Ralph Nader Ukraine

Ralph Nader: Everyone Loses in the Conflict Over Ukraine

The U.S. and Russia are toying with a dangerous recipe for an out-of-control escalation, much like the lead-up to World War I.
[Sasha Maksymenko / CC BY-NC 2.0]

By Ralph Nader

When two scorpions are in a bottle, they both lose. This is the preventable danger that is growing daily, with no end game in sight between the two nuclear superpowers, led by dictator Vladimir Putin and de facto sole decider, Joe Biden.

Putin’s first argument is, Washington invented the model of aggressive, illegal invasions, and destruction of distant countries that never threatened U.S. security. Millions have died, been injured, and sickened in defenseless countries attacked by U.S. armed forces. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney killed over a million innocent Iraqis and devastated the country in so many ways that scholars called it a “sociocide.”

Putin’s second argument is that Russia is being threatened on its sensitive western border, which had been invaded twice by Germany and caused the loss of 50 million Russian lives. Soon after the Soviet Union collapsed, the West’s military alliance against Russia began moving east. Under Bill Clinton, NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) signed up Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999 leading to major arms sales by the U.S. giant munitions corporations.

More recently, Putin sees U.S. soldiers in these countries, ever closer U.S. missile launchers, U.S.-led joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, and intimations that Ukraine and Georgia could soon join NATO. (Imagine if the Russians were to have such a military presence around the U.S. borders.)

Even often hawkish New York Times columnists – Thomas Friedman and Bret Stephens made this point this week about the brazen U.S. history of military hypocrisy while tearing into Putin. Stephens brought up the Monroe Doctrine over the entire Western Hemisphere, in raising repeatedly the question, “Who are We?”

The chess game between Russia and the West has become more deadly with Putin’s military moves followed by immediate Western sanctions against some Russian banks and oligarchs close to Putin. Travel bans and freezing the completion of the second major natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany are in place with promises of much more severe economic retaliation by Biden.

These sanctions can become a two-way street. Western Europe needs Russian oil and gas, Russian wheat, and essential Russian minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Sanctions against Russia will soon boomerang in terms of higher oil and gas prices for Europeans and Americans, more inflation, worsening supply chains, and the dreaded “economic uncertainty” afflicting stock markets and consumer spending.

The corporate global economy gave us interdependence on other nations, instead of domestic self-reliance under the framework of corporate-managed free trade agreements.

So how many billions of dollars in costs and a weakened economy will Joe Biden tolerate as the price of anti-Putin sanctions that will blowback on the American people? How much suffering will he tolerate being inflicted on the long-suffering Russian people?  What will be the impact on the civilian population of more severe sanctions? And who is he to talk as if he doesn’t have to be authorized by Congress to go further into this state of belligerence, short of sending soldiers, which he said he would not do?

Is Congress to be left as a cheerleader, washing its hands of its constitutional oversight and foreign policy duties? Also, watch Republicans and Democrats in Congress unify to whoop through more money for the bloated military budget, as pointed out by military analyst, Michael Klare. What energy will be left for Biden’s pending “Build Back Better” infrastructure, social safety net, and climate crisis legislation?

In recent weeks, the State Department said it recognizes Russia’s legitimate security concerns but not its expansionism. Well, what is wrong with a ceasefire followed by support for a treaty “guaranteeing neutrality for Ukraine, similar to the enforced neutrality for Austria since the Cold War’s early years,” as Nation publisher and Russia specialist Katrina vanden Heuvel urged. (See: Katrina vanden Heuvel’s Washington Post article and her recent Nation piece).

Putin, unable to get over the breakup of the Soviet Union, probably has imperial ambitions to dominate in Russia’s backyard. Biden has inherited and accepted the U.S. Empire’s ambitions in many other nation’s backyards. Events have polarized this conflict over Ukraine, which is not a security interest for the U.S., into two dominant egos – Putin and Biden – neither of whom want to appear weak or to back down.

This is a dangerous recipe for an out-of-control escalation, much as it was in the lead-up to World War I. Neither the people nor the parliaments mattered then, as seems to be the case today.

Putin isn’t likely to make a cost-benefit assessment of each day’s militarism. But Biden better do so. Otherwise, he will be managed by Putin’s daily moves, instead of insisting on serious negotiations. The Minsk II Peace Accords of February 2015 brokered by Germany, France, and the United Nations that Russia and Ukraine agreed to before falling apart due to disagreements over who should take the first steps, still makes for a useful framework.

