The Case for Neutrality to Defuse Crisis With Russia

Faced with the certainty of the destruction of their country, most Ukrainians would settle for peace through neutrality, writes Scott Ritter.

Rebel armored convoy near Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, May 30, 2015. (Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

According to Axios, Jake Sullivan, national security advisor for President Joe Biden, convened a Zoom conference of erstwhile Russian experts to sound out possible policy options going into this week’s triple round of talks with Russia on European security. “By soliciting advice from the hawkish pockets in the foreign policy establishment,” Axios noted, “including those who served under former President Trump, the Biden administration is considering all options while weighing how to discourage Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine—and punish him if he does.”

How the solicitation of advice from “hawkish pockets in the foreign policy establishment” translates into “considering all options” is a matter for another time. The point here is that the Biden administration, rather than searching for a potential compromise position which could avert conflict in Europe while attaining legitimate national security goals and objectives for the United States, sought out a literal echo chamber of nonsensical advice from like-minded individuals who have spent the past two decades wallowing in their hate and disdain for Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin.

Michael McFaul, the former Obama administration Russian expert who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014, and who has famously clashed with Putin’s Russia over time, noted the wisdom of Sullivan seeking “to engage with outsiders…including those who may disagree with him,” while declining to say whether he himself participated in the call. 

A Hawk’s Demands

While McFaul has opted to remain silent on any advice he may have imparted if he had, in fact, been a part of that call, one doesn’t have to delve too far into the realm of speculation to get a feel for both the tenor and content of what such advice might have looked like. In a recent tweet responding to a statement made last year by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov that Russia was demanding a “ironclad” guarantee that “Ukraine and Georgia will never ever become a member of NATO,” McFaul responded with a tweet of his own, declaring:

“And I want a ‘waterproof’ ‘ironclad’ ‘bulletproof’ guarantee Russia will end its occupation of Ukrainian and Georgian territories, will never invade Ukraine or Georgia again and will stop its efforts to undermine democracy in Ukraine & Georgia.”

McFaul’s tweet was reflective of an overall policy position which sought the reversal of what he viewed as Russian usurpation of the territory of three European states—Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia. After the Russian government published the text of a draft treaty calling for a guarantee that the United States would not seek to establish military bases “in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization” or “use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them”, McFaul proposed additional articles to the draft treaty in which:

  • Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Moldova and restore full sovereignty to this European country;
  • Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Georgia, renounce recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries and restore the full sovereignty of Georgia; and
  • Russia agrees to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, return Crimea to Ukraine, stop supporting separatist forces in Ukraine, and restore the full sovereignty of this European country.

McFaul in 2016. (Rod Searcey/Wikimedia Commons)

While there is little doubt that McFaul, who has been loath to find any common ground with Putin’s Russia, was seeking to counter what he viewed as a non-sensical Russian proposal with a non-sensical response, the fact is that if one departs for a moment from a world where the concept of genuine cooperation based upon a willingness to compromise (i.e., real diplomacy) governed as a matter of course, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia may have actually hit upon a formula that could allow the U.S. and NATO to sustain their no-compromise stance on NATO’s “open door” policy while respecting Russia’s insistence on a NATO-free presence in non-NATO former Soviet Republics.

The notion that Russia would agree to withdraw assets from Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova on its own volition is, of course, a non-starter. This is especially true if NATO was considering allowing any of these three states membership. However, if one is to accept the premise that it is the sovereign right of any nation to freely associate with whom it chooses (the cornerstone of NATO’s “open door” policy”), then the opposite is true as well—it is the sovereign right of any nation to choose neutrality.

A Proposed Deal

This is the missing ingredient in McFaul’s tongue-in-cheek formulation—that in exchange for a binding commitment by Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia to permanently opt out of joining any military alliance, while retaining the sovereign right to interact with the community of nations politically and economically as they best see fit, Russia would undertake measures designed to further the sovereignty of those states, to include the following:

  • The withdrawal of all troops from the territory of the Republic of Georgia, inclusive of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a rescindment of Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, and Russian diplomatic assistance in facilitating both South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgian sovereign control;
  • The withdrawal of all troops from Transnistria (Moldova), and the rescindment of any recognition of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, and Russian diplomatic assistance in facilitating the return of Transnistria to Moldovan sovereign control; and
  • Full Russian support for the cessation of hostilities in Donbas and Lugansk, and an agreement on the recognition of Ukrainian interest in Crimea that does not infringe on Russian security or sovereignty.

