DIANA JOHNSTONE: For Washington, War Never Ends

The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the rearmament of Germany confirmed that for the United States, the war in Europe was not entirely over. It still isn’t.


By Diana Johnstone
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

It goes on and on. The “war to end war” of 1914-1918 led to the war of 1939-1945, known as World War II. And that one has never ended either, mainly because for Washington, it was the Good War, the war that made The American Century: why not the American Millenium?

The conflict in Ukraine may be the spark that sets off what we already call World War III.

But this is not a new war. It is the same old war, an extension of the one we call World War II, which was not the same war for all those who took part.

The Russian war and the American war were very, very different.

Russia’s World War II

For Russians, the war was an experience of massive suffering, grief and destruction. The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was utterly ruthless, propelled by a racist ideology of contempt for the Slavs and hatred of “Jewish Bolsheviks.” An estimated 27 million died, about two thirds of them civilians. Despite overwhelming losses and suffering, the Red Army succeeded in turning the Nazi tide of conquest that had subdued most of Europe.

This gigantic struggle to drive the German invaders from their soil is known to Russians as the Great Patriotic War, nourishing a national pride that helped console the people for all they had been through. But whatever the pride in victory, the horrors of the war inspired a genuine desire for peace.

America’s World War II

America’s World War II (like World War I) happened somewhere else. That is a very big difference. The war enabled the United States to emerge as the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Americans were taught never to compromise, neither to prevent war (“Munich”) nor to end one (“unconditional surrender” was the American way). Righteous intransigence was the fitting attitude of Good in its battle against Evil.

The war economy brought the U.S. out of the depression. Military Keynesianism emerged as the key to prosperity. The Military-Industrial-Complex was born. To continue providing Pentagon contracts to every congressional constituency and guaranteed profits to Wall Street investors, it needed a new enemy. The Communist scare – the very same scare that had contributed to creating fascism – did the trick.

The Cold War: World War II Continued

In short, after 1945, for Russia, World War II was over. For the United States, it was not. What we call the Cold War was its voluntary continuation by leaders in Washington. It was perpetuated by the theory that Russia’s defensive “Iron Curtain” constituted a military threat to the rest of Europe.

At the end of the war, the main security concern of Stalin was to prevent such an invasion from ever happening again. Contrary to Western interpretations, Moscow’s ongoing control of Eastern European countries it had occupied on its way to victory in Berlin was not inspired so much by communist ideology as by determination to create a buffer zone as an obstacle to repeated invasion from the West.

Stalin respected the Yalta lines between East and West and declined to support the life and death struggle of Greek communists. Moscow cautioned leaders of large Western European Communist Parties to eschew revolution and play by the rules of bourgeois democracy. The Soviet occupation could be brutal but was resolutely defensive. Soviet sponsorship of peace movements was perfectly genuine.

The formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the rearmament of Germany confirmed that for the United States, the war in Europe was not entirely over. The lackadaisical U.S. “de-Nazification” of its sector of occupied Germany was accompanied by an organized brain drain of Germans who could be useful to the United States in its rearmament and espionage (from Wernher von Braun to Reinhard Gehlen).

West Germany joined NATO in 1955, which led to the formation of the rival Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. (Bundesarchiv, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

America’s Ideological Victory

Throughout the Cold War, the United States devoted its science and industry to building a gigantic arsenal of deadly weapons, which wreaked devastation without bringing U.S. victory in Korea or Vietnam. But military defeat did not cancel America’s ideological victory.

The greatest triumph of American imperialism has been in spreading its self-justifying images and ideology, primarily in Europe. The dominance of the American entertainment industry has spread its particular blend of self-indulgence and moral dualism around the world, especially among youth. Hollywood convinced the West that World War II was won essentially by the U.S. forces and their allies in the Normandy invasion.

America sold itself as the final force for Good as well as the only fun place to live. Russians were drab and sinister.

In the Soviet Union itself, many people were not immune to the attractions of American self-glorification. Some apparently even thought that the Cold War was all a big misunderstanding, and that if we are very nice and friendly, the West will be nice and friendly too. Mikhail Gorbachev was susceptible to this optimism.

Former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock recounts that the desire to liberate Russia from the perceived burden of the Soviet Union was widespread within the Russian elite in the 1980s. It was the leadership rather than the masses who accomplished the self-destruction of the Soviet Union, leaving Russia as the successor state, with the nuclear weapons and U.N. veto of the U.S.S.R. under the alcohol-soaked presidency of Boris Yeltsin – and overwhelming U.S. influence during the 1990s.

The New NATO

Russia’s modernization over the past three centuries has been marked by controversy between “Westernizers” – those who see Russia’s progress in emulation of the more advanced West – and “Slavophiles,” who consider that the nation’s material backwardness is compensated by some sort of spiritual superiority, perhaps based in the simple democracy of the traditional village.

In Russia, Marxism was a Westernizing concept. But official Marxism did not erase admiration for the “capitalist” West and in particular for America. Gorbachev dreamed of “our common European home” living some sort of social democracy. In the 1990s, Russia asked only to be part of the West.

What happened next proved that the whole “communist scare” justifying the Cold War was false. A pretext. A fake designed to perpetuate military Keynesianism and America’s special war to maintain its own economic and ideological hegemony.

