The Evidence for Invasion the US Could Produce

Rather than produce fake evidence to the U.N. Security Council, as Colin Powell had, Antony Blinken just produced nothing at all, though the U.S. has intelligence it can show, writes Scott Ritter.

U.S. envoy Adlai Stevenson II presents aerial photos of Russian missiles in Cuba to the U.N. Security Council in the presence of USSR ambassador Valerian Zorin, Oct.25, 1962. (U.S. Government/Public Domain)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

While U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to distance himself from the ghosts of U.N. Security Council meetings past – namely the disastrous Feb. 5, 2003 performance of his predecessor Colin Powell peddling manufactured intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq — the world once again bore witness last week to a U.S. secretary of state presenting a supposedly intelligence-based case about a looming armed conflict.

“I am here today,” Blinken said, trying to remove himself from Powell, “not to start a war, but to prevent one.”

But like Powell, Blinken produced no evidence at all to the U.N. to back up his assertion that Russia is “preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days,” even though he could have. Rather than produce fake evidence, as Powell had, he just produced nothing at all.

Blinken only had words, blithely accusing Russia of seeking “to manufacture a pretext” for an invasion of Ukraine, whether by fabricating a terrorist bombing inside Russia; (a jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of false-flag attacks of Moscow apartment buildings to generate support for the Second Chechen War in 1999); the discovery of a mass grave; staging a drone strike against civilians or the use of chemical weapons.

After such a “false flag,” Russian would call for a military response “to defend Russian citizens or ethnic Russians in Ukraine” and would then invade Ukraine, Blinken said.

In the past, when the U.S. took to the floor of the U.N. Security Council to hurl accusations of malfeasance at Russia, American diplomats would present incontrovertible intelligence to back up its claims.

This was done in October 1962, when Adlai Stevenson showed the world U-2 photographs proving the Russians had deployed missiles in Cuba. Again, in September 1983, Jeane Kirkpatrick played audio tapes of intercepted communications which proved Russian military aircraft shot down Korean Airlines flight 007.

Blinken brought no such proof. His was just a verbal assurance that this was not a repeat of Colin Powell’s performance. This time, the U.S. should just be trusted to tell the truth.

What the US Can Produce

Blinken is likely telling the truth that unlike Powell, the U.S. this time does have evidence. There’s little doubt U.S. reconnaissance has accurately recorded the Russian military buildup in question, down to the last tank and truck. There may also be a plethora of “chatter” (a colloquialism for intercepted conversations) which could be interpreted to mean anything an analyst wants it to mean.

But the bottom line is the bulk of Blinken’s intelligence is likely drawn from speculation about how the Russians could proceed from the positions their military currently occupies if they were, in fact, to invade.

This same analysis fuels similar apocalyptic proclamations from U.S. President Joe Biden, who says he’s now convinced Putin has decided to invade, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, echoed by a compliant mainstream American media as absolute fact.

The U.S., together with its NATO and European allies, have embraced a narrative which, to quote former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has Russian President Vladimir Putin about to embark on “a risky, irrational, unprovoked, preemptive invasion of Ukraine,” even though the Russian government has bent over backwards to assure the U.S. and the world it has no such intention.

Now, only a fool would take the Russians at face value. “Trust, but verify” isn’t an age-old Russian aphorism for nothing. The fact is Blinken et. al. are simply getting what they paid for. The Biden administration has a history of manufacturing perception for domestic political purpose, most recently in Afghanistan, where Biden told the Afghan president to assure the world that everything was ok, “even if it is not true.”

Much of the current intelligence used by Biden, Blinken, and company comes from Pentagon assessments of probable courses of action that might be taken by Russia should an invasion be conducted from positions currently maintained by Russian forces. What we haven’t seen, however, is any supporting intelligence regarding intent or viability.

The Biden administration has bought into seeing a Putin-centric universe where everything transpires based upon the whim of the Russian president. However, hard intelligence available to U.S. military analysts would show whether the buildup of Russian troops is related to military exercises announced by the Russian government well in advance – or an invasion.

