International Medea Benjamin nato Nicolas J S Davies

NATO and a War Foretold

Instead of exploiting this crisis to expand even further, NATO should suspend all new or pending membership applications until the current crisis has been resolved.
A Father carries his daughter on the shoulders as she holds a placard reading “Peace” during a demonstration against NATO in Madrid’s Gran Via. Protest groups against NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and against war took to the streets of Madrid in a demonstration. This year Madrid is the venue for the NATO summit. Multiple groups from all over Spain and Europe traveled to participate in the demonstration. (Photo by Diego Radames/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies / Common Dreams

As NATO holds its Summit in Madrid on June 28-30, the war in Ukraine is taking center stage. During a pre-Summit June 22 talk with Politico, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg bragged about how well-prepared NATO was for this fight because, he said: “This was an invasion that was predicted, foreseen by our intelligence services.” Stoltenberg was talking about Western intelligence predictions in the months leading up to the February 24 invasion, when Russia insisted it was not going to attack. Stoltenberg, however, could well have been talking about predictions that went back not just months before the invasion, but decades.

Stoltenberg could have looked all the way back to when the U.S.S.R. was dissolving, and highlighted a 1990 State Department memo warning that creating an “anti-Soviet coalition” of NATO countries along the U.S.S.R’s border “would be perceived very negatively by the Soviets.”

Stoltenberg could have reflected on the consequences of all the broken promises by Western officials that NATO would not expand eastward. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous assurance to Soviet President Gorbachev was just one example. Declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted by the National Security Archive reveal multiple assurances by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and 1991.

The NATO Secretary General could have recalled the 1997 letter by 50 prominent foreign policy experts, calling President Clinton’s plans to enlarge NATO a policy error of “historic proportions” that would “unsettle European stability.” But Clinton had already made a commitment to invite Poland into the club, reportedly out of concern that saying “no” to Poland would lose him critical Polish-American votes in the Midwest in the 1996 election.

Stoltenberg could have remembered the prediction made by George Kennan, the intellectual father of U.S. containment policy during the Cold War, when NATO moved ahead and incorporated Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in 1998. In a New York Times interview, Kennan called NATO expansion a “tragic mistake” that marked the beginning of a new Cold War, and warned that the Russians would “gradually react quite adversely.”

After seven more Eastern European countries joined NATO in 2004, including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuaniaich, which had actually been part of the former Soviet Union, the hostility increased further. Stoltenberg could have just considered the words of President Putin himself, who said on many occasions that NATO enlargement represented “a serious provocation.” In 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, Putin asked, “What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?”

But it was the 2008 NATO Summit, when NATO ignored Russia’s vehement opposition and promised that Ukraine would join NATO, that really set off alarm bells.

William Burns, then U.S. ambassador to Moscow, sent an urgent memo to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin),” he wrote. “In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.”

Instead of comprehending the danger of crossing “the brightest of all redlines,” President George W. Bush persisted and pushed through internal opposition within NATO to proclaim, in 2008, that Ukraine would indeed be granted membership, but at an unspecified date. Stoltenberg could well have traced the present conflict back to that NATO Summit–a Summit that took place well before the 2014 Euromaidan coup or Russia’s seizure of Crimea or the failure of the Minsk Agreements to end the civil war in the Donbas.

This was indeed a war foretold. Thirty years of warnings and predictions turned out to be all too accurate. But they all went unheeded by an institution that measured its success only in terms of its own endless expansion instead of by the security it promised but repeatedly failed to deliver, most of all to the victims of its own aggression in Serbia, Afghanistan and Libya.

Now Russia has launched a brutal, illegal war that has uprooted millions of innocent Ukrainians from their homes, killed and injured thousands of civilians and is taking the lives of more than a hundred Ukrainian soldiers every day. NATO is determined to keep sending massive amounts of weapons to fuel the war, while millions around the world suffer from the growing economic fallout of the conflict.

We can’t go back and undo Russia’s catastrophic decision to invade Ukraine or NATO’s historic blunders. But Western leaders can make wiser strategic decisions going forward. Those should include a commitment to allow Ukraine to become a neutral, non-NATO state, something that President Zelenskyy himself agreed to in principle early on in the war.

And, instead of exploiting this crisis to expand even further, NATO should suspend all new or pending membership applications until the current crisis has been resolved. That is what a genuine mutual security organization would do, in sharp contrast to the opportunistic behavior of this aggressive military alliance.

But we’ll make our own prediction based on NATO’s past behavior. Instead of calling for compromises on all sides to end the bloodshed, this dangerous Alliance will instead promise an endless supply of weapons to help Ukraine “win” an unwinnable war, and will continue to seek out and seize every chance to engorge itself at the expense of human life and global security.