There was no longer any Soviet Union. There was no more Soviet communism. There was no Soviet bloc, no Warsaw Pact. NATO had no more reason to exist.

But in 1999, NATO celebrated its 50th anniversary by bombing Yugoslavia and thereby transforming itself from a defensive to an aggressive military alliance. Yugoslavia had been non-aligned, belonging neither to NATO nor the Warsaw Pact. It threatened no other country. Without authorization from the Security Council or justification for self-defense, the NATO aggression violated international law.

At the very same time, in violation of unwritten but fervent diplomatic promises to Russian leaders, NATO welcomed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as new members. Five years later, in 2004, NATO took in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia and the three Baltic Republics. Meanwhile, NATO members were being dragged into war in Afghanistan, the first and only “defense of a NATO member” – namely, the United States.

Understanding Putin – Or Not

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin had been chosen by Yeltsin as his successor, partly no doubt because as a former KGB officer in East Germany he had some knowledge and understanding of the West. Putin pulled Russia out of the shambles caused by Yeltsin’s acceptance of American-designed economic shock treatment.

Putin put a stop to the most egregious rip-offs, incurring the wrath of dispossessed oligarchs who used their troubles with the law to convince the West that they were victims of persecution (example: the ridiculous Magnitsky Act).

On Feb. 11, 2007, the Russian Westernizer Putin went to a center of Western power, the Munich Security Conference, and asked to be understood by the West. It is easy to understand, if one wants to. Putin challenged the “unipolar world” being imposed by the United States and emphasized Russia’s desire to “interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.”

The reaction of the leading Western partners was indignation, rejection, and a 15-year media campaign portraying Putin as some sort of demonic creature.

Indeed, since that speech there have been no limits to Western media’s insults directed at Putin and Russia. And in this scornful treatment we see the two versions of World War II. In 2014, world leaders gathered in Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings by U.S. and British forces.

In fact, that 1944 invasion ran into difficulties, even though German forces were mainly concentrated on the Eastern front, where they were losing the war to the Red Army. Moscow launched a special operation precisely to draw German forces away from the Normandy front. Even so, Allied progress could not beat the Red Army to Berlin.

However, thanks to Hollywood, many in the West consider D-Day to be the decisive operation of World War II. To honor the event, Vladimir Putin was there and so was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Then, in the following year, world leaders were invited to a lavish victory parade held in Moscow celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Leaders of the United States, Britain and Germany chose not to participate.

This was consistent with an endless series of Western gestures of disdain for Russia and its decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany (it destroyed 80 percent of the Wehrmacht.) On Sept. 19, 2019, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on “the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe” which jointly accused the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany of unleashing World War II.

Vladimir Putin responded to this gratuitous affront in long article on “The Lessons of World War II” published in English in The National Interest on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. Putin answered with a careful analysis of the causes of the war and its profound effect on the lives of the people trapped in the murderous 872-day Nazi siege of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including his own parents whose two-year-old son was one of the 800,000 who perished.

The siege of Leningrad, 1942. (Av Boris Kudojarov/RIA Novosti arkiv. Lisens: CC BY SA 3.0)

Clearly, Putin was deeply offended by continual Western refusal to grasp the meaning of the war in Russia. “Desecrating and insulting the memory is mean,” Putin wrote. “Meanness can be deliberate, hypocritical and pretty much intentional as in the situation when declarations commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War mention all participants in the anti-Hitler coalition except for the Soviet Union.”

And all this time, NATO continued to expand eastward, more and more openly targeting Russia in its massive war exercises on its land and sea borders.

The U.S. Seizure of Ukraine

The encirclement of Russia took a qualitative leap ahead with the 2014 seizure of Ukraine by the United States. Western media recounted this complex event as a popular uprising, but popular uprisings can be taken over by forces with their own aims, and this one was. The elected president Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown by violence a day after he had agreed to early elections in an accord with European leaders.

Billions of U.S. dollars and murderous shootings by extreme right militants enforced a regime change openly directed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (“F___ the EU”) producing a leadership in Kiev largely selected in Washington, and eager to join NATO.

By the end of the year, the government of “democratic Ukraine” was largely in the hands of U.S.-approved foreigners. The new minister of finance was a U.S. citizen of Ukrainian origin, Natalia Jaresko, who had worked for the State Department before going into private business. The minister of economy was a Lithuanian, Aïvaras Arbomavitchous, a former basketball champion. The ministry of health was taken by a former Georgian minister of health and labor, Sandro Kvitachvili.

Later, disgraced former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili was called in to take charge of the troubled port of Odessa. And Vice President Joe Biden was directly involved in reshuffling the Kiev cabinet as his son, Hunter Biden, was granted a profitable position with the Ukrainian gas company Barisma.

The vehemently anti-Russian thrust of this regime change aroused resistance in the southeastern parts of the country, largely inhabited by ethnic Russians. Eight days after more than 40 protesters were burned alive in Odessa, the provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk moved to secede in resistance to the coup. 

The U.S.-installed regime in Kiev then launched a war against the provinces that continued for eight year, killing thousands of civilians.

