Another good article by Jeffrey Sachs

In Jeffrey Sach’s NATO Expansion & Ukraine’s Destruction, he quotes NATO Secretary0-General  Jens Stoltenberg saying, “So, he [Putin] went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”

When Prof. John Mearsheimer, I, and others have said the same, we’ve been attacked as Putin apologists. The same critics also choose to hide or flatly ignore the dire warnings against NATO enlargement to Ukraine, long articulated by many of America’s leading diplomats, including the great scholar-statesman George Kennan, and the former U.S. ambassadors to Russia Jack Matlock and William Burns.

Why does Russia oppose NATO enlargement? For the simple reason that Russia does not accept the U.S. military on its 2,300 km border with Ukraine in the Black Sea region. Russia does not appreciate the U.S. placement of Aegis missiles in Poland and Romania after the U.S. unilaterally abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. ….

Russia also does not welcome the fact that the U.S. engaged in no fewer than 70 regime change operations during the Cold War (1947-1989), and countless more since, including in Serbia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, and Ukraine. …

Even Zelensky’s team knew that the quest for NATO enlargement meant imminent war with Russia. Oleksiy Arestovych, former adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine under Zelensky, declared that “with a 99.9 percent probability, our price for joining NATO is a big war with Russia.” …

So, yes, Putin went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to Russia’s border. Ukraine is being destroyed by U.S. arrogance, proving again Henry Kissinger’s adage that to be America’s enemy is dangerous, while to be its friend is fatal.

That inspired me to make:

To be an enemy of America can be dangerous,  but to be a friend is fatal.

Did the U.S. orchestrate the 2014 Maidan uprising? Or did it just back it and exploit it?

There are competing views about this.

Modern Diplomacy’s US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev says, “Incontrovertible proofs will be presented here not only that it was a coup, but that this coup was organized by the U.S. Government:  “that the U.S. Government initiated the ‘new Cold War’.”   I don’t know the nature of that publication.

Likewise, Robert Parry’s 2015 piece The Ukraine Mess That Nuland Made in Truthout says, “Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland engineered Ukraine’s regime change without weighing the likely consequences.” Parry said that far right groups such as the Right Secktor played a large role in the 2014 regime change and will be difficult to control.

So, for nearly a year and a half, the West’s mainstream media, especially The New York Times and The Washington Post, twisted their reporting into all kinds of contortions to avoid telling their readers that the new regime in Kiev was permeated by and dependent on neo-Nazi fighters and Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who wanted a pure-blood Ukraine, without ethnic Russians.

Any mention of that sordid reality was deemed “Russian propaganda” and anyone who spoke this inconvenient truth was a “stooge of Moscow.” It wasn’t until July 7 that the Times admitted the importance of the neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists in waging war against ethnic Russian rebels in the east. The Times also reported that these far-right forces had been joined by Islamic militants. Some of those jihadists have been called “brothers” of the hyper-brutal Islamic State.

Though the Times sought to spin this remarkable military alliance – neo-Nazi militias and Islamic jihadists – as a positive, the reality had to be jarring for readers who had bought into the Western propaganda about noble “pro-democracy” forces resisting evil “Russian aggression.”

I’m aware of the infamous “Fxxx the EU” phone conversation with Victoria Nuland, showing the U.S. choosing the new government of Ukraine. That in itself doesn’t imply the U.S. orchestrated the uprising, though it certainly raises one’s suspicions.
But in an essay in the Jacobin, A US-Backed, Far Right–Led Revolution in Ukraine Helped Bring Us to the Brink of War, written right before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Branko Marcetic wrote “It’s an overstatement to say, as some critics have charged, that Washington orchestrated the Maidan uprising. But there’s no doubt US officials backed and exploited it for their own ends.” Yanukovych was corrupt, the country was torn between pro-Western and pro-Russian factions, and Yanukovych had to choose between economic support from either the West or from Russia. “The driver of this [Maidan] violence was largely the Ukrainian far right,” which was integrated into the new government and the Ukrainian military.

