The US, NATO & the Article IV Trap in Ukraine

Scott Ritter says the ongoing flow of refugees out of Ukraine into neighboring territories poses the greatest potential for a NATO-Russia clash.

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

The ongoing Russian invasion has torn asunder whatever passed for geopolitical stability in Eastern Europe in the years since NATO expansion brought Poland and the three former Soviet Baltic Republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into its membership.

While peeved, Russia had accepted the resulting equilibrium with stoic grace, bristling at every NATO effort at muscle flexing, but not overreacting. Even in the face of NATO and EU intervention in the affairs of Russia’s neighbor and ostensible ally, Belarus, in the aftermath of a contested August 2020 presidential election and sustained border crisis over immigration policy, Russia kept its cool, reining in Viktor Lukashenko, the impetuous Belarussian president, while trying to calm the situation with the four NATO members in question.

The Russo-Ukrainian War has changed this equation, with Poland and the three Baltic States using the conflict as an excuse to trigger Article IV of the NATO Charter to call for consultations among the NATO membership regarding a situation the four Eastern European nations view as a pressing national security matter. 

The article states simply:

“Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”

Defensive/Offensive Alliance

NATO is an ostensible defensive alliance whose core tenet of collective self-defense is enshrined in the oft-cited Article V of the NATO Charter. While NATO has been engaged in several conflicts in the past 30 years, however, none of them involved invoking Article V. Indeed, the collective defense clause has only been used once, in the aftermath of 9/11, when, at the insistence of the United States, NATO recognized the terrorist attack as a triggering moment.

The invocation of Article V was, however, more about political theater than genuine collective defense, with NATO deploying several airborne surveillance aircraft over North America, as well as assembling a small flotilla of ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

Sept. 27, 2015: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, visiting the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York. (NATO)

The real meat behind NATO’s actual use of military force in a combat environment has historically been Article IV; it was invoked to justify the dispatch of NATO troops to lead the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) in the 1990’s; NATO aerial assault on Serbia and related deployment of troops into Kosovo as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) in 1999; the deployment of NATO troops to Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2001; the deployment of a training mission to Iraq in 2004 and the aerial bombardment of Libya in 2011.*

While some of these missions had a legitimate peacekeeping function, at least three (the bombing of Serbia, the intervention in Afghanistan, and the bombing of Libya) were offensive in nature and associated with regime change policies.

The situation confronting Poland and the three Baltic States today in Ukraine is one that resonates across NATO and Europe — how best to respond to a Russian invasion that threatens fundamental principles of sovereignty and respect for international borders that had, in theory at least, served as the foundation of European peace and security since the end of the Second World War. (The case of the creation of Kosovo, carved as it was from the territory of Serbia, serves as an uncomfortable exception to this European narrative.)

Despite NATO’s decades-long courtship of Ukraine, and the fact that the Ukrainian military had been transformed into a virtually interchangeable part of NATO through a massive training and equipping operation that saw thousands of NATO troops rotate through Ukraine on an annual basis and thousands of Ukrainian troops operating alongside NATO forces abroad, the reality was that, as a non-NATO state, Ukraine could not benefit from the collective defense protections offered by actual NATO membership. That is something both President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg have repeated several times before and after the Russian invasion.

Lethal Aid

U.S. airman prepares weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Jan. 21. (U.S. Air Force, Mauricio Campino)

NATO has been struggling with how best to support Ukraine. Prior to the Russian invasion, NATO member states — on an individual basis — were providing military equipment and supplies to Ukraine, most notably in the form of “lethal weaponry” such as anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air missiles. While this weaponry has proven effective on the battlefield, it has not been able to stem the tide of the Russian military advance, prompting these individual NATO members to continue supplying the same lethal aid.

Complicating the arms shipments is that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to any nation that interferes with the Russian action in Ukraine. “Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in ongoing events from the outside,” Putin declared at the end of his Feb. 23 address announcing the beginning of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. He said:

“Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so to create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.”

While stopping short of threatening the use of nuclear weapons, Putin’s comments left no doubt that any intervention by NATO as an organization, or individual NATO members, in Ukraine would result in war with Russia.

This threat has resonated as NATO considers its next move under Article IV. While NATO has activated, for the first time in its history, the 40,000-strong Response Force, and individual nations, including the United States, have mobilized additional military forces above and beyond those assigned to the Response Force, all of these troop movements have been declared to be defensive in nature, involving as they do the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank.

NATO is playing a risky game, however, by continuing to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine that originate from and are shipped through NATO members’ territory. While international law is insufficiently clear on the matter, it appears that the provision of weapons to Ukraine does not by itself open the door to legally justifiable military countermeasures by Russia. (For example, Russia can’t bomb Germany or Poland for facilitating arms transfers.)

But this is not the case when it comes to fulfilling one of Ukraine’s most oft-repeated requests, establishing a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine. If NATO aircraft were to engage in such an action, it would lead to direct contact with Russian aircraft in a theater of war, a result which would most likely end in combat between the opposing sides. Moreover, this is exactly the  kind of “intervention” Putin warned about on Feb. 23. NATO has, to date, consistently ruled out implementing a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine.

