The Growing Chorus for Peace in Ukraine

Yves here. This is a generally fine piece about the fact that it’s now become barely tolerated in elite circles to bring up the idea about negotiating with Russia to end the war in Ukraine.

The pathetic exercise of the signers of an already meek Progressive Caucus letter going so quickly in reverse after their stunningly brief showing as peace advocates that they are now out-hawking some hawks has had some salutary outcomes. First is Streisand effect: the climbdown has put the spotlight on the underlying controversy, with both the right (Tucker Carlson) and left (Matt Taibbi) having a field day. Second, it has exposed the entire membership of the Progressive Caucus as principle-free cowards. Third, The Hill suggests that it may hurt Jayapal. Good, sez I. Jaypal is a major turncoat. She was one of the major figures urging Sanders to drop his 2020 Presidential bid after the Weekend of the Long Knives….without even getting any concessions! Fourth, the fact that the letter was released means that many of these Congresscritters must be feeling pressure from their constituents about Democratic party support for the war.

However, there is a big sour note in the article below: “But it is axiomatic that wars end at the negotiating table…”

Huh? How about Rome and Carthage? The US Civil War? The Napoleonic Wars? World War II? Our tail-between-our-legs departure from Afghanistan?1

IPI Global Observatory in a 2013 article Where Have All the Peace Treaties Gone?, noted:

The United States has been drawing down from two major military actions that have cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. But when the last US troops leave Afghanistan, all signs suggest that they will do so without a peace treaty. The absence of a peace treaty to conclude the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reflects a broader global trend. Why have states stopped using peace treaties as they end their wars with other states?

Key Conclusions

  • The use of peace treaties in interstate war is in global decline.

  • The proliferation of codified international humanitarian law has created disincentives for states to conclude formal peace treaties.

  • If formal peace treaties are associated with longer-lasting peace, recent interstate wars that have ended without peace treaties may resume in the near future.

  • The use of peace treaties to conclude civil wars appears to be on the rise.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies. They are the authors of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, available from OR Books in November 2022. Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and the author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Biden and Jayapal at a negotiating table in October 2021 – Photo credit: The White House

Ukraine has been wracked by shocking destruction and deadly violence since Russia invaded the country in February. Estimates of the death toll range from a confirmed minimum of 27,577 people, including 6,374 civilians, to over 150,000. The slaughter can only get more horrific as long as all sides, including the United States and its NATO allies, remain committed to war.

In the first weeks of the war, the United States and NATO countries sent weapons to Ukraine to try to prevent Russia from quickly defeating Ukraine’s armed forces and conducting a U.S.-style “regime change” in Kyiv. But since that goal was achieved, the only goals that President Zelenskyy and his Western allies have publicly proclaimed are to recover all of pre-2014 Ukraine and decisively defeat and weaken Russia.

These are aspirational goals at best, which require sacrificing hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Ukrainian lives, regardless of the outcome. Even worse, if they should come close to succeeding, they are likely to trigger anuclear war, making this the all-time epitome of a “no-win predicament.”

At the end of May, President Biden responded to probing questions about the contradictions in his Ukraine policy from the New York Times Editorial Board, replying that the United States was sending weapons so that Ukraine “can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

But when Biden wrote that, Ukraine had no position at any negotiating table, thanks mainly to the conditions that Biden and NATO leaders attached to their support. In April, after Ukraine negotiated a15-point peace plan for a ceasefire, a Russian withdrawal and a peaceful future as a neutral country, the United States and United Kingdomrefused to provide Ukraine with the security guarantees that were a critical part of the agreement.

As now disgraced British prime minister Boris Johnson told President Zelenskyy in Kyiv on April 9th, the “collective West” was “in it for the long run,” meaning a long war against Russia, but wanted no part in any agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

In May, Russian forces advanced through Donbas, forcing Zelenskyy to admit, by June 2nd, that Russia nowcontrolled 20% of Ukraine’s pre-2014 territory, leaving Ukraine in a weaker, not a stronger position.

Six months after Secretary Austin declared in April that the new goal of the war was to decisively defeat and “weaken” Russia, President Biden is rejecting calls for a new peace initiative. So the United States and United Kingdom had no reservations about intervening to kill peace talks in April, but now that they’ve sold President Zelenskyy on fighting an endless war, Biden insists that he has no say in the matter if Zelenskyy rejects peace negotiations.

But it is axiomatic that wars end at the negotiating table, as Biden acknowledged to the Times. The perennial thorny question for war leaders is “When to negotiate?” The problem is that, when your side seems to be winning, you have little incentive to stop fighting. But when you appear to be losing, there is no incentive to negotiate from a weak position either, as long as you believe that the tide of war will sooner or later shift in your favor and improve your position. That was the hope on which Johnson and Biden convinced Zelenskyy to stake his country’s future in April.

Now Ukraine has launched localized counter-offensives and recovered parts of its territory. Russia has responded by throwing hundreds of thousands of fresh troops into the war and starting to systematically demolish Ukraine’s electricity grid.

The escalating crisis exposes the weakness of Biden’s position. He is gambling with hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives, which he has no moral claim over, that Ukraine will somehow be in a stronger military position after a winter of war and power outages, with hundreds of thousands more Russian troops in the areas Russia controls. This is a bet on a much longer war, in which U.S. taxpayers will shell out for thousands of tons of weapons and millions of Ukrainians will die, with no clear endgame short of nuclear war.

Thanks to the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the U.S. mass media, most Americans have no inkling of the deceptive way that Biden and his bubble-headed British allies cornered Zelenskyy into a suicidal decision to abandon promising peace negotiations in favor of a long war that will destroy his country.

The horrors of the war, the contradictions in Western policy, the blowback on European energy supplies, the specter of famine stalking the Global South and the rising danger of nuclear war are provoking a worldwide chorus of voices urgently calling for peace in Ukraine.

If you’re on a media diet of the thin gruel that passes for news in America these days, you may not have heard the calls for peace from UN Secretary General Guterres, Pope Francis or the leaders of 66 countries speaking at the UN General Assembly in September, representing the majority of the world’s population.

But there are also Americans calling for peace. From across the political spectrum, from retired military officers and diplomats to journalists and academics, there are “adults in the room” who recognize the dangerous contradictions of U.S. policy on Ukraine, and are joining leaders from around the world in calling for diplomacy and peace.

Jack Matlock served as the last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, from 1987 to 1991, after a 35-year career as a Soviet specialist in the U.S. Foreign Service. Matlock was at the embassy in Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis, where he translated critical messages between Kennedy and Kruschev.

On October 17, 2022, in an article in Responsible Statecraft titled “Why the US must press for a ceasefire in Ukraine,” Ambassador Matlock wrote that as principal arms supplier to Ukraine and the sponsor of the most punitive sanctions on Russia, the United States “is obligated to help find a way out” of this crisis. The article concluded, “Until… the fighting stops, and serious negotiations get underway, the world is headed for an outcome where we all are losers.”

Another veteran U.S. diplomat who has spoken out for diplomacy over Ukraine is Rose Gottemoeller, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO from 2016 to 2019 after she served as President Obama’s senior adviser on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. Gottemoeller recently wrote in the Financial Times that she sees no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, but that “discreet talks” could lead to the kind of “quiet bargain” that resolved the Cuban missile crisis 60 years ago.