By January 2014, even NBC was admitting that “right-wing militia-type toughs are now one of the strongest factions leading Ukraine’s protests.” What was meant to be a revolution for democracy and liberal values ended up featuring ultranationalist chants from the 1930s and prominent displays of fascist and white supremacist symbols, including the American Confederate flag.

Yet after Maidain, “Little to nothing has changed about Ukrainian corruption or authoritarianism, under either Poroshenko or current president Volodymyr Zelensky, elected in 2019 as an outsider change agent.”

Joe Lauria, editor of Consortium News, wrote Evidence of US-Backed Coup in Kiev. Fact-checking site NewsGuard had criticized Consortium News for saying that the U.S. orchestrated the coup. But NewsGuard does admit that the U.S. backed the coup/uprrising.  https://www.newsguardtech.com/feedback/publisher/consortium-news-com/ .  Also, Luria writes:

The U.S. and NATO have also trained and armed Azov since Barack Obama had denied lethal aid to Ukraine. One reason Obama declined sending arms to Ukraine was because he was afraid they may fall into these right-wing extremists’ hands. According to the green-checked New York Times, “Mr. Obama continues to pose questions indicating his doubts. ‘O.K., what happens if we send in equipment — do we have to send in trainers?’ said one person paraphrasing the discussion on the condition of anonymity. ‘What if it ends up in the hands of thugs? What if Putin escalates?”

It would take a long time to dig through and organize all the evidence and opinions about what exactly happened in 2014. My Compendium has many such links.

Conservatively, I usually say “U.S.-backed uprising.” But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was U.S.-orchestrated.  A lot of what the CIA did was classified, and, indeed, the New Yorker’s Is the F.B.I. Truly Biased Against Trump? contains a telling and suggestive paragraph on the U.S. government’s efforts to suppress information about exactly what happened in Ukraine:

According to [FBI agent] Buma’s statement, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, he was told to terminate relations with one of his most valuable sources in that field, Dynamo. The order came from both his supervisors and the F.B.I.’s Foreign Influence Task Force, and, per Buma, superiors told him that the shutdown of Dynamo was based on “highly classified information from the National Security Agency” which he could not access. They also said that it was part of a broader effort, around the time of the invasion, to close off many “sources related to Russia/Ukraine matters.”


Summary of Jeffrey Sachs interview with Andrew Napolitano about the CIA, JFK, and Ukraine

CIA Manipulation of Public Opinion

Here’s my summary:

The security state (CIA and Pentagon) run the government more than the White House does, especially when the president is old and weak, as is Biden.  Congress mostly follows what the White House wants (on foreign policy) [and funds the security state extravagantly].  The peoples’ voices barely matter.

The Constitution says that the public must get to know how money is spent, but the government hides a lot of CIA stuff.

Truman created the CIA in 1947 but in 1962 he wrote an oped for the morning edition of WA Post denouncing it as out of control. The oped was withdrawn from the evening edition.  JFK criticized the CIA a few months before his death.

Napolitano asked: Does the intelligence community have a stranglehold on Congress by dirt it has on it?  Sachs didn’t reply directly. Instead, he said that the CIA had two parts:  intelligence gathering, and a secret army. The first part was needed. The second part is out of control.

We have gone off the rails.  Regime change operations. Psyops. Relentlessly false information. Murder.  The facts never see the light of day.  The (Frank) Church Committee exposed some of the CIA shenanigans. We’ve been engaged in nonstop regime operations. The one in 2014 got us into a dangerous war.  “We never heard the truth about that.”

Rogue parts of the U.S. gov may have killed JFK.  The Warren Commission’s magic bullet theory is completely wrong. An 88 year old Secret Service agent recently said the magic bullet theory is wrong because he found the bullet in the back of the limousine and put it on the stretcher. [The BBC covers the story here: Ex-Secret Service agent reveals new JFK assassination detail.]  Alan Dulles (the CIA director fired by JFK) ran the Warren Commission.

Interestingly, the American people never bought the story, because it was so absurd.   But basically they got away with it.  Biden is too old and weak to control the CIA, “And we face a very serious problem.”   Both parties are terrified of the intelligence community, “and they are in a sense paid off” via military jobs in congressional districts.

