January 19, 2022

"What stands in front of us, what could be weeks away, is the first peer-on-peer, industrialised, digitised, top-tier army against top-tier army war that’s been on this continent for generations."

"Tens of thousands of people could die. This is not something that people in Moscow should believe to be bloodless. This is not something that the rest of the world should stand by and ignore. It’s right that all diplomatic avenues are being exhausted, I just hope that as we’re on the brink, people in Moscow start to reflect that thousands of people are going to die and that is not something that anybody should be remotely relaxed about."

Said James Heappey, the U.K. armed forces minister, quoted in "Britain fears tens of thousands dead if Russia invades Ukraine/Diplomats told to prepare for ‘crisis mode’ as UK sends thousands of anti-tank missiles" (London Times). 

Note that Heappey was trying to strike fear into the Russians to deter them, but the headline writers put the fear in the British, who, like the Americans, are not even considering fighting for Ukraine. 

Heappey told Times Radio it was not “remotely realistic” that British troops would engage in combat with the Russian military if there was an invasion, but he said that the Ukrainians were “ready to fight for every inch of their country.” He revealed that Britain had given thousands of light anti-tank missiles to Ukraine for use in the event of an invasion....

If you search the front page over at the NYT, you can find an article about the U.S. response to the Russians. It's way down, under things about the possible illegality of Donald Trump's business practices, a very old French clown, whether it's better to exercise in the morning or the evening, the distribution of free N95 masks, and whether the presidential election was stolen... in 1960.

The NYT article is "Blinken Will Meet With Russia as U.S. Pushes for More Diplomacy/Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will meet with Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia in Geneva on Friday as the United States warns that Russia could soon attack Ukraine." 

The White House said on Tuesday that Mr. Blinken would “urge Russia to take immediate steps to de-escalate.” 

“We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point want an attack in Ukraine,” said the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, “and what Secretary Blinken is going to do is highlight very clearly there is a diplomatic path forward.” 

In other words, Putin can easily read in the newspapers that he's completely free to take over Ukraine.

ADDED: "Russia could at any point want an attack in Ukraine" — isn't that a strange way to say it? It's pulling back from the direct statement, "Russia could at any point attack Ukraine." 

But extra words highlight that wanting to attack is all it takes. If Russia wants to attack, it can have Ukraine. Our only hope is to dampen the desire.

AND: Why isn't Ukraine in NATO? The question answers itself. From the NYT, 6 days ago "NATO Won’t Let Ukraine Join Soon. Here’s Why. Ukraine, with Russian troops on its borders, is pressing for membership. But President Biden and European leaders are not ready for that step"

If Ukraine were a NATO member, the alliance would be obligated to defend it against Russia and other adversaries. U.S. officials say they will not appease President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia by undermining a policy enshrined in NATO’s original 1949 treaty that grants any European nation the right to ask to join....

Like European leaders, President Biden remains uninterested in Ukrainian membership in NATO.... Biden has grown skeptical of expanding U.S. military commitments....

[President] Zelensky has pressed Mr. Biden repeatedly on membership, including during his visit to the White House in September. “I would like to discuss with President Biden here his vision, his government’s vision of Ukraine’s chances to join NATO and the time frame for this accession, if it is possible,” he said as he sat next to Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden blew past those comments without responding.

99 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Hillary's whipping up of a war fever with Russians among the Democrats, for reasons of personal gain, shows exactly why she should never be POTUS.

tim maguire said...

I question the "top tier army" claim, but it is especially telling that he considers Russia-Ukraine to be peer on peer. Russia's army must be in an even worse state than I thought.

tim in vermont said...

"I'm just going to kill the archduke, this will be all over by Christmas."

Danno said...

Wasn't NATO warned by Trump that their defense expenditures were not enough to have a military that could defend Europe? Maybe somebody should have listened.

And I am always glad that Althouse reads the NYT so I don't have to.

gilbar said...

Putin can easily read in the newspapers that he's completely free to take over Ukraine

yep, and China is completely free to take over Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the President of the USA is shitting his pants*

shitting his pants* Not because he's scared; because he's incontinent and incapable and impotent

Mr. Forward said...

Putin has assured the White House that all the Russian invaders are double vaccinated and boosted.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

They just want to say that diplomacy is still an available path? No threats of consequences for an attack? I'm sure that will be persuasive.

Bob Boyd said...

Blinken's already blinkin'

Tim said...

Best thing for us to do is stay out of this one. I feel for the Ukrainians, but the truth is, the Russians believe they paid in blood for Crimea and the Black Sea access at Sevastapol during the Crimean War. A boundary needs to be agreed to, but I fear that will only happen after a lot of bloodshed. There are no easy answers to this problem that I can see. Hell, I am at the point of wondering if we need to continue with NATO at all. Let the Western Europeans take care of their own house.

John said...

The issue of tangling alliances always seems to raise its head in times of crisis. History has shown in times of tension human nature seems to replace reason and all the strategic analysts that money can buy can't account for the irrational nature of the men and women with the might of an army at their command. While the NY Times may discount this since the politicians haven't floated the talking points, if the administration is doing its job (which is a question for me at this point) they would be wargaming the potential scenarios. The question is do we still have a force capable of rendering anything other than symbolic aid if Russia does move into Ukraine? We and our military are tired from the endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq, what kind of blowback would the Democratic administration get if it decide to/or not use the military instrument of national power? That ultimately is what the politicians will base any decision on.

