The road to peace in the world


Let us take as a given that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an outrageous breach of international law without justification.

Now, what is the road to peace for the world?

The road to peace must include guarantees for Ukrainian independence and security guarantees for Russia unless we are to drift towards world war and a nuclear holocaust.

Cuba made a popular revolution against an extremely corrupt US-backed dictatorship in 1959. The brothels and casinos owned by the US Mafia were shut down.
The US reacted to the revolution with hostility and sponsored terrorist groups to attack and undermine the revolutionary regime. US companies were nationalised in August 1960 and the US responded with an economic blockade that has lasted to this day. In April 1961 the US also launched a failed military invasion of Cuba by mercenary forces based in the United States. 

Cuba was convinced a new invasion was being planned.

Then, more than 100 US-built missiles having the capability to strike Moscow with nuclear warheads were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961-62 despite the US already having an overwhelming nuclear superiority.

Russia feared a US first strike was being planned. They were right to do so.

“Given America’s powerful nuclear superiority, as well as the deployment of the Jupiter missiles, Moscow suspected that Washington viewed a nuclear first strike as an attractive option. They were right to be suspicious. The archives reveal that in fact, the Kennedy administration had strongly considered this option during the Berlin crisis in 1961.”

Russia then asked Cuba if it could place nuclear missiles in Cuba in response. Fidel Castro made it very clear that Cuba did not request the missiles because they were confident they could defend their revolution with their own conventional weapons, short of a nuclear attack. But as a gesture of international socialist solidarity they agreed.

The US discovered the missile deployment on October 16, 1961. Russia was given an ultimatum to remove them on October 22.

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Russia and the US then agreed in a secret deal that: 1) Cuba would not be invaded; 2) Russian missiles would be withdrawn; and 3) the US missiles in Turkey would be withdrawn. The third part of the agreement was not made public initially.

A few months later the first nuclear test ban treaty was signed as tensions subsided.

Cuba was not consulted and was angered by Russia making unilateral decisions whilst ignoring Cuba’s sovereignty when making a secret deal. Cuba was also skeptical that the US would keep its side of the bargain. The US has continued to support terrorist attacks and maintained an economic war on Cuba to this day.

However, the world averted nuclear war and Cuba has not been invaded again That’s is a good thing. Also, I’m sure the Cuban revolutionary leaders never relied on a diplomatic guarantee to protect themselves.

It seems obvious to me that Ukraine and the world need to accept that Russia needs a guarantee that Ukraine will never become a member of Nato. Of course, that involves an element of Ukraine’s national sovereignty that is diminished. But that was true for Austria and Finland after World War Two which also accepted neutrality.

Until recently this was the common opinion of practically all experts on Russian affairs.

Nato had been formed originally as a “defensive” alliance against Russia and its allies in eastern Europe. Russia formed the “Warsaw Pact” in response. But when the east European regimes collapsed in the early 1990s the Warsaw Pact dissolved but Nato moved all the way to the Russian borders.

