Biden Admin Common Dreams Jeffrey D. Sachs Military Russia-Ukraine Ukraine

Ukraine Is the Latest Neocon Disaster

If Europe has any insight, it will separate itself from these U.S. foreign policy debacles, writes Jeffrey D. Sachs.
President Joe Biden delivering “stand with Ukraine” remarks on May 3 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Jeffrey D. Sachs / Common Dreams

The war in Ukraine is the culmination of a 30-year project of the American neoconservative movement.  The Biden Administration is packed with the same neocons who championed the US wars of choice in Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Syria (2011), Libya (2011), and who did so much to provoke Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The neocon track record is one of unmitigated disaster, yet Biden has staffed his team with neocons. As a result, Biden is steering Ukraine, the US, and the European Union towards yet another geopolitical debacle. If Europe has any insight, it will separate itself from these US foreign policy debacles. 

The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the US military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world. 

The neocon movement emerged in the 1970s around a group of public intellectuals, several of whom were influenced by University of Chicago political scientist Leo Strauss and Yale University classicist Donald Kagan. Neocon leaders included Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan (son of Donald), Frederick Kagan (son of Donald), Victoria Nuland (wife of Robert), Elliott Cohen, Elliott Abrams, and Kimberley Allen Kagan (wife of Frederick).  

The main message of the neocons is that the US must predominate in military power in every region of the world, and must confront rising regional powers that could someday challenge US global or regional dominance, most important Russia and China.  For this purpose, US military force should be pre-positioned in hundreds of military bases around the world and the US should be prepared to lead wars of choice as necessary. The United Nations is to be used by the US only when useful for US purposes. 

This approach was spelled out first by Paul Wolfowitz in his draft Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) written for the Department of Defense in 2002. The draft called for extending the US-led security network to the Central and Eastern Europe despite the explicit promise by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher in 1990 that German unification would not be followed by NATO’s eastward enlargement.  Wolfowitz also made the case for American wars of choice, defending America’s right to act independently, even alone, in response to crises of concern to the US.  According to General Wesley Clark, Wolfowitz already made clear to Clark in May 1991 that the US would lead regime-change operations in Iraq, Syria, and other former Soviet allies. 

Oct. 2, 1991: Paul Wolfowitz, on right, as under secretary of defense for policy, during press conference on Operation Desert Storm. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in center, Gen. Colin Powell on left. (Lietmotiv via Flickr)

The neocons championed NATO enlargement to Ukraine even before that became official US policy under George W. Bush, Jr. in 2008. They viewed Ukraine’s NATO membership as key to US regional and global dominance. Robert Kagan spelled out the neocon case for NATO enlargement in April 2006:

[T]he Russians and Chinese see nothing natural in [the “color revolutions” of the former Soviet Union], only Western-backed coups designed to advance Western influence in strategically vital parts of the world.  Are they so wrong? Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union—in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?

Kagan acknowledged the dire implication of NATO enlargement. He quotes one expert as saying, “the Kremlin is getting ready for the ‘battle for Ukraine’ in all seriousness.” The neocons sought this battle. After the fall of the Soviet Union, both the US and Russia should have sought a neutral Ukraine, as a prudent buffer and safety valve.  Instead, the neocons wanted US “hegemony” while the Russians took up the battle partly in defense and partly out of their own imperial pretentions as well.  Shades of the Crimean War (1853-6), when Britain and France sought to weaken Russia in the Black Sea following Russian pressures on the Ottoman empire. 

Kagan penned the article as a private citizen while his wife Victoria Nuland was the US Ambassador to NATO under George W. Bush, Jr.  Nuland has been the neocon operative par excellence.  In addition to serving as Bush’s Ambassador to NATO, Nuland was Barack Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs during 2013-17, where she participated in the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, and now serves as Biden’s Undersecretary of State guiding US policy vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine. 

In the “battle for Ukraine,” the neocons were ready to provoke a military confrontation with Russia by expanding NATO over Russia’s vehement objections because they fervently believe that Russia will be defeated by US financial sanctions and NATO weaponry. 

The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the US military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world.  It is a position of both remarkable hubris and remarkable disdain of evidence.

