The United States is on the brink of a war in Ukraine, and most of the country hasn’t even noticed.
WASHINGTON — President Biden is considering deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, according to administration officials.
The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading. But as President Vladimir V. Putin has ramped up his threatening actions toward Ukraine, and talks between American and Russian officials have failed to discourage him, the administration is now moving away from its do-not-provoke strategy.
The discussions came as the State Department ordered all family members of U.S. embassy personnel in Kyiv to leave Ukraine, citing the threat of Russian military action, and authorized some embassy employees to depart as well, according to senior State Department officials who briefed reporters on Sunday.
Sounds very serious. Yet right now, this is the New York Times front page.
The NYT squeezed the story into the bottom left, below perpetually-unchanging narratives about COVID and stories about Joan Didion and the latest prestige TV show.
For comparison, this was the front page of CNN’s website on the morning of January 19, as the Ukraine crisis was ramping up. See if you can find the update on Ukraine.
Can you see it down on the bottom right, where nobody will read it? It’s just below the Tongan tsunami aftermath and is definitively less important than a Marvel actor dying in a skiing accident.
How about Fox News?
Aha! This time it’s on the bottom left, and roughly equal in importance to Lily Tomlin (who?) receiving a “Movies for Grownups” award (what?).
To say the least, Americans are not racing to their TVs and their web browsers to get more information about Ukraine. The vast majority of America doesn’t know anything about the country and has little interest in knowing more. Their very ignorance, though, reveals a sort of intuitive wisdom: Americans know that Ukraine is a poor and far-away country that should be of no concern for them.
And yet, while America looks away, the ruling class inches us dangerously closer to war. Russia is reportedly massing tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border, and even deploying some in Belarus. America is shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to Kyiv’s government in response. There is talk of a Russian invasion, which Washington might counter by backing a violent insurgency, which would invite retaliation, and so forth, until America is on the edge of nuclear war over an impoverished country four thousand miles away.
How did this happen? News reports will cite Russia’s military buildup, its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, its seizure of Crimea and presumed hunger for even more territory. Republicans are releasing videos about the long-building need to “stand up” to Vladimir Putin and his “aggression.”
All of this noise evades the real truth, though: The Ukraine crisis is a creation of the Globalist American Empire. It is a product of American overreach, and the crisis continues because the DC national security cabal refuses to admit any mistakes, backtrack, or engage in any serious negotiation whatsoever. America’s ruling elites are willing to risk war, possibly even nuclear war, for the sake of their own desire to exert control everywhere on Earth.
The Soviet Union fell in 1991. Vladimir Putin took power in Russia in 2000. Yet the crisis over Ukraine dates to only 2014. For Putin’s first 14 years in power, conflict in Ukraine was sharp, often bitter, but fundamentally political. The situation changed only in 2014, when revolutionaries overthrew democratically-elected pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, with America’s endorsement.
Without getting into too much detail on the 2014 coup, this was a prototypical “color revolution” where a supportive American press and State Department gave political and moral cover to a violent, extrajudicial change in the government of Ukraine. Protesters seized control of key government buildings in Kyiv and the capitals of numerous regions. President Yanukovych agreed to early elections and constitutional changes but was still thrown out of power (without following the legal impeachment process), and the new government subsequently purged everyone associated with him from government (sound familiar?).
For Russians, the overthrow of Yanukovych’s government was the climax of years of American pressure that most Americans didn’t even know about. Russia felt this pressure keenly. In 1999, NATO admitted three former Warsaw Pact nations. In 2004, it admitted three former Soviet republics in the Baltic states. In 2008, NATO declined to admit Georgia and Ukraine, but then promised that one day they would be admitted. NATO, whatever other explanations may be given for its existence, is an anti-Russian alliance, and for two decades America continued to expand its reach, even though Russia had shrunk in size, abandoned Communism, and adopted a shakily democratic, free-market system.
And yet, despite all that, the situation in Ukraine still didn’t boil over until the US endorsed a revolution to overthrow a democratically-elected government. It was Yanukovych’s extrajudicial overthrow that sparked Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its support for an anti-Kyiv insurgency in the eastern Donbas region. And the crisis has continued ever since, thanks to America’s negotiating posture, or rather its lack of one. America’s position is that, more or less, there can be no negotiations.
