Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has come at a substantial cost for Russia, with the country so far failing to achieve its military objectives and the Russian economy suffering under unprecedented western sanctions. Robert H. Wade argues that while nothing can excuse Russia’s invasion, the Kremlin has effectively fallen into a trap laid by the US and Nato that is intended to bring down Putin’s regime.
On 26 March, President Biden, speaking in Warsaw, said, unscripted: “For God’s sake, this man [Putin] cannot remain in power.” Such an overt statement of intention for regime change in Russia has not gone down well in most of Europe. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later clarified Biden’s Warsaw remark: “As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else, for that matter”. Blinken has apparently forgotten Vietnam, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan, and quite a few more.
Consider the following quotes. On 24 February, during a White House press conference on the first day of Russia’s invasion, Biden said sanctions are designed not to prevent invasion but to punish Russia after invading “…so the people of Russia know what he has brought on them. That is what this is all about.”
On 27 February, James Heappey, UK Minister for the Armed Forces, wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “His failure must be complete; Ukrainian sovereignty must be restored, and the Russian people empowered to see how little he cares for them. In showing them that, Putin’s days as President will surely be numbered… He’ll lose power and he won’t get to choose his successor.” Finally, on 1 March, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the sanctions on Russia “we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime.”
These statements reflect long-standing US strategy for regime change in Moscow, with Ukraine as the pivot. On one hand, send sufficient military and other equipment to Ukraine to sink the Russian military in a quagmire. On the other hand, impose severe, far-reaching sanctions on Russia so as to cause major disruption to the Russian elite and a major contraction of living conditions for the Russian middle-class. The combination should last long enough for Russians to rise up to overthrow Putin and install a Yeltsin-like President more sympathetic to the West.
But this weapons-plus-sanctions strategy needed a cause. Putin’s invasion was the required casus belli. It in no way excuses Russia’s invasion and its despicable tactics to say that the Kremlin fell into a US and Nato trap.
Two clashing mega forces
Our “free” mainstream media has tended to stick to the narrative of a “wicked, revanchist Putin” attacking “innocent and unified Ukraine, as a first step to conquest of other parts of eastern and central Europe and restoration of the erstwhile Soviet Union”.
The Ukraine crisis expresses the clash of two mega forces shaping the world order. One is the US’s long-standing assertion of “primacy” or “hegemony” vis-à-vis all other states. Presidents Putin and Xi (as well as many in the West) talk often and pleasurably of the decline of the US and the fracturing of the West, especially since the 2008 North Atlantic financial crisis. Yet what is striking about the US and the West’s response to Russia’s invasion is how forcefully the US has rallied other western states – and very importantly, western multinational corporations – to isolate a prominent G20 state and former G8 member.
The other clashing mega force is the Russian state’s ambition to constitute itself as the centre of the Eurasian polity, culture and economy. This long-term drive is missed by the focus on Putin – his ambition and his state of mind. Jane Burbank, emeritus Professor of History and Russian and Slavic studies at New York University, reminds us, “Since the 1990s, plans to reunite Ukraine and other post-Soviet states into a trans-continental superpower have been brewing in Russia. A revitalized theory of Eurasian empire informs Mr Putin’s every move”.
Indeed, ever since the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917 a line of Russian thinkers has developed an ideology of Eurasianism. It was suppressed during the Soviet period but burst forth during perestroika in the late 1980s. The ideology posits not just America but the whole Atlantic world as Russia’s “clash of civilizations” opponent, with Russian Orthodoxy harnessed as the glue in the geopolitical war to come. Under Putin, the themes of imperial glory and western victimisation have been elevated to centre stage across the country.
As Burbank explains, Ukraine figured in this Eurasian ideology as an obstacle from the start. Eurasian ideologists in the 1920s were already talking of “the Ukraine problem”, presenting Ukraine as excessively “individualistic” and insufficiently Orthodox. Prominent ideologists of the 1990s identified Ukrainian sovereignty as, in the words of one, a “huge danger to all of Eurasia”. Russia’s Eurasia project, he said, required, as an “absolute imperative”, total control of the whole north coast of the Black Sea. Ukraine had to become “a purely administrative sector of the Russian centralized state”.
This is the ideology which motives Putin, which led him to declare Ukraine as “a colony with a puppet regime” on the eve of the invasion. This is the ideology which inspires and justifies his brutal war in his eyes.
The US and Nato strategy
Having summarised the ambition of Putin and the Russian state, we return to the US and Nato strategy for Ukraine and Russia. I draw on an eye-opening essay by Joe Lauria, which fleshes out the US and Nato’s ulterior motives in the Ukraine crisis: to end the Putin regime and replace it with one friendly to and subordinate to the US.
The US strategy for regime change in Moscow has been long in preparation. In 2013 (before Ukraine’s President Yanukovych was overthrown in 2014) , Carl Gershman, Director of National Endowment for Democracy (NED), wrote: “Ukraine is the biggest prize.” He explained that if it could be pulled away from Russia and into the West, “Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
This larger strategy for containing Russia is the context to understand the expansion of Nato members all along Russia’s borders, from the Baltics to Bulgaria, and the presence of 30,000 Nato-designated troops. It also helps understand the US and some other western states’ military intervention to overthrow Syria’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, Russia’s ally, as well as the policy of encouraging US NGOs to foment unrest in Russia.
Since 2015 the CIA has been overseeing a secret intensive training programme in the US for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel. On 13 January, it was reported that the CIA-trained forces “could soon play a critical role on Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russian troops have massed in what many fear is preparation for an invasion.” A former CIA official explained, “The United States is training an insurgency.” It is no surprise that Moscow has long read US and Nato actions as being deeply hostile and intended to produce “regime change” in the Kremlin.
The countdown to Russia’s invasion
In 2014 the democratically elected president Yanukovych – explicitly friendly to both the EU and to Moscow – was overthrown in a coup (with substantial US backing). On 23 February, the day after Yanukovych fled, the first act of the Ukrainian parliament was to revoke the legal status of Russian as a national language; and more broadly, to prevent regions from allowing the use of any other language than Ukrainian. The government set about blocking access to Russian news, TV channels and radio. All through the next months, the government, the broadcast media and large sections of the population chanted the motto “One Nation, One Language, One People”.
These were blatantly belligerent acts towards a large minority. It is easy to understand why the many millions of Russian speakers felt under envenomed siege; and why they felt emboldened by support from the powerful state on their doorstep. The fact that language legislation was then not put into law did not suddenly “make everything right again”. The efforts to marginalise Russian speakers continued.
The largely Russian speaking and Russian Orthodox believing populations of the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk voted in favour of independence from Ukraine. The government in Kyiv (mostly Ukrainian speaking and Catholic) launched a war against these provinces to crush their resistance.
Scroll forward to December 2021. The Kremlin presented treaty proposals, which included implementation of the eight-year old Minsk peace accords (which include a commitment that Ukraine not join Nato); dissolving extreme right Ukrainian militias; and engaging in serious negotiations about a new security architecture in Europe. The US and Nato consistently refused to negotiate. As they refused, they also warned the world, from December 2021 onwards, that Russia would invade. And they transferred huge quantities of weapons and trained the Ukrainian military.
On 19 February, Ukrainian President Zelensky gave an impassioned speech at the Munich Security Conference insisting that Ukraine must have a clear path to join Nato, and expressing regret that Ukraine had given up its nuclear arsenal at the end of the Soviet Union, then the world’s third biggest. In the third week of February, the Ukrainian military dramatically increased its shelling of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, as reported by observers from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). It is likely that this step-up in the Ukrainian attack had the blessing of the US and Nato.
Until this point, the Kremlin had not recognised the two Donbas republics; it had held off for eight years. Now, as the Ukrainian military stepped up its attack, the Kremlin had to decide. It entered the on-going civil war in order to protect the Donbas republics from the stepped up Ukrainian military attacks, and on a scale big enough for it to replace the national government.
The US-laid trap
It now appears the Kremlin has fallen into a trap (and to say this is not – to repeat – an attempt to excuse Russia’s actions). The trap has similarities to the trap the US set for Saddam Hussein in 1990 when it said it would not interfere in his government’s dispute with Kuwait. Saddam invaded Kuwait, which gave the US the casus belli to destroy Iraq’s military.
The trap also has similarities to one the CIA laid for Moscow four decades ago, by arming the mujahideen to fight the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan. The US intended for Moscow to send in its military to defend the government, which it did in 1979. President Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in an interview in 1998 with Le Nouvel Observateur, happily admitted the US had set a trap:
Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention… That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap [note his phrase] and you want me to regret it? The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: ‘We now have the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam war.’ Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Brzezinski presumed, as the US does today, that control of Eurasia is vital for US “primacy” or “hegemony” in the world system (directly countering Russia’s Eurasian ideology). In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geopolitical Imperatives he wrote: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia.”
He explained that without Ukraine being integrated into or closely allied to Russia, Russia was a “predominantly Asian imperial state”. Whereas Ukraine integrated into Russia gave Russia the opening to be (or resume being) “a Eurasian empire”. So the long-held US aim has been to push Ukraine away from Russia, as a major step towards constraining Russian strategy, and more distantly Chinese strategy too, thereby sustaining US primacy.
It seems likely that US and Nato strategists have a second Ukraine trap in mind. The first one was the invasion; the second one is Russia bogged down in another long insurgency, the second after Afghanistan, the second Russian “Vietnam”. As the Afghanistan insurgency against the Soviet military helped bring down the Soviet Union, the western strategists hope that the Ukrainian insurgency against the bogged-down Russian military will help end the Putin regime. From the US standpoint, the longer the Ukrainians can sustain the insurgency and keep the Russian military bogged down the more likely is the end of the Putin regime. This is called “realist politics”!
In this context we can understand why a senior retired Russian general (Leonid Ivashov) warned in an open letter shortly before the invasion that an attack would be “pointless and extremely dangerous” and threaten Russia’s existence. The Financial Times quotes a Moscow-based military analyst, Pavel Luzin, as saying that the Kremlin “didn’t listen to the military – they listened to [secret service officers] who said we can do this special operation quickly.”