May 16, 2015: Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at the police patrol training site in Kiev, Ukraine. (U.S. Embassy Kyiv)

Since the 1950s, the US has been stymied or defeated in nearly every regional conflict in which it has participated. Yet in the “battle for Ukraine,” the neocons were ready to provoke a military confrontation with Russia by expanding NATO over Russia’s vehement objections because they fervently believe that Russia will be defeated by US financial sanctions and NATO weaponry. 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a neocon think-tank led by Kimberley Allen Kagan (and backed by a who’s who of defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Raytheon), continues to promise a Ukrainian victory.  Regarding Russia’s advances, the ISW offered a typical comment: “[R]egardless of which side holds the city [of Sievierodonetsk], the Russian offensive at the operational and strategic levels will probably have culminated, giving Ukraine the chance to restart its operational-level counteroffensives to push Russian forces back.” 

The facts on the ground, however, suggest otherwise. The West’s economic sanctions have had little adverse impact on Russia, while their “boomerang” effect on the rest of the world has been large.  Moreover, the US capacity to resupply Ukraine with ammunition and weaponry is seriously hamstrung by America’s limited production capacity and broken supply chains. Russia’s industrial capacity of course dwarfs that of Ukraine’s.  Russia’s GDP was roughly 10X that of Ukraine before war, and Ukraine has now lost much of its industrial capacity in the war. 

The most likely outcome of the current fighting is that Russia will conquer a large swath of Ukraine, perhaps leaving Ukraine landlocked or nearly so. Frustration will rise in Europe and the US with the military losses and the stagflationary consequences of war and sanctions. The knock-on effects could be devastating, if a right-wing demagogue in the US rises to power (or in the case of Trump, returns to power) promising to restore America’s faded military glory through dangerous escalation. 

Instead of risking this disaster, the real solution is to end the neocon fantasies of the past 30 years and for Ukraine and Russia to return to the negotiating table, with NATO committing to end its commitment to the eastward enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia in return for a viable peace that respects and protects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Jeffrey D. Sachs
Jeffrey D. Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed The Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Sachs is the author, most recently, of “A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism” (2020). Other books include: “Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable” (2017) and The Age of Sustainable Development,” (2015) with Ban Ki-moon.

32 comments

  1. The term “neocons” is a euphemism for what meets the psychiatric criteria that defines psychopaths, and as Noam Chomsky remarked, “Psychopaths rule the world.”

  2. Hmm, Ukraine should “return to the negotiating table”……with a gun to its head?

    Professor Sachs’ in a more more eloquent argument than most, is still a version of “NATO made me do it.” No NATO did not make Putin do it, Putin did it all by himself.

    Despite all the mistakes America has made since Korea and despite all the misguided thinking of the neocons (Chaney was the biggest of these) it was PUTIN’s naked aggression that conquered Crimea and he is attempting to do the same thing with all of Ukraine, breaking all national norms……and the logic or validity or rationale or explanation of this does not change regardless of what mistakes America made.

    By the way, when is the last time America added to its territories by force?

    Yes, Versailles may have led to Hitler but Versaille is not to blame for WW II, Hitler is. NATO or all the neocons in the world are not to blame for PUTIN’s aggression.

    I didn’t see that Professor Sachs mentioned the Budapest agreement of December 5, 1994 wherein Putin agreed to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. That seems a bit more binding than some comment by Jim Baker that we had no intention of moving NATO eastward.

    It seems to me that it’s more likely that Putin would had not have invaded Ukraine had it been a member of NATO. From that point of view, maybe it is NATO’s fault.

    1. I don’t know where you get your information, WDD but it includes a number of glaring facts. Mr. Putin is not fighting, the Russian army is. Please stop this nonsense that Mr. Putin is behind the invasion. The United States has been adding to his territory since the war of 1849 in which in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo half of Mexico was lost. The Hawaiian Islands was added through a coup by business interests and the Spanish American War gave the US interests in Cuba and the Philippines. To those in the know which apparently you are not, most of South and Central America has never attained the sovereignty of its people due to American meddling. Currently, several African countries are being “influenced” by American military presence. The agreement reached, though not deduced to writing, is nonetheless binding. Even if it had been, the U.S. would have found means to abrogate it as well. Consider the Iran agreement.

