Putin threatens Nuclear War

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, February 28th, 2022 - 254 comments
Categories: Russia, war - Tags:

Vladimir Putin, obviously hurting because some of his personal ill gotten wealth has been frozen has upped the ante by raising the spectre of the use of Nuclear Weapons.

I am surprised that there should be any local supporters of Putin’s actions but there are.

Over at the Daily Blog Comrade Chris Trotter waxed lyrically about how the break up of the USSR was a disaster for the world.

There is precious little evidence of hard-headed realism in the West’s diplomacy, only inchoate rage at Russia’s stubborn refusal to become the vassal of a declining American super-power and its dangerous kennel of NATO attack-dogs.

Vladimir Putin was absolutely correct to describe the break-up of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical catastrophe. The Russians had done the world an enormous favour in taking responsibility for the cutthroat nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltic littoral.

His justification for this statement is the contribution the Eastern States made to the holocaust during the second world war.  This has been challenged on a historical basis but even if true it is hard to understand how something that occurred 80 years ago would be justification for the invasion of a pro Western nation with a Jewish leader.

And saying that the Ukraine people are slavering curs is the sort of linguistic overreach that only Comrade Trotter could engage in.

He finishes by claiming that the Russian Bear has nuclear teeth and so it does.

Putin is willing to engage in the sort of brinkmanship that the world has not seen for decades.

From Radio New Zealand:

“As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension – I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well – but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country,” Putin said on state television.

The actions against Russia are varied and increasing in their bite.  Germany and the EU have committed to the purchase and/or supply of weapons.  Various trade and movement restrictions have been put in place.  RU videos have been taken down from Youtube.  Russian airlines have been banned from most of European air space.  And in perhaps the most damaging step Russian access to the SWIFT banking system has been curtailed.

Russian assets are being frozen although perhaps the net needs to be widened.

The Ukraine people are putting up a stern fight exemplified by this very brave woman who told a Russian soldier to put sunflower seeds in his pockets so that when he died on Ukraine soil sunflowers would grow.

Peace talks are planned.  Ukraine President Zolodymyr Zelenskiy has said “Let them try so that later not a single citizen of Ukraine has any doubt that I, as president, tried to stop the war”.

Is the invasion of a sovereign nation and the shelling of civilian areas justification for the responses taken by other nations?  Of course.  And in our highly connected world the measures taken will hurt.

Are these responses justification for threatening of Nuclear War?  I am surprised that the question even has to be asked.  And that war mongering uber rich Comrade Putin could have support among the left in Aotearoa is something that I cannot understand.

254 comments on “Putin threatens Nuclear War ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    I agree that it is a very scary threat, and Putin is highly unpredictable, and probably verging on paranoid crazy.

    However, probably the fact that he is making the threat might be a sign that he isn't serious as it removes the advantage of surprise. If he was really serious he would have launched nukes without warning.

    I am hoping that some of the saner heads in Russia decide to remove Putin from power as I think he is clearly becoming unhinged.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      In this age of almost ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance the element of surprise is a very hard to achieve and sustain, so it has less value than it once did.

      Putin openly parked troops on the Ukraine border for a month and a lot of people thought he was just using them as a pressure tactic. But in the end he had to either use them or back down. Now he has put himself in the same position with this nuclear threat; follow through or back down. Either way he losses.

      This is why Ukraine always mattered – a very short path from threats to catastrophe.

      • tsmithfield 1.1.1

        I think the element of surprise is a bit different with a military force. It is very difficult to surprise in this sort of invasion situation that necessitates the build up of military assets over a long period.

        So far as the nuclear threat goes, he hasn't specifically threatened to attack with nuclear weapons as far as I know. But, rather putting them on alert, which is a bit different.


        I wouldn't rule out him being nutty enough to pull the trigger on this though, which is the scary thought.

        I hope that sane heads replace him before he has a chance to follow through with any threats.

        • RedLogix

          Agreed, but the the core problem with absolute political power is that is carefully surrounds itself with compromised sycophants who cannot act against the centre.

          This does not rule out a palace coup as we would all hope for, but I would not count on one.

          • tsmithfield

            That is why I am hoping the coming peace talks between Ukraine and Russia find a way for Russia to back out of this situation without Putin being seen to lose face. If Putin can leave with some sort of token gain to justify his action he might be more ready to leave.

            I don't see him as the sort of person who takes losing very well.

            • Andrew Miller

              If only there were history lessons as to where that kind of approach gets us.

            • mikesh

              Gaining independence for Donetsk and Luhansk would be a worthwhile face saver. I wonder if Zelenski would see them as trouble spots which the country might well benefit from being rid of.

      • Andrew Miller 1.1.2

        I could be wrong, but I believe he really expects the West to back down. They’ve not meaningfully stood up to him in past, he’s assumed they will blink this time as well.

        • tsmithfield

          I agree that is what he was probably expecting. He was probably expecting a fractured, wet bus ticket response from the west.

          That the west has galvanised in a co-ordinated manner around sanctions has probably surprised him. Hopefully, this sort of response from the west will also dissuade countries such as China from acting in a similar way, with respect to Taiwan for instance.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1.3

        Putin openly parked troops on the Ukraine border for a month and a lot of people thought he was just using them as a pressure tactic.

        Yes and no. In reality Ukraine took the one month opportunity to obtain large quantities of some of the most useful weapons for them now – Javelin, NLAW and stinger missile systems.

    • Craig H 1.2

      Well said, and there is also no guarantee that, even if commanded to do so, the Russian military will actually carry out the orders either. If the USA have launched nuclear missiles, I can see that (obviously), but not if it is just to bring Ukraine or countries supporting Ukraine to heel.

    • McFlock 1.3

      No, the thing about Putin is that he's one of the better candidates for the Rational Actor Model. A self-serving, but logical, decision-maker.

      This isn't an escalation into wild threat territory. It's a porcupine rattling its bristles – "watch yourself, back off, I have pointy things".

      Now Europe and Nato have belatedly gotten off their arses, the guns'n'ammo'n'jets will start flowing in. Russia wants to minimise that, but also stop things like "training" assistance: folks like Green Berets going in as advisors to help get the civilian-soldiers into shape. Direct military assistance is right out – no units on the ground fighting alongside the Ukrainians.

      The other thing is that Putin getting button-punchy could get him killed by his own staff and backers. He might fuck things up so badly he wants WW3 as a hail mary shot, but the other oligarchs and his crew might happily shoot him and tell the world "yay the Big Bad is dead, we're cool now, right?"

    • Tricledrown 1.4

      Putin is unhinged but predictable .

      He sees a weakness and exploits it.

      Russians are very good chess players Putin out smarts the west.Check it out mate.

      • Andrew Miller 1.4.1

        That’s exactly it, but I’m hoping where he’s massively miscalculated is that he’s gone too far for Western leaders to keep pretending the wet bus ticket approach is reasonable or works.
        There’s always been scores of non military options that could have had real impact, but for various reasons depending on the country, there’s never been a willingness to use them till now.

        With regards to nukes and this goes to some of the comment I’ve seen saying “Well Trump would have done better because he may have threatened to nuke the Kremlin” is carrying out the threat requires a lot of other people who probably aren’t that keen on ending civilisation as we know it.

    • Hunter Thompson II 1.5

      "I am hoping that some of the saner heads in Russia decide to remove Putin from power as I think he is clearly becoming unhinged."

      Judging by the expressions on the faces of 2 of Putin's army generals the other day (while he complained about NATO aggression) this thought may well be going thru' their minds also.

      Put a strong sedative in his coffee and bundle him off in a straitjacket before he gets them all killed.

  2. Reality 2

    I have not read Chris Trotter's meandering waffle for quite some time. He had become too enamoured with himself.

    • In Vino 2.1

      Sorry to be rude, but I think Trotter is ten times the writer and knowledgeable analyst that anyone on this website is. Read what he has written since Putin's invasion, rather than nit-picking off what he wrote beforehand, selectively quoting from points he was making with justification at the time.

      I think that Trotter's biggest problem is the lack of reading skills and historical knowledge amongst his detractors.

  3. Bruce 3

    I found this interesting background of the man, and perhaps some understanding of his motives.


    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Thanks for that extremely well-articulated comprehensive profile. Rapid-fire delivery with an Indian accent isn't easy to follow but she's an impressive presenter!

      Putin the working-class hero. It's actually rare nowadays for working-class males to even enter a political hierarchy let alone ascend to the top of one. And that thing about the motherland is ever so early 20th century. You could call him retro on both counts.

      Getting reported by spook analysis as having a minimised sense of danger is amusing. You can imagine the KGB bosses reading that and thinking, wow, a supercool dude from the younger generation, so they're not all beatlemaniacs thank god, and marking him up for promotion.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        My assessment of Putin is that he is indeed a remarkable man who could have offered so much more to the world than this. Instead he is captured by an ethnocentric ideology and a xenophobic Kremlin mindset that has a deep allergy to democracy.

        It is my sense that he has a deeply conservative personality, and what we are seeing is the extremes of this playing out.

        • Dennis Frank

          Yeah but it does indicate a potential exit strategy, in which the west could offer him a positive outcome – one in which Russia achieves a position of regional strength & security via relinquishing imperial aspirations.

          It's not as if peaceful coexistence is a novel concept. The UN was founded on that aspiration. It's just that US (de facto) imperialism has been using NATO as a mechanism to marginalise Russia. In the aftermath of the Cold War that seemed a prudent implementation of the precautionary principle but in retrospect the US agenda seems obvious. Dumb buggers in the CFR didn't believe the Cold War had really ended. So they told the world Russia was becoming a democracy whilst knowing that was mere propaganda.

          The con worked until Putin replaced Yeltsin and began his long fight-back campaign. Those in Russia who kept recycling Putin must have sussed out the yank agenda behind NATO's expansion. To persuade them & him that they need be paranoid about the west no longer requires a strategy from the west based on authenticity rather than deceit. A partnership model.

          Such a thing could work on the basis of neoliberalism due to the potential for it to first relax the squeeze on the Russian economy and second, provide a path to the future in which Russia re-stabilises without being threatened. That would require a staged reduction in the deployment of nuclear weapons. So a paradigm shift in geopolitics, with a back to the future theme. Need NATO? Only if there's a threat of sufficient magnitude to retain it.

