Karen Greenberg Ukraine

Our Ukraine Wake-Up Call

Karen Greenberg paints a picture of a planet in which the local and the global are becoming one and the same in a genuinely frightening fashion.
Kharkiv, Ukraine – January, 31, 2022: A column of armored personnel carriers rides on a winter road. Ukraine prepares to defend its country from Russian invasion. From Seneline on Shutterstock.

By Karen Greenberg / TomDispatch

In recent days, experts have begun laying out the potential hardships the Russian invasion of Ukraine might inflict here in the United States, thousands and thousands of miles from the battle zone. As former White House national security official Richard Clarke bluntly put it, “Russia will bring the war to our homeland.” He pointed to potential damage in two particular realms, possible Russian cyberattacks and disinformation meant to unsettle our domestic politics. Similarly, economists and financial firms are predicting what an ongoing war in Ukraine could mean in terms of rising prices for wheatvegetable oil, and oil and gas, among other commodities.

How different this sense of potential damage is than that expressed when, in the wake of 9/11, America went to war globally with its invasion of Afghanistan and its war on terror.  As the president of that moment, George W. Bush, insisted so confidently in 2001, Americans should simply “go shopping” and not be distracted by the country’s distant battles. As he later put it, “We will fight them over there so we do not have to face them in the United States of America.”

At the heart of those claims was the thought that foreign wars could be fought by a great power without damage at home — or put another way, that the theaters of conflict for the Global War on Terror were somehow eternally separable from the daily lives of Americans. But tell that to the country that elected Donald Trump as president 15 years later and has been coming apart at the seams ever since.

With the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a possible Potemkin superpower, it already seems clear that Bush’s notion no longer holds (if it ever did) when it comes to war on this planet, no matter where it takes place or which power initiates it. Even though the current conflict isn’t directly our war, one thing is guaranteed: its outcome will be of major significance to the well-being of this country and the international order, thanks to an all-too-basic reality — that the global and the local in today’s world are now virtually indistinguishable. This will, in fact, be the key lesson the ongoing war in Ukraine holds for us as a nation.

The Twenty-First Century

From the American perspective, the inseparable and dangerous nature of the relationship between the U.S. and the world has been creeping up on us ever since this century began.  The post-9/11 installation of airport screenings, perpetually reminding us of the threat of the global war on terror, was one early sign. Since then, the number of life-threatening dangers has swelled immeasurably.

After all, our children, like those the world over, have been going to school for nearly two years now wearing masks. While the discomfort and distancing those face shields represented may have been burdensome, the underlying reality was the fear of becoming infected with Covid-19, given the six million deaths it has caused worldwide. And among other dangers in our American world, even the wave of shootings at our schools and other public places in these years has had a global dimension, linked as some of them were to white extremist attacks abroad. Notably, in April 2019, the synagogue shooter in California praised an avowed white supremacist who had murdered Muslims in Christ Church, New Zealand, earlier that year (as didthe gunman in the 2019 Walmart shootings in El Paso, Texas). And since then, the global ties among white supremacists bent on anti-immigrant violence have only escalated.

Within such a context of war, disease, and fear in which the local and the global continue to merge, there are now some simmering realities the Russian war in Ukraine has exposed in new and powerful ways.

The Nuclear Threat

Like the pandemic, the threat of nuclear warfare has long recognized neither boundaries nor borders.  Remember, for instance, that President Bush’s 2003 invasionof Iraq was premised on the lie manufactured as a pretext for war that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Beyond that the Iran nuclear deal and concern about North Korea’s growing nuclear capabilities have been constant themes in the international news in these years.

Ukraine, however, threatens to take the fear of a nuclear disaster to a new level. There was, of course, Vladimir Putin’s ominous announcement that he was putting the Russian nuclear arsenal on “high alert,” as well as the drills the Russians conducted with land-based missiles and nuclear subs. As spokespeople for the Nuclear Threat Initiative pointed out, that was his grim way of trying to “deter outside interference with his invasion of Ukraine.”

Unfortunately, such a threat only increases the risk of catastrophic mistakes. In addition, within 24 hours of the invasion, Russian troops had gained access to the still-dangerous remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant buried in concrete after a meltdown in 1986 that took 47 lives, devastated crops in Ukraine and neighboring countries, and led to an estimated exposure of 530,000 people to nuclear fallout. Later, they seized and burned part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which happens to be the largest in Europe. 

Imagine that, in our future, the equivalent of the duck-and-cover drills of my childhood may once again become a reality.

