Macron Suggests EU-Russia Talks. Meltdown Among EU, US Apparatchiks Follows.

French president Macron, in his opening speech of his six-month term as EU president, might as well have poked a stick in a nest of hornets. He had the temerity to suggest that avoiding war with Russia was a good idea, that the EU was an interested party and should have a seat at the table.

As the Guardian recapped the Macron speech:

The EU must open its own talks with Russia rather than rely on Washington, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said as he warned of the prospect of the “most tragic thing of all – war”.

In a wide-ranging speech in Strasbourg, Macron said it was not sufficient for the US to negotiate with the Kremlin over its threats to peace but that Europe needed to have its voice heard.

Macron said he hoped to revitalise four-way talks between Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, known as the Normandy format, to find a solution to the escalating crisis.

The French president, who was speaking to mark the start of his country’s six-month presidency of the EU, told MEPs: “I think our credibility vis-a-vis Russia lies primarily in entering into demanding dialogue.

“And we see that looking at the dialogue that the US and Russia are currently undertaking. I think that it is good for there to be coordination between Europe and the US but it is vital that Europe has its own dialogue with Russia.”

Officials in Brussels insist that Russia has not been able to divide the west in recent months as it has amassed more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.

But for all the protests of a unified approach, the EU was sidelined from talks held last week between Russia and the US, Nato and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The fact that Macron is a grandiose neoliberal does not mean that he is not occasionally correct. The US in its current staredown with Russia is acting as if EU interests are of no import and it can treat the continent as an American satrapy. And the fact that the US froze the EU out of the latest round of negotiations means Macron, speaking on behalf of the EU, has a legitimate grievance.

A smaller but still important potential benefit of Macron having spoken out of school is he’s forced a discussion of the EU’s and France’s interests in escalating with Russia into the open. Macron ha broken through what is called Hallin’s sphere of deviance. Historian Daniel C. Hallin in his book The Uncensored War, on Vietnam, described how the press draw lines around what issues can be covered. As Wikipedia summarized:

Hallin divides the world of political discourse into three concentric spheres: consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance. In the sphere of consensus, journalists assume everyone agrees. The sphere of legitimate controversy includes the standard political debates, and journalists are expected to remain neutral. The sphere of deviance falls outside the bounds of legitimate debate, and journalists can ignore it. These boundaries shift, as public opinion shifts.

Saying that the EU’s interests with respect to the Ukraine are not the same as America’s was verboten in the mainstream English language press. It’s as if Victoria Nuland never said “Fuck the EU”….which come to think of it either didn’t or only just barely got orthodox media mention.

And there might be a bit of “Revenge is a dish best served cold” operating too:

What is striking is the vehemence of the reactions to Macron’s remarks. There’s a theoretical objection that he shouldn’t have blindsided the EU security apparatus, whatever that amounts to (one assumes the same sort of stealthy grifting flexian power brokers as in the US). But there was no way Macron could deliver such a message with pre-consultation without being pressured to water it down greatly. So one could view this speech as yet another demonstration of Macron having an exaggerated sense of his and France’s importance, or of it also being true that if he wanted to get the EU’s seat at the table back, he’d need to cause a stir.

Reactions on Twitter were mainly jingoistic. One of the few exceptions:

The pink paper also has an account claiming that unnamed officials in France and Brussels tried to walk Macron’s remarks back. From Paris and Brussels reassure US after Macron’s call for EU-Russia talks:

France and the EU on Thursday sought to reassure the US that the Europeans remained committed to Washington-led negotiations with Russia over averting further conflict in Ukraine, after French president Emmanuel Macron called for a distinct EU dialogue with Moscow….

French officials insisted that Macron’s call for an EU dialogue with Russia was not in opposition to the continuing US negotiations and was designed to strengthen rather than undermine Nato unity.

“We are in favour of very close co-ordination with the US,” said one of Macron’s advisers. “We find it strengthens the hand of the French and the Germans in their negotiations with Russia . . . The Americans are talking to the Russians to deal with a disorderly and profoundly dangerous situation.”

On Macron’s suggestion of a separate EU dialogue with Russia and his call for a European proposal within weeks to build “a new security and stability order” that would then be discussed among Nato allies, the adviser said: “It’s called co-ordination, reforging European unity and reinforcing the unity of the Nato alliance.”

EU diplomats said Macron’s call was the “first time” that Europe-only talks had been mentioned by Paris, while another suggested that France’s push had not been co-ordinated with partners before the speech.

I don’t find this to be persuasive. When Biden very clumsily suggested that the US would make a proportional response in Ukraine, he walked it back within 24 hours. We’ll see what if anything Macron says tomorrow. The effort to try to put the Macron remarks genie back in the bottle looks a lot like political operatives defending their pet interests and relationships.

And it’s notable that the Financial Times quotes one unidentified Macron adviser…who sure looks like he was out of the loop as far as this speech was concerned. As for the EU diplomats, we’ve seen over the years of the FT’s coverage of Europe, first in the 2015 Greece debt negotiations and then Brexit, that its sources among European diplomats are far narrower than those of Tony Connelly at RTE, and on top of that are biased towards friend of the UK, as in Eastern Europeans. So while it does seem likely that Macron didn’t give anyone in the EU a head’s up, if the did, it sure wouldn’t be them.

Similarly, this section amounts to an official non-answer in diplospeak bafflegab:

When asked if the European Commission supported Macron’s proposal, a spokesperson said on Thursday that the EU’s approach to Russia was being formulated “within the framework of the ongoing contacts and co-ordination, both within the EU and between the EU and the transatlantic partners such as the US, Canada, Nato and the OSCE”.

However, a substantive bit emerges:

Following Macron’s statement, which was applauded in the Strasbourg assembly, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell had a phone call with US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg where they agreed on the need for “a strong, clear and united transatlantic front”, according to a readout from Borrell’s team.

I welcome criticisms from those who know Europe and the EU better than I do. However, whether by accident or design, the description of Borrell talking to Blinken comes off as implying that Macron has no legitimate voice in this controversy. That’s false. The EU Council has the final say on European foreign policy. Borrell reports to the EU Council. Macron sits on the EU Council.

And during Brexit, Macron at key points, albeit often irritatingly, would stand up for certain principles, sometimes by himself, sometimes with only a small bloc of supporters. Even though Macron seldom got what he asked for, more often than not he did have an impact.

However, timing has worked against Macron slowing the US war train. The opening EU presidency speech was a logical venue for Macron to make his case. But that was Wednesday and the next round of talks, from which the EU has again been excluded, is Friday in Geneva. So even if Macron’s intervention reached a sympathetic audience beyond MPs, it’s too soon for his ideas to have achieved enough momentum to have an impact.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. PlutoniumKun

    I’ve no particular insights into the background of this, but it does seem that there has been growing frustration within western Europe that the US has been poking the Russian Bear without bothering to consult those people within SU-35 strike range. The EU must take some responsibility of course because it simple doesn’t have the structures in place to make quick and sensible decisions on these matters – there is an enormous amount of ambiguity on security issues as to where national powers/responsibilities like, and which matters are for the EU or NATO.

