The Balloon Goes Up – How Far Will The Nato Allies Go To Fight Their Losing War in The Ukraine — How Much More Will They Risk Losing of Their Post-1945 Territorial Gains?

Yves here. Even though we’ve mentioned how Putin has clarified Russia’s stance with respect to Western Ukraine in Links, it’s such an important development that we felt the need to underscore it via a post…in this case, by John Helmer, who was early to highlight its importance. Putin has clarified a new red line, that the Russia will not tolerate the West balkanizing Western Ukraine.

Many, including your humble blogger had previously assumed Russia would be open to a resolution of the problem of Western Ukraine that would amount to a partition. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, had cheekily published the map below in mid 2022:

There now seem to be at least two reasons why Russia is no longer keen about the idea. First is all the balkanizing countries, above all belligerent Poland, are members of NATO, so this solution would put NATO even closer to the Russian border. The second is that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko does not like the idea of Poland surrounding Western Belarus and explained his reasoning in a staged talk with Putin. Lukashenko said Belarus would intervene in the event of a Polish incursion into Ukraine and asked Russia to support him.

One presumes that the reversal on the partition idea means Russia now has a Plan B for Western Ukraine. But what might that be?

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

When the Ukrainian and NATO forces have lost their war in eastern Ukraine by Christmas, what will happen to the rump of western Ukraine?

The Russian warning, issued last Friday at the Security Council by President Vladimir Putin,  is that the Russian Army will defend western Ukraine, known as Galicia, from any attempt at intervention by Polish forces under either a NATO “peacekeeping” formula, or a bilateral defence arrangement between the Kiev regime and Warsaw to slip Galicia under NATO Article Five protection.

Putin’s warning was concrete, explicit, geographically limited. It applied to the current western borders of the Ukraine, the eastern border of Poland, and the Polish-Belarus border. “I would also like to remind you what Poland’s aggressive policy led to. It led to the national tragedy of 1939, when Poland’s Western allies threw it to the German wolf, the German military machine. Poland actually lost its independence and statehood, which were only restored thanks in a large measure to the Soviet Union. It was also thanks to the Soviet Union and thanks to Stalin’s position that Poland acquired substantial territory in the west, German territory. It is a fact that Poland’s western lands are a gift from Stalin. Have our Warsaw friends forgotten this? We will remind them.”

The Warsaw friends weren’t the only audience Putin intended. His warning is also addressed to the Berlin friends, the Baltic friends, the Paris, Brussels, and Budapest friends, and of course, the Washington friends.  In December 2021, they were offered the terms of mutual security and non-aggression in Europe in treaties for the US and NATO tabled by the Russian Foreign Ministry.  They were dismissed in diplomatic negotiations lasting less than a month.

By Christmas of this year, as Putin has just pointed out, the Ukrainian army and the NATO forces will have expended their capacities to continue the fight. “The whole world sees that the vaunted Western, supposedly invulnerable, military equipment is on fire”, he added. What can happen next is “an extremely dangerous game, and the authors of such plans should think about the consequences.”

This is a warning that if the Poles move east, the Germans will be motivated to move east as well, in order to recover the Prussian territories Germany lost in its defeat and capitulation at the end of World War II. Hungary too will be motivated to change its northeastern border in order to rescue the ethnic Hungarian population of Transcarpathia in southwest Ukraine.

In short, Putin was announcing that “Stalin’s gift”, as he called it, was the stability of the post-1945 territorial settlement. Now, in defeating NATO’s attempt to destroy the Russians east of Kiev, the Russians are warning afresh that if NATO attempts to change its defence lines west of Kiev,  the Russian army will dictate an entirely new territorial settlement in which NATO will be an even bigger loser of military capacity and territorial extension than the non-aggression treaties of December 17, 2021, offered.

The 1990 promise of not one inch eastward for NATO  is reversing by one thousand kilometres westward.

Chris Cook asks the questions. Listen to the discussion:


To visualise the geography in the discussion, here is a map of the post-World War II territorial settlement between Germany and Poland.


Here is a newly published Russian analysis of how the Putin warning should be interpreted, both historically and strategically,  between the Dnieper and the Oder-Niesse lines.

“The Revival of Russian identity and Polonization: Russia agrees to the partition of Ukraine” by Albert Akopyan -- source:

Since October 2022, Gorilla Radio has been banned from broadcasting by Radio CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria, British Columbia.   The Gorilla Radio transcripts are published on the blog.    For Chris Cook’s broadcast archive, click to open.

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  1. Mak

    I’m sick of seeing this blog become a pro Russian blog simply because it is against US imperialism.

    1. Polar Socialist

      You need to expand a little on how is an attempt to clarify what Putin said and drawing some conclusions of the likely endgame of the biggest war in Europe since 1945 somehow pro-Russian?

        1. Faz

          @Mak Fearless commentary on…politics and power. Says it at the top. If you’re sick of it, find another one.

    2. OldLion

      Same here.

      This post, based on the assumption that the war will be over by Christmas, is just balloney.

      Sounds like Yves is victim of an echo chamber regarding the war in Russia.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > based on the assumption that the war will be over by Christmas

        US and NATO grapple with critical ammo shortage for Ukraine CNN:

        US officials emphasized to CNN that there is a set level of munitions in US stockpiles around the world, essentially an emergency reserve, that the military is not willing to part ways with. The levels of those stockpiles are classified.

        But officials say the US has been nearing that red line as it has continued to supply Ukraine with 155mm ammunition, the NATO standard used for artillery rounds. The US began ramping up ammunition production last year when it became clear that the war would drag on far longer than anticipated. But the ammunition will still take “years” to mass produce to acceptable levels, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

        Maybe there’ll be ammo for Ukraine under the tree. Or maybe not! A war of attrition, after all, should have a reasonably calculable endpoint based on material conditons (leaving the electoral calendar aside).

      2. Randall Flagg

        Mr. OldLion,
        >Sounds like Yves is victim of an echo chamber regarding the war in Russia.

        You may not have noticed but on occasion Yves will repost an article that she flat out states that she may not agree with but does it to solicit commenters opinions. I find this helpful as it will give me another approach to thinking about a subject, confirm or change/challenge my thinking on a subject, or just learn something new from the wealth of intelligence and experience exhibited by commenters. Often the posts may also just confirm or expose the BS/propaganda that we are swimming in.
        If I am misinterpreting your comment, my apologies.

        Just my .02

      3. The Rev Kev

        An echo chamber located where exactly? Virtually the entire the main stream media all across the western world is in lockstep for the Ukrainians and against the Russian. You have a different opinion and straight away you are asked why you are a Putanist and if you are are a follower of Trump or something as well. But I am here to say that the Ukrainians do not have the manpower, artillery, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery rounds and everything else to last more than a month or two. And at the moment they are losing tanks and armoured vehicles by the score on a daily basis as they are on the attack. The God of Logistics has already called this war as being soon over.

        1. salvo

          well, since it is obvious that the US empire and its european provinces are using the ukrainian people to inflict harm on the russian people, one could argue that being anti US imperialism makes it to a certain degree unavoidable to become “pro-russian”. A win for ukraine would have catastrophic consequences for the rest of the world, as it would cement the brutal and destructive US hegemony over the rest of the world. So, in some sense, since I am anti US imperialsm (I regard the US as the most criminal empire ever) I would become “pro-russian” out of necessity.

          1. José Freitas

            This is exactly how I feel. Much as I dislike the Putin regime, I feel that in this case Russia prevailing will ultimately benefit the world. I could be wrong, of course.

            1. Kouros

              What do you know about the “Putin regime”. That it has high approval rates in the Russian population?? That has stooped the draining of the Russian resources by the west via the oligarchy installed during Yeltsin era with the help of the US advisors? that there are more parties in Russia and in the Russian Duma than in the US Congress/Senate?

            2. Kouros

              What do you know about the “Putin regime”. That it has high approval rates in the Russian population?? That has stooped the draining of the Russian resources by the west via the oligarchy installed during Yeltsin era with the help of the US advisors? that there are more parties in Russia and in the Russian Duma than in the US Congress/Senate?

        2. Rob

          @The Rev Kev—You took the words right out of my keyboard. The echo chamber on the US/NATO side dwarfs that on the Russian side.

      4. Gregorio

        I don’t know if the war will be over by Christmas, but one thing is certain, it will end like all the other neocon projects, in abject failure.

    3. salvo

      so, you are insinuating that by being “against US-imperialism” one becomes “pro-russian”? I wonder, how this kind of fallacy is named.

      1. OIFVet

        To quote Dubya, “You are either with us, or against us.” There is no middle ground according to the rules-based neocon worldview. The problem is that this virulent contagion has spread to the European “garden” as well.

    4. Leonardo

      The blind pro imperialism of this blog is shocking – it converts the people’s of Ukraine (and in this post, the Poles and balkans) into worthless puppets in “The Great Game”. The arguments put fourth here are no different that the ones put surely by the “powers” in Berlin’s conference divying up Africa in 1890.

      1. salvo

        who are the “people of Ukraine”? The people of Donezk being daily shelled by UAF? And you forgot that it’s been the US and its vasalls who have weaponized the “Ukrainian people” as a tool to hurt russia. The hundreds of thousands of victims of this war, Ukrainians and Russians, are the victims of US geopolitical power games in the first places. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

      2. chris

        Did you read the article? If so, do you think posting an analysis from John Helmer makes one pro-Russia?

        As for your statements about the great powers and treating people as nothing… the US has literally said that they are happy if Ukrainians die as long as it weakens Russia. Who is it that is treating people as if they were expendable pawns again?

