‘Global Catastrophe’ Coming If West Keeps Arming Ukraine, Top Russia Official Says

Conor here: It’s good to see NATO’s escalation in Ukraine and the increasing risk of nuclear war getting some attention. As the author states, “the risk of weapons capable of annihilating life on Earth being used is rising.”

That being said, the following piece from Common Dreams gets quite a few things wrong (“illegally annexed,” “strike on a Ukrainian apartment building last week,”)  and leans into the familiar ruse from western news outlets that “Russia is threatening to use nukes.”

Here is what State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin Volodin said on Telegram on Sunday (machine translation):

Deliveries of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe.

If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons.

Members of the Congress, deputies of the Bundestag, the National Assembly of France and other European parliaments must realize their responsibility to humanity.

With their decisions, Washington and Brussels are leading the world to a terrible war: to a completely different military action than today, when strikes are carried out exclusively on the military and critical infrastructure used by the Kyiv regime.

Given the technological superiority of Russian weapons, foreign politicians making such decisions need to understand that this could end in a global tragedy that will destroy their countries.

Arguments that the nuclear powers have not previously used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts are untenable. Because these states did not face a situation where there was a threat to the security of their citizens and the territorial integrity of the country.

By staff writer ​​Kenny Stancil. Originally published at Common Dreams.

Should the West continue to ship arms to Ukraine, Moscow will retaliate with “more powerful weapons,” a top Russian government official and close ally of President Vladimir Putin said Sunday, referring to the use of nuclear missiles.

“Deliveries of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe,” Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, said in a statement shared on the Telegram messaging app.

“If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons,” said Volodin.

Ukraine, with the support of its Western allies, is seeking to reclaim territory illegally annexed by the Kremlin in recent months—not seize Russian land, as Volodin asserted.

Volodin’s threat “comes amid arguments over whether Germany will send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion,” Politico reported. “Kyiv has requested the German-made tanks, which it says it needs to renew its counteroffensive against Moscow’s forces.”

This is not the first time that Russian officials have threatened to use nuclear weapons since Putin attacked Ukraine last February. On Thursday, one day before NATO and other military leaders met in Germany to discuss how to defeat Russia in Ukraine, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the country’s security council, said that a loss by Moscow could lead to nuclear war.

“Berlin has so far resisted the call from Ukraine and its allies to send the tanks without the U.S. making the first move, over fears of an escalation in the conflict,” Politico noted Sunday. “Berlin also hasn’t approved deliveries of the tanks from its allies, as Germany gets a final say over any re-exports of the vehicles from countries that have purchased them.”

The news outlet previously reported that the $2.5 billion military package announced Thursday by the White House excludes the Army’s 60-ton M1 Abrams tanks due to maintenance and logistical issues, not because sending them would intensify the war.

NATO has sent more than $40 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. The U.S. government, de facto leader of the military alliance, has authorized more than $26.7 billion alone.

On Sunday, Volodin urged U.S. and European lawmakers to “realize their responsibility to humanity.”

“With their decisions, Washington and Brussels are leading the world to a terrible war: to a completely different military action than today, when strikes are carried out exclusively on the military and critical infrastructure used by the Kyiv regime,” said Volodin.

Contrary to Volodin’s claim, Russia has not limited its ongoing assault to military assets. According to a top Kyiv official, more than 9,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since Russia invaded 11 months ago. The United Nations has confirmed more than 7,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine but says the real figure is much higher.

A strike on a Ukrainian apartment building last week, Russia’s deadliest attack on civilians in months, killed dozens of people. Meanwhile, fighting near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has sparked fears of a disastrous meltdown on multiple occasions.

“Given the technological superiority of Russian weapons,” Volodin continued, “foreign politicians making such decisions need to understand that this could end in a global tragedy that will destroy their countries.”

“Arguments that the nuclear powers have not previously used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts are untenable,” he added. “Because these states did not face a situation where there was a threat to the security of their citizens and the territorial integrity of the country.”

Volodin was echoing points made recently by other Russian officials. Asked Thursday if Medvedev’s remarks that day reflected an attempt to escalate the war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No, it absolutely does not mean that.”