Sachs says he admires Rand Paul so much for speaking out and telling the truth on many things. But he can’t find any colleagues to help him. They don’t even dare to have a  discussion about Ukraine, despite the many lies told.  [The peace movement needs to engage with Rand Paul more!]

UK, Australia and other Anglo-Saxon countries follow the U.S. lead, blindly and against their self-interest.

Napolitano showed a video clip of Admiral Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, saying at White House press conference recently that the goal of the U.S. continues to be to expel Russia from all of occupied Ukraine. Sachs says that’s a lie and Kirby and others know, including senior members of Congress, know that Russia will never give back Crimea. So Kirby knows he’s not telling the truth — “thereby the smirk.”  Sachs says that Kirby doesn’t explain why we’re in the war, why we toppled the government — another regime change operation in 2014.  Why we pushed NATO enlargement into Ukraine against a clear Russian redline that our own diplomats said was a reckless move and a dangerous move.    Sachs smiled and said that there was a recent gaffe when NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg spoke to the EU parliament last week and said, ‘Yes, this is a war because of NATO enlargement.’   Oops, said Sachs (putting his hand over his mouth), Stoltenberg just said what the Putin apologists say.  We overthrew a government that wanted neutrality.

Napolitano showed a clip from a CBS News interview with Gen. Milley (chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff), who said he talks with the Ukraine armed forces senior commander one to three times a week.  The video showed the situation room of the Pentagon. The staff there monitor intelligence collected from Ukraine. The video showed monitors apparently showing the location of Ukrainian forces.  Napolitano asked Sachs if it was reckless to show the maps.  Sachs says his concern is different. “It was completely knowable and predictable that the U.S. was sending Ukraine into a bloodbath this summer.”  If you consider Russia’s echelon defenses that it dug in and its air superiority, you’d know the counter-offensive was doomed.  The U.S. is not telling the truth to ourselves and the American people. Senators Mitt Rommney and Max Blumenthal said we’re getting our money’s worth in this war. But we’re sending 10s of thousands of Ukrainian young people to their deaths. We are bankrolling a bloodbath of Ukrainians.

Another video clip shows Zelensky saying they waited too long for weapons, so the counter-offensive was too late, so the Russian laid good mines, etc.  Naopolitano says Ukraine is a vassal state that we’re paying for.  Zelensky failed miserably.  The war started in 2014 with the coup. Within a few days of the start of the February 2022 phase of the war. Zelensky soon realized he should neogiotate. He tried to negotiate an end to the war, but the U.S. pressured him to stop negotiating.  Zelensky made a mistake by listening to the U.S. and now Ukraine is being destroyed. It’s a bloodbath. Nobody is speaking honestly.  U.S. leaders say that Ukraine just needs more time. Sachs says it’s a lie.  The truth is that this is a terrible blunder that the U.S. pushed Ukraine into. Biden doesn’t tell this truth. “Biden was there from the very start, because he was part of the overthrow group in 2014. It was Biden, it was Nuland, it was Blinken, it was Sullivan. Way back then, same team, under President Obama — same crowd. They’re there today. They made a horrific, horrific set of miscalculations, and they won’t tell the truth because now we have an election coming up — an election that President Biden shouldn’t be any part of anyway because  he’s too old and absolutely should not be president again”.

Sachs says he’ll appear with Napolitano next week too.


In response to David Ignatius on the strategic windfall from the war in Ukraine

From an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Washington Post associate editor David Ignatius:  The West feels gloomy about Ukraine. Here’s why it shouldn’t:

Meanwhile, for the United States and its NATO allies, these 18 months of war have been a strategic windfall, at relatively low cost (other than for the Ukrainians). The West’s most reckless antagonist has been rocked. NATO has grown much stronger with the additions of Sweden and Finland. Germany has weaned itself from dependence on Russian energy and, in many ways, rediscovered its sense of values. NATO squabbles make headlines, but overall, this has been a triumphal summer for the alliance.”

To which my response is:

David Ignatius of the Washington Post says the war in Ukraine is a strategic windfall for the U.S.

Indeed, the war was planned and provoked by the U.S. to weaken Russia.

