The Consequences of Humiliating Russia

Russia’s actions in Ukraine are to a great extent the culmination of the numerous humiliations that the West has inflicted on Russia over the past 30 years,  writes Michael Brenner.

Dec. 31, 1999: Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, right, leaving Kremlin the day he resigned; Vladimir Putin, second left and Aleksandr Voloshin next to Yeltsin. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Michael Brenner

The Mafia is not known for its creative use of language beyond terms like “hitman,” “go to the mattresses,” “living with the fishes” and suchlike. There are, though, a few pithy sayings that carry enduring wisdom. One concerns honor and revenge: “If you are going to humiliate someone publicly in a really crass manner, make sure that he doesn’t survive to take his inevitable revenge.” Violate it at your peril.  

That enduring truth has been demonstrated by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine which, to a great extent, are the culmination of the numerous humiliations that the West, under American instigation, has inflicted on Russia’s rulers and the country as a whole over the past 30 years. 

They have been treated as a sinner sentenced to accept the role of a penitent who, clad in sackcloth, marked with ashes, is expected to appear among the nations with head bowed forever. No right to have its own interests, its own security concerns or even its own opinions.

Few in the West questioned the viability of such a prescription for a country of 160 million, territorially the biggest in the world, possessing vast resources of critical value to other industrial nations, technologically sophisticated and custodian of 3,000 + nuclear weapons. No mafia don would have been that obtuse. But our rulers are cut from a different cloth even if their strut and conceit often matches that of the capos. 

This is not to say that Russia’s political class has been bent on revenge for a decade or two – like France after its humiliation by Prussia in 1871, like Germany after its humiliation in 1918-1919, or like “Bennie from the Bronx” beaten up in front of his girlfriend by Al Pacino in Carlito’s Way.  

Quite the opposite, for almost a decade

Boris Yeltsin was content to play Falstaff to any American president who came along just for the sake of being accepted into his company (and allowing himself to be robbed blind in the process – economically and diplomatically).

‘Golden Age of Russian Democracy’

1992: Flea market in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia. (Brian Kelley, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The West nostalgically celebrates the Yeltsin years as the Golden Age of Russian Democracy – an age when life expectancy dropped sharply, when alcoholism rose and mental health declined, when the tanking economy threw millions into poverty, when the oligarchs strutted their stuff, when the presidential chauffeur was the most influential man in the country, and when everyone was free to shoot his mouth off since nobody else heard him in the din of their own voices. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs – to coin a phrase. 

Vladimir Putin, of course, was made of sterner stuff. He put an end to the buffoonery, successfully took on the Herculean task of reconstituting Russia as a viable state, and presented himself as ruler of an equal sovereign in cultivating relations with his neighbors.  In addition, he insisted that the civil rights and culture of Russians stranded in the Near Abroad be respected. 

Still, he gave no sign by word or deed that he contemplated using coercive means to restore the integration of Russian and Ukraine that had existed for more than 300 years. True, he opposed Western attempts to sever the ties between the two by incorporating Ukraine into their collective institutions – most notably the NATO declaration of 2008 stating that Ukraine (along with Georgia) were in the alliance’s antechamber being readied for entrance.

Putin’s restraint contrasted with the audacity of Washington and its European subordinates who instigated the Maidan coup toppling the democratically elected president and promoting an American puppet in his place.  In effect, the United States has been Ukraine’s overseer ever since – a sort of absentee landlord. 

Putin’s views about the preferred principles of organization and conduct that should govern inter-state relations have been elaborated in a series of speeches and articles over the years. The picture it draws is far different from the cartoonish distortion created and disseminated in the West. It clearly delineates ways and means to constrain and limit the element of conflict, above all military conflict, the requirement for rules-of-the-road that should serve as the systems software, the necessity of recognizing that the future will be more multipolar – yet more multilateral – than it has been since 1991.

Oct. 17, 2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, in talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, back to camera in foreground, and French President François Hollande, facing Merkel in blue tie. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

At the same time, he stresses that every state has its legitimate national interests and the right to promote them as a sovereign entity so long as it does not endanger world peace and stability. Russia has that right on an equal basis with every other state.  It also has the right to order its public life as it deems best suits its circumstances.