And a referendum then returned Crimea to Russia. The peaceful return of Crimea was obviously vital to preserve Russia’s main naval base at Sebastopol from threatened NATO takeover. And since the population of Crimea had never approved the peninsula’s transfer to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, the return was accomplished by a democratic vote, without bloodshed. This was in stark contrast to the detachment of the province of Kosovo from Serbia, accomplished in 1999 by weeks of NATO bombing.

But to the United States and most of the West, what was a humanitarian action in Kosovo was an unforgivable aggression in Crimea.

The Oval Office Back Door to NATO

Russia kept warning that NATO enlargement must not encompass Ukraine. Western leaders vacillated between asserting Ukraine’s “right” to join whatever alliance it chose and saying it would not happen right away. It was always possible that Ukraine’s membership would be vetoed by a NATO member, perhaps France or even Germany.

But meanwhile, on Sept. 1, 2021, Ukraine was adopted by the White House as Washington’s special geo-strategic pet. NATO membership was reduced to a belated formality. A Joint Statement on the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership issued by the White House announced that “Ukraine’s success is central to the global struggle between democracy and autocracy” – Washington’s current self-justifying ideological dualism, replacing the Free World versus Communism.

It went on to spell out a permanent casus belli against Russia:

“In the 21st century, nations cannot be allowed to redraw borders by force. Russia violated this ground rule in Ukraine. Sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances. The United States stands with Ukraine and will continue to work to hold Russia accountable for its aggression. America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”

The Statement also clearly described Kiev’s war against Donbass as a “Russian aggression.” And it made this uncompromising assertion: “The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea…” (my emphasis). This is followed by promises to strengthen Ukraine’s military capacities, clearly in view of recovery of Donbass and Crimea.

Since 2014, the United States and Britain have surreptitiously transformed Ukraine into a NATO auxiliary, psychologically and militarily turned against Russia. However this looks to us, to Russian leaders this looked increasingly like nothing other than a buildup for an all-out military assault on Russia, Operation Barbarossa all over again. Many of us who tried to “understand Putin” failed to foresee the Russian invasion for the simple reason that we did not believe it to be in the Russian interest. We still don’t. But they saw the conflict as inevitable and chose the moment.

Ambiguous Echoes

Putin explaining his reasons for going to war. (AP screenshot from YouTube)

Putin justified Russia’s February 2022 “operation” in Ukraine as necessary to stop genocide in Lugansk and Donetsk. This echoed the U.S.-promoted R2P, Responsibility to Protect doctrine, notably the U.S./NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, allegedly to prevent “genocide” in Kosovo. In reality, the situation, both legal and especially human, is vastly more dire in Donbass than it ever was in Kosovo. However, in the West, any attempt at comparison of Donbass with Kosovo is denounced as “false equivalence” or what-about-ism.

But the Kosovo war is much more than an analogy with the Russian invasion of Donbass: it is a cause.

Above all, the Kosovo war made it clear that NATO was no longer a defensive alliance. Rather it had become an offensive force, under U.S. command, that could authorize itself to bomb, invade or destroy any country it chose. The pretext could always be invented: a danger of genocide, a violation of human rights, a leader threatening to “kill his own people”. Any dramatic lie would do. With NATO spreading its tentacles, nobody was safe. Libya provided a second example.

Putin’s announced goal of “denazification” also might have been expected to ring a bell in the West. But if anything, it illustrates the fact that “Nazi” does not mean quite the same thing in East and West. In Western countries, Germany or the United States, “Nazi” has come to mean primarily anti-Semitic. Nazi racism applies to Jews, to Roma, perhaps to homosexuals.

But for the Ukrainian Nazis, racism applies to Russians. The racism of the Azov Battalion, which has been incorporated into Ukrainian security forces, armed and trained by the Americans and the British, echoes that of the Nazis: the Russians are a mixed race, partly “Asiatic” due to the Medieval Mongol conquest, whereas the Ukrainians are pure white Europeans.

Some of these fanatics proclaim that their mission is to destroy Russia. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, the United States supported Islamic fanatics, in Kosovo they supported gangsters. Who cares what they think if they fight on our side against the Slavs?

Conflicting War Aims

For Russian leaders, their military “operation” is intended to prevent the Western invasion they fear. They still want to negotiate Ukrainian neutrality. For the Americans, whose strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski boasted of having lured the Russians into the Afghanistan trap (giving them “their Vietnam”), this is a psychological victory in their endless war. The Western world is united as never before in hating Putin. Propaganda and censorship surpass even World War levels. The Russians surely want this “operation” to end soon, as it is costly to them in many ways. The Americans rejected any effort to prevent it, did everything to provoke it, and will extract whatever advantages they can from its continuation.

Today Volodymyr Zelensky implored the U.S. Congress to give Ukraine more military aid. The aid will keep the war going. Anthony Blinken told NPR that the United States is responding by “denying Russia the technology it needs to modernize its country, to modernize key industries: defense and aerospace, its high-tech sector, energy exploration.”

The American war aim is not to spare Ukraine, but to ruin Russia. That takes time.

The danger is that the Russians won’t be able to end this war, and the Americans will do all they can to keep it going.