Any military professional worth his or her salt knows that anytime a major exercise or operation takes place, there is an extremely detailed logistics support plan, referred to as a time-phased force and deployment list, or TPFDL, which tracks the movement of troops, equipment, and material (including ammunition and fuel) so that everything is in place and ready to go at the appointed time.

A TPFDL for a major military exercise is very different from a TPFDL supporting a major military operation. Exercises are finite events — they have a hard start and stop. Military operations, however, are open-ended affairs, and any affiliated TPFDL must consider the need to sustain the operation.

Any intelligence analyst knows the difference between an exercise-oriented TPFDL and one employed to sustain a war. For example, the TPFDL used to support U.S. military exercises in the Middle East is fundamentally different from that which was used to initiate and sustain Operation Desert Storm.

The Russian military operates in a similar fashion. The logistical support plan being implemented in support of the current military deployment near Ukraine is a knowable fact. So, too, would be any massive deviation from previously established patterns of behavior observed in a prior military exercise.

Like any exercise, aspects of Russia’s war-fighting plan would be made functional. For instance, Russia may well have moved combat medical support capability to the forward area to better train the involved forces. But in an exercise, this would be a limited-scope exercise of that capability, not the full-scale mobilization necessary for war.

The Pentagon knows this. The decision to turn assessments of possible theoretical courses of action available to the Russian military based upon inference into de facto statements of current intent is a deliberate one, without producing evidence for it, is done for purely political reasons. That’s what happened with the manufactured events for Powell’s 2003 Security Council performance.

Managing Public Opinion

Blinken at the Security Council on Thursday. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

Biden and Blinken are playing a silly game. Confronted with the reality that the U.S. and NATO lack the ability to deter Russia from mobilizing a sizable military force in the vicinity of the Russian-Ukraine border, either through the deployment of military power or the threat of “massive” economic sanctions, the Biden administration is seeking to manage public opinion by creating the perception of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, without coming up with evidence to prove that such a threat exists at the moment.

Eventually this subterfuge will be exposed, but even then, the Biden administration will seek to take credit for playing some sort of Vulcan mind game on Vladimir Putin, confronting him with assertions of his nefarious plans, thereby compelling him to back down in confusion. This is childish thinking and, in the end, is purely self-delusional.

Russia has said it will withdraw its forces from their current forward positions and return them to their respective permanent bases once the military exercises are finished; this is most likely what will happen (there is the possibility that Russia and Belarus are contemplating a permanent deployment of elements of the First Guards Tank Army to Belarus.)

This doesn’t mean Russia will not invade Ukraine at some point, but there’s no evidence it will do so now. Even Ukrainian intelligence came to that conclusion after studying U.S. satellite images of the Russian troop formations.

What Biden and Blinken fail to understand is that Russia is in total control of the narrative and timeline of the current crisis.

Blinken already gave Russia a major concession, declaring on behalf of Ukraine (an act which underscores the reality of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship) that Kiev is prepared to act now on implementation of the Minsk Agreements through the Normandy Format. Though there is much to doubt about its sincerity, such a statement was unthinkable a month ago. Advantage Russia.

But the Minsk Agreement, while important, is peripheral to Russia’s strategic objectives for legally binding security guarantees regarding NATO expansion as set forth in a pair of draft treaties turned over to the U.S. and NATO in December.

Russia’s Response

Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

The U.S. and NATO provided written responses last month which failed to address Russia’s core concerns. On the same day Blinken addressed the Security Council, the Russian Foreign Ministry provided a written reply to the U.S. response. In short, the Russians reiterated the seriousness they attached to their demands for security guarantees, noted that the U.S. continues to ignore these, and that if this situation remains the same, Russia will have no choice but to use “military-technical means” to resolve the crisis.

Russia is not bluffing. This does not mean that Russia is going to invade Ukraine tomorrow, this week, or even next month — far from it. The confusion caused by the U.S. Chicken Little routine is generating far too much political capital for Russia, emphasizing as it does U.S. and NATO impotence and incompetence. Moreover, Russia does not appear to have properly prepared itself for a war with Ukraine, especially given the fact that any such conflict would bring with it a protracted political confrontation with the U.S. and its European allies.