Ukraine has also requested NATO provide it with military aircraft, in particular MIG-29 fighters, that could be used to reinforce Ukraine’s much-diminished air force. While technically the provision of weapons is not a triggering moment for Russian countermeasures under international law, the delivery of combat aircraft too closely resembles the imposition of a no-fly zone and, given what that entails regarding a Russian reaction, has been deemed by the Pentagon to be untenable.

Refugee Danger

The Palanca-Maiaki-Udobnoe border crossing point, between Moldova and Ukraine on March 1 as people flee the war in Ukraine. (UN Women/Aurel Obreja)

While the threat of NATO overreach in providing air support to the Ukrainian government exists, the greatest potential for a NATO-Russian clash in Ukraine rests in the ongoing flow of refugees from Ukraine into neighboring territories.

To date, more than 2 million Ukrainians have fled to sanctuary in Poland, Moldova, Hungary and Romania. The capacity of these nations to absorb these refugees is rapidly reaching the saturation point. If Russia begins its long-anticipated assault on Kiev, or otherwise engages in action which dramatically alters the situation in the rest of Ukraine, it is anticipated that millions more Ukrainians will be seeking refugee status, creating the real potential for one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies since the end of the Second World War.

Faced with such conditions, Ukraine’s neighbors may feel compelled to create a humanitarian buffer zone along Ukraine’s border with Europe which would require the deployment of some sort of peacekeeping force, operating under either the U.N., EU or NATO Article IV authority. The question of how Russia would respond to such an intervention is unknown.

If Russia were to militarily confront such a peacekeeping force on the soil of Ukraine, there is a distinct probability that NATO heavy forces might be brought in to protect the peacekeepers, raising the unthinkable prospect of a direct confrontation between Russian and NATO forces.

No one can predict with any degree of accuracy how events during war will unfold; no plan survives initial contact with the enemy, and the enemy always gets a vote.

However, if the war in Ukraine continues unabated at a level equaling or exceeding its current scope and scale, it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that there will be a refugee-induced crisis that will require some form of humanitarian intervention.

To the degree that such an intervention would be construed by Russia as a threat worthy of military countermeasures is unknown. Perhaps it is time for NATO and EU diplomats to act in a proactive fashion, reaching out to their Russian counterparts in an effort to anticipate both the problem, and the solution, in a manner which does not create the conditions for inadvertent military conflict.

*CORRECTION:  Ritter says, “Article 4 can be formally invoked, or informally acted on. But any non-Article 5 use of force is, by default, an Article 4 operation.” This piece seems to support Ritter’s view that Article 4 played a role in extra-territorial NATO operations. But, according to NATO’s website, however, these are the only occasions in which Article 4 was invoked: 

“Since the Alliance’s creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked seven  times. On 24 February 2022, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia requested to hold consultations under Article 4 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On 26 July 2015, Turkey made the same request in view of the seriousness of the situation following terrorist attacks, and to inform Allies of the measures it was taking. Poland invoked Article 4 on 3 March 2014 following increasing tensions in neighbouring Ukraine, as a result of Russia’s aggressive actions. On two occasions in 2012, Turkey requested a NAC meeting under Article 4: once on 22 June after one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian air defence forces and the second time on 3 October when five Turkish civilians were killed by Syrian shells. Following these incidents, on 21 November, Turkey requested the deployment of Patriot missiles. NATO agreed to this defensive measure so as to help Turkey defend its population and territory, and help de-escalate the crisis along the border.

Previously, on 10 February 2003, Turkey formally invoked Article 4, asking for consultations in the NAC on defensive assistance from NATO in the event of a threat to its population or territory resulting from armed conflict in neighbouring Iraq. NATO agreed a package of defensive measures and conducted Operation Display Deterrence from end February to early May 2003.”

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.

45 comments for “The US, NATO & the Article IV Trap in Ukraine

  1. Litchfield
    March 16, 2022 at 19:22

    “However, if the war in Ukraine continues unabated at a level equaling or exceeding its current scope and scale, it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that there will be a refugee-induced crisis that will require some form of humanitarian intervention.

    So what does it take to end it?
    Zelensky is not clever enough, or experienced enough, to figure oiut how to stand up to those is the West pushing him to prolong the war. He does not have the cojones to tell the Ukrainian people that htis war cannot be won, they are not finding to ‘defend” Europe, and the quicker they make a deal with the Russians, the better. Which is what they should have done all along.

    It is Zelensky—a guy with zero political or diplomatic ability—and the West that are prolonging this conflict.
    They are thus creating the destabilizing flow of refugees. They are endangering Ukrainian civilians. The Azov Battalion is preventing civilians from leaving larger cities such as Mariupol. This is not being discussed in Western media.

    It is time for Western media to start telling the real story here as to who is intensifying and prolonging the war.