Recently the US has installed missile bases in Poland and Romania, ostensibly to protect them from……..(you will never guess). Obviously, it takes little effort to change over missiles from defensive to offensive.
In 2019, US President Trump withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which had led to the elimination of 2,692 U.S. and Soviet nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Of course, Trump blamed Russia for alleged violations of the Treaty but tearing up the treaty was a further aggressive unilateral act.
Before the invasion, Ukraine had become a defacto member of Nato with hundreds of millions of dollars in arms flowing into the country, along with constant military training and exercises with Nato forces on Ukraine soil.
In February 1997, George Kennan, one of the architects of the US’s Cold War policy of containment of the USSR, wrote this in the New York Times:
[E]xpanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking….. Why, with all the hopeful possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war, should East-West relations become centered on the question of who would be allied with whom and, by implication, against whom in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable future military conflict?
Today we need to bring the war to an end. Escalating the war with free-fire zones as demanded by the Ukraine President is simply reckless and foolish. It would lead to an immediate nuclear standoff and possible incineration of Ukraine and much of the rest of the world.
That also means, to achieve peace, the world has to accept Crimea as part of Russia, not Ukraine. Crimea was never part of Ukraine historically and was made part of Ukraine in 1954 by the old USSR as more of an administrative decision by the then Kremlin leadership. The people of Crimea have also overwhelmingly voted to become part of Russia. and independent opinion polls in the territory affirm that decision. That is probably not surprising since 90% speak Russian and their language had been effectively banned by the new regime that took power 2014. A US University survey in 2019 “found that 82% of Crimea’s population supported Crimea’s accession to Russia, as opposed to 86% in 2014. The survey also found that 58% of Crimean Tatars now supported Crimea’s accession to Russia, as opposed to 39% in 2014.”
Ukraine must also give back the language rights that Russian-speaking Ukrainians had before the 2014-15 rebellion and pro-Western nationalist coup. Russian-speaking Ukrainians are at least 20% of the population. A “civilised, democratic” country that denies its minorities the right to be educated in its own language and publish Russian newspapers, is not what it claims to be. If Ukraine can’t do that, then the people of the Donbas cannot be expected to become part of Ukraine again. Why would they want to?
The openly fascist military, police, and militia units that currently have significant influence in the police and military apparatus should also be disbanded. For example, the fascist Azov battalion which was admired by the fascist-minded shooter in Christchurch for good reasons should not exist in any “Civilised and democratic” country.
When the old USSR and allied Warsaw Pact folded in the early 1990s the nations that gained their independence suffered a horrific economic and social decline. GDP fell by up to two-thirds and life expectancy often declined. The old state-owned industries were essentially handed out to the new governing elite to become the new “oligarchs”. Virtually everything was privatised. Many ordinary people felt betrayed given that the nirvana promised by capitalism never eventuated.
“A study in the British Medical Journal concluded: ‘An extra 2.5-3 million Russian adults died in middle age in the period 1992-2001 than would have been expected based on 1991 mortality.’ Meanwhile, the country’s wealth was handed over to a tiny gang of men, who took whatever they could out of the country to be laundered in the US and the UK. It was one of the grandest and most deadly larcenies of modern times, overseen by Yeltsin and Putin and applauded and financed by the west.”
Branko Milanović drew up a balance sheet of transitions to capitalism, which concluded that ‘Only three or at most five or six countries could be said to be on the road to becoming a part of the rich and (relatively) stable capitalist world. Many are falling behind, and some are so far behind that for several decades they cannot aspire to go back to where they were when the wall fell’. Despite promises of democracy and prosperity, most people in the former Soviet Union got neither. 
Ukraine, seemed to do worse than most in the transition to a free market and today is the poorest nation in Europe.
The USSR and Eastern Europe had a false version of “Communism” attached to their economic and social structure. There was essentially free education, free health care, and a guarantee of a job which are traditionally associated with “socialist” policies. But alongside that, was extreme authoritarianism and bureaucratic mismanagement. The elites in this system welcomed the transition to capitalism because it gave them wealth on a scale that couldn’t be imagined before and the right to pass that wealth on to their children.
But the new elites had no common purpose or vision for their societies. “Greed is Good” only goes so far. The oligarchs were forced to sponsor political and social movements that were based on “identities” like ethnicity rather than class or social interests. Nationalism and ethnic exclusiveness became the common denominator. Right-wing, fascist ideologies became common throughout the states that restored market economies. A religious attachment to free-market fundamentalist ideology went with that since they had no other choice.
Working Class interests and social solidarity became ostracised and labeled as a new socialist or communist demon to be driven out.
That was true for Ukraine as much as for Russia.
Ukraine is effectively a colony of the US. The IMF uses the debts Ukraine was forced to accept as a lever to carry through the free-market economic policies successive governments have tried to implement. The ability of US agricultural big businesses to buy agricultural lands is being been pushed through by the current government despite widespread opposition.
With Russia, Ukraine is part of the breadbasket of the world with a quarter of the globe’s grain exports grown there. For 2021, GTAS Forecasting from S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates the exports of Ukrainian corn for 27.2 million metric tons, and the export of wheat is estimated at 21.2 million metric tons. This two stand for 12.8% and 10.5% of the total world exports, respectively. Fertile land covers an area the size of France and Germany combined.
“Opening up the country’s land market was one of the main conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose support is the last hope for the Ukrainian economy as it teeters on the brink of default. For President Volodymyr Zelensky, land reform had become a matter of survival, but the political cost of getting it approved was very high.”
If people genuinely want to support Ukraine’s independence we should support the abolition of its debts to the IMF, World Bank, European and US banks.

