour (40 mn) with a large ethnic Russian population being turned into an openly racist enemy? Putin patient and honest; neo-cons blood-thirsty and dishonest. SMO ‘Invasion’ on RTP grounds entirely valid and legal.

    As for the rump-Ukr that will eventuate due to dreadful blunder by Xelensky: Just watch all the aid from the west evaporate like HS2 replacement projects. But do these vile nazi-loving racists deserve to be helped? Putin’s entirely reasonable SMO objective to de-nazify should be supported by the west. Oops, won’t happen; as Trudeau demonstrated ‘we like nazis’.

    • Tom Welsh

      “As for the rump-Ukr that will eventuate due to dreadful blunder by Xelensky…”

      Not a blunder, and not made by any Ukrainian… or European. Quite deliberate and cold blooded, and decided by Washington and London.

  • Ewan

    For those of us not privy to the dirty game the great powers play, could you tell us the story of Yanukovych’s kidnap by Russia?

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