    A very clear assessment of the military, political, and info-wars issues is provided by this Indian general:

    “Russia Going All Out’: Maj Gen GD Bakshi’s Analyses As Russia-Ukraine War Escalates”


    • evelync
      March 17, 2022 at 15:51

      RE: “It is time for Western media to start telling the real story here as to who is intensifying and prolonging the war.”

      According to Gonzalo Lira, who is currently reporting today from Kharkov UKRAINE the denials from western media in the face of his evidence that they’re lying, convince him that the west is desperately plotting a false flag to beef up their narrative.

    • Ian Stevenson
      March 17, 2022 at 17:30

      Litchfield, what is your evidence that the Azov battalion is stopping people leaving the larger cities? That would take a larger force than a literal battalion and the concurrence of the authorities .
      Here in England there are many east Europeans who are using their mobile phones to talk to people at home who are meeting the refugees and, in soma case, the refugees themselves. This is first hand testimony not just rumour. They are saying that the cities are being shelled indiscriminately, blocks of flats-apartments -even hospitals. We are seeing footage recorded on their phones. Civilian deaths are rising.
      The Mariupol theatre put the word ‘children in large letters’ both sides of the building. It was still bombed. The Russian statement was that the Ukrainians had bombed it themselves. The Republicans in the Spanish Civil War were accused of using ‘human shields’ in Guernica , the town bombed by the Fascists.
      When I read we are not being told, I reminded of the story that Birmingham had ‘no-go areas’ controlled by Muslim extremists who imposed Sharia law, and the media was not allowed to report it. Of course, your information may be better. Please tell us your source.

  2. D. Brand
    March 16, 2022 at 15:40

    “Faced with such conditions, Ukraine’s neighbors may feel compelled to create a humanitarian buffer zone along Ukraine’s border with Europe which would require the deployment of some sort of peacekeeping force, operating under either the U.N., EU or NATO Article IV authority. The question of how Russia would respond to such an intervention is unknown.”

    This won’t happen. The refugees will be distributed across Europe. Even before the Russian invasion, there were millions of Ukrainians working in Europe as builders, doctors, engineers, taxi drivers, etc. For the roughly 500 millions habitants of Europe to absorb 10 or even 20 million Ukrainian refugees would be no problem whatsoever. On the contrary, Europe’s aging society need immigrants to survive.

    Unlike the refugees from the ME, white Ukrainian refugees are given the red carpet treatment even in Eastern and Central European countries that barked at taking in a few hundred refugees from America’s wars in the ME.

    Setting up a buffer zone in Ukraine, would involve a direct confrontation between Nato and Russian forces. Unless some lunatic is bent of destroying humanity, both sides will avoid that. Parking the refugees in refugee camps along the Polish border won’t work because unless they are consigned to closed camps, they’ll just move on to a destination in Europe, where they can expect a better life.

    Unless there is a negotiated settlement, Ukrainian refugees may end up permanently in the West. Ironically, that would be the fastest way for them to integrate with the West.

    • Litchfield
      March 16, 2022 at 19:26

      Well, this is a golden opportunity for Ukrainians to do what a lot of them have wanted to do all along: Get out of s— hole Ukraine, to Western Europe. This way they are even paid to do it. So, major improvement for them. Sorry to be cynical, but this is simply the way it is. If Ukraine can’t be “part of Europe,” certainly a few million **Ukrainians** can!! So who will be left in the Ukraine? The weakest and the old.

      And don’t forget the 30% of refugees along for the ride who are not even Ukrainian.’

      The USA has created another ridiculous situation for the Europeans to mop up.

  3. March 16, 2022 at 15:23

    I suspect that this creation of a “CIA mercenary army” is precisely intended for just such an eventuality as a “humanitarian crisis”, in addition to their “plan” for an “insurgency” against Russia. The latter is likely to fail spectacularly.

    However, if this force were deployed into western Ukraine as a sort of “protect the Nazis” campaign, it would be a way to avoid directly involving NATO forces in the effort to complicate Russia’s plans to deal with the neo-Nazis in Lvov and the Galicia region.

    Russia is clearly going to have to go all the way to the Polish borders. The “de-Nazification” part of the Russian goals requires it. This will stimulate the bulk of the hard-line nationalists and neo-Nazis to flee into Poland to avoid being arrested and/or deported into Poland by force.

    The deployment of this “mercenary army” into Ukraine could be intended to forestall that. It could also be used, as Scott suggests, to provide a casus belli for deploying NATO forces if for some reason Russia held back. Deploying the mercenary force first would allow NATO to assess Russian intentions to enable NATO to determine whether they can safely directly involve themselves in western Ukraine.

  4. March 16, 2022 at 12:21

    Question: Why do we hate Russia so much? Not all, of course, but the piling on keeps building on Ukraine and the Zelensky speech is going to make virtually irresistible direct involvement in the war. We will here experts say the Russians are not really serious about using nuclear weapons so full speed ahead. One of my repulsive in-laws boasted that the oligarchs will have him removed, suggesting in a body bag.

