Forever Wars Ray McGovern Scott Ritter Ukraine

Ray McGovern and Scott Ritter on Ukraine, Russia, China

Scott Ritter and Ray McGovern discuss China relations with Taiwan and the US, the lemming-like bloc heads now leading the NATO bloc, and Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine.

By Ray McGovern /

Scott and I focused initially on President Biden’s just-completed Excellent Adventure in the Far East and the U.S. effort to woo countries away from China or, at least, pre-empt closer bilateral ties.

I again posed the question (see my brief talk Thursday, embedded here), Why must China’s “win-win” approach be dismissed out of hand – especially when it was so mutually beneficial 50 years ago in reducing tension and keeping the peace?

Recent developments, including talks with Chinese officials, have fortified Scott’s view that China remains extremely reluctant to go to war over Taiwan. Nevertheless, China will do so “in a heartbeat” if Taiwan declares independence and develops a more substantial military relationship with the US.

Bottom line: Scott predicts that the US will be at war with China within six months to a year – and will lose. This could be avoided if the US takes the military aspect out of the equation in confronting China and does the sensible thing in limiting the competition to the economic sphere.

Ray discussed the lemming-like bloc heads now leading the NATO bloc and compared them to statesmen and stateswomen of the past – the German Social Democratic Party’s Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr, for example; and Angela Merkel (no Socialist she), who told President Obama to his face that Germany would not join any effort to send offensive arms to Ukraine. Sadly, serious leaders of the past, experienced in foreign affairs as well as politics, have been replaced by political hacks with little or no experience (or even interest) in Ostpolitik, which yielded a peaceful, mutually beneficial détente in the 1970-80s.

The economic sanctions are already making themselves felt, however, in Germany and elsewhere. And there are preliminary signs that even some bloc-head lemmings may be having serious second thoughts. Fissures are cracking open and expanding among the NATO countries – particularly among those most affected by the sanctions.

Scott reiterated his long-standing view that Russian forces will prevail on the ground in Ukraine, adding that recently they have been performing in a very impressive, professional way. This, despite what the NY Times and Washington Post has been saying, (and even their narrative of Russian “blundering” has begun to change under the force of circumstances). One major question: If Establishment media find themselves forced to acknowledge strong Russian advances in the coming weeks, will they turn on the Biden administration as the mid-term November elections draw near? Snippets of truth have begun to appear in the likes of the NY Times and Washington Post.

The way things have evolved on the ground, serious embarrassment may be unavoidable. Will Biden cut his loses? I suggest the answer to that is No. Rather, with no adults in the room, Biden may instead be persuaded to up the ante (see below). I do hope someone tells the president that the Russians will not back down in the face of escalatory steps they are capable of neutralizing, and that this includes what they call “offensive strike missiles” capable of reaching Russia.


In this context, the trial-balloon-type media reports yesterday afternoon, after our interview, that the US is preparing to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, takes on added importance. A final decision by the White House is expected as early as next week.

One key weapons system under discussion is the U.S.-made Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) capable of firing a torrent of rockets 180 miles or more. This is much farther than the systems currently in Ukraine’s inventory, and could put Russia itself within range. This system has been sitting atop the long list of requests from Ukrainian officials, who say it is needed to curb advancing Russian forces in the Donbas. US officials reportedly “have concerns” that Ukrainian forces might end up firing into Russian territory, causing major escalation.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, who was part of a congressional delegation trip to Kyiv earlier this month, told CNN he believes the systems could help Ukraine gain significant momentum against Russia.

Crowing About the MLRS

“I think it could be a game-changer”, Crow** said, not only for offensive attacks but also for defense. He explained that Russian conventional artillery, which has a range of about 50km, “would not get close” to Ukrainian urban centers if MLRS systems were positioned there. “So it would take away their siege tactics,” he said of the Russians.

The Kremlin has warned that any country providing advanced weaponry to Ukraine will face harsh repercussions. Yesterday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West has “declared total war” against Russia. The Russians would see any attempt to provide MLRS to Ukraine as additional proof of the West’s intent.

I would expect any MLRS that make it into Ukraine to be neutralized as soon as they are detected. And then Lockheed Martin (poor thing) would have to manufacture and sell still more! The money is there; the only problem is how fast it can be spent down. And so it goes.

** Jason Crow styles himself as something of a specialist on Russia. He has asserted that: “Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy.”

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


  1. Real diplomats,

    Introduction by Amarynth for the Saker Blog

    Earlier today we posted two presentations by Mr Lavrov. These provide the Russian view of the changing state of the world. As a companion, here is some information from China, as to how China sees the US/NATO. This is the very clever and eloquent Zhao Lijian, one of the spokespeople from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

    There are two specifically interesting questions that he answers in this presentation. The one is on the visit to China, specifically Xinjiang, by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. In her post-visit presser, she explained that she was free to go wherever she wanted, her visit was not coerced or managed in any way, and she could speak to whoever she wanted to speak to. Of course, this is not how the visit was portrayed in the western press. Take a look at how Zhoa Lijan takes down the western message, spelling out the hypocrisy factually and in detail.