While the world determines how to hold Russia accountable for the horrors it is committing in Ukraine, the members of NATO should do some honest self-reflection. They should realize that the only permanent solution to the hostility generated by this exclusive, divisive alliance is to dismantle NATO and replace it with an inclusive framework that provides security to all of Europe’s countries and people, without threatening Russia or blindly following the United States in its insatiable and anachronistic, hegemonic ambitions.

Nicolas J.S. Davies
Nicolas J.S. Davies

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.


  1. Alex [Kingsbury @ Times], some folks at the ‘Times’ seem to be blocking this:

    IMHO, “Fight Like Hell” is the ‘call code word’ for the possible involvement of any alt-right coup d’état attempt by portions of the U. S. military.

    While this might well seem hyperbolic, even paranoid, the media apparent ‘messaging’ this week, particularly by former Admiral James Stavridis, former SACEUR NATO, and current Managing Director of the global investment firm the Carlyle Group’s involvement in the Defense Industry, qua. “Merchants of Death”, seems to be predicating/signalling the terms and conditions of eliminating the weaker of the three current, but conflicted possible Empires.

    Admiral James Stavridis’s near saturation broadcasting of the “seven times greater” troop levels of ships, sailors, and other weapons from the ‘four minute NPR’ radio ‘messaging’ regrading his position at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations prepare to meet this week in Madrid presents shockingly provocative fodder with respect to being ‘War inducing’.

    Admiral’s Quote: trying to down play his own words, “The War Plans are very specific”

    The full transcript to the Admiral’s broadcast message should be considered akin to Hurst’s message in 1898; “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

    But in this case on 6/29/2022, Stavridis seems to be saying, “Please remain. You furnish the radio broadcast and I’ll furnish the war.”

    There has ‘So Far’ been no transcript released by NPR, but the Admiral’s speech is still available at NPR:

    1. While this article tracks back to obscene and insane ‘mistakes’ (or really deceitful plans) like are contained within “Stoltenberg could have looked all the way back to when the U.S.S.R. was dissolving, and highlighted a 1990 State Department memo warning that creating an “anti-Soviet coalition” of NATO countries along the U.S.S.R’s border “would be perceived very negatively by the Soviets.”

      Where the ‘deep-thinking about Empire’ could have tracked back all the way to the first non-violent coup d’état in America, in ’44, when FDR’s brilliant socialist VP, Henry Wallace, was torpedoed by the OSS and DNC, by ‘physically blocking’ him from coming to the podium, when he had over 60% popularity from the floor of the Convention on the first round of preference.

      The first violent coup d’état would follow after Ike’s warning and the Cuba missile crisis, but delayed til ’63.

      1. @Alan MacDonald
        Actually, the first violent coup in this country was when Lincoln was assassinated, thereby ending reconstruction and ushering in Jim Crow. The whole Black/white racial situation in the U.S. would be much better had this not happened.

  2. The history of the Ukraine and the expansion of NATO. along with the Nazi problem in the Ukraine were out there for anybody to find if they chose too. But instead of learning the history and the truth that would allow them to make rational conclusions and decisions, the majority once again decided to abdicate their own critical thinking to others and wallow in their ignorance.

    Instead they decided to immediately believe the very people who have been endlessly lying to them for decades, who started a wars that killed millions of people on a lie, and support a bunch of Nazi’s, a utterly corrupted and illegitimate government in the Ukraine, a bunch of Orwellian biolabs that the old time Nazis would envy, and to make sure the Big Guy continues to get his ten percent so he can pay for his son Hunter’s Russian hookers.

    Now cognitive dissonance is beginning to filter into the consciousness of the sheep and they are starting to question if the Empire of Lies is lying to them. Not that they would do anything even if they did figure it out. After all they are sheep and sheep do what sheep do.

    While this plays out the insane madmen and women of the Global west work feverishly to provoke Russia into starting World War 3 by any means possible. Likely eventually they will succeed and in doing so will finish off us all.

    Thus is the state of the Empire of Lies on this day of the new dystopia.

  3. Medea Benjamin and Code Pink is all that’s left of the U.S. peace movement. They’ve done excellent work, but they’re way too small.

    The only disagreement I have with this column is that if Russia is going to be held to account for invading Ukraine, then the U.S. and NATO have to be held to even more account for all their transgressions that led up to the war, including the 2014 coup that the U.S. fomented and Ukraine’s killing of thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Other than that, good column.