Russia will continue to reiterate its demands regarding security guarantees in order to exhaust all possible diplomatic channels for resolving the Ukraine crisis. But Russia will also continue to up the ante.

Putin is scheduled to deliver his annual Message to the Federal Assembly sometime early this year. This address is used by the president to lay out his priorities in terms of Russia’s main directions of development. Normally a venue to discuss major economic questions, Putin is said to be meeting with his ministers to prepare a very different presentation, one that prepares the Russian people and government for the real possibility of war.

Putin will have two major issues to consider. The first is a resolution passed on Tuesday by the Russian Parliament to declare the breakaway provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk independent of Ukraine. The second is the reality of the impact western sanctions will have on the Russian economy, and what measures the Russian government has planned to deal with these consequences.

This will be a major speech which, while most likely stopping short of an outright declaration of war, will finally put political intent behind the notion of military action. While Putin most likely will offer the U.S. and NATO a diplomatic offramp, the bottom line is that unless Russia is given the security guarantees it is demanding, war might be inevitable.

Biden and Blinken will once again cry “wolf.” But it won’t matter; the die will have already been cast, and everyone involved will have to deal with the consequences of human folly.

Scott Ritter is a former U.S. 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.

37 comments for “The Evidence for Invasion the US Could Produce

  1. Rudy Haugeneder
    February 23, 2022 at 00:49

    Other than minor skirmishes, still no major fighting as would unfold in a real regional war. However, as mentioned in this article, time is quickly running low. And the world knows it but is unlikely to intervene, since a major escalation would likely result in a deliberate or accidental nuke incident which, as we all know, spells the end of our species as we know it. Will it happen? Probably.

  2. February 21, 2022 at 15:07

    Realism, how refreshing!

  3. February 21, 2022 at 11:37

    I quickly lose interest when unsubstantiated accusations are made to support unsubstantiated accusations. Then go on to contradict themselves.

    {But the bottom line is the bulk of Blinken’s intelligence is likely drawn from speculation about how the Russians could proceed from the positions their military currently occupies if they were, in fact, to invade.}

    With an obvious observation. That the US and any other nation would do with a potential enemy near their borders. Only in regards of Russia, a manufactured enemy. I’m fairly certain Russia has the means to use the region as a buffer zone to attack from their own side of the border if it came to that scenario where Ukrainian forces managed to move through the entire region. Outside of potential use of the air force. Speculation is simply an aspect of propaganda. Is it propaganda designed towards deceit or support for a genuine sense of human solutions based on genuine intentions. The underscoring issue still remains here. Proving Russia has the deceitful intentions they are being accused of.

    I’ll remain in the position that history has lead me to until otherwise shown differently. One that Robert Parry has spent his career exposing all to often for us. That the US is more likely engaged in a perception management campaign of deceit.

  4. Tedder
    February 21, 2022 at 10:45

    Blinken states, “The Russian Government can announce today – with no qualification, equivocation, or deflection – that Russia will not invade Ukraine. State it clearly. State it plainly to the world.”
    I have seen time and time again statements from Russia disclaiming any plans for an invasion. Rather, it seems to me that Russian troops in Russia are purely defensive, including the defense against an attack by Ukrainian government forces on the Donbass.
    I read Blinken’s Security Council statement and the gleam of hope is his acknowledgment of the Minsk Accords as a solution to Donbass, even though he couches his remarks by blaming Russia for lack of progress. Who knows? This might just be the face-saving measure the US can salvage out of this mess.

    • John Cleary
      February 21, 2022 at 17:42

      Are those the “Minsk Accords” that Blinken tells us Russia fails to meet? Or the real thing?

  5. Antforce62
    February 21, 2022 at 01:43

    Is the fictional Novel 1984 by George Orwell, the Standard operations guidebook for the imbecilic American Govt?? Because everything they are doing is straight out of this dystopian book? Never ending Warmongering, distortions of reality by saying up is down, left is right, black is white & selling lies as the truth highlights what Biden & Blinken are trying to gaslight to the World? Does the America Govt think Citizens of the World are as stupid as their own brainwashed people & expect us to swallow this dead rat, phoney IMMINENT Russia Invasion Hoax? The jig is up, no one is buying American propaganda anymore & the sooner these dum dums face that fact & pull back from the brink, the better for everyone but I don’t see that happening because these idiots just double down on the BS & keep trying to deceive folks with their nonsense & lies? Pathetic!

