China released a peace plan for Ukraine today in a move that could dramatically expand Beijing’s role in the conflict. The plan, which Chinese officials referred to as a “position paper,” calls for a ceasefire and the resumption of peace talks. It also includes provisions calling for countries to respect the sovereignty of other states while noting that the “legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly.”
Ukraine has approached the proposal with cautious optimism, calling it a “good sign” for China’s role in the conflict. “We hope they also urge Russia to stop the war and withdraw its troops,” said Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires in China.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who saw the plan’s key points during a meeting with China’s top diplomat, said Tuesday that Kyiv intends to “carefully study it and draw conclusions.” Kuleba also noted that Ukraine’s top priority is its own peace plan, which Kyiv released late last year. Kuleba’s careful reaction, a far cry from Kyiv’s harsh rebuke of a peace proposal made by Mexico last year, signals that Ukraine could be willing to consider China as a credible mediator despite the country’s close relationship with Russia.
The proposal earned a lukewarm reaction from Western leaders. “If the position paper is a positive sign for Ukraine then it’s a positive sign for the [European Union], although we are studying the paper closely,” said the EU ambassador to China, who argued that the proposal should not be viewed as a full peace plan. The German foreign minister also welcomed the plan earlier this week, noting that China’s place on the UN Security Council means that it “has an obligation to use its influence to secure world peace.”
For its part, the United States has largely dismissed the document. “My first reaction to it is that it could stop at point one, which is to respect the sovereignty of all nations,” said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
As Patrick Wintour noted in the Guardian, the plan will likely earn plaudits from many in the Global South, which has suffered significantly from the war due to its impact on the price of food and other staples. “We cannot limit ourselves to talking about the war,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira told Wintour. “I am not referring to immediate negotiations – we would have to go step by step, perhaps first create an environment that makes a negotiation possible.”
Meanwhile, there is growing evidence that China isn’t the only superpower pitching a path to peace. Two unnamed Ukrainian officials told Politico Tuesday that CIA Director William Burns did in fact float a peace plan during a meeting with his Russian counterpart last November, a claim that Washington has strenuously denied. “[T]he officials also confirmed a report that in January, Burns had urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to make as much battlefield headway as quickly as he could, because the scale of military support could start falling off,” wrote Politico opinion editor Jamie Dettmer.
Comment: Earlier today our own Fourth and Long posted a good summary of this plan. In my opinion, it all hinges on how the first point is interpreted. The other eleven points are fairly straight forward except for the timing. Are sanctions to be dropped as soon as the last Russian soldier leaves all of pre-2014 Ukraine? Are they to be gradually dropped as they withdraw to predetermined phase lines? Does a ceasefire need to be in place before any Russian withdrawal? Or does any Russian column moving towards the border have safe passage as long as they keep moving? I can’t see Ukraine signing up for a ceasefire with all Russian troops still in place. That would be ceding Ukrainian soil (and Ukrainians) to Russian control.
Point 1. Respecting the sovereignty of all countries. Universally recognized international law, including the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, must be strictly observed. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. All parties should jointly uphold the basic norms governing international relations and defend international fairness and justice. Equal and uniform application of international law should be promoted, while double standards must be rejected.
But that first point is the real kicker. What exactly does China mean? China wants a return to world order so she can continue to compete economically. A hot war and sanction regime puts a real kink in her plans for the BRI. Does China mean Russia should leave all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea and the Donbas? She never recognized Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea or the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as sovereign states. She abstained in the recent UN vote calling for a complete Russian withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory (Zelenskiy’s plan). That vote received 141 in favor, 32 abstentions (including China and India) and only 7 no votes. I doubt the fact that China did not support their supposedly close ally escaped anyone’s notice, including Putin. World consensus indicates what Ukraine claims as Ukraine is, indeed Ukraine. On the other hand, only 13 states and the Vatican recognize Taiwan as an independent state. China would be very comfortable going with the UN consensus recognizing all of Ukraine as belonging to Ukraine. That stance would be consistent with the UN consensus that Taiwan is part of China.
Both Kuleba and Zelenskiy expressed interest in China’s proposal after great initial scepticism. Zelenskiy is now willing to talk to Xi about the plan. I believe China wants a world order void of war and economic sanctions far more than she wants Russia as a staunch ally. We’ll see what comes of this.
A classic Chinese mealymouthed statement. I don’t see anything coming from it.
I like No. 2.
Does that mean NATO has to accept Russia’s security interests regarding Ukraine or…?
“2. Abandoning the Cold War mentality. The security of a country should not be pursued at the expense of others. The security of a region should not be achieved by strengthening or expanding military blocs. The legitimate security interests and concerns of all countries must be taken seriously and addressed properly. There is no simple solution to a complex issue. All parties should, following the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and bearing in mind the long-term peace and stability of the world, help forge a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. All parties should oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security, prevent bloc confrontation, and work together for peace and stability on the Eurasian Continent. “
I read that as also meaning Russia has to accept the security interests of Ukraine, the Baltics, Poland and all other countries in Europe.
I read that as one must submit to global order beyond self interest, and what that means, Agenda 2030 and the WEF. And if you believe that the ruling elite has your best human interests at heart, then look more closely at who in particlular make up that global elite.
This goes both ways. Will NATO then accept no membership for Sweden, Finland etc. ?
Just look at the hostile view on the proposal from the European Commission.
I don’t see the two parts in this war been willing to take a step back. So years of conflict ahead.
