Tag Archives: Russia

Ukraine v. Russia – Lawrence Davidson

Ukraine versus Russia: Shrinking Options—An Analysis

(9 August 2022) by Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidsonldavidson@wcupa.edu
Blog:  www.tothepointanalyses.com

 

On 15 June 2022 I posted an essay entitled “Should the Left Support President Biden in Ukraine? In a detailed analysis I concluded the answer is no. In past circumstances it has been easy for the Left to take a stance against obvious unethical U.S. foreign policy. For instance, the invasion of Iraq and the associated draconian sanctions. The Left’s reaction was just about unanimous in its condemnation. And now we have the case of Ukraine and things are different. Much of the Left either supports President Biden’s policies or at least appears conflicted. The present policies of the Russian Republic seem as criminal as those of the U.S. in Iraq. A loud propaganda war has resulted, greatly confusing perceptions.

 

 

Given the current circumstances, I have decided to revisit the Russia-Ukraine struggle, focusing on the many issues appearing in the public debates and ultimately on the shrinking options for both sides. Crying “Peace, peace, where there is no peace” is like running around in circles. It might be that only mutual exhaustion can bring peace.

 

Point One: Recent Historical Context

For those who want to understand the present crisis in context, some awareness of the post-Soviet period is called for. When, by the end of 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Russian Republic that replaced it showed no signs of wanting to reabsorb its old dependents, including Ukraine. Nor did its leadership exhibit delusions of grandeur by setting its sights on recreating the empire of the czars. Americans have been told that Russian leaders now have both ambitions. Is this the cause of the war in the Ukraine? Or is it as professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, has argued that the Russians were pushed in the direction of war with Ukraine by the expansive policies of their Western neighbors.

Mearsheimer’s argument can be supported by other facts. For instance, there is strong evidence suggesting that the United States and certain of its NATO allies misled the Russians on the question of NATO expansion. Thus, “in the National Security Archive document, “Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow,” dated 9 February 1990, Baker, then secretary of state, tells his Soviet hosts: “NATO is the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe.…We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” When assurances are made at this level of government, meeting minutes take on the role of written promises. Also when the minutes are presented logically and clearly, it is difficult for one side or another to make excuses for subsequent acts of betrayal.

In the case of NATO’s spread into what had been Warsaw Pact territory, what looked like betrayal of promises in the eyes of Russia’s leadership was described by Western leaders to their own people using code words and phrases: “the expansion of NATO to countries once part of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact felt like an obvious and intrinsic part of a … process of freedom and security spreading over the continent.”

As NATO was pushed eastward, Western leaders ignored numerous warnings by Russian officials. For instance, in 2005, Putin told a newly arriving American ambassador, “You Americans need to listen more …you can’t have everything your way anymore. We can have effective relations, but not just on your terms.” They also ignored warnings from their own diplomatic and intelligence experts. Fiona Hill, then national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia for the National Intelligence Council, warned President George W. Bush in 2008 that sponsoring Ukraine and Georgia for NATO membership was dangerous and would provoke the Russians. Bush ignored Hill because “the Bush administration … had little inclination to concede much to a declining power.”

The expansion strategy that ended with NATO’s courting of Ukraine and Western infiltration into that country’s politics left Russian leaders with three choices:Approach the West with the offer of a security treaty that would halt NATO’s eastern expansion and reestablish stable spheres of influence. This the Russians did in December of 2021. The United States and NATO dismissed the offer out of hand.
Allow the territory on Russia’s southwestern border to be taken over by what they believed were hostile powers.
Defend their border by launching a war against Ukraine—a strategy that might have been viewed as necessary from the Russian perspective but was nonetheless illegal under international law.

The topics considered below flow from the fact that Russia chose the third option—the invasion of Ukraine.

Point Two: War Crimes

The invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a series of war crimes by Russian forces against the Ukrainian people. To a lesser degree war crimes may be laid at the feet of Ukrainian forces. Despite historical efforts to outlaw such behavior, this was not unexpected. War enables the brutal and thus war crimes have long accompanied the waging of war—a situation which has been real and present with us since the Athenians wiped out the Melians in 416 BCE. That being the case, the only ethical position to take is that all war crimes, no matter who commits them, must be actively condemned.

Such crimes probably cannot be done away with, but they can be punished. There are now constant calls for punishing Russian soldiers and officials for war crimes. Here again things get depressingly complicated.

