War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered.
By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News
Recent comments by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel shed light on the duplicitous game played by Germany, France, Ukraine and the United States in the lead-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
While the so-called “collective west” (the U.S., NATO, the E.U. and the G7) continue to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an act of “unprovoked aggression,” the reality is far different: Russia had been duped into believing there was a diplomatic solution to the violence that had broken out in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 U.S.-backed Maidan coup in Kiev.
Instead, Ukraine and its Western partners were simply buying time until NATO could build a Ukrainian military capable of capturing the Donbass in its entirety, as well as evicting Russia from Crimea.
In an interview last week with Der Spiegel, Merkel alluded to the 1938 Munich compromise. She compared the choices former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had to make regarding Nazi Germany with her decision to oppose Ukrainian membership in NATO, when the issue was raised at the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.
By holding off on NATO membership, and later by pushing for the Minsk accords, Merkel believed she was buying Ukraine time so that it could better resist a Russian attack, just as Chamberlain believed he was buying the U.K. and France time to gather their strength against Hitler’s Germany
The takeaway from this retrospection is astounding. Forget, for a moment, the fact that Merkel was comparing the threat posed by Hitler’s Nazi regime to that of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and focus instead in on the fact that Merkel knew that inviting Ukraine into NATO would trigger a Russian military response.
Rather than reject this possibility altogether, Merkel instead pursued a policy designed to make Ukraine capable of withstanding such an attack.
War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered.
[See: Biden Confirms Why the U.S. Needed This War, Consortium News.]
Putin: Minsk Was a Mistake
Merkel’s comments parallel those made in June by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to several western media outlets. “Our goal,” Poroshenko declared, “was to, first, stop the threat, or at least to delay the war — to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces.” Poroshenko made it clear that Ukraine had not come to the negotiating table on the Minsk Accords in good faith.
This is a realization that Putin has come to as well. In a recent meeting with Russian wives and mothers of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, including a few widows of fallen soldiers, Putin acknowledged that it was a mistake to agree to the Minsk accords, and that the Donbass problem should have been resolved by force of arms at that time, especially given the mandate he had been handed by the Russian Duma regarding authorization to use Russian military forces in “Ukraine,” not just Crimea.
Putin’s belated realization should send shivers down the spine of all those in the West who operate on the misconception that there can now somehow be a negotiated settlement to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
None of Russia’s diplomatic interlocutors have demonstrated a modicum of integrity when it comes to demonstrating any genuine commitment to a peaceful resolution to the ethnic violence which emanated from the bloody events of the Maidan in February 2014, which overthrew an OSCE-certified, democratically-elected Ukrainian president.
Response to Resistance
When Russian speakers in Donbass resisted the coup and defended that democratic election, they declared independence from Ukraine. The response from the Kiev coup regime was to launch an eight-year vicious military attack against them that killed thousands of civilians. Putin waited eight years to recognize their independence and then launched a full-scale invasion of Donbass in February.
He had previously waited on the hope that the Minsk Accords, guaranteed by Germany and France and endorsed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council (including by the U.S.), would resolve the crisis by giving Donbass autonomy while remaining part of Ukraine. But Kiev never implemented the accords and were not sufficiently pressured to do so by the West.
The detachment shown by the West, as every pillar of perceived legitimacy crumbled — from the OSCE observers (some of whom, according to Russia, were providing targeting intelligence about Russian separatist forces to the Ukrainian military); to the Normandy Format pairing of Germany and France, which was supposed to ensure that the Minsk Accords would be implemented; to the United States, whose self-proclaimed “defensive” military assistance to Ukraine from 2015 to 2022 was little more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing — all underscored the harsh reality that there never was going to be a peaceful settlement of the issues underpinning the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
And there never will be.
War, it seems, was the solution sought by the “collective West,” and war is the solution sought by Russia today.
Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
On reflection, Merkel was not wrong in citing Munch 1938 as an antecedent to the situation in Ukraine today. The only difference is this wasn’t a case of noble Germans seeking to hold off the brutal Russians, but rather duplicitous Germans (and other Westerners) seeking to deceive gullible Russians.