Sovereign countries are supposed to be able to choose with whom they make alliances. No alliance or country can force another to join an alliance. The hostility of the EU to this peace plan is probably shaped by a firm belief that Ukraine, with continued Western aid, can force Russia out of Ukrainian territory. They think a ceasefire at this point would allow Russia to gain from their invasion. I think you’re right in believing this is going to go on for a while.
And here you prove my point.
You want Russia to sacrifice their national security. Why would they want to do that?
Hence the war to resolve this political problem and no peace until one part is defeated or both parties are bled white.
And you seem to want Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe to sacrifice their national security. For Ukraine that includes her territory, her people and even existence.
See you put words in my mouth I write no such thing.
What I do see is that you are not willing to take a step back and address Russian national security interest. Which means you go for a military victory to impose your will on Russia. Russia will also not take a step back and are trying the same.
Hence we only have war to resolve the issue. And my point of years of war ahead stands.
The only thing Ukraine, the West and I want to impose on Russia is to remove all Russian troops from Ukrainian soil. I don’t think anyone’s asking them to demilitarize Kaliningrad or Belarus or remove long range missiles from the oblasts bordering other European countries.
If you don’t want to offer Russia enough for them to make peace you only have a crushing military victory over Russia left as a solution of the conflict.
And that requires the destruction of the Russian army.
The reasons for the Russian government starting the war are still there and the Russians will fight to impose their peace plan on Ukraine. If it takes years so be it.
Why should they stop and settle for nothing? They will not stop until their army is destroyed and they can’t fight on.
I get as tired writing this as correspondents must be in reading it .. but it gets to the heart of the security issue.
1. Ukraine is sovereign
2. Russia invaded Ukraine not vice versa
3. Russia is killing Ukrainians/destroying cities/towns
4. Ukraine does not destroy Russian cities/towns.
5. Russian armies have invaded Germany in ’14, Ukraine (and everywhere else in Eastern Europe) after ’19, Poland ’39, Finland ’40, Hungary ’56, Czechoslovakia ’68, Afghanistan ’79, threatened Poland in ’82, invaded Georgia in ’14 (?) and then there’s Ukraine again …
Most recently Russia has told Moldova to watch what it says “or else”, and threatened Finland and Sweden if they ask for NATO membership. Not a single one of those aforementioned countries (even Germany in ’14) had invaded Russia. Who threatens whose security???
Bill, you asked
“Who threatens whose security???”
I am not an expert on that.
But let me refer you to someone who does have some extensive past experience on that subject, Ray McGovern.
He addresses, I believe, that specific subject here:
https://youtu.be/R_EX-VwKjng?t=25m50s , out to 27m05s
Note at one point he apparently misspeaks, saying “periphery of the United States”,
when the following context refers to the periphery of Russia, namely Poland and Romania.
For a fuller context of McGovern’s remarks, click he
That should have ended:
keith Harbaugh; the historical record is right before the world’s eyes. All these countries were invaded, their citizens murdered, women raped, and cities destroyed by Russia over the past 100 years. Its fact, look at the record. Isn’t it worth noting that none of these nations attacked Russia. Yet your concern is first for the security of the killer and later for his victims. Lets talk first about unabridged sovereignty/security for Finland, the Balts, and the Slavs.
TTG: “But that first point is the real kicker. What exactly does China mean? ”
Well done my friend, you have neatly encapsulated the problem…………
Every other country in the world, knows exactly what China means by point #1. It is the eternal call of the weak against the strong.
I could summarize it as a call for fairness, equity and natural justice to be reaffirmed by everyone. That to be enabled by due process and international law.
Crap about an international rules based order, where we make up rules to suit
ourselves, doesn’t play well overseas.
Many of China’s neighbors are moving to strengthen their military partnership with the US. They don’t trust the CCP anymore than the Eastern Europeans trust Putin.
CCP doesn’t have any real support globally except by those who perceive a slight tilt in global fora will give them access to CCP cash. Now that CCP negotiations on all their non-performing BRI debt is going nowhere, they have to pump in more cash and take over assets, which is only a nationalist away from repudiation in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia. Let’s also not forget the competition for influence between Xi & Putin in Central Asia.
Of course there is a growing alliance among Putin, CCP and the Iranian theocracy. That’s the Axis of Competition for the western & growing eastern alliance with the US military at the center.
they do not trust the US either, but they are choosing to live under US hegemony rather than the Chinese one.
The Asians may not trust the US but they are desperately hoping that the US military will provide the necessary deterrent from PLA misadventures under Maoist Xi that could impinge on their security and territorial integrity.
wiz; yes trust is a funny word. Do I trust you’ll respect me in the morning? If I live east of the Urals I don’t believe the Chinese guy when he says he loves me. And he keeps singing that annoying song about Kow Tow your mama or something. If I live west of the Urals I find Putin weird. He wants me to kiss his russky dupa. The ring ok, the dupa uhn uh. So who’s a girl to trust amongst these rampaging pachadyrms? The guy in N.America may not be a prince, but he’s furthest away and he keeps telling me I’m pretty. He wants to respect my culture and all that … yeah, I’ll go w/him. That lvs Master Xi with the NOKOs, and (dont kid yourself, the Vietnamese, Philippinos, Indians, and Australians don’t like his stuff), and? It lvs Vladi with his new Islamic Shi ite friends in Teheran and the Assad family in Syria. Looking across the Black Sea he will find his old buddy Erdogan. Remember how Putin embarrassed him about six years ago over a downed jet in No. Syria. So does Erdogan. What a happy band of brothers are they. Fighting against the whole world this morn their children will sing their praises to? …
“I could summarize it as a call for fairness, equity and natural justice to be reaffirmed by everyone.“
When have these utopian ideals been successfully implemented in world affairs in human history?