Climate Change and Clean Energy

The Ukraine crisis has exposed the inseparability of the local and the global in another way: energy policy and threats from climate change. As much as this conflict may be about the post-Cold War order, NATO, and Putin’s appetite for heightening the stakes, it’s also about oil and gas. The new Nord Stream 2 pipeline Russia has built to Germany was specifically intended to bypass Ukraine and so deny it the profits that might come from transporting Russian fossil fuels to Europe. (Under the auspices of Nord Stream 2, by the way, the profits of the oil and gas industry in the region were expected to double, enriching both Russia and Western oil enterprises.) Opponents have argued that the pipeline “would make Germany and a few other countries slaves to Russian gas.” As Eric Reguly, the Berlin-based European bureau chief for theGlobe and Mailexplained, the move to build Nord Stream 2 was seen as “intensifying Europe’s fossil fuel reliance when it should be devoting its might and creativity to renewable energy.”

It’s no mistake that Putin launched this campaign during the cold of winter. He was well aware of Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas for its heating in a world in which the threat of climate change has failed to substantially redirect the energy policies of either our country or so many others in significant enough ways.  Despite President Biden’s attempts to address climate change — including rejoining the Paris climate accord, empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to restrictgreenhouse gas emissions, and aiming to get the U.S. to “net-zero” by 2050 — his remedies have not been equal to the task. Many of his moves have been thwarted, of course, by Republican opposition in Congress, with even worse possibly to come in the near future from a right-wing Supreme Court.

Democrats have proposed a Climate Civilian Corps to address the climate emergency and our younger generations have indeed displayed an urge to counter the warming of our world. In May of 2021, a Pew Research poll showed that “32% of Gen Zers and 28% of Millennials have taken at least one of four actions (donating money, contacting an elected official, volunteering or attending a rally) to help address climate change in the last year.” Significantly, the poll indicated that, even among Republicans, 49% of Gen Zers and 48% of Millennials “say action to reduce the effects of climate change needs to be prioritized today, even if that means fewer resources to deal with other important problems.”

Yet the move to clean energy in this country is, at best, creeping along at a snail’s pace. And no matter how forward-thinking the green-energy movement itself may be, the megadrought in the Southwest (of a sort not seen in 1,200 years) and California’s raging mega-fires that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of woodlands are indications of just how far short this country (and the rest of the world) are falling in terms of responding to climate change.

Whatever else happens, the pressing need for energy independence and non-greenhouse-gas-producing fuels should be one of the key lessons learned from the Ukraine-Russia crisis. With nuclear threats in the air, profits seem to diminish in importance. With the onset of this conflict, in fact, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was halted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has brought energy policy to the forefront of world affairs not because of fires or flooding or the erosion of beaches or intolerable temperatures or even the recent devastating Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, but because the threat Russia poses to world stability has suddenly clarified the stakes involved in not prioritizing clean energy.

Cyber Threats

A third issue of both local and global importance to which the Ukraine crisis has instantly lent a new level of awareness is the potential damage cyberattacks could cause — in Ukraine, of course, but far beyond as well, including in the United States. As Richard Clarke pointed out recently, Vladimir Putin could bring the global danger of cyberattacks home to each and every one of us. “Russia could attempt to prevent anyone’s online access to key parts” of the global and local financial system, he pointed out. Cyberattacks could similarly target our power grids and so the electricity that runs our homes, businesses, trains, and more.

Beyond fears of running out of cash or losing electricity, there’s yet another danger posed by the weaponizing of cyberspace — information warfare. “Russian trolls, bots, and disinformation experts,” Clarke reminds us, have been used to stoke conflict in American politics for years now. Old videos of bloodshed, published as if they were part of the current Ukraine conflict, have started filling social-media sites as Russia attempts to use disinformation to counter resistance in that country with its own online version of military successes.

Dealing with such social-media disinformation is a global problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later via laws, international accords, and new regulations. For now, Facebook’s parent company Meta and several other social media giants have actively thwarted with the spread of false information on Ukraine, removing both accounts and websites. But far more will need to be done.

Displaced Persons

Yet another arena where the overlap of the global and local has been highlighted by the Russian war is the world’s ever-expanding population of displaced people, including refugees. In November 2021, there were an estimated 84 million of them worldwide.

The plight of Ukrainian refugees is increasing those numbers exponentially.  In just the first days of that conflict, they have already reached an estimated million and a half. Experts are currently predicting that such refugee flows could hit five million as the war plays out. Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Moldova have offered to take in such refugees, largely women and children, for the time being, but their long-term sustenance will undoubtedly pose significant challenges, especially if the situation in Ukraine isn’t settled soon.

The United States, too, has been challenged by a refugee response recently.  Dozens of American agencies have become involved in helping the 76,000 Afghans who have arrived here since the U.S. withdrew its troops in August, after defeat in our war there. Across the country, from Philadelphia to Texas to Seattle, help has been offered for their sustenance, shelter, medical care, and even schooling. However, in a country that, in the Trump era, has been increasingly riven by the very idea of refugees and immigrants coming here, tensions may only continue to rise.