      3. Bosko

        You know, of all the myopic, breathless responses to the war in Ukraine, the one that labels it ‘imperialism’ is the most sickening to me. You should really read more about US actions since WWII in Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, Vietnam, Venezuela, Bolivia, Iraq, Libya…

        1. cfraenkel

          Well, it is imperialism, after all. They just get the sides mixed up.

          Projection and all that.

      4. OIFVet

        I am a dual citizen who lives in the Balkans. Lemme tell ya, my Balkan country is a worthless US puppet. As a leaked recording of a certain party’s leadership conference revealed, a certain embassy ordered the formation of a coalition government between a corrupt political party and a party which supposedly would clear out the corruption, with the purpose of shoring up NATO’s Southern flank and providing more arms to Ukraine. Guess which embassy ordered the deed? Also guess what is happening to the fight against corruption?

        Bein turned into a sacrifice zone in the name of US interests in Ukraine is hardly the act of a friend and ally. And standing up against the US/NATO role in the war in Ukraine doesn’t make one pro-Russian. OTOH throwing around accusations parroting the US warmongering neocon establishment talking points certainly makes you an useful you-know-what.

        1. Kouros

          The enlightened answer from the “garden” will always be that it is the only way to do business with places like the Balkans…can’t expect more from them, whether they are in EUNATO or not…

      5. ChrisFromGA

        It is the US (and European) government treating the Ukrainian people as worthless puppets in the their “Great Game,” not a few commenters who see through the whole charade.

        Suggest that you spend some time in the metaphysical world and less in the world of “feelings.”

      6. Jams O'Donnell

        Leonardo – you’ll need to explain and justify the ‘imperialism’ bit. Russia has emphasised that they neither want nor need more land or power. What they need is for the US and NATO to stop putting missiles on countries nearer and nearer to Moscow. When the Donbas regions initially asked President Putin to annex them after the conflict started in 2014, he turned them down. Russia now seems to have given up on becoming closer to the rest of Europe, and has turned to concentrate on becoming closer to China and the rest of the east and Middle East, Africa and South America. So if you want to change the accepted meaning of ‘imperialism’ to ‘self-defence’ then you might have a point, but not one that anyone is going to adapt their usage to.

      7. Yves Smith Post author

        My goodness, we got on a troll list. Remarkable the number of clearly non-organic comments. The fact that the first two were fast out of the box and ran the usual tired tropes is the tell.

        This is all pretty lame.

        Just for starters, it is the US that is treating Ukraine as worthless puppets, as became official when it lost its sovereignity in the 2014 coup.

        1. Expat2uruguay

          Well, I really like the concise response given by Jams O’Donnell just above.

          But, Yup, the trolls are here in force. It’s interesting to see the commenters here just really ready to vent at trolls on this issue in this moment. Usually people here recognize such obvious trolls and pass them over, giving them nothing to feed on, but this time it is different! 🤔

          I think that it says something about the zeitgeist

        2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          No kidding! A troll here and there is going to happen, but the thundering herd suddenly appearing is … concerning.

      8. Bugs

        Not sure how long you’ve been reading this blog but Yves and co. have reported on developments in Ukraine leading to this disaster since before the 2014 coup, and with a very nuanced perspective. There is an anti imperialist perspective here to be sure, but also clear eyed reporting on exactly who the parties are and their motivations. I don’t think you’re going to find a less biased view out there. That said, I’m not a fan of Helmer’s style, which grates on me for reasons of my own taste. But that’s me, not the reporting.

      9. Stephen

        The blog seeks to reflect reality. It is not condoning the behaviour. But in reality the world is what it is.

        The west is using Ukraine as a kamikaze regime to fight Russia. That is very much a Great Game being played out.

        That is even evidenced by various US politico statements that refer to the “value” of other people fighting Russia without U.S. lives being lost.

        Always worth remembering too that post 2014 there was a civil war within Ukraine. So it is always a question of which specific Ukrainian people we see talking about when we discuss self determination. Worth remembering too that Ukrainian nationalists explicitly seek to remove the current inhabitants of Crimea (who were there pre 2014) if they recover the territory (albeit they will not recover it).

        Richard Sakwa: “Frontline Ukraine” is excellent on the nuances of different conceptions of Ukrainian nationhood as well as the way that the west sought to influence Ukraine by spending literally billions of dollars. That is true imperialism. Which is not to say that Russia is 100% totally virtuous either. Being anti western imperialism does not make one pro Russian imperialist. Although on balance, Russia seems far less imperialist than the modern west.

      10. semper loquitur

        “The arguments put fourth here are no different that the ones put surely by the “powers” in Berlin’s conference divying up Africa in 1890.”

        Nice attempt at depth!

        1. vao

          Especially since the Berlin conference alluded to took place from November 1884 to February 1885.

      11. eg

        “The blind pro imperialism of this blog”?

        Whose imperialism? Have the 700+ military installations straddling the globe escaped your attention?

      12. Darius

        It was far easier for Russia to keep the NATO proxy Ukrainians out of Donbas than it would have been to kick them out if they had gotten in.

        1. EssCetera

          Yes, and also it was very important for Putin to do this BEFORE Ukraine had joined NATO, as it appeared to be fast tracking to do, else we’d be in World War 3 right now.

          So Russia pre-empting an imminent Donetsk invasion when they did saved the world from a much larger conflict. No question at all this is now a managed conflict, rather than unmanaged, thanks to that very timing.

      13. Feral Finster

        If Ukraine wished to avoid war, it could have adhered to the Minsk-2 Accord that it signed after violating the Minsk Accord as soon as it got some breathing room. Didn’t Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko all admit that Minsk-2 was a sham and that Ukraine never intended to comply?

        And it is the US that is happy to sacrifice press-ganged Ukrainians by the hundreds of thousands.

    5. chris

      What was said in this post that makes you think the contents were pro-Russia?

      Further, if you’ve been reading this blog, then you’re aware of the vast narrative shaping activities the US government uses. You should also know from history that the US hasn’t been truthful about our conflicts in Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan, to name a few. And if you’ve been reading this blog you should understand the military industrial complex exists to take money from the federal government, not to win wars. So, assuming those are statements you’d acknowledge as true, how is it pro-Russian to point out that an organization which routinely lies about its motives and is by design inefficient to increase profits is not capable of defeating an industrial power in their own backyard?

    6. Bosko

      Most news sources are going to treat these arbitrary national borders as if every inch were set in stone since time immemorial. There is definitely some American amnesia regarding where Ukraine ended and Poland began before Stefan Bandera. I for one appreciate the historical context.

    7. britzklieg

      Man, you are waaay behind.
      Not only am I pro-Russia, I’ll be writing-in Vladimir Putin for POTUS in 2024
      Treason is the order of the day in Biden’s America!


      1. Rip Van Winkle

        I would, too. To qualify, Adobe pdf magic on a birth certificate and draft registration form would be child’s play for him. He still would have to run as a D in Illinois and have an O’ or McPutin.

    8. KD

      What does “pro-Russian” even mean? If you had a wrestling death match between a plucky six year old, and an NFL defensive linebacker, would you be “pro-linebacker” if you took the position the linebacker would kick the snot out of the six year old? Does it mean you want to see the six year old get smashed to bits by the linebacker? Further, if the MSM selectively filmed the match up in order to give the general public the false impression that the six year old could take the linebacker, in order to see the fight continue until the child was dead, and you criticized the coverage, are you pro-linebacker?

      What is happening in Ukraine is deeply horrible and tragic. It was also completely avoidable had anyone actually cared about Ukraine or Ukrainians. All Ukraine needed to do was stay neutral and implement Minsk, which is not a big ask. Fog of war and all that, but its hard to see how this doesn’t end in a bloody Ukrainian defeat, with Ukraine far worse off than when the war began. A rump state with no economy and no military age men. Russia will be militarily more powerful, and have greater standing internationally. NATO/US will have less credibility. Assuming there is no nuclear war. However, Russia may lose the peace, and may be bogged down militarily and economically as a result of having to pacify Ukraine.

      Personally, I would like to see the war end sooner than later, but that is very different from being “Pro-Russian” or “Pro-Ukrainian”. I’d like to see people stop dying, and politicians stop posturing and pretending to be tough by sending other people’s children off to fight and die in the latest Children’s Crusade.

      1. semper loquitur

        “What does “pro-Russian” even mean?”

        It translates to “thinking critically”, I think.

      2. Danpaco

        Ukraine is screwed regardless of outcome.

        Let’s say by some miracle Ukraine wins tomorrow. Everything of of value will be sold off and or privatized to their western backers to pay for the “lend lease” bill that will come due.

    9. Oh

      I’m constantly exposed to lies about UKR winning the war and how bad Russia/Putin is everyday by the MSM. At least for some of us it’s good to get the opposing viewpoint.

    10. eg

      NC is one of the few places that attempts analysis rather than mindless cheerleading for “our side” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and I’m as grateful for it as I am the unique Covid coverage.

    11. JLP

      I feel the same. Echoing Putin’s delirious speech on the Soviet Union saving Poland in WWII without mentioning the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is… how can say…

      1. Bugs

        Every single country in Europe signed a non aggression pact with Germany before the USSR did. Have you ever heard of Munich? The USSR, by occupying eastern Poland, saved countless lives of those who would have been exterminated by the fascist monsters, including their puppets in the Baltics, while preparing for the inevitable Nazi treachery to come. Don’t give me your Molotov Ribbentrop garbage. Stalin was no angel but he beat Nazi Germany into the dust of history and that should be celebrated.

        1. Jean-Louis Piraux

          “Every single country in Europe signed a non aggression pact with Germany before the USSR did.” this is not true. The Anglo-German pact e.g. was not a non-agression pact. And it did not have a secret protocol whereby France would be split between England and Germany…

          Regarding the countless lives, do you refer to the 20,000 Polish officers executed by the Red Army?