I would argue that humans are not wired for this. Wars of conquest, subjugation of rivals, egotism of leaders are all part & parcel of the human condition that philosophers, chroniclers of their times have discussed since time immemorial.
You don’t have to argue – it’s an incontrovertible fact. Humans are carnivores who survived killing strong, fast, violently dangerous beasts when they weren’t slaughtering cute little rabbits and beautiful deer and antelope. Did they develop compassion watching their relatives being eaten alive and torn limb from limb by tigers, if they neighboring tribes hadn’t kidnapped them and murdered them in rituals to make the sun rise first? Oh look at the nice central American pyramid .. wait .. what’s that? .. a young woman having her heart cut out and rolled down the steps to a cauldron boiling with peppers, tomatoes and her siblings? Yes, a few hundred years ago only and 1500 years after Jesus got the same treatment. And a good thing too – has the sun failed to rise?
Those traits are genetically inherited as are all the instantaneous reflexes of danger response from 10 zillion years ago. The Chinese are more calm on balance – agriculture, rice farming, (hence huge populations) practicing for the Confucian exams their incredibly difficult ideograms. They got very smart by natural selection doing so for thousands of years trying to barely survive mongol and Hun invasions, the Jews did by studying Talmud and being merchants which is cut-throat tough and requires calculating ability. Much of the human race in the world at present practices cousin marriage of some sort to this day. One trait of excessive inbreeding is hair/trigger temper and excitability combined too often with suboptimal intelligence.
So I’m afraid we are doomed. The military arts are essentially the arts of training and controlling the young, strong, healthy predator carnivore males that humans turn out and segregating them in camps, breaking them by intense discipline and running them off to fight the young predators of other nations and empires. If not, those behemoths would live amongst normal people and civilization would never get off the ground. I’ve been near military camps at various times -those are not everyday people you see on the street or even the gym. That’s the message of movies like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence or The Searchers. No way human civilization survives with men like John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards or Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance on the loose. But mamas keep popping them out. Because we’d be up a creek without a canoe without them.
You need only to look at the modes of punishment humanity has come up with to understand that there is something really wrong with us.
Yes. Much of it is the work of rulers – kings, emperors etc to overawe and intimidate the ruled. But where do they find the willing practitioners of torture etc? Maybe there was a genetic mutation that got loose and was perpetuated. Executioner was a hereditary position in many European polities and in Japan. The craft must be learned so there are guilds and small communities which are necessarily kept away from the larger community. High priesthoods are highly inbred. We know about the Incan and Aztec high priesthoods – ritual murderers of humans. In Judaism the butchers were from a special tribe. The Temple in Jerusalem was an abattoir running with rivers of (animal) blood. The Romans themselves were horrified. Thomas Jefferson wrote about it in his letters to a Rev Rush and maybe in his revised, shortened bible that he wrote (he had to go to great lengths to hide any hint of atheism). Tolstoy did something similar. Looks tell a lot. Some people resemble pigs closely and some resemble birds of prey. Some have the hollow moronic eyes of sharks. Remember people are carnivores, carnivorous animals and most animals are incredibly stupid and others designed to take pleasure from inflicting pain. Animals kill their young frequently under certain conditions. Killing children – one’s own – was par for the course in hunter gatherer societies. Oedipus was nailed to a tree by order of his mother to be devoured by wild beasts.
I knew a Japanese woman long ago who was descended from hereditary executioners. The most repulsive human being I’ve ever met.
wiz; there is a cruelty about humans that must be part of our sense of survival. I’d need a deeper darker psychologists to explain it to me.
all animals have a sense of survival and can be cruel, but you don’t see chimpanzees impaling each other.
You need a twisted intelligence/imagination to come up with something like a death by a thousand cuts and the like.
I’m not a zoologist but I don’t think there are any animals who kill just for the sake of killing. Maybe Orcas but aren’t they supposed to be “almost human like” smart? Hmmmn. Killing other creatures to eat, or for defense is just nature’s way of survival. There is nothing to explain or defend. It is right in animal DNA. But to kill for killing’s sake and in a demonically cruel way requires explanation beyond my ken. Been reading early American colonial history of late. In the year 1675 you d/n want to get captured by Indians. Oh could they find ways to kill. They were brilliant. Similarly European colonialist enjoyed mass burnings as a way to light things up. Cruelty extends around the world and over time. I too believe it is somehow connected to the survival impulse but I don’t understand how. Would anyone care for a piece of broiled heart on toast? It will make you stronger.
“I don’t think there are any animals who kill just for the sake of killing. “
Weasels and foxes, I witnessed a friend’s poultry yard utterly devastated, nearly two dozen killed for one or two eaten.
When is Xi planning to free the Uigyurs in concentration camps and withdraw from their occupation of Tibet and stop his border incursions into Indian territory?
If it is the command of Allah to spread Islam to the world and destroy the infidel w/o mercy; why should the Chinese let the Uigurs free to do that?
That’s like saying that Americans are a bunch of criminal gangbangers because we have an active group of those who murder with impunity.
Similarly, there are some Uighyurs who have embraced jihadism, but they’re a small group. The majority of them have maintained their unique way of life & society without subjugating their neighbors. They have a millennia old tradition and culture.
