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This week marks the seven-month anniversary of the beginning of the war in Ukraine, something that is still going on and isn’t talked about quite as much anymore. The day that war began, which was February 24, two things were very obvious. The first was that there was no way the Ukrainian army would be able to win a decisive military victory over Russia and the reason was simple. Russia is too big. Ukraine is too small. The Russian military is many times the size of the Ukrainian military. Plus, of course, it has nuclear weapons.
Russia itself is the largest country on planet Earth. It’s got a relatively huge economy for the region and it’s got 145 million people who live there. Ukraine has a population of about 40 million. It’s the poorest country in Europe. It’s got an average annual income that is much lower than Albania’s.
So, just by looking at the most basic Wikipedia level numbers, it was clear right away that if Ukraine wanted to remain a sovereign country and of course, all of us wanted that for Ukraine, Ukraine was going to have to reach some kind of negotiated settlement with Russia. Pitched battles were not going to do it. Now, that’s not a moral judgment. You can root for the Ukrainian military all you want, but it’s still a fact and there’s no getting around it.
The second thing that was immediately evident about this war was how unusually destructive it was and was going to be. It wasn’t just Ukraine that was getting pummeled, though it certainly was. It was the entire Western economy, including our economy. Russian energy fuels Europe. A recession in Germany was certain to lead to a recession here and in the months since, it has, a bad one. The longer this war goes on, inevitably the poorer everyone is going to be, with the exception probably of Vladimir Putin.
We are breaking things that are very hard to rebuild. Again, this was very obvious the first day of the war. You weren’t allowed to say it at the time. Anyone who did was denounced as a Russian spy. But it was still clearly true and the Ukrainians certainly understood it. Back in April, according to an account in Foreign Policy magazine, negotiators from the governments of Russia and Ukraine met secretly and “appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement to end the war.”
The terms of the deal were simple. Russia would withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Ukraine would promise not to join NATO, so each side would get the thing that it wants most simple and effective, and it might have worked.
But the Biden administration adamantly opposed this settlement. Biden’s advisers didn’t just want the Russians to leave Ukraine. That’s what they told us they wanted on television, but no. Biden’s advisers wanted a total regime change war against Russia, apparently to avenge the election of Donald Trump, which they believed Putin was responsible for, and they were willing to fight to the last Ukrainian to get it.
On April 9 of this year, the White House dispatched its hapless cutout, then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to Kyiv, according to Ukrainian news media, Johnson communicated two messages to the Zelenskyy government, “The first is that Putin is a war criminal. He should be pressured, not negotiated with and the second is that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, the West is not.”
In other words, who cares what the Ukrainians want. America and the U.K. demand total war with Russia, regime change war with Russia and of course, the Ukrainians caught in the middle had no choice but to concede. So, days later, the peace negotiations fell apart. This was virtually unreported at the time, but it was the turning point in the war in Ukraine. This was the moment where the goal changed from restoring Ukraine to what it was before the invasion – and that seems reasonable to everyone in the West – to something very different, to a war designed to topple Vladimir Putin, just like we toppled Saddam Hussein and then hoping for the best afterward. That is clearly insane and dangerous, but that’s where we are and from that point on, everything changed and that is how we got to where we are today, which is the closest we have ever been to nuclear conflict in history.
This week, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine gave an interview to the left-wing newspaper, The Guardian and in it, he casually called for the United States to nuke Vladimir Putin. “The other nuclear states need to say very firmly that as soon as Russia even thinks of carrying out nuclear strikes on foreign territory, in this case the territory of Ukraine, there will be swift retaliatory nuclear strikes to destroy the nuclear launch sites in Russia.” Parse that, and we’re quoting, “as soon as Russia even thinks of carrying out nuclear strikes” – meaning before Russia actually launches missiles – “the U.S. needs to launch nuclear weapons against Russia.” In other words, we need to launch nuclear weapons now. Why now and how do we know that’s what Zelenskyy meant? Because the Zelenskyy was responding to this warning from the Russian government on Wednesday.
PUTIN: I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction and for separate components, more modern than those of NATO countries and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use means at our disposal. It’s not a bluff.