Peskov argued that Medvedev’s comments were consistent with Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which permits a nuclear strike after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.”

As Reuters noted, Putin has portrayed Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine as “an existential battle with an aggressive and arrogant West, and has said that Russia will use all available means to protect itself and its people.”

Last January, one month before the start of the largest war in Europe since WWII, Russia, the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom—home to more than 12,000 nuclear weapons combined—issued a joint statement affirming that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and reaffirming that they plan to adhere to non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and pledges.

Nevertheless, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council continue to enlarge or modernize their nuclear arsenals. For the first time since the 1980s, the global nuclear stockpile, 90% of which is controlled by Moscow and Washington, is projected to grow in the coming years, and the risk of weapons capable of annihilating life on Earth being used is rising.

In early October, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that Russia’s war on Ukraine has brought the world closer to “Armageddon” than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Less than three weeks later, however, his administration published a Nuclear Posture Review that nonproliferation advocates said increases the likelihood of catastrophe, in part because it leaves intact the option of a nuclear first strike. The U.S. remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war, destroying the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs in August 1945.

Experts have long sounded the alarm about the war in Ukraine, saying that it could spiral into a direct conflict between Russia and NATO, both of which are flush with nuclear weapons. Despite such warnings, the Western military coalition has continued to prioritize weapons shipments over diplomacy.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin admitted last April that the U.S. wants “to see Russia weakened,” implying that Washington is willing to prolong the deadly conflict as long as it helps destabilize Moscow.

Peace advocates, by contrast, have repeatedly called on the U.S. to help secure a swift diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine war before it descends into a global nuclear cataclysm.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres recently told attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos: “There will be an end… there is an end of everything, but I do not see an end of the war in the immediate future. I do not see a chance at the present moment to have a serious peace negotiation between the two parties.”

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50 comments

  1. Louis Fyne

    —This is not the first time that Russian officials have threatened to use nuclear weapons since Putin attacked Ukraine last February. —

    —Moscow will retaliate with “more powerful weapons,” a top Russian government official and close ally of President Vladimir Putin said Sunday, referring to the use of nuclear missiles.—

    In-context quote please?

    The Russian doctrine of nuclear weapons use has been clearly stated by Putin in public and official documents (for decades): no Russian first use, unless the Russian state faces an existential threat.

    That being said. The US military doctrine allows “first-use” of nuclear weapons. I have no doubt that Russia will use nukes if, as is permissible under public US military doctrine, the US drops a tactical nuclear bomb on a Russian divisional headquarters. (Bye-bye Ramstein Airbase in Germany).

    Reply
    1. H. Alexander Ivey

      The Russian doctrine

      Let’s not forget (or for many within the Beltway, to learn), that Russian doctrine is to destroy their enemy’s military, not destroy their land or to kill their civilians. Nuclear weapons are weapons of terror or of cowards, not weapons of tactical military use.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        “Nuclear weapons are weapons of terror or of cowards, not weapons of tactical military use.”

        Indeed. And as I’ve stated before, they are weapons of terror on the people of the countries that possess them as much as they are weapons of outwardly directed terror.
        Keep people terrified enough to keep paying for protection.

        Once they are used, all that would be left would be populations with nothing left to lose and, thus, no effective weapon of terror.

        Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        The rational strategy is “tit for tat.” And a “reasonable” response to a US tactical nuke strike is a Russian nuke strike on a military target—-or an overwhelming conventional missile attack on someplace like NATO HQ.

        Shooting a nuclear missile at DC creates insane unknown-unknowns. It takes 30 min. for a Russian missile to hit DC, and in that time POTUS or his handlers might retaliate by launching every US missile at Russia. A retaliatory conventional missile strike on Brussels would take less than 15 minutes.

        It seems that Putin, while not afraid to push the button, doesn’t have a death wish. I can’t say the same about Joe Biden or Kamala—who presumably do not have a death wish, but appear to be mentally incapable of carrying the future of humanity on their shoulders.

        Reply
        1. JustTheFacts

          It takes 30 min. for a Russian missile to hit DC.