On the military side, Admiral Mike Mullen was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011. After President Biden chatted at a fundraising party about the war in Ukraine leading to nuclear “Armageddon,” ABCinterviewed Mullen about the danger of nuclear war. “I think we need to back off that a little bit and do everything we possibly can to get to the table to resolve this thing,” Mullen replied. “It’s got to end, and usually there are negotiations associated with that. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”

Economist Jeffrey Sachs was the director of the Earth Institute and now the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He has been a consistent voice for peace in Ukraine ever since the invasion. In a recent articleon September 26, titled “The Great Game in Ukraine is Spinning out of Control,” Sachs quoted President Kennedy in June 1963, uttering what Sachs called “the essential truth that can keep us alive today:”

“Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war,” said JFK. “To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy–or of a collective death-wish for the world.”

Sachs concluded, “It is urgent to return to the draft peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine of late March, based on the non-enlargement of NATO… The world’s very survival depends on prudence, diplomacy, and compromise by all sides.”

Even Henry Kissinger, whose own war crimes are well documented, has spoken out on the senselessness of current U.S. policy. Kissinger told the Wall Street Journal in August, “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to.”

In the U.S. Congress, after every single Democrat voted for a virtual blank check for arming Ukraine in May, with no provision for peacemaking, Progressive Caucus leader Pramila Jayapal and 29 other progressive Democratic Representatives recently signed a letter to President Biden, urging him to “make vigorous diplomatic efforts in support of a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, engage in direct talks with Russia, explore prospects for a new European security arrangement acceptable to all parties that will allow for a sovereign and independent Ukraine, and, in coordination with our Ukrainian partners, seek a rapid end to the conflict and reiterate this goal as America’s chief priority.”

Unfortunately, the backlash within their own party was so blistering that within 24 hours they withdrew the letter. Siding with calls for peace and diplomacy from all over the world is still not an idea whose time has come in the halls of power in Washington DC.

This is an extremely dangerous moment in history. Americans are waking up to the reality that this war threatens us with the existential danger of nuclear war, a danger most Americans thought we had survived once and for all at the end of the First Cold War. Even if we manage to avoid nuclear war, the impact of a long, bloody war will destroy Ukraine and kill millions of Ukrainians, cause humanitarian catastrophes across the Global South, and trigger a long-lasting global economic crisis.

That will relegate all humanity’s urgent priorities, from tackling the climate crisis to hunger, poverty and disease, to the back-burner for the foreseeable future.

There is an alternative. We can and must resolve this conflict through peaceful diplomacy and negotiation, to end the killing and destruction and let the people of Ukraine live in peace.


1 The Congress of Vienna was about how to reconstitute nations and territories that had been conquered by Napoleon, not to end the war.

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    1. Paula

      I like the ideas in the Valdic Club. At least it’s something that sounds much more equitable than the current hegemonic unipolarity. Thanks.

  1. fresno dan

    Unfortunately, the backlash within their own party was so blistering that within 24 hours they withdrew the letter. Siding with calls for peace and diplomacy from all over the world is still not an idea whose time has come in the halls of power in Washington DC.
    The fact that the few dems, within 24 hours, completely reversed course, indicates that Ukraine is the new Afghanistan, circa 2002. The repubs, except for a very few exceptions that prove the rule, still believe more war is better than less war. Regular people I talk to at bars know and care very little about Ukraine. If there is going to be any political pressure, it will come because of the economic effects. But I am not sanguine about that – think about how much money down the rathole in Afghanistan – trillons for useless wars, not one penny for health care…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We ended pandemic lifelines claiming inflation which happened anyway and spent ungodly sums on a distant war where we have less reasons to be involved than in Afghanistan or even Iraq. I think they are terrified a critical mass will make this connection.

      1. nippersdad

        Something that has been memory holed since about two weeks after the war in Afghanistan started is that the Taliban INVITED us in to take out AQ, as they were an admittedly failed state without the power to do it themselves. That even before one considers that the people who planned/perpetrated 9/11 were all Saudis, there was never any reason, at all, for us to be in Afghanistan. That was purely a war of choice, and was used to measure how much they could get away with prior to going for the real prize in Iraq…………

        OK, I’m still mad about all of that. But I think you are right. If people manage to connect those dots there are going to be a lot of heads on spikes. But US foreign policy has been like the movie Groundhog Day, it just never seems to end.

        1. BeliTsari

          And we figured, it was KBR vs the bin Laden’s taking over distribution of opium exports? Our Special Forces’ weapons weren’t designed to work so high up, and were high maintenance?

          1. nippersdad

            But, IIRC, the Taliban had banned the growing of opium in Afghanistan prior to our invasion. Looking the other way as that industry grew was all done to appease greedy warlords, because being on our payroll just wasn’t enough.

            Sometimes it seems like the CIA should be able to fund itself. Everywhere they go some kind of drug becomes the cash crop of choice even as they supposedly fight a war on drugs. There is just nothing about our foreign policy that makes any sense at all; it is almost like it was designed to fail.

            1. Lex

              They had. And our “invasion” was really more of a proxy war with intelligence/special forces supporting the Northern Alliance. Of course, Massoud was conveniently assassinated just before 9/11 which beheaded the NA and Massoud, though an early recipient of US funds had been out of favor since the mid-80’s and was staunchly anti-american. So instead of an actual combined NA it was a splintered group of warlords who immediately started doing their own thing.

              For much of the US-Afghan war, Afghanistan had the lowest rate of border interdiction of any drug producing country while having the strongest presence of US drug enforcement.

              And indeed. CIA drug trafficking involvement goes back to the 50’s with Republican Chinese opium (the french connection) before moving more seriously into SE Asia where during the Vietnam war we had our own heroin processing facility! Klaus Barbie helped build and protect the international cocaine trade while being on the CIA’s payroll. And Afghanistan became the world’s biggest opium producer during the American occupation, even branching out from just raw opium production to at least middle stage processing.

  2. Alice X

    The Democrats are still afflicted with the MICC lab created Russia, Russia, Russia brain virus, which has seemed impervious to all reason based vaccines, the Rs have a slightly different variant. The Progressives short lived letter was only the slightest glimmer of recovery. The only treatment for the virus so far, has been blood-letting, but talking would be so much better.

  3. Thuto

    It seems the political spectrum in DC is a line that curls up from both sides to form a circle, with the convergence point being the love for war.

    1. orlbucfan

      More like love for endless profit fueled by nutcase human greed and stupidity aka modern predatory capitalism aka the MICC.

    2. Another Anon

      Or as the former Australian Prime Minister Mark Latham called it: “A conga line of brown nosers”

  4. Don Cafferty

    Along with a “growing chorus for peace” there needs to be a growing chorus of voices opposing the continuous appointments of neocons to the government. It should be clear by now that the neocons oppose peace and can create strife without political direction or oversight. The detention of Meng Wanzhou for example was orchestrated by John Bolton.

    1. hunkerdown

      What about the shadow elite? To concentrate so intently on the playing field of value recognition is to ignore the points of value production, the systems and structures that enable capitalist-funded groups to form thoughts and ideologies to impose on others. I suggest instead to destroy those capabilities and the public lives of their users.

    2. nippersdad

      It seemed like we had a consensus that neocons were bad news during the Bush Administration, but the way that first Pelosi and then Obama managed to cleanse them of all their sins by becoming their acolytes effectively ended all of that. I never thought I would see the day that Democratic pols would strut around shouting Banderite slogans, but irony is now dead.