      2. Feral Finster

        Perhaps you need to be reminded of the context in which Molotov-Ribbentrop was signed.

        The whole point of Munich was “Let’s Have Germany and the USSR go fight!”

        Anyway, I find it rich that various Eastern European satrapies are owed WWIII to solve their ethnic beefs, because Stalin, but the victims of far more recent American aggression in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Vietnam and elsewhere are supposed to walk it off.

    12. Don

      In no way speaking for “this blog”, just myself, being “pro-Russian” in these circumstances, that is with US imperialism being the greatest force for death and destruction on a mega-industrial scale on this planet, and Russian currently being the biggest obstacle in its path, does not seem to me to be at all unreasonable.

    13. Rip Van Winkle

      Deplorable Flyover don’t care.

      Let Acela Corridor and US Route 101 go over there…over there…

  2. Lambert Strether

    Personally, I’ve always thought that Putin should give Galicia to the Poles, so they could slaughter the Azovs, a nice Xmas gift for all concerned, including Russia, the EU, and the US. But what do I know, now he wants to defend it….

    1. Acacia

      I had thought that too, but leaving Western Ukraine for NATO-aligned forces also means leaving a staging ground for an ongoing conflict within Ukraine that could be dragged out into the future. Under the new policy, other countries like Poland may be pushed to decide if they want to fight Russia directly from their own soil, and that’s rather less palatable than sending a constant dribble of weapons and mercs into Ukraine.

      1. Polar Socialist

        My thinking at the moment is leaning towards this change of attitude being targeted towards Ukrainians as a psyops: the mental image is that of Zelensky’s NATO-empowered junta is selling Ukraine to Poles, while Putin/Lukashenko are the real defenders of the Ukraine That Was.

        I have nothing to base this thinking on, but to the fact that the two heads of the Union State did bother to stage manage this, and that the Russian Armed Forces seem to have finally gone to offence or are at least preparing for one (or several) – missile strikes covering the whole Ukraine night and day (even on the very border of NATO), advance in Svatove sector turning from local to strategic and TG channels filled with instructions for Ukrainians on how to surrender.

        1. Lex

          That’s where I’m at. Putin has previously said that “no one needs Galitzia” and that incorporating it into the USSR was a mistake. What’s important is who gets to make the decisions about what happens to it. There’s also a reasonable chance that hearts have hardened and there’s less willingness to give NATO any/much face saving “wins”.

          That doesn’t solve the problem that taking the territory would present for Russia.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘leaving Western Ukraine for NATO-aligned forces also means leaving a staging ground for an ongoing conflict within Ukraine’

        It could be worse than that. With NATO having caused the Ukraine to be burned down to the ground, a Western Ukraine would be a militarized hub, trained and equipped by NATO, to then start setting Belarus on fire. For a start, by sending sabotage and murder groups across into that country like they have done with Russia. And then there would be drones flying into there to hit infrastructure and the like. It would be a constant source of instability that would rile the border regions on behalf of NATO which would suit them just fine. I guess that the Russians will push to the Polish borders so that it will force all those neo-Nazis to flee to the west along with at a minimum hundreds of thousands of refugees. The Russians would have then made it the problem for the EU to deal with which is ironic. Before the Maidan, people were pushing it as it would lead to the influx of a mass of cheap foreign workers for the EU to take advantage of as, not being EU citizens, would have little recourse under law to abuses.

        1. Don

          I agree, a Western Ukrainian rump the hands of NATO would be a time bomb, but leaving a Western Ukraine mandated by treaty/international law to remain demilitarized and unallied, although daunting, might work — probably better than Russia taking on the unpalatable and probably impossible task of administering it herself.

  3. MFB

    It’s an interesting question. Ukraine can’t win the war. It’s throwing absurd amounts of what little remains of its forces into the war, apparently in an attempt to impress NATO. This is completely unsustainable. Either NATO comes in very quickly — which seems unlikely after Vilnius — or Ukraine will collapse, possibly with a military revolt, before the end of the year. In which case it’s very logical to start wondering what happens next.

    But Putin is Hitler, and Ukraine is Finland in 1939 — oh, wait, it was Hitler who was supporting Finland — hang on, Hitler was also allied to the Soviet Union — oh, the hell with it. Putin! Hitler! Putin! Hitler! Slobber Ukraina!

  4. Ignacio

    According to your view reporting on Putin’s public remarks which go along with the remarks linked an posted from the relevant Western leaders and media makes of NC an eco chamber. Where did you read that the war will be over by Christmas? Very much on the contrary what It says It that by Christmas the West might try escalating vía occupation of West Ukraine by, for instance, Poland. And Putin says this would meet with more war and Russia will not accept the occupation. You prefer to ignore the warning? Your choice. Yet Polish citizens as well as everybody else are better served if they know in advance the risks of such a move.

  5. NL

    Russia just decided to extend the upper limit on conscription to the age of 30. Sounded like males 18-30 may be prohibited from going abroad. In Ukraine, males 18-60 are prohibited from going abroad. Russia’s Defense Minister Shoigu is in North Korea begging for ammunition.

    The war will be long and pointless, will involve many countries in one way or another and will further contribute the disappearance of the so-called West, like WWI and WWII have done, especially in the context of the rising East. Quoting from Kissinger, WWI was a “cultural suicide that destroyed the greatness of Europe”. in which the leaders “got involved like sleepwalkers”, but then “began to explore the prospects for ending the carnage” — but “since no conceivable compromise could justify the sacrifices already made and no one wanted to give the impression of weakness, the leaders hesitated to start a formal peace process.” The same applies to the present situation. I only disagree with the sleepwalking part, there is a logic to this…

    1. Leonardo

      This is the destruction of “the russian world”; Even if Russia keeps all the territory it stole from Ukraine – what then?
      – Ukraine will join EU and NATO eventually. The baltics is a NATO lake, and NATO will re-arm now.
      – The influence of Russia in western europe that for so long meant they were doves towards russia is gone.
      – The economic links have been shattered – and they will not come back. Russia might restore them with China, but China has its own grivencies with Russia, and the former Asian SSR’s will levitate to China, not back to Russia. Russia will be a junior parter of China, not an equal partner of Europe.
      – Turkey will assert itself against Russia; Turkey isnt strong enough to focus on all its geostrategic fronts, so it focuses on the ones where its oponents are weak, and Russia is weak. So the influence that Russia had in Azerbeijan and Armenia is gone, it will be Turkey’s shots that count now.

      1. salvo

        yes, the are US imperialists who wish for the destruction of the “Russian world”. Just wishful thinking

      2. Acacia

        Except that it’s become clear that the Europeans never viewed Russia as an equal partner. So, Russia will partner with China, while the US and EU partner with each other, each working overtime to alienate China and kneecap their own supply chains.

        I guess this is fine if you think a Western circle jerk is “productive”.

      3. Lex

        Please detail the rearmament of NATO. You can start with whether the US has actually expanded artillery ammunition production to the 20k/day target itself for spring 23. I’m not taking about contracts or public statements about how Europe will produce 1M shells per year. I’m taking about news items indicating that the factories are being built, that people are being hired, that production numbers are increasing.

        Because the numbers being thrown around for NATO rearmament don’t add up to much. For example, divide 1M by 365 and see how many shells per day that is. Then it can be compared to current usage in Ukraine.

        Why the mighty NATO hasn’t managed to produce an analog of the Geranium/Saheed drone in a year and a half is another question you could answer for us. Thousands, even hundreds, of those (moped engines strapped to a winged bomb) would make a big difference for Ukraine.

        I’m quite serious if you are. It’s a fascinating subject and a lot of people claim there’s a switch NATO can flip to rearm. I’m interested in the nuts and bolts of doing it.

      4. nippersdad

        This sounds a lot like bullet points from a Nuland Powerpoint presentation. All that is missing are the cookies.

        *Please explain how Russia stole anything when they meticulously used the R2P road map in recognizing the Donbass prior to their being invited in. Why do you hate the international law that we created post hoc in order to justify the NATO incursion into Yugoslavia?

        *Vilnius showed that, however much Ukraine may want to join NATO, no one in NATO wants them to join save for the US and Great Britain. Article Five does not work that way.

        *The Baltics may be a NATO lake, but international law of the seas prevents NATO from blocking freedom of navigation in it from Russia. Again, why do you hate international law as it presently exists?

        *NATO may well rearm, but the business model upon which it operates leaves it at a disadvantage to countries like Russia and China who do not see their MIC as a profit vector. They are actually interested in defense, not profit.

        *Once Europe becomes the economic backwater that lack of affordable resources condemns it to becoming, they are going to rethink the hawkish policies that got them into that state. That is just economic reality; you cannot be a member of the first world family of nations when you are heating your homes by picking up sticks out of the nearest park.

        *If there are any grievances between China and Russia, they have been paved over by their need to protect themselves from the Collective West. By the time that changes it is probable that the benefits of cooperation will outweigh any problems in the relationship they might have once had.

        You are not living in the Seventies anymore, and it might be well for you to reflect on that. NAFO troll farms are not an economic engine that can fuel empires; reality always trumps ideology.

      5. Darius

        It was NATO-proxy Ukraine that should not have shelled Donbas for months and massed troops there. It was Zelensky who should not have talked about acquiring nuclear weapons. We would never tolerate such acts in Cuba, let alone Mexico. It was Biden, Blinken, and Nuland who should have treated Russia’s November negotiating statement seriously.