    Not the only reason but essential to understanding the hate is the purges by Stalin in the 1930’s which was seen as a are betrayal of those Jews who were critical actors creating the revolution and the USSR. The murder of Trotsky is part of the purge.

    There are other reasons of course such as back during WWI the threat to our way of governing and those who had large amounts of wealth and didn’t want to have it taken by the Bolshevik version of the people.

    There are after good reasons to like the Russians, i.e. their contributions to the arts and the saving of thousands of American lives in WWII.

    Few seem to want to hear any of that in America.

  5. Alan
    March 16, 2022 at 11:46

    All the weeping for Ukrainian refugees on the part of US/Western officialdom rings hollow in the face of the latter’s unwillingness to end the fighting by simply allowing Ukraine to accept Russia’s terms and surrender. From Ukraine’s standpoint, the war is irreversibly lost, so why prolong it? The answer is that it serves US interests to entangle Russia in a quagmire. To that end, thousands of lives will be senselessly lost, and untold destruction will be visited upon Ukraine. This is exactly what the US wanted when it deliberately provoked the war. Pity on Ukraine and its people.

    • Litchfield
      March 16, 2022 at 19:30

      Spot on.

      You said it more economically than I was able.

      To reiterate: the blame for Russia’s initiation of the war, and for prolonging the war, and for forcing it in a direction meaning more civilian lives lost lies squarely with the USA and Zelensky.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    March 16, 2022 at 10:50

    What about all the Ukrainians from the Donbass that fled to Russia, not some other eastern European country? There are millions of them too.

    • Dawn
      March 17, 2022 at 15:24

      Thank you for mentioning the obvious. The Ukrainians from the breakaway region of Donbass have been forced to flee to Russia since 2014. Please, Mr. Ritter, our government should be held accountable for their suffering as well.

  7. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    March 16, 2022 at 10:33

    L’Otan n’a nul raison d’être: elle devait diparaïtre en même temps que le pacte de Varsovie. Ce ne fut pas fait. Nonobstant cette réalité, l’article IV de l’Otan est du fumier corrompu contaminé mal chié de criminels psychopathes.

    • Pierrot Travers
      March 16, 2022 at 14:19

      D’accord. C’est une entreprise capitaliste americaine. Les EUA veulent faire la guerre partout, tout le temps, et utilisent l’OTAN si necessaire. Quand les Etats-Unis parlent de liberte et de democratie, attention; la mort et la destruction suivent inevitablement.

    • Ed Nelson
      March 16, 2022 at 19:43

      NATO has no reason to exist: it had to decide at the same time as the Warsaw Pact. This was not done. Notwithstanding this reality, ARTICLE IV of NATO is corrupt manure contaminated badly chié of psychopathic criminals.

  8. evelync
    March 16, 2022 at 10:05

    Why did Zelensky say that there may be an agreement or solution in May, if I remember correctly?
    Why May? If he knows what a solution might be why delay it and get more people killed?

    Nuland took the time away from her Ukraine meddling to go meddle in Colombia’s May 2022 election and threaten consequences there if that election failed to satisfy her views on our NEOCON neoliberal agenda.

    Here’s why Wall Street apparently fears the leading candidate among a divided electorate and too many candidates running to have a clear view according to the opposing news articles:
    Wall Street fears that the pro people candidate, Petro, would tax the rich and try to move away from fossil fuels. hmmm….sounds coup worthy…..dontcha know…




    Is there a connection between Columbia’s May election and a possible agreement on Ukraine in May?????

    I don’t understand how NEOCONS think – people don’t seem to enter into their equations, just $$$$$$…

    • Gerald
      March 16, 2022 at 11:37

      anything Zelensky says comes directly from Washington who are just trying to spin the war out, in May there will be no change and he will say something else, for the Russians he is a bad faith actor and unreliable, they will have to force his hand and if necessary install a new govt, if only temporarily. Taking Kiev is the one thing that will end any relevance Zelensky. The problem with taking Kiev is that there will likely be high levels of civilian casualties, the Azov and Ukraine military are not allowing civilians to leave through humanitarian corridors established by Russia in agreement with Ukraine.There is also the chance that the US are planning some sort of regime change op in Russia via protests but that will have little or no support and will also fail. Putin has to make the call, in the meantime they can take Mariupol and Kherson, also over 45000 men are encircled in the Donbass and need starving out or destroying with heavy bombardment. I think leaving Kiev till last will create a no place to hide for zelensky. He can either surrender or be replaced, preferably by his own side, he clearly has no power over the Azov and more militant Nazi groups so is in effect President of nothing right now.

      • evelync
        March 16, 2022 at 12:57

        Thank you, Gerald.
        I appreciate your explanation.

        It’s a tragic fate for the people of Kiev, some of whom may have resisted the 2014 coup and suffered through the nazification of their country.
        A protected corridor to Belarus, or somewhere else safe would be a welcome miracle for these people.
        But that doesn’t sound likely based on what you said.

    • robert e williamson jr
      March 16, 2022 at 16:06

      I have no idea of how old you are evelync and will not ask but ponder this for a moment.