      1. Mr. Putin is not behind the invasion you claim. No answer for that one.

        On the second point, thank you for proving my point. You had to go back 170 years for the last time we added territory to the United States by military force.

        I suppose you could argue Hawaii.

    2. America did not make “mistakes” as you claim….Every one of its wars or proxy-wars was done purposefully to expand its empire.

    3. WDD, if you stop and think about it for a moment you would realize that most wars end at the negotiation table with one side with a gun to it’s head. It’s called losing the war. A responsible government surrenders when all hope of victory is lost, to save it’s people further needless suffering and death. Irresponsible, fanatical leaders, take their people down with them. Just because.

    4. Let’s not forget that after Ukraine elected a pro Russian president, the United States through the National Endowment for Democracy gave at least a billion dollars to his opposition. Let’s not forget when the neocon Victoria Nuland went to Ukraine to stand with the opposition passing out cookies to them and telling the US ambassador to Ukraine who she wanted to be president . Imagine the reaction if the Russians had poured in a billion dollars to Trump’s opposition in the United States and sent their envoy to stand with the mob on January 6 passing out cookies to them.
      Let’s not forget that in 2014 the Ukraine military went into the Donbas where they ended up killing some 14,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians. Let’s not forget that NATO at the urging of the United States surrounded much of Russia with NATO bases. There is no doubt what they Americans would do if Russia or China was able to put their military bases in Canada and Mexico.
      I don’t like what Putin has done but there should be no doubt that the U.S. goaded him into the invasion.
      The only people benefiting from what is happening in Ukraine are the weapons suppliers who are making out like bandits.

      1. JMB,

        Well said, but, according to Chris Hedges, the other people “making out like bandits” are the oligarchs, Russian AND Ukrainian!

    5. wdd —nazi narrative tiresome…budapest nullified when ukies formally asserted they will station US nukes on their territory….wrong again nazi: versatile created the conditions that required Gernay to reassert sovereignty…USA has never respected territorial integrity of any nation unless they have nukes…you have no self respect—are you paid by CIA?

    6. WDD:

      Quote.
      “ PUTIN’s naked aggression that conquered Crimea and he is attempting to do the same thing with all of Ukraine, breaking all national norms……”

      Get your facts straight. What naked aggression on Crimea and what national or international norms you are talking about?

      Russia did not conquered Crimea from Ukraine. Crimea was conquered by Russia from Ottoman empire in 1754.

      In 1954 Crimea was arbitrarily administratively assigned to Ukrainian Socialist Republic of Soviets (with no referendum) as autonomous republic, the same status Crimea had while in Russian Socialist Republic .

      Which means Crimea was self ruled, not under direct control of Kiev.

      Ukraine had only internationally recognized borders in the west which in fact were under direct control of Moscow not Kiev. One cannot thus talk about territorial integrity Ukraine in terms of a treaty as Kiev had no control over its borders Moscow had.

      The Budapest Memorandum a political agreement, not a internationally binding treaty, was about security guarantees for post Soviet Ukraine but only as long as Kiev, become neutral non aligned state like Finland dismantles (useless for them as they never had security codes), post Soviet nukes and rejects pursuing nuclear weapon development.

      Already in 2004 Ukraine invitation to NATO violated Budapest Memorandum. In 2014 former PM Julia Timoshenko openly called on west to give Ukraine nukes so they pulverize Moscow, later Kiev started pursuing military nuclear technology.

      In December 2021 Zelensky himself finally vowed to drop non proliferation treaty, Budapest Memorandum and pursue nuclear weapons on its own. That fact alone justified preemptive intervention to prevent Kiev from acquiring nukes permissible under UN charter.

      Ukrainian Socialist republic was not a creation of nation state but internal administrative creation of Soviet communist rule disregarding ethnicity as it was supposed to be one family of Soviet people not just Ukrainians living there.

      In fact in 1991 about 70% of population of Ukraine were ethnic majority of Russians and ethnic population of all other Soviet republics.