The chance to join the European Union ( and Nato) has been held up as a carrot by the West to attract support from people in Ukraine who desperately want to escape the economic nightmare they have been in. This is popular with many working people also because if they were let into the EU workers would have the right to live and work throughout Europe. Ukrainians now largely replace the Poles and others who leave their countries to work in Europe. But it was never a realistic option for Ukraine which has a GDP per capita of less than $4000 US dollars. It was never going to get the right to subsidies that EU membership gives to help make up the gap between $4000 per capita GDP in Ukraine and $44,000 in the EU as a whole. Nor was a nation of  45 million and a labour market of 21 million going to get work rights across the EU.

The people of Ukraine have been cheated and lied to by Nato, the EU, the US, and their own political leaders to get them to serve as foot soldiers by the US and its Nato allies against Russia.

To achieve peace in the world we need to advance class and social solidarity internationally. That means an international defense of all nations’ right to self-determination – not just friends of the United States.

The problem at the moment with any attempt to hold a country to account for breaching international law is that the US refuses the jurisdiction of the World Court and will veto any criticism of itself (or close allies like Israel) at the UN Security Council.

The US is also the only nation in the world with the military capacity to go to war wherever and whenever it so desires.

The US controls about 750 bases in at least 80 countries worldwide. China and Russia are virtually surrounded whilst they have a handful of bases abroad themselves.
Steps towards world peace mean removing the veto power of the nuclear states at the UN Security Council. It means pushing for universal nuclear disarmament seriously.
The US used the collapse of the old USSR and its satellite states to assert its worldwide domination aggressively and triumphantly – dubbed the “Project for a New American Century”. 
Nato – the military alliance ostensibly to protect Europe – became the tool of choice for the empire to impose its will. Nato destroyed Yugoslavia and bombed Serbia into submission in 1999. Serbia has been forced to accept the separation of Kosovo from its territory. The leader of the US-backed Kosovo Liberation Army and first Prime Minister and then president of Kosovo has since been convicted of horrendous war crimes including organ trafficking.
That is a “forgotten” war in Europe. I’ll leave aside a military occupation of the statelet known as Northern Ireland during “the troubles” from the 1960s until 1998. This involved military force, mass arrests without trial, press censorship, and using right-wing paramilitaries to murder republicans.
The Nato-led wars in Afghanistan (2000) and Iraq (2003) soon followed.
Nato was also used to destroy Libya in 2011. The country now has no central government, is beset by civil wars between various warlords, and its people have been forced into a living nightmare.
New Zealand is now a “partner’” at Nato. For what reason?
“NATO and New Zealand are strengthening relations to address shared security challenges. New Zealand has made valuable contributions to NATO-led efforts in Afghanistan and in the fight against piracy”
Nato (with New Zealand’s support) destroyed Afghanistan leaving at least a quarter of a million direct casualties. The US has now stolen billions of dollars of Afghan gold reserves that will literally stavre millions of people in that country. More than 23 million Afghans face acute hunger, including 9 million who are nearly famished, according to the UNICEF World Food Program.”
As one of the allies of the US who helped the US destroy then abandon the country, and then has stayed silent about this theft, our government must share in the responsibility for these deaths to come.
New Zealand is also part of the Five-Eyes spying alliance between the US, UK, Canada Australia, and New Zealand. This is an alliance that spies on “friends” and enemies and virtually every citizen on earth. For what reason?
John Key explicitly cited the Five Eyes as the justification for New Zealand’s involvement in the Iraq War: The New Zealand Herald reported: “Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand’s likely military contribution to the fight against Islamic State ‘is the price of the club’ that New Zealand belongs to with the likes of the United States, Australia, Britain and Canada in the intelligence alliance known as Five Eyes.”
