NATO, Russia, Ukraine: What’s really going on?

Truthfully, I can’t say with any certainty. Highly doubt anyone really can. But, we can share some thoughts on the subject, right?

Seems to me the US and friends want to ( would like to) increase sanctions against Russia using the mechanism provided by the nominally (but not really) independent SWIFT. That is one possibility and sanctioning North Stream is another ( could be used together- but I doubt it on either count) It just doesn’t seem to me that either option is practical at this time.


He said that if Russia does invade Ukraine, the West should prepare a very strong economic sanctions package, including cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international payment system used by banks around the world and sanctioning the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Just my opinion, it’s really doubtful Russia wants to “invade” Ukraine- The status quo is an easier option. Because it’s the status quo. (Existing state of affairs) It’s serves everyone and is good enough. This could change in the future, but, for now it’s not necessary or desired.

Rinkēvičs, foreign minister since 2011, said it was unclear if Putin was simply trying to test the West’s resolve or if the Kremlin planned a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Maybe astrology or some other more precise science needs to be involved. But I do believe that Ukraine for Russia and President Putin is an essential part of the kind of vision of a great Russia,” Rinkēvičs said in an interview in London.

Rinkevics is just talking silly. Astrology or some other more precise science? Is he ridiculing the very existence of this idea? Or is he trying to paint Putin as absurd? Gibberish.

Washington Post

The good news here — or what passes for good news in a very troubled situation — is that a middle ground potentially exists. It may be possible to give Putin a portion of what he wants without substantially altering the U.S. position, and thus defuse a dangerous situation.

It ought to be possible to say forthrightly what everyone in the West knows to be true: NATO has no plan, short or long term, for bringing Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. Bush did not have a plan in 2008, and no administration has developed such a plan in the years since. If Putin needs assurance that no such plan exists, what’s the harm in giving it to him?

Who said Putin needs assurances that no plan exists?

At the same time, while the West does not intend to claim these lands, we won’t surrender them either. The West has precisely the same interest in Ukraine that Russia has. It is a borderland we share.

It’s a stretch to think of the Ukraine as a ‘borderland’ for the west, but, in some ways it probably is perceived by the NATO allies in such a manner.

Biden is right to threaten severe economic consequences for Russia should Putin further invade Ukraine. (He has already annexed Crimea and is fighting a war in the Donbas.) This should include a promise to ramp up U.S. natural gas production to supply Europe’s needs and gut the gas-exporting economy of Russia. And it should include a credible threat to impound Putin’s estimated billions in the West.

Seems doubtful that the US can deliver on a supply of gas to Europe at this time. Not even a promise of this happening in the very near future seems credible or likely

At the same time, the United States and its allies must recognize Russia’s interest in a neutral Ukraine. A mechanism of formal and informal talks should be created to pursue the joint interests of East and West in a stable, neutral frontier.

“Putin leads a nation in economic, demographic and cultural decline, and has neither the capacity nor the appetite for ruling Ukraine against the wishes of Ukrainians. That’s true. It’s also true that the West has no intention of giving the NATO promise of mutual defense to the age-old battlefield of Ukraine.

A stable, neutral Ukraine serves everyone’s interest. So why not tell it like it is.”

From where I’m sitting, Russia does not seem to be a nation in economic, demographic or cultural decline. Considering the belt and road initiative. The partnership with China. The ability to work with Turkey. The Armenia/ Azerbaijan situation. Some deals with India. If anything this massive project *Belt and Road* is set to challenge US hegemony on the global chessboard. Not suggestive of decline. Though that is clearly what we’re supposed to believe, it just doesn’t seem likely.
What does seem likely is the US and it’s NATO allies would like to keep Russia in check for as long as they can. How long that will be? Seems to me it all depends on the realities that can be created on the ground. Realpolitik.

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