Tag Archives: nato

Is Russia Really the Aggressor in Ukraine?

If you haven’t received the memo, the U.S. government is vitally interested in you seeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine one way and one way only: Russia is the aggressor due to its “unprovoked” invasion of a sovereign country. Ukraine must be supported by NATO with every economic and financial “tool” in its toolbox to punish Russia for this lawless act.

It is your duty as an upright and moral person to suffer the economic consequences of these sanctions because, “that is who we are.”

It is true that Ukraine had not committed any overt acts of war against Russia prior to the invasion. It had not breached Russia’s borders with troops. It had not conducted airstrikes on targets inside Russia’s borders. It had not released any biological weapons against Russia’s population (as far as we know).

By those parameters, Russia was certainly the aggressor in this war with Ukraine. And by the same parameters, the U.S. was the aggressor in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Yugoslavia, and Kosovo, just to name a few previous interventions. So, are there other valid reasons (by their standards) for preemptive war?

The stated reason for invading Iraq was the supposed “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) that would be used against the United States in the future. Russia has similarly cited weapons of mass destruction (biological weapons labs) in Ukraine that could be used against Russia in the future.

The Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were not there. Plenty of people suspect the Bush administration never really believed they were and simply used them as a false pretext for the war. That invasion plans were discussed at Bush’s very first cabinet meeting, months before 9/11/2001, certainly lends indirect support to that theory.

The U.S. government vehemently denied there were any bioweapons labs in Ukraine until Victoria Nuland told Marco Rubio during her Senate testimony the Ukrainians had “research labs.” The new story became that the labs were studying “purely defensive” biotechnologies to thwart a chemical weapons attack.

This may be true. Yet, Nuland is nevertheless concerned that materials in these labs may fall into Russian hands as a result of the invasion. Just remember that narratives given full-throated support from the media often evolve:

“The Covid vaccinations are 95% effective at preventing infection.” “The Covid vaccinations’ protection may wane.” “The Covid vaccinations don’t prevent infection but do prevent serious illness.” “We never said the Covid vaccinations prevent infection.”

A similar evolution occurred regarding the lab leak theory of Covid.

At the beginning of the bioweapons lab controversy, the idea there were labs at all was pooh-poohed as “conspiracy theory.” Today, they’re “not really weapons labs but still have dangerous materials in them.” What will the story be a month from now?

Regardless, there seems to be a lot more bases for the Russian claim of bioweapons labs in Ukraine than there was for the U.S. claims of WMD in Iraq. Yet, no worldwide boycott of the U.S. occurred following its invasion of Iraq.

Russia also claims to be defending breakaway republics in Donbas against atrocities committed by the Ukrainian government. No one disputes President Zelensky was shelling the region prior to Russia’s invasion. How is this different from U.S. military interventions in Syria or Kosovo?

Kosovo is especially similar in that it was a breakaway region, populated by people of a different ethnicity, language, and culture from the rest of Yugoslavia. The U.S. took the side of the seceding region against the government of the country from which it seceded. In both Kosovo and Syria, the U.S. justified its military interventions based on supposed atrocities committed by the recognized government against the rebels.

Why is it different when Russia does it?

There are two important differences between the Russia-Ukraine conflict and any of the aforementioned U.S. military interventions. One, Russia is intervening in a conflict on its own border, not thousands of miles from it as in the case of the U.S. interventions.

Two, Russia is obviously responding to the decades-long attempt by the U.S. government to admit Ukraine into NATO, thereby justifying the deployment of NATO troops and weapons, including nuclear weapons, in Ukraine. These efforts have included running color revolutions to overthrow the Ukrainian government twice, in 2004 and 2014, for that express purpose.

To this allegation, the U.S. government-media complex responds that Ukraine is a sovereign country and can enter any alliance it wishes. Putin responds, “International documents explicitly enshrine the principle of equal and indivisible security, which, as you know, includes the obligation not to strengthen one’s own security at the expense of the security of other states. I can refer here to the OSCE Charter for European Security adopted in Istanbul in 1999 and the OSCE Declaration of Astana in 2010.”

It is Putin’s contention that Ukraine has violated these agreements. Even if it is not an official member of NATO, it has been a de facto member given the deployment of troops and weapons in Ukraine over the past eight years.

What is NATO’s response to this argument?