      We now have the likes of Lynn Cheney endorsing Democratic politicians! There really just doesn’t appear to be any point at all to supporting that party anymore.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Old Joe once endorsed a Republican over a Democrat but he got $200,000 for that stunt. Liz Cheney did it for free. Idjut.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Just because her payout has yet to be realized by the public doesn’t mean there hasn’t, or won’t, be one. I’m convinced she’s looking ahead to bigger, possibly not directly financial, things in return for her loyalty.

          1. nippersdad

            A split ticket in ’24 with Hillary Clinton?

            I can imagine few things more horrible than something like that.

            1. Dr. John Carpenter

              Never count out the Dems to take the worst situation you can imagine and make it even worse.

      2. Carla

        It is actually LIZ Cheney, co-chair of the January 6 committee and still a member of Congress for a few more weeks who endorsed Michigan Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin.

        LYNNE Cheney is mother to Liz and wife to Dick.

        I’m pointing this out because I’ve noticed an awful lot of people making this mistake.

  5. Bart Hansen

    No treaty was signed following the Korean War and the two countries are still at war. If the U.S. would facilitate such an agreement, relations might improve. But, bullies will bully.

      1. Bart Hansen

        It would be between just the two Koreas. But somehow we would try to be involved, probably demanding that NK would disarm.

        I was just adding it to Yves’ list above.

  6. David

    It is, indeed, not axiomatic that “wars end at the negotiation table.” This reflects the classic liberal belief that wars are based on misunderstanding and popular animosity, and by extension that people of goodwill, sitting around a table, can find an enduring solution. That displays an ignorance of what wars are actually about, why they happen and why they end.

    Peace activists tend to believe that peace talks – not the same as “peace” – are the solution to conflict, but experience shows that this is not so, and that peace talks, and even peace agreements imposed by outsiders, can have catastrophic consequences: Rwanda in 1993 is the classic example.

    Peace talks have to be seen as a tidying-up exercise, a bureaucratic stage in the resolution of a conflict. The absolutely essential prerequisites are (1) both/all sides genuinely want a peaceful solution as opposed to more fighting (2) there exists, at least in theory, an outcome that could satisfy both/all sides and (3) the underlying causes of the conflict have been addressed. Otherwise, forget it.

    We are nearly not remotely in that position in Ukraine now. For all that the West could deliver Zelensky in some form, nobody can deliver the Russians. They will stop the war when they are ready. It’s true that a move away from military confrontation towards political engagement would help, but by itself it’s not going to lead to a peace treaty, still less to peace.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      And why have the Russians prosecuted this war, David? Could it be because Ukraine reneged on implementation of the Minsk agreement? The political solution to this crisis has been obvious from the start.

      1. juno mas

        Yes. The issue is not the West delivering Zelensky to the negotiating table. The issue is the US (and vassals) relentless taunting of Russia (a military superpower). The US gambled they could crush Russia and lost the bet.

        The US Joint Chief, Mark Milley, has said that a defeat of Russia is essential to US world domination. Doesn’t sound like diplomacy or peace is an end goal, to me.

      2. David

        Um, read my comment again, especially the three criteria. The political solution now is not then same as the political solution then, because the cards have been reshuffled, and the Russians now hold most of them. I don’t actually think there is a political solution any more in the sense of compromise negotiations, because the West and Ukraine have very little to give that Russia can’t take anyway, and Russia, I suspect, doesn’t see why it should give anything.

        1. Stephen

          I think you are 100% right with respect to Ukraine.

          With respect to the broader West versus Russia conflict there might be potential Russian asks such as dissolve NATO and remove the US military from Europe. But these are not practical negotiation topics in the absence of a total implosion of the US. and Europe waking up.

          It might take a generation to get to that.

        2. Expat2Uruguay

          One reason Russia would negotiate for peace is because of an interest in having the EU as gas customers again. This is not because they need customers for their gas, but because the arrangement facilitates peace with Europe and gives Russia leverage over Europe which counters US influence.

          After all, a main reason for the US instigating this war with Russia was to destroy the economic connection between Germany and the EU with Russia.

    2. GW

      “For all that the West could deliver Zelensky in some form, nobody can deliver the Russians. They will stop the war when they are ready.”

      There’s truth to this. But IMO it overlooks something. That is, nobody can deliver US/NATO. The US and its allies will stop the war when they are ready, and not one second before.

      For eight years, US/NATO has been striving to turn Ukraine into a geostrategic asset. There’s a reason why. It’s so the West attains historically unprecedented power over Russia in future bilateral relations. US/NATO so highly values this outcome it’s willing to fight Europe’s biggest conventional war since WW2.

      Question is, when will the West be ready to stop. The answer is disconcerting. That’s because many US/NATO powerbrokers think in terms not far removed from megalomania.

      IMO, Western leaders have visions of something like a new Brest-Litovsk Treaty. Or, at the very least, another 1856 Treaty of Paris (read about Lord Palmerston’s goals).

      US/NATO will be ready for peace when Russia is totally defeated, or when the war exhausts the West’s resources and political will to keep fighting.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It looks more and more to me that the peace comes when Ukraine runs out of warm bodies to put in uniform and put on the harm’s way.

        There will probably be a capitulation at some point (before next summer), and no amount of dollars or Polish volunteers can prevent that.

        Who in Ukraine will capitulate is whole another question, though. It’s pretty obvious that it will not be this regime, so probably it will be the military leadership, once they rid themselves of the Azov, Right Sector, CIA and MI6.

        When Zelensky disappears and USA embassy staff starts burning documents, peace will be near.

      2. Felix_47

        The decision makers in the US and NATO have nothing to gain from peace. The military is itching to get more involved. Russia'”s entire military budget is one twelfth of what we have spent this year in Ukraine. The US is too powerful and too wealthy to lose this war. No politician on right or left is going to be willing to be the one that lost Ukraine.

    3. Karl

      Yes, “All wars end at the negotiating table” is demonstrably false. Few wars actually “end” that way.

      Sometimes negotiations just delay or prolong rather than prevent/resolve conflict. E.g. Minsk II, the US-N. Vietnam Paris peace talks, Munich 1938. These are classic examples of failed negotiations.

      Sometimes negotiations culminate in an “agreement” that only appear to “end” the war, but rather establish the grounds for the next war, e.g. Versailles 1919, treaties on the Balkans before 1914.

      I do believe the chorus for “negotiations” are simply evidence that reality is slowly seeping into the DC beltway mindset that things aren’t going well for the Ukrainians, NATO, the EU or the USA. This side gets weaker while Russia gets stronger.

      Not only that, but the conduct of the war is showing that U.S. technologies are incapable of giving Ukraine air supremacy. This has huge implications for the conduct of a major war in the future. E.g., our surface Navy will be sitting ducks to swarms of drones and hypersonic missiles.

      The aircraft carrier is now obsolete, but it will take awhile for that truth to “seep” in. Probably the manned fighter plane as well. As Ed Harris says to Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

      Pilots need to eat, sleep, take a piss…. The future is coming, and you [human pilots] are not in it.

      1. hk

        This is a fairly modern phenomenon–every one of the examples you noted are from 20th century. Between the Treaties of Westphalia and the beginning of WW1, wars were almost always ended by treaties, and, even before 1648, a lot of them were reliably ended that way. I being this up because this strikes me as an interesting question: we talk about US being “agreement incapable,” but the truth is that a lot of people became agreement incapable since 1914. How and why did this happen?

        1. amechania

          Totalizing capital. Colonialism allowed european peace (even america and britain sided with the french against haiti.) but when britain maxed out, total war with germany descended swiftly.