This will not end well for either Germany, Ukraine, or any of those who shrouded themselves with the cloak of diplomacy, all the while hiding from view the sword they held behind their backs.
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.
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I am from Russia and often catch myself thinking why in articles about Russia, about certain of its steps in the field of foreign policy and economics, there are so few professionally competent and unbiased analysts who write or speak honestly and without sycophancy.
Scott Ritter is a rare exception and it’s not because it often seems to speak positively about Russia, not at all, it just knows the subject it’s talking about well. Yes, Ukraine was being prepared for war. In Russia, this was seen and known even at the household level, and Ukraine prepared for it with a great desire. The only thing she did not understand was that she was also being deceived, promising her a very large prize in the event of victory over Russia. If we accept that any war in the modern world is for resources, then you can imagine what prize awaits Ukraine, and all those who stand behind it.
thank you Consorstiumnews for this article and others. Why not reach out to Tucker Carlson to have J. Lurie interviewed. Strangely or not, only Fox’s Carlson speaks out about the dangers of the “deep state.” And Fox is the only media outlet that interview Glenn Greenwald. I am not talking about “reaching across the aisle” political stuff, but the sad reality that so-called liberals and progressives seem now to be hand and glove with the deep state. Freud warned of such happening, when supposedly those who feel they are more noble, informed, kinder than others take over a society. (see his brilliant book “Civilization and Its Discontents” or listen to it for free via YouTube. Last few chapters are so applicable for today. May a miracle of peace happen. With on-going thanks! from a poet from Brooklyn living out west….
America and its cronies have broken every agreement they freely entered into.
Any agreement with them is not worth the paper it’s written on.
Any verbal understanding with them is not worth the paper it isn’t written on.
To possibly be implemented on the highest U.N.- level:
It is a challenge to transition the giant industries including all the connected “jobs” from a destructive towards a constructive process/ progress.
There is really a lot(!) to do to “repair”- looking at the human/ industrial made huge social and environmental damage in history and at present around the planet (including the oceans).
Let’s shift (almost in the first place) the military budget (~ 2 trillion dollars per year) in a step by step international binding agreement within a 12 year time-frame to regenerating nature and social balance.
The attached industries will follow consequently.
Let our (military) guys and girls be good “forces”/ stewards for a healthy and as far as possible resilient planet, and a socially stable global society including all wonderful creatures sharing the world with us.
By training the staff correspondingly and thoroughly.
That would be really great & smart for national and global security!
And lets make them finally undertake the long overdue clean up of all the highly dangerous, poisonous and tremendous mess, the military and their industries have been leaving or dumping about everywhere around the planet during and after past (world) wars.
Including the deadly nuclear waste time bombs rotting somewhere.
Dangerous work for decades.
There is only one garden Eden we very likely are ever able to reach ^^
The entire weapon industry (military- industrial complex) must become state owned and controlled for no monetary profit.
Just maintained for the really necessary defence needs.
Not more than that!
And this can be probably done very well with just ~10% of the present budget/ cost in about every country.
In the hands of a shareholders dictated industry they always will be looking for more profit every single day and year by year.
And if there is no conflict/ crisis they will create one at its “best”. They even are in for multiple conflicts/ crisis if maximum profit is on the horizon.
Again and again, always based on malicious propaganda, spread by “government” agencies, evil willing „think tanks“ and allied media.
Accepting/ causing millions of civil deaths and natures destruction.
There is a choice for what to use global yearly military spendings…
… of now more than 2.000.000.000.000,. $ each year.
We got to want it and insist on it!
This “collective west”, actually a limited number of individuals of several countries, is already for decades acting like a murderous bunch of organized criminals.
And should be treated accordingly!
When Russia and China want something from abroad they build schools and bridges. When America wants something from abroad it bombs schools and bridges.
America will start the war that kills a billion.
I note your comment, 4th last para:
“War, it seems, was the solution sought by the “collective West,” and war is the solution sought by Russia today.”