    I’m no Macron fan, but one thing he is not is stupid, and he is a strong believer in European co-operation on security matters (so long as the French take the lead of course). I doubt this was off-the cuff, I think Yves is correct to say that he is deliberately stirring up the hornets nest with two intentions – to focus the minds of European leaders, and to point out to the US that it can’t take unilateral action.

    1. Quentin

      PlutoniumKun, Could it also be he’s ‘stirring up the hornets nest’ to not let the hornets forget that, if anyone, he is the first who must be considered the ‘natural’ leader of a EU military force? Hail to Macron, channelling Napoleon, De Gaulle, etc. If opinion in the Netherlands is anything to go by, most Europeans are not much impressed by Macron’s grand ambitions. The guy does have exceptional luck though. earned or not, having hardly a credible opponent in sight as he chairs the EU at the time of his campaign for a second term. Napoleon’s luck didn’t run out either, until it did.

      1. Michaelmas

        Plutonium Kun: he is deliberately stirring up the hornets nest with two intentions … to point out to the US that it can’t take unilateral action

        ‘Talk to the butcher, not to the maggots in the meat on the butcher’s block,’ is a Russian saying. And the Russians are operating on this principle, and shutting the EU’s yammering out for good and practical reasons. To whit ….

        ‘Jack Matlock, the last US ambassador to the USSR, argues the US …rewrote history by claiming the Cold War was “won” by the collapse of the Soviet Union… the consequence of US mythmaking is a national narrative in which peace is achieved by staring down and defeating its adversaries, while compromise is denounced as “appeasement.” Consequently, actual diplomacy and compromise must be done behind closed doors.

        ‘….(the EU’s) foundation of “alliance solidarity” is always to stand united against the adversary, Russia, which ensures that the bloc can only speak in the language of ultimatums and threats. The main lesson from the NATO-Russia Council was that the 30 member states would agree on a common position before meeting Russia, at which point officials would not be able to alter the existing consensus. This eliminated the possibility for real diplomacy, as the format of negotiating from a “position of strength” merely implied that NATO would pressure or threaten Russia to accept its unilateral decisions. Both Washington and Moscow are aware that diplomacy and compromise can only be successful in a bilateral format.

        ”The EU and Russia reached the pivotal EU-Russia Common Spaces Agreement in 2005, which committed both sides to pursue integration efforts towards the common neighborhood “in a mutually beneficial manner, through close result-oriented EU-Russia collaboration and dialogue … If the EU had honored this agreement and not attempted to marginalize Russia in the shared neighborhood, the current standoff with possible cataclysmic consequences would not have materialized.

        The author, Glenn Diesen has been a professor at universities in Norway, Australia, and Moscow although, yes, the article appears at And he’s right. The EU is: –

        [1]Energy-dependent on Russia — or, alternatively, the US, although that will be far more expensive for them;

        [2] Militarily powerless for any useful purposes;

        [3] In its way even more agreement-incapable and dysfunctional than the US, especially as small nations like Poland, etcetera, will use the EU’s “alliance solidarity” to serve their own interests, at the expense of negotiating an outcome that might serve the EU as a whole.

        So you need to get real. Not only can US take unilateral action — if, as Russia hopes, it wakes up — but the EU is both powerless and dysfunctional as a negotiating partner for Russia.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I find that article very contradictory. Like a lot of non-European analysts he seems to have a very poor grasp of the institutional differences between the various EU bodies, which isn’t surprising given how complicated they are. Bringing in the 2005 agreement seems strange, that’s a perfectly normal low key agreement relating to issues like visas and trade deals. The EU and Russia have had perfectly good relations on technical for years – if they didn’t, then they wouldn’t have an integrated gas network. Russia never objected to the expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe. In fact, its the EU who feels the Russians have acted in bad faith over gas supplies. The issue over Ukraine is almost entirely down to NATO decision making, which is driven by the US (although it was supported by the Germans in particular).

          The EU is militarily weak, because the EU is not, and was never intended to be a military or security organization. But while many European countries have allowed their militaries to decay, it is certainly not powerless. There is nothing within EU treaties to prevent EU countries either individually, or collectively, taking military actions they deem appropriate. Neither the French nor the UK have been slow in the past to take independent military decisions without regard to the EU. Or NATO, for that matter.

          1. Kouros

            “the EU who feels the Russians have acted in bad faith over gas supplies.”

            Because it doesn’t want to go with spot prices contracts, but with long term contracts?

            Look at Poland’s case:
            In the past, sued Russia and won because it wanted spot prices. It got that, and now, when the prices are high, has again sued Russia and asking for long term contracts.

            EUs intention is that via lawfare to penetrate in the ownership of Russian oil and gas piping infrastructure as well as extraction and change ownership.

            EU’s complains lack any honesty and credibility: they are all ideologically based, the premise being that they want ownership, or the best deal for themselves. Russia is not Africa.

    2. Polar Socialist

      The EU […] doesn’t have the structures in place to make quick and sensible decisions on these matters

      Isn’t that the very purpose of NATO: to prevent that from happening and keeping Europe as dependent and controllable as possible?
      Obviously NATO has raised generations of “security” people who’s allegiance is to NATO, not to the nations they are tasked to keep “secure”.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Well, that is the purpose of NATO and is one reason among many why the EU’s many proposals for some form of EU based military force have floundered. The EU wasn’t designed for this sort of crisis, NATO was.

        But even NATO seems to be kept out of the loop on this, as all the initiatives have waved the US flag, not the NATO flag. I assume this is quite deliberate by Washington and the reason why Macron is pushing through the EU, not NATO, as this means the US has no veto.

        1. Spikeyboy

          Well as the article says, Stoltenberg and Borrell both act as though they are the organisations they represent. Also, NATO is out of the loop by their own hand having discontinued any meaningful communication with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council after the NATO/US sponsored 2014 Ukrainian coup.

          “In April 2014, following Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Alliance suspended all practical cooperation between NATO and Russia including that which took place in the framework of the NRC…Three meetings of the NATO-Russia Council took place in 2016, three in 2017, two in 2018, and two in 2019. The most recent meeting of the NRC took place on 12 January”

          All of a sudden talking to Russia is important?? But nothing to say since 2019?

    3. MonkeyBusiness

      I am watching a new series on Netflix called “Munich : The Edge of War”. One of the main characters, a Brit had the temerity to tell his boss that perhaps they should inform the Czech about Hitler’s demands regarding the Sudetenland. He was met with a harsh rebuke. Karma anyone?