          Literally one family of royals ruling both countries. The Glorious Revolution of bankers transcendant. And making loans to both sides. Synectanty.

          Class over nation is my answer. Agreement with and for whom? Capital will work with chinese autocrats before giving us an inch.

  7. Lex

    The fundamental problem with this piece and point it tries to make is summed up nicely in the “axiomatic that wars end at the negotiation table”. It’s an interesting conceit that betrays a lack of any intellectual rigor within the American “left”. The world must exist as we conceptualize it should exist rather than working within the bounds of reality. It will be particularly problematic for the American “left” to cope with the Ukrainian conflict because resolution will, to some degree, require an admission of Democratic involvement in the seed sowing of the conflict as much as the bitter harvest.

    1. nippersdad

      That will not be a bad thing, there can be no forgiveness without an overt display of contrition. The Democratic party has long needed to come to terms with the way it has morphed into yet another Republican party. If this can form the nucleus of reform it may yet have a future.

      Not that I am banking on that.

      1. hunkerdown

        Contrition can be performed faithlessly. It is better to destroy their tools than to redeem them, as if their place in the world (or their “world” in toto) were not dispensable.

    2. Zalahaldin

      There actually are many fundamental issues with this article, not just the one Lex and others mention about wars ending at the negotiation table. But for me the biggest issue is that it doesn’t even mention the complete and total lack of credibility of western, especially US and UK, negotiators. How do you negotiate with someone who you know will repudiate anything signed whenever they feel like it? The answer is, of course, you don’t unless you have no choice, or until you are in a position to impose whatever was signed. That’s where the Russians are right now – absolute disgust felt by Putin (and almost all Russians) towards the collective west.

      1. John Wright

        I remember reading at the time Biden brought Victoria Nuland into the White House that Putin “despised her”.

        If this was public information, it was an early “shot across the bow” to Putin (and the USA diplomatic corps) of what would be coming.

        I was optimistic that, after a long career of public disservice, Biden did something right by pulling out of Afghanistan.

        But that appears to be an event mainly to get ready for the Ukraine provocation to Russia.

    3. Librarian Guy

      Let’s not forget the number of bad treaties that are imposed on the actual winners. 2 strong examples come to my mind. When Haiti finally successfully revolted and expelled the French colonial slave masters they were rewarded with a “peace” treaty that demanded reparations to the French state for the treasure they’d wasted trying to subdue the Haitians. Result, impoverishment going forward for the newly liberated Haitian majority, which only grew over decades, then centuries. 2nd, Nixon-Kissinger’s ’73 Paris Peace accords, the US withdrew with “dishonor” despite Nixon’s sloganeering and also despite pro forma promises of future “aid” to Vietnam (though actually only to our former “nationalist” allies) the US in 1974 (a year after the accords) imposed a blockade a la Cuba on Vietnam that damaged its economy for 2 decades, until Clinton partially lifted it in 1994 when the “Communist” government had become sufficiently pro-market and pro-globalist. Similar outcome to Haiti, it’s called being a colonial Bad Loser.

      1. Bart Hansen

        On Haiti, this is why Macron need to give back the 150,000,000 Francs, in today’s Euros, that was extorted from Haiti back in the early 1800s.

        Let Guterres distribute the money.

    4. Anon

      American Left? An oxymoron. At best, a vestigial wing, like snake feet.

      Aside: “bubble-headed allies…” LOLLLLL

  8. The Rev Kev

    It looks like this war will only be finished with a military solution. The Collective West has said that it is up to Zelensky to make a deal to end the war. But Zelensky passed a law that makes it illegal for him to make such a deal while Putin is President. So the war will go on. I have no doubt that we will hear about cease-fires and ‘freezing the conflict’ to end the war but I am here to say that it is not gunna happen. To freeze the war would leave the Ukrainians free later to not only lob artillery rounds at Donetsk city for example but also other places like the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. And NATO has already announced a ten-year plan to rebuild and re-equip the Ukrainian military to have this war all over again. So no. This has been made a fight to the finish. How much of the Ukraine will be left when the war is over? No idea. There may not even be a viable Ukrainian state left when this is all over. Not that it will stop the west from sending in more weapons and training sabotage and assassination teams. And if the Ukraine falls down quickly like Afghanistan did, I think that the US/EU will go absolutely ballistic. How will they react? Probably like spoiled children but how that plays out I have no idea but at the moment I am seriously wondering if there might be an improvement if old Joe was forced to step down. Probably not as Truss was forced to stand down and if anything, that made things worse in the UK.

    1. chuck roast

      Yeah, pretty much. Only the Americans can end this war. And if they don’t the Russians will march to the Polish border. In any case, I’m concerned that the Banderites will still live. Harboring and nursing resentments the way they always have and plotting to undermine and destroy the immutable geography that they have been stuck with since Attila the Hun. And so it goes in Mitteleuropa.

    2. Irrational

      That decree could potentially be reversed if Z. was out of the picture and somebody else was in charge. I don’t hold out much hope though.

    3. Karl

      How much of the Ukraine will be left when the war is over? No idea. There may not even be a viable Ukrainian state left when this is all over.

      I think your post answers your question. There won’t be much of Ukraine when this is over. It will be completely de-Nazified with a new government, and then agreement capable. Or it will be completely annexed so it will NEVER entertain fantasies again. Then it will prosper selling food to China, and other stuff to Russia — Ukraine’s #1 and #3 trading partners before the war.

      Fantasies die hard. Ukraine’s fantasies will die only with massive human casualties. NATO’s will die only with disillusionment. Then life will go on. A year from now, I suspect things will begin to return to normal. C’est la vie.

  9. nippersdad

    I am surprised to see Benjamin accept the premise, twice, that Russia invaded the Donbass. It has always struck me how scrupulously legalistic Putins’ efforts to put their invitation to enter the Donbass was. The whole R2P context of existing international law should have forced the UN to acknowledge that if Russia’s intervention was illegal then so was the conflict in Yugoslavia. That did not happen because we do not deign to notice that which is not in our interest, but it should have been something that Benjamin would have picked up on.

    1. jrkrideau

      Given the quality of reporting in the Western media, Benjamin may have missed that liitle point or the constant screaming about the unprovoked invasion may have caused him to forget it in a short essay’ that is,it may just be poor wording?

      1. nippersdad

        She is usually pretty plugged in. It is beginning to look like that is the minimum ask for greater credibility in our press today. It is like Mate’ always saying that Russia had options other than going in to protect the residents of the Donbass, but never saying what they were.

        It is a little thing, but always kind of jarring when one sees it.

        1. Soredemos

          The narrative is so dominant that many who dissent still accept various false premises, either because it’s just easier and lessens the chance of being called a Putin puppet, or because those premises are so unquestioned that they’re honestly accepting them as true.

          Implicit in ‘there needs to be a negotiated peace deal’ thinking is usually the assumption that Russia has a pressing need to negotiate because it’s losing, or has at least been badly mauled. Even most dissidents are accepting the notion that Russia is being forced to retreat and regroup.

          Western propaganda has been completely successful, I would say. Even many rebels accept many false promises simply because the media parrots them endlessly and they’re confidently conveyed as basic objective truth.

  10. Chet G

    I find that the authors – despite their supposedly good intentions – are part of the official narrative:

    Ukraine has been wracked by shocking destruction and deadly violence since Russia invaded the country in February.