After your dynamic description and revelation to many of bamboozling deception, this comment is no doubt literally correct but seems to present all that went before, slightly short:
It seems to me:
‘The West sought and still does seek war with Russia – Austin’s comment ‘the aim is regime change in Russia” – while Russia wanted a peaceful solution but now realises the Wests intentions and deceptions and has no option but to defend itself’.
I also mention that the latest historical research, according to Mathew Ehret, reveals a different narrative re Chamberlain. He apparently wanted to deceive Hitler into a war with Russia, to kill two birds with one stone ‘as it were’. Hitler went along with it briefly, but then decided to go his own way before finally going east against Russia, I can’t remember the exact detail of it.
You are adhering to the canonical narrative about Chamberlain as well-intentioned appeaser of Hitler.
There is another version of events featuring him as the duplicitous evil genius getting Czechoslovakia to roll over and succumb to Germany which was being groomed as the center of power in Central Europe to face off against evil Bolshevik Russia.
“War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered.”
Yeah, it seems that NATO leaders all provided lip service while they worked to make war inevitable. And now they all provide cover for one another as they each point fingers at Putin and decry the EVIL that has “befallen” the poor Ukrainian people.
Such lies are nothing new. The Wars in Iraq (2003) and Syria (2011) were planned years in advance and the lies to cover for them were perpetrated at the highest levels. Consider:
“The US cannot wait for final proof “in the form of a mushroom cloud” before taking action against Saddam Hussein, the US president, George Bush, warned overnight.”
Obama falsely blamed the Benghazi attack on an “internet video.”
Obama’s “Moderate Rebels” Deception
Seymour Hersh exposes Obama Administration lies about chemical weapons use in Syria (Ghouta – 2013)
The BIG LIE works well for sly liars that control the media.
The depravity of the collective “west” knows no bounds. We have long needed an antiwar movement in the USA, but there is no consciousness for it. People assume without being told that Russia blew up its own pipeline. But the Vietnam movement started very small, with only a few dozen at protests as late as 1966 – 1967. It’s got to start somewhere, but where are the people like Chomsky and Kirkpatrick Sale and the Berrigans of our time now?
I think the answer to where are all the peaceniks today is the massive chilling effect the new and improved state propaganda machine can whip up in hours or days. We’ve always been manipulated into war by lies, but this is ridiculous. There is no discussion and a whole massive history behind this that the mainstream media is deliberately obstructing, and social media is banning people for even mentioning. And if you are not censored or banned, the propaganda machine’s trolls come in and attack any mention of facts that do not rabidly suppose the pro-war narrative, calling people Putin agents, Russian names, calling people liars …. and all the while blabbering about freedom of speech in the media. This is all a real mind-F*.
This one tries hard to find attention ^^
Here is an excellent analysis of the likes of Chomsky:
Thank you Scott Ritter and thank you Consortium News for continuing to highlight facts and events that the mainstream media is clearly ignoring and hiding in order to propagandize people.
Big Agriculture and the giant Wall St. banks, not to mention the arms industry already control Ukraine. Ukraine has not been a sovereign nation since 2014. These same interests are salivating over Russia’s vast natural resources. Just as is always the case in war, greed and lust for power are the motivating factors. Russia has a right to defend itself against this aggression from NATO and Washington.
If we manage to survive this avoidable debacle, the hangover is going to be a doozy.
Well, then, it’s too bad for the western big money interests that much of Ukraine’s vast natural resources happens to be in the regions that have just joined the Russian Federation. You can bet that the aggrieved rich guys will whine and demand compensation for their losses. Personally, I see this as a lesson in moral hazard. You backed the wrong side, boo hoo.
Just can’t trust genocidal, murderous, thieving Western governments these days.
NEVER should have.
So, we learn what many of us suspected from the start, that the “real” new Hitler was Barack Obama, then Hillary Clinton, and now Joe Biden. (Perhaps Bushdaddy, Slick Willie and Bushbaby were Kaiser Wilhelm. I dunno who Donald Trump was. Certainly not Joe Stalin.) Thanks for definitively clarifying that. We need to see the truth in our “history” books.
