No appeasement with Russia over invasion.

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, February 25th, 2022 - 266 comments
Categories: Diplomacy, International, Russia, Ukraine - Tags:

Russia has invaded a neighbouring state with no more justification than an vague appeals to the same arguments that underpinned obsolete 19th century gunboat diplomacy. They simply don’t like the economic and political decisions of the government of the invaded country, and want to have a regime change to get one that is more agreeable to themselves. On the way through, they will annex choice bits of land and set up puppet governments.

This should be no more acceptable for any nation than was the ‘coalition of the willing’ invasion of Iraq with its manufactured nominal and false cause about weapons of mass destruction intelligence.

Obviously New Zealand has little capability to provide assistance to the invaded Ukrainians. At a bare minimum we should..

  • We will pursue multilateral diplomatic measures in forums like the UN.
  • Deal with refugees from what will undoubtedly be a brutal war and probably even more brutal occupation.
  • Refuse to deal with any puppet government set up by the Russian federation in occupied

What we can do immediately is to expel the local diplomatic embassy and consular activities of the Russian Federation and its supporting allies like Belarus. It hardly seems worthwhile maintaining a diplomatic channel when it is clear that the Russian government has demonstrated that it simply isn’t listening.

Similarly, when the appropriate multi-lateral economic sanctions go into play – like dropping Russia and its allies from financial systems, then New Zealand should support those fully. Ideally with backing legislation.

As reluctant as I am to support Gerry Brownlee. For a change he may be correct with “National Party pushes for legislation to sanction Russia over Ukraine actions“. Moving forward with something to help impose sanctions that is imperfect now is preferable to waiting to refine later. It can always be revised.

I suspect that the response of Europe and NATO is going to be to beef up its military presence in the Baltic states and Poland. Plus start feeding defensive weapons to Ukraine, attack drones and anti-air, and anti-tank missiles sound like the best. Personally I’d think that if Ukraine asks for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, then this should be an option. The track record of the Russian Federation air force at atrocity targeting civilians in Syria is abysmal.

This has been a really stupid miscalculation on the Putin regime in Russia. It deserves a extremely strong response from all nations who aren’t interested in the fallacies of ‘great power’ stupidities and ‘spheres of influence’ that just amount to blatant economic colonialism.

After all this kind of fabricated takeover by a European power was exactly the same tactic used to justify the invasion of Austria in 1938, the partition of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and the invasion of Poland by Germany and Russia in 1939. It ultimately led to a devastating global war that killed and displacing people by the millions. It has no place in our current world. Better to deal with it now rather than suffer to consequences of appeasement later.

266 comments on “No appeasement with Russia over invasion. ”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    Your rationale for why Russia has attacked Ukraine provides no motivation for Russia other than that it is an expansionist state. Putin has always asked for some pretty simple things – namely that the Ukraine doesn't become part of NATO and that it stays non-aligned, acting as a buffer state, plus it respects the rights of the 25 million Ukraine citizens with dual Russian citizenship who currently have been told by the Ukraine government that speaking Russian is now illegal, and [deleted].

    [lprent: I have allowed one fact check through for you to verify with a credible link. The other was obvious bullshit. You may not comment on my post unless you verify. ]

    • lprent 1.1

      As I said – great power gunboat philosophy.

      Why should the citizens of Ukraine have their security, foreign and domestic policy set by Russia?

      That isn't an argument – that is a pretext for saying – "if you don't do what we want, we're going to send in the gunboats"

      Provide a credible link for the assertion the the Ukrainian government saying that citizens speaking Russian is illegal. Curiously I can't find anything on that outside of Russian propaganda. You may not comment on my post until you either justify it or apologise for lying.

      I’m uninterested in having this as a channel for stupid propaganda. Personal opinions and arguments are ok. Crap assertions of facts are not.

      • mikesh 1.1.1

        Why should the citizens of Ukraine have their security, foreign and domestic policy set by Russia?

        Of course. Naturally. It's preferable that their policies be set by the USA and GB.

        Actually, to save a lot of bloodshed, the Ukranians should surrender quickly, recognizing that Russia has strategic interests to protect, and that the West will probably not lift a finger to help the Ukraine. But the comedian running Ukraine at present probably won’t.

        • Andrew Miller

          Should the Baltic states also recognise Russia’s ‘strategic interests to protect’.

          Given we’re going down the route telling countries they should given up their rights to self determination or that if they think those may lie in the Western alliance they can’t really believe that and are actually just puppets of the US/UK because some useful idiots say so, why stop at Ukraine?
          I’m sure Putin would agree.

        • Kiwijoker

          Is it nice in the Embassy?

          • mikesh

            Is it nice in the Embassy?

            Which embassy would that be? I think the atmosphere in the US embassy might be a little frosty at present. Same goes for the British High Commission. But to paraphrase the song:

            It's springtime in Russia, and winter in Ukraine.

        • mikesh

          Should the Baltic states also recognise Russia’s ‘strategic interests to protect’.

          I really don't know. Do tell.

          • Andrew Miller

            No, but given you’re saying Ukraine should and that they should also surrender I presumed you had some concept of Putin’s actual agenda and a coherent argument.

            Apologies if I was mistaken.

            • mikesh

              It would better for Ukraine to surrender than to have their people mowed down by Russian forces. No argument is necessary. The proposition is self evident.

    • Andrew Miller 1.2

      When I read laughable apologia for imperialism like that, my first thought is what actually could Putin do that would stop these kind of useful idiots actually swallowing the “Yeah, but all he wants is….and if the hadn’t….”

      I guess it give me a tiny sense of what the likes of Orwell & Camus must have felt reading all the Soviet apologists in the 30’s & 40’s.

    • DukeEll 1.3

      so they can’t speak you’re language so you invade them?

      Causus Belli very strong

      • mikesh 1.3.1

        Causus Belli very strong

        Well, we know that Russia has weapons of mass destruction. Would that be a sufficient "causus belli" ?

  2. Ad 2

    It looks like Putin has made the calculus of economic sanctions and international vilification v invading, and equated that invading was worth it.

    We need to show we support the EU, because that's the alternative to military thinking. Acting and organising in common purpose under common rules.

    • pat 2.1

      Before we commit our unwavering support to the EU, it may help if they work out what their position is.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Wavering. That's the spirit.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Agreed. That is what I said in the post. It is what multilateral means in diplomatic terms. You'll also note that I inferred that I didn't like the jury-rigged 'coalition of the willing' as an example of how to do that.

        • pat

          I wonder how we (and the world) will react when China helps Russia sidestep its removal from 'swift'….will we sanction our largest trading partner?

          I suspect not.

          • lprent

            Why would we want to join a new and untried financial network? I don't know how much exporting and importing you have done. But dealing with strange financial networks is an exercise in losing money. Ask anyone who has to deal with India in trade.

            The problem is that China and Russia will have to build trust in their network over decades. The question China would have to ask is how much of their import and export system are they willing to lose to follow a political issue.

            Of course China is developing a financial network. But the stability of that network is going to depend a lot on how trustworthy it will be. But exporters and importers are very sensitive to that.

            To date China has shown no real adherence to pushing political goals over economic ones. You only really have to look at the trade patterns with aussie, neighbouring asian nations that are disputing the South China sea or even with their trade in Taiwan to see that.

            I don’t think that they will be willing to do much past words for Russia.

            • pat

              Disagree…the question isnt how much import/export China is willing to lose, the question is what goods are the west able to do without if they dont trade with China.

              China has become the worlds factory, and they along with Russia have sought and received commitments from various markets for support of an alternative trading mechanism.

              When push comes to shove will we stop trading with China if they ignore the US imposed sanctions?…and will others? And if we dont, how will the US react?

              This has been building since China and Russia sought to have a new trading regime that depowered the US dominance.

              • lprent

                When push comes to shove will we stop trading with China if they ignore the US imposed sanctions?…and will others?

                I think that you misunderstand the way that sanctions work. Enforcement is done at the company or organisational trading level by countries enforcing sanctions. So if a company breaks sanctions, it gets sanctioned in other markets that enforce sanctions.

                Hypothetically, if Fonterra decided to trade with Russia in violation of US or European or South Korean sanctions – then they run the risk of losing their markets in the US or Europe or South Korea. If a Chinese company broke sanctions, we could stop them trading here.

                So the question is not if China gets sanctioned – because they won't. They haven't done anything.

                It is if a Chinese corporation get access to our markets and and financial systems or those of the US or European.

                I'm sure that there will be other suppliers in both China and elsewhere willing to fill in the gap left by us sanctioning sanction busters. The same applies to our goods and services going out. If we can't supply with a sanction busting company, then we can find other customers.

                Sanctions are a choice for individual states, and when it comes to third parties, it is sanctioning organisations not tird party countries.

                • pat

                  Again i disagree.


                  Sanctions may well be the choice of individual states….with consequences.

                  • lprent

                    Perhaps you should read the article again. The key point was

                    The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from JCPOA in May 2018, when it reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil export sector. But other countries, including EU member states, have so far declined to follow suit. They claim that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, and the U.S.’s decision to reimpose sanctions was unjustified.

                    The US (or any other state) can take whatever actions they want. It does not mean that other states or even corporations need to comply. They can and will do work arounds.

                    That is why idiotic unilateral actions often aren’t that useful. Multilateral sanctions work a lot better.

                    The nett effect of the US action in this case without the support of other states was that Iran got hurt economically, but is now within mere months or weeks of being able to start creating nuclear weapons. For some reason Trumps dumbarse action has had exactly the opposite effect to what he intended.

    • alwyn 2.2

      Perhaps we could decide that Biden and his advisers were not the dorks that someone suggested on this blog a few days would turn out to be the case?

      "If Russia doesn't invade Ukraine this week Biden's advisors who had promised they would are going to look like dumb dorks.

      Biden claiming that he know Putin had "made up his mind to invade" will also look like a dumb dork."

      I wonder if this commenter is feeling a little embarrassed by what they said just a few days ago? 21 Feb at 8.51am to be precise.

      • Poission 2.2.1

        actually it was Putin who was embarressed,with a full on public dissing of the FSB head at the security council meeting.

        must have been a bit distressing for Putin when his full strategy and military plans are in the NY post and daily mail.

        Troublesome for a paranoid CaeTsar where he looks for his Brutus.

      • mikesh 2.2.2

        He's too busy trying to cancel the Munro doctrine, so that he can vilify Putin for creating one of his own.

  3. Blazer 3

    Here is an update on the situation…


    [lprent: No more videos that don’t have a clear written argument by you attached. I’m not interested in displaying whatever unviewable propaganda you want to push.

    I am interested in your considered opinion not that of some propaganda hack justifying an invasion. That means you have to argue a case in your own words.

    Astroturfing videos is not robust debate. You have now been warned. ]

    • Blazer 3.1

      That was an up to date reference of Russian military action by Al Jazeera.

      Very pertinent to the discussion,one would think.

      What are your acceptable sources for news of developments that people can comment on?

      How can people form an opinion if you decide it is based on your opinion of what does or does not constitute 'propaganda'.

      The fact that there are other links today that have not attracted your attention….is I guess not surprising.Hopeless!

      • lprent 3.1.1

        Possibly. However I have had problems watching it on two systems and was able to only watch it on by remoting into my home system. It was a straight news and added virtually nothing to the debate because who in the hell cares about war porn videos. They are too easy to slant and fake.

        Which is why video isn’t that useful as a medium without commentary on a debate site.

        Write your own commentary discussing your own reactions and points of relevant interest and put in video if and only if it enhances your opinions and debate.

        If you just want to post videos without your context then try Open Mike.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), the state of European armies means little can be done to confront Russian revanchism. When you have the commander of your army saying on social media “…The Bundeswehr, the army that I am privileged to lead, is more or less bare. The options that we can offer the politicians to support the alliance are extremely limited…” as Alfons Mais did yesterday, carrying on to say "“We all saw it coming and were not able to get through with our arguments, to draw the conclusions from the Crimean annexation and implement them. This does not feel good! I am pissed off!” (let’s just pause and imagine the furore such a statement from the NZ military head would cause… and you’ll realise how extraordinary a statement it is!) then it is pretty obvious that a big time re-armament is on the cards.

    The worry is this is a repeat of Czechoslovakia in 1938 – an aggressive, revanchist European power bullying militarily weak western democracies into granting it an easy victory then failing to take note of a change of mood & the fruits of a crash re-armament. European governments may stop desperately seeking to avoid another general war and decide it is time to prepare for the next one.

    Make no mistake – the Baltic states will be next, and possibly even Finland given the scale of the reactionary Tsarist revisionsim of Putin. Finland will of course be helped in it's defense by Sweden.

    Unless a general European war starts in the next decade (and that has to be an actual potential scenario now now) then this war has no direct impact on us in NZ. I doubt NZ could (or would want to) stay out of a general war that included countries like the UK and France with Russia, but that isn't what is going to happen here.