“It’s not a bluff,” says Putin, who we are told is insane, so we probably should take it seriously. He is, after all, running a country with the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet and he’s talking about using nuclear weapons if the West continues to threaten Russia’s territorial integrity. It’s a conditional warning and, of course, threatening Russia’s territorial integrity was never part of the deal. Right? You remember this? It’s why you wore a Ukrainian lapel pin or put a Ukrainian flag in front of your house. Ukraine was invaded. The point was to kick the Russians out. That seems reasonable by any standard of fairness and decency, but that’s not what the Biden administration is pushing for. They’re pushing for toppling the government of Russia and once again, hoping that everything will be fine after that, someone better will somehow take over. “He’s bad. Let’s kill him.” Heard that story before?
In response to what Putin just said, Ukraine’s government called for an immediate nuclear attack on Russia, an attack that would without question result in the immediate destruction of New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, the deaths of tens of millions of Americans. That’s what he just said. Sane people do not talk this way, ever. If there was a moment for the Biden administration to shut this whole thing down and force negotiated peace, which they could do in an instant, that moment is right now before huge numbers of people die, but that’s not what the Biden administration is doing. They are moving in the other direction at high speed and doing all they can to bring the West to the brink of destruction.
At the U.N. yesterday, Joe Biden accused Russia, not Ukraine, of making overt nuclear threats. Watch.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not, that should make your blood run cold. President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the nonproliferation regime. We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression. Period.
OK. Putin is bad. Fine. Agree, but Putin is making nuclear threats. Whatever the reason, he is making them, the fact he is making them and the Ukrainians, of course, are also making explicit nuclear threats, is enough for any responsible person to say, “now we stop,” especially if that person is the leader of the United States, the country which is funding this war and that could end this war tonight by calling Ukraine to the table. Russian troops leave. Ukraine promises not to join NATO, everything is as it was in January of this year, and everything’s fine. We don’t have to worry about New York getting nuked.
But that’s not what they want. So, Joe Biden didn’t say a word about America’s responsibility here. Again, we are funding this war. We could end it. They’re choosing not to. He didn’t say a word about that at the United Nations, of course, because they want war and neither did Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Watch.
SECRETARY OF STATE BLINKEN: President Putin picked this week as most of the world gathers at the United Nations to add fuel to the fire that he started. Shows his utter contempt for the U.N. Charter, for the General Assembly and for this council. The very international order that we have gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We cannot, we will not, allow President Putin to get away with it. Every council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately.
OK. So Tony Blinken, the secretary of state, is a buffoon and a failed rock musician, reading some paper posturing like a cable news segment about how Putin’s bad. Yeah great. Got it. But sitting behind him in the shot you just saw is someone who is not a buffoon at all and that would be Toria Nuland, one of the people responsible for the disaster in Iraq. Now in a functioning country anyone who had a hand in the 20-year tragedy of Iraq in which America’s prestige was gravely degraded, in which thousands of Americans died, in which we got much poorer for no good reason, anyone who was involved in that, including the lie that got us into it, would be disqualified from participating in American foreign policy forever, but Toria Nuland just ascended, ascended, ascended until she brings us to the brink of nuclear war with Russia.
So Tony Blinken is telling the United Nations and the rest of us that it’s okay for Ukraine to threaten nuclear war on behalf of the United States and the rest of the world looks on with their jaws open, including China, of all places. Here’s China’s foreign ministry spokesperson yesterday. Watch.
WANG WENBIN, CHINA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: We call on all parties to achieve a cease-fire and stop the war through dialog and negotiation and to find a solution that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all parties as soon as possible. We also hope the international community will create the conditions and space for this.
We call on all parties to achieve a cease-fire like the one they nearly had in April before the Biden administration blew it up because they want regime change in Russia. Now, that’s coming from China, which has a human rights record that help makes Russia seem like Sweden and of course, China has benefited almost as much from this war as Putin has and Raytheon and Lockheed has, but even the Chinese are not crazy enough to want nuclear Armageddon. In the end, all they want to do is do business and dominate through business.
They don’t want their customers to blow themselves up and they understand they’re coming incredibly close. Only Tony Blinken and lunatics like Toria Nuland really want that and they are fully behind Ukraine’s president as he declares that his goal is not ending the war and getting his country back, which is a fine and admirable goal, that most Americans support. No, his goal is toppling Vladimir Putin and turning Russia into another failed state. Oh, good plan. Here he is.
ZELENSKYY: A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the values that make you and me a community of the United Nations and Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory. This is the first item of our peace formula, comprehensive item punishment.