    • Marcia
      February 21, 2022 at 22:06

      I am American and I approve of this comment. Thank you.

  6. February 21, 2022 at 00:55

    We know what precipitated the crisis in spring, 2021 – Ukraine moved one half to two-thirds of its military to the contact line. Russia in turn moved forces near the Ukraine border. Russia undoubtedly has an excellent intelligence network in Ukraine and presumably was informed that a Ukraine offensive on Donbass was imminent. At the very least, an assessment of such a Ukrainian mobilization would indicate a probably threat against Donbass.

    Here’s the important point. Those Ukrainian forces were never removed from the contact line. While some forces may be rotated out, it appears the same number of forces remain. Thus, the Ukrainian threat to Donbass remains. Presumably Russia has taken note of this fact. Any movement of forces Russia has undertaken is probably as a result of this permanent threat.

    Most of the alleged photographic evidence of Russia “build-up” of forces consists of photographs which have been cropped to not show the permanent barracks near which those vehicles and artillery have been positioned. They are not stored in a field next to the Ukrainian border, as has been alleged ad nauseum by the MSM.

    Russia moved ten thousand troops into one position for training exercises, then rotated them out and rotated in another 3,000. This is consistent with what all armies do. As someone once said, Mexico can complain about the US buildup of forces on its borders every time the US rotates X thousand troops into Fort Hood for training exercises.

    Now, as to the motivations involved, it was clear in 2014 what the CIA and the neocons intended – to bring Ukraine into NATO, drive the Russians out of eastern Ukraine – and especially Crimea – and seize the Russian naval base for use by NATO. There can be little doubt of this purpose. Well, nothing has changed – except that Russia has taken Crimea off the board. This doesn’t mean the CIA and the neocons have changed their purpose. They still intend to use Ukraine against Russia in any manner possible. The most effective means is to lure Russia into a direct military conflict with Ukraine. This will enable the US to impose sanctions on Russia, thus cutting Russia off from the EU, reinvigorating NATO, and causing a lot of damage to EU economies, forcing the EU to slave their economies to the US rather than to the East. It is important to note that whether these consequences will actually materialize is irrelevant – what matters is that their promoters believe they will and this drives the US’ actions.

    Russia, for its part, has brilliantly seized on the hysteria over the “Russian invasion” to promote its own security agenda. This is a judo move worth of Putin’s high black belt ranking in the sport. Even further, Russia does not appear to care if its security agenda is ignored by the West. If the West were to agree, Russia would be happy. If the West does not agree, Russia will distribute its military capabilities to the point where it maintains its edge over the West to insure that MAD remains in effect. In short, the West’s efforts will be turned into a win-win for Russia.

    Each side may take some knocks in this contest, but the only winner is likely to be Russia. The one guaranteed loser is Ukraine – which only itself to blame.

    • Marcia
      February 21, 2022 at 22:14

      To Richard Steven Hack,
      Excellent analyses and consistent with the more reasoned minds I have read on this isue
      I wonder what the late, great Stephen Cohen of Princeton University would have thought of what is now going on.

  7. Keith McClary
    February 20, 2022 at 17:38

    “U.S.: Extended Russian deployment part of invasion ‘playbook'” (CTV headline.)

    Aha! More evidence!

  8. GMCasey
    February 20, 2022 at 16:55

    I am wondering about both Biden and Blinken. I am also wondering why they are screaming the Russians are attacking! Is this an attempt to ignore the last dumb thing done, i.e. using the Afghans money to pay 9/11 victims? I am still wondering too how Biden and Blinken think that the weird man Guaido is the President of Venezuela, and too—why do both the USA and the UK have Venezuela’s money? And finally, I suppose if things go badly will Biden and Blinken— will they start a war on their own?
    And yet–CLIMATE CHANGE???? What more horrors will Climate Change do during another war?