Short note about government secrecy on Ukraine

This New Yorker essay Is the F.B.I. Truly Biased Against Trump? about the FBI’s investigations of Rudolph Giuliani and Hunter Biden has a couple of telling paragraphs:

According to [FBI agent] Buma’s statement, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, he was told to terminate relations with one of his most valuable sources in that field, Dynamo. The order came from both his supervisors and the F.B.I.’s Foreign Influence Task Force, and, per Buma, superiors told him that the shutdown of Dynamo was based on “highly classified information from the National Security Agency” which he could not access. They also said that it was part of a broader effort, around the time of the invasion, to close off many “sources related to Russia/Ukraine matters. ”

Judging from the tone of Buma’s statement, he had become convinced that the demand to sever ties with Dynamo was another part of a shadowy conspiracy to protect Giuliani, even at the cost of depriving American officials of potential information about the unfolding war. “I believe that the intelligence that was suppressed could easily have influenced U.S. decisions surrounding the conflict.”

It seems more likely to me that the investigation was shut down not to protect Giuliani but, rather, to hide information about what was going on in Ukraine.  I can only imagine the unsavory things the CIA and related groups did in the shadows to provoke Russia’s invasion.

Comments on Aaron Maté ‘s interview with John Mearsheimer

John Mearsheimer: Ukraine War Is A Long-Term Danger

The main point of Aaron Maté ‘s interview with John Mearsheimer is that  the U.S. miscalculated about how easy it would be to defeat Russia via arming Ukraine and imposing sanctions. Both sides are in a position where they’re now unwilling to negotiate or give up land.  Losing the war, or losing the Donbas and Crimea,  is an existential threat to Russia. So if  Ukraine were to prevail in the war — not likely, given the current situation  in which the Ukrainian counteroffensive is faltering– Russia would likely be strongly tempted to use nuclear weapons.  Other threats come from the high investment the West has put into winning this war; the West is likely to continue arming Ukraine.  It would be humiliating to allow Russia to win.   That’s a possibility, since Ukraine is stressed; despite the tens of billions in weapons, Russia has an advantage. Another threat come from the possible entry into the war of Poland and Belarus. At best, the war war can end in an ugly stalemate that continually has the risk of escalating into a hot war.

I thought the following statement by Mearsheimer was wise.   Maté had asked him whether President Biden had any room to negotiate with President Putin, given Biden’s refusal before the invasion to negotiate about NATO expansion.

JOHN MEARSHEIMER:  Well, let me make a quick point.  I think your description of the American position in December 2021 and in the run-up to the war in February 2022 is correct.  But it’s also important to emphasize—and people in the West don’t want to hear it, but it is true—that the Russians were desperate to avoid a conflict.  The idea that Putin was chomping at the bit to invade Ukraine so he could make it part of Greater Russia, it’s just not a serious argument.  The Russians did not want a war, and they did, I believe, everything possible to avoid a war.  They just couldn’t get the Americans to play ball with them.  The Americans were unwilling to negotiate in a serious way.  Period.  End of story.

Mearsheimer goes on to say, ” I think that first of all, both sides are so deeply committed to winning at this point in time that it’s hard to imagine them negotiating any kind of meaningful peace agreement.” The U.S. promises to eventually allow Ukraine to join NATO. “So, we are playing—we, meaning the West—are playing a key role here in incentivizing the Russians to destroy Ukraine. It makes absolutely no sense to me from a strategic point of view or from a moral point of view. You think of the death and destruction that’s being wrought in Ukraine, and you think that this could have easily been avoided. It makes you sick to your stomach just to contemplate it all.”

Maté and Mearsheimer discuss the near-total censorship in U.S. mainstream media of opinions critical of the war in Ukraine. Mearsheimer says:

I was deeply opposed to the Iraq War in a very public way, in late 2002 and up until March 2003, when the war started. And it was tough to make a case against the war in public in those days. It was tough to be heard, but it is much tougher to be heard today. The climate is much more Orwellian…the mainstream media is committed to policing the marketplace to make sure that people who disagree with that conventional wisdom are not heard, or if they are heard their arguments are perverted or countered immediately.