The sanctions strategy
The quagmire or Vietnam strategy is complemented by the sanctions strategy – the harshest sanctions the US and Europe have ever imposed on any nation. As noted, even to those sceptical of claims of “the end of the American empire”, it is astonishing how effectively the US has mobilised western nations around a project of isolating one of the world’s biggest economies, one of the top two nuclear powers, and the biggest energy supplier to Europe, as though it was North Korea.
The list is impressive. The most damaging sanctions are those on Russia’s central bank, which are succeeding in hammering the value of the ruble (from 85 rubles to the US dollar on 24 February, the day of the invasion, to 154 to the dollar on 7 March, back up to 101 on 25 March).
Most Russian transactions are no longer allowed to be settled through the SWIFT international payment system, which means most Russian international transactions are no longer allowed. Russia’s largest banks are sanctioned. The already physically completed German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was closed down and its company bankrupt. The US has prohibited imports of Russian oil. BP and Shell have pulled out of Russian partnerships.
Russian exports of wheat and fertiliser have been banned, driving up the price of food in the West. European and US airspace is closed to Russian planes. Putin and many Russian leaders have been personally sanctioned. PayPal, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola have been shut down in Russia. And US cable providers have succeeded in getting RT (Russia Today) America shut down.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explained that the aim is “asphyxiating Russia’s economy”, even if the West is damaged in the process. Damage to the West is a price worth paying for regime change in Moscow with new leaders respectful of US primacy.
But after only a month of the invasion, the heavy costs of the US and Nato strategy to themselves are becoming only too clear. As the quagmire drags on, the effects of the economic rupture with Russia are beginning to be felt acutely in Europe in the form of rising prices, energy shortages, lost jobs, the absorption of many millions of Ukrainian refugees, and soon approaching the absorption of still more refugees from food-starved countries that previously relied on Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertiliser. The costs are significant even in the US, where inflation is already high and President Biden’s approval ratings are low. At some point, the US and other western nations will have to backpedal on the regime change objective, to save themselves.
But the US and Nato’s objectives are still more complicated than Moscow regime change and keeping costs to themselves tolerable. The objective of securing a Russian regime respectful of US and Nato primacy is intertwined like a double helix with the objective of keeping Russia as an external enemy in order to provide glue for cooperation between the West’s often fractious member states under US leadership.
To justify US leadership, to present a unitary front in Nato, and to justify big increases in western (especially German) military budgets, Russia must be presented as the common enemy. Western military firms also have a strong demand for the West to believe it faces existential enemies in the form of major states (and not just slippery “terrorists” or “a bunch of midgets”, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, labelled the Islamic State). Indeed, the share prices of the major US arms manufactures zoomed skywards as the Russian invasion looked likely.
The key point was made by Georgy Arbatov, a political scientist and advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev (and other secretaries of the Communist Party), and founder and director of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Science. He said to a group of senior US officials in 1987: “We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy.”
This is how one can understand the West’s persistent rebuff to the efforts of Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and early Putin to establish non-adversarial relations with western states. It needs Russia as an enemy to provide internal unity. But on the other hand, it also needs Russia as a cooperative partner showing suitable deference to the West, especially over the coming decades as China grows stronger.
Meanwhile, China is watching the Ukraine crisis and the US and Nato strategy, and probably recalculating its confidence in the decline of the West. That recalculation may prompt Beijing to forge closer ties with Moscow – while Beijing also wants to make sure that it does not help the Kremlin to the point where Russia could challenge its own design to dominate the Eurasian landmass, which is well underway in the form of the infrastructure alliances created by the giant Belt and Road Initiative.
Note: This article gives the views of the author, not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy or the London School of Economics. Featured image credit: NATO (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
By this argument, the invasion of Poland in 1939 was a trap laid by Britain and France to oust Hitler, and the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian nationalists in 1914 was organised by the Allies to entice Germany and Austrian into invading the Low Countries. History is so easy when viewed merely as a series of super-national conspiracies.
I think that was pretty much Mosley’s argument at the time wasn’t it?
Agreed and don’t forget that Nato had to reset the Ukraine trap in 2022 since it clearly didn’t work well in 2014 nor in Georgia
Was there a trap? Probably. But Moses didn’t lay the trap for Pharaoh. It was beyond him. Just like the complexities of this trap was beyond the US foreign policy experts. We just aren’t that clever.
The USA cannot tolerate rivals. Its biggest fear is that Europe and Russia – natural allies in global affairs – become a block. It would be bigger than the USA and also China. So, its strategy is to make Europe and Russia foes.NATO (USA under false flag) has engineered conflict between Europe and Russia (by advancing to the Russian border). If there is a war, it will be fought in Europe and will not harm the USA. They can pick the best time for 7th Cavalry to arrive and scoop up the treasure. China can wait. .
I don’t know why people are still on here arguing about this, but I decided to take the bait and reply anyway.
The above argument makes no sense. As anyone could tell you, war happens when one side calculates that the cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of going to war. Assuming the Russian government is a rational actor then they invaded Ukraine because they calculated that it was more worthwhile than maintaining uneasy “peace” (and continuing the disturbances in the breakaway regions). NATO has little to do with these calculations. Possibly, the Russian government decided this was the only time they could invade before increased arms from the US (Biden administration) and Europe made an invasion infeasible.
The reason NATO is blamed is because most Russians understandably hate NATO for its role in the fall of the USSR. Obviously, if the US, via NATO and other methods, had not interfered in Europe from 1941-1991, then the USSR might still exist, and Ukraine would be securely under Moscow’s control, and so would Estonia, the Warsaw Pact, the Caucasus and so on. In this respect – and only this – is NATO to blame for this current war. Actually, I guess if NATO had made clear it would absolutely defend Ukraine, treating it as a NATO member, or if the US had armed Ukraine to the teeth beforehand, then Russia would not have invaded, so there’s that!
It is understandable to lament and be angry about the loss of Russian power. But perhaps it is worth recalling that Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were also instrumental in what Putin calls “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”.
However, take away NATO now, and Ukraine would still struggle for independence against Russia – the only difference is they would have had to surrender very quickly to Russian demands in the absence of external support (although NATO is not even necessary for such support). It was mainly the EU, not NATO, which funded pro-democracy projects in Ukraine from the 90s until today, encouraging Ukraine to play a delicate balancing act between the EU and Russia to exact maximum advantage to itself and its corrupt elites. This had the side effect of turning many of its youth and urban elites towards the EU and against Russia. The population has increasingly established a separate national identity. However, Ukrainian national identity has been developing since before the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (see Taras Shevchenko), and views of Russia were very favourable outside the urban elite and young prior to the events of 2014. Russian aggression and seizing of Crimea unfortunately turned most of the population against Russia. Therefore, Ukrainian identity is now increasingly defined in opposition to Russian identity, whereas before the two identities were more in harmony. Obviously, Russians, and especially the Russian government, are aggrieved at this turn of events. However, it is not as though such a change in Ukraine presents a direct military threat to Russia. It is Russian political considerations, and Putin’s misguided belief they could easily seize back control of Ukraine which led to this war – not fear of NATO.
And one last point, yes, I’m sure most people on here recognise the US is a great hypocrite in its international relations – invading Iraq, bombing civilians, using drones on civilians in Yemen, while proclaiming democracy and human rights. But so what? This does not mean you can blame NATO for Russia’s faults, or that Ukraine’s national identity is a fiction invented by the West, or that Ukraine does not deserve a right to territorial integrity, or that it is wrong to arm Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Nato has nothing to do with it? Besides the killing and siege of enthnic Russians on Russia’s very border, Nato has everything to do with it. Why OUR OWN (U.S.) Diplomats, Intelligence Officials, and Academiocs have been warning us for 25 years Nato’s eastward expansion would lead to war, already in the 1990’s Geirge Keenan, the architect of U.S. foreign policy all through the Cold War warning it was the mistake of the century.
He and all the otheers were right.
Not sure who you are, but I’ll tend to believe the U.S. experts that have been warning us of the danger in the NATO path we insisted on pursuing, with no regard whatsoever of the consequences.
SteveT. (April 6, 2023 at 7:54 pm), is correct.
US has been pushing for regime change in Ukraine to move Ukraine to a proxy war with the Russia. In 2013, US Senator John McCain talked of political ‘transition’ in Ukraine (working with Nuland toward this). See below.
By 2014, the then democratically elected pro-Russian president of Ukraine had been overthrown by a (US backed) violent coup.
By 2014, the US had started arming and training Ukraine, including for interoperaibility between NATO and Ukraine.
”Since 2014, the United States has provided more than $37.8 billion in security assistance for training and equipment to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO.”
We must understand, Ukraine is not a NATO member but yet the US and NATO are doing this, on the border with Russia? Imagine Russia/ China doing this Mexico…
By 2014/ 2015, then then newly installed President Poroshenko, describes the war he’s about to unleash on the Russian speaking people of East Ukraine, including deliberately targeting children. See below:
There is so much of this evidence about, blatantly being overlooked, in what is clearly a non-realist, Western propagandist take on the Ukraine-Russia war.
It is not as if the US/ collective West doesn’t have prior form in interfering in the sovereignty of other nations.
Thankfully, Macron’s recent comments provide useful insights into US objectives in the maintenance of its hegemony, which has seen European literally hand over their sovereignty to others who would gladly sink them in the pursuit of their own interests (see Germany and Nordstream).
This is to Robert. You are here to misinform and do US propaganda. After a few sentence, this was obvious.
Firstly, Russia didn’t want the war. Putin approached those responsible, to resolve the security threats against Russian sovereignty diplomatically, to no avail. What they did is, laugh at him, they further teased him by offering nukes to Ukraine.
Secondly, US promised to Russia several times, that it will not expand 1 inch east of Germany when the Berlin wall was taken down. On 12 December 2017, the National Security Archive at George Washington University posted online 30 declassified documents revealing a torrent of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991. Accordingly, US Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on 9 February 1990 was only part of a cascade of similar assurances. Gorbachev only accepted East and West German reunification—over which the Soviet Union had a legal right to veto—because he received assurances that NATO would not expand after he withdrew his forces from Eastern Europe, from James Baker.
