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I'll take the humble over the hubristic every time.

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founding

Thank you for your honesty and accountability — anyone can get something wrong, especially something as deliberately murky as invasion plans, but those two commodities are in short supply today and if anything only make me respect you more!

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Feb 25, 2022·edited Feb 25, 2022

"This owes in significant part to Putin’s apparent madness." -- a strange thought from you Michael. ONE sentence in writing -- Ukraine will NOT join NATO would have solved the problem -- Ukraine and the "West" ignored Minsk agreement for 6-7 years...

Biden’s own CIA director, career diplomat and Russia hand William Burns, has long argued that NATO expansion, especially with regard to Ukraine, is a provocative miscalculation that will enrage Russia and exacerbate tensions across eastern Europe. In a 2008 memo to Condoleeza Rice, then Bush’s Secretary of State, Burns wrote:

“Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for the Russian elite (not just Putin). In more than two and a half years of conversations with key Russian players, from knuckle-draggers in the dark recesses of the Kremlin to Putin’s sharpest liberal critics, I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests.”

--------------------------------------------

An outstanding book:

The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Putin

by Dan Kovalik Esq., Alex Hyde-White, et al

https://www.amazon.com/Plot-Scapegoat-Russia-Conspired-Vilify/dp/B07771BMV8/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1645575140&sr=1-1-ef9bfdb7-b507-43a0-b887-27e2a8414df0

---------------------------------------------------

A must see: Tucker Carlson Today – interview with Dan Kovalik: “Russia, Russia, Russia” (Feb. 4, 2022)

-------------------------------------

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author

I've always regarded launching offensive wars on fake pretexts (such as the "genocide" claim Russian officials are making) as an act of madness, regardless of which government does it.

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PS-2: I am not of Russian (or Ukrainian) origin and, unfortunately, can't speak their languages. The current situation is a true tragedy for both beautiful Slavic nations who share much of their magnificent cultures -- a tragedy caused by aggressive NATO expansion and imperialism of the US bipartisan War party.

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Feb 25, 2022·edited Feb 25, 2022

PS: About genocide claims:

Over the last 7 years - during the non-implemented Minsk agreement - Ukrainian army and Nazi-militias killed more than 10,000 Russian Ukrainians (and burned more than 100 protesters seeking protection in a building in Odessa)

In the Bucharest declaration of 2008, NATO had put Ukraine and Georgia, ever farther east in the Caucasus, on a path to membership in NATO and coverage under Article 5 of the treaty, which declares that an attack on any one member is an attack on all.

Unable to get a satisfactory answer to his demand, Putin invaded and settled the issue. Neither Ukraine nor Georgia will become members of NATO. To prevent that, Russia will go to war, as Russia did last night.

Putin did EXACTLY what he had warned us he would do.

Whatever the character of the Russian president, now being hotly debated here in the USA, he has established his credibility.

When Putin warns that he will do something, he apparently does it.

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Re. your "apparent madness" comment:

On WHO is Putin:

Whatever we may think of Putin, he is no Stalin. He has not murdered millions or created a gulag archipelago.

Nor is he "irrational," as some pundits rail. He does not want a war with us, which would be worse than ruinous to us both.

Putin is a Russian nationalist, patriot, traditionalist and a cold and ruthless realist looking out to preserve Russia as the great and respected power it once was and he believes it can be again.

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Yeah that 'madman' commentary floating around made my Spidey sense tingle too. The MSM cannot call him a 'Nazi' b/c in those outlying provinces in the east of Uk there are (IDK how many) literally NAZI Ukrainian army patrols. W..T...F????

I mean, if that is really really true, that there are self identified Nazi units in the Uk military and Germany is now sending aid to Uk...

WHAAAAT???

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It seems that rational analysis like yours will be in short supply in the next couple of weeks or months. I too found the "Putin's apparent madness" comment silly, something you would write in a high-school essay, especially coming from a U.S. based writer that has some grasp of recent history. Not a good sign of things to come.