      “I don’t understand how NEOCONS think – people don’t seem to enter into their equations, just $$$$$$…”

      You have it figured out, 100% and your statement here proves as much, what may confuse you is everything you are hearing about the conflict in Ukraine from those governments and their propagandists. You don’t hear it here though do you.

      The Russian, Ukrainian and American heads of state and all their other propagandists live high on the hog for lying to the rest of us. It is that simple. They are

      U.S. contemporary history is considered that time since 1945, The Age of Information. Most historians likely would never describe it this way but here goes.

      I could argue that the information age started in the early to middle 1930’s time when the super wealthy were spreading US technology to counties like Germany. WWII seemed to put the practice on steroids, the war effort and all.

      Eureka , “The Thermo NuclearBomb” was perfected. Now the masses could be held hostage by a weapon, that if used by anyone would end life on this Earth for humans.

      Like it or not it is not a stretch at all to imagine the super wealthy elitist sitting in their bank board rooms conniving and planning in top secret exactly how they intended to divvy up the world wealth. Which they have been doing for the 90 to 75 years.

      These are the people that would end up spawning the NEOCON mindset. Read Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money. you don’t have to take my word for this. Psychopaths one and all.

      The CIA could mean Chaos Incited by America, instead of the Central Intelligence Agency. Look at the history of the Agency. JFK stood in their way. It has been all down hill ever since he died and they took over our government,.

      This is what I believe and will continue to believe until some one comes up with something to convince me other wise and the CIA & U.S. Government aren’t talking.

      These people represent a clear and present danger to themselves and the rest of us and always have. Those who direct CIA actions aren’t our congress or the recognized branches of U.S. Government, but instead those who lobby the congress and DOJ who grease the rails to success for them. Again this is what I believe and will believe until I’mproven wrong.

      This IS THE reason CIA needs to fess up, open up their records or be done away with.

      Ban and disarm all nukes this is the only way out of this mess. At 73 years o age I damned well sure want this horror eliminated now and not for my benefit. We must prioritize where others have failed for the children of the world.

      Thanks CN

      • Jeff Harrison
        March 16, 2022 at 21:13

        Amen, brother. At 72 I have the same experiences and many of the same thoughts. I would recommend to you a book – The Culture of Defeat – by Wolfgang Scheivelbusch. Yes, he is German. It is a sociological study of three conflicts – the American Civil War, the 1872 Franco-Prussian war, and WWI. While the book itself is fascinating, it’s the epilogue that causes me to recommend it. Herr Scheivelbusch suggested that the next war may be fought solely with propaganda. Weapons not necessary. While I thought (and think) that his suggestion of no weapons necessary was a bunch of wishful thinking, his highlighting the power of propaganda is instructive. You can see it in real time now. NATO can bomb the crap out of Serbia with no legal support and kill a couple of Chinese diplomats and there’s not a peep. Let Russia do the same thing for the same reason and holy crap! The US leaned on the international feline organization to ban the importation of Russian Blues, fer chrissakes! This hit home. Decades ago, I had a Russian Blue (named Little Shit for reasons you can imagine) that was a real gas of a cat. I loved it.

        • robert e williamson jr
          March 17, 2022 at 14:19

          Thanks Jeff I try! I will be acquiring the book you mention here.

          I often tell friends and others that I cannot think of another time that life on this planet.

          I have to admit I’ve been forced to consider this experience is going to come with one helluva price.

          That said we are in some very difficult times here. “Hate Wars for Fun and Profit” seem to rule the day now . I have never and will never understand the mentality of those who apparently fear their own shadows and feel the need to dominate all others by money and power The war mongers propaganda, both side does nothing to serve mankind and those who drive it need to be eliminated. I’m fearing that required portion of the process to find peace is going to be very ugly.

          The cat thing kills me, I mean what in the hell do some of these people think! Transcend and overcome.

          Thanks CN.

  9. Sam F
    March 16, 2022 at 10:01

    The creation of a “humanitarian buffer zone along Ukraine’s border with Europe” does not imply more than a police force in refugee camps. That would be along West Ukraine borders which Russia is unlikely to approach, as West Ukraine is the non-Russian center of opposition to Russia, and likely to remain part of Ukraine. So any “peacekeeping force” there would be a provocation.

    But in all matters “it is time for NATO and EU diplomats to act in a proactive fashion… to anticipate both the problem, and the solution.” They don’t do diplomacy because MIC bribes to political parties require more warmongering.

    • Martin
      March 16, 2022 at 17:17

      i don’t think it will be a “humanitarian buffer zone”, rather something like idlib, a zone to train insurgents and deliver weaponry (what is the convoy transporting?).

      • Sam F
        March 17, 2022 at 05:52

        Yes, now that Poland has proposed to disguise a western training and supply area on its border as a “peacekeeping” zone, it is clear that this is nothing but another scam of western tyrant warmongers to make trouble for invented monsters, and thereby sell arms. The use of “humanitarian” flights to ship arms to Ukraine from Italy is an historic betrayal of humanity by the western tyrants.