It is too late to revisit the accords to stop the invasion. But it should be proposed to introduce a climate for waging peace. Already, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has spoken about an increase in cyberattacks and ransomware demands in her state in recent weeks. Has Biden put that rising certainty in his self-described decades-long foreign policy expertise? Watch out for what you can’t stop, Joe.

33 comments

  1. Scorpions now? Absurd. Ralph needs to move away from areas he has no diplomatic sense about. Dictator Putin? I wish he’d go full throttle on Dictator Military Industrial Complex, with its fiberous cists covering everything in the USA. Even felon Musk wants to “help” Ukraine with satellites.

    Here you go: Live now>

    Max Blumenthal speaks live with Alfred de Zayas, former United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and professor at Geneva University school of diplomacy. De Zayas addresses international law in the context of Russia’s recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent republics, and its military incursion in Ukraine. He also offers his unvarnished views on NATO, the EU, and the role of the human rights industry in bolstering US power. De Zayas’ most recent book is Building a Just World Order https://www.claritypress.com/product/

    Or, this,

    In his new essay for the New York-based Foreign Affairs magazine, Mearsheimer argues that the US and China are locked in a dangerous security competition, more perilous than the first Cold War. In essence, once China grew wealthy, a US-China cold war was inevitable. Had US policymakers understood this logic in the early 1990s, they would have tried to slow down Chinese growth and maximise the power gap between Beijing and Washington.

    However, the US did the opposite: it pursued a policy of engagement, which aimed to help China grow wealthier – based on the assumption that China would become a democracy and a responsible stakeholder, which would lead to a more peaceful world. Instead of fostering harmonious relations between China and the US, engagement led to an intense rivalry.

    Is Australia and the world in deep trouble? Absent a major internal Chinese crisis, Washington and Beijing are consigned to waging a dangerous security competition. Can we manage on the margins to prevent disaster?

    John Mearsheimer is professor of political science and international relations at the University of Chicago and author of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001). He was a guest at the Centre for Independent Studies in 2019.

    Host: Tom Switzer is executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies.

    https://youtu.be/8mCzbiF5TmQ

    1. Absurd? Hardly, quite appropriate, much as the African proverb – when elephants fight, the grass gets trampled. The US only yells “Dictator” when that “dictator” doesn’t bow to US demands. Where’s the US cry re Saudi Arabia, e.g.? The hypocrisy of the US grows day by day ..

      As to China – their growth was fueled by those wonderful “free trade” agreements – we the people financed it by buying all that stuff “made in China” – we lost our jobs in return for “cheap” stuff …

  2. While Nader makes great points, he like the MSM refuses to admit the creation of the crisis is entirely on Biden (first as VP and now as POTUS). Putin is cornered; nuclear war becomes an option. Certainly Biden did not allow the Ukrainians to honor the Minsk II Accords they agree to in 2015; he wants a war.
    David Stockman has an excellent overview of recent Ukraine-Russia history: davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-land-where-history-died-part-1/ (paywall)
    also re-published here: unz.com/article/the-land-where-history-died-part-1/
    and probably on other sites

  3. The winners in this are:
    – the State Department Neocons that have successfully maneuvered Russia into a position where only military action seemed a viable course. This gives them a new lease on life that may well end ours.
    – the U.S. Military Industrial Complex that now has a reason for “defense” spending increases beyond the already obscene annual official $750bn.
    – The NATO bureaucracy and its military welfare queens as without Russia’s military thread there was no real reason for its existence.
    – U.S. oil and gas producers as the Russian competition is neutralized for some time.
    – Western weapons manufacturers and Russian weapons manufacturers.
    – Russian hardliners and the Russian Military Industrial Complex.

  4. Biden and his NATO allies are winning this encounter and will emerge with one fewer notable adversary. Only old-timers like Nader — and I’m like Nader — will tolerate the “What-about-ism” arguments in the face of invasion and attempted occupation. Putin is failing his team of geo-gangsters who are losing access to western goods and high-life opportunities for their families. They can’t be happy with Putin’s decisions that have put them at great risk. Down on the streets, Russians can’t be happy with a sclerotic culture and shabby living and now the national disgrace of making war against their close cousins, and not doing at all well at it. If Biden and Co. can use this apparent victory to turn the tide against US fascists and the rebellious MAGA mass, that may constitute a good outcome. Otherwise, only the arms manufacturers will come out well.