          The obvious problem with this scenario is the marriage of neoliberalism & democracy. Russians don't trust democracy due to Yeltsin's failure. They need a domestic working model to succeed before they will adopt it. So the trick will be getting Putin to agree that Russia can ditch the strong-man president-for-life model and partner with the west on a parity basis. Putin will think about Xi and tell the west okay, I'll do that if he does too…

          • Andrew Miller

            “regional strength & security via relinquishing imperial aspirations”

            Please explain how that works?

            The regional strength and security is dependent on dominating the region, so what does that mean for various countries independence self determination?

            We say he can turn the region into client states, so long as they’re not actually subsumed into ‘Greater Russia’?

            ‘Peaceful coexistence’ is fine, but it can also mean sacrificing millions of peoples rights to determine their own future.

            • Dennis Frank

              Well it would be likely to work on a cost/benefit basis when all involved can feel assured that the benefits out-weigh the costs.

              The basic model that applies in geopolitics is the Marshall Plan, which worked on that basis. That's why it succeeded. I've never heard of anyone doubting the success of the thing, so I assume the ubiquitous view of the success of the plan was due to the precise fit between problem & solution.

              I agree with the principle of national self-determination – it accords with democracy as an ideal. Ukraine was split down the middle on the question of joining NATO & Europe (read the wiki on Ukraine/NATO for the history of that). When half the people are averse, the will of the people is moot.

              So a better plan is essential. Since NATO is only valid as a military strategy on the basis of threat perception shared amongst many nations, it will lose validity if the threat evaporates. An incentive-structure that reframes Putin & Russian views of western nations has to be the basis of that better plan, if their reframing opens up a viable path toward peaceful co-existence. The Marshall Plan was both economic & geopolitical in how it operated, remember. It used the right incentive-structure.

          • lprent

            … one in which Russia achieves a position of regional strength & security via relinquishing imperial aspirations.

            The problem with that general approach is that it would founder on the self-determination of the nations and populations that it would have to be imposed on.

            After all that is exactly at the heart of Putin's problem with the Ukraine – they want to go their own way. As does Poland, Hungary, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and all of the bordering states. They know the way of Russian 'suggestions', and those who get them imposed have a strong tendency to shuck them off with the periodic rebellion or revolutions.

            So which one of those would be offered up a trussed up trophy of great power wanking?

            • Dennis Frank

              A peace plan has to provide a feasible solution, seen as such by all involved. When multiple countries are stakeholders, a plan will get too complex too fast unless it is based on a simple design. That's why the Marshall Plan seems to have worked, I suspect (haven't read it in detail).

              Way to go would be meetings of the foreign ministers of all involved countries. The UN could do that organising. If it could resist temptation to traditional uselessness via grandstanding, showboating etc it could direct participants toward co-creating a solution, using the Marshall Plan as the basic model of the regional design.

              • Andrew Miller

                If Putin’s issue isn’t really NATO but the presence or potential presence of functioning liberal democratic nations on Russia’s borders, I still don’t see how what your proposing solves that fundamental problem. What does Putin get from this deal?
                Ukraine being ‘neutral’ is meaningless to him if it’s also democratic, open, free and as a result Western looking.

                • Dennis Frank

                  It struck me, reading his history in recent days, how his accession to state power coincided with the first major NATO expansion after the Cold War (1999). That seems to have threatened his status perception.

                  It gets down to how he framed the dissolution of the Soviet empire to himself. He's on record as saying communism was a mistake but we can only guess at the rest. His behaviour since suggests that rebuilding Russia into a position of regional strength has been the priority but could be he had no intention of threatening the west, right?

                  Except that the yanks, using the expansion of NATO as covert imperialism, were trying to encircle him. So he had to react strategically to that threat. Ukraine's schism re western alignment gave him leverage, so he discovered how to reduce the threat from NATO.

                  I'm proposing the west play a different game: peaceful co-existence. Threats are juvenile when unnecessary. Get real about that! If they stop with their crap foreign policy & offer to be constructive instead, using the Marshall Plan as model, Putin could accept trade as a basis for all the struggling countries of eastern Europe to work together.

                  • Andrew Miller

                    You keep repeating the words peaceful co-existence and Marshall with engaging with the question I’m asking.
                    How is ‘peaceful co-existence’ possible if Putin’s real problem is Eastern European countries being free, democratic and self determining. What would it even look like?
                    Either the nations of Eastern Europe are allowed to determine their own futures or they aren’t.
                    Given the nature of Putin’s regime, it would seem likely any democratic country is going to align with other democracies over an autocracy.
                    The entire point of this, is Putin wants to prevent that happening.
                    If you were to talk to the Baltic states they’d tell you that it’s NATO membership that maintains that opportunity for them. The idea that it’s US imperialism is childish nonsense.
                    I genuinely don’t understand what ‘peaceful co-existence’ means in that context.

  4. kejo 4

    NATO could have helped avoid this by declaring a decision not to expand eastwards

    • Phil 4.1

      It's not NATO's fault that Ukraine wants western assistance to protect them from a neighbouring nation that has already annexed a chunk of their land, actively supported breakaway factions, and for years openly said they want to retake the entire region on the flimsy justification that they used to own it and miss controlling it.

    • mickysavage 4.2

      They could have but why should a sovereign nation not have the right to make its own decisions concerning defence. Same applies to Cuba.

    • Andrew Miller 4.3

      Utter utter nonsense.
      The Baltic states were banging on the door pleading to be let in, why do you think that was?

      If you’re saying they and other parts of Eastern Europe just need to suck it up, abandon any pretence of self determination and learn to live with being Putin client states, then at least be up front and honest about it.
      NATO is a red herring, what Putin really hates is the idea of these countries as self determining liberal democracies. His world view is that form of government isn’t appropriate for people of that region. A free and democratic Ukraine is the clown standing behind him, mocking everything he believes in.

      If Russia was a state with a free press, free elections, that didn’t murder journalists and dissidents, where Presidents stood down after losing elections, are you saying they’d still see NATO as a threat?

      • Blazer 4.3.1

        NATO is not a red herring.Continuing encirclement of Russia by building up armaments in adjacent countries is a legitimate concern.

        Very debateable as to whether Ukraine is a democracy,and plenty of evidence that NATO is not just a defensive pact.

        Ghostwhowalks has provided alot of background history regarding eastern Europe, and NATO's worthless guarantees regarding expansion.

        By refusing to accept any of Russia's demands the die was cast for war.

        A large proportion of Ukrainians speak other languages and this 'democracy' is not so tolerant….

        Unian reported that "A ban on the use of cultural products, namely movies, books, songs, etc., in the Russian language in the public has been introduced" in the Lviv Oblast in September 2018.[71] Critics[who?] called the law ill-defined, illegal, and unconstitutional, and a successful January 2019 court challenge by the Chuhuiv Human Rights Group was dismissed on technical grounds in May, and could lead to a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights.[72]

        • McFlock

          Why did those countries want to join Nato, by the by? Funzies and lolz?

          • Blazer

            Because they see a benefit in joining.

            The same motivation countries have in joining all sorts of Alliances.

            • Andrew Miller

              And what benefit was that?

              Seriously, it’s not like it’s a mystery, people in those countries have explicitly stated why they wanted to join and what they felt may happen if they didn’t.
              Ukraine’s democracy is deeply flawed, but it’s clearly superior to the situation in Russia where it’s non existent.

              If Russia didn’t believe it had the right to dominate ‘its’ region, didn’t have imperial ambitions, had a free press, didn’t murder journalists and dissidents, had anything resembling the rule of law, please tell what threat NATO would provide?

              Surely you get it, that the days of people falling for that kind of absurd moral equivalence are over where Putin’s concerned.

              • Blazer

                There is no shortage of arguments about 'domination' and 'democracy'.as I'm sure you are aware.

                Singapore,Saudi Arabia and Thailand are 3 quite benign examples where democracy is not so important.

                As we know the U.S is the self appointed 'police man ' of the world,with over 800 bases to maintain its influence.

                Put its record re human rights under the microscope and it gets ugly.

                • McFlock

                  If the US is so bad, why would they want to join NATO rather than align with Russia?

                  • Blazer


                    • McFlock

                      So to take that at face value, it seems your claim is that the West prefers to buy nations' allegiance, while Russia is either broke or just wants to conquer militarily instead?

                    • Blazer

                      You can't outbid the petro dollar,at least not…yet.

                      West ponied up billions for the new regime 2014 on.

                      Hunter Biden who wouldn't know how to plug in an electric fan was on $50k a month at a Ukrainian energy co.

                    • McFlock

                      Why would Ukraine pay Hunter Biden in order to get the NATO relationship that NATO was supposedly bribing Ukraine to get?

                      Even if we went full tinfoil hat, the bribee doesn't pay the bag man, the briber does that.

                  • Blazer

                    I think Biden may have had some very useful political connections…in fact his father Joe was V.P of the U.S.A and now I believe he is…President.wink

                    • McFlock

                      You're missing the point.

                      1. You said that the Ukraine wants to join NATO because of money.
                      2. If NATO is giving the Ukraine money to get the Ukraine to join NATO, Ukraine does not need to bribe Biden for political influence.
                      3. You don't bribe someone to do something they were paying you to let them do. That's just stupid.

                      So try again: why did Ukraine want to join NATO rather than align with Putin?

                    • Blazer

                      I did say -1.

                      The rest is all yours.

                      You seem confused about NATO/U.S/Biden.

                      'if the U.S is so bad'…….is where you fell over.

                    • McFlock

                      Q: why would they want to join NATO rather than align with Russia?

                      A: money

                      They're not wanting to join NATO so they can give NATO money, are they? I'm sure they could give NATO money without having to join.

                      So what do you mean "money"? How, speficially, is money a motive for Ukraine wanting to join NATO?

                    • McFlock

                      Why was H.Biden even involved with Ukraine?

                      For a job?

                      What else would a Ukrainian company pay him for? How is it relevant to Ukraine aligning with Nato?

                    • Blazer


                      Situations Vacant…..

                      Wanted,Energy Coy director for Ukrainian Energy Coy.

