Ben Morgan – Why we should still care about Ukraine


In Ukraine, the land campaign is static and although people continue to die the war is not producing the exciting stories demanded by news media.  Since October, the Gaza conflict has diverted public attention away from Ukraine and entering its third year Ukraine’s war is now become boring, another conflict slipping further and further down our news feeds. However, the Ukraine War is important because not only is the sovereignty of Ukraine at stake, but also the wider ‘rules-based order’ that has encouraged peace and prosperity since World War Two.

The Ukraine War, may in fact be a turning point in history, possibly sounding the death knell of the modern world’s liberal democratic experiment and signalling the start of regression towards authoritarianism and militarism around the world. 


Liberal democracy, authoritarianism and rules-based order 

Liberal democracy is a system of government that arose from the political philosophies of the Age of Enlightenment.  In the 18th century philosophers and scientists challenged the prevailing dogmas of their era arguing for greater individual rights, freedom of religious expression and democratic forms of government.  In the political realm, Enlightenment thinkers challenged the idea of ‘divine right’ or that one person (at the time a monarch) should rule by inalienable right. Instead, governments should be run by ‘the people for the people’ using democratic principles. Philosophically, putting individuals at the centre of political thinking encouraged greater emphasis on human rights. The liberal democratic principles of the Enlightenment shape our modern world.  After fighting two world wars; the First World War that destroyed the power of Europe’s monarchies and the Second World War that stopped authoritarian fascism. The victors applied liberal democratic principles to building a new, modern rules-based order.  

The new order was structured round the United Nations (UN), an organisation founded to provide a diplomatic and legal framework for international relations. This diplomatic forum was designed to ensure peace by providing more transparent and democratic relations between nations; and an international legal system to protect the rights of both states and individuals.  The UN led rules-based order is not perfect but has achieved significant success. It has been more than 80 years since the world last descended into global conflict and in general the number of people killed in war annually has steadily reduced. The stability provided by an international legal framework for global trade and finance that increases prosperity around the world. Today, human rights are valued more, in more places and for greater numbers of people than at any time in history.  

In 1989 the Soviet Union collapsed, ending the Cold War. The fear of nuclear war abated and the world appeared to unite around a shared vision of free trade and democratic social ideas based on the rules-based order.  Europe, the US and its other allies rallied to support the former members of the Soviet bloc encouraging dialogue, and rebuilding economies wrecked by poor management. Throughout the 1990s the UN played a leading role in dispute resolution, initiating and coordinating a range of successful international peace-keeping missions from Bosnia to East Timor.  

In 1992, political scientist Francis Fukuyama published the book ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ opining that the age of conflict between competing ideologies was over, the battle won by liberal democracy. People around the world believed he might be right because after the fall of the Soviet Union, liberal democracy had spread further afield.  Europe and the Baltic States gave up authoritarian regimes. Germany was reunited and there was détente between the US and its traditional rivals Russia and China. Increasing global trade built economic prosperity and greater inter-connectedness that theoretically increased stability, disincentivised war and encouraged nations to become more democratic. 

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Later in 1993, Alvin and Heidi Toffler wrote an influential book, ‘War and Anti-War’ the general thesis of which is that the increasing economic and social interdependence of nation states disincentivised war.  Essentially, going to war cost too much, meaning war between nation states would disappear.  The optimism of the 1990s seemed to be confirmed by a pattern of conflict in the 2000s indicating that Fukuyama and the Tofflers were correct.  The first years of the 21st century saw many small conflicts but war between nations was limited.  In Europe the Cold War was finished and the prospect of European nations taking up arms against each seemed absurd. 

Instead, as predicted in ‘War and Anti-War’ non-state actors like Al Qaeda became the greatest threat to security and stability.  Organisations without geographic boundaries, built on ideas, unpredictable and often like Al Qaeda, grounded on fundamentalist theology that rejected the West’s liberal democratic philosophies.  As large-scale conventional war between nations appeared unlikely and the world’s militaries reduced spending and focused on the methods and technologies of counter-insurgency. 


