Caitlin Johnstone: The Specious Reasoning Behind Claims the US Thwarted an Invasion of Ukraine

At no time has any consideration been given to the possibility of a far simpler explanation for the missing Russian invasion: that Russia never intended to invade.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Back in November The Military Times published a Ukrainian intelligence claim, which was picked up and repeated by numerous other mainstream publications, alleging that Russia was going to invade Ukraine by the end of January.

Then in late January when the calendar debunked The Military Times incendiary headline “Russia preparing to attack Ukraine by late January”, that same outlet ran a much less viral story with the headline “Russia not yet ready for full-scale attack says Ukraine“.

Now here in early February, the Murdoch press has put out a spin piece of a sort we’re likely to see more of in coming days claiming that Russia has not invaded because the U.S. and its allies have “ruined” Moscow’s plans by telling everyone the invasion is coming.

In an article titled “Ukraine-Russia tensions: Moscow’s plans ‘ruined’ after U.S. and Britain call out possible invasion“, Ukraine’s defense minister Hanna Maliar tells Sky News that Putin has not yet invaded because his murderous plot was thwarted by a plucky band of imperial states who would not be prevented from speaking their truth. 

“It’s important to understand that when we or our western partners name the date of the possible invasion, we are ruining their plans,” Maliar told Sky News. “And the dates that were already told in public – it’s ruined plans, nothing will happen in these days. But the danger still exists.”

In the same piece Ukraine’s information minister Oleksandr Tkachenko was asked if he believed Russia would already have invaded if not for all the western talk of an imminent attack, to which he replied, “As a typical robber, if he does not see defence or at least does not see talking, he will act.”

At no time in the article is any consideration given to the possibility of a far simpler explanation for the missing Russian invasion: that Russia never intended to invade.

That possibility is just skimmed right over in favor of the seemingly far less likely scenario that the Russian government thought it could orchestrate a massive invasion without anybody saying anything about it and was forced to abandon its plans in disappointment when that nonsensical gamble failed to pay off.

And now we’ve already got western media publishing other Ukrainian military claims that the real invasion will be coming on Feb. 20.

“February 20 is noted as a potential start date for the invasion: that is when the Winter Olympics ends in Beijing, and President Putin, 69, eager to woo the Chinese, may not wish to tarnish the event,” The Times wrote in late January.

As Feb. 20 comes and goes without an invasion and predictions of false flag operations and Kremlin-backed coups fail to pan out, we will likely be seeing more such spin jobs from the western media claiming that those things did not happen because of measures that were taken by the U.S. and its allies to prevent it.

It may be used to score political points by claiming Joe Biden “prevented” a Ukraine invasion with his willingness to stand up to Putin by pouring weapons into Ukraine and sending troops to Eastern Europe.

These claims will be built entirely on specious reasoning.

The fallacious nature of the narrative that western powers are thwarting diabolical plots from the Kremlin with their cold war aggressions is best illustrated in this short clip from The Simpsons in which Homer believes that bears are being kept out of a generally bear-free neighborhood by the newly invented “bear patrol.”

“Ah, not a bear in sight! The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm,” says Homer.

“That’s specious reasoning, Dad,” Lisa replies, picking up a stone from the ground. “By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.”

“Oh, how does it work?” asks her father.

“It doesn’t work,” says Lisa. “It’s just a stupid rock. But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?”

At which point Homer offers to buy Lisa’s rock from her, because he’s a fuckin’ idiot.

The logical fallacy that has afflicted both Homer Simpson and those who claim the U.S. power alliance is preventing a Russian invasion of Ukraine is known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (“with this, therefore because of this”), which is the fallacy that correlation implies causation.

It’s when someone puts forward the claim that because two things happened concurrently (or failed to happen as in the examples we’re looking at here), one must have caused the other. Homer’s bear patrol kept the bears away. Lisa’s anti-tiger rock kept the tigers away. The west’s shrieking about an imminent Russian invasion kept the Russian invaders away.