The world must eliminate the ability of the US to impose cruel economic sanctions on nations it dislikes unilaterally – as it has today against Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, and many others.
In June 2021 a total of 184 countries (including New Zealand) voted in favour of a resolution to demand the end of the US economic blockade on Cuba, for the 29th year in a row, with the United States and Israel the only countries voting against.
The US also imposes these economic sanctions with extra-territorial force. This means Kiwbank in New Zealand is too scared to give the Ambassador of Cuba a credit card even though New Zealand has good relations with Cuba!
Steps towards world peace mean removing the US refusal to subject itself to decisions of the World Court like when it was found guilty for blockading Nicaragua’s ports.
“The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America (1986)[2] was a case where the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Sandinistas and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The case was decided in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States with the awarding of reparations to Nicaragua. ….The United States refused to participate in the proceedings, arguing that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. also blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any compensation.”
Sanctions are often simply a weapon of war and are usually a prelude to war – as happened with Iraq when one million Iraqis died between the two wars from 1990 to 2003. They can also only be applied effectively only if the US agrees. And the US can severely damage a country economically even if the rest of the world doesn’t agree.
The only times I support sanctions are when that is the expressed will of the people of a country – as demanded by the people of South Africa and Palestine. Otherwise, sanctions are always a weapon of the rich and powerful against the poor. It is working people not oligarchs who will lose out.
When sanctions can be applied only if one superpower, the US, agrees then they have no usefulness unless imposed by the UN. That way they can only be used if there is an agreement between the superpowers. New Zealand has just given itself the power to impose sanctions without the UN agreement. The media reports this like it is a new discovery because Russia used its veto without noticing the dozens of times the US used its veto before. Over the past five decades, the United States has vetoed at least 53 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel.
The current sanctions against Russia seem designed to collapse the economy. This is not just targeting “oligarchs”. This will be a disaster not to Putin or the oligarchs but to working people in Russia and Ukraine and the world.
Continuing the economic war on Russia will cause food and energy prices to explode across the globe. Millions could die of hunger as a direct consequence.
The New York Times reported March 20 that “For those living on the brink of food insecurity, the latest surge in prices could push many over the edge. After remaining mostly flat for five years, hunger rose by about 18 percent during the pandemic to between 720 million and 811 million people. Earlier this month, the United Nations said that the war’s impact on the global food market alone could cause an additional 7.6 million to 13.1 million people to go hungry.”
The war in Ukraine must end. Russian military forces must be withdrawn, Whatever compromises are needed are a brutal fact of life but are justified if the world can achieve an end to the war.
The wars must end and for the war to end sanctions must end. NZ must end its military and political alliances with the old imperialist powers (US, UK, Europe, and Japan) who are using their dominance of the “Western” world to continue their economic exploitation of the Global South and wage war through economic sanctions and military might, to dominate Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Getting New Zealand out of Nato, the Five Power Defence Alliance, and the Five-Eyes Network is the road to genuine peace in the world, not sanctions and war.


    • Agreed. Wow was the first reaction I had when I finished reading this piece. Nuggets still do exist….