    1. “If Biden and Co. can use this apparent victory to turn the tide against US fascists and the rebellious MAGA mass, ….

      Au contraire – Biden and company have been, and are, supporting Ukraine fascists – a victory for fascists anywhere is a victory for fascists everywhere …

    2. All of history could be dismissed (incorrectly) as whataboutism; and can be, if we’re happy to risk the future for the sake of learning nothing from the days, years and decades leading up to the present moment.

    3. @stephen zelnick
      Biden IS the problem and is a fascist himself. There is no good outcome if the U.S. prevails. The collapse of the Soviet Union is the worst geopolitical event that has occurred in my lifetime, because it gave the U.S. absolute power, which has quickly corrupted absolutely. The U.S. is the evil empire, and if you can’t see that, you’re either badly misinformed or on the wrong side (or both).

  5. Thank you, Mr. Nader, for another voice of realism which is to say sanity. With global warming the most critical dynamic we and our children’s children’s children face, why choose to squander precious time, energy, and (as jinkoist Pat used to mutter), “treasure” on the outrageous folly of war?

  6. One of the constant and most effective propaganda purposes of ‘the news’ and our controlled perceptions of the world/reality is to direct our focus upon events as isolated and disconnected happenings, apparently without plan or ulterior motive and meaning. And no better means of marshalling and misdirecting people’s attention, and action, can be found than the spectacle and idolatry of war, which besides brokering real estate deals and fortunes for ruling elites, provides patriotic pretext for disciplining subject populations into supporting the troops and the undoubtedly just cause, even while their principal if only interest in this naked exercise of class rule is surviving the destruction designed for the benefits of the few.

    Certainly, one of those benefits is to obscure and override if not render obsolete any just cause people may have had against their own rulers, or enemies, on the home front. For example, World Wars 1 and 2 very conveniently served to undermine internationally rising resistance of working classes to capital rule, redirecting revolt against the evil empire ‘over there,’ even as to a great extent with war and its end victors picked up where vanquished left off with their own expanded powers over subjects, ever revealing more of the fascism at capitalism’s core.

    The present conflict in Ukraine has been posed by propaganda arms of those who own and control the means of mass communication as one which has the potential of developing and erupting into World War 3. As could be said of virtually all modern geopolitical games played by those who use us as cannon fodder one way or another, as economic or military units, just so we learn the lessons of divide-and-rule strategy into ‘us’ and ‘them’ in our blood and bones. There’s all too real possibility of runaway conflagration with the global stakes which in our time have been laid down for humanity in the endgames played by advanced monopoly and imperial capital.

    Unfortunately, World War 3 has already begun, almost exactly two years ago when the world was locked down in a state of siege to a false flag flu engineering populations into the new 9/11 war of bioterror, necessitating techno-tyranny for our safety and general welfare by the state-of-emergency war powers and health of the state. And conveniently, for our rulers of course, especially as rising resistance to that war was unfolding across nations (as foreseen by planners and plotters in the Rockefeller Lockstep playbook and p(l)andemic preparedness exercises), our attention is now being redirected onto this war.

    The Ukraine crisis and shock doctrine is the new fear factor for herding sheeple back into line for daring to be their own people, in defiance of the “masters of mankind” (Adam Smith). It’s been long in the making as an opportune hot spot to hold subjects in thrall to the gods of war and the military industrial complex. Following the fall of the Soviet system, when George the First declared the New World Order and the UN set our sights on Agenda 21, the former republics of the USSR retained their historic role as both economic and military war zones with the continuing encroachment of US-EU and US-NATO imperialism upon the Russian heartland in a revised Operation Barbarossa. Made all the more provocative beginning in 2014 with (neo-Nazified) regime change coup in Kiev, ever since in violation of the Minsk agreement, realignment of Crimea, and recent uptick in proxy state terror upon the Donbass.