Dave Begley said...

The Ukrainians were incredibly stupid to give up their nukes after they broke off from the USSR. As I recall, we told them that we would protect them if Russia ever attacked. If they still had their nukes, Putin wouldn't even be thinking about an invasion.

I also recall that it was an oral contract. An oral contract isn't worth the paper it is written on. Begley on Contracts.

Other countries are idiots to believe what our diplomats tell them.

Achilles said...

Biden is a Russian tool.

I wonder how much he is asking for Hunter's next salary.

And don't worry about the Big Guy's 10%.

A couple pudding cups and a fresh diaper will be good.

Lem said...

How does Ukraine manage to stop a pipeline that's already built from going into service?

Link to video

Where's Alex Jones when we need him?

Mike Sylwester said...

The fundamental situation is that Ukraine's ethnic-Russian regions want to secede and to join Russia.

Crimea already has seceded, by conducting a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of Crimea's population voted to secede.

Donbas has been trying to do the same. A referendum should be conducted, enabling Donbas's population to vote.

Ukraine would benefit by riding itself of much of its ethnic-Russian minority. The remnant Ukraine would be much more Ukrainian.

=====

The Russian-minority regions decided to secede because of the Maidan Protest Movement of 2014.

In 2013, Ukraine had conducted elections, which were won by Viktor Yanukovych. The European Union observed the election and declared that Yanukovych won fairly.

Yanukovych won by assembling a coalition of Ukrainians and ethnic Russians who wanted to improve relations with Russia. When Yanukovych subsequently became Ukraine's President, he proceeded to implement that policy.

Yanukovych was prevented from doing so, however, by Ukrainians protesting relentlessly, for months, in the capital city of Kyiv. These protests intended to prevent Yanukovych from governing, and eventually Yanukovych had to abandon his elected position and flee to Russia.

That is why the ethnic Russians of Ukraine decided to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia.

=====

The Maidan Protest Movement was supported -- and probably funded -- by the USA, by the Obama Administration, which wanted to cause trouble for Russia gratuitously.

The USA should stay out of this Russia-Ukraine dispute. It's not our business.

Ukraine's ethnic Russians have good cause to secede. They want to secede peacefully by voting in referendums. The USA should not try to prevent such a peaceful resolution.

Original Mike said...

Not that it matters, but what is Russia's pretext?

Big Mike said...

"Tens of thousands of people could die.“

Try hundreds of thousands. And it’s known that Ukraine wound up with about 1700 nukes after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Supposedly they destroyed all of them circa 1994, but did they destroy all of them? If not, the potential is for millions.

Tom T. said...

Russia already attacked Ukraine a couple of years ago, and nobody did anything about it. Why am I supposed to think this time is different?

By the way, why does Putin only attack Ukraine when Democrats are in power in the US?

tim in vermont said...

Stalin flooded Ukraine with ethno-Russians and was willing to let history do the rest. Same policy that Biden is taking with flooding the US with migrants.

MikeR said...

Sheesh. I remember Jerry Pournelle, may he rest in peace, speaking out against the first Gulf War. Saying, why is it in the United States' interest to care which gang of thugs rules Kuwait?
That is certainly true here. Stay out of the way and stop pretending it's our job to police gang wars.

Mike Sylwester said...

Tom T. at 8:17 AM
Russia already attacked Ukraine a couple of years ago, and nobody did anything about it.

Exactly when and how did Russia "attack" Ukraine?

The reason why "nobody did anything about it" is that no attack happened.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Russia is clearly a threat to the USA. Just look how close they put their country to all our military bases!

Amexpat said...

I'm a supporter of NATO and, on the whole, believe it has been a huge success for creating stability in Western Europe.

But I think an expansion of NATO into the Ukraine and Georgia is overreach and goes well beyond the purpose of NATO. It's hubris and folly to not take into account Russia's historical security concerns.

Leland said...

Taken in isolation as presented, Jen Psaki quote is pretty much the US saying, "you don't have to attack the Ukraine, just take it via diplomacy." Which I take to mean, just pay us to look the other way and we won't even tell our citizens to take note of it.

"Tens of thousands of people could die.“

Meh, didn't they say hundreds of thousands would die of covid. Tens of thousands doesn't seem all that scary anymore, especially when the population at threat isn't yours. The WEF/G20 leaders did a great job setting expectations.

Jefferson's Revenge said...

Sadly I agree with earlier commentators that Ukraine is not our problem. I wish we could do something about it but we can't. Facts are facts. Ukraine and the potential spillover to the Baltic states and Poland is now Germany's problem and they don't care as long as the gas, money and contracts are rolling in. They may assume that by the time the new Russian Empire is a threat to them, Putin will be gone and Russia will be more malleable. I doubt they are right but who knows. The truth is that China is our existential enemy now and Russia is a distraction. We have no allies in Europe worth defending. To understand how deeply they hate us amuse yourself with the comments section of the Financial Times. Personally I would love to see better integration between us and the UK but I feel they are lost to us too. I wish Europe well but it's time for them to cowboy up and act like adults, not petulant children.

Temujin said...

It's hilarious and sadly dangerous that Russia already attacked and annexed a part of the Ukraine under Pres. Obama who was impotent during that escalation. Joe Biden was part of that team, so his resume is there for all to see. Under Trump, at least the Ukrainians received arms, while Russia received sanctions- tougher sanctions.