Thirdly, the war we all talk about, did NOT start in 2022. This war started in 2014 and never stopped, you just didn’t know about, or dare to say you didn’t care about, or we’re not allowed to learn about. It all started when US backed maiden coup toppled democratically elected Ukrainian government for not being being pro EU, hence pro US. Have you never hear about Victoria Nuland giving free cookies to criminals who burnt people for not being pro US government?
Since, they have been attacking ethnic predominant in Eastern Europe for learning speaking teaching their native language, four practising their culture, for simply for being Russian. They have been subjected to systematic ethnic cleansing, human rights deprivation and war crimes by Ukrainian government. They have been deprived of schools, water, electricity, warmth, roof over their heads, food. They have been constantly shelled, tortured, mutilated. Children have been orphaned, if not been killed.
Fourthly, did you know, there have been ongoing concerns by US and EU about neo-Nazism in Ukraine? This has been published in documentaries, news outlets by the West, US & EU. There is even a neo-Nazi military (now unified with Ukrainian military), called Azov which was branded as a terrorist group by US at once, and banned by Facebook for the same reason right up until the 24th of February 2022. They lift the band, not because the neo nazism died in Ukraine, but because the west want to suport the Ukrainian neo Nazis in order to break Russia.
Fifthly, we all famously watched Russian troops building up at Russian/Ukrainian border before Russian military operation started on 24 February 2022. But we never watched US military troops & lethal weapons worth billions of US dollar, pouring into Ukraine for years, intensifying a year before the Russian military operation started?
No, we haven’t watched. Why, because that is what US wanted. This is called propaganda.
Sixthly, we lost our freedom to war mongering war criminals, who invaded Iraq, Libya Syria Afghanistan illegally, killing children civilians, stealing oil gold, leaving them in total destruction. We are allowed access to only pro U.S. information. Anything that is not pro-US, it’s called misinformation which we cannot access. We also lost our standards of living, due to diabolical sanctions, which only punishes Europeans, and in riches, US. Since US blew up Nord stream pipeline 1-2, and have been shocking all sanctioning countries companies exporting Russian oil & commodities, European countries have to pay 10s of times more to US that they used to pay Russia, at the expense of European population. But who cares about their citizens, European leaders are racing to starve and freeze their citizens in order to serve US. They didn’t do this when US invaded bombed destructed other countries. So why they do it for Ukraine?
Who benefits from this war is the answer to who started this war! US.
An absolutely superb, detailed reply – far more nuanced and insightful than Professor Wade’s blunt instrument used, it would seem, simply as a cudgel with which to batter the USA. Anyone would think the LSE was staffed by chippy radical anti Capitalists with an invented axe to grind.
In fairness it would be at least churlish and quite likely unwise to wholly dismiss the notion that the USA may indeed have a vested interest in Ukraine facing west, moreover, as a solid, sovereign entity not in thrall to Russia. However, as you said so incisively, it is ridiculous to suggest – which Wade tries to do – that it was somehow in the USA’s power to manipulate the levers behind the screen, like a giant Wizard of Oz, and watch events unfurl exactly as it had planned.
He claims significant American influence within the momentous events at the end of 2013 although offers no quotes by government heavyweights as he did, for example, concerning his more general arguments on Washington’s wish to oust Putin. Indeed I am somewhat offended on the Ukrainian people’s behalf that such a statement would be made, especially as I did not notice many Americans being gunned down by the Berkut in Maidan Square during the protests. Furthermore, I feel the vile, double dealing Russian glove puppet Yanukovych – with absolutely NO US assistance – did more than enough, all by himself, to ensure the ire of his people. I feel Ukrainians deserve due recognition for their bravery and energy – but perhaps the most for how canny they were in not being fobbed off for an instant by vague promises for discussions which bitter experience told them would end in nothing changing. I really do not feel that the US had that much of a hand in that – other than perhaps making the Memorandum of Understanding (that Yanukovych had refused to sign into law) as attractive as possible. Given the untold economic and political potential in having Ukraine as an ally, one can hardly blame the Americans for that and I would contend that however much we may claim to find the idea of making money rather base and venal, it is at least an understandable, clear, reasonable, necessary and – most especially – voluntary pursuit. I would imagine an opportunity even more attractive than usual for a country with such a turbulent – horrifying – history with its ugly, drunk, craven, bullying, boorish thug of a neighbour. In fact, I don’t see the slightest difficulty in feeling to my very core the deep sense of grievance which must have hung like a pall over Ukraine – for several generations. You seem very well versed so you will understand directly to what I refer when mentioning Ukraine’s relationship with the USSR during the early 1930s. As if the tribulations of those times were not insult enough – and much more than enough to leave never mind a scar, more like a deep, supporting wound – the subsequent importing by Stalin into the most devastated areas, ethnic Russians simply to have enough peasants to work the land – can very easily be seen as the direct cause for the Russia-facing outlook of many in the Donbas today. While that in one way is not the “fault” of the (great)grandchildren of those immigrants – in another it is: even within Russia we are fully well aware of the compact the people made with Putin which offered him unlimited power so long as he made sure there was domestic stability, food on the supermarket shelves, jobs to go to, cheap energy, he didn’t conscript to the Army and left them alone. In return they didn’t question his foreign policy – nor his ever more flagrant gangsterism at home. Russians became adept at ignoring what was in their faces, walking looking at the ground while whistling, a picture of slightly embarrassed pretence of ignorance of what was going on and likely many many times of even husbands and wives choosing not to discuss it. Therefore those “Russians abroad” – in Donetsk and Luhansk must have been feeling VERY troubled and insecure about their future. While on a human level I understand it, so do I understand it when, say, people who had no intent of violence towards each other have a furious argument which ends in tragedy for at least one of them. So yes, I can understand it, without having to condone it. I feel there has been a gross media under representation of the lack of action – the wilful turning of a blind eye – by “ordinary Russians” to what was happening in their name – which I feel has, especially this year, been less a phenomenon of being hapless bystanders and much more willing participation. Their passive implied toleration is an active force Putin uses. Yes, it’s a vast country, yes the security services are probably more deeply embedded than they were in Ukraine nevertheless the antiwar voice has been a whimper not a howl.
The biggest factor of all though surely must be the psychotic, personal ambitions of Putin himself. I speak not of the tediously often repeated “rebuilding of the Empire”. While I don’t dispute Putin harbours that desire, most discussions seem mostly happy to leave it there – after all, having already made himself Tsar, Imperial ambitions seem entirely fitting goals. Yet the main issue it seems to me is that the acquisition of territory from the ex Soviet satellite states to be subsumed directly into Russia seems like a necessary evil to create a sort of collar all round Mother Russia – which would provide what amounts to a buffer zone of rather grey and uninspiring states with the semblance of democracy which allow Russia to creak and groan on in its outright criminal ways, cushioned from the worst comparisons. The sheer breadth and depth of moral decay – and subsequent physical rot – of the entire apparatus of the Russian state is the utterly direct result of Putin using as much of the country’s revenues as he needs to keep the whole debauched, crapulous merry-go-round turning. It is true Putin doesn’t live modestly but, unlike the vast majority of the revolting members of his cabal who suck greedily on the teats of Mother Russia as provided by Putin and who use their filthy lucre to procure for themselves the tinselly accoutrements in which, like pigs in ordure, they roll nightmarish; Putin contrariwise does not love the rivers of cash for all the tat it can buy, except for the mercenary loyalty of his henchmen – the cabinet ministers, police, spy and security chiefs, media stooges and generals etc.
Frankly, so heinous and perverted do I find the man personally – and so grave a threat do I find he represents to World order – I would find it entirely reasonable (indeed necessary) for someone, anyone, to take him out. If we accept we now live in an interconnected, interdependent world, how is it possible to tolerate such a succubus which, after all, affects everyone on the planet and not just the feckless Russians? As if all that were not reason enough, there is the not insignificant horror of what China might do next. I know it is easy for this to descend into madness, xenophobia, racism, suspicion, hate. There is a huge responsibility to resist going there. Yet it is that very thing which Putin has RUTHLESSLY exploited to the point of having become himself a cackling and deranged despot. He has undoubtedly been given the opportunities to go this far by all us teachers’ pets doing everything by the book while he sniggers and snarls maniacally at how easy it is to run rings around us. Sooner or later, “not stooping to his level” or “leading by example” simply fails if someone will not – maybe even CANNOT – alter course. After a certain time and distance during a police chase, with enough carnage having happened and the Commissioner having decided the ongoing risk is only ramping up, you can absolutely guarantee that if the rampaging desperado leaves no other option, the cops will chuck the rule book, the procedural and the guidelines and send the Army in to strafe or even bomb the speeding vehicle if it has to. When it gets this extreme, we are all just guessing. There IS no procedural for this. There isn’t a single person – or organisation – which has a hope of quantifying how hypocritical the US is and/or how reasonable or otherwise are its ulterior motives. We can ultimately only be guided by our gut and I for one can’t wait to see Putin, metaphorically or literally, steamrollered into the asphalt.
This story of the separatists in Donbas is false. There was never a movement of separatists in that region. The Kremlin financed and supported what was started there.
It is ridiculous to say there was/is no separatist movement in the Donbass: the local Donetsk and Luhansk forces have carried almost all the fighting in the last 8 years and much of the fighting in their regions since the Russian invasion. Your comment is risibly a-factual.
Actually Willow Morgan isn’t that far off the mark, whilst yes initially there were separatist movements in the Donbas who rose up because of the Ukrainian government back in 2014, it was quickly capitalised upon by Russ With the help of at 1st military aid and materials, it evolved into Russia sending anywhere from 6.000 to 30.000 troops into the Donbas under cover of darkness as documented by I think it’s the OSCE (can’t remember the particular European entity) what is also risibly factual is your assertion that it’s Donetsk and Luhansk forces doing most of the fighting for the last 8 yrs, where would they get the funds, military equipment and necessary fighters to hold up against the Ukrainian forces who managed to force Russia to retreat from certain parts of Ukraine in the past few weeks, this really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Haha… OSCE Well, let’s forget about those FBI / NATO trained staff.. You can find online for example the CV of Kai VITTRUP one of the guy in charge of reporting abuses in Donbass for the OSCE
And online videos of him witnessing all the shelling done by the Ukrainian army on civilians. What report did you see in the west? None. There are numerous videos of those shellings and you can also see how US State Dpt, Ukrainian representative at the UN and even UN spokeman blatantly lied about all this.