The significance of Russia invading Ukraine 

However, not everybody bought into the triumph of liberal democracy and the rules-based order.  In Russia, Vladimir Putin grew powerful and through a series of military adventures in ex-Soviet territories, developed a doctrine of violent intervention that could be used to achieve his political aims. Russian forces intervening in Georgia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Dagestan, Transnistria, Abkhazia and Ukraine often breaking away areas and creating new states more closely allied with Russia.  In Ukraine’s case a 2014 invasion took Crimea and the Donbas, areas that are now Russian client states. 

Although Putin’s Russia had demonstrated its willingness to use force, in late 2021 with Russian forces massed on Ukraine’s borders, many commentators stuck to the optimistic dogma of the 1990s.  Believing that the economic impact of war would prevent Russia from invading. Even in Ukraine, people did not believe Putin would invade thinking instead that Russia’s military build-up was a threat to extract compromises rather than preparation for war.  When Russian tanks crossed Ukraine’s border on 22 February 2022, the world changed.  

The invasion was a nation state’s authoritarian ruler using their country’s force of arms to achieve a personal goal, much like a medieval king.  Putin’s justification, claiming the war is to protect Russian Ukrainians and to de-Nazify Ukraine is supported by few members of the international community.  Recent reports that Russia’s Chief of Defence Force, Valery Gerasimov only knew about the invasion plan hours before it started, demonstrate that the invasion is driven by one person; Putin. This war is a triumph of authoritarian rule within Russia. 

The question now is whether the world will let Putin’s authoritarianism triumph outside of Russia?  


Putin’s motivation and plan and Russian expansion west

In the West people do not understand Putin because he is man from a different era. He draws on his personal interpretation of Russian history for motivation, describing the fall of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe,” and has published several essays including a manifesto in 2000, titled ‘Russia at the turn of the Millenium’ and in 2021, he published ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.’ Although separated by 20 years, both works demonstrate that Putin is motivated by a romantic picture of a ‘historic Russia’ that he seeks to recreate. Author Orlando Figes discusses the complex history of the nation in his book ‘The Story of Russia.’ On one hand, Russia is the saviour and protector of the Orthodox Church and Figes argues sees itself as the heirs of Rome and Constantinople, remember that Russian monarchs were titled; Tsar or Czar a translation of ‘Caesar.’ On the other hand, Russia is forced to face east, towards the Steppe and for hundreds of years was subject to conflict with the Mongol’s Golden Horde. A history that created a unique culture, part east and part west and possibly contributing to both Putin’s rejection of liberal democratic philosophy and his people’s acceptance or his authoritarian rule.  Putin’s motivation is rebuilding the greatness of ‘historic Russia,’ an empire bridging the gap between West and East, recognisable to Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible and Stalin. An empire that demands international respect. 

Over the years his actions demonstrate this goal. Through the wars of the 1990s he slowly and carefully brought his subjects ‘to heel’ and built his own confidence.  A process often under-appreciated in the West, leading to poor assessments of Russia’s risk to Europe. In 2014 when Russia used a text book example of hybrid war to invade Crimea, Europe was scared and confused but took insufficient action to deter future aggression.  By not supporting the rules-based order with an effective response to the illegal invasion of Crimea; Europe, the US and the world encouraged Putin’s ambitions. Reinforcing his belief that liberal democracies were weak, more worried about human rights and economic prosperity than about fighting to protect their interests.  If Putin is successful in Ukraine, we can be sure that he will continue to work towards rebuilding ‘historic Russia’ at Europe’s expense.  

Ukraine sets a dangerous international precedent

The invasion of Ukraine is a dangerous precedent because it demonstrates the power of authoritarian rule.  When power is centralised in one person, a state can act quickly and decisively with little regard for the suffering of its people.  The Russian ‘meat wave’ attacks on Bakhmut and Avdiivka would never be tolerated in a modern democracy.  Battlefield advantages when facing liberal democracies that are unprepared for conflict. Around the world authoritarian leaders are watching Ukraine and assessing Putin’s success.  