  4. What a shame that such an excellent article should be contaminated by the phrase “Now Russia has launched a brutal, illegal war”. UN. Article 51 makes it clear that reasonable force may be used in self defence. What you conveniently choose to omit here, is that the war against the ethnic Russians in the Donbas region was initiated by a Ukranian military in which were embedded neo-nazi factions. Putin held out for several years during which appeal after appeal, made by him to his “Western partners” were met with rebuff and insult. Make no mistake about this – it was not “Putin’s War of Choice” as has now become not only the mantra of the West, but appears to be chorused by those in the peace movement who should know better. And here’s something for all you ‘Codepinkers” who love freedom of speech and are so outraged by the Assange debacle, to reflect upon. At a recent on line rally when Jeremy Corbyn (who I campaigned for during 2018-2019 in London) started going on about “Putin being a brutal aggressor etc. etc.” as soon as I posted a comment in the “chat’ saying that I was finding it increasingly difficult to take him seriously, in an instant my screen went blank with a message saying THE HOST HAS REMOVED YOU FROM THE MEETING. So much for “freedom of speech”. Whilst acknowledging the good work you are attempting to do here, Mr Davies and Miss Benjamin, I would like to remind you of a vicious and intense smear campaign based on the fiction of ‘antisemitism’ that was directed at Corbyn for over 12 months. Despite the best efforts of myself and others to fight against the slander, defamation, humiliation and demonisation that was heaped upon Corbyn, the right wing neo-fascist Zionist zealots of the Parliamentary Party, with not a little help from the CIA-MI6 and others, succeeded in bringing the greater proportion of a credulous and gullible British public to the point where they hated Corbyn almost as much as you appear to despise Putin. Reading articles like yours makes me wonder if you are not part of the MICIMATT complex which, whilst already having achieved a stranglehold on mainstream public opinion, appears to be succeeding within the so-called “progressive” movement. And something else needs to be brought to your attention. In London and other major cities throughout the “Monroe Hemisphere” there has appeared a proliferation of giant hoardings, illuminated in the ubiquitous ‘blue and yellow’ written in faux cyrillic script exhorting us to “Be Brave for Ukraine”. When I attempted to investigate who was funding and promoting this blitzkrieg of ultra-nationalist “improperganda” I was informed that “we have no comment to offer”. So, one has to ask the question, how proud are these people of what they are doing ? How brave and courageous are they ? And how brave and courageous are you being, in light of the fact that a considerable number of peace-loving ethnic Russians, who wished to distance themselves from the fascists in Kiev, were burnt to death in the Union of Trades building in Odessa on 2nd May this year, and that to protect the citizens of the self-proclaimed People’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in accordance with a United Nations provision, the Russian military engaged in a special operation to defend these people from the shelling and bombing by the Azov and Aidar battalions of the Ukranian National Guard, which involved the use of illegal cluster bombs. Furthermore, independent reporters such as Patrick Lancaster and Eva Bartlett have been filming in that region and providing evidence that counters your specious claim of brutality on the part of the Russian military, when in fact it was, and continues to be the case, that the Ukranians are bombing their own people and, through a supine and complicit media, including the BBC here in the UK, there is the perpetuation of this fiction that Putin is a war criminal. Well, should you claim that to be the case, then lets call for a War Tribunal and have all this evidence presented, and if you are going to insist on dragging Putin by the scruff of his neck into the dock, then him be accompanied by the likes of Tony Blair, Boris Johnson, and all the Presidents of the USA whose transgressions seem to be have overlooked in this clamour of Russphobic and Sinophobic denunciation for there is blood on others hands as well.

    1. My understanding of what is taking place between the US and Russia in their proxy war in the Ukraine is based on ‘the USA aim” is to wear down Russia’s military”, and ‘ the USA aim ” is to break-up Russia ” into statelets’. (The Israeli YINON plan for the break-up of surrounding Arab states into easily managed statelets, published in 1982,, was successfully applied to the break-up of Yugoslavia, and continues to inspire planners of the US war with Russia). Favourable regime change will advantage global corporations by providing (bribed) direct access to Russia’s vast natural wealth, and the military containment of/ threat to China on it’s western side…
      I’m not an Expert. I’m not even very good at armchair strategising. It is not in US(NATO) interests that Ukraine become a NATO member, or any “peace deals” be made, or that Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine be formalised in any way. All would get in the way of the US war aims. And anyhow, they are all red herrings…
      Billions of dollars worth of US/NATO weaponry is not being delivered to Zelensky to play soldier with, it’s being stockpiled in nearby NATO member countries, waiting for The Big Day, ” The US is in still in charge of the unfolding war…

    2. Excellent response.
      Rather than an “illegal, brutal war”, Putin’s Special Military Operation was intentionally, lawyerly, made to mirror Clinton’s recognition of Kosovo’s breakaway from Serbia, and Clinton’s “collective self defense with Kosovo” under UN article 51. History suggests Clinton’s War in the Balkans was a brutal war, but about as legal as Putin’s invasion. The only big difference is that Putin is “meddling” in a bordering country in response to 8 years of Ukrainian NeoNAZI-controlled Army shelling, and over 10,000 deaths of the breakaway republics, surely with puppet-master US’s blessings. Clinton had to wage war 4800 miles away to kill Slavs, who have now replaced Blacks and Muslims as America’s untermenschen, since the fake overthrow of the 2016 Election by fake Russians (New Knowledge/ Yonder).