Western leaders, and political class generally, have not accepted those propositions. Nor have they ever shown a modicum of interest in accepting Moscow’s repeated, open invitation to discuss them. Rather, every attempt by Russia to act in accordance with that logic has been viewed through a glass darkly – interpreted as confirmation of Russia as an outlaw state whose dictatorial leader is bent on restoring a malign Russian influence dedicated to undermining the good works of the Western democracies. 

This attitude has progressively lowered the bar on accusation and insult directed at Russia and Putin personally. For Hillary Clinton he was “a new Hitler” as far back as 2016, for Joe Biden he was a “killer,” for Congress members a Satan using a bag of diabolical instruments to corrupt and destroy American democracy.

(PIxabay)

For all of them, a tyrant turning Russia back to the political Dark Ages after the glowing democratic spring of the Yeltsin years, an assassin – albeit an inept one whose targeted victims somehow survived in unnatural numbers, for the Pentagon a growing menace who moved rapidly up the enemies list – displacing Islamic terrorism by 2017 and vying with China for the top spot ever since. 

The obsession with Putin the Evil spread as Washington pushed its allies hard to join in the denunciation.  The grossness of their personal attacks on Putin matched the ever-expanding scope of the accusations. In recent years, no election could be held in Europe without the leveling of charges that the Kremlin was “interfering” by some unspecified means or other – and at Putin’s personal direction. The absence of evidence was irrelevant. Russia became the pinata there to be smashed whenever one felt the urge or saw a domestic political advantage. 

None of the above discussion is meant to suggest that Russia’s foreign policy, in particular the invasion of Ukraine, can be personalized or reduced to the level of feelings and emotions. Putin himself constantly displays an exceptional emotional and intellectual discipline. Putin is not a “Benny from the Bronx.” He does not act on impulse nor does he allow his judgment to be clouded by considerations of a purely individual nature.

Russia had tangible grounds for concerns about the implications of developments in Ukraine and trends in Eastern Europe generally that jeopardized the country’s security interests. The thinking of Putin and his associates about how to deal with them expressed carefully thought out analyses and strategies – as surely did the eventual decision to take military action. 

Revenge per se was less significant than what Western treatment of Russia since 1991 augured for the future. In other words, the constant reinforcement of hostile images and intentions, as felt by Moscow, via the steady barrage of attacks and accusations colored the way that Russian leaders assayed the prospects for alleviating the threats they saw in Western actions – including their conduct throughout 2022. 

Conclusion 

Kremlin, Moscow, 2012. (A.Savin, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The West had a variety of options for addressing the Russia question after 1991. One was to take advantage of its weakness to the fullest and to treat the country as a second-class nation in the American directed world system. That was the strategy the West chose. It inescapably meant humiliation. What the West didn’t recognize is that in doing so it was planting the seeds of future hostility.

Over the years, every sign of a Russia rising from the ashes fed latent, if inchoate, fears of the bear coming out of hibernation. Instead of recognizing that the post-Yeltsin political elite resented the decade of disparagement and humiliation, and taking steps to compensate for it (e.g. carving out a place for Russia in Europe’s post-Cold War political configuration), anxiety led the West down the exact opposite course. Putin’s Russia was painted in ever more frightening caricatures while shunning became the order of the day.  

Demonstrations of Russia’s growing self-confidence, and unwillingness to be pushed around – as in southern Ossetia in 2008 and then more stunningly in Syria in 2015, quickly evoked all the old Cold War images and set the pre-primed alarm bells ringing.

Ignorance of Russian realities, coupled with the demonization of Putin whose actual thoughts didn’t interest them, Western leaders and pundits fretted that their master plan for an American overseen global system was being jeopardized. Now from the old enemy – Russia, and the new enemy – China.  One set of anxieties reinforces the other. 

Back in the 1990s, the humiliation of Russia logically could have been followed by the traditional mafia act of termination. Forestall any form of retaliation by killing off the victim. Of course, it is a lot harder to liquidate a country than an individual and his close associates.

It has been done, though. Think of Rome razing Carthage. After victory in the Second Punic War, the Romans were in a position to act on Cato’s admonition: “Carthage must die !” Legend has it that they sowed the fields with salt.