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I would agree, NATO expansion is just imperialism. Note that Switzerland is not part of NATO. Mmmmm. Putin has not shed his cold warrior attitude and imperialistic mindset. The chance of "invasion" by NATO is literally zero. However, that doesn't change his thought process that Russia must be vigilant against such a possibility. Let's face it, Dictators like to dictate. It's how they think/stay in power. Weakness can't be accommodated mentally.

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I see a few people apologizing today, but while I appreciate your apology, I'm more worried about why US intelligence was unaccountably right in what was a transparent attempt to divert from domestic problems. And I don't think Putin is insane. Just calculating or reacting to something we don't yet grasp. The "evil madman" is too easy an explanation.

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For the record I don't think "evil madman" is the sole or even most important explanation for why this invasion was launched. And I don't use the word "evil" because it smacks of weird supernatural metaphysics. But I do think the act itself was an act of madness from a strategic, political, and moral standpoint.

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Fair enough on the "evil" point, but I'm not sure about the rest. I'm not sure if our US intelligence got it "right" because they are incredibly smart (unlikely) or if Biden's saber rattling didn't bring this on. Furthermore, sometimes something only seems like madness until you have all the context. It's not to justify what he did, but if you write it off as madness, you may miss the way we could have avoided it or the way we could get him to withdraw. Madness in personality or deed is just that, madness. It can't be countered nor reasoned with, so you're just wasting effort in trying. That's a dead end road for dealing with Putin because the answer there is only war. However, I really don't think what he did was insane. I think he very much had his reasons and he weighed his options; just because we either don't understand them or can't fathom them does not mean he doesn't have them. Because, let's be honest, Putin is not going away. We're not going to depose him, nor would we have any appetite to. Hell, we can't even get the Europeans to sanction him and Russia where it really hurts and Biden was hemming and hawing on cutting him out of SWIFT, which would seem like a really good way to get his attention. Belgium and Italy don't want to even give up their sales of "luxury" goods to Russia. So he's not going anywhere. Therefore, it would behoove us to try to understand him and act as if he does have actual sane, calculated motivations, which is the only way out of this mess.

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The intelligence seems to suggest that troops and equipment have been massing for months. It's not complicated. The question then is, why? And the answer was simple: "Promise me that Ukraine will not join NATO or I will invade." NATO (more specifically President Biden) told him to go jump in a lake. So he invaded. I doubt he has much respect for Biden. Neither Obama nor Trump thought/think highly of him and I can't imagine he was impressed with President Biden in person. Putin strikes me as someone that will size you up in person. It's a calculated risk, at the very least, he gets Donbas and more of the Black Sea, critical for Naval ambitions/protections. Now, he can negotiate, at least that's what I hear has been signaled RealPolitik as someone once coined in the west.

Those who look at this as madness haven't had their relatives die in a proxy war. Some of us have. The US does this ALL THE TIME. It doesn't absolve Putin, it just acknowledges that "we" (I'm now a US citizen) aren't always the good guys wearing the white hats. Famous quote: "Somoza may be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch" - that's all you need to know.

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Yes and to amplify: why were they right about something they were unable to provide any evidence for?

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founding

I know what the solution is: proceed exactly as you’ve been going, keep on with your reporting and accept that occasional you will be wrong. You have the right to be wrong, keep pursuing the truth and hold power to account.

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Michael: there's no reason to apologize about misjudging the actions the Russian government would take if its entirely reasonable security demands were not met. It's precisely because Putin (if you want to put everything on him, which is not a wise manner of assessment) has been so cautious over the past decade that most all of us could not quite imagine the decision would be so far-reaching. Many excellent analysts didn't see this coming. Gilbert Doctorow, for instance:

https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2022/02/24/unjustified-and-unprovoked-russias-ongoing-military-operation-in-ukraine/ Read this, and it's much more understandable why Russia acted as it has.