Once again, in the context of refugees, the local and the global are merging in worrying ways, underscoring the urgent need for new strategies and policies.

Facing the Future from the Present, Not the Past

In search of explanatory paradigms for the current crisis, experts and pundits keep rummaging through the past — Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland at the beginning of World War II, the Soviet incursions into Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, not to mention the Cold War paradigm that infuses Vladimir Putin’s thinking and increasingly Washington’s as well. In all too many ways, unfortunately, such invocations of the past fail to offer us help. They are distractions rather than guideposts.

The current conflict in Ukraine demands that we look to the present and the future on this increasingly endangered planet of ours. It’s time to recognize that, whether you’re talking about nuclear weapons, cyberattacks, refugees, pandemics, or the fate of a fast-warming planet, that conflict stands in for the most pressing global and local realities of this century, not the previous one.

The war there should be a wake-up call. Its unmistakable directive: accept the realities of the twenty-first-century world. We are so much more interconnected than we care to acknowledge and, with that in mind, we need new norms and protections in place of those that have led us to this point on an all-too-new and dangerous planet.

Karen Greenberg

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law and author of the newly published Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump (Princeton University Press). Julia Tedesco helped with research for this piece.

43 comments

  1. A bullshit US/Nato propaganda caption:

    “Ukraine prepares to defend its country from Russian invasion.”

    It is Russia preparing to defend itself against a US/Eu/Nato invasion.

    1. And NOW – Russian Intelligence has the evidence. A NATO Laptop, found amongst the AZOV guys in Eastern Ukraine, has plans for an early March offensive against the Donbass Republics, and an attempt to retake Crimea – which would have been the beginning of a REAL war between Russia and Ukraine…and not just De-Nazification and De-Militarization Special Operations.

  2. This is Pure Cia agitprop drivel:

    “With the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a possible Potemkin superpower,”

    The USA and Nato/Eu is the actual POTEMKIN power.

    Scheerpost is better than this.

  3. Oh great … Another DNCIA $hitLib, with a Russia Bad – Maddow-style propaganda piece about ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’… Whatever we do – we should never look at the US’ role in provoking this Special Operation – to De-Nazify and De-Militarize Ukraine. And by all means – NEVER look at the US Government’s role in destroying the American Economy… Did ‘Putin’ just rause Gas prices to $7 a gallon…or was that Joe Biden and his idiotic Foreign and Domestic policy?

    https://markcrispinmiller.substack.com/p/cant-they-find-any-real-atrocities

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-invasion-ukraine-international-law/5773095

    https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/03/07/national-endowment-for-democracy-deletes-records-of-funding-projects-in-ukraine/

    https://imgflip.com/i/64y60x

  4. This is another “war” US is creating that will impact all but the World Board and their hench people: arms corps, political heads of nations and states, against the proletariat. Ugly, ugly humans.

  5. I’m just sick of Democrat war-mongering. On “trade,” the issue of media hysteria of recent days: Trade between the US and Russia has been marginal to non-existent for the past century. Less than 6% of US oil imports come from Russia. On Biden’s war: We spent the past year pointing out the thousands of US/NATO troops Biden was shipping to Eastern Europe and along Ukraine’s border — all in flagrant violation of the 1990 NATO agreement. Yet another case of the US provoking war. But this time, it will be the US vs. two of the three world nuclear superpowers, China and Russia.

    1. >> On Biden’s war: We spent the past year pointing out the thousands of US/NATO troops Biden was shipping to Eastern Europe and along Ukraine’s border — all in flagrant violation of the 1990 NATO agreement.

      OK, I admit, I have not seen this. Can someone point me a link to these reports and verification. This is important to know, because if NATO troops have been massing, and we are only reporting on Russian troops who are normally just stationed there … WTF is going on.

      What I am seeing in the media today is so completely Orwellian.

      1. https://youtu.be/6BE2uobFCCk

        Lee Camp – NO LONGER an employee of Russian Television – speaks with Scott Ritter – a retired US Marine, and an ACCURATE UN weapons inspector – who told the truth about the lack of WMDs in Iraq – while the Cheney/W Regime, and OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD Corporatist media, all LIED to you…

        You may notice a pattern starting to emerge…

        https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/ukraine-holds-military-drills-with-us-forces-nato-allies-2021-09-20/

        https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2021/03/15/massive-army-led-nato-exercise-defender-europe-kicks-off/

        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/04/05/ukra-a05.html

      2. @Another+WorldView+Is+Possible
        Ritter’s information about the Nazis in Ukraine was terrifying. That combined with the video that Jimmy Dore showed of the Nazi leader saying that the 2014 coup wouldn’t have happened without the Nazis because they’re the only ones who were willing to fight (because they like fighting and killing no less) showed me that the Nazi presence and influence in Ukraine is way worse than I thought. These people are complete psychopaths, even worse than the standard psychopaths who run the planet, and it seems that they’re running Ukraine, which the entire West and much if not most of eastern Europe has lined up behind.