McFaul and his ilk would never agree to such a trade-off, for the obvious reasons. But the people of Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine might. First and foremost, so long as there are outstanding disputes involving the territorial integrity of a nation, NATO rules preclude any notion of full membership, if for no other reason that NATO does not want Article 5 to be invoked on day one of a nation joining NATO.

Russian peacekeepers at border crossing between Transnistria and Moldova, 2014. (Clay Gilliland/Wikimedia Commons)

As such, until which time Russia changes its posture on Transnistria, Georgia, and Ukraine, NATO membership is an impossibility. In short, those Moldavans, Georgians, and Ukrainians who believe that the future well-being of their respective nation hinges on NATO membership are cutting their own throats.

For Georgians especially, the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia is a rowing domestic political problem. If given a choice between being able to return to their homes and live in peace as a neutral nation, or to die far away from home because your government pursued the false hope of salvation through NATO membership, I’m certain most Georgians would choose home and neutrality.

A Resolution in Ukraine

For Ukraine, the choice is even starker—their government’s pursuit of NATO membership will almost certainly result in the destruction of their nation. NATO has already said it will not intervene to prevent this destruction, and Russia is almost certain to make an example out of Ukraine to intimidate the rest of Europe. Faced with the certainty of the destruction of their country, most Ukrainians would settle for peace and some sort of face-saving measure on Crimea.

The idea of a neutral Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine does not in any way compel NATO to rescind its “open door” policy toward membership—the thing about an “open door” is that nations are free not to walk through it. By offering real solutions to real problems, Russia and the U.S./NATO could resolve the current impasse regarding European security.

And the establishment of a neutral bloc could lead to further de-escalation, including the reduction of military forces along the NATO-Russian frontier, the end of provocative military exercises in the Black Sea and NATO-Russia periphery, and a ban on weapons systems, such as missile defense and intermediate-range missiles, deemed to be destabilizing.

Unfortunately, this kind of compromise is virtually impossible to consider today. I would bet a dime to a dollar that not a single one of the Russian experts approached by Jake Sullivan for guidance regarding the recently completed round of negotiations with Russia would endorse such a policy line, if for no other reason that it would end the raison d’etre for NATO’s continued existence in the post-Cold War era, and it would solidify Russian President Putin as a rational actor, something the anti-Putin crowd—McFaul included—could never tolerate, as it would diminish their own niche relevance.

The U.S. and NATO are hell-bent on containing and rolling back Russian influence and power, at the cost of the very security they claim to be promoting and defending. The nations that will bear the brunt of the cost of this hubris-laced adventurism—Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine—are but an afterthought to NATO, little more than useful pawns in a greater game of geopolitical dominance.

If offered the choice between peace and war, if the cost was neutrality, I am certain where most Moldovans, Georgians, and Ukrainians would vote. This is, of course, why the U.S. and NATO will never give them such an option.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

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

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31 comments for “The Case for Neutrality to Defuse Crisis With Russia

  1. magchiel matthijsen
    January 16, 2022 at 16:32

    Russia will not allow the west to put her behind an iron curtain again. The USSR had a dangerous ideology. Russia has no ideology, so the question is how to meet the other.

  2. FrankDrebin
    January 16, 2022 at 03:30

    A first step towards peace in Europe would be the immediate dissolution of NATO. That organisation has always been aimed at using military force instead of peaceful means to resolve political differences. There is no good reason for it to continue.

  3. Stephen Morrell
    January 15, 2022 at 18:45

    Back when the US engineered and unleashed the Maidan coup, and especially after the nazis incinerated 50 people in the trade union building in Odessa, many hoped Putin would move in and put a stop to it all. If he had, the current Ukraine WWIII tripwire most likely wouldn’t be upon us.