You can easily imagine that this type of people will not report shelling from the side that has been trained by US and western forces. Or they will do it just a little bit, not to be accused of not doing it… but the news will never be spread in western media widely.
Western and Eastern Ukraine have almost “always” been in complete opposition when it comes to what should be the future of the country and on which side they should get closer to. One must realize that Yauikuvotich was democratically elected and what happened in 2014 was nothing else than a coup, with violence, to overthrow the government, and get a regime change.
Should anything similar happen in a western country, it would be a scandal and unanimously condemned and the new gvt would never be recognized.
Nevertheless US immediately recognized the new Ukrainian president, of course, it was their goal. And it’s funny how US is always in favor of independence when it’s to take away a former soviet country from Russia, but never approves it when it’s a region willing to join Russia. Hypocrisy at its best… (as always and as today)
Anyway what I wanted to write is that you are wrong about the involvement of Russian forces so early in the conflict.
First, something that is never mentioned is that among the pro separatists (and I mean Ukrainian people) there were people from the army. And a lot of them joined the fight in Donbass bringing pro soldiers and the the material from the military bases, which is similar to the russian one. So it was easy for western countries to use this.
Second, The East is the richest Ukrainian region and the heart of the economy in Ukraine. So they were not as “penyless” as you imagine.
Third, conflict have always drown numerous of mercenaries who are coming for money. From everywhere and for each side. The champion of privatizing warfare are the US with Blackwater who committed so many war crimes that they changed their name… And why would you blame Russia for financing or supporting logistically LNR and DNR knowing that US have been financing, training, arming, the Ukrainian west side for almost a decade?
And saying that Armed Forces in Donbass would have been unable to contain the Ukrainian army in 2014, because you compare with what they did few weeks ago, supposing they managed to force Russia’s army to retreat…. means you have no idea in which state the Ukrainian army was in 2014.Comparing its state now and back then is ridiculous. And it means you can’t understand why there is all this talking about “Nazi” from Azov battalion. Because the Ukrainian army was in such a crappy state that those militias (Azov, Pravi Sektor etc etc… ) were recruited, used, financed and trained…
Does it ring a bell with Afghanistan in 1979? US armed mujaheddins against communist… and we all know the end of the story. It blew up to their face with Ben Laden
And about what Willow Morgan wrote, stating there was no separatists in those regions… that’s beyond ridiculous. He probably never set a foot in any of those countries, neither Ukraine nor Russia and probably didn’t even know Azov sea existed 3 months ago.
indeed, one of many falsehoods, mistruths, and half-washed regurgitation of Russian propaganda in this peace. Professor Wade was my adviser at undergrad and one of my most respected mentors. It is deeply disappointment that he has resorted to being a simple propagandists of “‘US and NATO conspiracies” for which he shows little to no evidence, nor any logical consistency. If, indeed, the US was “laying a trap”, then why did the US take such steps to attempt to dissaude Russia from invading from Nov-21 to Jan-22. As this ”piece” is chockablock with half-truths, omissions and outright false statements, it’s hard to pick just one to focus on, but I’ll focus on this absurd part:
Scroll forward to December 2021. The Kremlin presented treaty proposals, which included implementation of the eight-year old Minsk peace accords (which include a commitment that Ukraine not join Nato); dissolving extreme right Ukrainian militias; and engaging in serious negotiations about a new security architecture in Europe.
It is shocking that someone of Dr. Wade’s academic standing could write and/or think something so obviously false. For one, it is exceedingly clear that Russia had already decided to invade Ukraine way before December 2021 – most academic research has pinpointed March 2021 as the time period when Putin made the fateful decision to invade, after Ukrainian authorities confiscated assets and media outlets controlled by Russia-friendly Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk in February 2021.
Further, no serious academic of any statute sees the December “peace plan”‘ put forth by Russia as anything but a ruse that was intended to be rejected. The treaty proposals were so over-the-top that Russia had to know (or at least should have know) that they would be rejected by not only the US/NATO but also Ukraine. Dr. Wade conveniently leaves out the specific interpretation of Minsk that Putin was pushing on Kuraine, which, of course, was much more than a “‘committment that Ukraine not join NATO”‘, but also granted Russia a direct veto power of Ukraine’s own foreign policy decision-making. Further, Russia’s demands on NATO were, as Russia knew, completely unacceptable, such as forcing NATO to change its Open-door policy. Another article in the Russian draft would require that NATO deploy no forces or weapons in countries that joined the alliance after May 1997…while the draft treaty would impose no requirements for redeployment of Russian forces.
In short, there is no world in which this December 2021 “‘peace offer” was to be taken seriously. Dr. Wade is either being willfully obtuse to twist facts to support his thesis that NATO wanted to trap Ukraine or, more benignly, is simply blinded by the reality that Russia had already forgone any attempt at de-escalation once the decision to invade was made.
Dr. Wade, I was once one of your most admiring students. What happened to you?
Agree 100%!!! This is ridiculous If you actually think we wanted Ukraine to be attacked as some sort of master plan. How can you call yourself a professor and you can’t even get this right?? Go over the talks Biden had with Putin pre the invasion and show me where he gave any indication this was something he wanted to have happen.
Go and read the RAND report. It’s all there. God you are naive.
Putin steals his own peoples riches. Hes a criminal.
Would you then disagree too that the Afghan war was a trap to help the Soviet Union collapse?
No, that doesn’t follow at all.
Nice try tho.
” Ward and rumors of wars” will increase in our final history. Deception, defences based on fears of being dominated will always lead us to anarchy and lawlessness. As in human history, two leaders will evolve ultimately. The created versus the Creator. Both have plans
No the GB F trap was preferring Nazi domination over Eastern Europe over Soviet domination, as concluded in the 1939 GB White Paper, after Munich setting the trap for the Soviet’s to face down Hitler alone. The Soviet trap was beating GB F at their own game, making a deal with their arch enemy Hitler and having GB F face down Hitler alone instead. GB put the noose around their own neck.
Thank you for providing the background fabric which helps us all make sense of this war!
No, the result of a trap to defeat the Soviets.
In a recently declassified 1939 GB White Paper investigating why Whitehall refused a Soviet alliance to stop Hitler when they could have, they concluded it was because Whitehall elites preferred Nazi domination over Eastern Europe over Soviet domination, a reason for giving Hitler Czechoslovakia without a shot fired, it’s gold reserves, and the worlds largest arms exporting industry.
The last straw for the Soviets, they turned the tables on GB F, surprised everyone and entered an alliance with their arch enemy Hitler to win time, and had HItler march into F with his new Czech tanks instead of the SU.
Britain and France had no intention of ousting Hitler as you claim. Even when approached by the German military GB refused to grant them recognition if they ousted Hitler.
Hate to break it to you, if you believe Hitler was the only 20th Century anti-communist fascist the West DIDN’T support I’d say you’ve been deceived.
Propaganda nonsense in the style of the Cold War with the former communist state of the USSR, which does not at all reflect the real events taking place now in modern conditions between the West, led by the United States and the Russian Federation. Why do authors from the EU and the US never talk about what is really there? Because the overwhelming bourgeois capitalist system does not allow it. If someone expresses his opinion there, he will immediately be thrown out of this vicious system and morally destroyed. These prohibitions remind us more than censorship and have already gone beyond totalitarianism.
Bravo for a stiletto-like response. Sleek, slimline, sharp and deadly!
Evidence is so clear that the US provoked Russia. I think people should stop living in a fantasy where they think that democracies are innocent and are incapable of doing things like this. Biggest load of garbage I have ever heard is democracies will never be like autocracies, when reality clearly shows this not the case.
The evidence suggests the US underestimated Putin with the believe that appeasement could work, under the belief that he was just a moneygrubbing kleptocrat, not a dedicated imperialist. In its arrogance the US presumed that eastern Europe were just salty from the cold war when they warned that Russian imperialism wasn’t dead.
On this basis, Hitler was entrapped into starting WW2 by Britain and France signing defence treaties with Poland, and assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was a put-up job to entice the German Kaiser into invading the Low Countries. History is so much easier if it can be read as a series of magic super-national conspiracies.
You are comparing two different situations here. This gentleman is giving his arguments based on the west and the Soviet Union, how they have long fought in history. WW2 was a different era, different nation, and happened becoz Hitler wanted worldwide control. Your argument is invalid. It’s like treating other humans like animals. Same logic can’t be applied on totally different scenarios.
You had me until ‘becoz’. It sounds ridiculous in a post such as this. Everything else you said became instant white noise from an MMO gamer.
Germans were a proud and industrious people. The Treaty of Versailles placed a boot upon their necks. They are not people to remain docile and subservient for as long as the allies tried to hold them down for. Granted, the global recession of the 1930’s played a part. But when you treat a people like this, you create the conditions for a man like Hitler to rise to power. This lesson has repeated with the rise of nationalism coming hot in the heels of the most recent global recession.
Well said and observed two sides make an argument disscusion but it doesn’t make either side right ..then those arguments ideological thinking turn to fighting and war..unfortunately its quite simple to explain ..its called the human condition.
It was probably due to shortage of space but I was disappointed that the author did not adduce other important and baleful influences, Area 51, the Kabbala and the Vatican Curia.
What he is writting is possible. But there are yet no proof for it.
Where is the source for this statement?
“In the third week of February, the Ukrainian military dramatically increased its shelling of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, as reported by observers from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)”
The OSCE does not tell that Ukraine army cause it.
The figures recorded have the shelling of the regions rise from 18 a day to 120 per day prior to Russias intervention.
It may have been lack of space but I missed the author’s adumbration of other significant factors such as Area 51, the Kabbala and the Vatican Curia. The Truth will out!