  5. “Now Russia has launched a brutal, illegal war that has uprooted millions of innocent Ukrainians from their homes, killed and injured thousands of civilians and is taking the lives of more than a hundred Ukrainian soldiers every day. ”
    It is the Ukraine régime which forced this issue by refusing the Minsk accords, and which is still shelling the Donbass whose populations are mainly Russian speakers. All the “innocent lives” etc are those tossed aside by the brutal policies of the Ze mob which thinks big weapons and lots of donated cash will defeat the professional Russian army fighting an existential war against NATO and the West.

  6. Indeed, Europe should take her future into her own hands and start organising her own defence. Like the former French president, De Gaulle and others before him already wanted.

    Without the American interference here on European soil, the principle Russian grievance will have been resolved. With a bit of goodwill, the war can end. EU and Russia can use the money they now have allocated for bloodshed to help rebuild Ukraine together. With this regained trust the door is open for wider cooperation and future prosperity: as Macron (De Gaulle) says “from the Atlantic to the Urals” and Putin corrects, “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.

    But that is exactly what the US wants to prevent. The emergence of any form of a Eurasia powerhouse. Hence the 53bln dollar fuel to burn down any European ambition for peace and prosperity.

    So once Ukraine runs out of soldiers, that will be sooner than we think, we may expect some lame, most probably false excuse (we all remember Iraq) for the deployment of European and US military into the region. With the Blackwater/ Xe Services/Academi mercenaries, or whatever they call themselves today, in their slipstream for the dirty work.

    Three guesses who will then secure all the lucrative energy and commodities contracts in Ukraine. Once that’s done, we Europe, the role we get is that of the janitor. To wipe up the refugee sprawl, the economic and social fallout and proliferation of tons of weapons throughout Europe afterwards.

  7. more fascism from the immoral nazi Benjamin deported from Cuba for counter-revolutionary activity—the only horrors in ukraine is amerikan terrorism—Russia has terminated the amerikan war…the war mongers ben-davies —disgusting as usual
    ukieland has always been nearly corrupt as USA—what lucrative contracts in Ukraine? Russians cannot trust anglo liars; amerikans exceptional for violating every treaty imaginable. USa will not permit Zelensky to surrender; this guarantees permanent gifting of more ukie territory to Russia. Recognition by immoral imperialists is irrelevant—-de-facto possession and protection of S Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, east/south ukraine cannot be challenged—it is now permanently Russia

  8. I’m sorry, but I don’t by this “NATO made me do it” explanation for PUTIN’s invasion of Ukraine.

    And I don’t by all these verbal assurances supposedly given by Western leaders to Gorbachev that NATO would not advance one more inch eastward.

    Did Gorbachev promise not to invade westward?

    First, something as important as this, and it was not a NATO promise in any event, would be put in writing. Name some other international agreement as important as this that was only given orally.

    And I’m not talking about something like missiles out of Cuba for missiles out of Turkey agreements. The consideration for these is in the form of performance, a tit for tat.

    Turns out that we should have admitted Ukraine into NATO. Seems like that would have been the only thing to deter Putin.

    By the way, why does Putin get to rely on an oral assurance given to Gorbachev. Gorbachev was a reformer. Putin is a dictator. Did we give the same oral assurance to Putin not to advance NATO west?

    Did Putin agree, in writing, to respect the integrity of Ukraine. Oh, yes he did.

    I can’t believe that any sizable minority of Ukrainians would vote to be ruled by a Russian dictator. Don’t you think they all remember that another Russian dictator starved 4 million of their brethren 90 years ago?

    No doubt many mistakes were made along the way and as with almost all diplomats they were inflicted with the disability of being unable to see the future.

    But we now have a dictator breaking the most important of international norms, namely territory cannot be acquired by force.

    The memory of Munich should be clearly on our minds. The British and French sold Czechoslovakia down the river. We shouldn’t make the same mistake again.

  9. eedipus.

    Excellent commentaries, but wait a minute, what really has Ukraine to do about the root of what we should be talking about? It is simply an instrument to be used – to put it bluntly -to bash Russia. Here we are all over again. It’s communism versus capitalism. Nothing has changed – but It has to appear as the Good guys versus the Bad guys. Gee whiz we are at the movies. Is this scenario real? Is this really happening?

    The West, thundering its spurious feigned democracy thru’ our eyes and ears, time and time again until they hope you are brain dead and you believe what they are telling you.

    The communist ethos; its ethic must be suppressed, expunged from public discussion – it is evil.

    The truth is there will be no accountability from those who rule your life as to what is right and what is wrong. They know it all.

    1. Am I in a time warp. Who in Russia is a communist? Comrade Putin?

      At least the Politburo had the power to depose the General Secretary.

      NATO is Bashing Russia?

      Didn’t the USSR under Stalin starve 4 million Ukrainians? Their fellow countrymen, I guess.

      Wasn’t and isn’t Ukraine an independent country recognized by every other country in the world?