    From the front lines in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, Russell ‘Texas’ Bentley offers this sobering and more realistic perspective: given the intransigence and mad determination of the US/EU/NATO imperialists to launch a war against Russia via Ukraine, the least worst scenario from the current predicament would be for Russia to quickly move in and occupy Ukraine all the way to Kiev — preferably immediately after next Wednesday’s deadline expires and before the US or NATO can organise militarily.

    Aside from its nazi component, most of the Ukrainian military is a conscript one and a majority of its ranks reportedly has no desire to go to war with Russia. Unfortunately, the dumb Washington psychopaths and their NATO marionettes don’t understand this and certainly won’t take any hint from the surgical precision of the Kazakhstan interdiction to stay their insane war drive. But a fait accompli of a lightning Russian occupation of Ukraine that catches them completely off guard and militarily unprepared is probably the least infeasible way of doing so.

    With some help from China, a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine could quickly revive the economy and resurrect its social services, and most importantly hunt down, prosecute and punish every last Bandera/Hitler-loving nazi and their US/UK/EU/NATO ‘instructors’.

    Then Putin might even be able to attend an Olympic games and for once not have yet another imperialist regime change or war launched on Russia’s borders while he’s there.

  4. Anonymotron
    January 15, 2022 at 16:34

    Tnx Scott CN 4 no Pro/$pin publishing genuinely frightening news.

    “On The Beach”, Art Produced in response2 legitimatehunan concerns re: Hiroshima & a line willingly crossed, changed the World dialog.

    I speculate whether another chip in Machievelli’s princely advice was to control thru fear.

  5. The K man
    January 14, 2022 at 21:16

    There is no crisis , other than the one that the US has manufactured. It’s obvious that they have no interest in peaceful co-existence with the Russians , none whatsoever.

  6. Edward
    January 14, 2022 at 20:21

    So here we go, Biden’s new strategy for the 2024 election, become a war president. Biden is using the same playbook that was used in Syria. Announce ahead of time that a false flag operation is being planned, then when it happens, fire missiles at anyone, anywhere. Biden just announced that he will support a gorilla war using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, he said it would be just Afghanistan in the 1980.
    So, Biden now wants to wage a proxy with Ukrainians and mercenary forces doing the fighting and dying, while the US will provide weapons and training.
    The US will probably provide surface to air missiles to shoot down Helicopters and planes, Anti-tank weapons, sniper rifles and sniper training. The US has all kinds of great and fun goodies just sitting on shelves that can finally get used up and replaced at taxpayers’ expense.
    The US wants to fight a gorilla war like North Vietnam did against the US and France invaders.
    The point is to wear Russia down, make it spend money it doesn’t have, and break the will of the Russian people when their sons and daughters come home in a box.
    But Ukraine isn’t a jungle like Vietnam, or a very mountainous region like Afghanistan. We could just have kept our promise not to move NATO to Russia’s borders, but no that wouldn’t get Biden re-elected or make the ruling class very happy.

    • Realist
      January 15, 2022 at 14:37

      Solution: Shoot the patron, not his hired help. Start with the “advisors” and “trainers” of his hired guns. Blow up the arms and ammunition depots so charitably donated by the patron. Target the Patron’s “homeland” with hypersonic missiles if he crosses your border with his personnel or projectiles. His Royal Highness Uncle Sam has got to learn that the entire planet is not his oyster. Otherwise, if he practices common courtesy, good behavior, and stays off your lawn, leave him the hell alone.

      • Piotr Berman
        January 15, 2022 at 23:33

        A putative war would capitalize on three facts: (1) the whole current crisis started from the fact that Ukraine relocated a big mass of troops and heavy weapons to the immediate vicinity of ORDLO (Donetsk and Lugansk republics), extreme SE of the country, keeping practically defenseless northern border and the coast (2) east of Dniepr and along the coast the majority of people speak Russian and dislike the government (3) Ukraine lacks meaningful air force and air defenses. Russia could simply keep away from Ukrainian speaking areas were putative guerrilla could exist, surround more than half of Ukrainian regular military, and destroy the remaining heavy weapons by high altitude bombing. The remaining rump would not have enough resources to avoid immediate economic crisis, and would be practically defenseless.