I would also like to know more about the following traps:
1. The Chechnya invasion trap
2. The Georgia invasion trap
3. The Syria invasion trap
4. And finally as an Afghan, I would like to know more the Afghanistan invasion trap too. USSR had no right to help topple a government in Afghanistan and install their communist puppets. Communism had no roots or supporters among the absolute majority of Afghans.
That being said there is no doubt how much evil the U.S government has committed in the name of American people, the most recent of which was selling out an entire country to a bunch of Paki trained terrorists.
There is also no doubt the U.S primacy is in decline and that is probably a good thing for peace around the world, unless China decides it wants to be the new asshole in town.
Despite its many faults I am grateful that I live in a World with the USA in it. I dread to think how the World would be without them.
Your World possibly but The World I seriously doubt it, they have their imperialistic fingerprints over everything and anything that makes a buck.
Your response is humorous. Look at the endless amounts of conquering by European countries of African countries they colonized enslaved and butchered people where they reigned tear for centuries.
Too right!! They are a necessary deterrent.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
…and the world is flat, there’s a Martian fortress & super gun on the surface of the moon, COVID vaccines contain genetic sequencing to make you buy Microsoft products, the crashed spaceship from Roswell is hidden at Area 51, Jim Morrison faked his own death, there’s a potato in Ireland shaped like the Virgin Mary which cries tears of blood etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam…
…Tom Clancy would have been embarrassed to have used this premise as a plot device.
This is tin foil hat stuff.. wow..
Wait, Jim Morrison’s alive?
The author described Russia as one of the world’s biggest economies, which is a farcical and untrue statement. If Russia was, which it is not, then Texas which has a larger economy, would be one of the world’s largest economies. There are three USA states with larger economies than russia, they are california, Texas and new york. The USA economy is 14 x larger than Russia’s economy. Even the much vaunted china, because of continuous inflating of gdp statistics over decades does not have a true economy anywhere near what it publishes. My personal guesstimate of China’s GDP economy is 7 trillion. The USA GDP economy is over 21 trillion.
An American politician once described Russia as a country masquerading as a Gas station. Take away the oil and gas and Russia would be lucky if it could afford a catapult.
Putin has an antiquated mind more in tune with imperialist thinking in the nineteenth century. He would not accept the resignation of his chief central bank executive, so it is obvious economics is his weak point. A country with an economy smaller than texas would have to be on hallucinogenic to think it was a bright idea to ignore twenty first century protocols and invade a sovereign country. The only thing large about russia is the landmass, however it has a historic predeliction towards acquiring other countries territory. Look at the northern Japanese islands,Russia never handed back to japan. The USA took Iwojima with great loss of life, yet the usa handed the Japanese islands back to Japan.
The fact that Russia has made itself an international paria, is not a trap set by the usa. There is too much standing events on their head to justify a Machiavellian plan by the usa. I suspect the author is a dyed in the wool socislist.
Russia is the 11th largest economy in the world. It’s still only a fraction of the US, but the author’s statement was justified.
Seems farfetched. Such a plan is reliant on knowing exactly how Putin thinks and knowing precisely how poorly the Russian military would perform. Then the American forces that be having strong confidence in these assessments. While this is no doubt a bear trap of a certain kind, to attribute such consequential actions to one driving force when even best laid plans frequently go sideways does rather stretch reality.
One more chapter in the Anglo Saxon (UK/US) empire dyad vs. the Russian (USSR,Russian Federation) expansionist history. Both use subterfuge/propaganda (i.e. Black Legend against Catholic Spain by England, “little white protestant settlers (used as trap for dismemberment of Mexico)” that rebelled against their Mexican hosts in Texas in 1830s onward) and the forced subjugation by the Czars of non Russian territories. England and Russia have been geopolitical adversaries for centuries while the US and Russia competed for dominance of the world after WW II. The label “perfidious” was not used against England because they had scruples and ethics in their strategies. Russia expanded by using loving kindness and truth (not). V. (Ras)Putin recently criticized the US’s past history of empire building and villainy but, he needs to realize if the US does not belong west of the Mississippi , then one can ask does Russia belong outside of the original Muscovy? Has he forgotten that Lenin was a German agent sent by German Imperial Army to destabilize Czarist Russia? Who signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty? Who fraternized with SS cannibals in dismembered Poland? I suggest dear readers you compare the current geopolitical map with that described in Orwell’s book “1984”. The military-industrial complexes are the puppet masters of our current world and the Four Horsemen are waiting!
Some true statements here. But you should really try not to have your arguments run away with the facts. Remember: one falsehood makes the whole of your arguments doubtful.
Putin believes the Ukrainian nation should not exist. He then invaded Ukraine. He then bombed hospitals, schools, universities, theatres, Red Cross facilities he took mayors and priests as hostages, murdered journalists, shot civilians and, indeed, starved whole cities, in other words, Putin acted on his genocidal belief that the Ukrainian nation should not exist. How about this: when dictators engage in genocide, regime change is our moral responsibility.
The notion that the United States “caused” Putin to engage in genocide (and by implication is more evil that Putin) is reprehensible. I’m all for free speech and a diversity of perspectives, but rest assured that you’re tarnishing your reputation and that of the LSE by voicing this argument.
Thanks, this is actually a good argument. The argument that Russia invaded Ukraine to “protect against NATO” grows weaker by the day. By committing rampant war crimes, Russia only strengthens the resolve of NATO allies, and makes it harder for anyone of “humanitarian” feelings to oppose NATO membership – witness Sweden and Finland applying to join. Arguments that “NATO did just as bad in Afghanistan/Iraq” “Those complaining about Russian war crimes are hypocrites” get mortally weakened as we see Russia deliberately shelling civilians, refusing to negotiate, systematically destroying cities in order to instil terror and causing 5 million to flee the country (several times more than the 1.6 million who fled Iraq in 2003-06).
If Russia was really threatened by NATO, then it could have taken many measures to negotiate a reduction of NATO forces in its vicinity. For instance, it could have demanded an agreement to reduce troops in the Baltic states and Poland in return for ending its policy of unannounced incursion flights ( https://ops.group/blog/russian-incursions-into-uk-airspace ), perhaps combining it with further START missile reduction treaties. It could have demanded a constitutional change in Ukraine to guarantee its neutrality and offer back its territories in return (or at least, allow Ukraine to retake the Donbas).
It could even have instituted a policy of refusing to supply gas to NATO members (with the exception of Germany!), or charge much higher costs, in order to strong-arm them into leaving the bloc.
If Russia simply wanted to end the “threat” of NATO, then the optimal time to do so would have been when the Russian forces realised they would not take Kyiv. At that point they ought to have redoubled their efforts at the negotiating table. A temporary ceasefire could have avoided the humiliation of a forced retreat and allowed Russia to take the moral high ground (at least in its domestic propaganda!). It could have claimed it was ending gunfire against Ukrainian terrorists/Nazis in order to negotiate a lasting peace and end NATO interference in the region. I think that window has passed, and it is clear now that Russia will fight to the bitter end, potentially for years, to ultimately take over all Ukraine.
From the perspective of many in Ukraine, Russia has been fighting to take over Ukraine for 8 years now, so 2022 is simply an escalation. Putin is determined to regain Russian imperial territories regardless of cost (I just pray he will at least stop short of using nukes!).
Interesting piece. I have question: if Donald Trump had won the re-election would Putin have invaded Ukraine anyway?
John Bolton called *bullshit* on the canard that Trump would have stopped a Putin invasion… https://www.businessinsider.com/john-bolton-trump-wouldnt-have-stood-putins-way-russian-invasion-2022-3
This is an extremely interesting and well written article, and though I am open minded about everything stated, the bottom line is Putin has made a massive mistake, and millions of Ukrainians are suffering. The suffering of these people is (and rightly so) the motivator for other countries to arm Ukraine.
I also read the comments above with interest, some of which pull the mind the other way.
If Trump was in power, the chances are Russia would still have invaded and Trump wouldn’t care, he isn’t exactly full of empathy which made him a highly unattractive leader in European eyes.
Another comment about Anglo Saxon nations (?) only England and Denmark can claim to be Anglo Saxon, but American is multi ethnic, it seems to be a silly buzz term, probably coined by England’s British establishment itself to raise her importance and being the mother of the American people, who knows, but that’s off topic.
Its a highly intellectual written piece and asks the question, who really runs the US / UK (or Anglo Saxonia). The American and British establishments are possibly the same group of people.
Funnily enough, I have heard the term “Anglo-Saxon” used far more outside of England than in it. From a genealogical perspective, there is so little actual Anglo-Saxon ancestorship in the English population (even among Whites) that it makes little sense to refer to them as that. Their cultural heritage is also much diluted. The Royals name their kids Norman names like William, Henry and Charles, not Æthelweard and Beornwulf. And that is before we even get to considering how multicultural and multiethnic modern England and the UK is.
It’s part of the russian propaganda to use words like fascist, nazi, anglo-saxon, “what about the US” and so on. Russians love to use words like that when discussing their wars
“The suffering of these people is (and rightly so) the motivator for other countries to arm Ukraine.”
Such a lie. The same countries don’t care about the VASTLY greater suffering Saudi Arabia has caused in Yemen. Indeed Britain and America are helping them do it.
“coined by England’s British establishment”? What does that even mean?
Does England have a non-British establishment? Isn’t that taking even Brexit a bit far…Engexit…E-xit?
Anyway I’m not anglo-saxon, i’m from norman and Scottish descent, and no Briton with half an education would label us all as a group of 5th century middle European farmers brought in by romans as mercenaries who then married the locals. At least half of us are danes anyway!
When Biden made his Statement to the press following the russian invasion into Ukraine he was smiling… I find this article more then just convincing (Chomsky would agree) but to read it, hurts for all the wounded souls.
The author did a masterful job in outlining previous events that led to the Russian invasion. However, his premise that this was some western conspiracy is porous. A review of all the “ color revolutions” illustrates tat the west places too great a value on protests and opinion of urban elites in countries. Such action fails to recognize rural and alternative ethnic regions of countries. Not a masterful conspiracy but ignorance and elitism.
😂 a move to Hollywood beckons with such fantastical stories.