      Didn’t Putin invade that country and conquer the Crimea a few years ago?

      Didn’t he invade again with his little green men a couple of years ago?

      And now didn’t he try to conquer the whole of it?

      During WW II Germany was a murderous regime and after the war it evolved into a democracy.

      During WW II Russia was a murderous regime and it evolved into….a murderous regime.

      New boss same as the old boss.

      1. “Wasn’t and isn’t Ukraine an independent country recognized by every other country in the world?”
        No, Ukraine is a US puppet state and has been since at least when the CIA overthrew Yanukovych in the Orange Revolution and installed the NAZI-glorifying Yushchenko (a banker who had spent much time in the US and married an American State/CIA agent). When Yushchenko only received 5% of the vote on re-running in 2010, Yanukovych won (again) in a UN-monitored Election. But Yanukovych was not a good puppet, he played the EU (with high interest rates) against Russia (with low interest rates) and when he had to choose in Fall of 2013, he chose Russia and sealed his fate and that of all ethnic Russian Ukrainians. Nuland and VP ViceRoy Biden decided not to wait for democracy to run its course, and overthrew democratic elected Yanukovych in the February 2014 Maidan Coup. Immediately local government in ethnic Russian-rich Ukraine were deposed (arrested, killed) and only the Donbas (and Crimea) escaped “genocide”, although over 10,000 were killed between 2014 and 2021. When Zelensky (elected infamously with >70% of the vote on a Peace with Russia platform) massively increased shelling in February, Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk and invoked UN article 51 and came to their “collective self defense” against the NAZI-led Ukrainian army.
        Does anyone expect Donetsk and Luhansk to become independent and sovereign nations? No, like Kosovo and Ukraine, they will be puppet states, but with different puppet masters.

      2. I always cringe when I read comments like this that only parrot the Washington line about the Ukraine conflict. Washington spins a good story but it is completely false–plus, it is relatively easy to find out the real story.
        I must remind you of similar Washington spins that justified wars and regime change operations in Korea, Vietnam, …, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
        The US government always lies. Behind this war is decades of probably unconscious planning to increase the liberal hegemony that we see in the globalist, unipolar, neoliberal capitalist world.

      3. eedipus

        Read more and dig deeper. Critical analysis and depth psychology are preferable to superficial thinking if we are to unravel who are the liars and who by reasoned argument are telling the truth. Read Der Spiegel which is only one example of what was really going on at the time.

  10. “The problem is that we can’t process the scale of loss in Ukraine if we aren’t fully aware of what has been lost.

    And that is exactly the way that Vladimir Putin wants it.

    As Peter Pomerantsev, author of “This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality,” has explained, Putin isn’t just trying to take over territory; he wants to obliterate any sense of Ukrainian identity. “History, reality, memory are being destroyed and rewritten,” he writes in an essay for TIME. “Putin and his spin doctors propose rewriting the story of Ukraine, its people, their lives and their right to define their own meaning.””

    1. Do Germans have right to define their own identity and meaning by worshiping Hitler and Aryan Cult of racial/ethnic supremacy by celebrating Holocaust of Jews and other nations as historical justice, building monuments to Nazi murderers, making their birthdays national holidays?

      Small fraction of Ukrainians think so as they support Hitler’s legacy and legacy of his collaborators like OUN and Bandera a petty conniving politician turned convicted criminal specialized in political assassinations.

      Why such despicable character worshiping Nazi cult was chosen by this Kiev regime as a founding father of Ukraine while there are dozens truly high statue Ukrainian historical figures like Petlura or Chmielnitsky shows true dimension of Nazi ideological control.

      However, 22 millions of ethnic Russians, citizen of Ukraine, want to define Ukrainian identity and meaning differently, by blood of millions who died to defeat Hitler and his Ukrainian collaborators spilled fighting together with their Russian brothers. Nothing wrong with that pro Russian meaning of Ukraine.

      And Ukrainians actually decided on their own about Ukrainian identity by voting Yanukovitch for president, who immediately stripped Bandera from his national hero status, only to be overthrown by US backed worshipers of Nazi murderers in a coup in 2014.

      The Nazis Regime in Kiev does not represent vast majority of eastern and western Ukrainians who remember 60,000+ of western Ukrainians murdered by UPA for opposing Bandera and condemning ethnic genocide of 200,000+ Poles, Jews, Russians and Hungarians in Ukraine 1942-48.

      No one rewrites true Ukrainian history and legacy more than current Kiev Nazi regime by whitewashing its dark past.

      1. As Clinton re-arranged the Balkans’ map lines in his Bosnian war, look for Putin to partition Ukraine into majority ethnic Russian and US/NAZI statelets when this ends.
        Of course, the US and NATO poodles always want WAR, so things may turn out different once the nukes fly!

