SCOTT RITTER: The Back Channel

Communications between the U.S. and Russia are essential for preventing an out-of-control crisis and a conduit exists for ongoing, high-level dialogue. But what is it really for?

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, center, with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, October 2021. (NATO)

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

According to The Wall Street Journal, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has been involved with a secretive “back channel” line of communication with top Russian officials as part of an effort by the U.S. and Russia to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating into a nuclear conflict.

Among the officials named as representing the Russian conduit for this “back channel” are Yuri Ushakov, a senior foreign policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s security council.

In comments made shortly after the WSJ article appeared, Sullivan confirmed that he has been working to keep communication channels between the United States and Russia open despite the war in Ukraine, adding that it was “in the interests” of the White House to maintain contact with the Kremlin.

Speaking at the Economic Club of New York, Sullivan didn’t say that he himself has been engaged in the talks reported by the WSJ, only that the U.S. has “channels to communicate with the Russian Federation at senior levels.”

Sullivan has publicly availed himself of such channels in the past, conducting telephone calls with both Ushakov and Patrushev about European security and Ukraine on Dec. 20, 2021, and on March 16. Sullivan alluded to the existence of a “back channel” with Moscow in September when speculation was rampant about the possibility of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

Sullivan publicly declared then that the Biden administration had “communicated directly, privately at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia.”

Sullivan has a history of being personally involved in sensitive “back channel” contacts. In July 2012, Sullivan, then director of policy planning at the State Department, flew to Muscat, Oman, for secret meetings with Iran about a possible nuclear deal.

In March 2013, while serving as the national security adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden, Sullivan was a member of a small delegation of U.S. diplomats who flew to Oman for a series of secret meetings with Iranian officials which culminated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

William Burns 

But the key to who might be taking the lead in the current Russian “back channel” lies with the man who headed up the March 2013 delegation in Oman — William Burns, a career diplomat who at the time served as deputy secretary of state and is now director of Central Intelligence.

His name is synonymous with “back channel.”

It was Burns who, based on these secret Oman meetings, hammered out the initial draft of the JCPOA. The background story, described by Burns in his autobiography, aptly titled The Back Channel, is what made the long-time diplomat an attractive choice for Biden to head the C.I.A.

When the Biden administration wanted to discuss the escalating crisis surrounding Ukraine in the fall of 2021, it was Burns who was dispatched. In addition to meeting with Patrushev, Ushakov and other senior Russian security officials (including his Russian counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR) Burns had a conversation with Putin by telephone.

This kind of high-level access is what makes Burns the ideal conduit for a substantive “back channel” between the U.S. and Russia.

In July, Burns flew to Armenia in a visit that was not only unannounced, but also the first ever by a C.I.A. director to that nation. Prior to Burns’ arrival, teams of U.S. and Russian security officials arrived in Yerevan where they engaged in confidential discussions about the Ukrainian conflict — in particular on measures that could be taken to avoid escalation leading to nuclear war.

Burns’ visit appeared timed to these discussions, as did the visit of the head of the Russian SVR, Sergei Naryshkin, three days later. According to Russian media sources, Naryshkin was cryptic about the purpose of his visit. “My visit to Yerevan is definitely not connected with the arrival of my American colleague. But I don’t exclude that his visit is on the contrary connected with mine.” And it looks like the Burns-Naryshkin “back channel” is still active as just last week they met in Ankara, Turkey.

‘Only About Nukes’

William Burns speaking in a session on the “new global narrative for Europe” in January 2020, while he was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (World Economic Forum, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Significantly, senior Biden administration officials quickly quashed any notion that Burns was engaged in “back channel” diplomacy regarding an end to the Ukraine conflict. The Washington Post reported:

“’He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,’ the NSC spokesman stressed. Instead, said the spokesman, ‘we have channels to communicate with Russia on managing risk, especially nuclear risk and risks to strategic stability.’”