    But the worry is China taking all the wrong lessons and seeking a similar Blitzkrieg & fait accompli solution with Taiwan, because the United States DOES have a big military and it would not allow China to attack Taiwan without intervening. Why? because if it did the entire credibility of US security assurances in it's containment policy of China would collapse. And of course, it hardly bears saying any war over Taiwan between the USA and China would inevitably involve Australia and wider Asian powers like Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. And as we know now, our security is guaranteed by the isolation conferred by the Australian continent and the oceans and our security policy is written in Canberra as much as Wellington so where Australia goes, we go.

    • lprent 4.1

      Agreed with all of that. NATO can move its forces forward into member states like Poland, Lithuania, Estonia,

      I suspect that Finland and Sweden and some of the other European states outside of NATO will be looking towards now joining. Moldova might not reach the NATO requirements. But they will be looking at the support Russia has been providing in their break away region and looking to changing their constitution so they can join.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Everything now hinges on both Poland and France.

        Should sound familiar.

        • Blazer

          How does it hinge on those 2 countries Red?

        • lprent

          Yes. The centuries change but the same geopolitical imperatives have a habit of resurfacing.

          It wasn't a eventual good experience for France last time after their responses to Sudetenland and Poland. The debate in France will probably be somewhat affected by that.

          Poland of course had the dubious pleasure of being invaded by Russia as well as Germany in 1939. I have little doubt about their responses to either Russia or dithering by France.

          • RedLogix

            This morning Macron offered the Ukrainians any conventional weapons they wanted.

            The Polish know that if Ukraine falls that their own nation east of the Vistula will be next. And have been investing heavily in their own military these past few years. They have not been saying much, but will be preparing urgently.

            The Germans in the meantime are busy figuring out how they might turn back on the nuclear power plants they so stupidly turned off, and whether or not they can import LNG from the US fast enough to stave off power cuts.

            Keep in mind Putin has committed all of his useful conventional military to this invasion, and is now vulnerable everywhere else. There are not a lot of steps in this to escalate to calamity. Everyone is frightened of this, there will be a lot of wavering.

            • alwyn

              "The Germans in the meantime are busy figuring out how they might turn back on the nuclear power plants they so stupidly turned off,".

              Do you know this or is it just something you wish to happen?

              I would like this to be true but I haven't seen anything that suggests they will do so. Do you have a credible link to confirmation that they will do it? I would like to see it happen but I'm not that confident they will see sense.

              • Stuart Munro

                It's not an unreasonable proposition, especially since Nordstream is now on hold.

                • alwyn

                  It is a very reasonable proposition Stuart. The problem is that it requires a change of mind and, in effect, an admission of error. That is the one thing politicians hate to do, and will avoid doing no matter how sensible it might be.

                  I mean to say, look at our lot. Make a wild announcement that we will ban oil and gas exploration. Then we run low on power so we have to burn record quantities of coal. Did out Government admit that might not have been such a good idea. Of course they didn't.

                  That is why I was asking RedLogix whether they were really going to do it, as opposed to him thinking they ought to do it. Since he hasn't answer, and I can't find anything about Germany reversing their closedowns I fear that they are behaving like politicians rather than like rational human beings.

                  • KJT

                    The coal burning has absolutely nothing to do with the suspension of further licensing of oil and gas.

                    Existing licences and production hasn't stopped.

                    It was purely a commercial decision by power companies. Caused by Nationals privatisation model.

                    Which wouldn't have happened, if National had continued the development of more sustainable energy sources started by the Clark Government.

                    Constantly repeating bullshit doesn't make it true

                    • alwyn

                      "Constantly repeating bullshit doesn't make it true"

                      Most people would agree with that statement.

                      Why do you do it then?

                    • KJT

                      Countering obvious BS, like the repeated RW one about the coal imports, is likely wasting my time with you.

                      But, there are other readers.

                    • alwyn

                      " if National had continued the development of more sustainable energy sources started by the Clark Government"

                      That is the statement I would like to see you justify. For example.

                      1. What hydro electric projects were the Clark Government developing that National abandoned?

                      2. What Geothermal projects were the Clark Government developing that National abandoned?

                      3. What Wind Farms were the Clark Government developing that National abandoned?

                    • KJT

                      National removed all encouragement for sustainable energy except for the ETS, which was set at zero during most of their tenure.

                      I'll give you a heap of references to fill your boots if and when, I get back to my desktop.

                      Sustainable energy development during Nationals tenure, was entirely commercial decisions, as thermal plants reached the end of their lives, as are the coal imports.

                      Labour has now reinstated encouragement and support for more sustainable energy, but that cannot be put on stream immediately.

        • Sanctuary

          Actually the big player is Germany. They have by far the biggest economy in Europe and are both a western and central European power. There can be no entente cordial with Poland without the Germans.

          The Germans are pathologically afraid of re-armament against European peers. The shadow of the genocide of the Nazi era – and their bombed and devastated cities and 2.5 million dead on the Eastern front – still looms large and even thinking let alone saying out loud the idea of "Panzer Vor!" on the Russian steppes turns every German politician left of the AfD bowels to water.

          It is when the Germans decide it is time to rearm and confront Russia that will mark the real end of the post WW2 era in Europe.

          • RedLogix

            I agree the Germans constitute the bulk of EU capacity and influence, but for the moment they are somewhat snookered by energy concerns. Your last para is however perfectly correct in the longer term.

            But for the moment France is the nation with the room to move, to treat this as an opportunity, while Poland is the nation now confronted with Putin controlled Belarus and Ukraine on its immediate border – and with the very real prospect of Putin making good on his stated wish to reestablish the Soviet era Warsaw Pact map.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Putin actually said it a bit different .

              ' “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.”.

              No idea where you got the idea he wants to 're-establish Warsaw Pact'

              • alwyn

                Do you actually believe that he meant it when he talked about not wanting the Soviet Union back? He certainly appears to be behaving as if he wants to recreate it, doesn't he?

                • lprent

                  It actually feels more like the pre-revolution pre-WW1 hegemony in eastern Europe.

                  After all it was after that when states like Ukraine and Poland formed.

                  • Obtrectator

                    Truer to say that Poland re-emerged after over a century of obliteration and subjection by neighbouring empires, including the Russian.

                • Andrew Miller

                  There’s a difference between what he would actually believe and what he’d ever be prepared to admit publicly.

                  The whole line rests on taking Putin’s statements at face value and claiming everyone else should do the same. The moment you acknowledge the absurdity of that, the rest of it collapses like a house cards.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    Much like your claims . Your 'own research' is laughable and probably traced to various alt_right web sites

                    What have you found on this instigator of war on a grand scale?

                    • Andrew Miller

                      Being a Putin apologist is left wing?

                      Maybe someone should tell Trump and the crown at American Conservative.

            • francesca

              You mean revisiting the broken promises made to Gorbachev with the reunification of Germany?

              • Andrew Miller

                What exactly is your argument here, that Germans and any other people of Eastern Europe should have been actively prevented from choosing their own futures on the basis that their self determination ran foul of Russian fears?

                That these countries concerns about Russian influence should have been ignored and some kind of Russian ‘sphere of influence’ should have been accepted regardless of what they meant for millions of people in Eastern Europe?

                All this collapse at the feet of having either pretend these nations weren’t making their own choices to determine their own futures, or that they should have been prevented from doing so to appease Russia.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Ask Cuba and Venezuela about operating outside the neighbouring great power 'sphere of influence'

                  'The United States maintains a comprehensive economic embargo on the Republic of Cuba. In February 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba, in response to certain actions taken by the Cuban Government, and directed the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury to implement the embargo, which remains in place today.'

                  • Andrew Miller

                    Whataboutery isn’t an answer…

                    But nice try.

                  • lprent

                    You appear to be arguing my case.

                    So has the US invaded Cuba in the last 60 years? Nope. The last time they did that was somewhere around 1906 (from memory) fighting the Spanish. I suppose you could look at the Bay of Pigs. Hardly compares with invading with at least 100k troops in a second invasion of Ukraine in 7 years.

                    Have they maintained sanctions against Cuba. Yes. Thye appear to work from teh complaints that the Cubian s

                    When was the last time the the US invaded Venezuela? Unless you are thinking about the dipshit private Operation Gideon operation, I can’t recall when they ever did that.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      I said Sphere of Influence. And Yes the US did attack Cuba

                      The US embargo dates directly after the failed invasion which was much more extensive that your recollections

                      Wikipedia gives this as the invaders strength

                      • 1,500 ground forces[b]
                      • 16 B-26 bombers
                      • 8 C-46 transport planes.
                      • 6 C-54 transport planes.
                      • 5 M41 tanks, plus artillery, mortars, jeeps and trucks
                      • 5 supply ships


                      Thats almost ancient history as the US does maintain the Munroe Doctrine and the Central and South America is its Sphere of Influence

                      NZ knows all about being in US sphere of Influence and how little any deviation is allowed

                    • Andrew Miller []

                      So are great powers allowed a ‘sphere of influence’ and to crush the aspirations of those within it or not?

                      The problem with your whataboutery is it makes your argument even more confusing.

              • Stuart Munro

                Still recycling Putin's lie?

                Get it from the horse's mouth: Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says “No” (

                The collapse of the soviet union was unexpected on both sides, many steps that might have been taken were not thought of at the time.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Thats a falsehood like any history based on 'recollections'

                  Churchill was a master of that and indeed was proud that he would himself 'write the history'

                  • Stuart Munro

                    I think your, and Putin's revisionism needs to be put in context.

                    Gorbachev was able to make glasnost work, at least in Primorye, because he wasn't a xenophobe, nor did he need to cultivate the spectre of a threat "Nato expansion" to distract from the corruption of his aims. So it was perfectly natural for Gorbachev not to concern himself with "Nato expansionism". It was only subsequent to Yeltsin's coup, when the corrupt apparatchiks of the party regained control of government that your bugbear had any relevance.

                    Had Russia remained internationalist, Nato would not have been an issue, but you and Putin seem to be obsessed with your profoundly dubious claims and marginal jottings.

                    Perhaps you could spare us your baseless pretentions to scholarship and merely declare your undying love for the conqueror.

    • lprent 5.1

      I don't have a quibble about most of these being 'bad'. Except for Kosovo. I'm afraid that I really don't support genocide or ethnic cleansing by inaction.

      Edit: I’d point out that Cyprus resulted in sanctions and diplomatic restrictions against the Turkish Cyriot state that has lasted for many decades now. The same applies to Israel over Palestine. With Yemen, the situation is complex, but the Saudis have been getting sanctions – ask the Air NZ and their maintenance team..

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1

        I said occupation. The invasion was of course 20 years ago. Its a frozen conflict with Nato doing the occupation including mostly US troops

        Nato and EU being all about 'not altering borders' except when they want to . Kosovo is mostly albanian 'ethnicity' now and most likely want to merg or some association with Albania

        Bosnia is in some sort of forced marriage with Serb populated areas of that country as Europe doesnt want a majority Mulim country within Europe if the 2 self governing parts of Bosnia split

        • lprent

          The problem with frozen conflicts is just that. You break it off without diplomatic resolution and it just starts up again.

          Kosovo, in my understanding was majority Albanian and Muslim prior to the ethnic cleansing attempted by the Serbian militias and army and the 'occupation' prevented that.

          There hasn't been any indication over time that the Serbian state has any intention of not resuming their ethnic cleansing. The wishes of the nascent Kosovo state authorities to joining with Albania are also on hold until a diplomatic solution is found. Which kind of makes your points about it rather moot.

          The same pretty much applies to Bosnia. And Bosnia is more of a three way with Croatia as well rather than 2 way.

          I would have said that Albania is part of Europe, and it is Muslim?

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Serbia today has no comparison to the Milosevic days. 20 years makes a big difference

            Its aligning its institutions to move towards EU membership ( in typical EU bureaucratic way)


            Cyprus is also an EU member but when a Nato member invades 45 years later EU doesnt sanction Turkey or have a process for occupation to end.

            • lprent

              Sigh The EU didn't exist 45 years ago. It was formed in 1993.

              Its predecessor was the EEC which rather explicitly didn't have a diplomatic mission.

              Various European states had their own individual sanctions, many of which are still in place.

              With Serbia and Kosovo, the issue is really what the locals in Kosovo think. So far it seems like the Albanian ethnics and Muslims in the Kosovo population don’t trust the Serbian government to protect them.

              This may have a lot to do with the protection that often appears to surround some of the more brutal exponents of ethnic cleansing from Serbia in the 1990s.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                The locals in Kosovo have spoken.