        Is there another planet around here we can move to?

  6. Thanks for the propaganda supplement and predictive programming, Karen. Tell your handlers you’re trying to do your best, or worst, to ‘thwart’ mis-,dis-, mal-information as dictated in the Homeland for domestic terrorists who dare to dissent to dominant narratives for the fascist global security state now rolling out across the planet. If your piece here on behalf of the Ministry of Truth isn’t a wake-up call for people as to the Big Brother dystopian direction down which humanity is being marched now, consider your and others’ useful idiocy in service to the cause successful.

  7. You are wrong to assign blame on Russia for this mess. The root cause of the conflict is the endless U.S. aggression in the world, in this case directed toward Russia and its goal of effecting regime change in Russia. As you surely must know, prior to the U.S. orchestrated coup in 2014, the inherent ethnic conflict in Ukraine was muted by its status as a neutral Country. As it frequently does, the U.S. seized the ethnic conflict as a foment trouble, including using the neo-Nazi elements to effect its violent coup. Since that time, the U.S./Ukrainian government has murdered approximately 14,000 Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass region. Russia attempted in good faith to resolve all issues reasonably and peaceably on multiple occasions. The U.S. /Ukrainian government agreed to these proposals by executing the Minsk Agreements, but then promptly refused to implement them. In December, 2021, Russia again proposed detailed written agreements to the U.S. and NATO. The U.S. rejected them out of hand. As Vladimir Putin has correctly observed, the U.S. is “not agreement capable”. The vulgar war propaganda generated by the U.S. and its allies is unusually repulsive, even exceeding the level of dishonestly of the lies told to sell the illegal invasion of Iraq. You are repeating them without critical analysis, just as the mainstream is doing. The fact is that Russia went in soft in its effort to minimize civilian casualties and is making every effort to accomplish that goal. In contrast, the neo-Nazi elements of the Ukrainian military are refusing to allow civilians in the Donbass and some other parts leave the war zones in order to use them as human shields. The Ukrainian government, with the approval of the U.S., has flooded the country with free machine guns, offering them to every person, including prisoners released to serve as “soldiers”, resulting in more chaos, looting and violence. Contrary to its stated “concern” for Ukrainian citizens, the U.S. is using them as cannon fodder in order to advance its political goal of regime change in Russia. As others have observed, the U.S. is prepared to fight to the death of every Ukrainian. Russia’s demands are reasonable. The U.S. should agree to them and stop this war. I do not think it will do so. One can easily see the level of human compassion and concern for others by reviewing the effects of its illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East and Africa. Doing do will offer any encourage for the fate of the Ukrainians.

    1. @Jim Thomas
      Can you please cite any objective agency assessment showing the murder of 14000 Russian speaking civilians?
      Russia and the separatists in DPR and LPR are at least as guilty of not implementing the Minsk agreements, by holding elections in defiance of the Minsk 1 agreement and repeatedly attacking and shelling Ukrainian positions including from inside Russia, including downing a Malaysian aircraft by a Russian SAM missile.

      1. Even the UN has acknowledged that “14,000 deceased Ukrainians number” – mostly Civilians, and 80+% from separatist areas, killed by the Ukrainian Nazi militias. You’re $hilling for Genocidal NAZI War Criminals.

        [moderated for insults]

        Independent analysts don’t buy the story of the downed Malaysian Jet, as it has been manufactured and propagandized, by the NATO EVIL EMPIRE – anymore than they believe the story told about why it disappeared, a few weeks prior. Newsflash – the Rolls Royce engines on that plane communicate with a geo stationary satellite network, that tracks their movement. Her Majesty’s Government watched that plane, all the while, as it was guided to the ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED US base at Diego Gracia, and then prepped for the manufactured “Russian shoot down” incident.

      2. You seem to have your mind made up that there is no validity to the ethnic Russians in the Donbas. It was Kiev policy to declare them terrorists and to attack them. I have no doubt that many thousands people died due to these attacks. The Donbas people defended themselves, of course, and they rejected the Maidan coup, Nazi-riddled, Kiev government, as they should. Who downed that plane is still an open question, primarily because the likely suspects are the ‘good guys’ in the eyes of the investigators. Russia and ethnic Russians had no motive to down that plane; the Yukies did 1) for propaganda purpose; 2) for the mistaken belief it carried Russian officials.