      6. ex-PFC Chuck

        Regardless of the outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine the backfiring of the sanctions imposed by the West have set in motion the shrinking of the purview of the Rules Based Order that the United States has imposed on the rest of the world since President Roosevelt’s plan to prevent colonialism from reemerging after World War Two was sabotaged by Wall Street and the UK during the Truman administration. Another consequence of the USA’s incitement of the Ukraine conflict is the beginning of the end of Europe’s leading role in world affairs over the past half millennium. To paraphrase Lenin, usually decades go by and seem like weeks, but occasionally a year or two can seem like decades or centuries.

        1. Bill Malcolm

          “since President Roosevelt’s plan to prevent colonialism from reemerging after World War Two was sabotaged by Wall Street and the UK during the Truman administration.”

          You mean sabotaged like when Britain left India / Pakistan to their own devices in 1947? Hard to see the sabotage of the saintly FDR’s anti-colonial legacy in that. Conversely, did the US give up Guam, Marshall Islands, American Samoa or Puerto Rico, etc? They did grant nominal independence to the Philippines in 1946, which again blows your theory. But Cuba was a satrap of the US from its wresting from Spain in 1898 until Castro kicked out the US-loving mercantile class to moan and whinge forever from Florida. Just like the Venezuelan expats have done since Chavez rewrote the rules in his country. Both countries were US colonies in all but name prior to their respective revolutions.

          What we were taught in school in Canada 60 years ago was that the US was highly put out by the division of both China and the African continent between the European colonial powers in the late 1800s. In that, the US completely missed out, being quite a few days late if not a dollar short. So then they decided to become on the surface holier-than-thou anti-colonialist do-gooders while snapping up the remnants of small Pacific Islands, and bashing Spain militarily to take over the Philipines and Cuba. In fact it was the usual gasbagging nonsense the US has specialized in since that time. Home of democracy, we’re so pure, blah, blah, blah. America the Hero. Pfft.

          I’m not an American, and never wanted to be one, or a Russian or a Chinese either. These big countries throw their weight around, and either bully or cajole smaller countries into joining their point-of-view. By order of general nastiness these days, I rate from worst to best, USA, China, Russia. Haven’t really got much time for any of them, but I see how Russia was stalked by the US into having to invade Ukraine, so to that extent I guess I’m mildly pro-Russia especially if it can kick mounds of sand into lordly US faces with relative impunity.

          The US government / elites, crazies who in their blind drive to be world hegemon, now fatuously figure they’re going to put down China too. At the same time! Ludicrous. Fat chance. None of these big countries treat smaller countries with real respect, and citizens, particularly of the USA, have simply no idea what it’s like to live in a small powerless country when these wolves are roaming about. We little ‘uns are forced to pick a side usually depending on geographical proximity up till now, and have to like it or lump it. Or face economic or military ruin if we want to hang on to our sovereign natural resources. Americans in general simply don’t understand the feeling, and wonder why people cheer when they leave. Garland Nixon gets it. From 9 months ago, and you can skip past the Liz Truss bits, although they are entertaining.

          So what about the UK these days, one asks? Exactly, nobody cares. But if one were to examine history from WW2 to 1980, it was Britain who decolonized. France has paid little attention to US orders to this day,, fighting losing its colonies every inch of the way. It took a fair time for the Belgians to quit the Congo as well.

          As an old Danish acquaintance said thirty years ago: “First you must understand what you don’t understand” Meaning there’s more out there to know than you can even imagine, and it’s often impossible to see the view from another person’s perspective. Americans are brilliant, in my view, in viewing only themselves as important and worthy of study. A generality, to be sure, and not overly applicable to the usual commentariat here, but good solid traces of it are still obvious to me

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I have difficult with your Canadian view of America. It had a huge, resource-rich continent to exploit and not enough people, which is why we had such generous immigration policies. Our military spending was a joke until WWII. We had the Monroe Doctrine. The idea that the US was upset over the lack of participation in colonial exploitation of Africa is extremely questionable. I even recall in the 1960s reading in foreign policy journals about the upset then about our LACK of interest in Africa despite having a need for some critical metals that came only from there.

      7. FUBA111111

        what then ? stop watching CNN

        nothing in this comment is even remotely attached to reality

        it appears to have escaped your poor analytical skills that over 80% of the world’s population does not support or care about Ukraine – including me, and that the only grouping growing more isolated is The West

        NATO and The West have already been defeated by Russia, now the only issue to be settled is how far-ranging the defeat will be and how long it takes the defeated to acknowledge reality – which will probably be a long time yet, given the depths of delusion still present in the in The West, as evidenced by your comment, and NL above it

        I’m from Poland, and all I can say is – Slava Z baby!

        If Ukrainians/NATO don’t like the outcome, they shouldn’t have started the war in the first place

    2. Polar Socialist

      The raise of conscription age is mostly about Russia having a demographic “slump” every 25 years or so due to originally WW2 and then the liberal 90’s, so there’s currently about 10 million conscript age men less than there was a decade ago. The purpose is to have a bigger cohort of conscription age males to select the annual 150,000 or so for the active duty.

      I think it’s more likely that Shoigu is in North Korea to sell rather than buy. In the current situation it would make more sense for Russia to create problems for USA and it’s allies in Pacific by giving NK some top-shelf stuff rather than deprive it from it’s conventional fire-power, don’t you think? “Actions have consequences” could be something Russia would like South Korea and Japan to understand.

      1. salvo

        well, according to US imperialists, Russia is “weak” (the german Nazis thought that too, by the way, they thought them to be sub-humans), at least not a as great, as exceptional, as the US empire, so going to North Korea can for Russia only be seen as an act of self-degradation (begging for munition)

      2. timbers

        “In the current situation it would make more sense for Russia to create problems for USA and it’s allies in Pacific by giving NK some top-shelf stuff rather than deprive it from it’s conventional fire-power, don’t you think? “Actions have consequences” could be something Russia would like South Korea and Japan to understand.”

        That was my take (hope) as well. South Korea supplying Ukraine with 155’s should not go unpunished. And I’m sure Japan is doing some back stabbing towards Russia in the same spirit. In my world, I would have help a special meeting w/North Korea regarding supplying them some better air power and spiffy missiles and drones that can be aimed and very very effective against the whole South Korea and maybe Japan, too, as a “thank you” to Putin’s “friends” in Seoul for providing Ukraine with arms.

      3. salvo

        btw … I suppose that even if Russia would end up as a “junior Partner” of China, such relationship would probably be beneficial for the russian people, to the contrary of the kind of “partnership” the US empire would impose on them

      4. nippersdad

        North Korea is prolly viewed as a wedge that can be driven between China and Russia by the neocons. If they can successfully restart the Korean war, maybe that will take some pressure off of Europe. Unfortunately for them, their track record sucks and Russia/China are onto their tactics.

        I think it is significant that it is Shoigu and not Lavrov visiting them right now. Neocons should take note of that.

      5. NL

        According to Russian sources who are pro-war, North Korea can supply (if it does not already supply) artillery shells, bullets and stuff like that, which can all be fired by the Russian weapons. Also, there is apparently a discussion about letting North Korean workers to work in the Russian Far East and in Donbass on the reconstruction. Finally, the Russian military is eyeing North Korean drones, like its clone of Global Hawk, which was flown recently.

        According to the same sources, Russia is a midst of another 1937, but this 1937 is apparently mild. The sources call for re-instatement of the death penalty to make less mild.

        Russia is an oligarchy just like the rest of the West. The West is experiencing shortage of ammunition and so does Russia. My view is whoever musters the will to reform and restrain their national oligarchy will ultimately triumph. The recent attempted revolt was potentially the first early effort in that direction. Lots of the Russians fight in Ukraine under the Soviet Union flags…

        1. hunkerdown

          Good. May the Soviets finish the job they started over 100 years ago converting capitalist submissives and moral whiners into hamburger.

        2. Kouros

          Sorry to burst your bubble, but Russia is not an oligarchy. While it has an oligarchy, the power doesnt rest with them, but with Kremlin. Russia is more of a recovering populist tyrany. US is definitely an oligarchy, this is where the power resides.

          The West and the US hate RussiaChina precisely because they are not oligarchies, but populist tyranies where you will find oligarchs, but where most of the benefits get spread for the benefit of the population and the state).

          1. NL

            The Russian head of state on the Wagner uprising:
            “A blow like this was dealt to Russia in 1917, when the country was fighting in World War I. But the victory was stolen from it: intrigues, squabbles and politicking behind the backs of the army and the nation turned into the greatest turmoil, the destruction of the army and the collapse of the state, and the loss of vast territories, ultimately leading to the tragedy of the civil war.

            We will not allow this to happen again. We will protect our people and our statehood from any threats, including from internal betrayal.”

            So, he believes that had the Russian communists not had a revolution in 1917, capitalist Russia would have won WWI. He also seems to consider the Soviet Union leadership between 1917 and 1990 to be traitors of the country controlled by foreign forces. Ruble went from 60/$1 to 90/$1 in about 9 months — the oligarchy are moving money abroad again…

              1. Polar Socialist

                There’s good chance Putin was referring to the “Kornilov Putsch” in September 1917, when the C-in-C of the Russian Army marched with troops toward St. Petersburg apparently to save the provisional government from the Bolsheviks.

                Kerensky though it was an attempt at coup d’etat, and asked the said Bolsheviks (Petrograd Soviet, to be more precise) to stop Kornilov – which they did by stalling Kornilov’s advance and talking his troops to desert.

                As a result Kerensky’s government lost all credibility, while Kornilov and 30 other officers were arrested leaving the army detesting Kerensky, too.

                So, when the Bolsheviks made their revolution – with weapons provided earlier by Kerensky – a month later, nobody came to government’s help.