Or see Patrick Armstrong, longtime Canadian defense analyst, who served in the Soviet Union and the first years after the collapse. He too, though he did not fully expect it, allowed for the possibility that Russia would do more than just solidify the defense of the Donbass. He'll have a new post up in the next few days, more than likely, but in the meantime, read what he had to say on the 14th:

https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2022/02/14/russian-federation-sitrep-14-february-2022/

It’s this part of your piece that irks:

"And I’m not even saying this as some perfunctory PR exercise: what Putin has done is an act of aggressive war, and should genuinely be condemned. It will have dire consequences, many yet unforeseen. A division of US soldiers is stationed less than four miles from the Ukraine border in Poland; further escalation on a scale that few would have dared to fathom is now a harrowingly distinct possibility. This owes in significant part to Putin’s apparent madness. I’m always leery of playing armchair psychologist, which tends to be the dumbest form of political analysis — but I will say that in my layman’s observation of his recent public statements, Putin comes across as increasingly bitter, vengeful, and even deluded."

Horseshit. For one thing, pinning it all on “Putin” is nonsense. And then claiming Putin is “mad” is even worse. The entire Russian leadership, including Sergei Lavrov, have been very clear and straightforward about the “Red Lines” the US was crossing. If anything, Putin is very cautious. The Donbass shelling has been a murderous grind. As Pepe Escobar pointed out, today is the first time in EIGHT YEARS that Donetsk and Luhansk haven’t been shelled. 15,000 or so people killed there during that time, the vast majority on the side of the nascent republics. That's of no import?

Why this urge to condemn? It’s only supposed to be the US and its poodles that invades and destroys other countries? We’re allowed to condemn that, sure, but heaven forbid the worm turns and those other countries or peoples gain the ability to shoot back? However brutal the Russian attack is on Ukraine, I’ll bet the loss of life will be a minute fraction of that caused by the US destruction of Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc etc just in this century. Of any ONE of those, as a matter of fact. It’ll likely be far less than the number of dead in the Donbass since 2014!

Go back to Putin's Munich speech in 2007. Watch him talk with journalists in 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqD8lIdIMRo

Read the speeches he's made in the past week. These are not the ravings of a madman. It's just that the bar has fallen so low for "our" leaders, that encountering words from someone this clearheaded and coherent, it sounds like they're from another planet.

This is a major turning point in world history. We better get used to it.

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I read his speech before he invaded Ukraine. It's as sane as any of our politicians and with not nearly as much propaganda as you'd think (of course there's propaganda in there, but given how much propaganda we've been subjected to here, it's probably less than you'll hear on your average CNN or Fox evening talk show or your average White House or CDC briefing). He also makes many points that can't be refuted without resorting to the "who's doing it" argument, as in it's just fine if the US does it, but another country, not so much. So, no, I agree, classifying Putin as mad, or his actions as mad, is too easy a way out.

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Sad you don't get more up votes.

It is now a multi-polar world.

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Putin did what he had to do after NATO (i.e., the U.S.) basically told him to sit down and shut up, threatening to surround Russia with NATO bases, not caring about Russia's legitimate security concerns. The winners in this: The U.S. Military Industrial Complex and ruling elites that can use the new crisis to increase already absurd 'defense' budgets and further ramp up internal and external surveillance powers. The same goes for the Russian Military Industrial Complex and its associated services. The losers: The American Tax Payer, the Ukrainian neo-nazi Azov fighters and other military forces, the Ukrainian civilian population, the European Tax Payers and pretty much everybody else. If you are a member of the CIA, the NSA or any of the more than 50 so-called US Intelligence Agencies, or one of the three branches of the US military (each of which is bigger than the entire Russian Military), then today was a good day for you. Congrats!

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If one wants to "follow the money", there are just over 600 Billionaires in the USA. They are what makes the "world go 'round".

We need to name names and focus.

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Neo-nazi Azov fighters will make good fertilizer. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

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The winner is fear.

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What happened to you Michael?

Who's threatening you?

So, OK maybe you said Putin wouldn't invade and now the MSM is saying he did. So What?

I don't see anything to commit hari kari over.

But I can't imagine you really believe the BS about how Putin needs to be condemned for his crime. Where is that same condemnation for Yemen? For the freezing of Afghan assets so that children there will starve?

Sure Putin is bad, but that hardly makes the USA good. And you've totally caved.