Besides what other commenters said, wouldn’t Europe have been much better prepared for the gas/oil crisis, if they knew what was coming? Even its gas reserves were quite low when the war started, and, allegedly, they relied on Russian Gazprom to keep them filled.
Arms sellers needed a war to display their best capabilities! Sadly whether it a trap into which another leader falls into or a kind of fear of NATO encircling created an action without proper planning or strategy of a war on Putin’s part or even China and Putin have been thinking about this a lot where and when to start and test the Western dominance and challenge them in some ways. I think humanity and its plan for progress using technology, scientific and rational innovation have gone wrong. Some have to reinvent whether humanity has to see humanness in themselves and restore what is good in them rather than self-aggressive leaders are given full power to go at anyone whom they wish to or whom they disagree with. Technology can also be used for protecting human beings from disasters and accidents.
As long as humans are so quick to hate based on stupid things like where you happened to be born or what fairy tale you believe in there will always be war.
This article is mostly based on conspiracy theories seeking to provide justifications for Putin’s meritless and clearly imperialist invasion of Ukraine. Simply saying “I do not justify Putin’s actions” does not suffice when the article itself cherry picks information and highlights major pieces of Russian propaganda that lack evidence.
To claim that the 2014 Revolution of Dignity was a US-backed coup is ludicrous. The vast majority of scholars focused on Eastern Europe & Ukraine (most notably Serhii Plokhy) have clearly identified the 2014 events as grassroots. Yanukovych went back on his promise to sign the EU integration agreement, and then ordered his security forces to fire on protesters in Kyiv. The author also fails to mention that the Ukrainian Parliament voted to strip Yanukovych of his position, all of these actions were led by the Ukrainian people who showed clear support for Western/EU integration in opinion polls.
It’s fascinating how the author alluded to Ukrainian “regret” over giving up its nuclear arsenal inherited from the USSR, as if to imply Ukraine has an intention to proliferate nuclear weapons in the 21st century. The author mentions the former nuclear arsenal, but fails to discuss the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that Russia signed to convince Ukraine to give up that nuclear arsenal. Under this agreement, Russia agreed to clear and binding security guarantees to respect Ukrainian sovereignty and its existing borders (including Crimea and the Donbas) in 1994. Russia explicitly violated this agreement in 2014 and 2022 with both of its illegal invasions.
The author alleges US plots and schemes as if Ukraine is not an independent country with an independent people. The Ukrainian people have been fighting for hundreds of years to maintain their autonomy from Russia. Ukraine fought the Bolsheviks in 1917 in an attempt to maintain some level of independence. 91% of Ukrainians voted in 1991 to leave the Soviet Union, and any remaining pro-Russian sentiment in Ukraine has been crushed by two Russian invasions of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory. No amount of finger pointing at NATO will change this fundamental reality: the vast majority of Ukrainians wish to be independent of Russia not just politically, but free from Russian influence entirely. As a sovereign country Ukraine has a right to pursue integration with Europe and the West.
There is a reason that 191 UN member states voted in the General Assembly to condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Attempting to use conspiracy theories to pin blame on the US and NATO only aids Putin’s propaganda and disinformation campaign.
Great comment. I am all for different perspectives but with the knowledge that I have of history I felt the author was jumping to many conclusions, and leaving out crucial information. It’s good to see how this comment outlines some much needed information.
In response to Chitauri I would like to applaud his point regarding the narrative that the author proffers. Personally, as someone who is from the left’s UK tradition, I’m appalled by so many commentators from that part of the political spectrum who echo Putin’s justifications for his war and them immediately cover themselves by saying that these justifications (which they claim are de facto true) are not justifications for the war. But that is exactly what they have just argued!
Orwellian double-think does not even come close.
In 1991 Ukraine voted to stay in USSR and 70.2% said yes . At least refer to Wikipedia
This is straight up false:
This makes perfect sense, the US have been training the Ukrainian army for years, have supplied them weapons for years, sanctions were already planned before invasion, just look at the facts of what happened, russian military are being held back heavily, and once invasion started, sanctions were in place immediately. This is a setup by the US, before invasion, for 2 weeks, everyday Biden was saying invasion is pending, they could have started sanctions beforehand to stop russian invasion, but they wanted it to happen, then the US could have promised no NATO for Ukraine and that could have avoided the invasion but no, they wanted this. If you take a step back and look at the big picture, it makes sense that this is a setup by the US. Excellent article.
Time to take off your tin foil hat
This all seems like a 2+2=5 form of analysis, historically very questionable.
But now that the invasion has happened this is probably how the CIA etc now are looking at this “Opportunity” just as China and Russia did when the Americans commenced their involvement in Viet Nam or the Americans re the Soviet Afghan war.
Well done, Prof. Wade! You have succeeded in writing an article for this blog with exceptionally high engagement – 29 comments so far!
I would like to ask one question – where did you source this from?
“All through the next months, the government, the broadcast media and large sections of the population chanted the motto “One Nation, One Language, One People””
I did an Internet search for ‘Ukraine “One Nation, One Language, One People”‘ and only found this EUROPP article, a few Russian conspiracy sites and an article about Indonesia. I would be fascinated to learn where this “One Language” chant was used, because from what I understand, many Russian-speaking Russian-ethnicity Ukrainians are as passionately opposed to the Russian invasion as “true” ethnic Ukrainians (of course, such constructions of ethnicity are very arbitrary, and “Ukrainianism” is largely a product of language and culture, starting with Taras Shevchenko https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taras_Shevchenko#Example_of_poetry:_%22Testament%22_(Zapovit)
For those interested, my Googling discovered these useful articles discussing the language situation in Ukraine, post-2014:
(nice quote: “Dasha almost always speaks Russian, even if she is talking to a Ukrainian speaker. It doesn’t bother them; it’s just easier this way. Ukrainian is her second language.” – 2019)
(nice quote: Zelenskiy “grew up in a Russian-speaking family in southeastern Ukraine, and led a comic troupe that mixed Russian and Ukrainian in its shows and ridiculed the forced Ukrainization.”
What is more shocking here are not the claims made by the author (which were given absolutelly no space in the media in the West) but the comments of the people here. Makes you wonder who is living behind an “iron curtain”… The night is darkest before the dawn.
Well said. Russia took the bait. There is only one winner in this war — US.
The article is quite naive and frankly just doesn’t hold water.
Well, classic american full-blown conspiracy paranoia. I’ll be surprised if the author aint wearing a tin-foil hat.
A fresh point of view in the current debate. However, by levelling American and Russian interests on a same legitimate International relations policy ground, the Prof. Wade seems not to agree with liberal and democratic western values. Moreover, the ‘trap’ suggestion has a whiff of hinderous thought.
Clash of Narratives
Long ago Huntington wrote the thesis with a title on Clash of Civilizations, referring to the future conflicts based on the cultural groupings rather than ideological or economical groups. The thesis was so convincing that many interpret the conflicts and fault lines based on Huntington’s ideas. However, recent conflicts were often within the cultural groupings rather than between the clusters of cultural similar groups. This raises many questions about the thesis itself whether Huntington got it right. Then when one goes through the reviews of this thesis including of Tariq Ali, Chomsky and Said, it is not convincing or persuasive enough to go back to economic based or ideological based interpretation of conflicts or nation states evolution. Though Edward Said’s argument based on ignorance seems compelling (under the title of Clash or Ignorance), yet, articulated public ignorance through media reports, research findings on public opinion and perception of the other show clear evidence in this favour, yet, there are some identifiable narratives and ideas that contribute to this ignorance that contribute to conflicts in many contexts. Of course people’s ignorance in terms of not knowing the other or being exposed to selective negative information about the other is an important source of suspicion, confrontation and violent conflicts, yet the articulated narratives by various vested groups provide a platform for such ignorance that leads to conflicts. This necessitates an argument in favour of clash of narratives as one of the main sources of conflicts.
So I wish to make a case that today many conflicts can be interpreted in terms of clash of narratives, narratives of fear, narratives of suspicion, narratives of conflicts and narratives of war. In the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine we hear the narratives, narrative that Russia is worried about being surrounded by NATO; narrative that Russian language was not given a second language status in Ukraine; narrative that Russian majority areas wanted to be separate from Ukraine and narrative that some nazi movements can be found in some parts of Ukraine. There are also narratives in Ukraine, narrative of Russia being a big nation is aggressive towards small new nation; narrative that Ukrainians would benefit by joining EU that might automatically bring them into NATO; narrative of getting rid of dominance of Russian speaking communities in Ukraine. Two sides have these narratives emerged from some corners, yet emerged to be dominant in influencing and becoming the public opinion and worldviews. While politicians in the democratic process with a polarising mind can use these narratives to their advantage in the election, the media are in competition with each other at times in maximising the sensational news to their ratings as much as possible. To some extent the involvement of Saudi Arabia in Yemen can also be interpreted in a similar way of conflict of narratives of Shia and Sunni and the aspiration to achieve power and control the other. Often such narratives use selective evidences and news information about the other in a negative light.
The “selective reductionism” can provide proofs to the public to be convinced of the polarising narratives either way. The Selective reductionism means media selects one event or incident as news story and then generalize as if their story is representation of the whole other. For example, the news media can present an attack by Russian separatists in one incident as an attempt trying to take over Ukraine back to them. Sadly, this style of public reporting or news has become a norm or practice in many countries, particularly in local language news media. An interplay between the politicians and the media in using such narratives for their advantage has not only polarised communities but also has made the relations between majority and minority, between linguistic or religious or caste groups strained and small scale violence has become a reality in many part of the world.
Many narratives exist among communities and nations both in public and private spaces. Among them, two of them are dominant in terms of influencing the global discussions and contribute to confrontation at various levels. One of them is the liberal narratives of sex as freedom. Recently the Russian Patriarch (the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church) referred to this as a Western drive on others, particularly Gay pride movement in Ukraine as a threat to Christianity and to culture as Russians and so such a movement must be put off even through a conflict. He wrote to World Council of Churches in order to justify the Russia’s war against Ukraine, though the Russian President himself referred before the Patriarch. Many in East and among the religious South people think that the Western liberal culture has moved away from traditional values, though they too share these liberal values such as equity, freedom and fairness. Nevertheless, the understanding of freedom, equity and fairness has moved from a reasoned negotiations or reconstruction to an ideology driven movement. In this ideologically driven movement, the persuasion of what is right has become dominant and thus people use the narratives to justify whatever they tend to do in terms of sex, treatment of others and politically corrected ideas. This has brought down many other values such as family values, community values and even international values and caused an anarchy in many parts of West. This has led even political miscalculations such as narratives of Iraq War creating a global disorder in which there is a deficiency of trust.