          Not from a submarine, it doesn’t. Zircons are fast. At 6100 mph, a 300 mile distance takes less than 3 minutes.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    I think that the basic problem here is that Russia did not lose this war but are poised to win it. Let me go back a bit. A year ago the plans were drawn up to draw Russia into a fight in the Ukraine and at that stage, there would be an economic ’shock and awe’ on the Russian economy that would cause Putin’s government to collapse which would help initiate a process that would lead to the break up of the Russian Federation. And these plans would have taken years to be drawn up. I’d be pretty sure too that some western officials & NATO officers were already checking out real estate prices in Moscow in preparation for for their next assignments. So the Russians saw this as nothing less than an existential fight for their very existence. You can imagine how people in Washington would feel if there was a plan to break up the United States into a coupla dozen smaller countries.

    Well it didn’t work out that way and the Russian economy is doing just fine thank you very much. So here is the problem. The Ukraine is about to get crunched and no matter what hodgepodge of old military gear that they send to them, it won’t make a difference. This being the case, the collective west has now realized that the shoe is on the other foot. They now think that it is an existential fight for organizations like NATO. This being a NATO-Russia war, NATO finds that no matter what they do they are on the verge of defeat. They keep on escalating but it is the Russians that have escalatory dominance. Even if NATO decides to send in troops to the Ukraine, it won’t do much good as they have run their stockpiles down. Germany has 2 days worth of ammo for example while France has only four.

    Sure there are threats to use nukes but where? Russia won’t be the first and so that leaves the US. They start bombing the Russian Federation and the same day the US is just glass. And this includes the Crimea and the Donbass along with the other new Oblasts. And are they really going to drop one in the Ukraine after all their speeches about trying to protect that country? Would they really just nuke the Ukraine? Maybe they could drop one in the Mediterranean as a warning – but have the entire planet get on their case. The trouble is nukes are the one weapon that you can’t use, no matter how many you have. So here I am thinking that nukes are just very loud sabre rattles.

    Reply
    1. Tom Pfotzer

      Well-said, Rev Kev.

      So we are now arriving at the moment when the West discovers that the fraud is over, the shake-down has failed, and everyone can see it.

      What then?

      Our entire economy needs a make-over. That’s the best-case scenario; that strategy will restore the West as a constructive, useful entity in world affairs. That’s a viable future.

      The likelier scenario is that the predation currently aimed at Asia will get re-directed toward the global south (they’re more vulnerable) and, more intensively, on North and Central America.

      The economy won’t get fixed, extraction and despoliation will continue at roughly the current pace, and we’ll continue at-speed into the environmental and economic collapse (the concrete bridge-abutment) we’re aiming at now.

      Shall we continue to peer out the window as the bus goes over the cliff, or is it time to get off the bus?

      Reply
      1. nigel rooney

        “U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin admitted last April that the U.S. wants “to see Russia weakened,” implying that Washington is willing to prolong the deadly conflict as long as it helps destabilize Moscow.”
        Says it all really. Predation pure and simple.

        Reply
    2. John Steinbach

      Mao referred to nukes as “a paper tiger,” in terms of their military usability. That doesn’t mean as long as there are thousands of nukes, 90% owned by the US and Russia, that even though the “can’t” be used, they inevitably will be used, with the corresponding nuclear cataclysm.

      When the World Court effectively outlawed the use of nukes, it made an exception for the existential survival of the nation.

      Reply
    3. tet vet

      It seems that the US and NATO are proceeding as they and sometimes US alone have conducted previous military adventures – without a clue of the end game. Afghanistan is the latest example. I suspect that the PTB hope now, as with Afghanistan, that worst case they will flail away while no one they care about pays attention, and then just walk away. In the meantime they will keep doing what they always do, rebuilding the instruments of war as those instruments are destroyed or left behind. What is there to stop them? For them losing wars is a feature not a bug. The framers of the constitution foresaw this when they required Congressional approval to wage war. What they didn’t foresee is that the clever lawyers who followed would just manipulate the definition of war as a work around. In Viet Nam they called it a police action but I can tell you from experience those of us who were unlucky enough to participate would take issue that precisely what the framers were trying to control.

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        So in the end it is about MIC pork. And i do wonder how many congress critters, and their families, hold shares in MIC companies.