So, a corrupt Eastern European authoritarian leader in a t-shirt is lecturing us about the community of nations and telling us this is really about the punishment that Ukraine demands. It’s not about self-defense or getting their territory back. It’s about regime change. Specifically, they’re demanding a nuclear strike from us. How do we get involved in this anyway? But almost nobody in Washington is standing back to ask that question. They’re full speed ahead on this. This is insane, but they’re all for it.
Adam Kinzinger just tweeted this: “By the way, any target within Russia that contributes to the war is fair game, by law of armed conflict. There’s no escalation possible by a country fighting for survival. Anyone claiming Ukraine is escalating should stop.”
Anyone saying things that stupid in public should immediately resign from public office and be silent until wisdom comes, please. Then over in the Senate, Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal are in agreement on just that same point. They’ve announced that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Russia should be declared a state sponsor of terrorism because the events of these past days and weeks have shown the need more powerfully than ever that Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I think bipartisanship is strong when it comes to supporting Ukraine over Russia. I want to thank the administration for doing more. We have our differences about the next step, but Speaker Pelosi’s in our camp. She has said from her point of view, Russia has earned the designation in U.S. law of being a state sponsor of terrorism.
The fact that Lindsey Graham can go on television, as he so often does, and claim to be conservative and someone who cares about the United States, it’s beyond. So, this is part of the endless posturing about how Russia’s bad and sure, Russia’s bad. Fine, Russia’s bad, but it’s the words, as always, that matter. They’re telling you that Russia is now a state sponsor of terror. Why are they saying that? And you’re probably nodding. “Yeah. It seems like a bad place with a bad leader, fine, but state sponsor of terror?” It’s important for them to define Russia very specifically as that. Why? Because what do we do with terror states? We topple their governments. We go on the offensive. We take the fight to them and that’s the position of Washington on a bipartisan level and it’s particularly the position of people who believe falsely, speaking of election-related conspiracy theories, that Vladimir Putin stole the 2016 election and no one believes that lunacy more fervently than the lady who lost. Here she is.
HILLARY CLINTON: They’re getting the weapons they need to defend themselves and they’re now on offense and I think we have to keep supporting them, helping them. They were attacked by an unprovoked act of war and they’ve held out and they’ve done better than anybody could have predicted and Zelenskyy has been a true wartime leader. I’m so impressed with him and I think, you know, the United States should stand with them.
If you’re one of the millions of good-hearted Republicans who, when this broke out in February, thought “Well, this is awful. You shouldn’t invade a sovereign country” and of course, we agreed with that, we should stand with Ukraine, you may feel a little fooled at this point, because what you’re watching is classic mission creep. We arrive for one purpose and we extend the stay for an entirely different purpose that you didn’t sign up for and that will absolutely hurt the United States long-term.
When Hillary Clinton says we’re going to stand with Zelenskyy as he goes on the offensive, that does not mean expelling Russian troops from his country, which everyone would agree with. That means toppling Vladimir Putin and creating a black hole in the center of Eastern Europe, the place where Asia meets Europe in a country with some of the biggest energy reserves on the planet and the largest nuclear arsenal. How is that going to work out? Well, let’s listen to the Pentagon spokesmen. They’re going on television to explain.
RETIRED LT. GEN. KEITH KELLOGG: What we need to do is instead, we just need to reverse. We say, “all in” and we haven’t done that. For example, we haven’t given the Ukrainians systems like the attack cruise missile which can reach all of Crimea. It’s a 200-mile range, 500-pound warhead, 300 bombers to it. It really can put the Russians at threat, but we haven’t done that. And I think we should put them at threat. Until he really believes that we’re seriously going after him, he’s going to continue to make these threats
So again, anybody who had a hand in, say, like the last five wars that diminished American power, killed Americans, made us poorer, hurt the United States long-term in very real ways, anyone who participated in any of that should probably bow out of the conversation about the latest war for the same reason that you wouldn’t say take financial advice from someone who has gone bankrupt or go to marriage counseling with someone who’s been divorced three times because they’ve demonstrably failed in their area of so-called expertise and that would include virtually everyone you hear talking about this stuff. “He is going to continue making these threats,” meaning Putin.
So, these are apparently the only threats that we object to. If Ukraine wants us to launch a preemptive nuclear strike in their behalf, that’s totally fine. This is complete craziness. This is a “strategy” that could very easily bring the total destruction of the West and soon and maybe that’s the point.