  11. “A Repressed Cultural Identity

    The vicissitudes of the history of Ukrainian culture is at least, in part, a consequence of the region’s complex ethnic history. But the real damage to the cohesive story of Ukraine was done deliberately. In the 19th century, when the territory was under the rule of the Russian Empire, there was a rise in the development of Ukrainian culture, education and research. This surge of cultural expression coincided with Russia’s decision to ban the Ukrainian language in its own territory.

    In fact, there has been a pattern whereby the growth and flourishing of Ukrainian cultural identity has been met with repression. Especially significant in today’s context is the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-21 when the nation struggled for independence and worked to establish statehood, including advancing Ukrainian culture through education and the arts.”

  12. Excellent article.

    My question is: why are we the people never given the opportunity to vote for the choices made by our politicians? Countless lives and precious resources are spent on endless, planet destroying wars. Millions of people are displaced, suffering unthinkable hardships. Those who start wars should be required to send their children into battle, perhaps then they might think more seriously about the consequences.

    1. @Annemarie Osborne
      Because people who started civilization figured out that by being more aggressive, they could rule everyone else, and that’s what they’ve done throughout the history of civilization. We wouldn’t be complaining about things like this if we had wise, intelligent, empathetic, benevolent leaders instead of the power- and money-hungry materialistic egomaniacs we have.

  13. Hold on there, Medea. You say, “Now Russia has launched a brutal, illegal war…”
    What does all that even mean? How is this war anymore ‘brutal’ than all the others that precede it? The Russian military is under standing orders to minimize civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure, which has led to Russian casualties. There is no comparison of the Russian battles to the US assaults on any Muslim cities in the past few decades.
    In terms of ‘legality’, Putin recognized the two autonomous Donbas republics, then invoked UN Article 51 for mutual defense. That is more legal than NATO’s assault on Libya. Plus, faced with the genuine circumstances in February, 2022, I have never heard an alternate path from anyone except for Russian capitulation to Ukraine’ assault on the Donbas and to NATO expansion.
    This war is unfortunate, but calling out the Russians for fault in any way deflects from the real culprits in Washington, Brussels, and London who have made this war the centerpiece of their program of extending “liberal hegemony” throughout the world, the globalist wet dream of world domination.

    1. @Ted+Tripp
      Actually, Russia didn’t “launch” the war at all. Ukraine started the war almost immediately after the U.S. coup in 2014, and Ukraine has killed thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine during all this time. Russia merely entered an already existing war.

  14. I have to disagree with the article. Russia has always played the victim pointing the finger at whoever suits them. There is an issue with their reasoning and the “agreement” that NATO will not expand nicely explained here with references:

    The agreement was made in a wholly different time and has too much room for interpretation, nor was it ever official.

    I live in Finland and would be terrified if we were not accepted to NATO. Russia can’t be trusted, Putin can’t be trusted. The propaganda and the disappearances and murders of anyone not pro-Putin is outrageous..I have no choice but to question the independence of the authors and scheerpost. Is this another Putin propaganda outlet? This is the first article I have read here, not sure I will continue. Also find anonymous commenting very dubious.

    1. @Ritva Kauhkamo
      Western Europe has lost its mind and your comments are a perfect example. I’ve heard people from Finland say that the U.S. was hysterical about Russia and that living in Finland, they knew not to freak out about Russia. Now you’re “terrified”?

      Your comments also lack any context of the Russian invasion, including the 30+ years of NATO aggression leading up to it or the U.S. sponsored coup in 2014. I don’t know whether you’re a pro-NATO propagandist or just a Finnish citizen who doesn’t pay much attention to politics, but either way your comment reads like typical anti-Russian propaganda.

    2. “Russia can’t be trusted…” If you listen to Western media long enough, you will find either Putin or Russia blamed for every ill on the planet. On the other hand, the real devil of misinformation is the USA. Since WW II, this “greatest purveyor of violence on the planet (MLK)” has destabilized, dethroned, destroyed, more than 70 sovereign countries–that is a general figure, precise figures easily available.
      What in God’s green earth would inspire you to trust such a country, one that leads Europe around by the nose in pursuit of its regime change operation? Finland once had good relations with Russia. I would advise you to restore that.

      1. And your answer to the Ukrainians is what? Anchluss?

        It doesn’t look like they want to be conquered by Russia.

      2. You identify “Ukrainians” with the fascist, neo-Nazi contingent running the country and those who identify with them. The Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk, Mariupol, Odesa, and so on ethnic Russians are also Ukrainians. They just don’t choose to have Nazis as their leaders.
        My sense is that the Ukrainian leadership screwed the pooch by embracing Europe, the US, and NATO and rejecting their natural allies and partners in Russia.
        I do not believe for a second that the Ukrainian people embrace Bandera Nazis; and if they do because of 8 years of propaganda, too bad for them.

      3. Russia and Ukraine are natural Allie’s? Do you think they Have they all forgotten the Holodomor and Stalin’s purges and now want to live under a new dictator.

        Would Canada consider us a natural ally if we had starved 4 million of them?