Diana Johnstone was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996. In her latest book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press, 2020), she recounts key episodes in the transformation of the German Green Party from a peace to a war party. Her other books include Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Pluto/Monthly Review) and in co-authorship with her father, Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning (Clarity Press). She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

56 comments for “DIANA JOHNSTONE: For Washington, War Never Ends

  1. Mike
    March 21, 2022 at 20:23

    I’m curious as to why this is an echo chamber of agreement. I’m always suspicious when everyone is patting each other on the back talking about how right they all are. I’m also suspicious of articles that paint historical circumstances in such black and white terms. US and NATO = 100% evil aggressors, Russia = 100% good, innocent. Putin = misunderstood ethically pure patriot.

    She tells us… The Western world’s propaganda and censorship surpass world war levels. Really? And no mention of state control of the media in Russia? “[Russians] are being told that Russian soldiers are extremely decorous and careful about preserving Ukrainian civilian life, that they’re being greeted as liberators, that everybody wants to live under Russian rule, and that there are no civilian casualties on the Ukrainian side,” reports Ioffe. State media doesn’t use the words “war” or “invasion” and doesn’t mention Russia’s bombing of Kyiv.” Not true?

    Believe me, I’m no flag-waving “we can do no wrong” person, but something is fishy here.

  2. Jimm
    March 18, 2022 at 19:45

    That flag is an excellent intro to an excellent article.

  3. March 18, 2022 at 00:27

    Wow! What a bombshell article, so much more clarity. For Russia the best defense is a very aggressive offense. Little wonder they acted first.

  4. peter tusinski
    March 17, 2022 at 20:05

    There are very few Peace=makers tn the USA, especially when there’s so much money to be made making war , I remember when Dennis Kucinich advocated for a dept of peace and was mercilessly ridiculed Peace just doesn’t pay enough to the seekers of profit.

    • March 18, 2022 at 10:53

      You are right, I remember some years ago how Dennis Kucinich joined together with Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and other anti-war activists, and they were ridiculed by the pro-war corporate media

  5. Deniz
    March 17, 2022 at 19:08

    This is exactly what Iraq WMD felt like under Bush in which the media had the American public convinced that the invasion was necessary and anyone opposing it was a traitor. My gratitude to ConsortiumNews and Diana Johnstone in providing the intellectual framework to support the few remaining antiwar voices.

  6. tiska
    March 17, 2022 at 16:31

    Thank you Diana Johnstone for this clear picture of the clear and present danger ….. I am tempted to say “don’t look up”…..

    or maybe —- look up before it is too late.

  7. john Mackoviak
    March 17, 2022 at 14:59

    Diana Johnstone expresses Galina’s and my point of view, perfectly!

  8. March 17, 2022 at 13:19

    And by the way what a great website this is. I’ve read articles from this website but I didn’t know, that this news website is so full of great educational information. Thanks and with knowledge we will destroy all types of evil in this world

    “Knowledge is half the battle” -GI Joe cartoons

  9. March 17, 2022 at 13:16

    I am an ultra-leftist communist marxist citizen of Dominican Republic, I support Russia and Putin against the evil forces of this world. What the CIA, the deep state of the US government is doing to Putin is what it did to the nationalist revolutionary former president of my country Generalisimo Rafael Trujillo, he was an economic-nationalist like Putin, Saddam Hussein, Peron and Hugo Chavez, but US Empire killed him because he refused to privatize the state owned corporations of my country

    My country right now is an economic colony of the US Empire, a country with a very oligarchic economic political system with only 10% of the population living a good life, and 90% in extreme poverty. (That’s why there are many dominican people living in the USA

    The majority of people here are mind-manipulated by the right-wing anti-communism media and only a few are wide awake and get their news from alternaive news sources. I support Putin because he is the only force in this world that is fighting against the zionist axis of evil which are NATO, The Pentagon, and Europe.

    PS:By the way watch this video by the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party of USA (Bob Avakian) explaining the causes of why USA has millions of immigrants. Of why many people try to move to the USA

  10. Andreas Schlüter
    March 17, 2022 at 09:21

    See also:
    „Ukraine Crisis and Outlook: Culmination points in the East-West struggle“: hxxps://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2022/03/05/ukraine-crisis-and-outlook-culmination-points-in-the-east-west-struggle-ukraine-krise-und-ausblick-kulminationspunkte-im-ost-west-ringen/

    • Juan Carlos Cruz Guzman
      March 18, 2022 at 18:25

      Thanks a lot for that link, I will share it with friends and families. Great information !!

  11. Sam F
    March 17, 2022 at 06:52

    A very good review of relevant history. Indeed the danger is that “the Russians won’t be able to end this war, and the Americans will do all they can to keep it going.” The question is whether another Afghanistan quagmire is avoidable.

    Because the invasion was due to Ukraine attacks on the Donbass defensive front, which can be continued wherever a new front is established, ending the war requires cooperation by Ukraine. Clearly Ukraine is not agreement-capable like the west, and therefore must be held in submission, which probably requires holding the attacking Azov forces in prison indefinitely, controlling the pro-Russian areas long the Black sea coast to Odessa, and continuing to destroy military targets in Ukraine. That is a longer front than Donbass alone, but potentially further from population centers. But if a front like the Dnieper river is chosen, requiring control of anti-Russian areas, a quagmire seems more likely.

  12. Frank Lambert
    March 17, 2022 at 05:25

    To Lois, RS and Vera, YES, YES, YES!

