Caitlin Johnstone: 12 Thoughts on Ukraine

The U.S. power alliance has a choice between escalating aggressions against Russia to world-threatening levels or doing what anti-imperialists have been begging them to do for years and pursue detente.

Dec. 7, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden, on screen, in video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the goal of which he claims is not to occupy the country but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” it. We’ve no reason to put blind faith in any of those claims. Only time will tell.

As of this writing dozens have reportedly been killed. All war is horrific. We can only hope that this one winds up being the least horrific a war can be.

Some thoughts:

  1. This whole thing could very easily have been avoided with a little bit of diplomacy. The only reason that didn’t happen was it would have meant the U.S. empire taking a teensy, weensy step back from its agenda of total planetary domination. I’ve seen people call it “sad” or “unfortunate” that Western powers didn’t make basic low-cost, high-yield concessions like guaranteeing no NATO membership for Ukraine and having Kiev honor the Minsk agreements, but it’s not sad, and it’s not unfortunate. It’s enraging. That they did this deserves nothing but pure, unadulterated, white hot rage.
  1. Narrative managers have been working furiously to quash all discussion of No. 1, however. Like our good friend Michael McFaul here:

This is one of the most influential Russia “experts” in the Western world decrying propaganda while demanding media outlets enact propaganda. Saying what your government wants said instead of objective reporting the truth is the thing that propaganda is.

Please don’t report facts on your media platforms. Don’t let anyone talk about the known actions by NATO powers and Kiev, which experts have long warned would lead to this situation. You’re not allowed to talk about the known U.S./NATO/Ukraine actions which demonstrably led us to where we’re at. You’re only allowed to say Putin attacked Ukraine completely unprovoked, in a vacuum, solely because he is evil and hates freedom. Your loyalty is to the U.S. empire, not to truth. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

Sept. 22, 2021: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, back to camera, meeting with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, right. (NATO)


  1. It’s funny how everyone keeps referring to this as a “World War 2-style invasion” instead of a “U.S.-style invasion.” It’s not like examples of military invasions ended in the 1940s.

Speaking of which:

  1. Look at this.

These people actually believe it’s legitimate to call this “the largest invasion on our planet since WW2.” Just snip out all the pages from the history books between 1950 and 2003 to make Western imperialists feel good about themselves. Unbelievable.

  1. The primary risk of nuclear war is not that anyone will choose to start one, it’s that one could be triggered by miscommunication, malfunction or misunderstanding amid the chaos and confusion of escalating Cold War tensions. This nearly happenedrepeatedly, in the last Cold War. Cold War brinkmanship has far too many small, unpredictable moving parts for anyone to feel confident that they can ramp up aggressions without triggering a nuclear exchange. Nobody who feels safe with these games of nuclear chicken understands what they really are. We survived the last Cold War by sheer, dumb luck. We were never once in control. We just got lucky. There’s no reason to trust that we’ll get lucky again. We need to abandon this madness and pursue detente immediately.

  1. After the bombs drop and I’m dying of radiation poisoning, with my final breath I’m going to thank U.S President Joe Biden for denying Putin the moral victory of an assurance that Ukraine won’t join NATO.
  2. Probably goes without saying but just in case: anyone who supports any kind of Western military confrontation with Russia is an enemy of our entire species.
  1. It would now seem the U.S. power alliance has a choice between either (A) escalating aggressions against Russia to world-threatening levels or (B) doing what anti-imperialists have been begging them to do for years and pursuing detente. This is exactly where anti-imperialists have been warning we could wind up if the U.S. didn’t work toward detente with Russia, while being called Kremlin agents and Putin lovers the entire time for years on end. All the people who’ve called us crazy over the years for warning that Cold War brinkmanship against Russia could lead to hot war are the same people calling to ramp up the brinkmanship now that our warnings proved true. Perhaps some serious re-evaluation is in order. The solution to a crisis that was created by Cold War brinkmanship is not more Cold War brinkmanship. The solution to a crisis that was created by cold war brinkmanship is detente.

