by JEFFREY D. SACHS
George Orwell wrote in 1984 that “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Governments work relentlessly to distort public perceptions of the past. Regarding the Ukraine War, the Biden administration has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the Ukraine War started with an unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In fact, the war was provoked by the U.S. in ways that leading U.S. diplomats anticipated for decades in the lead-up to the war, meaning that the war could have been avoided and should now be stopped through negotiations.
Recognizing that the war was provoked helps us to understand how to stop it. It doesn’t justify Russia’s invasion. A far better approach for Russia might have been to step up diplomacy with Europe and with the non-Western world to explain and oppose U.S. militarism and unilateralism. In fact, the relentless U.S. push to expand NATO is widely opposed throughout the world, so Russian diplomacy rather than war would likely have been effective.
The Biden team uses the word “unprovoked” incessantly, most recently in Biden’s major speech on the first-year anniversary of the war, in a recent NATO statement, and in the most recent G7 statement. Mainstream media friendly to Biden simply parrot the White House. The New York Times is the lead culprit, describing the invasion as “unprovoked” no fewer than 26 times, in five editorials, 14 opinion columns by NYT writers, and seven guest op-eds!
There were in fact two main U.S. provocations. The first was the U.S. intention to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia in order to surround Russia in the Black Sea region by NATO countries (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia, in counterclockwise order). The second was the U.S. role in installing a Russophobic regime in Ukraine by the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. The shooting war in Ukraine began with Yanukovych’s overthrow nine years ago, not in February 2022 as the U.S. government, NATO, and the G7 leaders would have us believe.
The key to peace in Ukraine is through negotiations based on Ukraine’s neutrality and NATO non-enlargement.
Biden and his foreign policy team refuse to discuss these roots of the war. To recognize them would undermine the administration in three ways. First, it would expose the fact that the war could have been avoided, or stopped early, sparing Ukraine its current devastation and the U.S. more than $100 billion in outlays to date. Second, it would expose President Biden’s personal role in the war as a participant in the overthrow of Yanukovych, and before that as a staunch backer of the military-industrial complex and very early advocate of NATO enlargement. Third, it would push Biden to the negotiating table, undermining the administration’s continued push for NATO expansion.
The archives show irrefutably that the U.S. and German governments repeatedly promised to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch eastward” when the Soviet Union disbanded the Warsaw Pact military alliance. Nonetheless, U.S. planning for NATO expansion began early in the 1990s, well before Vladimir Putin was Russia’s president. In 1997, national security expert Zbigniew Brzezinski spelled out the NATO expansion timeline with remarkable precision.
U.S. diplomats and Ukraine’s own leaders knew well that NATO enlargement could lead to war. The great US scholar-statesman George Kennan called NATO enlargement a “fateful error,” writing in the New York Times that, “Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”
President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Perry considered resigning in protest against NATO enlargement. In reminiscing about this crucial moment in the mid-1990s, Perry said the following in 2016: “Our first action that really set us off in a bad direction was when NATO started to expand, bringing in eastern European nations, some of them bordering Russia. At that time, we were working closely with Russia and they were beginning to get used to the idea that NATO could be a friend rather than an enemy … but they were very uncomfortable about having NATO right up on their border and they made a strong appeal for us not to go ahead with that.”
In 2008, then U.S. Ambassador to Russia, and now CIA Director, William Burns, sent a cable to Washington warning at length of grave risks of NATO enlargement: “Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests. Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”
Ukraine’s leaders knew clearly that pressing for NATO enlargement to Ukraine would mean war. Former Zelensky advisor Oleksiy Arestovych declared in a 2019 interview “that our price for joining NATO is a big war with Russia.”
During 2010-2013, Yanukovych pushed neutrality, in line with Ukrainian public opinion. The U.S. worked covertly to overthrow Yanukovych, as captured vividly in the tape of then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt planning the post-Yanukovych government weeks before the violent overthrow of Yanukovych. Nuland makes clear on the call that she was coordinating closely with then Vice President Biden and his national security advisor Jake Sullivan, the same Biden-Nuland-Sullivan team now at the center of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Ukraine.
After Yanukovych’s overthrow, the war broke out in the Donbas, while Russia claimed Crimea. The new Ukrainian government appealed for NATO membership, and the U.S. armed and helped restructure the Ukrainian army to make it interoperable with NATO. In 2021, NATO and the Biden Administration strongly recommitted to Ukraine’s future in NATO.
In the immediate lead-up to Russia’s invasion, NATO enlargement was center stage. Putin’s draft US-Russia Treaty (December 17, 2021) called for a halt to NATO enlargement. Russia’s leaders put NATO enlargement as the cause of war in Russia’s National Security Council meeting on February 21, 2022. In his address to the nation that day, Putin declared NATO enlargement to be a central reason for the invasion.
05/24/23 – Prigozhin says war in Ukraine has backfired, warns of Russian revolution
Putin rejected the globalist bankers. That’s why this is going on.
