By Mike WHITNEY
“Your people do not yet feel an impending sense of danger. That worries me. Can’t you see the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? Meanwhile, people pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, You Tube, 12 minute video
“The Russians have put their nuclear weapons on high-alert. This is a really significant development.. They are….sending us a very powerful signal as to how seriously they take this crisis. So, if we start winning, and the Russians start losing, you need to understand that what we’re talking about doing here, is backing a nuclear-armed great power –that sees what’s happening as an existential threat—into a corner. This is really dangerous. Go back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don’t think that what happened in the Cuban Missile crisis was as threatening to us as this situation is to the Russians. But if you go back and look at what US decision-makers thought at the time, they were scared stiff.” (Mearsheimer: The risks of “backing Russia into a corner“, Twitter minute 1:19)
Mearsheimer goes on to note that bc Ukraine is perceived to be an existential concern by Russia but not the US, and how Great Powers behave when they perceive an existential threat as the US has done throughout its history, what the West is doing only leads to greater devastation pic.twitter.com/pHgidM7tKJ
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) March 7, 2022
Putin does not want Washington’s nuclear missiles parked on his western border in the Ukraine. For security reasons, he cannot allow this. He has made this excruciatingly clear over and over again. As he said on December 21, 2021, more than a month before the war began:
“If US and NATO missile systems are deployed in Ukraine, their flight time to Moscow will be only 7–10 minutes, or even five minutes for hypersonic systems.”
No American president would allow a potential adversary to deploy their nuclear missiles to sites along the Mexican-American border. The risks to national security would be far-too great. In fact, Washington would remove those missile sites through force-of-arms without batting an eye. We all know that. So, why isn’t that same standard applied to Russia? Why are policymakers siding with the US and NATO when all the parties involved know what is at stake and know that they have all signed treaties that promise “not to improve their own security at the expense of their neighbors”? These are not just meaningless ‘verbal commitments’ that were made in casual conversations over cocktails; these are promises that have been signed into treaties that the signatories are required to honor. (Note: The United States and every nation in NATO have signed treaties– Istanbul in 1999, and Astana in 2010– that stipulate they cannot improve their own security at the expense of others.) There’s no doubt that NATO expansion enhances the security of Ukraine while weakening the security of Russia. That much is indisputable. And it’s not just a violation of treaties, but a clear provocation tantamount to a declaration of war. Check out this short excerpt from an article by Ray McGovern which shines light on a few of the crucial details that have omitted by the western media:
“President Vladimir Putin has warned repeatedly of the existential threat he believes Russia faces from what Russia calls “offensive strike missiles” like the Tomahawk and, eventually, hypersonic missiles along its western border.
So-called “ABM sites” already emplaced in Romania and about to be completed in Poland can accommodate Tomahawks and hypersonic missiles overnight with the insertion of a computer disk… Putin himself made this crystal clear in an unusual presentation to a small group of Western journalists six years ago. (See the first 10-minutes in this video.)
On December 21, 2021, President Putin told his most senior military leaders:
“It is extremely alarming that elements of the US global defense system are being deployed near Russia. The Mk 41 launchers, which are located in Romania and are to be deployed in Poland, are adapted for launching the Tomahawk strike missiles. If this infrastructure continues to move forward, and if US and NATO missile systems are deployed in Ukraine, their flight time to Moscow will be only 7–10 minutes, or even five minutes for hypersonic systems. This is a huge challenge for us, for our security.”
On December 30, 2021, Biden and Putin talked by phone at Putin’s urgent request. The Kremlin readout stated:
“Joseph Biden emphasized that Russia and the US shared a special responsibility for ensuring stability in Europe and the whole world and that Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine.” Yuri Ushakov, a top foreign policy adviser to Putin, pointed out that this was also one of the goals Moscow hoped to achieve with its proposals for security guarantees to the US and NATO.
…On February 12, 2022, Ushakov briefed the media on the telephone conversation between Putin and Biden earlier that day.
“The call was as a follow-up of sorts to the … December 30 telephone conversation. … The Russian President made clear that President Biden’s proposals did not really address the central, key elements of Russia’s initiatives either with regards to non-expansion of NATO, or non-deployment of strike weapons systems on Ukrainian territory … To these items, we have received no meaningful response.”
On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. I can see why so many Americans believe the Big Lie that it was “unprovoked,” because they just don’t know.” (“Relentless: JFK on Cuba; Putin on Ukraine”, Ray McGovern, antiwar.com)
What does this mean?
It means Biden backed-away from his original commitment. It means Washington refused to even consider Putin’s modest and legitimate security demands prior to the Russian invasion. It means that Washington knew that the threat of NATO expansion –and particularly the threat of lethal missiles on Russia’s western border– would give Putin NO CHOICE but to respond militarily in order to establish his own security buffer. Putin summed it up like this:
“We are not threatening anyone.… We have made it clear that any further NATO movement to the east is unacceptable. There’s nothing unclear about this. We aren’t deploying our missiles to the border of the United States, but the United States IS deploying their missiles to the porch of our house. Are we asking too much? We’re just asking that they not deploy their attack-systems to our home…. What is so hard to understand about that?” (“Russia’s Putin, The US is parking missiles on the porch of our house”, YouTube, Start at :48 seconds)
Any reasonable person would conclude that Putin had a gun to his head and had to do ‘what any responsible leader would do’ in a similar situation.