                      -prefer someone who can't speak Ukrainian

                      -no experience in the energy sector required

                      -being son of a U.S V.P would be an advantage

                      -$50k per month

                      -apply direct to the President of the Ukraine

                      -I can smell the ukrainium on your breathe…Mac.cheeky

                    • McFlock

                      So you seem to be implying that the role was some sort of bribe, as far as any coherence can be supposed from your comment.

                      So why would ukraine want to get into Nato's good books via bribery, rather than cosying up to russia?

                      It's a pretty clear question you keep avoiding.

                    • Blazer

                      @McFlock….its all about the U.S….get it!

                      You heard Biden say he would shutdown Nordstream2….forget about the rest of NATO…its what the U.S wants.

                    • McFlock

                      Perhaps if you were to form a coherent sentence (and then maybe expanded that effort into paragraph structure) it would be more clear to me.

                      As it is, apparently you seem to think that the Ukraine is bribing the US $600k/year (via HB) in order for the US to pressure Nato to expand into the Ukraine and thereby shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

                      Damned good bargain for the Ukrainians, that. although more convoluted than a Bond villain’s plot.

                  • Blazer

                    ' in Ukraine in February 2014 at the end of the Euromaidan protests, when a series of violent events involving protesters, riot police, and unknown shooters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv culminated in the ousting of elected president Viktor Yanukovych and the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.Wikipedia

                    The incumbent Govt was aligned with Russia.

                    The 'new 'Govt (funded by the west)figured out that the best way to maintain their power was to align itself with its patrons.surprise

                    Power/influence always equals ….'money'.

                    Not surprising and very simple to comprehend.cheeky

                    • McFlock

                      yeah, I get all that yadda yadda, but you tacked on:

                      Hunter Biden who wouldn't know how to plug in an electric fan was on $50k a month at a Ukrainian energy co.

                      Why would they do that? Yes, I know he's Biden's son, etc, but why would they bribe decision makers to do what the decision makers were doing anyway?

                      It's a contradictory conspiracy theory. US/NATO spends millions if not billions to get Ukraine on the team, so Ukraine spends $600k/year for that to keep happening? It might as well save its money and buy a few more AT rockets

                    • Blazer

                      There is no conspiracy theory…just facts.

                      Ukraine receives plenty of 'defensive' weaponary…gratis.

                      Why do Russian oligarchs donate to the Tory party in the U.K?

                      They could just buy another….Bentlesurprisey!

                    • McFlock

                      Facts are what happens.

                      Theories are the motives you ascribe to those things: aligning with NATO because "money": that's a theory. Mentioning HB having a job in the same paragraph as the Nato alignment: that implies a theory.

                      Another theory is that Ukraine was aligning with NATO to avoid Russian control as Ukraine sees Russia as its most likely aggressor, and that NATO is giving weapons to Ukraine because Russian unilateral control of Ukraine is bad for European stability and energy supplies. I suspect that this is more likely than your theories about motives being driven by conflicting flows of bribe money.

                    • Blazer

                      @Mcflock…you keep repeating your same conclusion.

                      Why was H.Biden even involved with Ukraine?

                    • lprent []

                      Why was H.Biden even involved with Ukraine?

                      I believe it had something to do with making a living? But sure – you can believe in thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories. Just don’t do them on my posts on a completely separate topic.

                    • Blazer

                      @LPrent….I'll believe whatever I like thanks.

                      Don't worry ,I avoid posts where everyone has to sing off the same songsheet.

                      [lprent: There is a topic on every post except for Open Mike and Daily Review. The author sets that and often enforces it. If you want to piddle down your leg and make that your topic – try Open Mike. You can believe what you want to believe. However on this site you need to be able to argue it as well. You’re not very good at robust debate – just being a dimwit with badly thought through opinions.

                      BTW: It is hard enough for authors finding the time to write or moderate without having a fool trying to side track the post into some damn fool conspiracy theory. We need authors. We really don’t need piss-poor behaviour from from demented commentators like you. I’d suggest keeping broadly to the topic on posts with topic. Eventually I or another moderator will kick you off the site for poor behaviour otherwise. ]

                    • Incognito []

                      Don’t be daft, such Posts don’t exist here on The Standard. If we don’t like the ‘singing’, we turn off all comments under a Post and this has never happened, AFAIK – what would be the point of a Post without a comment section? After all this time and numerous comments, moderation notes, and Posts you still maintain that only certain opinions are allowed here on this forum when this is absolutely and demonstrably not true.

                      Sorry, Lynn, but I had to vent – these sorts of lies really get up my nose.

                  • mikesh

                    They look at the US through rose coloured spectacles. When they look at Russia they wear blinkers.

                    • McFlock

                      It's probably more that the devil on your doorstep is the bigger problem than the devil farther away

                  • Blazer

                    'Mentioning HB having a job in the same paragraph as the Nato alignment: that implies a theory'=except I can't see where I stated that.

                    The 2014 coup is a fact.

                    That Ukraine is on Russias border and wants to join NATO are facts.

                    Both you and I can have opinions that can be classified as …'theories'…so what…that is the essence of commentary on forums like…this.

                    • McFlock

                      Fair call, you're a bit to disjointed for paragraphs.
                      to recap:

                      If the US is so bad, why would they want to join NATO rather than align with Russia?

                      • Blazer …

                        28 February 2022 at 3:32 pm


                        • McFlock …

                          28 February 2022 at 3:50 pm

                          So to take that at face value, it seems your claim is that the West prefers to buy nations' allegiance, while Russia is either broke or just wants to conquer militarily instead?

                        • Blazer …

                          28 February 2022 at 5:05 pm

                          You can't outbid the petro dollar,at least not…yet.

                          West ponied up billions for the new regime 2014 on.

                          Hunter Biden who wouldn't know how to plug in an electric fan was on $50k a month at a Ukrainian energy co.

                      Why bring up HB then, if not to pimply some sort of bribery?
                      The problem isn't that you're theorising, the problem is that you are positing theories that conflict with each other and you confuse them with fact.

                      Yes, there was a coup in ukraine.

                      Since then there have been elections a fuckload more free than anything Russia has had possibly this century.

                      Yes, Ukraine wants nato to supply some manner of protection. The current invasion suggests why.

                    • Blazer

                      Can't see this conflict' you speak of….

                      You have introduced terms like-'bribe' and conjecture like…'if the U.S is so bad…why'

                      All your own work.

                    • McFlock

                      Why bring up HB then, if not to imply some sort of bribery?

                      What relevance, at all, does Hunter Biden have to the "money" that makes Ukraine want to align with NATO rather than Russia?

                    • Blazer

                      @ Mcflock -your very own …conundrum.

                    • McFlock

                      Not much of a conundrum. Seems obvious that you don't think your theories through, so in your mind people end up bribing each other to do what they were going to do anyway.

                      • Ukraine aligns with Nato for the money nato give it.
                      • Nato wants Ukraine to align with it because Biden's son has a six-figure salary.

                      Nato doesn't need to bribe Ukraine, Ukraine doesn't need to bribe Biden, same outcome: ukraine aligns with Nato.

                • Andrew Miller

                  Pure whataboutery and moral relativism.

                  Your kind of left are like cockroaches, no matter what happens a few of you survive pumping the same bs. If Orwell was reincarnated the only difference he’d note is you’ve thankfully shrunk in number.

                  Btw, are you enjoying singing from an almost identical hymn sheet as Trumpists?

              • mikesh

                Why shouldn't Russia murder journalists and dissidents; why shouldn't they do without a free press, or the rule of law. Sure, these things may morally wrong but, looked at from the point of view of 'self determination', what right do we have to dictate how Russia should run its country

                It seems we advocate self determination for everybody else, but not for Russia.

                In other words, why the hell are you rabbiting on about ‘self determination’

                • McFlock

                  No, not sure anyone here has ever advocated for the right of any nation to murder journalists or dissidents – until you did it here, of course.

                  • mikesh

                    I don't believe people should murder one another. But you apparently don't believe in autonomy or self determination.

                    • McFlock

                      Just to clarify your position, you don't believe people should commit murder, but in the interests of "self determination" you can't see why Putin shouldn't be able to do murder journalists?

            • mikesh

              Russia probably saw NATO as "ganging up on" Russia.

              • Andrew Miller

                When you’ve made an effort to distinguish between a people and a dictator you might say something worth taking seriously.

                Or if you want to make an effort to explain how self determination = a tyrant doing what they want to their own people with impunity I’m sure we’d all love to read it.

                • mikesh

                  If you can explain why certain actions might not be seen as "ganging up" on on someone, or some country, I might take you seriously. The point is whether something may be interpreted in a certain way, not who does the interpreting.

        • Stuart Munro

          If Nato had been building up armaments to threaten Russia you might have a point – but there are no Nato nukes in Estonia pointed at Moscow – way closer than Ukraine. And Nato comprises a scary 6% of Russia's borders. If there were an encirclement strategy it would have got a mighty long way to go.

          The easy test of the Nato pretext is Georgia and Kazakhstan. There was no Nato involvement in either, and Putin went in and sacked them anyway. Nato or no Nato, Putin likes to do whatever he likes.

          • Blazer

            NATO is supposedly a defensive organisation.

            As for….'And Nato comprises a scary 6% of Russia's borders.'…I'm sure you have seen how vast Russia is!

            Downplaying with a meaningless %.

            and more downplaying-'there are no Nato nukes in Estonia pointed at Moscow – '

            Plenty of cities and towns besides Moscow…and plenty more members of NATO than…Estonia.

            • Stuart Munro

              The % is exactly as meaningless as Putin's pretext.

              It is better not to swallow enemy misdirection – and, to the extent that you hold democratic ideals, Putin is indeed your enemy.

  5. Check the beaches and oceans for a "thanks for all the fish" Dolphin note.

  6. Andrew Miller 6

    After years of craven appeasement (for instance wtf was RT ever doing on West TV screens, it’s not a new channel and it’s staff aren’t journalists, it’s the propaganda arm of a dictatorship) now that there’s finally been steps taken that may actually impact Putin, he’s upping the ante to see if any one will blink.