Alternatively, it’s possible that there were no bears or tigers threatening the streets of Springfield, and that there was no Russian Bear threatening to invade Ukraine. That this was all a narrative used to ramp up cold war escalations, move some expensive military inventory, manufacture the global consensus that Putin is a Hitler-like menace who must be aggressively checked at all times by all nations, or potentially heaven forbid to lay the groundwork for aggressions from U.S./Ukraine/NATO powers.

However this thing unfolds, it’s a safe bet that the rhetoric won’t be getting any more logically sound any time soon. So keep that Simpson’s clip handy.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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

27 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: The Specious Reasoning Behind Claims the US Thwarted an Invasion of Ukraine

  1. Cynic
    February 7, 2022 at 07:51

    There once was a village in which a pretty girl Jane lived. All the boys in the village wanted to marry her, including John but Jane found him too dishonest and turned John down. John told everyone in the village, “There is an evil man who is having evil designs on Jane and he is coming on Tuesday midday, to snatch Jane away!” This alarmed everyone in the village and on Tuesday everyone armed themselves with their spades and sticks and surrounded Jane’s house. Tuesday midday came and went without any incident. John then shouted to everyone gathered there, “See? It is I who sounded the alarm and prevented that evil man from snatching Jane away. As a reward for me keeping Jane safe, Jane should marry me!”

    Change Jane to one of the following (Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela, or Global Hegemony), change that “evil man” to (Russia, China, Iran or North Korea) and change John to USA. The story is still the same and John keeps repeating the same, but wonders why the whole village hates him.

  2. Steve
    February 6, 2022 at 10:02

    The warmongers maybe now see clearly that all that is needed for Russia NEVER to invade is to keep naming an invasion date a few weeks ahead. LOL. This will work forever! (Except of course if NATO allows Ukraine entry to its alliance. All bets are off at this point.)

  3. Jeff Harrison
    February 6, 2022 at 08:58

    Occam’s razor – pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate – counts here. Why, for example, would Russia want to invade a bunch of losers like the Ukrainians? Since breaking away from the old SovU when it collapsed, the Ukraine has been on a steady downward spiral to the point where it has driven out most of the industry (which relocated to the RF) and is the poorest nation in Europe. Before you can add assumptions, you have to have a good reason for it (which is one way to translate the Latin). So, why would you assume that the Russians would be stupid enough to want to invade Ukraine?

  4. Carl Zaisser
    February 6, 2022 at 04:23

    I don’t think Russia wants the headaches of an occupation of Ukraine. But I do think they will respond with military force if the eastern provinces of Ukraine are the objective of a Ukrainian military operation using all the weaponry that NATO countries have recently poured into the country. If that happens, then the US will say, “See, we told you so.”

    • Jeff Harrison
      February 6, 2022 at 09:02

      Sadly, I suspect you are right. The reality is that the Russian Duma is pressuring Putin to provide arms to the Ukrainians in the breakaway provinces since all the arms from “The West” (minus Germany) have poured into the Nazis in Kiev.

  5. Black Cloud
    February 5, 2022 at 22:33

    The US forced Putin to back down.


    Where have we heard that before?

    Meanwhile Russia and China are now joined at the hip, NATO is fragmenting, the EU is collapsing, Iran is now effectively under the protection of China and Russia, and Russia is patroling Syrian airspace against Israel.

    Looks like some Presidential Medals of Freedom are in order.

    • Jennifer McDougall
      February 6, 2022 at 18:36

      Well said Black Cloud. My best laugh all day.

  6. john stanley
    February 5, 2022 at 21:36

    Why are there so many Homer Simpsons running the US military?