  8. It seems strange to me that in an article about the 21st century repercussions to new forms of political and economic war, and as a journalist, you wouldn’t talk of the relentless silencing of journalists, independent journalists, and podcasters. It is in these times when we need to be able to hear as many perspectives as possible, when understanding our place in the world now and in the future is necessary for our survival. To silence those we do not wish to debate, serves no one. And to watch the silencing of journalists at RT America, many of whom were there because of their “cancelling” from major media discourse during the Iraq war, and not come to their defense!? Does everyone at the Washington Post do the bidding of Jeff Bezos? Does the NYTimes promote war, including the Iraq war? We can debate these things and we should. But so too should we be able to hear the knowledge and perspective of the likes of Chris Hedges, Jesse Ventura, and Lee Camp. Let’s also talk of Julian Assange. How an article about the new ways that war is being fought in the 21st Century and not bring up the tools of war the US government uses against journalists, whistle blowers and foreign governments that refuse to do the bidding of the US Government and US corporations. What is happening in Ukraine is a travesty. But we all, as citizens of an increasingly global world need to understand the tools of war our government uses in our name that in many ways has brought us to this very moment.

  9. Hopefully our children are smarter than we were, then to accept a reality that is truly a lie, as if one would survive a nuclear attack by hiding under a desk. Thought at an early age, the Pledge of Allegiance a lie because I did not see freedom and justice for all. Politicians are good at manipulating people. Statesmen and women, are more interested in representing them. I don’t know if that is true, because mostly they’ve only represented the landed gentry which later morphed into corporations with endless appetites to eat up the world’s resources and endless flow of cash to do so. Can we stop that bleeding wound? Can we make the Pledge a reality? Maybe we could extend some of that pledge to other countries to define themselves without our interference. Wresting CA from Mexico was also based on a lie. We wrote the playbook on telling lies to get wars started and now the play is getting a little beyond us and my country is hugely responsible for putting the entire world at risk. But I wasn’t taught history in school, I sought it from outside and in less institutional control by worried parents of truths their children might learn, when they are old enough, of the horrible weight of the responsibility we carry. It is part of the legacy of lead.

  10. 84 million displaced persons, on worldwide basis….
    So, Putin could use these refugees as a weapon, and threaten to settle them in Ukraine. These people are brown, yellow peoples and would destabilize the country, making Islam and Arabic the main culture. The identity of Christian, European Ukrainians are then, lost forever.
    Ukraine then could be just another Kazakhstan, or Uzbekistan.
    Then maybe these significant threats would cause serious negotiations instead of battles. If enough of Russian far east Asians in Ukraine then there would be spill over to Poland, Hungary, Finland, Austria, Serbia, Moldova, Switzerland, others.
    A long time ago, Chairman Mao threatened a ‘ population’ bomb which instantly made Americans less aggressive.

    Presently, both sides cannot, will not change their stance, their demands.
    A population bomb is the most astute, workable, and serious weapon that Putin could shake the whole world because the greatest fear in America is – – – – – the Browning of America.

    1. That’s a pretty smart take, actually. But I don’t think that Russia wants that many Jihadists on their doorstep…

      But for sure – using the chaos in Ukraine, once their military are smashed – Russia could bring a bunch of refugees from Africa, Afghanistan, Armenia, Syria, Libya, etc… And arm them all with AK-47’s and the NATO weapons taken from the Ukrainian Nazis and military – and then set them all loose upon Western Ukraine … It would be a complete reversal of the US’ Al Qaeda/ISIS Strategy from Syria… And if Russia wanted…they could just claim a “DUTY to protect” (aka the Clintonite “R2P” doctrine) the Ukrainians from “Terrorism” – thereby justifying their never leaving – and maintaining a presence like the US’ illegal occupation in NE Syria, and NATO in Id Lib province.

      1. @Another…
        They are already bringing Syrian “voluntaries” to do their fighting for them as the Russian conscript soldiers may be less enthusiastic fighting their Ukrainian fellow Slaves

      2. I want to take credit for the idea being adopted, quite adroitly by Russia’s leadership… But unlike the CIA – who clearly care enough about this forum to have dispatched you … I don’t think that the Russians have quite so dedicated and pervasive a “Total Information Awareness” team, to the point where I could be certain that they got the idea from myself, and the poster that I replied to.

        And to the contrary – I think your characterization of Russian Soldiers’ morale, and the motivations for their command decisions – is as clouded by (confirmation) bias, as the rest of the nonsense that you’ve written.

        No…to me it looks like the Russians are acknowledging that the CIA has long-standing plans, to pin them down and bleed them in Ukraine – in the same way that they did in Afghanistan, and tried to do in Chechnya and Syria, with much less success. The Russians are ALSO aware that Zelensky has called for “Volunteer” Nazis and Mercs from Europe, and throughout the EVIL NATO EMPIRE, and that he’s emptied his jails and prisons. Russia is just preparing their own proxy army, to do battle with NATO’s.