  10. Victoria
    March 16, 2022 at 08:36

    Nothing gets more personal then empty stomach. Just ask Marie Antoinette. Poland accepted about 1.7 million refugees as of today, only perhaps 300k sent further west, mainly Berlin. Over a half of refugees are children, the rest women and elderly. Polish government started printing money to provide 300PLN (US $71) one time help, 500 PLN (US $ 119) per child a month, and 1200 PLN (US $ 285) per month per refugee to house in private houses. Cost of medical coverage and schools are extra. Initial residency permit (including for non existent work) is for 18 months.

    Looks to me, it will be the best card played by Putin to destabilize Europe. Just wait one more month.

    BTW, Lukashenko still, as we speak, pushes illegal aliens from Senegal, Cameroon, Afghanistan, India, Egypt and any place you can imagine, into Poland via Belarus/Poland fenced border in the north. This Putin inspired and likely instigated program started in July 2021. This confirms, migrants (refugees from Ukraine and illegal aliens form elsewhere via Belarus) are part of the larger game.

  11. renate
    March 16, 2022 at 08:10

    To think about the price the Ukrainians are paying just to become a NATO MEMBER. They are not fighting and sacrificing lives and property for freedom and democracy, no, ONLY a NATO MEMBERSHIP, nothing else.

  12. Sid
    March 16, 2022 at 06:55

    A heavy busted shipment of weapons to the Ukrainian army was busted in Italy by workers refusing to load the airplanes. Several workers at the Galileo Galilei airport refused to load one of the cargo flights advertised as carrying humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The crates did not contain food and medication but weapons, ammunition and explosives instead, the Unione Sindacale di Base said. There are about 100000 NATO troops spread out overall eastern flank from the Baltic states till Romania. Warships stationed in the Atlantic North and Mediterranean. I’m certain NATO will join the conflict in Ukraine,. What is missing, in my opinion, is the right window of opportunity to engage in something mentioned by Scott. One small miscalculation can lead to disastrous consequences to the NATO pro-ukrainian alliance. What bugger me off sideways is that the truth does not need to be fabricated to understand what is happening in Ukraine. It’s in every library worldwide for decades. It is a well documented fact the neo-nazi rising in Ukraine which gained full body in the maidan. So, it’s okay to be a nazi and fight for them through NATO because it’s worst to be a Russian? Is that what the MSM is about? And bioweapons are a serious thing, an unthinkable crime but bombs and bullets to kill people are okay?

  13. Christian J. Chuba
    March 16, 2022 at 06:39

    The U.S. just wants to pour gasoline on the fire. Is the U.S. helping Poland to deal with the refugees? Perhaps we are too busy smuggling arms into Ukraine to deal with such a pedestrian (neocon view, not mine) concern.

  14. Aaron
    March 16, 2022 at 06:07

    Sooner or later I think Zelensky will get the MIG 29s and/or his precious no fly zone, clearly he has friends in the highest of places. He has the entire Zionist media and all-encompassing internet algorithms working for him so that people only see and hear what he wants them to see and hear. And consider the middle east wars and Vietnam and WWI, and the “Remember the Maine” event and George Bush ranting about the babies and the incubators and all that, there will be some kind of ambiguous false flag event that convinces everybody that they MUST attack Russia, but it will not be clear who was truly responsible for the event, of course it’ll be blamed on Putin, but how many times must we go through this with previous wars that it turns out that we were lied to, but then it’s too late. So many innocent Iraq citizens were killed before the public was informed that all Bush’s crap about WMD was a filthy lie. But it’s too late after the war starts to go back to the beginning and start over. We really shouldn’t trust what the media is telling us. If nothing else, for the love of God, we have learned that painful lesson too many times.

  15. SomeSalt
    March 16, 2022 at 05:25

    “how best to respond to a Russian invasion that threatens fundamental principles of sovereignty and respect for international borders that had, in theory at least, served as the foundation of European peace and security since the end of the Second World War.”

    Framing is often a form of self-delusion, and self-delusion a limiter of facility, including invitations of faites vos jeux (place your bets) and highly probable outcomes of disappointments, when you are not the house determining the rules and the spin of the roulette wheel.

    Apparently the vindictivenesses of 1949 and subsequent continue to enjoy half-lives that some forecast, but not in their specific presentations.

  16. Realist
    March 16, 2022 at 04:44

    [Sorry, use this version]

    How ironic. Nato requires a buffer zone. Well, they set the stage for the damned war specifically because they would not recognise Russia’s need for a buffer zone to cushion American and Nato hostility and potential armed aggression.

    Since the Ukraine government and its military have no stated intention of stopping their armed confrontation with the invited Russian protectors of the Donbas republics, it seems likely that some civilians may be put at risk in spite of the extremely careful and restrained use of force by the Russian troops. That could easily be remedied by Ukrainian and Russian forces standing down until the civilians evacuate. Why doesn’t Ukraine try that before demanding a buffer zone created by Nato, which could very easily escalate into a permanent occupation of the zone by Nato forces and an escalation of the war.