The U.S. mainstream media had been enthralled with the narrative of a Sullivan-run back channel seeking an early end to the conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden with his national security team, August 2021. From left: C.I.A. Director William Burns, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on right. (Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Russia will not negotiate a settlement on U.S./Ukrainian terms, only Russian terms. Russian terms will be dictated by the arrival of 220,000 fresh troops, organized into 10-15 divisions, starting next month.

Burns’ job is only to keep what will be a major escalation of the war from spinning out of control – to keep it from going nuclear. That has been his job from the start.

Based upon the critical state of communications between the U.S. and Russia, and the necessity of maintaining a channel for ongoing dialogue, one can expect that the Ankara meeting between Burns and Naryshkin will not be the last between these two individuals.

Despite this, the notion of a separate Sullivan-run “back channel,” one focused on finding a diplomatic off-ramp to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, lingers, promoted in part by the self-serving attitude of a Biden administration that believes itself somehow in control of events in Ukraine.

The conditions for a settlement on U.S. and Ukrainian terms — such as Russia withdrawing from the four territories it recently annexed as well as Crimea, paying reparations and turning over senior military and civilian leaders for prosecution as war criminals — have almost no chance of happening.

From left: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; President Vladimir Putin; Alexander Bortnikow, director of Federal Secret Service; Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, December 2016. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Such thinking only underscores the hubris-laced fantasy world Washington has crafted for itself. The notion that Russia is somehow losing its military conflict with NATO-backed Ukraine, and its economic war with the West, is belied by the increasing desperation inherent in the growing calls for a negotiated settlement by senior U.S. officials.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has argued that now is the time for negotiations, given the fact that, according to him, there is neither a way for Russia to win nor for Ukraine to regain its lost territory.  “So, if there’s a slowdown in the tactical fighting, that may become a window — possibly, it may not — for a political solution, or at least the beginnings, for talks to initiate a political solution,” Milley said.

Milley’s pro-negotiation stance, however, is opposed by many of America’s European partners, whose position is perhaps best captured by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who on Nov. 14, while speaking to the heads of the foreign and defense ministries of the Netherlands, declared:

“The only way to achieve a solution to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is on the battlefield. Many conflicts are resolved at the negotiating table, but this is not the case, and Ukraine must win, so we will support it for as long as it takes.”

Russia, it appears, fully agrees — this conflict will be settled on the battlefield. At the moment, Russia is shutting down the Ukrainian economy and Ukrainian society by destroying large sectors of Ukraine’s electrical power grid, throwing much of Ukraine into a cold darkness just as winter sets in.

Russia has stabilized the battlefield, withdrawing from untenable terrain while pouring 87,000 recently mobilized troops into the front lines to solidify its defenses. Meanwhile, it continues to undertake offensive operations in the Donbass, destroying Ukrainian forces while capturing territory that is part of the Donetsk.

Ukrainian casualties have been horrific, and overwhelmingly lop-sided — in the month of October alone, in the Kherson front, Ukraine lost some 12,000 men, while Russian casualties were around 1,500, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Ukraine has released no figures, but the U.S. says 100,000 soldiers on both sides have been killed or wounded in the conflict, a figure impossible to verify. 

Over the horizon, in combat training centers throughout Russia, more than 200,000 additional troops are finalizing their combat training and preparations. Sometime next month they will begin arriving on the battlefield, organized into 10-15 division equivalents.

When they arrive, Ukraine will have no response, having squandered its NATO-trained and equipped forces on pyrrhic political victories. The photo opportunities on the city square in Kherson will fade into memory once Russia unleashes this new force.

And there’s nothing either NATO or Ukraine can do to stop them.

While Russia engaged in negotiations with Ukraine at the beginning of the war and offered a deal to Kiev, which was stopped by the West, the facts on the ground have since changed.

Anyone attempting to breathe life into the concept of a Sullivan-driven “back channel” designed to bring Russia to the negotiating table must first discount Russia’s improving military posture. Russia simply will not be drawn to a negotiation designed to negate the advantages it has been accruing on the battlefield and beyond.

The Sullivan “back channel” is little more than the collective West negotiating with itself.

Russia’s negotiation will be on the battlefield.