In any case persecution on the basis of religious and cultural identity with no due process is totalitarian.
Meh… no doubt the religious persecution is w/o due process but the history of Islam is filled w/world wide horror from 675AD to today. China need only look at what Islam did in India as proof. Due you give due process to an idea that has brought such hate and violence to the entire world? I caught it in the ear from Col. Lang years ago for suggesting that Islam is by nature totalitarian. He advised that Islam is not a uniform worldwide force, but has many interpretations etc etc. Maybe he is right. But wherever I see Islam I see violence. B.P., I understand the Chinese on this one.
It is your prerogative to believe that all muslims are jihadis and to give a pass to the totalitarian CCP. I’m sure Col. Lang will disagree with you.
Just a reminder that Christianity too has a brutal past. From the burning of “heretics” at the stake to the crusades and their mission to convert & “civilize” the natives in the Americas & Africa.
B.P. w/the exception of Buddhism (and perhaps Hinduism as it is originally written) most religions have had a brutal side. Here is the difference. In Christianity, Jesus, said peace, love, and tolerance s/b the order of the day. Turn the other cheek and don’t be violent. Christians, mortals, f’d that up. Violence by the church was against what Jesus told his followers to do. Contrast that to what Islam says, in god’s very spoken words; kill the infidel, pluck out his eyes etc. It is allah who says to kill humans who don’t except him. That’s a mighty big difference. Go round the world in your mind and ask who directs the most violence against non-muslims. There is only one answer. Muslims are still, in 2023, killing non-muslims and are acting according to the Ko ran. B.P. there is simply no more violent and bloody period of history than that of Islam from 650 -2022. Ask yourself how Islam got from Mecca to western China in the first place. They were not invited. I can understand the Chinese fear of the Uiguer.
Don’t let the Buddhists and the Hindus off the hook. Both of those religions have created their own share of atrocities.
I am old enough to remember to beware communist dictators bearing gifts. What is to come next, Putin as China’s junior partner, presents a plan as well?
Off topic: Look at his name. And what’s he charged with?
Now pronounce “murder” the way many people do in certain English speaking dialects.
The plan might as well call for the Turkish troops withdrawal from Syria, Israel’s withdrawal from Golan Heights, US withdrawal from Cuba and Syria etc.
IMO, nothing will come from it, it is just a Chinese political performance, meant for the non NATO/G7 world. We are far from any settlement or even serious negotiations, with the coming spring, Season 2 of this tragic conflict is about to commence.
China presents a peace plan. Plans are not always followed to the letter. China’s need not be followed any more than Wilson’s. It is an invitation to talk. One never knows what can come from a cease fire other than life. In this case, although I am 100% pro Ukraine, it is its life which is in the balance. Unless the Russian public says nyet to more young men dead Russia will outlast Ukraine. If Ukraine appears too tough to swallow maybe Russia will reconsider her efforts at empire. You don’t know nuffin lessen you talk.
A cease fire would give the West time to supply Ukraine with ammo, tanks, AD, GLSDBs etc. There is little chance Russia will allow this.
Would you be supporting this cease fire, life saving thing if Ukraine was now in the process of developing a successful offensive ?
Wiz you are full stop stuck on “hate west”. A cease fire would also give Russia time to marshall more men, produce more shells, and get more help from China/Iran. That goes both ways. But to your question; … yes.
Why do you say that I “hate west” ? Please elaborate, cause I don’t hate (full stop).
wiz; b/c your first reaction to a peace plan was to note how it would help Ukraine increase arming but never a nod that it would similarly help Russia. Time works both ways but you only saw the disadvantage to the Russians. There is no moral equivalence here. Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian rockets are destroying Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. Russian troops are killing Ukrainians on Ukrainian land. Russian troops have kidnapped Ukrainian children, and Ukraine d/n invade Russia.
As you mention yourself, the war is fought primarily on Ukrainian ground, it’s infrastructure is being destroyed, there’s shortage of tanks, AD, ammo, Ukie economy is in the toilet etc.
For these reasons I believe Ukraine is currently under much greater pressure than Russia, so I think a timeout would benefit Ukraine more.
Btw, if you care about morality, go ask your government to withdraw US troops from Syria and ask it’s NATO ally Turkey to stop supporting jihadis and withdraw from Syria as well.
wiz the question of the morality of war was not on my mind. You worried first about benefits to Ukraine ignoring similar benefits to Russia the invader. As to Syria … USA out! Turkey out! I cant explain it but often the US Gov’t doesn’t listen to what I say.
IMO, for the reasons I’ve listed, any timeout will benefit Ukraine much more than Russia and that Russia is unlikely to agree to giving them that time. That’s all I said, not sure why you have a problem with that claim so much that you accuse me of hating the West ?!
Xi’s Point # 1 seems to be spoken with a forked tongue considering the Chinese spy balloon that overflew US and Canadian territory earlier this month. Not to mention the 40 other nations that similar Chinese spy balloons have flown over previously. Unless perhaps that was a PLA program that Xi plus Wang Yi and the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not know about as some mentioned. Although I find that far fetched speculation and am unconvinced.
Meanwhile: The US, the EU, Japan and the G7 are currently stepping up sanctions. Hundreds of Putin’s previously unsanctioned enablers are now facing retribution – including individuals, entities and propaganda forums.
Macht nicht….The whole thing is a discussion among NPCs.
All “peace plans” relating to this situation are simply vaporings….”the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on”.
The risible part of many “proposals” seems to be that the parties can talk about a treaty, but the start point always seems to be the Russians withdraw all forces from Ukraine as of 2014 status quo ante, which would include Crimea.