      4. The Holodomor was a tragic famine, but responsibility for it lies as much with Ukrainian local officials as Stalinist policy–commissars falsified harvest reports to ‘look good’. I understand this is one of the causes of Ukrainian anti-semitism because many of these commissars were Jewish. Yes, the Holodomor happened, but it was never such a huge event as made out by the West.
        Due to the Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union was under constant attack–military as well as propaganda– by Western powers, some very intense, but always the USSR had to defend and prepare for the future–very much realized when Hitler launched his divisions. To prepare, all over the Soviet Union, peasants built Soviet industry with their grain. This policy worked as the eventual victory against Hitler showed.
        Much more insidious was the Irish families mid-nineteenth century that also killed millions. In this modern day, very few Irish hold a clear hatred of the English for this tragedy. They have moved on. The same is true for Ukrainians.

      5. Good point on the Irish-British-famine analogy. Of Course we are about 200 years out from the Irish famine and just 90 from the Holodomor so I don’t know how important it presently is in the average Ukrainian’s conscience.

        I have Irish famine ancestors and certainly don’t hate the British so another good point that maybe the Ukrainians have moved in.

        However, there are some big differences. The Irish famine was first due to natural causes, the British did not expropriate their potatoes to build factories as Stalin did with Ukrainian grain. Of course their policies and benign neglect exacerbated the famine.

        Yes a big portion of persons carrying out Stalinists programs were local party operatives and were Jewish but, they were carrying out Stalin’s orders.

        Also, Stalin’s policies came with huge purges and massive police state the Britain never imposed on Ireland.

        So, I’ll look for recent polling to see what percentage of Ukrainians wish to be ruled by Putin.

      6. Just some historical corrections. The Irish famine was not so long ago, 1845-49. The English were never interested in potatoes. In fact, the main reason the Irish grew potatoes was they were too hard for the English to steal as they could just sit in the ground while wheat had to be gathered. Even during the worst of the blight and famine, the English took their tribute and taxes in the form of grain.
        Stalin’s policy was to make agriculture pay for industrial development and this policy was for the entire USSR, not just Ukraine. The local commissars reported greater harvests than were gathered in order for promotion and prestige. So, it is not as if Stalin punished the Ukrainians.

      7. I’ll let other people decide if the Irish relied on potatoes because they were too hard for the English to steal because what…..they were hiding under ground? The potatoes that is.

        Never heard that one before.

        “So it’s not as if Stalin punished the Ukrainians,” you say?

        I never heard that one before.

        So, I guess that Hitler never actually killed a Jew?

      8. You obviously know nothing about growing potatoes. After maturity, they can stay in the ground until spring; thus, the Irish farmer could dig them up when needed or when the ‘coast was clear’ of English patrols.

        My understanding is that Stalin’s policy was to extract as much value from the peasantry as possible in order to further Soviet industrialization. The Politburo approved this strategy, although there were exceptions who wanted to allow the peasantry much more prosperity. Killing off the peasantry would hardly be a desirable outcome in light of the overall goal of increasing production. Although Stalin did not like the kulaks, there were other means than death by famine to achieve there elimination.

      9. I wonder how your so sure about how much I know about growing potatoes because my post had nothing to do with that.

        Your contention was that the English were stealing Irish potatoes. Who, the absentee landlords? Can you send us a cite on that point.

        And why would they steal blighted potatoes? Potatoes were not that hard to find in the ground as they were grown in what was derisively called lazy beds.

        Four million Ukrainians starved to death and your take is that Stalin didn’t like them, I guess he didn’t.

        Stalin was not a rational thinker about many things. His first answer to every problem was murder.

        His collectivization program was a human disaster. His policies resulted in the famine. It did not seem to matter to him when he was advised that his policies were devastating to production… the commissars lied.

        Of course bringing bad news to Stalin could get you shot or sent to the gulags, your family included. He raised shooting the messenger to a high Art.

        Same thing happened to Mao with rice and steel production in his great leaps forward. except he starved more of his own people.

        Hard to put a positive spin on the Holodomor but I’ll say you gave it a try.

      10. You have very poor reading skills and seem to grasp the opposite of my thought.
        Potatoes kept in the ground are hidden from English soldiers while wheat kept in bins is vulnerable to confiscation. Potatoes in the ground can be dug up when needed for eating. This scheme, of course, was no use because of the blight. All during the Potato famine, Irish wheat was sent to England. The point is that despite this rather cruel and deliberate policy, the Irish no longer seem to hate the English, nor do the Ukrainians hate the Russians because of the Holodomor.
        Propagandists in the West and the Ukronazis, however, love to use it for their nefarious purpose.
        As far as Stalin is concerned, the Western propagandists love to make hay with Stalin’s failed policies and exaggerate mercilessly. I doubt anyone knows the truth. Again, Stalin’s policies were enacted all over the Soviet Union. Their purpose was to develop the industrial capacity of the USSR to precisely defend against threats like that which came from Germany. Regardless of the effects of that policy on farmers, which in parts of Ukraine entailed death by famine, it was successful in that you and I don’t speak German today.
        I doubt you will read a word of what I write, but I like to try…

      11. No doubt, the Soviet Union won WW II.

        And no doubt that Stalin’s policies caused the famine and on top of starving women and children were thousands of executions and gulag shipments.