      3. You really don’t pay attention to even the slightest bit of accurate news. The Russians are bringing in Chechyan soldiers; however, the Yukies are the ones bringing in jihadis from Syria. This is the result of paying attention to war propaganda and being consumed by war hysteria.

    2. What a putrid, racist comment! Your imagination, fueled by fears of brown people, just tickles your white woman fantasy. I have to imagine you as a privileged Karen.

  11. Your urgent effort to try to prove that Global is local fails. There are many high intensity conflicts (wars) being fought out at this moment (Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, to name a few) that disprove this.
    In the case we are now dealing with the Russian Federation versus Ukraine, yes that starts to show global impacts. With – and I agree with that- heightened nuclear risks.
    What really amazes me is that you leave out all the factual and historical confrontations between Russia (Putin) and NATO since 2014 that unequivocally lead to a comprehensible climax of insecurity for Putin. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991-1992 there was no threat from the formally Communist Cold War opponent Russia anymore. Promises were made by the US and the NATO allies to not expand to the East at that time, when Russia agreed for the 2 Germanies to re-unite. These promises were broken. The hypocritical ‘Open Door’ policy implemented by US/NATO would incorporate Poland and the Baltic states during the early 2000’s. The last 5 years, all though Georgia and Ukraine were pro forma invited to become part of NATO as well, the US supplied Ukraine with anti tank weapons and rockets worth billions of dollars on a constant basis, making Ukraine a surrogate NATO ally. All of this was just conveniently swept under the carpet in this article.
    Concerning your climate change point and environmental damages done: If you see the videos and pictures every day coming from Ukraine right now buildings are turned into rubble, tanks and other military objects are destroyed with explosives blowing huge amounts of toxic smoke in the air above Ukraine showing climate concerns have taken a far backseat for now. All in all too many platitudes in this article that leave out down to earth realities and truths.

    1. @Hans Meulenbroek
      In 1990-1991 Russia removed already a chunk of Moldova showing the way for similar actions against Georgia and Ukraine.
      Russia broke its promises under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum ( which is an established document unlike the so called agreements regarding NATO entry of former USSR/Warsaw Pact countries) which guaranteed Ukraine borders, including Crimea and Donbass.
      The US has supplied much less quantities of arms than the billions of dollars prior to the war beginning.
      In any case , not every country receiving US arms is a surrogate NATO ally (India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, UAE,Israel, Egypt etc).

      1. [Moderated] … You’re perfect at regurgitating all of the NATO propaganda, that’s already been debunked, here in this comments section.

        And of course you assert that despite all of Billions spent by the US and NATO, on Ukraine, since they began their attempts to implement Brzezinski’s plans to split Ukraine away from Russia, to NATO… That it doesn’t make them a vassal State… And to prove it, you proceed to list a list of 100% Nato Empire Vassal States, with the exception of India – which has been a Non-Aligned movement founder, and member, since the first Cold War.

      2. You can go on and on with specious arguments that are of no consequence. The US/NATO was negotiation adverse and agreement incompatible. The IMF treaty abrogation is one example. Due to repeated rejection of diplomatic overtures, the imminent attack on the Donbas, the arming of Ukraine with deadly weapons, the continued lie that Ukraine would join NATO, the US “poked the bear” and the bear struck back.
        Any other discussions are pointless with out admitting that Biden and his neocons provoked Putin and now we could all face WW III.

  12. The usual Western reading of the situation, assuming that Russia has no rights, no decency, no thought of the future. Thirty years of taking over the remains of the USSR and destruction of the emerging Russia; constant invasions, occupations, destructions of “brown people” countries and huge loss of life even now in Yemen (400000 deaths from our Saudi allies and our bombs); Afghanistan finished and we steal $7billion from the central bank there.
    The Russians, unlike the cowardly USA, has a long history of being invaded and naturally wants some sort of security guanrantees fro those who have decided, against all evidence, that it is an enemy. NATO is NOT defensive and shows it in this situation now.

    1. @Rosemerry
      The Baltic countries, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic have a long history of being invaded by Russia and naturally want some sort of security guarantees .That is the reason they are in NATO and Sweden and Finland consider joining.
      The only think that shows in this situation now is that Russia is the aggressor!

      1. No. Those countries (many of them created as “countries” in the last hundred years or so – have along history of being invaded by Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire… They had a history of being part of the Warsaw Pact nations, for a much shorter period, and being run by USSR-aligned, fairly authoritarian communist indigenous Governments.

        The CIA spent decades infiltrating and promoting anti-USSR, and Anti-Communist sentiment, often using ahistorical and pro-NATO/US Bullshit, of your exact CIA variety.