The very ubiquity of war crimes makes the present demand for punishment problematic. The United States has been accused of war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It has never been held to account. It would be impossible to avoid the charge of hypocrisy by singling out Russian leaders for crimes similar to those repeatedly committed by American leaders and sometimes the Ukrainians as well. Of course, American propaganda simply ignores the issue of hypocrisy and in so doing reduces war crimes prosecution to a political weapon with no moral efficacy.

Point Three: The Never-Ending Cold War

The Biden administration is still fighting the Cold War. The most evident, and publicly admitted, motive behind supplying offensive as well as defensive arms to Ukraine is to “weaken Russia.” This follows logically from the likely encroachment strategy behind the enlarging of NATO—or, if you prefer, “freedom spreading over a continent,”

If this anachronistic aim of “weakening Russia” is indeed the case, the U.S. administration has no reason to seek a compromise solution to the conflict. Rather it might be motivated to keep the war going despite the possible piece-by-piece destruction of Ukraine as a modern society. This U.S. approach might unknowingly contribute to Russia’s strategic fallback goal. If Russia cannot attain a neutral Ukraine on its southwest border, then it will aim to remove Ukraine as a threat by the country’s near total destruction.

Point Four: The Issue of Agency

It seems self-evident that Ukraine has the right (the agency) to defend itself and self-defense is certainly a morally justifiable position. However, despite the unilateral image presented in the Western media, Ukrainians are divided. There are Russian speaking Ukrainians who see the need to defend themselves against Kiev (Kyiv). However, when the nation as a whole is invaded, the right of a majority to exercise self-defense becomes predominant.

Yet resulting agency often quickly becomes complicated. Ukraine’s ability to defend itself has become tied to allied support. In other words, it is no longer a free agent. This is so because these powerful allies also have agency and their intentions go beyond Ukrainian independence. Indeed, the actions of Ukraine’s principal ally and arms supplier, the United States, has sought to transform Ukraine’s war of defense into a proxy war to destroy as much of Russia Republic as possible. At this point negotiations, and the almost certain concessions these will entail, become obstacles to be put off. The goal now is for this war of defense to drag on. Ipso facto, this also means the continued destruction of Ukrainian society. This predicament is partially hidden by the hard-line, zealous stance of Ukraine’s President Zelensky. However, such a position cannot be maintained forever.

Point Five: Regime Change and Neutrality

It seems likely that if some part of Ukraine is to maintain a sovereign status, that entity will have to accept regime change and neutrality. These are interconnected because it is hard to imagine the present Zelensky government acquiescing to neutrality. Yet this is probably what it will take to end the war and retain some semblance of Ukrainian sovereignty. The Americans should intuitively understand this, for they are experts in engineering regime change. After all, in 2014, Washington helped engineered the overthrow of Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych a duly elected pro-Russian president of the Ukraine.There are two ways of thinking about regime change and neutrality for Ukraine: (a) Russia wins or (b) at least some of Ukraine is saved from the Russians, the West and itself. Why from the West and itself?

As noted above, it is certain that the United States and its NATO allies actively interfered in Ukrainian affairs in 2014 to ensure leadership favorable to the West. By doing this, the U.S. made immediately real the Russian’s “existential threat” of hostile encroachment. At the same time, by choosing to side with the West and NATO, Ukrainian politicians like Zelensky were actually undermining their nation’s security. Did they understand this? Probably not. Do they understand the necessity of adopting a neutral posture, even at the cost of their own political careers? Probably not.

Point Six: Sanctions

Sanctions are a favored weapon of the United States and also one that often results in enormous collateral damage. The present sanctions were originally placed on select Russian political and economic leadership as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine. However, once the United States changed its objective to “weakening Russia,” sanctions threatened to become a weapon to damage the entire Russian economy. This same end might rationalize the maintenance of sanctions even after hostilities in Ukraine recede. If Washington begins to conceive of sanctions as more or less permanent (think of Iran), they actually become more or less non-negotiable.

It is probable that the Russians no longer seriously adhere to their maximalist aim of annexing all of Ukraine. Thus, there may be room on the Russian side to agree to a smaller, neutral yet sovereign Ukraine. This may be the price of peace for the Ukrainians. However, at this point, such a compromise is a non-starter for those in Washington and Kiev (Kyiv). Add to this an equally stubborn stand on sanctions, and there is little left for Russian diplomacy to work with.