Why it’s so important to expose U.S. provocations in Ukraine

Executive summary:  Until the public, Congress, and the mainstream media acknowledge the extent of U.S. provocations and responsibility for the war in Ukraine, it will be difficult to get U.S. leadership to agree to support a diplomatic solution to the crisis. So lives will continue to be lost, money will continue to be wasted, and the risk of nuclear conflict will continue to rise.  Moreover, the Pentagon budget will continue to grow and U.S. preparations for war with China will continue to be unquestioned.

I exchanged email with someone who works as a researcher for a peace institute.   He acknowledged that the U.S. bears some responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine but he thinks the “the vast bulk of the responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine lies with Vladimir Putin.”  This researcher wants the U.S. to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but he thinks the U.S. should continue arming Ukraine so it can defend itself against Russian aggression.

There are several interesting points to make in response to that researcher’s positions.

First, what does “vast bulk of the responsibility” mean exactly?  Does Putin bear 67% of the responsibility (with the other 33% being the responsibility of the U.S. and NATO)?  Does Putin bear 75% of the responsibility?   90%? 99%?  The researcher is informed enough to know that the U.S. isn’t totally innocent in the crisis, but he didn’t proffer a numeric response to my request for him to suggest a percent.

These questions about degree of responsibility may seem academic and unanswerable — are they even meaningful? — but they are actually quite important.  Similar questions are routinely asked in courts of law, and one can ask the same thing about many wars:

  • World War I  — generally regarded as a stupid, avoidable, unnecessary war, so blame is shared on both sides;
  • World War II  — generally regarded as the last and possibly greatest “just” war, with  Germany (if not Japan, which the U.S. intentionally provoked) bearing almost 100% of the blame (though see Leaving World War II Behind);
  • the Vietnam War  — generally regarded as unjustified and stupid, so the U.S. bears approximately 50% of the blame;
  • the Kosovo war — generally regarded as justified, but recent revelations bring into question the nobility of even that war (in short, the Kosovo Liberation Army that the U.S. supported was, arguably, a terrorist group, and the U.S. launched the war largely to weaken a Russian ally);
  • the second war in Iraq — generally regarded as stupid and unjustified (no WMDs, no relation to 9/11), so the U.S. bears over 50% of the blame;  and
  • the war in Afghanistan — generally regarded as partially justified but, in the end, disastrous.

Some people would argue that wars are always unjust, in the sense that military invasions are always wrong and the best response to a military attack is always a non-violent response.

Getting back to the topic of the war in Ukraine, the evidence shows that the U.S. bears a substantial share of the responsibility for the war in Ukraine.  If forced to give a number, I’d say at least 33%.    Aggressive NATO expansion right up to Russia’s borders, including support for the 2014 uprising in Ukraine that overthrew a pro-Russian government, and support for far-right, anti-Russian armed groups, represent actions that any reasonable viewer would regard as extremely provocative.  Furthermore, the U.S. squashed peace initiatives in Ukraine both before and after the 2022 invasion. For years U.S. diplomats had warned that NATO expansion into Ukraine would result in war.  The U.S. would never allow Russia or China to engage in similar military and political expansion along U.S. borders.  Heck, the U.S. doesn’t even allow quasi-socialist countries to emerge in Latin America.  And  the U.S. has launched numerous wars, proxy wars and government overthrows far from its borders with less justification than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Indeed, the U.S. regards the entire world as its rightful sphere of influence.

See Senior U.S. diplomats, journalists, academics and secretaries of defense say: The U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine and the links therein for justification for my judgements above about U.S. responsibility for the war in Ukraine.

Numerous alternative media outlets and commentators (e.g., Common Dreams, Truthout, antiwar.com, Scheerpost, The Intercept, Jeffrey Sachs,  Matthew Hoh,  Chris Hedges, John Mearsheimer, Aaron Mate, Caitlin Johnstone,  Medea Benjamin, Nicholas Davies,  Consortium News, and  LA Progressive),  have published articles documenting how the U.S. and NATO provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Prior to 2022, scores of mainstream news articles documented the presence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and the U.S. support for them. Since the invasion, a smattering of opinion pieces in mainstream media (including  even the New York Times) have exposed U.S. culpability in Ukraine.  Recently, more and more mainstream media outlets have been jumping on the bandwagon; see, for example, Harper’s Magazine’s Why are We in Ukraine?.