Does anyone really believe that if Russia not-so-covertly overthrew the government of Mexico, admitted it into an alliance against the United States that included, let’s say, Cuba and Canada, and began running military exercises within Mexico’s borders while the Mexican president mused about acquiring nuclear weapons, that the U.S. government would stand idly by because “Mexico is a sovereign country?”

The U.S. has long claimed status as the “exceptional nation,” imagining it has a mandate to police the world militarily and punish what it considers “rogue nations” for bad behavior. What “exceptional” really means is the U.S. government doesn’t believe international law applies to it the way it applies to every other country on earth.

Vladimir Putin has shown tremendous restraint while watching NATO’s long march eastward towards his borders. The U.S. government has dismissed his concerns as those of the leader of a “secondary power.” His last diplomatic effort was made in late 2021, asking for what any objective observer would describe as very reasonable assurances: a written guarantee of Ukraine’s neutrality and abstention from placing weapons near his borders.

The “exceptional nation” blew off his requests yet again. So, Putin has now made a clear statement in Ukraine: “Russia is exceptional, too.”

The Book of Proverbs says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Which nation had been the proud and haughty one before this war broke out?

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Will Poland Sacrifice Itself Again for a Global Empire Risking World War?

Yesterday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told Face the Nation the U.S. would “greenlight” Poland sending fighter jets to Ukraine. Later in the day, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby issued a statement indicating it would not allow Poland to use the U.S. Ramstein AFB as the middleman for this transfer. However, Kirby also said, “the decision about whether to transfer Polish-owned planes to Ukraine is ultimately one for the Polish government.”

Apparently, the Pentagon recognizes fighter jets sent to a hot war to benefit one side would be recognized as an act of war by the other. This is nothing new. See the Lusitania. But why the statement leaving it up to Poland to send the jets directly? Poland is a NATO member and any attack on a NATO member brings the United States into the war anyway.

What’s going on here?

Nothing good for Poles who remember their history. In 1939, Poland was in a dispute with Nazi Germany over a city called “Danzig” at the time (it is now Gdansk). It’s strategic significance on the Baltic coast is obvious and it had a long history of changing hands politically. However, it had been a part of the Kingdom of Prussia and subsequently the German Empire from 1793 until the end of World War I.

After regaining its independence at the end of the war, Poland wanted Danzig placed under Polish rule. However, as the city was majority ethnic Germans, the wise masters of the universe who imposed the disastrous Treaty of Versailles upon Germany made Danzig an independent city under the authority of the League of Nations.

The cartoon version of history most Americans learn says Hitler’s invasion of Poland was just the first in his quest to conquer the whole world. It wasn’t. Danzig was merely a strategic point on the map in the foreign policy plan he clearly laid out in Mein Kampf:

“We put an end to the perpetual Germanic march towards the South and West of Europe and turn our eyes towards the lands of the East. We finally put a stop to the colonial and trade policy of pre-War times and pass over to the territorial policy of the future.

But when we speak of new territory in Europe to-day we must principally think of Russia and the border States subject to her.”

By Hitler’s reasoning, communism was just part of the “Jewish conspiracy” and since Russia had become communist, “Fate robbed the Russian people of that intellectual class which had once created the Russian State and were the guarantee of its existence.” And since Germany needed land to become the first-tier power Hitler believed it must become to survive, it was entitled to carve this new territory out of the USSR, including Ukraine.

Was any of this justified? Of course not. But here is the connection to yesterday’s news. Poland had a choice to make: stand firm on keeping Danzig out of Hitler’s hands or make a deal with Hitler and allow him to proceed east towards his true objective: conquest of Ukraine and other Soviet territory. This was not a choice between good and bad. It was a choice between two bad alternatives. Giving up Danzig strengthened the evil Nazi regime. Standing firm would lead to a war Poland could not win.

It was here that the dominant global empire of that time, England, stepped in. It issued a war guarantee to Poland should Hitler invade that England could not and did not keep. This strengthened Poland’s resolve to deny Hitler Danzig.

As conservative author Pat Buchanan documents in his book, Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, Hitler did not want a war with England. Once learning of England’s war guarantee, he postponed his invasion of Poland to try to negotiate. It was only after those negotiations were unsuccessful that Hitler went ahead with his invasion, leading to war against the allies.

This isn’t “apologizing” for Hitler or diminishing Hitler’s atrocities, as Buchanan’s critics claim. It is simply a fact that Hitler did not want war with Western or Southern Europe, as he stated clearly in his own book.