Conclusion

When NATO began, with American encouragement, to expand into what once was the Soviet sphere of influence, they created  very limited choices for the leaders of the Russian Republic: (1) allow themselves to be encroached upon by a hostile force or (2) defend their southwestern border through war. One may believe the Western leaders when they claim that they did not mean to lay down such severe choices or that their intentions were misinterpreted by Russia. But to believe this, one would also have to accept that American leadership in the post-Soviet period, from the standpoint of international relations, was incompetent. This might well be the case. It would not be the first, and probably not the last, time national leaders, democratically elected or otherwise, proved to be disastrously inept in this way.

The Russians chose the war option with all the consequences described above. And, in so doing, they also left Ukraine and its Western allies with very limited choices: (1) accept a truncated, neutral and disarmed Ukraine with some semblance of sovereignty or (2) have Ukraine destroyed, through a war of attrition. One might argue these are not the only choices, but if anyone tells you a clear-cut Ukrainian victory is possible, they are fooling both you and themselves.

It is revealing that from the American point of view, number two may well be preferable to number one. Remember, the primary American goal is to “weaken Russia.” Within the context of the present war, the best way to do this is to have a prolonged conflict in which the nation of Ukraine becomes, if you will, little more than collateral damage.

So, what do we have here? Both Russia and the United States are betting on a war of attrition. Russia is betting that this will eventually destroy Ukraine’s will to fight and thereby secure its southwestern border. The U.S. is betting that this will destroy the Russian Republic. Right now, no one, not even Kiev (Kyiv) for which a war of attrition is a disaster, is betting on peace.


Lawrence Davidsonldavidson@wcupa.edu
Blog:  www.tothepointanalyses.com

 

What’s Really Going on in Ukraine? Bennis & Grossman Webinar Recording

What’s Really Going on
with the War in  Ukraine?

~ Watch free recording on Youtube Progressive Magazine ~

Grossman Slideshow : https://vimeo.com/707612975
Please share with your friends and networks. 
 
In the midst of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, peace and social justice forces are concerned about how best to pursue peace in the region. The U.S. media has been hopelessly one-sided and does not contribute to our understanding of the history or current situation in Ukraine. To help us form a basis of common understanding on how to bring peace to this troubled region, we are hosting a forum of knowledgeable activists, experts in the region.

Featured speakers:

Zoltán Grossman, who is a longtime observer and writer on Eastern Europe, and is a Member of the Faculty in Geography and Indigenous Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and an activist/ scholar working on issues of ethnic nationhood, militarism, and natural resources.

Phyllis Bennis, who is a Program Director, at the Institute for Policy Studies, with a focus on U.S. Foreign Policy.

Moderator: Norman Stockwell, publisher of The Progressive magazine.


For more information, contact:

madisonpeaceinukraine@gmail.com


Sponsored by

  • Madison Working Group on Peace in Ukraine

  • Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin

  • Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

  • Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America

  • Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom [Madison]

  • Code Pink

  • Madison Veterans for Peace


 

A webinar hosted by The Progressive magazine

Streamed Tuesday, June 28, 2022 7:00 – 8:30 CDT  

 


Ukraine webinar 2022 PROOF0615

Bennis: Respond to Illegal Invasion With Diplomacy

Entire slideshow Zoltan

 

 

“In the question of Ukraine, in my view, there is no question that this was a provoked war. The US [govt] has been provoking Russia for many years, through NATO and on its own.

[Provoking] in terms of expanding NATO, in terms of bringing weapons right up to the Russian border… and it’s also true that Russia’s response, its militarized response of invasion and occupation of Ukraine was absolutely not inevitable; and in my view, absolutely illegal (as to international law and a whole host of ways.)

Saying that [the attack] was provoked does not mean that it is legitimate.

I think both those things are true.”

Phyllis Bennis

Yellowstone Lake Area Peace Walk ~ Sat May 21 ~

Saturday May 21 peace walk at Yellowstone Lake in Blanchardville

Begins 10 am

 

Yellowstone Lake State Park | Wisconsin DNR

 

 

~ Peace Walks for Ukraine and the World continue ~

All are invited to a join a peace walk through the tranquil Yellowstone State Park, honoring our watersheds and rejoicing in peaceful community. Songs, poems and prayers in celebration of water and life are welcome.

 

We will begin with a short ceremony at the park headquarters (near the west entrance), walk the paved road that hugs the lake, and end in ceremony at the dam (near the park’s east entrance).  The distance is approximately 2 miles.   We welcome a few volunteer vehicles to help transport walkers back to their cars.

 

After the walk, a fellowship of picnic lunch will happen at the beach.