    Whatever happened to the civil war in Ukraine between 2014 and 2022? Are all those who died then not worthy of being counted?
    Why have peace talks now? Fears of Armageddon? Maybe the powers that be in the US don’t mind Armageddon? Maybe they’re part of the new breed that no longer believe a nuclear winter will end life on Earth or vacations in the Hamptons?

    1. nippersdad

      I read an article the other day in Politico that looked like it had been cobbled together from editors snippets dropped on the floor from previous trash articles. This one struck me as being interesting only insofar as they used the OSCE’s fourteen thousand number of Ukrainians killed prior to the onset of the Russian SMO. That the author did not get that this was outdated information, or that those fourteen thousand people were in the Donbass and killed by Ukrainians seeking to take their territory, showed just how lax reportage over there is.

      They are only worthy when they are useful to the narrative, a narrative that has so many holes that it would be shameful to have to append ones’ name to it.

      1. Soredemos

        That 14,000 is the total number of people killed on both sides, Kiev and Donbass, in the civil war since 2014. And most of those were armed fighters. It isn’t just people killed in Donbass; it also includes people killed by the Donbass combatants.

  11. GC54

    A pause in hostilities with Russia by proxy doesn’t change the elites’ goal to get their mitts on vast Siberian mineral wealth as the great white north melts out. First Russia, then Canada, as dessicated USA & Mexico empties north. A much diminished population eating insects huddled around Hudson Bay. Churchill, capital of the North American Codominion by 2060 tops.

    1. John

      Don’t count on insects being available for food as they are disappearing at an astonishing rate.
      As in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, “long pork” might be the menu du jour for some towards the end.

  12. Stephen

    There does seem to be an increasing trend for wars to end without negotiations or treaties. Maybe an additional driver is that war in recent times has increasingly been between “peoples” and “ideologies”. If you vilify the enemy as evil then it is super hard for either side to justify sitting down and negotiating. The classic eighteenth century Westphalian style conflicts such as the Seven Years War were arguably much more between states not peoples, often made explicit use of mercenaries to do the fighting and even many of the statesmen were foreign to the governments they served. They were also not tainted so much by religious difference as earlier wars had been. “Gentlemen’s Wars” such as those may be much easier to end in negotiated settlements because everyone is still part of the same club and ideological mindset. That seems very much to be missing in today’s west versus Russia de facto war.

    Your note about the Congress of Vienna is interesting too. I have always seen seen the ending of the Napoleonic Wars as a halfway house between the unconditional surrender model of World War 2 and the more negotiated endings to wars of the eighteenth century. It had even stopped being a revolutionary war and was more in the nature of a dynastic conflict.

    Unlike at Versailles in 1919, France as the defeated party was also at least a member of the Congress. Napoleon was deposed but various discussions had taken place through 1813 that had very much been linked to potential negotiated settlements, with an armistice even being in place for negotiations in Spring 1813 that the Austrians had mediated. If I recall correctly, it was Napoleon’s own intransigence and his final rejection of the Treaty of Chaumont in March 1814 then drove the ultimate non negotiated ending that resulted from allied military victory in the Battle of Paris, with the Hundred Days and Waterloo as the last, later gasps.

    I guess the outcome illustrates though just how difficult it is to end war via negotiation rather than decisive victory on the battlefield, after which the winner simply dictates the outcome and has very little need to negotiate in any meaningful sense of real give and take.

    Without stretching the metaphor too much, the west is very much the intransigent and agreement non capable Napoleon in the current conflict. The Russians similarly seem much more to be going through the same journey that the Sixth Coalition took. They were prepared to negotiate and have been open to a settlement. They even continue to say that they are willing to negotiate. But, one suspects that right now they will simply take victory on the battlefield as the way to end the war. Which is pretty much what the Sixth Coalition did too.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      But it seems to me that victory on the Ukrainian Battlefield in no way ends the war between Russia and the West. Especially since the sanctions won’t end, at least not until the West is defeated by its own tools.

      What I’m saying here is very similar to what Michael Hudson is saying below

      1. Stephen

        I think we are saying the same thing. Russia will “win” in Ukraine and impose some form of settlement there. But it will not end the broader conflict, which will likely widen to include China. Iran is also in the mix, of course. An embryonic Eurasian coalition to oppose the west is perhaps forming.

        The Napoleonic example that was included in the original piece is mayhem quite appropriate. The various wars following on from the French Revolution extended over a quarter century. Arguably, they were the final episode too of a century long conflict between Britain and France to determine the global hegemony. We may well be in for a similar extended period of such strife.

        The big question will be whether there is genuine blowback to the US homefront and whether that is tolerated. It could shorten things.

        1. Greg

          I’m still confused and bewildered by the leap to “lets export all our manufacturing capability to China, then declare war on it”. It’s like no-one paid attention to “the return of industrial warfare” narrative arc and the writers got super lazy when looking for a new villain in season 2.

          I just can’t see any way a conflict with China, even low key and cold war, can do anything but destroy the western world as it currently exists.

      2. Karl

        the sanctions won’t end

        I think the EU will “modify” the sanctions (perhaps with lots of arcane loopholes to keep the poor optics to a minimum) so Europe can get back to business with cheap Russian gas, oil, and fertilizer.

        Biden will need to relent on sanctions to help extricate the world out of the deep recession (or even depression) the sanctions helped to bring about.

        This is all about business, i.e. access to cheap resources. You can either access them the way the neocons want–through war–or you can access them through more orderly (e.g. contractual) arrangements, like the rest of neoliberal global capitalism. It’s a straightforward cost-benefit calculation. And war is proving way too expensive for the West. This is true also of Taiwan and China.

        Failing to return to a semblance of normal would be supreme idiocy. Biden may need to leave office before that happens for the U.S., assuming Biden doesn’t send in the 101st Airborne and start WW III.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Talleyrand, the foreign minister of France, had established excellent personal relations with key figures in all the major powers and was in active negotiations as Napoleon being defeated. Talleyrand conducted extensive discussions with Czar Alexander I that were treasonous (they assumed a French loss, Tallleyrand always had keen instincts for where things were going; he had objected to Napoleon’s later conquests as overreach) that would have gotten him executed had Napoleon found out. Napoleon knew Talleyand was up to no good but still kept him around. Napoleon believed would get the better of Talleryand.

      Talleyrand also played a major role in who got what at the Congress of Vienna by virtue of his superb negotiating skills. He was extremely concerned about not producing further resentments and wanted to secure a durable peace.

      1. Karl

        Don’t forget Castleraugh (of Britain) and Metternich (Austria-Hungary). They were all products of a more enlightened age. They could understand the architecture of peace, and all of the flying buttresses that a lasting peace would require.

        Comparing them to the likes of a Jake Sullivan or Anthony Blinken makes the present age seem ignorant, uni-dimensional, ideological, Dunn-Krueger-arrogant, and shallow. The age is technically too advanced for the limited intellectual and attention spans of those who make political and battle commands.

      2. Stephen

        Yep, Talleyrand was for sure one of the more colourful figures of that period of European history, in what was quite a crowded field.