    But make no strategic mistake in thinking that this is anything much more than both distraction and destruction in fulfillment of the NWO and Agenda 21 announced for peasants, plebs, and proles past, altogether now known as useless eaters. If we the people are proving to be more unruly in being steered into the Great Reset and 4IR, then our masters will call upon all means available – which at this stage include multiple fronts from blood banks of the Pharmafia to central banks of Mammon and High Finance’s CBDCs, ESGs and natural assets ownership, QR codes to digital implants, 5/6G EMFs and smart cities for a prison planet to geoengineered weather weaponization, full spectrum dominance from space, and the brain as the battleground of the future (James Giordano) – all to insure we stay on track to the final solution of civilization’s class war upon humanity: depopulation via all means of war of all industrial complexes, military, medical, and more, on behalf of neofeudal, algogarchical technocracy over which transhumanists will preside like gods, inheritors to the divine bloodlines of pharaohs past by justification of the scientific mythology of eugenics. Meanwhile, here come under cover of the fog of war more, and eventually universal, vaccines, aka genetic engineering and kill shots, and mandates, aka martial law, as fronted for instance by the European Commission, compliments of WEF’s School-of-Dictators student Ursula von der Leyen, or carried forward in the not-so-free free market via company cartels controlled by BlackRock and Vanguard (see Michael Nevradakis’ “Corporate Vaccine Mandates and Vaccine Passports — Brought to You by BlackRock and Vanguard?”).

    Now under cover of the (temporary) relaxation of restrictions, and routine ruses of rights as privileges granted us by the same corrupt criminals – still in power – as originally dispossessed us of them as our not-so-inalienable rights, such means and more continue to roll out as the enemy repositions the battlefields and prepares (permanent) rules of law and order to steer us further down the chutes than they already have. And if war in Ukraine, this central piece on the Grand Chessboard (Zbigniew Brzezinski), not only proceeds but grows, then that will also enable the enemy to prosper as economic warfare of disaster capitalism lays waste via increased inflation and interest rates and supply chain breakdowns and cyberterrorism.

    If not one of the Young-Global-Leaders neo-Nazi youth corps of Herr Klaus like Jim Crow Trudeau, both Biden and Putin have been graduates of grooming processes by the WEF just as surely equipped to infiltrate and colonize state power, and insure the neo-fascist Global Private-Public Partnership (G3P; Iain Davis) ascends to direct rule over digital slaves minus fronts of parliamentary democracy or any old abnormal form of governance. In both US and Russian spheres of influence, enforcement of the new abnormal has been more normalized, and will continue to be, to the mutual advantage of warring crime bosses who dispose of us as they see fit, while too many of us continue to fall for their manufactured divisions of identity according to ruling class terms like the nation-state, or like the ‘multipolar’ warring regions of Oceania, Eurasia, Eastasia (post-US hegemony) perpetually serving permanent states of exception (Giorgio Agamben), perhaps another round of lockdown under climate crisis to implement personal carbon allowances for further Hunger-Games austerity.

    In a world where reality is stranger than fiction and psychological warfare is waged relentlessly by the biosecurity state, we will need to muster total resistance to the full totalitarian agenda rolling out to do us in. Stop fighting all their dirty wars, and rise.

    1. Wow!!! Your response is magnificent and totally spot on. Have you written any books? I’d love to read if you have.

  7. Yes, it should be proposed to introduce a climate for waging peace!

    But, single-payer war for all with a brain dead congress Is what we got folks! It’s called Catastrophe Capitalism! Socializing war but not healthcare and education? WTF?!
    God Bless America!

  8. Let me suggest a possible scenario in the near future. The super oligarchs have gathered together and decided that this is just the right moment to implode fiat currencies of the Western Occident-USA at once and in unison. Just the right moment… because we know how the now familiar quote goes “Never let a crisis go to waste” a theme and mentality shared among great personages of evil like, Machiavelli, Obama and Rahm Emanuel. This crisis will be manipulated in such a way as to collapse economies by detonating one or two stealthily placed nuclear weapons. These A- weapons readers may recall, were stolen en route from South Africa to the UK or was it Israel? I reference here for your perusal, David Cameron lost three atomic weapons in transit from South Africa. Please visit https://leejohnbarnes.blogspot.com/2010/03/thatcher-cameron-and-nukes-part-4.html.