      Ethnic Ukrainians even today are themselves minority in Ukraine and only minority of them are anti Russian.

      Sympathizers of Nazi ideology of hate against ethnic Russians and any minorities in Ukraine including Poles, Hungarians, Romanians Jews, Gypsies, Turks and tatars, constitute just few percent of population but it is their fringe Nazi ideology and politics that controls national politics.

      Such reality was appalling to 95% of population of Ukraine including Crimea that is 95% ethnic Russian.

      That is why pro “Russian-ties” President Yanukovitch was elected.

      In fact Zelensky ran his entire electoral campaign on peace with Russia and settling Donbas and Crimea problem perhaps after receiving big reparations for which Russia agreed in 2020. He lied to win knowing that his puppet masters in DC won’t have it.

      During Soviet times military port of Sevastopol and all the military bases in Crimea were not controlled Kiev but by Moscow and had special Federal district status like US bases in Europe.

      There was no Russian aggression from March to May/June 2014 in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine.

      Amid US orchestrated illegal coup d’etat in Kiev Legal authorities of Crimean Autonomous republic refused to recognize Kiev regime of usurpers of power and declared independence from Ukraine as permitted by UN charter of self determination of nations.

      Upon that Crimean government as it was its prerogative asked Ukrainian military bases to vacate. Most of Ukrainian military moved out voluntarily, just few opposed for some time only to leave later. There was no bloodshed.

      Then Independent Crimea legally requested reunification with RF which request Putin, considering utmost strategic importance of Crimea for national security interests, gladly approved and signed Russian Duma law of Crimea ascension to RF.

      In the same time he rejected the same request from Donbas which declared its independence on May 11, 2014 not recognized by Kremlin until February 2022.

      No Russian troops moved into Crimea from Russian proper in 2014.

      Already present, upon agreement with Ukraine, Russian military contingent of 16000+ never moved out of barracks.

      In all the supposedly brutal Russian “aggression” only two people were killed several injured.

      First time in history of Crimea peoples spoke freely in free and fair referendum won by 92% as confirmed by international observers also from NATO countries.

      Crimea decided about their own destiny and they chose their Russian national ancestry.

      So WDD live with it. Stopping listening to western propaganda devoid of facts would definitely help.

      1. Much smoke here but no fire.

        Putin guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine, in writing, in the Budapest agreement in 1994.

        As you note, no international agreement is “binding” except that is by force because no country is subject to the jurisdiction of another. So it matters little whether it is called a treaty, understanding, accord, protocol or the like.

        Israel went to the bank for decades with something called a Declaration.

        Also, there is nothing in the Budapest Agreement about Ukraine joining NATO. Indeed, they have not joined NATO. Nor, counter to your claim, have they acquired nuclear weapons.

        The international norm that Putin has violated is a simple one. A nation may not acquire territory by force.

        The international boundaries of Ukraine have been recognized for decades and they include the Donbas and Crimea. What difference does it make to say, as you do, that no Russian forces invaded Crimea from “Russia proper.”

        Might the U.S. conquer Cuba from Guantanamo under your rationale?

        Under international law, the Crimea has no more right to secede from Ukraine than South Carolina had to secede from the U.S. in 1861.

        There may be grievances and counter grievances between Russia and Ukraine going back a thousand years but they are all make-weight.

        PUTIN’s invasion of Crimea now and in 2014 are acts of aggression and unjustifiable by any objective measure.

        Hitler had some justifications on his side but none to validate his invasion of Poland and the lowlands. The same holds for Putin

      2. @Kalen
        Ukraine has been admitted as an independent state to the United Nations in 1945 and is a founding member of the UN.
        So Stalin in 1945 believed that the Ukraine has a very good case for being considered an independent state (of course , internally controlled by the Party and the KGB )with its own borders.
        Most of the countries at the UN did not recognize the annexation of Crimea..
        The Budapest Memorandum validity was not predicated on Ukrainian neutrality or non adherence to NATO which was not mentioned at the time.
        Furthermore, the 1997 Russia NATO Founding Act specifically did not limit the right of any country to join NATO if it so wished.