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. His most recent book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

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


20 comments for “SCOTT RITTER: The Back Channel

  1. IJ Scambling
    November 24, 2022 at 11:25

    “The Sullivan “back channel” is little more than the collective West negotiating with itself.”

    The problem of moving to negotiations is obviously deeply complicated by the “leadership” from the West. Biden is no JFK whereas Putin might be superior to a Kruschev, and the others mentioned are not deeply experienced. With Biden especially we have a man inclined to belligerence, which is further complicated by his past dubious behavior in Ukraine back to Hunter’s days with Burisma Holdings. Biden as VP was instrumental (even bragging about it) in removing a special prosecutor in Ukraine looking into Hunter’s 50,000+ a month executive position. There was a sort of “don’t mess with me, I’m too powerful” attitude in his threatening to cut a billion-dollar arms package to Ukraine six years ago unless the prosecutor were removed.

    Further, since the election we have a lot of noise from the Republicans that Hunter’s laptop and Biden’s tax records will be pursued, partly in response to the Democrats going after Trump. “[C]ollective West negotiating with itself” suggests the presence of sanctimonious covering behavior along with attempts to get “attaboy” points. This is a huge difference to the back-channel negotiations going on between JFK and Kruschev sixty years back.

  2. November 24, 2022 at 11:05

    Its also hypocritical, given USA’s own policy of nuke use. USA would likely use nuclear weapons if faced with a similar situation (the prospect of a hostile Alliance winning a proxy war in a country that borders its own).


    “Senior U.S. officials said that Biden has decided not to follow through on his 2020 pledge to declare that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack against the United States or its allies.

    … nuclear weapons could be used in “extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners, officials told ACT. “

    In contrast, Russian nuclear doctrine focuses on deterrence. Even Russia’s rumored “escalate to deescalate” doctrine is more constrained than USA’s declared policy of using nukes to defend vital interests (in extreme circumstances – who decides what that is?). Though, in practice, both USA and Russia would probably employ nukes in much the same way.



    1) USA National Defense Policy actually began to change in 2014 after the Russians seized Crimea and helped the Donbas rebels to prevail.


    2) In 2017, the Trump Administration’s identified Russia and China as ‘recidivist nations’ and began a stealthy arms build-up that included revamping nuclear forces.


  3. ricardo2000
    November 23, 2022 at 16:39

    I believe Russian estimates of AFU dead and wounded may be accurate as the AFU leaves their dead on the battlefield.

    Winston Churchill (1944): ”I have left the obvious, essential fact to this point, namely, that it is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the [Nazi] army.”

    Russians have heard all the promises, watched the treaties signed and quickly ignored. They know of the racist genocides committed and planned. It won’t be the vacuous opinions of irrelevant Westerners that define this war. It will be blunt demands and brutal facts on the ground that define Ukraine’s public defeat. This war will end with NAYOYO humiliated, the Global South dancing ecstatically in the streets, and Russian tanks shaking the ground at western borders.

    Spent nuclear fuel is where the ‘dirt’ for ‘dirty nuclear bombs’ is found. It’s clear that Zelenskiy’s Nazis are attempting a ‘dirty nuclear bomb’ explosion by firing artillery shells into spent nuclear fuel storage cells at the Zaporozhye power plant. Russia is correct to warn the White West of the consequences of these war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the planet.

    Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

    The attacks on the Zaporozhye power plant, NordStream pipelines, and the Crimean Bridge Terrorist Murders have widened this war’s acceptable targets to include any NAYOYO infrastructure or energy source. First, continued shelling of the ZNPP could be the signal for the nuclear destruction of Switzerland, not part of NAYOYO. Let’s see how the White West takes the transformation of all those secret bank accounts into digital garbage.

    Second, would be the destruction of significant NAYOYO infrastructure. Can NAYOYO say, ‘Galveston’, ‘Houston’, ‘Chunnel’, ‘TGV’, ‘Polish Power plants’, ‘James Bay Hydro power’, Cushing and Hardisty pipeline hubs’, ‘Danube River ports’, ‘Offshore wind farms’, ‘Antwerp’, ‘Rotterdam’, or ‘North Sea pipelines and refineries’?