    To all of the others who praised Diana Johnstone’s historically accurate events from WW2 to the present day against Russia, first by the Nazis and since the end of the Second World War, by the West, led by the “world’s only super-bully” the Imperial States of America, now involved in the Ukraine, this article should be read or distributed to folks who know nothing about Russia, Putin, or even World War Two, except the “one-sided version” that Hollywood has been putting out forever. Not to deviate from Diana’s article, but on Caitlin Johnstone’s article on CN from several days ago, I posted a few comments on the hyperbole against Germans as a prelude for psyching up the American people to demonize the “Hun” as they were described, and declare war on Germany, by the behest of the Wall Street bankers.

    Diana is also correct about NATO’s illegal bombing of Serbia, in Yugoslavia and knows that whole scenario well in her articles of it in the past, which are worth reading for history buffs.

    And to Nancy Oden, lucky you for having known Ms Johnstone in person.Wow! If you haven’t read Diana’s masterpiece, “Circle in the Darkness, Memoir of a World Watcher” please purchase it and it’ll ….ah, see for yourself. A page turner indeed!

    Many THANKS for you wonderful insight and “no nonsense” reporting, Diana! (And for CN for printing the article).

    • Antiwar7
      March 17, 2022 at 12:57

      Just wanted to agree: Diana Johnstone’s memoir, Circle in the Darkness, is fascinating, well-written, and hard to put down. In particular, it’s quite informative and insightful about world politics over the last several decades.

      I also strongly recommend her work, Fools’ Crusade, the best English-language book about the ex-Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s.

  13. mgr
    March 17, 2022 at 04:56

    Excellent. The rest of the Western world is living in a self-serving, alternative reality. There is no real or lasting peace without justice and there is no justice, or rule of law, in the American empire, only American interests (the rules change as required). America is sinking on the wrong side of history because its leaders are ideological fools and its public has been groomed to follow rather than think. The GOP has been wrong at least since since Reagan if not before, and the “Democratic Party” is effectively only an extension of HRC, perhaps one of the worst ideologues ever. Both are dead-ends leading only to destruction of self and others.

  14. Aaron
    March 17, 2022 at 04:47

    Any dramatic lie will do, well said Diana. Indeed it will, that’s what we need to be vigilant of at this point, there will be a lie I’m afraid causing NATO to go all in for everything Zelensky requests.

  15. Tom
    March 17, 2022 at 04:25

    It is very interesting to hear that americans think they decided the war against the Wehrmacht. They did partially so through the production of weapons and ammunition, but were not seen as conquerors in Western Germany. The invasion in Normandy did nothing to decide the outcome of WWII, except that it prevented, later Western Germany, to become part of the eastern block.

  16. Fiona Joyce
    March 17, 2022 at 02:25

    I have only recently found Consortium News and am very relieved to have done so as it is a very important and accurate source of information in these very troubled and traumatic times we find ourselves in.
    Brilliant article, accurate and informative. The hypocrisy of the West knows no bounds. Where do we go from here?

    • Lois Gagnon
      March 17, 2022 at 12:36

      Welcome to the safe haven for critical thinkers and truth seekers.

  17. Jesika
    March 17, 2022 at 01:42

    Thank you for this excellent essay by Diana Johnstone. The insufferable hubris and hypocrisy of our western (mis)leaders keeps people awake at night (me, others?). We do have to speak truth and turn off TV and other propaganda forms. Amazing how supposed adults can be misled! Lew Rockwell also has some very good articles to get truth out. I hope more people are reading to understand the true story of this nightmare. Biden, a real war criminal, calls Vladimir Putin a war criminal today after Zelensky addresses Congressional hyenas (apologies to the few good ones)! They are slavering for war, and we must stop them!

  18. March 17, 2022 at 00:59

    Diana Johnstone’s article is brilliant, and the conclusion that WW 2 never ended, America found the war profitable, while suffering far fewer deaths, likewise Britain. Shocking, and heart-breaking that western allies ignore the huge effort of the Russian people, standing against the massive onslaught of two-thirds of Nazi Germany’s military war-machine, when they, saved western countries from far greater devastation and deaths.

    Having learned nothing, in a ghastly replay of WW2 we now have the spectacle of Europe.,UK, America, supporting neo-nazis in Ukraine who are killing ethnic Russians in Ukraine and undermining Russia. Hitler would be delighted to see his supremacist, racist dream to destroy Russians being taken up again.

  19. zhenry
    March 16, 2022 at 23:01

    An excellent summary of events, the most comprehensive I have read, which agrees with other commenters here.
    Not quite with your last paragraph, however, you may be right but to me Russia seems in some sort of military control – very hard to access because of the rampart bias and completely fake reporting of the western media (rivals that of the covid narrative). I think there is a strong possibility of Russia controlling Ukraine militarily and enforcing border penetration, enforcing border penetration will be critical.

  20. DHFabian
    March 16, 2022 at 22:29

    The situation is actually more complicated because our government spent at least the last five years alternately poking sticks at Russia and at China and, most recently, at Venezuela (again), with some apparently mindless stick-poking in the Mideast. The big question at the moment is whether Russia and China come together to destroy that stick once and for all, for the sake of the world.

  21. Marcia
    March 16, 2022 at 20:29

    Thank you so much for this great essay.

  22. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    March 16, 2022 at 19:59

    Excellent article! Merci Madame Johnstone.