If he achieves his goals in Ukraine, even retaining what he has already taken it empowers others to act aggressively, safe in the assumption that the liberal democracies that support the rules-based order will not respond with force.  Russia’s success increases the risk that China, another authoritarian regime will invade Taiwan or become more aggressive in the South China Sea.  But there is a bigger picture and already we can see a rise in authoritarian government around the world.  An acceptance of the pre-Enlightenment ‘strong man’ style of leadership ruling unilaterally and by inalienable right and answering to no electorate.  In recent years, six states in Africa’s Saheel; Guinea, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Sudan fell to military juntas.  A form of government known for authoritarian rule, and even in the liberal democracies we see the rise of elected authoritarian parties and candidates.  Across the globe religious fundamentalism, often providing a ‘god given’ mandate for authoritarian rule and rejecting ‘liberal’ ideas about human rights is an increasingly common feature of both politics and conflict.  Dangerous trends that will be exacerbated if Putin is successful in Ukraine. 



In conclusion, Ukraine is not a war about land. It is a war about ideas and is a significant authoritarian challenge to the essentially liberal and democratic rules-based order.  Putin wants the world to look away, to stop supporting Ukraine because if he wins, he demonstrates the weakness of liberal democracy.  Now more than ever it is important we stay interested and make sure that our leaders do too. The consequence of rising authoritarianism and possibly even the collapse of the rules-based order are;  more conflict and less prosperity for everybody, everywhere.


Ben Morgan is a bored Gen Xer, a former Officer in NZDF and TDBs Military Blogger – his work is on substack


  1. In your conclusion you state this War isn’t about Land, it’s about the Liberal Rules based order or Democracy’s of the West coming up against what you call the Authoritarianism of Russia but what I call National Sovereignty, the right of a Nation to determine its own future rather than what America dictates? Take a look at what’s happening in the West Ben, is America or it’s Client vassals the Anglo Saxon Nations, the EU & others really Democratic Nations because they sure as fuck aren’t acting in the interests of their Citizens? Here’s the rub to describe what the Ukraine conflict is all about? The US Rules based Order brought NATO to Russia’s Front Yard & Russia said get off my Lawn or else there will be trouble? The US said NO, we can go anywhere in the World we want to go, we are the US Empire, we make the Rules that’s why we call it our Rules based Liberal Order, so shut up & obey the Rules we make for you & if you don’t like it, we will use Ukraine as a battering ram Proxy to destroy your Country, then balkanise your Lands into eight pieces & rape, loot & steal all your huge Natural resources? Putin & Russia said, NO you won’t & if you want a War, let’s Dance, if you won’t willingly leave, we will drag your ass out, kicking, screaming & bleeding & that’s what Russia is doing Ben, the US was warned not to expand NATO to Russia’s borders & Putin’s SMO is the result, it’s very simple why this conflict started! And Ben, your looking like a sad, desperate, delusional lunatic with your Ukraine cheerleading, you’re so blinded by your hatred of Russia & have a serious case of UDS, Ukraine derangement syndrome? The wonderful Liberal Democracy of Ukraine that you champion & are encouraging everyone to support has in 2 yrs, cancelled Elections, jailed & killed Opposition Political Leaders & cancelled their Parties & shut down any opposition Media outlets that don’t follow the Zelensky Regime’s narratives & has killed Journalists! Gonzalo Lira, a prominent YouTube commentator & a US Citizen & Citizen Journalist, has recently died in a Ukrainian Prison for the crime of speaking out about the War crime activities of the Zelensky Govt, he was tortured then slowly murdered just like the treatment Julian Assange is receiving in a British jail for the crime of revealing the truth about US War criminality of the US Empire so WHY THE FUCK would anyone support this murderous Neo Nazi Regime called the Ukrainian Govt which is not a Liberal Democracy as you claim it to be, it’s a Dictatorship run by a US Client Puppet Dictator midget Leader called Zelensky, who’s only claim to fame prior to his current acting role as Ukrainian President was playing one on a Ukrainian TV Show & starring in a TV Comedy Show where he played the Piano with his penis! You should go to Ukraine Ben, you’ll never receive the abhorrent, Torture Treatment Lira or Assange received, you’ll be treated like a conquering Hero, Zelensky might even pin a medal on your chest for your slavish devotion & cheerleading to Ukraine, hell Zelensky might even do lines with you, out of his personal Cocaine stash as a reward? And for your information, the Nation you call Ukraine only came into existence in 1991, prior to that it it was part of Imperial Russia for Centuries, Catherine the Great established alot of its Cities & later it was part of the former Soviet Union, if you had a ounce of Historical awareness or knowledge you would know this, but you don’t, your pig ignorant about Russian History! Russia is just taking back Lands it formerly owned & this modern day version of Ukraine will end up a rump state confined to Lviv & Kiev after Russia takes it all back once Russia has won this War, against the US, the entire West of NATO & the US Proxy called Ukraine, which is only a few months away! What then Ben, what will you talk or write about then? Bullshit only gets you so far before Reality bites?