Putin was very clear over the last several months about what he wanted -- written guarantees that the US would not allow Ukraine to become a member of NATO. The USA did a version of that promise about a blow job: "I won't cum in your mouth."

Putin is spitting out that cum from the last 8 years!

At what point is the abused wife justified in murdering her husband?

You have nothing to apologize for -- except for apologizing for this. This excuse for Biden and the Oligarchy to continue to pursue Empire.

This "war" is totally on Biden and the US Oligarchy. Who bought you Michael? Who threatened you? I'm at a loss.

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I get where you're coming from, John; Mike's a little off right now.

I sure as hell don't blame him though. This was a genuine shock to many Alt Media peeps. Krystal & Saagar are reeling, Taibbi was also blindsided (and he lived in Russia for years and still has a lot of contacts there) just to name a couple.

Mike's had a much more domestic issues concentration, so I'm not surprised at his knee jerk response. He'll level out.

OTOH, Taibbi? Hmmm... he's gonna spend a while getting all the egg off his face. (I suspect Rachel Maddow is busting a gut laughing at him right now, and I feel for the guy)

Jim's comment further up on this thread has given me a lot to look over. He gave a bunch of links that deserve a read up on.

Mike's gonna be all right after he absorbs this stuff.

As I write this, I'm packing up to return home from a vacay in Cuba. There's a pretty strong contingent of Russian tourists here, and the few I've spoken to are pretty much OK w/ what's going down. They all ask why couldn't NATO just give the guarantee?

I have yet to read the links I just described; right now I think that it's simply history's cycle coming around. A declining empire (USA) is being challenged by a new power (non-communist Russia).

The thing that really, really concerns me, the thing that frightens me is I'm convinced that the PRC is watching this unfold carefully. If thing go a certain way (and I don't have a clue what they would be), I believe China's gonna make a move on Taiwan by the summer.

We ain't seen nuthin' yet.

And that scares the hell out of me.

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There's no need for Michael or Taibbi or Saagar to apologize. It isn't as if they are suppose to have some crystal ball to see the future. I haven't read a thing from Taibbi he should be ashamed of, or from Michael either.

The guy who was right was Scott Ritter. Here's his interview with Richard Medhurst yesterday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=3GkmdCaBECs

You can find some interesting videos of him all over the place, mostly on Consortium News but some on Op-Ed news. He called it exactly (so far) about what was going to happen. Ukraine does not have an army that can stand up to the Russians and all the weapons the US was shipping to Ukraine were going to be destroyed within the first 24 hours. It took even less time that that.

CN is hosting a live interview right now which will be available in podcast. If you want to know what's happening, this should be your number one source. (All the WaPo, NYT, MSM articles I've seen are pure hogwash.)

The other two guys who understood what was happening were Pepe Escobar and Michael Hudson.

You can find a lot of Escobar on thesakar.is, a web site that is black listed on Reddit because it spreads "disinformation" (BS) But if you want to be really, really, scared listen to his two part interview with Max Blumenthal about the rise of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

https://moderaterebels.libsyn.com/is-failed-kazakhstan-coup-attempt-end-of-us-color-revolution-era

https://moderaterebels.libsyn.com/us-russia-talks-fail-is-war-on-horizon-impact-on-ukraine-germany-nord-stream-2

You can also look on Michael Hudsons web site or another Moderate Rebels interview with Hudson:

https://moderaterebels.com/super-imperialism-economist-michael-hudson/

During a Q&A on another podcast, the dire state of the American Economy was being discussed and the boomers asked, "What should we tell our children to do to?"

Hudson: "Learn Mandarin"

The sanctions against Russia will be meaningless.

The SCO is a self-contained economy not needing trade with the West to prosper

Russian Naval bases are coming to Venezuela and Cuba

China is building a canal across Nicaragua

90% of the Neon required to make computer chips comes from Ukraine.

None of this is happening "tomorrow" or even in the next decade, but if you have a 20 year old kid, the US Oligarchy has already stolen his future. It is as gone as Ukraine is as an economic entity.

So, if Matt and Michael have anything to apologize for, it is for holding back on predictions.