    • Realist
      February 21, 2022 at 01:09

      Really. The number of non-stop outrageous offenses are absolutely astounding if one looks back over the previous 8 years (since Obama quite deliberately and vociferously re-ignited the cold war with Russia right after the Maidan putsch), carefully analyses them all objectively, and fairly assigns blame in every case. The entire imbroglio has been stoked and twisted beyond all reality by the US government, regardless of who occupied the White House. Yet, I look at the televised newscasts today and hear nothing but ceaseless condemnations of Putin and shrill warnings that he will violate all norms of civilised behavior and attack poor lil’ Ukraine so he can add it as a conquest to his tyrannical empire. There is not a shred of honest reportage taking place across the entire corporate mass media. It is nothing but non-stop demonization of Putin and his personal totalitarian Russian state.

      Things have become so absurd that I can safely assume that probably nothing else the American media report to its citizens is true either. It’s probably ALL cooked up false narrative. All the “woke” propaganda sure is. And, though he was a highly imperfect chief executive (and I would recommend the Republican Party to look elsewhere for its next candidate), all the continuing demonization of Mr. Trump seems like a bad case of partisan overkill intended to keep the public as polarized as it could possibly be. It’s as though some group or faction not only wants a major international war involving ALL the great powers and their vassals, but they want the United States tearing itself apart internally at the same time.

      The “Big Reset” that people often speculate upon may be intended to change every current country at every level imaginable. Perhaps they are going all in on their “Globalist” model being achieved ASAP. The only way to accomplish that may well be the most onerous authoritarian rule–run, I would surmise, by the continuing hegemon in Washington which will have to grudgingly give up a smattering of shared power with Beijing and maybe the EU, but probably not Moscow which they figure they already own by “winning” Cold War I. They are clearly miffed at its perceived insubordination and assumptions to an independent foreign policy, hence all the specious, over-the-top rhetoric intended demolish its credibility and agency.

  9. Jack M
    February 20, 2022 at 16:13

    We should all get down on our knees each year on the late Stanislav Petrov’s birthday in thanks for his brave deed that saved us all. Who rolls the dice each year for the 1% chance, accidental or calculated, that the next time we aren’t so lucky?

    Funny that all of USA’s “enemies” seem to have one resource in common. What’s our oil doing under their steppes?

    Funny that Twump’s first SecState was an oil executive. Hired to effect a friendly takeover, a leveraged buyout? An offer they can’t refuse? Just a first take; haven’t read into this as yet. New visitor here…

    The PNAC Neocons think long-term, and seeing Cheneys in the limelight gives me the willies. (Of course, V Nuland showed us all we needed to see.)

    As we all melt off into an overheated sunset, they intend to enjoy the last energy resources that humans will ever burn.

  10. Bob M
    February 20, 2022 at 12:00

    Why does Putin need a “pretext” to invade? It’s not like any such justification would have a material impact on public opinion in the west anyway. And if US intelligence has intercepted the Russians’ logistics support plan for an invasion, why would that deter Putin when he knows he can steam-roller over Ukraine anytime he wants? The whole thing feels like a giant nothing burger. Just another opportunity for Biden and Putin to show the world how important they are – a bit of high drama win/win geopolitics.

  11. Chris G
    February 20, 2022 at 10:49

    I don’t see a Russian invasion of Ukraine, now or in the future. Russia has everything to gain from patience with an enfeebled Biden administration, a powerless NATO, and a Europe in desperate need of Russian energy and other natural resources. Add Europe’s chafing at US applied third-party sanctions which stifles many European trade opportunities and the Atlantic alliance will only grow weaker with time.

    With a de facto alliance with China and expanding trade, transportation, diplomatic, and security ties across Eurasia, time is on the side of both Russia and China. Current US military spending to support its overextended militarized empire, and its obscenely expensive weapon systems (that don’t work very well) is simply unsustainable.

    Biden, Blinken, and Sullivan are desperate not to seem weak after the Afghan defeat and withdrawal debacle, so they hope to force Russia into some desperate act so they can apply “crushing sanctions”— the only foreign policy tool they know how to use. Unfortunately for them, Putin has seen this playbook before and isn’t interested in their stupid games.

