European Union

Ukraine War, May 10, 2022 (II): The hard work ahead in the non-allied countries, to get them to joint the anti-Russian coalition

Developing. We are publishing this article as it is being written. Please check back for updates. To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine”…

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Ukraine War, February 25, 2022: “We are all Ukrainians now”; U.N. Security Council resolution and vote (with links to video and text of resolution)


Ukraine Crisis, February 21, 2022 (Part II): Weighing options–Biden’s Munich moment


Ukraine Crisis, February 21, 2022: Putin recognizes puppet “separatist” governments in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces; to deter a full invasion, U.S. and allies must impose heaviest sanctions now


Ukraine Crisis, February 15, 2022 (II): Scholz is tough in Moscow; Putin hints at negotiation and withdrawals, but it could be a deception; Russian military moves to block any NATO intervention; Biden gives strong speech; Security Council meeting on February 17


Ukraine Crisis, February 8, 2022: Urgent need for strongest possible deterrent steps; the Minsk II off-ramp for Putin


Cyber attacks on European oil terminals: A taste of Putin’s next hybrid war?


Ukraine Crisis, February 2, 2022: U.S. and NATO Replies to Putins demands (with links to leaked documents)


Ukraine Crisis, February 1, 2022: Security Council meeting on January 31 a welcome success; tripartite security pact between Ukraine, Poland, and Britain reportedly in preparation


Use international law: Take Putin’s threatened invasion of Ukraine to the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly; use SWIFT and Nordstream II to move beyond an illusory deterrent and really deter Putin; sanction Belarus for complicity in any invasion

U.S.,NATO, and EU heavy “costs” that will be imposed on Russia if it invades Ukraine are a deterrent, built on illusions, which will not deter Putin.

The West needs to strengthen its deterrent threats and to start imposing sanctions now.

Russia should be sanctioned for threatening the use of force in violation of Article 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, and bringing the world dangerously close to a major war in Europe which has the potential of escalating to a nuclear conflict.

The West has been playing defense, reacting slowly to Russia’s threat of a war of aggression against Ukraine.

German war criminals were tried at Nuremberg for committing “crimes against peace”. Putin is committing crimes against peace as we speak.

NATO and the West need to stop responding to Putin’s unlawful demands and to start making their own demands on Putin and Russia.

The best defense is a good offense, it is often said.

It is now time for the civilized nations if the world to move from defensive maneuvering to going on the offense against Putin and Russia.

They should demand the following steps from Putin, and impose escalating sanctions on Russia if he does not comply, and until he does.
These demands include the following:

The U.S., the EU, and NATO member countries should begin imposing severe economic sanctions on Russia for its ongoing threat to further invade Ukraine, for its continuing occupation of the Crimea, and for its continuing occupation, both directly and through agents under its control, of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (together “the Donbas’j in the Eastern Ukraine.

The goal should be to really deter Putin from invading Ukraine, not just putting on a good show that NATO, the U.S. and the EU tried. A secondary goal should be to deter Belarus from allowing Russian troops to launch an invasion from its territory.

To really deter Putin, all countries should pressure Germany to go along with the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, if it invades Ukraine, and to commit now to cancellation of the Nordstream II pipeline project if that occurs.

As the civilized nations of the world move to offensive operations in defense of Ukraine, the imposition of heavy economic and other sanctions, perhaps on a partial and escalating basis, should begin at once.

Both Fiona Hill, above, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, have called for the question of the threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine to be taken to the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly.

These steps should be undertaken at once.


It’s time to play hardball with Germany, and to pull out all the stops to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine (Updated January 25: 2022)

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.


Change Putin’s calculations: Put force back on the table, and begin active cyber-warfare measures to defend Ukraine

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.



Afghanistan today, October 28, 2021

Stroobants and Follorou report on divisions within the EU regarding the reestablishment of an EU presence in Kabul. Josep Borrell, the EU High Commisioner for Foreign Affairs, has announced the UE is sending a small group of technical experts to discuss humanitarian aid, stressing that its action in no way implies any kind of recognition of the Taliban government.

Borrell favors opening a diplomatic office to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid and the departure Afghans who are in danger. Germany and the Netherlands support this approach. The Germans are even considering reopening their embassy in Kabul.

France and Denmark are critical of this approach, arguing that even humanitarian assistance will help the Taliban stabilize the situation in the country without acceding to the EU’s conditions that they respect human rights in order to receive such assistance.


U.S.-Taliban meetings in Doha reach an impasse, as enormous humanitarian disaster approaches

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.