    ASIDE: The ghost of Margret Thatcher (Dave Cameron’s old boss) still lives on and continues to influence radical factions of the Neo Con MIC corporatist elements. Let us take a moment to recall her most egregiously dystopian comment, “there’s no such thing as society”…We can expect no less than the very worst from these same warmongering corporate adventurers who have managed to penetrate the White House and most sensitive diplomatic positions. Again, the very worst in human nature will exhibit itself during this extremely dangerous moment in our history

    Mechanically speaking, these bombs are getting a little warm, loosing their strength (yield) and dependability (likely detonation) so, one or two of them will be covertly deployed to some EU country and USA or one of our close allies, you guessed it, then exploded. The fission signatures that unmistakably tie these detonations back to South Africa will be uncovered however justice will not be pursued during the absolute chaos that will ensue. If I read the KOGG right (former KGB) they too may seize upon this novel approach to warfare politic by following suit, with a terrorist detonation of their own in some less than significant area of Russia. This covert Intel effort designed to temporarily distract the world opine away from Putin et al, and (strangely enough) to show everyone that hyper sonic missiles, aircraft carriers with all their force projection and attack subs beneath them are in fact an absurdity…

    As the fingers point every which way, the UN will end up dissolving all the major blood sucking ticks a.k.a. Military Industrial Congressional Complexes and come to a new order, based on aggressively de weaponizing first world countries. It’s that vision I have OR a slow and uncontrollable nuclear escalation over the course of several weeks turning our blue marble planet into a black cinder ball….

  9. Nader is always sound. He keeps it simple. War is precisely what Biden needed. Now there is no need to finesse or avoid responsibility for dependence on fossil Fuel. No need to dig in on the moronically alliterative Build Back Better. Just call out the generals and let them do their Dr Strangelove routine–though without Kissinger, who is, I hear, hors do combat.

    1. @Blackorpheos
      So Putin is putty in Biden’s hands and does his bidding blindly?
      Interesting point of view!

  10. It is interesting that Mr. Nader ignores the Budapest Memorandum.
    In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia, and Britain committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country. Those assurances played a key role in persuading the Ukrainian government in Kyiv to give up what amounted to the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, consisting of some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads.
    Russia brazenly trampled the Budapest Memorandum commitments from 2014 onwards without any Western reaction which emboldened them to go full in with an actual invasion.
    The fairy tale of “NATO eastward expansion” as a threat to Russia is just that , a fairy tale.
    Only a psychotic paranoid can see a menace in a 30 countries club (including Luxemburg, Turkey, France, Germany, Belgium etc.) ruled by consensus. Do you see such a gathering deciding to open war against the second nuclear arsenal in the world? Why ?

    1. 2014, 2014 – hmmm, what was Ukraine like before 2014, what happened in 2014 – wasn’t that when the US aided, fostered and abetted a coup against the duly elected Pres of Ukraine for the crime of choosing to deal with Russia instead of the EU, when the next regime basically forbade the use of the Russian language and other such measures, when the folks in the Donbass of eastern Ukraine, a predominantly Russian speaking population, rebelled and since then have been shelled, homes destroyed, people killed, services shut off, by Ukrainian forces. We hear that Russia annexed Crimea, after the inhabitants voted overwhelmingly to join Russia – Oh wait, that was a sham vote, right, just like all the other votes that don’t go the way WE think they should.

      And then there’s the Minsk agreements which Ukraine signed on to, and failed to implement – which provided for a semi-autonomous status for the Donbass region – within the borders of Ukraine. It was only after years of the Ukrainian gov’t failing to implement such status, while knocking the stuffing out of them, that the inhabitants voted to form their own republics and sought recognition (does Kosovo ring a bell?) which Russia recognized.

      So yeah, lets talk about 2014 – when this all “started” – and ask, would any of this be happening now had Ukraine lived up to its bargain – and wonder if the same folks were whispering in their ear when they refused to implement them, when they are still refusing to do more than “sit down” with the Russians granting nothing, when the same State Dept official in the Obama admin, Nuland who was caught in a call discussing who “we” wanted as the next Pres. after the coup – is still in Biden’s State Dept.

      Does Russia have a sufficient excuse for a full scale invasion? Hell no. Could we have prevented the cascade that brought us here? I suspect yes indeed – did we try? No, and why not … I suspect many of us know why not …

      1. @SH
        In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia, and Britain committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country. Those assurances played a key role in persuading the Ukrainian government in Kyiv to give up what amounted to the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, consisting of some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads. This commitment applied to the whole of the Ukraine, not only to the non Russian speaking regions.
        Russia brazenly trampled the Budapest Memorandum commitments from 2014 onwards without any Western reaction which emboldened them to go full in with an actual invasion.
        US and UK were and are morally and contractually bound to let the Ukraine into NATO as the only effective way to meet their commitments.