        The Congress of Vienna arguably created a better, more practical balance of power focused outcome than later European peace settlements that were more focused on punishment. Talleyrand’s negotiation skills were also combined with a genuine desire by the allies to readmit France to the Concert of Europe, once the monarchy was restored. His negotiation skills were not quite good enough though to persuade the British to relinquish the colonies they had taken through the wars, which was not even on the table to start with. Balance of power only applied in Continental Europe……

        Of course, later generations of liberal nationalists reviled the Congress. That did not end well in the last century. Our current leaders are of that ideological ilk too. The Russians seem to be much more in tune with the approach of the Congress of Vienna.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The fact that Talleyrand was able to preserve France’s pre-war boundaries in Europe is generally considered by historians to have been a big win. There’s a great story in one of his bios where the foreign ministers of four countries (including Metternich) present a letter to Talleyrand which they’ve agreed on and they think fatally pins him and France into having to make big concessions. Talleyrand reads it slowly, focuses on one word, and uses it to pick apart their unified position. The letter gets dropped.

  13. tgs

    Many of those calling for diplomacy and peace talks are in the grip of a fantasy – that Russia is losing on the battlefield and that Putin is desperate for a ‘face saving off – ramp’. Recent developments make it clear that Russia intends to create its own off-ramp via a comprehensive defeat of Ukraine on the battlefield. Given that many in the collective west are on record that a Russian victory is cannot happen, then it seems likely that the West will choose the nuclear option. That will be sold to the people of the West as the only option to prevent the madman in the Kremlin from continuing his war of conquest.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      That will be sold to the people of the West as the only option to prevent the madman in the Kremlin from continuing his war of conquest.

      Don’t buy what they’re selling. It’s insane

    2. spud farmer

      I dunno…in my circles the people in favour of peace talks and diplomacy are worried about the war going nuclear and would like to see it stopped before that happens. Which side is winning or losing is incidental.

  14. Michael Hudson

    First, the US is not agreement-capable.
    But more important, Biden has said that Ukraine is only the opening arena of a ten or twenty-year war to determine who will run the world — the US? — or will it be multipolar. No multipolar solution will be accepted. The US thus implies eternal war.
    But does this matter? No war has been declared in Ukraine. The US has not declared war anywhere. It just bombs and meddles and sanctions. So how can negotiations “end” a war that either has no existence (no declaration) or is for total world domination?

    1. LawnDart

      Your first point, “the US is not agreement-capable,” immediately came to mind as I began reading this article– Russia knows better than to trust us.

      There are no reasons, no incentives, for Russia to end the operation until it’s objectives have been fulfilled and the facts-on-the-ground are fully established. First, Russia needs to feel satisfied with the buffer-zone and internal security within that zone. Second, governments need to fall throughout Europe with new governments formed that at least question the US or even hold their own interests to be of primary concern. Finally, the US needs to be distracted by another crisis somewhere else in the world before we can move on and forget about Ukraine.

      On those lines, to me it’s looking like we’ll soon be needing to coup the Saudis and shake-up OPEC+ before our own energy-woes become too apparent, as well as to address our need to preserve the advantages of the petrodollar. Until then, keep feeding the MIC and keep those kickbacks coming via Ukraine.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      It may certainly be naive to believe this, but since when do we just let Biden and the neocons decide this?

      We have to stop them. We outnumber them. We can’t just sit back and not try to get rid of these horrible warmongers.

    3. David

      Much of the war is over already. The US now has little direct capacity to change what’s going on in Europe, let alone in Ukraine. At some point, Washington will come to understand that it is no longer a major player. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the US does: it’s not yet out of the game but it has less and less influence. Whether the US political system can absorb that fact, and at what speed, are interesting questions that have yet to be answered.

      1. Lex

        Indeed. The understanding of the geopolitical reality in DC is lagging the facts on the ground and the trend lines. That might be the most dangerous part of all this. Rather than adjusting to the new reality I fear US leadership will be faced with a shock and the type of people in charge (as your recent piece detailed) are really not competent or capable to manage it.

  15. Michael Ismoe

    Why would Russia negotiate now? They sent 200,000 men into a country the size of Texas and fought NATO to a standstill. NATO has emptied their arsenal of weapons and the Ukrainians got most of them blown up. The Russians could probably march to the English Channel right now since there is nothing left to stop them.

    Russia is about to add another 300K troops to a situation in stasis. The Russian might sit at a table with the Ukies but they are about to win a war in the field. Peace talks will merely be a distraction from the way the war is going to actually end. Too many pipelines have been destroyed and bridges bombed and POWs slaughtered for this to end any way but a hard peace for Ukraine.

    BY 2024, the Blinkins, the Sullivans and the Nulands will be driven from DC and back to some think tank that does consultancy work for the Department of Defense, still getting it wrong.

    Oh, and there might be a million dead Ukrainians, but that’s just a “cost of doing business.” After all, as the man says, “There are zero American deaths, so the ROI on this war, is great.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I could only watch one minute of that video and I gave up. Why is it that ex-Generals are so full of **** while if you want more honest information, you need to listen to ex-Majors and ex-Colonels. Ex-Colonel Douglas MacGregor and Scott Ritter come to mind here.

      1. nippersdad

        In an ideal world we would have the MacGregors and Ritters debate those neocons on NPR/PBS with the President and the leaders of both Houses looking on. That should be a weekly thing in a democracy, and that is why we have to put our own in quotation marks.

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Maybe that’s the way to address Otis B. Driftwood’s demand (above) that the NeoCons get shoved aside.

          A PBS debate, administered by the likes of League of Women Voters, or some other group with some spine and integrity, would do the trick.

          How to force that debate? Where are the pressure points?

          Whatabout a major video festival in front of the PBS HQ in DC? With a stage on a truck, sound system, debate table…all done to live streaming on all video outlets?

          NeoCons don’t want to play, shun the party? Fine. Let’s get Tina Fey to be Victoria Nuland. She’d be great. Who can we recruit to be Blinken? Matt Damon. He might do it.

          Streets full of people, food trucks…major party scene with moments of gravitas (the actual debate) and drama, like when the police show up in Riot Gear & start bustin’ heads.

          Great TV.

          Donald Trump could show up with his new Twitter feed. Jump-start his campaign right there.

          Do the NeoCon Fling two weeks after the mid-term elections, which is when the Presidential campaign actually starts.

          Not into parties in the context of Serious Issues?

          OK, what if, instead of on PBS, it was on Fox, and was moderated by Carlson Tucker?

          Nippersdad, I think you’re on to something with this.

          As a public service, NC could compile the list of NeoCon failures and their costs, to date, along with a brief analysis of where all that money could have been spent.

          1. nippersdad

            Between Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson, something like that could be a rallying cry. If someone could put some pressure on them to popularize the idea there are millions of people in their audiences that could take up the cause. I think the lefty (?)sphere would go wild for the idea, and they would be a great resource for just such things as computing the costs of failed policies over the years.

            I absolutely agree. Put the Kagans on public trial for their actions, and then lets’ see what the American public wants to do with them.

            1. rowlf

              Screw it. Let’s have war crimes tribunals for US officials.

              Does the International Criminal Court offer franchises? Since the US criminal justice system has showed how profitable incarceration can be the ICC should be rushing to get set up in the US. Grease a few palms, fill a few tea cups, and get it going. /s

              I’m pretty sure the incarcerated can cover their costs while sentenced.

      2. CarlH

        The people who rise to the rank of general do so because they are fierce political animals, while the truly competent who care about their actual jobs and their men and women never make it to the top precisely because of the traits that make them so competent. They tell hard truths and don’t have the natural predilection for back stabbing and ladder climbing that the people who make general do. Thus they are washed out before they ever get their star or quit in disgust. This was the view from the ranks of the enlisted when I was in at least, and I believe their is much truth in it.