      3. WDD There’s no international law that says that NC can’t secede from the U.S. The U.S. Constitution is the only document that says that, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but despite what most Americans think, the Constitution has no international standing. On the contrary, self-determination is actually a core concept. The U.S. has repeatedly supported that in places like Panama, South Sudan, Kosovo, etc. The Soviet Constitution, in fact, allowed the constituent republics to withdraw from the union in a pointed difference to the U.S. (the intention being, “look how much more freedom we have here than in America”, which was of course a joke but nevertheless). The Soviet Constitution established the secession process in a lot of detail. One such important detail that secession of Soviet Republics would trigger a process whereby the autonomous republics within those Soviet republics would be allowed a referendum to decide whether to stay in that republic, remain in the Union, or claim independence. That has bearing on, at a minimum, Crimea and Abkhazia. Look up the Crimean referendums during the ’90s that Ukraine actually ignored contrary to its obligations. And as stated earlier, Sevastopol was never a part of Crimea (administratively) to begin with, though that argument could go both ways (whether it was in direct republican or union control) depending on a number of conflicting legal arguments.

      4. Don’t really understand any of what you said but Ukraine was an independent nation and Crimea had no legal basis to secede.

        In any case they did not secede, Russia conquered them. (See overwhelming UN vote)

    7. Keep tellin’ yourself that. You’ve outed yourself as an indoctrinated puppet of the US’s cradle to grave immersion propaganda with your comments.

      1. Another poster who, like many on this site, can’t respond to facts or argument with other facts or other arguments but must resort to an ad hominem retort.

  3. BRILLIANT!! Many thanks to Professor Sachs from a Columbia U grad!

  4. This is more than a disaster.

    People still don’t connect the dots….dots that are right in front of their faces. This manufactured crisis is an existential threat for Russia and indirectly China. Their very existence as nation states is directly being challenged and they cannot, and I stress that…they cannot back down, no matter what.

    The US and it’s minion states in NATO have, with blundered themselves with absolute historical incompetence too deep into their own shitstorm to back down. Their simple minded machinations have blown up in their faces and the only thing they know how to do is escalate. They know if they back down now, all their credibility will be gone and they will be exposed before the entire world as the ugly corrupted emperor without clothes that they are. They are committed now, like it or not.

    Unstoppable force is going to meet immovable object, with nukes. It’s just a matter of time. I knew it in my gut the very moment I heard the news that Russia began it’s special operation in Ukraine. Because I understood why they did it.

    This is it my friends. This is the big one. It’s not if, it’s when.

    1. @JustAMaverick

      “Because I understood why they did it.”
      Can you please explain why they i.e. Putin did it ? And what really threatened the existence of Russia as a nation state?

  5. “The neocon outlook is based on an overriding false premise: that the US military, financial, technological, and economic superiority enables it to dictate terms in all regions of the world. ”

    Sachs has focused attention appropriately on the basic problem humanity has faced for its entire history, i.e. authority. Authority knows no limit, so its culmination this century into western civilization’s latest and most “western” monstrosity was perfectly predictable, as is where it’s headed – off the cliff.

    In the place of the great authoritarian catastrophe, doomed from the start, will arise anarchy, i.e. individual power and control for each/all to meet his needs with least work/cost/harm, to independently determine his destiny, to live at full potential in cooperate with all, and to harmonize with nature in participation with nature’s order-building process. Authority stops when the child develops beyond the need for parental guidance, age 4-6.

    1. you are devoid of understanding Marx, science moral philosophy and anarchist philosophers

  6. Sachs pushes many of the significant buttons. Russia has terminated amerikan imperialism in ukraine and Syria. today the angloshere and NATO colonies are pariah states isolated from the civilized world. Russia has achieved all objectives in ukieland—if USA does not soon surrender additional territory will be permanently liberated from the nazi regime in Kiev—hopefully all of ukraine will be divided among Russia, Hungary and Poland…the moron US sanctions vs Russia have produced economic crisis in USA, other nations—especially Europe Japan, S Korea…since sanctions the rouble at historic highs, Russia export revenue also historic highs…in each of the past 4 months Russia has increased national reserves by 13 billion euros…

  7. The problem with neocons and neoconism is that they are dogmatic fascist cult of political mythology and incessant classism, racism and ethnicism of lapsed leftists and progressives mixed with phobias that covers their American commercial culture exceptionalism, western capital expansion and myth of supremacy of American elites worldwide.