And this is a key point missed in all of this. Trump, while he was being relentlessly attacked as being a Russian pawn, opened up our energy industries to record levels. The US, under Trump produced more energy (natural gas and oil) than ever, turning us- for the first time ever- into an energy exporter. We were energy independent for the first time ever. What followed was that the price of natural gas and oil dropped, the Russian energy industry, which is a large chunk of Putin's and Russia's bank account, was depleted, countries came to us for their energy, not the Russians or the Middle East. That, coupled with tougher sanctions and Russia got much more quiet on that front. They instead, used their time to work with the media and universities in this country to get Trump out of office.

Now with Biden- an actual Russian paid-off politician- as President, and the feckless Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, we have no energy policy except to shut ours down, and we have no foreign policy except to offer money to Ayatollahs and weakness to the Russians. The result? Putin and Russia not only get their energy money flowing again, and to top it off, Biden approves the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe further sealing their future energy contracts.

Enter the Ukraine? Sure. Who's going to stop them aside from Ukrainians fighting for their very lives? Surely not The West. The West gave their answer to international bullies the other day when Chamath Palihapitiya of the virtual signally named, Social Capital, told the world that "no one cares about the Uyghur genocide.". I guarantee you, these same people currently running our country, don't much care about the Ukraine either.

Jersey Fled said...

Not to worry. Our State Department is on the job.

Dave Begley said...

I never considered that the Ukrainians might have kept some nukes.

Joe Biden is the perfect person to be the Leader of the Free World if a nuclear war breaks out between Russia and the Ukraine. Joe's normal. Joe's got empathy.

doctrev said...

If there was any further doubt that the neocons are the most hopeless and stupid tribe of shameless lying grifters on the planet, the impending hostilities will make that painfully clear. Russian troops in Belorussia (gosh, who could have seen THAT coming) are within a few hours of Kiev. That guarantees that the city will be the first target of the war, and Grozny looks like the soft option. More likely we will see truckloads of American soldiers and diplomats killed as a message that Russians are not to be fucked with. And at that point, NATO will collapse under its own weight as governments frantically look for the exits.

President Diaper Rash is going to be torn apart, perhaps literally, and I can't wait to watch.

Richard Aubrey said...

On a tactical level, some wars back, the enemies of Israel had a surfeit of antitank missiles. Not needing all of them for anti-tank work, the Arabs used zillion dollar smart stuff against IDF positions such as machine gun emplacements.
Some missiles are guided by the operator....see TOW. Others, see Javelin, are fire-and-forget. So, while the latter's gunner may be committing suicide by firing and giving away his position, the missile is on its way regardless.
Point is, this could be extremely expensive for the Russians absent some serious bombing. And to the extent they have anti-aircraft missiles, the Ukes could extract a price there.
In the Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian air defenses exacted such a price on IAF close support aircraft that the ground guys begged to be let attack without CAS.
I know of another case in WW II. Being a zoomy who goes to work sitting down isn't as much fun as it looks.
So this is going to be deadly and the question is what Putin wants that he thinks is worth the risk. And if he gets it and it turns out to be worth the risk--he's no dummy--what would that be and what would it mean to us?

Hej Sokoly

doctrev said...

By the way, if Ukraine was stupid enough to toss nukes at Russia, and I have no reason to believe they can deliver a nuke too deeply into Russian territory, the Russians are never going to accept that the CIA wasn't responsible. A counter nuke against an American city like New York or Los Angeles might be the signal for a general uprising against the Biden regime.

Jefferson's Revenge said...

As Temujin said." Now with Biden- an actual Russian paid-off politician- as President"

This seems likely but let's extend that a bit and get a little more scared/angry- if Biden is indeed Russia's paid off politician, is there any reason to assume that China, a bigger threat than Russia, is not also a major stockholder in Biden Bank & Trust? And, to go further, how about our media that seems to be blind to the Russia favoring Biden policies while at the same time still percolating nonsense about Trump and Russia? And the rabbit hole continues with media and big techs insistence that to continue to say the Covid virus was lab originated is grounds for dismissal from polite society. I have never been a conspiracy guy but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a conspiracy is someone's actual plan.

robother said...

Ukraine? Taiwan? A small price to pay for getting rid of mean tweets. (Same with Abraham Accords, US self-sufficiency in oil...etc.)

RoseAnne said...

Blinken is fourth in the line of presidential succession after Harris, Pelosi and Leahy.






Joe Smith said...

Not our war.

Why would we oppose Russians invading Ukraine when we gave them the green light to make billions of dollars to fight that war with pipeline revenue?

Browndog said...

This isn't Biden. This is the Obama administration trying to finish what they started in 2014-15. Cross reference the names of State Dept. officials in 2015 and those calling the shots today.

Joe Smith said...

Liz Cheney is having little orgasms just thinking about all of the arms sales...

rcocean said...

we don't need to go to war with Russia. Russia may invavde Ukraine and take part of Ukraine's Eastern border that has been disputed ever since the Ukraine broke away in the 1990s. Its rather interesting that Biden is against NATA expansion, since Trump took the same position and has screeched at as "Putin's butt boy".

One good thing about having a senile 80 y/o as POTUS, is he has almost none ability to get everyone worked up for a new war.

rcocean said...

Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and Yeb! are probably salivating over a new war though. Think of the arms sales! Think of the profits! Think of the kickbacks through family members!

Robert Cook said...