      2. And the US has trampled multiple times on the promise that it made to not extend the borders of NATO eastward beyond Germany so please explain how the US and UK are “morally and contractually bound to let Ukraine into NATO” – it seems to me the reverse is true – they are morally and contractually bound NOT to … especially when theyhave been told for years by Russia and others, apparently even our own CIA, that that is a “red line” that should not be crossed … You seem to really want to keep poking Russia ….

        And please explain how Russia has trampled its commitments from 2014 onward – by annexing Crimea? When its populace overwhelming voted to become part of Russia? And why didn’t they do that before? Could it be that that was the time the US orchestrated a coup against the duly elected gov’t in Ukraine whose succeeding gov’t promptly passed laws discriminating against the use of the Russian language among other things? Somehow I don’t think that orchestrating and funding a coup was “respecting the independence and sovereignty …” of Ukraine – but I suppose folks could differ on that ….

        Lots of things happened in 2014 – a cascade of events that began, I posit, with that coup … And as I recall, the Minsk agreements, entered into to resolve the conflict that resulted from that coup, signed by Ukraine, respected the borders of Ukraine, calling only for a semi-autonomous status for those eastern provinces in the Donbass – the post coup Ukraine gov’t refused to honor its commitments and kept shelling its own citizens in the east for years – until they finally voted to form their own republics free to form alliances with others – namely Russia. Sure Russia is pulling the strings there just as the US was/is pulling the strings in Kyiv

        Is Russia justified in invading Ukraine? No. Could we have prevented it? I think so – implementing Minsk could have stopped what a civil war from escalating, and simply living up to its promise to not extend NATO could have satisfied Russia’s security concerns. I do find it interesting that Russia has so far failed to use the “shock and awe” technique we used in Iraq or the carpet bombing the allies used in Dresden, e.g., in WWII – though it could do either …

      3. One side says coup, the other revolution — how do you categorize the months of street protests, which led to the brutal killings of so many (and police, too), and the direct involvment of the FSB in putting down those protests? Yes, the CIA was there, of course, and the State Dept having no shame in trying to manipulate events, as always…but is there no room for Ukrainian agency? Do the masses have no say, no value, no role?

      4. @Moderator
        The original street protests were mainly over corruption, and those protests were organic. But the CIA and the Nazi/Neo-Nazi groups quickly got involved, and they ran things from then on. There would have been no coup or revolution if those two groups hadn’t gotten involved. And don’t forget the phone call on which Victoria Nuland picked the new Ukraine president.

        The U.S. has a global empire. We have to recognize that fact when analyzing anything like this situation. Sure, Ukrainians have some agency, but they’re no match for the CIA or the U.S., and the Nazi/Neo-Nazi presence in high positions in both the government and military in the Ukraine is also a major factor that must be considered.

      5. There is no doubt that the dominant empire and its lesser rivals constantly manipulate events, throughout history and in complete denial of American moral exceptionalism. I’m a student of history, especially American imperialism. Yet, when we completely exclude the role of other forces — values, ideologies, movements, unions, parties, bureaucracies, leaders, tech or social evolutions, etc. — we may as well lay down whatever notions we have that their can be “progressive” or “revolutionary” change and just accept that all of history is giant game of “Risk.”

        Do you have any doubt that the majority of Ukrainian citizens in 2014 were more interested in pursuing the lifestyle, politics and opportunities available in the EU than sticking impoverished, isolated and autocratic Russia?

        Finally, you do what so many of us can fall into when trying to be a critical thinker exposing the blindspots (and lies) of the dominant narrative — create new ones. I.e., are you not going to mention the ways that Russian interventions, including even actual FSB officers guiding repression of the protests from inside Kyiv, planted and protected Yanukovych in power in the first place?

        Regardless of our personal worldview, I imagine we can at least agree that this is a power competition and that both indiviuals and grouped masses have at least *some* power to throw into the struggle. We can see this most clearly right now, when Ukrainians in occupied areas have the choice to welcome, submit to or fight back against Russian troops. What are they choosing? If they are protesting and/or enlisting to fight against the invaders — would you all them all stooges of CIA mind control? I can’t do that.