    As for Comrade Trotter, he’s always been a tedious blowhard but he’s now lost the plot to such a degree it would be impossible to tell the difference between his actual writing and a parody.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      Its you thats lost the plot Mr Miller. Your musings sound as though they have lifted straight from the pages of Londons Daily Telegraph

      AS much it might upset your ideas of unicorns and princesses who ride them , the Wests leaders including Thatcher and Kohl did discuss and promise to Gorbachev- and historical reserach provides the documents and meetings notes to prove it- that Nato wouldnt move its membership east.

      Its moot now as of course it did happen

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        As others have cogently said, if smaller nations like Ukraine, and now Finland, feel the urgent desire to join NATO to defend themselves – it is not the Europeans who they are being threatened by.

        As far as I am concerned, Russia itself should have joined NATO by now. If not for an autocratic Kremlin and Putin, Russia would likely be a fledgling democracy and a thriving member of the EU. None of this would be happening.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Its nice that you think that. But Great powers dont work like that , never have.

          NZ was likely strong armed into sending 'forces- vaguely non combattant but they did anyway- into Afghanistan and on a lessor scale in Iraq

          The Afghan invasion had morphed by that time into a NATO one, no doubt as a US 'directive'

          We in NZ as a little neighbour get strong armed by Australia on certain matters. Its the way it is

          • RedLogix

            I would suggest that the millions of ordinary Ukrainian people who are facing down almost certain death to defend their nation right now would have some concise words to say to you.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Iraq invasion by US -UK-Australia was my point about how great powers operate. How many of your 'millions' did that effect
              ‘Most gallingly for the US, its reporters have told a story that Washington either disagrees with or would rather remain untold: that the kind of war America is prosecuting in Iraq is messy and heavy handed; that civilians are too often the victims, and that the insurgents are not shadowy sinister figures but ordinary men with more support than politicians would like to acknowledge.’
              background about GW Bush intention to Bomb the Qatar based Al Jazerra news outlet

              That they asked for and didnt get UN 'permission'. Dont you love how these things work.

              Ukraine didnt get 'permission ' to join Nato anyway.

        • Tricledrown

          The power vacuum after the fall of communism wasn't dealt with properly.KGB operatives took up the slack and now we have another despot dictator in power.

          Zsar,communist dictator,capitalist dictator,what's next another dictator.

        • Muttonbird

          Smaller nations like Ukraine?

          It's the second biggest country in Europe!

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.2

        If they did make those promises, they lacked the authority to make them and NATO can't be held to them. Gorbachev would know that as well as anyone.

        There's a reason why the democracies neighbouring Russia were so keen to join NATO. We're seeing a demonstration of that reason right now.

      • Andrew Miller 6.1.3

        I’m quite sure why I’m expecting anything reasonable out of someone with Stalin avatar, but hey…

        As I’ve already said to you, let’s accept those promises were made.
        Does that bind all NATO members for all time?What about the aspirations of nations who have no interest in being client states of Russia?

        If you’re saying the West should have told the Baltic states, “Yeah we know you want to join, and fear Russia but sorry we made a promise so you and the rest of Eastern Europe just need to suck up what that means for you” then at least have the decency to say it.

        I would point out, that there’s virtually no one left who’d actually buy the idea that if we’d agreed not to expand NATO that those nations in Eastern Europe would have been left to determine their own futures.
        If you want to keep pushing that fantasy you’ll just look increasingly silly.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Of course it wasnt binding … but whos the people talking about rules based order which never apply when ummm the jackboot is on different feet.

          Anyway Finland did just fine since 1945 under its accommodations to sit between east and West

          They even have a name for it …Finlandisation, never hurt them one little bit

        • mikesh

          What about the aspirations of nations who have no interest in being client states of Russia?

          But if those 'aspirations' included the joining of NATO, wouldn't a Russian consider that downright unneighbourly. Why shouldn't Russia have its own "Munroe doctrine".

          • Andrew Miller

            Does your grand theory of ‘Big powerful countries have a right to crush small ones beneath their might’ apply to everyone or just Russia?

    • Blazer 6.2

      I would guess you're a Bush fan….he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera using the same brand of 'logic'..you possess.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2.1

        Good point . Even worse the Brits wanted to censor the existence of the discussions

        'Instead, as the interview with John Humphrys ground to an end shortly after 8.30am, the urbane Lord Goldsmith found himself explaining why he had warned national newspapers not to reveal the contents of a top secret memo detailing a lengthy conversation between the Prime Minister and President George Bush over the direction of the war in Iraq.


      • Andrew Miller 6.2.2

        Yeah, all those years ago when I standing in central London as a steward watching 1m people march passed me all that went through my head was how much I loved GWB.

        You Tankies really are shameless…and clueless.

      • Stuart Munro 6.2.3

        Different Bush.

  7. Barfly 7

    You've gotta love the bear! devil

  8. Sanctuary 9

    According to an AFP tweet just now the EU's weapons package could include fighter jets (presumably MiG-29 and Su-25s from NATO members in eastern Europe) so Putin's actions appear to reflect his frustration at the failure of his offensive so far and to be an attempt to stop all this "everything short of war" help from NATO by threatening the use of nuclear weapons.

  9. Treetop 11

    A 600 billion monetary reserve, vast land with minerals and agriculture, second largest exporter of gas, independent sovereignty, this is not enough for Putin. He wants European dominance and he will spill the blood of the innocent to attain it.

  10. CrimzonGhost 12

    It seems ex-Trot Trotter has become a Stalinist. Real Leftists should adhere to a "Neither Washington nor Moscow …nor Beijing" Policy. A pox on all their houses. Real Leftists adhere to the idea that nations/nationalities have the right to self determination and support independence struggles. Real leftists believe that imperialism & colonialism are wrong whether it was done by British, French, Gemans, Belgians etc, or by U.S., Russian or Chinese.

    • Blazer 12.1

      And what about real …righties.

      What are their…principles…?

      • Puckish Rogue 12.1.2

        As for lefties true motivations:

        The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others ; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'

  11. I was saying the other day that what Covid/Mandates haven't done to split the left/progressive movements, the Ukraine conflict will finish.

    I'm afraid I don't agree at all with this post or another one on The Standard on this subject. It is the United States and its supporters who have started this war by pushing Russia back until as Putin said, it has nowhere further to retreat. Putin has always been clear about what he was looking for – Ukraine to be neutral and to not oppress its 25 million ethnic Russian citizens. This continues to be what he is asking for.

    To lay the blame on Putin, one has to provide a motivation other than Russia's security, for the military operation. However, there is no evidence that Russia has any political or economic expansionist goals. It doesn't need Ukraine's resources.

    Furthermore, there is not actual evidence of Putin engaging in the war for personal gain.

  12. Byd0nz 14

    Well, I did just read the Chris Trotter peice and although I thought him as a bit lame with some of his posts, this one is superb, and very accurate. The people of Donetsk and Lugansk are grateful that Russia has finally recognized them and their plight against the Natzi/ Nato coup as they along with Soviet soldiers paid a heavy price fighting the Nazi in WW2.

    Well done Chris Trotter. THE West is waging a proxy war against Russia, using an innocent Ukraine as bait. Shame on the Western Elite warmongers and the Facist desires of NATO.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      This thread sure flushes out the gulag guards.

      • joe90 14.1.1

        Tankies gotta be tankies.

      • adam 14.1.2

        But loading up Ukraine with weapons for untrained civilians – means no happy ending for them or their families. We know when you arm civilians like this, they will get massacred by the professionals soldiers. The modern examples are the Yugoslavia wars, the Kurds in the first gulf war, or Shia uprising in the second.

        And whilst it's a long stretch by Chris. I have no doubt the same said civilians I mention above, will be spoon feed some similar bullshit from their side. And go to their deaths swallowing it whole.

    • Tricledrown 14.2

      Russian hackers are no doubt going to have a field day with no impunity.

      Putin will sabotage any business or country.

      Putin apologists have no credibility.

      Chris Trotsky included.

      Russia is no socialist state unless you call subsidising vodka and failed feral extremist states like North Korea,Venezuela,Iran,China,no doubt Afghanistan.

      • In Vino 14.2.1

        Lord, you people are so simplistic! Trotter explains some of Putin's thinking/motives, so you call him a Putin apologist.

        Have you read his latest article?

        For a while I used to think that School Certificate was harsh because it failed 50% of students. After I had taught for a year, I realised that they should have been failing 75% for sheer laziness. I count you lot in that sector.

        And by the way, it was the old USSR that claimed to be socialist. I do not remember modern Russia making that claim.

        • McFlock

          Well that was a wasted ten minutes.

          The dude seems to start by claiming that recognising a region's declaration of independance is a "flagrant breach of international law". Russia didn't merely recognise the independance of separatist regions, Putin deployed troops let active service soldiers vacation there .

          Also, the states that "allied themselves with Nazi Germany during World War II" also had a fair number of resistance fighters and victims of Nazis – folk like some of the current president of Ukraine's forebears. But Trotter ignores that part of it: Russia is the victim in his summary. Why oh why is Ukraine making Russia hit it? Oh, poor Russia! The bear's fists are getting bruised!

          There are few, if any, good guys at work in geopolitics, but outright invasion is fundamentally different to alignment by choice.

          Then there's this bit about Lenin and the Bolsheviks, those noted wokesters:

          As good socialists they were determined to honour the principles of national self-determination. Putin’s argument is that by doing so they made the later disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics a great deal easier than it should have been. Had the Bolsheviks treated Ukraine and the other constituent republics in the same way as the Tsarist regime: beloved provinces of one great, indissoluble nation – Russia – then the almost casual agreement of December 1991 to break up the Soviet Union might have been averted.

          What a load of shit. The USSR broke up because its justification was economic security. When that collapsed, just like Yugoslavia, its constituent parts had no reason to remain part of it. The most powerful parts might try to maintain their regional hegemony (like Serbia tried and Russia is trying), but guess what? They ain't as rich and powerful any more.

          edit: oh, now I see there’s a more recent one on BR where he’s talking about the great mistake, finding it “hard to see” how putin failed to expect beforehand what trotter is bloviating about after the fact.

          • mikesh

            I thought it was Ronald Reagan who engineered the economic downfall of the Soviet Union. He even boasted about it, as though it was a fine noble thing to do. They say the guy was a bit senile. But really.

            • McFlock

              Well, that's the theory: accelerating defense expenditure led to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. As you say, it's defnitely something the republicans latched onto.