 Dec. 9, 2019: Negotiating the Minsk agreements in the “Normandy Format” in Paris. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

  1. Assertions made by secretive government agencies based on classified intelligence should always be subjected to aggressively intense scrutiny, 100percent of the time, without exception and without apology, regardless of the fact that those assertions occasionally happen to prove true.
  2. It sure is a lucky coincidence that Westerners have spent the last few years being persuaded to hate Russia by their governments and media. Otherwise they might not be giving consent to the West’s dramatic response to this act of aggression.
  3. Remain intensely skeptical of all news coming out of Ukraine. Since 2016 the Western empire has been running an extremely aggressive narrative management campaign about Russia the likes of which we’ve never seen before. The news media have been fully complicit in this mass-scale psyop. Watch and wait for hard evidence of every claim made. Recall how snipers were usedduring the 2014 coup in Kiev to kill protesters and pin the blame on the ousted Yanukovych government.
  4. Unpopular opinion but I think those who are crowing that this marks the dawn of a multipolar world may be jumping the gun a bit. If the U.S. empire can succeed in crippling Russia’s economy and fomenting unrest, Balkanization and collapse there, it knocks out a key pillar of China’s support system, and China is the ultimate target in all these unipolarist maneuverings. If the U.S. can do this (and that’s a big if, I know), at that point the empire can set to work on China without its guard bear there to protect it. Which of course would have been the plan all along. Which of course would be why the empire and its propaganda engine have been acting so weird these last few years.

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 Matrix, Rogue 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: 12 Thoughts on Ukraine

  1. Mark Campey
    March 1, 2022 at 08:37

    Excellent article. The EU have since decided to ban RT and Sputnik, I imagine the UK won’t be far behind so that’s free speech for you. Humanitarian assistance via military means is not without precedent, the Vietnamese did such a thing to overthrow the Kmer Rouge in Cambodia. I believe the Russian action to prevent further atrocities against people of the Donbas qualifies in that regard.

  2. Boothe
    February 28, 2022 at 16:55

    Thank you Caitlin. Well put. I’ve already written to “my” (cough) U.S. elected representatives to remind them that the government of this Constitutional Republic (ostensibly) governs by the consent of the governed and that I do not consent to U.S. intervention in Eastern Europe or anywhere else. We have more than enough problems right here that our globalist toadies in government have yet to resolve to be meddling in the neighbors’ affairs.

  3. Brutus
    February 28, 2022 at 12:27

    This event in Ukraine did not start last month or last year.
    Keep in mind what happened in the Ukraine in the early 30’s.
    Keep in mind what happened in Ukraine in 2014.
    Have the Minsk accords been followed by all parties?
    Keep in mind that the US is flat broke and what happened to other countries in the past who were so deep in debt.

    Keep in mind that God, not man, is sovereign and we are seeing His judgment on those who have decided long ago to reject his law and substitute their own.

    Jeremiah 5:31
    “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

    Isaiah 59:4
    “None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.”

    Read Isaiah 19 and see how God destroys a nation.

  4. Bob Conway
    February 27, 2022 at 17:35

    Thank you, Caitlin, for your clarity. That sort of thing seems to be in very short supply around here these days.

  5. Kerwas
    February 27, 2022 at 11:45

    Thought 12:
    Even this commentator seems to NOT understand why Mac Kinder called the Region in question “the Heartland of the World” and “Whoever control the Heartland can control the World”

    Your IF is not even a big one, its a whole lot of nothing. You plain cannot cripple a economy that has no need for anything from the outside, without right out occupy it. That’s the main part here. And this was what happens in Ukraine since 2014. It is part of this “Heartland” and was going to break apart from the Rest of Russia. And this is why the Ukraine is now under a full fledged invasion.
    Because “The knife at our Throat” how Putin put it, was already there but even Putin didn’t understand that until recently. and even then he try to solve this peacefully, until he understands that the maniacs in the West thought they can pull it off anyway.

    Given that the US is close to introduce a new mid range ICBM system (ABM treaties that was broken by Trump anyone?) called “Dark Eagle” and plan to deploy it in 2023 in Poland. I highly suspect this was not the last invasion of neighbors. You might see now why Russia finally starts to act.

    In my opinion Russia should stop after they occupied Ukraine and then go down the “full sanction against the West” road and i mean FULL, closed Borders and Airspace and shit, and build a Wall, the inner Germany Border would put to shame. With this they should be able to dry out any insurgents in Ukraine or elsewhere. and then concentrate solely on Asia and MENA.