    Now self declared leftists and democratic socialists effectively voted for Ukraine membership in NATO the very militarist organization not long age wanted dismantled.

    In short seemingly sophisticated neocons want “their way or highway” as reality doesn’t matter to them and they won’t accept it ever unless they are trounced.

    Their badge is proud ignorance, warmongering and promotion of crimes against humanity they can get away with as unalienable right granted to them by US status of belligerent imperial dominium.

    Except for Ukrainian Nazi protégés neocons conned their paid Ukrainian puppets namely Zelensky himself who with his cabinet zoo of entertainers believed that NATO will come to the rescue in one possible way they could to change strategic position of Ukrainian Army namely by military putting boots on the ground, calling upon NATO Navy and declaring No Fly Zone over Ukraine.

    It takes a moron to believe such nonsense that NATO would provoke global nuclear war so Zelensky and his clown troupe keeps pretending that they rule anything else but a paid toilet in Russian gas station with nukes.

    Instead of real help that would make a strategic difference and inevitably trigger nuclear confrontation Zelensky saw western Navy fleeing Black Sea or staying quietly in Ports not to get hurt. He saw western troops already in Ukraine flee in panic like from Afghanistan just a year before.

    What they got was strategically useless mostly old dilapidated Soviet weapons and three or more decades old Soviet era western weapons just to help Ukrainian soldiers die slowly en mass taking few Russians and eastern Ukrainians with them to hell at the rate up to ten Ukrainian lives to one Russian life.

    Ukrainian 600,000+ strong army confronting mere 190,000 of Russian intervention force and poorly armed militia on orders from Pentagon shamefully surrendered in first week of the conflict and withdrew to cities under protection of human shields mostly made of ethnic Russian Ukrainian citizen and by that committing war crimes.

    And that ‘s what actually happened on frontlines in Ukraine turned a meat grinder of senseless death as strategic outcome is already predetermined as Pentagon reports pointed out in early March.

    For that horrible crime of clowning with human lives perhaps Zelensky and Nuland deserve something like fate of Mussolini and his mistress hanged head down from a lamppost in Milan by pissed off Italians.

    But this is a choice of angry, hurt Ukrainians mourning their dead lamenting their country destroyed for nothing at all. No country should interfered with it.

    Better yet US neocons should be rounded up and sent to countries they conspired to destroy and let them be judged by those they hurt as they embraced banality of US imperial evil.

  8. Mr, Sachs, correct As always. But it’s going to take a great effort to “throw out” the neocons, and their wealthy supporters. but if we don’t , we are in trouble!!!
    Al Wilson

  9. The author should have at least noted that Russia is doing the basically the same thing to Ukraine as it did to Georgia.

  10. WDD:

    Apparently you ignored most of my arguments and contradicted your own words.

    Just one example.

    Quote:

    “The international norm that Putin has violated is a simple one…A nation may not acquire territory by force. “

    Get your fact straight. Russia did not acquire Crimean territory by force.

    Crimea declared independence after democratic referendum and only after that they joined RF by vote. Crimea had a right to secede from Ukrainian state according to UN charter clause about self determination of nations. Crimea joined RF via democratic process not by force or invasion.

    Fact Check: Russia used no force and did not invade Crimea and Putin did not violate international norms vs Crimea in 2014. Period.

    In just next sentence you contradict your own previous sentence about “A nation may not acquire territory by force” statement.

    Quote: “What difference does it make to say, as you do, that no Russian forces invaded Crimea from “Russia proper.”

    It makes huge legal difference if territory is acquired by force or invasion or by democratic means.

    As a matter of fact there was no Russian military invasion of Crimea (not from military bases inside, not from outside of Crimea ) and no acquisition of Crimea by force and hence no violation of international norms or laws.

    So stop insinuating violation of norms where there were none.

    You are utterly wrong on most what you wrote in your comments here as you clearly follow US media shameless propaganda script full of lies.