Obviously this ain’t gonna happen. Russia’s not Iraq and Ukraine’s not Kuwait.
The settlement of the current situation will be determined by whomever wins and it doesn’t really look like that’s going to be Ukraine.
Attempts to cripple Russia economically through sanctions are doomed to failure. Russia’s a big box store and countries aggregating 3-4 billion population want to buy and will continue to do so.
Ray McGovern addressing the UN Security Council, in person!
If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is.
(Evidently on Wednesday, 2023-02-22.)
A detailed description of this meeting of the UNSC, including summaries of what each speaker said, is here:
Actually it was on Tuesday, 2023-02-21
Zelenskvy would like to meet Xi Jimping to discus “parts” of peace plan.
IMO, the CCP plan is DOA. Neither side is ready for negotiations since they both believe they can improve their negotiating position on the battlefield. The earliest we’ll see any serious negotiations is after the next offensives.
I don’t entirely agree. The smart Russians such as Strelkov (he did an anniversary analysis plus his take on the Chinese peace plan early this morning or late last night up on his Telegram.) They absolutely know they are f’d and in for a long war of attrition as babeltuap here and TTG described. They see themselves losing at least a half million minimum to death to hold the fort. No one wants that. Problem is Putin can’t not show something for all this or he falls out a window and he knows it. The war crimes trials pushed by the Brits is not only counterproductive it’s suicidally dangerous. The smart money says they won’t launch the strategic nukes ever because of MAD – no Russian officer would obey the commands. But what if they are too egregiously humiliated or what if their deterrent is attacked – Zelensky said today they are going to take Crimea. The “Economist” magazine (nothing but MI6 and it’s always been) YouTube year retrospective today said that Russia MUST be hit inside Russia in order to get them to withdraw. All sorts of crazy weird stuff can be done if the artillery tube shortage is real – stuff that is incredibly destructive and not discussed. That will trigger tactical nukes quite possibly in Ukraine. If Putin’s goose is cooked what’s to say that there isn’t a secret psycho squad that gets off a long range weapon and hits the lower 48? Then we respond (while it’s airborne, likely) and then they detect that and launch the barrage that they can. It’s not worth it. It’s ridiculous. Maybe he has a Bormann to Argentina scheme all worked out – yes you think not likely, good, but does he? Look at his nitwit planning so far. People like that are dangerous to everyone – lots of people are already dead. Don’t dismiss a hair rained scheme because you can see through its plausibility — 911 anyone?
The Chinese have survived thousands of damn years against horrors. They are very smart. How long have we survived?
What I’m trying to say is there may exist a diabolical psychopathic plan to get around the fact that sane, responsible Russian commanders would not launch (strategic missiles) in order to trick the Americans into launching because they think (or are nearly certain) that they are under nuclear attack. Don’t forget the real crazy coercive stuff: Commander, look at the email. Your daughters – see, we have them. Now do what we say and she not only lives, she’s set for life. Copy that times 100. There’s other variations that are even crazier I’m sure. I’m not a Hollywood script writer.
You maybe correct and Xi could provide a face saving exit to both sides. I wouldn’t bet on it right now. It appears both sides are preparing a second bite of the war apple to see where they get. The outcome of this next phase would likely determine if either side is open to any compromise.
I don’t think any Russian commanders in the workflow to launch nuclear weapons will go for it. They understand the catastrophe and will sacrifice Putin if that’s the only choice.
By the look of things it looks like your first point in para 1 is correct, but I’ve just come off watching propaganda on TikTok where it looks like they’re rarin’ to go full steam ahead, so that’s influenced me. (Their patriotic and military music is unbelievably powerful, just like the old days).
Second point also likely correct. But see my reply to wiz above. Stalin was a deformed monster who was a master of finding the needy, deprived, sick sadistic cretins who live and breath just to satisfy any whim of a powerful leader who will pat them on the head and say “good boy” for their unspeakable work. The dwarf Yezhov. Beria (he was bad but no Yezhov, not even close). I should have added to my reply to wiz that deformity is a clue (and this is why it is not only a sin, but a seriously potentially societally suicidal move to make fun of the handicapped – Trump for example) to topic above. Kaiser Willy II, Stalin, Lord Halifax, Tamerlane, Hitler, King Richard III etc. Quasimodo, Victor Hugo’s hunchback, was a saint. Stephen Hawking was a great man. And there are many more. But the mix of deformity and mistreatment is highly toxic.
There’s no denying it, the Chinese have had a head start on most everyone else. But there’s another way of looking at that. They’re not so smart, they’ve just been doing the same damn thing 5000 years longer than the rest of us. As to Putin, you are right about him. He had better show something for all the death, destruction, and economic loss he has wrought or he’ll take a really big fall. How to extract. “Extract? What if I don’t want to”, says Vlady. “I’m going to win. I’ll smash those ukrainian low lives once and for all. Will they never learn Russians are their superiors!”. F&L you were speaking of China’s long march through history. Maybe (?) Putin will accept the Donbass and half of Crimea this time and try for more in another 50 years. He has saved Russian speakers in Ukraine’s east, beaten back the evil Nazis (who must be very old), sent a message to the Balts, Finns, Moldovans, and Slovaks to watch their tone of voice in speaking to Russians, and demonstrated to the world you don’t fool with “Putty Put”. Such accomplishment; hasn’t he done enough? No, Putin knows (c’mon, as do we all) that this is Russia’s last chance for imperial glory. If Russia can’t subdue Ukraine now it never will. The Russian people will have to live as citizens of an ordinary country. But w/o the burden of civilizing the “lesser peoples of the east”. Free at last of the burdens of civilization, what can Russians be?