That, of course, is nonsense – the Romans were not that dumb. The Carthogenian lands became one of the empire’s two great granaries. They reconstituted the state and put in place a security apparatus that served their practical interests. (Rome didn’t even have to repopulate the place since most of the inhabitants were partially ‘Punicized’ ethnic Berbers who gradually became partially Romanized Berbers. As, today, Maghrebis are Arabized Berbers for the most part).

Roman pragmatism, in this respect, can be contrasted with Germany’s readiness to cut itself off from vitally needed Russian natural gas supplies; admittedly, the Romans were not obeying orders from a United States that doesn’t rely on energy resources from Russia.     

Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde, too, acted in accordance with their version of the liquidation strategy. It worked. The Abbasid dynasty and all the other states they destroyed never were in a position to wreak revenge. The Mongols and their Turkic auxiliaries avoided retribution and suffering at the vengeful hands of the countries they ravaged.  

There are other methods as well for permanently eliminating a foe. Genocide is the most extreme – as implemented by Belgium in the Congo, the Germans in Namibia and the European occupiers of North America. Dismemberment is another. The tripartite division and annexation of Poland is the outstanding example. The total breakup of Ottoman Turkey as envisaged at Versailles is another. 

A few people in Washington did promote the idea of executing a similar strategy against the Soviet Union/Russia. Beyond enlarging NATO so as to render prospects for a Russian revival as a European power nugatory, they envisaged breaking up the country into a number of fragmented parts. The Polish-born Zbigniew Brzezinski is the best known of these Mongol acolytes. Washington’s unrelenting efforts to build a permanent wall between Ukraine and Russia grows out of this soil; so, too, assiduous efforts to provide aid and comfort to anti-Russian elements in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan (as recent events in the last three signify). 

The Western approach toward post-Soviet Russia which entailed marginalization and attendant humiliation was favored for a number of reasons, as summarized above. We should add that there was an additional, facilitating factor at work. The chosen strategy was much easier to implement – intellectually and diplomatically. Its simplicity appealed to Western leaders sorely lacking in the attributes of astute statesmanship. That disability skews their attitudes and policies to this day. 

Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. mbren@pitt.edu

30 comments for “The Consequences of Humiliating Russia

  1. John Rogers
    March 6, 2022 at 04:35

    “Washington and its European subordinates who instigated the Maidan coup toppling the democratically elected president and promoting an American puppet in his place“

    Is this true?

    Citing Wikipedia:

    “In November 2013, a wave of large-scale protests (known as Euromaidan) erupted in response to President Yanukovych’s sudden decision not to sign a political association and free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), instead choosing closer ties to Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) had overwhelmingly approved of finalizing the agreement with the EU.[27] Russia had put pressure on Ukraine to reject it.[28] These protests continued for months and their scope widened, with calls for the resignation of Yanukovych and the Azarov Government.[29] “

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 6, 2022 at 06:17

      Yes it is absolutely true that the U.S. instigated a coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine in 2014. There is plenty of evidence, including John McCain and other members of the U.S. Congress traveling to Kiev to encourage the protestors, but the smoking gun is this conversation between U.S. Asst. Sec. of State Victoria Nuland and the then U.S. ambassador in Kiev in which they discuss who the U.S. will install as the new government, weeks before the violent overthrow.

      hXXps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV9J6sxCs5k

  2. Eddie S
    March 5, 2022 at 13:05

    Good article! Among the excellent points made is the last one “The chosen strategy was much easier to implement – intellectually and diplomatically.” Sadly, I think this is especially prescient and appropriate to the US populace who likes it ‘plain & simple’ – the historical ‘American pragmatism’ writ internationally. And admittedly, much of the US population is perpetually ‘sweating the rent’ and doesn’t have time nor sympathy for understanding complex international events, so simplistic media coverage (always driven by profit motives) always suffices.
    I still mourn the missed golden opportunity for an advancement of world peace we had with the 1991 dissolution of the USSR – an excellent time to reset relations on a less martial path. But here we are…

  3. susan mullen
    March 3, 2022 at 04:35

    Thanks for this article. As a US taxpayer I very much identify with the Russian Federation. The entire US political class has treated both of us as subhuman for decades. I hope the Russian Federation succeeds in their efforts. If not, the only solution I see is for the US to be broken up since it will remain, as it is now, the greatest force for evil in the world.

