The Incompetent Way That Putin Handled the Buildup to the Invasion of UkraineSouth Front

April 17, 2023

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The Incompetent Way That Putin Handled the Buildup to the Invasion of Ukraine

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Written by Eric Zuesse

Under international law, any nation’s right to self-defense is more fundamental than any other national right. When two nations are at war against each other, one — the one that starts the war — is called “the aggressor” and under international law is blamed for the war — and the other is called “the defender” or the victim of that aggressor, and has no blame for the war, none. But, which is which can sometimes be debated. This question is always about: Which side started the war? 

For example: In the case of the war in Ukraine: When did it actually start? Did it start on 24 February 2022 when U.S.-and-allied Governments imply or even say that it did — which was when Russia invaded Ukraine? If so; then what were the Minsk Agreements about? They were about ending the war in Ukraine — establishing and executing a process to achieve that purpose. It was the same war, and it was continuing even when Russia invaded. When did that war begin? Putin made a mash of explaining why Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. As a result, the U.S.-and allied narrative about this — their lie about it, saying or assuming that the war began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 — has dominated at the U.N. and generally, so that the idea that Russia started the war in Ukraine has dominated ever since. But it’s not merely false but rabidly false, the opposite of the truth, and that falsehood has given those liars — the U.S. and its ‘allies’ or colonies — a terrific PR advantage, ever since, because it hides the violent U.S. coup against Ukraine that started the war, and it hides the U.S. Government’s continuing rape of Ukraine ever since:

The war in Ukraine actually began in the very violent coup that the U.S. Obama Administration had actually started planning no later than June 2011 and started executing inside America’s Embassy in Ukraine on 1 March 2013, and which coup illegally overthrew the democratically elected and neutralist President of Ukraine on 20 February 2014 and which installed to take over the new government on 27 February 2014 the man who had been selected by Victoria Nuland — Obama’s agent controlling the coup operation — when she instructed on 27 January 2014 the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine to have “Yatsenyuk” or “Yats”, a rabid hater of ethnic Russians, placed in charge when the coup would be over, which was then done on 27 February 2014. That coup precipitated or provoked resistance to the coup on the day of the coup, 20 February 2014, when occurred the Korsun Massacre of Crimeans who, on the day of the coup, were fleeing the coup-site on Kiev’s Maidan Square, after holding signs there against the overthrow of that President for whom over 70% of Crimeans had voted, and now they were running back into their 8 awaiting buses to return to Crimea, but became blocked en-route and dozens of them were killed by the Right Sector paramilitaries who beat them to death and piled up their corpses, though many survived to record their accounts of the massacre. So: the war began on the very day of the coup, and it was perpetrated by Obama’s hired forces, specifically the Right Sector paramilitaries, who were under the command of Dmitriy Yarosh, who had been in charge of the team of snipers that the U.S. Government hired to carry out the coup. Some of the foreign snipers that were hired from Georgia and elsewhere were under the command of an American Brian Boyenger, but most of the snipers were Ukrainian racist-fascists who were under Yarosh’s command.

The unrest against the U.S. coup that started Ukraine’s war centered in two main regions: Crimea in the far south, in which that overthrown President had gotten 70+% of the votes, and Donbass in the far southeast, where he had gotten 90+% of the votes. The Donbass towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk on 15 April 2014 rejected the Obama-junta-installed-by-Yatsenyuk officials, and Yatsenyuk announced the next day that his government was starting an Anti-Terrorist Operation or “ATO” and sending in tanks to eliminate any such ‘terrorists’. It was now officially an anti-‘terrorist’ war, in keeping with America’s ongoing war against terrorists, but in this case Russia was being blamed for it, because Donbass is Russian-speaking and had voted over 90% for the overthrown, neutralist, President and therefore needed (from Obama’s perspective) to be depopulated so that in any future elections, only anti-Russian candidates would win Ukraine’s elections. Then, on 2 May 2014, Yarosh’s people trapped, inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building, dozens of people who had circulated flyers against the Obama-coup-installed government, and burned them alive, to demonstrate to Ukraine’s Russian-speakers that this new Ukraine hated their guts and wanted them gone from Ukraine. The Obama-installed government appointed, to be the new Governor of a region near Odessa, an oligarch, Kolomoyskyi, who had also funded Yarosh’s operation and helped to plan that burning-alive action. The ATO became the war against Donbass that the Minsk Agreements (which Obama opposed but tolerated) were supposed to stop and failed to stop, because Ukraine’s U.S.-installed government refused to stop its shelling of the breakaway region Donbass, and the war was an ethnic-cleansing operation to reduce the population there, which continued until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and which still has been continuing there, though perhaps somewhat reduced now as Russia has joined the residents there to fight against the U.S.-stooge regime in Kiev and against its ethnic-cleansing (or ‘ATO’) operation to reduce if not eliminate the residents there.