  23. CNfan
    March 16, 2022 at 19:45

    This recent history (superbly summarized) will go unmentioned by the corporate media, because they are owned by the western oligarchy, along with the weapons corporations. War is just too damned profitable for the oligarchs to give up. Along with Russia’s vast natural resources. As history shows, a few million innocent lives mean nothing to them.

    America is no longer a functioning democracy, being instead, as Jimmy Carter said, an “oligarchy with unlimited political bribery”.

    • J Anthony
      March 17, 2022 at 16:48

      Yes, and a contextual, substantial, historically-accurate piece like this would immediately trigger many US citizens into knee-jerk hysteria, having been so thoroughly conditioned into towing-the-line. For the many of us who are not so easily misled, it is painful to watch and bear on a daily basis. The moral hypocrisy has gotten so thick in the air, you can cut it with a butter-knife.

        March 22, 2022 at 02:58

        Being a country born and raised man I would say that the Bull S**t in DC got so deep the manure spreading media sent it to every state including far north Alaska.
        Grew up believing in We The People had the power to right all the wrong of our Govrrnment, well until my government sent me to kill the yellow people in a greenland., hell of a way to get eyes opened.
        Found most Americans did not know why Vietnam nor have any real interest in it, and those of past wars were the most vocal in supporting it.
        As a member of Vets against War and coming from staunch believers in Unions much to my surprise every dn union in US was in favor of it and would not let the Vets talk of it.
        I then began reading articles by independent reporter, buying their books, donating money and they grew wealthy and noted intellectuals while not a damned thing changed.
        The internet made it easy they could reach tens of thousands but actually never looking any one but booking agents, talk show host and
        college intellectual professors in the eyes.
        While I praise their writings I miss the boots on the ground independent journalist, those sweating, drinking and eating with the people of war zones.
        War reporting has become t o comfy, and most is not first hand experience of human carnage and like this article on Ukraine has all been on Internrt sites of past, repackaged for easier consumption of those who live in comfort.
        Why is there no anti war In States those who in past just got burned out with many finding the bribe of college seats and or Fed bureaucracy.
        No system will be changed from the inside it takes changes on the outside to force it upon insiders.
        There is no opposition to US power brokers and financial masters, we seem to go along just to go along.

  24. David Otness
    March 16, 2022 at 18:42

    As always to Diana Johnstone, a sincere pleasure it is to read your factual tidings, bittersweet though they may be.

    My own few thoughts to add for further illustration/dissection of past events are summed up here. I hope they contribute to citizens’ everywhere knowledge of the actual history that has led us to this godawful place. One surely awaiting history’s harsh judgment to come for what those who currently have such undeserved and unreserved US power within their official purview knowingly do and are about to further inflict upon world peace and the general welfare of humanity.

    Germany lost WW II—not the Nazis. The West’s elites made sure their Nazi partners were saved, including so many Ukrainians who were whisked away to the prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan; and Manitoba; plus infusions into U.S. cities and South American countries where obscurity of history and true origin could be adequately masked.
    Then when the US ‘defeated’ communism—its elites were freed thenceforth to finish up destroying US and world democracy. Those of us who witnessed Cold War 1.0 know this is what has come to pass. Something these ginned-up-by propaganda slavering and spitting Russophobes will apparently never understand—an inability to see the forest for the trees. But of course that is the marker for how effective and all-encompassing has the West’s propaganda machine truly been since the end of WW II. A multi-generational program that is worthy of Pavlov’s bells and his dogs. Oops! Pavlov! Russian! Baaad!

    A few notes below on how history was written. The first is Martha Gellhorn’s intimate and beautifully written account of the immediate pre-war atmosphere in both civil war Spain and eastern Europe. Herein she also gets some wily digs into her then-husband Ernest Hemingway, but the gist of her story is how Stalin tried to get the Czechoslovakian government to resist the outcome of the Munich Conference in its tragic denouement of ‘Peace in our time’ Nazi appeasement.

    Of course, largely unwritten but in particular even to this day, the hardly-at-all-disseminated record of his same efforts with the UK and France to join him in taking out Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine. Those efforts had earlier borne no fruit, and this was long before the blitzkrieg opening hostilities of September 1, 1939. Putting his further actions in Finland and Poland in context as holding actions, while buying time to build up the Soviet munitions/arms capabilities from east of the Urals, out of range of anyone’s bombers. After all, his spy networks were among the best, and likely knowing that the war to come was all about taking down the U.S.S.R. and communism.

    I mean, how obvious was it to the world (including Stalin) that in spite of the stipulations of the Versailles Agreement in limiting Germany’s armed forces to defined caps, the Allies were openly ignoring them for six solid years. Rather, indeed, the US and UK industrialists and bankers went all-out under-the-table with Germany’s own cohort of the same in financing the Austrian corporal for his further deeds on the steppes.
    (Sorry about the 60 to 80 million dead, mostly Russian and Chinese, but war is hell and all that jazz.)