        That said, Russia would not like to do it if you watch what they did so far. Crimea immediately got enough investments to put utilities to modern standard, expand tourism and other industries, and people feel big improvement from Ukrainian years. But independent Donbas was an orphan on thin diet until this year when relatively big money were allocated to social sphere and to industry, and Russian market got fully open. As the main industry there is coal and steel, it was timed with increase of budget revenue in Russia plus worldwide shortage of steel and resulting high steel prices, the investments will mostly pay for themselves. In short, when Putin’s Russia takes (officially or de facto) territory, it invests to make sure the people will like to be there. Taking all Russian-majority areas of Ukraine is way too expensive for Russia, especially with the government that avoids budget deficits.

  7. rosemerry
    January 14, 2022 at 12:50

    ” how to discourage Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine—and punish him if he does.”
    Scott cannot pretend he has not heard the dozens of times this nonsense has been refuted by Russia, most recently by Mr Ryabkov, using words even Biden and McFaul could understand. Why does the USA choose “ambassadors” who are the most virulently haters of the countries they are sent to? Perhaps diplomacy is for sissies.
    McFaul’s “tweet” is a pathetic joke pretending the 25 years of NATO expansion over 600 miles is nothing, while a few skirmishes in bits of Georgia are equivalent. Russia has already given up too much and is at the end of its patience.
    “Russia is almost certain to make an example out of Ukraine to intimidate the rest of Europe. ”
    Why on earth would that be???Russia wants security, wants it for itself and for Europe, and the present situation with NATO does not allow either. That is why Russia is acting now.
    The Minsk agreement in 2015 is still waiting for Kiev to negotiate with the Donbass republics, but Kiev is refusing. Doing that and following its guidelines already agreed to (special status for Donbass, ceasefire, new constitution) would lead to peace and neutrality. It is NOT Russia that is the problem but the Kiev government (remember the overthrow of the elected one in 2014 helped by F***the EU Nuland?) before the “annexing of Crimea” to stop it being transformed into a US base as planned under Obama.

    • Eddy
      January 14, 2022 at 22:01

      Never let LIES, obfuiscate the truth. Good post Rosemary. Amazing that supposedly inteligent officials in the U.S. seem unable to be able to identify these FACTS. Could it be, because they have no desire whatever, and simply wish to persue THEIR agenda, come what may. After all, it won’t be THEIR country that will bear the brunt of any outbreak, or so they seem confident to think.

    • David Otness
      January 15, 2022 at 02:28

      “According to Axios,”… What follows that and leading to the quote you mis-infer as attributed to Scott: Is not.

      • robert e williamson jr
        January 15, 2022 at 15:37

        Great call Mr. Otness. If any of us had the knowledge Mr. Ritter an command of we all likely would be better off.

        This country still has serious issues resulting from a long standing cancer on our government. Those issue never met head on since the event (Nov 22, 1963) have not went away but instead propagated.

        The trains Ukrainian resistance fighters while the U.S. tries to browbeat Putin. Good luck with that.

        Neither Donald, “Unaware Man” Trump nor Uncle Joe are Vladimir Putin, land everyone needs to realize this.

        Maybe then one can grasp the concept of this Ukrainian thing simply being Putin” sweating” out Uncle Joe.

  8. onno37
    January 14, 2022 at 11:30

    This ‘RED NECK’ braindead McFaul is a BIG MOUTH without Brains trying to ‘BULL’Russia/China which will NEVER happen! Washington is PASSEE & has NO Power in contrast to Russia & China. Washington with it’s senile president is an EMPTY BLOWHORN!

  9. Feral Finster
    January 14, 2022 at 11:21

    Even if Biden wanted to do so, he can’t, on account of the zero-sum nature of US politics.

    Anything short of Total War, and Team R will scream about appeasement.

    This zero-sum politics is a common feature of a third world country.