                Of course there’s a lot more to that, and comparing the two events is a bit of a stretch, but on some level both events had an army column approaching the capital due to a misconception.

              2. NL

                The February Revolution overthrew Tsar Nicholas II and brought to power the Provisional Government of the budding Russian oligarchy. Quoting from the Imperial War Medium in London: “Despite introducing a program of liberal reforms over the following months, the Provisional Government decided not to take Russia out of the First World War. They failed to address one of the main causes for the February Revolution and this would be one of the factors that led to a second revolution, in October 1917.” He talks about “the loss of vast territories”. The oligarchy continued the war, hence no loss of territory took place, also no civil war at this point.

                From Wiki on the October Revolution: “It took place through an armed insurrection in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) on 7 November 1917 [O.S. 25 October].” — just like the revolt; “It was the precipitating event of the Russian Civil War.” Wiki has a section on German support: ” Recognizing that these dissidents could cause problems for their Russian enemies, the German government agreed to permit 32 Russian citizens, among them Lenin and his wife, to travel in a sealed train carriage through their territory.” — he talks about foreign meddling; and the treaty of Brest-Litovsk resulted in a loss of huge territory, from elsewhere “By the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine, Georgia and Finland; gave up Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Germany and Austria-Hungary; and ceded Kars, Ardahan and Batum to Turkey. The total losses constituted 1 million square miles of Russia’s former territory”. Please note that Ukraine is mentioned first.

                My view is that he is talking about the October Revolution as being a traitor act. But let’s say he talk about the February Revolution, then he is a monarchist who thinks himself to be a tsar called upon to rebuild the Empire.

                The most important part please note that it is the refusal of the oligarchic Provisional Government to take into consideration the will of the people that led to the October Revolution. The communists then easily won the Civil War, regained back many territories (including a large chunk of Ukraine) and then won WWII. One idea is that the current conflict could do the same to the current Russian oligarchy as what WWI did to the Tsar and the first Russsian oligarchy, short of that, Russia loses.

                1. hunkerdown

                  Are you another PMC whiner who thinks communism is oligarchy and that capitalism is good because your social station exists to enforce and protect it? I think you need to explain your infantile moralism and why you think it matters, so that we all can have a good chuckle.

      6. NL

        “The bill stipulates that the minimum conscription age remains at 18 years, while the maximum age is being increased from 27 to 30 starting on January 1, 2024.

        The document also stipulates that those citizens conscripted for military service will be able to sign a voluntary one-year contract. Such contracts will be available during mobilization, amid martial law and in wartime, as well as during armed conflicts, during counter-terrorist operations and any time Russia’s Armed Forces are deployed abroad. Reservists will also be able to sign such contracts for one year or less.”

        I am guessing Russia has lots of 28-30-year-olds who have so far dodged the draft. Also note the ‘voluntary’ contact. Looks like those who signed a contract as opposed to simply serve a year of their civil duties will be sent to the conflict zones.

    3. Don

      How did you find out that Shoigu is begging North Korea for ammunition? I knew he was in Korea, but begging for ammunition? Wow, I didn’t hear about that, nobody tells me anything!

    4. Kouros

      One thing is conscription for the military service, which is happening each year in Russia, and another thing is reserves call for mobilization for the present SMO.

      What I read is that the age cap for SMO mobilization was raised to 30 years, meaning only 30+ years old are to be mobilized for the front. Which is entirely different from what you are trying to argue.

  6. Ignacio

    Someone with expertise in NATO and EU treaties should chime in. Let’s say that Polish boots on Galitzia is first step of effective anexation by unilateral declaración or by agreement with Uk’s regime. Does this implies automatic integration of such territory in NATO or EU treaties? On the second i have serious doubts, on the former no idea.

    1. nippersdad

      I think the EU/NATO reaction to Lithuania’s short lived effort to block access to Kaliningrad would answer that. I think they would be on their own by general acclaim.

    2. fjallstrom

      Both NATO and EU are collections of states, they don’t take into account their borders. Nato treaty applies to “member states’ territories in Europe, North America, Turkey, and islands in the Atlantic north of the Tropic of Cancer” (article 6, according to Wikipedia), so any territories in Europe is covered.

      EU expanded to the former DDR when Germany did. I think the same is true for NATO.

      Of course, the US can always say to Poland that if they annex territories in western Ukraine, the US will consider those territories outside NATO. Because the US interprets things however they want to.

      But the plain reading and earlier decisions points towards annexed territories entering immediately. Which is scary as it moves the world another step towards nuclear annihilation.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    I hope NC’s perimeter defenses are in order.
    in my experience with such distributed think tanks, concern trolls from the Blob only start showing up en masse when said think tank gets a little too close to the truth, and gets enough eyeballs to where the Blob gets afeared of wide exposure.

    that said, its good to be challenged by the other side of an issue.
    keeps ya on yer toes, and encourages the examination of assumptions…even if that isnt the intention.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and when i’m compelled thusly to look under the bridge, i find a chorus of frogs and hubristic jibber jabber.
      then i come across something like this:

      and realise, once again, that that assessment coheres almost 1:1 with the one i arrived at in the middle 90’s…back when Time Magazine had Yeltsin on the cover, and was bragging about the economic shenanigans that the Clinton Admin were up to …essentially looting Russia.
      ive got old hardrives just filled with such articles from mainstream news orgs…most by now memory-holed.
      so bring it on,lol…i’m ready to put my own 30 year memory of events up against the “Putin=Hitler” people, any day.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Of course “Americans looting Russia” and “Putin=Hitler” are not necessarily contradictory statements. (Though personally, I don’t entirely agree with either of them. IMHO: Russian politicans and oligarchs did much more damage to Russia than Americans, though the latter helped; and Putin has many objectionable characteristics, but doesn’t have much in common with Hitler.)

  8. maray

    Both NATO and Russia are happy to kill, they are both wrong. Netflix have a video called ‘unknown killer robots’ where US practicioners are talking about ‘no second place in war’, they are planning AI wars becuase the governments have given up talking about peace and the US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and others are all gearing up for a massive robot led war far worse than the one in Ukraine

  9. timbers

    It is easy to grow exasperated at the pace of the Russian attrition strategy in Ukraine, even though I am convinced it is working. So what do I do vent my frustrations instead?

    I wonder why on earth Russia allowed herself to be played for a full year by allowing the grain corridor to used for arms trafficing to Ukraine, launching missiles and drones at Crimea, and gathering Crimean target information. Russia probably knew this all the while if only because of the flood of admissions that this was so that appeared after the deal was finally ended. Or why Russia tells us she knows of other important decision centers in Ukraine that she can destroy…then doesn’t.

    Sure, Putin parlayed this into an brilliant display at the African Summit with it’s impressive 49 out of 54 attendees including 21 heads of State (didn’t stop Western MSM from labeling that a “failure” proving how unpopular Putin was throughout the world, however). Free grain for those who lost access to Ukraine grain, and urging Africans to drop the USD to get grain and other stuff and purchase directly from Russia.

    But these measures towards Africa, could and would have proceeded regardless.

    1. Lex

      I think these are reasonable questions to which we can only guess at the true answers. IMO, Russia’s slow pace has been partly of necessity. It didn’t plan for a big war (or likely any war). The last 9-10 months have been the buildup for what the conflict became after the US/UK spiked a negotiated settlement and went nearly all in. Combined with a clear priority to minimize Russian casualties, the attrition of active defense is a reasonable strategy. It took the US 9 months to prep for Iraq and it wasn’t fighting a full blown conflict while doing so.

      If the UN had gotten the US to abide by the grain deal it had significant economic benefit for Russia, even at the cost of allowing arms smuggling and a safe space for concentrating material in Ukraine. Putin also seems willing to be “led by the nose” to a degree to prove a point. I suspect the timing of ending it and attacking Odessa is related to how prepared Russia feels now as opposed to 9 months ago. It seems that Russia’s calculation is that it has deflected the worst of what Kiev can throw at it so the time is now to start pushing back. And it can do great damage by attacking material in Odessa at the time Kiev can least afford it.

  10. Daniil Adamov

    Since the Baltic States (and now Finland) are already in NATO, I’m not sure NATO can get any closer to our borders.

    As for Russian government officials talking about Poland annexing western Ukraine and us either opposing or accepting that, I don’t see any reason to consider that to be anything other than propaganda aimed at the Ukrainians. The local Poles are long gone. Trying to occupy and integrate the region would be far more trouble, politically and logistically, than it is worth. That may change in the event of an actual Ukrainian collapse, if they want a buffer zone against Russia and/or post-Ukrainian chaos, but talking about that seems clearly premature.

    1. Stephen

      Thank you. Your interpretation sounds very sensible if everyone is rational.

      My understanding too is that all of the post WW2 territory exchanges were accompanied by very harrowing (and tragic) population exchanges that are largely forgotten in (at least) western accounts of the war. The local Germans who once inhabited modern day western Poland or East Prussia are also long gone, I believe.

      The one minority population that remains in many places is Russians I believe. Because I guess after 1945 the borders were internal within the USSR and so it did not matter too much. Then since 1991 the world changed again.

      If Ukraine collapses though then I do wonder if Poland would propose a union of some form, rather than direct annexation. After all, Churchill offered that to France in 1940. That may be the scenario that Putin could also be guarding against. However, such a union would clearly not be a match made in heaven anyway. No rational Pole would suggest it. But there does seem to be a lot of irrationality about at the moment, and perverse incentives created for local elites by US / EU / UK meddling.

      I guess it is also a warning for NATO not to do anything at all in western Ukraine too.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Populations were forcefully moved en masse at the end of World War Two. Surviving Poles out of Ukraine and Belarus, Germans out of lands that went to RSFSR and Poland, etc. It was indeed horrific.