      1. Andy

        The whole Munich appeasement thing is a dangerous myth that has been driving western foreign policy ever since. It is at the root of the “don’t negotiate with ‘bad guys'” school of “diplomacy” championed by the United States.

        Munich did not prevent Adolf Hitler from invading Poland in September 1939, triggering the start of the Second World War, after which the Munich Conference assumed quite different and far more sinister connotations. The then prime ministers of Britain and France, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier respectively, were both condemned to perpetual infamy for their weakness towards Hitler.

        The catchword for the conference became “appeasement”, and it was soon transformed into a symbol of the futility of talking to totalitarian or autocratic states. The tense relationship that the West has today with Russia, China and Iran is, to a large extent, still framed by the legacy of Munich

        But go back to September 1938 and the perspective changes. Hitler was appeased not because European democracies were weak or cowardly, but because the UK, especially, was not yet ready for war. Munich gave Britain a further year to better prepare for an armed conflict that appeared more and more inevitable.

        1. MonkeyBusiness

          Actually that wasn’t my point. The Czechs didn’t have a say, and in our present times, Europe as a continent does not get a say either. Whatever Uncle Sam says, goes. The UK is a big joke of a country, it’s a well known “secret” that it’s Uncle Sam who’s “maintaining” their nuclear arsenal.

          The UK would have been defeated eventually without the US and the Soviet Union. Yeah the RAF and the Royal Navy bought some time with their victories over their German counterparts, but the Germans had more men and resources. And this whole “ready for war” thingy. At what point, do you know that your armed forces are ready for war? It’s a very subjective judgement. If the UK was so ready for war a year later, how would you then explain Dunkirk?

          1. Soredemos

            This is simply incorrect. Germany had zero capacity to actually invade Britain. It would never have defeated the UK. At most things would have ended in a draw and a ceasefire.

        2. Soredemos

          The much vilified Chamberlain built the RAF that won the Battle of Britain (which in retrospect was never a real contest; the Luftwaffe got absolutely steamrolled)

    4. Andy

      The EU must take some responsibility of course because it simple doesn’t have the structures in place to make quick and sensible decisions on these matters – there is an enormous amount of ambiguity on security issues as to where national powers/responsibilities like, and which matters are for the EU or NATO.

      Western Europe after 1945 pretty much outsourced its foreign policy to the United States and took a supporting role on the world stage. It accepted satrapy lite status with even the remnants of the once mighty British Empire happy to play second-fiddle to the US. France held out for a while but its moment de resistance peaked with de Gaulle and after its brief post-9/11flare up it has all but become fully absorbed by the Atlanticist blob.

      It remains to be seen if Macron will back up his words with some actions that unambiguously address the EU’s foreign policy problem. He sometimes says the right things but he’s a politician and in politics talk – action = a big fat zero.

  2. S Weil

    What is this “US war train” – do you think the US will invade Russia? Or cunningly trick Russia into invading Ukraine? You should define your terms here.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The US warmongers are making close to WMDs in Iraq level misrepresentations about Russia. Russia does not want Ukraine. Ukraine is a basket case. And even if you take the #s the US has claimed for Russia moving troops towards Urkaine, it’s way below what they’d need to hold the territory. Plus the US often does things even more provocative during war games and other joint exercises with partners than Russia moving troops within its own territory.

      Russia wants NATO not in Ukraine the same way we wanted USSR missiles not in Cuba. But no one on the US side seems willing or able to comprehend that those two situations are close to symmetrical, including their potential to start a nuclear war.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “Russia wants NATO not in Ukraine the same way we wanted USSR missiles not in Cuba. But no one on the US side seems willing or able to comprehend that those two situations are close to symmetrical, including their potential to start a nuclear war.”

        and that’s the best thumbnail of the situation i’ve seen.
        the russian FP guy said the same in rather clear language, too…but maddow didn’t notice…so people like my mom didn’t notice…and away we go!

        1. JBird4049

          That saying by Upton Sinclair about a man never able to understand something if his job depends on him not understanding seems to be accurate.

      2. skippy

        Lmmao like the U.S. never took other nations out to forward a corporate agenda … 100s of years …

        Being defensive against such machinations in an international crime to some these days …

      3. S Weil

        I would understand if NATO was putting nukes in Ukraine like USSR did in Cuba – but the negligible probability of Ukraine being accepted into NATO some time in the next 50 years does not seem like an imminent threat – and asking for meaningless “guarantees” (on what authority?) that closes off this possibility strikes me as empty. So what’s going on here? The Blob is treating an invasion as almost inevitable (Yves fake WMD?), while the Russophile nets (Saker anyone) are saying even suggesting that an invasion will happen is an AngloZionist plot. So is this the Phony war and we can all relax?

        1. Polar Socialist

          The Blob, being what it is, still thinks this is about Ukraine. But it’s not. It’s about Baker’s “we understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction” turning into a NATO rolling to Russian borders and US installing nuclear capable cruise missiles in Poland and Romania.
          Russia couldn’t care less about Ukraine, according to Medvedev (Deputy Chairman of the Security Council so he should know) Russia just has to wait for the Ukrainians to inevitably at some point elect a government Russia can work with and then solve all the issues. That’s also what Putin, Lavrov and Peskov have been saying, if anybody had bothered to listen them. They assume currently Ukraine is led from Washington and is not worth their time and effort. Don’t talk to the servant but to the master.

          Or maybe they just got tired of being lectured by “diplomat” after “diplomat” on who the Russian judicial system can sentence to prison and who it can not…

        2. Maxwell Johnston

          I agree that the chances of Ukraine joining NATO are essentially zero. But that’s irrelevant. What’s become clear (to the Russians, anyway) is that de jure NATO membership isn’t necessary; the USA and its closest partners (UK and Poland and the Baltic trio) can funnel weapons into Ukraine and nudge it into attacking Crimea and the Donbass. Call it “NATO Lite”. Weapons and training are already being supplied, and the Russians are making it clear that they’ve had enough. Perhaps the next step will be for Russia to recognize diplomatically the two Donbass statelets as independent nations (a la Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and then deploy Russian troops “upon the legal request of these two sovereign states.” Will that constitute an invasion? What happens then?