You see, I’m all for Russia.
Thanks Bill. You cracked me up so hard that my tears of laughter would have rolled my smeared my eyeshadow straight down past my chin if I were a more diverse individual.
This comments thread resembles an echo chamber, with the original noise, accepted by all, emanating from TTG and his lunacy.
“Are sanctions to be dropped as soon as the last Russian soldier leaves all of pre-2014 Ukraine? Are they to be gradually dropped as they withdraw to predetermined phase lines? Does a ceasefire need to be in place before any Russian withdrawal? Or does any Russian column moving towards the border have safe passage as long as they keep moving? I can’t see Ukraine signing up for a ceasefire with all Russian troops still in place. That would be ceding Ukrainian soil (and Ukrainians) to Russian control.”
TTG, in all seriousness, do you really think that there is ANY chance that Russia is going to leave all of pre-2014 Ukraine? Do you envision Crimea, firmly a part of the Russian Federation, ever returning to Ukraine after a referendum showing the desire of the inhabitants to join the RF? Is there ANY chance that Donetsk and Luhansk, both recognized as independent nations by the RF, will be abandoned by the Russians. The fact that the talking heads from the current US administration, neocon monsters from Nuland to Sullivan to Blinken, keep repeating this nonsense about Putin withdrawing ALL Russian troops from pre-2014 Ukraine, bodes ill for any chance of peace. Any rational analyst can see clearly that the time for that passed on the first day of the SMO. The opportunities for an intact Ukraine (minus Crimea) went up in smoke when the Ukranians and their NATO supporters failed to implement the Minsk Agreements.
As these US decision makers live in the same bizarro world as many of the commenters on this site, it is clear that the MEATGRINDER WILL GO ON, and more Slavic lives on both sides will be lost at the behest of the “chosenite” leaders of both Ukraine and the US administration.
Yes, I believe Ukraine can win and force Russia out of all Ukrainian territory. Russia will never do it as a good will gesture. Some Kremlin talking head said a few days ago that if they lose in Ukraine, Russia will disintegrate. I don’t know whether they truly believe that or it’s a line they’re telling their people so they believe it is an existential war. Russia will not disintegrate if they leave Ukraine, the Putin regime may disintegrate, but Russia won’t.
A little off topic. FANTASTC Russian made movie called “Best in Hell” on YouTube. Sorry I can’t link it because I’m dumb about things like that. I’m sure it will be a very interesting watch for TTG and others military minded. Even though it is a Russian made film it also portrays the Ukrainian side with humanity. Many references also about the shared history of the two countries. I hope you can find it. It’s an hour and forty minutes long. Cheers.
I just found it. It chronicles a Wagner Group assault on a Ukrainian held building. I share your view that it was done well. Although it is still Wagner propaganda, it was not jingoistic. I think it gives an accurate depiction of some of that fighting, at least earlier last year. Some of the recent actual battle videos characterize the fighting differently. One point that may not fully come across is the intensity of the noise. Very few, if any, are going to get through this without hearing loss or raging tinnitus, anything from ringing and bell tones to a chorus of screams all the time. I’ve only experienced five minutes of silence one time in forty years. I wish i knew how to repeat those five minutes. I figure that must be what heaven’s like, far better than an incessant chorus of angels.
I feel for you. If I was superman noise would be my kryptonite. Instead fate decided to punish me with other hugely painful chronic problems. You poor bastard.
Don’t feel too bad. I’ve grown accustomed to it. With the 24/7 angry chorus, a few slightly bent and fused bones and some annoying nerve damage, I’m still far better off than a lot of my contemporaries. I’m happier than a pig in shit.
That is great to hear TTG because I couldn’t imagine having your tinnitus – it quite frankly scares the hell out of me. I am very happy to hear that you are “happier than a pig in shit” because I had feared otherwise.
This is an interesting piece by kos capturing the messaging by many of the “pro-Russia” crowd when the Biden administration’s intelligence apparatus was claiming an imminent invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military forces. In retrospect, we have to give credit where it is due and in this case the US intelligence community was spot on correct. Despite his cover being blown Putin went ahead anyway. Now a year later he maybe questioning his decision to invade a neighbor.
I’d be curious if someone has done a similar review of what the “pro-Ukraine” messengers were saying and how it turned out over the past year? This is a useful exercise to identify those that are objective and those that are propagandists. Anyone can make an analytical error in forecasting complex phenomena but when facts change their analysis should change too and not be a stuck record.
Larry Johnson, Doug McGregor, et al were wrong but they still keep with it like waiting for Godot. They would be more credible if they admitted their error and updated their analysis. To Patrick Armstrong’s credit he admitted his analytical error and decided to reevaluate by not publishing his regular report.
I thought the conventional war would soon give way to a massive, long term guerrilla war like the one in Lithuania against the Soviets. The difference being that it would be ten time larger, better prepared and enjoy massive Western support. I still think the end game is a Ukrainian victory.
Yes, I recall you discussing an insurgency. That is potent bleed for an occupier as we saw only too well in Iraq. But I believe that was predicated on the assumption that the Russian army would be unstoppable by the Ukrainian army.
My main point is that forecasting these matters are tricky. However a good analyst updates their analysis as facts change. A propagandist will always be on message just like Baghdad Bob.