                They have declared independence


                And the International Court has ruled its legal

                But of course Nato in occupation doesnt follow any of those things about 'free to choose form of government'

                One rule for me, another rule for thee

                • Andrew Miller

                  Where exactly are you going with this, that in the recent past the Ukrainian government committed genocide and then threatened another on ethnic Russians in East Ukraine?
                  Your attempts a moral equivalence seem somewhat fundamentally flawed.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    No invasion is justified.

                    The continued Nato occupation of Kosovo isnt justified either.

                    Putting words in my mouth so you can then attack me over them surely has a 'name'…Millerisms

                    • Andrew Miller

                      So just so we’re clear, you see both NATO’s actions Kosovo and Russia’s in Ukraine as ‘invasions’ and morally equivalent?

                      I’m not try to put words in your mouth just seeing if we can tease something coherent out of your anti Western ramblings, but because tbh once you remove the absurd moral equivalences and whataboutery there’s not much left.

                    • lprent []

                      … because tbh once you remove the absurd moral equivalences and whataboutery there’s not much left.


                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      So the INVASIONS/INTERVENTIONS true colours have been revealed.

                      Its fine when you stand on High Moral Ground .

                      A fallacy of course , but thanks for distilling it all


  5. denby 6

    Remember the Cuban missile crisis where Russian wanted to put missiles in Cuba? Did you think the USA were happy about that? What's the difference here. Nato and the US have been increasingly arming states and trying to constrain Russia for their own benefit,

    Ukraine was a buffer to that aggression and talks with Nato and the US obviously did not appease Russia [and the rest of the parroted propaganda is deleted]

    [lprent: You just argued based on gunboat diplomacy and great power rules. You neither justified it, nor argued a case for it.

    Banned from my post for astroturfing stupid propaganda.

    Incidently the Russians were responding to the placement of Juno and Jupiter missiles in Turkey. The result of the Cuba crisis was a joint the removal of missiles. Please learn some actual history. ]

  6. Tiger Mountain 7

    Since WWI in particular the international working class has often been pressured and persuaded to support “their” own imperialist power as favoured by the Govt. of the day.

    So in the early 20th century in newly colonised New Zealand that was Great Britain, and off to an imperialist war in Europe, with sod all to do with the new country, went thousands of young men, until enthusiasm waned after casualty reports finally appeared and conscription had to be implemented.

    NZ today is a member of Anglospheric 5 Eyes and the implication is that “we” faithfully support the US version of events on Russian activities. The PM issued a spring loaded statement on Ukraine that could have been delivered from the US Embassy and US toadies have popped up like mushrooms overnight.

    There are hundreds of years of history that lead to events in Ukraine like most other conflicts but you will not see our local media delve into that. The US using NATO as a proxy has put the squeeze on Russia and they are pushing back. It is also queasy indeed the UK being balls deep in the posturing about invaders after their activities in Northern Ireland for 100 years!

    The working class should not support any imperialist wars. Russia out and NATO back off! Spend the resources on something more useful.

  7. Andrew Miller 8

    I’m sure that all the apologists for Russian imperialism will be happy to note, they’re singing from a virtually an identical hymn sheet to ‘paleo conservatives’.

    • lprent 8.1

      Interesting article. You're right. It completely echoes the Russian apologist arguments for appeasement.

      My real issue with that particular viewpoint is that it completely ignores the right for states and populations to self-determination.

      Even the Minsk II agreements that they referred to had holes that you could drive a A380 through. The foremost being the lack of a clear way to have a free and fair election in the separatist occupied territory.

      After Russia's actions in pushing in 'volunteer' soldiers and weaponry into the area, supporting separatists in not allowing refugees back in charge of their own property, and then volunteering to run the elections. Well there wasn't exactly a trust in Ukraine that the elections would even be a fair as the average highly imperfect Russian one.

      After all a state that jails their opposition on trumped up charges and treats them with nerve gas hardly appears to be a trustworthy guardian for a election.

      • Andrew Miller 8.1.1

        “My real issue with that particular viewpoint is that it completely ignores the right for states and populations to self-determination.”


        It’s been interesting to me for some the level of alignment between the so ‘anti imperialist’ left and these strains on the right. Not just on Putin, but China, Afghanistan, almost all major foreign policy areas.
        One side pretends all bad things come from West and no one else presents a real threat to various peoples rights to self determination, the other pretty much openly admits it couldn’t careless about those rights. If a kind of America first requires sacrificing people to whatever tyrant may crush them, we should openly embrace it.
        They end up in the same place and often make almost identical arguments to get there.

        • Andrew Miller

          These kinds of views are deemed inconvenient so best pretend they don’t exist or should be overrided

        • lprent

          It’s been interesting to me for some the level of alignment between the so ‘anti imperialist’ left and these strains on the right.

          I'm an anti-ideologue. I like reading the lessons of history and applying them as things that you just shouldn't do. Stupid parrots who won't think for themselves just irritate me.

          Doesn't really matter what stance they're from. I’m interested in what actually works and I’m highly pragmatic about looking at actual instances rather than theory.

          BTW: That is why I tend to lean left here. National are bad for society, business and the economy over the long term because they are forever making short-term decisions for short-term profit and ignoring longer term costs. But I made that decision after looking at their absolutely consistent lousy track record of decades.

          • Andrew Miller

            But as Roy Hattersley said to a young Tony Blair after the later claimed he was only interested in ‘what works’, you have to decide what works means and work for whom?

            I get the desire to be non ideological, but ‘works’ requires assumptions about sovereignty, self determination, democracy vs autocracy, when you believe war to be justified etc etc.

            If ideology is a system of ideas and ideals, then we’re all ideological to some degree.
            I just find it amusing that people on very much the opposite extremes of the ideological spectrum end up taking an extremely similar view on global events.

            • lprent

              …requires assumptions about sovereignty, self determination, democracy vs autocracy, when you believe war to be justified etc etc.

              Sure, and I thought of all of those when I was an 18yo. I’d spent large mount of the previous 5 years reading about ideologies and history. Since I had older quite critical relatives who’d been or not been in several previous wars, I had a very clear idea of the issues.

              Volunteering for the army at the end of my year off between school and university and as soon as I could was a very conscious decision. Just as getting involved in politics was.

              In both cases it was something that I did despite my own personal inclinations (like going to university was as well), but because I felt that I needed to be able to understand able to deal with certain things. Those were ‘ideological’ decisions. They allowed me to form my own opinions about what was important or not.

              Being pragmatic and interested in what works is a wholly different phase. It is about figuring out how to implement what your choices to push forward are.It is at least as important and probably more so than ideology. All too often all ideology is constrained by implementation.

              Which incidentally come back to the fringes left and right you mention. They invariably get that way because they often lack a capability to implement, so prefer to concentrate where they don’t have to.

              Update: I should point out that I am now 62. It seems like a long time back to when I was still digging through the ideological mazes.

              • Andrew Miller

                I understand that, but it’s important to note that many of the people criticising you or essentially defending Putin aren’t doing so over any issue whether what you propose ‘works’ they have entirely different concepts of ideal ends, both over this and historic examples.
                They’ll have a conception of what they think the world order will be like and will view all this through that lens.

        • mikesh

          My real issue with that particular viewpoint is that it completely ignores the right for states and populations to self-determination.

          Does that include the right to become stooges of war mongering dorks like Biden and Johnson.

  8. adam 9

    I personally disagree with pretty much all you said lprent. If the world is going to have stability, talking is the only option. That means actually listening to angry people we don't like, and understanding why they are upset.

    Then there is the problem of all the far right militia in Ukraine who are now on twitter and other platforms jerking off about this conflict. Sorry not going to link to these scum. It gets worse, now facebook is supporting these neo-nazi scum.

    I've had messages from friends in Europe that far right groups are breaking up peace protest across Europe. Hopefully the media will follow that up.

    My final point is we have just had 4 years of Russia gate. The mad loony conspiracy theory that Hilary Clinton is a nice wonderful human being, and it was the Russians who stole the election from her. So four years of hard out and out russophobia, and on this site it became really loon fest at times.

    Ask yourself this, when up is down, and left is right how the hell can you know what truth is?

    Is violence and war wrong – in my book yes. This, we're better because whilst we may have pulled our dick and swang it around, we didn't unload first, is not good diplomacy. Time to climb down off the mountain of smug western self righteousness – we have Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and much South American blood on our hands.

    It's now a mad house, and because nukes are involved time to slow everything down, take a deep breath, start talking, listening and coming to real solutions – rather than the usual dick waving, which is the normal course of events.

    • Ovid 9.1

      Keep in mind that the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine are both Jewish before you fall for Russian propaganda that it’s some kind of Nazi regime.

      • adam 9.1.1

        Did not say that Ovid, I find it an odd thing for you to say. Unless your happy putting words in my mouth, so then you can discredit me. Is that the plan?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          The President and PM of Israel are jewish too. Doesnt mean it gives them a free pass on the Palestinians and the occupation and annexations.

          • Andrew Miller

            No it doesn’t, but it would make claims they’re essentially a bunch of neo Nazis somewhat lacking in credibility.

    • francesca 9.2

      Couldn't agree more Adam

      Reading the post and comments below I thought here we go, armchair war porn wankers ,fat old blowhards trying for one last circle jerk with their flagging penises.

      Sure, sure, more of the same will do the trick, more arms, more nato , more aggression , works every time

      As much as I hate what's happened, and think this will be the end of Putin, I despise this table thumping jingoism trying to pass itself off as rational strategy

      Those proposing more weaponry be sent to an already bulging Ukraine , and it's neo nazi militia, would be shitting their lycra if they saw the damage that's been inflicted on women and children in the Donbas.Amputees galore, deaths and permanent disabilities, mass disappearances in the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk controlled by the Ukrainian army.No one but Russia rose to defend those people, the "wrong" kind of innocent civilian apparently.The Odessa massacre unremarked, the anti Maidan protests of no consequence.

      • The Al1en 9.2.1

        old blowhards trying for one last circle jerk with their flagging penises

        Are flaps firmly nailed to the mast a thing?

      • lprent 9.2.2

        Those proposing more weaponry be sent to an already bulging Ukraine..

        Sigh. So much weaponry… Could you provide a a credible link? Otherwise take your stupid lying off my post.

        I suspect in the coming days that will prove to just be a simple lie. Certainly the Russians appear to have air superiority, which I would expect to have the first thing that the Ukrainians would have beefed up if they could.

        Basically you appear to be a completely a completely gullible consumer of propaganda.

        Apparently you seem to think that internal debate in a country is a justification of a unprovoked military invasion.

        • francesca

          Jesus, have you been under a rock for the last 7 years?


          [lprent: This is a link to a paywalled site and article. If you are going to put up a source please make sure that it is actually readable. Clearly you can’t have read this yourself. I suspect that this is a parrot link from a propaganda site.

          Also what I could read indicates that it about a shipment of arms sent on the eve of a invasion. Hardly seven years – ie since Russia invaded and annexed their last chunk of Ukraine.

          If you can’t be bothered to argue seriously without using junk links from propaganda then stay off this post. You appear to not understand the concept of robust debate. ]

          • francesca

            The UNITED STATES has provided over $2.5 billion in military aid since 2014


            • lprent

              Yes? Wasn’t there something that happened in 2014?

              Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation

              In February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. This event took place in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity and is part of the wider Russo-Ukrainian conflict.

              War in Donbas

              The war in the Donbas, or the Donbas War, is an armed conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine, part of the broader Russo-Ukrainian War. From the beginning of March 2014, in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the Euromaidan movement, protests by pro-Russian, anti-government separatist groups took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, collectively called the Donbas region. These demonstrations, which followed the February–March 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and which were part of a wider group of concurrent protests across southern and eastern Ukraine, escalated into an armed conflict between the separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR, respectively), and the Ukrainian government.[29]

              It goes on to point out the amount of support that the separatists got from Russia.

              You don’t think it reasonable that a nation who has been repeatably invaded by another nation because they changed their government should have weapons to defer future invasions.

              After all, they have now been invaded yet again by Russia.

              • mikesh

                Re: The "Annexation" of Crimea.

                Within the Soviet system Ukraine and Crimea were separate oblasts, though, since 1954, Crimea had been administered from Ukraine. In 1991, on the dissolution of the Soviet empire, Crimea, by plebiscite, overwhelmingly asserted its status as an autonomous entity separate from Ukraine, and made it clear that wished to remain a part of Russia. The Ukraine egregiously quashed this initiative, and Russia, weakened by economic collapse, was unable to do anything about it. Hence I think the "annexation" of Crimea by Ukraine in the early nineties should probably have been considered illegal.

                In 2014 Crimea once again voted overwhelmingly by plebiscite to remain a part of Russia. this time Russia was able to accept. It has been claimed that Russia invaded Crimea surreptitiously to enable the the plebiscite and this may be correct. However that should not be deemed to invalidate the result. Also, it would seem unlikely that the result was rigged since it agreed with the 1991 effort, and reflected various subsequent protests by the Crimeans.