        4 million dead in O HI O.

        But maybe I’m just a potato head but can you send me the cite to the evidence that during the famine, the British were stealing the Irish’s potatoes.

        Oh, those clever Irish, one million dead and they hid all their food from absentee landlords.

      12. Again, I urge you to improve your reading comprehension skills. I precisely said that the English stole grain, that the Irish depended on potatoes for sustenance because they could not be stolen by English soldiers. This fact is not hard to substantiate.
        Your contention that Stalin is nothing more than a mass murderer is the party line of liberal hegemony.
        Somehow it comforts you to think that Stalinism once existed, that Stalin caused deaths of millions, that because of Stalinism, Russia has no business protecting Russian citizens in the Ukraine, that Russia has no right to protect itself from NATO.
        That is perhaps the dumbest take on this tragic war yet.

      13. I’ll confess to not understanding your argument so maybe I am a potato head.

        But you clearly said that the Irish were hiding their potatoes in the ground so the English would not steal them.

        In a nutshell, the English policies forced the Irish to rely on one thing for sustenance, the potato.

        The Irish mistake was to rely on just one type of potato and when that became blighted they were in a pickle. They should have paid more attention to the Peruvians. who gave the Irish the potato, and a dozen or more variations of the potato and could survive a blight of one.

        Anyway,the record is clear, Stalin was a maniacal killer among many other things he was. To deny that, well maybe the moon is made of green cheese.

      14. @WDD The most likely result is partition. Donestsk and Luhansk and the coastal region including Odessa becoming pro-Russia states, and western Ukraine including Kiev and Lviv and Galicia becoming pro-NAZI, pro-EU, pro-US, pro-NATO either as a Ukraine rump state or more likely joining Poland or other neighbors. Zelensky has moved to this vision, allowing Ukraine land to be sold to foreigners always verboten in the past, and giving Poles extraordinary rights equal to Ukrainian citizens. There is lots of money (fertile soil) to be stolen and maybe it’s Poland’s turn for an Anschluss?

  15. Medea & Nicholas, while I sent this to the NYT, the NY ‘Times’ seems to be blocking this “War Ginning” information:

    IMHO, “Fight Like Hell” is the ‘call code word’ for the possible involvement of any alt-right coup d’état attempt by portions of the U. S. military.

    While this might well seem hyperbolic, even paranoid, the media’s apparent ‘messaging’ this week, particularly by former Admiral James Stavridis, former SACEUR NATO, and current Managing Director of the global weapons investment firm the Carlyle Group’s involvement in the Defense Industry, qua. “Merchants of Death”, seems to be predicated/signalling the terms and conditions of eliminating the weaker of the three current, but conflicted possible Empires.

    Admiral James Stavridis’s near saturation broadcasting of the “seven times greater” troop levels of ships, sailors, aircraft, pilots, special services, and other weapons from the ‘four minute NPR’ radio ‘messaging’ regrading his position as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations prepare to meet this week in Madrid presents shockingly provocative fodder with respect to being ‘War inducing’.

    Admiral’s Quote: trying to down play his own words, “The War Plans are very specific”

    The full transcript to the Admiral’s broadcast message should be considered akin to Hearst’s message in 1898; “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

    But in this case on 6/29/2022, Stavridis seems to be saying, “Please remain. You furnish the radio broadcast and I’ll furnish the war.”

    There has ‘So Far’ been no transcript released by NPR, but the Admiral’s speech is still available at NPR:

    Adm. Stravidis’s audio should be clicked on the 4minute and 54 second NPR interview!

    You may want to listen more than once to understand his use of Trump’s “We’ve got to fight like hell” and reference of “War Plans” by a ‘former’ (not acting) Admiral!

    Is anyone in the ‘Anti-War’ or ‘Anti-Empire’ community awake to this obvious “Quiet American” War and Empire plan??

  16. Well, I have been writing a series on this general subject. I posted the first two installments to Sheer post and it got some interest. It seems to be the way to crack the ‘algorithms’ if you are just a broke wanna be blogger like me; put links in other peopel’s commetns boxes.

    Here is f third and final installment of ‘The Donbas Story.” I think its the best thing I have written yet. I am getting some comments in my own box. My own readership is growing, but very slowly.

    Wrapped up in the bigger topic of the geopolitical struggle between the Atlanticist empire and those countries not compliant to it, is the struggle of the Russian speakers in the south of Ukraine who do not want too be ruled by Nazis and who want to preserve their own language.

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