Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates. UKRAINE: THE WAR TO SAVE THE U.N. CHARTER AND…Read More
Ukraine War, February 23, 2022: History–It all matters; blame enough to go around; cyber and collective self-defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression; conditions for a cease-fire; the long war with Russia (cold and maybe hot) that lies ahead: the failure of U.S. and NATO strategy; avoiding Armageddon
The defeatism in the air is palpable, with American officials apparently resigned to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now talking about increasing the “costs” to Russia if Putin invades.
Worth recalling is the fact that Barack Obama used similar language about “costs” to Russia if it invaded Ukraine, back in 2014. Such threats of unnamed “costs” did not deter Putin then, and they are not likely to deter him now. This is particularly true in view of the fact that the two greatest “costs” that might be imposed on Russia are illusory, and are not really on the table.
It is now time for the U.S. to play hardball with the German government, which is the weak link in the West’s deterrence strategy against Putin.
If Germany won’t make sacrifices for NATO, Biden should withdraw American troops from Germany and re-station them in a country which takes standing up to Putin and Russia more seriously.
Germans and business keaders in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere need to understand that if Russia invades Ukraine, it will not be some minor thing like the Russian military intervention in Georgia in 2008, or even tbe invasion of the Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Such an intervention would in the intermediate term destroy business relations between the West and Russia, and entail significant risks of escalation to a much wider war, one involving NATO members and the potential invocation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty.
The U.S. could be drawn into defending one or more NATO countries under the mutual defense obligation in Article 5.
If these events were to unfold, the risk of a nuclear confrontation would become great, with the attendant risk of something accidentally setting off a nuclear conflict.
In short, if Russia invades Ukraine, the world as we know it is likely to change, in drastic and unforeseeable ways.
What can be done now to change Putin’s calculations, or to respond to an invasion?
The U.S. and NATO countries should begin active cyber-warfare countermeasures to help defend Ukraine from ongoing Russian attacks on its computer networks and infrastructure. In this realm, the U.S. may have the most advanced capabilities, and should begin using them now. Above all, U.S. decision makers should avoid undue hesitance by demanding absolute proof of attribution of the attacks. In a wartime setting, officials and nations may need to act in the absence of perfect information.
If Russia is not behind the attacks, who do U.S. analysts and policymakers think is? Nigeria? Lesotho? Fiji? It is immaterial whether the operators are Russian officials or others acting under their control.
Finally, in order to influence Putin’s calculations at this late stage in the game, NATO members should leave open the possibility of coming to Ukraine’s defense through the use of military force and active cyber-warfare measures, in exercise of the right of collective self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, if Russia invades Ukraine and a major war develops.
What an irony it would be if Putin’s hubris led him to invade Ukraine, and the consequences of that action–as the Russian body bags came home, Russia was expelled from the SWIFT international payments system, suffered from severe sectorial sanctions, and Finland joined NATO–led to his removal from power.
If Putin invades Ukraine, it could be his last rodeo.
See, Anton Troianovski, “Putin’s Next Move on Ukraine Is a Mystery. Just the Way He Likes It; The contradictory, sometimes menacing messages from the Kremlin…
January 7, 2022 See, 1) AFP, “Russia’s ‘mini-Nato’ intervenes in Kazakhstan Clashes reported in Almaty as govt buildings cleared of protesters,” 24newshd.tv January 7, 2022(7:43…
Sometimes political situations and their implications are very clear to the objective observer, someone like the Observer who is far removed from the buzz of Washington, Twitter, and the latest “breaking news” on the Cable News networks. The Observer is a keen and unbiased commentator who reads many newspapers, both American and foreign, and who has been paying attention to political developments in the United States for a long time.
Drawing on this experience and his own original analysis, the Observer believes that there are three major problems that pose a challenge to American democracy, and that there are three active measures that the Democrats and “little d” democrats should take, now, in order to save the Republic.
Taking down Trump is the single most important action the Democrats can take to safeguard American democracy in 2022 and 2024. Together with passing legislation prohibiting the knowing transmission of lies and disinformation on television and radio, and enacting voting rights legislation, indicting Trump is an essential action in any program to protect American democracy against the anti-democratic and authoritarian threat Trump and his supporters represent.
These three problems represent the greatest challenges to American democracy today.
These three urgent actions represent our best hopes for beating back the anti-democratic challenge before it is too late.
French President Emmanuel Macron is breaking ranks with Western leaders, including President Joe Biden, and planning to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) on December 4, on a trip to the Gulf countries of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
Whatever France’s interests may be in dealing with Saudi Arabia, Macron is sacrificing any claim France might have to be a leader in the struggle for human rights and the rule of law, including international law, by meeting with the Crown Prince–who is widely known to be Kashoggi’s assassin.
The great threat to France and the West is that MBS may become the next King of Saudi Arabia, perpetuating an authoritarian system of government characterized by gross violations of human rights, the oppression of women, and a total absence of due process of law.
Instead of meeting with MBS, Macron and France, the U.S., and other democratic countries should be shunning MBS and doing everything they can to prevent him from becoming king.
With the Americans and the Europeans firmly set in their demands that the Taliban provide guarantees for the respect of human rights before assets can be freed or aid can flow, the Afghan economy appears on the verge of collapse.
As winter is fast approaching, a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions becomes more likely very day.
It is difficult to see either side yielding, while diplomacy is awkward and takes a lot of time.
In these circumstances, it seems likely that millions of Afghans will starve to death before the assistance they so desperately need reaches them.
The Democrats refuse to prosecute Donald Trump. Moreover, they enforce a conspiracy of silence under which not even the question of whether Trump should be prosecuted can be discussed, or even raised.
Meanwhile, Trump, who appears to have committed numerous felonies in full public view, is left free to hold rallies and breathe air into a growing fascist movement led by the Republican party and his supporters
President Joe Biden continues to stumble, to blow the opportunities his and the Democrats’ narrow victories in 2020 have afforded him.
Neither Biden nor the Democratic leaders seem to understand that fascist threat.
The country faces a fascist challenge supported by 35-40 million voters living in a propaganda universe, an alternate universe where facts and the truth do not hold sway, plus perhaps another 20 million cynical fellow travelers.
Nowhere are their leaders with the courage to stand up and defend our democracy by taking bold actions, such as indicting Trump.
New and damning details emerged today with the publication of an Interim Report by the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 7, 2021.
The breadth and extent of Donald Trump’s electoral and other crimes is in the public record.
While the nation pays attention to the latest “breaking news” story, American democracy is in grave peril.
The questions that should be front and center in every newspaper and on every radio and TV news program are the following:
1) Why has Trump not been indicted?
2) Should Trump be indicted?
3) When will Trump be indicted?
The key point is that the international community should not deny to the people of Afghanistan–the individual life-and-blood human beings–the aid they need to survive, on the theory that withholding aid will make the Taliban respect human rights. For examples of the challenges of survival these human beings face, see Espinosa and Follorou, above.