    And here we have a deeply researched synopsis of the arc of the Cold War, it should prove an eye-opener for many fellow citizens… if only they have eyes to see:

    And finally, a US Naval contract calling for bids at the Sevastopol Russian Naval base, one exception to many being scrubbed from the internet, including subdivision plans for NATO personnel, this one in particular six months prior to the Maidan coup:


    • Frank Lambert
      March 17, 2022 at 12:08

      David, like Diana, you know the history you write about. Relatives of mine, long ago deceased, were friends with retired Brigadier General Herbert C. Holdridge, who worked in Wash. D.C. during World War Two, and admired him so much. Holdridge told them that in 1944, Japan had sent several communiques for an honorable surrender, as they knew defeat was inevitable. The General was delighted to see these, and pressed the issue with his superiors to negotiate the surrender with the Japanese. He was told that we (the United States) was out of the Great Depression, people were working around the clock and companies were making money again and we had to keep the war in the Pacific going for another year. When he said what about all the people being killed and maimed on both sides, he was reprimanded and literally told to be quit. In disgust, he resigned and retired from the U.S. Army in 1944.

      Wikipedia probably has the largest bio of him, hxxps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/herbert_c_holdridge but doing an internet search in archive.org, it’s worthwhile to read his letter to a fellow general, Hugh B. Hester, in 1966, regarding the Vietnam War. here is the link:

      In my opinion, the letter is worth reading, because the same madness and penchant for war against Russia today is similar to our invasion of South Vietnam, a country which did us no harm. The more things change, the more… you know the rest.

      • David Otness
        March 18, 2022 at 10:58

        Thank you, Frank. I’m looking forward to knowing more about General Herbert C. Holdridge and his perspectives on the great events of his time. If you want an interesting read for yourself as well, I’d recommend to you and others Eliott Roosevelt’s “In His Own Words” regarding his father FDR’s private conversations with him, and also so many more intimate anecdotes of his Presidency starting with his meeting with Churchill at Halifax, and on through the conferences in Tehran and Yalta with all of the principal leaders of the Allies; much insight to be garnered from those accounts, especially the nature of their interrelationships and personal natures. I believe I read it on Archive.org, but it might have been the Wayback Machine. Thanks again & best regards. ~ djo

        • Frank Lambert
          March 19, 2022 at 12:46

          You’re welcome, David. I’ll give you more info later. Going to a memorial service in a bit.

      • TS
        March 18, 2022 at 14:28

        > his letter to a fellow general, Hugh B. Hester, in 1966, regarding the Vietnam War. here is the link:

        “Item cannot be found” ….

        • David Otness
          March 19, 2022 at 15:37


          • Frank Lambert
            March 21, 2022 at 14:22

            To TS and David, type in “General Herbert C. Holdridge’s letter to General Hugh B. Hester in 1966 on your search engine and it should be listed.

  25. Rob Roy
    March 16, 2022 at 18:16

    The most excellent and revalent history I’ve read yet. I will give it to my family who have disowned me for knowing Putin better than they.

  26. Alan
    March 16, 2022 at 16:51

    This piece presents, by far, the best historical context for the Ukraine war that I have read. Thank you, Diana Johnstone.

    • March 16, 2022 at 19:32

      I totally agree and it is also the best explanation for the continued enmity of the US toward Russia which has always hoped for friendship and only received unwarranted hatred from us. This sad story makes my soul weep. Thank you Diana for telling the world the truth. I just hope this gets a wide readership not only in the US but in Europe as well.

  27. Vera Gottlieb
    March 16, 2022 at 16:35

    Let the Americans experience a war on their own territory – let them experience all the suffering that comes with war – let them experience the misery – and, for all the nation’s nefarious behaviours, let them experience the hell so many countries are experiencing because of Yanx’s meddling.

    • J Anthony
      March 17, 2022 at 16:52

      Being here in the U.S., of course I don’t want that to happen, but I fear it is the only thing that would pull the majority of my fellow-citizens out of their waking-slumber. The moral hypocrisy, the knee-jerk hysteria, the denial, and the pettiness has become too much to bear for those of us who actually think and feel beyond our own immediate interests. We are in real trouble over here. But still many can’t see it.

  28. JMF
    March 16, 2022 at 16:34

    Diana: Thank you so much for that excellent synopsis and compelling argumentation. While much of the background is a “refresher” for me — I’ve been scrutinizing the “pious” shenanigans of this country of mine (US) for two decades now — your article is downright elegant!

    I firmly believe that Vladamir Putin did the right thing for his country, having exhausted all “diplomatic” avenues of resolution with the would-be “indispensable” nation. His speech (reproduced here at CN) explaining his reasons was truthful and honorable, unlike the contemptuously arrogant and mendacious posturing of our national security gurus.

    I’ve read several articles that underscore the legitimacy of this military response to the 8 years of persecution suffered by the citizens of the Donbas republics. If there was ever a *genuine* R2P campaign, this is it, whereas — as you aptly pointed out — US “humanitarian interventions” have been anything but!

    Bravo, Diana. Thank you (and CN) for telling it like it is.

  29. Lupana
    March 16, 2022 at 16:13

    Thank you for writing this! As the previous comment states, this is the best historical summary I’ve seen. It does not paint the USA (or Europe) in a good light. I sometimes – or maybe always – am astounded, embarrassed and discouraged at how ignorant and arrogant our government officials are. I really hope we as a country fall off our pedestal soon so maybe we can evaluate ourselves a bit, face our violent history, stop with the ‘American exceptionalism’ and maybe remake ourselves into something we can honestly feel proud of and become a more humble true force for peace and good instead of the destabilizing mess that we are.