Driven directly into a ditch side by side, and there they sit, with no signs of being targeted by defensive fire? Sure, I believe that. Note these are our new stealth Hum-Vees, that leave no tire tracks behind them.
Defeated by an anti vehicle ditch. Great move by Ukraine military.
Yep. Not only have our no-tracks stealth tires been exposed, but our amazing bulletproof glass and paint.
Their little outing failed, they retreated in defeat.
Prigozhin’s latest outburst makes me think they definitely struck a nerve. It was a successful psychological operation. This war will be won by breaking Russian support for Vladimir Putin.
Was it yesterday we were to beware the Putin youth? Hard to keep up with your propaganda spin.
The reason you imagine a contradiction is because you’re looking through a Putin-influenced propaganda lens. Hitler had his Hitler Youth. Putin would create his own brainwashed generation that never questions authority, is committed to military aggression, and hates all opposed to Russian domination.
biden is running out of money for his war. Where will he get more?
All the propaganda turn, turn turn, you dizzy yet?
McCarthy tells house members they can leave DC for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday
Good move, with the debt ceiling issue unresolved. You have elected idiots.
The debt ceiling is smoke and mirrors. There will not be a default.
Yellen is lying about default
05/24/23 – Bernie speaks his mind…on FOX News, of all places:
*Hyperbole? Nope. In fact, the richest 3 families in America now own more than the entire bottom 50 percent of all Americans.
“The latest available figures indicate that the total wealth of Gates, Bezos and Buffett was $248.5 billion, exceeding the total wealth of $245 billion of the bottom half of Americans.”
Why the push away from democracy, and toward authoritarianism? Because democracy won’t long tolerate corporate serfdom and such blatant economic injustice.
You should be asking yourself that question. It’s YOU that supports the totalitarian police state that uses fascist violence and force to suppress citizen’s rights, not us.
In fact, the richest 3 families in America now own more than the entire bottom 50 percent of all Americans. THIS is how you get revolutions.
Own more what?
The Government holds down the bottom 50 % for those 3 democrat donors.
Really? How exactly does the government do that?
Sorry? Didn’t hear that. Crickets were chirping too loudly…
Sorry REGULATIONS while large companies can easily comply with new regulations the smaller companies cant hire the non productive employees to comply with the required paperwork. You worried about Buffet the railroad king, what has the idiot homo in the DOT done to really clean up the disaster of burning off toxic chemicals? Cars are still derailing and Buffet , major democrat donor, is raking in the bucks, as his choo choo trains rails and bridges dont get maintenence, leaking or losing explosives now?
OH NO! Someone didn’t immediately answer a question? You, who NEVER respond to questions with a response, deserve no answer.
Beyonce’ owes $2.7 million in taxes. Why hasn’t idiot Biden called her out for being “unpatriotic”? Why do liberals have so much problem paying the taxes they owe and think everyone else should be paying?
What is autoritarianism to you?
forced vaccination, closing down a business as non essential, closing parks and camping grounds, shutting down churches, tell us all about it.
Lose one argument, try to pivot to another one? Look at the VA. That’s what “single payer” would look like. Obama practically destroyed health care, NO DEMOCRATS, and certainly no communist-worshipping socialist, should get their hands on health care ever again.
Hey, it was your little Gateway Putin buddy who predictably changed the subject, wasn’t it?
No, it was YOU that pivoted to your most worshipful Bernie the Commie about socialized medicine.
Despite evidence to the contrary? That’s pretty much the norm.
All you have to do is look at your scatterlogical tangent off onto the commie whining about not having socialized medicine in the US, so the left can ruin something else.
McCarthy called the biden/yellen bluff. There is no risk of a debt ceiling default. It is time to break the myth that perpetuates debt and deficit spending.
greg seems very keen on enforcing that only CERTAIN news sources are credible, namely those that don’t make any money but are propped up by the state.
Yes I admit, Gateway Pundit is my go to. And I know it pisses you off because they are a credible conservative site which you cannot refute.
But that is not the limit of my content sources just the one that most gets under your skin. HAND
Why not? It wasn’t GP that promoted the Russian Collusion story for 4 years. It wasn’t GP that ran stories that Trump Jr. got the Wikileaks data before anyone else. It wasn’t GP ran “Russian bounties” stories. It wasn’t GP that ran the story that Trump denigrated veterans. It wasn’t GP that called Hunter’s laptop “Russian disinformation”. I trust who doesn’t lie to me and distrust those that DO. Greg gravitates to the liars.
Why didn’t idiot Biden answer any of the 5 calls from McCarthy to get going on working on the negotiations? Not until polls showed idiot Biden HE would be blamed if the deadline is not met did he finally begin talks. It is the Democrats that dragged this out, not Republicans.
Democrats threaten violence in the streets if any of their wasteful spending is cut.
Who appointed this silly twit?
20 million dollarrs FFS cant he waste enough tax dollars?