  13. I read the Paul Krugman piece. He now thinks he is a military expert as well as an armchair economist. Just as his colleagues, he underestimates Russian resolve and capability at his peril.
    Few Americans seem to respond to President Zelensky’s stated desire to obtain nuclear weapons. He said the Ukrainians had the technology and the expertise to do so. Few seem to realize that nuclear weapons requires fuel and the quickest way to get plutonium is waste fuel rods and nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl. This explains the Russian moves which are decried by the Western media as somehow irrational and dangerous .
    While the threat from NATO has been long known by the Russians, what precipitated Putin’s attack was not ‘winter’, but the intensifying attack on Russia’s cousins in the Donbas. The Yukie army was preparing an offensive to rub out what they call “terrorists” and the West sometimes call “rebels”.
    A more sober analysis sees that when Putin invoked higher security, he was not threatening so much as warning, i.e. “Don’t take this opportunity to f**k with me.” This is in general a final rejection of Western failures of sincere diplomacy.
    Conerning the fossil fuel concerns, there is one overriding reality: armies, navies, and air forces run by fossil fuels. Modern warfare cannot exist without them, including their use for manufacturing explosives. The climate crisis will never be seriously addressed until the end of militarism in all its forms.
    Ms Greenburg is correct that in this interconnected world, we need forms of cooperation and stability. Still, just blaming Vladimir Putin for this crisis is both foolish and silly. As “hating on Putin” becomes the national sport and Dostoyevsky is banned in some libraries, Joe Biden and his neocons who started this all get a free pass.

    1. @Ted+Tripp
      I agree with you that any mention by Ukraine leaders of an attempt to develop or acquire nuclear weapons is totally counterproductive , dangerous and should be squarely condemned. Although ,to be fair, Russia broke every one of its commitments under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and should give them back their 1900 nuclear weapons!
      Your assertion regarding a potential Ukraine attack in Donbass is delusional as the separatists and Russia had enough forces locally to stop any Ukrainian offensive as they have been doing from 2015 (when Russia entered officially in the fray to save its puppets in Donbass).There was absolutely no need to invade Ukraine.

      1. Those were NEVER 1900 “Ukrainian” Nuclear Weapons – but RATHER – the USSR’s Nuclear Weapons controlled from Moscow – with 0 local command authority.

        You are an AHISTORICAL CIA Revisionist, of the lowest sort… But you ARE persistent… Paid by the $hitpost, I reckon.

      2. In fact your assertions about a lack of any need to protect Donbass – are complete bullshit, as well. The Russian MoD and Donbass Republic militias have captured and IBM Think Pad with NATO markings – with details of an offensive against the Donbass Republics, and Russian Crimea – scheduled for this very month… Had Russia NOT been provoked into invading.

        You’ll need to scroll upwards by several posts – https://t.me/s/intelslava?before=21696 – but it’ll be worth it to do so… Eventually you’ll get to the post with a picture of the Laptop – and a few posts showing the Letters telling US run BioWeapons Labs, on Russia’s borders, and Ukrainian soil – to destroy all of the evidence.

      3. Your belief that the Donbas could have repulsed any attack might be correct as Russia could have bolstered forces there or could have merely destroyed the Ukrainian army facing the ‘line of control’. Putin states that this would have been just a temporary measure and would not address the root of the problem.
        Your contention that the Ukrainian advance on the Donbas was easy to repel is also questionable. As far as I know, the Yukies had amassed about 100 million men, an invasion force. Prelude to the invasion was intensive artillery. Russia’s invasion put a stop to the attack and resulted in the destruction of this army.
        According to scholars I trust, the idea that Russia took Ukraine’s nuclear weapons is belied by the fact that those weapons were always the property of the Red Army, whose control devolved on the Russian Federation. They never belonged to the new ‘Ukraine’.

  14. So I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised to see that none of the comments here are in support of this CIA “Karen” – and her Chicken Little routine, about the De-Nazification, De-Militarization, and restoration of a lawful Government to Ukraine, by Russia. It speaks to the intelligence and geopolitical savvy of the SheerPost audience… I must say, that I’m impressed by the level of discernment amongst the commenters, if perhaps not all of the readers of this list.

    1. @alteyid48
      I generally don’t respond to you because you’re nothing but a right wing troll on this site. I’ll make an exception here, because I want people to see what propaganda looks like and that people taking your position have no legitimate argument against the fact that the U.S. and NATO are the root causes of the Russian invasion, despite Russia being wrong for invading.

      The only argument that you made contradicting what I said was to show that a lot of countries condemned the Russian invasion. This does not in any way rebut my point that the U.S. and NATO are the root causes of this problem. It is just a distraction from the real issue here, and is a propaganda technique known as “deflection.” Additionally, the condemnation of Russia for invading Ukraine, does not in any way mean that countries agreeing to that condemnation don’t also agree that U.S. and NATO aren’t also responsible or even more responsible.