While the Western press enjoys painting Vladimir Putin as “crazy,” Russia’s attitude towards Ukraine isn’t mysterious. Russia has serious and legitimate interests in Ukraine. Prior to 1991, Ukraine was politically united with Russia for almost 350 years (longer than America has even existed). In the eastern third of Ukraine, the majority of people speak Russian, and a large minority identify as ethnically Russian. The Crimea, seized by Russia in 2014, is not only overwhelmingly Russian by language and ethnicity, but its very existence as a Ukrainian province is the result of a historical fluke: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimea from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR as an act of sentimentality.
And of course, if one wanted to invade Russia, Ukraine would be the best staging ground to do so. Ukraine hosts a long border adjacent to Russia’s most populous regions. So it is understandable that Russia greatly dislikes the idea of Ukraine joining NATO, an alliance whose entire raison d’etre is to contain Russia.
And in fact, that’s Russia’s only major condition for ending this crisis: Promise not to add Ukraine or Georgia to NATO, and don’t station troops in them.
The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The United States of America shall not establish military bases in the territory of the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, use their infrastructure for any military activities or develop bilateral military cooperation with them.
The Parties shall undertake not to deploy ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles outside their national territories, as well as in the areas of their national territories, from which such weapons can attack targets in the national territory of the other Party.
The Parties shall refrain from deploying nuclear weapons outside their national territories and return such weapons already deployed outside their national territories at the time of the entry into force of the Treaty to their national territories. The Parties shall eliminate all existing infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons outside their national territories.
This isn’t an ultimatum. The NATO question is the only one that Russia has repeatedly insisted upon. If America were inclined to negotiate, it could. Instead, America has taken the position that Ukraine’s eligibility for NATO is entirely non-negotiable. In fact, basically everything about Ukraine is non-negotiable from the perspective of the State Department. The US State Department also insists it will “never” acknowledge Russian annexation of Crimea, even though Western media outlets admit the local population overwhelmingly supports union with Russia. America’s demand, in essence, is that Russia acknowledge a violent revolution (in the name of “democracy”), return Crimea to Ukraine against its will (again, in the name of “democracy”), and let Ukraine become a military satellite of the United States (in the name of of “peace”).
This is deranged. Adding Ukraine to NATO does nothing to improve the security of the United States, or any of its key allies. Even if Russia did conquer and annex all of Ukraine (something it has shown no interest in doing), America’s security interests would remain unchanged. Ukraine doesn’t supply the United States with any irreplaceable natural resources. It doesn’t sit alongside a critical trade route or geographical position. It isn’t physically proximate to the United States. Ukraine matters to America’s domestic security as much as Iraq, Syria, Libya, or Venezuela; i.e. not at all. Just like all four of those other countries, a war over Ukraine would have nothing to do with protecting America’s safety, its prosperity, or its values. Instead, it would be a product of a cloistered foreign policy elite that is not content with controlling one country and instead seeks to boss around the entire planet.
“B-but if we don’t stop him in Donetsk, Putin will drive all the way to the English Channel!”
Bullshit. No, he won’t. Russia’s population is half of what the USSR’s was 30 years ago. Its military is smaller. Its economy is only the size of that of Texas. Russia’s frontline in any hypothetical war has shifted hundreds of miles to the east. Russia invading and occupying Europe is as plausible as Canada invading and occupying the United States. The idea of Vladimir Putin steamrolling all of Europe like Hitler or Napoleon would be absurd, even if he aspired to do that. But importantly, there is absolutely zero evidence Putin wants to invade. Putin’s Russia has no desire to ideologically control Western Europe. Its external interests have consistently focused on its immediate neighbors, and regions with Russian minorities. Crimea was Russia’s only land grab, and it only happened when the West sought to make Ukraine a satellite.
But don’t take Revolver’s word for it. Take it from George Kennan, the original architect of Cold War containment. In 1998, a 94-year-old Kennan told New York Times opinion writer Thomas Friedman that NATO expansion into the former Warsaw Pact was the peak of stupidity:
[W]hen I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate’s ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.
”I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ‘‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.”
”What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,” added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ”X,” defined America’s cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ”I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.