        3. barefoot charley

          What Putin said when he drew his red lines is that Russia demands written commitments to honor the commitments we ignored in the past. And since everyone knows the US isn’t ‘agreement-capable,’ he wants the whole world to read and see the commitments we will poop on afterwards. Luckily we have no business in Ukraine, nothing to gain there but heartburn in Russia, and the Europeans would sooner incorporate Cuba into NATO and the EU than Ukraine. This is pure ‘Blinken’s stupid-crazy’ chicken-hawk folly a l’americaine. Putin’s tired of it and I am too.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The Baltic countries are also sending weapons to Ukraine, which must mean they’re not expecting Russia to solve the NATO problem in the Baltics, I assume, giving up their weapons like that.
            All this is, of course, political grandstanding and “sending a message” like it mattered. Militarily it takes a year or two to integrate modern weapons into use, provided that they actually fit the tactics, organization and logistics of the receiving army.
            Now, given that this is kinda NATO driven project with NATO equipment and NATO training, from what I’ve read recently the actual integration may take a decade or more. And it may likely lead to the Ukrainian army to melt away at the first sign of trouble as per last year’s example of a certain army armed and trained by NATO experts.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              As to your last point, only time will tell, but I doubt the Ukrainian army will be a pushover. They didn’t have the organization or weaponry to do much in the last crisis, but they seem to have substantially re-organised and they are very motivated. They also have a pretty big domestic military industry. I’m sure the Russians are perfectly well aware that they would be no pushovers, especially if they were to cross the Dneiper.

              1. Maxwell Johnston

                If there’s an invasion, then I think the Ukrainian military will fold about as quickly as the Afghans did (especially if the Russians stay east of the Dnieper). This article is from July 2021, but I doubt much has changed. Mind that the source (Jamestown) is pretty far to the right and wildly anti-Russia (well, anti-Putin anyhow), so I was surprised by the pessimistic tone:


          2. PlutoniumKun

            The UK is sending some quite cheap and simple point and shoot anti-tank missiles. They are a more sophisticated version of RPG’s. They have no utility whatever in stopping a frontal armored assault by the Russians, but they would be very useful for a later insurgency, especially in urban areas. I suspect that’s the message being sent. The Russians still have very bad memories of Chechnya.

        4. Spikeyboy

          The problem for Russia is the inexorable build up of Western military on Russia’s border aimed solely at Russia. As of now, Russia feels they have reached a point where they are, at least militarily, holding the aces. This may not last indefinitely so now is a good time to confront Western deceit. An example of what can happen in a non Nato Ukraine is the UK arming and base building attempts in the Sea of Asov and the Black Sea. Part of what the Uk will be funding:

          “The creation of a new naval base on the Black Sea as the primary fleet base for Ukraine and a new base on the Sea of Azov.”

          And given they are funding probably they also intend to use. Naval vessels with missile launching capability…

  3. Fazal Majid

    Macron has no love lost for Putin. Keep in mind Putin funded Macron’s presidential opponent Marine Le Pen in the last elections in 2017, as well as launching cyberattacks against Macron’s campaign ops (just more competently deflected than those on the US Democrats by adviser, tech entrepreneur and campaign security chief Mounir Mahjoubi).

    That said, he’s always believed Russia is more dangerous frozen out and defended engagement with the Russians. At the same time, the new German government is less accommodating on Russia than Angela Merkel was. France’s formerly equal relationship with Germany was unbalanced by German reunification and France’s own industrial decline brought about by asinine Socialist policies like the 35-hour work week, but in military matters it is the uncontested heavyweight of the EU since the UK left. There is no EU security apparatus of any relevance elsewhere. This is why Macron is not as out on a limb regarding Russia as he was with Turkey. The only viscerally anti-Russian EU countries are Poland and the Baltic states, and neither are prime movers.

    Unlike the Germans who import 50% of their natural gas from Russia, France only imports 20%, gets most of its electricity from nuclear and in any case is accelerating its subsidy program to switch from gas heating to electric heat pumps, which reduces volatility and dependence on unsavory countries like Algeria, Qatar or Russia while also going a long way towards France’s climate-change commitments (my parents switched their furnace to a heat pump 2 weeks ago and are in the process of cutting their gas line altogether, installing induction cooktops to complete the transition).

    Germany, on the other hand, is in a much tougher spot. It is highly dependent on gas imports since it unwisely and prematurely shuttered its nuclear power program to appease Green sentiment, even if that torpedoed its greenhouse gas emissions commitments. While the new government would be willing to grit its teeth and shut down or delay Nordstream 2 should Russia invade Ukraine, the Germans have shown they are perfectly capable of resisting US pressure to do so. In all likelihood they will support Macron’s initiative and let him take the heat from the US.

    The only open question is Putin. He clearly thinks Macron is a lightweight and that may lead him to underestimate him and miscalculate, that as well as underestimating Germany’s tolerance for pain. The corrupt Ukrainian government would probably not mount an effective defense for long, but advanced US weaponry would impose a significant toll on invading forces, and occupying such a large country would be a strain on the Russian army that has mostly engaged in low-level conflicts like Syria or Libya using mercenaries since the Second Chechnya War. The Russian stealth takeover of Donetsk was in semi-friendly territory, Western Ukraine would be an altogether different matter. Putin has only taken calculated risks this far and it would be a huge gamble to go ahead with an invasion, much as with his first disastrous Chechnyan war.

    1. Bugs

      Would like some proof of that election hacking that never happened.

      Marine Le Pen didn’t get funded by “Putin”, but rather had looked into loans outside France because her campaign had been blackballed and she couldn’t get them anywhere else ( In the end, they did not get any money from Strategy Bank.

      And btw this is maybe not the place to refer to the successful and widely liked 35 hour week as an “asinine Socialist” policy.

    2. H. Toin

      Your first paragraph is Russiagate type fake news with innuendo and no evidence.

      Putin didn’t finance the Le Pen campaign. Her party got a loan from a Russian bank in 2014 (three years before the election) because French banks were refusing her loans following the National Front’s 2012 campaign expenses. Some journalists have stated that the bank was owned by a Kremlin insider and that the loan would never have been approved without the Kremlin’s approval, and this might be true, but there’s no evidence of that and it also smells of the “everything in Russia is decided by Putin” disorder.

      The attribution of the so called Macron Leaks was hyped as a Russian hack, because why not, we were at the height of the Democrat meltdown. But on the 2nd June 2017, the head of the ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information : cybersecurity agency) stated that the hack was so simplistic it could have been made by anybody, and that they refused to attribute it. He also said that they had not found any evidence of any Russian groups’ involvment (

      This is also on, which I don’t think can be portrayed as a Russian disinformation website…

      1. fajensen

        But on the 2nd June 2017, the head of the ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information : cybersecurity agency) stated that the hack was so simplistic it could have been made by anybody, and that they refused to attribute it.

        Denmark, probably. Denmark is trying very hard to become “The US poodle and most favoured stainer of Persian rugs” in the EU, now that the UK checked itself all out.

        The danish head of “Danish Defence Intelligence Service”, Lars Findsen, is currently in jail on secret charges.

        One of the rumours going around is that Denmark was the conduit for NSA hacking and spying on European leaders. This was rumoured to be leaked to “Tilsynet med Efterretningstjenesterne”, the committee regulating the intelligence services, causing a political scandal over what the intelligence agency is actually doing, and now the witch hunt for the infamous leakers is on.

        It’s all done under double secrecy, so it is only the comedians and satirists reporting on most of it.