              Maybe it accelerated the fall. Fair to say that. But the Soviet union wasn't working properly, never worked properly. And there were a lot of people in the Soviet Union who didn't want to be in the soviet union, and remembered when they didn't live in the soviet union or had parents and grandparents who could tell them stories – not all of those stories were bad, some stories involved luxuries.

            • Stuart Munro

              Success has a hundred fathers, failure is an orphan.

              It was Russian elites as much as anyone that made the USSR downfall – they had to send their children to elite European schools because their own weren't good enough. They had ceased to believe in the fiction they insisted the greater population live by.

    • mickysavage 14.3

      Where is the evidence of Nazi activity and oppression? And if Russia's concern is Donetsk and Lugansk they why is it attacking Kiev?

      • Pierre 14.3.1

        The Azov Battalion is officially integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard. They wear the Wolfsangel on their uniforms. Their politics are self-described as fascist.

        The "historic mission” of Ukraine is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival” in “a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen”.

        Key positions in the Ukrainian military and Ministry of Interior are held by nazis. The Euromaidan coup in 2014 was most actively supported and carried out by neo-nazi groups such as Right Sector and "Svoboda". After Euromaidan, the new government took the opportunity to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine and crack down on left forces. The government also went about historically rehabilitating the 'anti-Soviet' (read: nazi) resistance which was responsible for the killing of Jews during the Second World War.

        Nazi groups, with the support of the Kiev regime, went on to commit terrible atrocities such as the massacre at the house of trade unions in Odessa. For other war crimes see the use of white phosphorus in Donetsk.

        As Brydon points out, the Soviet army paid a heavy price fighting these people in the Second World War, and this is well understood by Russian people today.

  13. Sabine 15

    Putin is threatening MAD – mutual assured destruction.

    And personally i hope that Putin has made his point now.

    Lastly the only time so far nuclear weapons have been used was by the US of America. Something to remember and keep in mind.

    • Puckish Rogue 15.1

      You say it like it was a bad thing the USA used atomic weapons

      • Blazer 15.1.1

        What was the strategy….1 to end the war….and an extra one…for…good luck!

        • Puckish Rogue

          Worked pretty well in that respect but you also have to figure on how many atomic bombs the USA had at the time (I think three but I could be wrong), that the Japanese government could have surrendered after the first bomb drop but didn't, that Japanese forces weren't known for giving up lightly, that the USA didn't want any more of their own troops killed and, probably a big part of it, to send a message to the USSR

      • Sabine 15.1.2

        It was a bad decision, and in the end it was a futile one. MAD is the game, and none are safer nor wiser.

        • Puckish Rogue

          It was a very good decision for the USA to limit casualties on their own side, a very bad decision for the Japanese government not to surrender after the first bomb and probably made the Russians take a deep breath, for awhile anyway

          So overall a good decision

          • Blazer

            72 hours between bombs.Still took a week to surrender.

            'The United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict'

          • Barfly

            I think the USA gave a wink and a nod to the Japanese that Hirohito would not be charged with war crimes. I believe that was because of the Russian invasion of Japan and the USA's desire to avoid any partition of Japan like what happened in Germany.

            If the USA had offered this earlier I believe Japan would have surrendered without the need to kill a few hundred thousand people by nuclear attack.

            Hirohito was considered a "living god" in Japan I don't believe there would have been a surrender without an accommodation.

            • Puckish Rogue

              'I believe'

              Good for you.

              • Barfly

                smiley weak insult – 'I believe' you can do better

                • Puckish Rogue

                  When you're talking about a gamble, which 'I believe' would have been, where if you're wrong you're talking about hundreds of thousands of extra deaths then yeah good for you

                  Dropping the bomb was the correct decision

                  • Barfly

                    Wow – the Americans knew the Japanese wanted to negotiate a surrender before the bombings their spies had learned of Japanese approaches to the Soviets asking them to be intermediaries. The Soviets did not bother to inform the Americans and proceeded with their plans to invade Japanese Manchukuo and mainland Japan. I believe the Americans really wanted to show the Soviets their shiny new weapons and killing people many Americans regarded as sub-human wasn't really a problem for them.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      'I believe the Americans really wanted to show the Soviets their shiny new weapons and killing people many Americans regarded as sub-human wasn't really a problem for them'

                      Sure that was certainly part of it.

                      It was still the right decision.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              It wasnt a wink and nod accommodation over the Emperor.

              It was left to MacArthur and after meeting him could see he would be the quiet passive studious Emperor that would suit the US purposes. They still stripped him of all powers though.

              • Barfly

                from https://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat16/sub108/item508.html

                "As part of the surrender agreement, the allies allowed Hirohito keep his throne but required him to renounce his semidivine status. In January 1st, 1945, Hirohito publicly denounced "the notion that the emperor is a living god" and rejected the idea that "the Japanese are a superior to other races destined accordingly to rule the world."

                I also read (can't find it atm) that MacArthur wrote in his diaries that in his first meeting with Hirohito in September 1946 "it had already been decided he would not be prosecuted for war crimes"

                • Barfly

                  Edit failed September 1945 *

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Thats not true .

                  The surrender document signed by Japan doesnt give assurances of the Emperor or his status. Says he and government will be subject to Allies and their supreme commander ( Macarthur)

                  They refer to Postdam agreement to require unconditional surrender

                  'Hoping that the Japanese would “follow the path of reason,” the leaders outlined their terms of surrender, which included complete disarmament, occupation of certain areas, and the creation of a “responsible government.” However, it also promised that Japan would not “be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation.” The declaration ended by warning of “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan failed to unconditionally surrender.

                  The Japanese certainly wanted to protect the status of the Emperor but didnt get any committment whatsoever

          • pat

            Easy to say in hindsight…consider the times and conditions.

            first the Japanese would have had no idea what had occurred…second it takes time to gather information about casualties …third they then need to formalise a surrender, one person dosnt just go on TV (especially when communications are considerably inferior to now) and say 'We give up"…and be believed by all concerned.

            Half a dozen days was probably the best that could be achieved given the conditions.

          • Stuart Munro

            No – the bomb was a research priority – it had nothing to do with ending the war. If bombing could have precipitated surrender, Japan would have surrendered after the much more deadly fire bomb raid on Tokyo.

            Japan had offered a limited surrender to Russia. The US demanded an unconditional surrender, which, being loyal to the divine status of the Emperor, Japan could not accept while any alternative remained. It was the Russian rejection, not the bombs, the precipitated the surrender – smells like war crime.

    • Treetop 15.2

      The lesson needs to be learned not to use nuclear weapons. The rockets with nuclear capability, could one be accidently mixed up?

      The weapons now used in war are so lethal. I heard some trucks can carry 16 missiles and be fired off in 20 seconds.

      • Sabine 15.2.1

        We have buried Iraq under the guise of Operation Iraqui Freedom in dpeleted uranium simply because we could. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium

        • Treetop

          India has uranium and see how they seem to be more aligned with the Russian Federation than with the US when it comes to who they purchase the big weapons from.

          There is little trust in the world.

          So UAE, India and China abstained in the UN Security Council vote to condemn the invasion into Ukrainia, that says a lot.

          • Sabine

            India may have Uranium – well bully them.

            That does not change the fact that the troops of the US/UK in their invasion of Iraq have used weaponry coated in depleted uranium with gusto and then some, on the country side as in cities, and well……not that anyone cares, cause they are us? Rigth? Never mind Bosnia, etc.

            After testing various metals, ordnance researchers settled on depleted uranium. The US and NATO militaries used DU penetrator rounds in the 1991 Gulf War, the Bosnia war, bombing of Serbia, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and 2015 airstrikes on ISIS in Syria.

            Depleted uranium – Wikipedia

            when it comes to that shit, we in the west need to start acknowledging that we are fearing of others what we use with such ease and so deliberatly. Weapons of Mass Destructions and weapons that will kill for eternity.

    • Barfly 15.3

      To Putin Ukrainian Paramilitary groups = Nazi's

      Bunfights in the area between Ukrainian and Russian paramilitaries/gangsters been ongoing since at least 2014 I think. Treetop points out 14,000 casualties since 2014 below.

      Why attack Kiev? Overconfidence and desire for /cough /regime change I think.

      • McFlock 15.3.1

        If it had worked, it would have been a quick run to the victory parades.

        Now it's going to be an expensive slog for the Russians, and that might lead to internal difficulties for Putin.

      • Treetop 15.3.2

        Do you think that Putin may have been hoping that Russians will not fight Russians?

        30 years is not a long time, the old way of thinking and the new way of thinking can be divisive.

        • Barfly

          The last 100 years is complicated

          Ukrainian Nationalists were a good sized part of the Russian Civil War 1917 -1922

          ref https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_War_of_Independence

          Stalin killed a few million Ukrainians in the Holodomor Genocide in the early 1930's

          ref https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

          and in WW2 there while there was a Waffen SS Division comprising of ethnic Ukrainians the German brutality ,atrocities and racist stupidity denied themselves an ally in the Ukraine as they were originally greatly welcomed. Over 4 million Ukrainians ended up fighting the Nazis.

          After Ukraine became independent in 1991 their was something of a 'rehabilitation' in the reputation of Ukrainian Nationalists who had fought for the Nazis

          Ukrainian and Russian paramilitaries have been fighting since 2014 in the 'rebel' areas

          If Putin thought the Ukrainians would be disinterested in fighting for their country that was a huge miscalculation. If anything it would seem that your average Red Army conscript is not particularly enthusiastic about invading and conquering a fellow "Slavic" country.

  14. UncookedSelachimorpha 16

    When this started I read Putin's wikipedia entry. He has kept his personal biography very secret, but when I read it, it made me think he might have a Napoleon Complex, AKA "short man's disease", which is a real thing for some people (especially literally short men).

    He was both spoilt and bullied as a child, and is very short. If he has this, it makes his ruthless and bullying behaviour (=compensation for feelings of inferiority, plus narcissism / machiavellian disorders) more understandable and predictable. Not sure what to do about it though!

    Some googling, and it seems others think along similar lines.


    I suspect Putin’s flawed personality is at the root of this (as it was for almost every tyrant), more than some strategic calculation etc (although he will be telling himself and others that such a strategy is what he is working from!).