The intent of Obama’s coup was mainly to get Ukraine into NATO so that U.S. missiles could become placed on its border only 300 miles away from blitz-nuking The Kremlin, but was also intended to grab Russia’s main naval base, which since 1783 has been in Crimea, and turn it into a U.S. naval base (something Obama wasn’t able to do).

Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine was intended to prevent Ukraine from hosting U.S. missiles only a five-minute-missile-flight-time away from blitz-nuking The Kremlin. Putin made a mess of his explanations of why he invaded Ukraine. The fact that it was done in order to block any possibility of U.S. missiles becoming ultimately posted in Ukraine only 300 miles from the Kremlin was almost ignored in his public statements. Therefore, he made easy The West’s convincing people that the aggressor here was Russia instead of America. On the surface, it looked that way, if the relevant prior history was ignored — and Putin’s explanations distracted from that history, instead of drew attention to it, and thus allowed the relevant prior history behind this war to be and to remain ignored by the peoples in U.S.-and-allied countries. When he spoke about the prior history, he talked mainly about Ukrainians being really Russians, and other such irrelevancies, which irrelevancies precipitated in The West distractionary debates as to whether or not Ukrainians actually are Russians, or even why he said that they are: pro-U.S. media were, basically, psychoanalyzing Putin, instead of dealing with America’s coup that had grabbed Ukraine and maybe psychoanalyzing Obama himself. The undeniable physical fact is that America’s obsession to get its missiles that close to The Kremlin was intolerable to Russia and to Russians; so, Putin needed to prevent that from happening, and the 24 February 2022 invasion had become the only way to prevent it now, because on December 15th of 2021 Putin gave to the U.S. Government Russia’s existential national-security demands never to place its missiles so close to Moscow, and two days later he gave to America’s NATO anti-Russian military alliance Russia’s national-security demands including that Ukraine will never be in NATO, and, on 7 January 2022, both America and its NATO alliance formally said no to all of them; and, then, on 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine to achieve by military means what the U.S. regime refused even to consider by diplomatic means and negotiations — they refused to negotiate with Russia, regarding what were and still are, for Russia, national-security necessities. They were forcing Russia to invade Ukraine. That’s what they wanted, and they got it.

America and its NATO anti-Russian military alliance started the war in Ukraine; but Russia got the blame. Because of Putin’s incoherent explanations of why he was responding now militarily and invading Ukraine, the populations in both neutral Sweden and ‘neutral’ but Hitler-allied-in-WW-II Finland (Finland had joined his Operation Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and stayed with Hitler until that invasion was over in 1944) thought and think that the 24 February 2022 Russian invasion was unprovoked and nothing but a land-grab of Ukraine by Russia. But Putin’s PR failure was even worse than that, much worse, because of the timing of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine: If Putin had instead waited for Ukraine’s full-scale invasion of Donbass, before responding then by his invading Ukraine to protect those people and to, at that point, go into Ukraine itself, to take out its racist-fascist U.S.-installed government, then perhaps there wouldn’t have been so many Finns who would have been clamoring for Finland to join NATO. If so, then Putin’s premature invasion of Ukraine has cost Russia its biggest loss ever since 24 February 2022: the loss of a neutral Finland, to a NATO Finland.