    • This is how Wikipedia describes Ukraine’s history.
      “During the Middle Ages, Ukraine was the site of early Slavic expansion and the area later became a key centre of East Slavic culture under the state of Kievan Rus’, which emerged in the 9th century. The state eventually disintegrated into rival regional powers and was ultimately destroyed by the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. The area was then contested, divided, and ruled by a variety of external powers for the next 600 years, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austrian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Tsardom of Russia. The Cossack Hetmanate emerged in central Ukraine in the 17th century marked on maps as “Ukraine, land of the Cossacks”, but was partitioned between Russia and Poland, and ultimately absorbed by the Russian Empire. Ukrainian nationalism developed and, following the Russian Revolution in 1917, the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic was formed. The Bolsheviks consolidated control over much of the former empire and established the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union when it was formed in 1922. In the early 1930s, millions of Ukrainians died in the Holodomor, a human-made famine. The German occupation during World War II in Ukraine was devastating: 7 million Ukrainian civilians were killed, including most Ukrainian Jews.”
      While you might believe that history started with the Soviet Union you are a few thousands of years behind the times.

      • Essentially, the war between Russia and Ukraine has revealed an Orthodox tyranny. This understanding of religious nationalism is a historically rotten argument of Russia.

    • Oh Antforce .. can you squeeze all that info and rhetoric up really tight and give us the formula and we can build walls out of it to keep the sea at bay on our coastlines. See King Canute –
      Canute (I) king of England, Denmark, and Norway.

      Also while you are soaking in lots of info – try Ethelred the Unready [which is an ancient pun which some people have never learned about – using irony etc, which is different than iron].

      These people were hardly different than we are today or vice versa. So if there are lessons to be learned we could do so. Then let us squeeze up all that history, build walls and help protect us from ourselves.

      • Ethelred the unready? I have a vague memory of being told that it was actually Ethelred the Redeless – in other words, someone without decent advisers.

          • Out damned Spot. Just look up wikipedia it’s all there and probably on a measure, 98% correct. (Please support wikipedia will you as I haven’t got round to putting my donation in. But it is a firm standard above the fog of misapprehensions as a rule.)

   (or google: %C3%86thelred)_the_Unready
            His epithet comes from the Old English word unræd meaning “poorly advised”; it is a pun on his name, which means “well advised”.

            Ooh what’s an epithet? I am so unready and unschooled – but I do do my best.

    • When did history start?

      It is amazing that Ukraine continues to hold out against Russian aggression. Blindly celebrating the actions of any oppressive force is unconscionable.

    • Antforce62 is largely correct, except that he misses out how the new Ukrainian government, after the U.S.-instigated coup, was persistently militarily attacking and killing Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the parts of Ukraine Russia now controls. Putin and the other Russians gave this as a principal reason for their Special Military Operation. The other main reason, as Antforce62 notes, was so that NATO wouldn’t be able to install nuclear missiles too close to Moscow to be intercepted. This was the same cause as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the Americans under Kennedy threatened nuclear war to prevent Russian missiles being installed in Cuba. I don’t think any of the MANY U.S. interventions since WWII has been as obviously justified as Russia’s SMO in Ukraine.

    • “the Nation you call Ukraine only came into existence in 1991, prior to that it it was part of Imperial Russia for Centuries, Catherine the Great established alot of its Cities & later it was part of the former Soviet Union”

      Finland was part of Russia until 1918 or thereabouts and it was granted independence, and I dont see anyone disputing their existence.