Sometimes reality has no room for moralizing. When Hitler invaded Poland, England reneged on its war guarantee, as Poland should have known it would. England had disarmed itself after WWI, as had most of the Allied powers. Poland spent the next fifty-two years in darkness, occupied first by the Nazis and then the communists. Had they allowed Danzig to rejoin Germany, WWII may have been a fight to the death exclusively between Hitler and Stalin, resulting in both evil regimes being destroyed.

Is Poland facing a similar choice today? Why is the U.S. government telling Poland it is free to provide fighter jets to Ukraine, as long as they do not involve the U.S. government in doing so? If the U.S. were planning to honor its NATO commitment, it wouldn’t really matter whether those jets went directly to Ukraine or via a U.S. military base. Either scenario leads to a U.S. war with Russia should Russia retaliate against the sender.

Unless the U.S. plans to renege on its war guarantee in 2022 just as England did in 1939.

Until he invaded Ukraine, Vladimir Putin had been the world leader who showed the most restraint during this century. He had sucked up color revolutions run by the U.S. in Georgia and Ukraine in 2004-08 and Syria and Ukraine in 2012-14. Syria and Ukraine are both home to vital Russian warm water ports, while the revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine sought to install hostile governments on his border that would host NATO troops and missiles.

This in addition to constant demonization as a meddler in U.S. elections by the most prolific foreign election meddler in human history.

February 24, 2022 may have marked the end of Putin’s restraint period. Let’s hope not. If Polish military aircraft end up in Ukraine, it will only be restraint on Putin’s part that prevents a NATO country from being dragged into the war. Then, it will be a matter of whether Washington commits much of the Western World to possible nuclear annihilation or leaves Poland high and dry as England once did.

There was no good answer to Hitler in 1939. But there were plenty of strategically better ways to handle him than the one chosen, which was arguably the worst. Faced with a choice between leaving the USSR to fight Nazi Germany alone or allying with the Soviets to defeat him, hindsight says the former choice would have been better.

It was prevented by English government officials blustering about a moral duty to defend a country they could not and did not defend anyway. Does that sound familiar?

Poland should know better than to trust the current world empire.

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

NATO Response to Ukraine Invasion Proves U.S. Military Should be Cut Drastically

Whatever one thinks about Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, there are no denying two things: Russia has invaded a European country and U.S.-led NATO will not respond militarily.

President Biden’s reason for not intervening is technically that Ukraine is not a member of NATO. But the United States and NATO have launched military interventions in plenty of countries that are not members.

The real reason the U.S. won’t engage Russia to defend Ukraine is Russia is a nuclear power and nuclear powers cannot fight a war that isn’t destined to end with the possible extinction of the human race.

Thankfully, both President Biden and President Putin are keenly aware of this. That’s why you also won’t see Putin expand his military operation beyond Ukraine.

This begs the question: why are U.S. taxpayers paying for a worldwide standing army built to fight First World powers that can never be used?

The U.S. has over 50,000 troops deployed in Europe, not counting the over 9,000 in the United Kingdom. These troop levels were maintained or increased after World War II as a deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When the Soviet Union dissolved, American taxpayers were promised a “peace dividend.”

The peace dividend would naturally be centered around bringing home those troops deployed to Europe. But over time, the story eventually evolved that Russia under Vladimir Putin – elected by the Russian people as a direct reaction against the disrespect Russia had been shown by the U.S. and NATO – was a threat that necessitated keeping those troops there, now thirty-one years since the USSR dissolved and almost eighty years since the end of WWII.

The events of the past two weeks just proved this was all either a delusion or a lie. Push has come to shove and those troops are not going to be sent into action against Russia. Some have been moved to the borders of NATO countries, but this is merely for appearances. Putin will not breach NATO, not for fear of tens of thousands of U.S. troops deployed in Europe, but because he doesn’t want to risk nuclear Armageddon any more than Joe Biden does.

So, why keep the troops there?

Ditto the 56,000 troops warehoused in Japan. These are ostensibly a deterrent to rising power China, but they are never going to fight the Chinese army for the same reasons U.S. troops in Europe will never fight the Russian army. If they do, it won’t matter much who wins.

Russia’s military budget is somewhere between $61 billion and $150 billion per year, depending upon which source you consult. Somehow, Russia is able to maintain a larger nuclear arsenal than the United States and conduct a full-scale war in Ukraine on anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent what the United States spends on “defense.”