Who the fuck are we to condemn Russia (and threaten them with "consequences") if they invade Ukraine after we feel free to invade any nation we please, bringing murder and torture with us?

narciso said...

blinken is just malley's sock puppet, sullivan is the dragon's, Russia has fought four wars with the Turks just to take and two to hold the Russo Turk, and first Balkan War

narciso said...

asking the Russians to give up Crimea, is like us giving up Texas, that's not going to happen,

you known Pournelle and Perot's view of the Gulf War was born out by 9/11

CWJ said...

"Blinken's already blinkin'"

What an unfortunate surname for anyone charged with conducting any kind of negotiation.

CWJ said...

Let's not forget the big question. How will this affect Hunter's Burisma stipend?

Spiros said...

Don't expect a robust international response to a Russian invasion.

joe said...

Much of this is due to Biden's ineptitude. Biden dropped the long standing US objection to the Nord Stream pipeline that had prevented its completion. With that objection dropped the status quo is now the that the pipeline will be completed. And, Biden's energy policy ended the real probability that the US would be able to supply enough natural gas to Europe to make Russian gas irrelevant to Europe and remove Russia's leverage over the continent.

Now even if Germany has the stones to stop the pipeline as a result of this Putin manufactured crisis, all that does is put us where we were 1 year ago. In other words, Russia has out maneuvered Biden. Putin can use his manufactured crisis to get some level of concessions from the West and the most he would lose is something he expected to lose anyway - his direct pipeline to Germany. And, he doesn't even lose the sales; Germany already buys natural gas from Russia via a pipeline that runs through Ukraine.

ga6 said...

Gas at 5 a gallon. inflation over 7 per cent. Crime growing.

Time for War War War.

JPS said...

Dave Begley,

"I also recall that it was an oral contract."

Well, the Budapest Memorandum was signed by us, the UK, and Russia. Russia now states that Ukraine's government is illegal, and therefore they're not bound by assurances they gave regarding the territorial integrity of a Ukraine then governed legally.

I'd sure hate to see us drawn into a war over this. I don't think we will be. A capable president and SecState might have negotiated with friendly and neutral nations to ensure that if Russia invades, they never sell another cubic centimeter of natural gas to western Europe. A capable president might also have rallied lawmakers on both sides of our aisle to pass laws backing such an effort.

For reasons I haven't pinned down, Senate Democrats decided that damned white supremacist filibuster was worth using, before they get rid of it as they want to, to stop a vote on Ted Cruz' NordStream 2 sanctions bill.

Michael K said...

A counter nuke against an American city like New York or Los Angeles might be the signal for a general uprising against the Biden regime.

No No, nuke DC. We would probably award Putin the Nobel Prize or something.

Putin (and Xi) realizes this is a once in a century opportunity. America has a senile president who is surrounded by leftist amateurs who have never done anything but talk. We are about the status of Russia in 1914 with a government headed by an idiot and an army that is riddled with idiots.

Mike Sylwester said...

tim in vermont at 8:25 AM
Stalin flooded Ukraine with ethno-Russians and was willing to let history do the rest. Same policy that Biden is taking with flooding the US with migrants.

That is partially true.

It's important to understand, though, that much of southeastern Ukraine is steppe -- which we in America call prairie. It's grassland, with unreliable rain.

The pre-industrial population was sparse and mostly nomadic. In America, the prairie population was nomadic Indians. In Ukraine, the steppe population was nomadic Turks.

The Russian Empire conquered Crimea in the 1700s. The native population was mostly Tatars. After that Russian conquest, the Slavic population that settled there was mostly Russians, not Ukrainians.

In regard to the Donbas -- a steppe region -- a lot of Russians settled there in the Stalin years. That happened because minerals were discovered there, and so a metallurgy industry was developed there. The people who were qualified to work in the mining and metallurgy industries were more Russians than Ukrainians.

And so, the sparsely populated Donbas became populated more by Russians than by Ukrainians. That was not the result of any ethnic policy to discriminate against Ukrainians. Rather, it was the result of a natural process where qualified Russians moved to Donbas to work in the new mining and metallurgy industries there.

And so now, the population of Donbas -- a region in Ukraine -- is populated mostly by ethnic Russians.

And now, since the Maidan Protest Movement removed a pro-Russia Ukrainian President from his elected position, the Donbas population would vote overwhelmingly in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia.

Rollo said...

What stands in front of us, what could be weeks away, is the first peer-on-peer, industrialised, digitised, top-tier army against top-tier army war that’s been on this continent for generations. Tens of thousands of people could die.

Dude, try to sound a little less enthusiastic about it.

Mike Sylwester said...

Temujin at 8:37 AM
It's hilarious and sadly dangerous that Russia already attacked and annexed a part of the Ukraine under Pres. Obama ...

Are you talking here about Crimea?

A referendum was conducted, and the Crimean population voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia.

The referendum was conducted as a consequence of the Maidan Protest Movement. Ukrainians in Kyiv prevented the elected President Viktor Yanukovych from governing normally. Yanukovych had to abandon his elected position and flee to Russia.

The Crimean population had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych in the 2013 Presidential election. After the Maidan Protest Movement, that same Crimean population voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia, where there future votes would be respected.

Narr said...

Ukraine is a corrupt non-democratic country, therefore we are obligated to protect it.

The Sovs expertly left Russian (or other local minorities) in sizable numbers inside all the 'ethnic' republics. Estonia and Latvia have large proportions of ethnic Russians, too, and they act as levers for Russian leaders to exploit on the grounds of protecting their human rights.