I don’t know how someone who knows the history of U.S. wars and government overthrows worldwide can look at what the U.S. did in Ukraine and not feel that Russia was correct to feel threatened. Even if the U.S. bears only 10% of the responsibility for what happened, it still has a lot of blood on its hands. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia desperately wanted to be integrated into the West and, up to the end of 2021, pleaded with D.C. to come to an equitable peace in Ukraine, but NATO needed an enemy to justify its existence and wanted to weaken Russia. The expansion of NATO provoked the war that is now touted as showing the need for NATO.

As Noam Chomsky said, “The Iraq War was totally unprovoked… In contrast, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was most definitely provoked….A host of high-level U.S. diplomats and policy analysts have been warning Washington for 30 years that it was reckless and needlessly provocative to ignore Russia’ security concerns, particularly its red lines: No NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, in Russia’ geostrategic heartland.”

So, you see, I am not saying that Russia’s invasion was justified.  Like many U.S. wars, it was criminal. I am just pointing out that the U.S. is far from innocent in the crisis, as the articles above show.

It’s great that the peace researcher I exchanged emails with acknowledges that the U.S. isn’t totally innocent, and it’s great he wants diplomacy.  What I told him, though, was that his push for diplomacy is unlikely to succeed unless people like him — as well as the public, Congress, and the mainstream media — acknowledge the extent of U.S. provocations. After all, if the war was almost entirely due to Putin’s aggression, then U.S. support for Ukraine is noble.

I also said that I take no position on whether the U.S. should arm Ukraine.  I should have added:  I want an immediate diplomatic solution. I don’t want to arm Ukraine to continue the suffering and the risk of escalation. I want an end to the war.  The important point is that the war was entirely avoidable, but the U.S. wanted it and extended it, using the innocent people of Ukraine as pawns in a cynical and deadly geopolitical chess game.

I hope that in this essay I have exposed four  myths concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

Myth #1: In wars, such as the war in Ukraine, the blame usually lies entirely on one side. Instead, in reality often both sides share blame.

Myth #2: The Russian invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked”.  That strikes me as a cynical lie, and it’s shameful that mainstream media outlets allow the government to get away with it.

Myth #3: Acknowledging that the U.S. and NATO provoked the invasion implies exonerating Russia for that invasion. (corollary to Myth #1)

Myth #4: Pushing for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine is likely to be effective without exposing U.S. provocations in Ukraine.

Most Americans have backed President Biden and Congress’s arming of Ukraine — though that support has dwindled so that now a majority of Americans oppose more U.S. aid for Ukraine — and didn’t complain when Congress raised the 2024 Pentagon budget to close to $900 billion, while cutting social programs. (The military budget is even higher if you add the slush fund for the war in Ukraine, the costs of the Departments of Energy and Veteran Affairs, and military-related interest on the national debt.) The costs are mostly hidden, in the $33 trillion of national debt, and in the lost opportunity costs of endless wars.

Amazingly, not six months after the disastrous end to the disastrous war in Afghanistan, America was again in a war — this time a proxy war with Russia. Yet neither the mainstream media nor most of the public raised a finger to question the wisdom of the war. And the U.S. is actively preparing for war with China, escalating tensions by sending high-level politicians to visit Taiwan, arming Taiwan with weaponry, and enlisting countries such as Australia to create a noose of military power around China. What could go wrong?

This is why it’s so important to expose how the U.S. government lied about Ukraine, just as it lied about Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other wars, proxy wars, and government overthrows. Then, maybe, the perfidy of the military-industrial complex will be exposed and a saner military and foreign policy can be established.

Comments on Edward Lozansky’s Clearing the Fog of ‘Unprovoked’ War

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity published this essay by physicist and mathematician Edward Lozansky, who was born in Ukraine, studied in Russia and worked in the U.S.:

Clearing the Fog of ‘Unprovoked’ War

It retells a lot of the history of aggressive NATO expansion and the squandered opportunities for peace.  The essay was also published on antiwar.com.