        Reply
    4. chris

      Good points. From a person who has been inside the government contracting shenanigans, it seems like the risk analysis by the architects of this war failed to account for two big things:

      1) Russia didn’t fold quickly.
      2) Ukraine put up too much of fight.

      Runnjng with that thought… If Russia had collapsed under the weight of the war + economic sanctions, we were ready for that. If Ukraine had won or lost quickly, we were ready for that. Ukraine slogging it out through April 2022 and Russia not having supply issues during 2022 seems to have completely undone whatever plans we had. I think that’s why BoJo had to go to Kyiv in April and tell the Ukrainians that the “West” wasn’t going to allow them to negotiate a peaceful end. I think that’s why Merkel and Hollande are publicly saying what the real intent behind Minsk II was so that others can find an exit before it’s too late.

      I also think that’s why we’ve had so many people double down on the narrative during the last year. They don’t know what else to do. Even the NYT has reported that our experts were “baffled” by the Russian approach to this conflict. I think that’s why according to western Pravda that Russia is allegedly always running out of ammunition, and why Ukraine us allegedly always running out of troops, and why Europe is praised as having beaten back the threat of energy restrictions by bravely sacrificing some 15% of its industrial capacity. They’re all stuck in this scenario that none of the people who started this expected so all they know how to do is throw more bodies into the meat grinder. But it does seem that Ukraine will run out of troops and options soon. And it also seems like no one in the West is ready to openly commit national forces to this conflict. So it appears the game will end soon.

      Not soon enough to save all the Ukrainians killed during this folly. Not soon enough to save all the people starving for lack of fertilizer and grain. Not soon enough to help our congress to use the money to help US citizens. But soon.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        re:”Russia didn’t fold quickly”

        seen a lot of that sentiment/explanation in the cooler places on the intertubes…russia didn’t do as the Masters expected…bad on them, no?
        lol.
        but that’s essentially the same reason we’re all supposed to hate on china, now, too…they failed to remain a peasant state, and built out their industrial capacity and even built a middle class.
        how dare they…

        i remember the 90’s.
        i remember bill frelling clinton, and all those people, yammering on about how great sending all our productive capacity to china would be…”new economy”…”knowledge economy”…and on and on.
        i also remember the platitudes about the birth pangs in the new post ussr russia…how freedom and democracy and markets were sure to make them a not-failed state.
        sometimes it really sucks having a good memory.
        like it says above my pecan stump barstool, out at the Wilderness Bar, “don’t blame me, i voted for Perot….twice…”

        Reply
        1. hk

          In an odd way, their bit about democracy in Russia turned out to be correct–it just turns out to be a different kind of democracy from one that they were expecting. Gilbert Doctorow’s descriptions makes Russia seem like an indisputably “democratic” society, but one that seems simultaneously very familiar and very alien. I think that’s mostly because they have a very different Overton window.

          Reply
    5. Willow

      Putting this out there.

      If you look at where the cock-ups are happening, the lack of serious foresight & risk analysis, focus on short-term outcomes, lack of appreciation of ruin, and outright hubris. That is, banking industry & State Dept-type government bodies. Root-cause is pervasive cocaine usage across organisational decision making networks. Leading to overconfidence, attempts to out-do each other in risk taking ideas and strong tendency for ‘bluffing’ behaviour.

      Widespread acceptance of cocaine use within the professional classes is the key behavourial ‘phase change’ that has happened post-Soviet Cold War. Why everything seems to be heading towards catastrophe compared to the high-stake games of the old Cold War. Why risk & ruin dynamics are so very different now. When you overlay cocaine-driven behaviour observed in the banking industry, which has resulted in numerous ‘we told you so’ crashes, on State Dept-type organisations – it is inevitable things are going to end up as a hot-war involving NATO, likely WW3, and quite possibly use of nuclear weapons by the West.

      Reply
    6. digi_owl

      And i suspect many of the same people that put Ukrainian flags in their social media profiles etc would balk just as much when drafted, as Americans did regarding the Vietnam war draft (why Pentagon has been leaning more and more on contractors).