 

* Note:  A state park sticker will be needed for daily admission *

  Questions:  Seres at <sskyrie@protonmail.com>

Janet Parker

608-228-9096
janetparker8@gmail.com

“What we need is not escalation of conflict with more weapons, more sanctions, more hatred toward Russia and China, but of course, instead of that, we need comprehensive peace talks.” — Kyiv-based Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko (more here)


“Peace is big. War is big business, you know; and they like war ’cause it keeps ’em fat and happy… and I’m anti-war, so they’re trying to keep me out.”

– John Lennon, 1969

No photo description available.

“Remember love. The only hope for any of us is peace. Violence begets violence. If you want to get peace, you can get it as soon as you like if we all pull together.”

– John Lennon, July 1969


Past Friday evening Peace Walks.  April 29 / May 6 / May 13

Best source for latest walk information and updates. 

Schedule

  • 6:30 – Yahara Place Park, gather at the mouth of the Yahara Canal for silence and a song
  • 7:00 – 7:10 –  Vigil and greet to drivers and bikers at East Washington Avenue
  • 7:30 – Closing circle near Tenney Park Locks and enjoy the sunset.

 

War is never the answer.   We support brave Ukrainian and Russian anti-war protesters who fly a new flag for peace.

 


Bring your friends and family.   All are welcome.  Please help us spread the word. This is an open, joy-filled and inclusive event that celebrates the power of a peaceful community. Families, all ages, colorful flags, costumes, bubbles, etc are welcome!  We will walk on sidewalks and bike paths – good for wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, small bikes, etc.  Join us for a block, a few blocks, or the whole mile.  We invite you to read the six tenets of Dr Martin Luther King’s philosophy of nonviolence.

 


 

From World Beyond WarWe oppose the Russian invasion and call for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops. We recognize that the expansion of NATO and the aggressive approach of Western states have helped cause the crisis and we demand an end to NATO expansion. We also oppose sanctions that will harm ordinary Russians and call on all countries to welcome all refugees fleeing the war.

Join the peace walk google group here for notices of future walks. 

volunteer or contact:

peacewalkmadison@gmail.com  

 

Stop War: Story of Ukraine and Russia

 Madison community members  came together for an event… Stop War over Ukraine

learn more  

[Note: Gather information and question and challenge what you know.  Challenge what we say and claim to know.  Don’t believe us and don’t believe the US corporate media, lapdogs of the war profiteers.  Dig.  Seek.  See what you believe.  There are multiple factors that brought us here: Russian crimes, US corporate rulers, US war machine, CIA arming military forces, consolidated power of oligarchs.  The media only tells certain parts of the story.] 

 

Rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol and picket outside Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Office to
protest her support of aggressive war policies.  We recognize the fact that our other Senator Ron Johnson has always voted for the war profiteers and against justice. 

Dave Schwab created this clip of the WORT piece [WORT 89.9 FM Community Radio] on our No War with Russia rally.  

 

What you can do:

 

 

US bases and weapons are everywhere.

The US sells more weapons than anyone.

The people of Ukraine deserve their human rights and the nation its sovereignty. But the US is not the policeman to the world. It’s the weapons dealer and sometimes narcotics distributor and leader for corporate rule.

We allow the bullies to rule. We need democratic institutions that represent all nations, not just the interests of the few that pull the strings.

How the U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine: A Compendium

No War with Russia Pictures – Veterans for Peace National

Pictures from February from Code Pink

 

 

 

Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine Salon
with Ray McGovern, John Mearsheimer

 


Dem Now, Phyllis Bennis: The Best Way to Help Ukraine Is Diplomacy, Not War & Increased Militarization

 

“The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials.”

CIA-trained Ukrainian paramilitaries may take central role if Russia invades

Follow the money.  Look where the weapons are.  What does the history say?

Antiwar: Report: 8-Year Secret CIA Training Program in Eastern Ukraine Helped Prepare for Russian Invasion

 

The Intercept: UKRAINIAN LOBBYISTS MOUNTED UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN ON U.S. LAWMAKERS IN 2021 

We need to learn again some of the lessons of the Age of Reason. What is up. What is down. What rights humans have, like the right to not be bombed. We have the right to govern ourselves, and not be controlled by politicians who are owned by big money like that of the war profiteers: Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup, Lockheed and contractors connected to the military, fossil fuels and the owners of the biggest banks.