Lozansky quotes Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan as having said, “NATO expansion would open the door to future nuclear war.”   I can find no documentation of that exact quotation other than Lozansky’s essay. But I did find this archived article from 1998 in which Moynihan warns that NATO expansion may force Russia to resort to nuclear weapons and in which then Senator Joe Biden disagrees with Moynihan’s warnings about NATO expansion:

NATO: U.S. Senator Concerned About Russian Nuclear Doctrine

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moynihan says Russian conventional forces today are in disarray, its army shrinking and military morale is at a low ebb. All these factors, the senator says, have forced Moscow to proclaim that, if NATO is expanded, Russia would have to place a greater reliance on its nuclear weapons.

Moynihan says gone now is the old Soviet doctrine of the “no-first-use principle,” which he says “saved mankind in the 20th century.” That doctrine proclaimed that the Soviet Union would not be the first country to use nuclear weapons.

He says: “All they have to defend themselves are nuclear weapons. It is a curiously ironic outcome that at the end of the Cold War we might face a nuclear Armageddon.

Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware), while calling Moynihan “the single most erudite” and “informed person serving in the Senate,” says he disagrees with him. Biden says he believes that even without admitting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO, the Russian military would have reached the same conclusions about the importance of nuclear weapons.

Biden says he believes the underlying Russian military doctrine would be no different today even if NATO decided to stay within its [then?] current borders.

Likewise, this (non-paywalled) 1998 Washington Post article DECIDING NATO’S FUTURE WITHOUT DEBATE says that Senators Moynihan and Warner had concerns about NATO expansion.   Moynihan “points to a Russian government strategy paper published last December saying the expansion of NATO inevitably means Russia will have to rely increasingly on nuclear weapons.”

The New Republic’s  The NATO Critics Who Predicted Russia’s Belligerence from March 3, 2022 documents Senator Moynihan’s verbal sparring with then Senator Joe Biden over NATO expansion:

Joe Biden was confident. “This, in fact, is the beginning of another 50 years of peace,” he declared while serving as ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1998. The Delaware Democrat was proud of his role in helping the bipartisan congressional vote to approve the addition of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic as full NATO members.

Not everyone was so optimistic, however. One month earlier, during a Senate debate, New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan cautioned, “We’re walking into ethnic historical enmities.” He added: “We have no idea what we’re getting into.”

Hearing Moynihan, Biden’s face reddened. He stalked the Senate floor for 10 minutes, waving his arms and shouting. “I find this absolutely astounding!” he said. “If my friends are saying, anyone who votes for expanding NATO to include Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, are tying this noose around a Russian neck, this iron ring, well, then I don’t quite get it.”

The essay goes on to retell how the U.S. helped Russian oligarchs turn the former USSR into a kleptocracy and how some diplomats and analysts warned that NATO expansion would be viewed aggressively by Russia:

>As the Clinton administration signaled its wish to expand NATO, Charles Kupchan penned aNew York Times op-ed in 1994 forecasting: “An expanded NATO would lead Russia to reassert control over its former republics and to remilitarize.” Kupchan, who had served as director for European affairs on Clinton’s National Security Council, said that bringing new countries into the alliance would not protect them from Russia, since Moscow didn’t threaten them. But, he added, Western leaders would create a self-fulfilling prophecy by inflaming Russian nationalism if they pursued NATO expansion.

Soon, more than 15 distinguished Cold War–era diplomats signed an open letter in The New York Review of Books arguing that NATO expansion would be disastrous. They were bolstered in February 1997 by George Kennan, the legendary ambassador to the Soviet Union and Cold War theoretician. He wrote bluntly that NATO expansion was a historic error, one that might “restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and … impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.” Inside the Clinton administration itself, Defense Secretary William Perry nearly resigned when his advice against rapid NATO expansion went unheeded.

Of course, Clinton ignored these critics, as did George W. Bush’s administration when it oversaw another round of NATO expansion in 2004.

…. The 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania, proved more fateful than previous rounds of expansion, however. The organization declared that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually become members, over Russia’s threats of retaliation. “I think that was a huge mistake; it was hugely provocative,” said Goldgeier.