                Info on this matter is available on wikipedia.

                • lprent

                  Problem was that Russia had seized Crimea by force in 2014, didn't allow credible observers of the referendum (not a plebiscite) in, and was widely believed to have manipulated the result in several way.

                  Incidently, the link is

                  I assume that people who don't leave links are probably lying.


                  It wasn't a referendum to join Russia, it was a referendum to rejoin the USSR as a separate autonomous SSR.

                  There would be legal questions under both USSR and Ukrainian law (the latter was legal structure at the time) about the ability of a region of a SSR to make unilateral decisions to secede to be a SSR.

                  The local parliament in Crimea at the time joined it to the Ukraine.

                  So in effect your argument boils down to that the USSR or the Russian SSR didn't have enough force to invade and annex.

                  It isn't a legal issue because Crimea didn't have a legal ability to do become a SSR, nor a separate state without getting overall permission to do so from Ukraine.

                  ie – I am pretty sure that you are just lying again

                  • mikesh

                    The local parliament in Crimea at the time joined it to the Ukraine.

                    When the Ukranians quashed the "autonomous state" set up after the 1991 referendum I would assume that they would have installed a puppet government of their own, so I do not think much weight should be attached to their "joining Crimea to the Ukraine". As to Russia taking over Crimea by force, they probably had to do that in order that a referendum could be conducted in the first place.

                    I am inclined to think that the result of the 2014 referendum was kosher since it agreed with the 1991 referendum, and I'm pretty sure I read at the time that what the outcome indicated was something that the Crimeans had pushed for many times between the two referenda.

                    By the way, I'm not infallible and while I may be mistaken on odd points here and there, I do not lie, and your assertion that I did is simply arrogant. In particular your use of the word "again", implying that I have done so in the past is unwarranted.

                    • lprent

                      Two paragraphs of hypothetical chains of events that never happened simply aren't that convincing as an argument. Generally I prefer to look at what actually happened and what the legal state at the time actually was.

                      Hypotheticals are something that works on playing games. But in the real world the bodies don't die rise again to try a different scenario, nor does infrastructure repair itself, and traumas keep rising all through the remainder of peoples lives.

                      My understanding was that Crimea had the pre-USSR disassociation parliament in place that rejected the referendum result.

                      Russia, as far as I am aware, never even tried to get a referendum taken in Crimea before invading.

                      I get very suspicious of election results that almost matches teh number taken slightly more than 20 years earlier. Especially when the body it favours has in military control, has control of the count, doesn't allow independent observers, didn't allow campaigning against the biased questions, and has a huge financial interest (the Black Sea port) in the outcome.

                      In my opinion, the balance of probabilities that the Russia federation simply made up the numbers because they were a close match to the previous referendum. It gave them cover amongst simple minded credulous fools who could keep parroting the mantra that it was so similar. It didn't convince virtually anyone else, which accounts for the lack of recognition of the result amongst states.

                      …simply arrogant…

                      Sure. That is me in a nutshell in the terms of reference you seem to want to use. However it is something that you'll have to get used to.

                      For you, arrogant seems to mean that I don't just accept (or make) simple assertions without linked material to background material or an actual argument. I like tearing peoples ideas apart to see if there is anything useful in what they say.

                      With assertions of fact are there for me to dissect what people write, look at sources and see where their interpretation of facts appears to be unwarranted. And I take pleasure in tearing at peoples egos for making it so easy to argue against and discredit their conclusions.

                      In my view, this tends to promote a better level of discussion with fewer dumbarse myths. If you don't want me to do that, then either back up your argument with links to your base material, or argue it as being your opinion or your understanding.

                      Then you'll get argument rather than a teardown. You'll still have to argue your case but it gets less brutal than having someone tear the foundation of your thesis apart.

                      But please don't try asserting facts unless you're bloody sure that you have solid grounds and clear sources for believing it to be true.

                      In particular your use of the word "again"…

                      Just means that you haven't looked far enough yet.

                      You have to remember that I often answer comments from the Replies tab on the right. That has the most recent reply first. However it is a random access system. I could answer in almost any order.

                      If you look at my replies to you from yesterday, you'll find several places where your assertions of fact appeared to be completely incorrect based on the source I dug out or that you referred to.

                      Personally I'm always predisposed to assume that anyone not leaving links to support their assertions of fact on a site like this is trying to lie by omission.

                      When I find clear contradictions between and assertion and a source, I just state that it is a lie – because in my opinion it probably is.

                      If you don't like that – well I really don't care much beyond explaining where you have your basic problem.

          • francesca

            Id get that hyperactive trigger finger looked at .Thank god you’ll never be near a nuke button
            Nice work with deleting the second link showing the billions worth of arms sent from the US alone since 2014

            [lprent: Clearly you didn’t read the notice that says your comment was going into moderation after you pressed “Submit Comment”. This is something that we do to people who appear to be causing off-topic problems on one of our posts.

            Enough. You’re not contributing to debate. You’re just indulging in bullshit. Now this half-cocked response because you don’t bother looking at what is in front of your eyes (in more ways than one).

            I don’t have time to hand-hold your behaviour.
            Banned for 2 weeks.

            You can take this up when we start dealing with the refugee problem. ]

    • lprent 9.3

      That means actually listening to angry people we don't like, and understanding why they are upset.

      Sure. Like the Russians have been listening to the Ukrainians who were displaced by a faction in the disputed border provinces by Russian 'volunteers' on leave from the Russian army?

      I've had messages from friends in Europe that far right groups are breaking up peace protest across Europe.

      I don't have much time for the far right. However I'm pretty sure that the police in those countries will be doing what they need to to prevent that happening. Just like the breaking up of peace protests in Russia?

      It's now a mad house, and because nukes are involved time to slow everything down, take a deep breath, start talking, listening and coming to real solutions – rather than the usual dick waving, which is the normal course of events.

      Sure – after the Russian forces pull back to their own borders and those of their non-invaded allies. You really have to ask yourself who has been doing the dick waving.

      Then Ukraine can start cleaning up the damage and pushing for reparations for an unprovoked invasion.

      • adam 9.3.1

        You really have to ask yourself who has been doing the dick waving

        I have been asking that question for years, and all side are hell bent on flopping it out.

        Ever since NATO started expanded, the Russians have been uncomfortable dicks about it. You can't keep poking a bear with a stick and when it explodes at you, respond by cutting off it's food until it lets you poke it with the stick again. This kind of thinking is just more of the same imperialist bullshit you accuse Russia of (correctly). But, it's still the actions of a bully imperialist, one who just happens to be our ally.

        Thuggery takes many forms, the Russians are just stupid enough to be more open about it. Your a student of history, this is just an extension of the Great Game, misadventure after misadventure. This time nukes are on the table, and imperial brinkmanship has dire consequences. No matter how nicely you try to make the west sound, our leaders are still surrounded by jingoistic dogs. Hell bent on expanding this war.

      • Adrian Thornton 9.3.2

        "I don't have much time for the far right"…and exactly how much time have you got for them?

        • lprent

          About as much time as I have for the far left. Not that much.

          I listen, see if anything makes any sense in terms of building outcomes that actually change society for the better. Shred the appalling understanding of history, dumb-arse myths, bullshit, and outright lies. Mostly what I do is look at extremes to see what fails. The extremes are really good at making that happen.
          Just occasionally there is a flash of something interesting or something that I haven't run across already.

          I find the far right spends all of its time primarily stuffed up their own collective arses in fantasy land. This includes the Act style economics as well as the ethnic and uberman nutbars. They all seem to have some weird concept like it only individuals 'great men' affect things with their subservient minions. This is when all evidence indicates that concept as a strategy died in the 19th century (and was pretty weak then). Curiously enough this even works sometimes for a while. Look at Trump or Putin for current examples of the arse-licking minions with their great leader.

          I don't think much of the far left's ability to figure out how to actually build anything that might work – they appear to A) see the problem, Z) see the solution already working and are hurt when no-one else does as well. Usually have absolutely no interest in the how to get through intermediate 24 steps and the several decades of actual work to achieve it. Or how to cooperate with others to get those intermediate steps in place.

          Pretty much everything that actually works is collaborative between people who choose to work together. As far as I can see the far anything spend most of their time either sticking their knives into the opponents or each other. They squabble, schism, and fracture. They certainly don't naturally cooperate.

          I simply don't see that the extremes have much to offer apart from highlighting social and economic issues. They're both too far from what people will accept unless the society itself is disintegrating.

          I find disintegrating societies isn't something that I can support. If you look through anthropology and history you find disintegration of society is always the start of the extinction of a culture. Too much gets lost and reversing a trend towards cultural extinction is really hard. Better to do things incrementally getting enough acceptance to push forward further.

          The reality is that I'm centre-left primarily because I find National MPs and party as being short-term fools many of whom seldom think past 'is it good for me and my kind'. Half of what they imagine as being history are simply myths and bullshit and they cling to a short-term realities and myths like it has long-term certainty.

          I'm pretty 'green' in the way that I think because I was trained in earth sciences and the history of species including ours within it. Nothing like looking at geological timescales for realising exactly how damn small and fragile Earth really is, and how little change is required to cause mass extinctions.

          So I mostly support Labour because they provide opportunities to release talents at all levels and their broad church is a squabbling but viable cooperation. They are usually not too stupid in the goals that they strive for. It means that they can get into a position to start implementing the process towards goals

          I often support Greens because they push some of the goals that Labour doesn't and should do. I don't have much time for far greens apart from liking the products of their imaginations.

          But you know this already. Just read my comments and posts here for the last nearly 14 years. When I have time to comment, I spend most of it basically being sarcastic about impracticable goals or mythical stupidities – usually with links. Occasionally I point towards goals and steps towards those goals that I think may work. I don't expect people to think I'm correct in my ideas, I'd like them to find out where they fail – preferably before someone actually tries them out.

          But this is seldom as interesting as just writing code. Which is where I spend a lot of my time.

  9. Stephen D 10

    Gwynne Dyer is always worth a read.

    His book, Climate Wars, was an interesting read too.

    • lprent 10.1

      He roughly mirrors what I think as well.

      The refugee crisis and depopulation of Ukraine will be intense.

      The militarisation and forward deployment to the NATO borders is going to a ongoing issue of tension. No neighbour of Russia will feel secure after this.

      The Russian monetary reserves are going to need to be attacked by widespread and comprehensive sanctions to ensure that this kind of military adventurism is not rewarded.

      I suspect that having to station occupation forces in the Ukraine is going to cause Russia security and stability issues elsewhere.

      • pat 10.1.1

        Dont forget that roughly one quarter (correction) of the population identify as Russian….quite some labour pool to draw on for security forces.

        • lprent

          And minorities suppressing majorities and collaborating with occupiers has such a great track record of making everything friendly and peaceful?


          • pat

            That may be so, but has never stopped it happening before

            • lprent

              If you look back over centuries, it simply doesn't work. It usually means a high level of future intolerance and continued abrasion, and troops tied down for very long periods of occupation duty. Plus the formation of an unruly and unproductive underclass.

              And that is the good outcome.

              The bad outcomes involve periodic genocide and ethnic cleansing.

          • mikesh

            The Russians never recognized the legality of the fascist coup that ousted the democratically elected Yanonukovic and set up its own unelected government. And they were probably right. It is understandable that the ethnically Russian Ukranians in the East, where Yanukovic had strong support, would not submit to such a government.

            Although many Ukranians don't realize it, they would be better off as a Russian satellite than as a European one. Yanukovic was ousted essentially because he chose to accept a Russian offer of assistance in preference to to an offer from the EU. But the former was far superior monetarily than the latter, and came with no strings attached. The EU's miserly offer came with a demand that it break off trade with Russia, the Ukraine's main trading partner.

            • lprent

              Not exactly an accurate representation of the history.

              For a starter, it doesn't matter what and (probably corrupt) dipshit thinks in a representative democracy. They have to carry the rest of the population and parliamentary representatives with them.

              Clearly he did not (my bold).


              On 21 February, an agreement between president Yanukovych and the leaders of the parliamentary opposition was signed that called for early elections and the formation of an interim unity government. The following day, Yanukovych fled from the capital ahead of an impeachment vote.

              The vote took place on 22 February 2014, 328 of 447 members of the Ukrainian parliament (MPs)—or about 73% of the MPs—voted to "remove Viktor Yanukovych from the post of president of Ukraine" on the grounds that he was unable to fulfill his duties[190][18] and to hold early presidential elections on 25 May.[18][191][19][20][21] The vote came an hour after Yanukovych said in a televised address that he would not resign.

              I haven't bothered to look up the constitution of Ukraine at the time (I understand that they were 10 votes off), however that does not look like he had much support.