    • Robert Grant
      February 20, 2022 at 11:48

      This is an eye opener.


    • Maricata
      February 20, 2022 at 20:24

      I think we what we see is the opposite of a Russian invasion. We are seeing a Ukraine invasion of Russia sovereignty supported by both old and new fascists and armed and aided economically by the US.

        February 20, 2022 at 22:33

        The Donbass is still legally Ukrainian territory. But a Kiev offensive is not the way to deal with the issue. Implementing the Minsk agreements is, giving Donbass autonomy.

  12. D?n Nadie
    February 20, 2022 at 10:45

    Mr. Ritter: Would it be worthwhile to consider the possibility that Russia has known that some of its communication systems are compromised and being accessed by the U.S. and has been planting false narratives of an imminent Russian invasion of the Ukraine on a particular date ? To make the U.S. look stupid when the invasion does not happen and to increase the pressure so that its security issues are listened to and dealt with on a diplomatic level?

  13. Michael Droy
    February 20, 2022 at 10:30

    “Again, in September 1983, Jeane Kirkpatrick played audio tapes of intercepted communications which proved Russian military aircraft shot down Korean Airlines flight 007.”
    As I recall this was only half the story. The evidence that the Russians repeatedly challenged the pilot to speak, but he chose to remain silent only came out many years later.

    Yes. The test of wild claims is the ability to produce basic evidence that must clearly be available
    MH17, Ujghur prisons (something they moved on from to less easily falsified claims), 10k Russian troops in Ukraine in 2014, all should be easy to provide evidence for. Who broke down the door on Jan 6th or was it opened from inside?

  14. AKD
    February 20, 2022 at 10:04

    And what I can’t understand is:

    1-WHY people think that Russia/Putin are nuke-happy madmen when NO ONE is talking about marching on Moscow(Nor direct confrontation with Russian military …and even THAT wouldn’t trigger nuclear weapon usage by either side,I sincerely doubt Russia is that outclassed militarily)Russia/Putin(or Any other nuke-armed state for that matter,North Korea included) do not launch nukes on a whim and despite how fucked up the US government,they are no exception. No one who runs a country is a suicidal/genocidal maniac.

    2-Why Russia=Bad,bad,bad when they’ve actually been acting rather rationally…but as far as I have seen on other sites/the MSM,Russia has lost the propaganda/public opinion war BADLY.(though why Russia can’t make something like Pravda 2.0 or something of that nature to counter the nonsense,idk and Russia Today won’t cut it) How it’s ok for the US to ring the world with bases but people scream and holler when Russia deploys troops on its own territory just solidifies the fact that we live in bizarro world.

    3-Why people would EVER think Russia wants to occupy Ukraine ..the place is a wreck(to say the least) and ineligible for NATO membership to begin with. And another thing is why should we even care about Ukraine(that’s not to say to disregard the innocent people who will get caught up in this mess) when most people in the west don’t know the first thing about Ukraine and its history,etc.

    4-Why on God’s green earth is the U.S/U.K supporting Nazis?! And to say nothing of how corrupt the Ukrainian government is..

    5-it’s entirely possible that all things considered,the U.S ITSELF won’t be a democracy(hell,whether or not this country even is a democracy now is in serious question) soon,yet it’s all the same when it comes to situations like this:”save freedom and democracy”…when the US is not even really a democracy and will lose that completely soon..

    6-Again,why people are thinking any of this will end in WWIII/nuclear hellfire…let’s just say that the chances of that happening are single digit(like,1-5% chance)..and it was RUSSIANS that saved the world from nuclear hellfire on two separate occasions(Stanislav Petrov and Boris Yeltsin HIMSELF)…Russians nuke happy? I don’t think so.

    But anyway,just my thoughts.

    -A black American male who’s tired of the bullshit FUD (Fear,Uncertainty,Doubt) that surrounds situations like these.

    • Linda Wood
      February 20, 2022 at 14:23

      Your list of great questions contains one point that I disagree with: “No one who runs a country is a suicidal/genocidal maniac.” The Ashton Carter escapees from an asylum who have made our nuclear weapons “more useable,” may wish to end all life on earth, or they may think wiping out 70% of the American people is worth the gain of Siberia.