    3. chris angelou

      US press has been wrong on Russia for several decades, and has been predicting “disaster” for Russia, its economy, and Putin. Chechnya seems solved, Syria was not, so far, the disaster predicted, nor was the size of Russian forces involved correct. US overthrew an elected Ukranian govt, Russia reclaimed Crimea, and supported Russian speakers against Nazi Ukranians, which the west conveniently ignores.
      I have no doubt that “advanced US weapons” are not as advanced as you think, and that the Ukrainian army may be much weaker and disorganized than you assume.
      It seems Russia and “Putin” have been much more cautious, deliberate and careful than anyone in the western media is prepared to admit. They have no need or interest in taking over Ukraine. Russia does not seem to gamble, unless the odds are strongly in its favor.

    4. Tom67

      The US plan seems clear: poke the bear until he reacts and then put all the blame on him. The real target in this game is German-Russian cooperation and Nord Stream 2. If Germany is smart she will let Macron take the lead. Hight time if you ask me. The problem is that “published” (not public) opinion is Russophobic and our German Greens are of the humanitarian intervention mindset. They really hate Russia and in some interview our new green foreign minister fondly remembered her grandfather fighting the “brutish” red Army. I am not making this up. The worst kind of chickenhawks. I really hope Macron pulls this through.

      1. Michaelmas

        our new green foreign minister fondly remembered her grandfather fighting the “brutish” red Army.

        As part of Operation Barbarossa perhaps? Someone in the press really ought to look the details up and lay into her.

      2. fajensen

        German Greens are of the humanitarian intervention mindset.

        Infiltrated by the CIA, no doubt. If one wants to shape the future, one needs to get into the emerging things rather than blindly supporting the old things.

      1. JBird4049

        And just how socialist is that? I mean child labor, as in factories and mines, was normal in both Europe and the United States until people pushed their governments to outlaw over a century ago. How is this legislation reducing how many hours equals a full time job more bad?

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    waiting for my youngest the other day(and waiting at graveside more than a week ago)…listening to npr/bbc, and that blinkin guy is rambling about how “…we’re not threatening russia…we’re just supporting Democracy in Ukrane…” and the like.
    and wandering through mom’s living room, the constant msdnc feed on her tv has the same, blatant, propaganda of how putin is the evil mastermind, hell-bent on world domination, etc etc.
    no mention of 30+ years of usa bad faith and passive aggressive missile placements and “exercises”…”not one inch eastward”.
    and dinner at mom’s sometime…after nbc nightly news did it’s breathless segment of 2 minute russiahate…i held forth in a brief rundown of that history, which mom actually lived through, no less(before trump and mindcolonisation)…and she looked at me like i was crazy.

    i suppose that a “limited nuclear exchange” would cool the planet, somewhat…as well as further the culling of the herd.
    so there’s that.
    git yer preps in.

    1. Ashburn

      I believe I listened to the same npr/bbc interview. The Ukrainian politician being interviewed referred to “civilized” countries, meaning NATO, in contrast, I suppose, to ‘uncivilized?’ countries like Russia. Of course he was not challenged on this characterization, even when he repeated the insult, by the BBC interviewer. Race hatred of Russia is a real thing.

  5. timbers

    Hope Russia doesn’t fall for Marcon’s trap. EU are puppets that take orders from Washington. They have shown over and over again they have not power or at least no inclination to use it if they do have any. Russia will only waste’s time and might be sucked into making a mistake by taking EU seriously.

    Russia should “negotiate” only with Washington. Or use it’s military if that fails, such as surgical strikes on bases that threaten it or other such steps.

  6. BrianC - PDX

    When ever I read one of these posts… I think back to a PoliSci class I took at Montana State around 1983/84… The class was focused on US/USSR relations… (I think? Can’t remember, it’s been 40 years.)

    It was taught by a retired Air Force Colonel. (Can’t remember the name now.) He’d been stationed in Moscow as the Air Attache.

    He asked the class one day, what strategic purpose was served by having a US Occupation Army stationed in Germany ~40 years after the end of WW II. The ensuing discussion was illuminating. Even then, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the USSR, it didn’t make sense. Even more so after the dissolution of the USSR.

    The US should have withdrawn its occupation forces from Europe and withdrawn from NATO decades ago.


    His direct observations of Russia and the stories he told about how Washington worked made for an interesting class.

    1. tegnost

      It was easier to be a free thinker in the ’80’s, now it’s pretty much blasphemy to have a view opposing the nuland/kagan cartel

    2. JBird4049

      One could make a very good case for the United States remaining in Europe using a bit of paranoia or just caution, but after the fall not so much, which only been over thirty years since. Military Keynesianism is a helluva of a drug.

  7. Larry Y

    I don’t understand the EU’s end game in Ukraine. Sees quite passive, which puzzles me since the instability there directly impacts its member states, especially Poland, which I understand is where many Ukrainians go.

    Never mind propping up neo-nazis…

    And in the larger scheme of things, none of this can be good as Ukraine is a major food (wheat) exporter.

    1. John

      I do not think the EU has an end game in Ukraine. The USA does not have an end game in Ukraine. Ukraine is one more pawn to be shoved about the board to further the fever dreams of the Russia-phobes and those of that ilk appear to be most of Congress and the entire so-called foreign policy apparatus. They refuse to see the reality of the world. It is one thing to to be wrong. It is quite another to insist on you fantasies. DC treats the EU and NATO as a pack of yapping little dogs.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And the profiteers. Before Hunter got into the art market, he was involved in the Kiev rump state.

  8. H. Toin

    I think there’s an angle concerning the Borrell phone call that’s reported at the end.

    It seems a brewing conflict is looming in the EU between some member states on one side and the European Commission/CJUE (Court of Justice of the European Union) on the other on who’s boss, who gets to decide what’s law in the EU.
    This article by Wolfgang Streeck gives a bit of background :

    It could be that Macron’s speech was made in this context, as in it’s the member states that need to decide together what the Union’s foreign policy is going to be, and not the Commission.

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Readers may wish to read, too. Lieven is of Baltic German origin and, unlike most MSM etc. commentators, has lived and worked in Russia and speaks Russian.

    The UK has supplied anti tank weaponry and instructors to Ukraine as it has little left in the barrel.

    One wonders if the chicken hawks are aware that the UK can’t field more than two mechanised infantry brigades, two fighter squadrons and a dozen warships to the party, thanks to Tory austerity.

    When NATO HQ queried how big the brigades were, they were at the lower end of what brigades tend to be defined as. That was better than Denmark and Norway, which have none available until the mid 2020s.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I tend to think people without sufficient enough backgrounds or good bs detectors (even liars often lack this) hear numbers they are unfamiliar with and act astounded. X fire power sounds great to untrained ears. It’s just a big number. The Pentagon handles the details.