  30. Drew Hunkins
    March 16, 2022 at 16:05

    The frenzied Russophobic groupthink that’s currently reverberating throughout virtually the entire Western militarist-corporate media and citizenry is staggering to witness. One can do nothing but stand back in awe at the indoctrination that’s suffocating us all.
    The Russiagate nonsense was one of the worst mob mentalities one had ever witnessed, however it does not reach the present level of this non-stop animus against Putin and Russia.

    Moreover, the cavalier way so many liberals and neo-cons are now dismissing the long-held Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine as it comes to nuclear war is astonishingly dismaying. Glibly advocating for a no-fly zone could ultimately mean nuclear war.

    Chillingly, there no longer appear to be any sane heads left in Washington – personally sanctioning Putin and Lavrov obviously severs diplomatic relations, severed diplomatic relations historically has often been a prelude to war. The U.S. even has national politicians and apoplectic talking heads calling for the assassination of Putin. Brazen criminal violations of international law are now rationally discussed under the aegis of learned gentility on mainstream media. That this taunting could quickly devolve the world into a nuclear war does not seem to bother anyone.

    Across the spectrum in the U.S. – from the humanitarian [sic] interventionist liberals to the crazy neo-con warmongers – it’s all Russophobic diatribes all day, all night. Any rational knowledgeable analysts who attempt to present the reasonable Russian position are immediately scorned and ridiculed and dismissed as Kremlin propagandists. That Shoigu is desperately trying to minimize human casualties in Ukraine despite the far-right militias bedding down in hospitals and theaters is ignored.

    This extremely dangerous mass psychosis that’s washing over nearly the entire Western hemisphere (except for Latin America) must somehow be transcended before the likelihood that two nuclear armed superpowers clash increases to the point of no return.

    • Tim S.
      March 18, 2022 at 14:13

      > This extremely dangerous mass psychosis that’s washing over nearly the entire Western hemisphere (except for Latin America)

      Unfortunately, it is not just there: it is afflicting much of Europe, too.

  31. Nancy Oden
    March 16, 2022 at 15:35

    Diana – I remember you from Minneapolis in the 60’s – you’re even better now…..thanks and I hope you keep up your excellent understandings of the world and write them for us.
    With much admiration and appreciation – – Nancy S.

  32. March 16, 2022 at 15:32

    A brilliant insight, that the conflict in Ukraine is related to World War 2 which never ended for America because war was very good for its ‘economy.” While for Russia WW2 was utter devastation wtih 27 million dead, and thousands of cities destroyed.
    I cant bear to think that Russia may be trapped in this conflict, wearing it down. And then there’s the nuclear option – the madness of America’s war economy, devoted to death and destruction at the expense of their own impoverished society and people ,and the rest of the world. Those in charge behind the scenes have lost basic intelligence, which means the entire world is at risk.

    • DHFabian
      March 16, 2022 at 22:37

      The current conflict, which has been ongoing for some years, has been a split between Ukrainians who want to align with NATO/the West, and those who want to maintain their alliance with Russia. I was a little shocked by the degree of ridicule Dem Party loyalists had, for the call to bring in UN diplomatic teams to work toward a resolution. Regardless, Biden clearly wants war, and we seem powerless to stop it.

  33. Lois Gagnon
    March 16, 2022 at 15:15

    The vanity of US misleadership is the most deadly force on the planet. Most of the world is painfully aware. The foolish Europeans seem incapable of learning. It’s up to the people of the US to take this empire down.

    • RS
      March 16, 2022 at 16:38

      Lois, if we lived within a democracy that took to heart the will of the people we could take the empire down. Unfortunately, we don’t have that power. If you read the American newspapers you will not find a shred of information about the Donbass or the civil war that resulted from the coup. I certainly tried in my letters to the editor. These were not published. All letters demonizing Putin as a latter day Hitler is printed. The United States is an ordered society that advertises that it isn’t.

      • Anna
        March 17, 2022 at 16:36

        The US government has been financing and weaponizing the self-proclaimed neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
        What is going to happen to the Arlington Memorial and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial considering that the US/NATO have been actively collaborating with Ukrainian neo-Nazis?
        Will we see Swastikas celebrated by the US Army this coming V-Day?
        The ongoing war against Russia waged by neo-Nazis (in cahoot with the US/NATO) is a Disgrace for the US Army and government.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      March 16, 2022 at 16:45

      The EU is totally intoxicated with ‘Americanism’…so far up the Yanx’s rectum thus lacking oxygen.

    • Ian Rutherford
      March 17, 2022 at 13:38

      And they never will, sadly.

  34. March 16, 2022 at 15:03

    Excellent contextual analysis.

  35. ian rutherford
    March 16, 2022 at 13:45

    Absolutely the best summary of the historical background of the current and ongoing crises in Ukraine.

    • Vincent ANDERSON
      March 16, 2022 at 17:06

      And, more penetrating on the ‘full Nazi’ whiteness factor than Jeanne Haskin’s (btw my former paralegal) otherwise penetrating ‘Bosnia and Beyond…,’ as to the Kosovo comparison(s). Creditor econometrics is only part of such plots…. Perhaps some time to elaborate on this – soon?

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