But Putin did NOT do ‘what any responsible leader would do’. Instead, he waited. Yes, he delivered his “security demands” publicly and forcefully a number of times, but the threat of Ukrainian membership in NATO was not the tripwire that led to the invasion. What compelled Putin to invade was the bombardment of ethnic Russian civilians in an area of east Ukraine called the Donbas. As we noted in an earlier article,
What Really Happened?
On February 16—a full 8 days before the Russian invasion—the shelling of the Donbas increased dramatically and steadily intensified for the next week “to over 2,000 per day on February 22.” The vast majority of these blasts were logged in daily summaries by observers of the OSCE who were on the frontlines. In other words, the records were kept by trained professionals who collected documented evidence of the Ukrainian Army’s massive bombardment of areas inhabited by their own people. To date, we have not read even one analyst who has challenged this catalogue of documented evidence. Instead, the media simply pretends the proof doesn’t exist. They have simply vanished the shelling from their coverage altogether in order to shape a Washington-centric version of events that completely ignores the historical record.” (“Some of Us Don’t Think the Russian Invasion Was “Aggression”, Unz Review)
As we said, this was the tripwire that triggered the Russian invasion. The “Special Military Operation” was essentially a rescue mission that was closely linked to an urgent national security issue. All the same, the proximate cause of the war, was not NATO enlargement, but the shelling of civilian areas in the Donbas.
This week, a confidential audio recording of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was released on the internet confirming that our version of events leading up to the Russian invasion are, in fact, accurate. Take a look at this blurb on Maria Tadeo’s Twitter account:
A second audio from Berlusconi has leaked in which he is heard saying «Ukraine violated the Minsk deal, Zelenskiy tripled attacks on Donbas and pushed Putin to a special operation» that was supposed to last a week but escalated after the West sent money and weapons to Kyiv. 1/
— Maria Tadeo (@mariatad) October 19, 2022
Here’s more from an article at RT:
The former Italian PM reportedly blamed Kiev for inciting conflict with Russia….
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly claimed that Kiev triggered a conflict with Russia by reneging on a peace plan for eastern Ukraine (The Minsk Treaty), a tape provided to the media suggests…..Speaking to members of his Forza Italia party on Tuesday, Berlusconi reportedly offered a viewpoint about the origin of the Ukraine crisis that clashed with the NATO-favored narrative of unprovoked Russian aggression against its neighbor.…
In the audio clip, Berlusconi can be heard accusing Kiev of failing for years to uphold a peace deal with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came to power in 2019, he “tripled down” on attacking the regions, the politician stated
Donetsk and Lugansk asked for Moscow’s protection, he continued. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine…” (“Berlusconi trashes NATO narrative on Ukraine – media“, RT)
Whatever one thinks of Berlusconi, his version of events fits perfectly with the report of intensified shelling produced by the observers of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe. (OSCE) One can only wonder why the media has failed to investigate these blatantly credible claims that cast considerable doubt on the official version of “Who actually started the war in Ukraine”?
In a recent interview on You Tube, Colonel Douglas MacGregor explained how Putin made every effort to ensure the security of the ethnic Russians living under siege in Ukraine by appealing to the US and EU to address the situation and settle on a way to stop the violence. Putin’s requests, however, fell on deaf ears. Here’s how MacGregor summed it up:
“Putin tried desperately to get the British, the French, the Germans and us to understand that his Russian citizens should be treated equally before the law just like Ukrainian citizens inside this large multi-ethnic state. (But) Zelensky and his friends said ‘No. Either you become what we are or you get out.’ And that resulted in this tragic (Russian) intervention.….
Russia had no interest in ‘conquering Ukraine’ or running into Kiev and ‘making peace at the point of a gun’. But, now, Zelensky has been intransigent and his handlers have been intransigent because we (The US) decided we were going to ‘bleed Russia’. We were going to sanction them and destroy their economy. We were going to kill hundreds of thousands of them and, ultimately, bend Russia to our will and force them to become subjects of the greater global American-dominated financial system.
That hasn’t worked. All of the sanctions have backfired. It is now our European allies who are in desperate trouble. We are in desperate trouble too, only it is not quite as acute as it is in Europe. And, on top of that, we haven’t succeeded in destroying the Russian military at all. It’s held together very, very well and– as I said– right now you have this economy-of-force operation down in the south where there’s a massive buildup of forces from Minsk all the way back into western Russia that will be launched eventually (I suppose) when the ground freezes because that is the best time to operate in that kind of terrain.
Earlier I told you what this is really about: There’s this attempt to destroy Russia. We’ve decided to made it this blood-enemy that has to be eliminated because it refuses to march down the path that Europe has.” (“Massive Buildup”, Colonel Douglas MacGregor”, You Tube, 3 minutes)
Truer words were never spoken: The US decided to make Russia its blood-enemy because it refuses to click-its-heels and do as it’s told. Russia refuses to be another sniveling flunky in the exalted “Rules-based System”.
So, now we’re in a full-blown ground war with Russia; a war that was concocted, instigated, funded, guided, and micromanaged by Washington. A war that—by any objective standard—is Washington’s war as much as Iraq and Afghanistan were Washington’s wars. The difference this time is that our enemy can not only defend himself, but has the wherewithal to reduce the continental United States to smoldering heap of rubble. We are reminded of a comment Putin made recently that seems to have slipped-by the media unnoticed. He said:
“We will defend our land with all the forces and resources we have, and we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people.”
We hope that someone on the Biden team is smart enough to figure out what that means.