Somehow Americans should teach the use of critical thought that allows us to understand the propaganda that is all around us. The big money manipulates us and divides us.


Veterans for Peace Members and Chapters across the country have been taking action to protest the U.S. role in escalating the extremely dangerous tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

 

 

 

In a contest between Ukrainian & Russian ultranationalists, we do not need to pick sides. We can defend peace, democratic rights and all minorities, without contributing to the polarization and strengthening the rise of fascism. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
– Zoltan Grossman paraphrase 

Zoltan Grossman: Borderland Ukraine

Great information and maps in this presentation.

Ray McGovern: What Role Has the U.S. Played in the Ukraine Crisis?

“As Russia’s attack on Ukraine wages on, and Ukrainian civilians die daily, the fog of war has seemingly been clouding more nuanced analysis in the United States, argues “Scheer Intelligence” host Robert Scheer. To get more perspective on the historical context of the current conflict, Scheer invites former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to discuss the role the U.S. and NATO have played in Ukraine. McGovern has long been an outspoken critic of what he’s coined as the American Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank (MICIMATT) for leading the world ever closer to a nuclear war.

McGovern spent 27 years as a CIA analyst, during which time he led the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and prepared The President’s Daily Brief for three U.S. presidents. Months before the Iraq War, the former intelligence analyst joined a group of his peers to ward against the “insanity” of war, creating the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Now, as news of the war in Ukraine fills American media, McGovern has attempted to call for sanity once more.

The CIA veteran sees the conflict, which he argues is as a direct result of what he calls a Western-orchestrated coup against Vladimir Putin’s ally, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, as global brinkmanship at its most dangerous given the nuclear arsenal that both Russia and the U.S. possess. Scheer pushes back on McGovern’s use of the term “coup” as well as his assessment of Russian attacks on Ukraine, which the “Scheer Intelligence” host—who covered the Soviet Union and later Russia, as well as Ukraine, as a foreign correspondent—has condemned as a war crime.

The two ultimately consider how NATO’s expansion past eastern Germany may have baited Putin into his current position, indefensible as it may be. The former CIA analyst, who played a critical role in drafting The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) signed by George W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, also warns listeners about the dangers of the U.S. allowing nuclear treaties to expire that, for 30 years, have kept us from annihilation. Listen to the full discussion between McGovern and Scheer as they offer differing but critical perspectives on the Ukraine conflict absent in most Western media.”


 


The situation in Ukraine has much to do with who controls fossil fuels profits and pipelines.

We need to get bribery under control, conflicts of interest must be regulated more effectively, and there must be transparency. We cannot have representative government by the people with SECRET government manipulation. We cannot be represented properly when we do not know what is going on, or when we are lied to.

It is public knowledge that the CIA has been supporting troops near the Russian border in Ukraine since at least as far back as 2014 when the last Ukrainian coup took place, likely much longer. Around the time of the last coup in 2014, the US Vice President’s son ended up being appointed to a top position in the largest gas company in Ukraine. Funny how that works. I’d say that is a pretty obvious sign of corruption and conflicts of interest, Hunter Biden making all that big money with almost no experience.

“A month before Hunter Biden joined Burisma’s board, his father traveled to Ukraine as vice president and announced an aid package designed to enable Ukraine to boost its energy production….”
September 28, 2019 – Washington Post

Gangsters and oligarchs, purchased politicians making deals that benefit them and not us.  Conflicts of interest matter, they should be exposed, no matter what party is involved.  Sadly, Americans are distracted and entertained and taught to work for party and nationalism over truth and accountability.  This lack of integrity is a recipe for corruption which eats at the heart of democracy, much like fascism tries to.

 

 

Donald Trump pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on Feb 2, 2019 and new weapons began to magically appear almost instantly. They were preparing for that for years, but the US mainstream media Inc blamed Russia of course. Look deeper. 

 


“America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space [Central Asia]… Eurasia accounts for 60% of the world’s GNP and three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”
– Zbigniew Brzezinski, Council on Foreign Relations study 1997

Allen Ruff: Missed by the Mainstream: Observations on the Ukraine Crisis

Image


I’ve learned much about the Ukrainian situation from [background] Ray McGovern a former CIA analyst who did the morning briefings for Reagan and daddy Bush, then there’s historian Alfred McCoy and Allen Ruff.