              Although the legislative removal by an impeachment procedure would have lacked the number of votes required by Ukraine's constitution,[193] the resolution did not follow the impeachment procedure but instead established that Yanukovych "withdrew from his duties in an unconstitutional manner" and cited "circumstances of extreme urgency",[191][194] a situation for which there was no stipulation in the then-current Ukrainian constitution.[196]

              Not to mention that blatant personal corruption that examination of his personal expenses showed, and the highly unlawful hit lists of opponents that were discovered after he fled.

              Although many Ukranians don't realize it, they would be better off as a Russian satellite than as a European one. Yanukovic was ousted essentially because he chose to accept a Russian offer of assistance in preference to to an offer from the EU.

              But it simply wouldn't have been his choice to make unilaterally decisions about loans or alliances. He was usurping the role of the Prime Minster who has to carry a support in parliament.

              The EU's miserly offer came with a demand that it break off trade with Russia, the Ukraine's main trading partner.

              That I am pretty sure is an outright lie. It would be a first in any agreement that EU has made that I know of. They would certainly have required any preferential trade relationship that Russia had (extorted ?) from their puppet was removed. But they don’t stop 3rd party trade relationships, they are just limited in just how unbalanced they are.

              Which incidentally is why the UK entry into the EEC was so good for NZ. We were getting screwed in trade terms – something that was obvious then and verified by trade stats in retrospect.

              It is also doesn't exactly square with the fact that China was the largest trading partner with Ukraine prior to Russia invading. Last I heard that agreement got signed, and China is not in the EU.

              Face it, Yanonukovic looks to me like another creep wannabe dictator who was trying to run a state as his personal fiefdom, who violated most parts of the constitution that related to his behaviour, and was a most likely corrupt puppet propped up by the Russians.

      • Stephen D 10.1.2

        Putin will think hard about taking on the Baltic states. NATO and all that.

        OTOH will he take the gamble of them being paper tigers?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          I know , lets call it 'the domino theory' of creeping invasion

          Worked exactly like that in SE Asia didnt it

    • G 10.2

      I would take issue with Gwynne Dyer's tenth bullet point

      10. Will Donald Trump win the 2024 US election? Maybe not. His fanboy adulation of Putin goes down well with the hardcore MAGA crowd, who admire the Russian dictator more than they do Joe Biden, but praising Putin’s “smart move” in invading Ukraine will not play well with most Americans if their country is caught up in a confrontation with Russia. [Gwynne Dyer]

      Most Americans would not think Putiin's invading Ukraine is a smart move. I would agree with that.

      But remember that a lot of Trump's appeal was him being the anti-war candidate.

      Trump painted the Democrats as the forever war party.

      Liberals may believe that Trump is a 'Sick man that hates Democracy' (and they are right he is), But millions of Americans don't think that. And millions more are sick of America's foreign wars of intervention.

      “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine—of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force. We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy, I know him very well. Very, very well.”

      [Transcript of Donald Trump's comments, Monday 22 Feb. 2022 on conservative C&B Radio].


      Vanity Fair

  10. Gypsy 11

    I'm going on out a limb here, but this Op piece is one of the best I've read on this. Geez we live in a wild world at the moment.

  11. Sanctuary 12

    I thought the NATO expansion east was wrong headed, but equally it is now also clear the only thing standing between the Baltic states and subjugation by Putin is NATO. Perhaps the Balts and the Poles know a bit more about the Russians than we ever will.

    Anyway, whatever you think of NATO/Western policy over the last thirty years nothing excuses an unprovoked invasion using massive violence of another country.

    • Andrew Miller 12.1

      Given it’s patently obvious why those states wanted to join NATO, it’s a bit rich for some to then turn around and blame that for the reasons their fears proved prophetic.

      My view is it’s only ‘wrong headed’ if you think that dictators should be appeased for reasons of ‘balance’. I get there’s those of a ‘Realist’ school who think that’s exactly what we should be doing

      Should the counter factual have occurred then either we avoided all this as Putin is a man of his word, or he’d have grabbed the opportunity to ensure a fair chunk of Eastern Europe were client states under his thumb.
      I genuinely don’t see where the evidence comes from for the first scenario.

      • mikesh 12.1.1

        I think it was short sighted foreign policy for those states to join NATO. Twere better they had cultivated a careful neutrality.

        • Stuart Munro

          Place the blame anywhere but where it belongs, why don't you.

          The West believed it had put an end to cold war totalitarianism when the iron curtain fell. They wanted it to be true so much they ignored the mounting evidence that Putin had resumed the cold war as soon as he gained power. Now, confronted with thar undeniable truth they are scrambling to get their armies and alliances back into functional shape.

          Putin, like all cold war antagonists, and Hitler and Stalin before him, is given to Jesuitry. It does not worry him even slightly to lie to the faces of states that communicate with him. Attempts to appease him are futile – as futile as Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. That would have worked with a rational, less obdurate enemy, but not with Adolf, and not with Vlad.

          Twere better they had cultivated a careful neutrality.

          A neutrality Putin would never respect. Twere better to sanction, defy and denounce the crook at every opportunity.

          • mikesh

            The West believed it had put an end to cold war totalitarianism when the iron curtain fell.

            The USA was quite capable of tolerating totalitarianism when it suited them. However they needed an "enemy" to justify their military spending. Hence their vilification of Russia.

            A neutrality Putin would never respect.

            You know that, do you. I would not be so certain of that if I were you.

      • mikesh 12.1.2

        Given it’s patently obvious why those states wanted to join NATO, it’s a bit rich for some to then turn around and blame that for the reasons their fears proved prophetic.

        Given a century of propaganda which has painted Russia a some sort of bogeyman, the reasons for those fears are pretty obvious.

    • Macro 12.2

      I've been enjoying your reflections on the unfolding events Sanc. Very much in agreement.

      I've come across this analysis from Robert Reich whom I find to be very much on the button on a range of things. He raises the idea that the grumble by Putin wrt Ukraine not joining NATO is more of a front. He observes that Poland and Hungary are both members of Nato but the fact that they do not pose the perceived threat to his world view is because they are

      governed in ways that resemble Russia more than western democracies. Putin’s real fear is liberal democracy, which poses a direct threat to authoritarian “strongmen” like him (just as it did to Donald Trump). Putin wants to keep liberal democracy far away from Russia.

      Putin’s means of keeping western liberal democracy at bay isn’t just to invade Ukraine, of course. It’s also to stoke division inside the west by fueling racist nationalism in western Europe and the United States. In this, Trump and Trumpism continue to be Putin’s most important ally.

      • Andrew Miller 12.2.1


        If Russia was a democracy with a free press, respected human rights and the rule of law, didn’t murder and jail dissidents, kill journalists etc etc, does anyone seriously think we’d be hearing anything about NATO being a ‘threat’?

        • Stuart Munro


          And part of the reason Gorbachev did not recall anything significant about Nato promises not to move eastward, is that Gorbachev was not a xenophobe himself, nor was he a kleptocrat depending on focusing blame for his misrule upon external enemies.

          Gorbachev was not threatened by Nato, since he desired friendly relations with the West and indeed the international community in general. It was this openness that had enabled him to make such a success of his governorship of Primorye.

        • mikesh


  12. Sanctuary 13


    Woman: Who are you?
    Soldier: We have exercises here – please go this way
    Woman: What kind of exercises? Are you Russian?
    Soldier: Yes
    Woman: What the fuck are you doing here?
    Soldier: Right now, our discussion will lead to nothing.
    Woman: You are occupants! You're Fascists! What the fuck are you doing on our land with all these guns? Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you are lying down (dead) here.
    Soldier: Right now, our discussion will lead to nothing. Let's not escalate this situation, please.
    Woman: What situation? Guys guys. Put the sunflower seeds in your pockets, please. You will lie down here with the seeds. You came to my land. Do you understand? You are occupiers. You are enemies.
    Soldier: Yes
    Woman: And from this moment you are cursed. I'm telling you.
    Soldier: Now listen to me –
    Woman: I've heard you.
    Soldier: Let's not escalate this situation, please go this way.
    Woman: How can it be further escalated? You fucking came here uninvited. Pieces of shit.

    Three things.

    I will never be as brave as this Babushka.

    The Russian soldier knows their invasion is unprovoked. His morale is brittle.

    Russian soldiers are far more civilised than the Israeli Defense Force, who would have shot the old lady 30m away and had a party to celebrate the accuracy of the shot.

    PS Anyone know why the tweet didn’t embed?

    • joe90 13.1

      Propaganda or not but no wonder they're feeling a little brittle if they thought they were going home.

      A whole reconnaissance platoon of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade surrendered near Chernihiv.

      A reconnaissance platoon of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Federation surrendered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It happened in the vicinities of Chernihiv, northern Ukraine. Valeriy Zaluzhny, the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces posted that on Facebook.

      "Having faced the total resistance of Ukrainian defenders, Russian occupants surrender. An entire recon platoon of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade gave in near Chernihiv", reads the message.


      Chief Petty Officer of the platoon claimed that the military drills took place in Yelnya; however, they only were informed about the attack on Ukraine yesterday, when they thought they were going home.

      "No one thought so. We were not going on war, we gathered information", he said.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1

        Too silly for words from keyboard warriors

        Isnt there rules here about posting great slabs of misinformation from bulldust websites with no context.

        • lprent

          It does sound like propaganda. In fact Joe90 said that in his first line.

          However literally anything could happen in what is meant to be a surprise attack. Thye are often designed to be a surprise to the soldiers taking part.

          Hell – it happens during simple exercises. In fact it is often part of the exercise plan to keep soldiers in the dark.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            I think your own military background would raise flags at army units having Chief Petty Officers.

  13. Stephen D 14

    Robert Reich’s take.

    What is Putin really after? Not just keeping Ukraine out of Nato, because Nato itself isn’t Putin’s biggest worry. After all, Hungary and Poland are Nato members but are governed in ways that resemble Russia more than western democracies. Putin’s real fear is liberal democracy, which poses a direct threat to authoritarian “strongmen” like him (just as it did to Donald Trump). Putin wants to keep liberal democracy far away from Russia.

    Putin’s means of keeping western liberal democracy at bay isn’t just to invade Ukraine, of course. It’s also to stoke division inside the west by fueling racist nationalism in western Europe and the United States. In this, Trump and Trumpism continue to be Putin’s most important ally.

  14. Jenny how to get there 15

    No appeasement with war mongers

    you masters of war
    You that build the big guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build all the bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin'
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it's your little toy….

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe….

    You fasten all the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you sit back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion
    While the young people's blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud….

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good?
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could?….

  15. ghostwhowalksnz 16

    More on the Promises made to Gorbachev

    ' U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (

    let the Gaslighting begin by those who claim …Didnt Happen

    • Andrew Miller 16.1

      Ok, for sake of argument let’s assume it did.
      Are you saying James Baker had the authority to override the aspirations of millions of people for all time?

      Are you saying that all those Eastern European nations only joined NATO under duress and had this promise been kept they’d be happy with their lot in 2022 whatever that may be?

      Are you saying that Eastern Europe as client states of Russia is legitimate, or that Putin would have just let them be had it not been for joining NATO?

      You present this ‘promise’ as some kind of moral slam dunk, when all it does is raise a bunch of questions.

      If there’s a coherent argument lurking let’s hear it, but please don’t pretend you’ve made one

      • ghostwhowalksnz 16.1.1

        Just demolishing your claims will do fine.

        Im just not going to get involved in your Millerisms of putting words in my mouth so that you can attack them.

        Of course Nato isnt just the 'aspirations of people in Europe ' as you suggest

        there was there own intervention/invasion for [Insert fine sounding aims here] in Afghanistan

  16. aj 17

    Haven't had time to read all the comments above, but some are very short on the historical background to the current events.

    Jack F. Matlock, Jr. is a career diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991. Prior to that he was Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs on President Reagan’s National Security Council staff and was U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981-1983. He was Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and has written numerous articles and three books about the negotiations that ended the Cold War, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and U.S. foreign policy following the end of the Cold War.

    He wrote a very interesting article recently from the point of view of someone who participated in the negotiations that ended the Cold War, he brings some history to bear on the current crisis.

    I was there: NATO and the origins of the Ukraine crisis

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, I told the Senate that expansion would lead us to where we are today.

    • Andrew Miller 17.1

      So if Russia was a state that was democratic, respected human rights and the rule of law, had a free press, we’d be where we are today?


      That’s just an argument for ‘we should appease tryrants for balance and screw whoever gets trampled under foot’.

    • lprent 17.2

      That is an interesting article (and definitely the view of one part of the US diplomatic circle).

      However the key point that I took from it was what I already understood. That the US/USSR conversations from 30 years ago just aren’t that relevant now.