  2. “…the wider ‘rules-based order’ that has encouraged peace and prosperity since World War Two”

    Are you for real?

    • Spot on, every year since 1945 the US was involved in conflicts whether overtly, covertly, or by proxy. Maybe Ben doesn’t realise that the non Western world is sick of this violent “rules based” nonsense.

    • It’s a good point.
      The “rules based international order” is a neologism coined about ~15 years ago and the projected backwards through time to justify everything good that’s happened since 1946 while totally ignoring everything bad.
      As Putin very adroitly said;
      “What are these rules? Has anybody seen them?”

  3. “Putin is motivated by a romantic picture of a ‘historic Russia’ that he seeks to recreate”

    That to me summarises his latest adventure. And as you say it is just the latest in a long string of them.

    I know now that the comments section will be filled with people saying “bullshit” and that it’s all the fault of the “west” and in particular the USA. Antforce2 will once again write something incomprehensible because no one has shown him how to use a paragraph. Others will rejoice in the people of Ukraine being killed, because after all they’re all nazis and should just surrender. They will say they just want the killing to stop, but they don’t. They just want Russia to win and Ukraine to be punished.

    Somehow, and for some reason I just don’t understand they will all give Putin a pass, as if he’s some victim. They will ignore his history and claim that he has only ever been peaceful. They will claim that he was provoked. They will say that he needs to defend himself from NATO while ignoring what happened with Finland. They will use terms like “CIA provoked proxy war”

    They will also ignore the authoritarian state he has put in place where objecting to him or daring to oppose him politically will have you killed or imprisoned.

    Where writing poems will have you sent to prison.

    But of course that’s all just Western MSM propaganda and the truth is out there and I’m just some Ukie supporter. And if I am too fucking bad because I’d rather support the people of Ukraine and their right to self determination then that wannabe Tsar in the Kremlin.

    • “Antforce2 will once again write something incomprehensible because no one has shown him how to use a paragraph” – Gold and enough to get Antforce out of his bunker?

    • “They will also ignore the authoritarian state he has put in place where objecting to him or daring to oppose him politically will have you killed or imprisoned.”

      The Russian people experienced democracy under Boris Yeltsin in the early nineties: people starved when inflation gained control and they could not afford food, and the oligarchs bought up former state assets at a fraction of their cost. The people said “if that’s your ‘democracy’ you can stick up your proverbial whatsit”. Putin looked at America, where politicians sit in the pockets of corporations and, in particular, in the pocket of Wall Street, and said “if this is your ‘democracy’ we don’t want a bar of it”.

      Apparently Putin summoned the oligarchs and said that he would allow them to keep their ill-gotten wealth, but that they must keep their noses out of politics. The only oligarch, as far as I know, to have ignored this stipulation, was Mikhail Khordokorsky – he provided finance to one of Russia’s political parties – and he was defenestrated.

        • You are most welcome. You may well disapprove of defenestration but, as I have often remarked elsewhere, they do politics differently in that part of the world.

      • “Apparently Putin summoned the oligarchs and said that he would allow them to keep their ill-gotten wealth, but that they must keep their noses out of politics. ”

        That is the only way to deal with them, make it worth their time not resisting system change. We need this in every Western country. Most of them are in Davos right now.

    • Mikis Theodorakis was a poet musician in Greece very popular and who the Greek Colonels put a no-no on. I think he fled to England and lived in London for the time. That was while UK still had the air of being some sort of free state.
      You can see that it was very strident, dangerous music!!

      19,469 views Jun 19, 2013 FM Records
      A tribiute to the great Mikis Theodorakis, Celebreting 80 years of the creator’s offering to civilization and to music.
      Composition: Mikis Theodorakis
      Poetry: Yiannis Ritsos

  4. “If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy of the past century, this is what crawls out… invasions … bombings … overthrowing governments … occupations … suppressing movements for social change … assassinating political leaders … perverting elections … manipulating labor unions … manufacturing “news” … death squads … torture … biological warfare … depleted uranium … drug trafficking … mercenaries … ” …. Those FACTS are contained in William Blums book ‘Killing Hope’……

    … Today we can add Gaza & Ukraine to their list of crimes.