    Third, would be the complete conventional destruction of the Baltic States and Poland, quickly followed by Moldova, Rumania, and Bulgaria.

    John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873): “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally conservative.”

    • Karen Kramer
      November 24, 2022 at 10:22

      I predict when Father Winter REALLY shows up in a few weeks and people in Europe start to freeze and starve to death in increasing numbers, cannibalism will become the norm. Just read the book Savage Continent on what happened in the immediate aftermath of WW2. As millions of refugees pour into Europe from failed Ukrainian cities, Azov Battalion veterans and the surviving hordes of their tattooed brothers of the same ideological stripe will set Europe ablaze as they try to wrest control of the streets from the waves of millions of Islamic migrants of previous years. The Bandera fanatics of Ukrainian, Polish, German and other European nations – East and West – will be well-equipped with stockpiled black market arms that had inexplicably gone missing somewhere between Poland and Ukraine during the war. Hallal white meat will be sold openly in Islamic dominated city center No Go Zones.
      And just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Klaus Schwab and co. will be sipping champagne and watching it all unfold from a satellite livestream feed on a big screen in a well-appointed underground bunker fortress somewhere under the Alps.
      And congratulating each other on what they’ve accomplished in such short a time.

  4. Ivan Grozny
    November 23, 2022 at 15:32

    Quite funny to witness the contrast between the µ$ and the russians.
    The µ$-team has a huge number of folders and papers, and even has signs indicating the names and position of everyone. The Russkies, on the contrary – a neat, almost empty table, save for notebooks for immediate comments, no signs (since they know each other already?). I have the urge to say WTF! A huge contrast. The Russians are serious – they mean buisness. The $nakes, on the other hand, pose for the press, for there “voters” (the fiat-money-enabling controllers).
    Unfortunately, the µ$ have some clout, or hold on, other nations, to serve the global-zion-homo-cause. All for the benefit of the money-makers (producers of the fiat-dollar), the MIC, and – ultimately – a huge disadvantage for the rest of us!!

  5. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    November 23, 2022 at 12:56

    Most students of U.S.-Soviet/Russia relations are long aware of the fact that these great powers do maintain lines of secret communication including hotlines, especially though not exclusively, to manage their security/strategic relations. What was not as well known though is that those relations also happened through BACK CHANNELS. Invariably, whether it was via the formal hotlines or presumably the informal back channels the relations usually happen at the higher official and track one levels especially during the peak Cold War years and thereafter but as detente began to take hold these also began occuring at track one and a half and even “lower” levels too. Thus, it was not really surprising to the world that back channel negotiations happened with the Soviets via track one under Bush, Sr. or with even the Iranians through Burns in Oman as Ritter authoritatively points out here.

    What is, however, annoying to the world at large, to key regional allies and to most major powers, if not also to the great powers, is that with the USA what can be DERIVED THROUGH THE FORMAL BACK CHANNEL at a lower level may be EJECTED BY THE AUTHORITATIVE FRONT OFFICE at the topmost level, politico-strategically, that is : e.g. even the organically negotiated JCPOA of the Democrats got ditched in a presidential deal-breaker under the Republicans. Given this American politically-vulnerable “diplomatic exceptionalism” the non-conventional international community is now justifiably worried if back channel use can be politically successful in the Ukrainian traji-comical context when it has so remarkably failed in those more serious higher strategic contexts ?

    Anyway, if back channel use only benefits the highly exploitative illuminati, imperialists, neo-cons, their banker and MIC surrogates, and neo-liberalists who reneged the purist left , then a wounded albeit capitalist Russia may not be sufficiently tempted to abandon a frontal battle outcome against their regional proxies, even if a clear nuclear restraint could be reliably secured from Putin and company. And besides what guarantee is there still that this back channel diplomatic success would arrest further frontal geopolitical assaults on the coming Russian surge and in their territorial integrity and near futures ?