      President Bush also assured Gorbachev during their meeting in Malta in December, 1989, that if the countries of Eastern Europe were allowed to choose their future orientation by democratic processes, the United States would not “take advantage” of that process. (Obviously, bringing countries into NATO that were then in the Warsaw Pact would be “taking advantage.”) The following year, Gorbachev was assured, though not in a formal treaty, that if a unified Germany was allowed to remain in NATO, there would be no movement of NATO jurisdiction to the east, “not one inch.”

      These comments were made to Gorbachev before the Soviet Union broke up. Once it did, the Russian Federation had less than half the population of the Soviet Union and a military establishment demoralized and in total disarray. While there was no reason to enlarge NATO after the Soviet Union recognized and respected the independence of the East European countries, there was even less reason to fear the Russian Federation as a threat.

      What it lacks is the simple fact that conversations from 30 years ago between the US and the USSR simply don’t bind other independent nations with their own changing needs for self-detirmination.

      NATO primarily expanded not because NATO was off touting for business. It was because nations who weren’t in a military alliance after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact were wary of their neighbours and possible military adventurism. Not just Russia but even their smaller neighbours. This is bloody Europe, the continent that War only pretended to forget for many decades.

      The Russian apologists seem to think that NATO was formed only to deal with them, a monumental success of narcissistic hubris. But in truth that isn’t the case.

      It was as much formed for situations like the eternally separated Cyprus, where two new NATO allies had a border dispute on a separate state Cyprus and a former colonial power the UK essentially froze a war between neighbours. See here. There are still UN peacekeepers there 6 decades later.

      The rush to join NATO was by states hopping into the only viable defence alliance, often in groups of mutually antagonistic neighbours, because none would let their neighbours get protected before they did.

      However this self-determination of European nations is simply not a concept that a cold-war warrior like Jack F. Matlock, Jr, or for that matter Putin seem to understand. Matlock manages to only talk by name about the nations that the Russians are currently worried about joining NATO. Apparently to him that other nations might have wanted to join NATO for mutual self-defence doesn’t arise. Only the US and USSR Russian Federation matter.

      Even when talking about the Madian revolution in 2014 in Ukraine, he manages to suggest that it was a conflict between the US and USSR Russia.

      Somehow the crowds of Ukrainians turning out to depose an unpopular corrupt government via impeachment before the incumbent president fled before the vote – well that never happened for Matlock or Putin.

      Basically the great power argument is simply crap. Your link illustrates that perfectly.

      • joe90 17.2.1

        It was agreed in 1990 that no non-German NATO forces would be deployed in the former GDR. That was it.

        RBTH: One of the key issues that has arisen in connection with the events in Ukraine is NATO expansion into the East. Do you get the feeling that your Western partners lied to you when they were developing their future plans in Eastern Europe? Why didn’t you insist that the promises made to you – particularly U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s promise that NATO would not expand into the East – be legally encoded? I will quote Baker: “NATO will not move one inch further east.”

        M.G.: The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a singe Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context. Kohl and [German Vice Chancellor Hans-Dietrich] Genscher talked about it.

        Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled. The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been observed all these years. So don’t portray Gorbachev and the then-Soviet authorities as naïve people who were wrapped around the West’s finger. If there was naïveté, it was later, when the issue arose. Russia at first did not object.

        The decision for the U.S. and its allies to expand NATO into the east was decisively made in 1993. I called this a big mistake from the very beginning. It was definitely a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990. With regards to Germany, they were legally enshrined and are being observed.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Thats all refuted by historic research on original documents , working notes etc at the time

          'The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels. '

          Recalls by former participants is a terrible way to write history

          • Stuart Munro

            Recalls by former participants is a terrible way to write history


            Participants tend to recall the meat of issues, not the marginalia. If Nato expansion was not a central consideration, trying to make it one is ill-founded revisionism.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              This is serious documented historical research which forms PROOF

              Not marginalia. Without evidence recollections are hearsay of little value and especially political figures will lie to support their own legacy.

              I'd thought you were above silly nonsense that merely supports your preconceived ideas.

              But of course when you claim 'The High Ground' all is acceptable

              • Stuart Munro

                It's funny that you should say that Ghost, because you seem to be boots and all in on your preconceived ideas – carrying a torch for Nato expansion being Putin's exculpatory casus belli.

                I can understand your leaning on your supposed 'high ground fallacy', because of course once questions of right or wrong are rendered moot, a false equivalence is child's play.

                This is serious documented historical research which forms PROOF

                Quite. "Proof" that a leading participant does not recall – you need better provenance to support your assertions of certainty – unless you are insisting upon your boutique reading and sidelining all other evidence?

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Miller has already claimed the process of inserting words into others mouths

                  Im more a refuter of half baked claims and absurd propositions.

                  The one I really hate is the references to the St Sophia Cathedral in Kiev (
                  There is no St Sophia , it comes from Hagia Sophia or Holy Wisdom. But I suppose the media have to dumb everything down

                  • Stuart Munro

                    I think that you would have to substantiate that claim, Ghost – Miller likely contests it.

                    Funny how you fade away when we try to determine your actual position – too many angels on the head of that pin with you?

                    It might be that the impartiality to which you perhaps ought to pretend as a historian, is not as tenable in the face of emerging events as it might be in respect of wars long past.

                    Clausewitz reckoned moral and physical forces to be inextricably linked, and not to be rendered apart like base metals from their ore. The determination of rights and wrongs of the invasion therefore is related to the success or failure of the enterprise, and of any enduring outcome. So while high ground might be a fallacy to avoid, especially in regard to the initial stages of one's own research, in construing the Ukraine invasion, and suggesting or developing responses or policies in reaction to it, it needs to be considered.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Obviously the invasion is 'not right' , which I have said before.

                      But facts about the end of the cold war and the promises made dont make it right either. But doesnt need falsehoods that fit a Nato narrative to claim the high ground.

                      Poland and the new USSR fought a series of wars over the western part of Ukraine around 1920. Poland having gained from Versailles its formal independence ( it had created it informally) didnt like the decision of Paris peacemakers on the Curzon 'ethnic line' on what was Polish and what was Ukrainian and wanted claim all of the former Austrian Galacia and some parts of Lithuania. The end result ignored Versailles – who took no interest- and had an enlarged Poland. STalin and Hilter changed that when the Soviet invasion coordinated with the Nazis took back the territory to around the maps Curzon line .

                      Europe is full of these flash points over territory which will continue to blow up in the locals faces.

                      Some are mostly historical while other still row. Nothing changes in that way just the break up of Soviet Union created dozens more. Caucusus especially but central Asia too and now Ukraine

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Obviously the invasion is 'not right' , which I have said before.

                      But facts about the end of the cold war and the promises made dont make it right either. But doesnt need falsehoods that fit a Nato narrative to claim the high ground.

                      Poland and the new USSR fought a series of wars over the western part of Ukraine around 1920. Poland having gained from Versailles its formal independence ( it had created it informally) didnt like the decision of Paris peacemakers on the Curzon 'ethnic line' on what was Polish and what was Ukrainian and wanted claim all of the former Austrian Galacia and some parts of Lithuania. The end result ignored Versailles – who took no interest- and had an enlarged Poland. STalin and Hilter changed that when the Soviet invasion coordinated with the Nazis took back the territory to around the maps Curzon line .

                      Europe is full of these flash points over territory which will continue to blow up in the locals faces.

                      Some are mostly historical while other still row. Nothing changes in that way just the break up of Soviet Union created dozens more. Caucusus especially but central Asia too and now Ukraine

                  • Stuart Munro

                    But facts about the end of the cold war and the promises made dont make it right either. But doesnt need falsehoods that fit a Nato narrative to claim the high ground.

                    Okay – so in summary, you assert that Putin's invasion is wrong – but that his line about Nato expansion is right?

                    Funny that better than 99% of your commentary is defending Putin's agitprop, and less than 1% condemning his bellicosity.

      • aj 17.2.2

        No, I think conversations from 30 years ago are relevant to the context of his whole article, but I understand people will take what they want from any discussion of of this matter.

        He deals with the very point you raise later in the article and follows it with the context of events of subsequent years.

        “The plan to increase the membership of NATO fails to take account of the real international situation following the end of the Cold War, and proceeds in accord with a logic that made sense only during the Cold War. The division of Europe ended before there was any thought of taking new members into NATO. No one is threatening to re-divide Europe. It is therefore absurd to claim, as some have, that it is necessary to take new members into NATO to avoid a future division of Europe; if NATO is to be the principal instrument for unifying the continent, then logically the only way it can do so is by expanding to include all European countries. But that does not appear to be the aim of the administration, and even if it is, the way to reach it is not by admitting new members piecemeal.”

        NATO does not have to accept membership of others, but NATO is not just about letting states join "the only viable defence alliance", it's about money and the " great power argument" that you easily mock.

        • lprent

          I reiterate, if you look at the history of the new NATO memberships, they were sought by the new member countries. Most of those countries share no border with the Russian federation. They weren’t seeking protection from the Russians. They were after a security treaty to protect themselves from their neighbours.

          Russia only started even talking about this with Ukraine and Georgia wanted to get membership. Probably because of a noisy intefering neighbour.

          NATO isn’t a nuclear power treaty. It is a land war treaty of mutual defence.

          Has fuckall in europe to do with the US and a USSR that doesn’t exist anymore. It has a lot more to do with limiting intra-NATO conflict.

          Conversations from 30 years ago from a state that doesn’t exist have nothing to do with Russias actions. They were just pissed that the Ukrainians booted their puppet president.

          • RedLogix

            Ukraine itself had a substantial legacy of nuclear weapons when it left the Soviet Union. But Ukraine renounced its nuclear status, and returned nuclear material to Russia an inn return, Ukraine received assurances from the US, UK, and Russia, embodied in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, that its sovereignty would be assured.

            Bet they wish they hadnt.

            • Adrian Thornton

              Yeah, I bet the Libyan's wish they hadn't either…

              • RedLogix

                You have gotten your wish,the US is not going to get involved directly. As I have repeatedly said here over the past few years, the Americans you hate so much have gone home. You should be happy.

                And this is just a taster of what is to come.

          • mikesh

            They were just pissed that the Ukrainians booted their puppet president.

            I don't think Yanukovic was a puppet, exactly. He was pro Russian, but that was because an alliance with Russia was more favourable to Ukraine, or he believed it was, than one with the EU. He was probably right – Russia is the Ukraine's main trading partner, just as Britain was NZ's main trading partner back in the day. I don't Holyoake etc were seen as British puppets. Russia is probably sensing a danger, from an economic point of view, in the Ukraine's drift towards the West, plus the need to protect their own ethnic Russians living in the East.

            • lprent

              He was pro Russian, but that was because an alliance with Russia was more favourable to Ukraine, or he believed it was, than one with the EU.

              I believe that the main problem was that rejecting the Ukraine/EU agreement wasn't what he said whilst campaigning for the post, was doing it without the support of the peoples representative in the parliament, and it was directly counter to the intent in the constitution.

              Plus there were quite a lot of questions about what induced him to unilaterally reject the EU agreement and what sidebars came with the loans from Russia.

              Idiot should have remembered what happened back in 2004 when he was previously involved in the presidential election.

              …just as Britain was NZ's main trading partner back in the day. I don't Holyoake etc were seen as British puppets.

              Speak for yourself. When I was growing up in the 1960s in Auckland, it was pretty damn apparent that the whole clinging to Mother Britian was a farce doomed to failure. Holyoake was a old school empire idiot who couldn't seem to accept that. Which is why the development of alternate products, productinon, markets, and the removal of preferential tariffs for the UK weren't removed until way too late, and we wound up with the stupidity of things like SMPs.

              He may not have been a puppet of the type that I suspect Yanukovic was greased to be. But none the less his hesitation and inactivity was one of the main reasons that I look at National as being the party of useless unrealistic dithering. We damn near had to have a revolution in 1984 for get rid of that kind of economic stupidity

  17. aj 18

    They weren’t seeking protection from the Russians. They were after a security treaty to protect themselves from their neighbours.

    Funny you should mention that. Ukraine bombed and attacked (the Russian sympathetic population) in Donbas for 8 years. Where was the outrage?

    Hypothetical: Would have been interesting if Ukraine had joined NATO, then continued bombing Donbas. Unlikely NATO would have stepped in to quell that, I'd bet.

    • lprent 18.1

      Rebellious citizens armed by an neighbouring state attacking police and army aren’t a nation-state.

      ‘Off-duty’ soldiers being sent in by a neighbouring state to fight a proxy war aren’t a nation.

      No one knows if there was even a nascent state there because Russia and their ridiculous puppets prevented anyone from finding out. All we know is that there are a lot of russian and ukraine who had to leave and military warlords inside.

      That isn’t a nation-state. That is Russia fuckibg up a neighbouring state. Which is why those ‘states’ are only recognised by their paymasters and a few close allies.

  18. Stephen D 19

    Jonathon Freedland from The Guardian.