  4. Sean Breathnach
    March 3, 2022 at 03:51

    Very little mention of the Russian people who have to live under a ruthless dictator. When you judge a leader, look at how they treat their people.

    “ Under Putin’s leadership, Russia has shifted to authoritarianism. Experts do not consider Russia a democracy, citing the jailing and repression of political opponents, the intimidation and suppression of the free press and the lack of free and fair elections. Russia has scored poorly on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, and Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index.

    Otherwise, this is a very good article.

    • vinnieoh
      March 3, 2022 at 11:50

      Some time back, possibly in these comment pages, I tried to explain the dynamic between the US’ relentless, single-minded, and largely unconstrained drive for hegemony and empire, and those governments and leaders that then become authoritarian objects of condemnation. A piece of this puzzle was explained in an op-ed here not long ago – and I’m sorry I don’t recall the author – that the US does not need to create out of whole cloth grievances and friction within nations that have not yet succumbed to the US will; grievances, inequities, discrimination and oppression exist almost everywhere to varying degrees, not even excepting the US. But the US is very good at exploiting those frictions, of funding and inflaming wider rebellion and opposition to those governments and leaders that are targets for replacement.

      This mode d’emploi has been used by the US for many decades. For example, during the US/UK orchestrated coup against the Mosaddegh government of Iran in ’53, the religious jealousies of several influential Ayatollahs (jealous of the secular influence of that democratic government) were exploited to help precipitate that outcome. The coup instigators had no interest of course in the religious fundamentalism of those Ayatollahs. What often transpires is that targeted leaders and governments, sensing the enemy at their gates, respond and react in ways that can easily be portrayed as only authoritarian, as unjustified and unconscionable. As an example of that consider Syria. The US and various others have been trying to establish a new center of gravity and orbit for that nation for many, many decades, and the result has been a succession of leaders that have responded violently and ruthlessly.

      Another point to be made is that the US really has no interest in treating with true democracies. True democracies are unpredictable. It is much easier and cheaper to purchase and install a puppet regime than it is to sway an entire population which may still be socially, economically, and religiously alien to “US interests, ideals, and way of life.”

      These Machiavellian operations and efforts lead humanity into some of the ugliest depths of retribution and revenge in our short history. After the ’79 Islamic Iranian Revolution the new theocratic government there rounded up thousands of known collaborators and agents of the US, the UK, and Israel, imprisoned them and executed them. Who can judge the justice, the fairness, the necessity of such a tragedy. I certainly can’t. From the Iranian point of view, considering all they had suffered under the puppet regime of the Shah and SAVAK, the continuing threat of again being infiltrated and relegated to the status of colonial slave, THEY considered that course as effective.

  5. robert e williamson jr
    March 2, 2022 at 19:26

    I am not surprised that the US MSM wringing their hands white worrying about the poor civilians in Ukraine.
    Something not seen in the 20 years of coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I think it’s very interesting Israel hasn’t been speaking out about the current events there.

    Some one likely needs to be keeping an close watch on what the hell they are up to. Based on the limited amount I know of the history of Jews in the Ukraine region I figure Israel will see themselves as having a vested interest in those current events.

    Thanks CN

  6. Carolyn L Zaremba
    March 2, 2022 at 13:15

    Good article. However, the mafia expression is “swimming with the fishes”, not “living with the fishes”, due to the fact that it is understood that the swimmer is no longer alive.

    • Tony Coventry
      March 4, 2022 at 15:51

      I think you’ll find it’s “Sleeps with the fishes” :)

  7. KFritz
    March 2, 2022 at 03:36

    “No mafia don would have been that obtuse.” Well, Carmine Galante didn’t especially insult other ‘luminaries,’ but he did obtusely make many of them very angry, and famously claim that no one would dare to kill him. His corpse became an iconic photo.

  8. John Neal Spangler
    March 1, 2022 at 14:13

    It is also about Nuclear MAD strategy. A Nazi Ukraine is too near RF Missile bases. Only reason for NAto bases in Poland and Romania is for a First strike on Russia. Russia on defense Nazi loons in Ukraine have killed too many Russians

    • Peter Rechniewski
      March 1, 2022 at 18:37

      The reason forNato bases in Poland is that the Poles were desperate to have them. You should make a greater effort to understand how the old Eastern Bloc countries view post-Soviet Russia based on their historical experiences, rather than only look at what the US and its major Allies allegedly want to do. That’s the problem with this article. Not only Russia underwent austerity in the 1990s although what happened in the Yeltsin years is not something the West should be proud of.