      Reply
      1. chris

        Yeah… these people who think words are violence? These people who say that the poor should bear any burden of high energy prices to beat Russia? These people who claim that Putin is some kind of god who’s been behind every problem in the west for the last decade? The ones who are so concerned about fascism that they want the state to coordinate with corporations to censor ideas they don’t like? They will never sacrifice anyone to these causes. But if you threaten their status… watch out! That’s when they will fight you. Not really fighting though. The dirty underhanded legal/court of public opinion stuff that ruins your livelihood. Which is decidedly NOT violence(tm).

        Reply
    7. Karl

      They start bombing the Russian Federation and the same day the US is just glass.

      DC will not risk US cities for Ukraine. That was always the Achilles heel of NATO.

      If nukes are used, the nuclear powers–US, Russia, UK and France–will be highly motivated to keep the exchange tactical and contained in Central Europe. In that case Warsaw might be glass first. After Russia nukes Warsaw, would the NATO countries then invoke Article 5–and start MAD? I couldn’t imagine France being willing to sacrifice Paris, UK being willing to sacrifice London.

      The Europeans would obviously prefer it if the ICBMs flew over the Atlantic and they were spared. Won’t happen unless Russia and the US totally miscalculate, IMHO.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        I don’t think any nuclear power outside the US believes there is a scale of nuclear attacks. It has long been doctrine everywhere else that any nuke is a nuke, and then it is all on.

        Reply
      2. JW

        There’s a really serious point here. In a nuclear exchange article 5 will fail.Would the UK or the USA retaliate if Bonn was bombed? Or Helsinki? Or Stockholm.
        I can see no get-out for the USA EXCEPT a division of Ukraine into West and East. They may decide a no-fly zone. Then declare they’ve ‘won’. Perhaps the Russians are discussing this with the Poles. They wouldn’t mind at all if the Poles occupied Western Ukraine and dealt with the Banderistas. There’s form there. The Poles hate the Russians but hate the Banderistas just that little bit more…..

        Reply
  3. ancient Geezer

    Rev, your very reasonable comment is based on a mistaken assumption. You are assuming the neocons in charge of policy are rational- equally reasonable. They are not.
    I grew up in a community where The John Birch society was busy preaching that rock and roll was a communist plot intended to rot the minds of American youth like me. This sad example of mental illness was widely believed by many of my schoolmates, who grew up to be supporters of neocons, and sometimes influential neocons themselves.
    Not only are the policies of the current cadre of neocons irrational, they are incompetent. Anyone who has read the PNAC documents could hardly doubt both those assertions, and the PNACers are still driving the Biden buss, much of the State Department parts of many of the three and four letter agencies, and on and on. There is no effective opposition to them today.
    Does Victoria Nuland truly understand, on a gut level, that nuclear wars cannot be won? I don’t believe so. Nor does she realize that she herself will inevitably be one of the casualties.
    That rattling sound you hear isn’t sabres. It’s the crumbled remains of our civilizations, and us, in the wind.

    Reply
    1. Michael.j

      A very good point. The people that seem to be directing the Western escalation at times do not appear to be anchored particularly well to reality. One such comment in “Antiwar” was a bit of a head scratcher. Regarding the “Russian Red Lines” came this nugget:

      “The US reasoning for being less concerned about escalation is based on the fact that Russia hasn’t used a nuclear weapon up to this point.”

      See link:

      https://news.antiwar.com/2023/01/19/extremely-dangers-russia-reacts-to-us-plans-to-help-attack-crimea/

      If this is an accurate depiction, it would appear the person making that assessment is expecting Russia to resort to a first use of nuclear weapons, or hoping for such a precedent.

      That may also explain why Russian leadership is placing Pantiers on Kremlin buildings. This makes more sense as the only hope for success by the West is either a decapitation strike, or successful simultaneous regime change operations in Iran, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and India.

      My biggest fear is the longer term consequence of this game as both sides reach parity with regard to hypersonic technology.

      Reply
    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Let’s be clear, the neocons driving the escalation of this war are the most dangerous people on the planet.

      Where are the people in any position of power in the West who will stop them? That’s what scares the sh$t out of me. There isn’t anyone.