    But my opinion not matter at all and i guess the baltics will be next, by accident or by false flag of either side doesn’t matter. it will be back in the Russia sphere of influence and then boarded off against the West by Kaliningrad. But the Baltics already in the NATO and i guess that “activating §4 of the NATO Treaty” means that someone over there understood this VERY WELL.

  6. Tadeusz
    February 27, 2022 at 09:03

    *A correction:
    The idea that you can solve anything with unreliable international partners with concessions has been proven WRONG many, many times; lastly in 2014.

  7. shinsa
    February 27, 2022 at 07:13

    That the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, etc., are indefensible and that the US should not have pushed for NATO membership for Ukraine does not mean that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is somehow “justifiable” or beyond criticism; yet this is her position, and she should admit it, but never will.
    Johnstone for weeks denied that Russia would invade Ukraine, and … now that Russia has done so … she REFUSES to condemn this invasion.

  8. GS
    February 26, 2022 at 15:44

    JFK compromised by agreeing to not have weapons in Turkey to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. But that was when the U.S. was threatened. With Ukraine being threatened the U.S. had no impetus to compromise even though it was clearly advising Zelensky. Ukraine basically was used as a pawn to see how far NATO could push. And Russia, with its own imperialist principles drew the line and invaded a sovereign country to answer that question.

  9. Guy St Hilaire
    February 25, 2022 at 10:21

    I always like reading Caitlin’s articles . Personally , I am not worried about Russia . IMHO ,they are doing what they should have done many years ago to protect the the 2 self declared republics and have chosen a time to do it when they felt to be relatively bullet proof from the expected sanctions .

  10. GB
    February 25, 2022 at 09:18

    There’s one point, where Mrs. Johnstone errs.
    The train of Ukraine just not joining NATO, is long gone. Russia made it totally clear with their non-ultimatum in December, that it’s: NATOs frontier back to pre 1997, included all weapons.
    They also made it clear, if there’s a new war, it will not be limited to Europe.
    I suppose, if those Washingtonian blockheads don’t get it in time, they will learn in a very hurtful way.
    And guaranteed, there will be no “safe spaces” in Woke-istan, for butthurt snowflakes.

  11. CuriousNC
    February 25, 2022 at 02:22

    Putin has no business outside of the breakaway republics. Yes, the regime in Ukraine is a Western tool but was Ukraine going to attack Russia? No. Russia’s enemy is in North America. I agree the West caused this issue with NATO expansion, and by setting up Ukrainians to be human sacrifices to the evil spirits of NATO, but Putin’s actions strengthened NATO because now East Europeans know that the Russian bear has claws. They think that Article 5 protects them. They probably think they need America’s military arms in order to protect themselves. They are seeing the Russian bear maul a country that would have had to be insane to seek war with Russia. How does this help Russia argue its point? It complains about being threatened by NATO expansion, and then it attacks a puny non-NATO country.

    Ukraine wasn’t a part of NATO. It was their worm on a hook. Are the Ukrainian people going to greet Putin as a liberator and thank him for bombing them? What Putin accomplished was that he proved to NATO members that America is right about Russia. He also showed China how it’s done. Taiwan maybe is getting a glimpse of its future: America will arm them, set them up for an invasion, and then huff and puff when China invades. I think Putin lost some of his leverage because he went from rational to George W. Bush. He lost his moral high ground and revitalized America’s grip on Europe.

    • Veljko
      March 2, 2022 at 05:52

      At first glance yes, but US was presenting itself as a country of pure democracy and as good guy trying to bring freedom around the globe, while at the same time they caused number of wars and were bombing number of countries. These things they do for years didn’t come back to haunt them and affect their leverage. If all of these things didn’t hurt their leverage, then Russian invasion on Ukraine might also not hurt Russia’s.

      Besides that, maybe it’s time that US feels the consequences of their way of actions and that’s what they are really afraid of. Hence this anti-Russia histeria in media, as an defensive mechanism.

  12. pilsner
    February 25, 2022 at 01:45

    FDR agreed to the Soviets getting control over half of Europe and there are statues for him. But now the War Party wants to throw down over Ukraine which is half Russian??