      • Leon Pastis
        March 2, 2022 at 10:24

        You forget that most of the countries the USSR occupied in 1945 had invaded together with Germany the same USSR in 1941; Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Baltic States + Italy and Finland. Normal that they occupied them at the end of the war and created the Warschau Pact. The Warsaw Pact was declared at an end on 25 February 1991 and Russia declared those countries free. Germany is still occupied, and not by Russia !

      • vinnieoh
        March 2, 2022 at 13:56

        Peter:

        Others here should try to understand what you are rightly saying. When I was a teenager (’60’s) my family agreed to take into our charge – adopt – a teenage Polish refugee. She and her older brother, a Catholic priest, had been smuggled out of Soviet controlled Poland. I came to understand the Polish attitudes of grievance against the Soviets. For most of my life I lived under the belief that on my father’s side my ancestry was predominantly Polish. My (real) sister was a serious piano student and I grew up listening to many of Chopin’s pieces practiced endlessly (and well); every note and passage of Polonaise in A flat Major is burned into my memory, and still is able to evoke in me a sense of ancestral pride.

        With the recent popularity of Ancestry.com it now appears my genetic heritage is not quite so simple. Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, and other Slavic bloodlines are a possibility. It matters not to me (it’s my wife’s pastime and hobby) as I consider myself an ideological descendent of Diogenes (except for his lewd public behavior.)

        One of my favorite works of fiction is The Brothers Karamotsov in which Dostoevsky plainly exhibited a dislike and disdain for Polish culture and breeding (which pre-dated the revolution and the Soviets). Poland’s long history is fraught with periods as both victor and victim. During the illegal US invasion of Iraq I noted the sad irony of Poland sending a contingent to join that effort.

        Yes, all of the former Soviet Republics suffered with the collapse of the Union. Though I could wish that many attitudes inside Poland were other than they are, I DO understand how they came to be. Btw: my older brother married our adopted sister.

  9. Michael Carano
    March 1, 2022 at 12:39

    Nuance and common sense not seen in the US and European corporate media. Only honest negotiations that respect Russia’s legitimate security concerns will solve this crises. My fear it that the outsized hubris of the West and its driving force, the US, has not the needed sense or desire to make this happen.

  10. Michael Carano
    March 1, 2022 at 12:26

    Brilliant analysis, much needed in the dearth of nuance existing in the mainstream, corporate media that acts as stenographer for US world-spanning, economic hegemony. If cooler heads prevail, which I doubt with those who run Washington, a peace agreement respecting the legitimate rights of Russia would be the top priority of all Western and world nations.

  11. Jeff Lovejoy
    March 1, 2022 at 08:36

    Important article. This bear baiting of Russia, since 1991, is both despicable and deplorable, and on so many levels. I am embarrassed by the behavior of my country — the pathological lying, the cheating, the two-timing, the cold-heartedness, the home-wrecking, the loser-dom. My definition of patriotism is this: “My country right kept right. My country wrong, made right.” It is time this government got itself straight with the American People. Where does President Biden get off caring everything about everybody else’s borders and none for our own? This government, the PTB, the corporate oligarchs, and the MSM has a lot of explaining to do. Maybe these fool idiots haven’t noticed, but this harassed bear has nuclear weapons. And after the way Russia has been treated and demonized, they have every right to use them.