Somehow, Scott, your news/assessment come as no surprise
No surprise, duplicity is the Deep State’s hallmark, abroad but also internally. We are as duped as the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Palestinians, the Yemeni, etc., etc., etc.
I agree with all of your analysis, but the only question in my mind is why Merkel administration had fully hooked up Germany energy dependence on Russian natural gases to develop its economy
Europe will pay for its duplicity. Winter is upon the EU which has recently established a price cap on Russian gas. Gas that the EU needs to keep warm and keep its industry working. They threw that all out the window when they agreed with the US Maidan plan. As a ‘thank you’ the US sticks it to the EU, selling LNG at inflated prices and luring EU industry to the US. When will the world learn that the US simply cannot be trusted? It is possessed of infantile political leadership, is entirely not agreement capable and is still intent on maintaining (a failing) hegemony.
The US is the greatest threat to peace and to human survival in the world today. I am not sure we as a species will come out of the other end of this US inspired madness whole.
El Occidente Colectivo necesita la guerra continuada pues basa su economía y su nivel de consumo, con todas sus diferencias, en el saqueo y el terrorismo económico y militar. Michael Hudson lo explica con gran claridad pero nos cuesta ver lo evidente pues la propaganda para no verlo es inmensa.
Gracias a Scott y a Consortiumnews por su excelente trabajo para ayudar a ver la verdad.
I agree completely with you. We are the nation of gangsters Hitler declared us to be, and I’m looking forward to reading Dark Quadrant about the CIA, big biz, and organized crime.
Thank you, Scott Ritter, for revealing the perfidy of the “west” against Russia.
Could this be how the cia looks at the picture of Natural Gas prouction???
… Pay attention whose “..team..” the opposing side is on with the real, “..threat..”:
1 .United States …. 20%
2. Russia …………… 18%
3. Iran ………………. 06%
4. Canada ………….. 05%
6. Qatar …………….. 05%
7. China …………….. 04%
8. Norway ………….. 03%
9. Australia ………… 03%
10. Algeria ………….. 03%
11. Saudi Arabia ….. 02%
12. Turkmenistan …
13. Indonesia ……….
14. Malaysia …………
15. UAE ……………….
16. Uzbekistan ……. 31% Combined Total
17. Netherlands …..
18. Argentina ………
19. UK ………………..
20. Kazakhistan …..
21. Egypt …………….
1 dollar is now equal to 62.5 rubles…
Zelensky and his Washington handlers had every opportunity prior to the start of Russia’s liberating SMO to negotiate a peaceful solution, instead they rebuffed the Kremlin and violated the Minsk agreements every step of the way.
Russia’s been doing everything possible to minimize civilian casualties by assiduously avoiding harm to schools, hospitals, and residential areas. It’s the Ukr forces, many of whom are Russophobes and neo-Nazis, who have been targeting common ethnic Russian civilians in the Donbas.
Putin and Shoigu had no other option left but to turn its liberating SMO into a counter terrorism operation after the West attacked Nordstream, the Crimea bridge, and its Ukr proxies continual attacks Donbas civilians.
Russia was invaded at least a few times throughout its history via the Ukrainian corridor into western Russia. It’s totally reasonable and natural for the Kremlin to be deeply concerned about a real threat on its western flank.
Imagine if the U.S. had been regularly invaded resulting in the deaths of millions of U.S. citizens by way of its Mexican or Canadian border. Just an ounce of suspicious behavior in those two nations would bring forth a wrath of attack by Washington unlike anything you’ve seen since Baghdad 2003.
Der Spiegel moved the report, so the link to Merkel saying Minks 2 was a fraud that she helped frame doesn’t work.
The war in Ukraine is shaping up to last a very long time and may only end when the U.S. or Russia can no longer afford the cost of the war.
Ukraine is running out of people to send to die.
How often have I stated that doing business with America ends badly? Forget about ‘democracy’, forget about ‘human rights’, forget our Western ‘values’. These days it is all about how deep in the back can the knife be plunged.
No surprise, duplicity is the Deep State’s hallmark, abroad, but also internally. We are as duped as the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Palestinians, the Yemeni, etc., etc., etc.