  1. It’s utter nonsense to claim it is ‘without justification’.
    Yes ALL war is awful and should be avoided, this one ALSO. But look at what the west has done in the last 25 years and compare that with what is happening in the Ukraine.
    Putins hand was forced by the west. Look at Gorby’s agreement with the west (no advance east of NATO if we disband USSR) in 1991 (ish) and 2014 agreement re: Donbase etc. And the west and Ukraines utter contempt of them. At what point is Russia allowed to defend itself?
    The poor citizens (Joe Public) of the Ukraine are the pawns in this awful game purposely being played out by the west. But imagine (look at the recent history) if the west was invading the Ukraine. It’d be flattened and many 100,000 of citizen deaths would the the case already.
    Just imagine Russia backing Canada and China backing Mexico, with potential nukes on the USA border, and ask yourself how the USA or any other country would act.
    Yes Russia is wrong invading. But they have justification. The west have prposely caused this and need to take THEIR share of the blame, that needs handing out. But like IRAQ, Afganistan, Syria etc etc the media will make sure westerns are oblibious to thier own Govts guilt.
    The poor people of Ukraine. Thank god they are blue eyed and blond, or the thier fate would (SADLY) be even worse.

    • Exactly how was Putin’s hand forced by the west, in such a way that he had to start a war?

      Ukraine wasn’t joining NATO, or the EU. There were no western forces stationed in Ukraine, neither was there any prospect of such.

      This is Putin’s war. He started it without any possible justification, either under international law or as a matter of Russian security. His claims that Ukraine is governed by neo -nazis is a joke. There was and is no evidence of Ukrainian genocide on the Donbas.

      • Look a little more deeply into it, Wayn. Start by going below to Malcolm Evans and try his link. Think seriously about who wrote it.
        Then go back and re-read the whole thing about Cuba (by Mike Treen).
        In 1966-67 I turned against our support of USA in Vietnam. It was not because I read USSR propaganda – it was because I read US Senators like Wayne Morse and Eugene McCarthy blow US propaganda apart using US official statistics.
        We have a lot of bad liars on our side…

        • You don’t justify Putin’s actions by referencing Cuba, or that matter the expansion of NATO 30 years ago. In any event the US has not stationed nuclear weapons in Ukraine or any soldiers. Nor had any intent to do so.

          In short, why the invasion now? What has changed in the last few years that has made Ukraine a mortal threat to Russia.

          Mike Treen is also wrong in suggesting the missiles installed in Poland can suddenly become offensive. The missiles in question are Patriot missiles which have only one purpose and that is missile defence. In the same way that the Russian S400 system is entirely a defensive system. In both cases they are technologically incapable of becoming offensive missiles. It is like anti tank missiles. They are a defensive system whereas the tank is essentially an offensive system.

          • “Russia claimed that the US violated the INF treaty through missile defence tests and because of the deployment of the Aegis Ashore missile defence system deployed in Poland and Romania that could also be used to launch nuclear missiles.”
            Why invade now?
            OhI dunno, Ukraine changing its constitution in 2019 to enable it to join NATO, Zelensky promising to retake Crimea and the two breakaway provinces by force, Zelensky saying Ukraine would start developing nukes, and that the Minsk accords would not be implemented?
            Ukraine has steadily become a de facto NATO “ally”

            “On 12 June 2020, Ukraine joined NATO’s enhanced opportunity partner interoperability program. ”

            Ukraine troops were building up on the LOC in Eastern Ukraine, and the ceasefire violations as recorded by OSCE were perpetrated in the vast majority by the Ukrainian forces.
            Since 2014 Ukraine has been flooded with arms from the US, many ended up on the black market, adding to the corruption and instability already present .
            Who would want the largest military alliance in the world, one which has declared hostility to Russia, on it’s back doorstep, whether or not its legally wedded or a de facto partner

      • “Ukraine wasn’t joining NATO’

        Yes, you are technically correct, it hadn’t yet actually signed on the dotted line, so it’s a slow hand clap for you. The rest of your claims arise from wilful blindness.

  2. Great piece Mike Treen, many thanks. So hard to find the real story amongst all the pro US propaganda.
    I feel deeply for the Ukraine civilian population suffering the brutality of this unnecessary war. Russia won’t stop until NATO backs right off and Ukraine accepts neutrality. Zelensky could stop this war in a heartbeat and spare his country the inevitable.