Those insurgency tactics employed by the Ukrainian Special Operations and Territorial Defense Forces played a big part in blunting the Russian invasion. I thought the Ukrainian Army would put up a good fight, but I did not foresee the unreadiness and incompetency of the Russian Armed Forces. They’re still big and dangerous, but they really stink out loud.
TTG and Sam this fight is far from over. The fat lady hasn’t gotten off her seat and Russia still has thousands of young men left to sacrifice. Ever run or swim a race against a real dangerous opponent. You have to hang in, and then know just when to make your move. Its easy to be wrong b/c your competitor is thinking too! Here’s my prediction. Putin will stop when Russian sons and mothers demonstrate and demonstrate and demonstrate in Moscow and St Petersburg. That’s why it is so important to get peace talks going. They don’t have to be perfectly designed. They just have to be there so Ukraine and Russia can avail when they’re exhausted w/death. It has taken a year but Europe is beginning to see this as Russia’s attempt to restore her empire. The only friends for Russia are China, Iran, N. Korea, and Syria. Russia is gravitating to her natural inclination, eastern absolutism.
Bill Roche just hit a tape-measure shot with his reply below. He leaves out one thing though in my opinion — what’s the price of Insurance premiums on falling out of windows for fearless leader? Retire him to a monastery like those old Tsars and Tsarinas did to their foes. It’s an assignment for their creative community. They never killed their Tsars except twice – Alexander II, the Liberator of the serfs (almost simultaneous with Lincoln the great emancipator) killed by lunatic criminal scum revolutionaries and Nicholas II, killed on orders of Sverdlov and almost certainly Lenin. And they shot those four beautiful princesses who were nurses to the troops of the great war. Nicholas II was an incompetent twerp who was only Tsar because his relative Michael died in a freak accident, and everyone knew it meant disaster because Alexander III assumed the throne before Nicholas II, also hopelessly out of his depth. Putin was fine up to a point. He needed badly to step aside a few years ago. Now he’s an old man who can’t even use a computer in the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Nancy reading Horoscopes to Ronny while dancing with Frank Sinatra starring as Rasputin? Nothing new under the sun.
Fourth and Long –
Only two murdered Tsars? Perhaps for the Romanovs. Weren’t there were a few more during the ‘Time of Troubles’?
Yup. This is a big reason why America First propelled Trump to the presidency. This is also why CNY will not become the world’s reserve currency anytime soon.
TTG – on the Chinese “peace plan”, I don’t believe it’s a plan that either the Russians or the Chinese believe will even serve as the start point for negotiations.
This is not like the Istanbul attempts at a settlement or the peace negotiations before that. Up until Istanbul the Russians were set on their plan A. Show their teeth and bring Kiev to the negotiating table. Something like Minsk 2 could possibly have been arrived at.
No longer. As you say ” I think you’re right in believing this is going to go on for a while.” We’re now seeing the Russian plan B. To take the military side of this conflict to its conclusion.
It’ll go on until the Russians are defeated, which many still believe will happen, or until the Russians have accomplished the “demilitarisation and denazification” – whatever they consider necessary for that – which is what they think will happen. Given their overwhelming military superiority I’ve never thought anything but the latter on the cards but that’s not the point at issue here.
What is at issue is why the Chinese put the plan forward. Partly so they and the Russians can say later “Well, at least we tried.”
But mainly because of something both the Chinese and Indians must be uneasy about.
Russia has changed the Ukrainian border. It’ll do more. It’s been justifying this by holding referendums in disputed territory.
Neither the Chinese nor the Indians like that idea at all. Applied generally, it’d be a recipe for changing borders in many areas of China and India.
So when Russia does it in Ukraine there needs to be an argument from unavoidable necessity.
The Russians can already point to Minsk 2 and say, if Minsk 2 had been implemented we wouldn’t have needed to do this.
They can point to the various peace attempts and say, we tried all along to do it as little as possible.
Now they, and the Chinese, can point to this “peace plan”, which already seems to have been rejected by Jake Sullivan and, though the EU isn’t a player any longer, by the EU. They can say, we tried everything else to arrive at a solution but Washington’s intransigence left us with absolutely no alternative.
That is the argument from unavoidable necessity. The Russians now attach little importance to what the West thinks. They do attach great importance to what the non-Western world thinks. That argument from unavoidable necessity is aimed squarely at the non-Western world, not at us.
I believe that might be the purpose of this “peace plan”. To give the Chinese and the Indians a reason to say “yes, the Russians did change borders but that was a special case. That special case does not apply to us.”
Let’s jump directly into the “Russian Peace Plan” shall we. This will save much backing and forthing as this is where Putin intends to be.
1. Ukraine gives up sovereignty, acknowledges subordination to Russia.
2. Poles and Balts renounce NATO membership as this threatens Russia’s threatening of NATO.
3. Sweden and Finland renounce interest in NATO as this threatens Russia’s threatening of NATO.
4. Moldova must submit to governorship from Transaniestra and Romania must accept this. This will end any “existential” threat to Russia from Romania or Moldova.
If you give these to Putin he will stop killing you and there will be peace. Thus, it is his “Peace Plan”.
I would have preferred Minsk 2, Bill. The Russians would have as well. An entirely unnecessary war.