    • Ligeovanio
      March 1, 2022 at 10:49

      Como brasileiro e dentro do pouco que conheço de geopolítica, posso dizer que vocês, cidadãos americanos, pecam demais em acreditar que mudando de governante vocês podem ter dias melhores.
      Na prática, vocês vivem em uma ditadura bi partidária controlada pelos oligopólios dos grupos OGAN, MIC e FIRE.
      Não pensem nem um pouco que seus políticos eleito estejam preocupados com os interesses do povo. Estão preocupados com os interesses de quem lhes patrocina as campanhas. Nada mais. democratas são belicosos ao extremo; republicanos implodem a nação, de dentro pra fora. Não há muitas opções politicamente. E o pior: agora estão entre a perda do poder do dólar e o risco da extinção via nuclear. Isso é bem mais sério do que os palhaços da nossa mídia sionista pode permitir à maioria enxergar. Tratarão tudo como uma piada – como aliás ficam claro ao apoiarem um nazista palhaço.
      Mas o erro maior que cometem ( e acho que essa ilusão auto imposta é fruto da corrupção que o dinheiro gera) é achar que poderiam encurralar a Rússia e não terem uma resposta à altura, inclusive nuclear, se preciso.
      Os russos devem ser tratados como iguais. Aliás, voltando a falar em piada, até mesmo suas piadas devem ser levadas a sério.
      Há uma que diz: ” Se você não for capaz de ouvir Lavrov, terá de ouvir Shoigu” e agora se vê que, na verdade, é uma piada um tanto séria.
      Avisaram que haveria medidas unilaterais e agora as tomam, mas que moral tem o Ocidente pra exigir alguma coisa deles agora?
      Boa sorte. Abraço desde oBasil.

  12. Piotr Berman
    March 1, 2022 at 06:42

    “After victory in the Second Punic War, the Romans were in a position to act on Cato’s admonition: “Carthage must die !” Legend has it that they sowed the fields with salt.

    That, of course, is nonsense – the Romans were not that dumb.”

    Romans destroyed the city, duly following Cato’s words, in a genocidal manner. The wheat fields and olive groves were taken. Paste from Wikipedia:

    Notwithstanding its impressive resistance, Carthage’s defeat was ultimately a foregone conclusion, given the far larger size and strength of the Roman Republic. Though it was the smallest of the Punic Wars, the third war was to be the most decisive: The complete destruction of the city of Carthage,[114] the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome,[115] and the death or enslavement of tens of thousands of Carthaginians.[116][117] The war ended Carthage’s independent existence, and consequently eliminated the last Phoenician political power.

  13. Hand Meyer
    March 1, 2022 at 01:09

    Very informative article, thanks. Could you also comment on these two points. As an imperial Eastern force, Crimea is a vital military port. for Russia. As a strategic mean to get access to the Mediteraneen sea (through good diplomatic relations with Turkey, of course), a strong base in the Black Sea is necessary. Do you think that by instigating an anti-Russian coup in Ukraine (1) targeted the control of Crimea and the Black Sea, (2) they knew perfectly well taking control of Ukraine means cutting vital military strategic cooperations with Russia (missile, jet engine,…). In other word, “reinforcing NATO” by invading Ukraine as it is said in ab article in “Le monde-diplomatique is a dubious argument. NATO is already there, it seems that there was another attempt in Belorussia that was a step too far. If you look at the map, the only way to go now, besides stopping at the border, is to go into Russia!

  14. March 1, 2022 at 01:01

    Thank you Michael Brenner for this most thoughtful, rare piece on the ‘why’ of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The key word is ‘humiliation’, the same word that leads to an understanding of China’s rise from the ashes of war and colonialism. To both countries, there is no going back.

  15. Sam F
    February 28, 2022 at 18:43

    Very good points on the Brzezinski attacks on the USSR followed by marginalization, and the failure of western governments to engage constructively with post-Soviet Russia. Only the lowest tyrant seeks to dominate a global system to serve selfish motives while waving their flag, praising their god, and claiming to serving the public interest.

    Were there real public debate, western leaders would have to respond rationally to Putin’s view that “every state has its legitimate national interests … so long as it does not endanger world peace” which the western political class does not accept or discuss for Russia. But all branches of the USG and its mass media run on bribes, and do not debate policy.

  16. Danny Miskinis
    February 28, 2022 at 18:28

    Since Russians are just as terrified of nuclear war as Americans, perhaps even more so, it behooves me to ask my fellow Americans what they would say, if somehow they had the ear of those Russians, to try to present some evidence that our government, or nation as a whole, does NOT have bad intent towards them. This would be, to be certain, a Herculean, if not impossible task.

    • SomeSalt
      March 1, 2022 at 08:41

      “Since Russians are just as terrified of nuclear war as Americans”

      Thank you for your assumption.

      Different social relations have different perceptions and practices/rituals in relation to death.

      Rigorous research over many years in what some refer to as Anthropology are of the view that in recent circumstances the coercive social relations self-designated as “The United States of America” exhibit greater aversion to and fear of death, than some other social relation whilst in parallel “The United States of America” exhibits an increasing rate of morbidity, including by suicide, than some other social relations, but believe as you apparently do that “Russians are just as terrified of nuclear war as Americans”.