    “We can hope for a palace coup against the tsar. We can send our solidarity and admiration to those Russian anti-war protesters brave enough to take to the streets, hoping they might somehow topple the autocrat ruining so many lives. But these are no more than wishes. The grimmer prospect is that Putin understands something about the 21st century few of us want to face: that this is an age of impunity, especially for those who have a vast and deadly arsenal but no shame.”

    And he’s not wrong. Basically the “west” are impotent against the likes of Putin and Xi.

    • Adrian Thornton 19.1

      “Basically the “west” are impotent against the likes of Putin and Xi"….yeah sort of…no wait exactly how Yemen, Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq, countless Latin American countries have been and are impotent against the likes of the USA, UK and their proxies isn’t it?

      Funny I don’t remember to many people losing their shit and writing emotive op-eds over Yemen (one of the poorest countries in the world) getting the shit bombed out of it by the western backed and armed Saudis right now…today, causing one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world right now , today, but I guess they are brown so who really cares right?

  19. Stephen D 20

    Then let me rephrase.

    ”Basically the we are all impotent against the likes of Putin and Xi"

  20. Stephen D 21

    On a related matter. We can put sanctions on Russia with pretty much impunity. There is very little trade between Russia and Aotearoa.

    What do we do if Xi invades Taiwan?

    • Adrian Thornton 21.1

      "What do we do if Xi invades Taiwan"….What do we do if our Western Allies arm and enable the actual dictatorship of Saudi Arabia to commit genocide in Yemen….oh that's right we do nothing….but I guess those Yeminis are Black and Brown so who really gives a fuck right?

      The moral high ground getting displayed and thrown around here beggars belief !!

      As I have always observed here on TS, a huge part of the community here are so easily triggered into action (or not as the case maybe) by any MSM narrative, that it is quite depressing to witness…it's no wonder humans get into wars all the time…it turns out most of us are just waiting to be told exactly what to think and exactly what to do, no matter how stupid, nonsensical or dangerous those things might be.

      • SPC 21.1.1

        Taiwan was separated from China in 1949 by American intervention in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

        Just as it has done many times since – Iraq (illegal regime change), Libya illegal use of NATO air power against Libyan government ground forces (not authorised by the no fly zone mandate).

        A bit like what Russia is now doing in Ukraine.

      • mikesh 21.1.2

        What do we do if Xi invades Taiwan

        We just accept that Formosa wa always a part of China. The Taiwanese seem to agree. Is their parliament not made up of members who claim to represent constituencies in mainland China.

  21. Hunter Thompson II 22

    Putin strikes me as a 21st century Stalin.

    The parallels are not all there, of course, as he hasn't wiped out the officer corps yet. I suppose they may be useful to him in the meantime.

    And maybe he is expansionist rather than having persecution complex or acute paranoia. But he is ex-KGB. As the saying goes, once a KGB man, always a KGB man.

    • mikesh 22.1

      The West, and the USA in particular, were attempting to drive a wedge between the Ukraine and Russia, the Ukraine's main trading partner. There had been much agitation within the Ukraine for a better economic relationship with EU, and, to satisfy these aspirations, the (pro Russian) Ukranian president, Victor Yanukovic, had been trying to forge a better relationship with the Europeans. However, the latter, probably egged on by the Americans, were refusing to play ball unless Yanukovic cut off trading ties with Russia – an outrageous request. The EU also offered them financial support, but Russia offered them many times as much. The Russians offer also came with no strings attached – they apparently didn't mind if the Ukranians forged trading ties in the West. It was really a no-brainer that Yanukovic would accept the Russian offer rather than the EU's.

      Yanukovic's failure to obtain trading deals with the Europeans, however, angered the pro EU Ukranians, and fascist elements within the Ukraine exploited this fact to stage an illegal coup. and Yanukovic was forced to flee the country, fearing for his life. This was the incident that sparked the rebellion in the East, where Yanukovic had substantial support, and also convinced the Crimeans to finally secede from the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, something they had been trying to do for years.

      The roots of the current Russian invasion lies in those events, and the blame for it must be placed entirely on the West's attempt to draw the Ukraine away from its relationship Russia, a relationship that had been in place for around one thousand years.

      • RedLogix 22.1.1

        The fact is most of Eastern Europe was clamouring to join NATO for the simple reason that they could hear plain enough what Putin was threatening them with.

        • mikesh

          Which doesn't alter the fact that the West was trying to get the Ukranians to cut off trade ties with Russia, it's main trading partner.

  22. SPC 23

    The historical analogy is Stalin agreeing to a carve up of Poland to better secure the Soviet Union from invasion from the West. If he had not Barbarossa may have have succeeded.

    If PNAC in 2000 had advised the USA to end NATO and replace it with a EU defence treaty and FTA with Russia/Ukraine/Byelorussia (Warsaw Pact nations and the Baltic states free to join the EU), then Russia would be in the community of democratic nations. Hubris has a price.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 23.1

      Wrong analogy.

      The carve up of democratic Czechoslovakia by Germany was aided by its dictatorship neighbours Poland and Hungary.

      Something the Poles like to forget now.

      However the Versailles Peace treaty decided on the Curzon line to divide what was ethically Polish from ethnically Ukrainian. Poland wouldnt accept that as the Polish nobility were the ruling class in eastern Ukraine under the Austrian period which they also believed was 'theirs' from the older Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

      A 1920 series of wars between Soviets and Poland had Poland 'winning' and claiming the lions share of western Ukraine. The western powers were no longer interested in enforcing their 'map drawn borders' and were hostile to Russia anyway.

      Stalin got back essentially what Versailles had given Russia/Soviet Union

      • SPC 23.1.1

        Of course it was the right analogy.

        Germany has taken Czechoslovakia (via Sudetanland) and was going to do the same to Poland.

        That Poland had acquired territory to its east off Russia prior to 1939 only increased the security imperative for Russia to cut a deal with the Germans over the division of Poland.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Merely footsteps in History

          If Versailles was 'really' about self determination the Sudenten germans never would have never ended up in Czechoslovakia, they only did because it was imagined the hills gave a Czechs a defensive zone. An illusion as it turned out.

          The Austrians in the far province Voralberg, adjoining Switzerland, wanted to join that country as they shared linguistic/cultural ties but were prevented from doing so.

          The Hapsburgs in the 17th century wanted to swap Austrian Netherlands for the electorate of Bavaria and would have changed history if they had. Germany permanently split into Low and High language and Catholic and Protestant countries.

          the Austrian Netherlands ended up under the Kingdom of Netherlands until the french speaking part revolted and with hep of French troops became separate Belgium taking the dutch speaking Flanders as well. No end of difficulty there even now.

          Footsteps in history all of them.

  23. SPC 24

    Russia wanted a declaration Ukraine would not join NATO and some agreement on limits on western (the pre 1990 NATO – the NATO that said it would not include former Warsaw Pact nations within NATO) military deployment in eastern Europe.

    Having failed to obtain that it is now redrawing the borders of Ukraine (as Stalin did to Poland in 1939 when Germany was advancing eastward).

    Until these events Germany was on course to maintain 1% defence spending despite the 2014 commitment of NATO members to increase that to 2% of GDP by 2024 (which could have become a threat to NATO's continuance).

    Which raises the question – has the USA deliberately sacrificed Ukraine to ensure the revitalisation of NATO.

    Not recognizing Russia's security concerns wasn't a mistake, it was the strategy.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 24.1

      Stalin advanced his borders into Poland to recover territory won by Poland in the wars between them in the 1919-1920 period.

      Versailles peacemakers decided on the Curzon line to roughly separate the new Polish speaking from Ukrainian linguistic areas . Poland didnt accept that and wanted to retain the old Austrian ruled Ukrainian areas – where the polish minor nobility held sway over ukrainian peasants

      • pat 24.1.1

        Always the peasants….the most important group of all…nothing happens without them.

      • SPC 24.1.2

        And that just happened to prevent Germany from being in the position to more realistically achieve their Barbarossa objectives before winter 1941 … .

        (And if Russia was not aware of the Barbarossa risk, why were they moving war production further east towards the Ural mountains?).

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          It was these new fangled things which meant it could be reached more easily despite the borders. Guernica 1937

          • SPC

            They never got close to Moscow in 1941.

            • ghostwhowalksnz


              No wonder they moved equipment and entire plants to the Urals as Gorky was an industrial centre and well past Moscow in distance from the borders
              as for Moscow..
              ‘On 2 December, a reconnaissance battalion came to the town of Khimki—some 30 km (19 mi) away from the Kremlin in central Moscow reaching its bridge over the Moscow-Volga Canal as well as its railway station. This marked the closest approach of German forces to Moscow’ ..Wikipedia
              Thats about Papakura distance form Auckland CBD

              You're just showing that you are a child when it comes to the events of that 1920-40s era.

              • Adrian Thornton

                This is one of the better German autobiographies from WW2 that happens to be about that very subject…

                Moscow Tram Stop: A Doctor’s Experiences with the German Spearhead in Russia – Heinrich Haape

                good review of it here….


              • SPC

                a reconnaissance battalion

                That's all? I thought you claimed the distance was no problem for the Panzer Stuka strike force?

                And yes the Urals are well to the east of Moscow.

                So Germany never posed a threat to Russian war production capacity – and that production meant when the Germans came toe to toe with packed Russian defences they lost.

                • RedLogix

                  Many years ago I got to visit Museum of Uralmashzavod in Ekaterinburg. Surprisingly it was an incredibly memorable and moving experience. (Scroll down to No.39). It was among many other things where the T34 tanks were built. It has a Visitors book with the autograph of an astonishing list of 20th century leaders, including Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Ghandi. There were things I saw in those few hours still seared into memory.

                  I have a strong affection for and affinity with so much of what I experienced on that trip – words can do no justice to watching the people of both Russia and Ukraine now betrayed by a corrupt, brutal leader in this stupid, destructive manner.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  This what you said , not me

                  'They never got close to Moscow in 1941'- Wrong

                  • SPC

                    They certainly never got close to mounting any attack on Moscow, if they could only get a reconnaissance group anywhere near it.

                    So the tyranny of distance (partition of greater Poland of 1920) was effective

                    It was these new fangled things which meant it could be reached more easily despite the borders. Guernica 1937

                    With the capital safe and the war production secure in the Urals to the east, the defeat of Germany was inevitable (an assessment which presumably informed the decision to supply lend lease to Russia).

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      Khimki is a town in the Moscow suburbs now . yes that close. I know very little about military tactics but recon force is normally the front edge of advancing armies.

                      Hitler was holding out on the Moscow advance for the Japanese to enter the war – which he knew was coming. A few days after reaching the outskirts of Moscow Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and he had what he really wanted.

  24. SPC 25

    Robert Kagan predicts the end game resulting from the failure to resolve the impasse with Putin diplomatically (Russia seeks to secure a land bridge to Kaliningrad to cut off the Baltic states).

    • ghostwhowalksnz 25.1

      Nope. Kalingrad isnt an historic Russian area , it was German and only by ones of those accidents of history ended up as Russian at all.

      • SPC 25.1.1

        I doubt Putin cares, it’s a strategy to coerce the Baltic states to leave NATO or be part of a war zone behind Russian lines.

        If they were allowed to guaranteed independence and continuance within the EU they might agree – especially after what happens to Ukraine.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          They are already in Nato now, hence are untouchable by Putin.

          You chess moves ignore present day realities and historical ones

          The territories of Alsace- Lorraine were in the same situation for a 100 years until 1945. Fought over in 3 wars

          Historically and linguistically more German than French. Even to this day the Catholic Bishops in the area have to have nominal approval from the French President as they were 'outside' France when the French separated Church and state for the Catholic bishops inside historic France

          • SPC

            They are already in Nato now, hence are untouchable by Putin.

            How many realities of the past were challenged? The neutrality of Belgium, the Versailles Curzon line?

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Nato wasnt an alliance giving any protection to Belgium and Versailles powers didnt even pretend to enfoce Curzon line border

              Which is why Poland invaded Ukrainen ! Brings us right back to 100 years later

              • SPC

                NATO 2022, Maginot Line 1939.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  The Maginot Line construction was a big worry for Poland as it indicated that a 'defensive war' and attack on Germany by France and Poland in the early 1930s was out of the question.

                  The French were going to sit behind their defences which is what they did in 139-40

  25. pat 26


    "Speaking on BBC News, he added: “But while I don’t say it is impossible to envisage Russia being barred from the Swift system, it is a nuclear option that means you exterminate yourself along with your enemy.”

    Swift (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is the main secure messaging system that banks use to make rapid and secure cross-border payments, allowing international trade to flow smoothly.

    It transmits trillions of dollars’ worth of deals every day, but is coming under pressure from a Chinese government-backed rival, Cips, which Russia could use to conduct its financial business deals supplemented by direct transactions with counterparties.