        Though with respect to the Germans, there is a vocal movement of descendants of the resettled in Germany who want to revise the eastern border. I do not think any conceivable near-future German government would be interested in picking a fight with both Poland and Russia to carry out another forced resettlement. I wonder whether a similar group exists in Poland, among the descendants of their resettled. That would be one constituency that would be interested in a takeover. Even so I don’t think it would be enough to make such a radical course of action likely.

        Some sort of union state (perhaps more like what Russia and Belarus have, a special international arrangement that falls far short of a real union) is somewhat more conceivable, but I wonder as to what terms it may have. Especially considering all the kicking against Ukrainian agricultural exports and refugees in Poland, and the apparent reluctance of the Poles to enter the war directly. (If they had really been eager to enter it, they could’ve seized on that one stray missile.) What could they actually promise Ukraine, and what could Ukraine promise Poland?

        1. chuck roast

          Yeh, I was trying to figure out where this came from…

          “This is a warning that if the Poles move east, the Germans will be motivated to move east as well, in order to recover the Prussian territories Germany lost in its defeat and capitulation at the end of World War II.”

          Excuse me! I think that this comes under the heading, Deus ex Machina. There are zero arguments in this piece that support this view. I’m sure that there are revanchist undercurrents, but hey, lemme know when they surface.

          1. JBird4049

            It is highly unlikely that there will be any massive changes in territory or population for either Poland or Germany, but when one’s family had lived somewhere since the Middle Ages, (or longer), it is understandable that some people want it back. We are talking about the parents, grandparents, and great grandparents of these people who were expelled or murdered.

            Do not forget that most of the people being expelled from their homes, farms, and businesses and often personally beaten, robbed, raped, or murdered were not personally responsible for the many horrific crimes of others. Their crime was of being the wrong ethnicity or nationality.

      2. Doug

        In 1973 I spent the summer with a (West) German family as a high school exchange student. My German parents were from Silesia and I got a chuckle out of my German mother saying it was “under Polish administration.” She apparently felt it would be returned some day. They were not deported, however. My German father was in the Wehrmacht and at the end of the war, seeing what was coming, was able to get himself and his pregnant wife into what would become the western occupation zone.

    2. Feral Finster

      Exactly. Anyone who thinks that Poland would want a poor region containing a fractious and well-armed populace that is by no means Polish and has conducted ethnic cleansing against Poles within living memory is living in La La Land.

      1. Feral Finster

        I should have added that every Polish person that I know lost relatives in the Volhynian Massacres.

  11. upstater

    Helmer is ignoring the fact that the post WW2 borders were accompanied by massive ethnic cleansing, forcing removal of many millions from traditional homelands. There are no ethnic fifth columns in these places. There are no Baltic Germans, except vacationers. Very few Poles remain in Lithuania, as in Galicia. Silesia has no Germans. Through Jim Crow laws disfranchising Baltic Russians, they have been “encouraged” to leave. And so on.

    Redrawing post WW2 borders is surely possible with WW3. But I don’t think a reconstituted Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth from the Baltic to Black Sea or the Russian Empire in Poland, the Baltics and Finland is in the cards, short of these areas becoming depopulated nuclear wastelands.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      There are still very large Russian minorities in the Baltic States, encouragement to leave notwithstanding. Some of those who left Russia went there, too, at least provisionally. Whether they would constitute a fifth column… well, their national governments and majority nationalists are certainly inclined to feel that way, and that tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Otherwise agreed.

  12. KD

    From the standpoint of the West, Putin is losing, and Ukraine will be accepted into NATO after the war ends.

    From the standpoint of the Russians, not only will Ukraine have no Nazi’s and no military beyond some bobbies on bicycles, but there will be no NATO powers or NATO forces in Ukraine.

    The reality of a post-war Ukraine, is that Russia probably (for good reasons) does not want to occupy what is left of Ukraine. and Western Ukraine will have no functional economy and almost no military capacity given their demographics, emigration, etc. I don’t see how rump Ukraine can address its security issues without being some kind of protectorate of Poland or someone. So my guess is that this Russian posturing with an end towards a future negotiation, the same way NATO is a bargaining chip. As well as trying to deter Poland from doing something foolish.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Denazification without full occupation seems impossible. What are we supposed to do, keep killing them one by one from a distance, a la America and the terrorists? That hasn’t worked out well even without taking collateral damage into account.

      1. Michaelmas

        D. Adamov: What are we supposed to do, keep killing them one by one from a distance, a la America and the terrorists?

        Turn off all the power and water infrastructure. It gets cold at that latitude in winter, which should work to depopulate the territory and turn it into one big No Man’s Land.

        Granted, this would present one complication the US didn’t face when it knocked down — as per its SOP — all Iraq’s infrastructure in the 2003 invasion there, inasmuch as there are three other nuclear power plants in Ukraine besides Zaporizhzhia, which of course is now held by Russia.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          That’s a great way to drastically reduce the number of Ukrainians living in Ukraine (which I don’t remember being on the official agenda, though I suppose that doesn’t much matter). Would it remove all the Nazis? It seems like highly-motivated paramilitaries could hang on longer than most, especially with Western support.

          1. chris

            What I believe Yves and others have been suggesting for quite some time on NC is that the likely Russian goal is to turn Ukraine into an infrastructure-less uninhabitable zone where only crazies who can exist off grid live if they’re outside of the Russian territories. That is certainly one way to solve the problem of Russia gaining a terrorist filled rump stump on its front porch. It’s also a hideous cost to imagine for the people of Ukraine, many of whom do not like the nazis in charge and just want peace. As for what will happen if that occurs, Yves and others on many different sites have already posited that the nazis will go into Western Europe and make life worse there.

              1. chris

                Understood. My apologies for misquoting.

                I do agree with that thesis. I’m still horrified at the cost of it. So much death and loss for no reason if it comes to pass. I’d ask how the architects of this debacle can sleep with that hanging over their heads but I’m sure the answer is very well :/

          2. Michaelmas

            Daniil Adamov: Would it remove all the Nazis? It seems like highly-motivated paramilitaries could hang on longer than most, especially with Western support.

            It’s 2023.

            The technological potential exists — especially if Russia carried out a policy across Western Ukraine’s flat territories similar to that which the US military enacted in Vietnam, where it sprayed nearly 12,000 square miles of Vietnamese jungles with herbicides and defoliant to remove cover for the Viet Cong — to turn W. Ukraine into a No Man’s Land where automated drone networks, mobile ‘self-healing’ minefields, and LEO satellite oversight ensure that anything human-sized moving above ground that shows visually and on infra-red gets killed.

            You — and another person whose comment has now been removed — have argued that making W. Ukraine a zone without power or water infrastructure would essentially amount to creating a zone which would attract Ukrainian Nazi paramilitaries, as it would be a place where they can ‘thrive’ and perpetrate their ‘feudal’ ‘might makes right’ mindset. (The ‘thrive’ and ‘feudal’ were words the now-vanished commentator used.)

            I’m saying that’s a feature, not a bug. The Americans use the charming expression ‘self-cleaning oven’ about their ghettoes. So, likewise, with Western Ukraine as a No Man’s Land — it could serve Russia as a ‘self-cleaning oven’ to deal with Ukraine’s Azov adherents and Banderites.

            Granted, this seems extreme.

            Yet the alternative is what commentator Aurelien suggests just below — that the ‘more intelligent decision-makers in NATO’ will recognize that the West’s cookie jar is emptying, so common sense dictates that some kind of negotiation and accomodation with Russia should take place.

            Unfortunately, the problem there is that this conflict between US/NATO and Russia is existential. For US/NATO’s leaders and policymakers to reach a common-sense accomodation with Putin’s Russia would require that [A] they acknowledge US/NATO is so weak that it can’t even defend against Russian forces redrawing borderlines in Europe (an existential admission of weakness and failure for them); and [B] that those NATO leaders can exercise common sense anyway.

            1. Kouros

              There is always the chance that the remaining population will ultimately accept and promote only politicians signing on on neutrality and raising a police force and military entirely focused on finding and prosecuting ultra-nationalist forces and individuals and thus a lot of policing would fall on Ukrainians themselves. Like after 1945…

  13. Aurelien

    I clicked through Helmer’s link to Putin’s warning, which is to another of his stories, with a link in turn to a record of part of the Security Council discussion in Russian only. The intertube-thingy translation is not very clear, but as I see it, Putin is indeed issuing a high-level warning to Warsaw not to do anything silly, but I can’t see any reference in the translation to Russia “defending” the area. The point about Art 5 of the Washington Treaty is one we have discussed many times: only the national territories of signatory states in Europe are affected by the undertaking (Algeria, then part of France was specifically excluded in 1949), and there is in any case no obligation to come to the military assistance of a signatory. At the level of practical politics, NATO is never going to provide military support for a Polish move into Western Ukraine for the purposes of annexation, even if it could miraculously find the forces to do so. I think this is Putin warning NATO that Russia will not tolerate even a Polish/NATO deployment under the guise of peacekeeping, since that would bring NATO troops too close to Russia. That should be enough to kill such an idea stone dead, because there is no way politically that NATO will agree to such a deployment if there is a risk of conflict, and as I’ve said before I don’t think the Poles have the capability to deploy nationally.

    As for Ukraine in NATO, I’m sure that’s not going to happen, for reasons I set out in my article last week, which Lambert kindly linked to. I stand by that judgement, and I think that the more intelligent decision-makers in NATO are increasingly coming to the same conclusion.

    1. Stephen

      I think that is right.