    Now knowing as much as we do about the motives and actions of both Ukraine and Nato such a scenario seems not unlikely and extremely fraught. We’ve seen how unilaterally declared buffer zones in Syria have transmogrified into permanently occupied regions by United States forces and accompanied by the outright theft of Syrian natural resources. Neither the US, Nato nor Ukraine gives anyone the slightest reason for trusting their word.

    Alternatively, Ukraine can admit the futility of continuing a conflict that will never achieve its stated goals and only result in more deaths of both soldiers and civilians, who I might add, include both ethnic Ukrainians and Russians who Putin does not want to see killed or harmed. I am far less convinced about the good motives of the Ukrainian side. Ukraine ought to stand down–permanently, not deceitfully as it has done repeatedly–and accommodate Russia’s entirely reasonable positions on Crimea, the Donbas, Neutrality and Nato. The time has come for Washington to stop using Ukraine as a pawn to instigate conflict with Russia as a pretext to its nearly decade long campaign to isolate the country, destroy its economy and steal its property. Time for Zelensky to protect the fate of his people rather than trading them for personal favors from Washington. The whole collusion between those parties is so shameless, transparent, and quite real, unlike the fabricated conspiracy between Russia and Trump.

    • Jeff Harrison
      March 16, 2022 at 10:54

      Thank you

  17. Realist
    March 16, 2022 at 04:41

    Line 2 should say American and Nato hostililty–not Ukrainian.

  18. robert
    March 16, 2022 at 01:40

    What so few seem to grasp is that this is all intentional. We are ruled by fools who are controlled by evil, and that evil is the root of the problem. Evil wants all human life wiped off the planet, and in fact the ultimate desire of evil is to completely destroy Master YHWH’s creation. All the global players are only pawns on the final play between good and evil for everything. VV Putin is doing exactly what he should be doing. Amerika is controlled by lucifer and is provoking to war not from being stupid but because he desires ALL of us dead. Now might be a good time to review John’s Revelation, as it does not require much imagination to interpret anymore… It has begun, by the time 2030 would have arrived on this planet, there will not be a single human alive counting time by that calendar anymore. It is time for Master YHWH’s Great Reset. Ask your phone “ok google/siri, what is jesus’ REAL name?” Now you have some Truth that can really set you free. Shalom, et shem Y’shua.

    • Rob Pates
      March 16, 2022 at 13:16

      I’m not sure I’ll go along with all of this — but you might have a point here, robert. Maybe I misunderstood Chris Hedges, but he seems to conclude that the US policy (which has driven this situation) is called by the military industrials. The politicians are in the pocket of the capitalists. It’s capitalism and total corruption — there lies evil.

      This is the worst US policy since WW2. To advocate “for Ukraine” is to call for more weapons, more war.

      But I disagree if you imply that this madness surely is inevitable. The US could stop the lunacy at any time by talking to Russia and being reasonable, acknowledging Russia’s security concerns and making tiny adjustments in the name of peace. That way, we can all move on peacefully — we’re over here, they’re over there. We can muddle along until someone gets real leadership to see a rational way forward, abolishing nuclear weapons. The US/UK hasn’t had real leadership (i.e. leadership for the good of the common people) since WW2 — so don’t hold your breath for English speakers to come up with the answers.

  19. March 16, 2022 at 00:30

    Why didn’t any NATO country have the decency to respond to Russia’s very serious security concerns, presented in December 2021? They are relevant for world security, by the way. The problem is not Russia but the aggressive posture of America and NATO to Russia.
    If France or Germany for example had done the decent things and insisted that the UN endorsed Mink Agreement was implemented by Kiev, Russia would not have intervened. By the way, two and a half million people had fled the Donbass region by 2017 because of the shelling and destruction of of the region since 2014, as a result of the US-supported violent- neo-nazi coup against a democratically elected government which installed an anti-Russia regime, leader chosen by US diplomat Victoria Nuland. What about international law? Why the silence of western media on this human rights atrocity over 8 years, with a government using its military against its own people? Refugees from Donbass continue to flee to Russia.

    There are several UN reports about the appalling conditions people have been living in the Donbass region, including children learning in bullet ridden class rooms, their problems and being taught to discern mines. What was President Putin to do, when Kiev had assembled a large military force to finally dispose of those millions who opposed a government enforced on them illegally by a US-led coup, which even banned speaking the Russian language, and the year publishing in Russian ? What would you do in similar circumstances?

    • Nas
      March 16, 2022 at 03:38

      From the perspective of an Eastern European, the hypocrisy and outright malice shown by western politicians and the media is deafening. But we have puppet pro-NATO governments through and through here, with the media showing a tight one-sided point of view too – every dissident and everybody with a contrary opinion to the official narrative of “Ukraine good, Putin bad” is guilty of wrongthink.

    • Rob Pates
      March 16, 2022 at 07:12

      Agreed. Well said. All this must be kept in mind all the time. But can someone answer this. Why did not Russia cut off all energy supplies to Europe to bring them to their senses as the next escalation?