    • ghostwhowalksnz 16.1

      Historically this is nothing new in Europe. End of Empires leads to wars. The Redrawing of Borders from Versailles Treaty at end of WW1 led to many 'new wars'

      Including the wars between the new Poland and new Soviet Union over the Ukraine virtually from the 1918 armistice into 1920

      End of Ottoman empire in Europe from the Greek independence to WW1 start led to many Balkan wars . You could say the 'last' Balkan War between Serbia and Austria Hungary was the war that started WW1

      • Treetop 16.1.1

        Good comment ghost.

        Do you see a redrawing of the border in Donbas, Luhansk and Donetsk occurring within days?

      • Barfly 16.1.2

        As an aside the colonial powers drawing of countries maps in Africa regardless of ethnic makeup has led to endless conflicts sad

        • McFlock

          Sometimes regardless, sometimes on purpose so they didn't have to import the despised middle class proxies from other parts of their empire.

        • Treetop

          What to do with Donbas, Donetsk and Luhansk has been going on since 2014. 14,000 lost lives, it is apparent that a peaceful solution is required and not a civil type war.

  15. Adrian 17

    Years ago I vaguely recall reading of the options for the Americans of 1, Bombing Japan into submission. and 2, all out invasion town by town and in both cases the death toll would have been in the tens of millions. Option 3 was detonating the bomb just offshore of Tokio to show them what it could do but there was no guarantee that the Japanese would believe that they had more bombs. Truman had terrible choices to make.

  16. Corey Humm 18


    How any progressive can justify or agree with Putin is beyond me. Russia was an oppressive murderous, violent tyrannical regime run by oligarchs when it was a communist power, it's still now an oppressive murderous violent tyrannical regime run by crypto fascists and oligarchs it's just not communist anymore.

    Solidarity to the Ukrainians and the Russian protesters who are risking lifr and limb protesting the govts war. May the they one day be able to join the rest of the world.

    I'm sick of old age hippies justifying the actions of dictators by "america bad"

    Im sick of the what about isms on the left about Europe being so eager to take in Ukrainian refugees.

    Im sick of "what about when america…"

    Deploring this does not mean forgetting about Iraq or any number of illegal wars.

    But defending Putin and buying his propaganda because you hate the west so much is just tragic… And way too stereotypical

    It's also never not gonna be bizzare to hear right wingers who call superannuation schemes and universalism communism be jumping to lick Putin's boots.

    While the the former communist bloc nations who have had to live under Russian oppression are willing to fight to the death not to go back, too many western progressives and right wingers are cosplaying and romanticizing Putin … From the safety of a liberal democracy of course ..

    Worlds gone mad.

    • Andrew Miller 18.1

      “How any progressive can justify or agree with Putin is beyond me.”

      The people agreeing with him aren’t progressives.
      This kind of left have always existed, Orwell wrote about them extensively. There’s no Soviet Union to defend any longer so they’re left performing mental gymnastics and coming up with ever more ludicrous word salads to defend Putin and China.

    • Treetop 18.2

      Worlds gone mad.

      Corruption and distrust, add guns/weapons to the mix and it becomes bloody.

  17. Dennis Frank 19

    Gordon Campbell advances the Russian mastermind thesis:

    [Dugin’s]1997 pivotal work, The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia, is a 600-page textbook that includes excerpts from some of history’s most prolific strategists….In eight parts…he establishes the strategies of Russia’s adversaries, devises his own, and provides bold steps to regain Russia’s position of dominance lost at the end of the Cold War.

    The most trenchant of these recommendations include the invasion of Georgia, the annexation of Ukraine, the separation of Britain from the rest of Europe, and the sowing of divisive seeds in the United States, each of which should sound quite familiar.


    Yeah, all them have been ticked off – except the annexation remains in question. So don't assume Putin figured it all out himself, huh?!

  18. SPC 20

    I had a long social media exchange on with someone from Hong Kong in December on the related issues of Ukraine (Russian ambitions) and Taiwan (Chinese ambitions) – I argued that Putin would not be so dumb as to to invade, because it would provoke the Germans from their complacency (Nordstrom and their risible 1% GDP on defence – despite the 2014 promise to increase it to 2% by 2024).

    I note Senator Rubio is claiming that Putin is not as formidable (sound/stable/sharp) as he was 5 years ago …

    All Putin had to do was

    1. make his case of NATO over-reach post 1990 (expansion to Warsaw Pact nations and the now independent Baltic states and NATO force presence to the borders of Byelorussia and Ukraine) in the diplomatic setting

    2. appreciate that sanctions on Russia only end once there is a better relationship with an independent Ukraine (plebescites on borders and compensation for lost territory to Ukraine) that is neutral (keeps NATO and Russian forces at arms length).

    3. commit Germany to Nordstrom

    4. seek talks on a new European arrangement (EU-Russia defence treaty and joint management of Kaliningrad) enabling the withdrawal of American forces (an EU defence zone replacing NATO).

    Where we should have got to in the 1990-2000 period, before the PNAC shower turned up to discredit "the end of history" peace in our time, with their one world super power hubris.

  19. aj 21

    The people agreeing with him aren’t progressives.

    This kind of left have always existed, Orwell wrote about them extensively. There’s no Soviet Union to defend any longer so they’re left performing mental gymnastics and coming up with ever more ludicrous word salads to defend Putin and China.

    The rhetoric I find in this thread is disheartening, and the simple parroting of Putin "bad, mad, evil, lost it, desperate, unbalanced" etc seems to me to be far from the mark. Sometimes folk need to take a deep breath.

    To imply that leftists cannot, should not, follow anything but the current almost wall -to – wall mainstream media hysteria over Russia's actions is bizarre. It is possible to have a different perspective on this matter and not be a 'Putin lover', a 'Putin Supporter'. Rational debate seems to go out the window when it comes to Russia (and China)

    Scott Ritter is a name that will be remembered by many of you, one of the few sane American voices in the lead up to the Iraq War, and since that time. He's no dummy and has a lot of experience. If I may precis from Wiki, in May 1984 he was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served in this capacity for about 12 years.
    He served as the lead analyst for the Marine Corps Rapid Deployment Force concerning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran–Iraq War.
    During Desert Storm, he served as a ballistic missile advisor to General Norman Schwarzkopf. As a Weapons inspector, Ritter "ran intelligence operations for the United Nations" from 1991 to 1998 as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq in the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which was charged with finding and destroying all weapons of mass destruction and WMD-related manufacturing capabilities in Iraq. He was chief inspector in fourteen of the more than thirty inspection missions in which he participated. He resigned as chief weapons inspector for UNSCOM in August 1998

    I'm happy to take more notice of Ritter's views than most commenting here.

    The disconnect between the Western and Russian narratives in the current conflict could prove fatal to the world, writes Scott Ritter.


    • Dennis Frank 21.1

      I see he provides a credible rationale for Putin's apparent nuclear threat. I say apparent since Ritter quotes Putin being obscure:

      In a meeting with his top generals on Sunday, the beleaguered Russian president announced, “I order the defense minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service.”

      You'll have to guess whether special mode means ready the nuclear missiles or not! Ritter connects some dots, referring to the NATO statement of 24 Feb:

      Hidden near the bottom of this statement, however, was a passage which, when examined closely, underpinned the reasoning behind Putin’s nuclear muscle-flexing. “[W]e have held consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty,” the statement noted. “We have decided, in line with our defensive planning to protect all Allies, to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defense across the Alliance.”

      Under Article 4, members can bring any issue of concern, especially related to the security of a member country, to the table for discussion within the North Atlantic Council. NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland triggered the Article 4 consultation following the Russian incursion into Ukraine. In a statement issued on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expanded on the initial NATO statement, declaring that NATO was committed to protecting and defending all its allies, including Ukraine.

      So Putin was reacting to that from NATO (calling their bluff & raising the bet).

      Three things about this statement stood out. First, by invoking Article IV, NATO was positioning itself for potential offensive military action; its previous military interventions against Serbia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2004, and Libya in 2011, were all done under Article IV of the NATO Charter. Seen in this light, the premise that NATO is an exclusively defensive organization, committed to the promise of collective self-defense, is baseless.

      Second, while Article V (collective defense) protections only extend to actual NATO members, which Ukraine is not, Article IV allows the umbrella of NATO protection to be extended to those non-NATO members whom the alliance views as an ally, a category Stoltenberg clearly placed Ukraine in.

      Finally, Stoltenberg’s anointing of Ukraine as a NATO ally came at the same time he announced the activation and deployment of NATO’s 40,000-strong Response Force, some of which would be deployed to NATO’s eastern flank, abutting Ukraine. The activation of the Response Force is unprecedented in the history of NATO, a fact that underscores the seriousness to which a nation like Russia might attach to the action.

      When seen in this light, Putin’s comments last Thursday were measured, sane, and responsible.

      And obscure!! Why they have been interpreted as a nuclear threat hasn't been explained – as far as I know. Ritter fails to address the issue…

      • aj 21.1.1

        Why they have been interpreted as a nuclear threat hasn't been explained

        Is it a first strike threat? I think not. If you've been listening to Putin over the years he's never threatened a first strike. But he would respond in kind. That's the threat, and it defines MAD.

        I think it's just a reaction – 'we are watching you very closely and in a state of readiness to respond'

        It is scary for the world. Any error – on either side – and it's all on.

        Any sane person – left or right – should be concerned with the risks here.

        I despair for the failure of the Minsk agreements.

        The Minsk agreements rest on two irreconcilable interpretations of Ukraine’s sovereignty: is Ukraine sovereign, as Ukrainians insist, or should its sovereignty be limited, as Russia demands? Instead of trying to resolve an unresolvable contradiction, Western policymakers should acknowledge the starkness of the Minsk conundrum.


      • SPC 21.1.2

        That's plausible and presumably designed to prevent/reduce the flow of weapons to Ukraine via Poland. Particularly capability to attack tanks from the air.

    • Andrew Miller 21.2

      Strawman alert, I nor do I imagine do most believe Putin is a ‘madman’, he’s not he’s a tyrant.
      Of course there’s a divergence between the Western and Russian narratives…

      If you want to tie yourself in nots to act an an apologist for a tyrant whilst pretending you’re not and it’s everyone else just being slaves to the meeja be my guest, but you can head into that ethical sewer without me.