This is what the national and religious narratives are trying to resist such popular liberal narratives. When one of the regional parties in Bombay (now it is known as Mumbai in India) Shiv Shena showed this opposition openly by throwing the valentines cards from the shops and burned them in public. Since then they became the ruling party in this state. Some of the counter narratives, such as Salafists in Islam (being trained in Saudi Arabia – now they have become a global movement) wanted to resist the Western education altogether and thus to fight the Western education, they have organised themselves as armed groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon in Africa. The idea is to resist these liberal values that they see as a threat to family and community values, as a challenge to Islam and thus for the Salafists or a Hindu nationalists, to protect their religion, their community values they need to fight these narratives at the core and thus defend the purity of their faith and values.
The second most popular narratives that affect us all is the neo-liberal narrative. This has permeated our economy, society national structures and global trade and controlled to many extent the whole business and other relationship around the world. While many seem to be benefited from this narrative in terms of liberalisation of economy and improvement of services, the promises that are made, such as competition will improve the quality and bring down prices. The taxes would be reduced. These promises remained in words and not yet converted into realities. Therefore, we have high taxing system while the private companies enjoy the control of the public and private spaces.
The self-regulation is a good theory and many decisions to correct them happened only in the courts. One of the narratives of neo-liberal method is the survival of the fittest in which the hardworking and intelligence would grow while those who do not work hard, risk or use their intelligence, would lack behind. Such narratives enabled many to be greedy and cunning that the economy has become a high risk factor in which many people’s lives and jobs are affected at times by a few individuals and their decisions. While dignity of all human beings and fair share of wealth to people are being believed by many religions and communities, this economic concept has created a fear among many people. Such neo-liberal narratives are combined with the previous liberal narratives. The majoritarian communities and their leaders tended to blame the minority or the neighbours for their problems and thus create narratives of conflicts or war. Even the majoritarian leader in order to distract the majority tend to blame the neighbours or majority for their failures in the neo-liberal economy and mismanagement.
For me, the above evidence clearly points out the fact that if we wish to understand the conflicts today and address them we need to move away from the Clash of civilisation to the clash of narratives. In order to address the conflicts one may have to see how counter narratives of peace and justice can be shared (which are already existing among many cultures, religions and languages), at wider levels. Only when we name the narratives of conflicts or narratives of suspicion we can also work towards the narratives of justice and peace among nations and communities. For creating such narratives, we need reason and faith as two important tools to negotiate and find new ways of living and relating to each other in an alternative global order.
Canon Revd Dr Joshva Raja John
Former Dean of Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life
Honorary Canon of Birmingham Cathedral, UK
Head of International Bible Advocacy Centre.
What this dr joshva said is mostly true. Thats why whenever there is a Democratic party president in the Usa there has been a rise of global protests and unrest. The global south and the East clash and fight a lot with the western establishment and ngos when ever there is a Democratic party president in the usa. It is a clash of ideology. As the Democratics try to export liberalism around the globe they meet resistance. Those around the globe feel threatened believing that their way of life is under attack and in the end take up arms. Some governments go to the extent of using brute force to crush those inspired by ‘western’ backed Ngos to protest. I believe that in this century most wars will be based on that clash.
Somehow it seems like most of Europe and especially Germany had no idea about this ‘trap’ after investing billions in Russian energy but it’s a sweet theory non the less.
rubbish article.. the trap,. ! yes it could have been a trap, if the west had the will and the power to start WW3. but as it is Russia can do what it wants. and then the history will be written as always by the winners
The language laws in Ukraine basically require Russian articles, websites etc. to include a Ukranian translation. I don’t agree with them personally, but it’s not banning Russian.
Also, the laws “enacted” in 2014, were actually a repeal of a 2012 law which had, apparently, been passed in controversial circumstances.
Once the shooting starts, there is no truth in any narrative. However it looks like Russia took the bait. But Putin doesn’t care as he may be facing a terminal condition. In the end Xiping may be the winner..
Is putin still suffering from cancer a year later?
What a load of rubbish. This whole thing assumes an enormous amount of planning and conspiracy by NATO to keep Russia in check and boost the shares of western military suppliers, while it on the other hand seems to imply the inflation and energy issues were unforeseen… Apparently NATO is more single-minded than I counted on 40 countries and a two-party USA to be, while also being incredibly devious and entirely clueless at the same time. Not to mention the vague assumed goal of regime changes… At this point is there a single non-putinist left in Russian politics? How much do the professor think NATO is willing to scheme just to put Patrushev, Mishustin or Tolstoj in power?
The good professor makes the classic mistake. Picks a narrative and then ruthlessly trying to prove it while ignoring everything that doesnt fit the picture
This isnt even a conspiracy theory. Its just a good bit of fiction.
Yeah. Also if this was a trap it was incredibly poorly planned at least energy (gas, oil etc) wise.
Of course Russia was baited… as was Iraq… Serbia … Syria, Libya …, the US learned from their father and mentor England.
Ukraine is being used as cannon fodder… weaken Putin/Regime change …, so that is what great democracies do.
To create a future world where we have one common goal with Russia and China is not morally right according to most posts here.
The west has been undermining the East for 1000 years … the East never had 6000 nuclear heads before….. no one should worry about that… making a killing in the oil market …. defense contractors the elite and politicians making money…. while Ukrainians die as their leader attends galas and Hollywood balls…. No need to think about nuclear war….
A future with a common goal shared with China & Russia? What common goal should the free world have with two dictatorships? It is a common mistake to imply that in any conflict both sides have equal blame. Not so. “The West” has become dominant precisely because it is built on better values such as liberty, democracy and self-determination. By mass emigrating from their homes to the West those populations are making a judgment that Western order is actually superior and preferable to their own. No common goal with dictators and tyrants – the only just goal is their ultmate erasure.
This is a great summary of how the US entrapped Russia, but I wonder if they also intentionally entrapped UK and EU into self-destruction of their economies and currencies. The self-harm on British and European economies will leave long-lasting scars and political divisions, meanwhile US becomes the world #1 exporter of LNG and grains with a stronger, hegemonic USD. The EUR is no longer a rival and EU dreams of ‘monetary sovereignty’ are finished for good as EU imports LNG and weopons in USD.
Some notable omissions from your timeline:
– The 2019 RAND Corporation report commissioned by the Pentagon “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia: Assessing the impact of cost-imposing options”. This appears to have set the game plan to use Ukraine as a ‘vulnerability’ and so trigger the multi-lateral sanctions pre-agreed with G7 peers.
– Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Fox News, 13 May, that the US had intended a proxy war in Ukraine for 8 years, from the Maidan coup.
– The January 2022 attempted coup in Khazakstan, where Russia intervened at Tokayev’s request to restore order within just one week. The coup may have been engineered to give Russia war on two fronts.
Also, the rushed August 2021 US flight from Afghanistan may have been timed to reposition the thousands of Ukrainian mercenaries employed by the Pentagon back into Ukraine in preparation for the proxy war. Contract mercenaries rose sharply from less 5000 in mid-2017 to more than 17000 in April 2021, before plummeting up to the exit in August. The Pentagon may have used Afghanistan as a training ground for Ukrainian militias funded by the Pentagon from 2013 before rotating them home in 2021 to prepare for the Donbas occupation and/or proxy war.
I see no mention of Ukrainian militias in Afghanistan in your link.
Please provide evidence.
Or is this just unsubstantiated noise?
Is anyone surprised that when the US military pulled out and the Taliban started taking over, that the private contractors left too? They were there to protect individuals from street crime, not fight a war.
By the authors logic, Putin is probably a US plant. George Orwell was bang on the money aye.
There is one thing missing from this article – and comments (actually all such articles & commentary). What do the Ukraininans want for themselves? Even if granted that America has some vested interests it doesn’t necessarily detract from helping Ukraine fight off an aggressor – particularly one as nasty as Russia. I don’t think anyone expected such war crimes in the modern era to be committed so openly. This behaviour seems not much different from how Germans treated Slavs & Jews after occupying Eastern Europe. It shows a deep seated ethnic contempt/superiority complex exists in the Russian mentality – this is the ultimate cause of this war. And just like Germany & Japan they need to be completely defeated before they can rebuild as a truly democratic nation.
David Murphy (International History 1976) Hindsight history isn’t without some value in analysing the current situation. On the surface only the US seems to emerge a clear “winner” in the sense of shifting the EU and particularly Germany, away from Russia and fostering a new arms race – welcome news to the US defence sector and its licence holders. On the other hand, even these benefits are likely to be short term. The questions concerning NATO’s relevance and resilience in a post Cold War World haven’t gone away and a view in Europe may form that without US and NATO meddling a realistic and stable settlement with Russia over Crimea and Eastern Ukraine was within reach. As it is Ukraine is likely to remain a financial bottomless pit, with deeply entrenched corruption, zero development to its Soviet infrastructure, and so politically unstable it is unlikely to gain entry into the EU in the foreseeable future. Beyond that a weakened Europe, a developing world food crisis, the drag on global economic growth and recovery from covid, is unlikely to aid the US in its efforts to counter rising Chinese power and influence. Therefore, while there will always be opportunists on all sides hooting and cheering, the actual outcome here has been the result of sheer stupidity, diplomatic failure, the usual dose of miss-calculation and ideological blurred vision rather than careful pre planning.
Typical A J P Taylor history.