    What was a clear violation of international norms was definitely US organized illegal coup in Kiev in 2014 and overthrow of elected President of Ukraine despite agreement with EU members on early elections to give people voice on a mater of future plans of EU membership.

    US, the criminal instigator of Ukrainian unrest 2014 wouldn’t have any of that democratic “crap” and wouldn’t let Ukrainian people to decide and instead proceeded to overthrow legitimate Ukrainian government. US illegal political intervention to overthrow legitimate government was the core reason for Donbas war and Crimean secession.

    Kiev regime in spring 2014 by the fact of being unelected and unconstitutional (unapproved by President) never had legal right of control over Ukrainian state and hence local elected authorities took matters in their own hands to protect population from SBU and Nazi terror however they could including declaring autonomy or independence as a result of popular referenda only to be attacked by Nazi gangs funded by Ukrainian oligarchs.

    1. Putin invaded Ukraine in February to acquire territory of another nation. A clear violation of international norms. Case closed.

      To say that the take over of Crimea was also done diplomatically and democratically is laughable in light of all those little green men taking over Crimean governmental institutions.

      Can you cite one international scholar of generally acclaimed repute who maintains that PUTIN’s invasion of Ukraine now or in 2014 is legally permissible under international law?

      Let me accept as a given, for the moment that the overthrow of Yanukovich in 2014 was illegal. How does that justify PUTIN’s invasion 8 years later?

  11. If Biden had simply urged Zelensky to sit down with Putin and work out a compromise short of war this whole fiasco could have been avoided. But the Neocons in the administration have always thought that proxy wars, sanctions and the other measures could bring regime change and the eventual collapse of their biggest rival. From day one they have been egging on Zelensky to take on the Russians. Their actions will only bring about a nuclear conflict, an Armaggedon that will wipe out most of the world. But insanity rules our late capitalist world. This is a lot worse than the final days of the Roman Empire.

    1. What is Zelenski’s explanation for not negotiating a settlement before shots were fired?

      Did Putin offer to negotiate?

  12. Nothing much will change… Except that everything will get worse for the bottom half and the rest of the world.
    Compared to the 1960s, our middle class Americans are fast disappearing and are now an endangered group.
    Our politicians can argue all they want but America is not as glorious as back then.
    American and western sanctions really, really hurts the bottom half ‘s economic and debts. The rich and powerful are able to afford the ridiculous high costs of oil, gas, food, and everything due to the noble, super hero efforts to intervene in the Ukraine family fight but the rest of us will not be able to afford it.
    Even the rich will be uncomfortable when our over worked and weak power grid is impacted by deadly heat again. The billions, and, billions wasted on wars could have been used to upgrade and replace our power lines that is decades over due for modernization.
    So, how about if American infrastructure is, considered as urgent strategic importance instead of hundreds of $90 million F35s, $14 billion warships to fence- in China, or billion$$ and tons of weapons to Ukraine which jack’s up oil prices to over $100.
    How can we fight a decent war if right at home, we can’t rely on our ancient power grid to run our economy or our gun violence is reducing our population. Maybe our numerous enemies are very happy with the Neocons.

  13. hey guys I’m generally an anti-war liberal who acknowledges so much of the stupidity and tragedy of US militarism going back many many years, BUT I wish you would stop using your hatred of US neocons and the military-industrial complex to downplay what Russia is doing in Ukraine. Let’s say I’m angry with my neighbors for whatever reason. It doesn’t entitle me to murder them and take their property. This is what Putin is doing in Ukraine. All you have to do is turn on any news channel to see innocent civilians being blasted to pieces, losing their families, and starving. It was not Victoria Nuland and Raytheon who did it. It was the gangster Putin and fearful followers. My wife is Ukrainian, like many, possibly most, from a family full of Russian bloodlines. There have always been political and historical arguments regarding Ukraine and Russian domination. But now, because of one man’s dictatorship and lack of humanity, thousands of innocents must die so this creep can have his fantasy of going in to the history books with Peter the Great. I think I’ll just save my criticism of the MIC and the neocons for later. At this time I am proud to say that my country is helping Ukrainians defend themselves.

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