North Korea and Iran, also perennial boogeymen, manage to threaten the whole world on less than $20 billion per year.

The $750 billion per year (not counting military spending hidden in other departments) American taxpayers have been fleeced for produced a military that couldn’t defeat the Taliban.

As I wrote eight years ago, conventional warfare is largely obsolete in the nuclear age. The days of generals like Patton triumphantly marching into enemy capitals and accepting their counterparts’ surrenders are over. No nuclear power is going to let that happen without firing its nukes first.

If war is truly a last resort, only justifiable when one’s country faces an existential threat, then nuclear weapons are always justified before surrender. When they aren’t, the war wasn’t justified in the first place.

American taxpayers are going to be regaled with propaganda about the need to increase military spending in reaction to Putin’s invasion and accede to even more troops deployed overseas. The logical conclusion to draw from all this is precisely the opposite.

U.S. military spending should be cut drastically, and its overseas deployments ended as obsolete relics of a bygone age. America’s nuclear deterrent, air force, and useful portion of its navy could be maintained at a fraction of the gargantuan rip off currently being perpetrated against American taxpayers.

Since this bloated military won’t ever be used against a First World power and has already demonstrated its inability to defeat a Third World one, we have nothing to lose but runaway deficits and a massive debt that will eventually destroy our currency and way of life.

While we’re in cost-cutting mode, it’s time to clean house at the U.S. State Department and within the “intelligence community,” too, rooting out all the career “foreign policy experts” who get us into so much trouble around the world.

Call it “American Taxpayers First.” Someone ought to run for high office on that.

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Putin is Not at War with Ukraine

Yes, Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to invade Ukraine. His troops have captured key cities and are methodically surrounding the rest. But he’s not at war with the Ukrainian people. He’s at war with the D.C. empire and its puppet president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Contrary to the propaganda put out by the usual suspects, it is not going badly for the Russians. They are conducting the operation patiently and methodically, reflecting the disposition of their leader. And they’re killing far less civilians and destroying far less civilian infrastructure than the U.S. does during a typical war crime.

Oh, was that unpatriotic? Sorry, not sorry.

The power of the propaganda machine is impressive. Suddenly, everyone has amnesia. Putin has attacked Ukraine “for no reason.” It is an “unprovoked attack” serving only Putin’s imperial wish to reconstitute the Soviet empire or perhaps preserve his own power within Russia.

How can anyone believe this?

For the record, Putin gave two speeches which spell out his reasons for going to war. They are lengthy and full of historical context. For those interested, links are below.

Vladimir Putin: Full Text of February 21, 2022 Speech

Full Transcript of Putin address February 24, 2022

Putin’s argument generally aligns with the story I’ve been writing about for many years. Back in 1991, when Gorbachev agreed to pull his troops out of East Germany and allow reunification of the nation that had invaded his country four decades earlier, killing tens of millions of Russians, U.S. President George H.W. Bush and a host of other NATO leaders promised Gorbachev that NATO “would not move one inch eastward.”

The U.S. government spent years denying this promise was made until declassified documents proved it clearly was. Now, the official story is that since there wasn’t a formal “treaty,” the promise could be broken. But it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. government lied about this for decades, to the Russians, who knew they were lying, and to U.S. citizens, who didn’t.

If there wasn’t something wrong with what they were doing, why did they lie?

U.S.-led NATO spent the next 30 years admitting country after country into an alliance whose sole purpose is to make war on Russia. This map shows the progress over time.

During the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. government declared an intention to admit Georgia and Ukraine, instigating color revolutions in both countries for that purpose. The coup in Georgia sparked renewed hostilities between Georgia and the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Putin briefly invaded Georgia in defense of South Ossetia and Russia eventually recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, drawing a rebuke from President Bush and other western leaders but no more.

What else could Bush do? As I wrote in 2014, conventional war between nuclear powers is not a possibility. That makes the gargantuan U.S. military a giant rip off of American taxpayers, since it can never be used to fight a major power, but that’s a subject for another day.

The D.C. empire backed off for a few years, but they basically ran the same drill in Ukraine in 2014. Democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed with John McCain literally on the streets of Kiev encouraging the revolution Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland had been caught planning on a leaked phone call.

That’s when Crimea and the eastern provinces of Ukraine, populated almost exclusively with ethnic Russians, broke away. Note this was a reaction to the U.S. interfering in Ukraine’s elections so overtly that no two-year investigation was necessary. We have firsthand video and audio evidence.