EO; as we both wrote a year ago giving Russia the Donbass and half of Crimea (a la Cyprus) would have worked … for you and me. It would not have worked for Putin. What many correspondents refuse to recognize is that this war began in the summer of ’91 when the Ukrainian people had the insolence to declare independence from Moscow, and their sovereignty to the world. As I wrote, I knew that very moment that this war would be fought – just not when. Few correspondents recognize or admit Russia’s end game. It aint the Donbas. It wasn’t Minsk. Its Ukraine. It has been Ukraine since 1900. The past matters. It explains how we arrived at the present. It took George eight years to admit he had lost the American colonies. Putin is not close to that point. This blood bath has a long way to go.
Bill – if you’re saying that the Russian attempts to get Minsk 2 observed were fake, or that the various Russian attempt to get peace that culminated in Istanbul were fake, then I can’t argue with you. I’ve no way of knowing what was truly in the minds of the Russians and all I can say is, they looked genuine enough to me.
My reasoning is this. Had Minsk 2 been implemented, had the shelling stopped and the Kiev forces pulled back from the LoC, then the Russians wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on had they invaded. Their justification of the invasion – or SMO, the terms don’t matter in this context – was that there was a real and demonstrable threat to the people of the Donbass. Had there been no such threat apparent then they could not have moved their forces in.
I reject entirely what I call the “Mearsheimer argument”, that the SMO was undertaken in order to deal with what the Russians perceived to be a threat from NATO expansion, missiles on the border and so on. I’m right in rejecting this argument, I believe, because the plain fact is that the SMO won’t remove that threat and could never have been expected to. The sole justification for the SMO was that it was one country coming to the aid of another country under article 51, and coming to its aid because that other country was in real danger.
No real danger visible – no article 51 intervention justifiable. Had Minsk 2 stood there could have been no war.
That is my reasoning. But set that reasoning aside, if you will, because the plain fact is that there is a war. We both agree on that, We do disagree on how that war will go.
My reasoning since February 2022 is that there was never any prospect of the Ukrainians winning this war. The disparity between the two sides is too great. Even were the US to become a declared combatant in the war, which is unlikely, there is still no prospect of winning. The US does not have sufficient military force in that region, and could not mobilise sufficient military force and deploy it quickly enough, to alter the outcome.
I further argue that no one ever expected this war to be won by military means. The sanctions war was expected to do that. After all, with the Russian economy crippled by trade and financial sanctions, and the Russian government thereby severely weakened, the Russians would have been unable to prosecute a war in the Ukraine in any case.
I have also argued since February that the sanctions war itself was never going to be won. The Russian economy is too strong, and the morale of the Russian people too high, for sanctions ever to break that country.
It follows from this that the Russians have a free hand in Ukraine to carry out the objectives of the SMO. They also have a free hand to ensure that remnant Ukraine does not become a security threat to them. No idea how they’ll do that, but obviously the Russians can’t have on their border a fiercely antagonistic country that is supplied with long range weapons by the West.
I believe, Bill, that most people don’t think that one through. If long range weapons were fired from, say, Poland or Romania, that would immediately result in a NATO/Russia war. So they won’t be fired.
If fired from remnant Ukraine, then NATO is not involved. Since remnant Ukraine will very much want to fire into Russia, then the only way of stopping that will be to neutralise or demilitarise remnant Ukraine.
That is my reasoning in full. The military and economic reality is that the Russians will deal with Ukraine as they please, the only constraint on them, as argued in the comment above, being that they wish to retain the support, or at least the acquiescence, of countries like China and India.
My concern since early last year – as soon as I got my bearings, which took a while! – is with what happens afterwards. Because it’s then that, speaking figuratively, Mearsheimer comes storming back in. Russia does have security concerns, as Mearsheimer details, which the SMO and whatever else the Russians might do in Ukraine, will have done nothing whatsoever to alleviate!
So I have this belief that when the Ukrainian war is over, the Russians will return to those security demands they made in December 2021. The Europeans, as far as I can judge, or at least the all important Northern Europeans, are now in a state of confirmed antagonism to Russia. I doubt therefore that they’ll be prepared to consider those security demands to the extent that will satisfy the Russians.
So the Scholz/Stoltenberg vision will prevail and we’ll see Europe becoming an impoverished armed camp. A somewhat apocalyptic vision, but the future I see likely for us.
Great! Invade and destroy the Donbass to save it. Some smart thinking by Putin. How many Russia aligned folks in the Donbass will be fans of Putin as their cities get pummeled to rubble?
E.O. You are master of the term “Studied Avoidance”. You write about the “Mearsheimer Argument”, Minsk 2, Istanbul, Article 51, NATO expansion, nuclear conflict, Scholtz/Stoltenburg, (you forgot to mention The Maiden, 2014 elections, Nuland and Boris Johnson). Usv, usv, but what you do not discuss is how I knew back in the summer of ’91, this war would be fought. Neither smart nor a seer I predicted it and I was right (should I bet on the ponies?). This is one of the last European wars for independence. Ukrainians have been trying to be free for 100 years and there is ample record of their efforts throughout the 20th cent. Putin won’t let them go as their independence prevents Russian Empire. The Empire was interrupted in ’17, recovered in ’20, and lost its footing in ’91. But if Putin has his way, it is being reborn today. Britain w/n accept American, Irish, Indian, African, and Caribbean independence, yet it came. Spain, Germany, Austro-Hungary, France, Italy, Turkey, have been forced to relinquish “ownership” over others. Russia will come to grips w/this also. Meanwhile Europeans have been reminded about the nature of the Russian mind. Ultimately the Mongols will have won as Russia rtns to oriental absolutism and finds company in Syria, Iran, and China. I pray she will not drag the Ukrainian people into the east with her.