In fact, the Globalist American Empire’s belligerent desire to expand NATO is a damning indictment of the alliance’s purpose, and calls into question whether it should exist at all. When NATO was created, Russia (as the Soviet Union) was ruled by an expansionist, totalitarian ideology that sought to spread itself throughout the entire world, by force if necessary. Communists had taken control of eight Eastern European countries, and more were in danger of being captured. The Soviet Union had the world’s largest conventional armed forces, deployed in positions where they could directly threaten genuinely crucial American allies like France and Britain.
None of the conditions that justified NATO’s creation 73 years ago exist today. The danger has evaporated, or rather, it is NATO itself that has created the danger. Through NATO expansion, the Globalist American Empire has created friction where there was none.
In fact, with many left-wing pundits calling for figures like Tucker Carlson to be criminally prosecuted for opposing war with Russia, it can even be argued that NATO has become a bigger threat to American freedoms than Russia will ever be.
This isn’t journalism, it’s an ongoing FARA violation. Tucker Carlson needs to be prosecuted as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation and treason under Article 3, Sec. 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution for aiding an enemy in hybrid warfare against the United States. https://t.co/5JkLuCKoBn
— Alexandra Chalupa (@AlexandraChalup) January 19, 2022
Drop the Chalupa!
The reality in 2022 is that NATO isn’t being used to protect freedom abroad. It’s being used to stamp it out at home.
The only thing preventing peace with Russia is the colossal arrogance of America’s foreign policy establishment from both parties.
So, what would be a reasonable end to the permanent crisis in Ukraine? Frankly, a good start would simply be to concede what Russia has insisted on all along: Not letting Ukraine into NATO. This demand has been portrayed as “unacceptable,” or even a betrayal of America’s values dating all the way back to its founding.
But it isn’t, at all. America has made concessions like this before.
To this very day, Austria remains a non-member of NATO. What is almost entirely forgotten today is how this came to pass.
In the first half-decade after the end of World War 2, Austria seemed poised to become the place the Cold War got hot. Just like in Germany, the Allies split Austria into four occupation zones held by Britain, France, America, and the Soviet Union, and just like in Germany, they split the capital of Vienna into zones as well, even though it lay far inside the Soviet zone. The country itself fell exactly on the Iron Curtain line dividing post-war Europe. It shared a border with Soviet-occupied Warsaw Pact members Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In other words, Austria in 1950 was in the exact same position that Ukraine finds itself in today.
Austrian Communists agitated for the Soviets to partition the country and erect a Communist government; meanwhile, the Americans and British stockpiled supplies in case Vienna were blockaded and slowly trained up a secret Austrian military. After the Korean War broke out in 1950, the West feared that Austria would collapse into a European copycat of that proxy war. In August 1950, two months into the Korean conflict, the Austrian Communist Party launched a general strike, with a hundred and fifty thousand workers leaving their posts. Had the Soviets used their troops to support the strikers, or had the Allies backed the government, American history books mighty easily mention an Austrian War today, or even a “Third World War.”
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the Austrian political crisis played out without outside meddling. After Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953, the situation rapidly improved with the two sides embracing neutrality instead of conflict. The Soviets, followed by the British and the French, scaled back troop deployments. In 1955, a full agreement was reached: Austria was reunified and granted full independence, and in return it promised never to join NATO or the Warsaw Pact, never to host foreign troops on its soil, and to never reunite with Germany in a second Anschluss.
Konrad Adenauer, the leader of West Germany at the time, was furious over the agreement. He did not trust the Soviets, and expected a plot to isolate Germany and force it to become a disarmed Soviet client state. But in the end, this didn’t happen. While the Cold War certainly didn’t end, Austrian neutrality eased tension between the superpowers while freeing Austria to become the prosperous, neutral, liberal democracy that it remains today.
No doubt, if today’s armchair generals were running American foreign policy at the time, they would have sided with Adenauer. They would have demanded NATO membership for Austria, massive military aid, and “not one step back,” lest the Soviets felt emboldened to conquer all of Europe. And, just like they are today, they would have been ridiculous and wrong.
Instead of backing down, acolytes of the Globalist American Empire fantasize about war abroad, and imprisoning their political enemies at home. Despite decades of disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and more, America’s elites have faced no consequences, and thus they have only grown more assertive and arrogant. Now, they are happy to devastate another country and force you to bear the risk of nuclear war, to indulge their own power fantasies. It isn’t Russia acting like a rogue state in the Ukraine. It’s the Globalist American Empire.