As Mike Sylwester explains, the disputed oblasts in Eastern Ukraine are largely ethnic Russian, and when the Crimean Tatars were removed in 1944 because of collaboration with the Nazis the replacement population was almost all ethnic Russians.

Any Western country that gets involved militarily will lose badly. And will deserve to lose.

Narr said...

Uyghurs are even less worthy of our concern than Ukraine, to be clear.

narciso said...

Russians haven't really made much headway in the last seven years, they used pmc's like wagner corps, because the average russian soldier after 20 years, is kind of sick of war

Lem said...

Biden cancelation of our own Keystone pipeline can't be helping.

Drago said...

Mike Sylvester: "The Maidan Protest Movement was supported -- and probably funded -- by the USA, by the Obama Administration, which wanted to cause trouble for Russia gratuitously."

The Color Revolution in the Ukraine was absolutely funded and coordinated by the US. It was the very same playbook they ran against Trump in the US from 2016 thru 2020...and it continues today.

And remember, when Biden publicly threatened the US-backed and installed Ukrainian govt post the color revolution because the Govt was looking into Hunter and Burisma, the Ukrainian govt that had been installed by the US knew they'd better kill off any investigation that could impact Hunter & Joe and so they did.

Such was the confidence in the corruption of US media that Biden's Earpiece knew he could do that openly on video and his praetorian pravda-ites would happily cover for him.

cf said...

Bob Boyd said...
Blinken's already blinkin'

CWJ said...
What an unfortunate surname for anyone charged with conducting any kind of negotiation.

Early on, as this administration took shape and these folks "took charge", I took it as further confirmation that China owned Biden, and helped to select the most laughable names and dullest leadership they could to be dealing with.

robother said...

The facts on the ground overwhelmingly predetermine a Russian takeover. I wonder if the only thing Blinken is negotiating in Geneva is the present value discount percentage on the 10 % interest of the "Big Guy."

Mike Sylwester said...

Drago at 10:23 AM
The Color Revolution in the Ukraine was absolutely funded and coordinated by the US. It was the very same playbook they ran against Trump in the US from 2016 thru 2020 ... and it continues today.

The ethnic Russians in Ukraine were living peacefully there. They accepted that they were an ethnic minority in Ukraine.

However, the ethnic Russians wanted the Ukrainian government to improve relations with Russia. Lots of Ukrainians favored the same policy.

In the 2013 election, Viktor Yanukovych put together a voting coalition comprising the ethnic Russians and the Ukrainians who wanted to improve relations with Russia. Running on that platform, Yanukovych won the election. The European Union declared that he won fairly.

There are some similarities between Yanukovych and Trump.

* Both won upset elections by assembling new voting coalitions.

* Both won their elections fairly.

* After they became Presidents, their opponents conducted sustained, devious, outrageous campaigns to remove them from their elected positions.

In Ukraine, the sustained, devious, outrageous campaign succeeded, and so Yanukovych was compelled to abandon his elected position.

As a consequence, however, the ethnic-Russian regions decided to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia, where their future votes will be respected.

Crimea managed to conduct a referendum and so managed to secede.

Donbas has not been allowed to conduct a similar referendum. If a referendum were conducted, the Donbas population would vote overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia.

That is the essence of this situation.

Mike Sylwester said...

Drago at 10:23 AM
The Color Revolution in the Ukraine was absolutely funded and coordinated by the US. It was the very same playbook they ran against Trump in the US from 2016 thru 2020 ... and it continues today.

During the Trump Administration, the CIA's role in supporting and funding the Maidan Protest Movement should have been investigated.

When the Republicans return to power, that role should be investigated and revealed.

Mark said...

Blinken is a terrible, but apt, name for this feckless Administration.

Mike Sylwester said...

When the Republicans return to power, that role should be investigated and revealed.

In particular, the role of Vice President Joe Biden should be investigated and revealed.

Biden was the Obama Administration's "point man on Ukraine".

tim in vermont said...

And now I know “the rest of the story” But regardless of the cause, the consequences of mass ethnic migration remains the same.

Yancey Ward said...

The Ukranians didn't keep any of the Soviet nuclear weapons after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, but that doesn't mean they don't have any either- I am quite sure they had the technical capability to build them this entire time. I think it probable that they don't have any, but not certain.

Ukraine is not our problem in the same way Georgia in 2008 was not our problem. This shit for brains administration seems to be trying to get us involved in a land war in Europe. I think, eventually, the Donbass will join Russia, and Ukraine will be well rid of it. There is an agreement to be made here between the two countries, but it takes a realist to help moderate it.

narciso said...

the signal was early in the year when there was no offensive weapons in the aid package that along with the pipeline shutdown gave putin the green light,

Mike Sylwester said...

Yancey Ward at 10:50 AM
There is an agreement to be made here between the two countries, but it takes a realist to help moderate it.

Conduct a referendum in Donbas. If more than 2/3 votes to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia, then allow that to happen.

If Ukrainians want their Ukrainian language and culture to prosper, then that will happen better if the ethnic-Russian regions secede from Ukraine.

Anyway, the Ukrainians and Russians can sort all of this out without the USA's interference.

Drago said...

Lem: "Biden cancelation of our own Keystone pipeline can't be helping."

Au Contraire!

It's helping the russkis, the ChiCom's and Iranians and punishing Americans.