    • I don’t think he could Greenbus. Zelensky is doing exactly what America tells him to do, and that is the problem.

    • According to news report the Russians have asked the city of Mariupol to surrender, and in return have offered its citizens free passage out. The latter have refused the offer. This refusal seems typical of the Ukranians generally. Egged on by the US, they would rather fight it out, and see a lot of bloodshed, and devastation of their cities, as a result, than seek a negotiated settlement. Putin probably thought he could he could take the country without a fight, but now he probably has to see it through to the end; and that end looks as if it is going to be most unpleasant for both Ukraine and Russia.

      • And the Azov battallion holed up there is a threat to Zelensky as much as the Russians.
        Zelensky will be pleased if they get eliminated , with no blood on his hands

      • Or is it possible the Ukrainians don’t want to be part of Russia? Its all very well to judge them and say they should just roll over

  3. There are bits I dont agree with Mike but the general ghist is correct. After our craven MSM joined the propaganda war on behalf of American war hawkes its nice to see balanced alternative media. Well said.

  4. Excellent piece Mike. Will keep it and share with others.

    Too many people seem to have thought processes like busted mirrors these days, as they get hooked on the instantaneous nature of online comment and information flows.

    The longer view, and wider view remain important. An independent foreign policy, bilateral trade and cultural agreements and exiting 5 Eyes, are absolutely what Aotearoa NZ needs to navigate COVID collapsed supply lines and climate disaster.

  5. `Thanks Mike. The best most informed read on the Ukraine situation to date on this site or elsewhere. It is a pity that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is prepared to sacrifice his country to NATO. If he had had the courage to stand up to the real fight, he would have aggressively asserted that there was a legitimate red line and that the US and NATO were not to cross it under any circumstances.
    Question: What happened to NZ’s morality and neutral foreign policy? Surely they weren’t flushed away with the Prime Minister’s 15 minutes of fame when cuddling up electronically to the Ukrainian President were they?

  6. I’m not sure if Mike would have chosen the image that sits atop his article (some Bomber mischief-making afoot there methinks) but otherwise compulsory reading – flesh on the bones of all our suspicions.
    Former senior advisor to the US the Secretary of Defense, Col. Doug Macgregor, offers something similar in his candid comments on what the conflict in Ukraine is really all about.

  7. “Prankster puts a portrait of Putin in Moscow elevator and records reactions”
    Didn’t we have a nasty little dictator telling us this and telling is that? Jonky? Remember it?
    He pranced about with his beak held high while carrying the fawning, doting, obsequious
    MSM in his little back pocket. I can’t remember ever talking to anyone who had a positive and sober opinion about the jonky and yet, like putin, there he was, waging war on us in his own interpretation of the concept. Jonky, is a crook. So’s putin. Savage, psychopathic, little crooks.
    You must watch this by Russell Brand talking about the WEF. (World Economic Forum).
    ( I’ve yet to read your Post @ MT. I’m sure it’s fabulous. )

  8. Great except for, it isn’t an invasion as per MSM propaganda put out by NATO Nazis and the US sponsor for this proxy War.

    The DPR & LPR Donbas were recognised as sovereign states by Russia like Kosovo was by Hungary and Austria which led to the War in the Balkans.

    So the Russians took up the call for help and are now dealing with the Nazi Battalion Azov who’ve embedded themselves in the Ukrainian Military Command thanks to the US’s Victoria Nuland’s regime change in 2014, the Maidan coup.

    • It depends how you look at it Denny. AZOV is certainly right wing but for one there is apparently only 1000 members now. In the end Denny they’re not Nazis but people squabbling over some land. The fact that all other Ukrainians are fiercely defending their country just shows that your so called Nazis are just a small part of the problem. There’s disputed territories everywhere and people scrap over them. No excuse to destroy a country.