    • FrankDrebin
      January 16, 2022 at 03:34

      … the kind of Third World country whose democracy was stifled by the USA. Let’s not denigrate societies in the Global South by comparing them with the US imperial oligarchy which has spent many decades interfering in the political processes of many smaller nations.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    January 14, 2022 at 10:37

    A neutrality the West would not accept, no matter what. The peace disturber always is, and always was, the US of A.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    January 14, 2022 at 10:10

    What ever happened to the right to self determination enshrined in the UN charter? A lot of what we see right now is what happens when an empire breaks up – see the Ottoman empire and the Austro-Hungarian empire and the Russian empire. I can’t say I know about the problems that Georgia and Moldova have but Crimea was never part of Ukraine. When Khrushchev administratively attached it to the Ukrainian SSR (with a get out of Ukraine card, should they choose it), I doubt he realized the problems he was going to cause. The Crimeans really do have a disassociation capability in the original attachment to the Ukraine. But if that idiot McFaul wants Russia to remove their troops from Crimea, Georgia, and Moldova, should not Russia demand that the US get its troops out of Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Syria, Iraq, and Japan? Remember, what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander.

    • Frank Munley
      January 15, 2022 at 17:02

      Any reference you can give to the disassociation provision in Khrushchev’s action would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  12. Realist
    January 14, 2022 at 07:46

    Presumably, Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine by a wide margin specifically because he promised to end the war against the Donbas and implement the Minsk Agreement which his predecessor had signed and then reneged upon. So, what the people of Ukraine want is a compromise fairly close to the “neutrality” that Mr. Ritter proposes. But apparently Ukie politicians utilise the old “bait and switch” campaign technique that every American president embraces, i.e., lie to get elected then screw your electorate.

    Frankly, all the examples used in Scott’s argument really point up that some important adjustments in national borders needed to be made after the break up of the Soviet Union, since the legacy the Bolsheviks had left isolated numerous pockets of ethnic groups moved around the board like pawns back in the days of empire building. Moreover, if dissection of Yugoslavia and excision of Kosovo from Serbia was legitimate and necessary in the eyes of the West, the same principles should have applied to the patch job needed by the fallen Soviet Union. Then we wouldn’t be left with problems like Abkhazia, Ossetia, Transnistria, Crimea and the entirely of Novo Russiya (and not just the Donbas). Boundaries should have justly and logically been changed circa 1991, just as they had been throughout Europe in 1946. Right now Georgia and Ukraine are trying to hang onto territories populated almost entirely by other ethnic groups who want to leave and whom they feel no compunctions about abusing.

    • January 14, 2022 at 12:35

      When I read your sentence, “legacy the Bolsheviks had left isolated numerous pockets of ethnic groups moved around the board like pawns back in the days of empire building” is exactly what the European Christian Colonizers did dividing up the Borders of Africa to suit European interests, the existing tribal and language boundaries be damned!
      When Prime Minister Harper of CanaDa spent Public money to build a monument to the Victims of Communism, I thought it was misspent.
      He should have built a Monument to the Victims of White Christian European Colonization of the World. There are many more Victims to this very Day.

      The Military Warsaw Pact Opposite NATO collapsed with the Soviet Union in 1991. In it’s arrogant hubris with no Warsaw Pact to stop their advance, NATO has already advanced right up to Russia’s Border. Yes, those bad evil Russians!

      In 1962, Americans hated the idea of Soviet missiles in Cuba so close to the US. The Soviets deployed those missiles AFTER the US deployed their missiles aimed at Russia in new NATO Member Turkey.
      I watched President Kennedy on TV announcing the US was initiating an ACT OF WAR according to International Law, with the US Navy totally encircling Cuba in a Blockade.
      The US was ready to initiate WWIII/Armageddon over Soviet missiles so close to them.

      Americans are not that exceptional!
      Putin is following that 1962 US Playbook, drawing his red line in the US-Russia Tug of WAR over Ukraine, intensified since the 2014 US orchestrated regime change of the Elected Russian friendly government, installing an un-Elected Neo-Nazi anti-Russia government to mirror US attitudes toward Russia.

      Watching all this unfold from CanaDa, I see Western Politicians, the Media only parroting their questioning Putin’s Good Faith in the recent negotiations, and it is only US projection. BLIND US Patriots just can’t see it.
      The West, under US Leadership, is poking the Russian bear at it’s own risk.