2022: Ray McGovern on the US/Russia/Ukraine Conflict

THE ILLEGALITY OF NATO – Popular Resistance

“…Esty Dinur discusses the latest developments in NATO–Russia relations and the historical context with David Gibbs, professor of history at the University of Arizona Department of History, and Will Griffin from the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

They talk about the history and future of NATO, Biden’s failed promise of a new era of American diplomacy, Russia’s nuclear capability, and much more.

 

Esty Dinur, A Public Affair: How NATO Provokes Russia

As Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette said…

“The supreme issue, involving all others, is the encroachment of the powerful few on the rights of the many…

Shall we, with statesmanship and constructive legislation, meet these problems,

 or shall we pass them on with all the possibilities of conflict and chaos, to future generations?”


 

 

“Victoria Nuland has promoted a foreign policy of intervention through coups, proxy wars, aggression, and ongoing occupations. The policy has been implemented with bloody and disastrous results in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine…”


President Joe Biden had nominated Victoria Nuland for State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
Why Victoria Nuland is Dangerous and Should Not be Confirmed

During a press briefing, Lee asked Price, former CIA, to furnish proof of the accusation, that Russia is plotting a false flag attack involving a “propaganda video… depicting corpses, crisis actors as mourners, and images of destroyed locations or military equipment.

The press calling out the lies of the administration

Code Pink staging antiwar protests but says Dems mum on Biden’s hawkish moves at Russia

Lies, bullying, humiliation, the destruction of Ukraine, no act is too low for those who want to control Russia. on Stop the Wars At Home and Abroad

“…In this sense, Ukraine is simply a tool to reach this goal. This can be done in different ways: by drawing us into some armed conflict, or compelling its allies in Europe to impose tough sanctions on us like the US is talking about today.”

Can you handle the truth? Plenty of information out there to consider.

“…Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied that a Russian invasion was imminent and asked NATO to dial down its war rhetoric.

…The US National Security Council (NSC) initially denied this account. “Anonymous sources are leaking falsehoods,” said NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne. “President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false.” 

Zelensky then gave a press conference, however, publicly reiterating statements Horne had denied he had made to Biden. Zelensky was urging NATO heads of state to stop inciting panic with talk of an imminent NATO war with Russia over Ukraine, he said. “I started talking to the leaders of the countries and to explain to them that we need to stabilize the economy,” Zelensky told the press. “They are saying ‘tomorrow is the war.’ This means panic.”


“In Western military circles, it’s common to refer to the “balance of forces”—the lineup of tanks, planes, ships, missiles, and battle formations on the opposing sides of any conflict. If one has twice as many combat assets as its opponent and the leadership abilities on each side are approximately equal, it should win. Based on this reasoning, most Western analysts assumed that the Russian army—with a seemingly overwhelming advantage in numbers and equipment—would quickly overpower Ukrainian forces. Of course, things haven’t exactly turned out that way. The Ukrainian military has, in fact, fought the Russians to a near-standstill. The reasons for that will undoubtedly be debated among military theorists for years to come. When they do so, they might begin with Moscow’s surprising failure to pay attention to a different military equation—the “correlation of forces”—originally developed in the former Soviet Union.

That notion differs from the “balance of forces” by placing greater weight on intangible factors. It stipulates that the weaker of two belligerents, measured in conventional terms, can still prevail over the stronger if its military possesses higher morale, stronger support at home, and the backing of important allies. Such a calculation, if conducted in early February, would have concluded that Ukraine’s prospects were nowhere near as bad as either Russian or Western analysts generally assumed, while Russia’s were far worse. And that should remind us of just how crucial an understanding of the correlation of forces is in such situations, if gross miscalculations and tragedies are to be avoided.

THE CONCEPT IN PRACTICE BEFORE UKRAINE

The notion of the correlation of forces has a long history in military and strategic thinking. Something like it, for example, can be found in the epilogue to Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel, War and Peace. Writing about Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812, Tolstoy observed that wars are won not by the superior generalship of charismatic leaders but through the fighting spirit of common soldiers taking up arms against a loathsome enemy…”

Official Presidential Statement – To confirm the absence of intentions to attack Ukraine, Russia must take concrete steps – Volodymyr Zelenskyy

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to his American counterpart to dial back his appraisals of the threat Russia poses to the former Soviet state, also criticizing President Joe Biden for his dramatic decision to remove the families of U.S. diplomats from Kyiv this month.”
– US News By Paul D. Shinkman Jan. 28, 2022

US News: Zelenskiy Criticizes Biden: Talk of War With Russia a ‘Mistake’


“Terrible things could be averted if people were more active.” – Howard Zinn

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