      • Wrong. The Azov Battalion are now part of the Ukrainian Military Command. They were supplied weapons at the maidan massacre by the US and the FU lady, Victoria Nuland.
        They opened fire on the crowd causing the protest to escalate and the rest is history.

        With the Ukrainians now armed, it has also turned into a gorilla local warfare for gangs too.

        This clusterfuck will fester for a while.

  9. A good account of the situation. It is America’s wet dream come true (no pun intended) that they can humiliate and downgrade the (actually piss-poor) Russian military by, for them, bloodless proxy, and to destroy the Russian economy. I am not a anti-Russian (why should I be?) but hold no particular candle for Ukraine either.

  10. This business about Putin being a war monger .
    I think this fight is totally existential for Russia.When all their efforts at diplomacy were derisively cast aside, with Ukraine becoming daily a de facto NATO member , it became a matter of life and death for this reason
    NATO military installations in Poland and Romania, have the ability to repurpose as first strike nuclear attacks (The US has declared a first strike attack is on the table) NATO joint exercises have mocked up nuclear attacks on Russia.Bad enough in those nearby countries, fatal in Ukraine
    Russia does not have capable early warning systems from a nuclear attack that could be launched in Ukraine, right on its border, and reach Moscow in 5 minutes.Therefore it can’t retaliate.Therefore it has no MAD deterrent power.Therefore , for its very life it can not have a hostile , nuked up , defacto NATO on its doorstep.
    What to do?After exhausting diplomacy I’d fight for my very life
    I never thought I’d be saying that , but what else.Could they have done regime change with $100,000 worth of facebook ads?
    So I’m not going to bag Putin out on this one

    • It seems to me that since his Munich speech in 2007 Putin has done everything he could possibly have done to make Russia’s case and to warn the West that at some point Russia would have to make a stand. it seems they have exercised the patience of Job, far from being radically belligerent.
      Beware the wroth of a patient man. I don’t think Putin will stop with Ukraine now he has lost any hope of any reasonable security negotiations with US and Nato countries. Once Ukraine has been adjusted to his satisfaction he will without any expectation of sucess again put his December offer to US and Nato, to return to the agreements of the 90s; will get the negative response he expects and then tell Nato ? US to get their missile bases out of Poland and Romania now. And when a little time has elapsed he will take them out and then we will see how iron clad is the commitment of US to the Nato agreements. I think not.
      D J S

    • I think that is why the USA panicked when Russian missiles showed up in Cuba. No warning time. Fair enough – yet USA now calls foul when Russia raises same objection to same possibility, which USA promised would not arise.. Like it or not, this is at the heart of the issue, and Russia is doing its own ‘Munro Doctrine’ – an American ploy.

    • Yes, you can see why Putin is worried to have nukes next door, but equally I can see why Russia’s neighbours wanted to have the deterrence of Nato, given that Russia has got even more nukes pointed at them. They also have a history of being taken over by Russia, and Russia is doing nothing to show that they have changed.

      The US doesn’t do much to protect civilians when they attack other countries, but Russia is now wholesale targeting civilians. Most Ukrainians were opposed to joining Nato before the invasion, now the vast majority are in favour, and all of those ex-soviet Nato members will be arming themseves against Russia. I highly doubt that Putin would believe his actions were going to lead to greater security for Russia. He might be a bit crazy but not that naïve.

      • ok can we just hold the ‘war with human rules’ horseshit, war has no rules except to win (everything else is he said/she said’) that’s the very definition of war…quoting non existent/unenforceable ‘rules’ rules makes it contemplatable(is that even a word?) all in all it’s shitloads better to avoid it.

        in war the first casualty of war is truth, the second is a civilian.

  11. And don’t we always hear the mantra “Israel has the right to defend itself”t(from rocks and fireworks)to justify the relentless killing of Palestinians.
    I think all that military hardware parked up on its doorstep courtesy of an overtly hostile US with bad intentions gives Russia the right to defend itself.