      • Tim Slater
        March 16, 2022 at 15:02

        Because they are now making a lot of money from those exports (which are increasingly going to other places, by the way), thank you very much, since prices have tripled! And that is hurting the EU quite neough already. For example, the only steelworks in Bavaria has suspended operation, because they were producing at a loss at current electricity prices.

    • renate
      March 16, 2022 at 08:18

      I think it is really geopolitics by extortion. The UN has been politicized, weaponized by the US. Sanctions and military threats are the tools, not diplomacy and international laws are the norm.

    • D. Brand
      March 16, 2022 at 15:59

      “Why didn’t any NATO country have the decency to respond to Russia’s very serious security concerns, presented in December 2021?”

      Because imperialists will be imperialists. The empire has to expand or it’ll collapse. The logic of empire is relentless. If it ceased to have the will to expand, it would cease to exist. It’s not about what it’s leaders want or do not want. At the helm of the empire, there is no escaping the logic of empire. It will keep on wrecking havoc until imperial overreach leads to its inevitable collapse.

  20. March 16, 2022 at 00:17

    I hope for the best, but it seems this long-awaited war to topple Russia is and always has been the intent, and nothing—not even the very real danger of a nuclear holocaust—will deter the U.S. and its vassal nations from achieving their aims. Russia has already stepped up its own response to U.S. sanctions by imposing its own on Biden and members of his regime, and other U.S. officials. As well, with Venezuela telling the U.S. essentially to go screw itself after it went to President Maduro demanding he sell his country’s tar sands oil in exchange for allowing him to step down peacefully without a violent coup; China, Pakistan, and even India—all nuclear powers in their own right—refusing to condemn Russian actions to defend its borders and people; and now Saudi Arabia openly considering selling crude oil to China in Chinese currency…

    It seems that the fascists in the U.S. have grossly overestimated their own capabilities while underestimating, as is typical, the abilities of its enemies to thwart the neoconservative agenda. But the neocons are stupid, and worse, quite literally insane. They are perfectly willing to plunge the entire planet into a nuclear winter that shall kill all life on Earth, including microbes, if they can’t rule over it unchallenged. Even more disastrously, the American public seems perfectly at ease with this, having been almost thoroughly brainwashed by decades of propaganda.

    • Tim N
      March 16, 2022 at 07:28

      That has been my belief for some time, well at least for the past week! That is, it’s the US that has overplayed its hand on its reckless, stupid, and arrogant assumptions. That imbecile Jake Sullivan scolded and lectured the Chinese last week, warning them to not help Russia in any way; hopefully the Chinese try to work on brokering some kind of peace. The US’s insistent threats about sanctions being placed on any country that questions or seems to challenge their (our–I’m a US citizen, but like virtually all citizens here I have utterly no say in any of these matters) unipolar imperial designs.
      I’m sure there are more than a few relatively sane people in the government who (I hope) understand what suicidal lunacy it is to try and control the world. Perhaps the ral driving force here is the knowledge that once the dollar is no longer te reserve currency, the Empire collapses.

      • Rob Pates
        March 16, 2022 at 13:37

        “Imbecile” — that’s an excellent word to apply to any current visible US leader. There are several sickening ironies here — the mass of the US population has not been paying the slightest attention — and the fashionable stance is “stand with Ukraine”. So it’s rah, rah, rah — for war! For someone else to be at war! A second irony is that Trump — yes, after lying so frequently in the past — gets one right. If he had been in the White House this madness would not be happening.

        This *particular* madness would not be happening — the Rethuglicans would no doubt have some new fangled outrages of their own to foist on the entire world and are no doubt planning them right now. But the policies of the dotard Biden will take some beating.

        There does seem to have been a departure from the norm on Ukraine, though. Even by US standards of hypocrisy, the US position has been totally unreasonable and has forced this extremely dangerous situation. The last hope was for the Minsk agreements to be enforced by the Germans and the French — but no! The whole of NATO seems cowed by the US. No-one will stand up to the US for common sense, common decency, peace. What is going on?

        • Litchfield
          March 16, 2022 at 19:49

          “There does seem to have been a departure from the norm on Ukraine, though.”

          Could this have anything to do with the fact that Biden and his family are personalliy compromised by their underhanded oligarchic-type dealings with Ukraine? They have plenty of motivation to keep this thing going as it helps to prevent the surfaces of damaging evidence of their own involvements and complicity in stealing assets from the Ukrainian people. They are American oligarchs feeding at the Ukrainian trough. Naturally they want the war to continue—to protect their own skins.

          The last thing the Bidens want is a Russian international tribunal that outs all of the oligarchic antics that have turned the Ukraine into a center for every type of corruption since the breakup of the USSR in 1991.

    • renate
      March 16, 2022 at 08:33

      The hegemon has delusions of grandeur. President Biden is belligerent and he keeps poking his fingers in the eyes of allies, friends, and foes alike. The state department needs a major clean-up, all the Russophobic neocons need to be fired. President Biden is one of them, that is a problem, then there is the most powerful MIC, the real deep state.

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