  6. Jeff Harrison
    November 23, 2022 at 12:34

    Mr. Ritter is always refreshing. And Realist’s observation that the US is practicing naught but gangsterism is spot on. Unfortunately, that’s all the US has been doing ever since the fall of the old SovU. And Messrs Putin and Xi are also correct that the world has become multipolar and the US will no longer be able to simply impose its will on the world. Unfortunately, the US and the EU didn’t get the memo and their response has been similar to that idiot Stoltenberg’s – it’ll be settled on the battlefield. Ultimately, if no one negotiates, it will be but I’m pretty sure that Stoltenberg won’t like the results. NATO is accustomed to beating up on weak powers and having the firepower of the US at their back. Russia isn’t a weak country, regardless of the thinking in Washington and Brussels, and I’m fairly confident that when that idiot Sullivan threatened Russia over nukes, he was probably told, then don’t put me in a position where I feel I have to use them because if I do, I won’t stop with the Ukraine.

    The Ukrainians will pay the heaviest price but it’s hard to feel sorry for a bunch of viscous, lying, arrogant, Nazi boobs. Unfortunately for Stoltenburg, the EU, and the US, they decided to follow the Earl of Montrose’s advice:
    He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his desserts are small,
    Who dares not put it to the touch,
    To win or lose it all!

    And I’m suspecting they’re going to lose it all. The US$ will lose it’s place as the lingua franca of the financial world as will the Euro and the EU itself might break up as the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels attempt to impose their will on the countries that aren’t like the Baltic attack chihuahuas.

  7. November 23, 2022 at 11:03

    The end of this proxy war via battlefield negotiation is unlikely to bring peace. Most readers here probably already know this.

    US policy of Full Spectrum Dominance is designed to ensure that no strategic competitor arises. US hegemony is non-negotiable. Whether it is Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Arctic, Taiwan, or anywhere else, US and its allies will increase the pressure with the goal of strangling the Russia-China Alliance. And with hybrid warfare, the conflicts are not limited by geographic boundaries. Economic sanctions are the new blockades. Creation of US Space Force implies USA seeks to dominate Space – the ultimate high ground. Cyber warfare. Social media. Etc.

    Hell hath no fury like an Empire scorned. Just ask:

    – Hillary (“We came, we saw, we kicked his ass!”);

    – Susan Rice (“spontaneous protest” lie to cover-up gun-running to Syria);

    – Nancy Pelosi (“Pays to have a nuclear bomb in your pocket.”);

    – Vicky Nuland (“F*ck the EU . . . Yats is the guy”);

    – Condolezza Rice (Cheerleader for Iraq War and Global War on Terror);

    – Madeleine Albright (On dead Iraqi children: “We think its worth it”);

    – Gina Haspel (Deleted evidence of CIA torture – rewarded with promotion to CIA Director, despite having run a torture site herself).

    • Martin Kidwell
      November 24, 2022 at 02:47

      Agree with your comments. One correction: Hillary’s comment was, “We came, we saw, he died!” And she laughed as she said it. A truly sick mind.

  8. Peter Loeb
    November 23, 2022 at 10:42

    We had been told by Kyiv and many media that the Ukrainian army was victorious and
    posed for more victories. In this space, it was pointed out that such claims did not take into account events in
    the west as a result of Russian attacks.

    History records that in the US Civil War, Ulysses Grant jubilantly won a victory at Vicksburg on July 4 after a
    46-day siege. The starving Confederates finally surrendered. The victory was celebrated, Grant became
    a national hero and “the rest is history”. —-Peter Loeb, November 22, 2022

  9. Francis Lee
    November 23, 2022 at 04:03

    Precisely why is the US blatantly interfering in Eastern European affairs in the first place!? Having marched their battalions right up to Russia’s western frontiers and established forward locations for offensive nuclear missiles, they wonder why the Russians have taken umbrage at such behaviour. It would be interesting to note how the US would react if the Russians placed their missiles in Venezuela or Cuba! But I think we have been here before.

    Of course this imperial hubris is to be expected from the Anglo-American battle-wagon and its Euro minions: Russia is to be taken down and broken up piece by piece. But of course! What’s next on the menu – oh, I almost forgot, China.