      The key reality is that Putin believes “no one would survive such a war.” That’s was his answer to Oliver Stone on the subject. So whether Ashton Carter and his followers are suicidal or misinformed is less important than that they are clearly dedicated to using nuclear weapons, whatever the outcome.

      • GBC
        February 22, 2022 at 12:27

        My fear is that the US might unleash a “limited” nuclear strike in the worst case, to stave off a NATO/Ukraine “defeat, and spare itself the ignominy of yet another lost war. Standard wisdom in the US defense and military is that a nuclear war–if limited–can be won. “If” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. The ghost of Curtis Lemay/ Jack D Ripper lives.


    • earthling1
      February 21, 2022 at 00:04

      Make that three occasions. Wiki Vasili Arkhipov. Saved the world during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    • Charles Vaughn
      February 21, 2022 at 01:38

      Great comment!!

  15. February 20, 2022 at 09:41

    World events since the year 2000 have made clearer – to the extent of beyond any reasonable doubt – the ultimate (negative) truth on Earth, contained in the well-known spiritual verse: “For the love on money is the root of all evil.”…

    Humanity now more than ever must acknowledge that hard truth, then embrace the equally paramount (positive) ultimate truth which asserts all people, all life, and all things are sacred, and act in full accord – by doing no harm.


    • Robert Grant
      February 20, 2022 at 11:53

      Well said indeed.

  16. torture this
    February 20, 2022 at 09:25

    Looks like Ukrainians of some sort are trying to goad the Russians into fighting. And those crazy Christian Russians look to be actually trying to turn the other cheek. I don’t think that kind of behavior is respected much by NATOists. I know the corporate media will be terribly disappointed if they don’t get something to cover besides COVID-19 & midterms.

  17. Dave Ross
    February 20, 2022 at 07:39

    I am curious about what the photographic evidence if the Russians had decided they no longer needed so many troops guarding the border with China and were moving them to bases in European Russia to face the threat from NATO. I am guessing that the first photos might look like units moving into temporary camps but at a certain point it might become apparent that the camps were becoming permanent army bases and that certain army units that had been in Russia’s east were now based in Russia’s west. If Russia is sufficiently confident that it can trust China not to invade Siberia, it can use its military more effectively is it can position it where the greatest threats are.

    If more of the Russian army is between Moscow and its western border, it can better deter a Ukrainian attack on the Donbas and it can strengthen Russia’s diplomatic hand in getting a security agreement with NATO. It also requires less time for a build up in the case Russia decides it needs to invade Ukraine since more divisions are based near Ukraine. I am not a military expert so I am curious as to why nobody is discussing this possibility. It makes sense that one of the most obvious dividends of Russia and China’s ever closer relationship has to be the ability to focus their armed forces on other threats. I would be grateful if someone with Mr. Ritter’s expertise could tell me whether a permanent repositioning of army units in western Russia would look the same as preparation for war or an exercise for the first few months. I would like to know why that scenario has been excluded from the discussion

    • Realist
      February 21, 2022 at 01:46

      I’m not a military expert either, but there are several such Russian experts writing their analyses of the situation on the internet. They say quite definitively that the number of Russian troops near its border with Ukraine are not nearly large enough for an offensive assault. The Ukies have about 150,000 troops on their side of the Line of Contact with the Donbas Republics. The Russians have about 150-190,000 troops that would oppose them in battle if one started right now. To be an effective offensive assault I have read they would need approximately three times the number of defenders, or about 450,000 men. Moreover, all those 450,000 would/could not be directed at the Ukie lines in one mass movement. There would be units tasked with defensive roles, equal or actually greater in number to the assault troops, staggered between and around them. You need to defend your assault troops if they are to push back the entrenched enemy lines. The Russian analysts note that such is not the case, at least not yet, for the troops deployed. They also say that the Ukie command has also noted this, which is why Zelensky himself has said he had absolutely no reason to think that those Russian troops are any danger to attack any time soon. They are simply not enough or configured for it yet. The troops also need some particular assortment of specialised weapons (beyond my pay grade to discuss–I’m a chemist not a colonel, as “Bones” would say to Jim.) before engaging the enemy. Those may not be in place. All these things are looked at in great detail with aerial or satellite photography. Blinken is likely just bullshitting the American public and Biden undoubtedly just parrots whatever they tell him to say.