    • evelync
      February 6, 2022 at 09:29

      Great Question!
      My answer could be a meaningless rock like the one in the Simpsons cartoon, but it’s also the simplest Occam’s razor answer that, as Major General Smedley Butler eventually reasoned – “War is a racket” – it’s all about the profits; the corruption and the for profit schemes of revolving door, ass kissing promotions, incompetence and a military fully embedded in this economy.
      CODEPINK: Joan Roelofs : Military Industrial Complex at Ground Level:
      CODEPINK : Khury Petersen-Smith: Funding Violence: How the U.S. War Machine Works: hxxps://

      And faux arguments that the military provides jobs that keeps the F35 around, when redirecting these funds to constructive projects would provide more jobs plus create wealth instead of fatten the profiteers and destroy wealth with money poured into a black hole: the drones an bombs that kill people.

  7. Baron
    February 5, 2022 at 19:02

    Well said, Ms Johnstone, top marks.

    Putin could have taken over Ukraine easily, no fuss, no uproar anywhere when Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions held the majority in the Rada, he said ‘no’, who would want to acquire a land of 40mn impoverished burghers where the businesses of about 50 oligarchs accounted for some 80% of the GDP, millions of the brightest had left to seek jobs or fortune elsewhere …..

    The question then is why would he want to invade today when the country’s conscripting even amongst women (18-60 years old), has got enough military gear from caring NATO friends they know not what to do with it, tens of thousands of NATO countries military advisors are swarming around the place, and the Americans are threatening to impose sanctions of more than biblical proportions?

    Anyone believing this straw man constructed by those desperate to start another conflict should get certified, the sooner the better, we need anther conflict as much as we need another c-19 mutation.

    • Piotr Berman
      February 7, 2022 at 08:29

      ” the country’s conscripting even amongst women (18-60 years old)”

      For the sake of accuracy, this was a plan of REGISTERING women for conscription, not the conscription itself, and the poll results were very poor. So now Zelensky announced a plan to (a) made the military all volunteer (b) boost the salaries (c) increase manpower by 40%. This seems like stealing an idea from Polish MoD and Polish deputy prime minister (who actually runs the country, a historically motivated peculiarity), but there the plan was elaborated with “National Defense Fund” with the borrowing powers, so all that would be “off budget”, giving it a slim semblance of realism. But as Zelensky’s people realized, given the war panic, there may be few buyers for similar Ukrainian fund. This is not realistic even for Poland with double GDP.

      • Baron
        February 7, 2022 at 16:51

        Thanks for correcting the mistake, Piotr, one assumes that the registry is for the purpose of conscription, but you’re right, it’s not at that stage yet.

  8. robert e williamson jr
    February 5, 2022 at 18:21

    Nice, a little levity goes a long way these days.

    On a much more serious note your ending about the rhetoric not being anymore logically sound is prescient I do believe.

    U.S. leadership from Vietnam till now, no matter the party has never been known for sticking to the facts when addressing our involvement in wars is the topic. Our spotless military history after all is at stake.

    Could it be that this incident with Russia , Ukraine, NATO and the U.S. is the latest greatest example of U.S. Pentagon spinners claiming that Biden’s U.S. backed down Putin while Putin claims that he forced the U.S. to claim it backed down Putin? The media then takes over and ensures total confusion for all the shit headed sheeple.

    Putin saves face by outing the fickle U.S. State Department’s apparently inept foreign service officials flimsy foreign policy efforts. Meanwhile the rest of the world witnesses a struggling U.S. government failing to come to grips with it’s domestic problems and losing touch with much of the remaining world community.

    Maybe not but no matter what Biden should have some serious explaining to do about the Biden’s family’s business in Ukraine. I wonder myself if he got caught up with CIA and their energy loving friends at the Deep State.

  9. Edward
    February 5, 2022 at 17:20

    Another rhetorical trick that sees frequent use against the Russians is the “When did you stop beating your wife” type of question. The Russians refuse to admit their guilt!

  10. Jeff Carno
    February 5, 2022 at 16:25

    So all the reports of massive troop buildups on the border are just a lie? The satellite photos of rows upon rows of tanks and trucks faked? It’s all just a coincidence?