    Apart from reading ‘Killing Hope’ I recommend watching ‘The Shock Doctrine’ ,,, which shows a bit of the ‘free market/neo-lib’ war upon the people of Russia during the 1990’s.

    Ukraine is a sacrificial pawn in the Killing Hope neo-lib/neo-con game.

    Putins high support in Russia is for managing to defeat the Killin Hope crew ,,, so far.

    The West are demonstratively not the good guys anymore.

  5. Wikipedia:
    Christmas truce.
    “The Christmas truce (German: Weihnachtsfrieden; French: Trêve de Noël; Dutch: Kerstbestand) was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front of the First World War around Christmas 1914.
    The truce occurred five months after hostilities had begun. Lulls occurred in the fighting as armies ran out of men and munitions and commanders reconsidered their strategies following the stalemate of the Race to the Sea and the indecisive result of the First Battle of Ypres. In the week leading up to 25 December, French, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carolling. Men played games of football with one another, creating one of the most memorable images of the truce.[1] Hostilities continued in some sectors, while in others the sides settled on little more than arrangements to recover bodies. ”
    Here’s what you can advise @ Ben Morgan, former Officer in NZDF.
    Use wondrous tech like drones to fly in good Dutch Ecstasy in pill form and drop them over a, say, ten K stretch of the battle front between Ukraine and Russia and wait and see what happens.
    I know what happens in the Club scene and during live music concert events. There’s no violence. At all. None.
    No one’s pissed thus punchy and unpredictable. No one’s aggressive or neurotic, there’s none of the usual Primate behaviour where males stand about in small groupings grunting and squeaking and beating their chests at others in similar groupings. None of that. So don’t you think it’d be a brilliant opportunity to trial the efficacy of good Ecstasy in the field under battlefield conditions? What if Battlefield Ecstasy worked? What if soldiers, in clear minded sobriety but for being saturated in their own serotonin, dopamine and endorphins just said “Fuck this. I can’t kill that guy over there man. He’s smiling at me and he’s waving his hanky while offering up what looks like a packet of chocolate biscuits to us! ”
    ANY support for a blood and guts solution re Russia/Ukraine/israel/Palestine is abhorrent at a higher level of awareness. ANY discussion re human beings slaughtering each other over land areas on the only planet any of us will ever enjoy living upon is an embarrassment considering how we otherwise think we’re civilised.
    Drone in good E, not the shit we’re supposed to think is E, with operating instructions written on the boxes in Russian and Ukranian.

  6. If Ukraine has fallen from media attention, it is because their successes have been limited. Seemingly best-case scenarios did not eventuate, leaving Ukraine to reflect rather than celebrate. It has also become hard for the West to scream about the deaths of Ukrainian women and children at the moment, while at the same time supplying weapons to enable some Old Testament retribution in Gaza. If the West can be relied on for one thing, it is the ability to deliver weapons into a conflict.

  7. I can’t keep up, regressing. Going back to 2014.
    556 views Mar 4, 2014
    Video 1.49 : Russian troops fire warning shots as Ukrainian military march towards Crimea air base.
    Russian forces fired warning shots in to the air as ranks of unarmed Ukrainian soldiers marched towards them at Belbek air base in Crimea on Tuesday (March 4).
    Russian troops backed by armoured personnel carriers took over Belbek military airport near the port of Sevastopol last Friday (February 28). Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based in Sevastopol.

    On Tuesday a column of Ukrainian soldiers marched towards the Russian forces while chanting and carrying the Ukrainian flag. As they approached the line of armed Russian soldiers and military vehicles guarding the base, the Russian forces fired warning shots into the air and warned them not to approach any further.

    Once the Ukrainian soldiers reached the line of Russian forces, the Ukrainian and Russian commanders spoke as armed Russian soldiers surrounded them. There were no incidents.
    What is in the news today? Click to watch: • Playlist
    euronews: the most watched news channel in Europe
    euronews is available in 14 languages: / euronewsnetwork

  8. “Putin’s motivation and plan and Russian expansion west”

    The whole affair is more about NATO’s expansion East. NATO is an anachronism which should have been dismantled years ago, probably in Gorbachev’s time. The idea that Russia might invade European countries, even ex Warsaw Pact countries is, frankly, laughable. Nevertheless, Russia has every reason to fear NATO, given that it is led by the USA, a nation plainly hostile to Russia.