      If one adds to this the recent missile or drone strikes right up to the Romanian border then that can be interpreted as a practical demonstration of Russia having the means to inflict casualties on any NATO deployment. In case anyone just happened to doubt that they do.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Luvashenko said in the staged talk with Putin that Belarus would defend the Ukraine people from the nasty invading Poles. Putin did not voice assent but the fact that Luvashenko went on a bit and asked for Russia’s support if Belarus had to act pretty much means this is the plan…or at least a mighty big warning.

      1. KD

        Its important Luvashenko was the gentleman who “accidentally” left the secret plan for invading Maldova up during his press conference at the beginning of the SMO. He clearly has a role to play in the Kremlin messaging strategy, he is cast to be something like Putin’s crazy uncle. “Would he actually do that? Would Putin actually back him if he did? Maybe we don’t want to find out.”

        1. Stephen

          Right. A high stakes tag poker game is in place.

          Very hard to work out precisely how much of the messaging is intended to be literal and how much metaphorical.

          Eg Lukashenko may have evidence of an actual Polish plan to enter Ukraine. Or he may be referring to that as a metaphor for western “intervention” of any form so as to avoid having to issue a direct threat against the U.S. Better to threaten Poland instead but everyone who is in the know can figure it out.

  14. TomW

    Russia doesn’t have the military to swallow Ukraine whole. Not that they don’t need the threat to get a deal done. But taking control of Western Ukraine would be idiotic. Russia can’t afford to take too much of Ukraine. There main advantage is not getting too greedy.
    The US will call any current plausible outcome a victory. They have stood up for Democracy, weakened Russia, and helped Ukraine punch well above its weight class for a couple of years. Create a narrative and info blast it through Western media. The neocons will skulk off, planning the next “most important conflict ever”.
    I’d like Russia to finish Ukraine off. But they frankly haven’t looked that great. So who are they supposed to terrify?
    The primary threat to Europe has always been fighting amongst themselves. NATO’s great success has been extinguishment of intra European security competition. Of course, that goal is unspeakable. The new members closest to Russia actually want to fight. The value proposition is irresistible. They get the (theoretical) US nuclear umbrella, while cheeping out on funding. And good jobs, summer camp, and don’t have to fight.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Russia has swallowed Ukraine* three times in the last 200 years, what makes you think this time it can not be done or is not worth it? I’m not saying Russia will do so, or even that it should do so, I’m just stating that historically Russia has been able to govern that part of Europe with a relative ease.

      * in 1796 Ukraine did not exist, and and it’s ‘current’ borders were created only after another subjugation in the 1920’s.

      1. Aurelien

        I think that a lot depends on what you mean by “govern.” I’ve suggested elsewhere that one of the likely outcomes of the war is an Ukraine subservient to Russia out of simple prudence, and effectively being a client-state. That seems to me to be feasible.

        Post-war occupation is a different thing entirely, especially if we assume a degree of bitterness and resistance from certain parts of the population. There’s a much quoted rule of thumb of 1 security force person for every 2000 inhabitants for a viable occupation force, which would, depending on what you think the population is, involve anything from 40,000 to 80,000 personnel. Accepting that some Ukrainians would ally with the Russians and join a local pro-Russia militia, it’s still a big commitment, and not one that I think the Russians would take on (together with the need to find civilian administrators and specialists at every level) if there were an easier option. Disarmament of Ukraine is something they can enforce remotely, after all.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          that sounds pretty reasonable.
          and add in the thing Yves has mentioned many times…severely erode the infrastructure in some buffer zone, in the interstices between Rump Greater Kiev/Galizia and Novorussya, and leave it to the survivalists and sons of pioneers to eke out an existence.
          the NC consensus from the get go has been more or less that it would be foolish for Russia to absorb and then try to govern western Ukraine…because thats the banderite heartland.
          it would be mess.
          park a satellite over western ukraine to monitor for potential threats, and leave it to wither.
          this latest from Putin and Lukashenko looks like language, to me…not plans, necessarily.

      2. Don

        I think the fact that Russia ended up where it is now, after swallowing (western) Ukraine three times is a good argument against swallowing it up again.

    2. Russell Davies

      I’m not sure that NATO’s goal of extinguishing intra-European security competition is as unspeakable as you say. NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept states the following, under Section 43: “The principle of collective effort in Alliance defence is embodied in practical arrangements that enable the Allies to enjoy the crucial political, military and resource advantages of collective defence, and prevent the renationalisation of defence policies, without depriving the Allies of their sovereignty.”

      Collectivity deprives each NATO ally of its own national defence policy, according to its own Strategic Concept. How this does not deprive the allies of their state sovereignty, if a state exists only on the basis that it can defend the entirety of its property militarily, is a question not adequately answered in NATO’s Concept. And, as Article 5 does not commit any of NATO’s members to provide an armed force to an ally which comes under armed attack, NATO seems no better than the type of mercenary army lambasted by Machiavelli as, amongst other epithets, useless, dangerous, bold among friends and cowardly among enemies.

    3. Benny Profane

      Listening to Scott Ritter yesterday, and he has a much more sober take on this conflict. He thinks that Putin does not want Kiev, and even now, Odessa, because those are places with too high a population of Russian haters, or, to put it in another way, not enough Russian sympathizers, like Crimea. That would be quite the poison pill to swallow. I agree, although he may have to at least keep the port of Odessa shut down to starve whatever is left of the Nazi economy.

      1. nippersdad

        Yesterday’s Ritter was quite a contrast to what MacGregor has been saying, and I agree that it seems he is becoming a little more conservative in his perceptions of what Russia may want to do.

        He pointed out that Russia had the man power to take either Odessa or Kharkov, but not both at the present moment. Given that is true, as you say, what is to prevent them from cutting off a rump Ukraine from the Black Sea and just await the results? The renewal of places like Mariupol cannot be lost on whatever cities are left to fend for themselves, and those “Russia haters” would have a high bar to overcome in arguing against places like Kharkov voluntarily joining the Russian Federation through just basic economic necessity.

        There are more ways to win a war than having to send in the troops, and they may ultimately be more persuasive in the long term.

      2. Feral Finster

        I dunno, Chechnya in 1999 had a lot of people who were not exactly fans of Russia.

        That said, assuming that Russia “wins”, what does “winning” look like? Who pays for reconstruction, how is Ukraine ruled, by whom, who keeps any Ukrainian state on-side?

        All these are honest questions.

        1. Benny Profane

          That’s pretty much the same questions many participants and observers have today. Whatever this is now is doomed.

          And Chechnya was much smaller and concentrated. This is a huge front, with more coming if Odessa is added.

      3. John k

        9 oblasts went strongly for the Russian leaning candidate (who won the presidency) in 2014, including the 5 that have been incorporated into Russia plus Odessa and Kharkiv, and 2 others that lie partly or entirely east of the dnieper river. I have thought since mid 22 that all 9 would host referendums and subsequently be incorporated into Russia.
        And note that incorporating Odessa conveniently protects narrow transnistria, which imo likely will be absorbed, too, because this would mean the border with Moldova would become a river, a natural barrier.
        However, with Russia then extending to the western end of Odessa oblast, Russia will want a large (300+ km) buffer between that oblast and Poland. Russia has already attritted Ukraine’s grid, finishing that job would finish the job of depopulating what would become a flat de facto no-mans land easily monitored by drones/satellites.
        This also would incorporate the south Ukraine nuclear power plant into the Russian grid (granted, being currently in Ukraine’s control it might be booby trapped), while the 2 remaining nukes in west Ukraine are questionable.
        And strategically Russia can’t allow Ukraine to retain a Black Sea port in shelling distance of crimea, whether nato occupied or not.

  15. AG

    not yet listened to the podcast – Helmer sometimes is a man of exaggeration.

    He did write a rather long piece before NATO air exercise “AIR DEFENDER 2023” over Germany warning that a sneak attack could be imminent via covert F-16 missile attacks on RU.

    I took that seriously enough for a little while which later was a tiny bit embarassing in a conversation I had with people who used to be advisors to the Foreign Ministry many years ago, retired now.

    Not Helmer´s fault. Mine. But I have become a bit cautious with his warnings.

    Nonetheless if the RU government mentions the issue in the meeting there is some substance to it.
    However a few BUTs:

    -To assume Germany would want new borders in the East right now sounds totally absurd. I dont know where M. K. BHADRAKUMAR got that idea from. I have the impression it all originated with him last week.

    -Putin also said that in essence they had no beef with Western Ukraine if cannibalised by Western states. Unless its being abused to attack Belarus.

    -What Medvedev said is also two-fold. Any message of this kind is usually also directed at the WH. Simply because meaningful diplomatic exchange has basically broken down between RU and the US on the highest regular level.

    So if Putin really wants to get some militarily important thing across he does it in a way EVERYONE hears it.
    This is also the case most likely with what is called “nuclear saber-rattling” in our poetic press.

    He is telling the world what usually would be discussed behind closed doors and later in a PR conference.
    But thats not possible any more.

    Have the Russians e.g. already reacted to the appointment of Vicky Nuland as temporary Deputy SoS 2 days ago?

    That even rattled the US Secretary´s office, since not every single employee there is a fanatic and an idiot.

    So to warn the WH could also be a reaction to warn Vicky and her merry band of think tankers in the described way.

    Last detail, Swiss frm. intelligence and frm. UN/NATO analyst Jacques Baud a few weeks ago in a public lecture in Germany reminded (I did not know that) that a B-52 had carried out real simulation of an attack on Kaliningrad shortly before Putin pronounced his first WMD warning in Febr. 2022.

    Putin´s warning has become legendary in the West.
    No one reported a blip on th B-52.