And in the end, to the democraticals, that's a win-win-win-win.

Drago said...

Mike Sylvester: "During the Trump Administration, the CIA's role in supporting and funding the Maidan Protest Movement should have been investigated.

When the Republicans return to power, that role should be investigated and revealed."

Unfortunately, in general, there was no "Trump Administration", just a bunch of people that McConnell allowed that kept the old policies in place.

And there is ZERO chance any McConnell/Romney/Thune/Graham/Collins et al crew will be doing any investigating of anything meaningful at any time.

After all, there are lots of tea party-types/Trump voters/Republican base voters that have to be penalized and that's where the majority of the Team Establishment will spend most of their time.

Dude1394 said...

I am not interested in any action led by cabbage head. Just say no. And any republican that proposes it I will primary.

tim in vermont said...

Robert Cook is correct.

narciso said...

heappey, the minister in question, served in afghanistan and Iraq, that turned out so well, you would think they wouldn't want a reprise,

rcocean said...

Distract attention. Giddy minds and foreign quarrells.
Standard procedure for many Governments throughout the ages.

Browndog said...

Missing from this discussion is the U.S. insistence Ukraine join NATO. Ukraine doesn't want NATO, NATO doesn't want Ukraine.

Russia will not tolerate a U.S. outpost on their border. Nor should they.

Drago said...

Richard Aubrey: "So this is going to be deadly and the question is what Putin wants that he thinks is worth the risk. And if he gets it and it turns out to be worth the risk--he's no dummy--what would that be and what would it mean to us?"

Gas Pipelines and a buffer against NATO.

Either one alone would be sufficient justification. Both together guarantees action.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "Who the fuck are we to condemn Russia (and threaten them with "consequences") if they invade Ukraine after we feel free to invade any nation we please, bringing murder and torture with us?"

Hmmmmmmm, I'm trying to come up with a terrific criticism of this comment (why "terrific"? Because I've got standards to uphold, that's why).......but so far....I've got nuttin'.

The bottom line is Cook is quite right here. Didn't someone else use the example of "what if the ChiCom's brought Mexico into military alliance?" example, and that is a perfect example.

Who can forget the US reaction to the Zimmerman Telegram? And it would be no different day while in "peacetime".

Scotty, beam me up... said...

This business about “ethnic Russians” sounds eerily familiar to the situation in eastern Europe circa mid-1930’s and ethnic Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia as well as other countries. That need to reintegrate ethnic Germans back into the Fatherland led to World War II. Putin is on a mission to reconstitute the old Soviet Union by bringing back into the Russian fold parts of former Soviet republics. I fear he is next going for the Baltic states, which BTW, are members of NATO. And, as members of NATO, all of the other members of NATO are bound by treaty to defend those 3 countries. Right now, I have no confidence in any of the major western countries in NATO will do so for any eastern European NATO member country that were formerly members of the old Soviet block

Temujin said...

Mike Sylwester @ 10:10am: "Ukrainians in Kyiv prevented the elected President Viktor Yanukovych from governing normally."

I'm not sure that's how I'd look at it.
The Maidan Movement timeline

I do understand the populace of the Donbas region was heavily Russian. But it was still a part of Ukraine. Texas, Arizona, and SoCal are heavily Mexican, but I'm not sure a poll to send those areas back to Mexico would pass muster. So I'm not sure Russia sending their army to 'free' their people is a widely accepted move- unless war is the object. These lands- whether it be the American Prairie, as you mentioned, or the southeastern Ukraine, have switched populations for millennia. It will keep happening. Perhaps this is part of it, I can't say. But I can say that massing a hundred thousand troops at the border of a neighboring country is not what I'd call reacting to the polls.

Josephbleau said...

Trump will have caused the invasion of the Ukraine by his violation of the orders and foreign policy of (call me) Lt. Col. Vindiman, the Ukrainian patriot that helped craft Trump's second impeachment.

JPS said...

Browndog,

"Missing from this discussion is the U.S. insistence Ukraine join NATO."

I don't get it. The U.S. is not insisting Ukraine join NATO. As for

"Ukraine doesn't want NATO,"

they're asking for admission and we wish they would stop asking. Because keeping them out is diplomatically embarrassing; whereas letting them in either means war with Russia if we do defend them, or the end of NATO as a meaningful alliance if they join and then we don't.

So I agree with you that NATO doesn't want Ukraine.

Tom T. said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, and I certainly don't want US troops involved. But yes, Russia absolutely attacked Ukraine in 2014. It sent in troops that seized the Crimean Parliament, as well as airports and military bases. The Russians initially lied about this but have now admitted to doing this. No one outside this comment thread disputes that this happened.

The referendum took place shortly after the Russian invasion, i.e., while under occupation. Very few outside Russia accept the legitimacy of that referendum. I have no way to judge that question for myself, but it's omissive to ignore the fact that it's so widely distrusted.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

With only some weapons and a lot of moral support from NATO members and if the Ukrainians are determined to get Putin and Russia to back off permanently after any invasion, they need to take a look at history. In 1939, Stalin invaded neighboring Finland in what looked on paper to be a rout by the Soviet Union. The Finns made the Red Army pay a terrible price. In the end, Stalin got some Finnish territory that he coveted for natural resources. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Finns joined in and invaded their old territory and reclaimed what they gave up a year earlier. Once the Soviet Union pushed the Germans back, they then retook the Finnish territory that they originally took in early 1940 but nothing else. Why? Because Stalin learned his lesson from the original Russo-Finnish war that the Finns were a people that would cause him major issues. This while he was steamrollering the Eastern European countries while pushing the Germans back to Berlin and crushing any potential uprising by the Eastern Europeans. If the Ukrainians can make life a living hell for the invading Russians, Putin will have to think twice the next time he attempts a Ukrainian land grab.