      It’s like when the media was astounded by Bezos trip to the sky. It sounds great. Never mind the Soviet program, but Alan Shepard went higher than Bezos. The whole thing was a joke. It’s the same with force readiness and missile specs. There is no understanding of logistics. Amazon handles that.

    2. Carolinian

      From the sites I read a Russian attack would be more of the shock and awe variety than with tanks. The Ukrainians might be left with no soldiers to fire those antitank weapons.

      1. Soredemos

        Soldiers might actually be the one thing they still have some of a while after the fighting starts. Russia would quickly annihilate vehicles and heavy equipment from a distance with artillery and aircraft that Ukraine would have no way to respond against. Groups of hiding soldiers are harder to take out. After a week groups of grunts with portable AT weapons might be all Ukraine has left. And they might not even have many of those, if morale completely shatters, which is likely. After a week the only ones still fighting will probably be the Nazi militia fanatics.

  10. The Rev Kev

    With Angela Merkel gone, Macron wants to establish himself as the de facto head of the EU which is perhaps why he is speaking up here. But he must know that his would be a lost cause. It was the European Parliament that burnt about every diplomatic bridge that they had with the Russian Federation. And it was NATO that reduced contact between themselves and Russia until there was so little contact left, that the Russian gave up in disgust, pulled their people out of Brussels and gave the NATO contingent the boot in Moscow. And when you hear that the US wants to cut off Russia from the SWIFT network, remember that this is actually located in Brussels, Belgium, not Washington DC. But nevertheless, the US has gotten them to cut off Iran at least from this network. So I ask you. How could Macron make any headway against this enormous anti-Russia tide? He may want the EU to open its own talks with Russia but it was the countries of the EU that ended the mechanisms to undertake such talks.

    And sure, revitalizing the Normandy talks would be a good idea but Germany and France have never held the Ukraine to account when they failed to not only fulfill their obligations, but to pass laws that would make it impossible to do so. Above, voteforno6 has pointed out that Macron is facing elections this year. These are in April but Macron has just started his six months of his country’s six-month Presidency of the EU. So with electioneering coming up, this is leaving him with a very narrow time window to make any mark at all. Which I do not believe that he will for a moment. But personally I think that Putin is being a bit of a s***-stirrer here. By sidelining Europe in these talks, he has demonstrated to the world that they simply do not count. The EU may be a power-block but diplomatically they are essentially a backwater. So for Putin, that alone would be a win that Biden let him have.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What does the US offer most of the EU nations that they don’t make or can buy in Euros? Orlando?

      Inertia can carry these relationships for a time, but Biden is proving Obama was as bad as he likely seemed and that Trump wasn’t an aberration.

  11. chris

    Sure would be nice if we had a real congress and senate that cared about the citizens who have been destroyed by our Forever Wars and could put a stop to a president and his administration acting this way…

    Absent from any and all discussions about Ukraine has been why anyone in the US should care. I have yet to see anyone make an argument for how interfering or not will materially affect anyone living in the US. As for our allies, they still rely on Russia for critical energy supplies. So who are we kidding? And is anyone going to answer one of Trumo’s legitimate questions from early in his term? What do we need NATO for anymore? Why should we care if it expands?

    I can only hope that these war junkies get thrashed by reality as they chase the dragon of their next conflict high. I’m tired of my friends and family going to serve in theaters that have nothing to do with the security or prosperity of the US. This really needs to stop.

    1. Carolinian

      Right. Perhaps the key takeaway from the post

      Tony Blinken is an idiot

      Apparently Blinken has family background in Ukraine so yet another example of US policy being formed by people with special grievances (or at least one may so speculate). How much damage was done by Brzezinski with his Russia victimized Polish background? Because Americans in general have little interest in foreign policy DC has become one giant foreign lobby with our “cousins” and their intelligence service being perhaps not the least of it.

    2. tegnost

      Sure would be nice if we had a real congress and senate that cared about the citizens
      …don’t you mean “consumers”?…

  12. David

    This is, to put it mildly, a complex issue with lots of moving parts. But there are three things it’s helpful to bear in mind.

    First, France. The French have always been prepared to cooperate with the US (and do so on many issues) but only from a position of independence. In the last analysis they don’t trust the US to put itself in danger for the benefit of others, and never did. In the Cold War, the French were unconvinced that the US would honour its commitments, which is why De Gaulle eventually left the NATO integrated military structure in 1968, and France developed and fielded its own nuclear weapons. Since Sarkozy returned to the IMS a decade ago, the French have been concerned that the US, through NATO, could embroil them in a conflict without them having a veto on it. This now seems to be at risk of happening. In addition, and even during the Cold War, the French had an independent policy towards the USSR (which De Gaulle only ever called “Russia”). Though France was one of the more hawkish NATO nations, the French nonetheless tried, and to a degree succeeded, to have a policy of their own rather than blindly following the US. And don’t forget that more recently the French almost sold the Russians two force projection vessels (BCP) before cancelling at the last moment. The French media, by the way, has confirmed that Blinken has been to Paris and Berlin. The problem with the US, according to sources here, is not that these contacts haven’t happened but that they have been fruitless, because the French claim not even to understand what the US is talking about.

    Then Europe. As Lieven says (and I agree it’s an excellent piece) the continual challenge has been to somehow translate Europe’s wealth and size into international political influence. The story goes back to the days of European Political Cooperation in the 1970s, but although ambitions have expanded greatly since Maastricht, it’s even more difficult now than it was then, simply because of the number and variety of member states and the variety of their different interests. There have been marginal improvements, like the External Action Service, but no matter how good your procedures, if you don’t have underlying political agreement, you’re largely wasting your time. And because foreign policy is something that member states have kept as a national competence, it has to be funded separately on an ad hoc basis. Thus the paradox that the nations have the responsibility but not the money, whereas the Commission has the money but not the responsibility. It’s even worse in the area of security, where thirty years of trying to build structures and forces haven’t produced very much, because most member states are simply not interested, and have let their armed forces decay almost to nothing. France is the only serious EU military power now (ironically, the other one was the UK). The frequent attempts to create these structures are not aimed at an “EU Army’, still less at creating some kind of neo-imperial expeditionary force. The point is simply that if you are going to have any influence on security affairs you have to have some cards in your hand. The French (and the British, just about, as the good Colonel points out) have some cards. Nobody else has, so Europe collectively simply doesn’t count as an actor on security questions.

    Finally Macron. He’s an oddity: the first French President to openly despise his own country, as he never ceases demonstrating. He sees himself as a cosmopolitan European, for whom the Presidency is only a stepping-stone to his real destiny as some kind of Executive President of Europe. So, crudely put, the stronger he can make Europe’s role, the more he will have to inherit. His European rhetoric is not, in fact, that different from his predecessors’, for whom calling for more cooperation and a bigger role for Europe is pretty much a reflex, but there’s an added new personal dimension as well.