      February 6, 2022 at 01:10

      The article doesn’t say that. Even the Ukrainian president said Ukrainian intelligence examined the satellite photos and said it did not with certainty indicate preparation for invasion. President Zelensky said “it is not certain that an attack will take place.”

      “They keep supporting this theme, this topic.And they make it as acute and burning as possible. In my opinion, this is a mistake.” He added: “If you look only at the satellites you will see the increase in troops and you can’t assess whether this is just a threat of attack or just a simple rotation.”

  11. Guy
    February 5, 2022 at 16:08

    The Russian administration in Moscow must be hysterical laughter by now . The US and its minions are using the playbook that they
    have been playing in Syria,Iraq and Afghanistan for years now and have been caught at it to boot.Blame the other on what you yourself
    usually do .By now it must be obvious to one and all of the childish game that is being played .

  12. rosemerry
    February 5, 2022 at 15:23

    Nobody ever reasons that there is no possible reason Russia would invade Ukraine and bring the whole NATOSTAN down on their heads, when it want peace in its next door neighbour, not fullscale violence forever! The Minsk agreements, waiting for 8 years since the US overthrow of the elected ‘pro-Russian’ government in 2014 (remember Cookie Nuland F***the EU??) allow negotiations with the breakaway republics but require Ukrainian government action. Conflict is not in Russia’s interest at all (or in Ukraine’s-only in the USA?UK playbook).

  13. Realist
    February 5, 2022 at 15:09

    I can just as well argue that Russia prevented a Ukrainian invasion of the Donbas by shuffling its troops around its own territory to keep the Ukies guessing. Why would the apprentices of the esteemed grand chess master not know this? What a clown show. But, if sharing its “genius” with the American strategists prevents war, I’m sure Putin won’t mind.

  14. Topor
    February 5, 2022 at 13:22

    How about a news headline with some reality shock value.”Russia ready to attack Canadian Indian reserves”!!!! The Russians want to take on the liability and responsibility for the substance abuse ,no education, no med care, no clean drinking water”…….complete societal collapse and hopelessness! Of course U.S.will be sending Canada stingers to fight off evil Putins tanks! We will bring democracy and freedom to the embattled Canuck’s struggling to help their First Nations people!……..This would be a more exact comparison to Ukraine.Putin does not want it!

  15. vinnieoh
    February 5, 2022 at 12:47

    Indeed Caitlin, each pronouncement by US “leadership” and their European toadies is more bizarre than the last.

    The most fascinating – not to mention, jolting – suspicion is that what we may be witnessing is not the imminent downfall of Putin and Russia, but of the US itself and its preeminence on the stage of world opinion and influence.

  16. Randal Marlin
    February 5, 2022 at 11:47

    Who knows what is in Putin’s mind? Who knows what is in the minds of the MIC, the CIA, and any other U.S. warmongers?
    I’ve seen speculation that Putin has no intention of invading because western Ukraine would put up huge resistance, aided by U.S. weaponry.
    You can’t trust what officials are saying, because they lie. What you can do is look at what they are saying and doing and speculate.
    Here’s my speculation, in point form:
    1. Putin is a chess-player. He looks ahead. He sees a steady build-up of U.S. armaments in Ukraine and decides to seize the initiative.
    So, he readies an invasion force. This is seen as intimidation and provocation. But if people call this aggression, he has what he needs to substantiate his own claim (actual or implied) that the expansion of NATO eastwards, along with weaponry supplied constituted aggression.
    2. Why is this important? Look at Article 7 of the NATO Treaty. “This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” If preparation for war is aggressive, then NATO is an aggressor. Article 5 says that if one NATO member is attacked all the others must come to its defense.
    Both the U.S. and Russia have an interest in not being perceived as an aggressor.
    3. Just suppose that you are the U.S. dominated by the war-mongers. You want to have Ukraine, but with the help of NATO allies.
    To get that help you need need to portray Russia as the aggressor. But if they don’t actually invade, you can’t call them aggressors.
    4. The solution for the war-mongers? Invent a scenario where you (meaning your Ukraine proxy) invade Ukraine territory under Russian occupation, and call it a false flag operation by Putin, thereby pinning the aggression on him if he attacks the invading force.
    5. If Putin does invade and takes Kyiv, that is clearly aggression.
    6. If an all-out war begins, the likelihood of the U.S. having “forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories [meaning among other things the territory of any of the Parties in Europe at the time the Treaty entered into force]” would be high. Article 6 of the Treaty says that an attack on the armed forces, etc. of any of the Parties would be deemed to be an armed attack on that Party. So Article 5 would be triggered and all NATO countries would have to support the U.S.
    So, my speculation is that both Putin and the MIC are playing a high stakes, highly risky, game to avoid appearing to be the aggressor, and we should interpret the words and actions on each side in that light.
    As I see things, Putin wants to avoid having Ukraine as a NATO member, with weaponry up to its former border with Ukraine. There are deep-seated hatreds between Western Ukrainians and Russia.
    What this speculation leads me to think is that if the U.S. can give an exact date for Putin’s supposed false flag operation, that is because there is a plan to for Kyiv to go on the attack and present this as a false flag by Putin. How else can they be so sure of the date?