      Reply
      1. Tom Pfotzer

        There most certainly is “someone that can stop them”: the Russians and the Chinese, and a good bit of the rest of the world.

        The NeoCon game is winding down, folks. They don’t have a lot of moves left.

        And they’re not going to use nukes. They will die, too, and they get that.

        What they will do is to select a lesser-strength victim to bully. That is sure to happen.

        The biggest mistake a bully can make is to select a victim that can fight back, and the NeoCons have made that mistake big-time.

        A major slink-away is now on the menu.

        Reply
  4. none

    Anyone know of an explainer type of article anywhere that says what if anything the US (i.e. Biden) did to provoke the war? That seems to be part of the background but it’s unclear to me how, other than that Victornia Nuland is also involved. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      This is a brief outline of the past 9 years in Ukraine, from October, 2022, still germane:

      From: https://sonar21.com/americans-better-wake-up-and-realize-the-russians-are-genuinely-pissed-off/

      “Put yourself in the shoes of the Russian leaders and people. Here is what they have seen over the last 8 [now almost 9] years since the democratically elected President of Ukraine was ousted by a western backed coup:

      While professing a deep commitment to democracy, America and Europe ignored the voters of Ukraine and helped orchestrate the unlawful removal of President Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych on the 22 of February 2014.

      In the aftermath of that coup, the newly installed Ukrainian government embarked on a war against Russian speaking Ukrainians. Ukraine wantonly killed civilians and the west remained silent.

      Despite repeated warnings from Russia that it would not tolerate western efforts to bring Ukraine into NATO, the United States and Europe conducted annual military exercises with Ukraine and provided military training and assistance.

      Russia’s attempt to negotiate in December 2021 with the United States over the status of Ukraine was rebuffed.

      In response to Russia’s Special Military Operation, the United States and Europe imposed “draconian” sanctions and embarked on a full scale attempt to punish not just the political leaders of Russia, but all Russians, including denouncing Russia’s rich cultural heritage.

      The United States and Europe continue to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition that is being used to kill the newly incorporated citizens of Russia that reside in the Donbas, Kherson and Zaporhyzhia.

      Russia’s effort to negotiate a peace with Ukraine was shutdown by the U.K.’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

      The United Kingdom, Poland and Ukraine announced a trilateral pact to promote Ukraine’s defense and independence in February 2022.

      The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and leading U.S. officials are calling for “decolonizing Russia”–i.e., breaking up Russia into geographic regions.

      Russia’s Nordstream gas pipelines were sabotaged.”

      Reply
    2. UncleDoug

      Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? Featuring John Mearsheimer
      University of Chicago, June 2015

      “John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and Co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, assesses the causes of the present Ukraine crisis, the best way to end it, and its consequences for all of the main actors. A key assumption is that in order to come up with the optimum plan for ending the crisis, it is essential to know what caused the crisis. Regarding the all-important question of causes, the key issue is whether Russia or the West bears primary responsibility.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrMiSQAGOS4

      Reply
    3. Candide

      That’s such an important question and I’m glad for all the names and links offered. It would be incomplete without the name of a former head of the Soviet division of the CIA (the analysis side, not the dirty tricks side) and former White House daily briefer Ray McGovern.
      Search him on Youtube and be ready for a complete inside story.
      HERE are some talks to search:
      Interview_with_Stephen_Cohen_before_the_Munk_Debate_on_Russia

      AR_Mearsheimer _Great_Power_Politics_in_the 21st_Century

      Why_not_Peace_Whats_the_plan_in_Ukraine_Jeffrey_Sachs_Ray_McGovern _Scott_Ritter

      Reply
  5. Mickey Hickey

    The US has spent billions on a PR campaign to Nazify and Militarise Ukraine starting in 1991. Ukraine needed help to reduce its per capita GDP to 1/3 that of Russia’s. From equality in 1991 to a 2/3 drop from 1991 to 2019. The US looks at Ukraine as the soft underbelly of Russia only 6 minutes by nuclear missile to Moscow. If there is going to be a nuclear war Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kiev and Moscow look suitable if you are American. We had German relatives visiting us over the holidays and it is plain that the Germans revere America who they see as saving them from Marxism. They do not understand that America has to destroy the German/Russian cooperation which has made both countries prosperous for 90% of the time over the last 300 years. The hegemon’s relative decline has to be slowed and Europe will be one of the first casualties. Being Irish we see all great powers as being as barbaric as our next door neighbour.