    But in fact both were connected. Which would have made Putin´s statements back then appear less of a threat in the Westen press. Had the Western press and the intelligence services the interest to keep it that way. But they wanted to instigate fear instead.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree that Helmer is sometimes out over his skis. But Putin both made a clear statement in the public portion of the latest Security Council meeting to the effect of “no Poland in Ukraine” and then in a staged talk with Luvashenko, Luvashenko made clear that Belarus regarded Poland eating up Ukraine as unacceptable, would take action, and hoped Russia would back that.

  16. LadyXoc

    Putin and Russia have repeatedly and clearly stated their “red lines” and this is another clear statement: Russia will not tolerate Polish or NATO cross-border involvement in Ukraine. One does not have to be a “Putin-apologist,” or other more unsavory-termed person, to grasp facts that are spelled out for you. US politicians, military, and State must learn to read.

  17. Carolinian

    Re “Pro Russian” upstream–while I haven’t seen Oppenheimer I have been reading Kai Bird’s book and the Richard Rhodes book before that and even Leslie Groves’ book from the ’60s is back out. And to the extent that the Oppenheimer saga has a point it’s surely not “sensitive smart guy gets the shiv from vicious rightwingers” but the proposal entertained by Oppenheimer and many of his colleagues of offering Russia “security guarantees” including atomic knowledge and thereby transforming the terrible Los Alamos invention into a motivator for world peace. In other words it’s a story that is swimming very much against the current of woke Dems and their president and features thinkers who sound a lot more like Putin and his constant theme of multilateral world cooperation (and thereby of course prosperity for resource rich Russia).

    On an intellectual level the first Cold War was all about reason versus unreason and this new Cold War with it’s knee jerk cries of “Russia lover” or “Putin lover” just the same. On a non intellectual level it is also about power and money and national competition. But some of us would like to think that the intellectual level is where NC lives and those who object need an argument although “sick of” certainly in the realm of free expression.

  18. Tom67

    Helmer is always interesting. The problem is he doesn´t know Germany. Nobody – not even the far right AFD – wants a return of the “Eastern territories”. It is over and out. Poland might be a different story. I think the speech of Putin was more a warning to Poland that Germany might be given ideas if Poland marches into Western Ukraine than anything else. Furthermore, the supposedly “revanchist” Nationalists of the AFD were the only ones who attended the 9th of May celebrations in the embassy of the Russian federation.
    Among the top leaders of big German industry (which is controlled by Vanguard and Blackrock) and the top leaders of the ruling coalition you will find no one who asks questions regarding Nordstream. It was the biggest attack on German infrastructure since WWII. But in the level below and among the thousands of small and mediaum industrial enterprises there are many questions indeed. And the answers are obvious. The AFD is rising in the polls and will soon be the biggest party. I think the new German nationalism will be directed against the US and unless the US soon realises that she might have no options but to resort to methods which were used in 1973 in Chile on in the Sixties (Thieu) in Vietnam. Not that I believe the US will be able to resort to such methods. I am just pointing to the choices ahead if there is no peace with Russia soon.

        1. AG

          thx for the Lynch article link.

          Some longer commentary if I may:

          There seems to be an idealization of the AfD among non-German antiwar, anti-MSM writers.

          Alexander Mercouris and Alestaire Crooke e.g., are picturing the AfD as some progressive force one should count on. Doesn´t make much sense.

          * * *

          Lynch´s first sentence:

          “To understand how the far-Right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) became Germany’s second-largest party, consider the events of the past five days”.

          There was no election, of course.
          AfD is not Germany´second-largest party.

          AfD recently had good results during surveys. That´s it.
          So one should keep it real.

          Lynch knows this. The polemics won´t help.

          * * *

          Lynch says, “the AfD became the first post-war opposition party to be placed under surveillance by the domestic intelligence agency over fears of extremism.”

          That´s incorrect.

          The East German PDS, later transformed into THE LEFT PARTY had been under surveillance long before that. After that THE LEFT PARTY. And the German GREENS long before THAT, in the 1980s.

          Lynch correctly highlights that 2017 after the so-called immigration “crisis” (there was no immigration crisis, of course; there was an economic crisis that made every immigrant appear an “alien”) AfD was nominally 3rd largest party.

          But lets look at the actual numbers in 2017:

          In percentages:

          AfD 12,6% , CDU/CSU 32,9% (Merkel), SPD 20,9% (Scholz) , FDP 10,7 (Lindner), The Left Party (9,2% (Wagenknecht et. al.), Greens 8,9% (Habeck et. al.)

          This map might be helpful to show “relative” strength of parties geographically:

          It shows the 1st vote (of two votes that you can allocate), like in Britian, winner takes all.
          Black is Merkels CDU, red is Social Democrat, blue is AfD, pink is The Left. No Greenery.

          * * *

          In how far AfD is truly not a fan of black dudes, and avantgarde art, and gay rights I cannot assess.

          On local level I do hear from colleagues that the local cultural institutions like theatres, orchestras, museums are under pressure in towns where AfD has a certain percentage.

          They claim “people´s art for the people”.

          In Germany the arts & entertainment are heavily relying on the local level. That´s why local political majorities have significant influence on that landscape.

          That offers some leverage, like AfD is using now.

          Just a few days ago the director of the East German theatre in Rudolstadt, Steffen Mensching, gave an interview on this day-to-day problem:
          (paywall though and German-language)

          He describes how involving the population of Rudolstadt and doing less intellectual pieces helps countering the policies of the AfD delegates.

          In other cases there is also cordial cooperation between AfD and the other parties. Its a big country after all.

          * * *

          Interestingly no one in the German press has abused a fact of hypocrisy:

          The leader of the AfD, Alice Weidel, has lived in a same-sex relationship with a “person of colour” and they had adopted, I think 2 sons.

          Even though AfD is neither particularly queer nor POC friendly.

          * * *

          As well, Lynch touches on another contradiction:

          AfD in essence is a neo-liberal party.

          They voted in favour of every neo-liberal economic law in the Bundestag.

          Alice Weidel originally had a scholarship from the CDU youth-organisation of the Konrad-Adenauer-foundation and later worked for Goldman-Sachs, which makes the AfD agenda clear.

          Publicly AfD however hates companies like Goldman-Sachs.

          * * *
          As to world politics:

          AfD delegates in the Bundestag demanded answers from the Scholz government about the sabotage of Nordstream and about the rumours of the work done by the US-Helsinki Commission and “destroying Russia”.

          All these parliamentary inquiries were naive and not very professionally written and researched.

          They were amateurish. So no wonder some arrogant bastards in the capital won´t take them seriously.

          NC editors:

          My apologies.

          If this is too much OT , just kick it out.

          But I had the need to write this down since so much is missing in the reporting on AfD outside Germany, I at least have that impression.

          1. salvo

            absolutely correct!

            The afd is the most right wing faction of the unified neoliberal party in germany, to which you can count all of the bigger parties except for the Wagenknecht wing in Die Linke. Everyone else, cdu/csu, fdp, spd, “grüne”, and a faction of Die Linke is neoliberal (and transatlantic) to the core

    1. Irrational

      Thank you for pointing, definitely food for thought.
      From my perspective, there is a limit to how long the other German parties can ostracize the AFD if their poll numbers continue to soar. If you do, there is a risk of a repeat of 1932 and ultimately it may be better to take the AFD shine off by having them join coalitions. Merz, the Christian-Democrat leader, is the canary in the coal mine in that sense. Of course, we all have the politicians we deserve, i.e. pretty incompetent, so who knows what will happen.

  19. TheRealRightway

    The only certainty about this war it’ll end up in a failure for Washington and puppets just like every other conflict they’ve started the last 32 years.

    1. JBird4049

      What, No Vietnam? The United States did effectively engineer the creation of South Vietnam because North Vietnam was governed by the evil communists. To be honest, the Soviet Union did support North Korea and helped with the start of the Korean War, but it still was two different nations with different histories and cultures with the Vietnamese primarily wanting independence from everyone. All the United States could see was the dreaded communism.

  20. chris

    From the trolls who showed up today and others online who constantly talk about Russia “winning”…

    I wonder what a Venn diagram of the people who believe in the rapture/Left Behind end of days fantasies and the people who are obsessed with the US winning in a conflict when we’re officially not at war would look like? The language of these people is becoming incoherent. It’s not that you can’t talk to them it’s that they plug their ears and refuse acknowledge you’re speaking a common language!

    Hating Russia has become a new apocalyptic religion in my country. Woe to heretics who cross the State. Praise be to the Prophets Nuland, Kagan, and Applebaum…

  21. ChrisRUEcon

    Wot the family-blog does “pro-Russian” even mean?!!

    I can assure you folks like Bill and Hillary Clinton were both VERY PRO RUSSIAN once upon a time (via Getty Images).

    Is this Russia-Gate-Derangement-Syndrome?!!

  22. Les Priest

    There is another way to look at this: I’m ex military & study modern history. What I’ve posted is that we are ‘two consecutive military mistakes away from armageddon’. Ukraine is full of NATO people, NATO is steadily escalating & we are approaching electoral silly season. If NATO fights Russia it will lose quickly & comprehensively. NATO policy is to then use tactical nukes. Do I need to point out how we don’t want to get anywhere near that point!

  23. Eshi

    As a complete amateur as regards this conflict,what I am fearing most is-apart from the input of more and more sophisticated weapon-systems on NATO’s side due to their not such good “end of pipe results-is NATOS reaffirmation that the Black-Sea should be considered as their Mare Nostrum.I think Sevastopol as a NATO’s navy-port was and still is very highly listed on the US menu-wishes.Bearing in mind Turkey’s current
    opportunistic attitude as well as the construction of a second passage(I do not know the current status),maybe not covered by the Montreux convention,the theatre of war might also intensify into this direction.

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