CWJ said...

Ethnic minorities have been the bane of European boundary drawing ever since the French revolution. I think all of us above a certain age were taught that Europe's post WWI boundaries were the result of national self determination. I honestly thought that they were neat distinctions between Poles, Czechs/Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgars, etc. I was vaguely aware that Yugoslavia (literally the land of the southern slavs) was a hodgepodge, so it was a disappointment, but not a total surprise when it fell apart. I had always assumed that Hitler's invocation of the Sudeten Germans was no more than a cynical ploy. But that all changed when I started discovering the many mini wars that took place among the new countries after the armistice and into the early twenties. None of these boundaries provided a clear demarcation between nationalities. All of them claimed that their people were persecuted outside their borders, while all of them happily persecuted the ethnic minorities within their borders.

So my bottom line is that European history shows that an ethnic minority nationally but with local concentrations is incompatible with national harmony. Ukraine's situation was always a matter of when, not if.

cubanbob said...

It would not surprise me if Poland and other former Warsaw pact countries are seeing this as a reason to quietly arm themselves with nukes.

Depending on what Putin does it may well be the Ukrainians put up a hell of a fight like Scotty mentioned regarding the Finns in 1940. Unlike Satlin, Putin doesn't have masses of troops to lose or the ability to completely cow the Russian populace with Soviet type repressions when there are a lot of Russian troops coming home in body bags or maimed. Of course if Obama hand Biden hadn't been so feckless there may not have a war to start with.

JaimeRoberto said...

But what about the Interagency?

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

Ethnic Russians didn't "migrate" to the Donbas or to Crimea. They were moved there to replace the original inhabitants who were starved out (in Donbas by Stalin) or evicted (from Crimea by Stalin).

In the USSR you didn't just move somewhere because you felt like there were great opporunities in new industries. You were moved there by government policy.

While Mike Sylvester only looks to recent history, he ignores the legitimate claims to Donbas and Crimea by the Ukrainians rooted in the existence of Ukrainian people in those areas prior to subjection by the USSR.

What Sylvester is alleging is that Putin's Russians have a legitimate claim to the areas they occupy based on the genocidal policies of a previous Russian government. The Ukrainians (who were also subjected periodically by the Romanovs) don't see the legitimacy of the Yuschkenko government (elected with a lot of help from Putin, EU bureaucrats who were paid to look the other way notwithstanding) in quite the same way as the Russophiles in this comments section.

Does this mean we should go to war in Ukraine if Russia invades? Not in my thinking. But we should arm the hell out of them, the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, and the Estonians. Because if we don't stop Putin and Russia in the Ukraine he's going for Estonia next.

And for the Russophiles - where do we get involved? When Russia asserts its "rights" to....what country is over the line? Poland? Germany? Czechia? Hungary?

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

And to answer Cookie: We're the same country that fought the Russians in the Cold War and beat them. We still have the moral high ground, whether you (a prototypical America hater) like it or not.

Howard said...

Proxy wars are so 1960-1970's thinking. Putin is much a product of the failure of the Clintons to properly deal with Boris Yeltsin by promoting the rise of the "free-market reform" oligarchs.

Mike Sylwester said...

Tom T. at 12:53 PM
But yes, Russia absolutely attacked Ukraine in 2014. It sent in troops that seized the Crimean Parliament, as well as airports and military bases. The Russians initially lied about this but have now admitted to doing this. No one outside this comment thread disputes that this happened.

Thank you for the correction.

However, there is a complication.

Russia had an agreement with Ukraine, allowing Russia to base its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, the main port city of Crimea.

In the days following the eviction of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukevych from his elected position, riots broke out throughout Crimea, since most of Crimea's population had voted for Yanukevych in the recent Presidential election.

In these riotous circumstances, Russia's Black Sea Fleet deployed some special forces from its Sevastopol base to establish order in some public buildings.

It was not because of these small and brief deployments that Crimea voted overwhelmingly in the later referendum to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia. Rather, the Crimean population voted to do so because they had voted for Yanukevych, who later was expelled from his elected position by months-long protests against Yanukevych by Ukrainians in Kyiv.

Chris Lopes said...

What I find reassuring is that almost no one (I actually can't find any, but I may have missed one) in these comments seems willing to waste American lives getting involved in another region we know little (and understand even less) about. Even the neocons seem (at best) to be willing to fight to the last Ukrainian. They'll joyfully watch a bloody proxy war, but are smart enough (this time) to know they can't spill American blood on this one. It's progress of a sort.

Howard said...

The Soviets collapsed under the weight of their failed economic system. The military spending was a money laundering system, not a war. The MI Complex "won".

Mike Sylwester said...

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed at
Ethnic Russians didn't "migrate" to the Donbas or to Crimea. They were moved there to replace the original inhabitants who were starved out (in Donbas by Stalin) or evicted (from Crimea by Stalin).

In regard to Crimea, large numbers of Russians have been moving there since the 1700s, after Russia took Crimea from the Ottoman Empire.