      As to who runs NATO: who do you think pays for it? And who’s the dominant empire on the planet? Recognizing that the U.S. is the dominant empire is not “US-centric,”, it’s simply recognizing and acknowledging true facts. The U.S. pays the bulk of the the funds into NATO, and therefore gets to say what NATO does or doesn’t do.

  15. Representative Jake Auchincloss says – Vladimir Putin needs to ‘get squarely punched in the face’
    https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/03/06/vladimir-putin-needs-to-get-squarely-punched-in-the-face-massachusetts-congressman/

    So shutting off trade from Russia is a punch in the face. Be careful what you wish for Jake and consider the long term affects:

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/03/russia-sanctions-blowback-only-beginning-globalization-in-the-crosshairs-russian-retaliation-coming.html

    Here is what in store for the future. Russia won’t be shipping these anymore.

    wheat – Russia is the largest exporter.
    alumium
    fertilizer – Russia and Ukraine provide roughly 40% of global supply.
    nickel – We are already seeing market upheaval in terms of the massive nickel short squeeze.
    special chip etching chemistry using ultra-pure components – Russia accounts for 100% of the world’s supply of various rare earth elements used for these purposes

    Russia is a critically important supplier of aluminum, necessary for airplanes and other equipment, and metals used in non-electric cars. It was possible to work around chip shortages to a degree. Metals are a much more binding constraint. And car prices were already a big driver of headline inflation.

    On a positive note, Jake is doing a great Trump impersonation with his ‘punch in the face’ comment.

  16. Please stop repeating the lie that the Chernobyl meltdown only “took 47 lives.” It took more than 47 lives IMMEDIATELY. No one knows how many died from radioactivity as a result of this meltdown, but the estimates are in the thousands, and those are from establishment sources that want to promote or at least not oppose nuclear power.

  17. Sheerpost should read these comments and take note. No one except for our resident trolls comes here to read U.S. propaganda like this. Any sane objective observer can see that the Russian invasion is clearly ultimately the fault of the U.S. (the U.S. runs NATO). Russia is also to blame for invading (though after decades of trying to pacify the west and stop western aggression against it, I don’t know what else it could do by that point), but any writing that fails to mention the context and the ultimate responsibility of the U.S. and NATO is nothing more than U.S. propaganda.

    Also, stop repeating the lie that COVID-19 has caused 6 million deaths worldwide. Governments admitted months ago that they count people who died WITH COVID-19 as people who died FROM COVID-19, which greatly and falsely inflates the number of deaths from it.

    1. @Jeff
      “Any sane objective observer can see that the Russian invasion is clearly ultimately the fault of the U.S. (the U.S. runs NATO) ”

      So all 141 UN members states condemning Russia are other insane or non-objective? And only Russia and a few acolytes as Cuba, Syria are seeing the light?
      Your remark that the US runs NATO is proof of a totally warped, US-centric view of the world and abysmal lack of knowledge regarding European politics! Did you ever read a non American newspaper?
      Do you really think that in normal days the US can get other 29 states (with the likes of France which is wary of anything American, Germany which never wanted to spend more than an absolute minimum on defense, Hungary, Czech Republic, Italy full of Russophile politicians , Turkey who wants to be a leader of the Islamic world and rebuild the Ottoman Empire , etc.) to decide something so devastating as an attack on Russia ?!
      It took a cataclysmic event such as a real shooting invasion of an European country to get them to present a more or less unitary front against Russia!
      Thinking otherwise is pretty delusional

      1. Yes – many of those countries that voted to condemn are BROWBEATEN and beholden Vassal States of the US/NATO’ attempted Global Hegemonic Empire. And certainly they’re getting their information, from a CIA/NATO/Atlantic Council campaign of Active Measures disinformation – like the one that you’re waging here.

      2. Your delusional comment implies that most of the world’s people if not supporting Russia, condemn the American instigation of this crisis. Any country not in thrall to US Empire rejects the information bias the US projects. It is clear to many that the US rejects diplomacy, does not keep its word, imposes destructive sanctions, and steals other nation’s money.
        Furthermore, if you believe NATO is a benevolent, defensive organization, you ignore the history of the institution. It was a defensive institution facing the Warsaw Pact and the USSR; after the dissolution of both the Warsaw Pact and the USSR, it ceased to have any reason for being. But it persisted and advanced to Russia’s borders an conducted hostile military exercises. Most tellingly, though, was NATO’s project to utterly destroy Libya and enact regime change.
        Russia viewed all of these developments as well as its invitation to Ukraine and Georgia as existential threats.
        But, you are right. If not an outright goal, perhaps an evolutionary goal, the US Ukraine policy of inciting war intended to consolidate its control over Europe and the EU and stop closer ties of Russia and Europe implied by Russian gas through Nord Stream 2. No delusion.

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