    I don’t know enough about who is right and wrong between Russia and Ukraine but there are a thousand reasons to stay out of it.

  13. Anon_T
    February 24, 2022 at 23:49

    You are absolutely spot on: it is enraging when we have so-called “experts” such as mcfaul out in front with the hallelujah chorus about Russian aggression and poor helpless ukraine defending its borders as they attack Donbass and the Russian civilian population. The mindless hypocrisy is stunning but again, enraging.

    We can always, not usually, but always depend on the neo con ideologues doubling down and doing the absolutely wrong course of action.

    And it continues, now we have blinky calling zelensky just today and promising to deliver more “defensive” weapons. Um, that might be a tad late and it is not at all helpful but that is what they good at and that is what they do.

  14. Hans Meyer
    February 24, 2022 at 23:06

    The thing that bothers people the most is the global invasion of Ukraine by Russia that plays right into the western media narrative that the main aggressor is Russia (attacking Ukraine out of the blue). However, if the main objective is to remove NATO presence and its social Ukrainian allies (extreme anti-Russian right). The occupation of the Russian speaking Ukrainian territories would have eliminated the threat of the Ukrainian Nazis, but would not have prevented NATO “occupation” of the rest of Ukraine (occupation! It seems to me that the Ukrainian president is not exactly in charge as far as strategic military matters are concerned.) So here we are, two nuclear powers, with powerful missiles are near direct confrontation. That a thing that never directly happened during the Cold War with Russia (unless you count the conflict between the USA and China during the Korean War and the direct participation of Russian pilots. But in the later case, it was supposed to be Korean pilots that expressed themselves strangely in Russian!) Russia, the USA, many European nations are imperialist (see France and West Africa), but NATO has no business to camp right at the Russian Border without a buffer zone, unless they mean war. Form one empire to another, Russia wondered how much time they will have if NATO decides to launch an attack. NATO seems to be on the ready, learn the ground by conducting exercices on land and seas… Stifling Russia to the point of asphyxiation is not going to scare her to death, eventually, she will react and she did at the depend of Ukraine. For people that are against war and the global disaster that a nuclear war would bring on life, the actual aggressors, in this case, seem to be NATO (Poland, Ukraine , the Baltic states,… are particular cases as they have been independent, victims on Russian imperialism, part of it and have some good reason to assert themselves. The same goes for South American countries in relation to the USA) and the Western countries (lead by the Anglo-Saxon alliance : USA, UK, Australia, Canada and , I think by obligation, New Zealand). As always, the common people are against war for the majority, as the antiwar movement in Russia shows.

  15. paul
    February 24, 2022 at 21:57

    The main failing of western aggressor nations is that they consider themselves immune to any consequences of their actions.
    It comes as a profound shock to them when they realise this is not the case.

    A case in point is the ban just announced on Aeroflot from UK airspace by Boris Johnson.
    Russia is a lot bigger than the UK.
    When British Airways is banned from Russian airspace and other airlines are not, it will find many lucrative routes to the Far East hopelessly uncompetitive, and start squealing how unfair this all is.

    • Veljko
      March 2, 2022 at 06:07

      Exactly. maybe it’s time that US feels the consequences of their way of actions in past decades and that’s what they are really afraid of. Hence this anti-Russia histeria in media, as an defensive mechanism.

  16. d4l3d
    February 24, 2022 at 19:19

    I wish Stephen Cohen were still around.

  17. Andy
    February 24, 2022 at 18:33

    A brilliant piece as ever Caitlin. Point 12 isn’t something that I contemplated before but it certainly makes sense, let’s hope that détente puts the skids on it all.

  18. Em
    February 24, 2022 at 17:03

    When is an act of aggression deemed an act of self-defense?
    When the act of aggression is carried out by the U.S. or its allies – bought and paid for partners in political expediency.
    The intent of the Cold War was all about NATO decapitating Russia, and all that would remain would be the U.S.S.A. (United States Surreptitiously in Asia)
    And, by George, the U.S. almost pulled it off, singlehandedly, by paying cash for everything, lock stock and barrel, back in the early 90’s.
    Liars Liars Pants on Fire!