    • NotEuclid
      January 14, 2022 at 13:01

      “since the legacy the Bolsheviks had left isolated numerous pockets of ethnic groups moved around the board like pawns back in the days of empire building.”

      No that was mostly the remants of using ethic nationalism to divide and rule the Pandora’s box that was “Eastern Europe” in 1919 and cloaking it as “freedom/independence as a beneficence incorporated in the Treaty of Versaiiles by Mr. Wilson and associates who later called themselves “The West”.

      Of course that was modified to a significant extent by ethnic cleansing, including but not limited to the “Holocaust/Shoah” by the Greater Reich and their helpers, including but not restricted to, Belarussians, Estonians (greatest per centage kill rate of small population achieved/Judenfreid the fastest), Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, and Ukrainians, the last two mentioned, often without the direct aid of members of the Greater Reich – more a type of help yourself time although not primarily, even when the Greater Reich had retreated taking some former helpers along for company.

      The histories and activities of some former helpers varied, some being recruited by primarily the “United Kingdom” and “The United States of America” to undermine “The Soviet Union” and its associates, some to aid the creation of West German intelligence germinated from the Gehlen seeds, and some to act as throughput in various ratlines, whilst as a general case “The Soviet Union” repatriated those who wished to be repatriated to their reconstituted homelands which had sometimes changed location – including but not limited to the FDR and the GDR.

      Not all visited Siberia to go to the Gulag involuntarily to build “The Soviet Union”, many went there voluntarily to help build “The Soviet Union and received special bonus for their participation.”

      One of the reasons that some understood from at least 1969 that “The Soviet Union” was not sustainable was nationalism – Soviet internal passports having a place to fill in establishing nationality and consequently some used vectors prepared earlier – primarily the Republic of Austria – starting with Jewish people, whose journeys were facilitated/finessed/financed by pleasuring some in the Politburo with funds via Israel often originally from the FDR and public subscription, in re-imbursement of the emigrants’ education/qualifications.

      As to the remaining “Republics of the Soviet Union” some in the Politburo could not be finessed in respect of Lithuania and Georgia, and so others lubricated their “independence” whilst Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Schevernadze facilitated some people to be shot – they were emotional and didn’t really didn’t like Lithuanian or Georgian singing -, whilst consequently the Russian Federation offered citizenship and various benefits including subsidised relocation into the Russian Federation, this not being restricted to ethic Russians or former citizens of “The Soviet Union”

      Neither omniscience nor perfection is an option in interaction but people can do the best that they can do within context, the context often being some “evil doers” were trying to make “colour revolutions”.

      Thank you for your suggestions which don’t suffer from straight lines as did the Sykes/Picot agreement or the colonisation of Africa.

  13. TP Graf
    January 14, 2022 at 06:57

    It seems to me that the press and policy influencers and our moronic administrations assume Russia (and China) are too dumb to study the 2,186-page, $768 billion, fully bipartisan, 2022 NDAA authorization. We lay out pretty well that our intentions are as provocative, offensive and expansionary as possible. Ukraine’s best move would be to get on the line with Xi and Putin and ask, “What can you do to get our economy working? We don’t want to be a pawn in the East/West war games anymore.” Wall Street certainly isn’t going to invest in anything over there but dumping weapons. Surely the Ukrainians must know this. China may have its owns strings attached, but they build and we bomb. Our “aid” never ends well for our pawns.

  14. NotEuclid
    January 14, 2022 at 05:19

    “most Ukrainians would settle for peace through neutrality”

    As you are likely to be aware the Russian Federation made reference to the four power agreement on the creation of the Austrian Republic when to some degree the interlocutors understood that they both relied on coercive social relations internal and hence externally they required one another to facilitate mutual sustainability.

    That situation changed for “The United States of America” by 1969 and they proposed to “counterparties” relationships of detente based on spheres of influence, facilitating the alchemy of gold into paper and dances predicated there upon.