The only good news that can come of this, if there is any, is that the perpetrators failed in virtually every attempt they were making to “weaken Russia”. The exact opposite has happened, and the EU has been greatly weakened, while US credibility around the world suffered another giant setback. BRICS is expanding and offering much better deals to the third world than the US/NATO alliance would ever have offered, and much of the world outside the West is turning toward Russia and China for solutions to their problems. The US and NATO countries have gotten no rewards for their despicable behavior, which hopefully will make them think twice before trying something like this again. Keep in mind that most of this happened under Biden’s watch as vice president and then as president. This is a Joe Biden production, and it will be his lasting legacy.
And that the more the perpetrators fail, the stronger the rest of the world becomes.
The US still has a long way to go before it reaches the bottom, both in terms of the danger it poses to the world, and its capacity for destruction in terms of hegemonic determination. As I see it, it’s like a wounded animal – the more it hurts the greater the danger it is to others.
But with BRICS and the other non-western alliances becoming stronger and better organised, particularly in terms of trade and currency settlements, the weaker the US becomes economically. I believe this is what will eventually force the US to accept that in order to survive it must adjust to a multi-polar world and stop trying to dominate.
The war in the Ukraine is being exploited in the most cynical way.
Here is UK Conservative Party chairman Nadim Zahawi responding to the looming possibility of strikes:
“This is a time to come together and to send a message to Mr. Putin that we’re not going to be divided in this way…Our message to the unions is to say this is not a time to strike, this a time to try and negotiate.”
(The Guardian, 5 December 2022).
It is interesting to contrast his idea that unions should negotiate with the idea that it would be wrong to try to negotiate an end to the war in the Ukraine.
You make an excellent point in your last paragraph!
She is as two faced as they come. I am absolutely stunned to see how much of a back stabber she truly is. I hope the German people let her know.
History would say that the only outcome of this conflict will be world war. We still have not found a way to avoid the most catastrophe conflagration – WW III.
A free ebook: The Pattern Of History and Fate of Humanity
Oh for the dream of a 300 mile demilitarized zone that might physically separate the armed forces of Russia and NATO.
Oh for the dream of a Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, and France that cared much more about their own national security than did America’s MIC in search of new foreign policy adventures (& profits).
Oh for the dream…
So, Washington did learn something from Vietnam: When you start a war, don’t use your own people as cannon fodder, especially if they are draftees. Of course, Vietnam was sold on the Gulf of Tonkin deception so apparently that page of the playbook is still in use. Is the CIA+US State Department not the number one terrorist organization in the world? How many deaths? It’s like they are trying to deal with the challenge of over-population (perhaps the key unstated issue driving everything else) all by themselves. How noble.
I used to admire Merkel and Van der Leyen. That was then, this is now. The EU is now braying for a war crimes tribunal or some such, albeit against Russia. Right. Be that as it may, I think it’s a good idea. Let’s see, who are the murderous deviants that we can indict; Biden, Nuland, Blinken, Sullivan, Merkel and Van der Leyen, for a start. These people are murderers. They are like the mafia dons who call for a hit and the henchmen who carry it out. The deaths of 100s of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian men and boys, the destruction of the ordinary people Ukraine and their livelihoods, the deaths that are starting in Europe from lack of resources (estimates now, I have read, are for 100,000 cold related deaths this winter), the impoverishment of Europe and the world for generations to come, and immeasurable environmental destruction are on their bloody hands. May each of them, rot in hell. I hope they never experience a glad moment for the rest of their miserable, shameful lives. The “Western empire” that they champion is a perversity that can end none too soon.
I hope I’m not being too nuanced…
Exactly right! The nation of Russia is more than justified now to wreak revenge on the duplicitous countries of the West.
Man Lee, Russian leaders have wisely chosen not to seek vengeance. Instead, they are working with China and other nations to leave western governments and economies in their dust.
Lucky we are in the West, that the administration of the Russian Federation is acting as wisely ^^
Otherwise we might already have a nuclear disastrous conflict.
I could not agree more with Mr. Paul Merrell.
The west has blown it big time.