    Reply
  6. HH

    I think the U.S. intends to slink away, leaving Ukraine destroyed and poisoning relations between the E.U. and Russia as much as possible. This will not sit well with the Europeans, who are well aware of having been abused by their supposed hegemonic guardian. The primary goal of the Washington neocons was to get away with more NATO encroachment, but they will settle for the secondary “accomplishment” of weakening both Russia and their E.U. vassals. The long-term blowback for this conspicuously stupid and destructive policy will be significant, as America’s “allies” come to realize that it is just as dangerous to serve the hegemon as to oppose it.

    Reply
    1. Keith Newman

      Re HH @ Jan 23,12pm.
      I agree that the US will just slink away.
      Two big neocon objectives will have been achieved via the war in Ukraine even when Russia wins: 1- there will be no cooperation between Germany and Russia; 2 – German industry will be seriously weakened and part of it will relocate to the US. True the break-up of Russia will not have been achieved but that was a pretty unlikely maximalist objective. So overall a pretty successful endeavour from a US imperial point of view.
      At home almost no-one will notice. No US soldiers were involved officially. Mercenaries, yes, but that’s their choice. The media will return to 24/7 celebrity worship, daily mass shooting news, maybe spiced up with reports from a new hot spot: China, Taiwan, Serbia, other places almost no USAn could locate on a map. On that score, I was in Las Vegas about 10 years ago with my son. A young fellow we chatted with thought Canada was in Europe. Ukraine – might as well be on the moon.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        How can the US can quietly slink away?

        Any such attempt would stoke up the world’s press to make Ukraine more of a fiasco then Vietnam, and the resultant backlash would cause the US to turn on its Washington Departments in a frenzy of firing much of the Civil Service.

        The question depends on: How can the US blob retain its perks?

        Until then this fiasco will continue to grow, like stupid gamblers doubling down on their bets.

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        1. digi_owl

          Heat things up in the South China Sea, let loose another pandemic, basically give the media anything other than past events to talk about?

          There is very little yakking about how USA snuck out of Afghanistan for instance, even though the result looked eerily like their Vietnam exit.

          This because media quickly got hotter topics to cover.

          It seems the only thing the blob learned from Vietnam was how to distract the media.

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          1. hk

            Speaking of distracting the media, it took a pretty big one: a president resigning. I wonder if we’ll see a repeat of this when US slinks out of Ukraine.

            Reply
          2. Keith Newman

            @digi_owl;
            Note as well that the US couldn’t slink away from Vietnam. Millions of USAns were directly involved in the fighting of the war. At its peak there were between 500 and 600,000 US troops there. Almost 60,000 were killed and hundreds of thousands injured. Then there were hundreds of thousands more who suffered PTSD.

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      2. lyman alpha blob

        If the purpose of NATO is to keep the US in, Russia out, and Germany down, then even with a Ukrainian loss in the war that will still hold, especially that third part.

        Perhaps that was one of the big motives all along. The rona pandemic really made clear that the current supply chains were not robust and the US couldn’t depend on necessities being shipped from across the world. The problem is the US had deindustrialized to a large extent in recent decades to the point that it couldn’t even produce a simple facemasks when they were really neded. So the short term fix is to screw Germany and bring their industry to the US, especially given that those commie Germans had taken to allowing workers to have a say in how the companies were run – we can’t have that!

        I really don’t think any of this will work in the long term, but of course long term thinking isn’t something that US leaders obsessed with capitalism’s next quarterly reports concern themselves with.

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        1. digi_owl

          Not just not robust but painfully reliant on east rather than west.

          It put a spotlight on who was really in control, and who was faking it.

          And people have been decrying the situation for decades, but invariably been told to clam it by neolib economists for being “wrong” (aka heretical to neolib doctrine) and nationalistic.

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          1. lyman alpha blob

            Indeed. And China isn’t going to deindustrialize itself for the US’ benefit without fighting back.