    In parallel in 1969 some in “The Soviet Union” understood that this would be an accelerant for the non-sustainability of “The Soviet Union” there by catalysing the ongoing transcendence of “The Soviet Union” by the Russian Federation with the complicity of “The United States of America” in frustration to which “The United States of America” determined, partly as a function of limited strategic facility, that once more that Ukraine would be a useful vector to exploit.

    Both their dances of 2008 and 2014 of were understood in advance by their prospective “partners”, and hence “The United States of America” gained an albatross whilst the Russian Federation gained a new member, making dispensers of plain bulkas from blue plastic bags on Indepependence Square even more “pissed” likely remembering a song from their you by The Who won’t get fooled again leading to other hopes which they mis-represent as “Strategies” such as:

    RE: Posted by: The Saker | Jan 13 2022 17:59 utc | 3

    “Breaking Ukraine into pieces? That is something I fully agree with. “

    Effectively the albatross reproducing and migrating in emulation of The Treaty of Versailles where ethnic nationalism, under the clothes of “national freedom/independence”, was used by Mr. Wilson and others to attempt divide and rule Pandora’s box.

    A function of Mr. Brzezinsky adopting strategies of the Second Department of the Second Polish Republic and pretending they were his own to“sell” them to the strategically emotional/illiterate, increasing trajectories and velocities of lateral processes of absence makes the heart grow fonder whilst familiarity breeds contempt, as lands of opportunities for transcendence are enhanced.

    As Mr. Gogol observed it is not wise to hold onto flying troikas too tightly, whilst Holland Dozier and Holland noted – It’s the same old song, but with a different meaning, since you’ve been gone.

    The “Ukrainians” will once more adopt Mr. Gogol as their own, dogs will write letters, and the King of Spain will have a wart on the end of his nose, all immersed in Mr. Pilsudski’s belief that without Ukraine Russia is a land of forests and lakes.

    Ukraine was only ever a vector of convenience and in Operation Rollback’s 1954 programme some wondered What ever happened to Stepan Bandera since it happened in Munich – who helped the set-up?

    If you meet the Brooklyn princess and her friends, could you please remind them to bring the salt next time? A little drink would also help if the budget could still run to it. And since some on the square lodged a complaint, how about sernik with cinammon for desert – there used to be a good cake shop without long queues just across from “The Embassy”, very convenient since the road to the square is all down hill.

  15. Foul Play
    January 14, 2022 at 02:22

    The expression “foul play” come to mind every time the name McFaul is mentioned. Is it just me?

    • robert e williamson jr
      January 14, 2022 at 20:02

      Foul Play: The phrase reminds of the CIA every time I hear it.

      Until Americans demand answers and accountability we can expect little in the way of peaceful solutions coming from our diplomatic corp. The state department is tied at the hip to CIA’s crazies.

      Or don’t but understand that we had a president one time who desired peace and the evil doers who live for war made damned sure he wasn’t around to stymie their efforts.

      I’m thinking most people younger than I , I’m 73, have a difficult time relating to this man. A man the powerful in this country failed to get justice for.

  16. Jiri Severa
    January 14, 2022 at 01:08

    Good one, Scott, but it wouldn’t work. I was my native Prague in 1996 and remember vividly the discussions around the entry of the Czech Republic into NATO. Polls that were believable had 80% majority against the idea of entering the alliance. Among my friends and former schoolmates, there was unanimity: “We want want to be like Austria and Switzerland; we want neutrality.” Actually, this idea took hold in the Prague Spring of 1968 and by the time of the downfall of the communists, was Czech common sense. A people whose signature in the world literature is The Good Soldier Švejk, and were screwed by both their western allies (in Munich 1938) and the eastern allies (in August 1968), would be hugely in disfavour of signing up with any kind of international gang with heavy artillery. And yet, the Czech Republic, nominally a democracy, entered NATO three years later without a referendum. I asked my former high school classmate, who became a member of the General Staff of the Czech Army, how it was possible. He shrugged and with a devious grin said to me: “you may not believe this, but this was all about money”.