    It is also possible for the G7 countries and EU to ban the purchase of Russian gas and oil, but commodities analysts agree that while there is spare capacity in oil markets to make up for the loss of Russian supplies with a price rise limited to $140 a barrel, there is no hope of boosting gas output to fill a gap created by a Russia ban."

  26. aj 27

    An interesting interview, Sakwa covers a wide range of issues which will interest those who are interested in the wider history and geopolitical perspective behind Russia's actions, and the involvement of the west in the last few decades.

    Professor Richard Sakwa analyzes the factors behind Putin's move, and its likely consequences. Putin's decision, he says, comes after Kiev refused to implement the 2015 Minsk accords, which could have ended the conflict, and a longstanding US-driven project to expand NATO to Russia's borders. Guest: Richard Sakwa. Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent. His books include “Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands” and his latest, “Deception: Russiagate and the New Cold War.”

  27. Psycho Milt 28

    People in western countries need to get their heads around the fact that, unlike the Germans and Japanese, Russians have never had to face up to their country's role in WW2. Instead, they've had 80 years of the Bolsheviks' propaganda version, in which the USSR was quietly minding its own business until viciously attacked by Nazis, and then had the thankless and costly task of saving western Europe from its own fascists.

    This propaganda version, still peddled by leftist "useful idiots" in western democracies, has prevented Russia coming to terms with the past and is why its government still acts like it's the 1930s. It's proving its usefulness right now, as Putin appeals to the sacred myth of the Great Patriotic War to justify an invasion to fight "Nazis" in Ukraine.

    We need to face the facts that Russia remains an expansionist imperial power, and that its loss of imperial possessions after the fall of Bolshevism in 1990 is regarded by many there with the same bitterness and thirst for revenge that many Germans felt about the Versaille Treaty. Don't go believing a few sanctions and sternly worded diplomatic messages will make this go away – they won't.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 28.1

      And the US has never been ( all though a late starter) an imperial power and remains as one to this day. ? Nice to see you ignoring all THAT

      The rest of your claims can be explained by the tides of European history which makes and unmakes borders through the centuries.

      END of empires are especially conflict prone as new countries and borders arise

      Balkans was more of less continious war after the receding of the European part of the Ottoman Empire ( Greece and Turkey especially remaining in a cold war with each other)

      End of WW1 led to many wars in eastern Europe , with the Poles gaining in Ukraine at Russia's expense

      Poland and Hungary even participated in the German dismemberment of Czechosolavakia ( something the Poles like to supress) in 1938-39

      • Psycho Milt 28.1.1

        Yes, US has its own propaganda version of its role in WW2 and has never faced the reality of its role, which helps explain its truculence and aggression. However, this thread is about the invasion of Ukraine, which has been invaded by the Russian Federation, not the USA. Your response is idle what-aboutery.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          What reckoning should it face over what happened in 1939…80 years back now.

          And how should that be different to the reckoning for the countries that aided Hitler at Munich 1938 which was Italy, France UK.

          Any special mentions for the Poles and Hungarians too over their eager grabbing of Czech territory too

          Why stop in 1938. Why not the Poles invasion of the new Soviet state in 1919-20 which ended up with their conquest of Ukrainian populated not Polish regions .

          Its ALL ABOUT invasions of Ukraine like you said . Why start in 1939

          • Psycho Milt

            Who said it needed to face any reckoning over it's part in starting WW2? Not much point now. But we in the west need to recognise that one of the totalitarian dictatorships that started WW2 has never admitted its role the murderous terror that was inflicted on Europe, and still continues to behave as though it has some moral right to decide its previous vassal states' affairs. And that our failure to recognise it has consequences for real people's lives.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Germany started WW2. But you have your own pet theories which ignore the other invasion of Ukraine 100 years ago

              • Psycho Milt

                The agreement to divide Europe between fascist and communist totalitarianism started WW2, as borne out both by the document itself and by physical reality, ie by both parties subsequently acting to fulfil the terms of the document. The propaganda version of events peddled by one of the perpetrators is worthless.

    • RedLogix 28.2

      More than their role in WW2, neither Russia nor China ever truly confronted the horrors of both Stalinism or Maoism, neither effectively repudiated their own evil in a manner that Germany did post the Nazis.

      Now it is our turn to live with the consequences of this moral failure, and so far it turns out Zelensky has more guts than the rest of the Western leadership put together.

        • RedLogix

          Your fancy pants fallacy argument would prove a flimsy defence against incoming Russian missiles.

          It is armoured columns Zelensky is facing down, not keyboard warriors typing from their mothers basement safe on the far side of the world. When offered safety by the Americans his reply was, I need ammunition, not a ride.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Its aimed at you my friend and hill of righteouness you are standing on.

            Of course its all designed to make you feel better, our very own Kevin McCloud and his grand designs to fix the world . 3 cheers

      • Psycho Milt 28.2.2

        Absolutely. The consequences of pretending Russia was a hapless victim of WW2 that made huge sacrifices to rescue us from the Nazis are very real ones for the people of eastern Europe. Zelensky's putting all our leaders to shame.

        • Adrian Thornton

          " pretending Russia was a hapless victim of WW2 that made huge sacrifices to rescue us from the Nazis are very real ones for the people of eastern Europe."

          Sounds like a sound bite from a member of the Azov battalion….you know that Ukrainian militia that was so fettered' by western media a week or two back…you’ll know them they are the ones whose insignia is that of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich

          Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine

          • Psycho Milt

            It's certainly an indicator of just how bad Bolshevik Russia was, that many Ukrainians felt Nazi Germany was the lesser of the two evils.

            As to my point about Russia not being a hapless victim of WW2, the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact has been public information since the Nuremberg war crimes trials. It's not something I made up.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              The Polish territory reclaimed in M-R pact was mostly that taken in conquest by Poland 1919-1920 after WW1 had ended.

              Poland didnt abide by the Versailles map makers in its east against the weaker new Soviet state.

              Whom the allies also invaded. British French American incursions into USSR as Biden might call it now

              History isnt a binary thing , it moves in circles over time.

              • Psycho Milt

                The protocol was an agreement between two totalitarian dictatorships to divide Europe between them and impose their version of totalitarianism on their new possessions, an agreement that they then acted on and killed 10s of millions of people in the process. We're not talking about border disputes here.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Now you have gone totally tin foil hat , just as I had underlying suspicions. Apart from Ukraine which had been fruits of Polands conquest 18 years before Stalin got the Baltic states and some slivers of Finland. Hardly ‘half of Europe

                  Britain and France invaded neutral Norway in 1940 ( another Churchill naval operation like Gallipolli that went wrong ) and then a bit later neutral Iceland

                  So countries invading non combattants ( to improve their strategic position) is only bad when Stalin does it.

                  And Polands annexation of Czech Silesia in 1939, they were benefitting from Hitlers war mongering too.

                  • Adrian Thornton


                    It would do us all a service to remember just who on this forum were the loudest and most aggressive Russiagaters…our friend here Psycho Milt was one of quite a few…and all of them have of course immediately have jumped on the Ukraine War wagon….these liberal Imperialists don’t want to hear any historical context or plain logic, as always they just want their jingoistic Imperialist ideologies confirmed.

                    Just remember how they put logic on the rack and tortured it relentlessly for over four years in their hysterical attempts to tie Russia to Trump and the Democratic 2016 election are quite correct, these guys and girls are tin foil hat wearers…and have been wearing those hats for a long time now.

                  • Psycho Milt

                    It is of course within the bounds of possibility that a series of most unfortunate coincidences caused Molotov to mistakenly sign a document agreeing to divide Europe up between the USSR and German, and for his govt then to act exactly as though it were following the terms of that document, but I don't think it's "tin-foil hat" territory to find that possibility wildly unlikely.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      War is nasty and almost never justified
                      But before the M-R Pact Goebbels went to Warsaw and signed up the Polish into the German sphere as well

                      M-R Pact divided Poland . That and The Baltic states The division mostly reversed the Polish conquest of Eastern Ukraine some 18 years before .

                      The Germans started the war 17 days before the Soviet troops moved into Poland from east

                      "treaty included the Secret Protocol, which defined the borders of Soviet and German spheres of influence across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The secret protocol also recognised the interest of Lithuania in the Vilnius region,….'

                      M-R Pact

                      Invasion of the Baltic states served the Soviet strategic interest in the same way the Allies invasion of neutral Norway and Iceland did in 1940


                    • Psycho Milt

                      Lol, yes and Hitler was furious with Stalin for waiting weeks before starting his own invasion, thereby letting Germany cop all the invasion headlines. Poor sap, he was never smart enough to handle someone like Stalin.

      • Adrian Thornton 28.2.3

        Are you serious?, the Russian population suffered terribly under Stalin, you can be sure most people in Soviet Russia up until their demise in the 1950’s knew at least one person who was interned in one of the various types of horror ‘Gulags’…there was good reason as I am sure you well know, why all the statues of Stalin were pulled down pretty much as soon as Stalin died.

        Your totally selective, often misleading and at times outrageous takes on historical fact is really something to behold…and of course always delivered by you from a moral high ground your political ideology doesn't have.

        Wall of Sorrow

        Russia’s first national memorial commemorating victims of Soviet repression is currently being erected beside Moscow’s central ring road. The Wall of Grief, created by artist Georgy Frangulyan, is a huge, curved bronze sculpture made up of faceless human figures, largely representing the millions deported, imprisoned and executed under Joseph Stalin.

  28. joe90 29

    Dmitry Medvedev on FB.

    Tldr; your's is shit, our's is better, your mum's fat and btw, now we can finally reinstate the death sentence.

    Now, sanctions have been imposed against all Russia’s Security Council members. So I’m writing this almost in a panic. What a pity! What are we going to do now? However, for the sake of history, I’d like to note the following:

  29. ghostwhowalksnz 30

    Its so sweet to hear the call to arms for those down in the bunker with Zelenskyy

  30. joe90 31

    I'd take overwhelming support in a sweep.

    Early voting on the Belarus constitutional referendum ends today.

    If passed, the constitutional referendum would grant Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko the ability to give emergency powers to the unofficial All-Belarusian People’s Assembly and remain in power until 2035. Most significantly, the amended constitution will discard the country’s obligation to remain free from nuclear weapons and remove the military neutrality clause. Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko have stated the possibility of stationing Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. The referendum directly relates to the Russian invasion of Ukraine—Vladimir Putin detailed his concern about NATO expansion and arms into the east and the potential stationing of Western nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

  31. joe90 32

    Poots has his tame head-chopper's boys on the job.

    The Kremlin appeared to stand behind Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Thursday as the strongman faced a string of scandals over his threats against media organizations and the family of a retired judge.


    The sit-down came one day after Adam Delimkhanov, a ruling party lawmaker representing Chechnya in Russian parliament, threatened to “cut the heads off” the family of Chechen anti-torture activist Abubakar Yangulbaev and his father Saydi Yangulbaev, a retired federal judge.

    The State Duma's ethics committee has said it plans to look into Delimkhanov’s threats “if it receives a relevant request.”

    Five senior Chechen government, security and law enforcement officials later appeared on video backing Delimkhanov’s threat to decapitate members of the Yangulbaev family. Chechen media also shared videos Wednesday showing what it called a 400,000-person rally against the family in Grozny, Chechnya’s administrative center, including members of the Yangulbaev family renouncing the retired judge.

    Kadyrov himself has called on countries to return the family's members who fled Russia, saying “shielding them means supporting terrorists,” and has threatened the Yangulbaev family with “jail or burial.”

  32. pat 33

    Claytons sanctions?

    "Selected Russian banks will be expelled from Swift, a first step in disconnecting Russia from the international financial system"


    "As yet there is no agreement on ending imports of Russian gas and oil. A Biden official has suggested payments for these exports could continue to pass through Swift, although the new measures, if enacted, could prompt Putin to switch off the supply"

    Only their main source of revenue…never mind there is an alternative…and one the west dont desire gaining acceptance.

    What is to be done if banks decide to use both?…will they be forced to choose?

    • Professor Longhair 33.1

      When will the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey be expelled from the Swift banking system?

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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    5 days ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    5 days ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    5 days ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
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    5 days ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
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    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
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    5 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • NZ and Papua New Guinea to work more closely together
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    6 days ago
  • Driving ahead with Roads of Regional Significance
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand congratulates new Solomon Islands government
    A high-level New Zealand political delegation in Honiara today congratulated the new Government of Solomon Islands, led by Jeremiah Manele, on taking office.    “We are privileged to meet the new Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet during his government’s first ten days in office,” Deputy Prime Minister and ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand supports UN Palestine resolution
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the 2024 Infrastructure Symposium
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    1 week ago
  • $571 million for Defence pay and projects
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • Accelerating Social Investment
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • NZ – European Union ties more critical than ever
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    2 weeks ago
  • Therapeutic Products Act to be repealed
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    2 weeks ago

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