            I certainly remember all the claims by the capitalists about how building factories in China was bringing Chinese people out of poverty, which was not untrue, and the accusations hurled if one pointed out that it was also hurting US workers. It was extremely shortsighted and unnecessary to deindustialize the US to the extent it happened. NC has talked at length about how offshoring didn’t really increase profits that much but was done largely because it seemed like it should and everybody else was doing it. The US had 300 million people to sell goods to while China had 1 billion+. You didn’t need to be a rocket surgeon to figure out that China was becoming more and more self sufficient and by lowering poverty and raising a middle class, also creating a huge domestic market to sell goods from those factories to should it ever become less opportune to keep shipping those goods to the US.

            The US oligarchy has really manged to hoist itself on its own petard here, and given the destruction of the middle class in the US, I have zero sympathy. Hopefully the West will run out of weapons soon and be unable to manufacture more on their own.

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            1. digi_owl

              Not just poverty. Various economists etc firmly believed that it would topple the CCP and bring about democracy.

              And as you point out, China is a massive market. Why the likes of Apple bend over backwards for CCP demands while bringing out the lawyers regarding same in USA and Europe.

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      3. Karl

        1- there will be no cooperation between Germany and Russia;

        Could you elaborate? Frankly, if Ukraine “loses,” Germany might actually win just to have this conflict resolved. Germany’s “NO” on Leopard tanks may just be the first salvo of Germany going its own way. The issue of transit of Russian gas through Ukraine will need to be solved as a precondition of peace with a rump Ukraine, yes? I have a hard time seeing how Germany will be able to prosper without restoring (quickly) relations with Russia and the lifting of sanctions. LNG from the US or elsewhere cheaply and on the scale needed is magical thinking.

        Ostpolitik II may be in the offing after the neocons get their drubbing. And I’m not sure whether the U.S. can stop it (or why it should want to). After all, isn’t a prosperous Germany (and Europe) in the US’s interest?

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  7. berit

    Thank you, Rev Kev, for level-headed comments and very good points, much appreciated!

    The “very loud sabre rattles” with nuclear weapons is trying, to say the least, and daily news from ongoing battles in Ukraine, killing soldiers in huge numbers, men mostly, young and old and in the prime of life, maiming generations of widows, mothers, children, survivors, friends, witnesses. Also this war will come to an end. The question is how it ends, what’s left and who.
    So we live as best we can, trying not to worry constantly, answering questions from children and grandchildren way more hopefully than what can realistically be expected and is feared.
    Life in Europe is not good this winter, removed but touched by suffering in Ukraine and Russia, new refugees arriving every week, some 36 last week, to this small southern city in Norway. Uncertainty clouds days and nights. Anger too.The war was avoidable, re clear and dire warnings from Russia experts Cohen, Kennan, Mearsheimer, Diesen and many others about NATO expansion eastward. Will any responsible party ever be held to account?
    I hope US/NATO exit this debacle, as they suddenly exited from Vietnam and Afghanistan. Hoping!
    A family member, his mother Chechen and father Russian, father of one of my grandchildren, fled from Russia’s Chechen wars. He now weeps for old friends and former neighbours in then bombed out Grozny, recruited to fight, kill and be killed in this stupid, cruel war.
    I hope it ends soon and ends well, that US packs up and goes back home to the other side of the Atlantic ocean, and that NATO is sorted out by whoever willing and able to take on the responsibility.

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  8. Susan the other

    Remember the “domino theory” and “containment”? It looks like we knew all along that it was just a matter of time until our politics failed. So the big effort was to persuade other countries’ elites to join us. That was 70 years ago. And now we see the results. Massive pollution and social inequality. And we are using the same tactics in Ukraine? This is really getting disgusting. We seem to have no remorse whatsoever. I would be embarrassed but I’m too ashamed. The question now is, What did we think we would gain from this? I don’t believe we actually thought we could take on Russia and China and the entire Middle East. And control socialist governments in South America in our spare time. It’s almost as if we are trying to save face and maybe scavenge some oil concession from Russia by showing them we can sabotage their pipelines, etc. I think we are essentially cornered. We are “contained”.

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