        1. rowlf

          My experience with many veterans is that is mostly true but there are a few good leaders too. My father and I met one a few months ago that could of come from the old pre-corporate/management mentality military. Kinda scary as the retired general was a very modest man in many ways but when you saw the iceberg it was impressive.

          There are a few good people but also a lot of dancers and prancers as dear-old-dad would say. He was a combat veteran and had little time for fakes.

    2. redleg

      The US and NATO currently lack the industrial capacity and fuel resources to wage a war of attrition. Any talk of long haul warfare by the collective West isn’t taking this into account. This is also why the use of nukes by the US and NATO, whether against Russia or some other opponent is increasing in probability by the day.

    3. Roland

      Ismoe, with the few reliable facts that are known to the public, you could just as easily claim that NATO fought RF to a standstill, merely by giving UKR some hand-me-down weapons, a bit of slushy MMT, and a dole of satellite imagery.

      As for the Channel, UK and France are both nuclear-armed. Even if every conventional soldier in NATO dropped dead this moment, and the USA instantly reverted to isolationism, Russia still couldn’t drive west without suffering nuclear attack. Contrariwise, the same logic applies. NATO ain’t getting to the Volga without getting nuked.

      The Department of Duh issues the following official statement: Nuclear-armed powers will go nuclear, rather than concede something which they deem vital.

      I say then, that whether or not most wars end in negotiation, this war most certainly should.

  16. Oh

    Premila Jayapal (sp?) and her fellow “progressives” have been turned by the love of money, aided by the Democrats. Most of her proposals (e.g. healthcare) have been virtue signalling efforts. Nothing to follow up. Her constituents need to wake the F up. AOC and her gang (except the one from Minnesota) became part of Pelosi’s servants. Jayapal was late to follow. The word progressive is a joke. Let’s use true leftist instead.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      They always were. The signs were there from the beginning. They’ve all been sheepdogs since day one. But I don’t think it’s money as much as it is career (which I guess equals money in the long term.) Really trying to change the Democrats from within is both impossible and a guaranteed career ender. But progressive tweets and conservative votes is going to keep you in good graces (as long as you are quick to fall on your sword if your words accidentally hurt someone’s fee-fees.)

    2. nippersdad

      I haven’t seen Omar mention the new Palestinian intifada yet, much less anything from Tlaib. I think that says a lot about them. I am waiting to see some of their constituents show up and heckle them about that.

      1. Sibiryak

        Omar! Good God!

        Ilhan Omar Calls Anti-War Protesters “Dangerous Propagandists” For Disrupting Town Hall

        “I am sorry, you all aren’t “anti war protesters”, you are dangerous propagandists who are literally making a mockery of the anti war movement.

        I have never had the pleasure of responding to 🇷🇺 ridiculous internet disinformation in person before. Thank you for the opportunity ✌🏽 ”

        “I was even told by one of these people tonight, ‘it’s America that started the Russia war,’ seriously wtf,” she said in the aftermath.

        “We are helping little children like me that had been helped,” she said, in reference to her own experience of coming to America as a young refugee.

        “Listen. Unless you have not been paying attention to what is happening, there are millions of Ukrainians that have been displaced. There are piles of bodies that are being found in mass graves,” she said while raising her voice. “There are little children [whose] lives are being lost…” The protesters then cited the killings of civilians by Ukrainian forces in the Donbas going back to 2014.

        By the end of the back-and-forth, Omar is seen getting emotional and almost screaming, with her voice cracking in anger and frustration as she shouts down the heckler.

        1. nippersdad

          Good. Lord! There are no people so blind as those who will not see.


          “We are helping little children like me that had been helped,”

          ….is just ludicrous. It is almost like she did not know that those refugees were a direct result of our messing around in Somalia, just as we have done in a thousand other places. Her very presence here is a product of the results of our foreign policy.

          Well, good. I would like to see much more of this.

    3. Adam Eran

      Sadly, I think this is symptomatic of democracy (or in the case of the U.S. “democracy”). One cannot be principled and stick to guns in a form of government that requires “dissent, but compromise.”

      Think of what the “progressives” face in these negotiations. “You can rock the boat, or you can get things for your constituents. Sure, it may not be all you want, but you **MUST** compromise, or you’ll get nothing.”

      Public service is hard enough without impossible expectations.

      On the other hand, I’ve let the warmongers…er, I mean “progressives” know that I had thought about contributing to their campaigns, but have withdrawn that thought because it was not “properly vetted…” kind of like their letter.

      I doubt the political class can make peace. It’s up to the constituents to confront their representatives (as I’ve seen AOC and Elizabeth Warren experience).

  17. KD

    If we take Michael Hudson’s thesis seriously, the enemy is Germany, and the USA has succeeded at destroying the economic relationship between Russia and Germany in a way that renders German heavy industry uncompetitive. Russia can replace European customers, but Europe cannot replace Russian gas with an affordable substitute. The destruction of NS2 seals the deal. Phase Two will be sanctions against China, trumped up over human rights and Taiwan, and Germany will be expected to follow suit in the holy war of democracy against autocracy and there will go their largest export market, and Ukraine is no longer necessary. With the destruction of Germany will come the destruction of the EU, and NATO the last dog standing. Western Europe will be the new Puerto Rico.

    The secondary goal of the war, to “weaken” Russia necessitates that Russia receives a sufficient enough bloody nose from the exercise to insure they never seriously contemplate invading a real NATO country. I imagine this goal can more or less be proven by next year, after which the US can cut off military and economic aid and leave Ukraine on the path to being permanently partitioned and left a rump failed state. Who knows, maybe NATO will even figure out there are Nazi’s in Ukraine and use that as a rationale to choke off aid?

    US in, Germany down, Russia out. Nothing new here.

    1. Karl

      The secondary goal of the war… necessitates that Russia receives a sufficient enough bloody nose from the exercise to insure they never seriously contemplate invading a real NATO country.

      Maybe that’s the primary goal? That’s one explanation for all that the U.S. is doing that makes any sense. In this it may just succeed. And that may make Ukraine’s sacrifice somewhat redemptive.

      What’s amazing to me is that Ukraine is letting itself be the pawn sacrifice in this chess game. One must assume that Zelensky and cronies will be adequately rewarded, e.g. with luxurious havens where they can leave all the rubble safely behind forever.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Zelensky could end up retiring to Hawai‘i, as did Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda.

        To save the taxpayers needless duplication in security costs, perhaps very near the Obamas’ beachfront spread.

  18. hk

    I have a hunch that we (that is, the world at large) will be better off if the Western (especially US) elite continue to be in a state of denial.

    In 1918, the sudden and unexpected (if you were German) willingness to sue for peace by the German leaders shocked their population because that was so unexpected. If they knew how the war was going, they’d have known that the situation had become untenable for Germany, BUT that fact was hidden from their public and, “protected” as they were by a nationalistic taboo, they would have been unwilling to believe such stories anyways unless the Entente armies were marching down their streets. We know what the result was: the stab in the back myth.

    Not unlike the Entente armies in 1918, Russia probably is not strong enough to directly defeat NATO powers. There will be no Russian army marching down the Champs elysees, let alone Pennsylvania avenue. So even if they “win” in Ukraine, to most Western audience, it will be at best theoretical and abstract–something that you could “choose” to regard as fake news and can be more or less disregarded. Any suffering or even humiliation you suffer on its account will only be due to the betrayal of the cowards who decided to acknowledge it as “real.” This sentiment (even without actual material sufferings, as per Germany after Versailles) can only prepare the grounds for real nutjobs with dangerous consequences.