    But NATO marches on oblivious to the new reality and its glaring inbuilt obsolescence. The diplomatic, economic and security environment needs urgent attention. The preservation of NATO is now based upon nostalgia, mental rigidity, and the power of vested interests – the neo-con seal of approval – rather than rational strategic calculations. NATO’s mission seems little more than a permanent fixture with a view to preserving itself ad infinitum. But alas, there is no indication that US policy makers have abandoned their goal of adding Ukraine to NATO. To the contrary, there are explicit signs that the bulk of the US foreign policy blob is more determined than ever than to achieve that specific objective.

    It was no less a personage than Joseph Alois Schumpeter who drew attention to this deranged mindset. He pointed out that In ancient Egypt ”a class of professional soldiers” formed during the war against the Hyksos persisted even when these wars were over – along with its ”warlike instincts and interests”. He capped this part of the narrative with a pithy summary of his viewpoint. ”Created by the wars that required it, the machine now created the wars it required.” Wise words, unfortunately falling on deaf ears.

  10. Thot
    November 23, 2022 at 00:05

    “lorsque les spéculations se sont multipliées sur la possibilité que la Russie utilise des armes nucléaires tactiques contre l’Ukraine. ” mais c’est ça le problème, les yankee n’écoutent JAMAIS LES AUTRES et vivent dans une réalité parallèle où ils croient à leur propre mensonge. Parfois, je pense qu’ils ont réellement une maladie mentale ! la Russie a affirmé et contrairement aux yankee, elle ne ment pas, que le nucléaire serait utilisé uniquement si la vie du pays était en jeu, de plus, la Russie possède des armes largement supérieures aux yankee , sarmat et autres poséidons et puis, elle est moins sanguinaire, moins monstrueuse, seuls les yankee ont utilisé le nucléaire deux fois, et ne se sont jamais préoccupés du fait qu’ils massacraient, sans aucune raison, des milliers de personnes. D’ailleurs, leur histoire très courte est sanglante, à peine trois siècles, montre qu’ils sont malades, ils tuent partout dans le monde en toute impunité/ Ils ne peuvent accepter que c’est terminé, après avoir massacré tous les Ukrainiens, stupides, ils ne pourront plus rien faire, c’est fini de terroriser le monde entier, car ce monde va enfin se retourner contre eux. Je pense qu’un embargo total sur ce pays de merde est nécessaire pour qu’enfin ils comprennent mais il faudra interdire à l’élite de s’échapper afin qu’elle vive, elle aussi, la merde qu’elle a semé!

    • Common Sense
      November 24, 2022 at 18:00


      Totally agree ^^

  11. Mikael Andersson
    November 22, 2022 at 23:05

    The USA uses the backchannel to threaten the RF? Sullivan “communicated directly … that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia.” Hubris hardy describes such arrogance. One Russian sub off the Atlantic coast and such arrogance could evaporate in a bright flash. As Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev said in 1956 while addressing Western ambassadors, “We will bury you”. If the USA wishes to avoid a major escalation of the war that spins out of control – to keep it from going nuclear – Americans had best have ears. Scott Ritter’s conclusion is most certainly the future.

  12. Michael Perry
    November 22, 2022 at 18:49

    The “..elites..” have played their “..pickle..” now.

    When the last time that they talked about tariff laws?
    When the last time that they talked about anti-trust laws?
    ….. 1970 …..?

    Back Channel..? … The front door is now wide open..!

    Speaking on Tuesday at an economic summit in Berlin organized by Suddeutsche Zeitung,
    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has argued..:

    “.. Neither the Covid-19 pandemic nor Russia’s offensive against Ukraine has played a pivotal
    … role in bringing about the current economic downturn in Europe. He attributed it to growth
    … in Asia instead, warning that there likely will not be a return to the good old days in the
    … foreseeable future. ..”

    “.. Scholz said that, for years, countries in North America and Europe had enjoyed a combination
    … of stable growth, low inflation and high employment rates. This, however, according to the chancellor,
    … was an “economic exception” that cannot be expected to last any longer. ..