    • NotEuclid
      January 14, 2022 at 06:01

      “…were screwed by both their western allies (in Munich 1938) and the eastern allies (in August 1968)”

      Quite so, but more screwed by first the British/French and then Mr.Benes and Mr. Frantisek and the Greater Reich in no particular order, partly as efforts to convince others of your “significance” which didn’t work except with the Greater Reich after a fashion.

      and in conjunction/co-operation with one being head of station in Hungary in October 1956 and head of the KGB in August 1968, this catalysed the ongoing process of transcendence of the non-sustainable misrepresentation “The Soviet Union” by the Russian Federation from 1969 onwards, as did 1970’s agreement of detente on the bases of spheres of influence facilitating the alchemy of turning gold into paper, socialist solidarity in Afghanistan in 1979, Chernobyl when the nomenklatura requisitioned most of the iodine tablets throughout Ukraine, didn’t announce the disaster on the radio so their children could find seats on trains to Moscow whilst other pioneers were carrying flags parading down Kreshatik and other boulevards, then the icing on the cake – first perestroika then glasnost when perestrokia didn’t work, giving even more information to the narod on how they had been “screwed”.

      Don’t trouble I’m not forging pedegree licences for terriers, or begging to report.

      “He shrugged and with a devious grin said to me: “you may not believe this, but this was all about money”.

      Not all but mostly – in Mr. Marx’s formulation – the rate of accumulation – in 1968 as a consequence of the accession/endeavours of Agricultural and Industrial factions in “The Soviet Union” in/from 1964 ,Messrs Kosygin and Brezhnev “presiding” ( not to be found in the short course), or his medal collection, or Galina’s adventures in life etc, etc.

    • JohnA
      January 14, 2022 at 06:37

      A majority of Swedes want the country to remain neutral as it has been for about the last 200 years. Even so, most politicians are hellbent on joining NATO, have held joint NATO exercises in Sweden, sent Swedish forces to Afghanistan etc. The politicians and mass media continue to big up Russian ‘aggression’ and send financial support to totally corrupt Ukraine. They claim to be afraid of Russia while simultaneously leaving the back door unlocked and rolling out a red carpet welcome mat to the USA that is now a presence there. Pathetic

  17. January 13, 2022 at 22:26

    Would that the thinking of policy luminaries and practitioners such as Scott Ritter, Col. Douglas MacGregor, Ambassador Jack Matlock, Suzanne Massie, the late Stephen F. Cohen, etc., not to mention, e.g., around half of the Montenegrin population (emblematized by proponents such as Dr. Filip Kova?evi?), prevailed regarding “great power” encouragement of neutral, autonomous buffer states as a non-provocative alternative to any further NATO expansion!

    Instead, we appear poised on the precipice of potential nuclear conflagration – a situation in which an alleged 50-52% of US survey respondents favor nuclear “suicide by cop” over the likes of Ukraine and Taiwan (the equivalent of 50-52% of Russians and Chinese favoring the same over Puerto Rico and Nicaragua), according to two reports by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

  18. alley cat
    January 13, 2022 at 22:25

    What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

    U.S. imperialists consider themselves an unstoppable force, with the most powerful military in the world.

    Russia considers preventing any further expansion of NATO to be a vital national interest that must be defended at any cost in order to maintain its national sovereignty.

    U.S. imperialists want to make the world their own personal playground and the Russians (and Chinese) would rather die than let them.

    The determination on the part of the Russians (and Chinese) not to be subjugated makes them immovable on the issue of NATO expansion, but American leaders are pretty much the only ones who really believe they are unstoppable.

    So we need to rephrase our original question: What happens to delusional megalomaniacs when they come up against reality in the form of two cornered nuclear powers?

    Hint: imagine a watermelon thrown from the top of a skyscraper hitting the sidewalk fifty stories below.

  19. January 13, 2022 at 21:19

    Very odd the US won’t grant Russia any slack on the sphere of influence issue when it has the whole western hemisphere buffering its homeland

    Very odd that NATO gets away away with claiming to be a defense alliance when it is so obviously Washington’s sock puppet.

    Very odd that the US is so willing to go after Russia after the fiasco that was Afghanistan.

    Looks like shots are going to be fired before Washington comes back to reality.

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