  12. Thank-you Mike, an excellent effort at trying to make sense of the current situation. Once the shooting starts the events take on a life of their own. Sadly the people of Ukraine are obviously considered pawns by both sides in this game of brinkmanship.
    If only the leaders could bring themselves to enact youd solution.

  13. What a soup.

    Our withdrawal from the western “liberal hegemony” would not change anything about it.

    And where it is not applied, are things any better?

    China is turning atolls into islands and militarising them to steal both territory in a sea lane and economic zone claim.

    Iran is arming groups in other nations to turn them into either failed or client states (Shia militias in Iraq Hizbollah in Lebanon and Houthi in Yemen).

    Russia is invading a nation state, and because this is one outside of NATO and the aggressor nation has nukes and a UN veto, the only response is supply of weapons for self-defence and the unilaterally applied sanctions you disapprove of. So much for the collective security of nation states in the UN Charter.

    Why do you blame NATO for Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-H, Montenegro (and later Albanian populated Kosovo) having their right to self-determination? After all USSR set the precedent with all its constituent republics realising nation state independence.

    PS The “suppression of political activity” in Ukraine only applies during the war/martial law. Our involvement in Iraq was not in the regime change phase.

  14. The Yanks, Russians, Poms, French, Chinese all had colonial aspirations up until recently including undertaking clandestine operations against sovereign countries or blasting them to smithereens. But Putin in 2022 using the weapons of the second/third most powerful military in the world openly invading and attacking a basically defenceless country killing fellow Russian/Ukraine citizens and destroying their buildings is a cowardly and unacceptable act. Who would want to live in a totalitarians state like Russia. I was a commie sympathiser once but once I went behind the iron curtain to seek utopia I soon changed my views and couldn’t leave quick enough. It reminded me of the scenes and photos of European refugees escaping the Nazis and Russians during WWII.

  15. A sensible article, especially when compared to what’s present in the mainstream media.

    For example, I don’t watch television but was exposed to some on Monday, the six o’clock bulletin on Three. “Coming up after the break, can only world war three save Ukraine?” What news outlet could possibly possess any credibility when presenting such absurdly sensationalised headlines. As if they’re attempting to groom the public into supporting a massive apocalyptic escalation of war. Behaviour more akin to that of a cult. Disturbing and disgusting.

  16. Very well written article Mike love the reactions of the Russian people to the portrait of Putin in the elevator.

  17. Good piece, Mike, but how can the world guarantee security to what is left of Ukraine as you suggest, without giving it the means to defend itself? Putin has invaded Ukraine while saying he absolutely would not do that, so, if we did not already know that his word is meaningless, we do now.

    I totally accept your critique of the US and the need to reign in its malign influence (your information about the moves toward a land grab in Ukraine is new to me and very worrying).

    However, whatever legitimate security concerns Putin has, it doesn’t alter the fact that he also feels himself entitled to absolutely control his ex-soviet neighbours. His apologists keep telling us that he only wants this or that and won’t go further, but they have been proved wrong. The truth is we still do not know the limits to his aspirations.

    You briefly acknowledge the corrupt kleptocratic nature of Putin’s Russia, and you talk about the fascist divisions in the Ukraine army. However, Putin also has fascist mercenaries, and they are not kept confined within his national borders but are used to kill opponents elsewhere in the world, which is surely more worrying than a small embattled country unifying across political lines against a common enemy.

    I understand the danger of crippling Russia, and I don’t claim to have the answers to how this situation can be resolved without endangering the world, but I don’t think it will involve making a lot of concessions to this very dangerous individual. Between Russia, the US and China we are pretty screwed.

    PS, if Putin is not a fascist, I would be interested in hearing a breakdown of how he is different from one.

  18. someone should have told the ukrainians that the most dangerous thing in the world is to be ‘americas friend’ they don’t even use ky….

  19. so nato on putins doorstep ‘suck it up vlad’ china 3 streets away from us MAYBE in the solomons = panic stations.

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