…. But the 2014 revolution in Ukraine was transformative. The Obama administration, along with Republican senators like John McCain, blatantly supported the pro-Western, anti-Russian forces in Ukraine. When the pro-Russian president was removed and fled the country after months of protests, Putin saw an urgent threat and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

It almost goes without saying that the New Republic essay says that the responsibility for the war is entirely Putin’s.

My position is that the U.S. shares responsibility for the war. Even if one says that the U.S. is responsible for only 1/4 of the crisis, there’s still a lot of blood on U.S. hands, and the hypocrisy and lies of the U.S. establishment are disgusting.  The war was entirely avoidable had the U.S. shown restraint. And the U.S. squashed peace deals both before the invasion (Minsk agreements) and in the spring of 2022.  For details about U.S. provocations see How the U.S. provoked Russia in Ukraine: A Compendium.

Scott Ritter allegations against Zelensky


Scott Ritter Investigation: Agent Zelensky – Part 1

former United States Marine Corps intelligence officer and United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspector Scott Ritter accuses Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of corruption and of being an agent for British Intelligence.

I don’t know what to make of the video. The soundtrack (music with drumbeat) is very annoying,  for two reasons. First, it makes the video seem like yellow journalism (propaganda). Second, the soundtrack is often so loud that I have trouble understanding what the moderator and interviewees are saying, especially given some of the strong accents.  Still, some of what Ritter says seems plausible.

The video

  • presents allegations of Zelensky’s corruption (e.g., with revelations from the Panama Papers);
  • claims Zelensky is working for a Ukrainian oligarch;
  • lists Zelensky’s many real estate holdings in various countries;
  • retells some history about the Minsk Agreements and far right attacks on Russian-speaking Ukrainians;
  • recalls the role of far right groups in Ukraine;
  • shows the role of American orgs and PR firms in helping Zelensky get elected;
  • claims that British intelligence agents helped Zelensky theatrically stage the Bucha massacre; and
  • (the main allegation) claims that Zelensky is an agent of MI6.

Ritter says Zelensky went to London and met with Richard Moore, the head of MI6, at MI6’s headquarters.  Ritter shows video of Zelensky in Britain to back up his claims.  Ritter says that, according to protocol, the head of a foreign country would not normally go to a foreign country and meet with a relatively minor government official. Ritter calls Moore Zelensky’s “handler.”   He shows a video of Zelensky surrounded by a security team, after the war started;  some of the team are British, according to Ritter.  The evidence? They’re wearing the Ukrainian flag patch upside down — a no-no for Ukrainians — plus, you can hear the accents.

Reuters reported in August of 2020 that Britain to lead training programme for Ukrainian navy. Also in August of 2020, a Ukrainian Information Agency reported that Ukraine, UK sign major deal on strategic partnership. Likewise, Ukraine, UK sign memo on enhancing military-technical cooperation.

Zelensky goes to meet the Pope in the Vatican, where some Brits follow every step of Zelensky. Ritter calls it like the meeting between a priest and a devil.  (Ritter’s hyperbole weakens his argument.)   The Pope wears white. Zelensky is dressed in black and wears the patch of the UNO — the Ukrainian Nationalist Organization (at time 34:30).  He gave the Pope an icon (painting) with Mary holding a black figure instead of Christ — which is outright Satanism, according to Ritter.    Ritter says that Zelensky ignored the Pope’s calls for peace but met with Bishop Paul Gallagher, a Brit, for an hour and a half. Richard Moore (head of MI6) was present.   The video shows images apparently documenting this.    Ritter says the Brits (?) took Zelensky’s kids as hostages.   He says the next episode tells more stuff.

I don’t know what to make of all this. Parts of the video made little sense to me. I wasn’t sure of the point sometimes. Wikipedia says Ritter wrote for RT.

BTW, Forward (“Jewish, Independent, Nonprofit”) reported on July 3, 2023: Why did Stanford students host a group of neo-Nazis?: The Azov battalion, a neo-Nazi Ukrainian unit, has found friends among America’s elite.