  18. Aaron
    February 20, 2022 at 07:11

    A guy on Fox yesterday said that he thinks Putin assured China that he would wait until the Olympics are over to invade. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but sounded reasonably plausible I guess.

    • Vincent Berg
      February 20, 2022 at 13:07

      He also refused to invade last Sunday because of the Super Bowl.

      • Frank Lambert
        February 21, 2022 at 10:28

        That is so funny! You made the winning touchdown!

    • Maricata
      February 20, 2022 at 20:27

      “A guy on Fox….”

      This is the real problem. A total lack of critical thinking.

      A lack of critical thinking allows those in power to create both the material conditions for war and oppression and the narrative that condones it.

    • Richard Steven Hack
      February 21, 2022 at 00:39

      Both China and Russia denied that any such assurance was given or asked for. Since there is zero evidence for any intent by Russia to “invade” Ukraine, it’s logical that no such assurance was needed. Russia and China coordinate very closely these days so if there were any intent by Russia they would have communicated that to China so as to coordinate their response – which, as we have seen with China’s comments on the crisis, they have.

  19. RZ
    February 20, 2022 at 01:47

    Ok, I think I can now see that Russia has thwarted the immediate US plans by evacuating part of the population and ignoring the attacks on Lugansk and Donetsk. Excellent play. I would guess that the US will fall back to plan B and stage an attack on Ukrainians, I would guess civilians. This will be a more difficult threat for Russia to neutralise however I assume the Russians have a plan for this too. I will watch with keen attention and see how it unfolds. Thanks for all your work Mr Ritter.

  20. February 20, 2022 at 01:39

    “There may also be a plethora of ‘chatter’ (a colloquialism for intercepted conversations) which could be interpreted to mean anything an analyst wants it to mean.”

    Indeed, and Jeane Kirkpatrick’s September 1983 presentation before the United Nations is a case-in-point.

    While those in the Soviet air command, alongside Major Gennadi Osipovich (pilot of the Su-15 interceptor that shot down KAL 007), speculated that the plane might have been a civilian airliner at the time according to both contemporaneous and later testimony, the released transcript of the incident, among other sources, suggest that there was confusion as to its possible military and/or surveillance purposes during a particularly tense period in US-Soviet relations (Able Archer ’83 and the Stanislav Petrov incident, anyone?):

    Capt. Solodkov: “Two pilots have just been sent up, command at the command post, we do not know what is happening just now, it’s heading straight for our Island [Sakhalin], to Terpienie [Bay] somehow, this looks very suspicious to me, I don’t think the enemy is stupid, can it be one of ours?”


    Gen. Kornukov to Gen. Kamenski: “Comrade General, Kamenski, Good morning. I am reporting the situation. Target 60-65 is over Terpenie Bay [East Coast of Sakhalin] tracking 240, 30 kilometers from the State Border. The fighter from Sokol is six kilometers away. Locked on, orders were given to arm weapons. The target is not responding to identify. He cannot identify it visually because it is still dark, but he is still locked on.”

    Gen. Kamenski: “We must find out, maybe it is some civilian craft or God knows who.” Kornukov: “What civilian? [It] has flown over Kamchatka! It [came] from the ocean without identification. I am giving the order to attack if it crosses the State border.”


    Col. Maistrenko (Operations Duty Officer, Combat Control Center): “Yes”. Titovnin: “The commander has given orders that if the border is violated—destroy [the target].” Maistrenko: “…May [be] a passenger [aircraft]. All necessary steps must be taken to identify it.” Titovnin: “Identification measures are being taken, but the pilot cannot see. It’s dark. Even now it’s still dark.” Maistrenko: “Well, okay. The task is correct. If there are no lights—it cannot be a passenger [aircraft].”


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