  20. swordfish 22


    Chris Trotter's latest post (his broad argument is in the title):

    Bowalley Road: Russia Invades Ukraine: A Crime – And A Mistake.

    • pat 22.1

      It depends on what his desired outcome is.

      it is possible he will achieve it and we may not realise, or discover for some time.

    • Dennis Frank 22.2

      Trotter rambles around all over the place in this one, never gets anywhere. Odds are he's right about the mistake – but it depends on any subsequent negotiating so he's actually just guessing.

      • Muttonbird 22.2.1

        Trotter rambles around all over the place in this one, never gets anywhere.

        That's every Trotter article, tbf. His writing is an exercise in self-indulgence.

        • In Vino

          He is more a historian than most others, and therefore less prone to rashly advocating for the future than far too many here are.

    • Andrew Miller 22.3

      “Putin is a genius and his ambitions reasonable, except now a day later he’s done something crazy and so egregious even I can’t defend him and is probably going to be removed from power. Here’s a tedious suck eggs history lesson for you all to explain why I’m not a complete joke”.

      • In Vino 22.3.1

        Andrew – this is your failure to cope with perspectives a little different to your own.

        But it must be very gratifying for you to pour such scorn.

        • Andrew Miller

          I’m perfectly happy to hear perspective different to my own, but I can also spot ones that are comically incoherent (Comrade Trotter has lurched from one perspective to another in space of about 48hrs) and I don’t need to be treated like Comrade Trotter is the only person to have read history and his readers are in need of him explaining it to us in tedious detail like we’re all morons.

  21. Bob said Fred 23

    All this talk of Kiev, and the Russians being to slow to take it……mean while Berdyansk falls….


    Due to its important geostrategic location, Berdyansk was chosen as the site for the Ukrainian Naval Forces’ new naval base “East.” The eastern branch of Ukraine’s navy is presently based in Mykolaiv (upriver of the Black Sea coast and northwest of the occupied Crimean peninsula); but it is expected to be redeployed to Berdyansk in the near future in order to protect Ukrainian civil and military navigation in the Azov Sea from Russian impediment.


  22. Treetop 24

    What is the chance of an unintended missle hitting a nuclear plant in Ukrainia?

    Do reactors get shut down as a precaution and still release radiation if hit?

    • Andrew Miller 24.1

      I’m no expert but my guess would be shut down or not, a missle hitting a nuclear reactor would be catastrophic.

      Would love to be proved wrong.

  23. Subliminal 25

    It is absolutely without doubt that the extremely violent coup In the Ukraine was supported by the US. This was brought about by the elected government of the Ukraine refusing Western financing with associated austerity and choosing instead to take that offered by Russia. It is also without doubt that the elements of the opposition that recieved the greatest backing were neo-nazi and that elected officials of the US govt met with their leaders.

    It is also without doubt that after the coup, these neo-nazis were let loose to terrorise the ethnic Russian population in the east. The most notorious of these acts was the burning of at least 50 of these people after they had been herded into the trade union building in Odessa.

    It was these acts of terror and the attempts to annihilate all Russian origin culture, including language, that prompted Luhansk and Donetsk to attempt separation.

    To argue that under these conditions, Ukraine is somehow sovereign and fully able to make decisions that obviously take no account of large chunks of the "nation" is pure indulgent arrogance. To believe that a country that has been so tortured by Western manipulation has the right to set Nato against Russia is imbecility.

    Nato chooses this and forces this because Nato will not countenance a peer competitor. Nato was always going to attempt to crush Russia. It is what it was created for. Russia understands this and has chosen this moment, when it feels it has the advantage, to fight.

    • McFlock 25.1


      A week ago you were saying Russia has no intention to invade.

      Now Ukraine isn't a sovereign nation, so it's fine for putes to invade. Sounds legit /sarc

      • Subliminal 25.1.1

        I'd say the issues are a little bigger than me or my ego?

        The facts as stated above remain. The west once again supported extreme violence in its quest to subjugate another country. They knew that Russia would be obligated to invoke R2P in support of ethnic Russians.

        • McFlock

          Well, no, the facts "as stated above" are a happy little fantasy and less-than-half-truths.

          Look up the criticisms of Trotter's blog in the post – you basically used many of the same talking points. Not because of any collusion, imo – it's just a lazy way to justify the unilateral invasion of (despite your odd claim) a sovereign nation.

  24. Andrew Miller 26

    A violent Neo-Nazi coup that ended up with a Jewish President…interesting.

    You must be fun down the pub.

    • Subliminal 26.1

      Oh. Right. Lovely platitude. But then from that radical left wing paper… The Guardian..

      Dmitry claimed not to be a Nazi but waxed lyrical about Adolf Hitler as a military leader and believes the Holocaust never happened

      • Andrew Miller 26.1.1

        Does Ukraine have a problem with the far right, yes.
        Is there any country in Eastern Europe that doesn’t including Russia, no.
        Does this make the Ukrainian state illegitimate or run by neo Nazis, no.

        Have you bothered whilst being an apologist for a tyrant bothered to answer how come the neo Nazi Ukrainian state has a Jewish President who lost family in the holocaust, of course not!

        Tankies will tank…

        • Blazer

          Zelensky being Jewish is totally irrelevant.

          One of the Jewish states biggest critics,Norman Finkelstein had both parents perish in the holocaust.

          Israel seems to be taking a very neutral stance on this conflict.

          • Andrew Miller

            You Tankies are claiming the Ukraine state is effectively a Neo Nazi state with a Jewish President and the later is ‘irrelevant’.

            What does the fact that there’s Jewish critics of Israel have to do with the laughable proposition of Neo Nazis being headed by a Jew with family murdered in the holocaust?
            Do you stop and read what you just posted and consider how ridiculous is reads?

            • Blazer

              ' how come the neo Nazi Ukrainian state has a Jewish President who lost family in the holocaust, of course not!'

              Why do you think this is worth mentioning…?

              What's a 'tankie'?

  25. A very gracious and wise statement from Kenya regarding the Ukraine situation


  26. Adrian Thornton 28

    Mickey Savage…maybe you might want to do a little research before putting pen to paper….you might find it useful in finding some more nuanced and objective information that actually inform the readers of TS….your half-cocked Putin/Russia hysteria helps no one…except weapon manufacturers (and one or two others)….


    • Incognito 28.1

      The Standard offers a range of views on politics from across the Left but the authors can’t cover everything – we don’t always have the time, the knowledge, of the information to do a topic justice. We encourage guest posts to bring in a wider array of views and knowledge. A guest post can be a great way to release information to the public that you otherwise can’t.


      It takes more effort and guts than writing short rants and posting YT videos of your choosing that carry your seal of approval. I’m sure it’s not beyond you to string together a few sentences and write a coherent Guest Post that argues your personal viewpoints clearly and compellingly which can then be opened to scrutiny and debate by the commentariat. Put your pen where your mouth is and rise to the challenge.

    • Andrew Miller 28.2

      And spamming us with Chomsky videos….

      Do you think that any one that disagrees with that position hasn’t read and listened to Chomsky or the type of argument his followers commonly put forward.
      If you’ve got a coherent argument put it forward, but acting like you’re the one who’s discovered the one true faith and everyone else are just sheeple is insulting.

      • @Andrew Miller…exactly when was the last time you heard Chompsky's correct view's on NATO and the Ukraine talked about let alone debated about on MSM?…a couple of links please….

        • Andrew Miller

          I have zero interest in search for links, but as I said initially try Fox News, it’s effectively the same argument.
          There’s plenty of people pushing the idea that this is effectively all NATO’s fault, do you live under a rock with only a copy Manufacturing Consent for company?
          Do you know I did watch once, Chomsky giving a lecture at West Point to a class of trainee Officers in their ‘Ethics of War’ class.
          It was a standard Chomsky lecture making all the usual points and students sat there taking notes.

          You mistake not hearing an argument with not agreeing with it.

  27. Joe90 29

    Oh dear. Get your Google fu going and have a read.


  28. Yes I would love to take you up on your kind offer, unfortunately working 10 hours a day + riding 20km to and from work and walking the dogs most days (+ band rehearsals two nights a week) leaves me no time for such a serious task at present …however all I am suggesting is that the regular contributors on TS do some even perfunctory research on such an important subject as the war in the Ukraine.I am sure it is not beyond them to inform the readers of TS in a far more balanced and nuanced manner than has been on display over the past few days.

    We have just spent the last four years living through a crazy propaganda/misinformation campaign in the form of Russiagate, so how about not doing that again so soon?

    I say again, is a plea for balance and fairness in the general tone of the posts on this subject too much to ask?..or is it already too late for that?

    • mickysavage 30.1

      Can you enlighten me? A sovereign nation has been invaded by a more powerful neighbour in breach of its rights under international law. And the leader of the more powerful nation puts the country's nuclear missiles on standby. Is this not true?

      • Blazer 30.1.1

        Those things are all true.

        Indeed it would be very unusual for a less powerful state to invade one more powerful.

        Real politik is not so simple though is it?

        Why did it get to this?

        How did Guaido come to be recognised by the West as the legitimate President of Venezuela…?

      • OK, as it seems that you refuse in doing any actual research into this too offer the readers of TS an balanced overview, so I will outline some actual facts around this Nuclear 'Russian threat', however it will have to be later this evening or tomorrow when I get the time to sit down and do the necessary research…. but you do understand that most of the posts on TS over the past few days could have been lifted verbatim from The Daily Mail don't you?

    • higherstandard 30.2

      Balance and fairness ?

      I'd suggest the type of balance and fairness you seek is no more than asking the posters on this site to excuse Putin's attack of the Ukraine.

    • Incognito 30.3

      Yeah, I know too well about life’s other commitments getting in the way of writing a 500- or 600-word [Guest] Post. It’s just that you seem to have the knowledge and links right at your fingertips, judging by your frequent, prolific, and outspoken commenting here, so it shouldn’t take too much time for you [no sarcasm intended].

      The way I see it is that you when have a certain skill or talent and the opportunity to share your knowledge and insights and contribute for the greater good, time is a rather poor excuse to not do so. Wouldn’t you agree?