For the next eight years, three successive U.S. presidents have sent arms to Ukraine, ostensibly to put down an internal rebellion and aid Ukraine in its defense against Russian invasion, but in reality to ethnically cleanse Ukraine’s population of its Russian population. The smaller the Russian population within Ukraine, the more unified it is as an anti-Russian state.

As Putin said accurately in his speech, Ukraine has behaved as a de facto member of NATO over the past eight years, with NATO conducting military exercises within Ukraine’s borders.

On Russia’s borders.

Now, we can wax philosophical about what constitutes aggression all we want. Everyone knows if Russia or China tried anything remotely similar in Mexico or Canada, we’d be bombing them before the day was over.

Putin made a last ditch effort appeal for a diplomatic solution via a proposed treaty that amounted to two very reasonable requests: 1) a guarantee Ukraine is never admitted to NATO and 2) stop deploying troops and weapons (including missiles that could carry nukes) in areas of eastern Europe where they could be a threat to Russia’s national security.

President Biden responded with a lukewarm verbal assurance Ukraine wouldn’t be admitted to NATO within the next ten years. Given the history of U.S. promises outlined above, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that wouldn’t be good enough, especially coming from the U.S. Vice President put in charge of Ukraine by the Obama administration when it carried out the 2014 coup.

That was confirmed on February 24, 2022 when Putin invaded Ukraine. He has now gone to war against Washington, D.C. in the country Washington weaponized against him, casting the Ukrainian people as unfortunate pawns.

President Biden has said consistently throughout the current crisis that the United States would not go to war to defend Ukraine. Yet, he has repeatedly ratcheted up the tension and has been dismissive of Putin’s very reasonable proposal to end the conflict diplomatically. One can only assume Biden and NATO just couldn’t conceive that Putin might do what the “exceptional nation” has claimed prerogative to do with far less (or any) justification over the past several decades.

So, we’re now in a situation where Biden and Europe are desperate to keep people from figuring out what Putin’s invasion means: the empire has no clothes. Multiple narratives are being put out in desperation.

One of the more striking is the image of Zelenskyy as the rugged comedian-turned-military hero, bravely standing his post in Kiev. Russian sources say Zelensky left Kiev on February 23, the day before the invasion, and the photos and videos of him in military garb were all taken in advance.

That sounds more likely to be true, but it doesn’t really matter. What is really interesting is the empire’s portrayal of Zelensky as compared to Bashar Al-Assad. It has literally made mirror images of them after running essentially the same operations in their respective countries.

The U.S. ran regime-change operations in both Syria and Ukraine at roughly the same time during the early to mid-2010s. Both countries have economic importance in terms of planned pipelines. Each is home to one of Russia’s only two warm water ports besides Vladivostok, which is on the Sea of Japan.

In Ukraine the regime change was successful; in Syria, it was not. The leaders of both countries spent the next several years fighting civil wars, meaning they necessarily had to make war upon portions of their own populations.

Assad is condemned as a brutal dictator for doing so. Americans are asked to accept that portrayal unconditionally and they mostly do. Anyone who questions it can expect to be assailed by their fellow citizens who are so emotionally attached to this narrative they are unable even to consider evidence to the contrary.

This after no less than General James Mattis admitted there was no evidence Assad perpetrated the alleged chemical attacks that inspired multiple U.S. airstrikes on Syria.

The amnesiac effect of propaganda is at least as impressive as its emotional effect.

Forgotten also is that until February 24, Zelensky was doing precisely the same thing Assad had been vilified for: making war against his own population. In addition, he tried to arrest his political opponent, who is still facing charges, and shut down opposition news media. He has been at least the dictator Assad is accused of being and his abuses are not disputed by anyone.

Yet, upon Putin’s invasion, all of this is forgotten. He is now and presumably forever the gallant hero in military fatigues, on the side of all that is good and just, against a dictator attacking his country “for no reason.”

Americans are asked to believe all this without question by a government that has lied to them over the past several years on a scale that would make Goebbels blush. They are asked to accept as genuine the manufactured, uniform opinions flooding news and social media. They are asked to reject all nuance, all dissent, and to completely forget well-document facts from recent history that flatly contradict the empire’s narrative.

What do you believe?