The truth is that global systems largely favours the western hergimony. Living in the west you probably wont even see this. Human rights ,war crimes and democracy are just western political tools used against states that are less friendly to the west. Yet within the West’s treasure chest of allies and friends there are nations who do far worse. Nations are not treated equally on the global stage. The USA is still in Syria and there is no condemnation of that,no sanctions ,nothing .yet under the UN that is illegal.https://www.justsecurity.org/81313/still-at-war-the-united-states-in-syria/. If the west is doing this on purpose because of its economic might then it shouldnt complain when another nation uses that as an excuse. The western block seems to be oblivious to the fact that Russia and China mirrors whatever they do on the global scene. If economic might is the reason for the USA to take unilateral illegal decisions know that China or India or who ever becomes global number one will do the same. Nations need to know that they lead by example. The unbalanced economic, selective justice global system is of their own making and there are only two options going forward. The first option would be for a revamp of the UN, ICC and other international bodies to treat any nation equally be it on human rights or war crimes (till now no american has been prosecuted for Iraq illegal war or France for going beyond the Libyan UN no fly zone resolution). The second option which will likely happen in this century is the end of the current UN. Russia and China and the global south will attempt and probably succeed in forming a UN offshot.
On the current Russian sanctions ,this is the last time we are ever going to see a moderate Russia. Sanctions have a way of bringing the worst of the worst leaders in sanctioned countries. Sure Putin will be chucked out ,will his replacement be better? 100% not likely and would probably come from the military. The current atmosphere in Russia is that the west hates them to the core and by being the most sanctioned nation in the world has cemented that belief. A worse Russia will follow.
Some great comments and the author struck the heart.of the issue – this whole conflict is used by the USA to weaken Russia.
What’s missing however is the following: this conflict is simultaneously used to weaken European countries.
Germany is held hostage by the USA. Germany has no interest in damaging its energy security and certainly had no interest in starting this conflict.
What do you think would happen to Germany if it left NATO? The USA already threatened sections simply for building a pipeline. As if Germany wasn’t a sovereign country. And it really isn’t on this regard. The USA made the decision to stop this project for Germany.
So please refrain from talking about “the west”. German interests and US interests aren’t the same. European countries suffer from more expensive energy imports.
It’s sad to say but most Germans don’t even realize that they’ve been played by the USA. In other European countries it’s probably the same. It’s important to spread the word. The USA isn’t Europe’s friend.
Germany isn’t a victim of the US because it made itself dependent on Russian gas. Given how much of eastern Europe was warning about Russian imperialism for years, Germany could have invested I nuclear. Instead the turned the plants off and Berlin politicians took bribes from Gazprom.
The neoliberalism belief that energy is just commodity, made many forget it is a geopolitical tool, and Germany (and much of Europe too) sourced its energy to essentially a fascist billionaire.
Southern Europe has good reason for feeling schenfraude at Berlin’s expense, after being told their were being “fiscally irresponsible”.
Have you never heard of “Peace through trade “?
You mean doux commerce. Didn’t prevent the Great war did it?
Well, representatives of the Anglo-Saxons, like you, always and everywhere see only the colonial aspect of all events and have always pursued their foreign policy as colonial conquests and control over the resources of Eurasia. Because the island of Britain does not have its own many natural resources. And your opinion to use hydrocarbon energy resources as a weapon in geopolitics is just your US-British geopolitical strategy. Which use their world reserve currency the dollar and sanctions as such a weapon to achieve their geopolitical interests. About the ongoing occupation of Germany by the United States since the end of World War II only confirms these events.
Are we “anglo-saxons” colonialists or too obessed with seeing things via a anti-colonialist lense. Please make up your mind.
I can see you are implicitly using Lev Gumilev ideas of people of sea and land and Eurasianism to deny the reality of Russian imperialism and colonialism. Rest assured, your efforts of to perform a whataboutism have done little to disprove my point: dependence on Russian gas was a choice.
loved it, entirely.
This “analysis” seems to be held together by nothing but the conviction that, whatever happens, it must be the US’ fault. Cognitive dissonance at its best. Tellingly, Ukrainians don’t even appear. Nor views of people in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Chechia. Nothing matters but cherry-picking information and connecting them with rumors to get a story that keeps intact a concept of the world in which on Western countries can be imperialists. I am seriously tempted to concoct a paper on how Russia laid a trap for the US to invade Iraq. (“Of course, the US invasion of Iraq was wrong but…”)
The analogy of these events suggests itself. This is the Cuban missile crisis in the early 60s. Why, then, did the United States react sharply negatively to the installation of Soviet missile systems in Cuba. Which a little more did not turn into large-scale military operations. And now the same situation is repeating itself only from the side of the United States. No one wonders why the United States can do everything, while others can’t do anything?
Everything else crazy about this article has been enumerated here, but I would like to call attention to the blatant attempt to make this a religious conflict. The Kyiv government is not overwhelmingly catholic, and in general the people of eastern Ukraine, Russian speaking or not, are far less religious than those in the west. The distinction between the Moscow and Kyiv orthodox churches is a political one, as the Moscow patriarch has time and again shown himself to be an enemy of Ukrainian independence. And Russian-speaking Ukrainians are switching to Ukrainian out of national pride, no one is forcing them to. This man may know a lot of bs about trends in world politics, but like many who fall into the pockets of the Russian state media, he is woefully uninformed on the specifics of this conflict and it’s history.
On one hand, you say USA needs Russia as common enemy to provide glue for cooperation but on the other hand, you say USA wants regime change for friendlier regime. You see, it’s the whole problem with your text, you will say anything that fits your narrative. If the USA government was so “intelligent and manipulative”, they would have been smarter (more careful) before making China the economic superpower it became. As we can see with the Russian military issues in Ukraine, and the issues faced by USA in Afghanistan, the governments and the military are not very smart/effective. The reality is that the world is complex and western governments change every few years so to presume that have some kind of long term political agenda full of conspiracies, is very naive.
It’s not that complicated really, ultimately it is about power and domination, basic human and animal instinct.Simply put its about big dog (usa)and some of their pack had seen an opportunity in other big dogs backyard for expansion and took it (2014).Other big dog realised his backside was exposed so nipped back (Crimea). Big dog didnt like this as the bite was fast, furious with the level of responce, re-evaluation was required as big dogs pack was startled and scared of the reply. So over the years big dog (usa) and his pack fed their new puppy (ukraine) so they could become fat and strong. The other realised this so embarked on a reply, ultimately it became too much for the old leader surrounded by yes animals such as the younger wolves (generals) and not listening to his fox (intelligence services) he embarked on an attack on the little pup…who now was no longer a pup, but a Lion with a pack behind him. Out of all this nonsense I have put, only question us who is feeding these animals its the USA and China….this is just a prelude…imo lol
Can you be more specific which countries out of the 30 Nato members “wanted Russia to attack Ukraine”? All of them? Do you believe there is any way they could all agree and collaborate in a concerted fashion as suggested?
Given the authors previous work on neoliberalism, globalisation and developmentalism, I can see why Wade has takened up the argument.
Bloomberg columnist, Noah Smith noted a while ago that opponents of the US lead world order (left wing or right wing and those how unironically use the phrase “mainstream media”) will take either a pro-Russian or at least anti-US/NATO stance in this war, as a Ukrainian defeat will hasten the collapse of said world order. As such a its little wonder Wade would portray the war as one of US/NATO design, whilst giving lip service to Putin’s agency.
Wade’s argument however, seems to gloss over euromadan and the revolution of dignity. Yanukovych wasn’t couped. He fled an impeachment brought on by his security forces shooting protesters, who were protesting his decision to cancel a treaty with the EU, which he promised to sign. To imply it happened because of the US is just Americancentrism, with the actual proof being confined to tapes of Victoria Nuland doing a political analysis in 2013/14.
Ukrainian laws on the Russian language (which were liberalised under Zelensky- a russian speaker himself), are typical of much of eastern European efforts to reverse centuries of russification and essentially part of decolonisation.
Finally given how NATO states tolerated Putins imperialism from, Chetnyan to Crimea, bought vast amounts of Russian gas, sold Russia the machinery it needed for rearmament (as described in great detail by Kamil Galeev), whilst sheltering Russia oligarch wealth in their banks, it doesn’t seem NATO were plotting Putin’s overthrow. If anything it looks like NATO (or rather Europe) was benefiting heavily from the Putin regime and didn’t want the gravy train to end.
You summarised it far better than I did….
First of all we can see a set of dirty speculations from the author, which pretty much showing his wishful thinking rather then objective analysis.
He was specifically was using some emotional tricks to do that. The thing number one: On 23 February, the day after Yanukovych fled, the first act of the Ukrainian parliament was to revoke the legal status of Russian as a national language; and more broadly, to prevent regions from allowing the use of any other language than Ukrainian.
The law has been vetoed by acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, and it has remained till 2018. And regions could use it still, which means that author is lying.
Second thing “The government set about blocking access to Russian news, TV channels and radio.” This is also lie. The first such things has happened only after Crimea annexation and beginning war on Donbass. Interesting, author hasn’t said a single word about Crimea annexation, how come? The answer is simple, it breaks a lot of his arguments. As reaction on Crimea annexation was more then acceptable for Russia, only increasing it’s power and importance.
So author is speculating on facts. And he is specifically choosing some dirty tricks to make a victim-blaming like this: “All through the next months, the government, the broadcast media and large sections of the population chanted the motto “One Nation, One Language, One People”. He saying that and not saying any single word about Crimea.
This is hype-seeking post, not objective attempt of analysis.
After Germany surrendered in ww2 they offered America to join with Germany and invade Russia and the mealy did but the Western governments are thinking like back in ww2 and President Putin is in a new era and thinks driffent and trust me He will win and personal I how Russia China and North Korea nuke the hell out of America as they have been planing to start this war and trying to gain world power and rule others as they wish and they are the ones the world needs to be scared of and Britain and France Germany and the EU
(On 27 February, James Heappey, UK Minister for the Armed Forces, wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “His failure must be complete; Ukrainian sovereignty must be restored, and the Russian people empowered to see how little he cares for them) What kind of sovereignty is this? Apparently, colony and sovereignty have the same meaning for US and Britain politicians. Why is it necessary to lie here so incomparably and unscrupulously? After all, people are not fools and everyone sees where the truth is here, and where the lie is.