    • I don’t agree when it comes to Ukraine. Putin seems like many Russians of his age (and Antforce62 above who thinks its Russia’s front yard/lawn) to believe that Ukraine is still his.

      If it was truly about NATO why did he not lose his shit when Finland joined NATO in direct response to his invasion? Finland that shares a massive border with Russia. Finland that has not exactly had a great history with Russia over the past 100 years?

      And he may fear the USA like you say but he now needs to look closer to home to countries like Poland (NATO) that also don’t have fond memories of Russia in the 20th Century.

      In his defence I will say that early on he did reach out to nations like the USA who responded by having Hillary Clinton publicly mock him. But then, I don’t really have any time for her either.

      • Again I am so in agreeance with Vlad The Adventurer that reading his comments is like listening to some kind of an inner monologue.

      • [ If it was truly about NATO why did he not lose his shit when Finland joined NATO in direct response to his invasion? Finland that shares a massive border with Russia. Finland that has not exactly had a great history with Russia over the past 100 years? ]

        Finland’s move was probably not anticipated at the time of the invasion. However, he will probably turn his attention to Finland after he has finished with Ukraine: perhaps he will make them an offer they can’t refuse.

        • I don’t think it was anticipated at all. I kind of think he’s ignoring it because there really isn’t a great solution and it’s another problem that isn’t needed at the moment.

          And I do appreciate you calling it an invasion and not a SMO

  9. Lacking any compelling factual reason for continuing to support the needless slaughter of young (now very young, or very old) Ukrainians, Ben reliably falls back behind the sopping blood-drenched skirt of the “our rules- your orders” Civilised West – the same one currently bending backwards to ignore the crimes Israel is committing because of course they reserve those same crimes for themselves. The “civilised West” that refused to integrate Russia as an equal partner, continued to treat it as resources to be divided; or making threats about it being a threat while advancing Nato east while still saying Russia should not consider Nato and US penetration as a security risk!

    What degree of lobotomy do you need to believe that self-serving triumphalist swill.
    What responsible national leader would swallow that shit.

    Putin gave 7 good years of trying to play by “the rules”, but found there were no rules except do what we say or else. Then he spent the next 7 rebuilding the country, then confronted “the rules based order” while destroying its proxies and saving Syria. Rejecting another failed Nato proxy project of building an anti-Russia fortress on her doorstep is the sane and prosperous thing to do.

    Then go home and clean out our own closets – Israel, Assange, being a good start, and the system of predatory capitalism serving only the bloodsucking elites.

  10. From Jonathan Cook tooday, a real journalist and expert. On Gaza, but the exact rebuttal of Useful Ben’s plaintive whine:
    The West’s narrative is that anyone outside its club – from South Africa and China to Hezbollah and the Houthis – is the enemy, threatening Washington’s “rules-based order”.

    But it is that very order that looks increasingly self-serving and discredited – and the foundation for a genocide being inflicted on the Palestinians of Gaza in broad daylight.

  11. Ben obviously would not write this alarmist bollocks unless he was alarmed. And he should be because the whole facade of his world is crumbling. All the lies exposed. Rules are made by rulers. Seems the world’s majority have told the minority that they refuse to be ruled.

    • Jump on Telegram Moose the Goose, the only Ukraine Land being filled with Military dead are those 500k+ & counting, dead Ukrainians, the Cemeteries are overflowing with Ukrainian dead, in only two Years, the Ukrainians are dying at the rate of 30k a month while the Russians have lost 41k, total! Contrast that to the Americans who lost 55k total during the Vietnam War & the 332k they lost in the entirety of the second World war, Ukraines losses have been astonishing & Zelensky & Biden & Boris Johnson who sabotaged the Minsk peace agreements are directly responsible for this carnage!