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Washington’s stance on Ukraine is as divorced from reality as its Covid Regime

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

From, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I was a fourteen-year-old freshman at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Kenmore, N.Y. when I was assigned my first term paper for Mr. Chaya’s World History class. The list of topics included the Charge of the Light Brigade. That’s the one I picked.

Like any boy that age, I still retained a belief in the glory of war, something Tennyson seems never to have outgrown. This despite being trained in grammar school to scurry from my desk and duck against the wall under the classroom window when the air raid siren sounded.

The possibility of being nuked by the Soviet Union at any moment had been a fact of life for all of my life at that point and would be for twelve more years.

The term paper assignment was the first time I was asked to research a historical event, rather than just read a textbook summary about it. By the time I finished, I had my first inkling that “military intelligence” might just be an oxymoron and perhaps war wasn’t the glorious affair Tennyson had cracked it up to be.

To this day, when I hear the lyrics, “a good old-fashioned, bullet-headed, Saxon mother’s son” in the Beatles song “Bungalow Bill,” I think of James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the aforementioned six hundred light cavalrymen into the teeth of Russian artillery.

The Charge of the Light Brigade occurred during the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War (1853-56). Despite the Light Brigade disaster, the port city finally fell to the British and French allies, but not before the Russian Empire sank its entire Black Sea fleet in the harbor to prevent if from falling into enemy hands.

That desperate act should provide a warning to Washington.

The Russians had to fight for Crimea again during the Russian Civil War following the Bolshevik revolution. It fell to the Germans during WWII after a bitter 250-day siege, only to be regained by the Red Army in 1944.

I never dreamed I’d be writing about the same port city thirty-six years after that first term paper. In 2016, the new global empire, the United States, having successfully orchestrated a color revolution to oust Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, was in a stare down with Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin over his annexation Crimea.

Yanukovich had been falsely portrayed as “pro-Russian” by NATO in its haste to bring Ukraine into the European Union. The coup was the last straw for Putin after watching the U.S. break its promise to Gorbachev not to advance NATO “one inch eastward” in exchange for Gorbachev’s agreement to the 1990 reunification of Germany.

A look at a map of NATO in the ensuing 30 years since that promise puts a somewhat different light on Russia’s troop buildup on the Ukrainian border and at least calls into question just who is the aggressor in this situation.

As I wrote back in 2016, Sevastopol is one of the few reliable Russian ports that remain ice-free all winter. Syria is home to another. If that doesn’t inspire skepticism regarding Washington, D.C.’s humanitarian motives for orchestrating regime change operations in both countries – while remaining bosom buddies with the brutal regime in Saudi Arabia – then, as my friends in the American southeast would say, “bless your heart.”

President Biden told Reuters on New Year’s Eve that he had warned Putin, “if he goes into Ukraine, we will have severe sanctions. We will increase our presence in Europe, with our NATO allies, and there will be a heavy price to pay for it.”

Sanctions don’t sound too ominous if one has zero historical perspective, including, say, the “sanctions” against the Japanese Empire in 1941. It doesn’t really matter who was right or wrong. Sanctions eventually lead to war if their consequences become dire enough.

It doesn’t matter so much who is right or wrong on the matter of Ukraine, either. The reality is this: The Russians are never going to give up that port. They’ve bled for it in the past far more than any American army has ever bled for anything. It is an existential matter for them.

In 1856, they sank their entire Black Sea navy before giving up Sevastopol. What would they be willing to do today?

Meanwhile, it would make not one iota of difference to Americans living in the United States if Russia annexed all of Ukraine, much less Crimea. Washington’s interests in the region are purely imperial and contrary to those of most U.S. citizens. It is also questionable that the U.S. could win a limited conflict in the region against Russia, given the logistics.

It is equally unrealistic that Russia could win a full-scale conventional war against NATO. The U.S. alone had a military budget in 2020 more than ten times that of Russia. That would leave Russia with only one alternative before surrender.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Washington has thought of itself as the “shining city on the hill” leading a “new world order” of democracy and peace. Considering its recent exploits in the Middle East and Ukraine, in 2021 it more resembles a drunk bully stumbling around the world slurring its words (literally) and picking fights with smaller opponents.

That Russia can be treated likewise is as divorced from reality as Washington’s belief it can stop the spread of a respiratory virus with lockdowns and vaccine mandates. But as damaging as the Covid Regime has been to American society, Washington’s delusions about bringing Russia to its knees could result in far worse.

Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?