    “.. “Russia’s war [against Ukraine] and the economic consequences of the [Covid-19] pandemic
    … may have expedited” the end of this era, the politician opined. He hastened to add, however,
    … that “they were not the trigger for it.”..”

    “.. Scholz went on to explain that, for decades, countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia have mainly
    … been viewed as a source of cheap goods for the European, American and, increasingly, the Chinese
    … markets. He noted that, at the same time, this is a major story of success enabled by globalization.
    … He also warned against deglobalization, calling on Germany and other European nations to embrace
    … more trade with emerging economies, “of course, [trade] by fair rules.”..”

    “.. “An increasingly multipolar word is arranging itself right now, fundamentally anew,” a development
    … which is best seen in South-East Asia, Scholz argued. He hastened to reassure German businesses
    … that they have nothing to fear, as their goods will remain in high demand in this new world and
    … they only stand to gain more. ..”

    “.. Speaking of the current energy crisis in his country, Scholz accused Russia of weaponizing gas exports,
    … adding that Germany had made a mistake in relying too much on one supplier. He vowed that Berlin
    … will never repeat this, going forward, meaning that dependence on China will have to be reduced as well.
    … Germany, he said, needs to look for new suppliers and markets for its goods. ..”

  13. Tc
    November 22, 2022 at 18:19

    Thanx for the breakdown Mr Ritter! I believe You are correct – everyone is all in. I’m waiting for the throwdown…
    Yet, I have new info for You. According to one of the LNR’s long time(2013) commanders, the Russian Army has no access to secure comms/net. This is not a joke. He has been the goto guy all along both in the LNR and DPR, and according to him, the provinces at the moment are better equipped than the RF Army. He has a long writeup on the fiasco, it starts to get real on the second page. I used to read the thing and I am astonished. Things fall into place by the last page. Please, read it – in case – You of all people should be aware and informed. I am shellshocked. I have left You a message on the ask the insp. page in o4der to convey this message. Hope against hope the doode is wrong, but he delivered quite a punch. Inam floored. Thanx for yaalls work there!

  14. Laurie Meadows
    November 22, 2022 at 16:59

    Turkiye, Iran, and Russia meet on Astana with the Syrian ‘armed opposition: on 23 November.

    Turkiye responds to a bomb attack apparently by a Kurd gangster. Turkiye rejects US profer of sympathy.

    Turkiye makes an assault on Kurdish areas of Syria holding the Kurdish organisations said by Turkiye to be responsible.

    At almost the same time Iran attacks Kurdish areas where it claims the instigators of recent riots in Iran have based themselves.

    Unconfirmed report Turkiye struck an area where US forces, illegally present in Syria, train the ‘armed Syrian opposition’ .

    Russia warns Turkiye not to be excessive in it’s military operation.

    A dummy Iskander missile is allegedly fired into the Turkiye operational area by a combined Russia – Syria force in training. Training for what? Using what?

    The US has much ‘deconflicting’ to do. It needs Russia’s help.

  15. Paul Spencer
    November 22, 2022 at 16:33

    Bought your latest book. Appreciate your analysis very much.

  16. Realist
    November 22, 2022 at 14:50

    “Sullivan publicly declared then that the Biden administration had ‘communicated directly, privately at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia.’ ”

    This is not diplomacy, back channel or otherwise. It is no more than gangsterism, plain and simple. Dramatically “making the other side an offer they can’t refuse.” It is also classical “projection.” Accusing the other side of considering taking the very actions you are threatening. American “diplomacy,” whether practiced openly in the public arena, furtively within smoked-filled back rooms, or via a secure dedicated “hot line” connection directly from the White House is nothing but a clown show put on by actors from the 3rd grade. Bart Simpson displays more gravitas as the foil to the adults in his universe. This administration can please spare us the BS. These are nothing more than the fantasies of a senile octogenarian playing “soldier.”

    • Dfnslblty
      November 23, 2022 at 09:27

      Agreed. Realist offers a sane addendum to Ritter’s — always excellent — view of such furtive activities by usa non-diplomatique, militaristique puppets of indu$try.

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