    All of the above, apart from factual citations, is pure speculation on my part, to be verified or falsified by events!

  17. Brice Mace
    February 5, 2022 at 10:59

    why I understand her reasoning and both Biden and Boris Johnson are looking for distraction from their failing politcal popularity, it doesn’t explain the Russian buildup on the border

  18. Robert Emmett
    February 5, 2022 at 10:49

    It’s so exciting (or is it inciting?) to watch U.S. operatives pull-on their big boy pants as they dump their rubbish in public (as if so many pearls before swine). Talk-talk of Russian encirclement of former Soviet territories (all without forces physically leaving that country) squares with what exactly?

    I’d say with spooky smoke rings of the mind. But they’re not even decipherable as rings. More like smoke pretzels of the mind. Contrast that with de facto boots on the ground, bows in the water, hardware in the pipeline, ongoing efforts by the Washingtonian Complex to corral China.

    Please see more on this from Alastair Crooke & Pepe Escobar at Strategic Culture plus review Michael Klare’s article on CN of Jan. 13th. Crooke posits that the current revolving fandango with Russia over Ukraine is but a trial run to get NATO countries on-board for the big encirclement ride of the century!

    Well, if a century even were to last 100 years anymore. By the way, how’s it goin’ so far, Bido?

  19. mgr
    February 5, 2022 at 10:48

    Thanks as always, Caitlin. This reminds me of an earlier discussion on the rising tensions in Ukraine that I saw on AlJazeera. They had several experts representing different views. It was a good discussion. The main point though from a women from a “think tank” which represents the mainstream Western view was, and I kid you not, what Russia/Putin is most terrified of and the reason for this all these tensions is, a democratic Ukraine on Russia’s border… Some people are just so full of themselves. It’s like a form of psychosis.

    I came to the same conclusion as you have pointed out here on the Western “banal block’s” response if Russia did not invade as the US has been screaming about, which I agree was always nothing but US delusion reacting to sane Russian proposals that are directed toward laying a foundation for everyone’s peace and security. The delusion runs deep and all of your writings on the narrative control that is continuously applied to Western societies is precisely on point. Once you see it, it’s hard not to see.

    • Victor
      February 5, 2022 at 16:19

      I’ll never stop being astonished at people who like to talk about “misinformation” and claim that roughly half the country are easily duped and live in a permanent haze of “alternative facts”.

      And at the same time believe that Ukraine is a thriving democracy and that a few hundred American soldiers were enough to scare off an invasion from 100.000 Russian troops.

      It’s truly bizarre.

      • mgr
        February 7, 2022 at 11:45

        Victor: Exactly. Well put. Projection is a powerful and reliable psychological characteristic. Look at what people are screaming and blaming others of and it is most often a reflection of their own behavior.

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