Putin was right to have been concerned about, and to be assisting, the defense of the people in the breakaway region of Donbass, but the national security of the people inside Russia was his absolute responsibility, and his public pronouncements smeared together those two, as-if they were equally his obligations to protect. They were not. Washington was luring him into what it could then convincingly lie to call an “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine; and, right before Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion, Washington had its stooge regime in Ukraine hike greatly its shellings against the residents in the breakaway Donbass. Putin fell for the bait, and invaded prematurely, allegedly in order to protect the Donbassers against that shelling instead of to protect Russians from U.S. missiles becoming posted in Ukraine, and he thus enabled Washington to call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “unprovoked.” Consequently, Russia’s invasion shocked the world (as-if everything hadn’t been building toward this ever since 20 February 2014), and was interpreted falsely almost everywhere in the world, except inside Russia itself (which has far-more-honest newsmedia than in the U.S.-and-allied nations), as having BEEN unprovoked. How important was that successful U.S. lie? Its success persuaded Finns, who had had a pro-Hitler history during WW II, to break their decades of ‘neutrality’ since that time and officially join America’s anti-Russian military alliance, NATO. Like Ukraine, Finland shares a long border with Russia, and, whereas Ukraine’s reaches within 300 miles of The Kremlin, Finland’s reaches within 500 miles of it — that’s a 7-minute missile-flying distance instead of a 5-minute one. It’s almost as bad for Russia as-if Ukraine were to enter NATO. But Putin downplayed this disaster for Russians (a disaster that his own PR incompetence had facilitated). On 13 May 2022, the day after Finland announced its intention to join NATO, I headlined “Russia’s Weak Response to Finland’s Joining NATO” and contradicted Russia’s downplaying this matter as being a “balance of power” issue between the two sides, and pointed out that, to the exact contrary, it was a moral issue, and that America was in the wrong on this vitally important ethical matter: “It wouldn’t ‘preserve the balance of power’, because U.S./NATO will then be in position to place America’s nukes on Russia’s border near its brain-center Moscow, whereas Russia isn’t in position to place its nukes on America’s border near its brain-center Washington DC.” Furthermore:

If Finland joins NATO, then America will station its missiles on Finland’s Russian border, 507 miles from Moscow, and that is 7 minutes away from blitz-nuking Moscow.

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, America threatened to initiate nuclear war against the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union would position nuclear missiles in Cuba, 1,134 miles from Washington DC, which would be about 10 minutes away from blitz-nuking Washington (but would have required much longer to reach Washington back in 1962).

Consequently, Russia now is in at least as dangerous a situation if Finland joins NATO as America was in during the Cuban Missile Crisis when America was threatening to launch a nuclear invasion against Russia if U.S.S.R. placed missiles in Cuba.

Furthermore: unlike America and the Soviet Union during the Cuba Missile Crisis, when BOTH nations were willing to negotiate a peaceful end to that Crisis, Russia is willing to negotiate a peaceful settlement this time around but America is not and has repeatedly refused to do so. Clearly, America is heading for conquest.

That is a replay of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis but in reverse: not Soviet missiles in Cuba, but American missiles in Ukraine — or, now, in Finland. Finland became central to it because Putin’s premature invasion of Ukraine caused Finns to think that — as was the U.S. intention when Putin fell into America’s trap — this was an unprovoked land-grab by Russia instead of part of a long-term plan by America’s rulers to ultimately win control over Russia.

Clearly, America was the aggressor; Russia was not. Ukraine was and is merely the battlefield and proxy army for the U.S., in which this war between America and Russia is being fought. Putin disastrously blew the PR; and, so, not only is NATO continuing its expansion dangerously near to Russia’s central command in Moscow, but it is Russia that is being sanctioned against by the U.S. and its vassal-nations, and Russia that is being condemned in the U.N. General Assembly, as-if the aggressor were Russia, instead of the U.S. regime.

But Putin’s performance is even worse than that: As I headlined on 3 April 2023 and pointed out “Putin’s Enormous Blunder”, an even bigger failure by him has been the follow-up to Finland’s announcement of its intention to join NATO. And— as I pointed out there — even now, after Finland is in NATO, he is continuing that failure.

This is not to say World War Three, which we now are in (not yet in the direct and nuclear stage of it) will necessarily be lost by Russia (I expect Russia and China to win against the U.S. Government, because that Government is astoundingly corrupt), but Putin’s PR incompetency in this is clear. Russia’s diplomacy (and diplomacy is terrifically important a part of success in a war) is continuing to be hobbled by his incompetency at PR. Putin seems impervious to improving his poor performance in the non-military aspects of WW III, except in the economic aspects, which he has managed brilliantly. He has also outperformed The West in the military aspects, though America (which might be as corrupt at its top as any country in history ever was) spends on its military 20 times what Russia spends on its. Putin’s very weak areas have been in diplomacy, negotiation, and PR. And he shows no signs of improving in those fields. He blew them, and he tragically still does. In that sense, he has been rigid. But, because he is a skillful leader in other aspects, his blunders that produced Finland’s joining NATO might not hand an overall victory to the U.S. regime. It was a huge win for America’s rulers, but not necessarily a fatal loss for Russians and for the entire world. The Russian Government’s downplaying it is false: it enormously understates this harm that has been resulting from Putin’s falling into, and remaining in, the U.S. regime’s trap on this Ukrainian matter.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.


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