      The Posts here are really opinion pieces and The Standard is not a news site. As such, the demands for balance and fairness are different. However, we all value different opinions and robust debate, which is the kaupapa of this site – the regular Authors here certainly don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet as mickysavage felt compelled to point out a few times recently in order to counter this oft-heard misguided criticism. For the same reasons, we always welcome well written Guest Posts, also because they can add balance and nuance to the debate and more radical counterviews even.

      Please remember that the Authors here are not professional writers for this site. They write on their own behalf and from their own personal PoV, just as you comment here, and not necessarily for a wide and general audience in the same sense as MSM do, which have to abide to (more) rules & regulations.

      Happy commenting, with less snapping angel

  29. Dennis Frank 31

    Interesting report from Unherd:

    it hardly takes much in the way of prudence to eschew war planning that consists of stringing together best-case scenarios, which is exactly what Putin chose to do, ignoring his own Intelligence chief and veteran Kremlin official Sergey Naryshkin. That much is proven by a truly extraordinary document: the video of Putin’s eve-of-war meeting with his ministers and advisors, ostensibly on the annexation of the self-proclaimed independent Donbas republics, but actually on the imminent invasion.

    We see a carefully staged display of imperial authority that has Putin sitting high up at his desk while the advisers sit in chairs below him, till each one in turn goes to stand in front of a microphone to endorse what Putin has just said. But the script fell apart when it was Naryshkin’s turn to speak. He clearly said that there should be “talks” to give the Western side a “chance”, pronouncing that French word in the French way, as Russians do. Visibly surprised, visibly angered, Putin demands an answer “yes or no” on the annexation itself, sidestepping Naryshkin’s real point: to rely on talks, not tanks in dealing with Ukraine.


    One wonders if the intelligence veteran has already been replaced. Depends if Putin realises that surrounding himself with yes-men only makes him weak.

    However we must accept that the action-man role model will always defeat the talker. Talkfests produce hot air too often to carry much weight. That's what destroyed the politics of climate change. The lesson has been learnt. Only when action gets suitable results or grinds to a halt does a fresh opportunity for talk emerge. Overnight we got that, and a lack of resolution. Talk has to shift into serious negotiating before results become likely…

    • Dennis Frank 31.1

      Another passage from that Unherd essay worth considering:

      That Putin has invited the Ukrainian President to send envoys to cease-fire talks is itself a tremendous defeat for him: he had insisted that he could not negotiate at all with the“drug addicts and Neo-Nazis” of Zelensky’s government, but now he must negotiate, to extricate himself from the war he deliberately started, whose costs have risen phenomenally.

      [Author Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.]

  30. Joe90 32

    Zelensky reckons Poots sent "more than 400" Wagner mercenaries to Kyiv to kill him, and failed. Sources say mercenaries were indeed sent to do that along with a variety of other tasks. Apparently Wagner has done a Blackwater too, and changed their name.



  31. Dennis Frank 33

    The EU is now likely to shift towards operating as a European power independent of US foreign policy. Check out this from Turkey, France & Germany:

    Considering the geopolitical implications, Viktor Orbán’s Political Director and strategic advisor, Balasz Orbán (no relation), told me that this is a turning point for Europe as well as Hungary. “We realise that justice and wonderful ideas are not enough. You can be on the good side of history, but still lose wars and lose geopolitical positions: you need to have power,” he said. “Because right now, the problem is that Europe is not capable of defending herself. And we are dependent on the big guys, the United States on one side and Russia on the other side, and they are the decision makers, if we take it honestly. Without a military, Europe is just a voice accepting statements. It’s just nothing.”

    When I asked him if Hungary was moving towards Macron’s concept of strategic autonomy, which would enable Europe to defend itself from threats like Russia, Balasz Orbán answered without hesitation: “Exactly. It’s very important,” he told me. “Emmanuel Macron is a very smart politician and what he is talking about, it’s obviously a French context, but we can deal with that. We have the same idea with a Central European context.”

    Certainly, the war in Ukraine has helped Macron make his case for strategic autonomy, with the French president declaring that the Russian invasion “has shown again that we have to accelerate the sovereignty agenda for Europe. Tragic times are back. War is back on our soil. If there was ever any need to prove Europe isn’t just a market for consumers but is a power,” that time is now.

    The invasion has also helped diminish the moral and political standing of a Germany that long fought to quash any talk of European strategic autonomy, while waving away warnings that disarmament and reliance on Russian energy have left Europe helpless against any future Russian aggression. In an extraordinary admission, the head of the German Army, Lt. General Alfons Mais, bemoaned on LinkedIn that years of neglect have “left the Bundeswehr more or less powerless”, so that “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… This does not feel good! I am pissed off!”


    • SPC 33.1

      That's the irony of Putin provoking Germany into a 2% GDP defence spend, this is what makes a EU Defence force plausible.

      Macron is the one looking at the big picture, a post American Europe, and thus is willing to talk to Putin about NATO.

  32. Dennis Frank 34

    Reuters has this examination of the battle for spin control in the media: https://www.reuters.com/technology/russia-invades-ukraine-moscow-battles-big-tech-control-narrative-2022-02-28/

    The escalation of Russia's clash with big tech comes days before a deadline Moscow set for major foreign tech companies to comply with a new law that requires them to set up official representation in the country, which could make it easier for the Kremlin to regulate platforms. It follows a series of fines and slowdowns imposed on platforms which the Russian government said failed to remove illegal content.

    Roskomnadzor has warned local media not to circulate what it called "false information" about Moscow's military operation, banning the use of the words "invasion" and "assault" to describe its attack on Ukraine.

  33. Dennis Frank 35

    Putin's framing of his strike as surgical, directed against military installations only, has taken a hit from Amnesty International. They report cluster bombs dropped onto a kindergarten.

    The human rights charity said “a 220mm Uragan rocket dropped cluster munitions on the Sonechko nursery and kindergarten in the town of Okhtyrka in Sumy Oblast” on 25 February.


    • joe90 35.1

      What better way to save Ukraine than use munitions specifically designed to slice people into pieces.

  34. Joe90 36

    This, and there go Assad's supply lines, too.


  35. aj 37

    From 2015, but the subject matter is as relevant as today. I doubt it will alter the mindset of anybody on this thread. Still, only 10 minutes of education.


    John Joseph Mearsheimer is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He has been described as the most influential realist of his generation. Mearsheimer is best known for developing the theory of offensive realism, which describes the interaction between great powers as being primarily driven by the rational desire to achieve regional hegemony in an anarchic international system.

    • Andrew Miller 37.1

      Watched loads of Mearsheimer, very familiar with the ‘neo realist’ position. He’s an interesting man, always worth hearing but his argument is deeply flawed.
      Would happily explain why, but I doubt anyone needs an IR lecture and I know there’s zero chance of you ever accepting a counter argument.
      I can spot a true believer a mile off.

      • Blazer 37.1.1

        He speaks with authority ,experience and too much commonsense,and you…know it.

        Feeble rebuttal…'I could…'laugh

        • Andrew Miller

          So your politics and take on international relations is offensive neo realist?


          Whatever Mearshiemer’s faults he’s a serious thinker with a coherent world view, but one I happen to disagree with.
          You’re a silly little Tankie that’s grabbed hold of Mearschiemer’s argument in this particular instance because it gives your apologia for a tyrant a facade of reasonable.
          Your argument from the safety of a liberal democracy is contemptible.

          • aj

            You label and name call anyone trying to understand the 'why' behind Russia's actions, especially if they dare agree it may be a rational action given the history of Russian and Europe.

            I don't have to like Putin, I don't have to consider his actions legal or legitimate (or ethical, or moral) in any way to want to explore reasons for them taking the position they have.

            Calling people 'true believer', ' silly little Tankie', 'apologia for a tyrant ?


            • Andrew Miller

              Your claim to be merely be trying to ‘understand’ Putin wouldn’t be so pathetic if there was any possibility that that understanding could lead to the conclusion that the ‘why’ is Putin’s a tyrant and it’s the type of behaviour tyrants engage in.

              Your arguments are morally repugnant and you can dress that up into bs about merely trying to ‘understand’ all you but you’re delusional if you don’t realise people can see through it.

  36. Jenny how to get there 38

    I have no doubt at all that if Nato send their ground forces into the Ukraine that Putin will use a tactical nuclear weapon, or other weapon of mass destruction like nerve gas on them.

    Putin's calculation being that the West will hesitate to reply in kind in fear of an escalation to a full scale nuclear exchsnge

    • Stuart Munro 38.1

      Because of that possibility, unless Putin can secure political control of Ukraine pretty quickly, well-armed insurgents out of Poland, led by Ukrainians guides, will make the occupation about as much fun as Germany's Eastern Front – it won't be US troops giving Putin that pretext.

      That said, logistic considerations mean that the battle of Kyiv has not been as long delayed as current reports suggest. Armoured columns are not really able to push much over fifty kilometers a day on a sustained basis. The larger column heading for Kyiv may have to be defeated in detail over an extended period, but its success or failure will likely determine the immediate outcome of Putin's adventure.

  37. joe90 39


    Poots and co will be under the pump with trouble at home and a war that apparently isn't going too well.



    Russia’s central bank more than doubled interest rates on Monday in an attempt to steady the country’s financial markets, after unprecedented western sanctions sent the rouble tumbling as much as 29 per cent.

    The central bank boosted its main interest rate to 20 per cent from 9.5 per cent in an emergency decision, saying that “external conditions for the Russian economy have drastically changed”.

    The rouble dropped to almost 118 against the US dollar in offshore trading on Monday, according to Bloomberg data, after Russian president Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert and the US, Europe and UK unleashed sanctions aimed at cutting the country off from the global financial system.

    The exchange rate later recovered to around 105 in what market participants described as deeply strained trading conditions that made it difficult for foreigners to sell.

    Russia’s biggest foreign bond, $7bn in debt maturing in 2047, lost more than half of its value on Monday to reach around 30 cents on the dollar, according to Tradeweb data. Some investors said they saw a possibility that Russia could default on its debt, which has become extremely hard to trade. “If you see a quote on the screen it might be live or it might not,” said one. “There’s nothing certain in this environment. It’s not about fundamentals any more, it’s about compliance issues.”



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