  19. Hank
    February 24, 2022 at 16:37

    “I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as “full spectrum dominance”. That is not my term, it is theirs. “Full spectrum dominance” means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.” Gratitude to this website and Caitlin Johnstone.

    • Realist
      February 24, 2022 at 22:49

      I guess the governed can consider themselves terminally dominated when they are too cowed to even ask, “dominated by whom and for what purpose?” And when the only people left with a megaphone (the corporate media) simply tell them to STFU and genuflect before these self-appointed deciders if anyone should dare to ask.

  20. Realist
    February 24, 2022 at 16:25

    Thanks for, once again, stating would should be the obvious. You’ve been doing an excellent job at it for the last several years, using impeccable logic and assiduously articulate prose. Unfortunately, no one holding any power in the West will listen, or do anything constructive about it should they accidentally happen to catch a small drift of the truth. Nevertheless, keep it up. Keep screaming truth to intransigent shameless naked power. Unfortunately, I suspect that the World will have to learn things once again the hard way, through countless deaths and unimaginable suffering. Peace to you and your family for what’s left of human history.

    Even some of the Russian patriots who post on the internet are catching a bit of the war fever. They seem to resent it when I suggest that Putin needs to provide some kind of off-ramp short of scorched earth Armageddon for the arrogant American buffoons, and that I hope he has calculated when to ease off the endless cycles of escalation response which can well proceed all the way to global thermonuclear war. I don’t think the Americans are capable of such rational thinking. I know, I’ve lived here in the land of my birth for 75 years and have not seen the evidence yet. The way I put it was would America finally stop or would it continue to double down till the ultimate end point if, for example, Ramstein were totally taken out. Putin needs to have a “feel” for this and not get intoxicated by easy victories in Ukraine, which is, in no way, an accusation.

    • Piotr Berman
      February 25, 2022 at 00:55

      “[Russian friends] seem to resent it when I suggest that Putin needs to provide some kind of off-ramp short of scorched earth Armageddon for the arrogant American buffoons, and that I hope he has calculated when to ease off the endless cycles of escalation response which can well proceed all the way to global thermonuclear war. ”

      Unfortunately, “American buffoons” detest off-ramps, off-ramps are for sissies. Besides, Russia will not scorch Ukraine, my guess is that chief damage to civilian infrastructure will come from Ukrainian military blowing up bridges.

  21. firstpersoninfinite
    February 24, 2022 at 16:17

    I was trying to remember the last time there was an overarching use of blunt force to mow down a population and destroy their infrastructure in the name of self-defense. Wait, that was Israel pummeling Palestine and destroying the Al Jazeera building, killing thousands before pulling out! And the world leaders then limited their metaphors to polite coughing before sending more aid to Israel. How can the same act at different times be “the bloodiest invasion since 1945” and also “shock and awe?” Meanwhile, the American people have been given two narratives to choose from: believe “the big lie” of a stolen election or “the little lie” of Russiagate. It’s hard to believe that science has advanced so far that facts are no longer important compared to the mythopoetic formulations of propaganda. After Canada’s freezing of the bank accounts of protesters, it seems obvious that dissent will soon be crushed in the west. The Internet is now a PSYOP tool for our government, laundered through the bank accounts of tech billionaires.

    • DavidH
      February 24, 2022 at 20:34

      You nailed it all, firstperson; except as long as I’m read’n ya the op hasn’t gobbled the whole thing.

  22. AKD
    February 24, 2022 at 16:09

    And as I read this:My question…

    Since when and how did human life become so damn expendable/worthless in the eyes of the west/US?

    Russia.China.North korea.

    Our(U.S) government is trying to get us blown to hell by every tom,dick and harry that has nuclear capability!

    Are we just all meant to die at the hands of Putin/Xi/Kim Jong Un(their nukes anyway) by our own government offering us all up as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered(or cooked alive in the case of nukes)?

    Again,why does the U.S have ZERO regard for human life and the truth(the demonization of Russia being a horrific example)

    Oh well…While I have a… “plan” if the bombs fly,make no mistake:As far as me(and I’m quite sure more than a few others) go,make no mistake:dying from radiation poisioning/bandits when society collapses is NOT in the cards.

    Let’s just say the suicides would make Japan wet themselves with terror…

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