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Thanks, man. It took you some time to put this reply together with all the links. I've saved this page as well as copying and pasting it. You were very generous spending your time in service of telling the truth. Fascinating links and stories.

BTW I just watched Aaron & Katie on 'Monday Mourning' and it was really insightful.

Despite being a paid subscriber to the NYTimes (they're worth the buck a week I pay for the online version just for the anagarm puzzle...) and the Toronto Star (also just a buck a week...I lean on them on the phone and they cave. If they don't...buh-bye...)

ANYWAY...what I was trying to say is that I don't even read their stuff about Ukraine.

JHC...the CBC (state funded MSM) uses BELLINGCAT to fact check for them! Bellingcat?!? JHC

One last thing:

My ISP just put a brick on RT America. You can't get it online. I'll try VPN'g, but it's a PITA y'know?

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I don't think there's shame in being wrong. They have acknowledged it. Have you heard anyone else accept their mistakes publicly? How about covid? Or Russiagate? Nope, lots of the following two things: 1. Silence/switch the narrative 2. Doubling down. No acceptance of an error. It is, frankly, refreshing to read someone say, "I didn't get this right." In writing. For all to see. Not hidden on page 24 of a newspaper, months later.

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I don't mean to be cynical, but looking at this with a jaundice eye, why do I get the feeling that we calculatingly sacrificed Ukraine in order to sabotage Nordstream 2 and isolate Russia from further integrating into Europe's economic and political sphere. Something we are terrified of happening. A stable Europe without a Russian threat, what's the point of NATO and with it, billions in weapons contracts? We knew Ukraine would probably never join NATO but we held that out to them and provoked Russia knowing that it was the one red line Putin would act on. Well, we (the military-industrial complex) got our new Cold War and Russian isolation. Trillions in new military spending for decades to come, and the rest of us all the more poorer.

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Thank you for something to think about, though in this case, Putin and the Ukraine are being used, which honest . . . wouldn't surprise me, not that I consider it. I am just relieved that people aren't taking the MSM line and just running with it. It gives me heart.

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Pretty insightful.

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Nope. The budget won't support it. Take a look at social security, medicare etc. The reality is, it won't work for much longer. Just like Rome or Third Reich, you run out of money and output. The boomers paid into the system, they will want something back. And if you get to choose between social security and health care, or more F35s or air craft carriers...

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Shocking that a journalist admits he got it wrong. Bravo!

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Real journalists do, but, yes, it is something to commend.

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I applaud you, Michael. Both you and Matt Taibbi have held yourselves to account on calling this wrong - even though I don’t think it’s necessary. Your honest journalism is enough, no explanation necessary.

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Most of us are not for war and held the media responsible for their obviously irresponsible rhetoric -- as well as Biden's idiot statement he would essentially allow a "minor incursion." I don't think you were off-base in your commentary.

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Biden's mistake was ramping up his rhetoric and suggesting that he has any power at all to do anything beside create a horrific mess (mission accomplished). But I agree that Tracey (nor Taibbi or Saager) should not be apologizing. There's something going on here that has caught all the thoughtful people flat footed, and I think if we start digging, we're going to see it comes back to the unpredictability of a failing elite in this country and the fact that even Putin could not trust them to do the sane thing and therefore did something we see as insane in response.

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Yet - the truth is soo obvious and soo simple... The original modern sin is -- Russia-gate hoax.

SAME lying team that concocted the Russia-gate hoax and 2014 bloody coup that overthrew democratically elected Ukraine government Jake Sullivan, Hillary strategy advisor had a KEY role in launching Russia-gate hoax – he is now national security advisor to Biden.

SAME people that launched the Russia-gate hoax are now hollering that Russia invasion of Ukraine is "imminent". All to "save democracy" there -- in order to distract from the fact that St. Obama organized in 2014 bloody coup against democratically elected Ukraine government. St. Obama installed Biden and his CIA pal Brennan as de facto governors of Ukraine -- immensely enriching US "elite" and posting and removing government members, judges and heads of industry with billions of corrupting cash -- in "fight against corruption".

US War party’s key exports are – coups, wars and all-encompassing US corruption.