In regard to Donbas, the development of mining and metallurgy industries attracted large numbers of Russians to that area in the early Soviet years. Ukrainians certainly were welcome to move there and to work in those industries, but more Russians did so.

During the collectivization famine in the 1930s, massive numbers of Ukrainians died. However, they were mostly peasants. The people working in the mining and metallurgy industries in Donbas and other such Ukrainian urban areas were not the people starving to death in large numbers.

In general, it did not happen that Donbas ever was populated mostly by Ukrainians, who then were killed by the collectivization famine and then were replaced by Russians. That is not why Donbas is populated mostly by ethnic Russians.

Before the mining and metallurgy industries were developed in Donbas, the population was sparse and largely nomadic and Turkic. It was a prairie. It was like Nebraska when Indians still roamed there.

Mike Sylwester said...

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed, at 3:26 PM
While Mike Sylwester only looks to recent history, he ignores the legitimate claims to Donbas and Crimea by the Ukrainians rooted in the existence of Ukrainian people in those areas prior to subjection by the USSR.

The ethnic Russians in Crimea and Donbas were living peacefully until President Yanukevych was evicted from his elected position in 2014.

Those ethnic Russians had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukevych, who ran on a platform of improving Ukraine's relations with Russia. For the same reason, lots of Ukrainians likewise voted for Yanukevich who won the 2013 election. According to the European Union's observers, Yanukevych won that election fairly.

However, Yanukevych was mistreated like Trump was mistreated. Ukrainians, mostly in Kyiv, conducted a sustained, devious, outrageous campaign to remove Yanukevych from his elected position, and that campaign eventually succeeded.

Here in the USA, Trump survived the sustained, devious, outrageous campaign to remove him from his elected position. However, this gives you an idea of what happened to Yanukevych in Ukraine.

Ukraine's ethnic Russians decided immediately that they were not living in a democracy. They decided they wanted to secede and join Russia, where their future votes would be respected.

The Ukrainian zealots in Kyiv unintentionally caused these secession movements in Crimea and Donbas. The Ukrainians should have allowed Yanukevych to govern until the next election, when they might have voted him out of his position. Instead, the Ukrainian zealots used devious, outrageous methods to evict Yanukevych from his elected position.

Mike Sylwester said...

CWJ at 1:18 PM
Ethnic minorities have been the bane of European boundary drawing ever since the French revolution. ... None of these boundaries provided a clear demarcation between nationalities. All of them claimed that their people were persecuted outside their borders, while all of them happily persecuted the ethnic minorities within their borders.

Some such disputes can be resolved by super-majority referendums.

Suppose such a referendum had been conducted in Sudetenland in the late 1930s, If a 2/3 majority voted to secede from Czechoslovakia and to join Germany, then maybe that would have been a beneficial development.

If 2/3 of the Donbas population votes to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia, then that is a peaceful resolution. Everyone can stay where his living now, but the border will be redrawn. That would be better than what is happening now.

Narr said...

FTR I am not a Russophile (NTTAWWT). I am a realist, and a student of European history. Even after the mass sortings of the 20th C ethnic and ideological utopias those populations remain intermixed in many areas.

Mike Sylwester knows the thing.

Putin's motives and ultimate goals are matters for speculation, but any notion that he presents the danger to the world that Hitler or Stalin did is laughable. Unless, that is, we choose to believe the feckless, reckless ghouls of Imperial DC.

You can't make this stuff up: our buffoon elites posture like Churchill and Reagan over Ukraine, while our Southern border is dissolved by plan.

Michael K said...

Ms Pisshockey is cleaning up Biden's mess of a press conference where he gave Putin a green light to invade Ukraine.

Biden's statement is probably what the policy will be. She is an accomplished liar.

The Godfather said...

When Trump was President, the Russians had to worry about how far they could go without triggering a US reaction. Now --. and particularly after Afghanistan -- I don't think that's a Russian concern.

Josephbleau said...

A war of conquest is an investment. As with China vs Taiwan, Russia vs Ukraine has a capital cost in blood and equipment that should be covered by future return to the citizens of the conqueror paid by the defeated. I think the break even point on Taiwan would be much shorter than in Ukraine. I would not invest in either conquest because I think future returns would be reduced by other trade reductions to the US or EU. I don’t think Putin made any money by invading Georgia.

Drago said...

JosephBleau: "I would not invest in either conquest because I think future returns would be reduced by other trade reductions to the US or EU."

You are discounting the leverage the ChiComs have over western politicians that have long been bought off and compromised. Obvious examples, the Bidens, any number of Swalwells and their Fang Fang's, McConnell, etc.


JosephBleau: "I don’t think Putin made any money by invading Georgia."

That one wasnt so much about money.

Robert Cook said...

"And to answer Cookie: We're the same country that fought the Russians in the Cold War and beat them. We still have the moral high ground, whether you (a prototypical America hater) like it or not."

I do not understand the first part of this statement. How does our "beating" (sic) the Russians in the Cold War--if that's what you call Russia exhausting its finances due to their own futile quagmire in Afghanistan, preceding ours--give us any moral high ground?

We have rarely had any moral high ground over other nations, and to the degree (and notwithstanding those sporadic times) we may have, we certainly have zero moral high ground at present after our 20 years pointless and baseless years terrorizing and wreaking havoc in the Middle East. It'll take quite a long time (if ever) to lose the stench of the blood and shit adhering to us for this part of our modern history.