    But of course it’s more complicated than that.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Many thanks, David. I was hoping you would chime in.

      I noticed that francophone news bulletins, not just French ones, seem less exercised than anglophone ones.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      Our exchange makes me think of how forty years ago, the British state was competent and had the capacity to mobilise and quickly. That is perhaps for another post about how the UK has withered.

  13. KD

    Melenchon recently came out calling to withdraw from Nato and work independently with Moscow. It could be Macron is tacking to his Left, and its not clear you lose political points in France for bucking the U.S. Besides which, as others have pointed out, Europe is going to have to deal with the actual consequences of Washington’s mess if/when things go South. If Russia shuts off LNG exports, it would probably have a catastrophic effect on energy prices and the competitiveness of German industry, and that is without launching a missile. Plus as the US “de-couples” from China, it probably creates opportunities for France and/or the EU.

  14. Synoia

    It would take 4 ICBM nukes to flatten the West.

    1. Rotterdam
    2. Port of La Long Beach
    3. The Panama Canal
    4. The Suez Canal

    Which could open up an acceleration of the Silk Road for trade.

    The Ukraine was manipulated by the US to become a threat to Russia’s defense strategy of Strategic Retreat and wait for Winter.

    If you park your Tank in front of someone’s home, and point the the gun at the home, the occupants of the Home become nervous, and possibly irrational.

          1. JBird4049

            Ah, if the Russians did a nuclear strike, the Americans would respond in kind. Nobody is arguing about an inability of the two countries to destroy each; they are worried about the rest of the planet, the end of civilization, and perhaps of humanity.

            As a person who personally remembers the Cold War, this casualness with a possible nuclear Armageddon is all sorts of disturbing.

            1. Synoia

              One could say the same about the US, in the form of Victoria Neuland, interfering in Ukraine.

              The point is that threatening Russia with the removal of the buffer states, coupled with sanction on its gas pipelines are clear acts of war.

              Personalty I have never understood the speed with which the US turned Russia from ally to enemy after WW II. Based on US behavior, one wonders if it regretted that it was allied with Russia in WW II.

    1. fajensen

      That would be rather going overboard and lack deniability: Chernobyl may be shut down now, but, Ukraine still have 15 old and rather shitty reactors with dubious safety systems and Russian control software to cook off. Plus a new spent fuel storage facility, since they won’t be sending any of that precious nuclear waste to Russia.

      Ukraine is terminally corrupt. Any money send to improve nuclear safety and waste handling most likely ended up in numbered accounts in Zurich and Lichtenstein.

  15. David in Santa Cruz

    Macron’s remarks to the MEP’s and Biden’s off-the-cuff remarks about proportionality are evidence that Blinken and Nuland are nothing but a pair of Cold War-nostalgic chicken-hawks who confuse Russian-Roulette with diplomacy.

    Nowhere in this post or comments is mentioned the “Normandy Format” talks which led to the “Minsk II” agreement that the “Ukranian government” has failed to implement to the justifiable frustration of the Russian government.

    This should be a purely European issue. The United States has no business deploying missiles in Poland and Romania — Yves is precisely correct to compare these missile launchers to the Soviet launchers deployed in Cuba in 1962. As I read the English language Russian outlets, there is a very likely chance that the Russian government will launch “surgical strikes” against these launch sites, as well as missile sites in “Ukraine.” Based on the doctrine set forth by JFK, Rusk, and McNamara during the Cuban Missile Crisis, such strikes would be justified.

    Since the EU was foolish enough to admit the economically weak quasi-democracies Poland and Romania (the reason some of my British friends supported Brexit), this makes U.S. threats over “Ukraine” an issue that should be resolved by the European Union.

    1. chuck roast

      Thank you DiSC. I read the pink paper everyday…the propaganda organ of the euro-ruling class. I can’t remember the last time there was any mention in the paper about the failure of Minsk 2 let alone a discussion of why it failed. My guess is that the “security elite” (what do you call these people?) in DC were very miffed that the euros would actually make a peace agreement without them and with the object of their loathing. In any case they probably also figured that they could get one of the agreeing parties…the rabid dogs…to ignore the agreement and accept whatever armament the US MIC could happily supply. If Macron was less interested in displaying his own genius and more interested in actual European collective security he would be madly flogging Minsk 2, which was supported by the French as I recall. He would also be demanding that the ex-Wehrmacht flunkies implement all of its provisions.

      1. David in Santa Cruz

        Minsk II gets about as much honest play in the propaganda press as does the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. Chicken-hawk-in-chief Blinken touts this document, when the U.S. repudiated it and declared it “not legally binding” back in 2013.

        Of course let’s not forget that the U.S. ripped-up the INF treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in order to deploy in Poland and Romania “defensive” missiles that can easily be re-targeted to deploy nuclear payloads from sites 5 minutes from Moscow.

        Macron is quite correct to be worried that U.S. chicken-hawks are going to drag Europe into a war with Russia over the chaotic bandit-state of “Ukraine.” The propaganda press are already paving the way.

  16. Expat2uruguay

    As the US continues to humiliate itself in the emerging multipolar world, please notice that all of this exists in the northern hemisphere. I fear this humiliation could lead u.s. foreign policy to turn it’s focus to what it can extract from it’s neighbors in South America. We don’t have a block of Nations like the EU. Who in the multipolar world is going to defend the weakened states of Latin America? Also, the influx of goods from Nations much-maligned by the United States, could be easily yanked, creating further necessity for the United States to bully Latin American countries. I hope I’m not just being paranoid… but it seems to me that picking on Southern neighbors would be attractive to a bruised and humiliated United States as it licked its wounds from losing face to smarter and better organized Global players.

  17. Stove Goblin

    As of January 1, for one year, France is leading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, which is an international quick reaction force that will throw themselves onto the breech in case of conflict. It will be French soldiers killing Russians at 0 hour.

    So Macron’s carrot is actually a stick. If France wants to shuttle messages about the kinetic implications of invasion, then Putin’s future must depend on this offensive, and Macron is concerned about himself. A would-be back channel for negotiating cessation of hostilities along the command structures in the field, useful for the first 36 hours.

    French is the language of diplomacy. And the Russian’s prefer bilateral relationships; it coincides with their historical world view, mistrusting coalitions of any kind. Putin has indeed already rebuffed Russo-Franco agreements because only the US presents a conventional multi-theatre strategic threat to Russia.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Technically Ukraine is not a member, so NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force will not be required during this (imaginary) invasion of Ukraine.

      Also, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is expected to arrive between 2 and 7 days from the activation and in the case of this (imaginary) invasion of Ukraine according to US, Ukrainian and Russian high ranking military representatives it would be mostly over in 24-48 hours, after which it would continue as guerilla warfare (mostly in the Western Ukraine). So the Joint Task Force would have to fight their way in under strong Russian A2/AD.