    I think the nutjobs who refuse to acknowledge the reality that a significant chunk of Western publics would not believe might be better than the nutjobs who would rile them on to bring about a worse dystopia. While less than ideal, I don’t see a good way to bring about a West where people recognize the reality without seeing the defeat with their own eyes. No negotiation can bring that about.

    1. Anon

      Indeed. I stopped fighting Trump eg. because I recognized him as proper medicine. Unfortunately Dems and their polity chose delusion over introspection, so it didn’t take. Likewise, Americans will never accept defeat if there is opportunity for self-deception, as we are high on our own supply. So long as there is no nuclear war, and there exists a federal government, a Pacific Ocean and an Atlantic, we will be in somebody’s hair.

      This here fire will either have to burn bright, or burn out. The peaceniks are right, but the scorpion will sting.

      I think the progressive caucus is trying to pull a 1/2 Tulsi… they sense they’re on the Titanic and are reserving spaces on a lifeboat.

  19. overoverb

    I get the “cowardly CPC” point, but, really, The Blob is really difficult to counter. If Ike couldn’t do it, the CPC has no chance.

    1. Objective Ace

      It’s really not that difficult to counter. Its probably difficult to counter and still remain in office next term, but that’s another story. At the very least, one could make a big stink about everything on the way out like Tulsi

  20. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding Congress feeling pressure to move away from escalation of this crisis, I happened to call my Rep, Barbara Lee on Monday, just before the CPC released their tepid letter.

    Was it my call that made this happen? Of course not. It was mine AND thousands of others who have made noise.

    I called again yesterday to express my outrage that they retracted the letter.

    Lobbying our representatives in government is, for ordinary citizens like us, our best shot at influencing change. So do it, even if your Rep is a hawk. Let them know you want them to stop this insane march toward more senseless death and destruction.

    1. Adam Eran

      Having contributed to “progressives” political campaigns previously, I’ve let them know that I was thinking of contributing again…but withdrew that thought.

  21. zagonostra

    DemocracyNow! just came up on my phone after listening to the Duran. The DN clip was 2 days old. It’s characterization of the war was so skewed to the WH’s official narrative that it made my head spin. The insinuation to the story was that it was Russia that was planning on using a “Dirty bomb” and it made ample use of Joe Biden Clips.

    Amy Goodman where have you gone!? The “war and peace report?” As the PMC/DNC goes, so does DemocracyNow, sad, sad demise of a once promising channel.

  22. Sausage Factory

    Its permissable because the idiots that run western intelligence and govts have finally cottoned on to what we’ve all known for months, the Russians are winning and will continue to win. The coke head living in the basement of the US embassy in Poland (but green screening himself into Kiev every now and then) is only going to lose more men, materiel and land before they realise there is no option for ‘peace talks’ and terms will be dictated. Peronally I hope the west continues to live in its world of cognitve bullshit until they wake up when Putin rides into Kiev. Anyway, Odessa will be in Russian hands before this happens I believe and winter will be crushing for Ukrainians at home and for what is left of the Army (75% of frontline forces made up of ‘mercenaries’ is always a bad sign) Once Biden gets trounced in the mid terms, some semblence of common sense may prevail, may not with the likes of committed Russophobes like Blinken, Freedland and Nuland on the job but well, what happens on the field will eventually dictate what happens in Washington and London and at some point they will realise that it is best to hang onto at least part of Ukraine, however small that may be, than lose it in its entirety, After all how are they going to recover the billions theyve put in if there is no land left to pillage afterwards and no Govt willing to repay all of the IMF loans foisted onto the failed state that Ukraine has become.

  23. Louis Fyne

    seeing the social media video on the inter-tubes, absolutely zero chance than Ukraine has less than 100,000 military dead. zero.

    It is madness that the Wokesters keep cheering on Ukraine. Give the internet cheerleaders and the think tank crowd a ticket to Warsaw with a rifle waiting for them.

    1. nippersdad

      Not just them. I was telling a friend a few months ago, back when Ukraine was Shanghai-ing sixty year olds, that those in Congress who support this should spend less time at Warsaw cocktail parties and more on the front lines of the Eastern Front. Right about now they are prolly sending in the octogenarians, and I can just see Nancy, bare breasted with locks flying in the wind, going into battle with the cry of “Slava Ukraini” on her lips.

      Something like this:

      There is the added advantage for her that it may be safer there than in her own home these days.

    2. Lex

      Yeah. I don’t even look at those anymore but I did for a long time. It’s absolutely tragic. I think the OSINIT that put Ukrainian dead at almost 400k is too high but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised by 200k. People have quoted the 10k dead for Ukraine and I’ve had to point out that I’ve seen at least that many dead Ukrainian soldiers. I have a feeling the Ukrainian military is in a lot worse shape that people realize. The weather is turning and from what I can see, Ukrainian forces are mostly not prepared.

      Of all the things that upset me about this, the callous disregard for Ukrainian lives by the people who purport to support Ukraine is the most galling.

  24. David in Santa Cruz

    The U.S. government has declared itself to be outside of international diplomacy and agreement incapable. The neocons infesting it are only interested in global hegemony and are living inside the hallucination that this is possible for a country that can manufacture bombs and missiles but can’t manufacture the boots to put on the ground.

    There is no longer such a thing as political debate in the U.S. as we demonstrate for the world the difference between a psychopath (Donald Trump) and a sociopath (Joe Biden). Both are equally corrupt. Who can think for a minute that this isn’t an extension of Russia!Russia!Russia! driven derangement? Biden’s son Hunter took huge bribes from Ukrainian sources as did Trump’s campaign manager Manafort.

    My current night-terror is that the 101st Airborne is going to be sent into Odessa as hostages. Meanwhile millions have been made refugees and thousands are dying in a “country” that was corruptly cobbled together by Khruschev’s Dnepropetrovsk Mafia (Brezhnev and Andropov) but that harbors nothing but race-hatreds dating back to the Mongol invasions but refreshed by the Holodomor and the Holocaust. The post-Soviet history of Ukraine makes inter-war Poland appear a model of stability; the regional hatreds and Clinton-created oligarchy have never established a stable democracy or uncontested election.

    The multi-polar world can only rise from the self-destruction of this American empire as it isolates itself from the civilized countries of the world, limping along by exploiting the immiserated quasi-slaves of Mexico. This is an unnecessary tragedy but Americans suffer from a strange hubris born from over-consumption of Hollywood media and their profound misunderstanding of the events of 1945.

    This doesn’t end well…

  25. John k

    Where is the dem godfather Obama when you need him? He’s got two daughters, does he think about them?

  26. Cesar Jeopardy

    Big problem. The U.S. is agreement incapable. The U.S. will fail to keep any agreement made with Russia. Russia knows this-the rest of the world knows this. An “agreement” may delay a war in Ukraine–or Georgia or Chechnya–but the U.S. will start wars again in that region. And then, of course, there is Taiwan/China.

  27. nothing but the truth

    there can be no peace now, fuggedaboutit. The destruction of those pipelines has opened the door to almost certain nuclear war.

    Russia has publicly accused the UK of destroying the pipelines, aiding the “dirty bomb” efforts (after which the British Defence minister seems to have exclaimed that his communications were compromised and flew to DC to talk in person with his masters). And the UK seems to have been involved in the Moskva incident, and the Crimean bridge incident.

    Not sure what the UK is thinking. It is now a rouge third world country with nukes and some very audacious if somewhat penny wise pound foolish kind of covert agencies.

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