-----------------------------------------------------------

ukrainegate.info nice summary of Bidens' corrupt rule in Ukraine -- a well-researched and an outstanding in-depth analysis of US corruption in Ukraine

https://ukrainegate.info/short-part-1-a-not-so-solid-prosecutor/

https://ukrainegate.info/summary-part-2-not-so-dormant-investigations/

https://ukrainegate.info/summary-part-3-a-not-so-noble-president/

https://ukrainegate.info/summary-part-4-shokin-strikes-back/

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deletedFeb 25, 2022·edited Feb 25, 2022
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You were doing great until you said "liberal". Just exactly how is Blinken a "Liberal"? What does that label even mean any longer.

Let's try to be more specific. Blinken works for the Oligarchy. There are just over 600 of them in the USA. Focus!

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deletedFeb 25, 2022·edited Feb 25, 2022
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I surely wish people would stop using the term "Liberal". I consider myself a "Liberal". I did finally wake up to the fraud of the Democratic Party in 2016. But they aren't "Liberal".

Blinken "stood up" to Putin so that he could enable even more money laundering for the Oligarchy through Ukraine.

Pepe Escobar has shown that Russia is doing quite well right now. Yes, their stock market dropped precipitously, but I'd call it a buying opportunity. China and Russia are establishing an alternative to SWIFT and with the SCO, are on course to completely abandoning trade with the West. (I've posted links elsewhere)

There are just over 600 billionaires in the USA. Everyone talks about how they have to "follow the money" to get to the truth, but for some god-only-knows reason they can't see the Shiny Billboard in front of them.

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Because the evening news doesn't discuss who runs the show. Just the latest explosions / pyrotechnics.

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" I stand by previous skepticism and criticism of US Government policy/rhetoric, as well as the US media’s unabashed war fervor. But this is insane aggression from Putin, and of course needs to be condemned unreservedly."

Washington is a relentless bully and the partners CIA chooses for its coups and color revolutions are always the terrorists. In the 2014 Ukraine coup actual Nazis w Langley puppet were installed. Oddly enough local populations tend to resent corrupt leaders selected for them and it is no different in Ukraine.

This from Max Blumenthal is 4 years old so.. betcha a nickle there aren't two blue check, legacy presstitutes who know or care how things got here.. greedy idiots who pose as America's public servants & have never, ever faced consequences for their actions or accountability for their words can never satisify its predatory hunger.. we the people be damned.. if our death has useful PR value we are a hero...

We have been robbed blind for the Corona circus now ooops election season let's talk war. NYPD budget is almost as big as Putin's ffs. We would rank as 7th largest military on a global scale & can't run Rikers. An enemy is anyone w resources who does not genuflect & pay vig to DC Mafia.

Everybody read Max his research is meticulous and his passion and talent abundant!!

https://thegrayzone.com/2018/11/15/blowback-how-us-funded-fascists-in-ukraine-mentor-us-white-supremacists/

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Interesting read, thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for the statement. My gut feeling with the lack of actual diplomacy that went on by the U.S. is that this is the outcome our government for a variety of reasons.

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We don't know what was said by our bovine State dept to their Russian counterparts. State is filled with Nuland and Vindman sorts, i.e., expats with an historical axe to grind. I suspect it was something particularly insulting that has Putin, Lavrov, et. al. pissed big time. Judging his history, Putin will cool down and go about cleaning up this mess on Aisle U, while countering sanctions that will only make Russia more self-sufficient. He's done a remarkable job bringing Russia back from the near-dead after its genocidal looting by the west in the 90's. The newly "Free" Post-USSR Russia was brutalized and Putin stopped that. The western Financial oligarchy never forgets an inexcusable middle finger directed their way.

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On WHO is Putin:

Whatever we may think of Putin, he is no Stalin. He has not murdered millions or created a gulag archipelago.

Nor is he "irrational," as some pundits rail. He does not want a war with us, which would be worse than ruinous to us both.

Putin is a Russian nationalist, patriot, traditionalist and a cold and ruthless realist looking out to preserve Russia as the great and respected power it once was and he believes it can be again.

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