      • Yeah, right.
        If you follow Putin’s arguments to their conclusion, nearly all those who are dying in Putin’s war are Russians yearning to come under the yoke of Putin.

  12. Inside Russia infrastructure is falling apart. There are numerous towns and cities without heating or electricity and there has been a riot in Bashkir country. Non Russian ethnicities have been bearing the brunt of the war casualties – this is a powder keg that will blow. Russia is heading for Revolution.

  13. The post WW 11 rules say international borders are sacrosanct. That helps Russia. Putin can carry on his vile crap in Russia forever if he likes. Orban, not so much. It is vital to every small country, to the general peace. Putin has no case.

    Disgusting, the comparison between Ukraine and Gaza.4 kids in Ukraine make the news, slaughter in Gaza every day, no. We’ve lost our moral compass.

    But no one with a brain and a heart supports Israel anymore, which happened to South Africa, which resulted ultimately in democracy. For better or worse there.

    Israel is over in our minds.

    • [ The post WW 11 rules say international borders are sacrosanct. ]

      They can’t say that since it may not be true. If, sometime in the future some border or other turns out not to bed sacrosanct then it falsifies the statement.

      However, I guess it helps those whose claim to a particular border location is shaky.

    • [ The post WW 11 rules say international borders are sacrosanct. ]

      They can’t say that since it may not be true. If, sometime in the future some border or other turns out not to bed sacrosanct then it falsifies the statement.

      However, I guess it helps those whose claim to a particular border location is shaky.

  14. I don’t really have the time or patience to pick apart all of this, but I will note That Ben wrote that entire piece about the current state of play with Russia and didn’t think it was worthwhile to mention NATO even once.
    Maybe you don’t have to mention what this amazing “Rules Based International Order” has meant for Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Gaza but he thought that Guinea, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Georgia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Dagestan, Transnistria and Abkhazia were all worth at least a name check. Transnistria has been at peace for ~32 years. Afghanistan was the site of a brutal insurgency for at least 20 years. Which one of those two can be pinned on “Liberal Democracy” and which on “Authoritarianism”? Liberal democracy, or whatever the hell the current Western system actually is, took a country half controlled by the Taliban and fought for twenty years and spent maybe 2 trillion dollars in order to turn it into a country totally controlled by the Taliban.
    Russia and China aren’t pushing over Washington and Brussels, they are just standing up while the others are falling down. It’s quite clear that Washington and the other capitals of the West all have massive problems that are either totally or mainly self-inflicted. And as Nietzche (maybe) said “that which is falling should also be pushed”.
    I am under no obligation, moral or otherwise to prop them up and subsidize their failures.

  15. Tiger, it gives an outlet and focus for the views of our neocons, crypto fascists, Western supremacists, Russophobes etc. They seem to need it as they are taking a hiding but are in deep denial.

  16. Essentially, the war between Russia and Ukraine has revealed an Orthodox tyranny. This understanding of religious nationalism is a historically rotten argument of Russia.

  17. I recommend those who actually care about Ukraine attend or support the Mahi For Ukraine events in your region. Funds raised go to support the children’s hospital in Zaporizhya.

  18. I agree with Ben that we need to support the people of Ukraine in defending their political-economic autonomy. But we don’t need to pander to US plutocracy in the process, by releasing ahistorical propaganda like this;

    > Europe, the US and its other allies rallied to support the former members of the Soviet bloc encouraging dialogue, and rebuilding economies wrecked by poor management.

    What the neoliberal plutocracy did in the former Soviet Union was the same thing they did to Aotearoa, and many other places through the 1980s-90s; asset-stripped them and impoverished them.

    In the process, they created new admin classes for each country, loyal to the “Washington Consensus”, allowing these robber barons to pile up an increasingly disproportionate share of whatever wealth their country had left. The dragon hoards of these new elites were then presented as evidence of “wealth creation”, along with the cynical fiction that these piles of wealth would magically “trickle down” to the impoverished majority of the population.

    • Agree. No ideals left in 1990. Douglas went off to show them the beauties of the freemarket. How rich-rule is good for everyone. Like the 19th century. Rather than the democracy and Marshall Plan we concentrated on post 1945.


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