    The second very interesting answer is to a question on the Biden visit and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yet again speechifying that China poses “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order” and that the US “must defend and reform the rules-based international order”.

    Drawing attention to the precision of the answer, here is a partial quote: “This speech misrepresents facts with a long list of lies. The attacks on China mirror exactly what the US has been doing. It is no other than the US that poses “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order”. The “rules-based international order” it touts is actually the “US rules-based international order”, a hegemonic order to dominate the world with the house rules of its clique. Last week my colleague already responded to the speech. Today I would like to take this opportunity to further reveal the hypocrisy of the US by debunking some of its lies and fallacies with facts and figures.

    To start, the US has zero reverence for the international order underpinned by the UN Charter and international law. Throughout its over two-century-long history, the country has only witnessed 16 years free from war. It is the largest source of disruption threatening the international peace and stability and the greatest destabilizing element in the international order. The US claims that it will defend “concepts like self-determination, sovereignty, the peaceful settlement of disputes” enshrined in the UN Charter. However, it always says one thing and does another. As William Blum pointed out in his book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, since the end of World War II, the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments and grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. According to a report by the Brown University, since 2001, the US-waged wars and military operations in the name of counter-terrorism have claimed over 800,000 lives and turned more than 20 million people into refugees in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria alone.

    Take a look at what is important and topical in China.

    Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 30, 2022
    Beijing Youth Daily: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on May 28, saying that the US is concerned about the conditions China imposed on the visit to China by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and China’s efforts to restrict and manipulate the visit. What is China’s comment?

    Zhao Lijian: At the invitation of the Chinese government, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet visited China from May 23 to 28. China believes that this visit has enhanced understanding and cooperation, and clarified misinformation. After meetings and talks, conversations and field trips in Guangzhou and Xinjiang, the High Commissioner had a deeper understanding and recognition of China’s path for human rights development, and had first-hand experience of Xinjiang’s reality with social security and stability, sound and sustained development and people’s well-being.

    All lies and rumors related to Xinjiang have fallen apart in front of facts and truth. But as the saying goes, “You cannot wake up someone who is only pretending to be asleep.” Turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the facts and truth about Xinjiang, the US rehashed the false claims that had already been debunked countless times in an attempt to smear and attack China. Ridiculously, this time they made up new lies that China has restricted and manipulated the visit. In fact, all the activities and arrangements of High Commissioner Bachelet during her stay in China were decided in accordance with her will and based on full consultation. The High Commissioner also said at the press conference that she had unsupervised and extensive meetings during the visit. Where is restriction and manipulation to speak of? Look no further than the US to find the one trying to manipulate this visit. It is the one and the same US that was most vocal about the High Commissioner’s visit to China at first, imposed various kinds of conditions for the agreed visit, and ultimately attacked and slandered the visit after it was made. This once again proves that the US does not care about human rights conditions whatsoever. What it really wants is to use human rights as a pretext to constantly denigrate China and hold it down. Such hypocrisy and political scheme of the US has long been seen through by the whole world.

    By contrast, the human rights conditions in the US are like “the emperor’s new clothes”. The recent mass shooting at a school in Texas is particularly heart-wrenching. The right to life of ordinary people, including children and teenagers, cannot be guaranteed. I’d like to share some figures with you. Since 2001, the US waged wars or conducted military operations in about 80 countries in the name of counterterrorism, which killed more than 800,000 people including about 300,000 civilians. The US set up black sites like the Guantanamo Bay prison across the world, where people are arbitrarily detained without trial for long periods of time and subject to torture and ill treatment. Racism in the US is deeply entrenched and racial minorities like African Americans and Asian Americans have to live with systemic racism. Shutting eyes to grave human rights violations at home, what rights does the US have to act like a patronizing judge and interfere in other countries’ affairs? We ask the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct investigations into and submit reports on US’ human rights problems.

  2. What can you tell us about the Wagner Group, said to be Putin’s mercenaries 5,000 strong operating in several countries. They were the little green men in Crimea, and the active advisors in Eastern Donbas in 2014-15.

  3. I would venture to say the opposite, that the US government goes to bed every night and gets up every morning scheming how to destroy Russia and China and any one who gets in the way of US hegemony.

  4. amerikan democracy? does anybody believe this fiction
    a nation w a constitution written by aristocrats in 1787—ruling class document per Beard and Debs “that contains inherent contradictions that encourages dictatorship”. Godel

  5. War this year is too optimistic, we have mid term November elections and will be too busy and need our energy to lie and deceive each other.
    How ever the aftermath of Joe’s huge losses will make
    2023 very dangerous as war could be used as an excuse to unite our very divided peoples for 2024 presidential elections.
    War mongers always get elected, our media, culture, and religion never worships a peace maker.
    Besides, we have a low intensity civil war at the moment and need a good, old fashioned war with China and or Russia to keep us from killing all of ourselves whether by civil war, mass shootings, school shootings, overdoses, covid, or new viruses ( monkey pox— how come no one has blamed Wuhan??)
    We always need an enemy, with peace and calm we fight and kill ourselves…… Always.

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