      Unless this (imaginary) invasion is NATO supported Ukrainian attack on the Donetsk and Luhansk “Republics” in which case the Joint Task Force would have enough time to deploy. But for what purpose?

  18. Dave in Austin

    “Following Macron’s statement, which was applauded in the Strasbourg assembly, ”

    The natives apparently are growing restless. Macron could have used a press conference to say what he said but he was sure enough of European educated opinion that he spoke to the EU’s version of Congress and got applause, not condemnation. No European wants to be dragged into this particular American-Eastern European Refugee adventure.

    “advisors and weapons” (delivered with no notice to the public or legislative involvement”; “Us-funded naval bases on the Blacks Sea coast of the Ukraine” ( anyone read about that in the NYT?). Just the usual 1936-present proxification of war. Spain, Vietnam, the Afghan Resistance and now this.

    Are there any adults left in the room… especially in Washington?

    The most interesting question for me is what happens to the Treaty of Montreax (I think) which governs the right of innocent passage by warships through the Bosporus during peacetime? Ruskis heading to Syria; gringos heading to Odessa… If you think Biden’s parsing of what constitutes an act of war was fun to watch wait til’ the Turkish Prime Minister has to decide who can sail into the Black Sea after the first few shots are fired.

  19. Dandelion

    Third culture kid here who is constantly astounded at American parochialism. One hundred years ago, the US invaded Russia. I’m sure the Russians remember that, even if most Americans have no clue it ever happened. Ukraine is the territory through which Russia has been twice invaded. I’m sure if we had been twice invaded through Canada, we’d have strong feelings about Russian advisors and armaments in Toronto. Yves is right about Cuba — we were ready to bomb the island to glass, even though we’d never been invaded or attacked via Cuba.

    WRT to Nordstream 2, who remembers the 70s’ oil embargo? Americans remember having to wait in long gas lines, but OPEC cut the Netherlands off from any oil imports at all, as an example to the rest of the world. Both Germany and France cut their own oil supplies to their citizenry in order to send oil to the Netherlands so that the Dutch didn’t freeze to death, and to do that both France and Germany imposed energy use restrictions, including every-other-day driving restrictions, no Sunday driving at all, and restricted use of daytime heating. Given that history, I can’t imagine why any EU citizen would accede to US demands that potentially cut access to heat because US economic interests take priority.

    Then there is the issue that Ukraine claims part of Poland, Galicia, as its own. Do the Poles really want a strong, armed Ukraine? I doubt it.

    Americans seem utterly incapable of shifting their lens in order to see the world through the eyes of others. Sun-Tzu said that a warrior must know their enemy. We don’t, and we refuse to learn. Hence our military fiascos everywhere in the world since 1945 (and even our claim of having “won the war” for Europe remains blind to the significance of Dunkirk and Stalingrad, as well as the significance of the suffering the British and the Soviet citizenry were willing to endure. But we look into history and see only ourselves.)

    Some years ago, during the last year or two of the Obama admin, NC linked to an article in either Foreign Affairs or Foreign Policy in which the author discussed a faction within the MIC that understood how global warming would both increase arable land in and also expose more of Siberia’s mineral deposits. This faction in the MIC believed Russia to be weak but getting stronger, and they believed now was the time to attack Russia before it did get stronger.

    Ukraine is a pretense. The true geopolitical prize is Siberia. And the US will not win it and would never be able to hold it, though we could cause a lot of casualties in the attempt.

    1. Art_DogCT

      In considering the Cuban Missile Crisis it’s useful to remember that there would have been no missiles in Cuba at all if the US (acting as NATO) had not placed its Jupiter missiles in Turkey and then refused to withdraw them. As bad as Kennedy was on a great many things, he was at least able to stand down the Pentagon faction and reach an agreement with the USSR for the mutual removal of said missiles – and actually followed through. Back in the Far Ago and Long Away, the USG was, every now and again, agreement-capabable.

      I was a ‘duck-&-cover’ kid in grade school, 8 and 9 years old, spent too much time in nuclear war drills squatting with my back against a brick hallway wall contemplating my crotch, and somehow understanding that it was all pointless theater. I lived in walking distance of the southern edge of the Rocky Flats nuclear and chemical weapons plant reservation. Everyone knew that such a facility would be high on the list of targets in the foreseen fan and feces moment. I remember seeing that ridiculous propaganda commercial a lot in the ’60s, which includes a scene with a boy and girl walking along the street. A very bright flash fills the screen, and Jimmy and Judy, savvy kids, know it’s a nuclear bomb, and they throw themselves to the sidewalk facing into the convenient brick building. And for whatever reason, who seem to think that putting one’s head beneath a sweater or a notebook somehow enhanced one’s protection. I had a decent BS detector back then, and while it would take me another few years to become articulate about it, I knew that that early ‘infomercial’ was just stupid.

      I append a link below for anyone who wishes to join the fun.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Regarding Siberia. Twice I have read of European diplomats complaining to Russian diplomats that Russia is just too big and that it needs to be broken up. No word on what they think should happen to Siberia with all its oil and gas and who should run it.

  20. Susan the other

    This looks like the US and France playing dumb. Gosh, there are just so many parties to this negotiation. Because the dialog seems to have been shifted by Manu to the EU and away from NATO. I’d guess, but I don’t know, that the EU has no agency whatsoever overriding talks between Russia and NATO. Yet suddenly, NATO seems to be of no relevance. So, how amusing. NATO predates the EU, it is close to an unassailable military cooperation treaty. The Russians will see through this ruse immediately and call the bluff. But Blinken and Manu and whoever else who is out to use NATO to game the system (access to Russian oil, imo) by saying that these negotiations are “very complex” will play into Russia’s accusation that the US (now the EU) is not agreement capable. So it’s like they are looking at Russia with a little smile on their collective face and saying, “Gee, You were right!” Oh well, too bad.

  21. Cesar Jeopardy

    Sacré bleu! Zut alors! Mon Dieu! Trouble in paradise.

    I see reason for European nations to follow the U.S. down this possibly very tragic road. This whole mess is the fault of the U.S. anyway. And as a U.S. citizen I no longer trust the U.S. on any issue.

    Is it possible that there are many pro-Russia sleeper cells in Ukraine ready to wake up at the appropriate time and toss out the current corrupt neo-Nazi government? It may not take much.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Interesting. Biden called the German Chancellor up wanting to arrange special talks which was probably to bring in Germany to be more in line with the US in the Ukraine, especially as Germany has not only refused to do so, but that they have not allowed weapons-carrying aircraft to pass over their territory on their way to the Ukraine. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he was too busy, thus blowing of old Joe-

    Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on her first official trip to Moscow, has questioned why there are Russian troops stationed in the Russian Federation and is demanding an explanation pronto.

Comments are closed.