      “….does NOT have bad intent towards them.

      This will not likely be attained as a function of fear of death, but likely likely would require a significant amount of mass amnesia and/or mass insanity.

      A caution in some activities that some call strategy is : Do you think your opponent is as stupid as you are? which those immersed in we-the-people-hold-these-truths-to-be-self-evidentness tend not to ask.

      • Danny Miskinis
        March 1, 2022 at 12:35

        I was trying to understand why seemingly sane people would go down the path we have taken. I assumed. perhaps wrongly, that most people are sane enough to understand this. If we cannot get a nonaligned Ukraine, what chance do we have to survive? Particularly cruel to all creatures with whom we cohabitate our planet. Animal lovers really?

  17. vinnieoh
    February 28, 2022 at 17:49

    No citation, so I assume this is original to CN – thank you.

    No fan of Donald Trump because of his bigotry and racist dog-whistling and because of his utter contempt for anything resembling environmental responsibility, but a passage above caught my attention:

    “At the same time, he (Putin) stresses that every state has its legitimate national interests and the right to promote them as a sovereign entity so long as it does not endanger world peace and stability.”

    I remember when Trump as POTUS made his trip to Europe and tried to insult just about everyone within his field of view or earshot. I was probably preparing dinner when I heard on the evening news that Trump had called Angela Merckel either “Putin’s puppet” or a “Russian puppet” (I don’t remember which, and the remark was made wrt Nordstream 2.) In that same news segment though the news anchor repeated a further Trump statement that was almost identical to Putin’s remark above.

    Perhaps because I was distracted I mis-heard that as Trump’s statement instead of Putin’s. Can anyone help me out here – does anyone else here recollect this? Believing Trump said that somewhat mitigated my very low opinion of him – that he could actually articulate something coherent and logical.

  18. Antforce62
    February 28, 2022 at 17:33

    For all America’s elaborate plans & scheming against Russia, it has sowed the seeds towards its own inevitable demise as a Global Empire? Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a Plan, until they get punched in the Mouth” & that is exactly what is happening now with the Russians staring down & standing up to the Global Bully, America, & punching them in the mouth & in effect saying that they have had enough of America’s scheming plans, provocations & Western humiliation, IT’S OVER, ENOUGH! Forget about Ukraine & what’s happening there, Ukraine will be annexed back into Russia just like Crimea, but this is really about Russia facing off against America using the backdrop of Ukraine? Over recent days, America & the collective West have thrown the Economic kitchen sink at Russia but have now exhausted all their Economic Warfare options in ONE GO, in a mad & insane, last ditch attempt to finish off Russia, a hail mary pass? THEY HAVE NOTHING LEFT IN THE CUPBOARD OF TRICKS NOW, but just like this same Regime change strategy & agenda failed in China & lesser Countries like Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Syria & other places, this is going to fail massively here because Russia is too big a Energy supplier & Commodity superpower than those other targeted Nations & has prepared for this! And the damage to America’s reputation & trust in the US dollar is now irreparable, the USD system is built entirely on trust in its currency but America has abused that trust so badly that faith in the USD is evaporating because it’s abused its Financial USD & SWIFT System to punish Nations it disagrees with, like Russia, to such a extent that its Financial reputation is destroyed? The Economic & Banking attack on Russia has not gone unnoticed in other Nations & I believe that a Alternative Financial Architecture & alternatives to SWIFT are now being prepared so other Nations can detach themselves from the US Dollar system? America has weaponised the USD & overused the Sanction punishment to such a extent that its going to lead too its own destruction & it will have no one to blame but itself? Russia & China will rise to dominate the World & America will become like the former Soviet Union & then it will be America’s turn to be humiliated!

  19. Guthrie Alberts
    February 28, 2022 at 17:16

    It’s not just Russia that has been treated as a vassal. The entire formerly communist block, including East Germany, has been granted second class colonial status by the US and Western European powers.

    • Ian Stevenson
      March 1, 2022 at 05:10

      not entirely. Eastern Europe gets a lot of EU regional aid. A number of companies have relocated there for the cheaper labour.

Comments are closed.