      6. I don’t think any of us are “completely excluding other forces” – simply pointing out the rather outsized “influence” we have exercised …

        Of course many if not most of those “resisting the invaders” are not “stooges of CIA mind control” – would be a silly thing to say, wouldn’t it, and there’s nothing silly about any of this. But I am curious – where were all these folks when it came to implementing the Minsk accords which could have prevented all this – were not enough of them paying attention? Were their leaders representing their best interests, or somebody else’s. Is this what it takes to wake people up – having to choose whether to flee or fight – “those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable”

        So we have “stumbled into” another war – and no one in a position to do so will “concede” a thing to end it …

      7. @Moderator
        Our difference here is more in degrees than anything. My position is that there are no “good guys” in this situation. All big countries and world leaders are evil, and I dislike Russia and Putin just like I dislike the U.S. and Biden. The difference between them is that the U.S. and the CIA are so much more powerful than anyone else. Again, I don’t deny that other people have some agency, but I’ve seen that agency stomped out multiple times by the U.S. and their proxies.

        As to your remarks about the FSB and the election of Yanukovych, I honestly don’t know about those things. Unlike you, I don’t do this for a living and my time on things like this is limited. What I DO know is that Yanukovych was elected and was overthrown, and that without the U.S. getting involved the latter never would have happened.

      8. @SH & Moderator
        There is one very important factor that I forgot to mention: We live in the U.S., so our criticisms of foreign policy and war crimes should be focused on the U.S., both because we live here, and because the U.S. commits the most and the worst of these transgressions.

        Additionally, not only is it hypocritical for Americans to freak out over the Russian invasion of Ukraine when they said little or nothing about all the U.S. invasions, occupations, mass killings, and theft of oil, but the West’s gross extreme overreaction to this invasion compared to the total lack of reaction of the West to all these U.S. transgressions is so over the top that there are no words for it.

      9. “…. there are no words for it …”
        I think more of us ought to find more of those words and speak them loudly and often everywhere …

      10. Yup! I just finished a post that said basically the same thing – you said it more concisely ….

      11. Of course the Ukrainians have “agency” – they exercised it when they elected Yanukovych – in the succeeding tug of war between the “West” EU and Russia – he rejected the EU – and the “revolution” commenced – was the guy corrupt? No doubt – but if revolutions were all about corruption, one couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting one …

        And since when does the CIA and our State Dept ever given a hoot about corruption abroad or local “agency” – instead if you look at just about all the “revolutions” they have been involved in, I suspect you will find they have always been against the side that refused to do what it was told by the West – Mossadegh in Iran, e.g. or Aristide in Haiti, or Allende in Chile or, or, or ad infinitum. Once the sticky fingers of the CIA and State Dept get involved – one can be pretty sure that whatever “agency” the locals are trying to exercise will be infiltrated, co-opted, and manipulated by them – (remember Nuland’s famous phone call discussing who we wanted to run the show after the “revolution”?) If we really gave a damn about Ukrainian or any other people’s “agency” we would have kept our hands and feet – and our arms, off and out of it …

        And how about the “agency” of the folks in eastern Ukraine, Donbass, Crimea region who protested when the guy they had voted for was tossed out and made to flee – how were those protests dealt with by the new Ukrainian gov’t when they revolted – years of killing and destruction by their own gov’t …. Have seen a map of Ukraine in which those now fleeing West are called “refugees” and those who have been fleeing east, into Russia are called “migrants”

        When do protests become revolutions? Look at our own country – if Jan 6 had been
        successful, would it have been a “coup” or a “revolution”?

        Words indeed matter – but it seems it all depends on who’s using them and toward what end …. the fact that we “knew or should have known” what would happen, warned by our own CIA, if we kept poking the bear – and did it anyway – speaks to our idiocy, incompetency, malfeasance, dare I say, intent – all equally deadly

        When elephants fight the grass gets trampled ….

    2. So if Mother Russia or China installed 10,000 troops in Venezuela with missles that could be pointed @ DC,NY, Chicago,etc; then an election was held in Mexico and the presidential candidate manifesto was aligning closer with Eurasia & Asia instead of the US & the EU, then won the election, withdrew from NAFTA and signed on for the Belt Road Initiative or Russia’s version of their version of the EU, the US would respond as a fairytale of western expansion?

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